Celtic Diva's Blue Oasis: 5/18/08 - 5/25/08

Saturday, May 24, 2008

I am not a member of an organized party...I am a Democrat!!!!!!

11:00 AM:

We didn't pull out of Anchorage until 8:45 pm Friday night so we went straight to Ross and Paula's house for a nighttime barbecue snack, some visiting and bed time.

At 7:45 AM, I joined the morning crowd of locals and tourists for a nice breakfast at the Noisy Goose (where the cute waitresses sit down and chat with the guys before they go fishing...kinda the Alaska small-town version of Hooters) and then crossed the road to the Alaska State Fairgrounds for the Convention.

Things I've learned:

- No matter what the radio or T.V. ads say, always, ALWAYS register the day of the Convention or you may end up doing it twice.

- WiFi is usually one of the "problem issues" - however, there will always be a computer guy that will work miracles

- Vista sucks

- While AK politicos are nicer to bloggers than many, expect to move over for mainstream media

- Vista sucks

- The delegate fan out is the most insane, unorganized, uncoordinated, coolest, most fabulous piece of Democracy-in-action that anyone can ever experience.

- Did I mention that Vista sucks?

My 10-year-old took all the pictures I'll be posting today and tomorrow - cool, huh?

Stay tuned...

8:22 PM Wow...late, late, late...

No one could have predicted that the Fan-Out/Delegate voting process would go so long that they were still setting up for dinner now (dinner was supposed to be at 7:30).

Oh wait...I predicted that this morning...except that they actually finished before I thought.

This Convention is exciting because of the huge amount of participation. The Obama and Clinton delegate candidate speeches were occasionally punctuated with poetry, with loud cheerleading, even with song.

I have tons of stuff to write about over the next few days few days...including the candidate speeches as well as an excellent keynote from Mr. John Dean.

Friday, May 23, 2008

Heading to Palmer soon...

Unfortunately, I had to work today so I won't make it to the Convention until the bonfire tonight. I want Morrigan to hear the storyteller!

OK...I want to hear the storyteller too!

Me and my little laptop will be blogging from there tomorrow!!!!

Head over to Progressive Alaska to get the skinny on the Convention activities today!

End it...NOW...

Yes...she did...she mentioned Bobby Kennedy's Assasination as a reason to stay in the race.

OK...it's all over the interweb but I'm choosing to reference "Americablog."

No getting out of this one for her - she said almost the same thing to Time Magazine in March:
TIME: Can you envision a point at which--if the race stays this close--Democratic Party elders would step in and say, "This is now hurting the party and whoever will be the nominee in the fall"?

CLINTON: No, I really can't. I think people have short memories. Primary contests used to last a lot longer. We all remember the great tragedy of Bobby Kennedy being assassinated in June in L.A. My husband didn't wrap up the nomination in 1992 until June. Having a primary contest go through June is nothing particularly unusual.

Eugene Robinson on MSNBC pointed out that she apologized to the Kennedys but not to Obama...adding "insult to injury."

Rachel Maddow: "If it was a mistake it was a big, uncharacteristic mistake. If it wasn't a mistake, it's disgusting."

This should be the last straw for most Superdelegates. They need to decide now.

Helloooooo summer vacation...my working season...

Yesterday was the last day of school so today is the first day of my daycare season.

Woo hoo...

All I can say...thank god for my new laptop. In the next three months, I will know all of the "kid related" places that have WiFi.

Checklist in preparation for the Alaska Democratic Convention at the State Fairgrounds in Palmer

Registration ----- $75.00

John Dean speech and banquet ----- $55.00

New HP Laptop with 2 years of Geek Squad protection and Cam record capabilities ----- $1,325.00

Replacement cell phone with a functioning speaker/ringer ----- $199.00 before $50.00 rebate

Money pre-paid to fill my gas tank ----- $100.00

Travel pack of tissues from the gas station when I realized $100.00 no longer fills my gas tank ----- $2.00

Food for barbecue in payment for sleeping on friend's couch ----- $32.35

Mr. Sketch watercolor markers left-over from school year so that my daughter doesn't get bored ----- $4.00 (?)

One ear plug to squelch the sound of the markers while she's drawing ----- $0.25

Second ear plug for other ear to squelch the sound of my daughter when she starts complaining about being bored ----- $0.25

Money to pay-off friends so they take daughter for ice cream when she gets on my last nerve ----- $20.00

Cup of coffee I owe Phil Munger for all of his help ----- $3.50 (In case he's a latte Liberal)

Plastic disposable knife to scrape off the old horse/cow/pig/llama/chicken manure from walking around at the Fairgrounds ----- $0.15

Money left in my wallet for coffee shops and family restaurants in Palmer since the @#$%*&^ IRS sent my refund check by mail instead of direct deposit causing me to miss the cutoff for Convention meals ----- $66.83

Opportunity to tell every one of the delegates (especially Shannyn Moore) who wants to go to the Democratic National Convention that my vote depends upon how well they can give a dramatic performance of "I'm a Little Teapot" ----- PRICELESS!!!!!!!

I spoke to Patti of "Lulu and the Aqua Nets" and she suggests that "jello shooters," "naked Twister," and a bucket of Crisco should be employed to decide the Delegate winners. As she says, "If it's good enough to get the Kenai Peninsula through the winter, it's good enough for us!"

Thursday, May 22, 2008

To Dan Fagan and Sharon Leighow: Karma is a bitch and sometimes it's REALLY EXPENSIVE

My friend Rishi Maharaj has been through hell the last two years thanks to those two and a few others at Anchorage Media Group. It's been torture not to be able to scream about it from the rooftops until now.

However, I'm glad Brenden Joel Kelley at Anchorage Press wrote the first real article on the entire story. It's excellent; he painted an accurate portrayal of what really happened and how Rishi and all of us felt.

Well almost...

He didn't print the diatribe I spewed about the people responsible for trashing Rishi's career for two years, but that's because he's a good journalist and it wasn't appropriate.

That's why I have a blog.

There aren't really many people I despise. And I suppose, in the grand scheme of things, I don't HATE Dan Fagan or Sharon Leighow because I'd actually call 911...eventually...if either of them was hit by a car and lying in the middle of the road. Hell, Dan is friends with some of my family and his presence wouldn't chase me away. However, he's got a wall of bad Karma a mile high waiting for him and a lot of folks feel it's only justice if he gets flattened by that wall very publicly.

He just might.

First, read the article linked above.

Second, over at the Court site you can find Civil Superior Court 3AN-08-06160CI Maharaj, Rishi vs. Anchorage Media Group et al. Peruse the list of folks being sued.

Third, listen to THIS so you understand why. Fagan pretends like he can't pronounce Rishi's name and the first thing he asks about is Rishi's ethnicity. (Think of the insinuating emails about Obama.) Leighow and Fagan work the conversation so they are repeatedly emphasizing that Rishi should have been fired...that he shouldn't be employed until he's "cleared." In a number of subtle and not-so-subtle ways they insinuate that he's guilty. They report many inaccuracies as fact though they had complete access to the correct information.

I went to several of Rishi's court appearances. The only folks there were his friends...and Sharon...the only media rep. It was almost like she was stalking him. It was creepy.

It's hard to believe this was just a few months before Leighow was hired by the Governor Palin.

It's one of the curious aspects of this whole thing. The fact that it was obvious from the start that the DA had nothing. The fact that this dragged-out for two years and then when the Prosecution had run out of delays, the case was dropped. It always made me curious who might be putting the pressure on the Prosecution?

What person could possibly be connected enough to keep pressure on the Prosecution, especially if a walk for Rishi meant the good chance of a successful lawsuit?

I guess we'll never know.

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The Senate passes the 21st Century GI Bill with 70 "Yea" votes - including Senator-in-trouble Ted Stevens

Per an email from Paul Reikoff, founder and President of IAVA:

Today marked another historic vote on the GI Bill. After last week's remarkable victory in the House of Representatives, today the bill passed the Senate by an overwhelming vote of 75-22. Click here to see who voted for it and who voted against it.

Senator Stevens saw the polls...and knew he couldn't vote against it. But what will he do next?
The GI Bill now has one final hurdle to pass: the President's signature. In this crucial stage, let's make IAVA's voice even stronger and make sure the President signs this bill into law.

President Bush has said he will veto the legislation and his bestest buddy, John McCain, will be by his side.

Will Ted Stevens help overturn the veto?

Holding McCain's feet to the fire on gay marriage

Ellen handles McCain with grace and humor, but scores some serious points.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

These are the moments when you want to reassure your friends from outside, "I SWEAR all Alaskans aren't like this!"

Governor Sarah is bound and determined to let those polar bears fend for themselves:

May 21, 2008, Anchorage, Alaska – Governor Sarah Palin announced today the state of Alaska intends to file suit in U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia challenging U.S. Interior Secretary Dirk Kempthorne’s decision to list the polar bear as threatened under the Endangered Species Act.

“We appreciate the Secretary’s recognition that oil and gas activities are already regulated under the Marine Mammal Protection Act to prevent impacts to the polar bear and do not pose a threat to the polar bear,” Governor Palin said.

In previous comments submitted to the Secretary, the state maintains that there is insufficient evidence to support a listing of the polar bear as threatened for any reason at this time. Polar bears are currently well-managed and have dramatically increased over 30 years as a result of conservation measures enacted through international agreements and the Marine Mammal Protection Act. A listing of the polar bear under the ESA will not provide additional conservation measures.

The Attorney General’s office will draft and file a complaint under the Administrative Procedure Act (APA). The Secretary’s decision to list a currently healthy species is based on not only the uncertain modeling of future climate change, but also the unproven long-term impact of any future climate change on the species. Alaska’s Attorney General believes the decision is so arbitrary it violates the limits of the APA.

Conservation agreements = hunting them into extinction was NO LONGER ALLOWED.

That research they cite was done specifically in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR) in reference to potential drilling. The "30 years" cited were between 1967 and 1998...yes, 10 years ago. Also, the research focused specifically on whether or not development of ANWR would interfere with the land denning occuring there and the population growth being measured was the increase in denning activity, which could be partially explained (as they said) by relocation.

A quote: "The proportion of pack-ice dens dropped dramatically in the latter half of the study."

That tends to happen as the pack ice disappears but since that was not the focus of the study, it wasn't discussed.

The paper which cited that outdated research and presented it as an argument against listing polar bears under the "Endangered Species Act" was written by "The National Center for Public Policy Research". They call themselves "a conservative think-tank" and they have received funding for their activities from such groups as Exxon, the old oil money from the Mellon-Scaife family, as well as RJ Reynolds and Phillip Morris tobacco companies.

More recent studies, from 1999 - 2005 again by the USGS has determined a strong probability that sea-ice changes have forced polar bear females to change their denning behavior.

The population studies have determine that:
Survival of juvenile, sub adult, and senescent-adult polar bears was correlated with spring sea ice breakup date, which was variable among years and occurred approximately 3 weeks earlier in 2004 than at the beginning of the study in 1984. We propose that this correlation provides evidence for a causal association between earlier sea ice breakup (due to climatic warming) and decreased polar bear survival.

The latest prediction is that the North Pole itself may completely melt this year:
"Mark Serreze at the National Snow and Ice Data Center told me he sees ‘a decent chance that the North Pole melts out' this year," Revkin writes. Ignatius G. Rigor from the University of Washington, working with North Pole Environmental Observatory, told Revkin that he's putting his (research) money where his mouth is "by buying a few dozen buoys that are meant to be deployed in open ocean."

Ooops...flies in the face of Palin Administration claims. How embarassing for us and how potentially deadly for the polar bears.
The Attorney General’s office will also begin drafting a 60-day notice of intent to sue under the Endangered Species Act. This action is based on the Secretary’s failure to make a decision based solely on the best available scientific and commercial information.

Hint: All of the best available scientific information makes you guys look like a bunch of bumbling idiots.

GI Bill Senate vote is tomorrow...Tell Senator Murkowski "thank you" for her strong pro-Veteran stance and ask Senator Stevens what his problem is!

I've been reporting on the 21st Century GI Bill for quite a while now...even before Sen. Murkowski signed on.

I actually discussed it with Senator Murkowski face-to-face at The Gathering for Veterans. At the same time, I discussed with her my anger at Sen. Stevens for his refusal to participate and I've been equally stern with him in the blog on his lack of support for Veterans or at best, minimal support while his Progressive rival, Mark Begich, has demonstrated a dedication to Veterans and the betterment of military families.

The GI Bill made it successfully through the House, in spite of the attempts by the "Blue Dogs" to hold it hostage. The threat we have in the Senate is that John McCain and his crappy alternative Bill could pressure another Senator into jumping ship like he did with Senator Inhofe. Multiple Veterans organizations have been pulling out all the stops, including Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans America (IAVA) and VoteVets.org, which is running an ad trying to convince Senator McCain to get behind the right Bill:

It ends with the powerful line, "Senator McCain, we respect your service. Please respect ours."

Once again, John McCain is in lockstep with Bush as George W. says he will actually veto the GI Bill if it passes the Senate. As the Bill's sponsor, Senator Jim Webb stated Sunday on "Meet the Press," "No president in history has vetoed a benefits bill for those who served." Just another chapter in the President's legacy of shame.

Here are the D.C. phone numbers for Sen. Stevens and Sen. Murkowski, as well as the one for Sen. McCain. Please make sure to thank Sen. Murkowski for her support. I think that's just as important as ripping Sen. Stevens and Sen. McCain a new one for their lack of it.

Senator Ted Stevens
Phone:(202) 224-3004
Fax:(202) 224-2354

Senator Lisa Murkowski
Phone:(202) 224-6665
Fax:(202) 224-5301

Senator John McCain
Phone:(202) 224-2235
Fax:(202) 228-2862

If going to a 7:00 AM Breakfast Fundraiser for Senate Candidate Mark Begich isn't "showing some love," I don't know what is!

OK...they had bacon...and coffee...and bagels so that helped.

But the best news(besides raising money for a great candidate) is that I got to meet "Own the Sidewalk's" lovely and talented "Mighty, Mighty, Myster!" Not only that, but the Momster and MLB - all of whom are very nice people! (In spite of the fact that MLB is an evil lawyer!)

I still haven't had enough coffee to write a full-blown post but the Mayor mentioned the GI Bill vote tomorrow (he's a big Veteran supporter, as I've discussed before) so I'll be posting about that later, after my lunch meeting.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Blogger Selection issues include accusations of political favoritism while the minority exclusion discussion is going strong

It seems that there are more issues than the diversity question surrounding the blogger selection. There is a letter for Howard Dean signed by 21 folks on the State Blogger List requesting that he make a detailed review the selection process.

The story that some POC blogs have a accused the DNC of minority exclusion in the State Blogger Selection process I initially wrote about here is moving up as well.

Pam made another post on this issue...a good one. She brings up one of the points I made:
Absent answers -- and the announcement of the blogs selected for the general pool, the conversation has evolved into a fine example of how difficult and frustrating a dialogue involving race can be, and communication styles that make defense shields go up, it's like watching the Titanic heading for the iceberg and can't be turned around. For instance, Linda finally brought up what I feel was the crux of the problem:
While it's obvious that the tone used by certain members of the AfroSpear has rubbed me the wrong way, I can see the benefit of raising this issue in the first place.
My response was that I agreed it was an issue. Black bloggers who, we must assume, can afford a laptop and travel expenses to Denver (or raise those funds) cannot be classified the same as blacks who couldn't eat at a lunch counter back in the day. When people go around tossing out "Jim Crow" so liberally, it automatically places everyone in defensive positions, regardless of the merits of the complaint/observation at hand. It can also diminish the reality that was Jim Crow.

That's just my opinion, of course. I know if I took that approach here at the Blend, I'd have few readers willing to engage me on the difficult topic of race relations -- it's tough enough as it is because people are so self-conscious of the third rail and the comments are lighter in those threads. Those who go for the flamethrowing "Jim Crow" approach may not, however, have any interest in dialogue, or are so frustrated with hitting the wall of white privilege (and the denial of it), that they don't care how it comes across as long as the point is made, the issue is raised and action taken. It illustrates a frustration based in reality out there and a communication gap between parts of the blogosphere communities that has been difficult to bridge.
It also seems that there are some other blogs weighing in on the issue. Some may be more selectively picking blogs to link on this issue than others.

Francis also made another post in response to one of my comments on the AAPP blog:
I think we all know how this works: When those who developed the criteria for blogs participating at Denver developed this particular set of criteria for "state blogs", they had a clear idea of which blogs they wanted and they wrote the criteria accordingly, both to include some and EXCLUDE others.

If they had wanted diversity among the state blogs (as we have in the Democratic Party), they would have included multiple blogs from each state and these blogs would have been selected based on their ability to reach necessary constituencies in each state. Instead, their definition of "best blog" is divorced from and oblivious to the question of the whether these individual blogs have any traction among ALL of each states' target constituencies. The simple fact that there is only one state blog per state proves that they DO NOT have traction among all of each state's target sine qua non constituencies.

If they had analyzed their needs this way, it would have been obvious that each state needs to have at least one white blog, a Black blog, a Latino blog, a woman's blog and a gay blog. But, you won't find that diversity to any significant degree on the DailyKos/MyDD bloglist and you also won't find that diversity among the state blogs.

The entire "state blog" formula just validates the DailyKos/MyDD belief that something OTHER than diversity is most important when reaching out to Democratic Party constituencies.

What about the Asian blogs? The Jewish blogs? The Muslim blogs? As someone who does event planning for a living, the idea that the DNC would be able to handle that kind of logistical nightmare is not reasonable. I believe that the long-term solution for all of this doesn't really fall on the DNC...it falls on the blogosphere, including the minority bloggers themselves.

Francis did not respond to my latest comment on AAPP, where I sum that up:

After a couple of days, I revisited all of the posts from everyone on the issue...I admit that the tone of my posts was in reaction to what I perceive as a strong, accusative tone here and on Francis blog (as well as his comments). I needed to step back and look at the whole issue.

I still believe that the DNC did not intentionally exclude POC blogs from the State Blogger Corps. Is it a distinct possibility that they were somewhat callous in taking ethnicity in consideration? I can believe that. Are there also complex issues regarding internet anonymity, etc...involved that the DNC cannot control...ones that bloggers as a whole need to deal with ourselves? Absolutely!

I have been on the lookout for awhile for an Alaska Native Woman blogger as a contributor to my blog. Native issues are probably the most desperately urgent in my state, as Native Women make up about 7% of the population yet make up 45% - 55% of the victims of sexual and domestic violence. So far, I have been unable to find anyone and through this discussion on other blogs, it seems that many others in the blogosphere have the same problem finding POC bloggers. I believe we should work even harder to make it happen and I hope my new-found exposure does that.

I also believe that those of us selected for the State Blogger Corps can use this opportunity to recruit more POC writers as contributors, encourage them to start their own blogs...or something that can have a more immediate impact...encourage already-established blogs to shift their focus and get more directly involved in state and local politics.

Barack Obama saw that the 50-state-strategy was the right way to go and he has proven its success. POC bloggers need to adopt that strategy as well. While the first attempt by the DNC to have a State Blogger Corps may have been clumsy and in need of revision, I believe their overall goal was to do just that. If 100 nationally-focused POC blogs suddenly shifted to state and local politics, what a huge impact that could have on our upcoming Congressional elections!

While I still may not agree with the accusatory tone of the posts, I believe the dialogue that they started is an important one. I hope that it continues here as well as throughout the blogosphere.
I want to point something out here...it was this white chick who was the one that discovered the posts over at AAPP and Francis' blogs in the first place because I was SPECIFICALLY looking at POC blogs who had linked the DNCC State Blogger list. Since I wanted clarification, this white chick was the one who emailed someone I greatly respect, Pam Spaulding, to get her take on it. As a result, she made some very balanced, thoughtful posts on two of the largest blogs in the country. That plus my placement at the top of the DNC State Blogger list are a big reason why this issue is getting so much attention (everyone is checking out my blog first, for better or worse).

I'm not looking for credit. I'm not saying this because AAPP and Francis don't have their own, extensive audiences...they do. I'm DEFINITELY not saying it because I don't think they have an underlying point...I've been very clear that I believe they do. What I'm saying is that this attention started because I WAS MAKING AN EFFORT TO VISIT THE BLACK BLOG COMMUNITY...which several folks in the AAPP claim never happens!

I was initially offended as I felt I was being painted with the "white male, white supremacist" brush just by being on the list. I was able to calm down, strip away the anger and actually let the issue sink in a bit because, frankly, my daughter makes me "not your average white chick". I was more motivated to wade through the rhetoric.

Many, many folks who would be potential allies ARE NOT that motivated or that patient.

Hell...I'm a 46-year-old menopausal woman...I'm not saying don't offend anyone. Why have a blog if you can't blow off some steam? What I AM saying is if you want folks to really listen, try not to OFFEND EVERYONE!

I also talked to the same reporter at the Dallas Morning News that Francis did. She explained that she saw the story because she came to Blue Oasis blog and saw this issue. Here's my part in her story.

Pam Spaulding, an African-American blogger in North Carolina who has applied to the general pool, suggested on her blog — Pam’s House Blend — that minorities don’t blog about state and local politics as much as white people do, narrowing the pool.

A Hispanic blogger from New Mexico agreed and wrote that their blog was passed over in favor of a blog run by a white woman, but didn’t see any discrimination in a majority Hispanic state.

“I do think we should be looking at the quality of blogs,” said the blogger, who only identified his or her ethnicity. “Do we want to include certain blogs of poor quality to fill a sort of quota? No, that would be ridiculous.”

Linda Kellen Biegel, whose Celtic Diva’s Blue Oasis blog will represent Alaska at the convention, said the issue should encourage more minorities to blog locally while pushing for more diversity in the entire blogosphere.

“No one knows what anyone looks like in the blogosphere. It’s easy to get caught up in anger, to ignore the actual underlying issue,” she said. “The underlying issue is that bloggers need to reach out and try to find other voices from the community that are diverse.”

I don't believe there is any way to change the State Blogger process for this year. At this point, the best the DNC can do is acknowledge their selection criteria was clumsy and make sure there are extensive and diverse POC voices in the General Blogger Pool.

However, it's also not realistic to assume that ALL blogs should have an equal chance at a State Blogger spot in the future if they don't focus on state issues or even identify what state they are from.

1) State blogs and multi-contributor blogs need to reach out to POC writers and build a group of diverse voices from all constituencies.

2) POC blogs need to focus on state and local issues more if they want to be considered a voice for their state. It doesn't mean any blog would have to totally give up a minority focus. A local voice is much more powerful than a national one when it comes to any issue, including issues of color. National voices tend to be faceless and ignored.

Barack Obama used the 50-state strategy and he will be our nominee. Hillary Clinton discounted it in favor of old alliances and she will not.

I think there is a lesson there.

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Monday, May 19, 2008

Really impressive website update!

I got an email from Quentin Steele (talk about your international spy name!) who added a tab to Zugalug.com News Dashboard showing a list of topics on ALL 55 BLOGS chosen for the State Blogger Pool!

Great job, Quentin! Thanks!


WOOOOT!!!!! Per the Alaska Politics Blog:
The last two uncommitted Alaska Democratic Party superdelegates are off the fence and going for Barack Obama.

Cindy Spanyers of Juneau and Blake Johnson of Kenai announced their choice today.
Gee...oh look...if I would have checked my email...
Anchorage - Alaska National Committee Woman Cindy Spanyers and Alaska Democratic Party First Vice Chair Blake Johnson announced their support today for Barack Obama to become the Democratic Party’s nominee for President.

“Senator Obama is committed to Alaskans and establishing important ties to the state. He recognizes Alaska’s role in our future in energy and is sensitive to the challenges we face due to high-energy costs across the state, from Juneau to Fairbanks and across rural Alaska,” said Spanyers.

Pete Rouse, Senator Barack Obama’s Chief of Staff, also lived in Alaska for four years.

Alaskans responded overwhelmingly to his campaign in February, coming out in droves in sub-zero weather. His candidacy captured the imagination of thousands of new voters, including Republicans and non-partisans who responded to his message of change. On the night of the February 5 caucuses in Alaska, Senator Obama won 6,674 votes while the Republican nominee, John McCain, tallied 1,894 votes.

McCain has often been critical of Alaskan priorities including calling power-cost equalization program “objectionable” and questioning monies for the Denali Commission (John McCain for Senate 2004 – 11/19/2003)

The Barack Obama campaign has pledged to send Senator Obama to Alaska this fall for a brief stop, if possible, as well as a longer follow-up visit to the state after the November elections, Spanyers and Johnson said.

Senator Obama will work to end the war in Iraq; provide affordable health care to all Americans; and strengthen our economy by creating good paying jobs.

Spanyers and Johnson said they are endorsing Senator Obama because he will move the country in a new direction and because he understands Alaska and will include Alaska’s voice in his national administration.

Spanyers of Juneau and Johnson of Kenai were previously uncommitted. They are two of Alaska’s four so-called “Super” Delegates to the Democratic National Convention.

Alaska’s Super Delegate count now reflects the vote at the state’s Feb. 5 caucuses, when Obama received 75% and Hillary Clinton 25% of the state convention delegates elected. Alaska’s two other Super Delegates previously announced their support - Democratic Party Chair Patti Higgins of Anchorage for Senator Hillary Clinton and National Committee Man John Davies of Fairbanks for Senator Obama.

This is really good news! I suspect that the promise to visit helped make their decision to announce today...works for me!

I think that this is actually the last day that our delegates could do this and still get some press. It will be over by tomorrow.

One more smack at that dead horse...my final comments about the State Blogger selection issue

I've been blogging this weekend about the State Blogger issue and the AfroSpear folks who have lodged a protest with the DNC. They are alleging a purposeful decision on behalf of the DNC to shut out black bloggers from the State Blogroll.

Other bloggers have weighed in on this issue as well and while we don't necessarily agree with everything, most people don't seem to feel like there was any purposeful intent on behalf of the DNC to exclude minorities.

Separate from ethnicity, in the selection of some bloggers over others did politics come into play? I have no doubt of that.

Should this issue be discussed and dealt with in some way before next time? Absolutely!

After several days of allowing my anger to cool while reading some less-offensive posts and comments on the topic, I've become determined that this issue is something that we as bloggers can work harder to solve ourselves.

My comment on "Pandagon".
I find myself on kind-of the opposite side of this type of discussion from where I usually am.

I have found that in Alaska I've not been able to find ANYONE who is willing to make the committment to contribute to my blog. I especially want someone from the Alaska Native community to blog more authoritatively on Native issues. Generally, that person needs to have the type of career (or lack of career) that allows for that kind of time and so far I've not been successful. I'm hoping that the increased exposure as part of the Blog Corps will help bring someone who is interested to me.

While it's obvious that the tone used by certain members of the AfroSpear has rubbed me the wrong way, I can see the benefit of raising this issue in the first place. Hopefully, it will encourage other minority bloggers to start their own state-focused blogs, shift the focus from an already-established blog towards state issues or sign on as contributors to some of the large state-oriented blogs. My opinion: we have a plethora of truly excellent blogs that effectively cover national issues and/or are specific-issue-oriented. How POCs are going to make a difference is state-to-state...Barack Obama has proven that Howard Dean's philosophy works. I believe that is the point of the State Blogger Corps and I hope that is the message that people take away from all of this.
I believe I've discovered my topic for the next Daily News column...and maybe I'll find some excellent contributors out of it.

Breaking: Mark Begich announcing his Ethics plan for the Senate. Also, Rasmussen poll on Begich looks positive.


K - so I didn't make it, for a variety of reasons...but here's the deal:

"Mayor and U.S. Senate Candidate Mark Begich will announce his Ethics plan for the Senate today."

**sigh** Not an endorsement like we'd hoped, but good stuff nonetheless!
Detailing what he called his “Alaska Ethics Pledge,” Anchorage mayor and Democratic candidate for the U.S. Senate Mark Begich vowed to run an open campaign and promised honesty and accessibility if elected this fall.

Begich, standing on a downtown Anchorage street corner and flanked by a pair of supporters, gestured at the federal building behind him and said “far too many elected officials” have passed through the courthouse inside as defendants. He pledged financial reporting and accountability that would go “beyond the Senate ethics laws on the books.”


Per campaign officials: The announcement will be made at 1:00 PM in front of the Federal Courthouse.

I'll be there!


Julie Hasquet has been mentioning to media sources for the last several days that there will be a "big announcement" from the Begich camp on Monday and Mark will be available for interviews on Tuesday.

Hmmmmm...what could it be? Could there be a major endorsement on the horizon of a...well...national nature?

Inquiring Begich supporters and stalkers (yup, that's you Myster) want to know!

Also, Rasmussen has done another poll on Begich and Stevens:
The latest Rasmussen Reports telephone survey finds that Republican Senator Ted Stevens is trailing by two percentage points in his bid for re-election. Stevens attracts 45% of the vote while Anchorage Mayor Mark Begich (D) earns 47%. A month ago, it was Stevens with 46% support and Begich at 45%.
However, they also say that Obama's standing is at 41% to McCain's 50%, which shows Obama slipping a bit from a month ago. They also have us listed as "Safely Republican" at the time that poll came out...safely Republican? Not even the Republicans believe that!

I question how many unaffiliated voters (the largest group in Alaska) are involved in this poll. ...

Speaking of supporting Begich...It's possible that you may see me sitting with the lovely and talented Myster from "Own the Sidewalk" (NOT pictured here...my bad) at the same table at a Begich breakfast fund-raiser this week! What does it depend on? The @#$% IRS check that was SUPPOSED to be direct-deposited but was mailed instead!!!!!

Everyone pray for the mailman!

Sunday, May 18, 2008

I'll be on the Cary Carrigan Show tomorrow at 8:00 AM!!!!

Please call!!!

But at 8:00 AM, don't expect anything very deep!!!! **grin**

Unless, of course, I get lots of coffee and/or tea!