Celtic Diva's Blue Oasis: 6/1/08 - 6/8/08

Saturday, June 07, 2008

It's time to step away and see what happens...the DNC Blog thing

I believe I've made my last comment on Francis L. Holland's Blog. Saying anything more seems pointless.

The first paragraph refers to a table he created showing what states have a high minority concentration but do not have minority representation among the blogs.
So...if it does turn out (as is quite possible) that a number of the "red states" highlighted in the table did NOT have any black blogs apply, how did the DNC specifically create that problem?

How is the DNC responsible for the lack of Internet access to those who are less affluent or perhaps live in rural areas that aren't "wired?" How is the DNC responsible for the segregation in the blogosphere? How is the DNC responsible for those bloggers who choose not to reveal their ethnicity? How is the DNC responsible for whether or not black blogs are state or nationally focused?

Yes, the DNC is responsible for not taking the diversity issue into account during the State Blogger criteria...it was an example of how many have to change their thinking.

But it's been pointed out that there are a number of women and minorities represented in the hierarchy of the DNC as well as the hierarchy of the state Democratic delegations. An alternate to the "they did this on purpose" theory may be that many of those "red states" really DID NOT have minority blogs as applicants. Therefore, significantly changing the racial make-up of the State Bloggers may not be possible with their present pool of applicants.

I'll never agree that this was all done purposely because, for the reasons stated above, it's not a logical explanation. Francis, unlike your claim to Zimbel, you continue to assign 100% blame to the DNC and insist that it was purposeful. Repeatedly furthering that argument is a segregating move on your part and an attempt to fan the flames for more media coverage. Having fought many civil rights fights over race, gender and sexual orientation, I know that your outrage definitely has its place, especially in the beginning stages of uncovering a problem. However, at this time you are no more able to "work well with others" towards a long-term solution than a fire cracker is able to stop itself from exploding once it's lit. Someday, I hope it's different.

I have taken this whole discussion very seriously and I'm using all of my writing venues to encourage greater participation by POC writers. My hope is that many in the Afrosphere would be open to working together towards promoting integration and diversity in the blogosphere.

Sheesh...doesn't the MSM do any research anymore?

MainStream Media: OMG, OMG why wasn't Sen. Obama at the Clinton speech? He was golfing! He didn't watch it!

Obama camp: Sen. Obama watched the speech on the Internet.

MainStream Media: OMG, OMG why couldn't he be bothered to show up for this speech?

Jack and Jill Politics Blog: "Happy Birthday, Sasha Obama, who turns the big 7 today"

Yes...blogs are superior.

Hillary doesn't say Obama's name until 6 min 25 seconds into the speech

...but she finally says "I endorse him and throw my full support behind him."

The rest of the speech was excellent. If she goes on the stump for him with that kind of energy and those kind of speeches, we can't lose.

We can only hope that she does.

Friday, June 06, 2008

Gear Junkies - In Memoriam: Bo Diddley

"Gear Junkies" is the free, premier weekly newsletter sent via email to the Alaska music community written and edited by the Goddess of the Alaska Music Scene, Patti Greene

Bo Diddley (12/30/1928 - 6/2/2008)

Blues and Rock 'N Roll pioneer Bo Diddley passed away today of heart failure at his home in Florida. He was 79. Bo had various health issues in the last year, which rendered him unable to perform live concerts.

Bo was born Ellas Bates in McComb, Mississippi on December 30, 1928. He moved to Chicago at age seven, and got his musical start playing blues on the Maxwell Street market. There are many stories about his stage name, one being that he used to play a homemade instrument called the Diddley Bow, and the other that he adapted a name of a comical character that he happened upon.

He lived to say the name served him well; and his early recordings for Chess were instant hits. Songs such as “Bo Diddley”, “Bring It To Jerome”, “I’m A Man”, “Diddy Wah Diddy”, “Diddley Daddy”, "Who Do You Love", "Mona", "Before You Accuse Me", and countless others presented a new sound that was steeped in blues, yet so danceable and rhythmic that it is considered the bedrock of early Rock ‘N Roll. The “Bo Diddley Beat”, taken from the "shave and a haircut" rhythm, was so popular and influential that numerous other hits by other artists adapted this beat.

He maintained public attention through high-profile appearances such as John Lennon’s Live Peace In Toronto concert, playing an acting role in the Dan Akroyd/Eddie Murphy hit Trading Places, a memorable pool hall scene in the music video of George Thorogood’s "Bad To The Bone" (based on a Bo Diddley guitar hook), and a Rock ‘N Roll star/basketball star comparison for Nike remembered fondly by the catch phrase “Bo Knows”.

He played a characteristic rectangular guitar which became his trademark. He was inducted in The Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame in 1987. Bo remained active musically his whole life until stricken by a stroke in 2007. His passing today leaves an unfillable void, as he is one of the undisputed founders of Rock ‘N Roll.

For his complete biography, discography, and wonderful website, click here; to see a photo tribute page to Bo Diddley on Bob Corritore’s website, click here; and to read the Associated Press article regarding his passing, click here. Bob feels privileged to have known, performed with, and recorded with Bo Diddley. Bo was a great man whose music brought joy to multitudes of people. May this musical icon rest in peace.

From Bob Corritore's Blues Newsletter:


Note from the Diva:

Miss Patti and I were fortunate enough to have met and worked with Bo Diddley when he headlined the first "Blues on the Green Festival." In a line-up that included one of the biggest jerks I've ever worked with in the music world, Bo Diddley was an unassuming breath-of-fresh-air. He was the only one who came alone, without even a family member or a manager. He was kind, polite and quiet - quiet until he hit the stage. His was probably one of the biggest transformations between on and off-stage persona that I've ever seen. It's probably how he lasted so long.

The world will miss him terribly.

Racial dialogue can be a walk in a mine-field...but it's worth it.

I have been involved in the discussion regarding the DNCC Blogger Dust-Up from the beginning. I've continued to post comments about the issue on several of the Afrospear blogs. Yesterday, I received an email that made me glad I did:
hi Celtic Diva, just wanted to say that i've been very impressed by your posts on this on Francis L. Holland's blog and Pam's House Blend. the point about whether or not any black blogs applied and were rejected is a very good one. [it doesn't completely get the DNCC off the hook in my case -- they should have realized they'd need to do outreach -- but it does paint a very different picture if it turns out that there weren't any applicants in most of those states.]

I also decided to write about it in my Anchorage Daily News Community Voices Column:
"...there was another accusation that was much more controversial and mostly ignored in the blogosphere ... until the mainstream media got the story. Several "blogs-of-color" claimed that all of the blogs in the state blogger pool were "white-male blogs" ... suggesting that the DNC designed that on purpose. Two of the black bloggers claimed that since the state blogs had special floor access the DNC did not want "black people on the floor."

I was one of the state bloggers and not male so I took exception. "

I described the back and forth discussion through posts and comments that ended up with everyone angry and me being called a racist.
"However, if we don't take that risk there is no dialogue. Honest discussion means that we will slip up or be misunderstood. We have to keep our cool and force ourselves to see the issue behind the other person's view even if we are offended by how they make that argument. All participants in a debate on race have to resist the temptation to blame and work together toward true long-term solutions in order to succeed.

Everyone has a part here: The Democratic National Committee needs to more thoroughly think through a solution to inadequate participation by "bloggers of color." The blogosphere needs to more actively work toward integration and help and encourage minority bloggers. Lawmakers need to aggressively push for greater access to the Internet regardless of economic status. I believe that correcting those areas is the only way to ensure the same thing does not happen at the next Democratic National Convention.

The issue struck home with me when I looked around at my esteemed fellow bloggers at the Alaska Democratic Convention. While we saw much diversity among the delegates, we bloggers were three white men and a white woman.

I want to be part of the solution and I want to find more writers of color to be contributors to "Blue Oasis," especially Alaska Native writers. Alaska's diversity needs to be better represented in the blogosphere."
They put my email in the tagline because I hoped that writers-of-color would get in touch with me if they were interested in blogging.

I was not to be disappointed:
"Dear Linda,

I was quite interested to read your column “Democratic blogging pool needs to work toward integration.” I expected to hear the same argument about race that has become the reason I tend to avoid most “opinion” about some race argument. The most recent items to make me cringe were the opinions being flaunted after the radio comments from the Fox station. I, quite honestly, expected more defensive posturing and emotion flung back and forth until no one remembered the initial issue at play.

I don’t know if you can imagine how relieved I was to read your column and discover, not only intelligent discussion, but someone who was honestly trying to look at both sides of the issue. After looking over some of your blog posts, I was gratified to find this seems to be how you generally look at things. I did not agree with everything you said, but was inspired to think in a different way about others.

As an Alaska Native woman, I have often found it difficult to find something of my own voice in the community. Your encouragement toward Alaska Native writers has quite literally prompted me into action, and – though woefully behind the times technologically – I signed up for a blog account this morning.

Finding a Native voice in Anchorage , much less Alaska or the nation, is not a very fun affair. I agree that everyone is entitled to their own opinion, but Google “Native health care” or “Alaska Native women” and the commentary is overwhelmingly ignorant, biased, and, many times, hurtful. A Native woman with an opinion is a very high tightrope to walk. Speak too loudly, and you’re just another complaining voice (and probably drunk, to boot). Speak too softly, and nobody hears you.

I come from a background of many problems, just as the rest of the world does. But I am proud to come from a culture that promotes respect and listening to others. Before this country came to know democracy as it is, or women were given the vote, every man in the village of my ancestors had an equal say in council, and women could be chief. I do not say my people are better – only that we have much of value to give to this global community.

Thank you for your opinion, but most of all, for the respect you show people.


Writing Raven"
I quite literally burst into tears when I read her email. As much as I've firmly resolved to continue discussion on racial issues no matter what I get called or how many mistakes I make, I have felt to a certain degree like I've been beating my head against the wall with ALL SIDES in the discussion. Pam's posts and discussions have been a place to breathe but many other places are like going into battle.

Writing Raven made it all worth it.

Here is a link to her brand new blog, Alaska Real. I've offered to meet with her and show her some of the blogging/Blogger basics. In the mean time, Raven is a talented writer who could definitely use some encouragement!


Thursday, June 05, 2008

Obama "Had me at hello..." twice today.

There are times when politicians do something so cool, so fabulous, so non-politician-like that I call these "you had me at hello" moments. It's from the movie "Jerry McGuire," for those (3 people) who don't recognize the line.

Well, tonight Obama "had me at hello" twice - from the Politico:
Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) is moving on two fronts to make transparency a linchpin of his campaign, opening his fundraisers to reporters and clamping down on the Democratic National Committee’s fundraising from Washington insiders.

The moves, announced on his second full day as the party’s de facto presidential nominee, are designed to drive a campaign message of change versus more of the same, aides said.

His likely opponent, Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), closes his fundraisers to the press. Beginning last night, Obama will open all of his fundraisers to at least a pool reporter, who will share the information with the rest of the press corps.

Beginning Thursday, the DNC will no longer accept checks from federal lobbyists or political action committees, mirroring the strict standard Obama adopted for his presidential campaign.

“This is an important step that shows Sen. Obama is willing to take tough steps to change the way Washington works,” said Dan Pfeiffer, the campaign’s deputy communications director.

The policy, which will not hurt fundraising appreciably, is not retroactive.

My friend KUDO 1080 talk radio host Shannyn Moore says that the way a guy can get to her is by talking about the Constitution. The way someone can get to me is by forcefully making ethical behavior the standard.


And then he did it again...from Daily Kos:
As Obama moves to unify the Democratic Party, he is sending his strategist Paul Tewes to join the DNC. But Howard Dean will remain. Obama campaign spokesperson Bill Burton:
"Senator Obama appreciates the hard work that Chairman Dean has done to grow our party at the grassroots level and looks forward to working with him as the chairman of the Democratic Party as we go forward."

My man Howard is staying!!! I didn't expect Obama to get rid of him but you just never know. Now all Obama has to do is make John Edwards his VP and I'll probably turn into a puddle of tears!

Awwww...what the heck. Here's the clip from "Jerry McGuire" so that everyone can get as misty as I am!

VP Madness...let's all play!!!!!!

CQ Politics has a fun game they call "VP Madness" where folks pick the Vice Presidential candidate in several rounds:
It's time for presumed Democratic nominee Barack Obama to turn his attention to a running mate. To help, we bring you the second installment of VP Madness, where users decide who Obama should choose as his #2. Vote in the head-to-head match ups below to determine which candidates advance to face each other in the next round. You can view the latest results by clicking the button at the bottom of the page. The winner will be revealed on July 1 in plenty of time for Obama to consider your choice.

In the GOP Edition, former Arkansas Governor (and former presidential candidate) Mike Huckabee was chosen as John McCain's best bet.

Here's a video where the CQ political experts introduce the candidates:

I chose: Bob Casey, Tom Vilsack, Richard Gephardt, Anthony Zinni, John Edwards, Brian Schweitzer, Evan Bayh, Wesley Clark, Kathleen Sebelius, Tim Kaine, Max Cleland, Tim Roemer, Bill Richardson, Janet Napolitano, Colin Powell, Bill Bradley

Post your choices in the comments!

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Nome Senator Donny Olson testifies for the grand jury

Yup - the grand jury still meets the first week of every month. How'd you like THAT jury duty. (It lasts for 6 months)

So Sen. Olson missed the first day of the special session. Per ADN:
State Sen. Donny Olson, whose offices were searched in the early stages of a federal political corruption investigation, testified before a federal grand jury in Anchorage on Wednesday, according to his lawyer, Paul Stockler.

Olson was subpoenaed to appear and cooperated, Stockler said. Stockler said they've been directed by prosecutors not to say more.

The senator missed the first full day of the special legislative session in Juneau on a natural gas pipeline project.

There is no indication that Olson is a target of the grand jury, Stockler said.

"We've been cooperating for some time and we have a written agreement with the government," the lawyer said.

Olson, a Democrat from Nome, is one of six state legislators whose offices were searched by FBI agents in August 2006, when the federal probe of political corruption burst into public view. All the others are Republicans.

Stockler said he could not say whether Olson's testimony relates to that investigation.

So expect another whole wave of speculation every week as to who is going to be indicted.

Oh, Ben...

Hey...I can dream!

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My State Representative, Berta Gardner's "Berta's Briefing" on AGIA and the Special Session

I am fortunate to live in a district where I have two of the best Progessives in State House and State Senate - Berta Gardner and Johnny Ellis.

Both of them put out excellent, educational email briefings. I don't write much on the gas line issue because I actually have rather "fluid" opinions on the subject (I haven't totally made up my mind yet) but I thought this was a really good summary of the Administration's opinion and the questions before them.

Why don’t we insist on the “All Alaska Line” to Valdez?

Understandably many Alaskans favor a line from the North Slope to Valdez because they believe it will happen faster, would bring gas close to our population centers for local use and would employ more Alaskans. The Administration’s response is:

1. This option may be profitable, but it is not the most profitable option for the state (or the producers).

2. It no longer has the timing advantage it once had because Trans-Canada has done permitting and other work that may allow their line to be completed as quickly as any Valdez line.

3. AGIA requirements and the Trans-Canada proposal protect Alaskan access to gas for in-state use.

4. An all Alaska route to Valdez would not be the best way to promote jobs for Alaskans because the size limitations do not open up the North Slope basin to new exploration.

5. The best market for Alaska LNG from Valdez would be the Far East , which brings the potentially serious challenge of requiring federal export licenses.

Why should we offer $500 million for a pipeline when the producers say they will build a line without our money?

1. Commissioner Irwin turned this question around by asking “Why would BP/Conoco-Phillips turn down $500 million?” It is because the state money effectively buys real commitment and a proposal that opens up the North Slope basin to new companies that will be assured of access to a pipeline at reasonable shipping costs. This is the real benefit to the state and, in my opinion, the heart of AGIA. We want to not only take our gas to market, but also to invite new investment in a meaningful way. This threatens the control the big oil companies currently have over our resources. The new investors coming to our state will be the path for Alaskan employment and long term jobs.

2. The state cash investment will result in a lower tariff on shipments that over time will effectively not only pay back our $500 million but provide an additional $200 million. The money is not a gift but our own “skin in the game” which will generate broad returns.

What if the oil companies refuse to put gas in the pipeline?

1. Testimony by internationally recognized experts is absolutely clear that the lease holders have a duty to develop and market our resources when they can profitably do so. During the previous administration, the industry insisted that a pipeline for our gas was a hugely risky proposal and required major (and costly) concessions from the state. According to the Palin Administration, AGIA and the Trans-Canada proposal have removed this argument. When a pipeline is constructed, the producers will have a hard time saying it is “too risky” to commit the gas.

2. The US Congress has already determined that an Alaska gas pipeline is in the national interest. This means that the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) can approve a plan without shipper commitment.

Ultimately, the approval of the Trans-Canada proposal gives Alaska both a carrot and a stick to compel the producers to ship the gas. The carrots are that AGIA and Trans-Canada offer 10 year tax certainty on shipping commitments made at the first open season, the opportunity for the producers to become partners in the line, and the state offers other royalty concessions. The stick is that their failure to participate risks federal charges of anti-trust, market manipulation and price-fixing. The bottom line here is that while the President urges OPEC nations to produce more oil and gas for the world market, and while the nation wants (and needs) Alaska ’s gas, a “robustly profitable” option to bring our gas to market is right before us.

I'm Berta, and I'm listening.

Extension of the campaign has caused money shortfall for the DNC - DNCC feels the pinch and consolidates

per the Denver Post:
After months of planning for two dozen parties to fete the 56 delegations to the Democratic National Convention, the city's host committee is considering scrapping those parties in favor of one bash.

Facing a shortfall in the amount of private money the host committee needs to do such things as throw these parties, planners are notifying the different venues that they won't be needing the spaces on Aug. 24, the Sunday before the convention opens.

"It has the potential to save money," host committee spokesman Chris Lopez said today.

While they don't say it in this article, they did talk about it in the Washington Post a little over a week ago. This is a direct result of Hillary Clinton staying in the race. While she and Barack Obama raised record amounts of cash, the DNC is far behind the RNC in their own coffers.
The host committee is responsible for raising $40.6 million in private cash donations by June 16 to do such things as help transform the Pepsi Center into a convention hall, create media facilities in and outside the hall, and to host the parties.

Because the committee is far behind in fundraising — last month, officials reported only $25 million had been banked — the committee is looking for ways to cut costs.

It looks as if the same day of the story, the DNCC came up with a solution.

Per my email and Demcon Watch.
Denver, CO - June 4, 2008 - After consultation with the Democratic National Convention Committee, the Denver 2008 Host Committee today announced that it will direct delegates to a single celebration commemorating the recovery and rebuilding of areas affected by Hurricane Katrina in lieu of individual delegate welcoming events. The event, to be hosted by the Friends of New Orleans, will be held Sunday, Aug. 24, three years after Katrina devastated New Orleans and the Gulf Coast Region in August, 2005.

The single-event format provides a natural forum to unite delegates and other convention guests in a festive environment for a worthwhile cause on an important anniversary. Friends of New Orleans is an international organization committed to supporting the ongoing recovery and rebuilding of the Gulf Coast Region.

"People across the country have poured their heart and soul into helping rebuild New Orleans and the surrounding Gulf Coast Region," said Host Committee President/Chair Elbra Wedgeworth. "This event will recognize those efforts, and we hope all of the delegates and guests to the Democratic National Convention will join in this commemorative event."

This consolidation supported by the Democratic National Convention Committee will enable the Host Committee to focus greater resources and energy into activities taking place in and around the Pepsi Center, where the actual Convention is being held Aug. 25-Aug. 28. This also provides the City of Denver and Convention attendees a chance to honor the three-year anniversary of Katrina.

Previous plans for delegate welcoming events included gatherings at 24 different locations around Denver, each of which would host anywhere from one to five delegations. The consolidation of the delegate celebrations will not, however, detract from Denver's efforts to showcase itself to the tens of thousands of elected officials, delegates, media and other guests who will be in Denver for the Convention. Hundreds of events are planned in and around Denver that will highlight the city's cultural diversity and rich history. The Historic Five Points Jazz Festival, Media Welcoming Celebration and Symposia of the Rockies are just some of the events taking place at unique spots around the city during Convention Week.

Now this is the part that excites me!
Following this event, which will invite all 56 delegations attending the 2008 Democratic National Convention, Denver's Fillmore Auditorium will present the "New Orleans All-Star Jam-Balaya," a concert featuring both the music and food that made New Orleans famous.

Oooooh...red beans and rice while listening to Cajun music.

Oh PLEASE let the bloggers come!!!!!!

Anchorage Daily News; My Community Voices column for June 5, 2008

This year, the Democratic National Committee decided to do something new for the National Convention. They decided to create a “State Blogger Pool” by credentialing one blog to sit with each state delegation on the Convention floor.

Several weeks ago, my blog “Celtic Diva’s Blue Oasis” was honored to be chosen as Alaska’s blog in Denver this August.

While all of us who were chosen were euphoric and dealing with the new-found attention, there was trouble brewing among some of the blogs who were not selected. Some of them were blogs who felt they better fit the criteria as a “state blog” and felt that their past criticism of their state or local Democratic Party effected the outcome. (Several had verifiable proof.)

However, there was another accusation that was much more controversial and mostly ignored in the blogosphere…until the mainstream media got the story. Several “blogs-of-color” claimed that all of the blogs in the State Blogger Pool were “white-male blogs“…suggesting that the DNC designed that on purpose. Two of the black bloggers claimed that since the State Blogs had special floor access the DNC did not want “black people on the floor.”

I was one of the state bloggers and not male so I took exception. The discussion became a back-and-forth with one of the black bloggers where I questioned how it was possible to know the ethnicity and gender and of all state bloggers due to “Internet anonymity.” I also commented that there were still a number of blogs to be selected in the General Blogger Pool. It was pointed out to me that the General Pool didn’t have the same floor access that the State Bloggers did. I commented that the blogs raising the issue were also mostly nationally focused. I explained that when I saw state focus was part of the criteria, it motivated me to change my focus more to state issues. I claimed that’s what was needed if they wanted to fit the state blogger criteria. The blogger interpreted that to mean I was saying that blacks were “lazy” and accused me of being racist.

I believe this debate is indicative of many discussions on race. It was interesting how many people were watching our conversation but no one else from the white community was jumping in, unless they were doing their own story on it. I participated in a less emotional discussion on another blog and it was very hard to get people to talk. Folks were also afraid of being labeled as a “racist.”

However, if we don’t take that risk there is no dialogue. Honest discussion means that we will slip up or be misunderstood. We have to keep our cool and force ourselves to see the issue behind the other person’s view even if we are offended by how they make that argument. All participants in a debate on race have to resist the temptation to blame and work together towards true long-term solutions in order to succeed.

Everyone has a part here: The Democratic National Committee needs to more thoroughly think through a solution to inadequate participation by “bloggers of color.” The blogosphere needs to more actively work towards integration and help and encourage minority bloggers. Lawmakers need to aggressively push for greater access to the Internet regardless of economic status. I believe that correcting those areas is the only way to ensure the same thing does not happen at the next Democratic National Convention.

The issue struck home with me when I looked around at my esteemed fellow-bloggers at the Alaska Democratic Convention. While we saw much diversity among the delegates, we bloggers were three white men and a white woman.

I want to be part of the solution and I want to find more writers-of-color to be contributors to “Blue Oasis,”especially Alaska Native writers. Alaska’s diversity needs to be better represented in the blogosphere.

If anyone is interested in being a contributor, please contact me at celticdivaak@yahoo.com

Stevens and McCain sittin' in a tree...

I scanned around my favorite Alaska blogs but it seems we all missed this one.

Per Cliff Schecter's Campaign Silo on May 28th:

Does it bother anyone else that these people are making foreign policy decisions when they are clearly ignorant? This is from KFQD with conservative talk show host Dan Fagan:

We expect Al Qaeda to come out some time today with a new manifesto where they ought to be using weapons of mass destruction against the United States. That means that they're realizing they can't win in Iraq. I think they're going to change their way of doing business. And I think we have to be on the alert. These people are all over the world. Al Qaeda's not just in Iraq. They're in Iran. They're in the Philippines. Sen Inouye and I went down to [indistinguishable]. They're over in Indonesia. They're all over.
Ok Ted. Can we got over this one more time. There are Sunnis (Al Qaeda) and Shiites (Iran). They are at war in Iraq, as well as much of the rest of the Middle East and Far East. Think Catholics and Protestants in Northern Ireland. I know it probably helps you to imagine Christianity and white people.

Perhaps Ted has "lost his bearings" as well?

Actually, it seems that he has an awful lot in common with McSame. They are both Vets but don't seem to particularly care about Veterans.

Take the GI Bill. Ted Stevens refused to be a co-signer on the Senate version when Sen Murkowski already was. He was already pushing the McCain alternative before it had even been introduced.

As a matter-of-fact, I was talking to Alaska Vets about the GI Bill and was getting the most curious responses...that the McCain Bill would somehow be better. A number of Vet organizations, starting with IAVA refuted that.

However, the Alaska State Vietnam Veteran's of America Council President, Ric Davidge, was putting out information promoting a something completely different. In a list of his "accomplishments" for the year:

Senator Murkowski was a cosponsor of S22/revised, known as the Web GI bill. SCP [State Council President] has also continued to work with Sen. McCain’s office on their bill introduced last month. It is likely these two bills will be combined and reshaped by Sen. Ted Stevens.

Huh? So cutting down on the benefits from the Webb Bill would be a GOOD THING for Alaska Vets?

Of course, it's not a surprise to discover that Ric Davidge used to serve as an aide for Senator Stevens. It makes one wonder if he's not still serving Stevens rather than the best interests of the Veterans of Alaska.

...to be continued...

I just love, Love, LOVE John Aravosis - his Hillary rants are the BEST!

From Americablog:

Obama won tonight and she still can't concede. Take a flying leap. You lost. You nasty woman. She can't decide what she wants to do, whether she concedes or not. So she wants people to email her and help her decide. What a nasty woman. Oh, and don't suggest to her that another woman take the VP position - Hillary's staff already made clear that Obama isn't allowed to offer the position to any other women, even though Hillary doesn't want it. She's just a nasty nasty woman. I'm so glad the Democratic leadership gave her space and her time to grieve. How's that working for you?

Olbermann just noted that she was introduced by her campaign chair who said "Are you ready for the next president of the United States?" Yes, we are. His name is Barack Obama.

UPDATE: Russert says a top Clinton adviser told him that she wants to be VP. That'll be the day. How you Obama people liking her so far? Can you imagine another 8 years with her around your neck?

A great comment from AMERICAblog reader Dula - this definition is for real, I just looked it up:
Narcissistic Personality Disorder
The symptoms of narcissistic personality disorder revolve around a pattern of grandiosity, need for admiration, and sense of entitlement. Often individuals feel overly important and will exaggerate achievements and will accept, and often demand, praise and admiration despite worthy achievements. They may be overwhelmed with fantasies involving unlimited success, power, love, or beauty and feel that they can only be understood by others who are, like them, superior in some aspect of life.

There is a sense of entitlement, of being more deserving than others based solely on their superiority. These symptoms, however, are a result of an underlying sense of inferiority and are often seen as overcompensation. Because of this, they are often envious and even angry of others who have more, receive more respect or attention, or otherwise steal away the spotlight.

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Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Obama speech=amazing; Clinton speech=infuriating; McCain speech=creepy-old-man-alert

McCain made a HUGE mistake going first.

If you read the speech, it's actually OK.

It's total and complete bull, but it doesn't give me the heebies...it's just irritating as always.

And also, as always, his delivery SUCKS! He comes off as REALLY condescending...to everyone listening. He sounds like he's reading a Dick and Jane book to his grandkids.

Also, he should never, never, never try to laugh during a speech...ewwwwww...it was REALLY creepy...

For Hillary...it was everything she DIDN'T say.

She didn't concede.

She didn't acknowledge Obama as the presumptive nominee.

She kept up the same old drumbeats of "counting every vote" and "winning the swing states."


Obama...well...listen for yourself...


And, yes, I did shed a tear.

I think that there is a distinct possibility that Sarah Palin will be offered the VP slot

John McCain is wooing Hillary Clinton supporters tonight.

If he's going to all of that trouble, short of having Clinton on the ballot, he's going to need a woman on the ticket to pull them in. It's going to have to be a woman with charisma.

I just watched MSNBC present Sarah Palin as being "on the short-list," along with Kay Bailey-Hutchinson.

This is getting very interesting...

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Alaska doesn't act like it's a "people's government"

This was written by my friend and former co-worker, Bobbie Reilly and submitted for a Letter to the Editor to the Anchorage Daily News.

When she speaks on these issues, folks should listen...she's a Civil/Environmental Engineer with a ton of experience involving the ports and harbors as well as water and other building/maintenance projects in the State of Alaska.

When did government stop being "Of the People, By the People, For the People" and become a corporation?

Our State is awash in money yet senior citizens pay $5 to play cards at the Center.

We have enough money to hire helicopters to slaughter wolves from the air, but we don't fund the ferry system that provides transportation, supplies, and services to remote areas.

The State spends $400,000 dollars on "educating" the people of Alaska to the benefits of aerial wolf shooting, when we've voted it down twice!

How come the State spends $2 MILLION dollars on propaganda saying earthen dams, twice the size of Hoover dam, in a seismic zone, opening into world class crab and fishing grounds is OK, but no one talks about the jobs, and industry created by the construction of windmill farms, solar energy, geothermal plants, and tidal current turbines?

How come, we can send out $100 a month to help with energy bills, but our roads are pot holes and ruts and we have no plan for mass public transportation, think mono-rails or bullet trains, which ease congestion, save money and are more healthy. What happened to our government?

What has happened to us?

Barbara Reilly

Monday, June 02, 2008

Blogging for LGBT Families Day: What the 1993 LGBT March on Washington was REALLY like

I've told the story before but a number of folks weren't around at the time. I figured today would be a good day to repeat it.

20 years ago I was the proud member of a band called Sky Is Blu and because of our majority-lesbian make-up (and full support for LGBT civil rights from the whole band) we were selected to represent Alaska at the "March on Washington for LGBT Rights" in April 1993.

We had just finished a demoralizing fight here in Anchorage where Municipal employees won the right to non-discrimination if they were gay, then lost it again when the rabid right mobilized and voted more conservative members into the Assembly (which finally was reversed for the first time this last election). We were raw, excited, nervous and not sure what to expect.

I know one thing I DIDN'T expect, despite all the peripheral festivities, the actual March was like soccer moms and dads on parade!

Seriously, I have never seen SO many mini-vans, organic baby carriers, jogging-style strollers, kids in rainbow shirts running beside doting parents. It looked like any flippin' park in the US on a summer weekend, except that the couples were same-sex.

That was the majority of the March...seriously. It wasn't some pocket of LGBT Yuppies - the actual "pockets" of marchers were the leather folks (not that there is anything wrong with that! ), etc...

Of course, "the pockets" were the folks that the 700 Club found and filmed. However, even they had to admit on the air that the majority of the marchers were no more interesting than your next-door neighbors.

So, I guess the title of this story is: LGBT Families--just as boring as yours!

Read more LGBT Family stories at my favorite, funky little Alaska town, Bent, Alaska!

Morrigan is working on her photography skills

We're heading out to Sutton tomorrow. If the weather holds, we'll be taking a bunch of pictures of the Mat Su River.

Sunday, June 01, 2008

Hillary getting a Cabinet position? Did the Brits scoop us? Plus - The Vanity Fair article on Bill Clinton link is HERE!!!!

Pam's House Blend mentions it first.

Per the UK Telegraph:
Hillary Clinton will be offered a dignified exit from the presidential race and the prospect of a place in Barack Obama's cabinet under plans for a "negotiated surrender" of her White House ambitions being drawn up by Senator Obama's aides.

The former First Lady would get the chance to pilot Mr Obama’s reforms of the American healthcare system if she agrees to clear the path to his nomination as Democratic presidential candidate.

Senior figures in the Obama camp have told Democrat colleagues that the offer to Mrs Clinton of a cabinet post as health secretary or to steer new legislation through the Senate will be a central element of their peace overtures to the New York senator.

Mr Obama said on Thursday that he believed he would have secured the support of enough delegates to make him the standard bearer of his party in November’s presidential election by the end of this week.

I'm waiting and wondering to see if anyone else picks this up.

Not-so-positive Clinton news:

Americablog reports on the Clinton reaction to the "Vanity Fair" article accusing Bill of inappropriate behavior...again...

John also conveniently provides us with a LINK to the article as well as a LINK to Ben Smith's Blog which has the 2000 word angry response memo from the Clintons.

My reception of this article post-Hillary's campaign is very different that what it would have been pre-campaign. (i.e. I'm much more likely to believe it.)

I'll let you know after I read it.

You have GOT to be kidding me.

Front page Daily News story - gun enthusiasts are reeling from the high price of ammunition:
Across Alaska, and across the country, ammunition prices have spiked over the past two years. In some cases, the costs have more than doubled, and shooters, shops and ammo-makers mostly blame the soaring cost of metal.

In a state where politicians argue over who loves guns the most, the price of a round has far-flung impact.

Just ask members of the Alaska Machine Gun Association, who practically breathe bullets.

"That same ammo that we bought for, say, 6 cents a round three years ago is now 35 cents a round," said Dave Arieno, president of the club.
Oh, wahhhh...for God's sake! Folks are having a problem feeding themselves and getting to work because of food and gas prices, and these guys are whining about the expense of their hobby. Because let's not fool ourselves, poor folks can't afford to be gun enthusiasts, K?
There was a delay between the increasing commodities cost and ammunition prices as manufacturers ate the loss, said gunsmith Steve Untiet, who owns Alaska Custom Firearms on the Old Seward Highway.

No more, Untiet said. Ammo-makers began passing the cost on to consumers about two years ago -- which is around the time retailers and buyers say prices shot upward.

The industry magazines say people are reloading more, or making their own ammunition rather than buying new shells, and firing fewer rounds, he said.

"But the guys down at the range tell me they're just as busy as ever."

Of course they are - they service the folks in Rabbit Creek and on the Hillside. They can afford to blow a bunch of ammo at a range.

I have empathy for the folks out in the Bush. Many of them subsistence hunt small game so this would definitely be one more expense they don't need. However, they'll just be more conservative with their ammo. It's the guys that are shooting off 1,200 rounds a month who are whining.

Only in Alaska would we see this one on the front page with everything else going on.

Let's clean our palate, shall we?

Two versions of the National Anthem today compliments of Americablog. The first one is John Legend, with the surprising baritone/bass provided by Stephen Colbert.

The second is Fenway Park on "Disability Awareness Day." The crowd helps out when the young man gets nervous.

It's a nice reminder of the America we are fighting to take back.