Friday, December 31, 2010

Farewell, 2010


Kids of all ages may enjoy Crayola's free New Year's Bag of Fun Coloring Page, where this post's drawing was obtained.

Candidates' announcements for the Republican nomination will come soon. Sarah Palin doesn't have much more time to milk the will-she-or-won't-she attention cow. Her name doesn't appear on general election voters' short list of potential presidents, and she has angered Republicans by blaming the economy's problems on Reagan and the Bushes, so her best bet may be to announce she's running as an independent, then continue to hiss and spit at everyone and everything, from Twitter and Facebook, until November 2012. Will she run for real in 2016?

Do I have any resolutions for 2011? No, but I hope to improve the blog (and my writing).

Will I be partying tonight? No, I'll have to be at work early tomorrow morning and must have my wits about me.

But Happy New Year! nonetheless.


Bonus: The NY Times' The Caucus blog looks at 2010's political revisionism. It features Sarah Palin's 'refudiate' and has the history of the word's origin. No, it wasn't a typo.





Voila!

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Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Sarah Palin Has Lost the Food Fight (and more)

Washington Post Staff Writers Jason Horowitz and Nia-Malika Henderson write:
Republicans eager to knock Sarah Palin from her presumed perch at the head of the cluttered 2012 presidential primary field have found an unlikely wedge issue that includes an unlikely ally:

The first lady and flab.

In an odd turn of events, some conservatives have taken to defending Michelle Obama's anti-obesity initiative from the salvos of Palin, and suggesting that she has gone too far by seeming to mock the first lady in a recent broadcast of "Sarah's Palin's Alaska."

In the reality show, the former governor and high school basketball player prepared s'mores (ingredients: marshmallows, Hershey bars, graham crackers) and said the treat was "in honor of Michelle Obama, who said the other day we should not have dessert."

In fact, Obama has never suggested that sweets be banned from the dinner table, cafeteria or campground. She says that she tells her kids, Sasha and Malia, that "dessert is not a right" and that meals should be balanced with fruits and veggies. ...

The Post's article has a history of this particular controversy: How it began with an appearance by Sarah Palin on Laura Ingraham's radio show: How President Obama responded to Barbara Walters' question about it; Republican, and former Governor, Mike Huckabee's response; as well as the response of Republican Governor Haley Barbour of Mississippi. Then the coup de grâce: The Wall Street Journal opined: "Mrs. Palin would be more effective if she made some distinctions among the Obama policies that really are worth opposing."

It's interesting that Republican Governors, Palin's most likely opposition, should she pursue the nomination, have challenged her on this issue. We haven't yet heard from Mitt Romney, Tim Pawlenty ... . But there is really only one right side on this issue, unless someone is hoping to be awarded The Silly and Petty Award for the year.

The interview with Laura Ingraham was really the beginning of Sarah Palin's end among Republicans. During that interview she not only took a cheap shot at the First Lady, but blamed the Bushes (and implicitly Republican hero Ronald Reagan) for our current economic problems. The blog put up a brief post about the interview, here, which has audio and some other material.

The Washington Post's Alexandra Petri wrote an amusing article about the food fight, which I have entitled, "Let Us Eat Cake!" It is here.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Palin Family Circus News - Tuesday, December 28, 2010 - Flip That House Edition

The Arizona Republic, the paper that broke the news of Bristol Palin's purchase of a house in Maricopa, AZ states, in Bristol Palin won't be attending the Cronkite School at ASU:
Despite widespread rumors to the contrary, Bristol Palin will not be attending the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Arizona State University. ...

... TMZ.com reported that Bristol was "telling friends" that she may enroll at an Arizona college. And because Maricopa is "just miles" from the Cronkite School, the website connected the dots and reported that Bristol would soon be a Sun Devil.

Never mind the fact that the Bristol's home is more than 35 miles from the school.

But the Washington Post started repeating the rumor, and the Huffington Post repeated it and the Wall Street Journal got involved.

The problem, of course, is that it was never the case.

"She is not a student. She hasn't applied. It is pure fiction," the dean of the Cronkite School, Chris Callahan, said Tuesday morning. "If anybody had called and asked me that, we would have been glad to tell them." ...

And
,
HollywoodLife.com spoke exclusively with a representative from the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication about how the school would embrace the famous Alaskan if she were to apply in the same field as her mother.

“If Bristol’s application does come across our table we will treat it just like everyone else’s and thoroughly look it over,” the representative informs us. “But we can’t confirm or deny anything right now.”


But GossipGirl, writing for the Cleveland Leader, just stated:
... Bristol Palin is planning to go to college in Arizona and recently purchased a house there. Now, the rest of the Palin clan is hoping to follow suit and permanently relocate to the much warmer locale. ...

What are the facts? Bristol Palin bought a house in Maricopa, AZ. She has not applied to ASU's Cronkite School.

I don't know which Bristol Palin these people are talking about.

Sarah Palin Isn't Ready for Hi-Def?

A DVD of "Sarah Palin's Alaska" has been released. It isn't hi-def! Other TV series are available on Blu-ray with 1080p resolution; for example, "The Sopranos."

What are they hiding? :)

$29.95? But it's captioned, so you could turn the sound off and save your ears.

The release will make it easier for opposition researchers to use things like, "This is so much more interesting than sitting in a stuffy office with a boring government job," paraphrasing Sarah Palin.

IM has a post about the DVD, too.

And some recent polling indicates that Alaskans don't like Sarah Palin. See Slate's "Alaska to Palin: Drop Dead."

Monday, December 27, 2010

Good News Roundup - Monday, December 27, 2010

Have you recovered from Christmas? I was in a Target store, yesterday, and it was packed with shoppers. They didn't seem to mind that Sarah Palin's new book wasn't on the shelves. That particular Target has an in-store fast-food restaurant. You can buy popcorn, sit on a stool at the front of the store and watch the cars and people go by through a big window. What a movie!


Some people can't quit obsessing over 2012. The Associated Press' Charles Babington has a reality check for Republicans:
WASHINGTON – When the news is written in D.C., it carries more weight, if you didn't already know. – This month's early, under-the-radar campaigning by potential Republican challengers to President Barack Obama is a reminder of something too easily forgotten: Running for president is harder than it looks, and Obama ultimately will stand against a flesh-and-blood nominee certain to make mistakes along the way.

Mitt Romney, Tim Pawlenty and other possible GOP candidates stumbled over health care, taxes and other issues in December, even as Obama coped with the harsh political reality stemming from his party's "shellacking" in last month's elections.

No serious contender has officially launched a 2012 campaign. But with the Iowa caucuses less than 13 months away, at least a dozen Republicans are jockeying for position, speaking to groups throughout the country, writing op-ed columns and taking potshots at one another.

As all politicians – except Sarah Palin – learn, the more deeply they delve into contested issues, the likelier they are to stumble. ...

... Other potential GOP challengers, including former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin and former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, kept fairly low profiles this month. But it's clear the 2012 race is under way, even if unofficially.

White House press secretary Robert Gibbs was asked about Palin's and Romney's criticism of the New START treaty with Russia and the compromise bill on tax cuts, both supported by Obama.

Americans want Washington politicians to solve big problems by finding common ground, he responded. ...

President Obama is unpopular?
For the third straight year, President Barack Obama ranks as the man most admired by people living in the U.S., according to an annual USA Today-Gallup poll.

Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton is the most-admired woman for the ninth year in a row, edging out former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin and TV host Oprah Winfrey, as she did last year. ...

Speaking of movies, I saw two yesterday. Tell No One is about a conspiracy that seems to hold water, that is, it's plausible. A man believes his wife was murdered. Eight years later the case is reopened and he's suspected of killing his wife (and others). I won't spoil it for you, but if you watch the Blu-ray, you should know there may be a "setup" option to get English dialog rather than subtitles. It is a French movie. On the other hand, Con Air was completely implausible, even though a lot of stuff got blown up and they crashed the plane spectacularly on the Vegas strip (after they had crashed it earlier, in the desert): The prisoners were able to carry out their plan to hijack the plane, in large part, because the authorities were forbidden from carrying guns aboard the plane (full of criminals). Imagine that! Yet you can see Air Marshals aboard commercial flights carrying guns all the time.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Politics and Video/Film Editing - Is Sarah Palin Going Anywhere?

Much of a candidate's narrative or "myth" is presented visually, and for that reason it's useful to become familiar with some basic film editing techniques. A Candidate's narrative is often constructed out of emotional associations. In Wikipedia's Film Editing entry, we're told:
... Editors can choose between emotional and storytelling aspects of any given film over continuity -- something that is much more abstract and harder to judge. (Which is why films often take much longer to edit than to shoot.) Emotional continuity, and the clarity of storytelling, can take precedence over "technicalities." In fact, very often something that is physically discontinuous will be completely unnoticeable if the emotional rhythm of the scene "feels" right. If you were to slow down scenes from many of your favorite movies, you could easily find many minuscule physical differences from one cut to the next, which are completely hidden by the course of the emotional events. ...
For a simple example, we're meant to believe that the Going Rogue tour bus is moving while Sarah Palin is being interviewed by Greta Van Susteren:



Is the bus moving during the interview? How do you know?
If you think the bus is moving, is it on the road actually going anywhere?
How many cuts were there? Where are the discontinuities?
Are there any sound cues? Does that bus sound like any you've ridden?
Is that a bumpy road or is someone wiggling the camera?

Wikipedia has some basic information about film editing. Some things can be learned there that may be of assistance in evaluating a candidate's narrative, even her "reality show," more effectively. The See Also section at the bottom of the Film Editing entry has links to some of the cuts commonly used by film editors. Film Editing: Great Cuts Every Filmmaker and Movie Lover Must Know is well written and illustrated with movie scenes.

But more than cuts can be used to fool people; compositing can be used to place someone where they're not. That's how the TV weather person appears to be standing in front of a weather map. And there are even more tricks available to Sarah Palin ... .

We can enjoy TV and movies, because we willingly suspend our disbelief. We shouldn't always do so.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Let it Snow!

It's rainy in the Seattle area (what else is new?), so here's my wish:



It's not in the forecast, though. Modern life dashes my hopes, again. Darn!

But I've had a pleasant disappointment. I thought I'd get a sweater gift, but no, it's a Carhartt coat. Cool! Warm! Nice pockets. Rugged looking. OK ... everyone is going to have to turn their thermostats down, so I can wear it all the time :)

I hope you all enjoy whatever holidays you celebrate.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Oprah Winfrey Unafraid of Sarah Palin Presidential Candidacy

When asked about a possible run by Palin, Oprah Winfrey told Parade magazine:

"It does not scare me because I believe in the intelligence of the American public."

Isn't that right? I, too, still have confidence in American voters, so I'm not scared of a Palin candidacy.

Parade's article will be a cover story about Oprah Winfrey, not Sarah Palin, and it will appear Sunday. There is a story about Parade's story at Politics Daily.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Food Fight! Palin vs. Huckabee

The score is 1-0, Huckabee leads.

If you didn't know, Sarah Palin has been trying to mischaracterize First Lady Michelle Obama's initiative to end childhood obesity.

Mike Huckabee, sometimes mentioned as a 2012 Republican presidential candidate, has disagreed with Sarah Palin, saying that the First Lady's efforts are right and appropriate:
“Michelle Obama's not trying to tell people what to eat or not trying to force the government's desires on people,” Huckabee said. “She’s stating the obvious, that we do have an obesity problem in this country.”

He added: “The first lady's campaign is on target.”
CNN has a story. The Huffington Post has one, too, with audio. And Fox News, which employs Palin and Huckabee has a short story.

Read about The First Lady's Childhood Obesity Task Force.

Update: The Washington Post's Alexandra Petri has written "Let Us Eat Cake!" If Michelle Obama won't let us, Sarah Palin will!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Welcome to Arizona

There has been some chatter about Arizona, lately. You might enjoy a photo tour of the exterior of a "territorial" ranch house. Click on a photo to enlarge it.


Looking northeast -- the front of the house.


Full-frontal view. That is a garage window.


Looking northwest.


Looking a little more northwest. A fine dish and Suguaro appear. Rainwater falls on the rocks.



Looking fully west. The window belongs to a bathroom.


Looking southwest. The rear slab and some outback.


Looking outback. The hen house.
Beyond the henhouse, horses shelter beneath a metal roof.


The rear of the house as seen from the outback.
A fine outdoors clothes drying apparatus appears on the right.



A view to the east. A garage looms large.


Another view of the front of the house and the yard.




The pictures were taken by my blog partner, Snowbilly. He won't tell where the house is, except to say it's in Arizona; he keeps secrets. When he was told about the house, he went to take pictures. The pictures were taken in early November.

Update: December 24, 2010: Bristol Palin has purchased a house in Arizona. Another story.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Blade Runner: The 'Final Cut'

Blade Runner's "final cut" is to be released as a single Blu-ray disk on January 4th of next year.

It can be seen now, as part of a 5-disc collector's edition, which was released in December of 2007. My library acquired the 2007 set, so I've spent the weekend seeing the film in most of its variants: the director's workprint, the international cut, and the final cut, as well as some of the extra/bonus material. I haven't yet had a chance to see the domestic cut and the 1992 director's cut.

The final cut's lighting seemed darker -- contrastier -- in comparison with the earlier cuts. It has two "improved" scenes which I wouldn't have known about if I hadn't also watched some of the extra material: Some out-of-sync lip movement by Harrison Ford's character, Deckard, was corrected (by Harrison Ford's son) and Zhora's "retirement" was re-shot. The final cut also has a completely new scene of the dove (Roy's soul?) flying away (to heaven?). The final cut has eliminated the voice-overs by Harrison Ford, which were unnecessary explanatory material and considered disruptive by Harrison Ford and many fans of the film. But unlike the international edition's "happy" ending, the final cut ends sooner, more ambiguously.

What's the film about? Four replicants, human robots made by Tyrell Corporation, with a four-year lifespan, have illegally come to Earth in search of a longer life. So, a Blade Runner, Rick Deckard (Harrison Ford), is tasked with "retiring" them. Leon and Zhora bleed like humans, then there are two: Roy and Pris. Roy finagles an audience with Mr. Tyrell, his Maker, and kills him after learning there is no way his life can be extended. Pris is then shot dead by Deckard. Roy then pursues Deckard through the Bradbury Building, and just as Deckard is about to fall from a nearby building, Roy saves him, then sits down in the rain to die, telling Deckard sadly (stoically, if you prefer), "I've seen things you wouldn't believe ... . All those moments will be lost in time like tears in the rain."

What I like about the film are the scenes of L.A. streets in 2019. They are dark, grey, blue and black, peopled by absolutely medieval characters, with bright, colorful neon signs.

Some people who talk about the film like to speculate about whether Deckard is a replicant. Perhaps we're all replicants, living here, somewhere "off-world."

Isn't it interesting that Roy kills his Maker?

Rachael is a replicant who believed she was human; you can believe that she and Deckard live happily ever after, if you like.

The film's only failure of imagination, from my point of view, is that the film's TVs and monitors aren't the stuff of 2010, much less 2019; they're more relics of the 1980s. They might have taken an idea from how they lighted the high-rise, in the picture, above, to anticipate the flat-panel displays of today. On the other hand, the film's see-around-the-corner photo enhancement (when Deckard examines Leon's pictures) may have been prescient.

Blade Runner made the AFI's top 100 list in 2007. Just barely ... it's #97.

Should you wait for the "final cut" to be released as a single disk in January? Not if you're a fan of this film. The price difference between the 5-disk set and the single-disk is about $10 at Amazon, and the 5-disk set has a lot more to see. It's a film you can watch more than once.

For some more holiday film tips, you might enjoy my post about Superheroes, here.

Sarah Palin Just One of The Boys: Simply Unqualified

Scott Conroy of Real Clear Politics has written "Female Vote Could Prove Decisive for Palin." The article is about how Sarah Palin might fare in Republican primaries, not the general election. Before writing the article, Conroy spoke with Andrew Halcro, who ran against Palin in 2006:
On a late night during the 2006 Alaska gubernatorial campaign, Democratic former Gov. Tony Knowles and Republican-turned-independent candidate Andrew Halcro found themselves sitting next to each other in an exit row on an Alaska Airlines flight back to Anchorage following a debate in Fairbanks.

Halcro and Knowles had a friendly relationship, which was cultivated in part by both men's shared sense of exasperation over their inability to put a chink in the invisible armor that seemed to shield their Republican opponent, the former mayor of Wasilla, Sarah Palin.

While the two men were making small talk on the flight, Halcro, who ended up finishing third in the race, asked Knowles what was the most surprising indicator he found in his campaign's internal polling.

According to Halcro, Knowles replied that he was most astonished by how well Palin performed among well-educated women, and, perhaps more importantly, with moderate to liberal women.

"But that time has passed," Halcro told RealClearPolitics. ...

... Halcro, who has remained one of the most vocal Palin critics in Alaska, said that he did not prepare any differently in debating Palin simply because she was a woman and insisted that her record as governor of raising taxes on the oil industry and implementing a gas pipeline deal that has uncertain prospects for success will overshadow any built-in advantage she might have among women.

"I think she's going to get treated like one of the boys," Halcro said. "The debates are one thing, but I think you have to portray her as just simply unqualified." ...
The 2006 gubernatorial debates were covered by The NY Times and Christian Science Monitor during the 2008 presidential campaign. The Times wrote:
... Her [Palin's] debating style was rarely confrontational, and she appeared confident. In contrast to today, when she seems unversed on several important issues, she demonstrated fluency on certain subjects, particularly oil and gas development.

But just as she does now, Ms. Palin often spoke in generalities and showed scant aptitude for developing arguments beyond a talking point or two. Her sentences were distinguished by their repetition of words, by the use of the phrase “here in Alaska” and for gaps. On paper, her sentences would have been difficult to diagram.

John Bitney, the policy director for her campaign for governor and the main person who helped prepare her for debates, said her repetition of words was “her way of running down the clock as her mind searches for where she wants to go.” ...

And the Christian Science Monitor's article, written by Halcro:
When he faces off against Sarah Palin Thursday night, Joe Biden will have his hands full.

I should know. I've debated Governor Palin more than two dozen times. And she's a master, not of facts, figures, or insightful policy recommendations, but at the fine art of the nonanswer, the glittering generality. Against such charms there is little Senator Biden, or anyone, can do. ...
What to do? Don't panic. It's likely that there will be many debates during the Republican primaries. There will be several governors running for the nomination. Their records will be compared and discussed at the debates. What will Republican primary voters think when they find out that "Governor" Palin's record as governor isn't what she has since said and written she did as governor? Many Republican voters will ask, "Was Sarah Palin really Governor of Alaska?"

Our post, "The Story is in The Story" may be a starting point for examining Palin's record as governor and the discrepancies between her record and what she has written on Facebook about her record.

You can read about Biden's strategy for the 2008 VP debate in Game Change. The story begins on page 405, and you can use Amazon's Look Inside! feature to read it, if you have an Amazon account. Search for far-off Delaware.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Celebrity Fashion Cop's Advice for ... Sarah Palin?

Here is some fashion advice for aging teenagers, like Sarah Palin. It's from Rachel Fischer Spalding, writing for Lifescript: Top 10 Items You're Too Old to Wear: Are You Committing These Fashion Faux Pas?
Walk into any mall and you’ll see a 40-something woman wearing every trend from Forever 21: tight tank top, low-rise jeans, metallic platform heels, plastic bangles and oversized earrings. Are you a middle-aged fashionista who just doesn’t know when to quit? Read on for the top 10 clothing items to leave in the past…

Young and trendy clothes may look great on the killer body of a 40-plus woman. After all, Goldie Hawn shines in her trendy outfits even though they look like she raided daughter Kate Hudson’s closet. But should she?

Definitely not, says celebrity wardrobe stylist Ricci DeMartino, whose clients include Eva Longoria Parker, Patricia Heaton and Lisa Kudrow.

“Living in L.A. like I do, you can go to Malibu and see this look any day of the week!” DeMartino says. “But trying too hard only calls attention to yourself – it’s overcompensating. You don’t need to dress like a teenager to look young.”

Most of us don’t push the clothes age barrier nearly as far, but even a tasteful fashionista may not always know how to dress appropriately as she moves past 35, 40 and beyond. How do you know when it’s time to lose which look?
DeMartino mentions ten styles and indicates an age at which they're no longer appropriate. She suggests alternatives to the no-nos. The styles and their retirement ages are:
1. Message T-Shirts -- 30

2. Too-Trendy Denim -- 35

3. Costume Shoes -- 45

4. Micro-mini Skirts -- 40

5. Anything Showing Excessive Cleavage -- 50

6. White, Ribbed Cotton Tank Tops -- 40

7. Hair Gadgets -- 30

8. Oversized, Overly-Decorated Hobo Bags -- 50

9. Cheap, Unflattering Underwear -- 40

10. Loud Accessories -- 35
If the shoe fits, wear it. Isn't that what they say?

Friday, December 17, 2010

Uncommon Sense - Friday, December 17, 2010

I've chosen the name "Uncommon Sense" for this, the blog's new feature. Like the "Circus News" feature, "Uncommon Sense" will run when it's warranted, as when "common sense" has run off the road, rolled over and burst into flames.

Now, I've read that Sarah Palin is "cautiously" courting what she calls the "lamestream media," because, "Everyone has just come to the conclusion that being silent while other people talk about you and try to define you hasn’t netted the results that we’d necessarily like,” according to Tim Crawford, a Palin aide, who is quoted in a story written by Politico writer Kenneth P. Vogel.

But saying more isn't going to help Sarah Palin. There is a reason why Republicans told her to "sit down and shut up." With every Tweet, interview and Facebook rant, voters' opinion of Sarah Palin solidifies into something perhaps best described by the Russian "nyet." American voters are "nyet" happy with Sarah Palin.

How unhappy? The Washington Post's Jonathan Capehart has written -- as usual, with a lot of uncommon sense -- "Palin vs. Obama: No she can't," which links to some polls that tell of the dire straits Palin is in with respect to electability. Sure, Palin told ABC News that polls change, but she has so thoroughly surrounded herself with a cheap, tawdry, one-trick-too-many, white trash aura that she's got an insurmountable job ahead of her. Voters expect more of a President; they expect the President to be better than they are.

"Common sense" is going to hell in a handbasket, and it's being carried there by Sarah Palin. When Sarah Palin tells ABC's Robin Roberts that running for the presidency is a "prayerful consideration," then you must surely begin to doubt God's omnipotence. Why would He (She? (It?)) need Sarah Palin? Why can't It (Think about it! If God is immortal, then why would God need to reproduce?) effect It's will without her?

Here is an excerpt of Palin's interview with Robin Roberts:



Now, think about it. Do tax cuts create jobs? No. A business creates a new job when the cost of employing another person is less than the additional revenue the new employee will generate. Why? Because that spells p-r-o-f-i-t.

A tax cut may artificially boost a business' profit, or, more likely, reduce a business' losses. But tax cuts don't require innovation, increased productivity, increased sales, superior products or any of the other things businesses have traditionally relied upon to increase their profits. Tax cuts are corporate welfare; they foster government dependency. If Sarah Palin supports Free Markets, why would she want to artificially prop-up marginal businesses that would otherwise fail? In a Free Market, businesses dependent on tax cuts for their survival should fail.

Don't be bamboozled by Sarah Palin. She doesn't know what she's talking about.

P.S: ABC News has an article about the Washington Post/ABC News poll, here. The Atlantic Wire also considers the polls, here.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

The Story is in The Story

Paul Jenkins of The Anchorage Daily News has written "Always on the hunt, Palin shown what to do," which ends:

... But the story is in the story. All but [Maureen] Dowd seemed to miss the boatload of delicious allegory about Palin's life and politics wrapped up in the episode. It was Palin on the hunt; on the hunt always. First, it was small-town politicos in Wasilla who befriended her, then GOP Chief Randy Ruedrich, then Frank Murkowski, who appointed her to a cushy job, and finally, a shot at Barack Obama. Older white men carrying her guns, loading them and handing them to her, advising her, telling her when to shoot, showing her how to do the job. Letting them do the work. Out of her element. Indoor girl in an outdoor world. Missed shot after missed shot after missed shot. Blaming someone or something else when it all goes south. Killing a scrawny little caribou to sell the image. Jumping the ship of state after only two disinterested, unengaged years, going for something bigger. Out of her element. Peddling the lie. The mama grizzly. Sarah the Sniper. ...

"Disinterested, unengaged." Perhaps that explains why Craig Medred wrote recently in "Palin's Record vs. Palin's Facebook," which is concerned with the discrepancies between Sarah Palin's record as Governor of Alaska and what she says she did as governor, "Sometimes it's pretty easy to get the impression that what Palin says and what Palin does, or what she believes she's done, are two distinctly different things."

Isn't it possible that Sarah Palin doesn't know what was done by the state's executive branch while she was governor? Wouldn't that explain why "her record" is at variance with what she says she did?

Will the real Governor of Alaska, while Sarah Palin warmed the chair, please stand up.

Maureen Dowd's "Pass the Caribou stew," which was mentioned by Jenkins, is here.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Oops! Sarah 'Pinocchio' Palin's Nose Is Showing

Craig Medred of Alaska Dispatch has written "Palin's Record vs. Palin's Facebook:"

... Sometimes it's pretty easy to get the impression that what Palin says and what Palin does, or what she believes she's done, are two distinctly different things. ...

... Why Palin exaggerates and misleads like this, when the truth might be quite good enough, is hard to know. She doesn't answer questions from the media. She basically only talks to Fox News, which pays her. She doesn't get asked any tough questions by the Fox crowd, and her only other means of direct communication with the public at-large is via Facebook, a one-way street down which Palin can roll her "truth" to the masses. ...

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Sarah Palin's New Book a Failure

The Washington Post's "Sales of Sarah Palin's book 'America by Heart' are lackluster," confirms what many of us have suspected:
Sarah Palin's magic touch might be fading a bit. ...

... "America by Heart," Palin's new memoir, has logged disappointing receipts since it officially went on sale late last month, publishing sources say. Although the book is second on the New York Times bestseller list this week (behind former president George W. Bush's memoir, "Decision Points") , its publisher, HarperCollins, hasn't ordered a second printing - a sign that sales haven't been overly brisk. ...
Amazon.com's Top 100 list show's Bush's book at #1, but Palin's book at #30. Recently, Palin's book was above #20 on Amazon's list. The book is on the way to the remainder bin.

Palin's PAC, SarahPac, made bulk purchases of the book, which may account for it's place on the Times' bestseller list. Amazon is a large book seller and its ratings may be more reliable.

Update, Dec. 10: Palin's book has slipped from #2 to #5 on the Times' list.

Lighting of The National Christmas Tree at The White House


Via Mrs. O

Former U.N. Ambassador John Bolton Isn't Impressed By Sarah Palin

Card carrying conservative John Bolton, who is considering running against President Obama in 2012, doesn't know enough about Sarah Palin's foreign policy views to comment on whether she's comparable to Obama on foreign policy issues, but says, "the Republican field is filled with people who would be better than Obama on foreign policy."

From The National Review Online's The Corner, which quotes Bolton:
“There will be at least one debate entirely on foreign and national-security policy,” Bolton says. “Let’s face it, Obama gives a good speech. After four years of practicing, he’ll almost look like a commander-in-chief. So if the Republican nominee isn’t capable of going toe-to-toe with him, we’re going to come away second-best on an issue where we should absolutely have people’s attention.”

Does Bolton see Sarah Palin as a strong potential nominee? “I don’t know enough about her views on foreign policy to comment, but the Republican field is filled with people who would be better than Obama on foreign policy,” he says.

“We have to acknowledge that Obama goes into the 2012 campaign with a huge advantage, having been commander-in-chief,” Bolton says. “He will have the pictures from, for example, his most recent visit to Afghanistan. He will be able to talk the talk. What we need is a candidate who can show that despite the glitz and the glamour, he has not walked the walk. That is the key.”

I would be remiss if I didn't remind readers that during the Obama/McCain foreign policy debate in 2008 it was Obama, not McCain, who came across as commander-in-chief. So, with four years experience in the job, it's hard to imagine Republicans trying to claim in 2012 that he hasn't "walked the walk."

On defense spending, Bolton is opposed to cuts, apparently unaware that the U.S. military is second to none and vastly superior to any other military organization on the planet:

How would a Bolton administration handle the defense budget? “There is no excuse for waste, fraud, and abuse in the Defense Department budget,” he says. “The next Republican administration ought to make waste, fraud, and abuse there just as much a priority as elsewhere in the federal government. But it is fundamentally wrong to say that a dollar well spent on defense is no different than a dollar well spent in the Department of Agriculture, the Department of the Interior, or something else. [Defense] is absolutely critical to holding the ring, to protecting America from external threats so that we can do what we need to do in terms of the domestic economy. Calls for across-the-board budget cuts, including the defense department, are badly misguided.”
Perhaps rather than spending profligately on ever-newer, ever-more-expensive weapons systems, just because we can, this or the next President ought to set a new course for Defense: Have them go to work figuring out how to fight low-tech wars against small, loosely organized terrorist organizations. Bolton's is the position that other Republicans will adopt, but their position doesn't afford them an advantage, considering that President Obama hasn't cut the defense budget. And, President Obama is just as interested as Republicans, if not more so, in cutting out waste, fraud and abuse in defense spending.

So, we have John Bolton, who reads and has the capacity to think about these things, unable to come up with a reason to replace President Obama. That puts Sarah Palin's unthinking rants into perspective, doesn't it?

Palin in Progress

Palin' in Progress might be a better title for this TIME cover story about Sarah Palin. It was written with the help of Rebecca Mansour, Sarah Palin's "speechwriter."

Apparently, however, Mansour isn't entirely happy with the article. About 7:00 AM PST, she tweeted, "Every other line in this TIME piece gibberish. Obama "hiring his way out of a recession." No, Palin accused him of "spending" his way out."

But GOP12 posted what it may consider to be points Palin scored with the article:

1. Palin thinks Obama is vulnerable, and she implies that she is the one to take him on. "In battleground states, he's polling at 40% or below," she notes.

2. "The country is rejecting his agenda ... My vision of America is diametrically opposed to his. He sees America as the problem. I see America as the solution."

3. Asked what she makes of Obama's presidency thus far, Palin quipped, "Two words: Jimmy Carter."

4. Asked who can beat him, she needed seven more: "Someone who can draw a sharp contrast."

The weakness of these "points" is illustrated by my ability to easily rebut them:

1. What can I say? Palin has more reason to be embarrassed by her poll numbers. For a while, after the Republicans' 1994 takeover of the House, it was thought that Bill Clinton couldn't be reelected. He was and presided over four years of prosperity and low unemployment. When he left office in 2001, he left a budget surplus to Republicans, who quickly squandered it and racked up unprecedented debt. "Sarah Palin Is 'Virtually Unelectable' " puts Palin's attempt to crow about polls into perspective.

2. Her assertion that President Obama sees America as the problem while she sees it as the solution is just another attempt to gin up some controversy. Palin's "argument" about American exceptionalism originated in a remark Obama made when responding to a reporter's question at a news conference:
Q Thank you, Mr. President. In the context of all the multilateral activity that's been going on this week -- the G20, here at NATO -- and your evident enthusiasm for multilateral frameworks, to work through multilateral frameworks, could I ask you whether you subscribe, as many of your predecessors have, to the school of American exceptionalism that sees America as uniquely qualified to lead the world, or do you have a slightly different philosophy? And if so, would you be able to elaborate on it?

PRESIDENT OBAMA: I believe in American exceptionalism, just as I suspect that the Brits believe in British exceptionalism and the Greeks believe in Greek exceptionalism. I'm enormously proud of my country and its role and history in the world. If you think about the site of this summit and what it means, I don't think America should be embarrassed to see evidence of the sacrifices of our troops, the enormous amount of resources that were put into Europe postwar, and our leadership in crafting an Alliance that ultimately led to the unification of Europe. We should take great pride in that.

And if you think of our current situation, the United States remains the largest economy in the world. We have unmatched military capability. And I think that we have a core set of values that are enshrined in our Constitution, in our body of law, in our democratic practices, in our belief in free speech and equality, that, though imperfect, are exceptional.

Now, the fact that I am very proud of my country and I think that we've got a whole lot to offer the world does not lessen my interest in recognizing the value and wonderful qualities of other countries, or recognizing that we're not always going to be right, or that other people may have good ideas, or that in order for us to work collectively, all parties have to compromise and that includes us.

And so I see no contradiction between believing that America has a continued extraordinary role in leading the world towards peace and prosperity and recognizing that that leadership is incumbent, depends on, our ability to create partnerships because we create partnerships because we can't solve these problems alone.
It's clear that Palin, who relies on a poorly informed speechwriter for her opinions, takes The President's remarks out of context to support her contention that Obama doesn't believe that America is exceptional. The deemphasized portion of the President's remarks, above, is the portion used by Palin to support her claim.

Snowbilly's post, "Strike three! You're out, Sarah Palin!," counts three other ways Sarah Palin or her ghostwriter (speechwriter?) take things out of context in a farcical attempt to buttress her opinion by citing writings that do not support her view. But, of course, Sarah Palin doesn't play by the rules -- this game doesn't have many rules -- and we aren't playing baseball; however, a little intellectual honesty isn't too much to ask.

3. In retrospect, Jimmy Carter is increasingly seen as a good president. What does Palin have to say about another one-term president, George H.W. Bush, who is respected by most Americans? He's a "blue blood."

4. Yes, there would be a stark contrast between Palin and Obama, should that race occur, and it wouldn't be favorable to Palin. Palin would pale in comparison (and contrast). That contrast has many people, even in the White House, relishing the idea of running against Palin.

The TIME article does, however, provide some insight into Palin's organization and staffing:
Like most retainers (she's a queen, if you didn't know), Palin's crew is not a team of rivals: it is devotedly, self-effacingly protective of its boss. Palin has hired some people virtually sight unseen, and yet the most important credential appears to be loyalty. ...

... The main gang of six — Sarah, Todd, Crawford, Mansour, Van Flein and Davis — has settled into something of a routine this year: Palin and her husband receive a daily morning briefing from Davis and Mansour via e-mail. It includes links to articles on candidates she's endorsed, what's happening inside the Beltway and around the world, and local sports news in the areas where she's traveling. The staff holds three conference calls a week —usually without Palin — but the conversation via Skype, e-mail and cell phone is continuous.
That staffing level, in terms of both quantity and quality, isn't indicative of someone seriously considering running successfully for the presidency.

CBS has a story about TIME's story.

Update: In the comments, Kerry noticed that TIME did an e-mail "interview" with Palin for this article. Her recent "interaction" with ABC News -- stating that she wouldn't run for RNC chair -- was also written. This information is certainly something to be filed away in long-term memory. Palin will undoubtedly claim that these are examples of "talking" with the media.

Update, Dec. 10: Chris Matthews is on the case.
He asks about the e-mail interview ...

Visit msnbc.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy H/T IM

Update, Dec 10: Salon has published "Time conducts cover story Sarah Palin "interview" over e-mail."

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Sarah Palin's 'Snuff Film' Gets Global Attention

Jason Deans, writing in the UK's Guardian:
West Wing creator Aaron Sorkin today gave Sarah Palin both barrels over her US TV reality show, accusing the contender for the 2012 Republican presidential nomination of shooting an animal "for political gain".

He described Palin as "deranged", a "witless bully" and a "phony pioneer girl". He also said The Learning Channel, the US cable network, "should be ashamed of itself" for broadcasting her "truly awful reality show".
Before the show, in what was likely an attempt to gin up controversy and boost the show's ratings, which failed, Palin tweeted: "Unless you've never worn leather shoes, sat upon a leather chair or eaten meat, save your condemnation." Palin also accused those whom she was trying to bait of hypocrisy.

Deans continues, quoting Sorkin:
"I eat meat, chicken and fish, have shoes and furniture made of leather ... I'm able to make a distinction between you and me without feeling the least bit hypocritical," Sorkin wrote in an incendiary comment piece posted on the Huffington Post website early today.

"I don't watch snuff films and you make them. You weren't killing that animal for food or shelter or even fashion, you were killing it for fun. You enjoy killing animals," he added.

"And you didn't just do it for fun and you didn't just do it for money. That was the first moose [sic] ever murdered for political gain. You knew there'd be a protest from Peta and you knew that would be an opportunity to hate on some people, you witless bully. What a uniter you'd be – bringing the right together with the far right."

Sorkin said he could not make a distinction between what Palin got paid to do in her show and "what Michael Vick went to prison for doing". Vick is an American football player convicted three years ago on dog-fighting charges.

Sorkin's post is receiving a lot of attention. The Washington Post's TV Column, written by Lisa de Moraes, covers it here.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Real Alaskans Don't Hunt Like Sarah Palin

From Alaska Dispatch:

Real Alaskans must envy the way former, half-term Gov. Sarah Palin hunts on her TV reality show, "Sarah Palin's Alaska.'' All real Alaskans, excepting the comparative few who still live in rural Alaska, scrimp and save and finagle to try to find a way to make work the economics of hunting in the 49th state. Alaska is the most expensive place in America to hunt big game, which makes hunting complicated for the poor and average folk.

Not so for Palin. When she goes to the freezer and finds it low on vittles, she decides to take "a couple of days'' to fly from Wasilla to the Brooks Range to shoot a caribou. Most Alaskans would spend a couple of days just driving from Wasilla or Anchorage to Deadhorse on the Dalton Highway, a road distance of about 850 miles, to save money to be able to afford a charter flight back into the country.

Not Palin. She charters a twin-engine DeHavilland Dash, a much more comfortable way to travel, to the tune of more than $35,000. ...

There is much more in the story, "Palin's big game hunt not reality for most Alaskans", by Craig Medred of Alaska Dispatch. Don't miss it.


Hollywood Life is reporting:

... The grand Palin total to bag a caribou and get it back to the Palin homestead added up to $42,400, or $141.33 per lb. of caribou meat. Sarah shot and killed a female cow which may have weighed up to 300 lbs.

Just to put this in perspective, the Palins could have filled their freezer with ribeye steak at $10.99 a lb. from Alaska’s Mr. Prime Beef, which is based in Anchorage and ships anywhere in the state.
...

However, Craig Medred noted: "Palin's caribou was estimated to cost more than $140 per pound, but that figure is surely low, given that it calculated only the costs of lodging and transportation and assumed she got 300 pounds of meat off the little caribou cow she shot."


Update: Gryphen has posted "Take a moment to watch what a REAL Alaskan subsistence lifestyle is all about."

Palin Family Circus News - December 7, 2010 - A.M. Edition

How could I have known? It was just an act of simple common sense when I started the Palin Family Circus News feature. Now, NBC New York's Jere Hester writes:

Welcome to the latest rings of the Palin Family Circus where Bristol’s still dancing – online – while her mom is playing the Mama Grizzly version of Annie Oakley on TV. Both are engaging with fading stars on Facebook, in exchanges that smack more of high school than serious political discourse.

Circus rings? Imagine that! I didn't know the Palins were so well organized.


Sarah Palin, bless her heart, is uncomfortable asking for money, so she's turned down the pleas of tea partiers' to run for chair of the Republican National Committee. In the gig she's got now, she only has to ask for money indirectly: Contribute to SarahPac! Buy my book! Watch my show! ...


Piper Palin's maniacal enthusiasm says it best:

The idea of watching Kate Gosselin and ex-governor and vice-presidential candidate Sarah Palin together is a little like drinking a can of Four Loko. You know it will be disgusting, but you can’t resist it — even if you will likely black out the whole traumatic experience anyway. (Or at least want to.) ...

So, needless to say, it will be tough to avoid watching the Kate Plus 8 star appear on this Sunday’s episode of Sarah Palin’s Alaska, in which the subjects of tabloid fodder go camping and attempt to out-do each other when it comes to high-decibel sentence delivery. (I’m with you, Kate.)


E!Online's Marc Malkin reported that Dancing With the Stars judge Carrie Ann Inaba isn't too keen on seeing Todd Palin on next season's show:

Ratings shmatings!

Bristol Palin may have meant bigger numbers for Dancing With the Stars, but at least one judge says she's had enough of Alaska's former first family...

"I think one Palin was enough for awhile," Carrie Ann Inaba told me last night at the Trevor Project's Trevor Live benefit at the Hollywood Palladium. "I think we need to go on a Palin vacation for a minute."

A minute? Just one minute? Oh! That's what the commercials are for.


Finally, Abe Sauer of The Awl wrote of Sarah Palin's hunting prowess:

In this most recent episode [of Sarah Palin's Alaska], a woman who has blindly championed the NRA and legitimized her frontier-woman status by claiming to be a "lifelong hunter" comes across as anything but.



PSA: A lot of Blackberries have been piling in here. All at once. Is there a meeting I don't know about?

Anyway, just to let everyone know, the site uses StatCounter, which gives visitors a cookie in a vain attempt to count 'returning' visitors (it fails if visitors clear their browser cookies). If javascript is disabled, StatCounter won't be able to log any links you click.

At one time, the site used Google Analytics, but I'm told the code was disabled, because it doesn't provide that one bit of information that can answer that one burning question: "How many visitors followed the link to a particular site?" The answer to that question gives us a good idea of what's most interesting to people, so we can then continually improve our posts by linking to things that interest you.

You're welcome.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Bristol Palin a Pawn in Grisly Mama's Media Game

Sarah Palin isn't like President Truman

About a month ago, Howard Stern said, "Bristol Palin is the first contestant in the history of Dancing with the Stars to get fatter as the show goes on. It's almost impossible to get fatter. She must be eating everything in sight." Last night, Kathy Griffin said of Bristol Palin, "She's the only contestant in the history of the show to actually gain weight. She's like the white Precious. She's like the white Precious."

In 1950, when a Washington Post music critic said that President Truman's daughter, Margaret, couldn't sing, Harry Truman lit into him, writing in a letter: "I have never met you, but if I do you'll need a new nose and plenty of beefsteak and perhaps a supporter below."

Where has Sarah Palin been? Why hasn't she come to Bristol's defense? Sarah just sits there and lets Kathy Griffin and Howard Stern say that Bristol is fat and getting fatter!?

"Give 'em Hell, Harry!" wouldn't have put up with it.

Bristol Palin like the 'white Precious' -- Kathy Griffin

Via MTV

The backstory (explains a 'White Precious').

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Sarah Palin's Alaska


Click to enlarge

ABC News Looks Inside 'Sarah Palin's Alaska'

ABC News' The Note has written quite a bit about tonight's show and mentions some of the upcoming shows. Of tonight's show, the column wrote: " ... Palin seems to relish not just the hunt itself, but the political language surrounding it. Her books are loaded with references to “organic sources of protein,” which is a long way of saying say “wild animal meat.” And while she alludes to the idea that the show is somehow controversial, it doesn’t seem that there has been a giant public outcry. Palin seems eager to pick a fight here, even if no one is fighting back." ... . [emphasis added]

That's right. Don't take the bait.

In his essay, "Palin by comparison," Michael L. Hays wrote, about dealing with Sarah Palin:

My advice begins and ends with a strategy mindful of her personality and her propensities: Avoid triggering her sense of grievance or her resentments. In any engagement, be respectful, attentive, undemonstrative, unresponsive. Discuss your views; disregard her views. Neither agree nor disagree with her; if necessary, rebut by indirection. Avoid criticism, even its appearance; ask no questions, seek no specifics, dispute no views.

If you fail, she will tailor her response to any confrontation, direct or indirect, to elicit the sympathy of her followers and possibly others.


Hays' advice is reminiscent of Joe Biden's strategy during the 2008 VP debate. It's goal was simple: Don't follow Sarah Palin down a rabbit hole. You can read about that on pages 406-7 of Game Change,

In a nutshell, Hays' advice is: ignore her.

The 'Gotham Guru' Dishes on Sarah Palin

NY Daily News sportswriter and cartoonist Bill Gallo heard some common sense from "The Gotham Guru:"

Today I introduce someone who I've had tucked away in one of the drawers of my brain for some time and have been waiting for the right moment to spring. Now is that moment.

He is "The Sage," but better known to Washington Irving and me as "The Gotham Guru."

I call on him - with all his wisdom - to set us straight on these two things: An obsession the American people cannot unload, and a diversion baseball fans continuously like to stick their noses in. The wisdom, by the way, is called common sense, as you will see.

The obsession is Sarah Palin, who is seen popping up on television more than "The Gecko," that amusing little lizard who teams up with Brian Carney (Art's son) in the Geico ads.

Now that I've led you in, I'll ask the "Guru of Gotham" to explain this lady phenomenon who has grabbed all of us by the lapels, shouting in her shrill voice, "Listen to me, you people, I'm talking!" But is this a sports column, you might ask? Yes, in a way. ...

The Gotham Guru is an unsophisticated, common sense sort of guy. You can get a dose of common sense here.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Palin Family Circus News - Saturday, December 4, 2010

Here we see Sarah Palin trying to get the cobwebs out.

Two weeks ago, the ratings for Sarah Palin's Alaska collapsed. They were down 40% from the ratings of the first, debut show. The next week, ratings were up 17%. Woo hoo? No. Let's put things into perspective.

Suppose we buy a stock for $100. When it drops 40%, it has to go up $40, which is 66% of its price at $60, to get back to $100. So, the show's ratings then went up 17%? Let's see: 17% of $60 is $10.20. So, our stock is now priced at $70 plus change. Our stock is still way down. It's down 30%!

Of course, things can change. Tonight Tomorrow December 12th, the show's competition may not be as strong as it's been, and Kate Gosselin + kids are making an appearance.

Kate's show has drawn more viewers than Sarah's show has ever drawn; she's more popular. Won't we have to attribute any improvement in the show's ratings, tonight tomorrow December 12th, to Kate + kids' fans turning out to watch?

As with all things, "It ain't over 'til it's over," but Sarah Palin's show might have had a better reception if it had been more about Alaska than about Sarah Palin.

For another bit of perspective, Dancing With the Stars' final episode had about five times as many viewers as Sarah Palin's Alaska had when it premiered. Bristol won't be old enough to be President for some time, but she's already much more popular than her mom.

If you'd like to read a short comparison of Sarah Palin's show with Ronald Reagan's shows, you might enjoy "How Sarah Palin's Alaska is not like Ronald Reagan's Death Valley Days."


"Kate Gosselin breaks down in tears while camping with Sarah Palin in Alaska's wilderness" has some TLC photos from the show.

But "Sarah Palin & Kate Gosselin's Sucky Wilderness Adventure" tells of some scenes we may not see.

Update: The NY Daily News has an article about Kate Gosselin's appearance on the show. According to that article, the "entire episode" with Kate won't be shown until December 12. The article has a link to Us Magazine, where a trailer can be seen. I am not so sure that Kate will be on tomorrow night.


For a while, I was too scared to read "Elisabeth Hasselbeck: Violated By Sarah Palin!" Who knows what evil lurks ... ?


"Bristol Palin a Pawn in Mom Sarah's Lamesteam Media War" noticed that Bristol Palin's 'Facebook posting is well written and uses a lot of two-dollar words like “canard” and “incredulity.” ' At one point, the article calls MSNBC's Keith Olbermann, who doubts that Bristol wrote the Facebook posting, a "fathead," but then the article expresses doubt about whether Bristol actually wrote the Facebook posting.

Whatever! But Bristol's Rebecca Mansour's line, "What Mr. Olbermann lacks in originality he makes up for with insincere incredulity," is a problem. Try removing the double negative: "What Mr. Olbermann lacks in originality he makes up for with sincere credulity." Still don't know what it means? Join the club.

That's my $0.02 on that matter.


Finally, what would life be like without Palinman (Palin' Man?):



He's a Superhero? To see Sarah Palin portrayed as a Superhero and read about some real ones, you may like "Sarah Palin: Superhero (?!)" (And pick up some holiday movie tips, too.)


Update, December 5th: I'm sorry about the confusion over what's on tonight's show. The episode with Kate + kids will be on December 12th, not tonight. Tonight's show -- December 5th -- is about hunting.

Sarah must be aware of the show's troubled ratings. She is now trying (Sunday, Dec. 5th) to gin-up a controversy over hunting in an attempt to attract more viewers. She's tweeting things like, "Unless you've never worn leather shoes, sat upon a leather couch or eaten a piece of meat, save your condemnation of tonight's episode." Do people hunt cows?

Update, December 5th: ABC News' The Note has written quite a bit about tonight's show and mentions some of the upcoming shows. Of tonight's show, the column wrote: " ... Palin seems to relish not just the hunt itself, but the political language surrounding it. Her books are loaded with references to “organic sources of protein,” which is a long way of saying say “wild animal meat.” And while she alludes to the idea that the show is somehow controversial, it doesn’t seem that there has been a giant public outcry. Palin seems eager to pick a fight here, even if no one is fighting back." ... . [emphasis added]

Palin vs. the GOP's 'blue bloods'

The Washington Post's Colbert I. King has come out swinging against Republican blue bloods elites who are trying to discourage Sarah Palin from running. He says, among other things:
I wouldn't want to see Sarah Palin anywhere near the White House, let alone in the Oval Office with a nuclear arsenal at her disposal. That's not a likely scenario anyway, given her low standing among independents and Democrats.

But the notion of a phalanx of conservative elites - Palin called them "blue bloods" - standing between her and the GOP nomination because they perceive her as inferior in intellect and social and political standing is pure snobbery.

At bottom, their real slander is against Palin and her slice of the American electorate, captured in H.L. Mencken's caustic observation: "As democracy is perfected, the office of president represents, more and more closely, the inner soul of the people. On some great and glorious day the plain folks of the land will reach their heart's desire at last and the White House will be adorned by a downright moron."
King quotes and links to several Republican writers who have slammed Palin recently. The Weekly Standard's Matt Labash has left her side; Bill Kristol bailed a couple of days ago.

Although none of this may discourage Palin, it's important because there isn't going to be anyone left to spin her pratfalls into oscar-winning performances for her. She'll have to rely exclusively on the sympathy vote.

King's article can be read here.

John Dean, White House Counsel to former President Nixon, wrote an interesting article, "Sarah Palin and the Dumbing Down of the American Presidency."

Troops Cheer President Obama

By BEN FELLER, AP White House Correspondent

(AP) — In a rousing holiday-season visit, President Barack Obama on Friday told cheering U.S. troops in Afghanistan they're succeeding in their vital mission fighting terrorism. ...

... Obama's surprise visit to the war zone, his second as president, came 10 days before he is to address the nation about a new review of U.S. strategy to defeat the Taliban and strengthen the Afghan government so American troops can begin leaving next year. ...

... [T]he president spoke to more than 3,500 service members packed into a huge airplane hangar. After his remarks, he spent more than 10 minutes shaking hands, going around the hangar three times as they grabbed his hand and held cameras and cell phones high to take photos. ...

The complete story is here and has several photos.