Special election guide

May 2, 2022 at 8:04 am | Posted in alaska, politics, satire, Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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It’s not often that we receive a ballot with 48 candidates for one office! Never voted in a California “jungle primary” or anything like one. It can be confusing if you are undecided — so as a public service, a quick take and brief candidate statement from each of them.

Note: the order was determined by starting with a letter blindly drawn from a Scrabble game, and alphabetical henceforth.

Ornelas, Robert
Party affiliation: American Independent
Quick take: fundie carpetbagger
Candidate Statement: “This election is about what voters consider important, from CRT to abortion to second amendment rights to freedom to inflict your religious beliefs on others. My experience running in high-profile races in several states will help me to win this! Heh — kidding! I’ll be ecstatic to get 0.5%! That would be righteous!”

Palin, Sarah
Party Affiliation: Republican
Quick take: yesterday’s papers
Candidate Statement: “If you’re not in it you’re out of it and while I have not been in it I’ve actually stayed in it, very active in thoughts and prayers for the state of our state and great country the greatest on earth and constantly under attack by the unhinged left and their minions such as AOC and Joe Biden and all of the Hollywood elite and I will counter all that and never — or, maybe, it depends — quit.”

Pellegrini, Silvio
Party affiliation: Undeclared
Quick take: cipher
Candidate Statement: “Some transmission systems contain multipliers, which amplify a signal prior to re-transmission, or regenerators, which attempt to reconstruct and re-shape the coded message before re-transmission. In a crisis, military officials send a coded message to the bunkers, switching on the dead hand.”

Peltola, Mary
Party affiliation: Democrat
Quick take: Bush Dem
Candidate Statement: “The Yup’ik have a word for conflicted but didn’t have time to dwell on it. Is Lisa Murkowski one of the greatest leaders of her generation, or the best we can do under the circumstances? Is some amount of compromise worthwhile in pursuit of recognition and the destiny of our culture and region? Or is it more, give them an inch and they’ll take a mile?”

Revak, Joshua
Party affiliation: Republican
Quick take: Reddest of the red
Candidate Statement: “When you’re looking to replace the rudest, crudest, slavishly incoherent, larger than life and longest-serving buffoon the US House has ever seen with more of the same — I’m your man! I’ll kick those Blueheads to the curb every two years for the next 24 elections! I interned in Young’s office and when I take over everything will remain just as it is! Alaskans are fans of continuity. And bumbling and red-hot rhetoric!”

Sumner, Maxwell
Party affiliation: Republican
Quick take: No camo required
Candidate Statement: “The drunken sailors in Juneau will return to port someday to find their sad shanties and the corpus of representative government have been moved to where the people of the Mat-Su — the meth-heads, rednecks, gun-toting, government-hating, God-fearing, truck-driving monsters and soccer mommies — can keep an eye on them and their nefarious agenda.”

Sweeney, Tara
Party affiliation: Republican
Quick take: DC insider
Candidate Statement: “I’m here to explain the difference between the real Alaska and the idea of Alaska. Dependency vs self-reliance, pristine and unspoiled vs open for development, connected to the landscape vs exploitation. Whose side am I on, anyway? The real Alaskans, and all those who appreciate the idea of Alaska and whatever that may mean to them — the qualities it instills — all the insanity and breathtaking grandeur.”

Thistle, David
Party affiliation: Undeclared
Quick take: Wind generator
Candidate Statement: “GOD bless you. GOD bless TEXAS.  GOD bless California. GOD bless Alaska except for the bears and the Democrats. And, GOD bless the United States of America.”

Thomas, Ernest
Party affiliation: Democrat
Quick take: Scrappy
Candidate Statement: “Alaska’s a young state; still, it doesn’t take long to accumulate piles of obsolete approaches. Politics is messy. We need to clearly know what to keep and what to throw away. The traditional role of our delegation as the hoarder of the state’s resources and our national standing is at stake.”

Trotter, Richard
Party affiliation: Republican
Quick take: Fundie burgher
Candidate Statement: “Some say Alaska is one of the top five least religious states in the country, and its multicultural array is the opposite of a Christian mono-culture. Our response at Alaska Family Council is: let’s not get carried away.”

Welter, Bradley
Party affiliation: Republican
Quick take: Beyond obscure
Candidate Statement: “I am an enigma wrapped in a conundrum and trumped by an opt-out clause. Campaign website? Social media? Bwaaa-ha-haa! I dare you to try to find out anything about me.”

Williams, Jason
Party affiliation: Undeclared
Quick take: Almost nonexistent
Candidate Statement: “I do have a campaign website but it is a blank page! Either I am an open blank book, or the website is still under development, or the website developers were not paid. Check back later to find out which it is, or move along to somebody else.”

Woodward, Jo
Party affiliation: Republican
Quick take: Bone to pick
Candidate Statement: “I do not want to witness ALASKA becoming another lower forty eight state. With old, vacant, dilapadated buildings, polluted waters, etc. — especially if it is New Jersey and we have to put up with a fat, ignorant douche of a governor for eight years.”

Wool, Adam
Party affiliation: Democrat
Quick take: Maybe a little bull
Candidate Statement: “For many years I owned a bar in Ester that was famous for having a gigantic frickin’ wood stove that could burn a half-chord of wood at a time. In all things, moderation, right? Sometimes you just have to let your freak flag fly!”

Wright, Stephen
Party affiliation: Republican
Quick take: Wingnut
Candidate Statement: “There’s a fine line between fishing and just standing on the shore like an idiot. I live on a one-way street that’s also a dead end — not sure how I got there? I have a friend who is a radio DJ — when we drive through a tunnel I can’t hear him talk.”

Aguayo, Dennis
Party affiliation: Nonpartisan
Quick take: Wait, what?
Candidate Statement: “We flew with the tribe of fur babies — in 2006 we arrived in Alaska, first Anchorage then made are way to the Kenai Peninsula, where we purchased are home in Nikiski. My wife is a great practical joker and there have been a bunch of people calling and congratulating me for running for office — something I would never do in a million years! I’m simple country folk, not ready for taking the country back in DC.”

Armstrong, Jay
Party affiliation: Republican
Quick take: wingnut
Candidate Statement: “Just like ALL Western States, Alaska has been ‘captured’ by the Feds not Constitutional Statehood agreements and are in fact States in ‘Waiting’. Elect me and be free! I’ll be free as well, since there’s no way I’m going to be part of an illegitimate government.”

Beal, Brian
Party affiliation: Undeclared
Quick take: another empty flannel
Candidate Statement: “Running for office is a passionate pastime for me. Some go to the rifle range, some blow up the News-Minus comments section. Me, I file another candidate declaration. What is it this time? Congressman for all of Alaska? Sure, that suits me to a T.”

Beck, Tim
Party affiliation: Undeclared
Quick take: OK, boomer
Candidate Statement: “The bridges to nowhere got a bum rap. That’s treehugger nonsense! All of our plans involve making inroads to little nowhere-villes, for nobody. That’s what built America from the ground up!”

Begich, Nick
Party affiliation: Republican
Quick take: Wingnut
Candidate Statement: “Yes, I’m part of the Begich family, perhaps the most well-known Democratic political dynasty in the state. I’m not a Democrat, though. Seriously! Current projects — working on the links between Scientology, chemtrails and extraterrestrials. Did I mention I am a Republican?”

Brelsford, Gregg
Party affiliation: Undeclared
Quick take: Makes sense [shudder]
Candidate Statement: “I’m hoping that a few well-placed bromides and the headshot with white hair will be enough for Alaskans on the fence and they won’t scroll to the end where I profess support for the Arts.”

Brown, Robert
Party affiliation: Nonpartisan
Quick take: Waiting to jell
Candidate Statement: “Campaign, shmampaign. Signs, mailers, web presence, talking to the media — all dealing with Liberals who only want to distort what I’m saying and bend me to their agenda! Nope, sorry, not going there!”

Bye, Chris
Party affiliation: Libertarian
Quick take: Textbook Libertarian dogma
Candidate Statement: “Libertarianism is one part fantasy, one part outsider and one part anarchist. If you wonder how all this co-exists and thrives — it has its issues. On my campaign site I acknowledge impending environmental collapse [sort of] by saying we ought to double-down on oil, coal and nuclear. At least I put more than a single paragraph on the site, as weird as it gets.”

Callahan, John
Party affiliation: Republican
Quick take: Just kidding
Candidate Statement: “My one-sentence website only has that General Sherman quote: ‘If nominated, I will not run. If elected, I will not serve.’ Not sure what it has to do with this special election, in which there is not a nomination process and one only has to file an intent to run — which I have done. What happens next? I guess we will have to wait and find out!”

Carle, Arlene
Party affiliation: Nonpartisan
Quick take: Winging it
Candidate Statement: “How about a car that runs on Liberal tears? What happens to the escalator when the basement fills up with stairs? I wanted to buy an electric car but I needed a longer extension cord. Let’s talk about Global Cooling for a minute. Give me a break!”

Claus, Santa
Party affiliation: Undeclared
Quick take: Democratic Socialist
Candidate Statement: “I know what you’re thinking, but if one lives here one goes with the theme, and the name and white beard and jelly belly are de rigeur. I don’t have to tell you what to do — wishing for something? Anything? World peace, an end to tyranny, sharing the wealth, saving our home? Just put it in a letter and drop it in the mail to me here at North Pole. One of my elven bros will read it to me and I will direct an appropriate policy initiative.”

Coghill, John
Party affiliation: Republican
Quick take: R-mod
Candidate Statement: “Nenana, oh bama, cabana Bananarama — I can never remember all the words. We have a wonderful railroad depot building, a 100-year old trestle flung high above a deep-running river, a tripod ice breakup guessing game around longer than that, and my family’s grocery store that is preserved in ether. Not sure what more one could want or expect except if it’s fiscal sanity.”

Constant, Christopher
Party affiliation: Democrat
Quick take: Dogged persistence
Candidate Statement: “If you show up to the Assembly with an axe to grind, a posse of church ladies and a belligerent stupor, we just might table debate indefinitely. The last two years have sent me willy-nilly back to my canine companions after meeting’s end. You know that cat Mayor of Talkeetna? My staff are all going to be dogs. A German Shepherd for Press Secretary [pays attention like nobody’s business], Doberman Pinscher Chief of Staff [unquestionable loyalty and follow-through] and Special Assistant Labrador-Husky. How could it be anybody else? About 20 times as effective as any human being.”

Dutchess, Lady Donna
Party affiliation: Nonpartisan
Quick take: Marianne Williamson minus intellectual rigor
Candidate Statement: “We are ourselves capable of resisting those who want to limit our potential. We have to learn to fly in the rain and the dark. We have to dare to dream of a better world where we are all one! All-one!”

Florshutz, Otto
Party affiliation: Republican
Quick take: second effort
Candidate Statement: “I’m running a grassroots campaign, and it’s kind of a word-of-mouth campaign. I do not have a lot of money. I’m not even accepting money from people. Is this because I want to fail or am I philosophically opposed to fundraising? Or some other reason I’m still trying to figure out?”

Foster, Laurel
Party affiliation: Nonpartisan
Quick take: Captain Obvious
Candidate Statement: “The state of our political climate is in dire need of change. Focus has shifted from the needs of everyday, ordinary Alaskans to the political parties who serve agendas not always in line with the needs of the people. And wait until I find out the rest of what’s really going on!”

Gibbons, Thomas
Party affiliation: Republican
Quick take: Man of mystery
Candidate Statement: “When in the course of human events it becomes unnecessary to explain oneself, a dystopian landscape will unfold for all to behold and exist without trifle or unwanted interference. For some of us, that time is already upon us.”

Griffin, Karyn
Party affiliation: Undeclared
Quick take: Sincere, standoffish
Candidate Statement: “I know in all honesty, I don’t have a shot in the dark at this. Or a shot in the light. Wouldn’t it be weird if I could flip the script, though? Woah!”

Gross, Al
Party affiliation: Nonpartisan
Quick take: Hunting for votes
Candidate Statement: “Are you aware? I shot that bear. You mean with a tranquilizer dart, and then helicoptered it out to the base of Mt. Susitna? No, Dad — I shot it, DEAD! KA-BLAAAM!! And it does not get more Alaskan than that, try as you may, come as you are, hell-bent for weather.”

Halcro, Andrew
Party affiliation: Nonpartisan
Quick take: R-mod, erudite
Candidate Statement: “‘And let he who is without sin cast the first stone,’ they said unto the air and all present. And you know — we chucked that mother! With no hesitation, grief, or reconsideration.”

Heintz, Ted
Party affiliation: Nonpartisan
Quick take: Wingnut
Candidate Statement: “Booting Biden will be top priority. Impeachment proceedings begin in the House. Bring on the dancing horses and the subpoenas!”

Hibler, William
Party affiliation: Nonpartisan
Quick take: mole from the ministry
Candidate statement: “This is no way to run a democracy. I’m a Truman Democrat [voted for him, in fact] turned Republican plant. My best friend is a dog and I’m joining him in barking up all the wrong trees, trying to convince Congress that Climate Change is a real thing.”

Howe, John
Party affiliation: Alaskan Independence
Quick take: wingnut
Candidate Statement: “The government; Federal, State, borough, city, all are thieves.  Even when the spending comes from a vote of the people it is stealing, the only difference is those that voted for spending are now also guilty. That’s my story and I am sticking to it.”

Hughes, David
Party affiliation: Undeclared
Quick take: gone, daddy, gone
Candidate Statement: “I’m either a Christian Counselor in Raleigh, NC; a retired UAF professor with a ham radio hobby or I died in 1930 at age 52. Or maybe all three. It’s for me to know and you to try to find out.”

Knight, Don
Party affiliation: Nonpartisan
Quick take: Same as the old Don
Candidate Statement: “My email address is A New Don for Alaska. I can’t be bothered with any other outreach for this hopeless, lackluster attempt to impress my relatives and friends. Be charitable.”

Lowenfels, Jeff
Party affiliation: Nonpartisan
Quick take: One for the compost bin
Candidate Statement: “I know the garden very well. I have worked in it all of my life. It’s a good garden and a healthy one; its trees are healthy and so are its shrubs and flowers, as long as they are trimmed and watered in the right seasons. I do agree with the President: everything in it will grow strong in due course. And there is still plenty of room in it for new trees and new flowers of all kinds.”

Courtesy alskansvotebob.com

Lyons, Robert
Party affiliation: Republican
Quick take: Wingnut
Candidate Statement: “I’m an honest day of hard work, fighting words and true Patriot taking back my country from the special interests at the barrel of a gun if necessary candidate — yours truly — so humble and able even when I’m goofing around with selfies or just fucking the dog.”

McCabe, Anne
Party affiliation: Nonpartisan
Quick take: R-mod
Candidate Statement: “What really motivated me to run this year is how divided our country has become. I’m really passionate about bringing people together to solve problems. Not that we can agree about what’s a problem and what isn’t. Or why, or how much or whether the world is four billion years old or 6,000. Well, have to start somewhere! Or else you will run from the room screaming!”

Melander, Mikel
Party affiliation: Republican
Quick take: Rancher without a cause
Candidate Statement: “What’s a guy who runs a bison ranch doing in the race? It’s got to be about more than run-ins with federal meat inspectors, doesn’t it? Well, not necessarily.”

Mettler, Sherry
Party affiliation: Undeclared
Quick take: Wingnut
Candidate Statement: “She really has the most amazing ability to write testimonials for herself.”

Milligan, Mike
Party affiliation: Democrat
Quick take: Road to nowhere
Candidate Statement: “I firmly believe that going into the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge is a mistake not only for Alaska’s reputation, but will ultimately hurt our Alaskan oil industry. Saying this used to be considered political suicide in this state. Maybe it still is, but it shouldn’t be.”

Myers, J.R.
Party affiliation: Libertarian
Quick take: Libertarian’s Libertarian
Candidate Statement: “My website has it all, from a news blog of national Libertarians and other splinter party activities to a humorous, self-effacing biography with none of the misspellings, tortured writing, sophomoric ramblings that characterize wingnut sites. The anti-war stance is of course, admirable. And just when you think this all sounds reasonable, I’ll start talking about limited government and the economy and it becomes a sort of descent into madness.”

Notti, Emil
Party affiliation: Democrat
Quick take: Remarkable
Candidate Statement: “I ran against Don Young the last time Alaska had a special election for the lone congressional seat, 49 years ago and almost beat him. I should have. Sometimes life gives you second chances.”


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Fiscally inept, socially bankrupt

March 3, 2015 at 4:36 am | Posted in anchorage, politics | Leave a comment
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Some rants and reactions subsequent to reading the Halcro cover story in last week’s Anchorage Press.

Assemblymember Patrick Flynn sticks it to Halcro [discreetly, politey] in the article: “…the term ‘fiscal conservative’ gets thrown around a lot, and whether or not that’s a valid claim really depends on the prism through which you’re viewing it.”  And he goes on to sketch some common assumptions of what the term means and whether or not Halcro matches the definitions.

Since I’m never as tactful or subtle as Flynn, I’d take it a step further.  I’ve heard all kinds of people for years now going around saying they are “fiscally conservative and socially liberal”, and not one of them has any fucking idea what it means.  It’s a nebulous term, it’s pandering at its finest.  It is a way to still associate with a group or philosophy you know is toxic and dangerous, while giving yourself an out.  It’s in effect saying, “See?  I’m as Republican as they are, but they are assholes and don’t care about people!”

Halcro spends a lot of time trying to convince us of his independent critical thinking skills and policies that aren’t tied to Republican or Democratic agendas, while at the same time reminding us he is a lifelong registered Republican.  The cognitive dissonance is strong in this one!

Flynn again: “Andrew pulls from a demographic similar to what supported Lisa Murkowski in her re-election bid four years ago.”  Will the results be the same, too?  The day after the election tally’s certified, any notion of “dancing with the one that brung you” will vanish?  Just kidding!  I was the President of the Chamber of Commerce, FFS!  You thought I was going to throw out the Good Old Boy Network in favor of good public policy that benefits all of the citizenry?  How naive of you!  Well, it wouldn’t be the first or last time the public is taken in by an Establishment candidate standing behind an anti-Establishment banner.

Just once I wish some reporter would follow up with the “fiscally conservative and socially liberal” credo, by asking for an example or something.  They might find just opportunistic doublespeak behind the curtain, eh?

The plain old people who are never going to run for office may wish to think more deeply about such sloganeering also.  What does it really mean?  It always sounds a bit immature to me — I used to think more that way as a young adult, before I realized what was happening all around me and how injustice is baked into the cake.

It was interesting how new Alaska Governor Bill Walker solicited budget cutting ideas from the general public.  On one hand, nobody who stands to suffer from cuts ought to say anything, right? — and in fact, it’s doubtful anything meaningful will come out of such a process.  At least, it’s a long shot, an unlikely scenario.  I wrote in and said, start with KABATA and also suspend and review the five next most expensive transportation projects — and during the moratorium, figure out how to improve the way transportation projects are prioritized — based more on real Planning, and try to take politics out of it.  I would say a lot more, but since I make a living in a profession that’s involved in development, it can be problematic to say too much sometimes.

Sooner or later, though one has to try to stop equivocating and be clear about one’s vision and its implications.

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.

Craziest weekend ever!

July 6, 2009 at 8:37 am | Posted in alaska, politics | Leave a comment
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Our governor resigned on Friday, saying she not only doesn’t intend to run for a second term in the 2010 election, she won’t even finish the first term!  Instead she’ll turn it over to Lt. Gov. Sean Parnell later this month.  She gave a weird, rambling speech; visibly agitated.

Then yesterday, Palin’s attorney released a sternly worded letter threatening to sue local radio talker Shannyn Moore [apparently the most irritating of the “pajama-clad bloggers” who have been driving the governor insane!  Must have been all that talk about accountability, results, engagement]. 

I clung to the news Friday night with a sick fascination.  I put up a [stream of consciousness] Daily Kos post with some historical thoughts about the Great Alaskan Culture of Corruption — timidly suggesting, maybe Alaska is getting to the point where we’re ready for ethical leaders?  [Sounds like a long shot, but you’ve got to dream!]

Glad the Palin experiment is nearing a close.  Sort of — the resignation story and its aftermath, despite being buried in the holiday weekend news cycle is going to survive and thrive tomorrow.  But, man… everything that’s happened in almost three years, since she won — the ethics complaints, Troopergate, the VP candidacy, Meg Stapleton, Palinbots, her kids and grandson, the war on bloggers [since she can’t sue the entire internet], Levi and Sherry, reactions to crises in Emmonak and Eagle, junior high school styled press releases, the turkey video, the gang of lawyers taking over the state government.  Like the GOP domination of national politics since 1980, I can’t wait to just put everything Palin down the memory hole.

Meanwhile, the north pole melted for good, gas prices went through the roof, the national economy went to hell and the mainstream media went obsolete.  So it isn’t as if we really need to be focusing on her.

Diehard

December 5, 2008 at 8:28 am | Posted in politics | Leave a comment
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LTE in today’s ADN from a disgruntled citizen:

Let wheelers, dealers meet in pen
The way things are going in Alaska, I believe we should hold our next legislative session in the mess hall of some penitentiary. When all the appeals and all the legal tricks are done, and if ol’ Ted is finally sentenced, the name of our airport should be changed back to Anchorage International Airport. If it isn’t, it would be an embarrassment to all good Alaskans. You don’t see Al Capone International Airport in Chicago, do you?
I’m really damn tired of all this wheeling, dealing, and stealing that’s going on in my beloved Alaska. I’m mad and embarrassed for my state. Oh, and yes, I’m a Republican.
— Ron Thompson
Wasilla

He had me until the final sentence.  Why is this man still a Republican?  I’m embarrassed for him!

There is a party for people like you, Ron.  People who believe in mainstream American values and are fiscally responsible.  It’s the Democartic Party.  You should check into it!

Learning a bit about Mark Begich’s roots

November 23, 2008 at 9:50 pm | Posted in politics | Leave a comment
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Begich, the current Mayor of Anchorage who recently took down US Senator Ted Stevens, the longest serving Republican Senator in history has Croatian ancestors:

Begich didn’t emphasize his Croatian roots. But Croatian newspapers closely covered his election, calling him the first U.S. senator of Croatian origin.

Begich’s grandfather left the small village of Podlapaca in central Croatia almost a century ago to seek a better life in America.

Croatian Nikola Begic, who says he’s the new senator’s cousin, was quoted by one paper as saying their extended family had endured poverty and wars in the past, so the senator’s victory “may be God’s reward now.”

Begich’s father, US House Representative of Alaska Nick Begich was killed in a plane crash outside Juneau in 1972.

Neat story.  Many of us are connected to an Old World parallel universe but we don’t often hear a lot about it.

Another corrupt Republican bites the dust

November 9, 2008 at 10:35 pm | Posted in politics | Leave a comment
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Friday night, in an alley behind this fabulous Fairbanks dive bar.

I have to stop reading the letters section!

November 9, 2008 at 8:26 pm | Posted in politics | Leave a comment
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Anchorage Daily News, Nov. 8, 2008:

We’re all hoping it’s the weather
Re.: Palin, Stevens and Young: Does the cold numb the brains of those who live in Alaska or are some Alaskans just that dumb and corrupt?
— Bill Sartori
Windsor Locks, Conn.

Bill, it’s exactly the same reason you guys keep sending Lieberman back to D.C.

Alaskans for Truth rally

September 28, 2008 at 4:21 pm | Posted in politics | Leave a comment
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Hmmm, this looks like it went pretty well!

Mudflats states the reason for the rally thusly: “…we’ve felt a bit like we’re living in the Dr. Seuss story, “Horton Hears a Who”.  If you’re not familiar with this tale, it involves thousands of tiny people who live on a dust speck, and no matter how loudly they yell, no one can seem to hear them.  They keep screaming ‘We are here! We are here! We are here!'”

This one was attended by over 1,000 people, I guess making it the second largest political rally in state history, after the last anti-Palin rally two weeks ago.

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