Archive for April, 2009

The GOP Has Killed Us All

No, not really, but if the world does succumb to a world-wide pandemic like the swine flu, we can always blame this lady:

Famously, Maine Senator Collins, the supposedly moderate Republican who demanded cuts in health care spending in exchange for her support of a watered-down version of the stimulus, fumed about the pandemic funding: “Does it belong in this bill? Should we have $870 million in this bill No, we should not.”

Even now, Collins continues to use her official website to highlight the fact that she led the fight to strip the pandemic preparedness money out of the Senate’s version of the stimulus measure.

Huffington Post, 4/27/09

Way to go, GOP. You’ve killed us all.

(Please don’t leave nasty comments, I’m just kidding. I mean, if you can’t laugh over the demise of our world as we know it, what can you laugh about?)

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Last August, Governor Palin “took her Governor hat off” during a press conference, and told voters that she would be voting No on ballot measure 4, the “clean water” initiative. Turns out, this may have not been legal.

State law says that a governor cannot spend money or “provide anything of value” to influence the outcome of a ballot measure unless the Legislature has appropriated money for that purpose.

ADN, 4/25/09

The argument could be made that by telling the public that she did not support the measure, she was providing something of great value to the initiative’s opponents: publicity and the support of the most powerful woman in the state.

It remains to be seen if Governor Palin broke the law in this case. According to the above article, “On Friday, the Alaska Public Offices Commission held a hearing on the Palin issue. The five-member commission has 11 days to issue a decision in writing.”

This could get interesting.


Thanks to Sally, a commenter, who attached a PDF link with the following information:

For Immediate Release
Contact: Willis Lyford
January 25, 2008

New Statewide Coalition Of Concerned Alaskans
Formed To Stop Anti-Mining Ballot Initiatives

Anchorage, AK – A new statewide coalition of Alaskans concerned about the negative effects on Alaska of two proposed ballot initiatives was announced today. Alaskans Against the Mining Shutdown will direct a statewide campaign to defeat two statewide ballot initiatives which would have the effect of shutting down existing mines and prohibiting future mines in Alaska. The campaign today notified the Alaska Public Offices Commission of its intention to register as a ballot measure group should these measures be certified for the ballot by Alaska Lt. Governor Sean Parnell.

“The end result of the ballot initiatives would be a shutdown in jobs, a shutdown of a rapidly growing sector of Alaska’s economy and, for many communities, a shutdown of hope. These initiatives would have a devastating effect on Alaska’s mining families, and be a serious economic blow to rural communities and the economy statewide,” said Marie Greene of Kotzebue, a founding member of the campaign committee and president of NANA Regional Corporation.

Other founding members of the campaign committee include Kristin Cole of Wasilla, Bill Corbus of Juneau, Hugh Fate of Fairbanks, Robert Favretto of Kenai, Cheryl Frasca of Anchorage, Ernie Hall of Anchorage, Mark Langland of Anchorage, Matthew Nicolai of Anchorage, Vicki Otte of Anchorage, Mark Pfeffer of Anchorage, Ramona Reeves of Fairbanks, John Sandor of Juneau, Helvi Sandvik of Anchorage, William Sheffield of Anchorage, John Shively of Anchorage, Rick Solie of Fairbanks, Arliss Sturgulewski of Anchorage, Dan Sullivan of Anchorage, Jim Taro of Ketchikan, Tim Towarak of Nome, Mead Treadwell of Anchorage, Jim Whitaker of Fairbanks, Bill Williams of Ketchikan, and Mayor John Williams of the Kenai Peninsula Borough.

Willis Lyford, an Anchorage marketing and public affairs executive , will serve as the campaign’s director headquartered in Anchorage, and Timothy Sullivan, Jr. of Anchorage, a longtime Alaska government affairs consultant, will serve as campaign field director. “Alaskans Against the Mining Shutdown (AAMS) will bring together concerned Alaskans from across the state,” remarked Lyford, “The mining shutdown is bad for hard working Alaskans and their families as the initiatives would rob our communities and the Alaska Native population of a significant source of jobs and revenue. The initiatives are also bad policy as they would arbitrarily override the state and federal environmental and scientific review process. Over the upcoming months we’ll be expanding our statewide organization to stop the shutdown.”

Among the groups already publicly opposing the anti-mining ballot measures are the Alaska Federation of Natives (AFN) the Alaska State Chamber of Commerce and Industry, and the ANSCA Regional Corporation President’s Association, representing the leaders of many Alaska Native corporations.

Paid for by Alaskans Against the Mining Shutdown
207 East Northern Lights Blvd., Suite 200, Anchorage, Alaska 99503 – http://www.againsttheshutdown.com – Ph: 907.868.3202

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Alaska is known for its tough men and equally tough women. Now, thanks to a group of cold-hearted middle schoolers in Palmer, we can add children to the list. According to the Mat-Su Valley Frontiersman, a group of middle school PE students taunted a moose so badly that he killed himself. I just don’t understand how we have come to this. What makes a person tease an animal big enough to kill an adult male so severely that it kills itself? According to other students who witnessed the tragedy, the students doing the teasing were laughing at the moose as it threw itself into the fence and made fun of the witnesses for crying and feeling sorry for the moose.

As an educator, I see cruelty almost every day. Children can be cruel to each other as well as to adults, if we let them. If taught from an early age that this behavior is unacceptable, it stops. Too many parents these days are either too busy to take the time to see what kind of people their children are becoming, or they just don’t care. We must do more to raise our children. When our children don’t have the sense to not only stay away from moose but to tease and taunt them, we have failed.

These kids are lucky. I could be writing this story about their death instead of the moose’s. I can only hope they understand what they have done and have some sense of remorse.



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Well, almost. He did have two and a half weeks as AG, so I guess technically, WAR did begin. But let’s not get caught up with technicalities. I mean, let’s remember what he said about legal vs. illegal:

“It seems to me the most important thing that can be done by the Senate is not argue with legal or illegal but to appoint somebody to represent Juneau.”

Right. Let’s not worry about the details here, folks. Let’s just do what She says.

I have never been so proud of my Legislators before. In fact, I believe they deserve a round of applause! (Imagine all of the people in Alaska who have come together in solidarity against this confirmation in the past week standing and clapping together. The noise would be deafening!)

These Legislators deserve to be thanked, and I will be writing to each of them to express how happy I am that they voted to protect our beautiful state from Wayne Anthony Ross.

Republicans (3): Stedman, Waggoner, Stevens.
Democrats (9): Davis, Ellis, French, Hoffman, Kookesh, Olson, Paskvan, Thomas, Wielechowski

Republicans (6): Austerman, Chenault, Johansen, Seaton, Thomas, Wilson.
Democrats (17): Buch, Cissna, Crawford, Doogan, Edgmon, Gara, Gardner, Gruenberg, Guttenberg, Herron, Holmes, Joule, Kawasaki, Kerttula, Petersen, Salmon, Tuck.

Our Republican friends above deserve an extra special award for standing up against their party, their Governor, and the tens of thousands of Alaskans who believed Ross should have been the AG. A pat on the back to Senate President Gary Stevens for doing what he felt was right and voting no.

A tip of the hat to everyone who wrote, called, and/or emailed to express their opposition this week. It obviously had an impact:

From ADN:

Senate President Gary Stevens, a Kodiak Republican, said Ross’ involvement in the fight between Palin and lawmakers over the open state Senate seat had an impact. It was also a case of lawmakers hearing an increasing public opposition to Ross in recent days, said Stevens, who had indicated just a day earlier that he would vote for Ross but didn’t.

You see? What we think does matter, as long as we make ourselves heard. We saw this during Troopergate, and we’re seeing it now. The key is to be involved. Our Legislators know now that we are serious and we are paying attention. We have the names of the those that felt the need to support WAR. Their votes are on the books and we will remember their names.

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As I drove to work this morning, I thought about what I would write about today. I would write about Ken Salazar’s visit, or Palin’s decision to pass three names (two of which have already been rejected) back to the Alaska State Senate for approval. Then I looked at my blogroll and clicked on a site I hadn’t visited for a couple of weeks. And then my whole perspective changed.

You see, I’ve been reading The Spohrs Are Multiplying, a mommyblog written by a very funny, very talented young woman named Heather. She writes about the adventures of her daughter, Maddie, who was born premature about 17 months ago. Maddie has the most angelic face of any child I’ve ever seen, and that’s saying a lot, since I think my own daughter is rather cute. Maddie is funny and strong- a real character.

Maddie died last week. A jolt of pain shot through my body when I read the news, and then I started crying. I don’t know Heather, she doesn’t know me. But I care about her and her daughter as if I did. My daughter is only five months older than Maddie, and I’d like to think that if we weren’t separated by thousands of miles, they could have been friends.

So today I’m not going to write about Sarah Palin, the Alaska Legislature or even WAR. I’m honoring a little girl who never got a chance to grow up and be the amazing person she could have been.

Love to you, little Maddie.


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Questioning WAR

Today, Wayne Anthony Ross, Palin’s pick for AG, was questioned before the Alaska State Legislature.

One of my favorite people in Juneau, Bill Wielechowski did me proud:

Anchorage Democratic Sen. Bill Wielechowski brought up previous Ross statements, including saying the idea of Native sovereignty is a 19th century principle, and using words like “immoral,” and “degenerates” in a letter to the state bar association newsletter during a fight over gay rights in 1993.

“Some of the things that you’ve said are extremely divisive and I don’t think help us as a state move forward. And I don’t know that right now, at this time in our state, it’s in our best interest to have such a divisive figure,” he said.

After a quick search of Ross’ law firm website, Ross & Miner, I found a treasure trove of information about his interests and his background. Ross was a regular columnist for The Anchorage Times, a now out-of-print newspaper, and also wrote for other publications, such as Guns & Ammo, All Alaska Weekly, The Anchorage Daily News and The Alaska Bar Rag. The articles Ross has written run the not-so wide gamut between guns, politics, hunting, and family values.

Some of my favorite titles are:

“It Is Time We Quit Crying Over The Oil Spill”, The Anchorage Times, 17 September 1989. (The oil spill was on March 24th, 1989. He wrote this article a mere six months later.)

“Proponents Of Abortion Are Doomed To Lose”, The Anchorage Times, 14 May 1989.

“We’d Have Heroes If Media Lightened Up”, The Anchorage Times, 3 November 1991. (Sound familiar?)

“Your Lips Tell Me ‘No! No!’ But There’s ‘Yes! Yes!’ In Your Legislation”, All Alaska Weekly, 6 June 1986. (What??)

” Animal Activists Real Enemy”, The Anchorage Times, 2 December 1990.

“KKK ‘ Art’ Project Gets’ A’ For Courage”, The Anchorage Times, December 1991.

“Laws That Ban Firearms Are Exercises In Futility”, The Anchorage Times, 5 March 1989.

“False! False! False!”, Supplement to The Anchorage Daily News, 6 November 2000. (?)

“Bush Achievements Many”, Anchorage Daily News, 29 August 1992.

“ANCSA Deserves The Golden Fleece Award”, The Anchorage Times, 26 Apri11987. (ANCSA: Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act)

So, as I learn more about Sir Wayne Anthony Ross (remember, he’s been knighted by the Vatican- another reason I find him distasteful), I find him that much more abhorrent. Like CC said on the AM1080 yesterday, “This is the best we can do??”

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Having a Rough Week, Sarah?

It sure was hard to be Sarah Palin this week. Let’s do a quick run-down of this week’s highlights:

Saturday-Sunday: Mount Redoubt covers Anchorage with ash, airport closed off and on all weekend. Thousands stranded. Six million gallons of oil at the Drift River Terminal sit in harm’s way at the base of the volcano. Palin’s response? None.

Sunday: John McCain says he’d like to “see who else is running” before endorsing Sarah for President in 2012.

Monday: Palin’s approval index plummets to 14 points.

Tuesday: Sarah is dumped for Newt Gingrich.

Wednesday: Native groups oppose the selection of Wayne Anthony Ross to AG. Also, Todd Palin decides it’s his turn in the spotlight, and it doesn’t look good for Sarah.

Thursday: Democrats reject Palin’s pick for Senate seat.

Friday: Levi tells Tyra that Sarah knew that he and Bristol were sexually active and even let him sleep over.

Oh, and let’s not forget: Don Young suggests that Ted Stevens should run against Palin for Governor in 2010.

Palin’s response? “I’m having a great week! I would never get anything done if I always tried to please my critics.” Uh, yeah…right.

UPDATE, 2:11 pm, Friday: Todd Palin’s Half Sister Arrested for Burglary

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