I knew the Cuddy Family when…

June 18, 2010 at 4:38 pm | Posted in alaska, anchorage, politics, Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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I spotted this neatly written graffiti message on a bridge railing in the city park the Cuddy Family bankrolled.  I survived the Anchorage of the late 1980s — sort of — but I’m assuming the writer is referring to a different Cuddy family.  [The real Cuddys were definitely not holed up in a rental eating survival food, as near as I can tell.] This other Cuddy Family is everyman — people who were around to witness every wonder of nature, every debacle and myth Alaska ever offered.

I knew the Cuddy Family when….

…they could buy a politician for the price of a riding lawn mower.
…they headed down the Stampede Trail with a .22 rifle and 10 lbs. of rice.
…”the stars were aligned” politically in Alaska and the USA.
…street dancers studied Dostoevsky.
…Anchorage turned to a miserly curmudgeon for leadership in time of greatest famine.
…pot got more votes than the winning candidate at the top of the ticket.
…”Secede or Succumb” was a popular bumper sticker.
…lying on your resume’ was just good business practice [pre-internet era] — unless somebody found out you weren’t really ever on the City Council in Helena, Montana.
…begging for change on a street corner was practiced by a happy soul who was the spiritual opposite of most of today’s haggard cardboard sign holders.
…”cheating the other guy” was a funny idea [before we became the other guy].
…some clown wanted to turn us green!
…we did not cut down living artifacts like “loop trees”.
…we did not lust after chain restaurants.
…a truck stop grew up to be a five mile long flea market.

More later, as I think of them.  I have to work now.

Feel free to decode the ones above, or add some of your own.

We just need to care!

June 4, 2010 at 6:38 am | Posted in politics | Leave a comment
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This post will be written through a baseball lens, but the issues are socio-political.

The Seattle Mariners have had an emotional 2010 season.  They did great at first, then went into a slump, and lately have found their mojo again.  Then there was yesterday’s announcement of Griffey’s retirement. 

The part of the Ms season that interested me the most was how they responded to Milton Bradley‘s meltdown.  Bradley, a fielder and occasional pinch hitter stormed out of a game on May 4th.  Apparently he has been prone to similar outbursts in the past, and has played for something like nine teams in ten years. 

The Mariners organization, and indeed the entire city of Seattle [save for a few MSM journalists — the same sweethearts who lambasted Griffey for not ending his career soon enough?] tried something a bit different than had been done in eight other cities.   They were honest with him.  They told him, more or less: we like you, we like the work you’re doing and we want to help you solve this problem.

And Bradley went off to a few days of counseling and therapy, then returned to the field in late May and has been doing very well.

The nightmare oil leak in the Gulf of Mexico could have been prevented with better regulations and/or enforcement.  Like many people, maybe a majority in the country I believe heavy industries cannot self-regulate — catastrophes like this one prove that point.  But don’tcha think, if that’s what they’re ultimately expecting, they should have been demonstrating it could really be done? 

All they needed was a corporate culture where they actually gave a shit!  Not merely a PR wing where they could carve off a small piece of record profits for community service and greenwashing — then cut corners on every safety measure and field procedure they could.

There’s a large disconnect between what’s being done to address climate change and other environmental problems, and what the general population expects.  If we really can build electric cars for work commuting, now would be a good time to roll them out.  Likewise, figure out how to jump start domestic manufacturing by making wind turbines and solar panels, and incentivize retrofitting existing homes and businesses.

Big Oil would like to protect the status quo, but the public either isn’t behind it any longer, or is frustrated about the lack of progress, as regards alternatives and safeguards.  In short, the public cares; Big Oil doesn’t.


May 10, 2010 at 1:43 pm | Posted in anchorage, photo du jour, politics, Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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Tomato plants getting some sun on the back porch.

Bike to work with the mayor

February 18, 2010 at 5:31 am | Posted in biking, politics | 3 Comments
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Ran across this item yesterday at Bike Commute Tips.  Tried to put the video up here but couldn’t do it last night after an hour of trying.  WordPress supports a few different players, but not the one StreetFilms uses… there was another way to back-door it in via Vodpod but that had its own problems.  Since I’m too cheap to get the $57 annual upgrade to support all video types [I’d do it, if this blog was getting hundreds of hits per day instead of 10 to 20], I gave up.

Ya sure… anyway… do go to StreetFilms and watch the short video of Seattle mayor Mike McGinn biking to work.  It is totally worth it!  I know nothing of McGinn’s politics, but I am aware that he beat two other candidates who were a lot better funded, in a close three-way race.  He makes biking 6.5 miles from his house in the Greenwood neighborhood to City Hall downtown look like a piece of cake — even while it’s obvious it isn’t.  I biked around Seattle extensively in Summer ’08 when I was photographing alleys, and while it was delightful it was also challenging and obstacle-laden.  Anchorage is a lot easier.

Conservatives are fond of telling commies like me that we have “Portland envy” or “Seattle envy”.  There are aspects of both these places I find compelling, even precious.  But they have major issues with pollution, crowding and congestion and high cost of living — without the access to wilderness that Anchorage offers.

But what I appreciate about them is a desire to improve.  Look at McGinn’s ‘Ideas for Seattle’ site, and try to imagine these suggestions coming from Anchorage residents.  Or do I sell Anchorage short?  Maybe a little.  You’ll never see our current mayor, Dan Sullivan riding a bike to work — but on the other hand, the days I ride I have plenty of company on the paths, side streets and arterials.

McGinn is still in the honeymoon phase — but if he makes good on listening to suggestions submitted directly from citizens, and flattens the pyramidal control structure a little, and makes good on various populist principles — he will enjoy a long and productive run.  I love the guy.

Thankfully, no one gave me these yesterday

December 26, 2009 at 8:26 pm | Posted in politics, Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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I know some people who would dispute his conclusions about the lingering effects [of both smoking and supply side economics].

Best field report yet from a Palin book signing event

December 26, 2009 at 10:10 am | Posted in alaska, politics | Leave a comment
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Just read [linked via Progressive Alaska] Wasilla freelance photojournalist Bill Hess‘s writeup of Palin’s Wasilla book signing.  Hess gracefully portrays some disturbing people and events; covering wingnuttery, the plight of longtime reporters and photographers, the current state of the Mat-Su and the former governor’s strange way of being indifferent and uninformed but simultaneously inquisitive.  His photo narrative pauses at regular intervals for reflection and insertion of nuggets of historical context.  Progressive Alaska proprietor Phil Munger said this is an award-winning piece.

Another stunning change of heart

December 15, 2009 at 9:52 am | Posted in politics, Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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The Yes Men may finally be heading into the popular narrative, I think.  If you look up “subversive” in the dictionary you’ll see their picture.  The people responsible for the recent fake NY Post; and fooling some reporters into believing the U.S. Chamber of Commerce had become enlightened.

Yesterday their latest escapade was a fake statement from the Environmental Minister in regards to the Canadian national government’s stance on carbon emissions.  The ruse was cleverly crafted and supported with diversions and supplementary convincing evidence.  They are still at the top of their game.

Mixed reactions amongst the people I told about the Copenhagen hoax.  “Can’t they get in a lot of trouble for impersonating government officials and web sites?” or some variation.  Yeah, maybe — but Ottawa would look ridiculous in the process: you cost us our credibility by making us appear that we give a damn!

Various news accounts include a statement from Yes Men member Mike Bonanno:

The idea was to confuse the Canadian government, which set up a ‘war room’ to positively spin their position in the debate, even though everyone here knows that their position is a cruel joke.

He found himself on page 116

November 18, 2009 at 10:07 am | Posted in alaska, politics | Leave a comment
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Hee!  Gotta give Dispatch and Halcro props for good taste and restraint.

Update 11/18/09: Part II, already! 

The sequel is even better

September 2, 2009 at 5:31 pm | Posted in politics | Leave a comment
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Billionaires for wealth care

August 31, 2009 at 6:46 pm | Posted in politics | Leave a comment
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via Daily Kos.  Hilarious!!

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