Sunday Roast: Summer Solstice

Happy Summer Solstice, all y’all?  Heh, all I know is that it’s supposed to be the day of the year with the longest daylight hours.  I won’t say it’s the longest day of the year, because, as we all know, that is a rather subjective concept.

Anyhoo, enjoy this lovely video of Alaska during summer solstice.

This is our daily open thread — Brace yourselves for summer…

Guest Blogging: Bridges to Nowhere and Beyond

By Pachydiplax

On November 17, 2005, Congress defeated two earmark bills fromAlaska’s sole Congressman, Don Young and the late Senator Ted Stevens, for bridges in Alaska. The first bill earmarked $231 million for what became known as the “Bridge to Nowhere”, a bridge to provide a connection between the port city of Ketchikan and Gravina Island, the location of Ketchikan’s airport. The second bill earmarked $223 million for a bridge connecting Anchorage with Point MacKenzie across the Knik Arm. Both bridges were touted as being important for economic development in Alaska. The 2005 legislation prevented Alaska from spending any federal funds for planning, design or construction of either of these two bridges. The legislation did not eliminate the bridge projects nor did it eliminate the $454 million fromAlaska’s federal transportation funding that year.

The bridge between Ketchikan and Gravina would eliminate the need for the ferryboat that currently serves the 13 families that live on the island and the 200,000 passengers that use the airport each year. The bridge would have to be taller than the Brooklyn Bridge to allow passage for large cargo and passenger ships. The ferry makes its crossing at a narrow location while the bridge would have to be longer than the Golden Gate Bridge, crossing at a wide point, 6 miles south of the ferry crossing, so not to interfere with airport operations. Even thought the bridge hasn’t been built, Alaska did spend our tax dollars to build a road on Gravina Island. It runs for 6 miles south from the airport… to nowhere.

The envisioned 2.6 mile, 4-lane crossing over the Knik Arm of Cook Inlet would consist of causeways built out from each shore connected by a 1.5-mile long bridge. The cost of the bridge and several miles of roadway and interchanges could reach $1.5 billion. The 81-mile drive from Anchorage to the new Goose Creek Correctional facility at Point MacKenzie would only be 12 miles via the bridge. The deepwater port at Point MacKenzie would also benefit from a water crossing to Anchorage. Construction has begun on a 30-mile spur line from the Alaska Railroad at Houston to Port MacKenzie and work is underway reducing road grades and widening roads for expected increases in truck traffic to and from the port. Proponents of the bridge are currently seeking private investors and environmental studies have begun on the bridge project. Meanwhile, there is a need for a way to cross the Knik Arm

That need was closer to being filled in 2010 with the completion of a new ferryboat, the M/V Susitna. Thanks to Senator Stevens and the U.S. Navy, the Mat-Su Borough now owns a $78 million twin-hulled-ice breaking-catamaran ferryboat. It can operate at 17 knots in high seas drawing 12’ of water or reconfigure itself to operate at 4.5’ draft. Unlike any of the 17 ferryboats the State currently operates in the Alaskan Marine Highway system, the M/V Susitna requires more crewmembers than comparably sized ferryboats and crew members require special training. The vessel carries 120 passengers and 20 vehicles. A building housing a passenger terminal and offices for the ferry operators has opened at Port MacKenzie. Now all that is needed are specialized docking facilities at both Port MacKenzie and Anchorage and the ferry will have somewhere to go.

Former Senator Ted Stevens dies in plane crash

Former Alaskan Senator Ted Steven has died today in a plane crash in Alaska, has been confirmed.

Former Alaska Senator Ted Stevens, 86, has died in a plane crash in Alaska, according to his former chief of staff Mitch Rose.

Former Nasa chief Sean O’Keefe was confirmed also to have been aboard the small plane, officials say.

The aircraft is believed to have been carrying nine people.

The National Transportation Safety Board says five people were killed and four survived, with two badly hurt. It remains unclear who the survivors are. (read all)

Also on board was the current director of EADS America O’Keefe. Allegedly Mr O’Keefe and his son have survived the accident. Former Senator Stevens leaves a wife and six children. I am truly sorry for his family as well as for the families of the passengers and crew on board of that plane, who all suffered a terrible loss.

Sarah’s Twitter – Todd’s Job

From Twitter:

From Wikipedia:

For eighteen years, he worked for BP in the North Slope oil fields of Alaska. In 2007, in order to avoid a conflict of interest relating to his wife’s position as governor, he took a leave[10] from his job as production supervisor when his employer became involved in natural gas pipeline negotiations with his wife’s administration.[3] Seven months later, because the family needed more income, Todd returned to BP. In order to avoid potential conflict of interest, this time he accepted a non-management position as a production operator.[1][10] He resigned from his job on September 18, 2009, with the stated reason of spending more time with his family.[11]

The family needed more income, that was before she got all those clothes?

BREAKING: Sarah Palin to resign as Alaska Governor

Gov Palin

Gov Palin

According to MSNBC, Sarah Palin will not finish her first term as the Alaska Governor.  No news yet as to why.

Lt Gov Sean Parnell will be the new Governor.

Stay tuned…

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UPDATE:  I just watched Palin’s speech on the teevee machine.  Wow.  I wonder if she’s trying to give Mark Sanford a run for his money on rambling speeches.

Palin talked about not wanting to be a “lame duck” governor, because it would cost the state lots of money and waste time, and she was going to be effecting change in some other arena.  She said she loves her job, but she feels resigning is the best thing to do for the state (she’s probably more right than she knows).  She made a totally lame basketball analogy, and talked about the sacrifice of the troops in Kosovo.  She said people were mean to her baby, Trig, and that she asked her kids if she should resign.  WTF?

Basically, this was just a long, rambling, ridiculous, and illogical resignation speech.  If she has hopes of a presidential run in 2012, she’s just shot them down today.  If she’s hope ing to run for the AK senate seat in 2010, she’s just shot herself in the foot.  Politically, none of this makes sense.

Something else is going on, and I can’t wait to find out what it is.  Hopefully, if it involves any of her children, she has the grace to keep it out of the limelight.

Conclusions?  Well, without further information, I’d have to say that the Governor of Alaska just wasn’t having fun anymore — so she quit her job.

Stay classy, Palin!

UPDATE: MSNBC’s Andrea Mitchell reports:

Talking to people who are very close to Sarah Palin, I have been told that she has told her supporters that she is out of politics, period. She is fed up with politics. She doesn’t like her life. She feels like she has to raise her family. She’s sick of the commute from Wasilla to the capital and she really does not want to run for higher office. This is not the case where she is stepping down in order to figure the way for a presidential run. In fact, she has told some of her biggest backers in the national Republican Party that they are free to choose other candidates for 2012.” (Source, Think Progress)

No, that’s not it.  Whatever it is, IT’S BIG.

UPDATE:  Here’s the YouTube of Palin’s speech.  If your ears start to bleed, please stop the video and seek medical attention.  😉

UPDATE:  From The Brad Blog

[Shannyn Moore] says Palin is “resigning as part of damage control” due to a scandal this is “not of a family nature.”

“The governor would not be able to continue her job when it comes out,” she told me on the phone just now, before adding: “Why would Mark Sanford not resign, but Sarah Palin did? Her family didn’t even know about the resignation until they were standing with her by the lake” when she made her announcement.

Wow.