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Alaska Legislator Who Refused TSA Grope to Arrive in Juneau This Morning – by Ferry Boat – Updated

7:16 am in Government, Legislature by EdwardTeller

Alaska state legislator Sharon Cissna (source: AK State Legislature)

After her mastectomy padding showed up in the invasive full-body X-ray scan at Sea-Tac Airport on Sunday, Alaska Representative Sharon Cissna (D – District K Anchorage) refused to go through a highly invasive pat-down.  Unlike some who have refused this insulting procedure, Cissna was allowed to leave the airport.  She had been searched before.  After telling her husband she would never submit to such indignity again, she kept her word.

Apparently, Cissna went from Sea-Tac to British Columbia, where she caught a plane to Prince Rupert, where the Alaska Ferry MV Matanuska was scheduled to dock early in the week, as it worked its way north from Bellingham, Washington to Juneau, Haines and Skagway.

From Prince Rupert, before boarding the ferry, which doesn’t have  wifi, and only intermittent cell phone coverage, Cissna wrote a letter to constituents:

The evening of the 20th of February 2011 started with relief, as I was anxious to get back to the important work of the Alaskan Legislature.  Heading into security after time with the line of passengers, I felt upbeat.  I’d blocked out the horror of three months earlier, but after the pleasant TSA agent checked the ticket and ID, I suddenly found myself directed into scanning by the Seattle Airport’s full-body imaging scan.  The horror began again.  A female agent placed herself blocking my passage.  Scan results would again display that my breast cancer and the resulting scars pointed a TSA finger of irregularity at my chest.  I would require invasive, probing hands of a stranger over my body.

Memories of violation would consume my thoughts again.”

“Being a public servant and elected representative momentarily disappeared.

Facing the agent I began to remember what my husband and I’d decided after the previous intensive physical search.  That I never had to submit to that horror again!  It would be difficult, we agreed, but I had the choice to say no, this twisted policy did not have to be the price of flying to Juneau!”

“So last night, as more and more TSA, airline, airport and police gathered, I became stronger in remembering to fight the submission to a physical hand exam.

I repeatedly said that I would not allow the feeling-up and I would not use the transportation mode that required it.”

“For nearly fifty years I’ve fought for the rights of assault victims, population in which my wonderful Alaska sadly ranks number one, both for men and women who have been abused.  The very last thing an assault victim or molested person can deal with is yet more trauma and the groping of strangers, the hands of government ‘safety’ policy.”

“For these people, as well as myself, I refused to submit.”

Wednesday, the Alaska House of Representatives took a “Sense of  the House” vote in support of Rep. Cissna in a resolution:

“that efficient travel is a cornerstone of our economy and our quality of life especially here in Alaska, and that no one should have to sacrifice their dignity in order to travel.”

The House voted 36-2 to adopt that sentiment. Reps. Bob Lynn, R-Anchorage, and Dan Saddler, R-Eagle River, voted “no.” Cissna and Rep. Anna Fairclough, another Eagle River Republican, were absent.

Representatives Lynn and Sadler are the legislature’s most ardent supporters of the most intrusive and ridiculous aspects of our mismanaged, stupid “war on terror.”   Lynn denounced me in a 2004 joint session of the legislature as an enemy of the State.   Read the rest of this entry →

Who is Scott McAdams? – Introducing Scott, Alaska’s Democratic Senate Nominee

11:00 am in 2010 election, Elections, Government, Legislature, Politics by EdwardTeller

[Ed. note: Brought to you by long-time community member and Alaska resident Edward Teller, here's a preliminary opportunity to learn more about the candidate who'll be up against either pro-corporatism Murkowski or Palin-ite Miller when the Alaskan Republican primary is finalized.]

Wednesday evening, with the backdrop of a luscious late summer Alaska sunset over Kincaid Park in Anchorage, Democratic Party U.S. Senate candidate, Sitka Mayor, Scott McAdams, addressed the post-primary Alaska Democrats Unity Dinner. The dinner is designed to bring candidates back together after the sometimes hard-fought battles of internal politics.

Scott was the event’s last speaker. He knew that national attention has turned somewhat to this race, as Tea Party Express know-nothing Jim Miller seems to be beating incumbent Senator Lisa Murkowski.

Steve Aufrecht, blogger at What Do I Know? made a video of Scott’s speech. He has cut out some of the raucous applause.

Introducing Scott McAdams. He’s REAL, folks:

You can donate to Scott McAdams here.

Former Senator Ted Stevens on Board Bush Plane Crash Involving Fatalities – UPDATED

8:34 am in Government, Legislature, Politics, Republican Party by EdwardTeller

[Ed. note: see comments below for more updates. If you have more current information from Alaska, please share in comments.]

Alaskan political icon Ted Stevens was on board a DeHavilland Otter that crashed in heavy rain and low visibility yesterday evening about 20 miles northwest of Dillingham Alaska. According to the latest information, there are fatalities and survivors among the nine people on board. No names of fatalities have yet been released and a doctor has been on the scene since early morning.

I’m in Chelan, Washington for a wake for my closest friend’s mom today, so won’t be covering this very closely. I got a call about midnight Alaska time from Rishi Maharish, the news director for some Alaska radio stations. Since then, some new information has emerged, and more substantial details will probably be coming out soon.

I can provide a little information that hasn’t been published in any reports yet, though.

I believe this is the airplane that crashed.

Here is an image of the lodge, owned by General Communications Incorporated, to which the plane was headed.

Stevens has been an avid fisherman during his entire Alaska residence, and the lodge to which he was traveling provides access to the Wood-Tikchik State Park, the nation’s largest state park, and one of the most spectacular scenic areas of the state. The quality of fishing for Rainbow trout and Arctic grayling in the lakes and streams of the park is legendary.

Sen. Vitter Fingered for Screwing with Holdren and Lubchenco Science Appointments

2:56 pm in climate change, Legislature by EdwardTeller

On Saturday, I wrote a post for Oxdown Gazette, wondering who had placed a hold on two important science appointments in the Obama administration. Sunday I received emails suggesting the culprit putting holds on the nomination of Dr. John Holdren as Obama’s science advisor, and on Dr. Jane Lubchenco to head the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration.

Calls early this afternoon to one of the Senators on the U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science & Transportation in Washington D.C. (and to another source in DC) confirmed that the holds have been requested by Sen. Vitter. Nobody felt at liberty to tell me why the holds have been placed, but my last source stated, "We want these nominations to proceed as soon as possible."

Sen. Vitter was the only Senator to make a fuss during the February 12 nomination hearings. Here’s how Mike Dunford from the Panda’s Thumb described part of Vitter’s questioning of Holdren: Read the rest of this entry →