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November 23, 2014

Bird of the Week – Crested Auklet

Crested Auklets, St. Paul Island, Pribilof Islands

WC has neglected the Alaska alcids, the “flying footballs” of Alaska waters. Alaska doesn’t have penguins – whatever they may think in the Lower 48 – but we come close with these diving seabirds. We’ll start with a species that always makes WC smile, Crested Auklets. The crest is a sexual characteristic in both genders; both males and females prefer a mate with a big crest. Let the innuendo begin. Camera geek stuff: f14, 1/60 ISO1000 For more bird photos, please visit Frozen Feather Images.

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Begich and Parnell Concede

fat-lady-sings

Mark Begich has officially called to congratulate Dan Sullivan on winning the senate race. I’m thinking maybe a constitutional challenge is in order now that Ohio has three senators. Alaskans didn’t used to fall for the carpetbagger who moved here just for a senate seat. But the times they are a-changing. The following statement was released by Begich, after calling Sullivan today. “Alaska is a place unmatched by any other, and the opportunity to represent Alaskans and all of Alaska’s communities in the U.S. Senate has been a tremendous honor for which I am eternally grateful. Alaska deserves a bright…

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Bird of the Week – Red-faced Cormorant

Red-faced Cormorant, St. Paul Island, Pribilof Islands

Alaska is the only place in North America where you can find the Red-faced Cormorant. Cormorants dive for fish, and nest on cliffs and ledges like the bluffs of St. Paul Island. The body appears black, but actually has a greenish-purplish cast, best seen on cloudy days. Camera geek stuff: f4, 1/8000 ISO100 For more bird photos, please visit Frozen Feather Images.  

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AP Calls Senate Race for Sullivan, but…

fatlady-sings

The Associated Press last night called the Alaska Senate race for Republican Dan Sullivan. So, is it over? Well, not quite yet. There are still more than 20,000 votes to count, and overseas ballots still have almost a week to arrive. There are votes yet to come in from villages in which Mark Begich expects a high level of support. The campaign released the following statement even as Begich is back in D.C. for his probable but not definite lame duck months. A statement by a campaign structure that has seen their candidate win several elections by the slimmest of margins…

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John Oliver on The Salmon Cannon – ‘We Can Do Great Things’

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John Oliver on his always excellent HBO show, Last Week Tonight discovered a thing called ‘the salmon cannon.’ For those not in the salmon transportation industry it’s a “series of tubes” if you will, created by Whooshh (yes, whooshh) that allows salmon to be propelled over or around a dam. The system is currently being used in the Northwest where communities are trying to repopulate the blocked rivers that once held plentiful salmon runs. John Oliver creates his own and decides to shoot salmon across the TV world with some amazing cameos by actors, TV News broadcasters and one famous animated Dad. Mmmmm, salmon.

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Bird of the Week – White-winged Crossbill

White-winged Crossbill Male, Nabesna Road

White-winged Crossbills are evergreen cone specialists. You can see that the bill does indeed cross at the tips, allowing the bird to lever open spruce and tamarack cone bracts to get to the seeds. The male is a lot flashier. White-winged Crossbills aren’t always easy to find. They follow the cone crop. When spruce and tamarack cone production is low, the birds will move elsewhere. This is a boreal species; further south, even in Southeast Alaska, the Red Crossbill is more common. Camera geek stuff: f5.6, 1/8000, ISO2500 For more bird photos, please visit Frozen Feather Images.

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Alaska… You Crazy! Election Recap

akcraycray

On election night, one state in the nation voted to legalize marijuana, raise the minimum wage, and add an extra level of environmental protection for sensitive ecosystems facing development. It’s largest city also voted to overturn an anti-labor ordinance which was the brain child of a Mayor (running as a Republican for Lt. Governor) who appears to be about to go down in flames to a non-partisan gubernatorial ticket. That’s like a cool, edgy progressive place to live, right? What if I told you that this very same state has elected by a comfortable margin, a majority in the legislature…

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Notes from Election Central

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Here we go again! 8:30 – No numbers yet. Sitting in a sweet spot with lots of plug-ins and within earshot of the table belonging to Ethan Berkowitz and the Party Planner who are interviewing talk bloviator Dave Stieren who is loudly and intently talking about Mark BAGitch (learn the name!) “Every election is about the next election,” he drops the pearls of wisdom on the floor for us to scramble after. Now something about Joe Miller, and the Democrats sending out flyers for Mark Fish the Libertarian candidate, hoping to split the Republican vote. The Party Planner nods in…

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Cruz to Wasilla

briancruz

Fueled by Jitters coffee and a sugar cookie the size of a frisbee, I was as ready as I was ever going to be. I and two companions were on a political road trip north to the Valley. As we arrived in Wasilla, a small plane flew laps over the AT&T sports center, towing a sign that read “Sullivan for Senate.” In a media market filled to capacity with political ads, this apparently was the only air time left. Inside, Toby Keith, Neil Diamond, Eminem, Corey Hart, and an unlikely play list of songs presumably chosen for themes of freedom, America,…

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Whiny Sullivan Operative Must Work in Hellhole

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Outside Republican Sullivan operatives haven’t quite figured out how the internets work. Senate candidate Dan Sullivan is having a hard time convincing people he’s from Alaska. Most of his contributions are from Ohio, because… well, he’s from Ohio. And while he may be sticking around Alaska long enough to try to get a Senate job in DC, some of his campaigners can’t wait to get out of this godforsaken hellhole populated by dumb rubes. (Psst! Hey, “RepublicanPolitico,” we can hear you!) Yes, Sullivan’s guns for hire pulled field programs in October because of the weather. Nahhh… nobody does any field work in…

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