Alaska Ear: (1/27/13) OMG ... You probably saw the little news blurb in Friday's paper

By SHEILA TOOMEYJanuary 26, 2013 

Sen. Mark Begich, Kathleen Miller, and Joe Miller

OMG . . . You probably saw the little news blurb in Friday's paper. Honor Code Joe Miller, failed 2010 U.S. Senate candidate, and wife Kathleen visited the Washington offices of all three members of our congressional delegation Thursday, apparently to thank them for recommending their son, Jacob Miller, to West Point.

In other words, to thank them for not holding Jacob's father's behavior against him. (You'll remember that Joe is himself a West Point grad whose nickname stemmed from his non-application of the Point's honor code while working for the Fairbanks borough.)

Earwigs report that both senators showed up in person, smiled and greeted Joe like a regular constituent (rather than like a right-wing wacko who vilified them at every opportunity). People seem to think well of Ms. Miller, who currently serves on the Alaska Judicial Council.

So what is Ear missing here?

And why is Mark Begich smiling in the photo posted on Facebook, given that he's likely to be the tea party contingent's next big target? One Facebooker helpfully suggested that Begich have his office swept for bugs.

ROD AND STAFF . . . A story by Luke Rosiak in the conservative Washington Times on Tuesday ranked the best and worst bosses among the 535 members of Congress. It looks like our junior senator tied for third place in the Senate and fifth in the entire Congress.

The survey was based on average annual staff turnover. For our delegation, it was Begich, 12 percent, Don Young, 21 percent, and Lisa Murkowski, 29 percent.

The worst was Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee, D-Texas, who averaged 55 percent. Among the things her staff had to say: "Hiding knives from a member of Congress for fear of your own life. Having cellphones thrown at you. Being cursed at in front of your parents. Being told, 'I'm a queen, and I demand to be treated like one.'

The story is worth reading. Might explain some of the general dysfunction.

ON THE MOVE . . . Speaking of staff changes, Amy Miller, press secretary for Begich in Alaska, is leaving but not for a new boss. Amy wants to ramp up work on her MBA at UAA.

A QUESTION . . . How many jokes in this year's legislative skits will be about Lindsey Holmes' coming out? Yes, it's a rhetorical question but she's certainly a gift to skit writers, who are already hard at work. And not just them.

Did you catch pollster Ivan Moore's column in the Anchorage Press? He refashioned Lindsey's post-election epiphany that she was actually a Republican into a diatribe against Democratic Rep. Les Gara. What's that about?

Lloyd Morris, a local businessman, was funnier: At Thursday's Downtown Rotary meeting, Lloyd found himself seated at a table of all men. Under Rotary rules, that meant the table had to pay a fine.

Lloyd argued that if Lindsey could just declare herself a Republican, he was declaring himself a woman.

Big laugh. Nice try. A fine was paid.

ANOTHER QUESTION . . . Is it wrong of Ear to giggle at a press release from the House Majority announcing that Majority Leader Rep. Lance Pruitt "will emcee this week's House Majority Caucus Press Availability," and select video clips will be uploaded to iTunes?

AND ONE MORE . . . Not from Ear but from one of the citizens who testified at the Assembly meeting Tuesday against the gutting of Title 21, the city planning code:

Is there any rule that says Assembly members have to actually read an ordinance before they vote on it?

You know the answer.

NEWS WARS . . . The latest defection from Channel 2 to Channel 11 is Rhonda McBride. Rhonda's long-time interest is reporting on rural Alaska. GCI, the local cable and telecom, is buying KTVA-Channel 11 in Anchorage along with TV stations in Juneau and Sitka. GCI is beefing up the local news operation with the help of John Tracy, a former Channel 2 news director who now co-owns Bradley Reid and Associates, the largest ad agency in town. McBride will join the GCI news crew early and help Tracy put it together.


Compiled by Sheila Toomey Message Sheila at ear@adn.com.

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