Celtic Diva's Blue Oasis: 6/8/08 - 6/15/08

Friday, June 13, 2008

Here's hoping the fundraising goes better tomorrow...Garage Sale Report

K...it could have gone better.

Part of it is that we don't have a lot of high-ticket items but even the stuff I expected to sell didn't.

However, it does seem that the bake sale aspect did pretty well.

Sooo...we'll sell more donuts, baked goods, etc... for donations.

Come by and have tea!

Johnny Ellis Newsletter - Latest from the Special Session

June 13th, 2008

Friends and Neighbors,

The legislature has met every day since convening June 3rd for extensive presentations by experts and spirited questions and debate between lawmakers. It was a string of long working days, including Saturday and Sunday. The experts included Governor Palin’s gas line team and the consultants they have hired, as well as independent consultants hired by the legislature to provide an outside perspective. The hearings have hit the road, with meetings in Fairbanks yesterday, today, and tomorrow, and will come to Anchorage starting Monday.

The Anchorage hearings will be held at the Howard Johnson hotel at the corner of 4th Ave and C St each weekday from 9 AM to 5 PM, and are open to the public. On Wednesday and Thursday from 6 to 8 PM, we will open the floor to public testimony so that everyone can make their voice heard. These hearings are a great opportunity for each of you to immerse yourself in this important discussion. You can find a detailed schedule of the week at www.aksenate.org.

Here’s a quick recap of the basic questions involved:

Where are we now? Last year, the legislature passed the Alaska Gasline Inducement Act (AGIA), which laid out the state’s incentives to build a pipeline and a set of must-haves that applicants needed to provide to receive those incentives. The administration has decided that only one applicant, TransCanada, fulfilled all of those must-haves in their application. Now, the legislature has to decide whether to award the license, and the incentives that go with it.

What are the incentives? And what do we get in return? The most visible of the incentives is $500 million in matching funds to the winning applicant. Along with that, however, the state also commits to a number of non-financial requirements, such as not providing assistance to a competing pipeline. In exchange, TransCanada agrees to take the project through FERC certification (the required federal approval process) and open season (accepting bids for gas to put down the pipeline), as well as in-state accessibility, Alaska hire, and other provisions. The $500 million will be used to lower tariffs on the line, to the point where over the first 25 years of the project, the state will earn an additional $1.2 billion.

What about the producers? Nothing in AGIA or in the license prevents anyone – BP/ConocoPhillips, TransCanada, or anyone else – from building a pipeline without state assistance. The producers submitted a proposal outside of AGIA which did not provide the guarantees the state was looking for, either in terms of a commitment to build or commitments on how a line would operate after it is constructed. However, TransCanada has always said that it is open to a partnership, and this seems to be a likely option.

Who is TransCanada? Although they are new to Alaska , TransCanada is one of the largest pipeline companies in the world, having built 36,000 miles of pipeline in Canada , the U.S. , and Mexico . They have a track record of completing extremely large projects on time and on budget, and every financial expert we have has confirmed their technical ability to construct this gas line.

How much gas is there? Right now, there are approximately 35 trillion cubic feet (tcf) of proven reserves on the North Slope , and average estimates of undiscovered conventional resources total an additional 227 tcf. This is a world-class gas basin – among the largest remaining unexplored regions on the planet.

What happens next? The legislature has to approve or deny the license by midnight on August 2nd. After we finish our statewide hearing schedule, we will return to Juneau for that vote. If we award the license, TransCanada will begin work. If we don’t, we’ll need to go back to the drawing board and figure out another way to bring our reserves to market.

Olbermann mourns Tim Russert...along with the rest of us

Mark Begich Live Blogging at 3:00 PM ADT - blogging from my garage sale...

I got an email telling me about the liveblogging at the EENR blog.

What they say about themselves:
A couple of things about EENRblog.com:

*We take the principle of civil discourse seriously. That doesn't mean no disagreements but it does mean remaining respectful. :-D
*We don't allow anonymous commenting so folks will have to register to post. If folks have any trouble doing so, they should contact us at eenrblog@gmail dot com

Whoa...Sen. Lyda Green announced tonight that she will not seek re-election...this is HUGE!

It's especially huge considering the deadline to enter has passed and Linda Menard was against her in the Primary, while Progressive Erick Cordero Giorgana is running in the general.

That's just incredible!

Per the Daily News:

State Senate President Lyda Green will not seek re-election, she announced Thursday night.

In a statement released in the form of a letter to Alaskans, Green cited her belief that the majority of state lawmakers would support Gov. Sarah Palin's AGIA plan for a natural gas pipeline as a primary reason for her decision.

"Since returning to the Valley, it has also become clear to me that a very large majority of my constituents also support and believe in Governor Palin's oil and gas policies," Green says in the statement.

Green says she believes Palin's course is wrong, and will be bad for Alaska.

"I must make a choice," she said.

Green faced opposition in the Republican primary from former Mat-Su School Board member Linda Menard. Erick Cordero Giorgana, a Democrat and volunteer coordinator with Alaska Legal Services Corp., would have faced the winner in the general election.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Come One, Come All!!!!!! Help me go to Denver! Plus, Yard Sale for Democratic Party at HQ.

Yup - we're selling everything we can! We'll also have tea and baked goods.

Ours is on Friday and Saturday. Click on the Flyer to see the map.

Plus, the Democratic Party is doing a Fundraising Garage Sale as well.

Dems: Saturday, June 14th 2008, at 9:00 AM

Alaska Democratic Party HQ
2602 Fairbanks Street
Anchorage, AK 99503

Faux News actually calls Michelle Obama a "Baby Mama" - signs of Republican desperation - UPDATE on more irony

I'm not kidding...per "Pam's House Blend" - "during a segment with anchor Megyn Kelly and right-wing blogger Michelle Malkin who is, naturally, a FNC contributor."

There's lots of good discussion over there about it.

The most AMAZING PART of all this - if you follow THE LINK and watch the video, that "headline" keeps flashing in and out while Michelle Malkin is talking about "it's all fair game" against Michelle Obama as long as no one takes any "cheap shots." (Isn't Michelle Malkin's picture in the dictionary under the definition of "cheap shots?")

Ahhhh...I love the smell of irony in the morning.

So, Progressive bloggers and supporters, we can see exactly what this campaign is turning into. It's going to be one racist bash after another from McCain supporters because it's all they have. Obama got his post-nomination bump - in a huge way per the latest NBC/Wallstreet Journal poll. Keith Olbermann, did great coverage on that last night on Countdown:

Did you see where women support Obama over McCain 52% to 33%? That's before a lot of those Hillary wounds have healed. It's going to get worse for him.

And that means it's going to get uglier by organizations from which McCain can distance himself - like an entire network at Fox News!

I see myself as part of the "Obama Army". When I'll be deciding what stories to print on McCain, my first question will be "what would a 527 do?" OK...they'd print it even if it was a lie. That I won't do. However, as far as I'm concerned if it's true I don't care how slimy, sleezy or disgusting it is. I'll absolutely put on my Playtex gloves and dig in!


I almost forgot about this piece of news from Monocot's very informational DNCC post:
The stationary cameras are controlled however by Fox(!!), so I fully expect to see many shots of nose picking and other unflattering shots. Delegates, be on your best behavior ;)

Ummm...did we think that would be the LEAST dangerous place to put them?

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

You owe it to your beer...

News from the DNCC

Today I went to the DNCC community forum. The event was hosted to answer questions and provide information about the ongoing planning for the 2008 Democratic Convention.

The event was hosted by: DNCC CEO Leah Daughtry and senior staff: Sky Gallegos, Travis Dredd, and Cameron Mood. They showed a few short clip videos and then followed with a question and answer session. Here are some of the highlights:
Local participation at the convention
The convention will start off with an interfaith gathering Sunday, August 24 in the Wells Fargo Theater at the Colorado Convention Center. It will be open to the public.
The Pepsi Center will be opened for tours one week prior to the start of the Convention after the decorations are set up.
Caucuses will also be open to the public. The Caucuses will be held at the Colorado Convention Center, and will meet twice a week. The Black Caucus and Hispanic Caucus will both be held on Monday/Wednesday, the Women Caucus will be held on Tuesday/Thursday and the Military Caucus will be held on Tuesday/Thursday. Caucus times are from 10am to 4pm.
The entire convention will be streamed on the internet at http://www.demconvention.com/ , it will also be displayed at multiple kiosks "viewing areas" thoroughout the city. The stationary cameras are controlled however by Fox(!!), so I fully expect to see many shots of nose picking and other unflattering shots. Delegates, be on your best behavior ;)
Essay contests on leadership have been held in the Colorado area, and winners chosen. Many of these children will be participating at the convention as pages.
Day in the life of a delegate
Delegates will meet at their respective hotels for breakfast from 7-9am. If you are not at the breakfast, your credentials will be given away to someone else, so be sure to wake up and drag yourself in early. At 9:30, there will be shuttle buses that go downtown. The shuttles are fully handicap accessible. This is after rush hour traffic, so should not cause congestion issues. Most delegates then have a free day to view the city till 4:00pm, at which point the main event starts. The convention itself will be from 4-9pm, with shuttle buses running till one hour after the end.
Delegates will also have the opportunity to participate in community service. Curtis park was mentioned as a cleanup point for a delegate service day.
Most delegates aren't invited to parties, so local resturants and vendors were encouraged to attract delegates to their location with experiences that are authentically Denver.
If you aren't signed up already, you probably won't be. Normal volunteers have to be at 10,000 for a convention to successfully run. Denver has 26,000 volunteers already signed up. The only volunteer opportunities presently suggested are with the Downtown Initiatives. Interested parties should contact: 3035346161.
Best Quote of the Day
During the question and answer session, a 16 year old boy asked Leah Daughtry what advice she could give those people interested in the political process and the history being made at the convention this year. Her suggestion, "Get in the way. Change doesn't happen if you sit on the sidelines."
IT/Blogging stuff
I spoke with Aaron Silverstein and Aaron Myers about the bloggers. He provided this information:
There will be computer kiosks throughout the floor that will allow wired internet access as well as in the lounging area.
Wifi will not be allowed as it interferes with the television signals of the broadcasters. This will be especially problematic this year, as many of the stations will be broadcasting in both digital and analog.
Credentialed bloggers will have lounge staff there to provide technical support. There are no limits on the operating systems/browsers that they will be supporting, so everyone install linux if you want to give the volunteers a workout ;)
Internet bandwidth will be provided by Qwest, with level 3 providing vivix fiber optic transport for video.
Every credentialed blogger will have floor access. The state bloggers will be with their delegates, the National bloggers will receive passes. Only bloggers compete for blogger passes. They will not be competing with journalists for their passes. Myers interated that he believes the number of passes will be enough that people will have the access they need.
Myers also indicated that he would be making a new announcements over the next few weeks pertinent to bloggers and additional access/features they will have, so keep your eyes open.
-- Monocot

Ted Stevens has chosen his constituency and it ain't us

From the Alaska Democratic Party yesterday:

Anchorage, Alaska – U.S. Senator Ted Stevens (R-AK) blocked legislation today which would have included a provision that allows plaintiffs of the Exxon Valdez oil spill to average any settlement that they receive in connection with pending litigation in the federal courts over three years for federal tax purposes and allow these individuals to use these funds to make contributions to retirement accounts. Today, with the help of Stevens, the Senate failed to pass a gas relief bill and a tax relief bill. [Roll Call Vote #146, Roll Call Vote #147]

"Senator Stevens voted against Alaskan families today," said Patti Higgins, State Chair for the Alaska Democratic Party. "Gas prices are at record highs and families are being stretched thin. These bills could have made a real difference. Unfortunately, Stevens continues to leave middle class families behind."
* *
Rising gas prices have made it difficult for Alaskan families to stretch their household budgets. In May 2001, the average retail price per gallon of gasoline in Alaska was $1.67. The average gas price per gallon is $4.18 as of May 19, 2008. When adjusted for inflation, this represents an increase of 107 percent. [Federal Highway Administration, U.S. Department of Transportation; American Automobile Association.] *The Consumer-First Energy Act* would have addressed some of the root causes of the record high gas prices. It would have rolled back tax breaks for oil companies while investing in renewable energy, created an Energy Independence Trust Fund to help consumers meet high energy costs, supporting clean energy technologies, and improving energy efficiency, stopped Wall Street speculation that is artificially driving up oil prices, prevented price gouging by oil producers and distributors, and allowed legal action in U.S. courts against OPEC for manipulating the price of oil.

*The Renewable Energy and Job Creation Act* was a tax relief package that would have included the Exxon Valdez provision. The legislation also included incentives for clean energy, college tuition tax credit, deductibility of state and local sales tax for states without income taxes, and research and development tax credit. Alaska's nearly 8,000 teachers would have saved $2 million under a provision that allowed teachers to deduct their own money spent on classroom supplies. In addition, it would have change the child tax credit to include an additional 2.9 million

Phil Munger at Progressive Alaska talks about how the GOP lips firmly attached to the oil company tailpipe is actually helping the terrorists around the world.

So Ted Stevens has chosen HIS constituency.

Progressive Candidates in Alaska may have just the energy ammunition they need with the end of the "special session." The possibility of the Legislature giving the nod to TransCanada's gas pipeline AGIA bid is looking good...something Ted Stevens has emphatically opposed. For Alaska Progressives to support and present a plan which would provide much needed energy to Alaska and the lower-48, as well as the positive ramifications it may have for the U.S. steel industry, could be the one-two punch the Dems need on the local and national scale.

The man has lost his mind...**UPDATED**

Gee, should I be flattered?

U.S. ex-pat-in-Brazil and non-practicing lawyer Francis Holland did the Internet version of "LOOK AT ME, LINDA, LOOK AT MEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!!!!!!"

Celtic Diva Suffers White Myopia

I especially enjoyed the ATTN: LINDA KELLEN BIEGEL with a link to my Anchorage Daily News column (not Alaska Daily News) and the Celtic Diva's Blue Oasis link if there was further doubt...just in case the article might slip my attention. He then posted a comment on the blog with a link to the article for that extra little guarantee.

White myopia...yeah...I don't notice the beautiful little black girl who crawls into my bed to wake me up every morning now that school is out. I know that isn't necessarily a guarantee that anyone has a clue, but the fact that I'M THE ONLY WHITE BLOGGER ADDRESSING THE ISSUE HEAD ON might give most people a general idea that I'm not your typical member of the "whitosphere," as he calls it.

But noooooooo...he and several other members of the Afrospear thinks it's a really GOOD idea to single me out for attack because I AM THE ONLY ONE who doesn't back down. Perhaps they aren't taking into account that my participation in the issue may be IN SPITE of the fact I'm attacked and that most people wouldn't bother when confronted with hostility?

Golly, I can't imagine why the DNCC might be ignoring him!!!!! Francis, you have noticed that they are discussing this with other people who are NOT YOU, right?

I won't bother to recount the majority of the article for my "gentle readers." If ya'll wanna go there, feel free. However, I did find this part to be worth repeating:
LINDA, the Democratic National Convention is still more than two months away. As a state blogger, you are authorized to bring a team of bloggers to Denver. If you are truly concerned about diversity in the state blogger pool, you will find some diverse bloggers from Alaska who want to cover the Convention, and you will invite them to go with you. Or you will refuse to participate unless some Blacks and Latinos are permitted to participate with the same privileges on the floor of the convention. Anything short of that is just more obfuscation and self-deluded whitist denial.

The beautiful irony of his comment is that Monday, Writing Raven and I had discussed the possibility of her coming to Denver. We have lots to discuss and weren't really ready to go public as we have many logistics issues to deal with, but my discussion with an AK Dem leader today was one more step on that road. We have a meeting tomorrow (at an undisclosed location **grin**) but I'll state right now that if everything falls into place (job, money, etc...) Raven will be coming with me.

And...if we can get away with it...she'll definitely be spending time on the Convention floor as well.

Of course, this probably now means he's going to unleash the dogs of war on me. God forbid I should look for candidates on my own to integrate Alaska blog coverage. Instead, I should repeatedly attack the DNC and try to strong-arm/shame/threaten them to MAKE me do it.

Yup, much more efficient.


Holy crap! Sometimes, I hate it when I'm right...and not just right, REALLY RIGHT!

This was the post I woke up to, after leaving the comment on the previous post announcing that I was bringing a PoC blogger with me to Denver:

Why Do Whitists Lie SO Much About Their Color-Aroused Behavior? It has my picture, of course, and no link to my blog because while he's telling lies about what's in it he can't exactly link to it can he?

"Dogs of war" indeed...

Here's the comment I left:

"Cognitive Dissonance: Cognitive dissonance is a psychological phenomenon which refers to the discomfort felt at a discrepancy between what you already know or believe, and new information or interpretation.

If someone is called upon to learn something which contradicts what they already think they know — particularly if they are committed to that prior knowledge — they are likely to resist the new learning."

I knew that you would be really, really, really upset that I was actually bringing a PoC writer with me to blog at the Convention because the dissonance would be so profound. However, I guess I never realized how far over the top it would send you.

I'm not going bother with most of this. I'll just point out that you can blame yourself for the fact that I won't include the "Afrospear widget" on my blogroll. After my treatment by you and at least one other blog within the Afrospear, I never want it to appear that I promote your blog. I do have "blogs of color" included: (Jack and Jill, Pam's House Blend, Zennie's Zeitgeist, Margaret Cho, Alaska Real, Kodiak Konfidential) and several are Afrospear.

Most offensively, when you point out the "white chick" in the picture, you fail to point out the reason for the picture at all...my beautiful brown daughter standing next to me...as if she's invisible. That was a picture to commemorate her very first political event...a protest of the Iraq Occupation. I was very proud that she was joining her mother in promoting Progressive ideals...the same ideals I thought you were supposedly promoting on this blog.

So, if black folks don't suit your purpose or behave differently than you think they should, you treat them like they are invisible?

I've gone out of my way to participate in--even promote this conversation (at my peril) and have received nothing but flack from you because I didn't want to seek a solution "your way"...through inflammatory accusations, intimidation and shame. You may have had some success with it in the past but I never believed it would work here. I chose to seek a solution my way...and in my little part of the world I was successful. I'm even bringing a wonderful new voice in the blogosphere...a woman-of-color...to the Convention and that was the announcement that generated this hateful, lie-filled post.

However, I actually thank you for this post. Why I thank you for it is you've proven what I've believed all along about you...you don't REALLY want a SOLUTION, you just want to fight.

****************UPDATE 2*******************

This comment from the latest article truly says it all:
Terrell, with the Bush economy the dollar is quickly losing its value overseas. It's not principally about money, though. It's about the freedom I feel.

I really don't care anything about WhiteDiva, but the whitist ideas she expresses give me an opportunity to express myself against an ideology that needs to be debunked. Since she typifies that ideology in some of the things she says, I take it as an opportunity to address and discuss that ideology.

I'm glad she'll be giving a Bantastu pass to an Alaskan native blogger that allows that blogger to enter an area of the Convention center that he would not be able to enter without permission from a white blogger.

But, I would feel humiliated to attend the Convention under those circumstances, like going to a restaurant that I would only be allowed to enter if I was in the company of white people.

Of course that seems perfectly natural to white people, but not to me.
You are furious because you never expected that anyone was really going to meet or beat the challenge you threw out there...the challenge for white bloggers to bring other bloggers of color with them. You NEVER expected anyone to actually preempt your challenge. You were just using it as a smug smoke screen.

Now you have to discount it to resolve your own "cognitive dissonance" issues because you can't LIVE with the idea that there are white Progressives out there who are almost as tired of racism, classism, religion-bashing, etc...as those who are the victims of it.

Folks really should read your article on why you live in Brazil. You bask in the Brazilian sun nursing your 1980's/1990's view of this country supported by statistics and anger. You use your blog to lob grenades at those of us of all races, religions and creeds who live, work and try to make a difference from within the U.S. Worst of all...probably deeper down than you are even aware of...you don't really WANT the racial issues in the U.S. to improve because then the justification for using your rage like a WMD and living as a tortured-black-man-ex-pat in Brazil would no longer exist.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

To Impeach or not to Impeach...

Keith Olbermann discusses Rep. Kucinich's 35 Articles of Impeachment presented yesterday and seconded today on the House floor.

The speech where Obama supports the gas line - his message to the AK Democratic Convention

Here's where Barack Obama became the one and only candidate to support the Alaska gas line.

And we have to give props to the only media outlet that pointed it out...the paper that's frequently ahead of everyone in Alaska...the Fairbanks Newsminer:
Who’s the latest elected official to pledge action on crippling fuel costs in Alaska? Barack Obama, of course.

Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama (a U.S. Senator) talked about energy costs and the gas line this weekend in a taped address to the state Democratic convention.

Obama said most people in Washington don't realize that even energy-rich Alaska is struggling with high fuel costs.

"Record oil prices are driving oil industry profits through the roof while Alaska's working families struggle to heat their homes and feed their children," he said. "That must change. We need to invest in a clean-energy future by pursuing the Alaska pipeline."

Then he said this.

"You've already taken ownership of this effort in Alaska, but you need a president who's fighting with you to make it a reality, and that's the kind of president I'll be."
Is he endorsing AGIA? It's the closest that any presidential hopeful has come to doing so.

And it's possible that a president could be the boost the project needs.
More recently, TransCanada has proposed using the federal government to ensure sufficient shipping commitments to get the project moving and/or to lessen any incentive to "goldplate" the project to make more money off it at the expense of shippers.

So, it's not inconceivable that Washington or even the president could play some role in getting a gas line built.
It sounds like the Legislature is already leaning towards TransCanada...a move I think is good news:
Daily News reporter Wesley Loy had lunch at McDonalds in Juneau today with House Speaker John Harris. Harris told Wesley he figures there’s already enough votes to give TransCanada the license and $500 million state subsidy to pursue the pipeline.
Per the Alaska Legislative Digest:
There seemed to be steadily growing support among legislators for approval of the license through the weekend, particularly after legislative consultants said there would be “no harm” in approving the license. If the final vote comes in July as expected, TransCanada will be able to salvage a portion of the current field season, it said.

As discussed in previous posts, the amount of steel required to build the pipeline could revitalize the US Steel Industry if it was made here...in states where Sen. Obama could really use the "bump." Also, the TransCanada line proposal provides a reasonable opportunity to provide energy to Alaska - especially in the rural communities.

Who is going to run with this?

Clint Eastwood managed to turn a misunderstanding into a racially-charged ruckus

First, how the dustup started, per Huffington Post:
Clint Eastwood has advised rival film director Spike Lee to "shut his face" after the African-American complained about the racial make-up of Eastwood's films.

In an interview with the Guardian published today, Eastwood rejected Lee's complaint that he had failed to include a single African-American soldier in his films Flags of Our Fathers and Letters from Iwo Jima, both about the 1945 battle for the Japanese island.

In typically outspoken language, Eastwood justified his choice of actors, saying that those black troops who did take part in the battle as part of a munitions company didn't raise the flag. The battle is known by the image of US marines raising the American flag on Mount Suribachi.

Ummm...I saw the movie, Clint. You had a lot more soldiers in there than just the few who raised the flag.
"The story is Flags of Our Fathers, the famous flag-raising picture, and they didn't do that. If I go ahead and put an African-American actor in there, people'd go: 'This guy's lost his mind.' I mean, it's not accurate." Referring to Lee, he added: "A guy like him should shut his face."
Lee's response (well, part of it):
"I never said he should show one of the other guys holding up the flag as black. I said that African-Americans played a significant part in Iwo Jima," he said. "For him to insinuate that I'm rewriting history and have one of the four guys with the flag be black ... no one said that. It's just that there's not one black in either film. And because I know my history, that's why I made that observation."

Clint, meet Iwo Jima veteran Gene Doughty:
When African Americans were recruited into the Marine Corps, they were not sent to bootcamp at one of the traditional training depots. Instead, they were segregated, experiencing basic training at Montford Point. Roughly 20,000 African American Marines were trained there from 1942 to 1949.

During this period, two defense composite battalions, the 51st and 52nd, were formed and many of its units were sent to the Pacific front of World War II. Most of the African American Marines were assigned to depots and ammunition companies and were employed in shore parties at such places as Saipan, Guam, Tinian, Peleliu, Iwo Jima, and Okinawa durning the island hopping campaign, Head said.

“The heroic actions of the Montford Point Marines during this period eventually earned them the respect of all Marines,” Head said. “By the war’s end, being a Montford Point Marine became a badge of honor.”

Doughty was one of the many Montford Point Marines sent ashore at Iwo Jima to experience one of the bloodiest and most famed battles in history. He even celebrated his 21st birthday on the black sands and remembers his squad receiving its first hot meal in almost a month that day.

And my favorite paragraph in this whole article:
“We fought just like everyone else and did our best to live up to the title Marine,” Doughty said. “At Iwo, it was said, and I quote, ‘The Negro Marine is no longer on trial. They are Marines.’ And my point is that this is not just black history. This is Marine Corps history.”

Hear that, Clint?

Monday, June 09, 2008

Five questions you'd like to ask the candidates - I need your feedback

I am going to send an email by Friday to all of the Progressive candidates for Congress and Senate with five questions. I will then compare the answers to those questions (one question at a time) from all of the candidates on five separate posts.

I need your help.

Two of them should be on national issues and three on issues related to Alaska. I have a list of a ton of questions but I need to narrow them down. If you guys tell me what questions you want asked it would help.

Let's get into it...the "first Mrs. McCain"

This is what John McCain REALLY thinks about older women.

Any Hillary Clinton supporter who thought for a second that she would get behind John McCain instead of Obama should read this article.

From Americablog who got it from the Daily Mail:

McCain likes to illustrate his moral fibre by referring to his five years as a prisoner-of-war in Vietnam. And to demonstrate his commitment to family values, the 71-year-old former US Navy pilot pays warm tribute to his beautiful blonde wife, Cindy, with whom he has four children.

But there is another Mrs McCain who casts a ghostly shadow over the Senator’s presidential campaign. She is seldom seen and rarely written about, despite being mother to McCain’s three eldest children....

[W]hen McCain returned to America in 1973 to a fanfare of publicity and a handshake from Richard Nixon, he discovered his wife had been disfigured in a terrible car crash three years earlier. Her car had skidded on icy roads into a telegraph pole on Christmas Eve, 1969. Her pelvis and one arm were shattered by the impact and she suffered massive internal injuries.

When Carol was discharged from hospital after six months of life-saving surgery, the prognosis was bleak. In order to save her legs, surgeons had been forced to cut away huge sections of shattered bone, taking with it her tall, willowy figure. She was confined to a wheelchair and was forced to use a catheter.

Through sheer hard work, Carol learned to walk again. But when John McCain came home from Vietnam, she had gained a lot of weight and bore little resemblance to her old self.

Today, she stands at just 5ft4in and still walks awkwardly, with a pronounced limp. Her body is held together by screws and metal plates and, at 70, her face is worn by wrinkles that speak of decades of silent suffering....

McCain divorced her in 1980 and married Cindy, 18 years his junior and the heir to an Arizona brewing fortune, just one month later....

'My accident is well recorded. I had 23 operations, I am five inches shorter than I used to be and I was in hospital for six months. It was just awful, but it wasn’t the reason for my divorce.

‘My marriage ended because John McCain didn’t want to be 40, he wanted to be 25. You know that happens...it just does.’

Some of McCain’s acquaintances are less forgiving, however. They portray the politician as a self-centred womaniser who effectively abandoned his crippled wife to ‘play the field’. They accuse him of finally settling on Cindy, a former rodeo beauty queen, for financial reasons....

When McCain – his hair turned prematurely white and his body reduced to little more than a skeleton – was released in March 1973, he told reporters he was overjoyed to see Carol again.

But friends say privately he was ‘appalled’ by the change in her appearance. At first, though, he was kind, assuring her: ‘I don’t look so good myself. It’s fine.’...

In 1979 – while still married to Carol – he met Cindy at a cocktail party in Hawaii. Over the next six months he pursued her, flying around the country to see her. Then he began to push to end his marriage.

Carol and her children were devastated. ‘It was a complete surprise,’ says Nancy Reynolds, a former Reagan aide....

Ted Sampley, who fought with US Special Forces in Vietnam and is now a leading campaigner for veterans’ rights, said: ‘I have been following John McCain’s career for nearly 20 years. I know him personally. There is something wrong with this guy and let me tell you what it is – deceit.

‘When he came home and saw that Carol was not the beauty he left behind, he started running around on her almost right away. Everybody around him knew it.

‘Eventually he met Cindy and she was young and beautiful and very wealthy. At that point McCain just dumped Carol for something he thought was better.

‘This is a guy who makes such a big deal about his character. He has no character. He is a fake. If there was any character in that first marriage, it all belonged to Carol.’...

But Ross Perot, who paid her medical bills all those years ago, now believes that both Carol McCain and the American people have been taken in by a man who is unusually slick and cruel – even by the standards of modern politics.

‘McCain is the classic opportunist. He’s always reaching for attention and glory,’ he said.

‘After he came home, Carol walked with a limp. So he threw her over for a poster girl with big money from Arizona. And the rest is history.’

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Senator Obama's position on the gas pipeline is "very positive" - McCain's lack of an energy policy - more comments from Polarbear

From the "Anchorage for Obama" blog:
One comment that escaped notice by the Alaska Media was made by Kenneth Minesinger, a regulatory specialist with Greenberg Traurig, who shared a panel provocatively entitled "Legal and Political Factors Affecting Producer Participation in the TransCanada Project". During the question and answer portion, someone asked about the impact of the next administration on the project. Minesinger stated that Senator Obama is the only candidate that has taken a position on the Alaska Gas Pipeline and he is very positive, so his election would be a positive one. Allen van Fleet, another Greenberg Traurig attorney who shared the panel stepped in for "balance" and stated that he is sure that John McCain would be supportive of the project as well. Minesinger responded by saying that he was only stating the facts as he knows them: Barack Obama is the only candidate who has taken a position in favor of Alaska Gas Pipeline development.

I am also having a problem verifying this as is blogger Elstun. It's not listed on Obama's Energy Platform. I have emails and calls in to the Obama Campaign as well as some industry folks.

On a quick search for John McCain and the gasline, I discovered funding for the gasline loans on a list of "Objectionable Provisions And Policy Changes In The Energy Bill" on the "Friends of John McCain" website. It's a 2003 Energy Bill.

Americablog points out the void in Sen. McCain's platform:
John Lloyd of Drexel College Democrats wrote me yesterday, asking why people weren't making a bigger deal about John McCain not having a national energy strategy. It's a good question:
I'm trying to raise the profile of what I consider an important fact: John McCain doesn't have an energy policy. He's spoken and speechified about reducing our dependence on foreign oil and increasing renewables, but he hasn't put forward ANY specific policies or a platform that he supports, with the horrible exception of the gas tax holiday.

I think it's important because in 2000, G. W. Bush said much of what McCain is saying now, and he put forward his energy policy 38 days before the election. His energy policy never really got the scrutiny it should have, and this cycle I don't want McCain to get away with that.

You'll notice that on McCain's issue page he has no page for "energy" (its not under environment). I have scoured the internet and his speeches, and he has put forward nothing more than platitudes and rhetoric. Considering how Obama is often criticized (unfairly) as all talk and no substance, i'd really like to see people start to attack McCain for trying to run without putting forward an energy policy.
They provided links to a "McCain Energy Policy Watch" on their blog which "tracks how long he's been running without putting forward a platform addressing that crucial issue."


Also, more good comments from Polarbear:
Just a bit more about the natural gas spurs. In California and North Carolina, broadband optical fiber is being deployed inside natural gas pipe, all the way to the residence. In addition, some utilities are organizing to combine natural gas, power, and fiber optic in the same same utilidor. If we are willing to see the gas spurs as utilidors, then we can accomplish similar economies of scale in distributing the basics to all communities along spur routes. These considerations need not interrupt the current consideration of the TCA proposal, but TCA does seem uniquely positioned to allow this kind of secondary economic development.

More questions to ask during the hearings!

The Gas Line Road Show...coming soon to a town near you!

The Anchorage Daily News discusses the hearings across Alaska happening this week:
Members of the House and Senate will continue hearings on Gov. Sarah Palin's natural gas pipeline proposal in cities outside the state capital.

Once on the road, many lawmakers will spend the next four weeks making stops in Fairbanks, Anchorage, Palmer, Kenai, Barrow and Ketchikan.

The travel is designed to give the public face-to-face access to lawmakers entrusted with one of the more crucial votes in decades: Whether to award TransCanada Corp. a pipeline license.

Lawmakers have 60 days to decide on a plan by TransCanada and opted to spend some of this time in other towns.

In my quest to find a listing of where and when the hearings will be held, I came across THIS PAGE on the Alaska State Legislature site. It has links to all of the documents related to the AGIA Special Session so far.

HERE are the list of hearings:

June 12 10:00 AM FBX Carlson Center TELECONFERENCE
June 13 10:00 AM FBX Carlson Center -- Time Change -- TELECONFERENCE
June 14 10:00 AM FBX Carlson Center -- Time Change -- TELECONFERENCE

The Anchorage location is still TBA - I'll be on that information today.

I'll definitely be asking a few questions based on Polarbear's comments in the Berta Gardner thread that I posted on the Johnny Ellis thread.
Trans Canada already possesses the rights of way through Canadian Native land on the pipeline route. I understand they are the only company to possess these rights beforehand, thereby eliminating years of delay.

The five natural gas spurs mentioned in the TCA proposal are under-appreciated. A southcentral spur would not only reach Anchorage, but would also provide gas to under-served rural communities along the route. Other small-diameter spurs could be constructed to other under-served rural areas of Alaska, long in need of basic infrastructure.

I am told that all the pipe for the TCA line would be ordered overseas - that US steel mills cannot produce the pipe.

Thanks, Polarbear, for making me sound like I have a clue!!!!!!

Sunday, June 08, 2008

An Occurrence -- by guest blogger, Writing Raven

I was downtown this afternoon with a small group of acquaintances, all of us with a Native heritage - downtown for a Native event. As we waited for a straggler, we paused on a grassy hill and sat with our smoothies. I enjoy being with this group, many of them with an even more sarcastic streak than I have, and we were laughing about something. Just as we busted up about some comment made, a man walking by stopped and glared at us.

"Who do you think you are?" he started shouting.

We sat stunned for a moment, as it was clear he was addressing us.

"Go back to your villages - you are so worthless! Go laugh at yourselves!"

I'll let you imagine some of the other words sprinkled in there, including the last remark as he stomped off - "F_in' Eskimos."

This was not the worst Native-speech I've been privy to, but it's pretty close. I don't believe the man was drunk, and all I can imagine happened to create this reaction is that he believed we were laughing at him as he walked by. Not that even that excuses such blatantly racist remarks.

What really concerned me was not the man. I don't think all the arguing in the world will help a man like that, and - though of course upset myself, angry, emotional - intellectually I know there is little else I can do for a man who would be so disrespectful and hateful except to ignore.

What concerned me was our reaction, the reaction of those I was sitting with. A group of young, professional Native people, mostly women, who have every right to be proud of themselves and their accomplishments. Our reaction? We lowered our heads, we didn't meet each other in the eye, we dare not look at another person in the crowd, for the shame of it. All we managed, as we rose to our feet knowing we all just wanted to leave, was one softly said comment of, "Geez, wonder what's with that guy?"

We didn't yell back, we didn't argue, we didn't console or comfort each other, we didn't talk about it.

It took several hours of cooling off (no outward reaction certainly does not mean no internal one) to really start thinking about the reaction (or lack of one.) Not until I was home and slowly stewing did I think about past reactions. I have never been with a group of Native people - or even mixed group - in which there has been discrimination and hate thrown at us that there has ever been any reaction except exactly what I experienced today. Shame and silence.

This has not been my experience as an individual. If it is me and someone else - no audience, no others with me - I can be quite forceful, sometimes diplomatic, but I always address it. I think many non-Native friends would be quite surprised with my reaction today - but at the time it seemed the only thing to do.

I don't know what this says about the cultures I love so much, about the shame that was so overpowering that this group I know to be strong, independent and many of them involved in Native advocacy were brought to our knees when confronted with very public shame?

I have wondered about cultural ties. Although I cannot speak for others' cultures, only that of which I was raised, the Tlingit culture holds public shame to be the ultimate punishment. Back in the day, it was literally worse than death. Could culture be the reason we were so silent?

I also wondered about the the frequency of such occurences making it "just the way we react." There is a reason I stay away from downtown, and though parking is one factor, another large factor is that I am much more likely to encounter comments like these in downtown Anchorage than in any other area. I have frequented a downtown bar exactly two times in my life, exactly half the times I have been inside a bar in my life (three of those times the week I turned 21), but I still worry while downtown that, if I were to trip, would people think I was just a drunk Native? If I walk near a bar, will people think I just came out of it? If I laugh too loudly, or speak too boldly, will they assume I've just downed a bottle of Jack?

Yes, I see the frequency of looking at what people think. But I still worry, much because of encounters like this one. Has the frequency of such hate, especially in Anchorage, taught me the "best" way to react - i.e. that any other way is futile? React back and you're just an ignorant Indian. Talk about it to those around you, and you only increase the anger and hurt, with nothing left to do about it.

I have no real answers here, just a lot of thought sparked by an experience that is, unfortunately, not the most uncommon of my life. It is just simply not the attitude of those that I cannot control that concerns me. It is my own attitude, and the all-too-typical reaction of others I know experience it, that concerns me.

Writing Raven's blog is Alaska Real

Special Session: Sen. Johnny Ellis Newsletter

I love my district! Here is a summary from Sen. Johnny Ellis which gives us information that piggybacks nicely with what we heard from Berta Gardner!

June 6th, 2008


Friends and Neighbors,

Tuesday evening, the legislature began the 60-day clock to approve or deny TC Alaska’s application for an AGIA license to build a natural gas pipeline. After Governor Palin’s intensive three-day conference in Anchorage , this week was dedicated to the independent experts, hired by the legislature, who presented their analysis of the proposal, and for the most part, they have confirmed what we have previously heard. The hearings will be traveling around the state, and will be in Anchorage June 16-20, when I encourage you to attend and get a first-hand look at this debate. There are a number of key issues, but I would like to address a few which have received a lot of attention. Although I am favorably impressed with the information we are receiving regarding the AGIA license the Governor is proposing to award to TC Alaska, I am keeping an open mind as information continues to come forward.

This week we heard from the legislature’s independent experts on the TC Alaska gasline proposal. They have, for the most part, confirmed the analysis of the Governor’s team which presented last week in Anchorage , although I will wait until all the information is made available to make a final decision.

LNG: A pipeline from Prudhoe Bay to a liquefied natural gas (LNG) plant in Valdez has been discussed in Alaska for decades. Although such a line is possible, and is likely economic, it is less profitable for both the state and the producers and faces higher costs and risks than an overland connection to the Lower 48. The extremely high costs of an LNG plant, the complications of shipping contracts, and the political difficulties of exporting Alaska ’s gas to Asia at a time of record-high energy prices may outweigh the higher gas prices available overseas and make this option more difficult. However, the overland route does offer the possibility of a Y-line, which would give Alaskans the ability to choose the best market for our gas.

$500 Million: Under the terms of AGIA, the state will match up to $500 million of the costs of applying for and receiving FERC certification, which is the federal regulatory approval necessary for any project to move forward. The question raised is why this money is necessary if the project is already profitable. The matching funds provide insurance that TC Alaska will live up to the AGIA ‘must-haves,’ which are designed to ensure that the project provides the maximum benefit to the state by promoting further exploration and development, creating long-term jobs, and allowing in-state access to gas. It also lowers the tariff to the point where, over the first 25 years of operations, the state is projected to make our money back along with more than 5% interest.

Duty to Produce: One of the largest question marks facing the TC Alaska proposal is whether the North Slope producers would be willing to commit their gas to a pipeline project that they did not control. Oil and gas leases contain a clause which requires them to be developed as long as it is “reasonably profitable.” While this clause does not require the producers to build a line themselves, legal experts we have heard from agree that it would force them to put their gas into a third-party line. Profits for producers – especially from the reserves at Prudhoe Bay , which require very little additional cost to produce – are substantial under all foreseen scenarios.

In fact, a slide presented by one of the legislative consultants spells out the potential profits for all parties involved. Over the first 25 years, the State of Alaska is projected to take in $115 billion (all numbers are nominal undiscounted cash flows), the producers stand to make $74.1 billion in profit, the federal government $46 billion, TransCanada $16 billion, and $8 billion remains for the Canadian government and provinces. Although many people had discounted the earnings potential of Alaska ’s gas, and it is not as valuable as oil, the sheer volume gives it the ability to match or surpass the impact North Slope crude has had on our state if we are able to build a pipeline and bring it to market.

***NOTE: We had some very interesting and informative dialogue in the comments on the Berta Gardner newsletter thread:***

Polarbear said...

I am listening, also, and thank you for the post. A few more points...

Trans Canada already possesses the rights of way through Canadian Native land on the pipeline route. I understand they are the only company to possess these rights beforehand, thereby eliminating years of delay.

The five natural gas spurs mentioned in the TCA proposal are under-appreciated. A southcentral spur would not only reach Anchorage, but would also provide gas to under-served rural communities along the route. Other small-diameter spurs could be constructed to other under-served rural areas of Alaska, long in need of basic infrastructure.

Last, a concern. I am told that all the pipe for the TCA line would be ordered overseas - that US steel mills cannot produce the pipe. I have not double-checked this claim. Still, the gas pipeline will be the largest single steel order in history. I would think a certain Presidential candidate from Chicago might want to use this as an excuse to upgrade US steel production capability. This steel order could rejuvenate many communities in the rust belt.

CelticDiva said...

Thanks, Polar!

I don't think I've ever gotten so much information in so few words!

Perhaps this is an issue that Superdelegate Patti Higgins could discuss with the Obama campaign before she announces her movement to the Obama camp.

Polarbear said...

Good idea. There are substantial steel mills in Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia. The TCA steel order, if placed in the USA, would be large enough to rejuvenate the entire industry. I hope Patti Higgins is able to have that conversation.