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Archive for March, 2010

Enough.

In the fall of 2008, I went to an Obama rally and picked up an Obama 2008 bumper sticker. Now, I am not a bumper sticker kind of girl. I don’t have a single one back there. I decided, however, that it was time to stand up for what I believed in. Since I’m not crazy, though, I made the conscious decision to put the sticker on the side of my car, on the window, and not on the back bumper. You see, I live in a very red state with people who don’t take kindly to other people’s librul idears. I figured that it’s better to be driving next to someone who didn’t like Obama than in front of them.

In Nashville yesterday, my fears came true for a man and his 10-year-old daughter. Mark Duren was driving home after picking up his daughter from school when someone noticed his sticker and proceeded to run him off the road. Luckily, Mr. Duren and his daughter were unharmed, but this incident could have ended tragically. Not surprisingly, alcohol is a factor in this case, but that certainly doesn’t excuse the despicable behavior of this obviously unstable person.

You could write this off as some drunkard who can’t hold his liquor, but I see a pattern developing here. People are getting the impression that it’s okay to carry out acts of violence because they are standing up for what they believe in. Our elected officials are yelling into bullhorns to Take back our country! and Stand up for freedom! and Patriots, reload! GOP officials and other conservative supporters are asking people to commit hate crimes against their fellow Americans. They are inciting domestic terrorism.

The president should call out those that are causing people to act out their anger in violent ways and demand that they stop. Criminal charges should be brought against anyone who cause others, either through written or spoken words, to commit crimes and/or act violently. We are not in the middle of a civil war, and people need to stop acting like they are. Enough.

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Back on New Year’s Eve, I put out a call for ideas on how I should destroy Sarah Palin’s book, which was given to me as a gift for Christmas by my husband (thanks, Dear!). Lots of people made suggestions, such as shoot it from a helicopter, run over it with a bus and drop it down the hole of a port-a-potty. While very amusing, many of the suggestions were somewhat impractical. Others were possible, such as burn it in the fire, turn it into art or line the kitty litter box with it, but just didn’t sound like something I would do.

After much contemplation, I’ve decided not to destroy her book, but to send it back to her. A commenter named Ferob actually suggested that I send it back with a note saying that someone gave it to me by mistake. On the contrary, I want her to know that it wasn’t a mistake. I want her to know that it was a joke but that I’m not laughing. I’m going to sign my copy of the book and write a letter inside. I think it’ll go something like this:

“Dear Sarah,
My husband bought me your book as a joke for Christmas. I thought for a very long time how I could destroy it, as a representation of how I feel about your lies.

I’ve decided that no book deserves to be destroyed and that it would do no one any good. I’m returning this copy to you because I don’t want its toxic presence in my home any longer. Please do yourself, your family, and the rest of the world a favor and start telling the truth.
Sincerely,
Mamadance

Oh, and thanks, but no thanks.”

In the end, as a lover of books and literature, I just couldn’t justify destroying any book, even one so full of lies. I wouldn’t be any better than those who ban books from the library or burn them in a bonfire. I may have unresolved anger toward Ms. Palin, but I shouldn’t take it out on the book.

My letter may never be read by Sarah or her ilk, but that’s okay. I really don’t care what Sarah does anymore. She has no power over me or my state.

Now, does anyone have her address?

(And Ferob, congratulations! You have an email in your inbox waiting for you to claim your prize.)

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Maybe Sarah Palin’s new show should be on Comedy Central or perhaps Scyfy, because the whole idea is either a joke or a fantasy. Variety is reporting that Sarah Palin may be getting over a million dollars per episode to act like Vanna White and parade around the state showcasing Alaska’s tourist spots.

When Sarah Palin left office almost two years early, she said that she was doing it because she could do more good for Alaska out of office than in it. Now we know without a doubt why she really quit. Who could pass up that kind of scratch? Why would anyone want to actually tackle the important issues our state is dealing with when you can run off and sign books, go on Jay Leno and give speeches for hundreds of thousands of dollars a pop?

My question is, exactly what good will she be doing Alaska by pimping it on A & E? Is she trying to boost tourism? Is that really the “noble cause” she’s going for?

Palin’s Alaska is this idyllic place where everyone’s a “character”, where we all make moose stew for dinner every night and compete in snowmachine races for fun. While she’s wandering around the state winkin’ and blinkin’ and talkin’ all funny-like, the people of Alaska are dealing with some very real problems:

*Highest Use of Illicit Drugs Over the Age of 12: 12%
*Highest cost for Hospital Stay: $1,952.00 per day
*Highest Percent of Residents Needing but Not Receiving Treatment for Serious Drug Use in the Past Year: 3.48%
*2nd Highest Child Death Rate: 34 per 100,000
*Highest Teen Death Rate: 75 per 100,000 people
*Overweight and Obesity Rate: 59.5%
*Number of Occupational Fatalities per 100,000 Workers: 14.7 per 100,000 people
*Highest Chlamydia rate in the country: 605 per 100,000
*Highest Marijuana Use in the Past Month: 9.88%
*Highest Marijuana Use in the Past Year: 15.83%

Especially troubling:
*Suicide: ” Alaska’s suicide rate is consistently one of the highest in the nation. In 2002, Alaska had 131 suicides for a rate of 20.9 for every 100,000 residents, almost twice the national average of 10.6 for every 100,000. Nationwide, suicide attempts are more frequent than completed suicide, with estimates of 20 to 50 million non-fatal attempts.

Alaska Natives experience suicide rates that are nearly four times the national average. Alaskan males commit 86 percent of suicides and young males are especially inclined to take their own lives.

Rural Alaska has an especially high suicide rates — averaging nearly twice that of urban Alaska. In 2000, according to the Alaska Bureau of Vital Statistics, the suicide rate of rural Alaska was 40 for every 100,000 residents compared to 14 for every 100,000 residents in urban areas.”

*Sexual abuse & Domestic Violence: “Alaskan women are 2.6 times more likely to be forcibly raped than women across the nation: in Anchorage 2.8 times more likely, and in Fairbanks 5.1 more likely. (Uniform Crime Report 2007, cited in a report to the Alaska State Legislature by Andre B. Rosay, Ph.D., Justice Center, UAA)

Of the 117 homicides reported in Alaska between 2003 and 2005, 22 percent were related to intimate partner violence. (Alaska Violent Death Reporting System 2003-2005). Of the 13 homicides reported in 2008, 69 percent were related to domestic and/or sexual violence. (Alaska State Troopers, Council on Domestic Violence & Sexual Assault Annual Report 2008)

Alaska led the nation in the rate of men murdering women in 2002, 2003, and 2004, fell to second place in the nation in 2005 and 15th place in 2006. (Bureau of Justice statistics, Council on Domestic Violence & Sexual Assault Annual Report 2008)

Three out of every four women in Alaska experienced, or know someone who has experienced, domestic violence or sexual assault. (ANDVSA Public Opinion Research Survey, Hellenthal & Associates, 2006)

Among students in Alaska public high schools, nine percent had been physically forced to have sexual intercourse when they didn’t want to and 12 percent were hit, slapped or physically hurt intentionally by a boyfriend or girlfriend in the prior year. (2007 Alaska Youth Risk Behavior Survey, Alaska Department of Health & Social Services.)”

*Child Abuse: Child abuse in Alaska is rampant, between neglect, mental injury, physical and sexual abuse, Alaska is not protecting its children.

*Lack of running water, flush toilets, access to fresh vegetables/healthy food, high cost of fuel: Many villages do not have running water, which leads to the absence of flush toilets and the use of honey buckets. Poor sanitation can lead to disease and other health problems.

Another problem is the high cost of fuel. At up to $8 a gallon, villagers cannot afford to heat their homes or put gas in their snowmachines. Without transportation, families have a hard time maintaining their subsistence lifestyle. They must then rely on food from the store, which sells packaged food for outrageous prices. Fresh fruit and vegetables are rarely available, and if they are on the shelves, they can cost 5-10 times more than you would find them for sale in Anchorage.

No wonder Sarah Palin left office. Being Governor is hard work. We have lots of problems here, and from what I can tell, the only thing she managed to do while in office is talk about the gas line (which is no closer to being built contrary to her introductory speech back in ’08).

Real Alaska is much more messy and complicated than “Sarah Palin’s Alaska”. Maybe she could help us by donating her millions of dollars of profit to help out the Alaskans she left behind. Only time will tell, but I’m guessing “Sarah Palin’s Alaska” is going to help Sarah more than it’s going to help Alaska.

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My family and I just got back from watching some of the Iditarod racers mush through town. Most of the pictures I took didn’t come out very well, but here are a few that did:

#13 Scott White, from Woodinville, Washington

A musher stopping to pick up a hot dog

Up close and personal with a very excited sled dog

Not all the animals at the race were dogs.

Some mushers were all about the crowd participation.

The Idita-riders seemed to be having the time of their lives.

We decided to go downtown to see the snow sculptures before heading home. I’ll post those pictures soon.

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