Friday, May 30, 2008

Long Time No Blog

You may find it odd for a guy who proclaims, "I love blogging" to go 25 days without a post, but don't worry. I've got plenty of excuses.

Before I share some of those excuses with you, I'd like to wrap up some of my political posts. I called the Indiana and North Carolina results well enough though was way off in regard to Senator Clinton's participation in the Democratic Primary contest. At the time it seemed things were getting a bit rough and the eventually nominee's chances against John McCain were being hurt. Senator Clinton has since handled the situation perfectly. Her bowing out would not have helped anything. She no longer bashes and pounds on Senator Obama as in the past. She has stayed in the race through the rules committee meeting tomorrow and the final primaries in early June. Her following will know she did everything in her power to win the nomination. When she stands on a podium this June and tells the nation that Senator Obama has won the nomination followed by a powerful endorsement, the party will be united. Everything will come together and the Democratic Party will be better for it.

Race has also become a major issue in recent weeks. MSNBC has run a series on their website ( about being bi or mulit-racial in America. That group only consitutes 5% of the country, but is the fastest growing demographic. It's worth checking out, very well thought out and written. Johanna registered Alethia for kindergarten this week. Under ethnicity, she marked both Alaskan Native and the box for multi-racial. She was only supposed to mark one box, but one box did not fit. Alethia is largely being raced as a young Yupik girl, but is also plenty white. Johanna has the right to mark as many boxes for her daughter as she wishes.

Now a few excuses...We've been busy. Very busy. 7 years ago Johanna and I (with much help from family) built a house, planned a wedding, and began our married life. Also, her Apa (grandfather) took ill with lung cancer. He waited until we were married and died the next day. God rest his soul. It was an intense summer full of highs, lows, elation, dispare, and exhaustion. This summer is shaping up similarly.

Johanna left for Anchorage with the kids two days ago. She's staying with her sister and brother-in-law until the baby comes. July 1st is the due date and I'll be waiting in Dillingham until she goes into labor hoping a flight will get me there in time. Things are in place if I don't make it, but I have to make it. I'll be here building a house. That huge project will require all of my personal leave. Don't want to miss the birth of my child, but we need a home right now. Priorities are set and agreed upon.

For weeks Alethia has been telling me she will miss me when she leaves. Jake cried walking to the plane. I felt my own tears coming at the airport, but held them back. They wouldn't have helped the situation. We're a very close family. Most mornings we all wake up in the same bed. We're not a couple that finds baby sitters to go out by ourselves. We spend almost of our time together as a family. Johanna was pregnant with Alethia on our first aniversary because we wanted her then just as I miss them all now. It's only been 2 days. They won't come home until mid-July.

However, I do have a house to build and won't be around much anyway. It is what it is. Johanna's focus is taking care of herself, the kids, and that little baby inside her. Mine is to build us a house. No, a home.

May has been consumed with preparations for this summer. This will be a big summer for our young family. In time we will look back on it fondly, but right now it seems daunting. Yet we have prayed and put it in God's hands. This family's existence has always been in His hands. No where to go but forward with what we have and what we can do.

Spring is like a perhaps hand

Spring is like a perhaps hand
(which comes carefully
out of Nowhere) arranging
a window,into which people look (while
people stare
arranging and changing placing
carefully there a strange
thing and a known thing here) and

changing everything carefully

spring is like a perhaps
Hand in a window
(carefully to
and fro moving New and
Old things,while
people stare carefully
moving a perhaps
fraction of flower here placing
an inch of air there) and

without breaking anything.

-E. E. Cummings

Monday, May 5, 2008

The Crystal Ball

I love blogging. Seriously, think I'm hooked. I can say anything I want on this thing and some how, for some reason, some one just might take me seriously. This one will be a stretch, but I'm going for it.

Have looked into the crystal ball and have seen the future. Big day tomorrow, Democratic primaries in Indiana and North Carolina. Here's how it will play: Either Senator Clinton or Obama will win Indiana, but it will be so close that the total delegate count won't really matter. So I'm calling Indiana a tie. Obama will win North Carolina. Those two projections aren't exactly daring, but there's more. Obama's net delegate gain will be close to 20 +or- 5 (changing that from 40 +or- 8 as predicted last night. Thought there were close to 250 total delegates at stake, but it's only 187. Lesson learned: Don't write a blog after a Cinco De Mayo party!) and the superdelegates will meet, realize the rest of primaries won't change the delegate number by more then 10, decide this can't go on any longer, and enough of them will move to Obama (while other's rush to Clinton's aid) and the Democratic Nominee for the President of the United States will be chosen no later then Friday May 16th. It will be Barack Obama.

Whoof. That took a lot out of me. The beauty of it is that if I'm correct I'm a freaking genius. If I'm wrong, what do I know anyway?

Sunday, May 4, 2008

In the Air

Friday Johanna and I were driving through town when I turned to her, "Feels like summer doesn't it?" Couldn't put my finger on it, but there seemed to be something in the air.

Dillingham is a fishing town. Not a fishing town like Dutch Harbor, but a Bristol Bay fishing town. Our main fishery is a sockeye salmon fishery typically lasting a few weeks at the end of June and first half of July. The sockeye return to our major river systems in search of their natal streams. Fisherman intercept them in the estuaries (where salt transitions to fresh water) typically referred to as the 'bays'. Regulations require boats to be no longer then 32 feet using gill nets between 50 to 200 fathoms long depending on the circumstance.

Without beginning a explanation of the Bristol Bay fishery I'm not qualified to give, let's just say that today's Bristol Bay fisherman may be construction workers from Anchorage, lawyers from Seattle, professional fisherman who spend 9 months on the water each year, families from our smallest villages, or any sort of character. It is a diverse group complete with conflicts and mistrust, division and accusations. Just the same, they all gather in Dillingham, Naknek, and other smaller 'bay' communities hoping for a bountiful catch.

The first of those individuals are here. Processing company staff are beginning to prepare the canneries and fisherman have begun climbing around their boats, kicking the tires, and making their plans. There is also a smaller herring fishery West of Dillingham in the bays around Togiak that ushers in the fishing season each May.

It's not only the fisherman and cannery workers that mark the changing season, it's an entire seasonal infrastructure needed to support them. Restaurants have opened, fishing supply stores are opened, net hanging outfits, aluminum fabricators, fiberglass folks, mechanics and the like are opening their doors preparing for the season.

Growing up in such an environments serves to define summer as a time to be busy. The sun is up most hours of the day and things are hopping. It's a time to work hard and play hard. Grandpa used to say, "Make hay while the sun shines." The sun rarely sets during a Bristol Bay summer and there's plenty of hay to be made.

The seasons are so different here. Right now the last white remnants of winter cling to a brown and apparently lifeless ground. But before long everything will be green and people will walk about in their t-shirts on sunny days. February's fourty below temperatures serving as distant memories.

We are not quite there yet however and there is still snow and ice to melt before summer takes hold. But if you've lived this before. If this is one of the rythms of your life, it is unmistakable. Slow down. Lift your head. Feel it in the air.

Saturday, May 3, 2008

Quiet No Longer

Five years and two days ago our president stood on an aircraft carrier just outside of San Diego Harbor beneath a banner that read, "Mission Accomplished." pronouncing that combat operations in Iraq had come to an end. It will be 20, 30, maybe 40 years before the world learns the truth behind the "war" in Iraq, but John McCain offered an interesting reason for the invasion. He was discussing oil and told a Denver crowd that never again would our soldiers be sent to the Middle East on behalf of oil (I'm paraphrasing and don't remember the exact quote). That's right, never AGAIN. So has it happened before?

John McCain has virtually no chance of winning the election in November. He has done too well at aligning himself with the train wreck that is George W. Bush. As much as our nation's conservative base loathes Democrats and everything they don't stand for, they will not vote for McCain in great numbers. In fact, most of them will stay home in November seeing no candidate as theirs.

This leaves us two options for president, both Democrats. Sometimes I think I could be a Democrat. I could join the ranks of the Pro-Life Democrats and have a real party identity. But usually when I start thinking that, I catch a glimpse of the democratic party in action. If they were a corporation they'd have gone under long ago. It's a circular firing squad everytime they get together. They would be unbeatable if they were half as organized and disciplined as the GOP.

Senator Obama is leading the race by every measure. Instead of rallying behind him, Senator Clinton is doing everything in her power to undermine his candidacy and win by a technicality. She honestly thinks that elected officials will turn up their noses at the American democratic electorate, tell them they got it wrong, and put her underneath the raining confetti and balloons at the Convention. If this were the Republicans I'd say, "Not a chance!" But let's face it, we're talking about the Democratic Party here and they just could be that stupid. At least that's what Senator Clinton is banking on.

This completely unrealistic outcome is only made possible by the color of Senator Obama's skin. That's right, America is racist. This son of a Kenyan man and white woman is just too different for our Baby Boomers who still control the ballot box. America is racist. It is so racist it has learned to recognize it, hide it, and take offense whenever anyone points it out. Democrats have counted on African American voters for years, but now one of them wants to lead? Too much. Let's pick the white lady. Geraldine Ferraro is so racist, she implied that Senator Obama is leading the race for President of the United States because he is black. To boot, she took massive offense that anyone would dare label her or her statement as racist. Wow! Do you think Senator Obama was ushered to the front of the Starbucks line as soon as the crowd noticed his skin was darker then theirs? Perhaps his Harvard professors spotted him, and everyone else of color, 10 extra credit points on all his papers. Maybe. Or maybe it's because he's a hard working educated articulate leader speaking a message of hope and change to a nation badly in need of hope and change. As Senator Obama himself admits. An African American running for president is a stretch for many. Some still see America as they would have prefered it remained, much as it was down on the farm.

We are no longer on the farm as a nation. Just a few generations ago America's children left those farms and spread their wings. They went to college, traveled and opened doors to places they didn't know existed. They gave themselves options and pursued paths that led this nation to an economic prosperity it had never known before. But in leaving the farm, they brought their children together. The old boundaries weren't as clearly marked and their children played together, went to school together, fell in love with each other, married, and gave birth to a new America. Indeed, they gave birth to a new American.

I attended a wedding a few years back where an Asian mother stood up and very honestly told the party they had always hoped their daughters would marry men who looked like them and spoke like them. But that's not what their daughter chose and she opened her arms to welcome the white man into their family. My own family's story is not so different.

You see, America can accept Senator Obama now, or they can accept him later. But we must realize that he is not going anywhere. He is that new American.

President Bush will go down in history as one of the worst and most destructive presidents ever. That much is clear. Who ever the new president is will have very little chance to implement their agenda and ideas in their first term. It will take at least one full presidential term to bring an end to the war in Iraq and put our country on a new path. Both candidates say that's just what they'll do. It's a matter of who we believe. Don't think either President will accomplish much the first four years besides cleaning up the enormous blotch left by President Bush? They will need their second term to make their own mark. Upon who do we bestow eight years of power?

The Bush and Clinton families have laid the foundation my family lives on. Have you ever wondered why Senator Clinton has no support among young voters? We're too young remember the glory days of the Clinton White House when Bill was claiming credit for the .com boom and running a stellar intern program. We don't sit around fondly reminising about Bill's parting action handing out pardons to his criminal buddies like they were raffle tickets. We certainly don't admire the fact that he has turned his 8 years of service into a groundwork for wealth and fortune. What we do discuss, what we absolutely cannot avoid, is the dismal state of our nation and the shaky future currently offered to our children. So do the Clinton's get 8 more years? Did our founding fathers wish us to grant leadership of our nation to two families for 28 years? Make no mistake about it, we know what we get with the Clintons. That's comforting to some. Senator Clinton has made it clear that Bill will serve as a major advisor. They have a track record and a proven path. Jump on the path and see where it leads. I've done that and found myself in front of this computer staying quiet no longer. I do not wish for my children what Bill Clinton has done for me.

What if there was another way? A new way down a new path to a different place. And what if the maker of that path was the son of a Kenyan man and a white woman? A man of color. An American.

Could you follow him? Can you follow us?