Alaska Ear: Good news (2/24/13)


GOOD NEWS . . . For earwigs who like numbers, the conservative National Journal, which is obsessed with Congress, has ranked U.S. senators based on an analysis of their votes.

Of the 100 senators, Lisa is ranked 56th most conservative and 44th most liberal. Mark is ranked 41st most liberal and 59th most conservative.

Since we're talking about a pool of 100, this means both our guys are squarely in the "moderate" (sane) range -- about halfway between right-wing wackos and left-wing loonies.

Given that Lisa and Mark both occasionally take positions that make Ear's brain matter leak from its lobe, and given that the process of electing good people to office is like trying to nail Jell-O to a tree, we have apparently lucked out.

Yes, d'Ears, The Divine Appendage is saying something nice about a couple of our politicians. Don't worry, it won't happen again.

SPEAKING OF . . . Looks like there's a new player in the game of "Who's Gonna Run Against Begich?" The latest wave of excited-yet-unsubstantiated rumors says establishment Republicans think federal judge Tim Burgess would make a good candidate. Word is Lisa is talking him up.

"If he would consider this, I think that would be quite interesting," Murkowski told reporter Lisa Demer in Juneau this week.

"There's been a lot of conversation about who's gonna run. ... And his name came up. But you know, he's a federal judge. That's not a bad job. Talk about job security, he's got it."

The real question is, does the orchestrating of this "rumor" mean Tim has already agreed to run?

ALOHA . . . Message from Mr. Whitekeys:

"Hiya D'ear. I'm stuck on vacation under a palm tree, so I wonder if you could do me a favor. Can you send me a copy of the new bumper sticker that says, 'Lindsey Holmes -- She'll double-cross that bridge when she comes to it.' "

LOL . . . The Appalled Appendage was going to rant about House Republicans laughing nervously when asked if they might support same-sex civil unions -- did one of them actually say, "I'm gonna be straight with you"? But, really, there aren't any wise-ass remarks left.

Everyone in the world has seen the video by now and, once again, Alaska is humiliated by its politicians. Best to just pull the covers over your head and pretend that AK stands for Arkansas.

Ear was puzzled by one thing, though. An apology press release from the House Majority contained the following quote, attributed to Speaker Chenault:

"... It's clear from the totality of the response and circumstances the laughter was in reaction to which legislator had to field the difficult question ..."

Huh? Who's he talking about, and what's he saying about him?

BTW, Mike, the question wasn't that difficult.

A QUESTION . . . When advised that Icelandic Airlines was going to start serving Alaska, what legislator asked the Commerce Department where that airline was from?

To be fair, Alaska Airlines is "from" Seattle, right?

BUT WHO'S COUNTING . . . Rep. Jonathan Kreiss-Tomkins, D-Sitka and The Youngest Legislator, turned 24 on Feb. 7 and the boys in the House rose to offer sensitive congratulations.

Of course they did.

Here are a few, according to Kreiss-Tomkins' website:

"Before he is allowed to vote, the House Chief Clerk still cards him."

"The Speaker must ensure that floor sessions adjourn promptly at 10 p.m. because of the city-wide curfew."

QUESTION . . . Did the Juneau Empire put out a special section about the Legislature that lists Lesil's husband as Tom Anderson? Ear didn't see it but wigs say it's so.

Really, d'Ears, not only are Tom and Lesil divorced, Ear is pretty sure she's got a new husband.

ON THE MOVE . . . John Minge, president of BP Alaska since 2009, has moved on to an awesome new job as president of BP America. Or has he?

Friends say John is keeping his home in Anchorage and plans to live between Alaska and Houston (the one in Texas).

Hmmm. Has anyone told him it's 3,276 air miles from Anchorage to Houston? (4,321 miles if you drive)

WOW . . . Guess who our own Jeff Lowenfels is schooling in planting? Astronaut Don Pettit, recently returned from six months on the International Space Station (his third sojourn there).

Dr. Pettit, a chemical engineer, experimented with growing plants in space on this trip and filed "Diary of a Space Zucchini" from the station. (Plant people can find it on the NASA blog Space Zuc also has a Twitter account.

"I had no soil but due to your teachings, I brought a teaspoon of dry soil in my personal effects in which to start my (compost) tea," Pettit wrote Jeff in an email after he got back. How cool is that!

WE'RE No. 1 . . . Elsewhere in the U.S. of A., the approach of spring means robins and daffodils. In Alaska it means a segment on NPR's "Science Friday" about how pollution from wood stoves in Fairbanks has produced worse air than in Beijing, China.

GOING TO THE DOGS . . . They've done it before and they're doing it again: The kids from our own Northwood Elementary will pull dog sleds from school to Iditarod headquarters at the Millennium Hotel Thursday and Friday, hauling celebrities like Miss Alaska and weather celeb Jackie Purcell. Sled builder Bernie Willis lends the sleds, APD escorts the kids and the hotel rewards them with cookies and cocoa after they sing "Alaska's Flag" and "Home in the Snow."

Another sign of spring that involves snow. Sigh.

Compiled by Sheila Toomey. Message Sheila at or 257-4341.