Friday, February 22, 2008

Unwearied In That Service

I used to be really cynical -- it was kind of my thing.
I get less so in spurts, and sometimes I'm downright optimistic these days... faith in humanity, love, poems -- Yesterday a student asked me what was the point of understanding literature... I think I might have really said because literature can save you -- or someone you care about. "To see into the life of things..."
Art too. Me, every day.

Ansel Adams

To say I don't learn anything through any story I write about ... that's the most cynical thing I've said through this project, and it's almost like opening a pipeline...

On the other hand...

Yesterday evening Ted Stevens said he would run for his 7th term as Alaska's senior senator. He's 86 years old. The Washington Post story said:

He told reporters he decided to run again to battle Alaska's high unemployment and energy costs. He said he thinks the state's development has been stymied by "extreme environmentalists."

Stevens is currently under investigation for accepting kick backs from the oil industry. Last summer his house was raided and the government seized a bunch of stuff... Steven's denies allegations of wrong doing.

Bill Allen, the former head of VECO Corp., an oil field service company, who has pleaded guilty to bribing Alaska state legislators, testified in trials that he oversaw extensive renovations at the home and sent VECO employees to work on it.

Stevens also made a slightly infamous speech I've listened to on youtube this morning railing against the internet...

I think the internet is pretty amazing. Researching this post, sitting on my green velvet couch, I read articles in the Times, the AP, The Washington Post and The Anchorage Daily News. Somewhere there was a small sidebar box that linked to "other stories about corruption in Alaska."

Former Alaskan Speaker of the House Pete Kott was sentenced in December to 6 years in prison "for his role in a corrupt scheme to push an industry-backed oil tax."

A federal jury in September convicted Kott, 58, of bribery, conspiracy and extortion for his role in advocating an oil tax pushed by Veco Corp. executives and favored by North Slope oil producers. He received nearly $9,000, a political poll for his re-election campaign and the promise of a lobbying job, all from Veco executives, according to testimony.

The stakes in Juneau during the 2006 legislative session were huge. Kott and other Veco allies were trying to keep the proposed new oil tax on profits at 20 percent, as the industry wanted. But others were pushing for a higher rate. Even a 1 percent change in the tax rate meant tens of millions to the state, if not even more.

Just to repeat...

"He said he thinks the state's development has been stymied by "extreme environmentalists."

The Alaskan indigenous tribes? The protectors of the polar bears and walrus and albatross...The Alaskan explorations?
Ansel Adams?

Mary Shelly?
We could call Wordsworth an "Extreme Environmentalist," couldn't we?


If I should be where I no more can hear
Thy voice, nor catch from thy wild eyes these gleams
Of past existence--wilt thou then forget
That on the banks of this delightful stream
We stood together; and that I, so long
A worshipper of Nature, hither came
Unwearied in that service: rather say
With warmer love--oh! with far deeper zeal
Of holier love. Nor wilt thou then forget,
That after many wanderings, many years
Of absence, these steep woods and lofty cliffs,
And this green pastoral landscape, were to me
More dear, both for themselves and for thy sake!

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