Alaska Ear: Political hijinks

Mark Thiessen

Let's face it, darlings, it's a gloomy week when the biggest laughs are in the mail. In Ear's case, it's emailed memos -- and some of them are pretty amusing:


SO YOU WANNA BE A STAR . . . Bradley Reid, one of Alaska's ad agencies, issued a call last month for 36 people to appear in a series of TV commercials pushing the Pebble mine. Here's what they said:

"We're looking for a nice range of ages, both male and female, to portray scientists, field researchers, lab workers, etc. in 3 spots that will cover different aspects of the Pebble science.

"They will need to be able to deliver one to two lines, and look credible doing it, so some actual acting talent would be much appreciated."

Hmmmm. Ear can't help wondering why they didn't just use some of the actual scientists they have working to prove that a giant hole in the ground filled with chemicals is no threat to fish. The real guys should be able to "deliver lines" about scientific stuff without acting.

Oh-oh. You don't think they're really looking for actors to play scientists at the conferences going on? Nah, no one would do that -- even if trillions of dollars are involved.

Anyhow, earwigs say the producers were set to shoot last week in Iliamna (pay $250 a day) and were doing something at the PAC this week.


SHE WANTS TO BE A STAR . . . Sen. Cathy Giessel, R-Out in the Cold, sent a memo to supporters requesting they show up at public meetings and ask her questions to which she knows the answers. To quote the email:

"I am asking you to consider attending and bring a question to submit, hopefully that will require an answer that will reveal core values, like the 10th Amendment question did. Of course, me knowing the question ... so I am prepared with the answer ... helps but not required :-)"

Darlings, we all know they do this kind of stuff but it's insulting when they're so blatant. Of course, we elect these guys so how can they not disrespect our intelligence.

Cathy was apparently looking for questions about the 10th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution so she could expound on its virtues. Giessel is one of the senators who so hated the idea of playing nice with others that she refused to join the bipartisan coalition, thus depriving her constituents of legislative juice.

WELCOME, NOW GET OUT . . . Alaska Airlines sent out a news advisory Monday inviting media to the public debut of its newly painted airplane, "widely considered the most intricately painted commercial aircraft in the world," according to the press release.

Translation: It's got a picture of a giant salmon on it. A really, really big salmon.

It was a choreographed warm-and-fuzzy moment with the Alaska seafood industry and not a big whoop except for an airline's concept of hospitality. Part of the detailed schedule read as follows:

4:50 p.m. -- Aircraft arrives at hangar

5:00 p.m. -- Media and guests invited to "kick the tires" of the aircraft

5:15 p.m. -- Media escorted out of hangar and employee reception continues.

This is what we call a created-for-TV news event. Fifteen minutes to shuffle in, shoot video for the 6 o'clock report and shuffle out. Without even a shot at the snack table.

On the other hand, Ear has to admit the painted plane is really cool. Check out the photos.


A QUESTION . . . Did you follow the exploits of Sarah's brother and father as they did the book tour thing, pushing their newly released homage to her highness, "Our Sarah: Made in Alaska"?

Hey, why shouldn't they make money off the lady? Everyone else is.

But here's the puzzle: Isn't Chuck Jr. teaching at Gladys Wood Elementary School in Anchorage this semester? Isn't school in session? Is the School District paying for a sub while he's off selling books?

Just asking.


ANOTHER QUESTION . . . Is it true that the mayor of Wasilla is going to appoint once-convicted panhandling former legislator Vic Kohring to that city's Planning and Zoning Commission? Some guy on the radio said so but Ear thinks it's a spoof -- Wasilla doesn't do planning or zoning, does it?


NOT SO TUF . . . Those clowns shipping all our jobs to China have finally gone too far. Honeywell, the manufacturer of Xtratufs, the boots beloved by Alaskans except Ear, dumped Rock Island, Ill., and moved its plant and 300 jobs to China. Now the boots suck, according to Sen. Mark Begich.

Which has the senator on the warpath.

"People replacing boots that used to last for years found the new pairs leaked and the soles separated from the uppers after just a few weeks' wear. These were not the durable boots Alaskans were used to, earning the new name "Sort-of-Tufs," Begich scolded Honeywell in a letter.

He "invited Honeywell to provide insight into reforming the U.S. tax code" to ... wait just a minute. Invite? Insight? Reform? What's with the nicey -nice tone? Where's the senator who threatened to have the Coast Guard bomb a derelict ship that was annoying his constituents?

Hey Mark, Ear hears Seal Team 6 is between assignments.


KUDOS . . . To Benjamin Spatz, son of UAA's Ron Spatz, who has been named one of the country's top 99 foreign policy leaders under age 33.

Ben works with the U.N. as an adviser to the Security Council on Liberia. He served as special adviser to the government of Liberia, worked with relief organizations in Darfur, Sudan, and as an election monitor in Sierra Leone and Liberia. He's a photojournalist (worked at ADN) with a master's degree in foreign service from Georgetown. And it all started at East High.



Sept. 27 -- Drunk Disturbance -- Officers contacted two intoxicated fishermen who were engaged in a deadly serious game of tug-of-war with a purple tutu, which both of them claimed as his own. Officers suggested they drop both the tutu and the argument as it hardly seemed worth going to jail over such a flimsy issue.


Compiled by Sheila Toomey Message Sheila at Find Ear Sunday night at