[[P R E D I C T I O N S]] * I’m the first to acknowledge that my forecasting talents are few and fleeting. So today’s pronouncement by U.S. Senator Ted Stevens (R-Alaska) that he isn’t planning a retirement, no matter what he said after the Senate defeated his recent campaign to open the Alaska National Wildlife Refuge to oil drilling (“I say good-bye to the Senate tonight”), is hardly remarkable. Even though it seems to shoot down my recent predictions regarding his future. Yet I am struck by the petulance with which this 82-year-old solon regards those “personal friends”--all Democrats, apparently--who spoke out fervently against Stevens’ ANWR plans. He told the Anchorage Daily News that he has written them off. “I’m not traveling with them anymore,” Stevens grouses, “and I’m not going to play tennis or swim or do various things with them.” Gee, let’s hope the Dems survive their loss of Stevens as a doubles partner.
STRONGMAN OF THE NORTH: Rick Anderson, one of the most talented reporters at the Washington state alternative paper Seattle Weekly, offers up a fine analysis of how Stevens’ anti-environmental overreaching might prove to be a godsend for first-term U.S. Senator Maria Cantwell (D-Washington), currently locked in a heated race against Republican neophyte and former insurance company exec Mike McGavick. Read on.