Nov. 25: Gamers war in Anchorage; VPSO pay boost; Fortymile wolf hunt; reasons for rural-urban shift; Brian the turkey slayer

Today's news for the Last Frontier

November 26, 2008 

HIGHER PAY CREDITED FOR VILLAGE OFFICER BOOST (Alaska Newspapers Inc.): In July, starting wages for village public safety officers jumped from $16 an hour to $21 an hour, sharply boosting interest in the job, said Capt. Steve Arlow, head of the troopers in Western Alaska.

U.S. WILL COLLAPSE, LOSE ALASKA TO RUSSIA, ANALYST SPECULATES (Telegraph, U.K.): In an interview with the newspaper Izvestia, a Russian analyst today outlined a scenario in which U.S. financial woes would divide the country along ethnic and cultural lines. Alaska could be taken by Russia, he said, claiming the region was "only granted on lease, after all."

GAMERS BRING NUCLEAR WAR TO ANCHORAGE (PC World): "Fight in one of the greatest battles of the ‘Fallout' universe - the liberation of Anchorage from Chinese Communist invaders," says the press release today from the video game developer Bethesda Softworks. "Operation: Anchorage," the latest installment in the post-apocalyptic role-playing Fallout series, will be available in January for Xbox 360 and Windows PC. Read about previous Alaska involvement in the "Fallout" wars here.

ENERGY ALTERNATIVES VIE FOR STATE AID (The Juneau Empire): The Alaska Energy Authority is sorting through requests for $450 million to fund alternative and renewable energy projects, but it has just $100 million to spend on wind, biomass, tidal, geothermal and even the rare Alaska solar project.

FORTYMILE WOLF HUNT SHOWING SUCCESS (Fairbanks Daily News-Miner): Sharpshooters participating in the state's aerial predator control program already have killed almost as many wolves in the Fortymile country this year as they did all last winter.

SURVEY: ENERGY PRICES AREN'T TOP REASON FOR RURAL-URBAN SHIFT (Alaska Newspapers Inc.): People listed more job options, better educational opportunities and being closer to families -- in that order -- as the main reasons they moved, according to the preliminary results of a survey by First Alaskans Institute.

BRIAN THE TURKEY SLAYER DEFENDS PALIN (Inside Edition): Brian Tomes, the guy slaughtering turkeys in the background as Gov. Sarah Palin gave a TV interview last week, has worked at the Triple D Farm in Wasilla for the past nine years and says he didn't realize he was on camera too. He says Palin is being unfairly criticized over the video. "The only thing I can say is, 'Don't mess with my governor!'" The video has become a YouTube sensation with more than 2.2 million hits as of Monday.

Also: Top 10 reasons to pardon a turkey this Thanksgiving (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals)

TOP 10 PALIN EXCUSES FOR THE TURKEY VIDEO ("Late Show With David Letterman"):

10. "I can see Russia, but I can't see what's going on 5 feet behind me"

9. "Not thinking straight after spending all night reading every newspaper and magazine"

8. "Damn 'gotcha' media got me again!"

7. "My Remington shotgun says I don't need an excuse"

6. "Those were Al Qaeda turkeys"

5. "I thought they were just torturing the little guy"

4. "I mean, doggonit, you know, like we have to lower taxes, and like, it all falls under job security, and we need to drill, you know?"

3. "Uh, stomach flu?"

2. "I'll get right back to ya! I'm still adorable, America"

1. "Don't blame me! Blame Joe the Turkey Slaughterer!"

ON TED STEVENS: ‘I FEEL FOR THE GUY' (Joel Southern, for APRN): Southern, a former longtime Washington correspondent for the Alaska Public Radio Network who's now living in Denmark, reflects on his years covering Sen. Ted Stevens and the lessons Alaskans might take from "the end of the Stevens era." I know that, under his often crotchety crust, there's a real, thinking, feeling human being. I've seen it, and I've experienced it firsthand. For example, when one of my brothers died of cancer in 1995, Sen. Stevens sent me a handwritten note that mentioned his brother who died of cancer and Stevens' own prostate cancer diagnosis. He advised me to have my cancer risks assessed and told me it was important to recognize and deal with grief. The words might not have seemed profound to others. But they were very profound to me at that time. He didn't have to write that note, but he did. And I was grateful.

Among the lessons Southern believes recent events hold for Alaskans:

> Don't let any politician serve as long as Stevens did.

> Build a deeper "bench" of capable politicians.

> Jettison the "rough and tumble" personality type that might have served well during early statehood but now might seem offensive on the national scene.

Also:

Southern reflects on Alaska history and his career covering it (APRN, with video)

Don't close book on Stevens because he's guilty (ADN op-ed page)

BUSH ADMINISTRATION RUSHING TO SET NEW ENDANGERED SPECIES RULES (Alaska Public Radio Network): The change would allow individual government agencies to take action on a given project without consulting with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service on whether endangered animals or plants could be affected. The proposed rule also ... makes it necessary to demonstrate a direct link between the decline of a species and carbon emissions.

PALIN TO CAMPAIGN FOR CHAMBLISS (The Associated Press): Gov. Sarah Palin will head to Georgia on the eve of the state's closely watched Senate runoff to rally Republicans to the polls for Republican Sen. Saxby Chambliss. The governor will be joining Chambliss for public rallies across the state.

Also:

Ohmigoodness ... the goddess descends (Atlanta Journal-Constitution blog)

‘SINGLE LADIES' DANCER MAKES US FORGET WHY WE HATED ALASKA (Queerty): A Fairbanks man dressed in a women's one-piece and snow boots dances in 2-degree weather to Beyonce's hit single in a YouTube video.

PALIN WINS PRAISE FROM HUNTERS MAGAZINE (The Associated Press): The governor and Democratic Sen. Charles Schumer of New York are ideological opposites, but Field and Stream magazine named both "heroes" in their yearly review: Schumer for pushing a law that encourages farmers to grant access to their land to hunters, and Palin for being the most high-profile hunter to run for the White House since Teddy Roosevelt.

STEVENS OFFICE WAR PROTESTER LOSES APPEAL (KFSK): The Alaska Court of Appeals has upheld the conviction of a Sitka man arrested for an act of civil disobedience in Sen. Ted Stevens' Anchorage office last year. Don Muller was charged in February 2007 with criminal trespass after he and several others entered the senator's office to read the names of the U.S. soldiers and Iraqi civilians who had died in the war.

FROM ONE EXXON VALDEZ FOOTNOTE, A DEBATE OVER THE TANGLES OF LAW, SCIENCE AND MONEY (The New York Times): "Because (punitive damage) research was funded in part by Exxon," Supreme Court Justice David H. Souter wrote in a footnote that has rocked the legal world, "we decline to rely on it." Law professors who conduct empirical research have spent months subjecting the footnote to the kind of close reading usually conducted by graduate students in English literature.

Return to Alaska Newsreader through the day for new links.

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HIGHLIGHTS FROM RECENT NEWSREADERS:

Papa Pilgrim's Alaska: The darkest place (Outside)

Village safety is priority, says new top cop (Alaska Newspapers Inc.)

Chuck Bundrant: King of fish sticks (Seattle Weekly)

Regenerating a mammoth for $10 million (The New York Times)

Fossils lend clues to Alaska's Eurasian roots (National Geographic)

Turkeys that survived fireworks fright ready for holiday ax (Valley Frontiersman)

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