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Alaska
  • Alaska Town Has Been Governed by a Cat for Nearly 15 Years

    No one has quite been able to explain the Sarah Palin phenomenon to me. Yes, Alaska's old boy network of establishment Republicans and corrupt oil interests was ripe for a maverick-y shake-up, but Sarah Palin? As a governor of a whole state?

    That kind of non-conformity to reality only makes sense when you consider the case of Talkeetna, Alaksa, a 900-person town with a cat for a mayor

    The part-manx was named honorary mayor shortly after his birth, and now locals all know the cat as "Mayor Stubbs."

    As the story goes, 15 years ago several of the town residents didn't like the candidates who were running for mayor of Talkeetna, so as a joke, they encouraged enough people to elect Stubbs the cat as a write-in candidate, and he actually won.

    Those who expect this feline to manage the budgetary kitty or provide inspired leadership will be sorely disappointed, because this fat cat spends most of its time holding court at the local general store where he "has catnip in a wine glass," according to one local resident.

    Nevertheless, the honorary mayor is credited with boosting tourism to the town, where 30 to 40 people ask to see him daily. That's probably more than Barack Obama's stimulus projects have done for Alaska's economy, showing that regular replacement of Mayor Stubbs' litter box is the one kind of Change We Can Believe In.

    Photo via Facebook


    Tags: Alaska, Animals, Extremely Local Politics
  • Alaska Candidate Evicted from Ballot Due to Homelessness

    Alaskans are proud people. Strong carriers of of nation's pioneer spirit. There's nothing so much to take pride in as a person's ability to make something of themselves. To build his or herself up from nothing and becoming an upstanding pillar of society and a paragon of the American will to succeed and thrive at all costs!

    Just don't bring that shit around the state house

    A Republican House candidate who claims to have been homeless and living in the back of her pickup while dodging the cops in Muldoon has been ruled ineligible for office on residency grounds…

    [Barbara] Bachmeier, a real estate agent and Army veteran who says she has a stress-related disability, now owns her own home in [Alaska's House District 13], which also includes a portion of Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson.

    But for about two of the 12 months necessary to establish her residency in the district, she said she lived in a camper shell on the back of her truck with two cats and a third "service animal" of a species she wouldn't identify.

    "I knew I could run for the House and represent these people well because I have experienced homelessness as a product of the VA not helping me," she said.

    That's ridiculous! A camper shell on the back of a truck is at least as genuine a residence as the igloos that I've been led to believe most Alaskans lived in.


    Tags: Alaska, State Legislature
  • One of a Kind Candidate: Reggie Joule, Mayor, Northwest Arctic Borough, AK

    Reggie JouleEight-term Alaska state representative Reggie Joule is stepping down from office to return home and run for mayor of the Northwest Arctic Borough, population 7,500. Ah, back to small-town life. In a small town that is larger than Indiana. America is bonkers.

    The Northwest Arctic Borough has a population density of zero, so if I understand statistics, those 7,500 people in the Northwest Arctic Borough don't exist. Go ahead, check the math. United we stand, divided we disappear, statistically speaking. Math jokes 2012!

    When I meet people outside of the U.S. and ask them what they think of our country, I expect them to rave about our freedoms (ha) or our flawless democracy (ha ha) or Michael Jackson : ( . But no, it's always the size they mention, like people too polite to say anything else when they see a friend's hideous baby. Say what you will about America: there is a lot of it. Rhode Island and Delaware could have multiple children in Joule's "borough" and still have room for Israel as an exchange student. And with this election, it could all be Joule's. He could stand on his porch in the morning, scan the horizon as far as the eye can see and think, "Yeahhh, Rhode Island and Delaware doing it."

    Sorry, I buried the lede. Here it is. Blanket tossing. Joule, an Inupiat Eskimo, is in the Alaska Sports Hall of Fame for winning 10 gold medals at the World Eskimo-Indian Games for blanket tossing, which is the most fun you can have on two feet with 40 hands and a giant blanket. He also won medals for sports like the two-foot high kick and the greased pole walk. I don’t think it's too much to ask that all elected officials do the two-foot high kick. Golf multiplied by professional poker is still less than the two-foot high kick. Math jokes/more math jokes 2012! (But nothing more complicated than long division. Don't be ridiculous.)

    Photo via Reggie Joule's Facebook page

    Previously: Joshua Smith, "Long shot hotshot"

    Our friends at Dr Pepper are going to send Mr. Joule a one-of-a-kind t-shirt, and you get to choose its slogan:

    Want a custom t-shirt of your own? Of course you do! Head to DrPepper.com and get started.


    Tags: Alaska, One of a Kind Candidates
  • Quote Unquote: Your Husband's Signature Required

    Alaska State Rep. Alan Dick on the idea of criminalizing abortions performed without a man's written permission
    .

    "If I thought that the man's signature was required… in order for a woman to have an abortion, I'd have a little more peace about it…"

    .
    And don't you dare think about forging that signature, young lady, or you'll be getting sent straight to detention.

    …in a state prison, I mean.

    .

    Related: Quote Unquote: Women, Cows, Whatever


    Tags: Abortion, Alaska, Men and Women, Quote Unquote, Republicans, State Legislature, Women's Rights
  • Mitt Romney Wins Despite Comical Unlikability: 3 Lessons From Super Tuesday

    Mitt Romney came out ahead on Super Tuesday in the same way he's won most contests this primary cycle: with a resounding "Meh." He dominated Massachusetts (72.1%), had a strong finish in Massachusetts Junior (39.8% in VT), won the Idaho and Alaska caucuses, and pulled out a 1% victory over Rick Santorum in Ohio that was just unimpressive enough to keep the political media speculating about a "brokered convention" in August.

    So what did we learn?

    1. Romney dominated among the key "people who want to vote for someone who appears on the ballot" demographic. Despite the close finish, Romney is expected to pick up 35 delegates from Ohio compared to Santorum's 21, in part due to Santorum's failure to qualify for the ballot in three districts. In Virginia, Romney will come away with 43 delegates to Ron Paul's 3.

    2. If the convention is "brokered," Sarah Palin will be the wrong person to "fixer" it. In the Alaska caucuses, Palin cast her ballot for "the cheerful one…"

    "Who can best bust through that radical left's kind of dispensation and desire to mistreat those who are defenseless, mistreat those who perhaps have some disadvantages by making them more beholden to government? Who best can contrast themselves from that?" she continued. “I thought who best could do that [and] my own personal opinion is, the cheerful one, is Newt Gingrich. I have appreciated what he has stood for, stood boldly for."

    Newt Gingrich came in fourth in Alaska.

    3. Indecision punditry is not to be messed with. Here's my colleague Gonzalo's prediction: "I predict Mitt Romney will be the big winner but the news coverage will still make it seem like he lost somehow." And the Atlantic this morning

    If [Romney] does manage to pull it out, it seems clear it will be not with a bang but a whimper. As in Ohio, it will be narrowly, down to the wire, and with the maximum amount of stress and suffering.

    On to Guam and the Virgin Islands!

    Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images News/Getty Images


    Tags: Alaska, Idaho, Mitt Romney, Newt Gingrich, Ohio, Primaries, Republicans, Rick Santorum, Ron Paul, Sarah Palin, Super Tuesday, Virginia