Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Impressive, not impressive... WTF?!

Such was my reaction to the ongoing news today.

Impressive - Ken Salazar.
(from the Anchorage Daily News)

Not impressive - Palin rural advisor John Moller
(from the Fairbanks Daily News Miner)

WTF?! - Palin's latest action regarding her appointment craziness.
(from the ADN)

And I do mean crazy.

Mudflats and Celtic Diva do the best job of summing this up, I think, but let me sum up the Palin madness of late. This being just ONE of the issues she's seem to gone nutty over lately.

State Sen. Kim Elton took a job with the Obama administration, so it's up to Palin to appoint a new senator, which the democratic senators must confirm. The dems only submitted one name to her as a suggestion, a state representative who has spoken out against Palin's actions in the past.

Palin ignores this, and appoints a man who was registered as a republican until just a few weeks before. Naturally, the dems reject him. The Juneau dems submit FOUR names to Palin for consideration. Palin ignores this, and appoints a nice, unknown guy who has never run for public office. Naturally, the dems reject him.

The craziness took a whole new turn today, when Palin, who, by law, must appoint ONE person, "submits" three names to the dems. Just in this, she's not following the law. Need more crazy? TWO of the names are of people the dems have already rejected. The third person is yet another unknown, yet ANOTHER guy who wasn't even registered as a democrat until last month!

Mudflats and Celtic Diva do a better job of how many legal issues (not even taking in the ethical ones!) Palin caused with this latest, most bizarre act.

One of the more mind-numbing parts of this to me is why Palin is getting so frustrated for the dems not choosing her strange choices to represent Juneau, when she's never come up with a good reason for why she's not choosing any of the names the dems submitted. Why are her choices for a voice for Juneau more qualified than those the dems are submitting?

The people of Juneau voted, they voted democrat, and by law they need a democratic replacement. TWO of the names she's submitted weren't even democrats until March. With the end of the legislative session just days away, they have had no voice this session. WTF?

For the other two issues I was following today - or at least heard about - Salazar and Moller.

I removed the embedded video because it automatically started playing a commercial every time the blog was opened... annoying. So, here's the first of the two-part interview KTUU did of Salazar. For the second part, click here, or visit the KTUU site (they have some other coverage as well.)

Ken Salazar is the new Secretary for the Interior. He was up here to talk about oil (and this is the big reason Alaskans care about him right now) and offshore drilling, visiting Dillingham and Anchorage.

Although I'm SURE there's many thousands of Alaskans who will not agree with me here, it was gratifying to see how many Alaskans do. His visit to Dillingham was overwhelmed with local opposition to offshore drilling, and many, many Native people stood up to make sure he knew they opposed it.

So many times we hear the big voices with lots of money behind them, including many Native corporation voices, who are all for drilling and profit. I can understand these positions - jobs and revenue, building communities (though not as much as you'd think) and... well, more money.

But rarely is the local voice heard with much volume, and I'm very glad Salazar took the time to head to Dillingham. He made a point of saying the Dillingham trip was his desire and idea, to visit a rural location (you know, the people who will feel the NEGATIVE effects of oil accidents - because Anchorage sure won't) and hear what they had to say. I cringed to hear him say the ANWR bit (it's not going to happen,) NOT because I support drilling in ANWR, but because I knew at that moment about half of Alaska shut their ears to him. He had some intelligent things to say, very well thought out.

I've had some hope for this guy, as I was down in Colorado where he presented local Native tribes to open up the Democratic National Convention. Because, though I do have interest in the oil part of his job, like all Alaskans, he's also the Secretary over the Bureau of Indian Affairs. I was a little disappointed he didn't get to visit any Native sites or organizations up here, but I'm more glad he crammed Dillingham AND Anchorage into his "one city" visit. I just hope he'll come back to take a look at what we're doing with Native issues, health care, culture, social services, etc. up here soon.

For Moller... sigh.

This is the guy Palin appointed as her rural advisor, and I had some hope as he "describes himself as Alaskan Native" (I don't know what that means) and comes from rural Alaska.

I won't say much about his lackluster interview with the Fairbanks Daily News Miner on Sunday, because most of it was a lot of "I'm not really going to answer that question with anything but 'we'll see.'"

But his subsistence answer was strange to me:

Q: What about subsistence issues?
A: AFN (Alaska Federation of Natives) has had a position on subsistence. It doesn’t align with our constitution. If it’s going to be addressed, it needs to be addressed as a whole, the Legislature and the administration — that’s if it’s going to be addressed.


First... that's not an answer. Second, why are we bringing up the AFN stance? Natives don't all get a vote in the AFN, so it's not the end-all or be-all for Native people. It's an important organization for sure, but ask the average Joe Native what AFN's stance is on subsistence and 9 out of 10 wouldn't be able to tell you. Third... I don't even understand what the last part of that answer means!

So it's snowing on Easter, the volcano is still erupting, earthquakes are shaking my house, and Alaska politics are doing the impossible - getting even nuttier.

Is there a nice, boring state I can hide out in for awhile? Just until I'm sure we're not getting sucked into some wierd 8th dimension of a black hole? Anyone?


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