1. Alaska's two most widely read progressive bloggers, AK Muckraker and Shannyn Moore, are attending the 2009 Netroots Nation Conference in Pittsburgh. They both obtained scholarships to help defray expenses, through on-line voting processes. So far, they've both been so busy attending or participating in fora that they haven't been able to post much detail, but I'm sure they'll eventually catch up their readers on what they've learned or shared with their new-found friends and colleagues from around the country.
Yesterday, Shannyn was surprised to be called backstage at a health care reform talk being given by Gov. Howard Dean. As she stood in the stage wings, she could hear the announcer talking about Alaska and the Crazy Woman and, and - Shannyn! Then she was escorted onstage, where she was presented with the second annual Steve Gilliard Grant for Journalism.
Here's a link to my article about Shannyn at firedoglake's The Seminal.
2. Two books by Alaska progressive bloggers are coming out soon. The first will be Erin McKittrick's account of the trek she and her husband, Bretwood Higman made from June 2007 to June 2008, from Seattle to Unalaska, solely using muscle power, the wind and the tides. The book, called A Long Trek Home: 4,000 Miles by Boot, Raft and Ski, will come out in October.
Honorary Alaska blogger, Max Blumenthal, has finished his book, Republican Gomorrah: Inside the Movement That Shattered the Party, comes out September 1st. You can order it already at the blog, Buzzflash. Here's a bit from Buzzflash's review of the book:
Inspired by the work of psychologist Erich Fromm, who analyzed how the fear of freedom propels anxiety-ridden people into authoritarian settings, Blumenthal explains in a compelling narrative how a culture of personal crisis has defined the radical right.”
At BuzzFlash, we are a bit proud of Max, because when he was starting out, he was a night editor for us. Since then, he’s gone onto distinguish himself as a journalist who regularly exposes the dark inner psychoses of the right wing in both print and video.
Max spoke with Shannyn in Pittsburgh yesterday. He's hoping to come back up to Alaska (where he investigated the Crazy Woman's ties to strange cults last year) during a break in his upcoming book tour.
3. Anchorage Ordinance 64 passed by a 7-4 vote last Tuesday. Anchorage's new mayor, Dan Sullivan hasn't indicated very clearly what he will do about it, but let us hope he does the right thing and lets the ordinance stand. Alaska's Southcentral progressive blogs covered this battle from beginning to end, especially Bent Alaska and Henkimaa. Hats off to all, especially to E. Ross and Mel!
Now, the bad news:
1. The stupidity, hatred and racism of the allegedly "grassroots" resistance to the President's and the national legislature's efforts toward healthcare reform played out in Anchorage at the beginning of this week. Dennis Zaki, Gryph and Kelly were there, asking questions in a video that helped illustrate how hopelessly ill-informed some of the teabaggers and their fellow travelers are:
2. Alaska's progressive bloggers continue to cover the ongoing plight of the peoples of the Yukon and Kuskokwim Rivers, as a summer of virtually no salmon comes to a close. It has been nine days now since Alaska Gov. Sean Parnell wrote to U.S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke, requesting the declaration of a disaster on the Yukon, due to the startling situation there. Nine days, and the Anchorage Daily News has yet to write about it. Had the Governor declared a disaster on the Kenai River or the Susitna, the ADN would have been all over this, but since the victims are Alaska Natives, the ADN has better things to write about, like tomatoes and state fair tickets going on sale.
Anonymous Bloggers' Ann Strongheart published a poignant appeal yesterday that has now been picked up by other Alaska blogs, and by The Alaska Dispatch. Progressive Alaska will publish Ann's appeal today.
The Alaska Dispatch has been fortunate to have former ADN writer Craig Medred begin writing for them. His two articles about the somewhat farcical nature of the tour of Western Alaska (Bethel and Hooper Bay, that is) by four Obama administration cabinet secretaries and Sen. Mark Begich, outdid the ADN in almost every respect.
3. Continued calls for either attenuation or ending of the bycatch of salmon by the Bering Sea trawl fleet are uniformly neglected by Alaska's traditional media outlets, and continuously covered by our progressive bloggers. A startlingly bold article in Thursday's Whitehorse [Yukon Province] Daily Star calls for an end of the trawl fishery or for a zero-bycatch policy to be adopted by the National Marine Fisheries Service:
More than 65 first nations in Alaska and the Yukon are asking the United States’ Secretary of Commerce to ban the pollock industry’s bycatch of chinook river salmon.
At its annual meeting held recently at Lake Laberge, the Yukon River Inter-Tribal Watershed Council (YRITWC) voted in favour of a resolution urging Gary Locke, the U.S. commerce secretary, to invoke his
emergency regulatory authority and order the pollock industry to reduce its annual bycatch to zero.
“All we can do is have faith in the process and have people understand the impacts of the bycatch,” Carl Sydney, the Yukon regional board chair of the YRITWC, told the Star today.
“But industry seems to rule everything, that almighty dollar seems to be the boss of everything and it goes on and on. But I do have confidence and if the North Pacific Fishery Management Council (NPFMC) can have another look at it, at least that would be something.”
The article goes on:
Some scientists believe the only way to allow the salmon population to rebound is to ban the pollock industry for 50 years. The fact it’s the United States’ largest fishery, whose wholesale value is nearly $1 billion annually, makes that scenario unlikely, however.
Needless to say, there is no reference to this important article in the ADN Newsreader.