Coyne's first essay takes a look at the state of politics in Alaska, penned for the eyes of outsiders who might not be up-to-date on us. Here's one example:
Two Dems, Ethan Berkowitz and Diane Benson, are vying for Young's seat. Berkowitz, a long-time former state legislator, is wicked smart, quick witted, and preppin' for a fight. Diane Benson is Alaska Native, a mother of a wounded Iraq war veteran, has little party but wide grassroots support. She took Young on in 2006 and shocked the state by winning more than 40 percent of the vote.
Stevens will likely be facing popular two-term Anchorage Mayor Mark Begich, who is one of those rare breads of getter-done Democrats, and who has political pedigree in Alaska. (His father, Nick Begich, was a Democratic U.S. Legislator, who, along with U.S. House Majority Leader Hale Bogs, died in a plane crashed in 1972 less than one month before he was to face off against challenger Don Young. Begich won the race posthumously.)
Senator John McCain's opposition to opening ANWR to oil exploration (exploration that most Alaskans support), his tiffs with Stevens about earmarks, and the fact that he isn't quite Republican enough to psych them up or Libertarian enough to psych them up, has resulted in putting Senator Obama in play here, and a picnic filled with Alaskans of all colors (yes, we've got color) sporting Obama T-shirts.
Howie Klein's national progressive blog Down With Tyranny featured an Alaska Update that I wrote for him, this past Monday. Like Amanda's essay, mine was written for outsiders who want to know more about Alaska.
Howie was on National Public Radio's All Things Considered on Thursday, talking about how telecom companies have been making large donations this month to politicians whose votes they hope to influence in the retroactive immunity aspects of he renewal and changes in the FISA statutes. We'll see next month how Don Young, Ted Stevens and Lisa Murkowski
Deirdre Helfferich at the Ester Republic, comments on how Don Young sold his vote on this bill.
Howie Klein also hosts firedoglake's Blue America session, every Saturday, from noon to 2:00 p.m, Alaska time. He will be hosting Anchorage Mayor and U.S. Senate candidate Mark Begich on Saturday, July 12, from noon to 2, with internet phenom and Begich blogger Mark Browner Hamlin helping at the controls. I hope to be there, observing. Matt's most recent entry, from today, announces General Wesley Clark's endorsement of Mark.
I'm impressed with the quality of the Anchorage Daily News Newsreader, since Kathleen McCoy has taken it over. It seems to be posted earlier than before, with more incisive commentary by McCoy, and she is seeking out wider sources for her posts.
Late yesterday, ADN Editorial Page Editor, David Hulen posted a request at the ADN Political Blog for people to come up with questions for a candidate questionnaire to be directed at the candidates for U.S. Senate and U.S. House. You can participate in this!
Robert Dillon, at an Alaskan Abroad, is more knowledgeable about natural gas and oil issues than any other Alaska reporter. This past week has made interesting reading there, when I've been able to find the time. He wrote a primer on the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission that is a must read for anyone who wants to go from uninformed to wonk in one big step.
This week's decision by the U.S. Supreme Court that reduced the punitive award in the Exxon Valdez case to over 30,000 people, to an amount equivalent to the retirement bonus of ex-Exxon CEO Lee Raymond, was touched upon by many progressive Alaska blogs:
Steve at What Do I Know? posted the Court's syllabus on the case - very through and interesting in a retrospective way.
Wesley Loy, from the ADN's Highliner blog, was in Cordova at the time the decision was announced. He blogged about that community's reaction in the midst of a not very productive fishing summer. He notes that no nonsense Cordovans aren't lingering in bitterness. They're too busy working for that.
Green Mountain Boy at Alaska Chinook, posted an anti-Lisa Murkowski rant, also pillorying the class action lawsuit's attorneys and the whole approach to trying to settle with Exxon through class action litigation. At times, he makes a lot of sense. Like me, he could have been a plaintiff, but chose not to be.
Kathleen McCoy, writing for the ADN Alaska Newsreader blog, did the best roundup of out-of-state and in-state coverage of the decision there is. At the bottom of her post, she does a roundup of Alaska bloggers' reactions.
I've written a lot on this case, dating back to November. When the decision was announced, I was dipnetting for Copper River Sockeye and Chinook, deep in Wood Canyon. Cordova fishers, among those - along with the Prince William Sound communities of Tatitlik and Chenega - most damaged by Exxon's and Alyeska Pipeline Service Company's negligence, are not fans of the Chitina dipnet fishery, so when I heard of the decision on NPR, driving through that very non-NPR town of Glennallen, I felt a small twang of guilt.
Ishmael Melville at Kodiak Konfidential posted a number of items about the spill judgement, and various reactions to it. His is by far the best set of looks at how real Alaskans reacted to the announcement, and his insights, as usual, are seriously thoughtful, even when humorous.
Celtic Diva posted four articles about aspects of the spill at Celtic Diva's Blue Oasis. Each is a further example of how quickly she has developed into one of the most important writers on Alaska and how what happens here relates to events in other parts of the country and vice versa.
Her first essay was in reaction to the ADN's story on the judgement comments. I believe the 455 or more comments to the story may be a record for the paper's comments section. Even Sarah Palin has never gotten that many. CD then wrote about some of the reactions of various local politicians and Cordova progressive Rikki Ott, to the spill.
She wrote two brilliant pieces on how the litigation's effect might play out on John McCain's presidential campaign, here and elsewhere.
Vic Kohring's Federal hearing happened while we were limiting out, dipnetting on the Copper River, so I missed that. It was the first event in his trial and post trial proceedings I've missed. Steve at What Do I Know? was there. Steve wrote an informative essay on what Vic will be getting into, prison-wise, and posted video he took after the hearing.
I hope to be with Vic Kohring for part of his "farewell" to supporters and the rest of us, on Monday morning.
images: Amanda Coyne speaking to the Alaska Professional Communicators, Howie Klein speaking to People for the American Way, Exxon Valdez spill map, Mat-Su Valley sign