Obama Headquarters Open for Business

10 07 2008

Before I get out of town, just had to comment on the Obama organizational meeting Tuesday night.

I’ve been to a couple other meetings on “political row” aka Fairbanks St., and as I turned in off of Northern Lights, I wondered what had happened. There was obviously some kind of accident. Either it was just a fender bender, or a stalled car because no emergency vehicles were in sight. Maybe it just happened… A man ran over to my car window, and I rolled it down. “Here for Obama?” I nodded. “The only parking available at this time is either the Fireweed Theater or Carrs across the street!” he said smiling.

I was totally floored. After parking, waiting on line for more than five and less than ten minutes to register, I stood there with an index card with my precinct number written on it, and was escorted outside for food and drink. No veggie burgers, and no sugar or milk for coffee…at least none that I could find. I didn’t care. I sat there happily eating a dry cracker, a big piece of watermelon, washed it down with black coffee, and watched the throngs of excited people milling around under the big white tent that had been set up in case of rain. The organization was pretty darned impressive.

There were so many people there, they had to give the pep speech twice, once for those in the back of the building and once for those in the front. About 250 people showed up to volunteer. The crowd was very diverse in terms of ethnicity, gender and age. This bodes very very well. Notable attendees were Vic Fischer (of Alaska Constitution fame), and Matt Claman (Anchorage Assembly chair). I don’t know if Alaska will go blue this year, but the chances are better than they have been in a long time.

Here are some favorite pictures from the event.

A Die Hard

Converting the Hummer Crowd?


25 06 2008

Well, the extremely predictable ruling came down from the U.S. Supreme Court today. In a 5-3 vote the court decided to hack and slash the original $5 billion, which had already been hacked and slashed to $2.5 billion in punitive damages owed to Prince William Sound fishermen and Alaska Natives affected by the 1989 Exxon Valdez oil spill to $507.5 million.

First, condolences to the 32,677 plaintiffs, their families, and all those affected by the spill who have been waiting and watching for almost 20 years, while lawyers get fat sucking on the marrow of the oil soaked bones littering the beaches of Prince William Sound. This was hard to take for ALL Alaskans, but for the plaintiffs, and all those who love the Sound, it was twisting the knife.

Second, to all those people who have bought into the idea that the oil companies have been good to Alaska by donating to charities, sponsoring sporting events, and plastering their logos on anything that doesn’t move (and some things that do), listen closely. They. Don’t. Care. Exxon has been fighting this since the moment the $5 billion was awarded to plaintiffs in 1994. Think that’s a lot of money? It’s not. Exxon’s recorded profits last year were $40.6 Billion. That’s PROFIT. Doesn’t make $507.5 million sound particularly punitive, does it? If the health, well-being and welfare of the Alaska people mattered to Exxon Mobil, these people would have been paid 13 years ago. So when you see the oil companies doing something that looks ‘nice’, remember it’s a cost of doing business to shut us up.

Third, any Alaskans who are outraged by this announcement today and are still planning to vote Republican in the upcoming presidential race – wake up. Who were the only supreme court justices voting with the Alaska people and against the interest of corporations? The progressives. Who were the ones that voted against the interest of Alaska? Roberts, Scalia, Thomas, & crew – those conservative judges that John McCain wants more of when he appoints the next 2 or 3 members of the court. Presidents are gone in four to eight years; Supreme Court justices last a lifetime. A court like this is what we get when so many Americans and Alaskans swallow the red Kool Aid, and don’t think about the political ramifications of their votes to their own interest when the chips are down. So, in November, think. Please.

By the time all is said and done a huge portion of the $507.5 million has evaporated with the shrinking value of the dollar since 1989, another huge portion went to the lawyers, 8000 of the plaintiffs are dead, and the Sound has still not recovered, and won’t in our lifetime. They got about 10% of the oil, they think. Sometimes in life, you get a cheap lesson…this wasn’t one of those times.

Don’t forget this when they tell you Pebble Mine won’t destroy the Bristol Bay fishery. Don’t forget this every time we negotiate with the oil companies about anything. Don’t forget this every time you see a warm fuzzy TV commercial, or see oil company logos every time you turn around. Don’t forget that anyone in our state to develop finite natural resources is here for the money. Period. And don’t forget this when you vote in November.