Today's Newsreader is again a blend of national and local, and some local that is national, if you know what I mean. Find Alaska bloggers' recent thoughts sprinkled throughout.
UPDATED: How Native is Todd Palin? What a touchy question, right? Alaska Real, written by "a 20-something Tlingit/Athabascan woman" known as Writing Raven, tackles this one head-on today. Her personal blog post refers to Todd Palin and his heritage, but over at Salon.com, where it is an editor's pick in the Open Salon, it's called "Todd Palin's bloodlines."
After background on variations of what ¼, 1/16 or 1/8 Native blood can mean, the writer gets to her point.
To be very clear - I absolutely do not believe that blood quantum defines how "Native" you are. The frequent mention of it as a disqualifying factor is wrong. For that matter, there are countless ways to be a proud member of the Native community, and none of it has to do with that extra 1/16 more Native blood you have than the next guy over. What defines you as a Native leader, and a 'Native example' is much easier to nail down, and in this case, Todd would not be the definition of either.
He has also never been part of the Southcentral Alaska Native culture, nor have his children, despite being raised here. To me, this says he is either disinterested, or because he is limited in a few of the organizations (namely tribal) he is rejecting the whole. In any case, both the Palins have a dismal record on Native issues, so please, do not look to Todd's heritage to help with them. That he hasn't done anything because of it so far is a good indicator that he won't be encouraging his wife on anything in the future.
UPDATE: Writing Raven contacted Newsreader mid-day to offer this comment:
Thank you for highlighting the blog, but I really have to reply on today's commentary along with my post. I'm sorry that you got the impression that I was questioning Todd's claim to be Native, or his "Nativeness." This is something I would never do to anyone and did not say. I made it very clear in the post that I do not believe blood quantum is a factor in determining whether he is a "real" Native - my past posts have argued against trying to nail down how "Native" someone is. My post was pretty clear, in multiple parts, about what I was trying to clear up, and why, most especially that he does not support Native issues.
There are still many people, especially those who vote on Native issues, who are announcing Todd's background as a reason to believe he - or his wife - will support Native issues, causes, legislation. My post was not about questioning his heritage or "Nativeness" - and again, the post is pretty clear about how I feel when people "prove" this person is a real Native or not based on their blood quantum. A common argument, for instance:
(From Indian Country Today)
''If she and Sen. McCain are elected, it would provide a basis for a stronger Indian policy,'' said W. Ron Allen, a member of the American Indians for McCain Coalition and chairman of the Jamestown S'Klallam Tribe.
''McCain has a strong background in Indian country and understands it quite well. ... and she has familial and Alaska Native insights that I think enhance the ticket's commitment to tribes.''
Palin, the first female Republican vice presidential candidate is married to Todd Palin, who is of Yup'ik Eskimo descent. Their five children are also of Alaska Native heritage.
As shown above, Sarah's "commitment" to Native issues have almost exclusively been that her husband is Native. It is being used, even by Native leaders, to show that the McCain/Palin ticket will have committment to tribes.
Alaska Real's original post includes half a dozen links to news sources examining the Palin record with Alaska Natives in her home state. She also provides a link to the widely circulated Internet document called, "Sarah Palin's Record on Alaska Native and Tribal Issues," created by Lloyd Miller, an Anchorage Native rights attorney. She says she plans to clarify this discussion and her view further on her blog.
On the Alaska Native political front, the Bristol Bay Times reports that "Heartbeat Alaska" creator Jeanie Greene says she will use her show and Web site to collect commentary from Alaska Natives on Palin's record. Greene says she plans to invite Palin onto her show the second Sunday in October; if the VP candidate refuses the invite, Greene will host a panel of Native experts discussing her record on these issues.
UPDATED: Student implicated as Palin's Yahoo account hacker. The Associated Press reports that Rep.Mike Kernell, a Memphis Democrat, says his son is the person bloggers are speculating about as the one who hacked into Palin's account. The story stops short of naming him as the hacker.
The story took an unexpected turn Thursday, when Rep. Mike Kernell, a Memphis Democrat, confirmed that his son, a student at the University of Tennessee, was the person who was the subject of speculation on blogs on the subject. David Kernell is a student at the University of Tennessee-Knoxville.
Wired blog network recounts blog posts from the hacker, called "Rubico," on how he managed to do it:
As detailed in the postings, the Palin hack didn't require any real skill. Instead, the hacker simply reset Palin's password using her birthdate, ZIP code and information about where she met her spouse -- the security question on her Yahoo account, which was answered (Wasilla High) by a simple Google search.
The simplicity of the attack, of course, makes it no less illegal.
Apparently, that's debatable. Check the Electronic Frontier Foundation for a discussion about how the Ninth Circuit views the security of stored email, and how the Department of Justice views it. They don't see eye to eye.
UPDATE: Fresher coverage added below:
> New twists and turns in Palin e-mail hack (PCWorld)
> Email attack highlights weak web security (Scientific American)
> Palin hackers may dodge Feds via DOJ loophole (PC Magazine)
> Hacker catches Yahoo! off guard (The Motley Fool)
> Tenn. Legislator confirms son is at center of Palin hack chatter (Computer World)
Palin unfiltered. Technology comes to the assistance of voters who want unfiltered access to candidates' words. Monkey Crash, identified as "your source for conservative opinion" has posted the full transcript of the Palin-Hannity interview. And Congressional Quarterly's transcript service offers VP Palin's verbatim campaign remarks this morning from Green Bay, Wisconsin.
The Associated Press reports this morning that Palin on Thursday in Cedar Rapids, Iowa called the political team to which she is Member No. 2 as "the Palin and McCain administration." And this:
Palin also referred to McCain as "my running mate" Friday in Green Bay, Wis., as she did twice in Iowa the day before. Vice presidential candidates are usually referred to as the running mates, no matter which one is speaking.
Palin's leadership style gets a close look. The Washington Post talks at length to Alaskans who have worked with Palin about her leadership and management styles.
According to lawmakers, senior gubernatorial aides and others who have watched her closely, the woman chosen by Republican Sen. John McCain as his vice presidential running mate has little interest in political give-and-take, or in sustained working relationships with legislators or other important figures around the state. Nor has she proven particularly attentive to the details of public policy.
But those who know her say Palin, 44, is uncommonly deft at something else: sensing the mood of her constituents, shaping her public messages and harnessing a remarkable personal popularity to accomplish what she wants.
Read the story to find out who said:
> "She has an incredible pulse on the public will."
> "She's not known for burning the midnight oil on in-depth policy issues."
> "She tends to ...create a situation where legislators are cornered - going against her would be political suicide."
> "She hears the mood of the electorate very, very well."
> "It was so bizarre. We all talked about it afterward. We all said, ‘What was that? Was she even paying attention?"
> "She seems as if she is incurious about the mechanism of government."
Sarah Palin and Ted Stevens: Who's giving political cover to whom? The New York Times looks at their complicated political relationship - he going on trial over corruption charges next week, she being a clean-sweeper change agent.
When Palin was named VP nominee for his party, Stevens said, "I share in the pride of all Alaskans."
Palin's silence on Stevens has been telling.
"She's been tactful, I guess," said Jerry McBeath, a professor of political science at the University of Alaska Fairbanks, "which is unusual for her."
Sarah's salary: Did she lower it, or raise it, or both? Alaska Dispatch got records from the city of Wasilla and gives you the lowdown.
Palin's bubble is bursting, true or false? The New York Times published a poll Thursday.
And 75 percent said they thought McCain had picked Palin more to help him win the election than because he thought she was well-qualified to be president.
And now, you are mostly leaving Palin territory. Mostly.
Playing the "wild animal card." Not politicians, but the Newsreader. We know you love animal news, almost as much as the animals. News sources today provide significant detail on how our wild critters are doing.
The Fairbanks Daily News-Miner on two scientific studies, one on moose, the other on red fox.
Your takeaway until you go read the article yourself: According to researcher Jennifer Schmidt of UAF, since 1990, moose hunts have been stable, meaning hunters get their moose about 32 percent of the time. The most common method, called "highway hunting," is the least successful. So get your lazy self off the road system.
A separate study by Erich Follman, also of UAF, suggests that warming temperatures up north spell trouble for red fox and humans in the form of more rabies outbreaks.
According to the lecture's abstract, rabies outbreaks occur every three to four years, but two factors could lead to increased numbers. The reduced sea ice restricts the fox movements on ice and increases their movement on land, forcing them closer to humans. Secondly the northward expansion of red foxes could increase the number of foxes with rabies because they are more susceptible to rabies than arctic foxes.
Politician Palin's oft-cited skill at field dressing a moose led The New York Times reporter Kim Severson to digress from her normal urban food fare to discuss how you cook a moose.
The nose, which can be about the size of a volleyball, is shaved, much the same way bristles are removed from a pig. A sharp knife will do the job, but a disposable razor like a Bic also works, said Mike Dunham of the Anchorage Daily News. Then the nose is boiled in salt water for several hours. The result, he said, is not unlike beef tongue.
"You can cube it and add to soup with noodles and rice or whatever is in the pantry," he said. "It does get quite gelatinous and tender."
Lastly in critter news, let's talk halibut. The Juneau Empire, the Seattle Times and The New York Times all have extensive coverage on Alaska's halibut fishery management's success, based on a new report out today in Science.
Giving people ownership rights in marine fisheries can halt or even reverse catastrophic declines in commercial stocks, researchers in California and Hawaii are reporting. The idea goes against the grain among people who believe that anyone with grit and skill should be able to get in a boat, put to sea and make a living fishing. But that approach, even with licensing requirements and other restrictions, has produced fishing efforts so intense that by some estimates, the world's commercial stocks will collapse in a few decades.
By contrast, the researchers write in Friday's issue of the journal Science, allocating ownership shares of a particular fishery to individuals, cooperatives, communities or other entities gives them a reason to nurture the stock.
Before you know it, they'll be farming in Bethel. OK, they already are, but folks there want to scale it up. The Bristol Bay Times reports on a plan among locals to create a community land trust that would reduce the cost of living remotely through common property ownership.
A leading light for this idea is longtime resident Tim Meyers, who has a four-acre farm where he grows cucumber, cabbage and other veggies in rows. He sells his produce for less than the local stores do.
His housing ideas are also getting attention.
He's rented out the houses and lives in one, but for the most part, they're cold-climate experiments designed to cut down the chill even when outside temperatures plunge to minus 40. Some are partly underground. The earth cradles a portion of the first floor, providing natural insulation and wind protection.
Long greenhouses extend from two houses, including the tall, red-roofed house where Meyers lives with his wife, Lisa. The attractive house features red-trimmed windows and pine ceilings. Large windows on the top floor overlook the farm.
Last word, from Alaska bloggers:
> Todd Palin, refusing to testify? Shocking! (Mudflats, with 500 comments)
> Having fun with Alaska's new stamp (Kodiak Konfidential)
> Governor Sarah's coattails (The Stroller)
If Governor Sarah's coat tails are as effective as the Stroller suspects, look for the Republicans to end up with control of the State House under the leadership of Nikiski Reresentative Mike Chennault. In the Senate, Senator Gary Stevens of Kodiak was the early favorite to become Senate President but during the summer West Anchorage Senator Hollis French gained momentum and looked to become the first Democrat to be Senate President in many years. French has come under withering criticism for his handling of the Legislative Council's probe into charges of abuse of power and ethical violations by the Governor, her husband and her staff. Senator French has probably forfeited any hope of putting together a leadership coalition and Senator Stevens has regained the favorite spot.
Public power struggles are at once fascinating and repulsive to observe. They have a tendency get mean. Truth and civility often become victims of ambition. We have an awful lot at stake in this election. This one really is a biggie.