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Melting Good; Feds Bad

So, insane flesh-eating bacteria is tied to BP spill tar balls, Fukushima radiation should be hitting the West Coast in the next year or so, and a SuperTyphoon that is perhaps the strongest storm EVER,  just made landfall in the Philippines.

So, last night I decided to go out and listen to a Republican Senate candidate bloviate about how federal overreach is destroying the country.

SPOILER ALERT: This ends with drinking.

Mead Treadwell, Alaska’s Lt. Governor, who in that capacity oversees elections, is running for U.S. Senate. Any time a Lt. Governor runs for something in the state (like Current governor and former Lt. governor Sean Parnell, who lost a congressional bid to Don Young in 2008), it makes me cringe. The fox, in my estimation, should never be responsible for the organization and counting of hens in the henhouse. But that’s another story.

I clearly see five. There are five chickens here. Now move along...

I clearly see five. There are five chickens here. Now move along…

Right now, we have bigger things on our plate. “One of the biggest problem facing our state – federal overreach in a free society,” Treadwell said. And that’s what brings this crowd of about a hundred, mostly political science students at UAA, to the Consortium Library this evening.

The UAA Consortium Library

The UAA Consortium Library [Photo by J. Devon]

Right off the bat, candidate Treadwell brandished his AK cred. He is running for office after all, and his opponent, carpetbagger Dan Sullivan (not Mayor Dan Sullivan, the other one) has a residency “issue.”

So Mead wants everyone to know that he’s been in Alaska “full time” since 1977. He first came to this great state as a senior in high school with his brother. They hiked, they photographed, they gazed at vistas, they hiked, a marmot stole cookies out of his backpack, and he knew Alaska was the place for him. It’s kind of a familiar story for many who end up here by selection, rather than birth.

Then, there were references to Alaska’s earlier greats – Bill Egan, Wally Hickel, Jay Hammond.

And more stories about his wilderness adventures for which his late wife would give him a “kitchen pass.”

I’m not out to tell someone I’m not going to vote for how to do PR, but seriously. Let’s just get this out of the way early in the campaign, shall we?

Dear Every Candidate for Anything, 

Do not ever use the term “kitchen pass.” Ever. Especially not in public when there are… you know… women in the audience. And also men.
Thank you.

“This is not intended to be fed bashing, although that would be a lot of fun,” he said.

Darn. No fun tonight.

Then he acknowledged that we all arrived via government road or sidewalk, with government lights, rules enforced by police, and that cops are backed up by firefighters who will wrench you from your horrible accident with the jaws of life, and EMTs will be there to help with training equipment we all paid for.

“The government tends to forget its first job, protecting our liberty as it insures our safety,” he went on.


Lt. Governor, and the man who will be overseeing his own election for U.S. Senate candidate, Mead Treadwell. And also no need for federal election oversight.

Then, there were annecdotes about federal overreach. Intimidating mine inspections happened where mean inspectors showed up in “battle gear.” There was a recycled Lisa Murkowski story from the recent federal overreach summit in which a daycare group was picnicking in a national park and was fined for not having a permit before they fixed it and didn’t have to pay the fine.

Then, the feds get involved in “how we school our children, and grow our crops.” And, “they can’t figure out how to deliver mail on Saturdays, but they can read your mail coming and going.” The government borrows too much, snoops to much, spends too much, taxes too much.

There was praise for Ted Stevens, whom he said was his hero, but not because he brought tons of federal money to the state. No praise for “Uncle Ted,” the one who brought home the bacon that everyone loved. Because now, we don’t need that stinking money. Ted Stevens should be remembered for legislation like the Alaska Statehood Act, ANCSA, The Magnussen Stevens fisheries act, and ANILCA.

He urges the crowd to enroll in the kill ‘em and grill ‘em Alaska Outdoor Council, and the Dig, Baby, Dig Alaska Miners Association who never met a giant mine they didn’t love.

There’s not much that seems to get Treadwell excited. He isn’t what you’d call a charismatic speaker. He’d be the kind of professor that had to keep his classroom at a steady 58 degrees so nobody would fall asleep. But he did get a little bit above flatlining when talking about the Arctic Ocean. All that melting ice is pretty darn exciting.


As the sea ice is lost, Treadwell says, he’ll be focusing on three things. First, there is marine safety. Now that climate change is going to be opening all these shipping lanes that people have been dreaming about for hundreds of years, we need to make sure that we protect this newly melted ocean because people in Alaska need it for subsistence purposes. And second, we need to help preserve Alaska Native culture while we watch the destruction of the climate it’s based on.

And let’s not get bogged down with changing ecosystems; lack of sea ice acting as a storm buffer for coastal communities that are falling into the ocean; melting permafrost releasing unprecedented amounts of methane into the atmosphere; rising ocean temperatures and their effect on whales and other sea mammals, fish, and the smaller creatures at the bottom of the food chain. Because you know what the third thing is that we need to focus on?

“Opportunity!” I learned from Mr. Treadwell that an ice-free Arctic means a 40% savings in shipments between East Asia and Europe! We need to “look at it as a business,” he said.

That’s right boys and girls, for those of you who are a little math challenged, let me work it out for you.

Climate Change = Big Bucks!

We need to get us some of that sweet action, yes we do. We need to sip champagne and eat caviar before the Titanic hits the iceberg. Oh, wait. There IS no iceberg, so it’s even better than we thought! Cheers!

Businessman Throwing his Money Around

And to wrap it up, the Lt. Governor said he hopes to see “a new sagebrush rebellion, where western states get together” to tell the feds to get off their collective lawn.

Then it was question time:

Someone asked the very thing I was thinking. What makes us think that the government of the state is any better than the federal government? What makes us think that the elected leaders of Alaska have the best interest of the people at heart? Plenty of corruption happens right here at home, and li’l ol’ Alaska isn’t always a match for giant multinational companies who are out to exploit our resources for their own benefit. Local control is always better, he said. Which made me wonder why then, after the citizens of Bristol Bay voted to get the Pebble Partnership the hell out of their back yard to preserve that Native culture, and the integrity of the fisheries, and protect Bristol Bay and jobs (all the stuff Treadwell claimed to care about so much five minutes earlier), didn’t the state back them up? Because hypocrisy. And saying whatever you need to say to get elected. The usual stuff.

On to Obamacare which Treadwell said, “is a double barreled assault on young people like you. You’re being asked to buy insurance you could get more cheaply elsewhere.” He’d like to see it repealed because he thinks “we went about it in a way that drives people away from self-reliance.”

Barrel #1 is coverage of pre-existing conditions, and barrel #2 is staying on your parents' plan until you're 26. DUCK!!!

Barrel #1 is coverage of pre-existing conditions, and barrel #2 is staying on your parents’ plan until you’re 26. DUCK!!!

The next woman had an unrelated question, but before she asked it, she said that as a young person with a pre-existing condition, she disagreed with him on Obamacare. She didn’t mention it, but I was also thinking, that this “double-barreled assault” also allows these young people to stay on their parents’ insurance plans until they are 26.

Before Treadwell answered her other question, he made sure to note her pre-existing condition. “God bless you,” he said. And he “hopes” she’s able to find insurance that will cover her. Best of luck.

Awesome health care plan, you got there, Mr. Treadwell. She’s been blessed and hoped for. I bet she feels all self-reliant and stuff. We need to “look at these major new entitlements,” he went on, “and we must ask what we can do to make people more self-reliant.”

“We have to grow our way out of this situation,” he concluded. With “ingenuity.”

And wrapping up the evening was a question about Treadwell’s only real responsibility as Lt. Governor in addition to the care and upkeep of the state seal. I refer, of course, to overseeing voting rights, and the Division of Elections.

Remember that the Parnell/Treadwell administration joined that Shelby Alabama suit, trying to get rid of the Voting Rights Act of 1965. The implications for Alaska were broad-reaching.

“We still very much have to pay attention to the Voting Rights Act, and thank God we do. We don’t want to suppress the vote,” he said, and of course “we want to protect minorities.” Minorities, like the ones who sued him.

whiplash (1)

I’ll give you a second to readjust your collar.

“I think we should keep decision making at home. The law does a good job. We don’t need to put the tiny little office I oversee under the microscope of the Justice Department.”

That’s right. Just because Alaska was included in the Voting Rights Act to begin with for a reason, doesn’t mean that his little weensy l’il ol’ Division of Elections needs to be scrutinized, or double checked, or anything. He wouldn’t like that. It would make him uncomfortable.


Alaska Lt. Governor Mead Treadwell, head of Elections in the state posted this photo of himself giving the thumbs up to the US Supreme Court for ending key provisions of the Voting Rights Act that would protect Native Alaskan’s voting rights.
June 25th, 2013

After the double talk for an hour and a half, I made my way out into the frosty night. It’s finally getting a little chilly now that we’re well into November in Alaska. I know what you’re thinking. We had the warmest October on record, after a summer of record-breaking heat, and there’s still no snow on the ground. And that can only mean one thing:

Cha-Ching! Boats across the pole, baby! Think of the savings!

The Mudflats crew decided there was only one thing that could soothe our aching brains, and that was this:

A very dry, super dirty, Permafrost vodka martini topped with and an orange plastic steer doing an olive walk. So off we went to Spenard Roadhouse.


Mission accomplished.


About ten minutes after we arrived, a large party showed up at the door, led by… Mead Treadwell.

Sometimes this town is too small.



12 Responses to “Melting Good; Feds Bad”
  1. Alaska Pi says:

    From one of AKM’s links above:

    “Treadwell said the state’s language-assistance program now provides help to Alaska Natives and Filipino speakers of Tagalog, making the Voting Rights Act unnecessary. Asked whether the law forced the state to establish language assistance in the first place, Treadwell said he didn’t know.

    “I wasn’t there when those decisions were made,” he said. But given Alaska’s progress, it should be allowed to get out from under the preclearance requirement, he said.”

    Skipping right on by the fact that Mr Treadwell is supposed to be more aware of voting law, rules, history and the like than we regular type people given that is the damn job he was hired to do, did he miss the fact that the State’s filing in the Shelby dealie uses the argument that this whole providing-language-assistance to Native speakers thing is moot because Native languages aren’t written languages?
    Since he is purposefully ignorant on the history of Alaska’s coverage under the VRA he missed we “bailed out” under law at least twice and that irregularities brought us back under coverage? Is he pretending the bailout ( compliance) clauses didn’t exist? And that the State has blown it over and over?
    Progress, my foot!
    whatzername was busy trying to get out from under language assistance in very recent history, he gonna wave his silly hands and say I-dunno-I-wasn’t-there about that too?
    Mr Treadwell is playing games, way too ignorant of recent history, or both.
    Just what we need- another Senator/ lawmaker who makes crap up . Not.

  2. Moose Pucky says:

    Thanks for the synopsis. Excellent.

    Don’t Tread on Alaska, says Moose Pucky.

  3. Ice Gal says:

    Good ol tredmeedwell. With leadership like his we are doomed, flipping doomed.

  4. BJA says:

    Let me see if I’ve got this: State Government = Good. Federal Government = Bad.

    And this guy – who is currently in state government – wants to leave the state to be in the U.S. Senate? Is that an extra special U.S. Senate I’ve never heard of who does not deal with issues on a federal level? What is with these people? Why are they so eager to get to Washington D.C. if they hate it so much?

    Boggles the mind. Pass the martini.

  5. mike from iowa says:

    Maybe Alaskans need more Docs like this one from neighboring South Dakota. You might find her approach as subtle as a punch in the nose,but if you scroll down aways you will see she is in good company indeed. Just kidding.

  6. Carol says:

    Among other things that he said that would drive me to drink, “You’re being asked to buy insurance you could get more cheaply elsewhere.” Uh, NO, they can’t. Some years back, I attempted to by a personal health insurance policy. I had had no medical care for over 3 years, hadn’t had a migraine for decades, but was honest and told the company about my benign skin condition, roseacea. Wham! turned down for pre-existing condition. I would get a tube of gel ($75) that would last 3 years. Other than that, they didn’t want my money. I think the pre-existing condition might have been female as well.

  7. slipstream says:

    Did you buy him a drink?

  8. tmm says:

    I feel deficient in being uncertain exactly what “kitchen pass” means.

    Would someone please clarify it for me?

    • Jeanne Devon says:

      It means you’ve gotten permission from your wife/girlfriend to go out. The “kitchen” term of course being synonymous with where the woman belongs and is always located. Most people would just say something like, “my wife was very supportive of me, and encouraged my trips to the backcountry wilderness.” But certain oblivious dinosaurs still use “kitchen pass” in public.

  9. mike from iowa says:

    As a non-consumer of alcoholic beverages,what’s with the plastic steer? If all my local and state pols were as freakin’ loopy as yours,I probably wouldn’t need an alcoholic primer. Is the Consortium’s liberrys walls that wavy? Lastly,why wasn’t your vodka martinin shaken not steered?

    • Jeanne Devon says:

      The particular animal one gets is the luck of the draw. One of my drinking companions got a giraffe. And yes, the walls were photographed pre-martini and are represented in all their wavy goodness. 🙂

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