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Extremely Local Politics
  • 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
  • Massachusetts Town Adopts $20 Fine for Public Profanity

    While national politicians offer few solutions to deal with rising deficits, one Massachusetts town has a novel solution for the debt crisis. At last night's town meeting, following a unanimous voice vote in support of a "get off my lawn" resolution, the residents of Middleborough voted 183-50 in favor of a proposal to impose a $20 fine on public profanity. Now we wait for the end of the Red Sox' season and watch the coffers overflow.

    "Middleborough" and "Monday night" are strange ways of spelling "Salem" and "late 17th century," but we will just have to believe that the story came via the Associated Press and not Cotton Mather's Wonders of the Invisible World

    Officials insist the proposal was not intended to censor casual or private conversations, but instead to crack down on loud, profanity-laden language used by teens and other young people in the downtown area and public parks…

    Matthew Segal, legal director for the American Civil Liberties Union of Massachusetts, said the U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that the government cannot prohibit public speech just because it contains profanity. The ordinance gives police discretion over whether to ticket someone if they believe the cursing ban has been violated.

    The ACLU's freedom-mongering aside, treating swearing as a civil violation rather than a criminal offense, actually represents a libertarian step for the Plymouth County community. Since 1968, Middleborough has had a bylaw criminalizing public cursing, though the statute was rarely enforced due to the rigmarole of the "courts" and the "Constitution."

    As this move comes on the heels of Mayor Mike Bloomberg's decision to ban sugary soft drinks in containers over 16 ounces, some are wondering whether the cursing ban extends from the same feelings of personal inadequacy. Bloomberg's salt cravings are well documented; perhaps the soda ban allowed him to look down on unhealthy sugar consumers — the first time the 5 and half foot mayor has looked down on anyone. Meanwhile, Middleborough is home to Assawompset Pond. They too are probably overcompensating.

    Photo by Patrick Strattner/Getty Images

    Tags: Civil Rights, Extremely Local Politics, Massachusetts
  • Extremely Local Politics — No Front Runner? Results

    It's time to check in on our Extremely Local Politics guesses from last week. As always, click on the images below to see the full picture. Before we get to the correct guesses, here are a couple of our favorite long-shot guesses, though there were a whole bunch of great ones this week, so we highly recommend going back and reading them all.

    TortillasDeLote keeping his finger on the pulse of his wallet. (cpowers)
    A candidate pets a supporters Sharpei puppy. (LulaMay)

    Hillary Clintons "grannie panties"
    Hillary Clinton

    Tags: Extremely Local Politics
  • Extremely Local Politics — No Front Runner?

    The Nevada and SC Republican primaries are this weekend, and you know what that means… It's time for another edition of Extremely Local Politics.

    As always, take a careful look at these extremely close photographs and tell us what you think they are. We'll publish the full images next week along with the names of the first folks to get them right.

    If brainteasers aren't your bag, feel free to leave your most creative guesses in the comments and we'll post some of our favorites.

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    3. 4.

    Enter in the comments as many times as you like!

    Tags: Extremely Local Politics
  • Extremely Local Politics — Results, Early Primaries

    Thanks to everyone who participated in this week's Extremely Local Politics. There were many hilarioius interpretations this week. Here's a couple of highlights:

    An awkward moment between Edwards and Obama during Democratic Candidate Spin the Bottle. (distractedglobe)
    Candidates reenact their favorite skits from The Electric Company (SCharb)

    Official Fred Thompson's chin rest. (bearness)
    Romney practicing technique for his next encounter with a Red State Voter. (iamwar)

    A poppy symbolizes homeland, freedom and kudos to the Bush Administration for a good crop of smack on the new Afghanistan national flag. (cpowers)
    The carpet under which the mainstream media sweeps points of view it feels threatens the status quo. (fakeHuman)

    Ordered pattern of the universe in direct denial of the true violent nature of elections. (NVLIBRARYSTAFF)
    John Edwards's favorite wizard hat (SCharb)

    And LulaMay, in addition to beating all the pundits by predicting the NH primary correctly pretty much swept the table with this week's first correct guessees:

    1. Huckabee/Obama eskimo moment. (NVLIBRARYSTAFF)
    However we're giving a special honorary mention to LulaMay for identifying half of the image correctly, though.

    2. Inflatable Campaign Toy (LulaMay)

    3. Hillary's Victory Blazer (LulaMay)

    4. Background of Republican Debate (LulaMay)

    Click on the images to see the full picture. Check back next later today for a new Extremely Local Politics.

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    3. 4.

    Tags: Extremely Local Politics