PALIN BEAT: New York federal judge Jed Rakoff said this week he’ll decide this month whether former Alaska governor Sarah Palin’s defamation lawsuit against The New York Times has legs.
Rakoff announced his plans after hearing oral arguments Monday and listening to the lawyers from The Gray Lady ask for dismissal.
The Times is claiming it made an “honest mistake” in an editorial that linked Palin to the 2011 shooting of Rep. Gabby Gifford. Palin had posted an ad that had a crosshairs logo on a few Democratic districts. The newspaper accused her of “inciting a mass shooting at a political event in January 2011.”
“In 2011, Jared Lee Loughner opened fire in a supermarket parking lot, grievously wounding Rep. Gabby Giffords and killing six people, including a 9-year-old girl,” the Times editorial board recently wrote. “At the time, we and others were sharply critical of the heated political rhetoric on the right.
“Before the shooting, Sarah Palin’s political action committee circulated a map that showed the targeted electoral districts of Ms. Giffords and 19 other Democrats under stylized cross hairs.”
The editorial was published a day after House Majority Whip Steve Scalise and four others were shot at a baseball practice in Virginia. The Times issued corrections after a storm of criticism came its way.
NO MAN IS AN ISLAND: Kodiak Republican Sen. Gary Stevens has filed to run for lieutenant governor in 2018, skipping over the “letter of intent” process and filing directly with the Division of Elections.
Stevens has served in the Alaska Legislature for nearly 18 years, and in the Senate since 2004. He was Senate President for four years. He was also mayor of the City of Kodiak and the Kodiak Island Borough.
Stevens told KMXT radio that he’s interested in helping the election process, and may want to explore the viability of mail-in ballots.
Stevens was born in Oregon and moved to Alaska in 1970. He is a retired professor and retired Army officer. His lengthy political chops are posted here.
No other Republicans have filed for the position. Sen. Mike Dunleavy of Wasilla has filed for governor.
THE BOSTON GLIB: The Boston Globe thought it was being cute when it asked: “Is the eclipse throwing shade at Clinton supporters? The path of ideal viewing spots for this month’s highly-anticipated total solar eclipse cuts overwhelmingly through places that voted for President Trump in November.”
“There are about 240 counties roughly along the central path of the eclipse, a 70-mile-wide trail extending across the country where people will be able to see a total eclipse, meaning the sun will appear completely obscured by the moon.
“And about 92 percent of those counties swung in Trump’s favor, while fewer than two dozen counties voted for his opponent, Hillary Clinton.”
Alaskans, clearly living in Trump Country, won’t be able to see the total eclipse on Aug. 21, but the sun will appear dim for a while, starting at 8:21 am on Aug. 21. The eclipse will be in the 45 percent range for much of Alaska. Trump won with 51.3% of the general election vote.
BLUECREST HALTS WORK DUE TO NO TAX CREDIT PAYMENTS: BlueCrest Energy Inc. is putting its Anchor Point Cosmopolitan Project on hold after the State of Alaska decided not to pay cash credits owed to the company.
BlueCrest Energy’s CEO and President Benjamin Johnson broke the news to KTVA on Tuesday.
“Without the money that the state owes us from the tax credit payments, we frankly just can’t continue spending that money that we don’t have in the short-term,” Johnson said.
In June, Caelus Energy put its Smith Bay project on the North Slope on hold because of erratic decisions by Alaska’s government.
BlueCrest Energy drilled its first well last June after being courted by the State of Alaska Department of Revenue under the Parnell Administration. But rather than the $125 million the company expected, the state has paid just $27 million. The project has cost over $400 million in company investment so far.
WHALE PROJECT NAMED FOR BILL OVERSTREET: A sculpture of a humpback whale and the park that surrounds it is now named Mayor Bill Overstreet Park after a former mayor of Juneau who died in 2013.
His widow, Jean Overstreet, was present during Monday’s meeting of the Juneau Assembly when the body voted unanimously in favor of the name.
The whale sculpture was a longtime dream of Overstreet, who headed up the whale committee. The committee raised $600,000 for the park and the city has spent $1.2 million, plus has set aside hundreds of thousands of dollars in legal fees to defend the project against a lawsuit.
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