Friday, April 15, 2011

Chenault Puts On His Big Boy Britches

Who knew Mike could be so funny, especially in such a smarmy way?

Mimicking Senate Leader Gary Steven's speech rebutting Sean Parnell's call for ending ACES, Chenault turned over the gavel at the State House to make his speech and let the Senate know that he wouldn't be bullied by passing the other house's capital projects budget on such a short notice. That budget was just passed on to the House for approval this past Monday.

Of course, what Mike left out was this is SOP for how the state government works, and according to Bert Stedman, the Republican co-chair of the Senate Finance Committee, Chenault's claim about not having input was 'nonsense'. 

What Chenault was basically complaining about was that by the time he and the other House members add their particular pet-projects to that budget, the current $2.9 Billion will balloon a bit and maybe some voters might think it was a tad too big.

Mike ended his speech saying that he would be A-OK with no capital budget being passed by the time the 90-day session ends next week. 

It's all political theater, of course and Mike was just being pissy that the Senate didn't go along with his plan to give $10 Billion of state money to the oil companies. But gee, even with the Senate spending like a drunken pipeline worker let loose on payday, we still come out billions ahead of what we would if Mikey got his way.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Preposterous Alaska

Sometimes you just have to smile.

I hope you all read the most excellent OpEd piece in today's PC by Les Gara about the Governor's plan to give away a couple of billion dollars each year to the oil companies.  A plan endorsed by Kurt Olson and Mike Chenault.  Mr.  Gara makes a convincing argument that the Governor is full of it, but if you've been following his attempt to overturn ACES, you already know that.

What's funny is the ad campaign the PC is running sponsored by Prosperous Alaska, some shadowy front for the oil companies, is on the banner where Gara's article appears.  It cries the same Chicken Little Story as the Governor and so soundly refuted by Les.  The Truth below and the Lies on top. 

I hope you all read Gary Steven's speech on the Alaska Senate floor where he most politely, but most thoroughly, also takes the Governor to task for his rush-job with no questions answered approach to repealing ACES.  It's nice to see a Republican with  some integrity.

On a related note, Mike Doogan has tried to find out just who wrote the Governor's bill, since the governor's staff didn't know answers to some basic questions the lawmakers had. Of course the Governor, a former lobbyist for Conoco Phillips, is stonewalling.  Gee, what a surprise.  The money bet is that the oil companies wrote Parnell's bill.

And a surprise, while Mike Chenault and Kurt Olson are obvious lapdogs for the industry (remember their town hall meeting a few weeks ago that was was mostly by word-of-mouth invitation so they could stack the audience with their shills?), voted in favor of the give-away, Senator Tom Wagoner has stuck his finger in the air and saw that the wind was not in Parnell's favor and seems to be part of the Senate majority that opposes deforming ACES.  Well, at least until if and when it comes down to an actual vote.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Nobody Loves Whales

Captain Dave Carey has it out for white whales, but unlike Ahab, Dave doesn't have issues with a big sperm, but rather he has a thing for the baby belugas.  Darn it, they might mess up Carey's vision of an industrial and polluted Kenai Peninsula and surroundings.  Dave has been a big time promoter of the Chuitna and Pebble Mine proposals and it could be that it's not a good idea that poisonous mine tailings and coal dust get released in the Chuit drainage and into the Inlet. That might just be unhealthy for whales and other living things.

Now that Cook Inlet has NOAA's National Marine Service critical habitat designation, it is likely that the water quality in the inlet gets back to its normal silty self and not laced with toxins and human waste.  Anchorage might have to actually begin fully treating the almost-raw sewage it pumps into Cook Inlet.  Maybe Kenai and Nikiski are more SOL than those of us in SOLdotna as they get to see all of the floaters come down from Anchor town.

Dave and Pat Porter are already wringing their hands and making like the sky is falling.  Mike Chenault has jumped to conclusions and has declared that it's the end of the world as we know it.  Here's the story in the ADN and the PC.

It's curious that Sean Parnell and the State of Alaska is suing the feds about this designation and the polar bear one up north.  But they have nothing but arbitrary and uncertain figures about how many new jobs might be lost to controlling future gas and oil development.  The Alaska Department of Fish and Game is run by a political apparatchik, just like in the days of the USSR.  The state's own biologists are not allowed to release their own studies, well, because they are contrary to the political agenda of the Alaskan Republican Party, AKA the union for the oil companies.  DoF&G is not the only department operating under a gag order, but so is the AK Dep't of Health.  Political appointees won't let officials and scientists talk to the media. Period.  Nada.  Can't let facts get in the way of decisions.

BTW, what ever did happen to the couple hundred thousand the KPB received to study the white whales.  Did anyone learn anything? Any report ever filed?  Was the $ actually spent on the whales?

Call me Ishmael,
Whenever the hypocrites get such an upper hand of me, that it requires a strong moral principle to prevent me from deliberately stepping into the street, and methodically knocking people's hats off - then, I account it high time to get to blog as soon as I can. This is my substitute for pistol and ball. With a philosophical flourish Cato throws himself upon his sword; I quietly take to the internet. There is nothing surprising in this. If they but knew it, almost all men in their degree, some time or other, cherish very nearly the same feelings towards SOL in Soldotna with me. 

apologies to Herman Melville

Friday, April 01, 2011

Dumbing-Down Politics

Did you happen to see the informal assessment earlier this week that pegged Alaska as the fifth dumbest state in the US?

We here on the Kenai are doing our part to show the world that our stupidity rank should match our 49th state stature.  Want some evidence?

Kurt Olson and Mike Chenault held a town hall meeting to make the case that the oil companies need bigger profits and that the state should subsidize Alaska's big oil industry despite the record profits that these companies have enjoyed the last few years and the fact that new start-ups are investing and drilling in Alaska despite the doom and gloom portrayed by Parnell (a former oil company lobbyist) and crew. The sad part is that most of the crowd bought that bit of propaganda that says the oil companies are being taxed too much. Well, we did overwhelming vote for Joe Miller here, so that explains the lack of any thinking skills the general populace has here.

And then yesterday Mike and Kurt joined the other Republican house members and voted to pass the bill.  Paul Seaton, the Republican rep from Homer at least had enough sense and honesty to vote against it.  One can only hope that the senate has a bit more integrity.

Of course, nothing in the bill actually requires big oil to invest in the state, they just want to give them $2 billion a year. Voters on the Kenai don't get that Alaskans own the oil, so what Kurt and Mike are doing is giving away our property.  Do read Hollis French's piece on ACES as well as view Senator Bill Wielechowski’s presentation on Shannyn Moore's show.

It's too bad we just don't charge the oil companies the market rate for the oil coming out of the ground. That way it is not a tax, but a simple charge for a product - one with a price that fluctuates as the market does. Capitalism at its best.  But at the end of the day, no matter what you call it, we Alaskans get what the resource is worth.  The money then gets spent in the state as we fund schools, municipalities, the Permanent Fund, roads, law enforcement, and all the other benefits of civilization.  What will the oil companies do with the money that Mike and Kurt will give them?  Invest it in third-world countries and give their executives fat bonuses.

And then a sign that the apocalypse is surely imminent, Debi Holle Brown announced that she is running for borough mayor.  Ms. Brown, you might remember, was so inanely uninformed and ineptly outspoken when she was a school board member, it was embarrassing to hear her speak about anything.  Of course, if you've ever attended a borough assembly meeting where she has taken to the mic, it is almost like comedy.  Few people on the planet can make a certain former (or current) governor of Alaska seem astute.  That, and not one thing else, Debi can do.

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