Alaska Ear: 1/12/13 They're on the Way

Sheila Toomey

THEY'RE ON THE WAY . . . The Legislature gavels back to life Jan. 21, and people who have to care are oiling their snark. Here are a few examples from earwigs who've been hanging around politics too long:

Capitol building maintenance sent out a memo Tuesday warning of "limited access" to the front doors because of "bird mitigation" work.

Yes, Ear wondered too. Turns out it means scraping off raven poop and rousting the birds' roosts so "tenants" entering and leaving the Capitol don't receive unexpected gifts from above. But earwigs had questions:

"Why aren't they putting spikes on the second floor bench? Don't lobbyists qualify as vultures?"

And: "Last time I looked above the Capitol, the birds were all flying upside down. They claim there isn't anything below worth sh--ing on."

How about this one:

Question: Which entry won the naming contest for the Legislature's Anchorage office building -- currently undergoing a scandalously overpriced renovation?

Answer: The Taj Mahawker

OK, enough. Ear is sorry.

FLYING FACTOIDS . . . One of the bills already filed in Juneau is about cattle branding. Another limits the use of drones.

TONE DEAF . . . Lite Gov Mead Treadwell took a campaign swing through Kodiak this past week, talking somberly on KMXT about the Sandy Hook school shooting. (He attended the school in 1964.)

Meanwhile, Rep. Tammie Wilson, R-North Pole, was griping to the Fairbanks News-Miner about the state of our schools and the lack of an overall plan for education spending:

"We're shooting a rifle at it and hoping one of those things hit and turn around our schools," she said, according to the N-M story.

Clever metaphor. Imagine a school teacher using it while complaining about the Legislature. Can you say "Homeland Security"?

BEST SAVE . . . Earwigs report lite gov candidate Bob Williams, a Palmer teacher running against Hollis French in the Democratic primary, called Gov. Sean Parnell a "wimp" during a debate Tuesday.

Then, noting that teachers have zero tolerance for name-calling, he explained that "WIMP" is actually an acronym for "Wildly Inaccurate, Misleading and Partisan."

Not bad but nothing yet tops Capt. Zero, the sobriquet darling Don Young pinned on Parnell years ago.

Tuesday's debate, moderated by KTVA's Rhonda McBride, was at the YMCA downtown. There's a full story on

LOL FOR REAL . . . Wonkette, the sarcastic political blog, had a lot of fun this week with Lisa Demer's revelations about the "massive" ad blitz national Republicans say they've unleashed in Alaska against Sen. Mark Begich. Turns out a "statewide effort" was in reality a single radio ad that aired once in Fairbanks and once in Anchorage at a total cost of $55.

Lisa points out that reporters all over the country wrote about the alleged blitz against Democrats across the country without ever checking to see if it actually existed. RNC officials she called were quite annoyed with her.

If you missed it, find Demer's story on The giggling commentary is on plus a bunch of other sites. (Google "RNC pouring tens of dollars into Alaska.")

Warning: The stories all contain the words "Reince Priebus," which can cause temporary dyslexia.

NO COMMENT . . . The Government Finance Officers Association of the United States and Canada has awarded the Kenai Peninsula Borough its "Distinguished Budget Presentation Award."

AND YET AGAIN . . . On Tuesday, CNN reported the unemployment vote in the Senate as follows: "Democrats got help from the Republicans Kelly Ayotte of New Hampshire, Dan Coats of Indiana, Susan Collins of Maine, Dean Heller of Nevada, Lisa Murkowski of Arkansas and Rob Portman of Ohio."


OUT AND ABOUT . . . Seen tearing it up Tuesday night on the dance floor at Taproot, Iditarod superstar Lance Mackey. The occasion was a benefit for Jay Bell, everyone's favorite sound guy (Taproot, Girdwood Fair). Earwigs report it was a fun night with lots of local bands donating sets.

ON THE MOVE . . . Tully McLoughlin, an aide last session to Sitka Rep. Jonathan Kreiss-Tomkins, is headed to Chicago and a spot at Second City, the comedy training ground that produced Bill Murray, Tina Fey and Stephen Colbert.

Obviously a single year in the vicinity of the Alaska Legislature produced enough material for a whole career of stand-up comedy.

Also, Emily Ricci, who worked on health care issues with former Commish Becky Hultberg at the Department of Administration, is moving to a similar post in the governor's office.

SO ALASKA . . . Official notice of a city council meeting in Valdez about a proposed LNG project included the following:

"The meeting is contingent on the 5:50 p.m. flight arriving."

SO OUTSIDE . . . The News-Miner published one of those lists of stupid questions tourists ask. It included: If Alaska and Hawaii are so close (on most U.S. maps), why do they have such different climates? What's the currency exchange rate? And how do you keep the animals in Denali Park?

KUDOS. . . Alaska Airlines has been ranked best of the nation's nine major carriers for overall service by Flightstats Inc.

According to a story in the Wall Street Journal, something called the Middle Seat Scorecard tracked 8 million trips in 2013 in a bunch of categories, and Alaska Airlines came out on top. Delta was second. United ranked last.

The category where Alaska did worst (sixth place) was "mishandled bags."

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