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Sunday, April 22, 2018
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Bright, shiny objects

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NO BAG-LIMIT: There’s no love lost between Muldoon Rep. Gabrielle LeDoux and her former supporters. This sign appeared in front of the Legislative Information Offices in Anchorage last week and others were spotted around the city before the ground froze. No word on who is leading the charge, but Alaska Republican Party Chairman Tuckerman Babcock has targeted LeDoux for replacement.

PREDICTIONS: With a razor-thin majority, the new Democrat-dominated House leadership team should double down on their flu shots. They won’t be able to take any days off during the 30th Alaska Legislative session. These are folks who are quite used to taking time off, having served in the minority for so long, and their attendance records suck. Now that they chair committees, no more long bike rides for Matt Claman, District 21, who chairs Judiciary. Neal Foster of Nome will have to be careful not to be gone during his Finance committee meetings during the Iditarod.

Hawkins

Word has it that Rep. LeDoux wants to hire three staffers for her Rules office. But Rep. Craig Johnson only had two last year, after deciding that he needed to lead by example and trim costs. We’ve been told that LeDoux longtime staffer Lisa Vaught and Lesil McGuire staffer Amy Saltzman will be working for LeDoux. And one other person, if LeDoux can swing it.

As for other staffers for the new majority, some conservative staff members will move over but we hear there is a scramble to find qualified people, which means the House committees will be run by inexperienced lawmakers with inexperienced staff members. What can possibly go wrong?screen-shot-2016-11-27-at-9-15-24-pm

CONNIE GODWIN, 90, PASSES INTO HISTORY: Connie Godwin, who spent more than 20 years as the press secretary to Sen. Ted Stevens, died Nov. 15 at a nursing center in Chestertown, Md. at age 90. According to the Washington Post, she was a newspaper reporter and editor for The Anchorage Times.

After moving to Chestertown in 1980, she became a part-time press secretary to Stevens and eventually held the job full time, staying in Washington during the week.

AGDC MISSES DEADLINE: Not to speak ill of the dead, but the transfer of the AK-LNG project to state control is not going well. Alaska Gasline Development Corp. President Keith Meyer told the board this month that the agency blew past the deadline for a signed agreement. But not to worry: “I would say that all things are moving well. I don’t detect anything that’s going to stop the process,” he added, saying the state will still control the project by the year’s end.

MEANWHILE, IN CHINA: The charmingly named Methane Julia Louise is heading for Ningbo, China’s eastern coast, with a load of shale natural gas, liquefied at Cheniere Energy’s Sabine Pass terminal. U.S. shipments are breaking records —  Nine LNG tankers have departed or are scheduled to leave Sabine Pass in November, the most for any month since exports began.

STELLENBOSCH HISTORY REPEATS: From one of our Juneau correspondents, a reminder that Stellenbosch, a part of the Cape Colony, was a 19th Century outpost for officers who had failed in the Kaffir Wars.

When you say you’re “Stellenbosching” someone, it means you are demoting them to an unimportant post, due to their incompetence.

Gov. Bill Walker has created all manner of positions to slide his cronies into them and pay them when they have failed at their last post. He did so for former Attorney General Craig Richards, who crashed spectacularly this year. And he’s done so for former Chief of Staff Jim Whitaker, who was “demoted up” to work on special projects.

Walker is writing letters to enlist municipalities and their lobbyists in pushing for an income tax, but between the gazillions he has spent on people like Rigdon Boykin, Radoslav Shipkoff and a host of other special friends, can anyone really say Walker is running a tight ship that is worthy of our tax dollars?

Rudyard Kipling gets credit for creating the verb “stellenbosch,” when he wrote in the Daily Express, on June 16, 1900, “After all, what does it matter old man?  You’re bound to be Stellenbosched in three days.” (Yes, there will be a quiz.)

GILLAM FOR DOI? FOR GOVERNOR? The question was put to Bob Gillam last week: Are you running for governor? “If we do, we’ll win,” he said, cornered within earshot of Must Read Alaska. Now the news is he is angling for the Secretary of the Interior post, which might make a good gubernatorial launchpad.

RISE OF FAKE NEWS? Oh really? Here we’ve been complaining about the liberal media bias for years, but all of a sudden an outbreak of “fake news” is “news”? Do go on…

OLD MEDIA IS THE NEW FAKE NEWS: Political reporters are demanding that Donald Trump cite the source for everything he says. His latest tweet about illegals voting? They want proof and they want it now. Play the game of “spot the bias” in this NY Times top story.

THAT TIME THEY LAUGHED AT TRUMP OVER VOTE-RIGGING CLAIMS: But that’s him. Not them. A recount is under way in Wisconsin.

“This was a hack-riddled election,” said Green Party member Jill Stein (the media did not say “with no evidence.”) Recounts could take place also in Pennsylvania and Michigan. The margins make it unlikely that the costly move will end up giving Clinton a win in all three states, which would be needed for the overall presidential election result to change.

Hillary Clinton has signaled she is on-board for a recount. Of course she is. Play your second round of “spot the bias.”

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Suzanne Downing had careers in business and journalism before serving as the Director of Faith and Community-based Initiatives for Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and returning to Alaska to serve as speechwriter for Gov. Sean Parnell. Born on the Oregon coast, she moved to Alaska in 1969.

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