Sunday, January 30, 2011

Sarah Palin reads The National Enquirer -- Updated

Katie Couric once asked Sarah Palin what she reads. How many years has Couric's question been dogging us? More than two years. Now we know, unless someone reads to her, that Palin reads [but see the update, below] The National Enquirer, because Sarah Palin said, referring to a National Enquirer story claiming that Todd Palin had an affair with a massage therapist, "Look at this recent b.s. about Todd being all caught up in this prostitution ring in Anchorage. Heck, all they needed to do was to ask him, 'Hey, Todd, you been hanging out with hookers in Anchorage?' He'd tell the truth!"

It is good to know that Palin reads the Enquirer, but I don't know what to make of either the Enquirer's or Palin's claim. Obviously the thing to do is buy the current National Enquirer and compare its claim with what Sarah Palin and the Anchorage police department have said about the Enquirer's claim. Last night, I saw the Enquirer on a newsstand; apparently, John Travolta is a bigger draw than Sarah Palin, because he got more of the Enquirer's cover space than she did. But I didn't buy it, even though it is possible that the denials are half-truths or outright lies. Perhaps the denial depends on the definition of "hanging out," and I have no idea where Todd hangs out. I may reconsider, but I am sure that Sarah Palin is finished politically, so why bother? The National Enquirer has part of the story online, in "TODD PALIN SEX SCANDAL: ALASKA COPS ISSUE STATEMENT."

The quote from Sarah Palin was obtained from New York magazine's "Sarah Palin Encourages Enquirer to Call Her More Often," which quotes a NY Daily News article, "Todd Palin sex scandal claims: Sarah Palin calls ... 'b.s.'," which has audio of Sarah Palin's claim.

This post's photo can be found in a NY Daily News gallery, here. It is number 32 of 43 and is captioned, "During the vice presidential debate on Oct. 2, [2008], Palin had more than a few uncomfortable moments ... ."

Update: The Enquirer's article can be read here. It doesn't appear as though Sarah Palin is denying what the Enquirer claims, because the Enquirer doesn't claim that Todd Palin is involved with a prostitution ring or that he hangs out with prostitutes in Anchorage. It's possible that Sarah Palin doesn't read the Enquirer; or is she trying to get in front of a bigger story? Assuming that Palin's "denial" is true, what we have from her is a half-truth: the Enquirer's claim wasn't disputed.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Spudnuts - WTF?

As many of you may know, Sarah Palin recently had a chat with Greta Van Susteren and critiqued President Obama's State of the Union address. Palin's appearance on Van Susteren's show was a big hit at The Washington Post. From Alexandra Petri's "WTF Moments with Palin on the 'Race to Space,' Sputnik, and Spudnut:"
Dear Sarah Palin,

Based on your comments to Greta van Susteren on Fox News last night about the State of the Union address, I think there has been a slight misunderstanding. Or, possibly, several large misunderstandings.

I liked your coinage of "WTF moments" from President Obama's phrase, "winning the future."

I also enjoyed your analysis that:

That was another one of those WTF moments, when he so often repeated this Sputnik moment that he would aspire Americans to celebrate. And he needs to remember that what happened back then with the former communist USSR and their victory in that race to space, yes, they won, but they also incurred so much debt at the time that it resulted in the inevitable collapse of the Soviet Union.

It's not that I agree with the sentiments you are expressing, but I like the way you say it. It's like a tonal poem. It sounds like the classic Beatles song "Dig a Pony," with people aspiring other people to celebrate things in a strange, contorted syntax. ...

Stephen Stromberg's "Sarah Palin's weird 'Sputnik' story" is another take.

But the prize may belong to Ann Telnaes for her animated cartoon, "Sarah Palin explains the history of Soviet Space program." It has audio, too, from Palin's chat with Van Susteren. The cartoon doesn't seem to be embeddable, so you'll have to click the link to see and hear it. It's worthwhile; perhaps Telnaes' cartoon is the future of political cartoons.

At any rate, it's apparent that Palin is getting more presidential by the day, no?

A Fox Video and a transcript of Palin's conversation with Van Susteren is here.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Why Sarah Palin won't be President - Reason #1

John Ellis, a cousin of George Bush, was refreshingly honest about Sarah Palin's electability. In a story, "INSIDE THE PALIN BUBBLE: Here's Why The 2012 Republican Front-Runner Just Made Such A Fool Of Herself," about Palin's "blood libel" video, Bush wrote (with my emphasis):

One suspects that the principal reason for Mrs. Palin's disastrous performance is that the people who seal her bubble are inexperienced and insular; ignorant of what national politics requires and rather too proud of that ignorance. They gave her very bad advice. That she took it reflects badly on her. It says what George Will and many others have been saying privately and publicly since she was tapped by Senator John McCain to be his running mate: she doesn't have what it takes.

This is not to say that Mrs. Palin is no longer a force in GOP politics or a player in the 2012 Republican Presidential nomination campaign. She has a strong base. In many ways, she remains the candidate of the Republican base, a formidable starting point for anyone who seeks to be the GOP standard-bearer.

But what was made clear in the last 48 hours is that Mrs. Palin will not be elected President of the United States in 2012. Out of nowhere, an atrocity focused attention on two people. The incumbent passed the test. The pretender failed, miserably.

Ellis is, of course, contrasting President Obama's eulogy of the Tucson shooting victims with Sarah Palin's response to the tragedy.

Whether Palin continues to be the preferred candidate of the Republican base, as Bush wrote, remains to be seen; Michele Bachmann is quite capable of filling the void left by Palin's failure. But whatever happens, it must be remembered that while the base is a significant part of the Republican party, it is a small part of the American electorate.

Bush also offered some insight into the bubble that presidents and wannabe presidents live in. The very existence of that bubble requires excellent staffing; something else Palin has failed at.

Monday, January 24, 2011

What? No one wants to go Palin-free?

Responses to Washington Post columnist Dana Milbank's idea for a Palin-free month of February continue to be written. The Post's Jonathan Capehart writes in "Sorry, Dana Milbank -- I won't quit Sarah Palin:"
Hi, I'm Jonathan, and I'm, um, a Pali-holic. But not in the way that Dana Milbank or Ross Douthat thinks. Sure, I've written at least 34 posts with "Sarah" or "Sarah Palin" in the headline. Yes, I'm fully aware of the crack-like impact her name has on the blogosphere. But I have tried to write about Palin not as a politician but as a small-screen star playing a politician, a figure with outsized influence on a very vocal wing of the Republican Party on TV (and Facebook and Twitter and Fox).

I thought Douthat nailed it with his column this month on the media's obsession with Palin. And this is where Douthat and I are in total agreement.

Cover Sarah Palin if you want, but stop acting as if she's the most important conservative politician in America. Stop pretending that she has a plausible path to the presidency in 2012. (She doesn't.) Stop suggesting that she's the front-runner for the Republican nomination. (She isn't.) And every time you're tempted to parse her tweets for some secret code or crucial dog whistle, stop and think, this woman has fewer Twitter followers than Ben Stiller, and then go write about something else instead. ...

Capehart's columns about Palin are always like a breath of fresh air, because his is one of the few reality-based views on Palin. He knows electability matters, and he has known for some time that Palin is unelectable.

The Week has some additional responses to Milbank's plan in its article, "Forgetting Sarah Palin: Should the press stop covering her?"

The conservative Frum Forum has a response, too. Their "Time for Palin Apologists to Let Go" considers what The NY Times' Ross Douthat and The WSJ's James Taranto have written about the media's coverage of Palin.

Douthat may have started the media's discussion of Palin coverage with his "Scenes From a Marriage," which castigates "palinistas" and "palinoiacs" alike. In "Scenes From a Marriage," Douthat expresses his belief that conservatives have actually damaged Palin by praising her (excessively). I think that's true, particularly when they compare Palin with former presidents. Palin isn't like any President. She suffers from the comparison, because she isn't presidential, at all.

(Capehart is quoting, above, from Douthat's "Scenes From a Marriage.")

Saturday, January 22, 2011

America in the grips of Palin fatigue

In "Why America is growing tired of Palin," CNN's Gloria Borger cites polls indicating that most Americans view Sarah Palin unfavorably, the willingness of Republicans to criticize her, overexposure in the media, and the people's unhappiness with a consistently negative message as reasons for the fading interest in Palin -- Palin fatigue.

Borger doesn't attribute Palin fatigue entirely to the shootings: "You might argue it's because of the debate surrounding the Tucson shootings -- specifically, Palin's tone-deaf response to the unfair charges that she was somehow responsible for a deranged shooter's state of mind. And that could well be part of it. But there's more: She's completely overstayed her welcome."

Borger's article is definitely worth reading, and what Erick Erickson, editor of, is quoted as saying may be true:

And there's one more thing we can't forget: Voters actually like positive leaders who inspire them. Relentless negativity can work, to be sure. Yet in the end, Americans gravitate to those who make us feel good about who we are capable of becoming.

Successful candidacies and presidencies are not just about the foibles of the opposition. They're about our own ability -- as John McCain was fond of saying -- to become a part of something greater than ourselves. Palin, alas, is still stuck on the "me" part.

Friday, January 21, 2011

The Press Begins to Question Its Coverage of Sarah Palin

The Washington Post's Dana Milbank has written "I'm declaring February a Palin-free month. Join me!"

New Yorker magazine's Amy Davidson responded with "No Pledge on Palin."

Andrew Sullivan says, "No surrender" in "A Palin-Free February?"

Rather than debate whether Palin should be covered, it might be better to decide what is worthy of coverage.

A tweet? That's 140 characters, max. Can anyone address a foreign policy question, domestic legislation, taxation and a host of other issues in 140 characters? Probably not. But things like a meeting with a newspaper's editiorial board or an in-depth interview would be worth covering. So would an announcement that she's going to run for the Republican nomination. So would a news conference.

A Facebook post? Probably not, because, like a tweet, there isn't an opportunity to ask questions, to clarify what she means.

The one thing that distinguishes Sarah Palin's interaction with people is that it's all one-way communication. Perhaps nothing Palin says should be covered unless it involves some dialog, a little give and take. Let her meet the press and face the nation, then what she has to say may be worth covering.

For a long time now, this blog hasn't covered Sarah Palin's tweets and only rarely her Facebook posts, and, in the aftermath of Tucson, there may be fewer posts. There aren't as many things to blog about anymore; for example, the Palin Family Circus News may never appear again, because there no longer seems to be anything amusing about Sarah Palin. We even started Blogging towards Bethlehem, our Palin-free space, so we could continue to blog about important, interesting, even fun things.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

President Obama needs Sarah Palin !?

Oddly, there is suddenly chatter of an iceberg that is about to wreck Sarah Palin's ship, as though an iceberg were necessary. If there ever was an iceberg, it must have melted by now. Don't worry though: Sarah Palin has effectively done herself in. She's drowning.

But in "Obama Benefits in Having Palin as His Foil," Matt Bai comes along and writes that Sarah Palin may be President Obama's best asset:

... “In our system of government, the party that does not have the presidency does not have a recognized leader,” said Mike DuHaime, a top Republican strategist. “She’s one of the very few who tries to fill the void.”

For the White House, it would seem, this is a hopeful development. That’s because every modern president, and especially one who finds himself confronting divided government, needs the kind of critic who can remind the public of why he once seemed so eminently presidential.

Think of it this way: American voters have for decades now sent their presidents to Washington in hopes of delivering some mortal blow to the status quo. Once in office, it’s hard for any president to fully embody the reform that a restive electorate may have hoped for. But it’s considerably easier if you can contrast yourself with an adversary who embodies the kind of outdated politics, ideological rigidity or divisiveness that repelled those voters in the first place. ...

... Next year, when Republicans settle on a presidential candidate, Mr. Obama will have an adversary chosen for him. But for now, he could clearly do worse than to have Ms. Palin overshadow the party’s more predictable leaders in Congress [John Boehner and Mitch McConnell]. With every controversial tweet or video, Ms. Palin makes Mr. Obama, who has often struggled to project the regality of the office, seem more like the post-partisan grownup he always intended to be.

Shortly after Mr. Obama’s speech last week, his opponent from the 2008 campaign, Senator John McCain of Arizona, issued a gracious statement thanking the president for his call for civility. Perhaps Mr. Obama wanted to thank Mr. McCain, as well — for having created the Sarah Palin phenomenon, thus giving the president’s words more resonance than they otherwise might have had.

What to do? Throw her an anchor? A rope? Both ends of the rope?

Palin and the Press: A Failing Marriage?

New York Times columnist Ross Douthat characterizes Sarah Palin's relationship with the media as a failing marriage. In "Scenes From a Marriage," he writes:
In every twisted, wretched, ruinous relationship, there are moments so grim, flare-ups so appalling, that they offer both parties a chance to step back, take inventory, and realize that it’s time — far past time, in fact — to go their separate ways.

For the American media and Sarah Palin, that kind of a moment arrived last week. ...

... The whole business felt less like an episode in American political history than a scene from a particularly toxic marriage — more “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?” than “The Making of the President.” The press and Palin have been at war with each other almost from the first, but their mutual antipathy looks increasingly like co-dependency: they can’t get along, but they can’t live without each other either

For their part, the media manage to be consistently unfair to the former Alaska governor — gossipy and hostile in their reportage, hysterical and condescending in their commentary — even as they follow her every move with a fascination bordering on obsession. (MSNBC, in particular, should just change its name to “Palin 24/7” and get it over with.) When commentators aren’t denouncing her, they’re busy building up her legend — exaggerating her political acumen, overpraising her communications strategy, covering her every tweet as if she were the Viceroy of Red America, and spinning out outlandish scenarios in which she captures the White House in 2012.

Palin, meanwhile, officially despises the “lamestream” media. But press coverage — good, bad, whatever — is clearly the oxygen she craves. She supposedly hates having her privacy invaded, yet her family keeps showing up on reality TV. She thinks the political class is clueless and out-of-touch, but she can’t resist responding to its every provocation. Her public rhetoric, from “death panels” to “blood libel,” is obviously crafted to maximize coverage and controversy, and generate more heat than light. And her Twitter account reads like a constant plea for the most superficial sort of media attention.

It’s a grim spectacle on both sides, and last week’s pointless controversy was a particularly low point. So let me play the relationship counselor. To the media: Cover Sarah Palin if you want, but stop acting as if she’s the most important conservative politician in America. Stop pretending that she has a plausible path to the presidency in 2012. (She doesn’t.) Stop suggesting that she’s the front-runner for the Republican nomination. (She isn’t.) And every time you’re tempted to parse her tweets for some secret code or crucial dog whistle, stop and think, this woman has fewer Twitter followers than Ben Stiller, and then go write about something else instead. ...

Douthat divides those obsessed by Palin into Palinistas and Palinoiacs. This morning, the Times' 538 blog attempted to refine Douthat's classifications. There, Nate Silver considers Douthat's Palinistas and Palinoiacs to be people with strong opinions about Palin, and he compares the strong opinions people have about Palin with their opinions of other politicians.

Douthat's characterization of last week's controversy as "pointless" may depend on the definition of "pointless." That it continues speaks volumes. To the extent that the "controversy" was about rights and responsibilites, it was not and will never be "pointless." Sarah Palin has a right to put rifle sights over a congressional district, but should she? Some believe that with rights come responsibilites.

It's interesting that Douthat considers praise of Palin, as though she were "The Viceroy of Red America," to be unfair to her. That is a different take on her over-the-top supporters. It never occured to me that comparing Palin to Reagan (or any other president) is unfair to her. It just seemed wrong. Of course, it is unfair to her, in the sense that she isn't comparable to any president; she cannot possibly live up to the expectations created by the comparison. Sarah Palin isn't presidential, at all.

It is very gratifying to read Douthat's words on Palin's prospects and his advice to the press: "Stop pretending that she has a plausible path to the presidency in 2012. (She doesn’t.) Stop suggesting that she’s the front-runner for the Republican nomination. (She isn’t.) There are no truer words than those.

Now, for a shameless plug: Don't forget to visit our new blog, Blogging towards Bethlehem. It's about a lot of things -- whatever we find interesting -- but not about Sarah Palin, unless it's a post like this one or snowbilly's last post, just below this one, which are high altitude views of all things Palin. And it won't be non-stop comic books and films; I promise. At times a brief respite from all things Palin can be a relief.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

After Tucson, Is the Anger Gone?

In the wake of the shootings in Tucson on Saturday, January 8th, many have expressed the hope that our political discourse might improve. But is America at a turning point? At a crossroads? Perhaps not. Matt Bai writes, in "After Tucson, Is the Anger Gone?" that not all hisorians would agree that turning points or transformational moments even occur.

... In what may have been his most emotional speech since the 2008 campaign, President Obama registered his own disappointment, pleading with all sides for temperance. “What we can’t do is use this tragedy as one more occasion to turn on one another,” the president said in his Tucson eulogy. “If this tragedy prompts reflection and debate, as it should, let’s make sure it’s worthy of those we have lost.”

If the shooting didn’t feel like the turning point in the civic life of the nation that some of us had imagined it might become, then it may be because such turning points aren’t always immediately evident. Or maybe it’s because the murder suspect appeared to have no obvious ideology, his crime an imperfect parable for the consequences of political rhetoric.

Perhaps, though, we have to consider another explanation — that the speed and fractiousness of our modern society make it all but impossible now for any one moment to transform the national debate.

Not all historians accept the idea of transformational moments, which, they point out, may seem neater and more definitive in retrospect than they were at the time. But others are inclined to see the American story as a series of crescendos and climaxes, periods of mounting internal strife that are resolved, or at least recast, by crystallizing moments. ...

Bai's article was informed by talks with Beverly Gage, "who teaches 20th-century history at Yale" and John Lewis Gaddis, "the pre-eminent cold war scholar and Yale professor," both of whom describe historical events in the nation's history that may have been turning points.

In the end, we may simply have the insane act of one man. Both the Los Angeles Times and New York Times have lengthy articles about the man suspected in the Tucson shooting, Jared Lee Loughner. The LA Times' article is "Suspected Tucson shooter 'slowly spiraled into madness'." The NY Times' article is "Looking Behind the Mug-Shot Grin of an Accused Killer."

Whether the shooter was driven to act by the talk of "second amendment remedies" or imagery of rifle sights over Representative Gifford's district, some, perhaps not all, may tone down their "rhetoric." Republican disdain for Sarah Palin, which was becoming apparent before the shooting, had marginalized her. The shooting ended her political career. The country's political unconscious will forever link Sarah Palin to the shooting.

Obviously, there may not be much more to blog about Sarah Palin (Or could it be that crowing over her next lie or inconsistency might diminish her culpability in the shooting? In the sense that it could distract people from the greatest reason she is unqualifed for any office?) So, we've started a new blog, a Sarah Palin free zone, named "Blogging towards Bethlehem." It's still under construction, but has several posts, and some links, which may give you a sense of its flavor. There will be posts about politics, but they won't be news-chasing posts. This post may appear there.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

President Obama in Tucson

Thousands lined up to see President Obama at the University of Arizona, in Tucson.

A capacity crowd of about 14000 heard The President inside McKale Memorial Center, home to Arizona Wildcats basketball.

President Obama delivered a moving and beautiful eulogy of last Saturday's victims, and he praised those who acted selflessly to save others. Then the President asked, "How can we honor the fallen? How can we be true to their memory?"

Here is President Obama:

Visit for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

The NY Times has made an interactive video and transcript available here. The text alone can be read here.

Chris Matthews Indicts Sarah Palin: Silent, On The Lam

This clip from "Hardball" is from yesterday, before Sarah Palin's statement of this morning. Cynthia Tucker of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution had some valulable insights into Palin's problem. Did Palin do what Tucker suggested?

Visit for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

Sarah Palin is Defiant and Unremorseful

Sarah Palin has made a statement about last Saturday's massacre. The Facebook post is an attempt to reverse the widespread public perception that Sarah Palin's map -- with rifle sights over Congresswoman Gifford's congressional district -- was an irresponsible abuse of the First Amendment. A video accompanied the post:

Sarah Palin attempts to score a First Amendment point for a selfish reason: to save her political career. Yes, it's true that Sarah Palin has a right to target congressional districts with rifle sights, but should she? With rights come responsibilities.

Sarah Palin is defiant:
“We will not be stopped from celebrating the greatness of of our country and our foundational freedoms by those who mock its greatness by being intolerant of differing opinion and seeking to muzzle dissent with shrill cries of imagined insults."
At another point, Sarah Palin says that criticism of her is a "blood libel." Sarah Palin is intolerant of criticism, of differing opinion, and cries shrilly, and hurls insults. Sarah Palin hopes to muzzle a discussion of the responsibilites that come with rights. Sarah Palin hopes that you will imagine her among the victims of this massacre.

Sarah Palin's statement is an unprincipled stand on principle.

Sarah Palin's Facebook post is here, or it can be read at The Huffington Post, here.

The New York Times' The Caucus blog has "Palin Calls Criticism 'Blood Libel,'" which contains a link to some thoughtful commentary at Politico's "Palin's 'blood libel' defense fair?"

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Sarah Palin Hits the Front Page

Usually, to find Palin news at Google News, one must type palin into the search box. This morning, "Palin caught in crosshairs map controversy after Tucson shootings" is on their front page.

The Washington Post article, by Dan Balz, describes how Sarah Palin got herself into this pickle and concludes with:

Palin allies point to language and imagery used by some critics on the left as evidence of a double standard. But John Weaver, a GOP strategist, said Palin is being held to a different standard precisely because she may have presidential aspirations.

"You can't put the actions of this insane person on her doorstep or anyone's doorstep," he said in Palin's defense. But, he added, "having said that, there's a difference between how people judge the conduct of a blogger and a political leader or someone who may want to run for president of the United States."

An indication of how far behind the curve many are is the article's quote of Politico's Jonathan Martin, who wrote that Palin would now have to decide "whether she wants to be Ronald Reagan or Rush Limbaugh." Sarah Palin hasn't that choice anymore, if she ever had it.

Politico's article by Jonathan Martin is here.

The Week has "Will the Arizona tragedy end Palin's presidential hopes?" which is a short roundup of opinion on the matter.

Tim Pawlenty, a possible 2012 Republican presidential candidate, said that Sarah Palin is a "remarkable leader," but that he would not have used the cross-hairs imagery used by Sarah Palin.

Monday, January 10, 2011

USA Today identifies Sarah Palin's Culpability in Tucson Massacre

From USA Today's "Our view: After Ariz. shooting, time to tone down vitriol:"
Saturday's tragedy in Arizona was unspeakable, as President Obama put it, but it was not unthinkable. American history is blighted with assassinations and attempted assassinations of prominent figures, often by disturbed young men with motives that make sense only within their twisted minds.

Combine that past with today's overheated political rhetoric and easy access to high-powered weaponry, and perhaps the only question was when, and where, the next unspeakable act would occur.

The heartbreaking answer was Jan. 8, 2011, outside a supermarket in Tucson. A 22-year-old gunman, identified as Jared Lee Loughner, opened fire with a Glock handgun, grievously wounding Rep. Gabrielle Giffords and killing six others, including federal Judge John Roll and, poignantly, a 9-year-old girl learning about democracy. ...

... With speech comes responsibility, a notion that seems lost on too many players in today's hyperpartisan hothouse. Regardless of Loughner's motivations, his killing spree is a grisly reminder that deeply disturbed people are easily driven to violence, whether by their own personal demons or by others who stoke their anger. When talk-show hosts warn about using bullets if ballots don't work, or candidates speak about resorting to "Second Amendment remedies," they invite risk for the sake of ratings or political gain. As Giffords hauntingly warned in March, after Sarah Palin's political action committee targeted her congressional district using the cross hairs of a gun sight, "there are consequences" to such imagery. ...
In Congresswoman Gifford's haunting words, "there are consequences:"
We need to realize that the rhetoric, and the firing people up and ... for example, we're on Sarah Palin's targeted list, but the thing is, the way she has it depicted, we're in the crosshairs of a gun sight over our district. When people do that, they've got to realize that there are consequences to that action ...
USA Today is the nation's largest daily print newspaper, in terms of circulation.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Representative Giffords

An AP story just a few minutes old (and being updated) is reporting:

TUCSON, Ariz. – Rep. Gabrielle Giffords of Arizona was shot in the head Saturday when an assailant opened fire outside a grocery store during a meeting with constituents, killing a 9-year-old boy and a federal judge and wounding several others in a rampage that rattled the nation.

Giffords was among at least 10 people wounded, and the hospital said her outlook was "optimistic" and that she was responding to commands from doctors. The hospital said a 9-year-old child was among the killed, and a U.S. Marshal said a federal judge was also fatally shot in the attack. ...

The AP story has more information and pictures. The Safeway store appears to be the one at Oracle and Ina Roads, where I have been many times and never imagined what would happen there today.

I had the privilege of voting for Giffords when I lived in Arizona's 8th Congressional District, in 2006. She was re-elected in 2008 and 2010.

If any "silver lining" can be found in this cloud, perhaps it will be that all the talk of "Second Amendment solutions" will end.

Congresswoman Giffords worked for her district and would talk with her constituents.

Friday, January 7, 2011

The Unreality of 'Sarah Palin's Alaska' -- UPDATED!

Nick Jans, an Alaskan writer and outdoorsman, has written an intereresting article, "What Palin's show says about us," which states, in part:

... Those of us who've actually lived off the land are less than impressed by Palin's televised exploits and, more important, by what they tell us about her. Tentative, physically inept, and betraying an even more awkward unfamiliarity with the land and lifestyle that's supposedly her birthright, Palin deconstructs her own myth before our eyes. ...

... From the opening credits, Palin's not actually leading, as the show's stirring theme song (Follow Me There) suggests. Instead, she's tucked far under the wings of professional guides, friends, or family members — in a curious subtext, almost all males.

They instruct and coddle her along, at one point literally hauling Palin uphill on the end of a rope. ...

And The Anchorage Daily News' "Always on the hunt, Palin shown what to do," by Paul Jenkins, elaborates on the idea of Sarah Palin as frontierswoman front woman:

... But the story is in the story. All but Dowd seemed to miss the boatload of delicious allegory about Palin's life and politics wrapped up in the [hunting] 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.

Jenkins' article uses the words disinterested and unengaged to describe Palin while she was governor. Was she governor in name only? Who made the decisions while she was governor?

Jenkins' article appeared about the time that Alaska Dispatch's "Palin's record vs. Palin's Facebook" appeared, which is concerned with the discrepancies between Palin's record and what she has since claimed she did as governor. An explanation of those discrepancies could simply be that she doesn't know what she did, because someone else acted as behind-the-scenes governor.

Maureen Dowd's column, mentioned by Jenkins, is here.

Update: Andrew Sullivan wrote (more than) a few words about the USA Today article and noticed that where it appeared (USA Today) is important. Sullivan's title is "Levi's Vindication: The Self-Exposure Of Sarah Palin."

My co-blogger, snowbilly, wrote "It Was Fact-checked," which surmised that because one critical part of Levi Johnston's Vanity Fair story, "Me and Mrs. Palin," was clearly fact-checked all of it must have been fact-checked.

Sullivan's point is different than mine -- that Sarah Palin may have been Governor of Alaska in name only -- but is a valid point, nonetheless. Jans' article (and Jenkins' (and Dowd's)) are a rich source of insights into who Sarah Palin was (or wasn't).

By the way, Jans' point, although he deconstructed Sarah Palin's myth, is that many politicians strive to create a narrative, or myth. Remember George Bush? Clearing brush in Crawford, TX? Well, as soon as he left the White House, George got out of Dodge Crawford and moved to Dallas. He was really a city-slicker at heart. And didn't the Reagans (Remember the wood chopper? At the ranch?) really live in Pacific Palisades, CA? Sarah Palin's myth is, in some respects, easy pickins, but someone like Jans, who has articulated something we "know," so that we really do know it, is worthy of our praise. When a politician's myth gets busted, he or she will soon exit the stage.

The delicious irony of it all is, as Jans wrote, "Palin deconstructs her own myth before our eyes." She's done herself in.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

How well do you know Sarah Palin? -- With 4 Classic Videos

The Christian Science Monitor has a 10-question quiz, "How well do you know Sarah Palin?" It can be fun to answer the questions incorrectly, particularly the question about the full title of Going Rogue, but more seriously: Does anyone who answers all ten questions correctly really know Sarah Palin?

During the quiz, you can see several videos, which I've collected here; however, I've added my own questions:

Does Sarah Palin play the flute?

Did Sarah Palin make it in sportscasting?

Can Sarah Palin shoot?

Is Sarah Palin "way hotter in person?"

Divided Government and Common Sense

From The New York Times' "Taking Control, G.O.P. Overhauls Rules in House," you can get an idea of Republicans' insanity on spending/taxes:
... To reverse what they say is a Congressional process tilted toward spending increases, the new Republican majority in the House — over strong Democratic objections — approved rules that would require spending increases to be directly offset with cuts elsewhere. But the rules would allow future tax cuts to be enacted without offsetting spending reductions, and would permit repeal of the health care legislation, which was estimated to save the government more than $140 billion over 10 years, without any requirement that those revenue losses be made up elsewhere. ...

... Democrats criticized the changes, saying Republicans were returning to the policies that had put the government on a path to deep deficits in the first place and would open the door to “Enron-style accounting” that covered up the costs of tax cuts and their other legislative efforts.

“House Republicans are like the fellow who bellies up to the bar, asking for just one more round of tax breaks for his buddies, while declaring, ‘Put it on my tab,’ “ said Representative Lloyd Doggett, Democrat of Texas. “But it’s really our tab. By focusing on only half the budget equation, and avoiding revenue stewardship, they reject sound fiscal leadership.”
The rules would allow tax cuts to be enacted without spending reductions! That is like having your pay cut and continuing to spend as you did when your income was higher. It leads to more debt. Did the Republicans forget to bring their "common sense" to Washington? No. They never had any.

For some insight into how difficult it is going to be for Republicans to enact their agenda, the Times' Carl Hulse wrote, "As Boehner Ascends, His Power Comes With Caveats," yesterday:
... While he will preside over a substantial and energized Republican majority, Mr. Boehner must contend with a Democratic president with whom he has little personal history and a Democratic Senate leader who is disinclined to make Mr. Boehner’s life easier and who failed to consider hundreds of bills passed by the House even when his own party ran it.

“The problem is going to be the grass-roots movement out in the countryside,” said Vin Weber, a former Republican House member and Washington lobbyist who served with Mr. Boehner in the 1990s. “They have no sense of the limits on a party that controls only one of the three seats of power. Managing that relationship is going to be difficult.”...

... Mr. Boehner’s expanded rank-and-file is populated by more than 80 newcomers — some with no elective experience — who do not seem of a mind to make the compromises that can be required when power is shared in Washington. And he sits atop a leadership team full of young and ambitious lawmakers eager to step up should Mr. Boehner falter, as did the last Republican speaker who engineered a House takeover, Newt Gingrich. ...
Will the reading of the Constitution in the House be enough for Republicans to learn about the limits of their new power? It's doubtful: they're intent on increasing the debt like they did during the Bush years. They have demonstrated an inability to learn from their own experience. How would reading anything help them?

An AP article, "PROMISES, PROMISES: GOP drops some out of the gate," finds that Republicans have alreay broken their campaign promises on spending.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Palin Family Circus News - Wednesday, Januray 5, 2011

PopEater's Rob Schuter reports, in "Kathy Griffin's Newest Palin to Pounce On? Willow, 16:"

... "I think it's Willow's year to go down," Griffin snarked to The Hollywood Reporter. "In 2011, I want to offend a new Palin."

With her being only 16, Willow would seem to be a target fraught with disadvantages, but that doesn't matter to Kathy.

"[She] genuinely can't stand any of the Palin family," a friend of Kathy's tells me. "Yet, the real reason she won't leave them alone is she loves all the headlines she gets whenever she attacks them."

What would it take to pry Kathy's claws from the Palin family? My source thinks that if people would just doggone stop caring about the Palins, then Kathy would be the first to move on and "find another victim." ...

Uh-oh. Bristol Palin to run for John McCain's seat? David Kahane, writing in "I Hate You, Bristol Palin," has proposed:

... In the wake of Tron, the air has gone out of the market for film sequels in Hollywood, but reality television — that’s where the money is. So why not this:

Beyond Celebrity Thunderdome II: Bristol Palin vs. Meghan McCain — This Time, It’s Personal. Two babes enter, one babe leaves. Hosted by Sheriff Joe Arpaio. Because you know — you just know — that one of them is going to run for Meghan’s father’s seat when it next comes up in 2016, by which time we’ll be in syndication and rolling in residuals.

Bristol, honey — have your agent call my agent and let’s make a deal. Better yet, let’s have lunch at Chaya.
Meghan McCain (born 1984) will be old enough for a Senate seat in 2016, but Bristol Palin will have to settle for a House seat. Sorry, Dave.

IM has posted a copy of an offer letter to Bristol Palin. Arizona is the land of opportunity, no?

CNN has "Political Circus: Former sitcom star blasts Palin, health care reform:"
... Roseanne Barr -- comedian, author, political activist and former star of the hit television sitcom "Roseanne" -- took shots at former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin during an interview about her new book on ABC's "Nightline" on Tuesday.

In "Roseannearchy: Dispatches From the Nut Farm," she wrote that Palin is "ripping off my act."

"She's not even telling the truth to the American people. I think she took a lot from me and from my show, absolutely," she said. ...
I'll have to watch my intellectual property more closely. NBC New York and, now, CNN have started Circus News columns.

In another "roundup" post -- What did I just say about my IP? -- Oops! "Palingates in 2010 - The Year in Review" -- They do live in the past, a lot, don't they? -- palingates' Patrick may have admitted to having a ghostwriter!
... Then there is Kathleen, whose influence on Palingates is much greater than is visible from the outside. Kathleen is a highly skilled professional researcher -- Is that a fact? Show us the offer letter! -- who doesn't get fooled by anyone -- Oh, really? -- and that's exactly what you need when you deal with Sarah Palin, the woman of many, many secrets. Also, many thanks to Kathleen for correcting my grammar on a daily basis.
One day Patrick gloated over discovering, he said, that Sarah Palin's ghostwriter is Rebecca Mansour. Now, Rebecca Mansour can be linked stylistically to some of Sarah Palin's Facebook rants, but not to all of them. A blogger with a ghostwriter --
Ach mein Gott! -- hasn't completed his research :)

The Business Insider noticed that Ann Coulter not only used the word retarded but referred to a person while doing so, and titled its article, "Will Sarah Palin Call For Ann Coulter's Head Over 'Retard' Tweet?"

This may be a signifigant development, because The Business Insider may have carried water for Palin in the past. I'll have to watch it, though, because they (I think it was at The Business Insider, if I remember correctly.) posted an article about Sarah's reality show performing poorly, then, later, replaced the article at that link with an article that would be more pleasing to Sarah Palin.

Monday, January 3, 2011

Palin Family Circus News - Monday, January 3, 2011 -- UPDATED!

Here, we see Sarah Palin squirming, under interrogation, in the film noir classic, "Gone to Arizona."

I never know whether to believe what is happening at palingates, but they're saying that Sarah Palin tweeted the letter 'T.' Of course, all sorts of speculation ensued. Why would she do that? Tara! Investigate that, kids, and find someone Sarah Palin is more comparable with than with Joseph Goebbels! Is Patrick projecting German guilt onto America?

A photo analyst has looked at satellite images of the house in Maricopa, AZ and tells me that it's really quite inaccessible. It's at the end of a twisty maze of streets. There is only one vehicle entrance to the development, and, of course, it will be easy to spot anyone who doesn't belong there. And there may not be just a small playground near Bristol's house; there may be a footpath to a nearby park, which is much larger.

Andrew Sullivan mentioned that Sarah Palin quit Fox! Would anyone be surprised? But it's a hoax. Nevertheless, there are some stories about why people like Palin and Huckabee may declare their candidacies for the Republican nomination later rather than sooner: George Stephanopolous has said so.

Finally -- for now; I am posting from a phone, and it's not easy -- Slate Salon has an article about how Republicans have soured on Sarah Palin. The article contains a link to a list of pundits (mostly) who have expressed misgivings about Palin; however, a better indication of how and why people (Republican governors, no less) have not only soured on her but have taken positions against her can be found in my recent "Sarah Palin has Lost The Food Fight" post.

Update: I'm now at a four-monitor Palin Surveillance Station. Things are much easier, now. A reader has mentioned that the "Slate" article is actually at Salon -- corrected. Also, there is a more recent article than the Salon article at CNN, here, about the skepticism Palin is facing from Republicans (thank-you, Malia), but even that article doesn't compare with mine. Dailykos' Steve Singiser's post "Even GOPers won't defend Palin's latest idiocy," echoes mine (it came later). Of course, we are both indebted to a very good Washington Post article, here.

Update: 5 January, 2011: Gryphen has posted an offer letter sent to Bristol Palin. Gone to Arizona!