First off, Linda Kellen Biegel (her real name outed mid-week by the Seattle blog, Crosscut), isn't some Democratic Party hack. She's very independent-minded. Secondly, CD is a real Alaskan, and when she's in Denver, mixing it up with the other 50 or so bloggers, she'll be able to explain how different and weird Alaska is to them, better than most of us probably could.
Bent Alaska celebrated the mid-week decision by California's Supreme Court to deal sanely with the issue of gay marriage in that state. The blog carried a couple of statements by Alaskans on this landmark decision:
Tim Stallard, Alaskans Together for Equality:
Alaskans Together is excited by the California Supreme Court Decision that strikes down the state's ban on gay marriage. The court recognized that marriage is a basic human right and it could not justify denying this right based on a person's innate sexual orientation. It is a great day for humanity that this important state Supreme Court acknowledged that gay and lesbian Americans are due the same rights under the constitution as other Americans. While there may be an initial backlash by those who do not believe gays and lesbians deserve equal rights, given the immense California economy and the state's leadership in American culture, gay and lesbian Alaskans should expect this decision to cascade across the USA.
Tiffany McClain, ACLU of Alaska's LGBT Public Policy Coordinator:
The ruling was decided by the California courts based on the California constitution and is not binding on Alaska courts. However, ACLU members and all Alaskans who support ending discrimination are celebrating this victory with our allies in California because it gives us hope that the rest of the country—including Alaska—will eventually follow suit, and that the movement to afford equal rights to all Americans, including LGBT Alaskans, will succeed.
Ishmael Melville wrote thoughtfully about the impact of high energy costs in Alaska's villages and small towns that are off the road grid. KoKon's observations about how towns come and go in Alaska's bush weren't without a bit of humor:
no place lasts unchanged forever. Ask the Byzantine Romans. In fact, my grandmother was from a village that no longer exists near Atmautluak on the Johnson River, west of Bethel. If she hadn't moved to Bristol Bay, she wouldn't have met my grandfather, my mother wouldn't have been born and neither would I and you'd be reading someone else's blog right now.
erin and hig have had ample opportunities to see the debris of discarded communities and developments in Alaska, in their motorless trek from Seattle to Unimak Island. They're far enough down the Alaska Peninsula by now, that if they get up on top of a really big hill, they can see the top and bottom of Western Alaska, all at once.
Reading Journey on the Wild Coast this past seven months has been a special treat. The blog isn't a novel, but as their epic trek winds down, I feel like I sometimes have when getting to the last 100 pages of a very long, brilliant novel. I don't want it to end! But it will. What a great story.
There was a fair amount of coverage in Alaska progressive blogs this past week of Markos Moulitsas' new United 2000 poll, showing Democratic Party victories over GOP opponents in both the U.S. Senate and U.S. House races. Progressive Alaska was by far the most critical. And why no poll on one of the more likely matchups, Ethan Berkowitz vs. Sean Parnell? I asked that question in a post at Moulitsas' blog, DailyKos. I suspect there may have been one, but that it was decided not to publicize it....
Boy, did I get slammed by some of Kos's minions. I walked out of that comment section with dozens of concern trolls attached to my writing arm, like little lamprays. Those people simply can't handle it when you pull the curtain up from around the throne of the Wizard of Kos.
A case in point was a poll I took there in early January, about Ted Steven's chances for re-election. Sadly, the people voting "Markos knows best, so he'll choose your next U.S. Senator," weren't kidding.
Yesterday, at the Hispanic Affairs Council of Alaska's AK-AL candidate forum, as the four candidates in attendance were sitting together, waiting to start, Ethan Berkowitz caught my eye. He nodded a slow "no" motion to me, back and forth, and then chided me with an index finger scold. I shrugged my shoulders, and smiled warmly. Note to my friend Ethan - the first time I interviewed Don Young, you were in middle school. October, 1973.
The HACA candidate forum was very well run. It provided the best glimpse yet for comparisons. With Don Young not present, there was a lot less edginess among the participants and audience than was so palpable in the March Kodiak FishCom debate. Hats off to the organizers, especially to progressive blogger Erick Cordero Giorgana.
My impression was that our two Democratic Party candidates stood head and shoulders over the two GOP candidates there. They sought to answer every question, and showed a depth of understanding issues important to the Hispanic community way beyond that of LeDoux or Parnell. Parnell actually drew laughs of derision as he sought to avoid questions about the dismal state of the economy and his views on the GOP candidate for president.
Steve at What Do I Know? has some insightful coverage of the event at his blog. He was a bit too kind to Don Young, though:
All of them were a refreshing change to polite and respectful compared to Don Young, who, we were told, was unable to make the audio conference connection because of a change in travel scheduling. But he offered to meet with the HACA board when he's back in the state. Hmmmm, what is a better setting for getting your ideas across? A forum set up with four other candidates where each is limited to two minute responses, or a private meeting with the board?
Sean Cockerham's article in today's Anchorage Daily News is wan compared to Steve's incisive essay, but one of the comments to Sean's article shows how insane GOP backers are becoming:
bias and victim mentality does not allow for sensible leadership.The MAIN reason for the war is to build up forces in middle east in preparation for huge worldwide conflict.Russia and China hook up with N Korea and Iran after nuke attack on Jerusalem from Russia.USA will be forced to join EU for military and financial help.This is all very close to becoming reality.The liberal agenda is all about weakening families in USA by encouraging women to not be wives and moms.Demonbrats Benson or Jerkowitz are not fit to fiddle.Stay with old and vote Young.
I love the smell of faux conservatives imploding in the morning...
images - rhubarb in our garden this morning; hig's foot next to a Grizzly bear print, taken by erin; the candidates yesterday, taken by Steve Aufrecht
Update - 11:45 a.m: Dennis Zaki, at his Alaska Report Blog, managed to locate where Don Young was at the time of yesterday's HACA Forum: