Alaska

‘Racial Thursdays’ Alleged at Alaska Army Base, Report Says

NBC News

The U.S. Army has reportedly opened an inquiry into an alleged practice among some soldiers in Alaska of holding “Racial Thursdays” — when racial slurs were allowed without consequences.

The Army Times reported the allegations from two anonymous soldiers at Fort Wainwright, Alaska, in an article posted online Wednesday evening.

U.S. Army Alaska spokesman Lt. Col. Alan Brown confirmed to NBC News that the allegation was made and said the command launched an investigation late last week. “There are allegations, and like any type of allegations of something like this, we take it very seriously,” Brown said. “That’s exactly what the command has done very quickly.”

Brown said he was not aware of any other complaints of the practice alleged in the report. “The nature of those allegations are not at all commonplace about how soldiers behave and how they’re treated up here,” he said.

The soldiers told the Army Times that the practice was considered a “tradition” and that although it was forbidden it still goes on. The Army Times reported that the platoon allegedly involved is part of a unit that is part of the 1st Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division.

Chinese-American Danny Chen was also assigned to the 1st Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division before he committed suicide while deployed with that unit in Afghanistan, the military has said. Chen’s family said he was subjected to cruel hazing and abuse by other soldiers, NBC New York reported.

Eight soldiers were court martialed. Two received prison sentences, two were discharged, and others were demoted and docked pay.

Brown said the recent inquiry “is in no way connected” with Chen, and that there have been several leadership changes in the years since his death.

Federal judge rules Alaska’s same-sex marriage ban unconstitutional

Plaintiffs Matt Hamby, left, and Chris Shelden speak following oral arguments in the Hamby v. Parnell case concerning same-sex marriage held on Friday, Oct. 10, 2014. Caitlin Shortell, right, was one of the attorneys representing five pairs of plaintiffs at the hearing | Erik Hill / ADN

Outstanding…

Alaska Dispatch News

A federal judge ruled Sunday that Alaska’s ban on gay marriage is unconstitutional, paving the way for gay couples to begin marrying in the state for the first time.

“The court finds that Alaska’s ban on same-sex marriage and refusal to recognize same sex marriages lawfully entered in other states is unconstitutional as a deprivation of basic due process and equal protection principles under the Fourteenth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution,”  U.S. District Court Judge Timothy Burgess wrote in a order in the case Hamby v. Parnell, released Sunday.

The Hamby suit was filed in May by five same-sex couples. It challenged the state’s constitutional amendment limiting marriage to one man and one woman, approved by voters in 1998.

The ruling comes less than a week after the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appealsruled to overturn similar marriage bans in Idaho and Nevada. Same-sex marriage advocates said the 9th Circuit ruling would likely lead to the quick overturn of Alaska’s ban on gay marriage because the bans were similar and Alaska also falls under the jurisdiction of that court.

Both parties in the Hamby case made oral arguments in the case on Friday.

At 2:45 p.m. Sunday, Caitlin Shortell, one of the attorneys for the plaintiffs in the case, said she was just beginning to absorb the news of the judge’s decision, which came to her by email.

“We’re completely overjoyed,” Shortell said.  “It’s an immediate injunction from further enforcement of the (law banning same-sex marriage), so people are going to start getting married.”

She and the other two attorneys working on Hamby v. Parnell were just getting in touch with plaintiffs.

“It’s been a long time coming,” she said. “It’s justice and equality in Alaska.”

Senators Lose Support After Opposing Gun Background Checks, Poll Shows

The Huffington Post

Senators in several states who voted earlier this month against increasing background checks for gun buyers have since seen their approval ratings noticeably drop, according to new polls released Monday by the Democratic firm Public Policy Polling.

Sen. Lisa Murkowski’s (R-Alaska) net approval rating dropped 16 points, as she shed much of her previous cross-party appeal. Sen. Rob Portman (R-Ohio) saw his numbers dive 18 points, from a positive to a negative rating.

Not all of the change can be attributed to the vote. Portman, for instance, saw his approval drop among Republicans when he announced his support for gay marriage in March. But in Alaska, Arizona, Nevada and Ohio, at least 60 percent of voters supported background checks, and many expressed disappointment with politicians who voted otherwise.

Fifty-two percent of Arizona voters said they were less likely to support Sen. Jeff Flake (R) for reelection due to his “no” vote, while 46 percent of Nevadans said the same of Sen. Dean Heller (R). More than a third of voters were less likely to back Portman as well as Alaska Sens. Mark Begich (D) and Murkowski. A previous PPP poll found that Sen. Kelly Ayotte (R-N.H.) also saw her ratings tumble 15 points, likely due in part to her vote against background checks.

Much of the lost support comes from independent or moderate voters.

PPP hasn’t yet conducted polling on how senators who supported the bill have fared. But Sen. Pat Toomey (R-Pa.), who cosponsored background check legislation, saw his approval rating increase by a net 7 points, according to a Quinnipiac University pollreleased Friday.

Nationally, most polls taken since the shooting in Newtown, Conn., have found thatupwards of 80 percent of people support gun background checks, and that there isrelatively little partisan division on the issue.

Opinions were less unified on the actual legislation considered in the Senate, but most still say they wish it had gone through. A 65 percent majority of Americans said the measure should have passed, including 45 percent of Republicans and a majority of Democrats and independents, according to a Gallup poll released Monday.

 

10 things you need to know today: January 5, 2013

Congress voted to $9.7 billion to cover insurance claims for homes like this one that were damaged or destroyed by Sandy.

The Week

An earthquake strikes Alaska, Congress finally passes a bill for Sandy aid, and more in our roundup of the stories that are making news and driving opinion

1. JOBS REPORT: STEADY GROWTH DESPITE FISCAL CLIFF
The Labor Department reported on Friday morning that the economy added a solid 155,000 jobs in December, and that the unemployment rate remained unchanged at 7.8 percent — tied for its lowest level in four years. The report is the latest evidence that the labor market — after years of periodic setbacks — is now on a steady, if slow, climb out of the deep hole caused by the Great Recession. In addition, the economy created 161,000 jobs in November, up from an initial projection of 146,000. [Washington Post]
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2. CONGRESS FINALLY PASSES SCALED-BACK SANDY BILL
The House on Friday voted 354-67 to pass legislation that would provide the National Flood Insurance Program with $9.7 billion to pay out flood claims stemming from Hurricane Sandy. The Senate passed the bill hours later, ending, for now at least, a drama that saw House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) publicly put through a wood-chipper by members of his own party for tabling a $60 billion version of the legislation passed by the Senate. Boehner’s decision to spike the larger bill came shortly after the House passed the fiscal-cliff deal that raised taxes on the wealthiest Americans — a bitter pill to swallow for many in his caucus. But the controversy won’t end with this latest bill passage — the House still has to consider an additional $50 billion in requested aid that was included in the original Senate bill. [The New York Times]
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3. POWERFUL QUAKE RATTLES ALASKA
A 7.5-magnitude earthquake struck Alaska around midnight Friday, centered roughly 60 miles west of Craig, Alaska. The temblor initially triggered a tsunami warning for much of the Alaskan and Canadian coast, but when it was judged that waves posed no threat, the alert was canceled. The earthquake was reportedly widely felt in Alaska, but there haven’t been reports of major damage. [CBS]

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4. BARNEY FRANK EYES JOHN KERRY’S SENATE SEAT
Despite his very recent retirement, former Democratic congressman from Massachusetts Barney Frank said Friday on MSNBC’s Morning Joe that he’s eager to throw his hat back into the ring, and is interested in the interim appointment to fill John Kerry’s Senate seat. Frank rationalized his change of heart by saying that he wants to be present for the next few months, when Congress will likely butt heads again over spending cuts that are to be implemented on March 1. “A month ago, a few weeks ago in fact I said I wasn’t interested,” Frank said. “But that deal now means that February, March, and April are going to be among the most important months in American financial economy.” [ABC News]
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5. ANONYMOUS-LEAKED VIDEO CALLS ATTENTION TO MOCKING OF RAPE VICTIM
The case of an alleged gang-rape of a teenage girl in Steubenville, Ohio, is getting national attention after self-proclaimed “hacktivist” group Anonymous released a video on Jan. 2 purportedly showing an apparently drunk Steubenville football player mercilessly mocking the victim. According to reports, on the night of Aug. 11, the 16-year-old victim passed out after getting drunk at an end-of-summer party. Two Steubenville High athletes, identified in court as Trent Mays and Ma’lik Richmond, are accused of sexually assaulting her repeatedly over the span of several hours. They are scheduled to appear before a judge in juvenile court on Feb. 13. Last month, The New York Times reported that the unconscious girl may have been dragged to multiple parties over the course of the night, and may have been urinated on. [The Week]
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6. FDA PROPOSES SWEEPING FOOD-SAFETY RULES
The Food and Drug Administration on Friday proposed sweeping food safety rules that it says would help reduce the estimated 3,000 deaths a year from foodborne illnesses. The FDA’s proposed rules would require farmers to take new precautions against contamination, including making sure workers’ hands are washed, irrigation water is clean, and that animals stay out of fields. Food manufacturers will have to submit food-safety plans to the government to show they are keeping their operations clean. In the past year, outbreaks of listeria in cheese and salmonella in peanut butter, mangoes, and cantaloupe have been linked to more than 400 illnesses and as many as seven deaths, according to the Centers for Disease Control. [Associated Press]
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7. PELOSI DEFENDS DOCTORED PHOTO OF CONGRESSWOMEN
After her office posted a Photoshopped image to Flickr of the new class of Democratic Congresswomen in the 113th Congress, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi defended the edit as “an accurate historical record of who the Democratic women of Congress are.” The photo got attention after someone noticed that there were four additional women in the Pelosi Flickr photo than there were in the original Associated Press picture. “It also is an accurate record that it was freezing cold and our members had been waiting a long time for everyone to arrive and… had to get back into the building to greet constituents, family members, to get ready to go to the floor. It wasn’t like they had the rest of the day to stand there,” Pelosi said. [Associated Press]
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8. DRUNK AMERICAN EAGLE PILOT ARRESTED BEFORE TAKEOFF
An American Eagle pilot in Minnesota set to fly a commercial plane across the country was arrested before takeoff after he failed a blood-alcohol test. A spokesman said the authorities were notified after a witness who claimed to smell alcohol on the pilot’s breath tipped them off. The pilot, who was to fly American Eagle flight 4590 from Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport to LaGuardia Airport in New York City, was suspended pending investigation. [CNN]
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9. NAOMI CAMPBELL ATTACKED BY MUGGERS IN PARIS
The New York Post reports that supermodel Naomi Campbell was attacked in Paris by muggers on motorbikes in late November, and was injured in the process. Campbell, 42, was apparently trying to get into a car in Paris’ historic 4th Arrondissement when the assailants tried to grab her purse, but instead left her with a suspected torn ligament. She had been using a wheelchair and crutches to get around following the attack. [New York Post]
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10. WHITE HOUSE PETITION CALLS FOR JOE BIDEN REALITY SHOW
If Vice President Joe Biden doesn’t run for president in 2016, as some believe he might, he could have a future in reality television. In a new White House petition at the government’s We the People site, some 24,000 people have signed on to demand that Biden be featured in “a recurring C-SPAN television program” because he has exhibited “the ability to bring people together, whether at the negotiating table or at the neighborhood diner.” The petition comes after Biden’s humorous antics at the Senate swearing-in ceremony on Jan. 3 became an internet sensation. [The Hill]

 

Chris Matthews CONFRONTS Lady Who Tells Him To Do His Homework, ‘Obama Is A Communist, Buddy’

This is as bad as Rachel Maddow interviewing some very uninformed folks in Alaska during the 2010 mid-term election cycle…

These folks are so uninformed thanks to Fox News.

H/t: Democratic Underground (My best video source.)

HBO Films: Game Change Trailer

This new HBO film follows John McCain’s 2008 presidential campaign, from his selection of Alaska Governor Sarah Palin as his running mate, to their ultimate defeat in the general election.

“Game Change” premieres on March 10th.

Gingrich: I would call Palin for advice

English: Former Speaker of the House Newt Ging...

Now it’s been confirmed, Newt Gingrich is a dumb, ignorant racist and a lap-dog for other ignorant people who are more powerful than him…

The Raw Story

During an appearance Wednesday on CNN, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich suggested he would ask former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin to be member of his Cabinet if he was elected President of the United States.

“I don’t want to suggest anything,” he said. “We haven’t talked about anything at all. Gov. Palin is somebody who I think was a very good reform governor, she was extraordinarily effective negotiating with big oil, she did a good job in the state of Alaska, I think she is a very articulate leader of the tea party conservative movement.”

“Certainly, she is one of the people I would call on for advice,” Gingrich continued. “I would ask her to consider taking a major role in the next administration if I am president, but nothing has been discussed of any kind and it wouldn’t be appropriate to discuss it at this time. I’m just delighted that she and Todd have both been so supportive of my candidacy.”

During a tele-town hall in December, Gingrich said he would consider picking Palin as his vice president. Republican presidential nominee John McCain lost in 2008 after selecting Sarah Palin as his running mate.

Gingrich also previously said he would ask former Bush administration U.N. ambassador John Bolton to be U.S. Secretary of State if he were elected. USA Today  and other news outlets said the comment were illegal under U.S. law, which prohibits candidates from “directly or indirectly” promising or pledging the appointment of any person “for the purpose of procuring support in his candidacy.”

But Talking Points Memo reported that Gingrich had in fact not broken the law  because he had not made the remark for the purpose of getting Bolton’s endorsement in return.

Watch video, clipped by Talking Points Memo, below:

Palin organizer: She will announce her campaign in September

Add one more to the over-crowded GOP roster of candidates for the Presidency…

The Raw Story

Peter Singleton, an activist who is helping organize former Alaska governor Sarah Palin’s September tea party rally in Iowa, insisted that Palin will announce her candidacy for president by the end of September.

“Labor Day will kick off the Republican campaign for the nomination,” Singleton told the National Review. “She is going to make a major, major speech.”

Though he is the Iowa “Organize4Palin” representative, it doesn’t seem that Singleton has any inside information about Palin’s campaign or about any deeper purpose her September 3 appearance at the Iowa tea party rally.

“I believe that she will run,” he said. “I can’t see her sitting this election out.”

Singleton has long been making the rounds in support of Palin, but just how much contact he has actually had with the former Republican vice presidential nominee is unclear. In April, he told the Wall Street Journal that he had never met Palin or made contact with her team, but several Iowa Republican leaders the paper spoke to insisted that Singleton had an inside track on Palin’s plans.

Connie Armstrong, a local GOP organizer who met Singleton at the Des Moines Conservative Principles Conference this spring, was one such leader.

“He kept saying ‘we,’ but he wouldn’t clarify who ‘we’ was,” Armstrong said. “My gut feeling is he’s working on her campaign.”

Continue reading here…

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Sarah Palin Tells President Obama To ‘Quit Picking On’ Gov. Rick Perry

 

 

Well I’ve finally figured it out.  The new normal for right-wingers is to be as bat-crap crazy as one can possibly be!

For the rest of us, we just shake our heads and think about how movie Idiocracy, predicted all of this!

Mediaite

Former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin jumped to the defense of current GOP frontrunner Gov. Rick Perry (R-TX) over President Obama’s over-the-top “treason” rhetoric…wait, no, that wasn’t it. In an appearance on Fox’s America Live, Palin said of  the President’s reaction to Perry attacks that Obama should “quit picking on other people like Rick Perry, who is just going to continue to call it like he sees it.”

This is obviously the wrong place to play the victim card, but when you’re the tough-guy Texan candidate, is there ever a right one?

Just before Palin told the President to “quit picking on Perry,” of course, she told Megyn Kelly that it was “evidence of our president’s arrogance unfortunately, to tell a presidential candidate what to say, what not to say.”

This is the same Sarah Palin, by the way, who once famously accused the President of wanting to kill her baby.

A publicist for The Kettle declined to comment on Palin’s assertion.

The fact is, President Obama probably gave Perry the best advice he’s going to get this week, as Perry’s shooting from the lip has even drawn sharp criticism from some high-octane conservatives, Palin notwithstanding.  As a political reporter, and as a voter, I’m actually inclined to agree with Palin that people like Perry should not be more careful about what they say. These unvarnished declarations are far more revelatory than flack-approved boilerplate, and they make for great copy.

Where I disagree with Palin is that President Obama shouldn’t hit back (although she’s actually saying that Obama was the aggressor). I mean, what Democrat wouldn’t rather have seen President Obama respond by saying, “Well, if he doesn’t like it, can’t he always just secede?”

The conventional wisdom is that this kind of aggression turns independent voters off, but even if that’s true, who cares? That’s like saying that hockey fights turn off the knitting club that shows up to a game once a year. Get a helmet, or stay on the couch.

Here’s the clip, from Fox News’ America Live

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Palin: Bus Tour Not Canceled

Looks like Sarah Palin is saying….”not so fast, lamestream media!”

Associated Press (AP)

Sarah Palin is disputing online reports that she has canceled her bus tour of historic American sites, saying in a Facebook posting that her schedule will be tight the next few weeks because she’s been called for jury duty.

Palin said Wednesday that her “One Nation” bus tour would resume “when the time comes.” She added that she’s looking forward “to hitting the open road again.”

The 2008 vice presidential candidate traveled from Washington, D.C. to New England by bus in May in a trip that generated intense interest and fueled speculation about her national ambitions.

Palin is among the top tier of potential 2012 presidential candidates in polls of Republican voters. She has said she plans to visit Iowa, where the state’s caucuses begin the nominating season next year.