Archive for February, 2009

Meet the Candidates

I got this in the mail today:


Wanna go?

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Rev. Franklin Graham, president of the evangelical Christian aid group Samaritan’s Purse, wrote a newsletter that was sent out on behalf of Samaritan’s Purse following a devastating fire in Hooper Bay, Alaska in 2006. The following is an excerpt:


While I was working out of our Alaskan office in August, a huge fire raged through a poor Eskimo village on the Bering Sea. The blaze gutted the small town of Hooper Bay, burning 35 buildings to the ground, including 14 homes, the grocery store, and the community school.

Like much of rural Alaska, Hooper Bay is as poor as any Third World village I’ve ever been in. Most of the homes are weathered-gray wooden shacks without running water or sewer. Bathrooms consist of five-gallon “honey buckets” that have to be hauled to the local landfill. Drinking water is collected from local ponds. The conditions are really appalling.

Most of the 1,100 Yupik Eskimos in Hooper Bay survive on fish, seal, and berries, which they store up in the summer. There is no hospital or doctor. The village is only accessible by plane or boat, and the closest community of any size is Bethel, 160 air miles away.

I lived in bush Alaska for five years. I had a honeybucket for 4 1/2 of those years. My first year, I lived in teacher housing that was condemned. The next house I lived in was eventually abandoned because of the toxic black mold that began creeping up the insides of the house during the last two years I lived there. I had no running water until my fifth year, and even then had a “sink bucket” in the kitchen that had to be emptied outside when full. It was an adventure. I was young and happy to endure these hardships as just part of life, at least at first. After five years of living in the bush, I couldn’t take it any more and moved to Anchorage.

During my five years in the bush, I would tell people how I lived and they would say, “How could you live like that?” My answer was always, “It’s amazing what you get used to.”

It wasn’t until I ready Rev. Graham’s description of the deplorable conditions in rural Alaska that I realized that it is wrong to expect anyone to live like this. Alaska is one of the richest states in our country. We pride ourselves in using our natural resources to retain our independence from taxes. Why should “much of rural Alaska” live in poverty so great that it is likened to a third-world country?

I began to imagine myself in charge. What would I do if I had the power of the State at my disposal? How would I want people to live under my watch? I began to feel ashamed that the Governor can simply ignore the fact that the majority of people who live outside of Anchorage, Fairbanks and the Southeast Panhandle are being left out. Now, don’t get me wrong, it’s not Sarah Palin’s fault for the problems that exist in rural Alaska. But it is her problem. It’s her responsibility. It’s her duty.

When Governor Palin spoke recently during her State of the State address, she said,

When I took my oath of office to serve as your Governor, remember, I swore to steadfastly and doggedly guard the interests of this great state like a grizzly with cubs, as a mother naturally guards her own. Alaska, as a statewide family, we’ve got to fight for each other, not against and not let external, sensationalized distractions draw us off course.

As an exciting year of unpredictable change begins, we, too, have our work cut out for us. And we’re all in this together. Just like our musk ox, they circle up to protect their future when they are challenged. We’ve got to do the same. So now, united, protecting and progressing under the great North Star, let’s get to work.

She calls Alaska a family and she considers herself the mother of that family. So, how could a mother leave her most needy and downtrodden children to fend for themselves? How could she let some of her children live comfortably and luxuriously while others have to fight just to stay alive? How can she look herself in the mirror and not feel ashamed?

Governor Palin has been aware of the mounting crisis in rural Alaska since fall of 2008, when Walt Monegan and the Native community brought it to her attention. How she could wait until now to act is beyond me. It is reprehensible that people feel comfortable defending her lack of leadership when people are starving, freezing and living in third-world conditions in her own state.

We need a Governor who will not only react to crises when they happen, but who will work to prevent catastrophes like this from happening. Even further, we need a Governor who will do whatever it takes to make sure all our citizens are protected and cared for, every day of the year. No one in my state, or in ANY state in the United States for that matter, should have to live in third-world conditions. This is our nation’s, our state’s and our Governor’s greatest shame.

Special thanks goes to Gryphen from The Immoral Minority for posting Rev. Graham’s newsletter.

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Palin on the Edge

Have you ever watched a movie where there was a person standing on the ledge of a very tall building, moments from death, and someone from below screams, “JUMP!”? That’s kind of how I feel about Sarah Palin right now. From the looks of her last meeting with Alaska State Senators, she is a wee bit jumpy.

A couple of weeks before the Alaska legislature began this year’s session, a bipartisan group of state senators on a retreat a few hours from here invited Gov. Sarah Palin to join them. Accompanied by a retinue of advisers, she took a seat at one end of a conference table and listened passively as Gary Stevens, the president of the Alaska Senate, a former college history professor and a low-key Republican with a reputation for congeniality, expressed delight at her presence.

Would the governor, a smiling Stevens asked, like to share some of her plans and proposals for the coming legislative session?

Palin looked around the room and paused, according to several senators present. “I feel like you guys are always trying to put me on the spot,” she said finally, as the room became silent.

Even when dealing with members of her own party, she seems to be on the defensive. She had some words to say about fellow Republican, Jay Ramras-R, recently when he dared call her out for her lack of leadership regarding the crisis in Western Alaska.

“I am disappointed that Representative Ramras failed to express his concerns to my office before issuing a press release with incomplete and misleading information. This is particularly concerning since he knew I would be attending a meeting with his entire caucus that evening. Representative Ramras did not mention the specific issue of using state assets to me personally at the meeting. Instead, I read about it later in the press release. Truly Alaskans deserve better than that kind of ‘politics as usual’. It is unfortunate that the representative sees this as an opportunity to play politics rather than help in the response.”

One fellow Republican has even called her “Quayle with a ponytail.” Ouch.

I imagine Palin standing out there on that ledge, teetering perilously on her high heels, clingly tenuously to the brick behind her. She is smiling, of course, because that’s what beauty queens do. Eventually, if we keep expecting her to do her job, to understand what’s going on around her, maybe she’ll finally realize that she doesn’t belong out there on the ledge and she’ll jump. Hopefully, all the way back to Wasilla.

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A Window into the Mind of Palin

Thanks to the people over at People, we now have a better understanding of the inner workings of Sarah Palin’s mind. Apparently to her, “explaining it away” is her way of saying LYING.

A new biography of Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin reveals that her secret pregnancy with son Trig was nearly uncovered when one of her daughters discovered Trig’s prenatal ultrasound scan and confronted Palin with the picture.

“Sarah made one slip-up – but [she] dampened suspicion by explaining it away,” reports Trailblazer: An Intimate Biography of Sarah Palin, by PEOPLE Assistant Editor Lorenzo Benet and being published Tuesday by Simon & Schuster’s Threshold Editions.

So now, we understand how Sarah was able to tell all those lies during the campaign. She wasn’t really lying, she was “explaining it away.” I wonder how many “explanations” she would have given us if she had become Vice President? (shudder)

While attempting to find a picture of Sarah for this article, I came across this intriguing quote from howstuffworks.com.

One day in April 1996, Sarah Palin waited in line at a cosmetics counter at the Anchorage, Alaska, JCPenney. She’d fibbed to her husband Todd that she planned on going shopping at Costco. Instead, she made a beeline for JCPenney to see Ivana Trump. As she waited, a local reporter for the Anchorage Daily News who’d come out to cover the publicity event interviewed her. Why did she want to see Ivana Trump? “‘We want to see Ivana … because we are so desperate in Alaska for any semblance of glamour and culture,'” she told the reporter.

So, now we know that she lies both to her husband and her family, and that she is “desperate…for any semblance of glamour and culture.” I think I understand her even more than when I started this post. This quote explains a lot about Sarah’s behavior in the past few years, don’t you think?


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Doogan the Downer

I first knew that Mike Doogan was headed for my “Bad Guys” list when he started sending nasty emails to his constituents.

An excerpt, in case you missed it:

“Are you people nuts? You send me — and everybody else in the legislature, from the looks of things — Spam and then lecture me on email etiquette — as if there were such a thing? Here’s an etiquette suggestion: Abandon your phony names, do your own thinking and don’t expect everybody to share your obsessions.”


Now Representative Mike Doogan has become, to me, the Alaskan equivalent of Debbie Downer. On the radio this afternoon, Mike proceeded to explain why Alaskans will probably not be getting their dividend this year. It is directly related to the downturn in the stock market, but that’s about all I could follow. For some reason, he seemed quite jovial as he described how the legislators were cowering behind their desks in order to hide from questions about the PFD.

It will be interesting to see how this situation plays out. Stay tuned.

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Monegan for Mayor

There have been many firsts for me in the past six months. It was the first time I’ve ever truly cared about politics. The first time I’ve attended a political rally (actually, four!). The first time I’ve donated to a candidate. And now, the first time I’ve gotten a hand-signed thank you note from a politician. On Monday, I received a thank you note from none other than Walt Monegan himself. I decided to donate to his cause as soon as I found out that he had a PayPal account. Coincidentally, I wound up meeting him only days after that, at my friend SMR’s house. She held an open house for him, and I decided to go, even though I was very nervous. Truth be told, I got lost on the way over there, and Walt himself had to “talk me in” (those were his words, not mine) over the cell phone. That’s right, he gave me his personal cell phone number.

Walt Monegan is a kind-hearted, gentle soul who sincerely cares about his fellow human beings. I think he would make a great mayor or even a great Governor (wink wink, nudge nudge). If you are interested in donating to the Walt Monegan for Mayor fund, click here. If not, that’s okay too.

And for those of you interested in what the note said, here ya go:

Dear Erin,
Thank you for your contribution. I must confess that I felt more than a little self-conscious in asking anyone for money until someone wiser than I sat down to explain what it really means.

Money isn’t an end, but a means; it buys commodities, provides some sense of security, and is the vehicle used to reach dreams.

Your contribution will buy signs and ads, help me speak to a safer community, and move us all toward a brighter future.

Thank you!

Walt Monegan

(This is the handwritten part.)
Erin- a helping hand along an uncertain journey is always appreciated…
Thank you!

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