~Thick and fast they came at last and more, and more, and more!
The Magic Bus
Yes, that’s really the name of the bus that will be taking people to Kenai tomorrow to testify at the one and only public hearing regarding the proposed Pac-Rim Chuitna coal project. For those not going on the bus (leaving Midtown Sagaya at 1:15pm), you can submit your comments to: firstname.lastname@example.org but it MUST be done by 5pm on Wednesday, January 19. You don’t need to know every little detail to make your feelings known. All you have to know is that there ought to be a law against mining through a salmon stream. The Chuitna is the spawning ground for hundreds of thousands of salmon, and the toxic mine sludge that would pour into Cook Inlet right across from Anchorage would measure in at 7 million gallons a day. For more on my trip last summer to the proposed mine site, click HERE. Even if you don’t fish the Chuitna, your salmon from the Deshka, the Little Su, Ship Creek, and all points up the Inlet will all have to swim right through the runoff. I’d rather mine be marinated in teriyaki instead of mine waste… but that’s just me. I’ll be blogging from the bus and beyond.
Few have such a legacy – The Peace Corps, The Special Olympics, the war on poverty, Head Start, Foster Grandparents. The Great Society would not have been half so great without the influence of Shriver. Dead at 95, but his works live on.
In total nineteen homeless men and women died on the streets of Anchorage in the twelve month period between 7 May 2009 and 18 April 2010. This amounts to almost 5% of the total homeless population in Anchorage, estimated at about 400 persons. In total, the number of homeless deaths in the streets exceeded that annual homicide total for the city. For a visitor, the death rate is shocking. The topology of death on the streets is stark: park benches, scrub land, roadside ditches and even a rubbish compactor. Each case is depressing in itself, but cumulatively it creates a litany of a desolate urban wasteland.
A solo exhibition by photographer Dirk Spennemann will open Friday, January 21 and run through February 13 at Out North Theater. In a five hour time span, chasing the fleeting light of Alaska winter, he took photos of the locations where each of these unfortunate souls lost their lives. The mayor of their city said upon learning of the death of a homeless man who was accidentally killed by the compactor in the dumpster where he was sleeping to get out of the cold, “It’s not something that has an instant cure, unfortunately. There’s always going to be people that choose a certain lifestyle that results in tragic deaths like this.” Mayor Dan Sullivan calls homelessness a “lifestyle choice.” I call it a tragedy.
Nobody likes a frozen pipe. This can be a problem in the interior of Alaska in January. But the worst kind of frozen pipe is the 800-mile long one that transports oil from Alaska’s North Slope to the Port of Valdez. A series of shutdowns because of leaks have plagued the beleaguered pipe, and start up in cold conditions can be touchy. Ice and buildup in cold temperatures and with reduced oil flow can cause blockages and pump failure.
On Tuesday, Sen. Mark Begich, D-Alaska, called for a congressional hearing on the future of the 33-year old pipeline, which carries about 11 percent of domestic oil production.
With the flow of the oil from North Slope fields declining, “we need to focus on how we keep this vital piece of infrastructure healthy, whole and an economic asset,” Begich said in his letter requesting a Senate Commerce Committee hearing this spring.
I know. Wishful thinking. But it feels good to say it anyway. Give it a try. Nobody’s looking. I’ll say it with you… “Sit down and SHUT UP!” Wasn’t that nice?
Just like trying to start up the pipeline after it’s been off for a while, I couldn’t quite bring myself to come off a hiatus with a transcript of the latest giant Caesar sized bowl of Palin word salad. But you can click the link on the title to see her interview with Sean Hannity, and to enjoy the take of Stephen Stromberg at the Washington Post.
Last week, Sarah Palin bit back at those who claim that she has contributed to a nasty tone in American politics. She started with praise for vigorous, free and respectful debate. Then she accused her opponents of arguing in bad faith, and she drew parallels between her critics and centuries of anti-Semitic murderers.
Apparently she didn’t see the irony, even after dozens of commentaries — not just from the left, but from centrists and conservatives — discussed it. Because Palin went on Fox News’s “Sean Hannity Show” on Monday night and praised the calm exchange of ideas — and then again insisted that her critics aren’t acting in good faith.