You've Got That Patriotism In Ya

Oh my. Sarah has like a whole bear draped over her couch:

Check out this short clip, from when the American Chopper guys stopped by her office. She's like the gift that keep on giving. I hope she stays in politics forever.


Reading Receipts

My friend was on a date. It was going well. She invited him up to her apartment and they were standing outside her building as she searched for her keys. During the search a small piece of paper fell out of her pocket. Before he could say something or pick it up, the door was open and he was pulled inside.

He had a nice visit. As he left the building he stopped to light a cigarette. Throwing his spent match on the ground, he noticed the piece of paper that had fallen out of her coat pocket a couple of hours earlier. He picked it up.

What to do? Look at it? Save it and give it back to her? Just throw it away? It was clearly crumpled and could not be of much importance. He decided to look. It was a Costco receipt. This is what she bought:
  • 1 box graham crackers
  • 1 bag pretzels
  • 2 pkgs smoked oysters
  • 1 bag black licorice
  • 1 jar squeeze mayo
  • something called "KSBUTTER QTR"
  • 1 tub sour cream
  • 1 bag stir fry vegetables
  • 1 bag 50/70 count shrimp
  • something called "KSvegetables"
  • 1 pkg herb sliced turkey
  • 1 rotisserie chicken
  • 2 pkgs sliced cheese
  • 1 bottle polish/soda (huh?)
  • 1 turkey wrap (probably a post-shopping snack)
He can't tell: Is there anything odd or strange about this list? Anything on it that can give him some insight into this woman's life that he should have but wouldn't otherwise be able to gain at this time? Any warning signs? (hello, 2 bags of smoked oysters? what's up with that?).

Check This Stuff Out

  • Maria Kalman's illustrated trip to the Supreme Court.
  • Speaking of the Supreme Court, my friend Winston argued this case last week. He did a great job!
  • Volcano boarding?! Why don't we have that up here? I want to go (plus, you get a free mojito!).
  • I live in a 2-bedroom apartment that badly needs new carpet, new cabinets, and a new bakyard fence. The windows don't open and the house makes loud noises that totally freak out my dog. *Sigh*
  • Courtesy of Howard, the Most Intense Website Intro Ever. Brace yourself before clicking, and make sure the volume is on. Then click through to the site. It's super shady. Apparently, God directed them to open up an accounting firm to give "legitimate [religious] organizations an opportunity to receive tax-exempt status under our covering." Why don't I ever think of these things first? They must just be printing money over there.
  • Courtesy of Ian: So well-intentioned. But also so easy to laugh at.
  • Ever wonder what, exactly, the difference is between a slider and a cutter? Or a splitter and a forkball? Me too. This is the best looking explanation I've seen so far: Baseball pitches as illustrated by Lokesh Dhakar.


April Showers

Too often, it seems, the early April enthusiasm I always feel for the Mets fades as May quickly approaches. This year, the Mets have been playing terribly inconsistent baseball, as evidenced by their 8-10 record. Problems abound: shoddy defense, paltry hitting with runners on base, and, aside from Johan Santana, the best pitcher in the National League thus far, the starting pitching has been awful. Not springing for the extra years or dollars to sign Derek Lowe may turn out to be a good decision down the road (investing $60 million over 4 years in a 36 year old pitcher is a little risky), but it looks really bad right now. Lowe's 6 innings per start, 2:1 strikeout to walk ratio, 1.24 WHIP, and 3.10 ERA would slot in so nicely behind Johan. Instead, we have Oliver Perez, signed to a shiny new 3-year, $36 million deal over the winter. To say that Lowe would be a huge improvement over Perez (who seems to be regressing with each start) and his 9.31(!) ERA does not even qualify as an understatement. Fortunately, with 89% of the season yet to be played, there is still time to turn it around. And, at least they're not the Yankees who play in front of a bunch of empty pricey field level seats every night because their fans fear being outed as spending too much money on tickets.

Kali (1997-2009)

The end of an era. That's what it seemed like when my good friend Al called me a year or so ago and told me his dog Kali might not make it through the night.

I had known Kali for a long time--since 1998. Kali and my dog Josie were totally BFF when Al and I were in law school. They met at the very beginning of our first semester and played together all the time for three years. Then we were all rooomates in SF.

Kali and Josie playing in the VT woods

Kali and Josie lounging on my bed in SF

Kali made it through that night, but she never fully regained her health. She passed away last week, and that era is now officially over.

Despite the fact that she peed in my room on more than one occasion, constantly stole food right off my plate, barked at all the wrong times, and ran away every time I watched her, I loved and cared for Kali as if she were my own. I haven't seen her in a long time, but her passing saddens me, and I think Josie is sad too.

This is from the e-mail Al sent around on Friday:
Kali, my beagle, passed away yesterday afternoon peacefully after a short battle with sudden kidney failure. Each of you knew Kali and will remember that she certainly lived life on her terms and happily. As some of you may recall, I named her after a dog I knew while in Kenya named "Jua Kali," which means "burning sun" in Swahili. Totally unintentionally, the name "Kali" also happens to be the Hindu goddess associated with death and destruction. For those who knew her well, that was not an inaccurate prophecy. Anyway, here's a short doggie obituary:

Kali lived out her formative years in Vermont's green mountains. Many of you will recall the countless times she "ran away" during short hikes that became epic hikes. While in Vermont, Kali was briefly part of a South Royalton female dog triumvirate that included Ayla (the alpha female) and Josie (who thought she was the alpha female). They were notorius for ganging up on all the other local dogs (and each other). Sadly, Ayla, like James Dean, lived hard and fast and passed away a number of years after leaving Vermont. After vermont, Kali left the countryside and took up urban life in San Francisco. While there, she and Josie were roomates for some time on Guerrero Street in the Mission District. Kali spent most of her time in SF eating (and/or stealing) leftover burritos, spending time in our backyard garden (which became her and Josie's personal bathroom), and barking at anything that came close to our front door. She often enjoyed hikes out to Bernal Hill, Ocean Beach, Baker Beach, and Fort Funston Beach. Kali and Josie were appreciative when their owners spent a lot of time at home studying for the CA bar exam (twice). At the end of almost each day, Kali and Josie would go for a long walk together. Kali spent the majority of that time biting Josie's ear for no apparent reason. Although the attention was appreciated, Josie was usually more interested in chasing sticks. After San Francisco, Kali moved on slower and calmer Southern California life in San Diego. By this time, she had a new partner in crime and roomate - Kamir, a cat. Kali and Kamir became fast friends and in no time were troublemakers in their own right. I recall a time when they worked together to open a shut window in my San Diego loft, climbed under a small opening underneath a door, and escaped into the bowels of downtown San Diego. Kamir ended up making his way into a stranger's home 3 blocks away. Kali's 48 hr bender ended with a night in a dog pound about 30 minutes away. Like in San Francisco, Kali spent a lot of time on the beach, often in Coronado or Ocean Beach. Without Josie, Kali often preferred to go solo and spent most of her time sniffing every square inch of the beach and proceeding to pee on it afterwards (again and again to the point where all she had to offer the sand was a tiny small drop). After San Diego, Kali retired to Al's parent's house in the rolling hills of northern New Jersey. She spent her last days sleeping the day away in the doughnut-shaped bed she loved so much, which sat in a sun-drenched room overlooking the valley. Kali is survived by Kamir and her longtime friend, Josie, who is now living out her retirement in Anchorage, Alaska among moose.
If you remember Kali, or if you just think she's super cute and want to see more pictures, Al put some up on Flickr.

Rest in peace, Kali.


No Art for WAR

For the first time in state history, a nominee for the head of a state agency failed to be confirmed by the Legislature. WAR, the presumptive AG, kept it all in perspective:
"I had a neat office for two and a half weeks and I was attorney general under the law for two and a half weeks for the state of Alaska. And the big question I have now is whether they will put my picture up with the other (former attorneys general) for only two and a half weeks' service," Ross said.
That's his big question? Not how a shoo-in confirmation process completely went off the rails? Any time an important decision doesn't work the way it was intended, it has to be considered a bad decision, right? Picking WAR as the choice for AG was a bad decision. Just another in a line of controversial choices that have backfired as Governor Palin continues to pander to the far right. But let's get back to the question at hand: should WAR's portrait hang among Alaska's past Attorneys General? (Yes, it really is spelled that way. I don't know why.) I hope this becomes a scandal. And knowing the AK, it probably will.

I don't know if there are weird rules written somewhere governing these official portraits, but if there are, at the very least, the criteria should be simple: only those who actually served as the Attorney General should be captured on the canvas. Know why WAR shouldn't have his picture there? He was never the Attorney General! Done and done. Article 3, Section 25 of the Alaska Constitution makes that clear. It states, in pertinent part:
The head of each principal department shall be a single executive unless otherwise provided by law. He shall be appointed by the governor, subject to confirmation by a majority of the members of the legislature in joint session, and shall serve at the pleasure of the governor, except as otherwise provided in this article with respect to the secretary of state.
WAR was appointed by the Govenor, but that's where his story ends (not to be confused with HIStory). He was subjet to confirmation, but he did not get confirmed. So he goes down in history as what?

After WAR was nominated, I thought it a little odd and premature that the Dept. of Law immediately put his name on all of their pleadings (they have since gone back to just "Attorney General"). He then moved into an office in Juneau and was presumptively engaging in AG-type activities while waiting for what was basically his second interview, which would be in front of the Legislature. Does this happen in the real world? Do you get letterhead and start working in your office before you are hired? Not at any job I've ever had. Was he getting paid during these two weeks? Probably not if he wasn't even officially hired yet (but knowing Alaska government, he probably was).

We know WAR wasn't the interim AG, Rick Svobodny would still hold that post until confirmation was complete, thus WAR, the soon-to-be-savior of the Dept. of Law, was technically the intern AG. Sounds about right: 2 weeks, some experience, no pay. Classic internship. I wonder if he can get credits towards graduate work at UAA?

The Intern AG. I love it. I could totally write a sitcom about an intern who winds up taking over for a comatose, dead (like Weekend at Bernies dead, not real dead), crazy, or sick AG and while hijunks ensue, justice is meted out fairly and promptly. Thoughts on casting?


Best. Politics. State. Ever.

And the soap opera continues. Following up on the previous post:
  • A lawyer for the state legislature issued an opinion stating that it was illegal for the Governor to submit more than one nominee for Senator Elton's seat.
  • The senate democrats said, in light of this opinion, that they would not vote on Palin's nominees.
  • In response to the opinion, Attorney General Nominee WAR said we shouldn't worry about what is legal or illegal and instead should just focus on getting someone in the seat. (Um, what? Shouldn't the Atty General, of all people, be worried about what is legal?)
  • Palin says she didn't nominate three people, she just listed her top three favorites for the open seat.
  • Palin's second-favorite person for the seat withdrew his name from consideration.
  • The legislature voted 35-23 AGAINST confirming WAR as AG.
Isn't this state great? I totally wouldn't even have a blog if I lived in Indiana.


This Month in Sarahdise

This all happened in the past month, I think. I may have some of the facts wrong and/or out of order, but I'm about 90% sure that this is at least 80% accurate. [1] Welcome back to the soap opera that is the Palin Administration Post-November 2008:
  • Senator Kim Elton, from Juneau, resigned from his seat to take a position in the Obama Administration.
  • Per state law, Governor Palin had to appoint a Juneau Democrat to the seat, and her selection had to be approved by a majority of the nine Democrats in the state Senate.
  • Per custom, the Democrats first submitted the name of a nominee to the Governor.
  • Governor Plain rejected it.
  • Governor Palin chose perhaps the most contentious appointee ever to be the new State Attorney General. [2]
  • The Democrats submitted three different names for Elton's seat.
  • Governor Palin rejected all three.
  • Governor Palin nominated a guy for the seat who had been a democrat for about three weeks.
  • Governor Palin's husband's half sister was arrested for breaking into someone’s house in Wasilla three times and stealing between $400 and $2600.
  • The Senate did not approve Governor Palin's selection to fill Senator Elton's seat.
  • Levi Johnston, the teenage father of Governor Palin's grandson, went on the Tyra Banks Show to talk about his relationship with Governor Palin's daughter. [3]
  • Governor Palin nominated a different candidate to fill Elton's seat.
  • The Senate Democrats rejected this choice.
  • Governor Palin submitted three names as nominees for the seat. Two of them had previously been rejected by the Senate, the third has been a Democrat for about six weeks and is not likely to be approved.
  • To be continued....
[1] Yes, 60% of the time it works every time.

[2]Wayne Anthony Ross's selection has been derided by nearly every interest group in existence (except the NRA). He is quite the controversial figure:
much has been written about disparaging comments he has made against the gay community (he called gay people "degenerates"), his opposition to Alaska Native rights (he is against a Native preference for subsistence hunting and fishing), his dislike of environmentalists (he (allegedly) once sprayed an environmental fundraiser held near his house with machine gun fire (relax, he (allegedly) used blanks), and his (supposedly) extremely callous views towards domestic violence victims. Just when you think it can't get any worse, today a story broke about how back in 1991 WAR wrote an op-ed defending an art project at UAA that included a statue of a KKK member. I fully agree with his legal analysis, that the piece, offensive as it may have been, was an expression of free speech by the artist. But the troubling part about this is not WAR's legal position (The answer to offensive speech, after all, is not censorship. It is more speech.). Rather it is his insensitive, somewhat-mocking comments towards a student who objected to the display. By themselves, these comments may not seem so bad. But they help to evidence a clear pattern of cultural insensitivity. Given the other unsavory items that have surfaced re: WAR recently, one has to wonder if the Palin Administration wishes they could call for a do-over.

[3] Levi has his last name tattooed on his arm. Nice. I wonder how that would have affected the poll?


Making Cents

I don't understand how our economy is going to recover if we still don't actually make anything in this country anymore. As my friend Alex put it the other night, "We all just go to meetings." So very true. And meetings rarely produce anything valuable. [1]

[1] Meetings do, however, have a tendency to produce lots of deadlines. Though of questionable economic value, "I love deadlines. I like the whooshing sound they make as they fly by."

I polled some other friends and they could only come up with three American companies that actually make things: Apple, Boeing, and Neighbor Julie's boyfriend who makes custom adventure cycling gear. We are so screwed. That's why I'm reading this book.

Tea Time

Have you heard about these Republican "teabagging"parties scheduled to take place tomorrow? Now, I'm all for a good political protest, but is there any clearer proof that the Right is totally out of touch than the fact that NO ONE TOLD THEM WHAT TEABAGGING MEANS?

Hello People

Wow. A shout-out from Progressive Alaska and all of a sudden Situational Ethics has another 100 readers/day. Exciting. Thanks. Welcome.