Posted tagged ‘Alaska’

Earthquake, Tsunami Rock Japan; West Coast Next?

March 11, 2011

A magnitude 8.9 earthquake struck offshore of Japan overnight and it was followed for hours by more than 50 aftershocks, many of them measured more than magnitude 6.0 on the Richter Scale. Much of the damage, though, was caused by a massive Tsunami which brought waves of more than 23 feet high ashore.

While there is a Tsunami warning here in the Bay Area, it’s anticipated that the surge will only be 1-3 feet, far less than the waves that hit Japan overnight. Evacuation orders have been issued along the entire West Coast, from Northern California up to Alaska.

From the Associated Press:

A ferocious tsunami spawned by one of the largest earthquakes on record slammed Japan’s eastern coast Friday, killing hundreds of people as it swept away ships, cars and homes while widespread fires burned out of control.

Hours later, the tsunami hit Hawaii but did not cause major damage. Warnings blanketed the Pacific, putting areas on alert as far away as South America, Canada, Alaska and the entire U.S. West coast. In northeastern Japan, the area around a nuclear power plant was evacuated after the reactor’s cooling system failed.

Police said 200 to 300 bodies were found in the northeastern coastal city of Sendai, the city in Miyagi prefecture, or state, closest to the epicenter. Another 110 were confirmed killed, with 350 people missing. Police also said 544 people were injured.

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Sex Offender Wins Alaska Lottery

January 12, 2009

I don’t even know where to begin on this story.

The winner of a $500,000 lottery drawing in Alaska, designed to benefit a sex abuse victims charity, came forward this weekend to collect his prize and it turns out that he is a sex offender himself.

From Fox News:

Alec Ahsoak of Anchorage, 53, came forward Saturday to collect his prize.

The state sex offender registry lists Ahsoak as convicted of two counts of sexual abuse of a minor in 1993 and one count in 2000.

The raffle drawing was Friday night.

State law says all games of chance must benefit a charity. The designated beneficiary for the half-million dollar raffle was Standing Together Against Rape, or STAR.

Ahsoak says he plans to use the money to buy a home and to improve his life. He tells KTUU-TV he will donate $100,000 to STAR.

Sarah Palin Pardons Turkey…But Misses the Rest Being Slaughtered Behind Her

November 21, 2008

Alaska Governor Sarah Palin granted the traditional Thanksgiving pardon to one lucky turkey this week, but the video that shocked some viewers captured what was happening in the background.

Could her PR team have picked a worse background for the interview?

From the Associated Press:

As she answered questions Thursday at Triple D Farm & Hatchery outside Wasilla cameras from the Anchorage Daily News and others showed the bloody work of an employee slaughtering birds behind the former Republican vice presidential candidate.

On the video, Palin didn’t comment about the slaughter as she answered questions, saying she’s thankful that her son’s Stryker brigade is relatively safe in Iraq and the rest of her family is healthy and happy. She said she’s glad to be back in Alaska.

“This was neat,” she said of the outing. “I was happy to get to be invited to participate in this. For one, you need a little bit of levity in this job, especially with so much that has gone in the last couple of months that has been so political obviously that it’s nice to get out and do something to promote a local business and to just participate in something that isn’t so heavy-handed politics that it invites criticism. Certainly we’ll probably invite criticism for even doing this, too, but at least this was fun.”

Fishing Boat Sinks Off Alaska, 5 Dead

October 23, 2008

Two fisherman are still missing after a fish-processing vessel sank in frigid, stormy seas off a remote Alaskan island chain with an 11-man crew. Five men were killed and four have survived.

From the Associated Press:

The search for the two men missing from their ship, the Katmai, was to resume at daybreak Thursday.

A Coast Guard plane and helicopter from Adak as well as an Air National Guard plane and copter were to be used in the search, Petty Officer Wes Shinn said.

The search began early Wednesday when an emergency signal was received from the Katmai. Another vessel reported the Katmai had radioed it was taking on water in a stern compartment as it headed toward Dutch Harbor with a load of cod.

U.S. Coast Guard rescuers pulled the survivors from a life raft about 15 hours after their ship sent out a distress call early Wednesday morning. The water was 43 degrees.

The crew’s survival suits, physical condition, and their efforts to keep one another semi-warm and awake all could have helped them endure, said Coast Guard Petty Officer Levi Read.

“They were in good spirits and in good shape,” Read said. “They asked to stay, so they could continue to help with the search.”

The four survivors were discovered in the raft near the Amchitka Pass, which links the Bering Sea to the Pacific Ocean about 1,400 miles southwest of Anchorage.

It wasn’t clear what happened to the 93-foot Katmai. The Coast Guard received an e-mail from another boat, the Blue Ballard, saying the Katmai had lost steering and was taking on water, Read said.

The Coast Guard received an electronic signal at 1 a.m. from the Katmai. A search helicopter and C-130 airplane were sent from Kodiak, a journey of about 4 1/2 hours. The plane crew spotted two strobe lights in the water and dropped two life rafts. But the searchers had seen no sign of the Katmai or its crew, Read said.

Sarah Palin Meets With World Leaders

September 24, 2008

Now the Democrats can no longer say that she has not had any International Relations.  Palin, 44, is a first-term Alaska governor who has been hindered by little experience outside North America.

From Newsday:

On a whirlwind day in Manhattan yesterday, Sarah Palin had her first national security briefing, met her first heads of state and got her first foreign policy tutorial from Henry Kissinger – but she still has not held her first news conference.

Palin came to New York City as the United Nations convened its annual General Assembly so she could acquire foreign policy knowledge and connections – and the pictures of her with foreign leaders – that she needs as GOP presidential candidate John McCain‘s running mate.

But in the news media capital of the world, Palin dodged reporters and their questions. She’s given two TV interviews but hasn’t held a news conference since McCain tapped her on Aug. 29.

Palin barred all print reporters and a TV news producer from the photo shoot of the start of her meeting with Afghanistan’s President Hamid Karzai, until TV news shows threatened to not shoot the event. After that, they were allowed in to get a glimpse before being ushered back outside.

From the New York Times:

Gov. Sarah Palin of Alaska met her first head of state on Tuesday as she crisscrossed New York City receiving foreign policy tutorials in advance of her debate next week with Senator Joseph R. Biden Jr., the chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

Ms. Palin — who scheduled a series of meetings with world leaders who were in town for the United NationsGeneral Assembly — sat down first with President Hamid Karzai of Afghanistan, who told her of the need for more troops in his country and bonded with her over his baby son, Mirwais. She was then whisked to the Colombian Mission to talk free trade and renewable energy with President Álvaro Uribe. She capped off her day meeting with the éminence grise of Republican foreign policy, former Secretary of State Henry A Kissinger, who spoke with her about Georgia, Russia and NATO.

It was Ms. Palin’s introduction to motorcade diplomacy, a lightning round of meetings and photo opportunities designed to portray Ms. Palin — who lacks much in the way of foreign policy experience, has traveled abroad little and had not met a foreign head of state before Tuesday — at ease with world leaders.

Democrats, and some Republicans, have tried to make Ms. Palin’s lack of foreign policy experience an issue in the campaign. The McCain campaign, for its part, has made three main points so far when asked about Ms. Palin’s foreign policy credentials.

It invokes geography, noting Alaska’s proximity to Russia, as Ms. Palin did when she told ABC News, “You can actually see Russia from land here in Alaska.” Other times the campaign cites her résumé, noting that as governor she had been commander of the Alaska National Guard for nearly two years. And it often pivots to her work on energy policy, as Mr. McCain did last week, when he said, “I’m proud of her obvious knowledge of this nation’s energy needs, because that’s a national security issue.”

But with next week’s debate looming, the McCain-Palin campaign put her on an accelerated course in foreign policy, and scheduled meetings with world leaders and foreign policy mandarins in New York on Tuesday and Wednesday.

It was not her first trip to New York; she was here last October and visited Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg at City Hall. And while she rode from leader to leader, sometimes causing gridlock along the way, her husband, Todd, took their 5-month-old son, Trig, and two of their daughters, Willow, 14, and Piper, 7, about town. They took pictures with the Statue of Liberty in the background, ate hot dogs in Central Park and stopped in at F.A.O. Schwarz, where Piper tried on some princess dresses, the campaign said.

Sarah Palin: From Beauty Pageant to Vice President?

August 30, 2008

It sounds like a plot to a bad movie but it is in fact what may happen come this November. The big story of the past 24 hours has been Senator John McCain’s surprising choice of Alaska Governor Sarah Palin as his choice for his running mate in the 2008 presidential election.

Associated Press

Credit: Associated Press

From the Wall Street Journal:

Palin is a relative unknown, a former Wasilla, Alaska, mayor who has served only two years as governor. She will spend the upcoming days and weeks introducing herself to voters. Here’s something they’ll learn: she is a former Miss Alaska contestant, the Miss America Organization touted today.

In 1984, Palin was chosen Miss Wasilla and went on to become the first runner-up in the Miss Alaska Pageant, but she won Miss Congeniality that year. Her family still holds ties to the pageant—her husband, Todd, was a judge in 2008’s Miss Alaska pageant.

From Newsweek:

In the months leading up to November’s election, John McCain will be campaigning with two former beauty queens at his side: his wife, Cindy, who was the Junior Rodeo Queen of Arizona in 1968, and his newly tapped vice presidential candidate, Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, who won her local pageant and was the runner-up for Miss Alaska in 1984. So what do pageants and politics have in common? Bonnie Faulk, the executive director of the Miss Alaska Scholarship Pageant, spoke with NEWSWEEK’s Samantha Henig about how the pageant world prepares young women for politics; which politicians could stand for some pageantry coaching; and why looking at fit bodies needn’t be about pleasure.

NEWSWEEK: Is it at all a surprise to you that a former Miss Alaska runner-up might end up in the White House?
Bonnie Faulk:
Absolutely not. These girls come through these pageants and are so well-spoken by the time they’ve completed the competition, it’s not surprising at all. Being poised and being able to be natural and comfortable, and speak in front of a podium, and in front of the press, is something that we really push with the Miss America organization.

Do you see a lot of contestants with political aspirations?
At this young stage in their life, I don’t know if we have a lot of political aspirations. At this stage, their goal is college and degrees.

Which politicians out there do you think could benefit from some pageant coaching?
You know, I love George Bush, but he just doesn’t speak that well. He’s a Texan, and it’s OK that he doesn’t speak that well. But we could all gain a little bit from pageants and speaking abilities, I think.

Sarah Palin Selected as John McCain’s Running Mate

August 29, 2008

Well, we are assured history in this year’s Presidential election. We will either have our first African-American President in Barack Obama, or our first woman Vice President. Senator John McCain has selected Alaska Governor Sarah Palin as his running mate, this according to CNN this morning.

Sarah Palin

Sarah Palin

From the New York Times:

She hunts! She fishes! She eats moose burgers! She can gut a salmon as well as dispatch an incumbent governor! She’s a rural mother of five who clings to guns and religion -– exuberantly!

In choosing as his running mate Gov. Sarah Palin of Alaska, two years removed from her only other political job as a small-town mayor, John McCain has certainly offered up a giant-killer -– “Sarah Barracuda,” as she’s known in the Last Frontier State.

Palin, who has more than a passing resemblance to Tina Fey, took on the kleptocracy of Alaska’s Republican politics and won.

First, she ousted hated incumbent Frank Murkowski in a primary two years ago, and then promptly cleaned up his mess in Juneau, even selling his private jet on e-bay. Second, she rejected the “bridge to nowhere,” the famous earmark for a span from Ketchikan to an island of 50 people -– further angering the politicians-for-life who have run Alaska for half as long as it’s been in the union.

But she has her own ethics concern, the subject of an investigation of whether the governor’s office was involved in the firing a state trooper who was in the midst of a nasty divorce from Palin’s sister — Troopergate with a bit of Alaska Gothic thrown in. And McCain’s selection -– a woman who looks young enough to be his college-age daughter -– makes it hard for Republicans to criticize Barack Obama for his in inexperience. Palin is an inoculation for what may be the biggest rap against Obama. That’s a huge risk.

Getty Images

Credit: Getty Images

From CNN:

Palin, 44, who’s in her first term as governor, is a pioneering figure in Alaska, the first woman and the youngest person to hold the state’s top political job.

She catapulted to the post with a strong reputation as a political outsider, forged during her stint in local politics. She was mayor and a council member of the small town of Wasila and was chairman of the state Oil and Gas Conservation Commission, which regulates Alaska’s oil and gas resources, in 2003 and 2004.

The conservative Palin defeated two so-called political insiders to win the governor’s job — incumbent Gov. Frank Murkowski in the GOP primary and former two-term Democratic Gov. Tony Knowles in the 2006 general election. iReport.com: What do you think of McCain’s VP pick?

Palin made her name in part by backing tough ethical standards for politicians. During the first legislative session after her election, her administration passed a state ethics law overhaul.

Palin’s term has not been without controversy. A legislative investigation is looking into allegations that Palin fired Alaska’s public safety commissioner because he refused to fire the governor’s former brother-in-law, a state trooper.

Reuters/AP Photo

Credit: Reuters/AP Photo

Palin has focused on energy and natural resources policy during her short stint in office, and she is known for her support of drilling in the Alaska National Wildlife Refuge, a position opposed by McCain but supported by many grass-roots Republicans.

Her biography on the state governor’s Web site says one of the two major pieces of legislation passed during her first legislative session was a competitive process to construct a gas pipeline.