Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Smokin' in The Good Ol' Boys Room / Pay Cuts for Workers, Pay Raises for the OverLords

Just when you think that things down in Juneau couldn't get any more atrocious, Mike 'COS' Chenault had a personal $74,000 item approved by the House - a "capitol stair landing" AKA a covered outdoor smokers' lounge.  Seems that Mike and his COS, Tom Wright, both smokers, feel entitled to a few more perks and damn it, the state should support their nasty habits.

If you haven't read the OpEd by Andree McLeod about the recent pay raises that Gov Parnell has given his personal staff, please take a minute and do so.  Parnell has been calling for ordinary state workers to take a pay cut and, of course, is all about denying the working poor a chance to be covered by health insurance (that would mostly be paid for by the feds), but he's also all about doling out extravagant pay raises to his staff. Keep in mind that none of these folks even have a job description.  His four aids will now cost the state some $1 million is pay and benefits in one year.

The fiscally conservative, lead-by-example Republicans that we keep electing are doing such a good job giving our money away to each other and the oil companies. 

Monday, April 08, 2013

The Alaskan GOP: The Party of Bear-Shit Crazy

Being an Alaskan political blogger has become a full-time occupation since the current legislative session began in January. Our local republicans have been accused of conflicts of interest (Micciche); ignoring the US Constitution (Chenault); padding their paychecks by keeping office supply money (Chenault and Olson); reinventing history by exonerating Exxon from culpability in the Exxon Valdez oil spill (Olson); sending an email to a secretary with the message 'What a crock of shit'(Chenault); making fart jokes in the Alaska House of Representatives (Chenault) and explaining why he voted to override a citizens' initiative and thereby letting cruise ships dump sewage in coastal areas by saying that Anchorage already does so (Micciche).

In this breaking story, GOP Party Chairperson, Debbie Holle Brown has now barricaded herself in the Republican Party Headquarters in Anchorage, had the locks changed and has threatened to have anyone entering the building arrested. Apparently, she's doing this to keep the old guard (Randy Ruedrich) from re-taking control of the party after Brown and fellow teabagger, Russ Millete took over in the Ron Paul coup last year.  Ruedrich already out maneuvered Millette by exposing Russ's lack of fund-rasing experience and general incompetence and had Millette demoted...


April 9th Update:
Debbie's out.  The GOP executive committee voted to remove Brown as the chairperson citing that she had raised less than $1000 for the party.  Since expenses were around $4000/month, the executive board said it was business, not politics that guided their decision.

Wednesday, April 03, 2013

Crude Dreams/Crude Schemes

Jack Roderick, long-time Alaskan public servant, oil industry analyst and author of Crude Dreams which examines the often slimly roll that the gas and oil industry has had with Alaskan politicians (Veco/Corrupt Bastards Club) gave public testimony the other day about the House and Senate bills that takes billions of dollars out of the state's coffers and gives it to oil companies.  He's not afraid to tell it like it is.  The senate bill passed by the absolute narrowest margins, 11-9 and two of the votes for the break came from ConocoPhillips managers, now in the Alaskan Senate, Kevin Meyer and SOLDotna's own Peter Micciche.

Roderick just put out on OpEd in the Alaska Dispatch.  You can read it here.

It's been reported all around the state how it's an obvious conflict of interest that these two were not only allowed to vote, but they were both on committees that pushed the bill through the senate. Roderick imagines that the national press will soon have a good time (once again) ridiculing politics here in the 49th state.  Let's see, a governor that was an oil company lawyer and lobbyist, two senators on the payroll of a major oil company, and a dozen representatives with direct or family ties to the industry vote for a bill that will enrich every last one of them.  And of course, the Republican party had to engage in some gerrymandering to get their way.

Roderick is annoyed (as we all should be) about the conflict of interest, but what particularity annoys him is that the money has been given to the oil companies without any requirement that they produce more oil or hire more Alaskans.

As previously mentioned in this blog and elsewhere, is that Senator Gary Steven's rider that would sunset the new tax scheme after three years if the extra oil wasn't produced  was defeated by the same 9-11 vote.  If the point of the give-away is to spur production, shouldn't we have that clause as an incentive for the majors to actually spur production?

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