Strange world


Remember how Sarah Palin would fulminate against President Barack Obama for “palling around with terrorists” as she tried to link him to Bill Ayers, a former member of the radical Weathermen Underground group? Remember how furious she was?

What do you think of she would say if she knew her hand-picked choice for the U.S. Senate was “palling around” with a guy identified as a former member of the Students for a Democratic Society – an influential, left-wing radical student organization in the 1960s known for its activism against the Vietnam War? What would she say if she knew the guy was one of Miller’s advisers; that he is a longtime opponent of logging in Southeast Alaska.

My guess is that her head would explode.

Meet Alan Stein. He is mentioned in a recent Gail Collins New York Times piece as “an advisor to Joe Miller” and Stein endorses him on Miller’s campaign Web site.

Who is he? He was executive director of the Salmon Bay Protective Association and an Alaska fisherman. Reached in Mendecino, Calif., and asked about any relationship with the SDS, he said only, “No comment.”

Stein’s earlier efforts are mentioned in the book, “Northern Landscapes: The Struggle for Wilderness Alaska,” a book he says he has never read. He was, according to the book, a strong voice in the forest clear-cutting controversy involving the northern tip of Prince of Wales Island.

It turns out that a contingent of Forest Service workers had surveyed the area for cutting and Stein and others wrote a letter to the editor of the Ketchikan Daily News protesting the operation. The fight was on between the “the Forest Service and its allies on one side, and a handful of fishermen and their environmentalists pals on the other,” the book’s author, Daniel Nelson, reported.

“Two individuals played critical roles. . . .  Alan Stein, a recent arrival on Prince of Wales. A former Students for a Democratic Society activist at the University of Wisconsin, Stein had moved to Alaska with his wife and children as the student movement fell apart.” They settled in Point Baker. In 1973, Stein joined the fight against large-scale logging because of its potential effects on fishing.

It’s a strange world.

Paul Jenkins is editor of the Anchorage Daily Planet.