Blogs by Rep Bob Lynn

Blog site of Representative Bob Lynn, Alaska House of Representatives,District 31 Anchorage, Alaska. Blogs consist of public comments during legislative sessions, speeches, political commentary, as well as personal observations, and some journal type entries. Comments are invited.

Location: Anchorage, Alaska, United States

Member of the Alaska State House of Represeentatives since 2003. US Air Force, Retired; military bandsman; F94C interceptor pilot; Vietnam service as radar controller (Monkey Mountain), radar site commander(Pleiku); Government Contract Management; Public school Teacher, Retired. Married 55 years to Marlene Wagner Lynn, 6 children, 20 grandchildren, 1 great-grandchild. Member St. Elizabeth Ann Seaton Church. Former Tucson Arizona policeman, Ambulance Driver and Mortician's Assistant, Realtor (currently on referral status).

Friday, June 27, 2008


I’m about up-to-here with "can’t do" attitudes from perennial pessimists. These are the kind the sky-is-falling-gloom-and-doom folks I call "abominable no men." Name the subject: Abominable No Men are against it. In their scheme of things, if someone with an opinion other than theirs succeeds, the world will end as we know it.

Abominable No Men have always been with us. Christopher Columbus’s was once called a "dreamer." He responded by asking the Abominable No Men of his time to look out the window. Columbus asked, "What do you see?" They responded, "We see townes. We see palaces. We see steeples. We see civilization and spirals that reach to the sky." To this Christopher Columbus responded, "All created by people like me. Not you." Now I wasn't there - I'm not as old as some people may claim - but that's what Columbus is what reported to have said.

If these same people, then as now, had learned some genius was inventing the internal combustion engine, the airplane, computers, zippers, safety pins, or the hula hoop - they would have said, "You’re a dreamer" and "it couldn’t work," and would have opposed it. Worse yet, Abominable No Men squeal in delight whenever something new is proposed - and it fails. Or it might fail. Or could fail.

Even if every expert in the known universe testifies that the odds are good that something will succeed, well - there is a chance it might turn out bad. In fairness, that’s true. It might. There’s also a chance that, when we take a walk for our health, we could be hit by a meteorite from a far corner of outer space. From this possibility, Abominable No Men conclude walking could be bad for one's health, so no one should do it.

On those rare occasions when I do take a walk, I prefer hoping to find gold than dread falling objects from the sky.

Political establishments of both the left and the right are full of abominable no men. That explains much of why it’s so difficult to get anything done. If someone in the legislature were to introduce a resolution in favor of the sun coming up in the east tomorrow, the No-Men would oppose it.

The easiest targets for Abominable No Men are individuals who propose something that’s never been done before, or that is maybe just a little bit different. The target could be a popular governor, a legislator, or your next door neighbor. No-Men typically transfer their negativity of the idea to the person proposing it, or supporting it. When logic isn’t convenient, who needs it?
It can be convenient however, for political operatives, who know better, to benefit from the acts of abominable no men as a means to an end. Win or lose the end, plausible deniability can be an operative’s best friend.

None of this means that thoughtless Pollyannaism - the goody goody polar opposite of abominable no men - is a good thing. It’s not. In reality, few things except moral absolutes are all good or all bad. My vote goes to practical optimism: a realistic positive view of things.
Is obsessive negativity learned behavior or congenital (nature versus nurture)? I don’t know.

Whatever, no one should be in politics unless they're a practical optimist. Likewise, no one should be a teacher, cop, in the clergy, or most certainly a parent, unless practical optimism is a way of life. It’s a sad state of affairs when one is perennially convinced nothing can be improved. I feel sorry for Abominable No Men. But a word of caution please: Abominable No Men can be contagious.

Monday, June 16, 2008


Today Governor Palin signed my ethics bills HB281 and HB368 into law, along with other bills I co-sponsored. HB281 increased the Statute of Limitations for campaign contribution and expenditure reporting from one year up to five years. The previous governor had convinced the legislature to reduce the then four years down to one year - which I’m proud to report I had voted against. HB368 was basically a fix-it bill that became important for what was not included. See previous blogs. The ethics bill signings were at the courthouse in Anchorage - an appropriate location.

Governor Palin’s next bill signing was at the Anchorage Congregation Beth Sholom Jewish Synagogue, where she did a ceremonial signing of the resolution honoring the sixtieth birthday of Israel. She also signed a bill by Rep. Max Gruenberg outlawing DVDs visible to vehicle drivers. I was a co-sponsor this legislation.

The photos show me speaking at the courthouse ceremony about my ethics bills, a TV interview b y Channel 13, and my speaking on Israel’s birthday at the synagogue.

Thursday, June 05, 2008


Tuesday June 3rd the House gaveled into Special Session to begin consideration of the TransCanada Alaska Pipeline. We have sixty days to vote “Yea” or “Nay” on the proposal under the terms of the AGIA legislation. I wrote in my May blog and June legislative newsletter, “The Clock is Ticking,” and so it is.

Yesterday and today the legislature met in the gym of the Terry Miller Building, across the street behind the capitol (see photo). We received detailed information from expert consultants hired by the Legislative Budget and Audit Committee: Dan Dickinson, CPA; Barry Pulliam of Econ One Research; Lesa Adair, Muse Stencil & Co; Dr. John Neri, Benjamin Schlesinger & Associates. We asked many questions. So far, it’s an excellent fact-gathering process.

Wednesday, June 04, 2008


Accommodations would be difficult to find in Juneau during the Special Session on the gas pipeline capital city. It’s the height of the tourist season in Juneau, plus some kind of Native Alaskan celebration is going on there. So I brought my “portable home” with me - my 22 foot travel trailer. I left home in Anchorage Friday at 7:15 PM for the special session driving solo, dragging my trailer behind my gas guzzling Chevy Suburban. I pulled into Glennallen just before midnight Friday, arrived at Destruction Bay by Kluane Lake in the Yukon Saturday evening, and made it into Haines Sunday afternoon to catch the ferry to Juneau Monday at 9:00AM. Driving across the Haines Summit is like being on another planet.

It’s a long, albeit exceedingly beautiful, trip. This being the Alaska, thirty minutes would sometimes elapse before seeing another vehicle going in either direction. Pulling a trailer, while dealing with highway frost heaves (“whoop-de-doos), plus road construction (Alaska has two seasons: winter, construction) made for some slow going. I don’t mind solo driving (thank heavens for coffee in a can), and road music is a great companion. Here’s a partial list of the music CDs my ears consumed enroute to special session (make of it what you will):

The Rat Pack: a joking around music session by Frank Sinatra, Sammy Davis Jr., Dean Martin. I’ve seen both Sinatra and the Sammy Davis shows. Where have all the great entertainers gone?

Eddy Arnold’s Greatest Songs: old time smooth country balladeer who passed away this year.

Jimmy Dorsey’s Greatest Hits: virtuoso big band saxophonist. I used to dance to his band at the Hollywood Palladium. Nowadays I play sax better than Dorsey. That’s because he’s dead.

The Best of Polka: I like polka music, and I like dancing to it. I used to get my kicks playing my sax in an Oktoberfest band in California. I also wore a button that proclaimed “Polka till you puke” (if that isn’t class, I don’t know what is).

Operatic Arias by Luciano Pavarotti: what a voice did God give this man! Anyone who doesn’t appreciate this man’s singing should check their pulse.

The Best of Mozart: I visited his birthplace in Austria during the 1980s. Amazing what he accomplished in his short life. Makes me realize how little I’ve accomplished in my own life. When Mozart was seventy-five, he’d been dead for forty years.

Don Ho Greatest Hits: A Hawaiian music legend, a heartthrob of the older ladies, and the one show you “had” to see when visiting the Islands. He passed away last year. Another musical legend gone.
Country Legend Glen Campbell: He’s my wife’s 1st cousin once removed. Marlene’s Aunt Lois’s granddaughter Kim Woollen married Glen. My mother-in-law attended their wedding. I got to visit Glen at his home when he lived in Phoenix.

Barefoot Bluegrass: Jason Norris, a member of this talented Anchorage group, is a constituent. Outstanding talent.

Tchaikovsky Favorites: nothing excels his classic melodies.

Roy Clark’s Greatest Hits: outstanding string picker. An expressive singer easy on the ears.

Ernst Mosch Egerlander Musikanten: probably the best band of the Bohemian genre. Egerland was the area in western Czechoslovakia where many Germans once lived. Mosch, along with my German Military Marches CD, is great music for driving the Alaska Highway - or the autobahn. I’m a former sax man in both an Air Force band and the oompah band, and that’s another reason I like this stuff.

Segovia Classical Guitar: I wonder if hard rockers who abuse guitars can comprehend the beauty of a guitar played well – if they have any regard for beauty at all.

Classic Patsy Cline: this woman’s voice is what country singing is supposed to be. Likewise, the Johnny Cash CD I played. I got to see Cash in concert some years ago.

Classical Music for Relaxation: unfortunately, this CD was too relaxing, a dangerous antidote to my stay-awake-coffee. After my first yawn I ejected the CD.

Rafael Mendez (1906-1981): this trumpet virtuoso was previously a cornetist for Pancho Villa. No one surpasses Mendez’s trumpet genius. When he played “Flight of the Bumblebee,” he didn’t slur the notes, he tongued them! I saw him in concert during the sixties.

The Best of Harry James: another outstanding trumpet player (but not as good as Mendez). During high school I danced to the Harry James Band at the Hollywood Palladium. All the kids in my high school band crowded around the Harry James bandstand, and he was kind enough to have conversations with all of us.

Speeches that Changed the World: obviously not a music CD, but certainly “music of oratory.” My favorites were the speeches of Winston Churchill, General Douglas McArthur, John Kennedy, and Martin Luther King. It’s said, “The pen is mightier than the sword.” I could add that speech can surpass the pen.

When the Special Session ends (who knows when), and I drag my trailer back to Anchorage, I’ll enjoy another batch of good music.

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