Wednesday, January 10, 2007

2006 in review

Plans for the 7th annual birthday bash fell through after nasty cold weather made it impractical. Hmm. Sounds like this year, although the 8th birthday bash is still on schedule.

The car died, the heater blew up, the house froze. We're still paying off the debt.

Redesigned the Republic.

Our local supporters of theocracy (Seekins, Coghill, Kelly) introduced a constitutional amendment to make it impossible for benefits to be offered to anybody but legally recognized spouses. The bill was written so broadly that heterosexual, unmarried or common-law couples would be affected, as would private business. Kelly, whose manhood seems to be easily threatened, is still ranting about the dire awfulness of offering (gasp!) health benefits. Apparently equal work does not deserve equal pay, in his eyes...

The state of Alaska decided it wouldn't release the 2004 voting data/database to the Democratic Party.

Don Young was implicated in the Abramof scandal.

The Green Party of Alaska got back on the ballot.

The Ester Republic held its 7th annual birthday bash. Delivered the Publisher's Picks for the first time.

Don Young voted for a food labeling bill (it passed) that prevents states from requiring stricter labeling than the feds. This means that, contrary to the unanimous vote of the Alaska Legislature, we can't require that GM fish or farm fish be labeled as such.

The second Library Lallapalooza and Book Bash raised a bunch of money for the Ester library but frayed the librarians' tempers. We resolved to be more relaxed and better prepared for it next time.

We got hit with a huge tax bill which we're still paying off.

Hans and I went to Anchorage for the Alaska Press Club conference. The Republic won third place for Jamie Smith's editorial cartoons.

The Republic's new office, the Old Post Office Espresso Publishing House & Art Gallery, was moved into the village square by Scott Allen.

Amy Cameron, Kate Billington, and I had our show, Vanishment, at the Annex. I sold a few pieces!

It snowed.

The new Republic office held its first opening on June 5 for the first Ester Art Walk.

Fairbanks Open Radio started up its website.

I gave Hans an electric guitar for his birthday. He's had fun all year frightening the cats with it.

Al-Zarqawi amazed the world by dying once again (for something like the third or fourth time). This time he wasn't able to get resurrected by the State Department or Bush's press secretary, as before.

We went to a Scandihoovian solstice party on Happy Road (read: St. Patrick's) where the partygoers took turns (in between drinking akvavit and mead and eating sild) charging down the road as horse and chariot and whapping a knight of the Crusades upside the head with an axe. Later a large malfunctioning trebuchet provided life-threatening entertainment by pitching boulders directly up. And then down again.

Senator Ted Stevens earned his nickname as "Tubes" Stevens for an unfortunate choice of words (and evident lack of understanding) regarding the Internet and e-mail.

Hosted Carnival of the Green #35.

Had my 45th birthday and felt old.

A new low in Alaska politics was struck: Frank Murkowski sent me (and far too many others) a piece of propaganda on his oil/gas proposal, disguised as "information," and featuring a photo of Murky Frank from 20 years ago. The net effect was that practically the entire state started wondering how to bill him personally for the expense of producing this little green gem.

Tim Easton, Rod Picott, and a bunch of local musicians appeared in a concert at the Malemute Saloon to benefit the Ester library. Wahoo!

Pat Davis and Chris Barefoot died.

Our Congressional delegation voted unanimously to give the US president dictatorial powers via the Military Commissions Act. Through some fancy-pants redefinitions, the term "accused" became synonymous with "guilty" and "torture" became softened to "interrogation". Christians everywhere were shamed by Reverend Louis P. Sheldon, who appears to think that medieval standards of justice are appropriate when somebody Muslim has been suspected of, well, anything.

The Ester Post Office celebrated its 100th year of service to the "Arts & Mines of Ester". I stood up in front of my neighbors and made a speech, and -- astonishingly -- had fun doing it!

Don Young demonstrated his legendary prognostication skills once again with his firm pronouncement that the Democats wouldn't take over the House.

Ralph Seekins, theocratist (see above), deigned to visit Ester's firehouse to discuss the possibility of not bumping the expansion project from the top of the list anymore and maybe funding it this year. If, of course, Mr. Finance Chair got back in office. Funny, when he was in office he didn't seem too interested in what Ester or its fire department needed.

In a stunning display of fiscal irresponsibility and plain stupidity about the history of walls on borders, Congress and Bush pass into law the American/Mexican fence bill. Never mind the delightful price tag it comes with.

The borough assembly played ostrich and voted down a resolution that would have called for Donald Rumsfeld's resignation.

Mike Musick tromped Bonnie Williams and won a seat on the borough assembly.

The American public, sick to death of the corruption in Washington, threw the bastards out. Alas, Diane Benson only gave Don Young a scare with 40% of the vote. Alaska's voting lunkheads stuck us with Yon Dung for another two years. Ralph Seekins and Jim Holm got tossed out on their ears, and David Guttenberg was reelected with flying colors.

A flap commenced with GVEA and certain fishy financial figures were promoted by our electric utility. Much fuss commenced.

GVEA's G&T proposal failed, with a whopping 21% turnout. GVEA's CEO and board president demonstrated clearly that they didn't believe that the membership had a clue. It was, according to them, just a problem in public relations, rather than anything substantive. Well, now the membership knows where the problem lies.

Solstice and Christmas and New Year's all came again much too quickly, but it finally dawned on me that next year, I should take vacation the week BEFORE, and maybe I can get what I need to done in time!

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