Alaska, Kelly and Murkowski can't be serious, but they are, heaven help us

State Sen. Pete Kelly, a Republican from Fairbanks, has introduced a bill to allow University of Alaska students to carry guns on campuses and into dorms. That's public policy even more harebrained than putting pregnancy tests into bar bathrooms.

Did Pete go to college? Did he live in a dorm? If so, he apparently didn't notice that dorms aren't exactly hothouses of good judgment. Adding firearms just increases the opportunity for adolescent bad judgment to become truly tragic. I sure wouldn't send my kid to live in a dorm populated with gun-toting teenagers.

I haven't figured out what Kelly does best, but I'm quite sure it has nothing to do with crafting smart policy for our state. Whoever came up with the phrase, "Oh, for Pete's sake," must have known Kelly.

Has anyone seen Sen. Lisa Murkowski lately? Is she okay? Is she wearing a neck brace? I'm no doctor, but she must have suffered some sort of whiplash after getting jerked back to the party line on the appointment of a U.S. Supreme Court justice. As you know, Justice Antonin Scalia died while on a fancy-pants hunting trip in Texas. The court is now a justice shy of a full bench and, according to the U.S. Constitution, the sitting president has the duty to nominate a replacement.

First, Murkowski said it was important the U.S. Senate hold a hearing on whomever the president selected. She told reporters, "I do believe that the nominee should get a hearing."

Well, how about that? Murkowski was a voice of reason among the chorus of crazies. But then she got her talking points emailed from the Koch brothers. That prompted a perfect backflip -- on Twitter, of course, the place where politicians say things when they don't want to be asked about backflips by pesky reporters.

"I urge Pres. Obama to follow a tradition embraced by both parties over the last 80 years and allow his successor to select the next Supreme Court justice," she said. That line comes straight from the D.C. script passed out to every lockstep Republican bot. She tweeted further, "If POTUS ignores precedent I believe extraordinary circumstances give the Senate every right to deny the nominee an up or down vote."

Of course there is no "tradition" or "precedent" for a president to skip appointing someone to an empty seat -- in an election year or any other year. To say otherwise is a baldfaced lie. You can look it up.

I realize Murkowski is seldom mistaken for a constitutional scholar -- it took her several tries to pass the bar exam -- but this is serious business. And it isn't rocket science. If she was interested in tradition, or precedent, or truth, she could have consulted Google.

In which case she would have learned: "The historical record does not reveal any instances since at least 1900 of the president failing to nominate and/or the Senate failing to confirm a nominee in a presidential election year because of the impending election. In that period, there were several nominations and confirmations of Justices during presidential election years."

Let's see, what else is in the news this week? Oh, yes. Our best-known Republican presidential candidate and reality TV star decided to go after the pope. That's something you don't see every day.

After spending time in Mexico, including along the U.S. border, Pope Francis said a Christian builds bridges rather than walls, although he was willing to give Donald Trump the benefit of the doubt. But that was enough to prompt Franklin Graham and Jerry Falwell Jr., two of Jesus Inc.'s major stockholders, to rush to defend the faith of the pretend-Christian, thrice-married billionaire bigot. You can't make this up.

Thank goodness for Twitter and the hashtag #maketheVaticangreatagain, which mocked Trump with suggested tweets:

"He wasn't even born in Vatican City, how can he be pope? I'm just saying, we should be looking into this."

And, "He washes poor people's feet? If I was pope, it would be the other way around!"

It's tough to tell what's real and what's a joke these days.

When the Francis was chosen as pope in 2013, Trump wrote, "The new Pope is a humble man, very much like me, which probably explains why I like him so much!"

Well, at least he's consistently inconsistent. That's something we can count on.

So good luck this week, Alaska. Find the funny if you can. Laughing at the mess is better than crying about it.

Shannyn Moore is a radio broadcaster.

The views expressed here are the writer's own and are not necessarily endorsed by Alaska Dispatch News, which welcomes a broad range of viewpoints. To submit a piece for consideration, email commentary@alaskadispatch.com. Send submissions shorter than 200 words to letters@alaskadispatch.com or click here to submit via any web browser.