Wednesday, February 29, 2012

The Human Costs of the War on Drugs

Anchorage Baptist Temple prepares to enter Prop 5 debate, as tax assessor’s investigation continues

by Mel Green | originally published on Bent Alaska

Note to Henkimaa readers: I’ve been pretty quiet over here on Henkimaa, because I’ve been so busy over there on Bent Alaska. I hope to start posting more often here soon… about other stuff than LGBT news/events/politics, which are only just a small portion of my interests, after all.  But meanwhile, if you don’t find me here, find me there. And occasionally in a post like this that’s important enough to me personally, to post over here too.

Jerry Prevo (left) and Glenn Clary, after AO-64 passed
After a period of relative silence, Anchorage Baptist Temple is now preparing to raise its head in public discussion on Proposition 5. ABT associate pastor Glenn Clary filed on February 21 with the Alaska Public Offices Commission (APOC) as chair of a new group called “Protect Your Freedoms Vote No on Prop 5″.

The similarly named “Protect Your Rights: Vote No on 5″ group, started by Jim Minnery of the Alaska Family Council, was formed earlier in February, and which has since created a website and a Facebook page, which so far has elicited more comments from Prop 5 proponents than the opponents Minnery has been hoping to attract.

If passed on April 3, Proposition 5, the Anchorage Equal Rights Initiative, will amend Title 5, Anchorage’s equal rights code, to provide the same legal protections against discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or transgender identity that are already provided based on race, color, sex, religion, national origin, marital status, age, and physical or mental disability.
Group registration form for "Protect Your Freedoms Vote No on Prop 5", Alaska Public Offices Commission
Group registration form for "Protect Your Freedoms Vote No on Prop 5", Alaska Public Offices Commission. Click through to read PDF

The new ABT-backed group comes even as ABT continues to be under investigation by the Anchorage municipal assessor’s office. The investigation came about after it was learned that ABT pastor Jerry Prevo’s son Allen, an audiovisual and computer technician who was ordained by his father’s church in 2002, had secretly been accumulating equity toward the purchase of his ABT-owned, religiously tax-exempt home. Bent Alaska broke that story on August 29, 2011 after receiving an anonymous tip which referenced “talk of…fraud, and other pretty serious accusations” in the court documents in Allen Prevo’s divorce case (Allen Prevo v. Holly Jo Prevo (3AN-10-08113CI)). Bent Alaska’s story was based on court documents through August 16, 2011, and was posted on August 29 bare hours before the judge in the case, Judge Frank A. Pfiffner, ordered the court file to be kept confidential. Not quite the same, legally speaking, as “sealing” the file, though it had the same effect: of keeping the court documents in the divorce case from the public eye. (See the updates in Bent Alaska’s original story for the technical difference between “making the file confidential” and “sealing” it.)

The Anchorage Daily News subsequently sued to reopen the file. An in-depth story by veteran journalist Richard Mauer, published on January 16, revealed that three other ABT staff members were also benefiting from the same secret home-buying program:
  • Rev. Tom Cobaugh, ABT’s “minister of education” and chief administrator of its Christian school;
  • Rev. Tony Smith, head of ABT’s Ambassadors Bible-study group and its nursery “ministry”; and
  • Rev. Glenn Clary, ABT’s administrative pastor.
That’s the same Glenn Clary who chairs the newly created “Protect Your Freedoms” anti-Prop 5 group. He’s also the same Glenn Clary who traveled down to Juneau earlier this month to lobby Republican legislators against House Bill 305.

HB 305, “An Act relating to a mandatory exemption for certain residences owned by a religious organization,” was filed by Rep. Berta Gardner (D-Anchorage) to undo legislation that Clary had successfully lobbied for in 2006, with the willing assistance of then-Sen. Ben Stevens (R-Anchorage), who wrote the legislation, and then-Sen.-Lyda Green (R-Wasilla), who sponsored it. The 2006 legislation had broadened state law on property tax exemptions for religious organizations to include church-owned housing occupied by religious school teachers and leaders of church ministries like music. It also broadened the definition of a minister to include anyone ordained “according to the standards of the religious organization” who was employed by that organization “to carry out a ministry” — essentially permitting religious organizations that were so inclined to ordain anyone they wanted to claim held a “ministry,” and for church-owned housing occupied by that “minister” to be tax-exempt. The 2006 legislation was widely criticized, but withstood a court challenge by the ACLU of Alaska and has been in place since. HB 305 would undo that legislation. Currently it’s being held over in the House Community and Regional Affairs Committee after a hearing there on February 9. (See minutes of that hearing. Anchorage Assembly Chair Debbie Ossiander was among the witnesses.)

It seems clear that the introduction of HB 305 was fueled at least in part by outrage about the “equity accumulation” program benefiting Allen Prevo, Glenn Clary, and the two other ABT staff members. But in fact they are two separate issues. HB 305 is about whether or not church-owned homes occupied by religious educators should be tax-exempt under the law. ABT’s formerly secret “tax-free house purchase agreements” program, however, was functioning both before and after the 2006 legislation HB 305 is intended to reverse — and to all appearances was and still is outside the law. Alaska law gives tax exemptions only to homes fully owned by a church, and homes in which select ABT employees are secretly gathering equity — ownership interest — are not fully owned by the church. As explained in Richard Mauer’s January ADN story:
If a church was selling a home to a pastor, said state assessor Steve Van Sant, “he would have an interest in it and it wouldn’t meet the criteria for the exemption.” The same would be true for a pastor who had equity in a home otherwise owned by a church, he said.

Note from Glenn Clary to Alaska legislators prior to his February 1–4, 2012 trip to Juneau, and incorporating Jerry Prevo's response to Richard Mauer's 15 Jan 2012 ADN story. Click through to read PDF.

But after Mauer’s story came out, Jerry Prevo immediately sought to throw red herrings to distract ABT members and apologists from focusing on the actual issues at play in the tax assessor’s investigation, first by obfuscating the difference between these two issues and, second by — incredibly — attempting to cast blame on “‘special rights’ for homosexuals com[ing] up in our city” — that is, the Anchorage Equal Rights Initiative. The tactic is displayed in Prevo’s response to the ADN story, which was posted on the conservative blog The Northern Right on January 17. (Prevo’s response also was included in a message sent by Glenn Clary to an unknown number of Alaska legislators before he flew down to Juneau to lobby against HB 305 on February 1–4). In the response, Prevo claimed,
ABT believes it has properly requested tax exemptions based on legal counsel. It seems this issue comes up about every time “special rights” for homosexuals comes up in our city which is coming up in April. [emphasis added]
Patent nonsense, of course. The last time that the issue of equal protection against discrimination for LGBT residents came up in Anchorage was 2009, and ABT wasn’t being investigated by municipal tax assessors then. At least, not that I or anyone I’ve ever talked with was aware of. The last time tax assessors investigated ABT was in 2004; that investigation resulted in certain ABT properties housing religious teachers being put back on the tax rolls until ABT, as previously described, lobbied Ben Stevens, Lyda Green, and company to make the legislative changes of 2006, which took them back off the rolls again. An ordinance or initiative for LGBT equality was nowhere on the horizon in 2004 or 2006. Was ABT being investigated by tax assessors in 1992? 1975? Those are the other times LGBT equality was up for public debate in Anchorage.
Red herring

Nope. Just another of Pastor Prevo’s red herrings. In fact, ADN’s story, and the municipal assessor’s investigation, had nothing to do with the Anchorage Equal Rights Initiative. It came about because (1) Jerry Prevo’s son Allen filed in 2010 for divorce from his wife, a divorce which was granted last August 1; (2) an anonymous tipster tipped off Bent Alaska to evidence in the court filings of possible fraud; (3) we chose to look into it and discovered issues that were sufficiently “loosey goosey” (to use Judge Pfiffner’s memorable phrase) that I wrote a story about them; and (4) the Anchorage Daily News and the municipal assessor, among others, confirmed our impression that the ABT’s arrangements with Allen Prevo looked fishy, and followed up my story with more in-depth investigation.

Jerry in his own words — a poster by Glenn Harvey

Jerry in his own words — Poster by Glenn Harvey. Willfully misrepresenting the meanings of the words "bisexual" and "transgender" -- this is how Prevo has exerted his moral authority in the past. Click through for the 2009 post with video from the sermon in which Prevo made this false witness.

Prevo is clearly sensitive to how the controversy about the municipal assessor’s investigation might have eroded his moral authority — such as it is — to declaim against “‘special rights’ for homosexuals” or hurl invective against lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender citizens. From Prevo’s response to the ABT story:
I have opposed “special rights” for what the Bible calls immoral behavior since the 70′s. It seems these recent accusations are again a move to diminish my opposition to these “special rights”. ABT feels they are fortunate in that the city’s tax assessors’ office will be looking for the facts rather than fodder to write a newspaper story and if the church has been mistaken, we look forward to correcting any discrepancies.
Here, Prevo is claiming that Anchorage Daily News itself was targeting him in order to silence him in the public debate about what is now Proposition 5 on the April 3 municipal ballot.

But of course it wasn’t anyone at ADN, any more than it was me, who filed divorce paperwork on Allen Prevo’s behalf on June 6, 2010 (that was Wayne Anthony Ross, who represented Allen Prevo throughout the divorce proceedings); nor was it ADN (or me) who testified, as Allen Prevo did in open court at his divorce trial on April 5, about the formerly secret “tax-free house purchase agreements” program at ABT:
“I’ve worked for ABT for 15 years — you have to at least work there that long and then they will make a way for you to be able to make your rent go toward your equity in your home,” Allen Prevo testified. “If you continue to stay there and you eventually pay off the home, then the home is yours. But it’s all done, basically, verbal agreements, nothing in writing.”
2330 Banbury Circle

It also wasn’t ADN (or me), but rather Judge Frank A. Pfiffner who wrote in the “Findings of Fact and Conclusions of Law” incorporated by reference in the divorce decree of August 1, 2011:
ABT has legal title to the residence at 2230 Banbury Drive in Anchorage. There is no deed of trust on the residence. However, ABT and Allen Prevo have an unrecorded agreement in place whereby Allen Prevo owns the equity in the residence. The agreement provides Allen Prevo is vested with the equity from prior ABT housing [reference to an earlier ABT-owned home for which there was a written agreement signed by Jerry Prevo, which was Exhibit 3 in the divorce case]…. The paper equity on the Banbury residence is a marital asset…. The court finds that the correct paper mortgage balance is $121,518.26 as validated in Exhibit 3 and by Allen Prevo’s testimony. [emphasis added]
Regrettably for the elder Prevo’s “moral authority,” the younger Prevo timed his divorce poorly, having had no knowledge that Equality Works would announce the creation of the One Anchorage campaign for an Anchorage Equal Rights Initiative on September 1, 2011 — or that his testimony in his own divorce trial would lead to a tax assessor’s investigation of his father’s church in the very moment that his father would want, again, to oppose “‘special rights’ for homosexuals.”

It remains to be seen whether the group newly created by another beneficiary of ABT’s “tax-free house purchase agreements” program, Glenn Clary, will have any more moral credibility with the majority of Anchorage voters than the elder Prevo deserves to have.


Anchorage Baptist Temple

Photo credits: All photos by Melissa S. Green, except “Red herring” public domain and photo of 2330 Banbury Circle (Allen Prevo house) via Google Map Street View. Poster © 2009 by Glenn Harvey; used with permission.

Max Blumenthal on The Netanyahu-GOP Alliance to Trap Obama into War

A Recorded History of the Opening Chords of Beethoven's Eroica Symphony

Perhaps the most famous twice-stated chords in the history of Western Music.  Here are a series of clips from sound recordings of performances of the work dating back to the 1920s:

And, to keep you from being frustrated after all the repetition of the opening, here's one of my favorite video performances of the entire first movement of the Eroica:

Monday, February 27, 2012

Wikileaks Press Conference on Anonymous' Release of Millions of STRATFOR emails

Video streaming by Ustream

Santorum vs. JFK on Separation of Church and State

GOP presidential primary hopeful Rick Santorum has often stated that John F Kennedy's September 1960 speech on the separation of church and state in the U.S. was harmful.  Here he is, in one of his many speeches on the issue given at parochial colleges or schools:

This past week, he stated that watching and listening to JFK's speech, he wanted to throw up. He was questioned about that this weekend by George Stephanoupulous:
To say that people of faith have no role in the public square? You bet that makes you throw up. What kind of country do we live that says only people of non-faith can come into the public square and make their case?” Santorum said.

“That makes me throw up and it should make every American who is seen from the president, someone who is now trying to tell people of faith that you will do what the government says, we are going to impose our values on you, not that you can’t come to the public square and argue against it, but now we’re going to turn around and say we’re going to impose our values from the government on people of faith, which of course is the next logical step when people of faith, at least according to John Kennedy, have no role in the public square,” he said.
Here he is on ABC This Week:

Here is Kennedy's speech, made when he was running for president:

Santorum seems to be managing to galvanize the same GOP base that Palin was able to tap into in 2008.  He does look rather dense here, as he totally mischaracterized what Kennedy said and meant.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

The Snow Keeps on Coming

There are blizzard warnings all through parts of Alaska right now.  For now, Wasilla isn't getting much.  More is on the way, though.  Here are some recent pictures of our driveway-parking area:

The breakfast deck:

Standing atop the pile on the breakfast deck:

Strider and the snow blower:

Extremely High Ocean Radiation Detected 400 Miles From Japanese Coast

I posted this screenshot of predicted radiation from Fukushima irradiated water earlier in the month.  At the time, I wrote:
It isn't clear from ASR's published material whether or not this model is influenced by the continuing entry of radioactive water into the ocean.  It is fairly certain that Tepco and other monitoring agencies do not have anything that could be described as a clear idea as to how much radioactive water has gotten into circulation in the North Pacific, or how much water is continuing to make its way there.
 The issues I raised then had to do with irradiated water from the meltdowns that is making its way into North Pacific circulation patterns.

The issue raised about the results of these measurements taken in the North Central Pacific last summer appears to be different:
The Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster is far from over, as new reports explains that water samples taken nearly 400 miles off the coast of Japan in the Pacific Ocean are showing radiation levels of up to 1,000 times higher than previous readings. Presenting their findings at the recent Ocean Sciences Meeting in Salt Lake City, Ut., scientists continued to claim these severely elevated radiation levels are not a significant health or environmental threat.

Back in June 2011, a ship carrying scientists traveled off the eastern coast of Japan collecting water samples at distances of roughly 20 miles to 400 miles from the coast. Upon analysis, these samples were found to contain elevated levels of cesium-137 at ten to 1,000 times higher than levels detected before the Fukushima disaster, which is highly alarming.

Included in the detections was the presence of radioactive silver, which is an obvious product of melted control rods at the nuclear facility. The mainstream media is claiming that this silver is simply a result of nuclear fission, but the reality of the situation is that this silver is evidence of a complete core meltdown at the facility, which is obviously having widespread repercussions.
I'll speculate that the "presence of radioactive silver" in the findings is the result of airborne debris from one of the hydrogen-induced reactor explosions last spring.

It is somewhat reassuring that there are indeed research ships containing scientists in the Northwest Pacific, "collecting water samples."  It is distinctively less reassuring, that at the conference where these findings were announced, they were minimized:
Meanwhile, Hartmut Nies, an official from the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), insists that all this radiation is not that big of a deal. He even went so far at the recent meeting to claim that "if it was not seawater, you could drink it without any problems," a completely absurd position that has no grounding in science.

As part of their misinformation campaign, IAEA officials and others compared the radioactive cesium and silver to the naturally-occurring, elemental potassium-40 found in seawater. This natural potassium, of course, is much different than the radioactive elements being emitted from Fukushima, as sea creatures have developed a natural tolerance for potassium-40.

Even those falsely claiming that all this radiation is completely harmless to humans are at least admitting that the findings are indicative that the Fukushima nuclear facility is still leaking radiation into the environment.

Why is This Guy Happy?

He's happy because the people getting all this money are going to send him some of it, so they can get even more:
Real wages fell in 2011, despite record corporate profits. “There’s never been a postwar era in which unemployment has been this high for this long,” explained labor economist Gary Burtless. “Workers are in a very weak bargaining position.”

Between 2009 and 2011, 88 percent of national income growth went to corporate profits, while just 1 percent went to wages, a stat that is “historically unprecedented.”

So, we, the 99% got 1%, and the 1% got 99% of Obama's economic boom.

Is there any indication this is going to change anytime soon?

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Nelson Kanuk's Story on Climate Change on the Kuskokwim Delta

Judy knows Nelson's family in Kipnuk from her work there, mentoring school teachers.  Nelson's dad shared this youtube with her this week, as they were stranded at an airport on the Delta, waiting for the weather to get better.  I'll be writing more about iMatter, the program that Nelson is involved in, soon.  Meanwhile:

John Adams' Controversial The Death of Klinghoffer Opens Today at the English National Opera

I. Derided by notable music historian Richard Taruskin in a  New York Times essay famous among new music writers, as an opera that "cater[s] to so many of [Western European's] favorite prejudices -- anti-American, anti-Semitic, anti-bourgeois --" and by Leon Klinghoffer's daughters Lisa and Ilsa as "exploitation of our parents and the coldblooded murder of our father as the centerpiece of a production that appears to us to be anti-Semitic," San Francisco composer John Adams' second opera, The Death of Klinghoffer, may be his greatest achievement.

Commissioned in 1989 by a consortium of five opera companies in the U.S. and Europe, some of the companies reneged when they realized the controversies the resultant opera had brought about.  Since then, most of the opera's productions have been met with combinations of  demonstrations, dueling op-eds in the news, and fairly large audiences, as Adams' music is some of the most vital now being written or played.  Had the controversies and accusations surrounding this music drama been attached to a lesser composer, it would have ended any possibilities of future commissions, fellowships and awards.  Fortunately, John Adams was too famous, too honest and too candid for this to have been the result.  Alice Goodman, the work's librettist, was somewhat less well-known, so wasn't let off so easily:
Goodman and the rest of the creative team – composer Adams, director Peter Sellars and choreographer Mark Morris – had expected, and perhaps even courted, controversy. (They were, after all, following their 1987 triumph Nixon in China, another opera based on a news event, albeit a much less provocative one.) Adams had been disappointed that the world premiere weeks earlier in Brussels had been so tepidly received. The reaction in New York more than compensated: it proved a devastating shock.
"I couldn't get work after Klinghoffer," says Goodman. "I was uncommissionable. John was almost uncommissionable." Adams's next work was a violin concerto. "No words," says Goodman. [emphasis added]
In 2001 the Boston Symphony had scheduled the Choruses from The Death of Klinghoffer for its 2001-2002 season.  It was cancelled:
Following the terrorist attacks of 11 September 2001, the Boston Symphony Orchestra cancelled a scheduled performance in November 2001 of extracts from the opera. This was partly in deference to a member of the Tanglewood Festival Chorus, who lost a family member on one of the hijacked planes, and also because of the perceived "pro-Palestinian" nature of the work. It was considered too controversial for performance at a time of heightened anti-Muslim feeling in the USA.
Although the work has had many detractors, it has also been widely lauded.  Responding to a negative letter to the Juilliard journal after a 2009 concert performance of the work at one of the world's preeminent music academies, Juilliard president, Joseph W. Pelosi responded:
The original creative team for Klinghoffer—Adams, librettist Alice Goodman, director Peter Sellars—often spoke of the opera's structural/dramatic relationship to the Passions of Johann Sebastian Bach, juxtaposing narrative and commentary in complex layers. In my study of the opera, I see it functioning as a morality play rather than a through-composed narrative depicting a terrorist attack.

This "passion structure" is clearly seen in the work's division between the various choruses and the ensuing narrative scenes. Some of Adams's most sublime music in his entire oeuvre appears in those choruses. In addition, poetry provided by Goodman is often highly abstract and ethereal in nature. When that is not the case, as in the "Chorus of Exiled Palestinians," the language is at a level of intensity that one experiences, sadly, every day on CNN. In addition, the dialogue in the various narrative scenes, although much less abstract in nature, never moves beyond the level of language we associate with the Palestinian/Israeli conflict as portrayed in the daily media.

What Adams has created is a powerful artistic entity, filled with exceptional musical craft and sensitivity, which presents a work of honesty and profound power. The opera ends with Marilyn Klinghoffer's lament on the death of her husband, moving from rage to happy memories to deep sorrow. Her final aria embodies the tragedy of our humanity, manifesting no division between nationalities or religions. Unlike you, I do not see this work as a "justification" of an act of terrorism, but rather a profoundly perceptive and human commentary on a political/religious problem that continues to find no resolution.

Such an extraordinary work of art like this must continue to live, no matter how horrific its basic story. I respect your right to protest the opera's topic, but Juilliard and its kindred artistic institutions have to be responsible for maintaining an environment in which challenging, as well as comforting, works of art are presented to the public.
II. The opera's prologue is two choruses portraying dispossessed Palestinians and Jews.  In 2003 BBC's Channel 4 created a powerful movie based on the opera, directed by Penny Woolcock:

Chorus of the Exiled Palestinians:

Chorus of the Exiled Jews:

Those were two of the choruses banned in Boston in 2001.  Perhaps the most compelling music in the opera is Night Chorus:

The Director of the English National Opera production which begins today is Tom Morris, who co-directed the much lauded New York City stage production of War Horse.  Here he is describing some of the challenges of mounting this work:

As a composer who has also approached the Palestine-Israel conflict in my art, I can appreciate how difficult it is to satisfy everyone - it is impossible.  The continuing resonance of Adams' fascinating creation may bother militant Zionists, but for the rest of us, it might be working its way into being an enduring masterpiece of one of America's great composers.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Dr. Jill Stein on the Green New Deal

Mainscream Media: Iran Hysteria Stirring Up in US

If Iran is supposed to be Iraq Part Two, we should remember that our invasion and occupation of Iraq killed at least hundreds of thousands and displaced millions.

It ended 50 years of advancements in rights and professional opportunities for Iraqi women.

It displaced almost 100% of a vibrant Iraqi Christian community numbering in the hundreds of thousands.

It was based on a set of lies.  So is the push against Iran.

Here are some images from this culture the Israelis so ardently want us to destroy:

NOAA's Scott Smullen Responds to Questions on Tsunami Warning Funding

On Wednesday Progressive Alaska published a story on reported severe cuts in the FY 2013 National Oceanographic Administration to tsunami warning infrastructure.  The story was based on a press release coming from Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility.  Other media sources took up the story too.

Wednesday morning I contacted Alaska Sen. Mark Begich's press secretary, Julie Hasquet.  Nobody in the senator's DC or Anchorage office was yet aware of PEER's claim.  I also left a couple messages at NOAA public contact numbers.  Sen. Begich responded quickly with this message:
I am reviewing the President's request for NOAA's 2013 funding now.  As Chair of the Oceans Subcommittee I'll be convening a hearing in a few weeks to ask the Administration some tough questions about these proposed cuts.  Alaskans count on NOAA's tsunami warning systems to keep our coastal communities safe.  A recent National Academy of Sciences study identified tsunami buoy reliability as a key vulnerability in the system--so I'll be taking a close look at NOAA's proposal and working to ensure this critical warning system is not compromised by ill-advised budget cuts." 
Now Scott Smullen, deputy director of public affairs for NOAA, has written to me. Here is his letter [emphases added by PA]:
Your blog was brought to my attention.  PEER has erroneous claims about tsunami warning program funding that I want to correct with these points.     Thanks much.  -Scott

The Palmer-Alaska based tsunami warning center is fully funded in the President's FY13 budget request with no cuts to essential mission/program requirements.  Our tsunami warning center in Alaska will continue to provide tsunami advisories and warnings, and we will continue to work in partnership with Alaska on a wide range of tsunami science activities.

NOAA will continue working in close partnership with other state and federal agencies on community-based tsunami preparedness, particularly through the TsunamiReady program. The mission critical operations of seismic detection and warning development and communication systems were prioritized in the budget.

Currently 9 out of 39 DART buoys are inoperable, and 4 of these are scheduled to be serviced in June as sea and weather conditions permit. Knowing that DART outages will occur, the program’s goal is 80 percent operability at a given time. The proposed budget cuts will lower that goal slightly, to 72 percent.

NOAA will continue to operate the most mission-critical tsunami activities, specifically full funding to operate the tsunami warning centers, support for the critical observing system networks (i.e., seismic networks), continue to maintain the DART buoy network, and continue the TsunamiReady preparedness and education program.

DART buoys are helpful in the warning process because they give forecasters confirmation of the existence of a tsunami when the wave passes over the DART. However, the most critical observation tool for tsunami warnings are the seismic stations. People are not warned about tsunamis based on DART information, so this funding cut will not impact issuing warnings.

A series of supplemental funding sources over the years – beyond  NOAA’s baseline budget – allowed us to continue the TWEAK program. The program was started with an earmark from Senator Stevens in Alaska, although similar programs were never implemented for other tsunami-prone areas of the country. The most recent funding source was money allocated to NOAA for tsunami education when the FCC auctioned off surplus wireless spectrum after broadcasters switched from analog to digital broadcasting in 2008. That funding runs out in FY12, so the FY13 budget reflects this reduction. People are more aware of tsunamis and better prepared to respond to a tsunami threat due to the successful implementation of this program, which was always scheduled be completed by the end of FY12.

In the past, PEER has been very reliable for information.  I'll be checking with their national office on this, to see if they have further information.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Alaska's Strangely Selective Release of Last Palin emails Draws Strong Reaction from Andrée McLeod

Earlier Thursday, the state of Alaska seems to have released the last batch of Palin emails solely to The Associated Press:

JUNEAU -- Sarah Palin's final months in office saw her fighting for a signature accomplishment of her tenure as Alaska governor -- a natural gas pipeline project -- and frustrated over a series of ethics complaints that had been filed against her, according to emails released Thursday by state officials.

All articles published nationwide so far are  based on the AP story's very limited information.

Muckraker Andrée McLeod, who was one of the first to file a request for the records is miffed.  It is understandable, given the hard time - to the point of being base, craven government conduct - the Parnell Administration gave her when it released the first batch back in June 2011.

Here's Ms. McLeod's letter on this to the legislature:
To Alaska legislators:
I am ashamed and embarrassed for our great state that the releases of official documents have been handled in such a tawdry manner by the Palin and Parnell administrations…and took nearly 3 years! 

This latest release smacks of cronyism, as the Associated Press received them before others.  Parnell and his staff’s disregard for this citizen requestor leaves no doubt that he’s pettier in nature than imaginable.   

What will you do about it?

When will you raise the standards and fix our broken public records laws?

For starters, when will you prohibit the use of private email accounts and networks for official business?

Andrée McLeod
David Corn at Mother Jones, one of the very first to ask for this correspondence, defending McLeod, has written:
The state turned over 34,820 pages of email only to the Associated Press (withholding almost 1000 emails). This dump also included emails supposedly inadvertently left out of the initial release. I and the other requesters—including, the Anchorage Daily News, the Washington Post, and CNN—should have been informed of the release and provided copies of the material. But we've been frozen out.

This development is particularly curious, given that prior to the original release, the state of Alaska devoted much time to discussing all the details of that release with all the requesters. It was a rather elaborate process that entailed—to the state's credit—much communication and coordination. This time, the state has improperly just handed the emails to the AP, without any interaction with the other requesters. This is a selective release and certainly not in keeping with the spirit, if not the actual dictates, of Alaska's open records act. 

Andrée McLeod, a citizen watchdog in Alaska who has long pursued Palin records, fired off an angry email to Governor Sean Parnell (who served as Palin's lieutenant governor), state Attorney General Michael Geraghty, and Randall Ruaro, who handles public records requests within the governor's office. It says:
Why was I not notified that the emails were available for release in response to my records request?
It is absolutely unfathomable that you have released the emails in such a disparate manner solely to the Associated Press, before anyone else.
This is totally egregious and smacks of cronyism.
I've sent my own note to these officials:
As the original requester, I am quite surprised I received absolutely no notice of the release of this second batch of Palin emails—especially after all the coordination that went into the initial release. This strikes me as a selective release. Like other requesters, I would like an explanation as soon as possible.
Palin is not much in the news these days, but it's not up to the state of Alaska to decide to whom to release these records. This move has a fishy smell to it.

Read more here:

ABC's Jake Tapper Hounds WH Press Flack Carney on Obama's War on Whistleblowers and Journalists

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Wednesday, February 22, 2012

"I Don't Pay!" Movement Spreading Across Europe - Will It Be Taken Up by OWS?

Andrée McLeod Presses Forward Against Alaska State Intransigence - and More

Leading Alaska muckraker and community activist, Andrée McLeod, is continuing her efforts to force the State of Alaska to comply with the law regarding emails having to do with the Palin administration:
From: Andree McLeod
Sent: Tuesday, February 21, 2012 5:16 PM
To: ''
Cc: Don C. Mitchell (; ''
Subject: Request for ALL documents RE: Settlement of Ethics Complaint against F. Bailey

Mr. Geraghty.

I hereby request ALL the ‘confidential’ and still undisclosed documents that Frank Bailey confiscated from the state and shared with members of the public, including Jeanne Devon and Ken Morris, since Bailey obviously and admittedly broke the chain of custody of these confidential documents.

Andrée McLeod
Since the story broke Tuesday that ex-Palin aide Frank Bailey had agreed to pay a substantial civil penalty involving emails he has, the story has gained more coverage in the media and on blogs.  Bailey himself has released a statement:
In August of 2009, after an incident involving my former boss and the Alaska Family Council, I decided that my story needed to be shared. I knew it would be a tough row to hoe, not only writing it, but sharing the full truth, and backing it up with fact. There were thousands of emails in my personal accounts that ,if not shared, would give fodder to those eager to dismiss the story as false. After 19 months of diligence, expert research, attorney consultation, and thousands of hours by skilled co-authors, Blind Allegiance to Sarah Palin was born.
Blind Allegiance shook people. Readers across the country and the world commented. Conservatives and liberals alike thanked us for the work of getting the story out, and backing it up with hard evidence. Palin herself, unable to dispute the facts of the book, took to the airwaves along with a small group of supporters, attacking the messenger. On an August drive home from Eagle, Alaska, I described the counting of that cost. I knew the price of staying silent and allowing her to rise to power without the truth ever coming to light, was far greater than the predictable responses of her supporters.
While we spent countless attorney hours, and the writing team went to great lengths to do our due diligence, the chances of failing to redact materials the State of Alaska deemed confidential, were high. Despite my best efforts, two items were left in the book that the State did not want published. For that, I am sorry. It was not my intention to do so and it was unfortunate that it happened. The State also deemed it against ethics rules that I shared my own personal emails with my co-authors. Because of both issues I paid a settlement to the State in the amount of $11,900.
For the many, many people who read Blind Allegiance with an open mind, and later shared how you could not put it down, thank you for your discerning spirit. I hope that all of those who passionately involve themselves in the causes they believe in, learn from my mistakes and keep their core beliefs solidly in front of them as they fight for what they believe.
Co-author Ken Morris has released a statement:
From my perspective, this story is far from over. The actions initiated by the state of Alaska do not, I believe, serve the interests of justice. To the contrary, this judgment is (in my opinion) the antithesis of what sound government should do for its citizens. Individuals who speak to the truth ought not be quashed, but nurtured. A democracy demands transparency not suppression. As his co-author, I know for a fact that Frank Bailey’s efforts took courage and his contribution to unmasking the fraud that was Alaska’s half-governor are praise-worthy. After three years of collaboration, I stand proud to have contributed and am equally proud to be Mr. Bailey’s dear friend.
 Co-author Jeanne Devon, in a blog entry at The Mudflats, wrote:
 The “two others,” McLeod referenced no longer remain anonymous. Bailey shared his emails with co-authors Ken Morris and myself. These emails were sent and received by Bailey on private Yahoo! accounts which he himself created, admittedly at the time to allow communications in the Palin administration to remain off the radar, and not subject to public records requests. An Alaska court unbelievably ruled that the emails on these Yahoo! accounts were legal and not subject to public records laws.
In one approved, moderated comment at The Mudflats, a commenter wrote, regarding McLeod's persistent courage:
I hope McLeod is happy with her pound of flesh. Too bad that pound wasn’t out of Palin’s bloated carcass of ethics violations. Parnell is not much better—bloat-wise. In fact, much of the state government of Alaska is one stinking bloated carcass.

McLeod’s victory puts me in mind of Welsh battle tactics against the English in the 13th century: harry and kill the unlucky schmucks on the fringes of the army (common foot soldiers) whilst the King and his retinue continue unscathed in their mission of conquest and domination. (Yeah, those tactics turned out well; the Prince of Wales hasn’t been Welsh for 700 years.)
The Immoral Minority posted on this late yesterday.  Here's Gryph:
Okay so here's the thing. I understand Andree McLeod's point here, but the facts are we would NEVER have seen those e-mails if Bailey had not put them in that book.

Oh we may have seen bits and pieces, but the majority of them would have been redacted completely out of existence.

You know I tried to get Bailey to release all of the e-mails before the book came out, or even after, and he has refused to discuss to do so, or even discuss it with those who have asked.

I doubt seriously that the state is going to release the next batch of Palin e-mails intact, so the only way to REALLY know what she is hiding is through Bailey. What do you think the chances are NOW that he will risk giving them to the public?

Dammit why is getting the truth out so fucking hard?
I agree in part to what Jesse wrote.  It is important that Bailey release all the emails he took.  However, he and his co-authors manipulated the totality of what was in there, to craft a narrative that has been termed the third Troopergate coverup.

Politicalgates devoted a long post to this development late yesterday.  Patrick wrote:
In order to avoid a misunderstanding, let me just say the following: We are very grateful that Frank Bailey and his co-authors published "Blind Allegiance", as the book provides unique insights into the "real" Sarah Palin. The book didn't get the attention it really deserved - however, the dreadful controversy with Joe McGinness also significantly contributed to the fact that the book was partially ignored.

If Frank Bailey had just handed all the emails over to the State of Alaska, then the Alaskan government would have probably redacted (=censored) a huge number of them. This can still happen, of course. The leaked manuscript and the published book provided us with invaluable information, for example about the fact the Sarah Palin couldn't even prove that she was pregnant while she was supposedly pregnant with Trig - and was also desperate at the same time to find ways to fight the rumours.

Pretty, pretty strange if you supposedly carry a huge baby in your belly, or supposedly gave birth just a few days ago...But the media just ignored all of this, and rather presented the former AP-reporter Steve Quinn as a "crown witness" for the fact that Sarah Palin was indeed pregnant - when in reality Steve Quinn himself was labelled as a "cheerleader" for the Palin administration by Palin's closest staff in the published emails, just to give one example, and also had a love affair with Sarah Palin's top aide Ivy Frye! Needless to say that these facts were ignored by the media as well, which makes Justin Elliott's "definite debunker" in "Salon" the biggest embarrassment ever of this distinguished liberal website. When it comes to Sarah Palin, even liberal journalists are willing without hesitation to ignore facts and reason.

So I can see that Frank Bailey was between a rock and a hard place. It was a difficult choice. My hope is that we will now see all the emails, with only very small redactions, and they should prove very interesting indeed, as Sarah Palin has more secrets than the CIA (almost).
I responded in the comments:
I beg to differ with my good friend Patrick on both the quality of Blind Allegiance and to the reasons - he seems to place a degree of blame on the McGinniss controversy - the book failed. It was hastily and poorly written by a team that never had any chemistry that could make the product into a resonant statement. Additionally, as Geoffrey Dunn so clearly wrote soon after BA came out, it is the third Troopergate coverup.

I applaud comments here and at the post at IM that reach out to Bailey to release all he stole. Maybe he could turn it over to wikileaks for free.

I doubt he will, but we should try to encourage him.

Andree, as always, is one of the few true heroes we have here in Alaska.
Patrick responded:
Phil, it's of course true that the book had flaws, as our friend Geoffrey Dunn also pointed out, but it still had a lot to offer, as it contained damning information, especially emails, which could be found nowhere else. It certainly still served as an eye-opener for many people. In this tiresome, endless fight against the lies and manipulations of Sarah Palin it allowed a rare view on the workings of her very own "spin machine." The authors "blew it" and for example got into an amateurish confrontation with Joe McGinniss and others. My hope now is that some positive result will follow, and that we will see many more emails.
Amanda Coyne, writing for the Alaska Dispatch, concluded:
No matter the explosive material, the book suffered in sales in large part due to the fact that the rough draft of the manuscript was leaked before publication by author Joe McGinniss, who had moved next door to Palin and was also writing a book about her.

This is how the New York Times described McGinniss' book: (D)ated, petty and easily available to anyone with Internet access, Mr. McGinniss used his time in Alaska to chase caustic, unsubstantiated gossip about the Palins, often from unnamed sources like 'one resident' and 'a friend.'"
Bailey, Devon and Morris' book didn't fail because of Joe McGinniss.  It failed because it wasn't very good, and because Bailey, on his book tour, was inarticulate, defensive and looked even shadier than Richard Nixon saying "I am NOT a crook."  Who'd want to buy a used book from that guy, let alone a new one?  Interestingly, Coyne's article mentions neither McLeod nor [fails to mention] that bloggers and others are pressuring Bailey to release all the emails.

Richard Mauer at the Anchorage Daily News, who broke this story Tuesday, concludes:
The settlement only generally describes the subject of the confidential information that was published: "Mr. Bailey admits that his published book contains information regarding the appointment of an attorney general that the Office of the Attorney General advised him was confidential prior to publication of the book," the settlement said.

The penalties in the settlement were attributed to three violations: $3,600 for using confidential information in drafting his book; $7,200 for disclosing confidential information to his two co-authors; and $1,100 for publishing confidential information after he was advised it was secret.
McLeod said the penalty against Bailey demonstrates that Palin's administration didn't achieve the reforms it claimed.

"State employees know not to do this -- from commissioners on down to the admin clerk, they know you can't personally benefit form information acquired when you're working for the state. But Palin and her cohorts thought they were above the law, or they didn't give a hoot," she said.

Read more here:
The State needs to relent and grant McLeod's request.  Additionally, Bailey should release what he has held that isn't hurtful to people in any unnecessary ways.

NOAA To Zero Out Funding for Alaska Tsunami Center in Palmer - Updated With Sen. Begich Statement

According to Jeff Ruch, Executive Director of Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility, the new National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration has no funding marked for the Palmer Alaska-based Tsunami Warning Center, which provides vital and timely information during tsunamis worldwide:
Washington, DC —Despite a proposed budget hike of more than $150 million, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) is moving to curtail support for its critical ocean-based tsunami warning system and terminate funding for Alaska’s tsunami and seismic network and emergency public outreach for the West Coast and Alaska, among other activities, according to Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER).  These precipitous budgetary moves by NOAA leave both state and federal officials puzzled and uncertain how vital public safety work will proceed.

These cuts were not mentioned in public briefings on the FY 2013 NOAA budget.  Instead, they were disclosed in employee briefings and correspondence with state partners.  The two main tsunami-related budgetary casualties are:

•  NOAA’s Deep Ocean Assessment and Reporting of Tsunamis (DART) network of 39 stations covering the Pacific, Atlantic, Caribbean and the Gulf of Mexico.  Currently, more than one in four (10 out of 39) of its DART stations are inoperative.  The planned reduction in operations and maintenance will likely lead to even greater outages in the DART network, which according to NOAA, “serves as the cornerstone of the U.S. tsunami warning system”; and

•  The Tsunami Warning and Environmental Observatory for Alaska (TWEAK) which maintains Alaska's seismic monitoring network for warnings about  tsunami-generating earthquakes and measuring motion on the sea floor associated with these quakes, develops  tsunami  mapping and modeling for the evaluation of flooding at Alaska coastal communities and provides operational support for the NOAA Alaska Tsunami Warning Center, such as tide gauges and pressure sensors, as well as work on public education and community preparedness.

“Our tsunami warning system is one of the last things NOAA should contemplate cutting,” stated PEER Executive Director Jeff Ruch, noting that these cuts were not mentioned in public briefings on the NOAA budget. “This is like a homeowner economizing by disconnecting the smoke alarm.”
In a phone call this morning, Ruch stated that very few people have been told abut this, and the only person representing Alaska or the NOAA Center in Palmer at a recent briefing on the budget cuts, was Alaska's state seismologist.

In phone calls to Sen. Mark Begich's DC and Anchorage offices, staff were taken by surprise by the news, and will have more to say once they become fully informed on this and other proposed cuts.  Begich Press Secretary Julie Hasquet thought it ironic that NOAA would brief employees and state partners somewhat quietly on this, and somehow expect the news to keep quiet.

Update:  Here is Sen. Begich's statement:
I am reviewing the President's request for NOAA's 2013 funding now.  As Chair of the Oceans Subcommittee I'll be convening a hearing in a few weeks to ask the Administration some tough questions about these proposed cuts.  Alaskans count on NOAA's tsunami warning systems to keep our coastal communities safe.  A recent National Academy of Sciences study identified tsunami buoy reliability as a key vulnerability in the system--so I'll be taking a close look at NOAA's proposal and working to ensure this critical warning system is not compromised by ill-advised budget cuts." 

–U.S. Sen. Mark Begich

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Frank Bailey Ordered to Pay Five Figure Sum for Email Misuse

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                               Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Anchorage, Alaska:  Sarah Palin’s top aide Frank Bailey has agreed to pay civil penalties totaling $11,900 to resolve an ethics complaint.  The complaint was filed on September, 2010 by Andrée McLeod when she learned that Bailey misused confidential documents and emails he had acquired while he worked for Palin.

“Justice has yet to be served.  I have called on the Attorney General to reveal all the public’s documents and emails that Bailey confiscated and shared with others when he left state employment.”

McLeod and members of the media have requested all of Palin’s email communications for the time she was Alaska’s governor.  Although some have been revealed, many couldn’t be located because of Palin’s rampant use of private email accounts for official business, and thousands more remain undisclosed as Alaska’s governor’s office cites executive privileges and other delay tactics.    
“Every one of those confidential and still undisclosed public documents that were in Bailey’s possession must be made public, immediately, as Bailey broke the chain of custody when he illegally shared them with his co-authors Jeanne Devon and Ken Morris,” McLeod said.

“This is the second time that Sarah’s go-to guy has been found to have crossed the line.  The first was back in November of 2008 when I filed another complaint against Sarah and her staff, including Bailey,” McLeod said.

McLeod continues, “This agreement proves, yet again, that Sarah Palin’s account of her role in reforming Alaska’s government while governor is truly the only real ‘false narrative’ being bandied about.”

Mini Documentary on the Alberta Tar Sands Oil Environmental Catastrophe

Monday, February 20, 2012

Suck on This, Newt - VOLT Gunrack Installation

Receding GOP Presidential candidate Newt Gingrich declared Monday to the few hundreds who showed up at one of his rallies, that "You can't put a gun rack in a [Chevrolet] Volt:


hat tip to Hannibal

Granted that his design is a bit sketchy.  However, it can easily be improved upon by that spirit of American innovation the GOP candidates continually invoke but seldom if ever exemplify themselves.

This Has Never Happened Before - Active Duty Troops March on White House for Ron Paul

Presidents Day, 2012.

Although the Pentagon and individual services strongly discouraged active duty military personnel from participating in Monday's march on the White House by veterans and service members supporting Ron Paul, hundreds of them joined the thousands in the march and White House demonstration.

The demonstration had this poignant moment:
Standing at the gates of the White House, hundreds of veterans and active duty service members, including Schlegel, turned their backs.

Together, they saluted one second for every service member who has committed suicide during Barack Obama’s presidency. 

After eight minutes of saluting, they observed a 21-minute silent prayer – one second for every service member who died abroad during President Obama’s term.
Coverage of this unprecedented event has been light in the mainstream media.  So has the fact that Paul has pulled in about twice as much as the president from serving military, and over 20 times as much as his leading GOP rival from this constituency, Mitt Romney.

The group formed up at the Washington Monument, then marched on the White House:
The group then marched in formation back to the Washington Monument.  The numbers of civilians walking behind the official veterans and active duty marching to show that "Ron Paul is the Choice of the Troops" was reported to be over 1,000 family members and supporters.  The official march of the troops and veterans themselves is believed to have been an additional over 900 people.  It is unclear at this time, how many members of the public may have been in the crowds to observe this historic public statement by our veterans in support of Ron Paul for President of the United States.

This was clearly a unique anti-war march by our nation's veterans and perhaps could be referred to as one of the most unique in recent history.   The official march was heard in cadence to:  "End the Fed", "President Paul", "End the Wars" and "Ron Paul Revolution, Legalize the Constitution".

There was initially to be active duty also participating in the march.  It is unclear after a warning was said to be issued by top military brass in the last couple of days whether the numbers of active duty members that actually marched today was affected by this warning instructing them not to participate.
Here's video of the gathering at the Washington Monument:

And Here's video of the march.  There do appear to be many active service members there, though one cannot be sure.  No doubt the Defense Department and Secret Service are busy  going through their photos and videos, trying to determine which people there are indeed active duty:

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Going Down the FBI "Tripwire" Checklist

A number of web sites have compiled lists of things the FBI wants people to watch for other people doing, that might be considered suspicious activity.  Among  other things, they call this the "Tripwire" program.

In some cases, the suggestions are sensible.  In other cases, though, the suggestions are laughable.  Here's the flyer sent to hobby shops nationwide (click it to enlarge):

I took one list, from poorrichard's blog, and pasted it below.  I've put the things I occasionally do in bold:

1) Do Not: Use Google Maps to find your way around a strange city.
2) Do Not: Use Google Maps to view photos of sports stadiums.
3) Do Not: Install online privacy protection software on your personal computer.
4) Do Not: Attempt to shield your computer screen from the view of others.
5) Do Not: Shave your beard, dye your hair or alter your mode of dress.
6) Do Not: Sweat.
7) Do Not: Avoid eye contact.
8) Do Not: Use a cell-phone camera in an airport, train station or shopping mall.
9) Do Not: Seek to work alone or without supervision.
10) Do Not: Appear to be out of place.
11) Do Not: Have bright colored stains on your clothing.
12) Do Not: Be missing any fingers.
13) Do Not: Emit strange odors.
14) Do Not: Travel an “illogical distance” to do your shopping.
15) Do Not: Have someone pick you up from a beauty supply store.
16) Do Not: Be nervous.
17) Do Not: Be a new customer from out of town.
18) Do Not: Use a credit card in someone else’s name.
19) Do Not: Chant environmental slogans near construction sites.
20) Do Not: Enter a construction site after work hours.
21) Do Not: Rent watercraft for an extended period.
22) Do Not: Make comments involving radical theology.
23) Do Not: Make vague or cryptic warnings.
24) Do Not: Express anti-U.S. sentiments.
25) Do Not: Purchase a quantity of prepaid or disposable cell phones.
26) Do Not: Leave store without preprogramming disposable phones.
27) Do Not: Be overly interested in satellite phones and voice privacy.
28) Do Not: Ask questions about swapping SIM cards in cell phones.
29) Do Not: Ask questions about how phone location can be tracked.
30) Do Not: Rewire cell phone’s ringer or backlight.
31) Do Not: Express out-of-place and provocative religious or political sentiments.
32) Do Not: Purchase a police scanner, infrared device or 2-way radio.
33) Do Not: Act impatient.
34) Do Not: Drive a vehicle that appears to be overloaded.
35) Do Not: Depart quickly when seen or approached.
36) Do Not: Be a person “acting suspiciously.”
37) Do Not: Make illegible notes on a map.
38) Do Not: Take photos of the Statue of Liberty or other “symbolic targets.”
39) Do Not: Overdress for the weather.
40) Do Not: Ask questions in a hobby shop about remote controlled aircraft.
41) Do Not: Demonstrate interest that does not seem genuine.
42) Do Not: Request specific room assignments or locations at a hotel or motel.
43) Do Not: Arrive at a lodging with unusual amounts of luggage.
44) Do Not: Refuse cleaning service.
45) Do Not: Avoid the lobby of a hotel or motel.
46) Do Not: Remain in your hotel or motel room.
47) Do Not: Leave your hotel for several days, then return.
48) Do Not: Leave behind clothing and toiletry items.
49) Do Not: Park your vehicle in an isolated area.
50) Do Not: Be observed switching a cell phone SIM card.
51) Do Not: Be observed using multiple cell phones.
52) Do Not: Make notes that are illegible to passersby.
53) Do Not: Communicate through a PC game.
54) Do Not: Download “extreme/radical” content.
55) Do Not: Exhibit preoccupation with press coverage of terrorist attacks.
56) Do Not: Wear a backpack when the weather is warm.
57) Do Not: Speak to mall maintenance personnel or security guards.
58) Do Not: Make racist comments.
59) Do Not: Mumble to yourself.
60) Do Not: Pass along any anonymous threats you may receive.
61) Do Not: Discreetly take a photo in a mass transit site.
62) Do Not: Arrive with a group of people and split off from them.
63) Do Not: Demand “identity privacy.”
64) Do Not: Appear to endorse the use of violence in support of a cause.
65) Do Not: Make bulk purchases of meals ready to eat.
66) Do Not: Arrive in America from a land where militant Islamic groups operate.
67) Do Not: Take a long absence for religious education or charity work.
68) Do Not: Travel to countries where militant Islam rules.
69) Do Not: Study technical subjects that would aid a terror operation.
70) Do Not: Work in a field that “serves as a cover for preparing for an operation.”
71) Do Not: Exhibit ire at global policies of the U.S.

37 out of 71.  That's more than half, so maybe I'm a person of suspicion, eh?

Maybe I could add a #72 - looks like he is tempted to turn FBI seal into a Frisbee, and throw it into the lake:

What's The Big Deal About "The Warrior Within" at Wasilla High School?

The new sculpture at the main entrance to Wasilla High School is causing controversy.  Soon after it was emplaced, it got covered over:
WASILLA — Jim Dault and Shala Dobson are proud to display their artwork at Wasilla High School. After all, the Meadow Lakes artists are Valley residents and have a familial connection with the school.
That’s why Jan. 29 was an exciting day, Dault said. That’s the day they installed their sculpture “Warrior Within” in front of the Mat-Su Borough School District’s largest high school. Three days later, however, the $100,000 work of art, contracted through the state’s Percent For Art Program, was covered by tarps and has remained under wraps since.

The reason? Some students think the stone and concrete sculpture that features a pair of shields surrounded by feathers resembles female genitalia. The oblong shields, one made of aluminum and another of bronze, are emblazoned with warrior symbolism, the artists say in a description of their project.

“Emerging from the powerful stone form are two warrior shields encircled by glowing feathers,” the description says, adding the art is a monument to the warrior spirit. “The bronze shield has a hand impression showing ‘good deeds.’ The aluminum shield has a flame symbol representing the ‘spark of inspiration.’ The stone form represents the strong material from which a warrior is made.”

That’s the message the artwork conveys, Dault said, and he and Dobson are now working with the school to help educate students and parents about the art and its ties to Wasilla High and its Warrior mascot.
But by Saturday, the statue had been uncovered:
WASILLA - The cover has come off a controversial piece of public art at Wasilla High School.
Days after the "Warrior Within" was installed in front of the school Jan. 29, WHS Principal Amy Spargo had the 12.5-foot-high sculpture covered after fielding concerns from some students and parents that the work resembled female genitalia.

It had been covered until about 6 p.m., Friday while the school continues to work with the artists, Meadow Lakes residents Jim Dault and Shala Dobson, to educate students and the community about their artistic interpretation of the warrior spirit.

Spargo said she's putting together a committee of community members, students, parents and administrators to review the piece. In the meantime, the tarps are off in preparation for this week's parent-teacher conferences, she said.

"It was already scheduled to be uncovered for the parent-teacher conferences," Spargo said.
Dault and Dobson said Friday afternoon they didn't know about the plan to uncover their work, but that they are pleased with the development.

"I think it's great, that's what it's meant for," Dobson said. "We're very happy. That's what we wanted to have happen, and we wanted to do the presentation so they could understand the symbolism of the ‘Warrior Within.'"
I drove by on Saturday afternoon, on my way home from picking up garden supplies.  Here's what it looked like:
The Warrior Within - image by Philip Munger
 It certainly makes a statement.  According to sculptor Jim Dault, the inset resembles a Zulu warrior's shield:
"Those shields are in the same shape Zulu warriors use," he said. "A warrior's greatest battle is within himself, and for a warrior, patience has a great reward. Everyone has to answer to the warrior within themselves."
Here's a Zulu shield:

Here's a South African statue of a Zulu warrior with his shield:

A commenter at the Frontiersman noted:
I've also got to mention that I think the most ironic part of covering up the artwork is now it looks like a phallic symbol with a condom. The most ironic part of this article is the "Photo of the Day" on the next column has a Girl Scout riding a phallis with a lasso around the neck. THAT'S what should be censored!
A lot of things in nature resemble genitalia, female or male.

A collection of Willow Leaves:

An Alder Leaf:

Chinese Elm leaves:

A Diamond Willow Leaf:

A Feltleaf Willow leaf (my favorite Willow):

Quick - cover those trees before the foliage comes back!

And not just in nature.  How about in automotive design?

Mr Whitekeys uses a picture in his show that shows Colony High School's sign with the "Y" missing, so that it spells "COLON HIGH SCHOOL."

Just like junior high and high school kids don't need much help to start thinking about sex, the commenters over at The Immoral Minority's story on this don't need any prodding to relate all of this hubbub back to you-know-who, their fixation:
LMAO !!!
A vagina, they have a vagina sculpture!! Is this in honor of all the pussy the Palin family has put out over the years.


Somebody should stuff a toy baby in the opening to represent all of Sarah Palin's grandkids that were conceived at Wasilla High School during their lunch period.


The ultimate tribute to Wasilla HS most famous underage pregnant student alumni Bristol Palin.


10.06 "Was this Bristol's second job, posing for the artist?"!!!LOL. Maybe too many of the male students immediately thought of the Palin girls when they saw this? Bristol probably thnks there is nothing wrong with it, after all THAT is how she became famous. That and wine coolers in a pup tent.


Surely Sarah Palin is highly honored that Wasilla HS has a statue of her right out front.
.... and so on.

And it was just nine months ago that Wasilla High School's strangely prudish attitude to the arts was front and center -The Bohemian Rhapsody fracas.

Regarding the sculpture, the controversy, and the work's future, my friend Howard Bess has some thoughts:
The decision to uncover "Warrior Within" was also hailed by Howard Bess, a Valley community activist and Palmer Arts Council board member. The council's board met Wednesday evening to discuss what it viewed as censorship of public art.

"I'm very glad she did it," Bess said of Friday's unveiling. "It was the point of view of the board - unanimous - that the covering of it was unfortunate. As far as the artwork itself, there really needs to be public education and discussion. Good artwork will always produce both wonder and discussion. Negative comments about it should simply be seen as part of the community discussion."

While the future of "Warrior Within" is still in doubt, Bess said he believes the school should support the public process that already has concluded and leave the sculpture where it is.

"My personal hope is they leave it right where it is," he said. "The idea of removing it completely, I don't think that would be a good solution. Let the artwork speak for itself."
I taught a class at WHS for thirteen years.  Sometimes we created controversial art.  Most of it wasn't.  A parent wanted me fired for having us perform music in 1996 that predicted Rep. Vic Kohring might end up in jail some day.  She didn't succeed.  I predict the sculpture stays if people support it and its premise.

A side note - as art, the "Warrior Within" doesn't impress me at all, but I'll defend it to the hilt.