Celtic Diva's Blue Oasis: 4/20/08 - 4/27/08

Saturday, April 26, 2008

The Gathering was AWESOME!

Anch. Mayor Begich, Wasilla Mayor Keller, AK Sen. Charlie Huggins, Senator Lisa Murkowski, Diane Benson, Ethan Berkowitz, Mat Su Mayor Menard ALL were there.

Gov. Sarah Palin actually came too, sans the little guy. *cry* We talked a little about preemie kids. Hey - that mama/baby thing is a universal language!

I'm exhausted!

I'll tell you all about it tomorrow...good night!

(picture: Mo Bailey, founder of Veteran's Aviation Outreach and Diane Benson from previous event and courtesy of Philip Munger - Progressive Alaska)


Channel 2 News was there.

Friday, April 25, 2008

So who REALLY suppports Veterans?

Here's a big press release from Ted Stevens office:

Senate Passes Veterans Benefits Legislation with Provision Championed by Senator Stevens

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The United States Senate today passed the Veterans Benefits Enhancement Act of 2007, an expansive, budget-neutral bill that provides much deserved benefits to veterans, their families, and their survivors.

The measure contained a provision championed by Senator Ted Stevens (R-Alaska), Daniel Akaka (D-Hawaii), and Daniel Inouye (D-Hawaii) that provides benefits to Filipino World War II veterans inducted into the U.S. Armed Forces. Senator Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) also supported the legislation.

“America must not forget how crucial the efforts of Filipino veterans were to the success of the Allied forces in World War II,” said Senator Stevens. “Their resistance of Japanese occupation tied down our enemy’s forces in the islands and prevented them from deploying elsewhere. Today, the Senate has finally shown our nation’s gratitude for the role Filipino veterans played in our history, fighting alongside American soldiers and helping us secure victory over tyranny. This recognition and the extension of the veterans benefits contained in this bill is long overdue.”

This bill provides "Veteran's Benefits." Yet, these benefits don't seem overly beneficial nor are they addressing needs that are particularly dire:

- to "grant level-premium, term life insurance to each veteran less than 65 years old who has a service-connected disability and who seeks such insurance, with a maximum coverage amount of $50,000. Reduces the coverage amount by 80% once the veteran turns 70 and prohibits charging a premium in such a case."

This is "level-premium, term life insurance." This means:

1) They are paying for it - as a matter of fact: "premiums do not change for the entire duration of the policy. The amount of a level premium is higher than needed for the protection given in the early years of the contract but less than needed for protection in the later years.

2) The insurance is only $50,000 (which is the max, not everyone gets it) That's pretty paltry. Plus it gets whacked by 20% after age 70.

3) This only benefits them after they are dead.

- " Deems certain service performed before July 1, 1946, in the organized military forces of the Philippines and the Philippine Scouts as active military service for purposes of eligibility for veterans' benefits through the VA."

(This is the piece Stevens is taking credit for)

1) FINALLY allowing "certain" Filipino WWII veterans to be entitled to benefits...

2) ...after most of them are already dead.

- "Burial and Memorial Matters" (sensing a pattern here?) "Authorizes and directs the Secretary to pay a supplemental benefit for the burial and funeral expenses of veterans. Makes such benefit an additional: (1) $900, in the case of a non-service-connected death; or (2) $2,100, in the case of a service-connected death."

Yes, there are other "benefits" included in this bill for disabled Veterans and any additional benefits are a good thing. However, most of them 1) target a small group of Veterans and/or 2) provide benefits that are inexpensive or require the Veteran to cover part of the cost.

Also, note the designation in the Bill summary which says it's "budget neutral." In order for it to be "budget neutral" the bill would have to save as much money as it spends. So, within this bill that "increases benefits" to Veterans, it also cuts somewhere else to make up for it. (I'll bake cookies for the person who reads through all this and figures out where and what.)

However, the folks in this Bill who were especially taken care of didn't appear to need it much:

- Title V: Court Matters - (Sec. 501) Eliminates the 180-day per-year limit on service of retired judges of the U.S. Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims (Court) who voluntarily return to such service. Establishes a three-tiered retirement pay structure for Court judges appointed after the enactment of this Act. Requires recalled judges to receive the pay of current judges during the period of recall, less the amount of any applicable annuity.

Ahhh, these poor needy judges in recall status, like Donald Ivers...

Who had a median annual earnings in May 2006 of $101,690.

Don't misunderstand, every benefit a Veteran receives is important. However, it seems strange that the kind of Veteran's Legislation that Ted Stevens supports makes disabled Vets pay a high premium for life insurance that totals $50,000.00 while they give retired judges a 3-tiered retirement package and a guaranteed income of over $100,000.00 a year.

Yet, returning Vets still face "fewer jobs and lower pay," homelessness, a health care crisis and many other pressing problems.

When he has the glowing opportunity to "champion" the bipartisan 21st Century GI Bill and positively change the lives of thousands of young Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans...


This is one area where Sen. Murkowski and even Congressman Young have diverged from Sen. Stevens. Both of them are supporting the GI Bill and one has to wonder why anyone wouldn't.

I have it on good authority that several of Ted Stevens aides will be attending The Gathering in Wasilla tomorrow. I suppose SOMEONE could ask them that question.

"Gear Junkies" Editorial of the Week - by Patti Greene

"Gear Junkies" is the free, premier weekly newsletter sent via email to the Alaska music community. In each issue, the Goddess of the Anchorage Music Scene, Patti Greene, writes an editorial and we'll be posting it!

We're Not Gonna Take It ... Regarding the Anchorage Daily News plan to eliminate the entertainment grid aka "Soundcheck" [ p. 5 in today's Play section]. While it's too soon to know whether our input/opposition has made any real difference, a couple things are immediately clear: ADN's top editor, Pat Dougherty, personally responded to each message, and he heard from a LOT of us from all over Alaska. He didn't really tell us anything and, in some instances, he wasn't even cordial. And given the sheer volume of e-mails we generated, I figure he wasted about a day and a half of ADN's top-brass salary avoiding the real issues and, instead, asking whether we subscribe to his paper. [Yes, I do. What's the %$#! point? Do the 10-year olds have to subscribe in support of the movie listings..?] I'm starting to understand why the ADN has big problems. But maybe what's more important is that we, as a community, found our loud and unified voice -- and hey, we're smart and articulate! and when shoved, baby, we're gonna shove right back. And that's the pony in this big steaming pile of ADN crap! Thanks for being you, Gear Heads. You rock. --- patti

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Denver Convention Update

Kaerick and Monocot are my dear friends living in Denver. They are volunteers for the Convention so they'll be posting as things start to get rolling.

Just in Time for Earth Week, Workshop Teaches Event Planners, Venue Managers and Caterers How to Go Green

Denver, CO - April 24, 2008 - In recognition of Earth Week, a workshop was held today to teach professionals in the meeting, event and convention industry how to create environmentally sustainable celebrations and gatherings.

The fifth in a series of workshops aimed at encouraging "green" business practices throughout Denver and the state, this workshop was aimed specifically at venue managers and owners, caterers and meeting and event planners. Previous workshops, attended by hundreds of local entrepreneurs and employees, have focused on restaurants, hotels, and the printing industry.

The series of workshops is being conducted in advance of this summer's Democratic National Convention in Denver and is designed to support the city's goal, as expressed by Denver Mayor John W. Hickenlooper, of making this "the greenest convention ever."

"The convention and meeting industry is a complex constellation of small and large businesses," said Parry Burnap, Denver Director of Greening. "Here in Denver there is a wealth of leadership leading the way - at the Convention Center, Convention Bureau, Denver Theatres and Arenas, the Pepsi Center, and many other small green businesses."

"This workshop and the overall greening effort of the Denver Host Committee is helping to bring all of these players together in new ways, provide them with information and tools in order to push us all faster to the 'tipping point' after which green will simply be how we do what we do - a habit. That is our legacy vision, and Greenprint Denver is committed to sustaining this work beyond the Democratic National Convention."

The "green events" workshop began with opening remarks from Denver Mayor JohnHickenlooper and Richard Scharf, President of the Denver Metro Convention & Visitors Bureau. It then focused on a series of case studies in which large local events were created with sustainability in mind. Event planners from Planet Bluegrass, the Colorado Convention Center and the Booklover's Ball shared their expertise in creating successful and environmentally friendly events. More than 40 professionals also were on hand to provide guidance and assistance with greening aspects of specific upcoming events. A "lean and green" lunch was served by Centerplate.

"In the recent 2008 Watkins survey of the largest convention meeting planners in the nation, 34 percent of the planners said they have received requests from their members to book only 'green' cities for future meetings, and four out of ten planners said that they would consider how 'green' a city is as a 'tie-breaker' between cities that are similar on other characteristics," said Scharf. "Green is here to stay and everyone who participates in a seminar to learn how they can help make Denver greener is helping both the city -- and their own future business."

"Participants really appreciated walking away with action plan outlines based on six sustainable business principles," said Janna Six, Education Director for the Alliance for Sustainable Colorado, and a key workshop trainer. "They expressed commitments to take specific actions which will remain in place as a green legacy, long after the convention is over."

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Denver Metro Convention & Visitors Bureau, Alliance for Sustainable Colorado and Greenprint Denver helped sponsor the event. The workshops are organized by Denver Host Committee staff, led by Greening Director Parry Burnap, and Greenprint Denver, the city's long-term sustainability program.

About Denver 2008 Convention Host Committee
The Denver 2008 Convention Host Committee has four contractual partners in its work. Those partners are the Democratic National Convention Committee, the City and County of Denver, Kroenke Sports and its own Executive Committee.

MarkMatt Browner Hamlin Speaks!




If someone has one of those magic pens from Delores Umbridge in Harry Potter, that should retrain me properly.


Shannyn Moore did a nice interview with him on her KUDO 1080 show. Mark Matt did a wonderful job of embodying Mark Begich's campaign for Senator.

Mark Matt, you're doing a helluva job...and I mean that in a good way! (Of course, being another 3-named person, I might be biased!)

He also spoke very nicely about yours truly and our own Alaska Super-blogger, Phil Munger!

Thanks Mark Matt!

Also, Mark Matt mentioned the "stealth page" that comes up if you go to the url http://www.markbaggage.com/.

I won't spoil it for you...it's funny!

Springtime in Alaska - Runners beware!!!!!!

No...I'm not talking about the newly-thawed dog poop that's all over the place. OK, well maybe I'm talking about that too since it's more of a common problem.

No, I mean that our big, furry friends are waking up from a looooooong slumber and boy are they hungry...more like ravenous!

Unfortunately, any moving, meaty-like target is fair game.
Marc Johnson ran out his front door for a morning jog and nearly died minutes later. He could still see his house when the brown bear charged him.
Johnson had sighted a mama bear and two cubs earlier and they had done some damage in his yard which included the destruction of plastic containers to get at the compost inside. As is true for most bear attacks, the attackee makes mistakes...panics and/or does something they shouldn't do. That compost on the porch was the first in a chain of mistakes.
Then about 6 a.m., Johnson, thinking the bears were gone, left his home on the outskirts of town for a jog with his leashed 8-week-old dog, Sandler. About 150 yards later, as he trotted through a lightly wooded area between two hay fields, he looked ahead into another field and saw a brown bear sow with two cubs. He stopped dead in his tracks.

Didn't matter. The bears charged.

1) Lots of garbage on the porch - BIG NO NO.

2) Most brown bear charges are fake-outs. Best to drop to the ground and play dead.

3) I would never have brought the dog. He knew bears were in the neighborhood, that it's spring, that the dog was young. Dogs are just bear magnets.

4) He should have stuck to a driveway, road, etc...

5) He should have been carrying bear spray.

6) It was a hungry sow trying to feed her hungry cubs...an extremely volitile situation. If it were me, I probably wouldn't have gone out running that morning.
Johnson dropped Sandler's leash and did something that wildlife officials say no one should ever do: He ran.

"I was pretty scared and I ran and they got me," Johnson said by phone from his hospital room Wednesday evening. "I couldn't outrun them. I'm pretty happy to be alive."

The sow plowed over him, slashing and biting his head, arm and backside. The attack was over as fast as it had started, and Johnson began running home.

He had to have an operation and I'm very glad he's going to be OK.

I know this seems like a bit of "Monday morning quarterbacking" here and I really am not attacking this guy. Attacks are very rare and I'm constantly reminding people that they are about as frequent as lightning strikes.

However, I have also have regular Alaskan-encounters...like every morning when I wake up and see my husband. While many of the human areas in Alaska are also bear areas most folks are NOT educated on bear behavior or how to react. For some reason, many folks who have been born-and-raised in Alaska are the absolute WORST for safety precautions. Then there is another group that knows better but doesn't think it can happen to them.

I doubt Mr. Johnson is in that group anymore. He was lucky to live through the lesson.

However, there are situations where attacks are more likely: 1) when there is a mama bear with her cubs, 2) early spring when bears are ravenous and there is little food, 3) anytime bears are protecting a moose kill or are fishing 4) during mating season, and 5) anytime you are dealing with garbage bears. This mauling situation combined three of those.

In about a month, my daughter will start the "Kidzrunning" program which meets two mornings a week up at Hilltop Ski Area, primo bear country. She'll be carrying bear spray (which has now been proven to be the best defense against bears) and since I'll be there, I'll also be carrying my own.

Or maybe I should carry some Bud Light?

Mr. McCitement...a tribute

Nicely done by Bill in Portland Maine. Enjoy!!!!

The Maverick
(With humble apologies to Edgar Allan Poe)

Once upon a midnight dreary, while I pondered drunk and weary,
Over how John McCain, the candidate, could be such a frigging bore
While I watched him, taped, on Fox, thinking I'd rather be from a rafter hanging, suddenly there came a banging,
As of some one violently haranguing, haranguing the butler outside my condo door.
"'Tis some hothead," I muttered, "pounding on my condo door -
If it's that Girl Scout harassing us with her cookies again, I'll buy no more." (I mean it--she's way too pushy.)

Open here I flung the ornate mahogany door (imported from Italy, y'know), when, with many a wheeze and mutter,
In there stepped a codger of the Great Depression days of yore.
Not the least effort to wipe his shoes made he; not a minute stopped or stayed he;
But, with mien of lord or lady, coerced the condo maintenance guy to bring up a ladder which he climbed and then perched above my condo door --
Perched upon a bust of Gore just above my condo door --
Perched, and scowled, and drooled a little, and nothing more.

Then this blindingly pale maverick beguiling my sad fancy into smiling,
By the grave and clueless decorum of the countenance he wore,
"Though thy hairline be receding and thy whiskers shaven, thou," I said, "sureth looketh liketh a craven,
Ghastly grim and ancient media-hypnotizing maven wandering aimlessly from thy Straight Talk motor coach –- but since yer up there,
Tell me what thy lordly number-one campaign issue is. Is it above reproach?
Straight talk now -- if I pull the lever for you, what am I voting for?"
Quoth the maverick, "Forever war."

Startled at the stillness broken by reply so carelessly spoken,
"Doubtless," said I, "what it utters is its only stock and store,
Caught from some Chimp-like 'Decider' whom unmerciful disaster
Followed fast and followed faster till his poll numbers fell through the floor --
And this maverick thinks it's just swell to continue -- more, more more???
'Forever -- forever war.'"

"Neocon!" said I, "thing of evil! -- prophet still, if warmonger or devil! --
Whether Cheney sent, or whether Lieberman tossed thee here ashore,
Desolate yet all undaunted, on this desert land enchanted -
On this home by dwindling Bacardi stock haunted -- tell me truly, I implore --
Is there -- is there nothing stopping you from fulfilling thy pledge to Bomb Bomb Bomb, Bomb Bomb Iran? -- tell me -- tell me, I implore!"
Quoth the maverick, "Forever war."

"If that's all yer gonna say get the hell out of my place, you dipwit or fiend!" I shrieked upstarting --
"Get thee back to thy Straight Talk Express and thy ass-kissing media barbeques!
Leave no white hair as a token of that hawkish wet dream thy soul hath spoken!
Leave my reality-based mind unbroken! -– and quit farting above my door!
Remove thy Aqua Velva fumes from out my olfactory canal, and take thy dimpled lardass from off my door!"
Quoth the maverick, "My friends -- Forever war."

And the maverick, who apparently knows how to climb up a ladder but not down, still is sitting, still is sitting
On the now-crumbling bust of Gore just above my condo door ("Jeeves, call security!");
And his eyes have all the seeming of a demon's that is destruction-dreaming,
And the lamp-light o'er him streaming throws his grim-reaper shadow on the floor;
And my soul from out that Democratic victory that lies seven months away according to the Garfield calendar hanging on my refrigerator door
Shall be vexed by this trigger-happy jerk -– nevermore!

Pastor Wars - Coming to a television near you!

As was announced by Tim Russert on MSNBC last night, North Carolina Republicans REALLY don't want Obama to win
RALEIGH, N.C. -- The Republican Party in North Carolina said Wednesday it's launching a television ad calling Democratic presidential hopeful Barack Obama too extreme for the state, despite the objections of GOP presumptive nominee John McCain.

The advertisement raises the scepter of Obama's former pastor Jeremiah Wright, beginning with a photo of Obama and Wright together and a clip of Wright's contentious remarks about America.

"He's just too extreme for North Carolina," the narrator says in the 30-second spot.

McCain urged state party leaders to withhold the advertisement, calling it "offensive."

"This ad does not live up to the very high standards we should hold ourselves to in this campaign," McCain said in a letter e-mailed to state GOP chairwoman Linda Daves.

Daves said the ad presents a question of patriotism and judgment.

"It is entirely appropriate for voters to evaluate candidates based on their past associations," she said.

The ad will begin running statewide on Monday, a week before the state's crucial May 6 primary.

Yeah - the RNC and McCain are realllllly fighting hard to keep that ad off the air.

Uh huh...

Meanwhile, Pastor Hagee, McCain's "spiritual consultant" (pronounced "spurtchool" in his native Southern Baptist) actually REPEATED his claims that Katrina was God's punishment raining (literally) down from heaven. Of course, John McCain still doesn't reject his support, even though he's kinda sorta a little uncomfortable with it.

And finally, Michael Moore endorsed Obama this week, with an interesting comment directed to Hillary about...you guessed it...a pastor:
Finally, I want to say a word about the basic decency I have seen in Mr. Obama. Mrs. Clinton continues to throw the Rev. Wright up in his face as part of her mission to keep stoking the fears of White America. Every time she does this I shout at the TV, "Say it, Obama! Say that when she and her husband were having marital difficulties regarding Monica Lewinsky, who did she and Bill bring to the White House for 'spiritual counseling?' THE REVEREND JEREMIAH WRIGHT!"

But no, Obama won't throw that at her. It wouldn't be right. It wouldn't be decent. She's been through enough hurt. And so he remains silent and takes the mud she throws in his face.
I'm glad to see somebody say it.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Catholic blog browsing - the Pope chastises other Christians and my response to "Radical Catholic Mom's" Blog

I periodically peruse Catholic blogs to get a feel of what's going on in the Catholic Community. I guess 16-years of Catholic School and having my own daughter go through the process of learning the Catholic faith causes me to "feel at home" on some levels with Catholicism. I sincerely believe that the Catholic Church got it totally right when it comes to Confession - my substance-abuse recovery showed me the wisdom in that. I am proud of the Church for their anti-war stance as well as their efforts to end poverty and when I search the blogs, I actually go out there looking for areas of agreement rather than disagreement.

Of course, the Church Hierarchy and I have many disagreements. Shocked?

Anyway, in my perusal today, I ran across this at A Catholic Notebook:
Pope Benedict has taken Christians to task for focusing too narrowly on individual salvation,

“a way of abandoning the world to its misery and taking refuge in a private form of eternal salvation.”

source: Spe Salvi encyclical
I'd like to put that on a huge sign and post it out front of The Anchorage Baptist Temple.

Also, there are a number of good Alaska blogs out there posted by folks with whom I don't necessarily always see eye-to-eye.

Radical Catholic Mom is one of them.

In her April 21st post "An Open Letter to Alaska Democrats" she discusses her frustration with the treatment she feels she's received by Dems because she is a "Pro-life Progressive."

I started thinking about this after I ripped the pro-life community one for our continued support for people like Republican Don Young. The reality is that the Democrats bear responsibility in this mess as well. Why? Because Democrats are SO passionate in their treatment for the sanctity of abortion that they are anti-ANY pro-life Democrat in their midst. The result has been that people who are pro-life have no choice but to vote Republican.

I don't get that "no choice but to vote Republican" claim. Isn't not voting at all a viable choice?

She then states who she could passionately throw her support behind:
You give me a Democrat who cares for the unborn, cares for the social needs of a single parent and married working parents; you give me a Democrat who cares about the immigrant, who cares about worker, and human rights; you give me a Democrat who LOVES our system of Government and does not want the corruption that Republicans have married; you give me a Democrat who cares about the health care system for all people, and you give me a Democrat who cares about balancing our budget, I will WORK FOR YOU! I will campaign, I will donate, I will do everything in my power.
Until then, I am a woman without a party.
I responded in her comments:
I know Democratic candidates (Diane Benson is one) who espouses EVERY SINGLE ONE OF THE VALUES you say you hold dear and will cause you to fight for them.

However, the one thing these Democrats are unwilling to do is legally force a decision on any woman.

There are Democrats like me who believe that our future is for folks from both sides of the abortion aisle to work towards making abortion obsolete...making sure every child is cared for from cradle to grave with health care and education, that "family planning" is not treated as a dirty word but makes available biological and birth control education with a push towards abstinence.

There are many Liberal Christians working together towards these goals, like the folks at Sojourners. (www.sojo.net)

Since "the law" issue must be the one thing keeping you from supporting a Democrat as all the other things are true, aren't you just as closed-minded as the folks you are accusing?

If you allow "the law" issue to keep you from voting for deserving Dems (throwing the baby out with the bathwater, so to speak) - isn't your inaction helping keep folks like Don Young in office almost as much as if you voted for him?
I get irritated when "caring for the unborn" is only equated to fighting Roe v. Wade. Universal healthcare for pregnant woman, funding for more research into genetic diseases, more education for young girls and women on taking care of themselves during pregnancy, greater access to substance abuse treatment and recovery halfway-houses for pregnant women, making sure single moms can get a livable wage and access to affordable day care...all of these things are "caring for the unborn."

Narrowly focusing on reversing the law only allows the conditions to run rampant which cause women to get abortions in the first place.

I believe that using Roe V. Wade to justify voting in slime like Don Young is a moral and ethical issue unto itself.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

It doesn't get scarier than this...

I thought this was about politics...until I read past the first paragraph.

Union censures state corrections commissioner
Officials said the vote, which passed 514-19, was the first of its kind as far as they knew.

When Schmidt was named commissioner by Gov. Sarah Palin in November 2006, he was supported by the union and considered a popular choice for the top job. At the time, he was superintendent of Point MacKenzie Correctional Farm.

Since then, his support by corrections officers has eroded under allegations that he has covered up medical issues in the jails and cut staff to dangerous levels in the prisons.

Randy McLellan, an officer at Mat-Su pretrial jail, call the situation "a powder keg with a fuse in it."

Sgt. Gary Damron at Hiland Mountain prison said the commissioner and the department refuse to recognize health threats at the facilities. Hundreds of inmates suffer from an infection called methicillin-resistant staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), he said, and two have died from it.

Nearly a dozen corrections officers have also been infected, Damron said, but the department refuses to pay the necessary cost of combating the infection.

What the bloody hell?????

MRSA is terrifying for ANYONE but especially deadly for folks with compromised immune systems, like Diabetics, folks with Lupus, AIDS, etc...

For those who don't know about MRSA Infection, here is an explanation from the Mayo Clinic.
Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) infection is caused by Staphylococcus aureus bacteria — often called "staph." Decades ago, a strain of staph emerged in hospitals that was resistant to the broad-spectrum antibiotics commonly used to treat it. Dubbed methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), it was one of the first germs to outwit all but the most powerful drugs. MRSA infection can be fatal.

This guy deserves worse than a "no confidence" vote.

Anchorage Daily News, don't shoot us! We're just the piano player, and the bass player, and the singer, and the...

One of my BFFs on the planet is the "queen of the Alaska music scene" Ms. Patti Greene. For those of you who don't know about Patti, she is an awesome bass player, singer, arranger and is absolutely without rival in organization and promotion. What truly makes her "the queen" is that she has the only real unifying force among hundreds of musicians in this state, an email classified-ads newsletter called "Gear Junkies."

She has traditional ads in catagories like "Band/Performers Wanted," and "For Sale: Guitars, Amps and Accessories." However, she also has scores of cleverly-organized ads and information in catagories like "Will Play for Gas" - musicians looking for other musicians to play with, or "Think Outside the Bar" which frequently gives events requiring children performers or, my favorite, "I Think Therefore I Jam" which is the most extensive list of Alaska Jam Nights found anywhere.

Lately, Ms. Patti has included areas in her publication dedicated to what I call "the politics of music." This mainly revolves around finding ways for the live music community to survive in a very hostile environment...and we ain't talkin' weather.

I will be including Patti's "Gear Junkies editorial" (my description) on the blog and this week it's a "special edition."

The Anchorage Daily News recently decided it will drop the entertainment calendar from its Friday "Play" section. (This is the grid that lists the various clubs and the bands playing in them for the upcoming week.) They say this is part of an overall reduction that'll drop the number of pages from 24 to 16 and save them a big ol' pile of money.

What this means is that, with one hasty decision, ADN editors will have all but erased the local, live music scene from the map, rendering local musicians invisible.

They say we can still put band listings on their website, and that's a great service. However, not everybody uses the web. We know for a fact there's a whole audience out there that relies on the Friday paper to tell them where the bands are playing. And there are thousands of music lovin' Alaskans and tourists who will want to go hear live music when they come to Anchorage --- but they won't have a computer with 'em and won't have a clue where to find the live bands.

ADN probably figures that the clubs will increase their advertising -- but we know differently. We learned a long time ago not to rely on the clubs to get accurate information into the paper. That's why we figured out how to go directly to the entertainment calendar in the first place.

When the entertainment grid goes away, there will be no mention of live local music in the Anchorage Daily News --- not in reviews, not in a calendar, not anywhere. I'm not sure that was the editor's intent, but that's the net result.

So as a group, Gear Heads, it's our job to educate the Daily News as to what their decision really means. I won't tell you what to say, but I will tell you that this is precisely the time when we, as a group, should say something. This is precisely the type of situation where we must stop being anarchists and start thinking like an industry.

If you play in a band that relies on the ADN calendar for your promotional efforts, you should probably say something. If you live out of town and like to go out for live music when you're in Anchorage, you should probably say something. If you've made any money in the last year playing music -- even twelve bucks in tips -- you are a musician, and you might think about saying something. If you have ever used the ADN entertainment column to see who's playing where, you might think about getting involved.

Folks, I'll stand up for us --- if you'll stand up for us, too. Here's where you send your comments:

Anchorage Daily News Editor Pat Dougherty

Thanks for listening.

Patti Greene, Editor
Gear Junkies Newsletter

Mark Begich Live Blogging at Daily Kos Right Now!

Monday, April 21, 2008

ABC Senatorial Poll (please vote) and some cool MoveOn.org videos

So head over to Alaska Superstation and vote in the poll regarding who you support for Senator.

Then, head over to MoveOn's Obama in 30 Seconds contest where folks from all over the country sent in over 1100 really good videos on their best Obama 30-second commercial. Some of them are really touching, some of them are gorgeous (there's one that uses beautiful multi-colored smoke or something but I blew by it too quickly and you can't go back) and others are cute and funny.

****UPDATE - New one on the war******

The catch is that you have to just click a button and then vote on what comes up. However, most of them are done by truly talented people so it's not a hardship. Just remember before you vote to copy the embed code on ones you really like, cause you won't see it again!

Please tell me your opinions. I was most impacted by several of the videos that pointed out how little experience some of our great Presidents had - Washington, Lincoln, etc...

How is the economy for you?

My dear friend Patti Greene ALWAYS has the best jokes...and the most painfully accurate ones. Just about every gas station in Anchorage has diesel at $4.00+...a station in Wasilla had it at $4.17!!!!!

We will probably hit $5.00 diesel this summer and it makes me want to cry.

Appropriately enough, this will be the new ad for the Democratic Party...their first for the election.

I guess if we could get a look at Cindy McCain's tax return (the actual breadwinner of the family) we'd see why this $100 million heiress and her husband are unaware that the rest of the U.S. is NOT better off.


Another sign that the McCains have a skewed idea of how the economy is.

$2546.56 Shopping Spree at Barney's

McCain spokesman Tucker Bounds said the campaign's card was stolen. Anyone check to make sure that there was a police report filed in L.A.?

Mayor Begich makes it official and what the numbers are saying about the Congressional Races

Anchorage Mayor Mark Begich officially announced his candidacy today for Senator Ted Stevens seat.
Begich, 46, has been mayor of Alaska's largest city since 2003.

A Democrat, Begich formally announced his candidacy at noon at the Mountain View Community Center. At 5 p.m., he'll make a similar announcement in Fairbanks at the J.P. Jones Community Development Center, according to a press release sent by his campaign.

"What I've been hearing is people are truly ready for change," the Democratic mayor said Sunday. "They want to see something different."

Begich, 46, said he will not resign as mayor during the campaign.

The 84-year-old Stevens has been in the U.S. Senate since 1968. He's the longest-serving Republican in U.S. Senate history.

"As I have said before, this race will be about who has the experience, the seniority and the proven record to best serve Alaska in the U.S. Senate," Stevens said in a written statement released late Sunday.

Begich said Sunday his recent travels around Alaska convinced him he can win.

"There is definite broad-based support out there and from all walks of life," Begich said.

The campaign will be "fast and furious," Begich said, but won't keep him from doing his job as mayor.

"This city continues to run because we've got great people working. You'll still see me at the Assembly meetings, still see me engaged with the activities of this city."

As other Kossacks have been reporting, Mayor Begich's numbers are good -
better than any rival Stevens has had to date:
Rasmussen. 4/7. Likely voters. MoE 4.5%

Stevens (R) 46
Begich (D) 45

Also, directly from the Rasmussen site:
Rasmussen Markets data immediately prior to release of this poll showed the Alaska Senate race to be a pure toss-up. Current prices show the GOP with a 49.9% chance to retain the seat and the Democrats with a 56.8% chance to pick up a seat in Alaska. Data in this paragraph is from a prediction market, not a poll.

MissLaura mentioned that Begich might "trail his opponent" in fundraising but his poll numbers are good. What folks keep forgetting is the man only announced he was starting an Exploratory Committee...until today.

I have no doubt the donation floodgates are opening even as we speak.

XStriker gaves us a nice little table of how the fundraising has been going through April 15th. Looking at the other Alaska races, while the sentimental favorite for us "Democratic activist" types is Diane Benson (go Diane!), her donation numbers are down considerably and the so-far-low-key Ethan Berkowitz is amassing a good-sized war chest against Don Young.

Of course Don Young has additional problems between the Coconut Road investigation and the new discoveries regarding his cozy ties with Abramoff. It makes it less and less likely that the Democrats will be running against Young himself as opposed to his Gov. Palin-sponsored opponent in the Republican Primary, Lt. Governor Sean Parnell.

That would be a formidible race for the Dems.

As for now, I will bask in the dream of a possible Blue sweep this November.

**********UPDATE 2 - HOLY LINK, BATMAN!************

So I go to the new website just set up by the Begich Campaign and I go to the blog page...

...and what do I see but "Celtic Diva's Blue Oasis" in the list of 4 Alaska Blogger links!!!!!

Life is goooooooood...

Thanks so much, Begich team, for including me!


I just got an email from the Begich campaign about the Mayor's announcement and an introduction of his Campaign Online Communications Director.

I wanted to take a minute to introduce myself. My name is Matt Browner-Hamlin and I'm working as Mark Begich's campaign Online Communications Director. I was previously Chris Dodd's Deputy Internet Director & blogger on his presidential campaign and I've been a blogger for over three years.

There will be two announcement events today - one in Anchorage at noon and one in Fairbanks at 5pm. I'm not sure where in the state you are. I wanted to make sure you also knew that we'll be relaunching the campaign website around midday. I'm going to have a whole bunch of video content, including a short web video of why Mark is running, the announcement speech in Fairbanks, and some other stuff.

Mayor Begich has some serious experience backing him up on this campaign. It just gives me all kinds of warm-fuzzies!