Portraying what that is is difficult and extremely nuanced. Each of our progressive Alaskan blogs is as unique as it is limited. Community is often diverse, and as the community of Alaska's progressive bloggers grows, so does our cumulative perspective.
Several of us meet fairly regularly in the Anchorage area, at one event or another. We've even attempted to have large meetups for work, fun or both. Steve, at What Do I Know? has suggested we form an association. Maybe the time has come.
We might call it The Life Panel.
II. Saving what is left of our oceanic life might be a good place for a Life Panel to start. Shannyn Moore held one that aired last Saturday on KYES, Anchorage's Channel 5 TV. It featured four fisheries experts whose perspectives on saving our oceanic bounties from corporate greed and environmental catastrophe dovetailed each other nicely. Here's Shannyn's article on the show.
III. Diane Benson has been saving women's lives, one at a time, for years. She started with her own, when she was a kid. Until last year, when she was "outed" in the midst of her efforts, much of that work was anonymous, as she helped victims of sexual assault recover and prosper.
Diane Benson didn't out herself. An Anchorage Daily News reporter - Lisa Demer did. This past week, another ADN "reporter," Sheila Toomey, in one of Toomey's most meretricious "Ear" ADN column entries in memory - and that's saying something - shit all over all the women Benson had helped, by telling Benson to just go fucking run for city council or a platting board, or dogcatcher, instead of saving women's lives.
Unlike Demer and Toomey, Benson not only wants to create solutions to the desperate situations marginalized women face in Alaska, she has been doing it, thankless time after unnoticed episode, after anonymous effort, for decades.
Benson is currently serving on more than one Life Panel, involved in helping get Alaska out of the third-world sexual violence realm we inhabit.
IV. In Diane Benson's Thursday address to Anchorage's Bartlett Democratic Club, she referenced how hard it is to get Life Panels to work, in the face of intransigence. AK Muckraker described part of this seriously complex situation:
Then she shared a fact that stunned the room. Anchorage right now has forensic rape kits that it has not tested. Victims do all the things they are supposed to do, samples are taken and they are sitting there unlooked at, untested. The city doesn’t even know how many of these untested kits have been set aside. Why are they not being tested? Lack of funds. What does that say about our priorities?
Palin chose to charge the victims of rape to have their evidence examined and their rape kits tested. We don’t charge the families of murder victims for forensic tests. “How is it just to charge a victim, or to just disregard evidence altogether? Do only those with money have justice? If protection of our citizens is not a fundamental priority, then what is?” Benson asked.
We need our governments to be run as if they are Life Panels, not Neglect Panels.
V. That brings us to Sarah Palin in a direct, rather than indirect way. The term her handlers put into her facebook, the Death Panel meme, was awarded PolitiFact.com's award for 2009 "Lie of the Year." Alaska's progressive bloggers covered it in detail:
Lovely on the mantle.
Those who will have to settle for a year of being only second and third best? Glenn Beck and Orly Taitz. Better luck next time you pikers! Bow to the master!
Ms. Palin, when asked later if she regretted using the term “Death Panels,” a phrase she originated, replied (using an unfortunate turn of phrase), “I would characterize them like that again in a heartbeat.”
Of all the falsehoods and distortions in the political discourse this year, one stood out from the rest.
The claim set political debate afire when it was made in August, raising issues from the role of government in health care to the bounds of acceptable political discussion. In a nod to the way technology has transformed politics, the statement wasn’t made in an interview or a television ad. Sarah Palin posted it on her Facebook page.
Quick! Somebody notify Sarah and tell her she finally WON something!
Though to be honest, when it comes to lying I don't see how anybody could beat her. I am just saying.
VI. The Ossiander Ouster:
Nobody said it better than E. Ross:
- As chair, she overruled a motion to limit repetitive testimony and instead allowed hundreds of religious opponents to preach anti-gay hate at the hearings.
- She allowed Wasilla residents to testify on the Anchorage measure, dragging out the hearings for months.
- In her comments before the vote, she admitted that LGBT people face prejudice and discrimination in Anchorage and need protection, then voted against the measure anyway.
- She could have been the deciding vote against the mayor's veto, but instead she chose a legacy of caving in to pressure and supporting an agenda of hate.
image - Diane Benson and Bob Poe, by AK Muckraker