Reading today involved the history of Alaska. I knew relatively little previously excepting that it was purchased for 3 cents an acre from the Russian Empire before the turn of the century and that it was known as Seward's Ice Box.
I was interested in Alaska because of a disturbing comment I heard on NPR. They had a story about Ted Stevens' conviction and the fact that he's still running his campaign (Here's a similar story). What surprised me was this one woman who claimed that his conviction was an attempt on the part of "those people back East" to bring down "our man" and that it was just like the discrimination faced by Alaskans prior to statehood.
At the time, I had just heard of the Palin tie to the Alaskan secession movement. I had never known that Alaskans had felt so alienated by the mainland.
Looking back at the history, it kinda makes sense. Some states really had difficulty getting into the union -- Texas and Missouri, for example -- and Alaska was no exception.
After the first Organic Act (which made Alaska a judicial district and gave them the power to govern the territory), Alaska was supposedly exploited by Morgan and Guggenheim and kept out of statehood. At the time, it was just a territory and had little control over the territory. It took a fight between the chief of the Forest Service and the Secretary of the Interior to bring attention to Alaska's push for statehood. A second act was passed granting them representation in Congress, but ultimately this didn't address the problems.
At the same time, a couple of acts complicated fishing which was a mainstay of the Alaskan economy. It took FDR to make things right with a part of his New Deal by moving people to Alaska to farm and colonize an area of Alaska. Apparently, some of those hard feelings are still felt today.
Ultimately, that's why Alaska re-elected a convicted felon.
In the same program, they talked to a couple of inner-city (read: black) people about Obama and there were a couple of things worth remembering. One was a text message:
"Rosa sat, so Martin could walk.
Martin walked, so Obama could run.
Obama ran, so our children could fly."
Additionally, one guy said:
"My friends and I have always said there's two things a black person can't be: a white person and the president. Michael Jackson disproved the first and I hope Obama disproves the second one."