NOT SUBTLE, IS HE? ... The Other Dan Sullivan, who currently runs our Department of Natural Resources, has apparently been losing sleep over the department's mission statement, which isn't as "closely aligned" with the "guiding principles" of the Alaska Constitution as he thinks it should be. So he changed it, according to a memo to staff from Deputy Commish Ed Fogels.
Old mission: "To develop, conserve and enhance natural resources for present and future Alaskans."
New mission: "To responsibly develop Alaska's resources by making them available for maximum use and benefit consistent with the public interest."
He's definitely the governor's man: Kiss resource conservation goodbye. It's all about the money. Tough luck, future Alaskans.
TIME WELL SPENT ... Did Legislative Affairs reprint the new session directory after Speaker of the House Mike Chenault pitched a fit because the lyrics to the second verse of "Alaska's Flag" were included?
Really, darlings, there are so many questions here: Earwigs report Chenault wasted 10 minutes whining about the newish (1987) verse, which hasn't been officially accepted by the House. (Though the Senate has OK'd it.) First of all, even if it was a mistake, who cares enough to spend public money and staff time reprinting and redistributing the directory?
Also, is Chenault signaling that he opposes the verse because -- unlike the first verse -- it actually mentions the existence of Alaska Natives? Granted, Carol Beery Davis' politically correct lyrics aren't great poetry, but great poets rarely write political anthems, so get over it. Plus, no one ever sings the second verse. Do you know the second verse of "The Star Spangled Banner"?
Earwigs who know the parties say the song tussle was a proxy for the ongoing enmity between Chenault and Legislative Affairs Director Pam Varney, maybe over the cost of renovating the Scottish Rite Temple next to the Capitol. But Ear's favorite part of this tale is that Chenault apparently approved a draft of the directory before it was printed, with the second verse included. (He told Fairbanks Daily News-Miner columnist Dermot Cole he didn't remember that.)
ANOTHER QUESTION ... Did the governor's office really invite legislators to a reception to mark the opening of the 28th legislative session? Have we entered a time warp? Isn't this still the 27th? (As earwigs understand it, each number gets two years).
QUOTE OF THE WEEK ... "We know the mistake made in our country four years ago was having a candidate that was not vetted."
Believe it or not, Sarah Palin was talking about -- no, not herself -- President Barack Obama on FAUX's Sean Hannity show (according to an online transcript).
D.C. DATELINE ... The Washington circus has once again pushed into the absurd. The offices of Sens. Mark Begich, D-Alaska, and Olympia Snowe, R-Maine, issued a press release this week announcing the two "will be sitting next to each other during the State of the Union address." Yes, darlings, a press release. Seriously, what's that all about? Are they, like, dating?
Maybe it's because they both come from cold northern places and they're huddling together for warmth? At the moment, most of Maine has temperatures above zero, so Ear isn't buying that.
Wait a minute. Here's an earlier press release -- from Sen. Lisa Murkowski's office, saying that she and Sen. Mark Udall, D-Colo., intended to sit together last year and urging everyone to find an opposite-party seat mate.
OMG. They can't really be shoveling this out as a demonstration of bipartisanship, can they? Why, yes they can. A whole bunch of them, under the rubric "No Labels," apparently think we'll cheer a "symbolic gesture" in front of TV cameras as evidence that the pit bulls on both sides are trying to get along. Here's an idea: How about passing some useful legislation?
Ear was compelled to call Begich's office to ask, Why a press release? Don't blame us, said an unamused aide. "This is the kind of stuff reporters ask about these days. Welcome to my world."
WHO KNEW ... It was an invitation to write your own joke -- news that former legislator Tom Anderson, recently released from the federal pen after serving time for political corruption, was hosting a weekly radio talk show called "Ethically Speaking." Well, guess what? He's apparently pretty good at it. KOAN-Fox News Talk is reportedly expanding the show from one day a week to five -- Monday to Friday, from 5 to 6 p.m. Starts Feb. 6.
ON THE MOVE ... ADN online editor Scott Levin, the very nice human behind www.adn.com for the past six years, is moving to Ann Arbor, Mich., at the end of the month to help run the online operation of eight newspapers, collectively known as mlive.com. Scott says he's sad to leave but Michigan is within driving distance of both sides of the family. A familiar Alaska story.
SIMPLE PLEASURES ... It was fun watching Tony Knowles trying not to laugh during Thursday's taping of the Shannyn Moore show. Shannyn described bear-snaring promoters as "Viagra-deprived" two-legged predators who think "something is going to grow or move" if they get to kill a bear snared by a hidden wire while foolishly trying to bite a doughnut. (Note: See DNR mission statement above.)
Tony appeared on the show after testifying against bear-snaring to the Board of Game.