I. Judy and I have delivered Alex back to Arcata California, Humboldt State University, and his many friends. Meeting quite a few of them in a very few hours, we were impressed by the quality and quantity of these young men and women. Arcata is a very liberal community, in a part of California few visit. Most of those who do are on their way somewhere else, though.
We didn't stay long. Alex has a lot to do before school starts next month. We headed down US 101, through the redwoods and on to Calistoga, where we've stayed overnight, before embarking on our second annual Napa-Sonoma wine tour. This year, we'll be visiting Rosenblum Cellars and Cline Cellars - possibly one or two more.
II. As I've watched the flak come down on Gryph and Dennis Zaki from afar this past weekend and early week, I've been forced to go back and read some of the early Saradise Lost columns I posted, e-mails from other bloggers back in early September 2008, and e-mails from reporters who wanted to pay me for information about the Palins and their kids, that I've never shared outside of our family and close Mat-Su Valley friends.
At the time, I felt that even though the Palin family saga in Wasilla was rich with tabloid fodder, to write about that stuff was a distraction from getting valuable information out about Sarah Palin's inability to govern effectively, her anti-science stance which helps dumb down America and would destroy our country's economy, and her long history of manipulation of "ethics" when it helps her, but ignoring "ethics" when that might also benefit her. I tried to limit my writing about "the family and kids" to commentary about how other media (including blogs) were handling stories, or to commentary about how the adult Palins themselves seemed to keep throwing their own family out in front of the media when Sarah or Todd sensed a need for more attention.
I don't care one fucking bit whether or not Sarah and Todd are splitting up. I don't care one fucking bit whether or not Sarah is Trig's mom (though I believe she is). I thought Sarah Palin should have been able to write a book and make money off it while serving as governor, but the law seemed to indicate otherwise. I didn't file any ethics complaints, but understood where over half of them were coming from, and supported the filers. I still do.
III. There are so many important tasks confronting Alaska's healthy, thriving progressive blogging community. To me the most important is that of getting our Alaska national legislative delegation to respond to saving or restoring the many ecosystems in our state that have been devastated, damaged or wounded by hyper-development; and to help restore true science to analysis of how development, including industrial-scale offshore fishing - effects larger ecosystems. After that, we can help take the Alaska legislature away from the GOP.
Our Alaska bloggers need to be just as questioning when it comes to actions or inactions by our Democratic Party elected officials, as we have been toward the GOP. We need to build an Alaska Democratic Party that is clean enough ethically, dynamic enough with workable ideas, and hard-working enough, to win over new, undecided voters and volunteers. When we work across party lines to reach objectives, this should not only be with the GOP, but with the Green Party and other small progressive organizations.
Our national delegation is returning to Alaska for the August recess. We need to get commitments from all three national legislators to make meaningful efforts to restore the salmon populations to our Western Alaska rivers. We need to confront them on how they've arrived at their "science" that would allow the Kensington mine to proceed. It isn't science at all, it is pure political bullshit reminiscent of George W. Bush!
We need to get them all on record in detail on their stances on Pebble Mine.
Why aren't any of my colleagues besides Shannyn Moore writing about our American military and intelligence agencies torturing people to death? Why is Todd fucking Palin's goddam ring finger more important than that?
These past few days, I've seemingly been rebuffed by my own Alaska blogging community - with the exception of Native Alaskan bloggers - in my quest to get our national legislators to specifically address the salmon returns to the Yukon, while those legislators are in Alaska this month. They're posting stuff like:
• The Cat is Out of the Bag
• Palin & emails, Arctic Cat, gifts, AK Fund Trust... How Many "Dropping Shoes" does one person need?
• I think that if Sarah Palin and Donny Deutsch get married I should be invited to the wedding. Don't You?
To be fair, they're posting other stuff too. But nothing on putting our legislators' feet to the fire on tricky issues. While some of my colleagues have written about our newly minted U.S. Senator, none yet have questioned his continuing support of the shortsighted Kensington Mine lake fill (I'm preparing an essay, awaiting more information from the Southeast Alaska Conservation Council).
Are we as afraid of losing access to our Democratic Party lawmakers as we've accused the Alaska mainstream media of having been with the GOP legislators and governor?
Looking through the comments at some of my colleagues' posts on Palin flotsam and jetsam, it seems that these articles help perpetuate the fetish among many commenters, mostly from out-of-state, that Sarah Palin has been responsible and continues to be responsible for more problems in Alaska than actually has been the case.
The reality, to me, is this:
• Sarah Palin's impact upon Alaska politics is diminishing rapidly.
• Palin herself is finished as a serious politician, here and elsewhere.
• Dwelling on how crooked, fixed systems (APOC, the personnel board) deal with her accumulated debris, past writing seriously and vigorously on how we need to back legislation that fixes all of this, is worse than meaningless. It is a waste of time and resources. I failed to convince my colleagues of this in November and December of 2008. I'll try again, before the 2010 legislative session.
• Over indulgence in Palin family affairs demeans what the Alaska bloggers have become as a political force.
IV. Now, back to the serious things in life:
images - Redwood jetsam outside of Humboldt Bay; grape vines in the Russian River valley, California