Alaska Ear: Just go away (3/31/13)

JUST GO AWAY ... The national trade association for landscape professionals says April is "National Lawn Care Month."

NEVER LEAVE US ... Just as earwigs began fretting that we'd lost Don Young, Congressman for All Alaskans, etc., to age, experience and wisdom, he calmed our fears. Unless you just arrived from Saturn, you know Don made a very Don-like comment during an interview Wednesday with public radio station KRBD in Ketchikan. Lamenting the loss of American jobs to automation, he said:

"My father had a ranch; we used to hire 50-60 wetbacks to pick tomatoes. It takes two people to pick the same tomatoes now. It's all done by machine."

Yes! That's our Don. It went viral, prompting chastisement from Boss Boehner, speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives. And it was a great opportunity for commentators and columnists in need of something to outrage about on Friday. Ear's personal favorite was The Washington Post, where a GOP consultant described Young as "a dinosaur on the bridge of political insanity and irrelevance."

And your point is?

Really d'Ear Outsiders, get over it. The GOP's newly discovered love of Hispanic voters is just not Don's thing.

SPEAKING OF ... Conventional wisdom attributes Young's 40-year reign as our only congressman to good constituent service. However, earwigs wonder how many of said constituents got replies to inquiries last week that read, in full, like this:

"Letter begins here. I hope this information addresses your questions and concerns. I appreciate the opportunity to be of assistance and I hope you will not hesitate to contact me in the future if I can be of service."

Yet another lesson in the dangers of form letters and "send" buttons.

DEAR DEBBIE ... The battle over leadership of the state Republican Party continues. Those who thought the swift de-throning of newly elected and mostly Libertarian Russ Millette last month as chairman was the end of the fun gave up too soon. Looks like the next head on the block is Debbie Brown, who succeeded Russ and is now RPA chair.

Earwigs of the GOP persuasion say the votes are lined up to fire her on squishy-sounding charges that allege she didn't raise enough money for the party. The current vice-chair, Paul Goldberg, is said to be poised to assume the top job. Here's an excerpt from an email addressed to Brown and attributed to Paul:

"Should you decide to resign rather than go through a hearing, a hearing that will inevitably have the same result, i.e. removing you as chair, I would suggest that you do it before you go to the RNC meetings. This way, you will not have wasted your money on the cost of the trip. ... While I know it is hard for you to accept, I need to tell you again that everyone that I am aware of in this process believes you to be of strong moral fiber, of good character, and dedicated to the Party. While all believe this to be true, it does not change the opinion of all of these same people that you have neither adequately performed your duties thus far as relates to finances nor do these people believe that you would be successful at it in the future."

FYI: The RNC (Republican National Committee) spring meetings begin April 10 in Los Angeles. Presumably, Goldberg believes Brown will be ousted before then.

Darlings, Ear so loves angst and turmoil among the political.

NO BIGGIE ... The legislative ethics committee, asked by Sen. Peter Micciche to decide if he should abstain from voting on legislation affecting billions of dollars in oil company profits because he works for ConocoPhillips, issued a ruling that said, "Hey, OK with us."

Well, not exactly in those words. Basically they said he was just a manager supervising a "small plant" and his family's CP stock- holdings were less than 20 percent of their total holdings, so no problem.

Read the ruling yourself on the legislative website.

A QUESTION ... Will the "FBI" vanity plate on M.J. Thim's truck clash with his tony new image as co-chair of the Mayor's Charity Ball? The other co-chair is Dana Applebee. This is the big annual fund-raiser, which celebrates its 20th anniversary in October.

Thim does special projects over at Channel 11. Several years ago the plate prompted an oops breaking news announcement about an alleged federal investigation of KTVA when a reporter spotted the truck in the station's parking lot.

Friends of M.J. claim the plate is actually a stealth effort to get people to drive safely. Other drivers tend to behave better when they spot it.

Yeah, right.

LOCAL DECOR ... Word is the new owner of the Bob and Evangeline Atwood mansion has decided to keep that little statue of a newspaper delivery boy that used to sit out back in the fountain, plus the portraits of the Atwood daughters, Marilyn and Elaine. At least that's the report from Earwigs who attended the estate sale at the house last weekend.

KUDOS ... People were actually praising one of those endless fund-raising dinners that make up what passes for the social scene here. It was Thursday at the Captain Cook Quarter Deck. Ron Spatz's UAA Honors College was the beneficiary. The audience included Nina Kemppel, Bill McKay, Lite Gov. Mead Treadwell, Fran Ulmer, Sharon and Bruce Gagnon, Al Parrish, John Wanamaker, Tom Nighswander -- you get the picture.

The money is for undergrad research projects. Four of the 10 students presented are headed to medical school.

ANOTHER SILLY STUDY ... A report by an "independent think tank" working for some online dating service has concluded that Anchorage is the third most-flirtatious conservative city in America. We got beat by Provo, Utah, and Allentown, Pa.

Really d'Ears, people actually put out press releases announcing stuff like this. Ear couldn't make it up.

Compiled by Sheila Toomey Message Sheila at or 257-4341