Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Walk and Sleep, Autism on Campus, Left Brain Meet Right, Plus Sheryl Gordon McCloud

In the USC alumni magazine for this summer, there was a letter that caught my attention. 

"The latest issue proposed that there is a "Medical Mystery" (Trojan Beat, Spring 2013, p. 6*)as to why Americans die earlier than people from other high-income democracies.  I disagree with the perspective.  Without the benefit of knowing which 17 countries were examined in the research, two very likely reasons behind the earlier deaths are surely that Americans, on the whole, walk less and sleep less than the people living in the other countries studied.  Walking is not expensive.  Sleeping - generally speaking - is not expensive  Wealth and access to medical technology can't undo the negative effects of a sedenatry, sleep-deprived lifestyle." [emphasis added]

I don't know how much walking and sleeping would improve people's health, but it seems reasonable.  Many people tend to want shortcuts - cholesterol lowering drugs so they can eat high cholesterol food - or when they do exercise, they often drive to the gym to do it. 

But anyone who doesn't walk (or move some other way) at least 30 minutes a day and doesn't get at least seven hours of sleep a night, might set some goals.  Starting with two days a week and adding one more day each week until they're walking and sleeping well at least six days a week.  I bet it makes a difference in how you feel. 


I've found that alumni magazines from good universities can cover very interesting stories as they highlight what their students, faculty, and alumni are doing.  Here's a list of the feature articles:

  • Dinosaur Depicter 

    A talented USC Roski alumna brings the prehistoric Mesozoic Era to life.

  • Neurodiversity and the University 

    Students, alumni and faculty on the autism spectrum show they have a place in the university.

  • Meeting of the Minds 

    Right Brain, this is Left Brain. Scott Fraser’s happy to make the introduction.

  • Number Crunchers 

    Ninety percent of the world’s data was created in the last two years. What we do with it will change the future.

  • Designs on Social Change 

    Creativity can combine with business principles to solve societal challenges—and turn a profit.

  • Busy Signals 

    The National Medal of Science recognizes Solomon Golomb’s many contributions to communications technology.

  • Fresh Air 

    Targeted therapies and other advances create new hope for lung cancer patients.



The Summer 2013 edition also has a profile of USC law school graduate Sheryl Gordon McCloud who was appointed to the Washington State Supreme Court in January.   She's of interest to Alaskans because she was in Anchorage in 2009 to representing former Rep. Pete Kott, not in the original trial, but later, trying to get him released from his convictions
because the prosecution withheld exculpatory evidence.   She was very impressive in court and talking to the press afterward. Knew her stuff, no nonsense.

It seems ironic, reading her profile. I suspect as Republican Kott's constituent, her ideas probably would have been ignored (she fought for women's rights issues including protection for pregnant employees), but he paid good money for her to defend him.  (Actually, I don't know Kott's record on women's rights, I could be wrong on this.)


*The online version doesn't have page numbers but it appears that that section isn't in the online version.  Nor are the letters - this one is copied from the print version.

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Daniel Ellsberg On Bradley Manning Verdict

From an interview with Scott Horton July 30, 2013.

Daniel Ellsberg: I’m doing okay. We’ll tell your listeners that you just informed me 30 seconds ago that Bradley Manning was found not guilty of aiding the enemy. That’s very, very important, and good news, because the alternative would have been extremely bad news. It would have been very close to being a death knell over time to investigative journalism in this country, which means a free press, which means ultimately democracy or any possibility of democratic control of our foreign policy, our defense policy, totally, if the prosecutor’s argument that his simply giving information to the internet and thereby making it available to the world, including whatever enemies we had, if that is enough to earn a death sentence or life in prison, without any attempt even to prove or indicate intent to harm the United States or to help an enemy – that’s the argument the prosecutor was making and the charges they’ve pursued ever since Bradley Manning pled guilty to 10 military offenses, which could still keep him in prison for 20 years, and I haven’t seen the full verdict here so it may well be that she has added some other offenses to that which may add up to a life sentence.

In my case, I didn’t face a single, one single count that carried a death sentence, such as the aiding the enemy charge in this case did, but I had 12 felony counts which added up to 115 years in prison, so the effect was much the same. That could still be the case here.
The truth is that he did not deserve a day in prison for informing the public here as he did. He certainly does not deserve an additional day after the abusive treatment he’s received here of three years awaiting trial, 10½ months in solitary confinement, part of that nude, a treatment which was described by the UN Rapporteur for Torture as, if not being torture – and he didn’t have all the facts there because he hadn’t been allowed to speak to Manning alone – but he said at the very least it was cruel, inhumane and degrading punishment, which is the definition of a crime under the Geneva Conventions we’ve signed and under domestic law. So he should have been released on the grounds of governmental misconduct, as was the case in my trial, but wasn’t. .  .

You can read (or hear) the whole interview here.  

Videotaping US Police versus Videotaping Swedish Police [Updated]

From a June 2012 post I wrote:

[Following up Anon's comment,   I found where it moved to and changed the link.]
- Photography is Not a Crime - which is full of stories about people having problems when they photograph or video tape cops in action or just in public places.  Here are links to some of his recent posts:
[I took out the links, but if you go to the main site, you'll find lots of similar posts.]

  • NYPD Publishes Poster of "Professional Agitators," aka Citizens who Record Cops

  • LAPD Tell Photog Not to Listen in on Their Private Conversation on a Public Sidewalk

  • Introducing TapIn, an iPhone App Essential for Citizen Journalists

  • Albuquerque Police Officer Chases Away News Videographer From Investigation 

  • Austin Man Facing 10 Years in Prison After Photographing Cops Making Arrest 


It doesn't have to be this way.  Wimp.com describes this video as:


This is what happens when you attempt to take video of police in Sweden.

I couldn't find a way to embed the video, so you can click the link above or on the screenshot from the video to the right.


Of course, this is just one unverified example.  Take it as a piece of evidence, not a conclusion. 

Monday, July 29, 2013

What's 97 X 96? Quick. In Your Head.

For when the electricity goes out and you have to know. 




This is the most cerebral of 100 lifehacker tricks presented in poster form.  Like putting a rubber band across the top of an open paint can to wipe your brush on or using frozen grapes to chill wine.  The whole 100 tips list is here.

Garden Tour, Lavatera, Spenard, and Corn







Sunday was the Anchorage Garden Club's Annual City Garden Tour.  This is always a delightful affair, a chance to discover hidden neighborhoods, and  wander through people's gardens, ask questions, and dream about the possibilities of your own garden. 


[NOTE:  Click to enlarge and sharpen any photo.]



The first garden we saw was in the heart of Spenard.  I have to give the Garden Club credit.  Snootier clubs would have never chosen this garden.  But it was the quintessential Spenard garden - flowers and junk.  A plastic flamingo and a bald eagle on top of a metal flag pole.   Of course, junk is a subjective term.  But how many garden clubs do you think would include a garden that had this next to the driveway?





But this is so Spenard.















Since four of the five gardens (seemed a low number this year) were close to Turnagain Road, we biked over there in the beautiful, warm sunshine.


This was the back yard of one of the Turnagain gardens.  They had bright pink flowers that looked something like hibiscus and I learned they were lavatera.


Here's more detail from malvaceae.info:

"Lavatera is a genus within the family Malvaceae, which also includes, inter alia, Althaea, Abutilon, Gossypium, Hibiscus, Malva and Sidalcea, and is particularly close to Malva. The 20-25 species of Lavatera have a broadly Mediterranean distribution, stretching to southwest Britain, the Canary Is., Abyssinia, Central Asia and Kashmir, with outlying species in Australia (Lavatera plebeia), California (Lavatera assurgentiflora, Lavatera insularis, Lavatera lindsayi, Lavatera occidentalis and Lavatera venosa), and eastern Siberia.

Lavateras are annual, biennial or short-lived perennial herbs and sub-shrubs. The flowers are pink to purple, or white, or yellow in some forms of Lavatera triloba. The stems and foliage are typically downy or hairy. The fruits consist of a divided capsule containing a ring of nutlets."



This window box of flowers nearby was probably my favorite spot on the tour.  It just worked beautifully.  

The last house was near the Coastal trail, which we got off at Arctic to find some dinner.  

 



These corn plants were growing in the two inch crack between the asphalt and the building.  Corn is usually iffy in Anchorage, but this is an exceptionally warm summer and this south facing wall is probably five or ten degrees warmer yet.  There were a few big ears getting close to ripe.   This wasn't part of the garden tour, but it should have been.

There was one more garden on the tour, but it was in South Anchorage and we started late. 

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Into Anchorage With New Camera - Chugach Peaks and Fire Island Windmills


There was a strange mix of clouds and sun as we neared home, but Anchorage was in the sun that set about 11pm.





Foraker and Denali in the background


Fire Island windmills

Saturday, July 27, 2013

WW II Shipbuilders Put Out Ships In A Week, Why Nine Months Plus For Tustumena Repairs?


The Department of Transportation put out a press release with the following headline:
Tustumena Return to Service Delayed Indefinitely,
Schedule to be Reconfigured to Meet Community Needs
The Tustumena has been in repair since November 2012.  We're four months shy of a year now.  

All this brought to mind our visit to the Rosie The Riveter National Park in Richmond, California earlier this year.  It's a Historical Park in honor of the World War II ship builders  who put together whole ships in a week or less sometimes!
 
From a long essay at a National Park Service site on WWII ship building practices, we learn: 
"During World War I, steel shipbuilding followed tradition, calling for riveted hulls with each vessel custom built on site, a labor intensive, relatively slow process. In 1917, for example, a typical steel vessel took 12 to 14 months from keel-laying to delivery. At the peak of production in World War II, the work could be accomplished in four to six days." (emphasis added)
 From another Park Service page: 
The Liberty Ship Robert E. Perry was assembled in less than five days as a part of a special competition among shipyards; but by 1944 it was only taking the astonishingly brief time of a little over two weeks to assemble a Liberty ship by standard methods. Henry Kaiser and his workers applied mass assembly line techniques to building the ships. This production line technique, bringing pre-made parts together, moving them into place with huge cranes and having them welded together by "Rosies" (actually "Wendy the Welders" here in the shipyards), allowed unskilled laborers to do repetitive jobs requiring relatively little training to accomplish. This not only increased the speed of construction, but also the size of the mobilization effort, and in doing so, opened up jobs to women and minorities.

I understand that regulations for the ships and for the workers were a lot less stringent in those days, but if they could build a whole ship in five days, they ought to be able to repair one in less than a year.  

Is it because this administration is lax in oversight of its contractors?  Is Seward Ship’s Drydock just not competent for a job like this?  Or that ferry service is a low priority?  Or perhaps maintenance was delayed so long that there were lots of unexpected problems as the Fairbanks News Miner reported earlier this year:
"The 50-year-old ship went in for maintenance in November, and it turned out to be in worse shape than thought. It will now be in the shipyard until June, the Kodiak Daily Mirror reported. "

I'm sure there are other possibilities and probably more than just one applies.

I'm using the WW II shipbuilding times just to give this situation some perspective.  If the right people really cared, this could have been done a long time ago.  Meanwhile the people out on the Aleutian Chain are still waiting for their ferry service. 


Friday, July 26, 2013

Took New Camera To Mariners Game - They Won, But Modern Cameras Can Be Creepy


Went to the Mariners game with Minnesota Thursday night.  It was balmy and shirt sleeves were comfortable even on the ferry ride back.  I also brought my new camera on this trip - my daughter's request - and I'm figuring out more things I can do with it.

But I've also concluded it can be a lot more clinical, almost forensic.  We were in the upper bleachers. Though this photo of the strike was a little closer.  R wanted to see what things looked like from the top of the bleachers in right field. I took this on the way back.

Strike

Safe at first



This was the beginning of the game.  I haven't been to a major league ball game in probably 15 years or more.  I remember when ball fields were named after the ball team - like Dodger stadium.  Nowadays companies buy the right to put their name on the stadium so every time you refer to it, it's a mini-advertisement for the comapny.   I don't do advertising here - though sometimes I'll tell people about something I thought was really good - so I won't mention the name of the field.  I'll just call it Mariners Field.

Seattle started scoring early.  They got six runs in the second inning.  This one is the first or second run. 

I took these pictures from up in the bleachers.  This camera takes really sharp pictures.  I have to learn how to make this less about sharp and more about beautiful.

When R and I went to check out right field, I saw how intrusive this camera can be.  Look at this:


The people in the bubble - upper right - were blown up from the little circle in the stands.  You can take pictures with cameras anyone can buy and get sharp enough pictures to id people from about a quarter of a mile away.  The right field was 326 feet from home plate and we were in the upper upper bleachers. It's a little creepy.  



It was knitting night at the game and we were sitting in the middle of the knitting section.  My son had his knitting with him.  More on that in another post.

R made sure he got some blue cotton candy before we got back to our seats.

And I made sure I got this picture of Mt. Ranier in the evening sun before we got back to our seats.



We left in the 6th inning.  It was 8-0 Mariners and we'd promised to try to get the 10:05 ferry back to Bainbridge so R could get to bed by 11pm.  Here was the view as the ferry was pulling out of downtown Seattle.  The Ferris wheel was more like the blue in the water, but I couldn't figure an easy way to get the right color.

And as we got into Bainbridge, they announced over the loudspeaker that the moon had just risen over Seattle.  So I went out and got this picture.  Other than using a telephoto lens and boosting the exposure - after the fact - of the city lights, this is pretty much undcotored and what it looked like.


Thanks J, it was a fun night out. 

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Are All These Films Real? Are Film Makers Finally Avoiding Alaska International Film Awards?

Once again, the dubious Alaska International Film Awards has their list of winners on their website.  I first ran into this organization when they were the Alaska International Film Festival - a name so close to the real Anchorage International Film Festival that even I, a blogger who covers the Anchorage Festival, was confused.

This is an organization that has no connection to Alaska I can find other than a rented mail box with a forwarding service in Spenard.  They have no festival.  There's no public showing of films. People send them films and money and in July they put up a list of winners.  Then they ask the winners to buy their awards.

This is very different from the Anchorage International Film Festival which has  nine exciting days and nights of film in early December.  Their motto is "Films Worth Freezing For."

I've written a number of posts about this starting when I first discovered them and asked
Film Festival Scam?  AIFF is NOT AIFF.

Several months later an attorney sent me a letter threatening to sue me.

My attorney called his bluff.  

When I contacted winners that first year, I learned that all of them were told they could get nice awards if they wanted to pay for them - not something that legitimate festivals do.  That's when I did a three part post:

In 2011 I did a post on the Winners of the now "Alaska International Film Awards."

This year I thought I should check again.

2013 finds far fewer winners than there have been in the past.  Last year (2012), based on the list on the AIFA website, there were 21 Main Awards (Best This and Best That) plus 30 Special Awards - Kodiak Award, Denali Award, and Northern Lights Emerging Talent Awards each had ten winners.  Then there were 21 more Screenwriting Awards.

This year (2013) there are still 21 Main Awards, but only 3 Special Awards and 3 Screenwriting Awards.  When I searched for ways to contact the winners, there were only a few that showed up on google anywhere except at the Alaska International Film Awards website.  I've sometimes had to work to track down film makers (from the previous AIFA winner lists, or the submissions to the Anchorage International Film Festival), but eventually, I've found some mention if not an actual website for nearly every film.  This time is was blank after blank after blank.  

What does this mean?  Obviously I can only guess.  Some possibilities that come to mind:

  • They are getting fewer submissions so they couldn't give out as many awards.
  • The quality of the films submitted has dropped sharply.
  • They are making up film names and directors so that they have a winner for each category.  (I find this one hard to write because for me it seems so outrageous.  But since I can't find so many of their winners online, it's possible.)
The last option seems so outrageous that  I was hesitant to put it up.  But in the past, when I looked up the films and contacted some of the film makers, there clearly were high quality films, films that had won awards in other festivals.  This time I found only a few films that had been in other festivals. And, as I said, I couldn't find anything about most of the films or the film makers.  Most film makers usually have at least a Facebook page if not their own website.  But not most of those listed as winners. 

Two of the 'winners' responded to my emails and confirmed that they were offered the opportunity to buy their awards again this year.


Below are some examples of my failed google searches.  Perhaps readers can do better than I.

  • The Best Alaska Film is Darkness Under the Sun by Ousman Jarju.  Using the name of the film and director, the only hits I got were two from the Film Festival website.  Just looking up the name - Ousman Jargu - I got seven Gambians on LinkedN, one of whom is the Director of Water Resources in Gambia and seems to have a connection to the United Nations.  I realize that there are Gambians living in Alaska, but it does seem odd that I can't find anything about this film and why it's the Best  of Alaska
  • Best Comedy - Ian Schmidt, Happy House.  Again, the only thing I can find Googling is the Film Festival announcement.  I can't find a film website or FB page for this.  There's an Ian Schmidt who does F/A 18 films on YouTube.  Looks like a military guy video taping his flying. 
  • Best Director:   Verme,  Simon Abizmal  - Same problem.  The only hits are the AIFA website.  Google asks me if I want Simon Abysmal?

  • Best Documentary:  The Lonely Life by Julia Preston.  Same problem.  Nothing shows up.
  • Drama: Enough of Love directed by Zach Jones  - same.
  • Educational Film: Fighting for Rights directed Joey Bryan - same.  Well, this actually took me to other pages.  I got something on Fight Club and lots of others that had nothing to do with the film or film maker. 
  • Experimental Film: Kumme directed by Amanda Lipariti - Same
  • Family Film: Beautiful Underneath directed Dan Calano - same, though there is a Dan Calano or two.
  • Best Foreign Film: Cercando di Amare directed by Andrea Gallo
    Closest I got besides the Awards website was this:
    Mozzarella Stories
    Edoardo de Angelis
    2011, Comedy
    Luisa Ranieri, Massimiliano Gallo, Andrea Renzi, Giovanni Esposito
  • Independent Film: Carry On Song directed by Carrie Sande - nothing
  •  Best Romance:  Ser Valiente directed by Graziele Ferriera
  • The only Graziele Ferriera was spelled Graziele Ferreira

Here's the trailer from the Grand Jury Award:
Lure trailer from bethmoves on Vimeo.

This is only the trailer, so maybe there is something more about the film that the trailer doesn't capture to explain why this won the big prize.

I hope this all means that people are being more careful about where they submit their films and read the rules and the websites.  When they don't even show the films, one should already be pushing the delete button.  

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Leisurely Birthday Hike Grand Forest Bainbridge Island

My daughter asked me to bring the new camera along on this trip.  I've been lazy about taking it where I actually have to carry it - like on the plane - but a daughter's request has more power.  I'm still not anywhere near figuring this camera out, but these basic in the forest shots were ok.  With a little photoshop help you can get a sense of the forest trail.



The spider web was a little harder.  The auto focus didn't see the web at all, but I have figured out how to turn it off and use the manual focus, though it doesn't feel near as precise as my old film Pentax lens.

It was a really small web (maybe six inches across) and a tiny spider (it's in the middle of the web.)  You can click it to enlarge it.  But with film I wouldn't have it ready to post yet either.  

I still have to figure out how to work the manual speed and aperture.  When M tried to take this picture of me and Z in the old tree trunk, the speed was way too slow.  I'm trying to just figure it out by playing with the camera, but I think I'll have to check the manual.


But it was nice to be in the woods with my son and daughter, grand daughter and daughter-in-law. 

The Corporate State Of Alaska - And Now GCI and ACS Officially Create AWN

[This post has been sitting here partially written as I travel around and play grandpa, visit my mom, and I don't seem to have the time to get it done right.  Then there was more redistricting.  I didn't quite understand all the implications of this, but the potential negatives were being sent to me by my friend Jeremy Lansman who is one of the best informed people on radio, television, and other electronic technologies of communication.  I was going to claim my 'blogger's license' (a relative of poetic license) and just post it in draft form because I thought the issue important and I didn't see a lot of coverage elsewhere.  But it appears to be a done deal now so I'm putting this up as it was last March, with the addition of part of the Begich press release I got this morning.]

From a press release I got via email today:
"U.S. Sen. Mark Begich offered his support following today’s announcement from Alaska Communication Systems (ACS) and General Communications Inc. (GCI) that the two companies closed a transaction to create the Alaska Wireless Network (AWN), after receiving approval from the Federal Communications Commission (FCC).  AWN is a wireless infrastructure joint venture that will combine the wireless networks of ACS and GCI.

“I applaud ACS and GCI for their willingness to be innovative and aggressive in the telecom sector,” said Sen. Begich. “They will not only be working together to build this robust wireless network, but they will also continue to compete for customers. It is critical for Alaskan companies to find ways to attract customers as big businesses, like Verizon Wireless, enter into the Alaskan marketplace.”

This begins the long rambling background to what's been sitting in my draft post file since last March 23:

One of the arguments for Alaska Statehood was to gain sovereignty and control over Alaska resources. Alaska had been essentially a colony that was exploited by different corporate interests like fishing, timber, and copper.  Decisions about Alaska resources were made by corporations operating Outside the state.

Today again, after only six years since the first political corruption trials began and about a dozen Alaskan politicians and businessmen were convicted of various forms of abuse of public trust, the Republicans have regained full control of the Senate, House, and Governor's office and things are in full swing.

We have a governor - a former Conoco-Philips lobbyist - who has been using the governor's office to try to give the oil companies about $2 billion a year tax cuts - while arguing we don't have enough money to take  care of relocating Alaska native villages that are threatened by the effects of oil on the climate. [Since I wrote this, the bill was passed and the referendum to repeal the bill has gotten enough signatures to get on the 2014 ballot.]

Fishing is still a murky mix of Alaska fisherman and international fishing companies.

Providence Hospital is already the largest private employer in the state, charges a lot more for health care than the rest of the US, and I'm guessing a lot of that money goes to the Providence mother ship Outside. 

The Governor has also helped get rid of coastal communities' rights to have a say on development that affects their livelihood and way of life by helping to destroy the coastal zone management act.  So that now the state with the most coastline is the only coastal state without a Coastal Zone Management Act.  This is part of the process of getting rid of any obstacles to big business development, any bumps along the way where the public can stand up and demand some sort of accountability. 

The Citizen Initiative to keep cruise lines from dumping their wastes in Alaska waters (among many other things) has now been gutted.  

In each case, the common theme is that large, Outside corporate interests, supported by the governor and the Republican leadership in the House and Senate, have worked to overturn protections for the Alaskan environment and people.  And most Alaskans either think this is good, don't know anything about it, or feel helpless to do anything, or they just buy new apps to distract themselves from all this.

GCI-ACS Merger

Now let's look at one more situation that is happening more quietly behind the scenes.  GCI (General Communications Inc.) has submitted a request to the Federal Trade Commission (FCC) to share facilities in rural Alaska with ACS (Anchorage Communications Service).  GCI has also is seeking to buy a CBS affiliate and an NBC affiliate.

[Note:  ACS was ATS, Anchorage Telephone Service, a telephone utility that was owned by the Municipality of Anchorage.  The City sold the telephone service and it is now a private company.  GCI is an Alaska based company that began as a private company offering competing telephone service, cable, and internet.]

This is noteworthy because GCI now controls about 70% of cable.  It's also noteworthy to remember that Ted Stevens was flying on a GCI plane with GCI executives to a GCI retreat that he regularly attended when he and others died when the plane crashed.  (Yes, the US Senator should know people from all sectors, and Stevens did.  But it's clear that those with big bucks who can host our politicians on sweet fishing junkets have more say than those of us who can't.  Not because their message is more right, but because they have more access and influence.)


Jeremy Lansman, the owner of Fireweed Communications, including KYES, Anchorage Channel 5, has submitted comments to the FCC.  (I'd note that KYES is one independent  locally owned televisions left in the United States.)  Unfortunately, the arguments are fairly abstract and complex.  There are a whole lot of issues intertwined from costs to consumers in dollars, to accessibility of programming, to democracy itself.  Here's an example from Fireweed's initial filing:
Part VI: Risks of Monopoly
The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has stated that in enforcement of the Sherman Anti-Trust and Heart-Scott-Rodino act is necessary to look beyond the situation of the present moment to see if a monopolist might have power to increase consumers’ costs in the near or far future28.    Furthermore in the area of Information Communication Technology and Broadcasting, that apart from keeping the marketplace working, it is well understood that freedom of the press is a prime condition to enable democratic processes of the forming of opinions.    There are two different, albeit related issues at stake here. Even if a door hinge manufacturing monopolist can charge outrageous prices, hinge technology (for example) would not affect our democracy. However, the nature of Technology that transports news, opinion, and viewpoint would automatically influence the nature of our democracy if in any way the technology were used in a way that might favor one opinion over another. Even entertainment TV drama carries and brings across the normative value system of the scriptwriters and their view of the world in terms of past, present and future. For this reason concentration of control of the technology of media deserves a much higher level of scrutiny than other goods and services.
[Since I wrote this, he's posted more challenges, as have others.]

I contacted Fireweed owner, Jeremy Lansman, a friend of mine, and gave him a set of questions that I though might make this clearer to the public.  Here are the questions and answers:

What Do I Know?   1.  What will be the possible
consequences for the Alaskan consumer?

Lansman:  I can see two extreme  outcomes, and possible shades between the
extremes.  One, especially in the rural areas...   a nasty monopoly.  
In this scenario the two companies, ACS and GCI, would own the only
physical facility Alaska Wireless Network (AWN) in the bush, and would
not be price regulated, and could charge the owners (ACS and GCI) a lot
more than it would had competition continued. ACS and GCI would pass the
monopoly cost along to consumers.  AWN would be very profitable, and
pass the profits back to its owners, who would be rewarding their
investors with monopoly "rents".

In another extreme scenario the common company, AWN, would only charge
its reasonable costs, not have profit, and pass the savings of joint
operation on to ACS and GCI which then would pass the savings on to users.

In the first scenario you might see some resemblance to Aleyaska
Pipeline.  The Alaskan oil pipeline is jointly owned by oil producers,
and charges producers to transport the oil to Valdez. Aleyaska is price
regulated, a big difference.  We found nothing about regulating AWNs
rates. The State of Alaska tax revenue gos up if the oil companies
charge less to transport oil, so the owners have an incentive to raise
prices, in order to reduce taxes. Increased in transport fees are given
back to the owners, so the argument is about what is a fair price for
transport.  As the pipeline is regulated, the tussle over fair pricing
is played out at in public at the regulator, the Regulatory Commission
of Alaska (RCA).  Unless special provisions are put in place, AWN will
not be subject to price regulation.  So all that could take place in
private.

  What Do I Know?  a.  in urban areas

Lansman:  AT&T and soon, if their plans pan out, Verizon, will have physical
facilities (towers) in urban Alaska.  From what I have read, economists
believe the ideal number of mobile phone competitors is three.  Fewer
results in less competition, thus higher prices, while more results in
more physical facility cost, thus higher prices.   This theory is not
iron clad, as one of the highest per minute cost locations in South
Africa with 3 operators, and lowest cost is India with far more than 3. 
Anyway, with AT&T, Verizon, and  GCI maybe combined with ACS we will get
3 or 4 competitors, so the expert forecast might be that the result in
urban AK would be close to ideal.


What Do I Know?   b.  in rural areas

Lansman: I covered that above.

What Do I Know?   2.  Consequences for television
stations in general or KYES and how does that affect the viewer?

Lansman:   As I point out, TV viewing is migrating to various platforms, and
studies show a rapid uptake of use by mobile devices.   I defined TV to
include any audio/video material that is sent to multiple viewers, at
any time.  That makes your videos .. the ones you post.. TV.   So the
question I raise, can AWN, GCI or ACS block your videos...er...pardon...
short TV shows?  THe answer is a conditional yes.  I believe they cannot
on "wireline" internet.  That I think is covered under the new network
neutrality rules.  The same rules do not apply to "wireless".  Wireless
is known as cellular.  However, we see some new services that link to
your mobile device.. which might be a tablet, or cell phone, or laptop
with a cellular dongle. The services might be special wi-fi signals that
operators send out in hot spots, or might be little cell phone base
stations that people are putting into their homes, or may be regular
cell towers. So, I believe that if ACS and GCI live with net neutrality,
all will be well in terms of overt censorship.

On the other hand, GCI will have quite a powerful influence over
conventional TV broadcast.  And a lot of people still use conventional
TV.  The influence GCI has will be due to their cable penetration.   The
leverage will be very powerful.  Until most viewing migrates to other
signal streams.. GCI will be able to determine who wins in the TV game.
  

What Do I Know?  3.  How could GCI and ACS get the
economies of shared rural facilities yet still protect internet and
television and phone users?

Lansman:  One way?  Make AWN a not-for profit.  You have any ideas?  As for TV,
apply net neutrality to AWN and its users.  As for GCI and the network
affiliates?  Maybe the purchase just cannot be allowed. That is, GCI has
an incentive to shut down competitors.   Think about that.
 

What Do I Know?: 4.  Could Verizon provide the
competition and thus lower all the internet and phone service?

Lansman:  I doubt it.   It is not efficient to build overlapping rural cell
service... besides GCI and ACS get federal funding, broadband and
Universal Service money for their rural services.   I don't yet know a
lot about how that works.





Those who say government is the problem forget that Business essentially runs government - through lobbies, campaign contributions, and their access to Congress and ability to influence them.

I don't know if this deal is good or bad for Alaska.  We have two locally started companies  in competition with national giants.  Perhaps consolidation makes some sense for Alaska as they compete against the big players.  But I do know that our Anchorage internet access costs more and is much slower than you get Outside and GCI and ACS have been the big players there.  

And media plays a big role in influencing how people vote.  The media that package the news for most Americans is getting more and more consolidated.  

From here.

Happy Birthday Moni, Ropi, and Alex



Sharing a birthday with someone is its own kind of special bond.  I hope you three all have a wonderful birthday and anyone else whose birthday is today, you too. 

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

If I Had Time For A Post Today, What All Would I Write About?

I'm on Bainbridge Island, outside of Seattle visiting my daughter, son-in-law and granddaughter and other family members.  J has already been here several days (while I went to LA).  My son and his wife arrive tomorrow to celebrate some birthdays.

I was on the phone today with the accountant on how to do the payroll taxes for my mom's caregiver.  There are too many things like this I'm dealing with.  But I'm not complaining, really.  I'm just glad we can afford a caregiver.  But there are other things I'd prefer to do,
like play with Z who turned 6 months last week and is sitting up and grabbing everything in reach with her active fingers.  She has two teeth partway in already.

And the birth of the British royal baby yesterday had extra meaning as I get toward the end of Bring Up The Bodies which is about Henry VIII's inability to produce sons (except for one with someone not his wife) leading to getting rid of Katherine and now Anne Boleyn is in the Tower of London.  It's truly ironic now that they changed the rules to allow a female royal equality that they had a boy.  And what is it about the fascination about this royal that costs the English people a fair amount of money, has minimal actual power, though lots of symbolic power?  I still believe that hierarchy is part of our genetic code. 

I haven't mentioned Syria.  Too, too much to think about.  We've put ourselves (the US) into this position of being the world dominant country, which gives other countries the freedom to back out of their responsibilities and defer to us to take care of any problem anywhere.  How do you deal with the displacement of millions of people and the deaths of hundreds of thousands?  If the rebels hadn't rebelled, Asad will tell you, then none of this would have happened.  But at what point in the curtailment of universal human rights, are a people justified to rebel?  Can we get to a point in world history where, when that point is reached, the rest of the world steps in and bloodlessly allows more freedom?  We act as though the world is more civilized today than in the past, but the sheer number of people suffering from hunger and war is probably greater than any time in history.  It's true that more people have swimming pools and SUV's and flat screen TVs than ever before too, but wouldn't you trade those things in for everyone having peace and enough food?  I'm afraid that a lot of people would say 'no.'  Depressing.

There's more redistricting news - court filings challenging the new plan.  But I haven't seen the documents so I don't know enough to write about, but meanwhile you can check on the Fairbanks NewsMiner editorial on the Fairbanks challenge.

There's lots more, but you get the point.  


Monday, July 22, 2013

Non-Citizens Used To Vote in USA - The GOP's Immigration Pickle

From what I understand listening and reading the news, the GOP is in a pickle. 

The GOP isn't doing well at the voting booth with Latinos who make up a huge portion of immigrants, including undocumented folks residing in the USA now who would like their status legitimized.

The GOP is split on the concept in general.  On one extreme are businesses who employ immigrants and want their workers to be able to stay in the US.  On the other end are party members who want to send 'them; all back.

On the one hand the GOP want to look supportive of immigration, one of the most important Latino issues, in order to attract more Latino voters.  On the other hand, they are afraid that if Latino immigrants get citizenship, they will overwhelmingly vote for Democrats.

So, their answer seems to be to have immigration reform that does not include citizenship.

That's where I want to start this.

Needing to be a citizen to vote is not a US Constitutional requirement!

Voting has NOT always been tied to citizenship.  In the beginning, except for the Native Americans, who were not allowed to be citizens,  most people were from somewhere else. 

Robert Caro, in his first Pulitzer Prize winning book, The Power Broker, describes Tammany Hall, New York's Democratic political machine, greeting immigrants as they land. 
The wheels of the Tammany war machine might be greased with money, but the machine was pulled by men, the men who voted Democratic themselves, the men who rounded up newly arrived immigrants and brought them in to be registered Democratic, the men who during election campaigns rang doorbells and distributed literature to those immigrants and to their own friends and neighbors and on Election Day, shepherded them to the polls to vote Democratic. (p. 71)
If you're paying close attention, you'll notice that they get them off the ships and sign them up to vote.  They could do that because citizenship was not a requirement to vote in those days.

From Wikipedia:
Over 40 states or territories, including colonies before the Declaration of Independence, have at some time admitted aliens voting rights for some or all elections.[1][2][3][4] In 1874, the Supreme Court in Minor v. Happersett noted that "citizenship has not in all cases been made a condition precedent to the enjoyment of the right of suffrage. Thus, in Missouri, persons of foreign birth, who have declared their intention to become citizens of the United States, may under certain circumstances vote."[5]
By 1900, nearly one-half of the states and territories had some experience with voting by aliens, and for some the experience lasted more than half a century.[6] At the turn of the twentieth century, anti-immigration feeling ran very high, and Alabama stopped allowing aliens to vote by way of a constitutional change in 1901; Colorado followed suit in 1902, Wisconsin in 1908, and Oregon in 1914.[7] Just as the nationalism unleashed by the War of 1812 helped to reverse the alien suffrage policies inherited from the late eighteenth century, World War I caused a sweeping retreat from the progressive alien suffrage policies of the late nineteenth century.[8] In 1918, Kansas, Nebraska, and South Dakota all changed their constitutions to purge alien suffrage, and Texas ended the practice of non-citizen voting in primary elections by statute.[9] Indiana and Texas joined the trend in 1921, followed by Mississippi in 1924 and, finally, Arkansas in 1926.[10] In 1931, political scientist Leon Aylsworth noted: "For the first time in over a hundred years, a national election was held in 1928 in which no alien in any state had the right to cast a vote for a candidate for any office -- national, state, or local."[11]
From what I can tell, Federal law didn't ban aliens from voting in federal elections until recently in the United States.  Derek T. Muller writes in INVISIBLE FEDERALISM AND THE ELECTORAL COLLEGE in the Arizona State Law Journal:
“Alien suffrage was quite common during the nineteenth century, coming to a peak in 1875 when twenty-two states and territories granted aliens the right to vote.”237 That ended in the 1920s, at which point all states required citizenship as a condition to voter eligibility.238 Today, every state prohibits noncitizens from voting in federal elections.239 Federal law, too,  prohibits aliens from voting in federal elections.240 There are, however, jurisdictions that allow,241 or seek to allow,242 noncitizens to vote in local elections. And as resident aliens have a significant interest in the locales where they reside, and are subject to other political obligations like taxation, there have been particularly strong arguments in favor of extending suffrage to at least a set of them.243
Footnote 240 suggests that the federal ban on aliens voting in federal elections didn't come until 1996:
240.  18 U.S.C. § 611(a) (2006) (“It shall be unlawful for any alien to vote in any election held solely or in part for the purpose of electing a candidate for [federal office].”) (enacted as the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act of 1996, Pub. L. No. 104- 208, 100 Stat. 3009–3546).

 Migration Information Source tells us more about the immigrants:
Most of the estimated 12 million legal permanent residents cannot vote although they may work, pay taxes, send their children to school, and serve in the military. This gap between the electorate and the total population raises important issues about government accountability to residents who cannot vote, and the civic responsibilities newcomers are expected to assume toward their communities.

In response, several communities across the United States are seeking to grant non-citizen residents the right to vote in municipal and/or school board elections. Most Americans are unaware that non-citizen voting was widespread in the United States for the first 150 years of its history. From 1776 until 1926, 22 states and federal territories allowed non-citizens to vote in local, state, and even federal elections but gradually repealed this right. The US Constitution gives states and municipalities the right to decide who is eligible to vote. 
Those arguing for non-citizens to vote say that if they pay taxes and have a long term stake in the community, they should be allowed to vote, based on the colonists' argument about taxation without representation. 

I guess we'll just have to see how long Koch (and other) money can continue to stir up enough people to fear and anger on this issue to keep the rising number of immigrants (not to mention all those people who stopped voting because they thought it didn't matter) from voting in their own best interests. 

Sunday, July 21, 2013

The Magic Castle - Christopher Hart, Dana Daniels, and Chipper Lowell - Good Fun

RB, a high school buddy, took me to brunch this (Sunday) morning at the Magic Castle in Hollywood.  I'd heard of this place, but had never been there.  It's a big, old house in
Hollywood that looks like a small castle.  Once inside, it has the feel of the school in Harry Potter movies - though on a smaller scale.  You go from the reception room into the castle through a book case that slides to one side to let you in.

From the Magic Castle website:

"The Magic Castle is the showplace for some of the greatest magicians from around the globe. We also take great pride in showcasing the magnificent building that houses the Magic Castle. Built in 1908, this storied mansion has watched Hollywood grow and change for over 100 years while never losing its original charm."

Of course, it's a lot more than that.  It's a club house for the best magicians in the world and they come and perform.  After our shows, magicians were showing up for a lecture on magic.  In this case it was going to be a film of an old magician.  They also teach magic there.   The theaters are small so you are very close to the performers. 









I have to get up early in the morning to catch a plane to Seattle where I will get to see my wife and son and daughter and granddaughter, plus a few other very important folks.  So I'm going to cut this short.

You aren't allowed to do any photography inside the castle, but I did find You Tube videos of the three performers we saw.  Of the three, Christopher Hart was the most magician.  The other two were more comedians with a bit of magic, but they were all funny and Sundays is when kids can come so it was neat watching them all enjoy themselves.  


These are short videos and a good way to start a new week. 

Christopher Hart -
"Christopher Hart is known as “The man with the movie star hand”, after his right hand was featured as THING the loveable disembodied hand featured in three ADDAMS FAMILY Films."
The video shows a couple of acts that we saw Sunday.




Dana Daniels.  And his parrot Luigi.  This is a part right out of the act we saw today. 






Chipper Lowell -

This one has things we didn't see, but this guy was great live.  Great timing and rapport with the audience. 

Wheel Chairs Take Over Skateboarding Plaza At Venice Beach






I was going to ride on by the skateboard plaza, but there were lots of people, speakers and music, and flags all around, so I stopped to see what it was.










The skateboard plaza is in the background where all the people are.









Life Rolls On and Ezekiel  were sponsoring They Will Skate Again.

This Saturday July 20th from 9:00am - 4:00pm at the Venice Skate Park we're sponsoring the Life Rolls On Foundation's (LRO) annual "They Will Skate Again Shoe City PRO" event & contest. Every year we design and donate their event tee and we'll join hundreds of volunteers who come out to support the They Will Skate Again adaptive skating workshop, pro skate exhibition and adaptive skate competition (prize purse over $10,000). Featuring participants from all different levels of assisted mobility, giving everyone an opportunity to hang out, skate and compete in the park for the day. Our skate team including Derek Fukuhara, Justin Cefai & Vince Duran will be out there in donating their time along with skate legends Jay Adams, Bob Burnquist & Christian Hosoi and stars including Scott Can & Sal Masekela. Come by, say what's up and help out if you're in the neighborhood....stop by the Ezekiel Booth for games and giveaways at the interactive festival village!


I got there while they were warming up for the big events later on, but here's a bit of video of these folks taking over the Skateboard plaza.  The announcer was promising the good stuff later on, but I needed my own exercise and getting back. I know I'm supposed to put the best on in the beginning to get your attention, but I've saved the best for last. 





I'm sure YouTube will have much better stuff that people took later on, so check there.  There's an "inspirational" video that looks like from prior years at the Ezekiel link.

In the world of serendipity, I had  just posted a picture of my mom being wheeled down the ramp in front of her house.  And when I got home I was telling her there was life still to live in her wheel chair.  She gave me the look. 

Saturday, July 20, 2013

What's Reasonable Public Particiaption? Will It Come To The Anchorage Assembly?


When the Assembly shut down public testimony over  Mayor Sullivan's stealth anti-labor ordinance, there was a big public outcry.  I don't use terms like 'stealth' lightly.  The ordinance was hidden in a notice to the Assembly about an ordinance revision, with no hint at what the topic was or that this was a huge policy change.  It was rushed through less than two months before an Assembly election when the Mayor's one vote majority on the Assembly might be lost.  And Assembly Chair Ernie Hall stopped further public testimony, even though there were lots of people still left to testify.

This is, of course, in sharp contrast to when then Assembly Chair Debbie Ossiander declared that public testimony would continue on the ordinance to add gays to the anti-discrimination clause forever or until the last person had spoken.  At that time there was a majority to pass the bill.  Weeks and weeks of testimony, including people bussed in from Matsu, ensued.  Long enough for new Mayor Sullivan to be sworn into office and to veto the ordinance after it passed.

The rules of a democracy are set up to be fair and treat each situation the same.  But, people have manipulated the rules from the beginning of rules to get what they want.

This new task force, as I understand it, was established to recommend rules for public testimony for the Assembly.  Former Anchorage Assembly members Jane Angvik, Arliss Sturgulewski, and Jim Barnett are on this task force.  The Anchorage Press has a little more on this.

Meanwhile here are the dates of the first three meetings.  Since I won't be back in Anchorage for the first one, I hope at least three of you who read this find a way to be there for me. 




Open your computer calendar and add these dates. . . Participate!



Municipal Task Force on the Assembly  Public Hearing Process 
Meeting Schedule

Municipal Task Force Meetings (they'll meet, and people can listen)


Thursday, July 25, 2013
12:00 p.m. - 1:30 p.m.
City Hall 632 West 6th Avenue, Suite 155 Anchorage, AK 99501

Thursday, August 22, 2013
12:00 p.m. - 1:30 p.m.
City Hall 632 West 6th Avenue, Suite 155 Anchorage, AK 99501

Thursday, September 12, 2013
12:00 p.m. – 1:30 p.m.
City Hall 632 West 6th Avenue, Suite 155 Anchorage, AK 99501


Public Hearing Process  (people can make their suggestions)

Tuesday, September 3, 2013
6:00 p.m. – 11:00 p.m.
Assembly Chambers Loussac Library
3600 Denali Street Anchorage, AK 99503

Tuesday, October 1, 2013
6:00 p.m. – 11:00 p.m.
Assembly Chambers Loussac Library
3600 Denali Street Anchorage, AK 99503


Even though the first three are meetings where the public will be listening it's worth going for two reasons:
  1. If these are small meetings, chances are people will be able to contribute.  If not during the meeting, they'll be able to talk to Task Force members during breaks and after the meeting.
  2. People attending the meetings will hear what the issues are so they can focus their experience and thoughts to addressing those issues.

Beach Break After Day With Nonagenerians



My mom's caregiver took her down the new ramp to get some sunshine yesterday.  Then I went off to the valley to visit I (91) and F (97).  Say what you want about living to a ripe old age, if you can't walk and take care of yourself, it's not an easy time.  Especially for people who were active and independent all their lives. My mom and I discussed, last night, whether it was better to lose your physical abilities or your mental abilities.  These are questions one shouldn't even have to think about.  But we do.  My guess is losing the mental abilities is better for the person, worse for the people around them.  But I guess it depends on which mental abilities and which physical abilities and what the person liked to do in life. 

It was about 20 degrees warmer in the valley with I and F, but I did take F for a 20 minute wheelchair stroll around the neighborhood.  Then I went to the library to pay off my mom's fine for losing an audio tape.  When I explained that my mom is sure she returned the tape and that on things like that she's usually right, the librarian looked me in the eye and said, "If your 91 year old mom thinks she returned it, that's good enough for me" and cancelled the $85 fee for replacing it.  I offered to pay anyway because the library has given my mom lots of pleasure listening to her tapes and ended up taking a Friends of the Library application form, which I have to fill out and send in. 

Then to the market, another challenge.  Mom's regular caregiver left for the Philippines Thursday where her mom is sick.  Her sister-in-law is subbing for the two weeks she's gone.  So I went to Trader Joe's (near the library) and grabbed a lot of frozen items that I thought my mom might like as the new caregiver tries to prepare things my mom will eat.  I just wanted some back up items with a lot of variety.  I think they'll be fine.  My mom likes the new caregiver a lot. 

I finally got home and we talked a while,  then I needed a break and got out the bike and rode down to Venice Beach.  I was just going to ride on the biketrail, but the surf was big and noisy, so I parked the bike and walked along the surf. 



There was an almost full moon in the sky and the tide was high - almost up to the life guard stations.  Lots of people were in the water and I was jealous I hadn't worn trunks underneath.  This shot is looking north about 6:45pm.  


And this one is looking south.   I'm looking forward to joining my kids and wife (and Z who had her 6 months birthday Thursday) in Seattle Monday. 
 


Friday, July 19, 2013

Thursday Meeting, ADN Article on Fairbanks Plaintiffs' Coming Legal Challenge, Where to Find Documents

Here's the agenda for Thursday's Alaska Redistricting Board meeting, most of which was scheduled for executive session.  I missed the first three items, but listened in after that.  But there was nothing while they are in executive session.
  1. Call to Order 
  2. Roll Call 
  3. Approval of the Agenda 
  4. Executive session to discuss litigation issues
    The board will disconnect from the teleconference network and call back in for the executive session.
  5. Re-connect to the teleconference network. 
  6. Board actions if necessary Adjourn
I'm at my mom's in LA and she needed a number of things and I had some calls come in and missed the Board's reconvening.

But the Anchorage Daily News had an in depth article about what happened and the likelihood of a lawsuit because the Board couldn't didn't respond as the Riley plaintiffs requested regarding the Senate pairings in Fairbanks.  


Meanwhile, Ernie Weiss, who works for the Aleutian East Borough has filled a gap left by the Redistricting Board.  Last year, the Board, to its credit, posted all (I assume) the briefs that were filed regarding the Redistricting Board.  Anyone could see, not only the orders of the Courts, but also what all the parties filed.  That list of links can still be found here. 

This year the Board has most (maybe all) of the orders and opinions up, but almost none of the 2013 ancillary documents that help someone understand what the order means.  (Sometimes the order is clearly explained, but the last one simply said the Board's petition was denied.)  There is also a new pleadings page with three documents dated July 18, 2013.  Be careful though.  The first document is 739 pages. 

In any case, **Ernie Weiss has set up a website** where he's putting up the various petitions and amicus briefs, etc. that are being sent to the court. 



Thursday, July 18, 2013

Did Redistricting Board Intentionally Target Tea Party Members?


At the Sunday Redistricting Board meeting, I met a woman who had an email that had been sent out to, I think, Republican legislators from Randy Ruedrich with a:
  • list of sitting Senators
  • what percent of their district remained the same
  • if they had to run in 2014
The woman was angry.  The Board had gerrymandered, she told me,  so that two Republican senators and two Republican representatives had to run against each other.  And a third Anchorage area Republican Senator only had 50% of her old districts while a bunch of Anchorage Democrats had 100% of their old districts.  And that Senator had to run again in 2014 and only for a two year term.

I pointed out that the Board was made up of four Republicans and one Democrat.  That didn't seem to matter - she said something about them not being real Republicans.  I also mentioned that since there are a lot more Republicans in the legislature than Democrats, so if every thing was done without bias, Republicans would be more likely to be affected than Democrats.  She seemed to have her mind made up and nothing I said made a dent. 


Rep. Tammie Wilson


Sen Fred Dyson Introducing Joe Miller 2012
But as we look at the Republicans who got pinched in these things - Tammie Wilson in Fairbanks (paired with Doug Isaacson) and Fred Dyson in Eagle River (paired with Anna Fairclough) - we see that both Wilson and Dyson supported Tea Party favorite Joe Miller in 2010. 

Cathy Giessel, the Anchorage Republican Senator who lost half her constituents and who, thus,  has to run again in 2014  and for only a two year seat is also of that far, far right Republican persuasion.  Is this all a coincidence?  The Republican Party has had a big internal fight between Tea Party activists and the traditional power brokers of the Party.  Randy Ruedrich, until recently the Chair of the Republican Party, has feuded with the Tea Party Republicans.  He was also very involved in creating the AFFER map and actually made a comment from the audience when the Board was discussing truncation and determining how to figure out the two year and four year seats.  Although audience members are not allowed to speak, they let him, took a recess, and came back with the solution he had suggested from the audience: to renumber some of the districts.  

But, in fairness, both Isaacson and Wilson are listed as from North Pole and one of the principles in redistricting is to leave political subdivisions intact.  So perhaps it was the previous redistricting that allowed two different North Pole districts that was the problem.  Also, though not as critical, pairing the two Eagle River house seats into one Senate seat makes a lot of sense.  Finally, Giessel's old Senate district included the northern Kenai House district and this time they tried to keep Kenai more intact.  But those issues didn't prevent the Board from breaking Matsu twice, even though Calista offered a map that would have kept Matsu whole.  And I'm sure if they had wanted to, they could have kept these incumbents in different districts.

Anyway, below is an adaptation of the chart from the email.  I added the letters of the current (2012 election) and new (2014 election) Senate seats and I added the last column, because the email didn't say how long the terms would be for people not running in 2014. 

Republican or D
(current - new District)
Kept of 2012 District Status Next Term
Kelly  (B-A) 97.6% running 4 yr seat
Coghill (A-B) 77.0% not running 2 years
Bishop (C-C) 46.8% running 4 yr seat
Huggins (E-D) 96.9% not running 2 years
Dunleavy (D-E) 52.0% running 4 yr seat
Open (M-F) 49.3% running 2 yr seat
Fairclough (M-G), Dyson (F-F) 50.1% running 4 yr seat
D-Wielechowski (G-H) 100% not running 2 years
D-Gardner (H-I) 100% running 4 yr seat
D-Ellis (I-J) 100% not running 2 years
D-French (J-K) 100% running 4 yr seat
McGuire (K-L) 100% not running 4 years
Meyer (L-M) 100% running 4 yr seat
Giessel (N-N) 50.1% running 2 yr seat
Micciche (N-O) 50.3% running 4 yr seat
Stevens (R-P) 51.3% running 2 yr seat
D - Egan (P-Q) 92.7% running 4 yr seat
Stedman (Q-R) 90.7% not running
D - Hoffman (S-S) 54.3% running 4 yr seat
D - Olsen (T-T) 80.3% running 2 yr seat



Some background for people who haven't been keeping track of these things:

Senators have four year terms.  The terms are staggered so that ten senators run in one election and ten in the next.  That way there are always at least ten Senators who aren't brand new.

If a new Senate district is changed so that a substantial number of people are new, the seat is truncated.  Truncation means that instead of serving out their full term (if it would not be up at the next election), their term is cut to two years and they must run in the next election.  The reasoning here is that a substantial number of people will now be represented by someone they didn't have an opportunity to vote for (or against.)

So, how many is substantial?  Last year's discussion of truncation said that any district that had more than a 10% change would be considered substantially changed.  Last year there was only one district that was less then 10% - Juneau - and the next was 65%.  This year they decided that the cut off would be 70%, which allowed Sen. John Coghill (75% change) not to have to run for reelection in 2014.  (Generally, people set standards before they know who will meet them and who won't so they aren't biased by knowing how the standards will affect real people.)  In any case, Coghill was also a Joe Miller supporter, so that would suggest that they weren't necessarily after Tea Party folks.

The gerrymandering charges this year were from Democrats.  But might it be possible the Tea Party is going to challenge the redistricting plan?  Can you charge gerrymandering when it's Republicans out to get Republicans?  (I'm not saying that happened here, just a hypothetical.)  Maybe this isn't over yet.