Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Moose Masks

"the problem child," this is for you:

AKM donning a moose mask at the Pittsburgh Mudstock, August 16, 2009Behold AKMuckraker, posing for a picture at the Pittsburgh Mudstock, in one of the moose masks!

Monday, August 17, 2009

Mudstock Memories -- Random Thoughts and Images

What a joy to meet so many other mudpuppies in Pittsburgh, for the 3rd Mudstock there!  This post is just random thoughts and images of the event.

Here is our live blogging setup.  I think that's Lori in LA and behind her is a computer (someone is at it) and if you follow the wire up, there's a projector that is shooting The Mudflats dot net comments up on the screen.  We took turns posting our hellos from the room at Roland's where we gathered, waiting for the guests of honor.

I got there about 20 minutes before 1:00 PM, but it still took about an hour for everyone to arrive.  All told a good 35 folks came up, although not necessarily all at one time.

There's some mudpups on the left, and on this shelf that divides our "room" from the rest of Rolands' upstairs area, a lovingly carved wooden moose held forth.  Nearby were baskets where one could make donations to the Pittsburgh mudpups who organized the shindig, and donations to the Alaskans whose villages got wiped out by the flooding ice.

It was amazing to many of us that we had learned so much about Alaska thanks to John McCain's insane shot in the dark.  And we also expressed our amazement and delight that we had found each other as a result of the intrepid bloggers, primarily AKM, who helped us connect.

Shannyn and AKM arrived, bubbling with smiles and energy.  Here's Shannyn holding forth by the projector screen.  I kept trying to figure out where the "receiving lines" started, but I should have had no worry.  The two lovely ladies circulated throughout the room throughout the event and we each had lots of opportunities to greet, hug and chat with the guests from the "upper 1."

You know, Shannyn looks just like she does when she's on Countdown.  And AKM looks just wonderful too, although she asks that we don't publish her pic directly.  However, I did manage to get a photo of her in disguise ... incognito, as it were... and here it is:

AKM is wearing a Steelers cap and a moose mask, graciously provided by our hosts for the afternoon, Hamlets Mill and the other Pittsburgh mudpuppies.  Okay, so I used a little Photoshop filtering too...

One thought dawned on us as we discussed AKM's identity exposure by Doogan.  Had that not occured, it is quite likely that AKM would not have appeared in person at Netroots Nation, and by extrapolation, we would never have gotten to meet the real live AKM.  There was a silver lining in the Doogan cloud, and now, months later, my disgust and antipathy towards him has moderated.  He's still a dirtbag, though.

My sincere hope is that our intrepid Alaskan bloggers, having trekked this far, make some new friends and firm up some good contacts for the future.  I am ever so grateful they were there, doing what they do, because without a doubt they helped save us from the massive disaster that would have been a McCain-Palin administration.

Safe travels, AKM and Shannyn.  Thanks for meeting with us!

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Good Morning From Pittsburgh

I'm watching Rachel Maddow on Meet the Press.  She makes Dick Armey uncomfortable and he gets very loud and keeps wagging his finger and talking over people.  Ugh for Armey.

Soon it will be time to meet up with the other Mudpups.  Meantime, I'm enjoying a third cup of coffee.  Byron was fascinated by the mini-Melitta setup I brought with me so I could brew my favorite blend:

I'm pretty sure Byron is related to Brian.  He seems to be enjoying the trip to Pittsburgh, as am I!

Friday, August 14, 2009

Something Completely Different

I don't usually post YouTubes as the sum and substance of a blog entry, but if you haven't seen this yet, I heartily recommend it. 

Why does this move me so much?  Maybe it's my heritage, or my age, or simply my delight at seeing something so different, so evocative, so stunning and, for lack of better words, so deeply real.

Please see the Huffington post for the story that goes with this video.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Get Ready, Pittsburgh!

Netroots Nation starts tomorrow, and the firecracker radio host and blogger, Shannyn Moore, together with the irrepressible weaver of wonderful parables, AK Muckraker, have hit the town to attend this annual event. These two are not the only Alaska bloggers I admire greatly, but they are the two who actually made it this summer to the eastern part of the 'lower 48.'

The Pittsburgh area folks have been planning and plotting and putting together a Mudstock to coincide with the conclusion of Netroots. A Mudstock is usually a brief gathering of mudpuppies, ordinarily consisting of sharing a delectable meal somewhere and possibly joining for some sightseeing to boot. A mudpuppy is simply someone who is an admirer of AK Muckraker, and by extension, the rest of the fantabulous, progressive Alaskan voices we turned to when Sarah Palin was thrust upon us as a candidate for ... Vice President of the United States of America. I still can't believe John McCain did that to us. Oh, the two iconic images that all mudpuppies respond to are a pair of yellow boots (duh, for walking through mud!) and a majestic moose, code-named Brian.

It is my great fortune to be near enough to Pittsburgh and able to travel to the upcoming Pittsburgh Mudstock! Can you tell I'm excited? I've been preparing for days.
  • Ordered and received my very own figurine of a moose - check
  • Dusted off and cleaned out travel bags - check
  • Made a list of computer essentials to bring - check
  • Installed IPhone apps that will let me tweet text and even images - check
  • Got approved for a day off work - check
  • Reserved a rental car since mine may or may not make it - check
  • Reserved a hotel room - check
  • Cooked and froze food so housemates wouldn't starve in my absence (guys... *eyeroll*) - check
  • Charged up the battery on the camcorder - check
  • Printed out driving directions and loaded destination maps - check
Okay, well, it's just a weekend and I won't go into what I'm packing to wear and stuff. But I'll be tweeting as I can along the way (you can see my Twitter feed on the left of the blog), and blogging when I can when I get there, and uploading pics when I return.

For anyone in the neighborhood, you can still RSVP until Friday night to join in the fun! Here's the forum thread with all the Pittsburgh Mudstock info. Just e-mail Hamlet's Mill and let him know you are coming!

Monday, August 10, 2009

Here's a Sign I'd Like to See

Wouldn't it be lovely... to drive down a local highway... and see this:

Road sign reading Where's Trig's Birth Certificate?
I can dream, can't I?

Friday, August 07, 2009

Is There a Felony Conviction in Sarah's Future?

Where's the Coverage?

sarah palin in running suit posing with tourists on a bus
The ADN doesn't have it. Not a peep from C4P on the story, either. And there's no mention at Sarah Palin's Facebook page, although there's a new note today with a statement in which the crazy ex-governor lady praises Michele Bachmann. Yes, that Michele Bachmann, the even crazier (if that's possible) Minnesota congresswoman.

The Sarasites and Palinbots across the country went fairly flipping insane over Gryphen's revelatory blog post of Saturday, 1 August, 2009. The internets burned furiously for the next several days with made-up nonsense about the blogger. Sarah's private attorney even sat down on his day off to write a letter threatening a lawsuit, just because Gryphen said that his sources reported Sarah and Todd's marriage was on shaky ground. Well, okay, he said more than that but the potential break-up of this holy couple is what seemed to infuriate Sarah's faithful.

Yet on Monday this past week, 3 August 2009, a legal document was filed that alleges the crazy ex-governor lady attempted to commit bribery. Say what...! No word? No tweet? No statement on Facebook? No announcement or denouncement by Meg-the-mouth or Todd or Chuck or Van Flein or anyone? The silence on this is stunning.


Here's the story as I know it. Back in March of this year, an African-American musician named Gregory Royal filed a Federal lawsuit in Washington,DC, against then-governor Palin(PDF) for failing to declare June 19th, 2007, as a day of celebration—you know, the kind of stuff governors do all the time. Juneteenth, as it is called, celebrates the end of slavery in the United States, and is recognized worldwide.

The Juneteenth proclamation is required by Alaska law. Each year the governor is supposed to make the declaration so that festivities may ensue with the government's blessings. On being reminded that then-governor Palin failed to meet this legal obligation, AK administration officials claimed it was a stenographic mistake. But given the opportunity to retroactively make the declaration, stubborn Sarah apparently shrugged it off and let things ride. The law suit alleges damages because vendors and others who were involved in preparing for and hosting events related to Juneteenth suffered from a lack of participation both from citizens and the governor's office.

Sarah Palin was the only Alaska governor who failed to issue the proclamation or appear at the festivities. She didn't even send a representative. She never apologized for failing to do her legal duty. And apparently, she refused to accept a summons from the process server and tried to have the suit dismissed claiming the court failed to properly serve the documents.

Attempted Bribery Charge

Kim Chatman, an Alaskan who believes in holding Sarah Palin accountable, joined the suit when it was transferred by U.S. District Court Judge Reggie B. Walton to the U.S. District Court of Alaska. Last Monday, plaintiffs Kim and Gregory filed another document with the court seeking to add to the original complaint. Alaska Report has a link to the document along with a story about this incendiary charge.

According to this new claim, Sarah Palin, then governor, attempted to bribe a third party with state funds and legislative support if s/he would convince the plaintiffs to drop the lawsuit. Hopefully someone with a good understanding of the law can clarify this for me, but I believe this additional charge escalates the lawsuit from a civil matter to a criminal matter, and if found guilty, that would make Sarah Palin, the crazy ex-governor lady, a felon. [Please see readers' contributions in the comments that clarify the felony issue.]

Why am I not surprised then that such a hoopla and circus was taking place over Gryphen's "Splitsville" blog post while this serious charge was being filed in Federal court? Could it be someone was trying to misdirect attention from what really matters to what doesn't?

Monday, August 03, 2009

What a 5-Week Preemie Really Looks Like

Sarah's "gone dark." Her devotees are experiencing withdrawals. Her lawyer is sending out unprofessional attack letters with demands—via e-mail, for chrissakes!

It's time to re-visit a certain time and certain images many in the media took for granted.

According to popular myth, Trig Paxson Van Palin was born on April 18, 2008. He was also reportedly born with jaundice, a hole in his heart, and with trisomy 21, otherwise known as Down syndrome.

Not only that, he was also reportedly born at 35 weeks, which would make him 5 weeks premature.

This little fact has never been examined much, as far as I know, so I did some reading on premature babies. Even those who are NOT already genetically challenged and are born this far in advance of their due dates normally undergo a week or two in a NICU, or a Neonatal Intensive Care Unit.


Because infants born before they achieve 37 weeks gestation have difficulty breathing and eating. Additionally, even without the Down syndrome complication, premature babies require temperature control because they simply do not have the capacity to warm themselves... thus they need a special environment in which to spend their first several days. They normally have to be fed by a nasal tube because their ability to suck a bottle or a breast is undeveloped. They also frequently need additional oxygen because their lungs are not developed enough to take in sufficient air. Another very common complication is jaundice, as a result of the fact that the infant's liver is simply not mature enough to process the bile before it builds up. If you doubt anything I'm saying here, please check yourself.

Here are three pictures of premature infants. These images were found searching '5 week premature infants' on Google's "image" search page. After reading the stories that came with each picture, I have every reason to believe that they represent actual pictures of newborn babies who were 5 weeks premature.

4-day old infant born 5 weeks prematurely, with feeding tube, in NICU

Infant born 5-6 weeks prematurely with jaundice

Newborn, 5 weeks premature, with jaundice and feeding tube

Now, here is Trig Paxson Van Palin right after he was born on April 18, 2008.

Trig Palin, shown here on the day of his birth, supposedly 5-weeks premature

Please recall that Trig and his "mother" were supposedly released from the hospital the day after the birth—a Saturday—and that his "mother" took him to work the following Monday for show and tell with the media.

Re-think this. The facility in which this premature infant was supposedly born didn't even have a NICU. So whatever early intervention may have been required was not even possible. If you knew you were having a special needs child, five weeks too soon, with the great likelihood that special equipment or treatment would be needed to preserve the life, would you intentionally go to a local clinic without the facilities, staff or know-how to help?

Re-think this. This 5-week premature infant with jaundice (what jaundice?) and a hole in his heart and Down syndrome, all conditions which require, anywhere else in the world, careful treatment and monitoring in a facility specially equipped to handle it, was taken to work a couple days after birth and presented as proof of the crazy ex-governor lady's religious pro-birth credentials.

As the crazy ex-governor lady would have us believe, not only was she pregnant for just a month, her miracle baby managed to be born and survive without any of the customary clinicians or neonatal equipment that any of us would have insisted upon, in spite of his early arrival and challenging circumstances.

Yeah, right. And I've got a bridge to nowhere for sale. Any bidders?

Sunday, August 02, 2009

The Really Big Palin Story This Weekend

No, the really big story this weekend isn't Grypen's post at The Immoral Minority revealing trouble at la casa Palin.  Granted, this story is huge, at least if you guage it by the number of comments under this post—458 last time I looked.  For what it's worth, Gryphen and Dennis Zaki of Alaska Report both stand by the story and I have not known either of them to be wrong yet.

And it isn't even the unsophisticated video (the one that infringes copyrights with stolen images and has been removed from several video servers already) hailed by Sarasites and Palinistas as proof that a cabal of Alaskan bloggers are taking their marching orders from President Obama with the express purpose of destroying Sarah Palin.  Celtic Diva's Blue Oasis has some suggestions for how to keep the video out of circulation.  But the video is so boring, poorly written, fallacious and just generally ridiculous that I think it does the neotheocons' cause more harm than good.

The big story this weekend is a crazy letter from what must be a crazy attorney acting on behalf of a crazy ex-governor lady demanding that Gryphen retract his post and apologize by 3:00 PM AST yesterday, August 1 (that would be 7:00 PM EST yesterday).  There has been no retraction, no apology and it is, what, 24 hours past the deadline!  I don't think we'll see one either.

The crazy ex-governor lady has a twisted interpretation about the first amendment.  She takes it to mean that she can say anything she wants (like President Obama hangs out with terrorists) and be politically incorrect to her heart's content (like hoping for a backlash against ethics complaint filers), yet if anyone makes a joke about her or repeats a rumor they've heard about her, they must be violating HER rights.  And since the crazy ex-governor lady has a phalanx of lawyers at her beck and call (which she probably hopes to pay for with the unethical Alaska Fund Trust funds), her first reaction is to threaten to sue.

The crazy attorney—Thomas Van Flein—has threatened to sue bloggers before.  But guess what, there was no follow-through.  In a way that's too bad, because if you get the crazy ex-governor lady in court as a result of her suing you, you get to ask all kinds of questions and demand documents and delve into the private nooks and crannies of Wasillabillyhood right there on the shores of dead Lake Lucille.  Only the shadow knows how many skeletons (or wedding rings) lie at the bottom.

On behalf of progressive bloggers everywhere but especially those in Alaska, I say to the crazy attorney and ex-governor lady, "Bring it on!"