Friday, September 30, 2011

Sarah Palin has decided, but she does not want to tell us what she's decided.

Yesterday, The Wall Street Journal's Washington Wire got a preview of Sarah Palin's appearance, last night, on Fox Business Network. Their story begins:
In case you were wondering, Sarah Palin has no plans to announce tomorrow whether she’ll run for president.

“This is a serious decision, and I’ve engaged in serious deliberations. So within the next 24 hours don’t look for me to make a decision,” she said, according to excerpts of an interview on Fox Business Network set to air tonight.

Ms. Palin, who has taken no serious steps toward a run, had said over the summer that she would have to announce her intentions by the end of September – that would [be] tomorrow — in order to meet a long list of logistical requirements for getting on state ballots. But lately, she has suggested she has until later in the fall. Florida for instance, does not require state parties to submit the names of presidential candidates until Oct. 31.
Let's stop right there. Sarah Palin said, "I've engaged in serious deliberations." Let's expand the contraction I've: "I have engaged in serious deliberations." Should we doubt grammar? Isn't verb tense still meaningful? Sarah's "serious deliberations" were complete when she made that statement. She's decided! She didn't say, "I am engaging in serious deliberations," or "I am engaged in serious deliberations," both of which would indicate an action continuing in the present. No! She said "I've engaged in serious deliberations," which is to say, "I have engaged in serious deliberations ," which is to say "I am not presently engaged in serious deliberations."

The takeaway is: Sarah Palin has decided or Sarah Palin is not deliberating seriously at the present time. Is there any other choice? Possibly: Sarah Palin does NOT know what she is talking about.

See Palingates' "Sarah Palin's dilemma" for what may be an explanation of why Sarah Palin is scared to say what she's decided.

Well! Recently, I've outdone myself: Four posts, yesterday; three the day before. So, I may take the rest of the day off, and Saturday and Sunday, too. I'll be watching the news, and be back if Sarah Palin does or says anything newsworthy. She'll try ... she's has to have that attention. It's all part of the tease.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

BREAKING!!! Joe McGinniss' book to debut at #10 on NY Times bestseller list!

I was in a Target store, this morning, and saw Joe McGinniss' book “The Rogue: Searching for the Real Sarah Palin” on the bestseller, nonfiction shelves. I thought about driving back with a camera, but thought, "Nah, why burn a gallon of gas?"

No matter! Salon's Dave Weigel has posted "Palin Book Round-Up: McGinniss Sells, Johnston Flops," in which he writes, "Now that the books have been out for a week, we have a better idea of how they're selling. According to the New York Times's books reporter Julie Bosman, The Rogue will debut at #10 on the paper's nonfiction list, making it McGinniss's first bestseller in more than a decade. According to Nielsen BookScan, McGinniss moved 6,000 copies in the first week."

Weigel didn't provide a link, so I checked Julie Bosman's articles at the NY Times and found nothing. Aha! It's something she tweeted:

Don't believe it? -- screencaps can be faked -- see what she tweeted.

Recent reviews of Nick Broomfield's film "Sarah Palin: You Betcha!" are generally positive

Several positive reviews of Nick Broomfield's film, "Sarah Palin: You, Betcha!" have recently appeared. Here is an excerpt -- in italics -- of one from msnbc, chosen mainly because it's a good backgrounder and somewhat of a linkfest:

The Frommer's travel guidebook on Alaska describes the city of Wasilla as “the worst kind of suburban sprawl of highway-fronting shopping malls and gravel lots.” With a population of about 8,000, it's also filled with an abundance of churches and, oddly enough, has the distinction of being the state meth capital despite its citywide ban on strip clubs. But in Nick Broomfield's new documentary, Sarah Palin: You Betcha!, the city more closely resembles Twin Peaks, with its most popular resident, former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, serving the role of the malefic killer BOB, having brainwashed her former constituents into believing she's someone worthy of their undying admiration.

Things began innocently enough. Broomfield and his co-director, Joan Churchill, moved to a house in Wasilla and were invited into the homes of many of Palin's acquaintances and family members—including that of her parents, Chuck and Sally Heath.

“We tried incredibly hard to ingratiate ourselves to Sarah Palin and her family,” said Broomfield in an interview. “I didn't go out there in any way whatsoever to do a hit piece on her. We were like the best-behaved Boy Scouts there could be.”

The title of the film comes from a promise the Tea Party figurehead and former vice presidential candidate made to Broomfield at a book signing when he requested an interview, but it soon became readily apparent that Palin was just leading the filmmakers on. ...

... Broomfield is known for his in-your-face filmmaking style, which has influenced Michael Moore and Morgan Spurlock, among others. He's often depicted ambushing subjects in his films clutching a sound boom with a tape recorder dangling from his neck. The cheeky Brit's most famous documentaries include Kurt & Courtney, in which he suggested that Courtney Love drove Nirvana frontman Kurt Cobain to suicide, and Biggie & Tupac, which supported the popular theory that the LAPD was in on the rappers' murders.

“I'm very drawn to these subjects that have a bigger reflection of the world and the society we live in,” said Broomfield. “In this particular one, it's this evangelical politician who is very much reflective of a Michele Bachmann or a Rick Perry, and who is unfortunately very representative of where the Republican Party is going, and the diminishing separation of church and state, which I think is one of the most dangerous things that could happen in this country.” ...

“[Sarah Palin's] irrational way of dealing with people, and the way she gets rid of people and makes them enemies, should have people thinking twice,” said Broomfield. ...

The review ends with quotes of several of Nick Broomfield's remarks: '“The Rick Perrys and the Sarah Palins have created this romantic fiction of a piece of American history that never existed that people have bought into,” said a fired-up Broomfield. “Until the liberals come up with their own equivalent, and come up with their own heroes, and actually have the balls to stand up and argue their beliefs in a consistent way in terms of a larger political framework, the Perrys, Bachmanns, and Palins are going to be very powerful, and I think the country will go into a very dark period—both within the country, in terms of the dwindling middle class, and the world stage.”'

Although I'll go to see Nick Broomfield's film, I disagree with his assessment of voters, because the Perrys, Bachmanns, and Palins have a problem: electability. The "romantic fiction" these people have created isn't a mainstream, majority view. Sarah Palin and Michele Bachmann are being pilloried, everyday. Rick Perry is going to have to answer for some of the things he wrote in his book "Fed Up!" which was written when he thought he wouldn't run, and about which he told ABC News, "If there is a better signal of my plans for the future of not running for the presidency of the United States, it's this book," Perry said last November. "Anyone running for the presidency is not going to go take on these issues with the power that I do." In the end, it's a matter of confidence in the country's voters. People who don't have any confidence in the voters will feel afraid. Let's hope that they're not too scared or too lazy to vote.

Yet another review is Cinespect's "Q&A with Award-Winning Documentarian Nick Broomfield," which is an in-depth interview that clearly separates the interviewer's questions and Nick Broomfield's responses. Recommended!

And, yet another review is The New York Observer's "Northern Exposure? You Betcha!"

The msnbc review, excerpted above, is "The Documentary Palin Will Hate."

I think the film will recoup its production costs, at least, then go on to be an important film, if Sarah Palin dares to throw her wig in the ring.

The film's poster was found here, at IMDb.

Sarah Palin's gone hunting and is wearing the Cookie Monster's pelt. What will we tell the children?

On his Daily Show, Jon Stewart played a role that Greta Van Susteren failed to play when she had Sarah Palin on her show the other night. According to The Atlantic Wire's Eric Hayden, Stewart's point -- he's quoting Stewart -- is:
"So, here's the thing. You can have a colorful bus and drive to early primary states or you can go around telling people what you would do if you were president. But when you put those two together, there's really only two possibilities: you are either running for the president of the United States, or you are a crazy person."
The video is hilarious and trenchant. Some things may be best expressed through comedy. Jon Stewart's "interview" of Sarah Palin is intercut with sarah-palin-answerthons from Greta Van Susteren's show and has dubbed-in a laugh-track:

Ha! Where does Sarah Palin get off talking about a "nail in the coffin" of anyone else's candidacy?

Before reading The Atlantic's post, "Jon Stewart: Either Sarah Palin Is a Candidate or She's 'Crazy'," bear in mind, in this age of short attention spans, that sometimes the punchline needs a buildup. Timing is everything with comedy.

A video and transcript of Sarah Palin's appearance on Greta Van Susteren's show can be found at Fox News' "'Maverick' Palin vs. 'Quasi Reality' Show."

Bonus: Salon has "The Christie/Palin tease."

Sarah Palin inspired Nicolle Wallace's character "Tara," a "Cuckoo for Cocoa Puffs" Vice President -- VIDEO

Nicolle Wallace, former Communications Director for President Bush and -- Is there any way to put this delicately? -- Sarah Palin's chaperone during the 2008 campaign, has written "It's Classified," a novel whose characters include "Charlotte," as President, and "Tara," as Vice President.

The book's prologue can be read here, at Simon & Schuster's website. The Daily Beast has an excerpt from Chapter Twenty-four, where "Tara" -- is she Sarah? -- has difficulty with an interview. Or, look inside the book, at Amazon. And, last but not least, Nicolle Wallace (and Steve Schmidt) were interviewed by Rachel Maddow. On Maddow's show, Wallace says that "Tara" was inspired by Sarah Palin. Nicolle Wallace begins talking about 2:18:

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

Gryphen has "Just in case there are NOT enough nails in Sarah Palin's political coffin, let me present the devastating Rachel Maddow interview with ex-McCain staffers Steve Schmidt and Nicolle Wallace." It has video of Rachel Maddow's entire show and gives times for the best parts -- there are more than this short clip shows -- so you can skip ahead and easily find them.

P.S. I've figured out when Sarah Palin may announce her candidacy. She may try to scare us with an announcement on Halloween, October 31st. Hey! Everyone else has been sure when she'd announce and been wrong. Besides, it would be an "October Surprise." CBS has "How late can a Chris Christie or a Sarah Palin wait before it is too late?" Their story indicates that October 31st is the last day to enter the Florida primary.

Update: Corrected the Amazon link, above. It was a link to Nicolle Wallace's "Eighteen Acres," an earlier book.

Update: Rachel Maddow comments on Nicolle Wallace's statement at her Maddow Blog, in "The left, the right, Sarah Palin and 'cuckoo for Cocoa Puffs'."

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Major news/wire service publishes story about Joe McGinniss' book: Surprise! The book is mostly about Sarah Palin's lack of interest in governing.

Reuters has "Publisher stands by Palin book despite legal threat," which states, in part:
The book, "The Rogue: Searching for the Real Sarah Palin," by veteran political writer Joe McGinniss was published last week as speculation mounted about whether the 2008 vice presidential candidate will launch a late bid for the 2012 Republican presidential nomination.

"We are confident that the reporting in 'The Rogue' is solid, reliable, and well-substantiated. We stand by our publication and our author," said Stuart Applebaum, spokesman for Crown Publishers.

In a letter from her lawyer, Palin, 48, put McGinniss and Crown Publishing on notice that they face possible legal action for defaming Palin.

Among the more sensational allegations contained in the book is an account of a one-night stand Palin is purported to have had as a 23-year-old sports reporter with a future professional basketball player.

It also contains passages by acquaintances describing Palin as a neglectful mother and accounts of cocaine use by both Palin and her husband.

But most of the book is devoted to Palin's actions as mayor of Wasilla and governor of Alaska, up to her abrupt resignation from that post in July 2009.

It portrays Palin as fascinated with celebrity and self-advancement but disinterested in governing. ... [emphasis added]
Imagine that! We may still be in the early innings of "inside baseball."

Bonus: Geoffrey Dunn, author of "The Lies of Sarah Palin: The Untold Story Behind Her Relentless Quest for Power", has written a critique of Janet Maslin's review of Joe McGinniss' book. Dunn's critique is "Blood in the Snow: Maslin’s NYT Review of The Rogue Is Intellectually Dishonest."

Some authorities on lawsuits weigh-in on Sarah Palin's threat to sue

From ABC News' The Note:

Sarah Palin may have threatened to sue the publisher and author of a scathing book about her life, but her rise to fame and public prominence since her failed 2008 vice presidential bid could make her case difficult to prove, according to attorneys who deal with similar cases.

Palin’s attorney sent a letter to Crown Publishing, a division of Random House, Monday evening, informing them Palin may sue the publishing house and author of “The Rogue,” Joe McGinniss, “for knowingly publishing false statements” in the book released last week.

But attorneys who handle defamation and libel cases involving public figures say it’s not easy to prove the legal standard of whether an author either knowingly published false reporting or had malicious intent. James Janowitz, a New York attorney who has defended celebrities in defamation cases, says the bar for Palin’s potential suit ”is as high as it gets.”

“The standard is very high. It requires falsity of the statements of the reports or actual malice, and maybe they could meet that standard, but there is nothing here that would indicate they could,” Janowitz said after examining the letter sent to Crown.

“The reporter or the author is not libelous merely for repeating or reporting false things about the subject, and that’s really the key thing. It doesn’t matter that’s he’s wrong. It matters whether or not he knew what he was writing was false,” Janowitz said. “If he had contrary information or if he made it up and it was false and he had no source at all and he did it for the purpose of either hurting her or boosting the sales of his book when he knew what he was saying was probably false, then he’s in trouble. But that’s a very high bar.” ...

ABC News' article is "Sarah Palin May Have a Hard Time Proving Defamation," and it contains much more information (and opinion) than I've excerpted, here.

My opinion is here and has an example from the book illustrating how the book's author did not "present as fact" something that may be troubling Sarah Palin. That is an example of what Janowitz is talking about in the last excerpted paragraph, above. At one point in ABC's article, it's said that legal discovery might be painful for a lot of people, but consider Palingates' "Sarah Palin wants to know who said what."

Sarah Palin is NOT RUNNING -- She doesn't need a title -- I am sooo disappointed

When she resigned as Alaska's governor, Sarah Palin said that she didn't need a title. When she went to Indianola, Iowa on September 3rd, Sarah Palin said, "[Y]ou don’t need a title to make a difference." Last night, on Greta Van Susteren's show, Sarah Palin said:
I'm going to keep repeating, though, Greta, through my process of decision-making with my family and with my close friends as to whether I should throw my name in the hat for the GOP nomination or not for 2012 -- is a title worth it? Does a title shackle a person? Are they -- someone like me, who's a maverick -- you know, I do go rogue and I call it like I see it, and I don't mind stirring it up in order to get people to think and debate aggressively, and to find solutions to or the problems that our country is facing.
Sarah's peeps at that noisy astroturf organization, c4p, were discouraged last night. So much so that early this morning they posted "Keep Your Courage, C4Peeps," which contains some comments that were "plucked" cherry-picked from last night's threads, threads in which many comments expressed feelings of disappointment and disillusionment, feelings quite different than the hopeful delusional ones this morning's post highlighted.

Sarah Palin said, last night, "Does a title shackle a person? Are they -- someone like me, who's a maverick -- you know, I do go rogue and I call it like I see it, and I don't mind stirring it up in order to get people to think and debate aggressively, ... ." There, she has come closer than she's ever come, whether she knows it or not, to admitting that she's a demagogue. Her style of "stirring it up" and "aggressive debate" aren't going to solve our problems. How did her don't-care-if-we-default attitude toward the debt-ceiling negotiations solve that problem? Her attitude made the problem more difficult to solve.

It's possible that Sarah Palin may prove me wrong -- Go ahead -- Make my day! -- Give me some blog fodder -- by running, but she hasn't been known for kindness.

TPM has "Full Text Of Palin's Resignation Speech." The Huffington Post has video and a transcript in its "Sarah Palin Resignation Speech: FULL VIDEO, TEXT."

SarahPAC has "Governor Palin's Speech at the "Restoring America" Tea Party of America Rally in Indianola, Iowa (Video and Transcript)"

Fox News has last night's appearance on Greta Van Susteren's show: "'Maverick' Palin vs. 'Quasi Reality' Show," which includes a video and transcript.

The c4p post is "Keep Your Courage, C4Peeps."

For some humor, check out Vanity Fair's "Palin’s Resignation: The Edited Version."

For an overview of the problem of Sarah Palin, Peggy Noonan's "A Farewell to Harms" is still relevant. Noonan was a speech writer for Ronald Reagan.

The Washington Post's Jonathan Capehart wrote "Sarah Palin is not running for president." Even though it's more than a year old, his story contains many links to the views of others who were explaining then why Sarah Palin can't and won't run.

Update: Uh-oh. Herman Cain is pushing back over Sarah Palin's remark, last night, that he's the "flavor of the week." CBS has a story with a title Sarah may not like, 'Herman Cain: My supporters "do not defect"'.

The Christian Science Monitor has "Is Sarah Palin preparing to disappoint her fans?"

Update: Greg Sargent's Plum Line, written by Jonathan Bernstein, has "Make no mistake: Sarah Palin is still a wild card." The "Joker" is a "wild card," worth whatever its player says its worth, in some card games.

Update: The Anchorage Daily News has "Palin: Would the presidency be a demotion for a 'rogue'?"

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Uh-Oh. CNN poll suggests Palin's "bag of tricks may well be empty," and WaPo's Chris Cillizza said so. Will he be sued?

Here is Sarah "Hamlet" Palin, considering whether to run or not to run ... whether to sue or not to sue. She's got a lot of decisions to make. It takes a long time for her to decide.

Something that may help her decide is today's Washington Post's The Fix column, which states, in part, in "Sarah Palin, second-tier candidate:"

Amid the “will she or won’t she” speculation about former Alaska governor Sarah Palin’s 2012 presidential plans, one important thing seems to be getting lost: Palin is simply not a top-tier candidate.

New numbers from a CNN/Opinion Research poll confirm it. In a hypothetical 2012 Republican primary, Palin stood at 7 percent — tied with businessman Herman Cain and Texas Rep. Ron Paul, neither of whom are considered anything but the longshots for the nomination.

She trails frontrunning Texas Gov. Rick Perry by 21 points and second-place finisher Mitt Romney wins three times the support Palin does in the poll.

And the bad news doesn’t stop there. Just 51 percent of self-identified Republicans in the poll said that Palin has the “personality” and leadership qualities a president should have” — well below the number who said the same of Perry (73 percent) and Romney (83 percent).

With electability rising as a concern among Republican voters, the fact that she trails President Obama by 21 points in a head-to-head matchup — the largest margin of any GOP candidate — is yet more bad news for Palin. ...

... One poll is, well, one poll. But Palin’s numbers haven’t been particularly strong in quite some time — we wrote that she had reached a political tipping point way back in April — and Perry’s entrance into the contest has further complicated Palin’s path to top-tier status.

Palin has shown a tremendous capacity to surprise during her three-plus years on the national stage. But, the CNN poll suggests that her bag of tricks may well be empty — or close to it.

She's got to decide soon. Has indecisiveness ever been something voters look for in a president?

Monday, September 26, 2011

Sarah's going to sue? Have Sarah Palin and her attorney read Joe McGinniss' book? If so, do they really know how to read? -- UPDATED

ABC News is running a story, "Sarah Palin Threatens to Sue ‘Rogue’ Book Publisher." They have obtained a copy of the letter sent from Sarah Palin's attorneys to Joe McGinniss' publisher, Crown Publishing. Here is the first paragraph of that letter:

(Click image to enlarge it)

Interestingly, the second sentence states, 'This book contains a series of lies and rumors presented as fact and combined with "anonymous" sources.' I've read Chapter 19 and Chapters 1 through 5. I don't recall anything that Sarah Palin might consider to be libelous being presented as fact. Nothing! The Rice/Palin story wasn't reported as fact; neither was "babygate," in Chapter 19. What is Sarah Palin complaining about?

If nothing untrue in the book is reported as fact, then by proceeding with the suit all Sarah Palin may prove is either 1) She hasn't read the book or 2) She doesn't comprehend what she reads. Writers use quotation marks for a reason and, like Joe McGinniss, they set-off long passages of quoted material and introduce it with something like "so-and-so said" or "so-and-so wrote."

Here is an example from the book, page 49:
THERE HAS BEEN much speculation that Sarah was pregnant with Track when she and Todd married in 1988. "It was essentially a shot-gun-type wedding," a friend of Todd's confirms.
If Sarah Palin is complaining about that, she may have a complaint with "a friend of Todd," not the book's author. The author hasn't presented that as fact. If the author had written
THERE HAS BEEN much speculation that Sarah was pregnant with Track when she and Todd married in 1988. It is true.
Sarah Palin might complain that the book's author had presented that as fact.

As for the issue of "anonymous" sources, here is the publisher's statement, taken from a Slate story about the claims Andrew Breitbart made when he published an e-mail written by Joe McGinniss:
Joe McGinniss’s book The Rogue is based on the author’s extensive on-the-ground reporting in Alaska, as well as in-depth interviews he conducted with approximately 200 people who have known Governor Palin at different stages of her life and career. After a thorough and careful examination of the book, including probing discussions with the author about his sources, we are confident that the reporting it contains is solid, reliable, and well-substantiated.
We'll have to see, but this may be nothing more than a publicity stunt, a poorly advised one. If anything, it may increase interest in Joe McGinniss' book.

The ABC News story is "Sarah Palin Threatens to Sue ‘Rogue’ Book Publisher," which has a link to the complete letter from Palin's attorney to Crown. It also has a link to the e-mail that Andrew Breitbart published and has been trying to peddle as proof that Joe McGinniss has no credibility. It actually supports quite the opposite conclusion. Read carefully. Does Breitbart read for comprehension?

Recently, Greta Van Susteren got into an on-air fight with Tucker Carlson over a story that his Daily Caller published about Mike Tyson's statement about the Rice/Palin story. Tucker Carlson had to school Greta Van Susteren on the use of quotation marks. Could he be of assistance to Sarah Palin and her attorneys? If you missed it, my post about the Van Susteren/Carlson fight is "Tucker Carlson has to teach Greta Van Susteren about quotation marks.

Update: I've added an example to illustrate what does not constitute "presentation as fact," and I've corrected my quote of the letter's second sentence. Palingates has an interesting post, "Sarah Palin wants to know who said what."

Update: CNN's Peter Hanby has written "TRENDING: Palin threatens lawsuit over book."

Update: The Anchorage Daily News has an AP story, "Publisher stands behind book after Palin lawsuit threat." The ball is in Sarah's court. Will she sue?

The long trip with the Palins -- Are we there yet?

There isn't a lot of Sarah Palin news. My story alerts are way down ... I should have kept track of the number of them each day, then I could post about the decline -- With a chart! -- and considered the decline to be a measure of Sarah's fading star.

There is a story (again from TMZ): "Kyle Massey Thinks Bristol Palin 'Fight' Was a Setup." There was certainly a script. The question is whether the "heckler," Stephen Hanks went off-script. I think it's likely that he didn't. Did Bristol go off-script? It may just be that this thing backfired on her, so she's trying to disassociate herself from it. That's hard to do when it's on video for the entire world to see. Some have said that the Saddle Ranch Chop House is a "gay bar." It's actually a restaurant with a bar, and it's a chain restaurant, promoting itself as an "entertainment experience," with "a mechanical bull amidst the tables and booths providing endless entertainment to diners." I've never been there, but browsing the restaurant's website indicates that its clientele may be rather diverse. Would Applebee's restaurant be a "gay bar" if some gays happened to go there? It has a bar, too. Some have said that Bristol was simulating a sex act by riding the bull. What? It was a simulation of a rodeo event, an event that has nothing to do with sex. I have been to a rodeo, by the way.

Whether Sarah Palin will stop teasing about running for the republican nomination may never be known, but major clues will come as each state's deadline for entering the race passes. She can't have much influence at the convention without some delegates. Another clue would be her suspension as a Fox News contributor, but then they might suspend her for sleaziness ... Fox News does have some standards, don't they?

There will be more to post about as Joe McGinniss' book is read. There are AGIA, troopergate, babygate, earmarks, profligate spending, tax increases, reportergate, religious extremism ... . So, this may be a good time to read more of McGinniss' book.

Anyway, it's possible, just possible, that the Palins aren't driving the car anymore!

Update: The Hollywood Gossip has "Bristol Palin Heckling Incident: A Reality Show Setup?" We have to remember that everyone filmed was under contract to the show's producers, so there was a setup script. When people talk about a "setup," they should probably say from whose point of view they think it was a setup or not a setup: Bristol Palin's? Stephen Hanks'? Both? Some might claim that the restaurant was setup, too: it wasn't good publicity for them. I think it was a "setup" in the sense that there was a script and that both of them followed the script. Of course, someone might argue that there were cameras from two organizations present: the show's producers and TMZ, and that TMZ disrupted the production; however, no one has yet claimed that. It's unlikely that anyone will, because the show's producers would be unlikely to allow another organization to tape the event, unless they were in cahoots with them.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

The Stalking of Joe McGinniss

Most of the first seven pages of the first chapter of Joe McGinniss' book, “The Rogue: Searching for the Real Sarah Palin,” can be read online at The New York Times' excerpt of the book, "'The Rogue'." It's there that McGinniss describes how he fortuitously came by the house next door to the Palins. He was within hours of signing a lease on an apartment in Anchorage when Catherine Taylor called to tell him about her property, right next door to the Palins. Moving in next to the Palins wouldn't have been a big deal, if the Palins hadn't tried to make it a big deal.

In Chapter Three, McGinniss describes meeting Todd Palin, wearing a "First Dude" t-shirt. They have quite a conversation, with Joe quoting himself and Todd directly. Todd was very suspicious of Joe, and the last thing Joe told him was, "Listen, I'm a good neighbor. Ask anybody. Ask Roger Ailes at Fox News. Your wife is working for him now. Roger and I disagree about everything political that it's possible to disagree about, but we've been friends for more than fourty years. Have Sarah call him and ask what kind of neighbor Joe McGinniss is going to be. He'll tell you that you're lucky it's me renting this house and not somebody who would do the kind of stuff you're afraid of."

We don't know whether Sarah talked with Roger Ailes, but just a few hours later, she posted on Facebook, and McGinniss quotes her post. McGinniss explains that the picture of him on the deck of his house, taken by the Palins, was taken while he was on his cellphone, looking into the woods. Sarah had written in her Facebook post, below the picture, "Todd went to introduce himself to the stranger who was peering in..." Joe observes that if Piper's bedroom were upstairs, as Sarah claimed, it would be Piper overlooking him rather than the other way around. Joe decides that he doesn't want any of Sarah's feigned neighborliness.

On the next day, McGinniss tells of the media frenzy that followed Palin's Facebook post. He had to tell an ABC News camera crew, filming through a window, to leave his place or he'd call the police. At 6:00 AM, Sarah had already called-in to Glen Beck's show to start a pity party. McGinniss went to City Hall to meet Wasilla's mayor, Verne Rupright, who asked him, "Do you want a gun?" McGinniss wonders whether he needs one and Rupright doesn't think so, saying that most of the threats are coming from Outside and adds, "People around here don't give a shit about Sarah anymore. They're burned out on all her drama."

The controversy over McGinniss' presence next to the Palins was being ginned-up, Outside, by Palin's supporters, who had been sicced on McGinniss by her paranoid Facebook rant. McGinniss goes on to describe how even Fox News had a discussion about whether he could be prosecuted for stalking and harassment. When the Fox crew decides that an arrest for that isn't imminent, they turn to a discussion about suing for an invasion of privacy, which they're told wouldn't be possible unless McGinniss points "those binoculars" in Palin's direction. McGinniss describes how the Fox News discussion degenerates into total lunacy, and McGinniss simply says, "I have not held a pair of binoculars in my hands since I watched a horse race at Saratoga in 2004. But Hysteria does much more for ratings than the unexciting truth." Before moving on to describe, with examples, the complete depravity of comments on right-wing websites, McGinniss states, "Once you've cut the cord that tethers you to reality, anything goes."

The media isn't so ready to uncritically report Sarah Palin's Facebook rants anymore. We can only hope that the day will come when they won't be reported at all.

I'm up to Chapter Four. It's an engaging book -- a very good read. Don't miss it. I expect that it will become "The Bible" on Sarah Palin. It does contain much that hasn't appeared on the blogs, and it shoots down some of the items that have appeared on them.

Note: "Outside" is Alaska-speak for the lower fourty-eight states.

Update: Another review of Joe McGinniss' book has appeared. It is "Book Review: The Rogue: Searching for the Real Sarah Palin by Joe McGinniss."

Update: C-SPAN's BookTV has an interview of Joe McGinniss, done on the day the book was released. At the beginning of the interview, McGinniss talks about renting the house, moving to Wasilla, and the Palins' paranoid reaction to his presence.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Palin Family Circus News -- Saturday, September 24, 2011

In the afterburn of image blistering stories of the Palins' infidelity, before and after marriage, Perez Hilton has learned that a dating site has offerred a $1 Million dollar reward for Sarah and Todd Palin to take a lie detector test. Are they up to it? Hilton writes:
While we'd LOVE to see Sarah be put under oath this way and forced to tell the truth, there is hardly a chance she will go through with this. She still has some dignity that she is clinging onto for dear life. She can't afford to give that up so easily.

Besides - one million bucks? She'll make that doing another season of Alaska with TLC … and she can lie all she wants!

Yesterday saw the release of what might have been a fun video of Bristol Palin riding the mechanical bull at West Hollywood's Saddle Ranch Chop House. But what might have been fun turned nasty, very nasty, after Bristol picked herself up off the floor. Now, there is an attempt to control the damage: "Bristol Palin's Rep Says She's Not A Homophobe," from Cinema Blend, comments on what Palin's rep told TMZ. TMZ has been very busy with this story: they released the video and didn't find it difficult to track down the "heckler," Stephen Hanks. It's unlikely that either Bristol or Hanks will ever recover from the damage they've done to themselves. "Bristol gets bucked by a bull, then the fireworks start" has the video, along with my opinion of it.

Joe McGinniss' book cites some interesting sources; for example, McGinniss writes, "a friend of Todd's confirms," and "Sarah's brother, Chuckie, confided to a friend in Anchorage."

Friday, September 23, 2011

Bristol gets bucked by a bull, then the fireworks start -- VIDEO

Ever wanted to go clubbing with Bristol Palin? It could be fun, but then it could turn nasty.
Here is the NSFW (language) video. Bristol rides alright until about the 1:40 mark, and then ...

Apparently, someone with a video camera knew Bristol would be there. Was it a setup? Who got setup? A good publicity video, from Bristol's point of view would have ended with her getting up after being bucked off the bull. Afterward, neither Bristol nor her antagonist come across as fun people to be with.

TMZ has a story "Bristol Palin Attacked By Heckler 'YOUR MOTHER'S A WHORE'." Apparently, Bristol's filming a new reality show, which explains the camera. So, there was a setup script. Will this entire scene or part(s) of it end up on the cutting room floor? A lot can happen in the editing room. In fact, movies wouldn't be very interesting if it weren't for the "magic" that happens in the editing room.

The bull ride by itself is fun and interesting to watch, and it shouldn't really need any editing at all, unless they want to make Bristol out to be some sort of champion mechanical bull rider. Is there any glory in that? Actually, she rode the bull very well, and, the end, the part where the bull starts swiveling around fast and knocks her off, may be the best part. Who wouldn't get knocked off? That makes it more "real," if that's what reality shows are about.

There is an air of unreality about the confrontation, in my opinion.

Update: Huffington Post has posted "Bristol Palin On A Mechanical Bull At Sunset Strip."

Update: Bristol rode the bull at The Saddle Ranch Chop House. Here, in some Saddle Ranch publicity material, it's said, 'Saddle Ranch and its infamous mechanical bull have been featured on countless shows including "Sex and the City," "Desperate Housewives," "American Idol," "Six Feet Under," "VH1’s Rock of Love" and numerous more.'

Update: TMZ has "Bristol Palin Heckler: I'd Do It Again!" It didn't take them long to find him.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

First Impressions: Joe McGinniss' 'The Rogue' has arrived! -- UPDATED

Here is the obligatory photo of my book. The inside of the jacket begins with a definition from Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary:

"rogue (rōg), n: An elephant that has separated from a herd and roams about alone, in which state it is very savage."

"Very savage" might have been emphasized, but what is there is what is there. The definition is printed in attention-getting red ink. The jacket material, which is promotional material, also says, in part:

... '"On Election Day 2008, McGinniss began his on-the-ground reporting that culminated, famously, in his moving next door to Sarah Palin in spring 2010. The Rogue is the eagerly awaited result of his research and writing: a startling study of the illusion and reality of Sarah Palin -- and a probing look at the Alaska and the America that produced her. Sometimes funny, sometimes frightening, always provocative and illuminating, The Rogue answers the questions "Who is she, really?," "How did she happen?," and "Will she ever go away?"'

"In all his books, McGinniss has scrutinized the mysterious space between image and reality -- how that space is created, negotiated, and/or manipulated. Now, with The Rogue, McGinniss combines his deep appreciation of the place Sarah Palin comes from with his uncanny ability to penetrate the façades of people in public life. The result is an extraordinary double narrative that alternately traces Palin's curious rise to political prominence and worldwide celebrity status and recounts the author's day-to-day experiences as he uncovers the messy reality beneath the glossy Palin myth." ...

That may be a better review of the book than I'll ever be able to write. In the book's first chapter, Joe McGinniss explains how he came to live next door to the Palins. In the parts that I've read, he often explains how he got the information he has and tells about the people he met. Honestly, it will take me several days to finish the book. It is certainly an engaging and well written book, and I may write a review in a few days.

Something I've been particularly interested in was how Joe McGinnis came by the story of Glen Rice and Sarah Palin, and how he confirmed it. McGinniss writes, in part, beginning on page twenty-four:
... In 1987, one of the top squads to visit Anchorage was the University of Michigan, led by six-foot-eight junior Glen Rice, number 41. ...

... Whether in her professional capacity as a sports reporter or simply as a basketball groupie who'd begun to find black men attractive, Sarah linked up with Rice during the weekend tournament [Great Alaska Shootout]. One friend recalls, "They went out. I suspect it was more than that. I can't say I know they had sex, but I remember Sarah feeling pretty good that she'd been with a black basketball star."

In one version of the story, Sarah's encounter with Rice took place in her sister Molly's dorm room at the University of Alaska Anchorage. "She hauled his ass down," a friend says, "but she freaked out afterward. Hysterical, crying, totally flipped out. The thing that people remember is her her freak-out, how completely crazy she got: I fucked a black man! She was just horrified. She couldn't believe that she'd done it."

Glen Rice remembers the weekend quite differently. ...
I've omitted some contextual and scene-setting information that comes before and during the part of the Rice/Palin story that I've excerpted. I'm not interested in trying the definition of "fair use," so you'll have to read the book to get Glen Rice's take. I am convinced, however, that it happened. Sure, some may say that Joe McGinniss didn't ask Glen Rice directly whether he had sex with Sarah Palin, but a good journalist may be a good one because he knows how to ask probing questions rather than direct questions.

The Rice/Palin story isn't just a story about sex. Sarah Palin reported about the tournament, Glen Rice and Michigan while she was working at an Anchorage TV station. The story has implications for her sense of ethics and her qualifications for leadership. "Waiting for 'The Rogue' -- Sarah Palin to 'clean up' Journalism?" can be read to learn more about that. It includes video of Sarah's appearance on the sports news segment, a link to a Washington Post story confirming when the segment aired and a link to a humorous Houston Press story "confirming" the Rice/Palin tryst.

The book does not contain an index. The last printed page of the book has "Illustration Credits." There are sixteen illustrations. One is a photo of a Sports Illustrated cover from 1989 with -- Who else? -- Glen Rice on the cover; another is a photo of Sarah Palin pregnant with Track Palin, taken when the wind had come up and billowed her shirt out like a sail.

I am aware that others have spun that photo differently, and I thought that I could review Chapter 19 as a standalone chapter, but after seeing that photo, early in the book, I realized that Chapter 19 may not be a standalone chapter. My interest in Chapter 19 is how Joe McGinniss broached a story that Sarah Palin may have faked a pregnancy and his rationale for doing so.

Well! Those are my first impressions. I may have hoaxed you about having the book, huh? That photo, above, which can be magnified with a click, was photoshopped. At 184 KB, it's considerably smaller than the 25 MB that came out of the camera. The metadata is gone, so no one may be able to know anything about the camera, its lens, their settings, or when and where the photo was taken. A lot of image subtlety was lost in readying the photo for publication. The book is tilted back at a little angle, and you may be able to see that it's not two dimensional, but do ignore the bottom of the book, where it looks awful thin. The book really has 321 numbered pages and is slightly less than an inch thick. Prove that it isn't so. By the way, the photoshopping didn't involve making the bottom of the book look thin. The only way anyone may be able to be sure about how and why it was photoshopped may be to get the pixels that came out of the camera for comparison with the published pixels. No! You can't have them. Am I hiding something? My refusal to give up the pixels must be proof of that, right?

None of the pregnancy comparison photos that some claim are proof of the sarah-faked-it story appear in Joe McGinniss' book.

The book is a good read and was worth buying. The book is Joe McGinniss' “The Rogue: Searching for the Real Sarah Palin.” At that particular Amazon link (it is the Washington Post's link), the book is priced at $13.99 with free 3-5 day shipping. The book may also be available from your library, or from a library with which your library has an inter-library loan agreement. Some libraries may have an audio version of the book available.

An excerpt from Chapter 1 of the book can be read at the New York Times' "'The Rogue'."

Update: The photo of Sarah Palin, "big as a whale," some say, when she was pregnant with Track Palin is on page 49. It is not listed in the "Illustration Credits," page 321. Joe McGinniss writes, on page 49:
THERE HAS BEEN been much speculation that Sarah was pregnant with Track when she and Todd married in 1988. "It was essentially a shot-gun-type wedding," a friend of Todd's confirms. ...

... Sarah's pregnancy proceeded uneventfully, though -- in contrast to her 2007-2008 pregnancy with Trig -- quite noticably. "I've got pictures of Sarah being very, very, very pregnant with Track," an old friend says.
Some photos are credited on page 321. That the one on page 49 isn't credited may be a simple oversight, but we don't know what criteria determined which illustrations required credit. By my count -- I didn't count twice -- there are twenty "illustrations" in the book, with an "illustration" considered to be anything of a pictorial nature -- non-text, although some contain text. I didn't count a portrait of Joe McGinnis that appears on the inside, back of the dust jacket.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Todd Palin 'will file for divorce and advisers tell Sarah White House dream is over' after release of explosive biography -- UPDATED

An article at The UK's Mail Online has:

Sarah Palin could be set to lose both her marriage and her political career after the release of the explosive biography on the Tea Party darling.

The National Enquirer claims that friends close to the politician and her husband Todd say he is 'fed up' with the constant scandals that have plagued their marriage ever since she ran for vice president and is ready to file for a divorce.

As well as kissing goodbye to her marriage, it has also been alleged that her advisers have told her to kiss goodbye to the White House fearing a bid would be 'political suicide'. ...

... A source close to the former vice presidential candidate said: 'Sarah Palin has been destroyed by Joe McGinniss' no-holds-barred biography. It exposed all her lies, cover-ups and secrets.

'As a result she has been told by her advisers that it would be political suicide to announce a White House candidacy. The press and her opponents would have a field day digging into the dirty details of her background.'

The bombshell book is said to have put the final nail in the coffin of her marriage, after Sarah's brother Chuckie was quoted saying his sister and Todd's marriage was over.

A friend told the National Enquirer: 'The final straw was McGinniss quoting Sarah's brother Chuckie telling a friend they don't have a marriage.

'Todd felt as if he was stabbed in the back by his own brother-in-law after 23 years of being married to the guy's sister, and having five kids together.' ...

I don't know how much of the Mail Online's story is true. Palin's political career may have been over before the book was published. "Palin, Inc," however, may have been mortally wounded by the books revelations. If so, there may no longer be a reason for the Palins to continue their marriage business partnership. In an Esquire magazine article, Sarah Palin had this to say about marriage: "This is what I've been telling Bristol, before she gets married, is, Bristol, there are definitely gonna be tough parts in marriage. You have to look at those tough times and remember that you have essentially a business contract with this person. You've signed an agreement: You're going to be together. And you look at it that way as you work through the tough times, because I guarantee the better time is there on the other side. That's how we've looked at it." Alaska is a community property state. Half of all the dough Sarah has made could be his. Will Todd Palin cash out?

It's interesting that a friend of Sarah Palin's brother, Chuck, may have been one of Joe McGinniss' sources.

The Mail Online's entire article can be read by clicking on the post's title. The article has a lot of photos.

What Sarah Palin told Bristol about marriage can be found in Esquire's "Sarah Palin: What I've Learned."

Update: My book arrived! On page 50, Joe McGinniss writes, 'Some say the marriage proved rocky from the start. "They don't have a marriage," Sarah's brother, Chuckie, confided to a friend in Anchorage."I don't know how they live together."' A friend of Chuckie -- Is that what they call him? Name reminds me of the doll in "Child's Play." -- was one of McGinniss' sources. Look out for low-flying cans in Wasilla, tonight.

Joe McGinniss' book, “The Rogue: Searching for the Real Sarah Palin,” is a good read and worth buying.

Update: In November of 2010, the Palins went to People magazine to shoot down a divorce story. Are they still able to get the attention of a publication like People magazine? Is "Palin, Inc" still a going concern?

Waiting for 'The Rogue' -- Sarah Palin: Zombie. On-Again, Off-Again Candidate

Sarah Palin did say that her timeframe to decide would be August/September. Then she thought deciding could take longer, so that wasn't definite. ABC News has a short report about her appearance on Hannity's show, last night, where she indicated that her tease could go on indefinitely:
According to Sarah Palin, there’s still time to jump into what’s bound to be an “unconventional” presidential race.

“There is still time, Sean, and I think on both sides of the aisle I think you’re going to see people coming and going from this race,” she said on Sean Hannity’s Fox News show tonight. “And I’m still one of those still considering the time factor.”

When Hannity said the former Alaska governor would have to decide by November, at the latest, for legal reasons, she agreed — to an extent.

“You do, I mean legally you do,” she said. “But I do think Sean, this is going to be such an unconventional election cycle. … Mark my word, it is going to be an unconventional type of election process.”
She could wait until election eve, then buy a TV ad to declare her candidacy and ask everyone to write-in her name. Palinbots might be able to learn to spell p-a-l-i-n overnight, but would that be a vote for Todd or for Sarah? Bristol? That they can open their wallets for her doesn't mean they can string two words together.

The republicans should add a lectern for her at their debates. If she doesn't show, they could occasionally go for a wide shot of the stage and flash a cartoon picture of Sarah the Hockey Mom, Sarah the Frontierswoman ... whatever, trying to hide behind her lectern. It would be even better if the other candidates looked in the direction of Sarah's lectern with a startled, scared look, saying things like, "What was that?" For a little variation, the candidates might also sing in unison that old favorite line of Ronald Reagan, "There she goes again," in Rocky-Horror-Picture-Show style, to the tune of "There She Is, Miss America." There are a lot of possibilites there. The ratings for the debates could go way up. Isn't almost everyone ready to laugh at Sarah Palin?

The ABC News item is "Sarah Palin Says There’s ‘Still Time’ to Get in ‘Unconventional’ Race." More seriously, what does Palin mean by saying in response to Hannity's remark about the legal filing deadlines, "You do, I mean legally you do,” she said. “But I do think Sean, this is going to be such an unconventional election cycle. … Mark my word, it is going to be an unconventional type of election process."

My copy of "The Rogue" is in the area and "out for delivery," so it should appear today. If so, I'll try to post something about it tomorrow morning.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Waiting for 'The Rogue' -- Joe McGinniss is NOT "too busy being nasty to be lucid." Listen to him talk about his book on WNYC

Joe McGinniss doesn't sound like a guy "too busy being nasty to be lucid." He doesn't sound nasty at all.

McGinniss has been interviewed on WNYC's Leonard Lopate show. Early in the interview, McGinniss talks about the use of anonymous sources and explains their use. He says that Glen Rice confirmed the story of his hookup with Sarah Palin; he talks about Palin's reaction to the fling, a reaction that he says he learned about from several sources. McGinniss also talks about his "trignosticism," Palin's religious extremism and her inability to separate church and state ... . McGinniss believes that Palin's extreme religious beliefs are her most dangerous beliefs. Listen to him being interviewed on WNYC's Leonard Lopate show:

You know, it may be that it is Sarah Palin who is "too busy being nasty to be lucid." That could explain her "word salad."

By the way, Sarah Palin's fling with Glen Rice isn't just about sex. See my post "Waiting for 'The Rogue' -- Sarah Palin to 'clean up' Journalism?" to discover how that fling has implications for Palin's ethics and leadership abilities.

The "too busy being nasty to be lucid" quote is from The New York Times' review of McGinniss' book, “The Rogue: Searching for the Real Sarah Palin.” I wrote about the Times' review in my post "Janet Maslin's NY Times review of Joe McGinniss' book destroyed his credibility? Is pro-palin?" and in Waiting for 'The Rogue' -- Do we know how to read?"

An e-mail arrived from Amazon stating that my book may be 1-2 days late. At 4:29 PM (Eastern? Central?), it left Louisville, KY. So much for paying $4.99 for have-it-on-the-20th shipping. But good things are worth waiting for, and I'd rather have a book on paper than an e-book -- "real" books are still easier to read.

Waiting for 'The Rogue' -- Tucker Carlson has to teach Greta Van Susteren about quotation marks

Whether people really know how to read is a serious question. I expressed some of my concerns with my post, "Waiting for 'The Rogue' -- Do we know how to read?" Now, Tucker Carlson has got into a fight with Greta Van Susteren, who, apparently, doesn't know anything about quotation marks! The story is interesting, because it's a story about how "conservatives" are at each other's throats over what Mike Tyson said about what the National Enquirer reported about what Joe McGinniss' book reported:

Tucker Carlson's website, The Daily Caller, wrote "TheDC Morning: Carlson explains to Van Susteren how quotation marks work" after Carlson's appearance on Van Susteren's show. Mediaite has a story, too: "Tucker Carlson And Greta Van Susteren Tear Each Other Apart Over Mike Tyson Story." Mediaite also has "Mike Tyson Disgraces Himself With Sarah Palin/Glen Rice Race ‘Commentary'," which embeds a video of Tyson's statement, after cautioning its readers about the content. I listened to it, and Tyson may be right about something. He said something like, "Race won't matter when we all look alike."

When my copy of Joe McGinniss' new book, “The Rogue: Searching for the Real Sarah Palin,” arrives, I may review Chapter 19 right away. Undoubtedly, some will write, "Joe McGinniss said ... ." I suspect that Joe McGinniss is reporting what others have said or written. There is a difference, and I am interested in how he broached the subject of "babygate." I am aware that Chapter 19 should be considered in the context of what has gone before, but how McGinniss broached the subject may not require that context.

Yesterday, there was an e-mail indicating that my copy of the book had shipped. This morning, package tracking says that as of 10:00 AM, in Louisville, Kentucky, there is a "Delay in delivery due to external factors." Could it be that there are so many copies of the book to be delivered that some disorganization got overwhelmed? Good things are worth waiting for, right? Who knows? The book may still arrive today.

Update: Latest tracking status on "The Rogue" is: Arrival Scan - September 20, 2011 11:22:00 AM (In Lousiville, KY). Could it be that there are so many pallets of books on the move that they didn't have enough cargo planes to handle them?

Update: An e-mail from Amazon says, "We're writing to let you know there was a transit delay and the delivery of your package [...] may be delayed by 1 - 2 days. Tracking status indicates that it left Louisville, KY at 4:29 PM. I'll have to see about getting the $4.99 deliver-it-on-the-20th-shipping-fee reduced or refunded.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Waiting for 'The Rogue' -- Sarah Palin the Mother of 'Stupid Conservatism'

Sarah Palin has tried to invent a new variant of conservatism, calling it common-sense conservatism. But, in "Egghead and Blockheads," Maureen Dowd writes:
... The Republicans are now the “How great is it to be stupid?” party. In perpetrating the idea that there’s no intellectual requirement for the office of the presidency, the right wing of the party offers a Farrelly Brothers “Dumb and Dumber” primary in which evolution is avant-garde.

Having grown up with a crush on William F. Buckley Jr. for his sesquipedalian facility, it’s hard for me to watch the right wing of the G.O.P. revel in anti-intellectualism and anti-science cant.

Sarah Palin, who got outraged at a “gotcha” question about what newspapers and magazines she read, is the mother of stupid conservatism. Another “Don’t Know Much About History” Tea Party heroine, Michele Bachmann, seems rather proud of not knowing anything, simply repeating nutty, inflammatory medical claims that somebody in the crowd tells her.

So we’re choosing between the overintellectualized professor and blockheads boasting about their vacuity?

The occupational hazard of democracy is know-nothing voters. It shouldn’t be know-nothing candidates.
Dowd doesn't spare Rick Perry, either.

What may have happened to the republican party is that knowledgeable people were so appalled at the consequences of "Reagonomics," which led to two off-budget wars, deregulation and the financial collapse in 2008, that most of them no longer participate in the party. So, we see a lot of know-nothings on the stage at each debate. At the last debate, Jon Huntsman, according to The New York Times, told the other candidates:
"When you make comments that fly in the face of 98 out of 100 climate scientists, to call into question the science of evolution, all I am saying is that in order for the Republican Party to win, we can't run from science," Huntsman said. "By making comments that basically don't reflect the reality of the situation, we turn people off."
If republican primary voters are like most of the republican candidates, Huntsman has a snowball's chance in hell of winning the nomination.

Just one more day until Joe McGinniss' new book, “The Rogue: Searching for the Real Sarah Palin,” arrives. Sarah Palin died, politically, before the book was finished, but will it have any affect on "Palin, Inc?" Most of her speaking engagements seem to have been made with audiences of social conservatives, especially anti-choice groups. Will they continue to ask her to speak? What for? A pity party? Thing is, there are all sorts of pity parties people can attend, and no one may be interested in paying to attend one.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Waiting for 'The Rogue' -- Sarah Palin a Kardashian Sister?

I don't know much about the Kardashian sisters. Perhaps they'll feel insulted to discover that they're thought to be like Sarah Palin, but that's the thesis of a story in The New York Daily News:
Sarah Palin, the darling of a pro-life party that cheers Texas executions at presidential debates, has made an insanely lucrative career out of being famous, a Kardashian sister of American politics.

This week she becomes even more famous because of a new book written about her by Joe McGinniss, who became famous for writing a book called "The Selling of the President 1968."

One of the stars of that book was Roger Ailes, who runs Fox News, where Palin has been a pinup girl since the last campaign, even if there was never a chance she was going to run for President, and not just because she would have to take a pay cut.

Are you kidding? Palin constantly builds her brand and her bank account by not running, no matter how many bus tours she makes across America. As Bill Maher likes to point out, when Palin ran for vice president her idea of a "gotcha" question was being asked what she likes to read.

That doesn't mean she doesn't know how to sell herself. Call it "The Selling of a Non-President 2012." ...
The complete story is "Sarah Palin is the Kardashian of politics, making a lucrative career out of being famous." It has an online poll that asks, "What best describes Sarah Palin?" My money is on "Cartoon character." Admit it. It's true! Don't deny it.

There are some other interesting things to read while waiting for "The Rogue." One is "The Political Provocateur," by the editor of The New York Times Book Review. It is an interesting comparison of Joe McGinniss' new book, “The Rogue: Searching for the Real Sarah Palin,” with his "The Selling of the President," published in 1969. That article is a must read for anyone interested in how a political book can be effectively marketed. Another thing to read is The Toronto Star's review of McGinniss' book, "Book sets out to find Palin — and destroy her," which begins: "Weighing in at 318 pages, The Rogue isn’t merely an act of character assassination — it is one long, hard, steel spike through the political heart of Sarah Palin."

My book should arrive Tuesday (by 7:00 PM). I'll have to read it before writing a review, and I don't know when that will appear, because I won't have time to sit down and read the book straight through. I am interested in how the Rice/Palin fling was confirmed, among other things. That fling has serious implications for anyone considering Palin's ethics and leadership abilities. If you're curious about that, see my "Waiting for 'The Rogue' -- Sarah Palin to 'clean up' Journalism?"

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Waiting for 'The Rogue' -- Do we know how to read?

In her New York Times review of Joe McGinniss' book, “The Rogue: Searching for the Real Sarah Palin,” Janet Maslin indicates that McGinniss wrote about babygate when she wrote:
... With the same imprecise aim he cites conspiracy theories that Ms. Palin may not be the mother of her youngest son, Trig, and questions the circumstances under which he was born. Mr. McGinniss puts forth a provocative case for doubting Ms. Palin’s account of Trig’s birth, which involved a round trip between Alaska and Texas while she was supposedly in labor. But then he comes to an indefensibly reckless conclusion: “It is perhaps the most blistering assessment of her character possible that many Wasillans who’d known Sarah from high school onward told me that even if she had not faked the entire story of her pregnancy and Trig’s birth, it was something she was eminently capable of doing.” ... (emphasis added)
Maslin's "indefensibly reckless conclusion" may be that "it was something she [Palin] was eminently capable of doing," and, so, some think, can be considered to be evidence that Palin faked a pregnancy. But that appears to be the conclusion of "many Wasillans." Does McGinniss agree? He wrote, "It is perhaps the most blistering assessment of her character ... ." The conclusion that Palin faked a pregnancy because she's capable of doing so can be called indefensible and reckless, because almost everyone is capable of doing much worse than faking a pregnancy. For example, everyone (able-bodied) has the capacity to kill. An argument that someone murdered someone else because he or she was capable of it is nonsense, not to mention indefensible and reckless. What about something less than faking a pregnancy? Lying? Wouldn't it be foolish to accuse someone of lying because he or she is capable of lying? It wouldn't just be foolish, but indefensible and reckless. But has McGinniss been "indefensible and reckless" here? Read carefully.

At this point, without reading the book, we don't know whether McGinniss believes that babygate writings are conspiracy theories. But in a Washington Post review of the book, Nick Gillespie writes:
... He leaves no ambiguity, though, about the import of what he calls “the unanswered question” of Trig, Palin’s son with Down syndrome, who was born in 2008. Untroubled by a lack of actual evidence, a small but unbowed band of Palin critics has long wondered aloud whether she is the boy’s biological mother. Like all conspiracists, they insist that they are only asking questions that could be readily answered by nothing more out of the ordinary than a full data dump of Palin’s obstetrical records. McGinniss approvingly quotes blogger Andrew Sullivan, who has insisted that “if Palin has lied about [giving birth to Trig], it’s the most staggering, appalling deception in the history of American politics.”

What exactly McGinniss thinks is “unanswered” about Trig’s birth is unclear, since he [McGinniss] avers that, unlike Sullivan and other gynecological obsessives, he absolutely believes Palin is Trig’s mother: “It seemed outlandish, even indecent, to suppose that Trig might not be Sarah’s child. I did not, and I don’t.” And then he proceeds to devote more than a dozen pages to rehashing every conceivable theory — and some inconceivable ones — that she faked the birth. ... (emphasis added)
Apparently, Gillespie is quoting McGinniss' book. If so, Joe McGinniss believes that Sarah Palin gave birth to Trig: There are quote marks around the sentence containing, "I did not, and I don't." Read carefully. We still don't know whether McGinnis calls babygate a conspiracy theory; Gillespie essentially has. Considering that he believes that Palin gave birth to Trig, does it matter whether McGinniss calls babygate a conspiracy theory?

What Gillespie has missed, apparently, is that McGinniss is simply describing the "conspiracy theories." Apparently, McGinnis is leaving it up to the reader to decide whether babygate writings are true, false or irrelevant. Apparently, McGinniss is simply describing what's out there. Apparently, Gillespie is complaining that McGinniss included things in the book that he (McGinniss) doesn't believe. Someone else might complain if McGinniss omitted something he doesn't believe.

Of course, we'll have to read the book to form our own opinions and know what McGinnis believes, where what he believes matters, being careful to distinguish McGinniss' statements from those of others. We should do the same while reading a review: distinguish between what McGinniss writes and what the reviewer writes. Read carefully. Watch for the quote marks and the use of the subjunctive mood.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Waiting for 'The Rogue' -- Sarah Palin to 'clean up' Journalism?

There may be more to the story about Sarah Palin's fling with Michigan basketball player Glen Rice than meets the eye. When Rice played with the Wolverines in the Great Alaska Shootout, Sarah Palin reported about the Shootout on a TV sports segment:

The Washington Post's The Early Lead column reported:
... Palin, according to the book [Joe Mcginniss' “The Rogue: Searching for the Real Sarah Palin], had a fling thing with Rice in 1987, while he was in college and she was a sports reporter fresh out of college and working at KTUU in Alaska. Rice was a junior at the University of Michigan at the time and their one-night stand occurred while he and the Wolverines were playing in the Great Alaska Shootout. ...
Yet Sarah Palin has had the reckless nerve to say of journalism:
I want to help clean up the state that is so sorry today of journalism. And I have a communications degree. I studied journalism, who, what, where, when, and why of reporting. I will speak to reporters who still understand that cornerstone of our democracy, that expectation that the public has for truth to be reported. And then we get to decide our own opinion based on the facts reported to us.
The 5 Ws, but what about E? Ethics. Journalistic ethics. Should a journalist have a fling with anyone he or she reports about, or report about an organization that person is associated with? What could go wrong? It's known as a conflict of interest.

Sarah Palin's report of the Shootout may be factually accurate, but there was an ethical lapse there. Can Sarah Palin be trusted to 'clean up' something she has fouled? A leader leads most effectively when he or she leads by example. What sort of example has Sarah Pain set for aspiring journalists, especially young women? If Sarah Palin cannot lead in relatively small things, how can she possibly lead the nation?

Update: The Houston Press' Hair Balls blog has "Glen Rice Allegedly Slept with Sarah Palin," which describes Palin's reporting about a Michigan game and Glen Rice.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Janet Maslin's NY Times review of Joe McGinniss' book destroyed his credibility? Is pro-palin?

I was shocked, just shocked at some of the reaction to Janet Maslin's review of Joe McGinniss' soon-to-be-released book, “The Rogue: Searching for the Real Sarah Palin.” Some claim that The New York Times has destroyed McGinniss' credibility; others that Maslin is pro-palin. Neither of those claims seem true to me; the review is simply Maslin's opinion of the book, and it's really a thought provoking review.

In the context of yesterday's story about Sarah Palin's relationship with Glen Rice, Maslin wrote, quoting the book, ' “A friend says, ‘Sarah and her sisters had a fetish for black guys for a while.’ ” Mr. McGinniss did in 2011 make a phone call to the former N.B.A. basketball player Glen Rice, who is black, and prompted him to acknowledge having fond memories of Sarah Heath. While Mr. Rice avoids specifics and uses the words “respectful” and “a sweetheart,” Mr. McGinniss eggs him on with the kind of flagrantly leading question he seems to have habitually asked. In Mr. Rice’s case: “So you never had the feeling she felt bad about having sex with a black guy?” ' I take that to mean that Rice confirmed the story for McGinniss. Of course, we'll have to read the book to be sure. Doesn't a good review make you want to read the book? What was McGinniss' conversation with Rice like? How did he manage to confirm what was gossip and in doing so make it news? How does a journalist get people to talk? How does a journalist confirm a story? Everyone interested in journalism may learn something by reading the book.

Maslin is critical of McGinniss' inclusion of much that she says is already known on the internet, writing, '"Although most of “The Rogue” is dated, petty and easily available to anyone with Internet access, Mr. McGinniss used his time in Alaska to chase caustic, unsubstantiated gossip about the Palins, often from unnamed sources like “one resident” and “a friend.”' However, if McGinniss has confirmed those stories, as he appears to have done with the Glen Rice story, a story I've never seen on the internet, then we shall have something much better than much of what has been available on the internet.

Maslin expressed her concern about gossip by writing, "A journalist as seasoned as Mr. McGinniss surely knows what these details will do to his credibility regarding the book’s more serious claims." If, however, the gossip was confirmed by McGinniss, it's left the realm of gossip and become news and, so, will give his credibility a boost. An unconfirmed story, if McGinniss states that he was unable to confirm it, won't diminish his credibility. The publisher undoubtedly fact-checked the book.

Maslin indicates that McGinniss wrote about "babygate" when she wrote:
With the same imprecise aim he cites conspiracy theories that Ms. Palin may not be the mother of her youngest son, Trig, and questions the circumstances under which he was born. Mr. McGinniss puts forth a provocative case for doubting Ms. Palin’s account of Trig’s birth, which involved a round trip between Alaska and Texas while she was supposedly in labor. But then he comes to an indefensibly reckless conclusion: “It is perhaps the most blistering assessment of her character possible that many Wasillans who’d known Sarah from high school onward told me that even if she had not faked the entire story of her pregnancy and Trig’s birth, it was something she was eminently capable of doing.”
I think that Maslin's "indefensibly reckless conclusion" is that "it was something she [Palin] was eminently capable of doing." That appears to be the conclusion of "many Wasillans." Does McGinniss agree? He wrote, "It is perhaps the most blistering assessment of her character ... ." The conclusion can be called indefensible and reckless, because almost everyone is capable of doing much worse than faking a pregnancy. For example, everyone (able-bodied) has the capacity to kill. An argument that someone murdered someone else because he or she was capable of it is nonsense, not to mention indefensible and reckless. What about something less than faking a pregnancy? Lying? Wouldn't it be foolish to accuse someone of lying because he or she is capable of lying? It wouldn't just be foolish, but indefensible and reckless.

Maslin also notes that McGinniss' book covers Troopergate, AGIA and dominionism. Is the book "too busy being nasty to be lucid?" We'll have to read the book to form our own opinions.

Janet Maslin is a book and film critic for The New York Times. A list of her reviews since 1977 and available online is here. Her review of McGinniss' book is "Sarah Palin Could See This Guy From Her House."

The New York Times has published 'The Rogue', an excerpt from McGinniss' book.

Update: Poynter has "Garry Trudeau calls Joe McGinniss’s book ‘meticulously reported’."

Update: I've just pre-ordered the book and paid $13.99 + $4.99, the $4.99 to have it delivered on the 20th! Oops! The confirming e-mail says, "Delivery estimate: Sept. 20, 2011." If it doesn't arrive on the 20th, what should I do? Get mad at Joe McGinniss?

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

How to confirm a Sarah Palin story -- Updated: Story in The NY Times -- Re-Updated: NY Times publishes excerpt of 'The Rogue'

I am not a journalist. In fact, I don't have a single journalism class under my belt. I may not even be a writer: on a good day I might be lucky to be considered a junior writer. So it was interesting to read, this morning, about a story that's said to originate in Joe McGinniss' book, “The Rogue: Searching for the Real Sarah Palin.” It's said in a National Enquirer story that Sarah Palin had a "fetish" for black men and "had a steamy interracial hookup with basketball stud Glen Rice less than a year before she eloped with her husband Todd."

What was interesting was that it's said that McGinniss got confirmation of the story from Glen Rice, himself. So that's how it's done! It never occurred to me, a non-journalist, that a story about Sarah Palin could become news if the story could be confirmed. A conversation between a tipster and a journalist might go something like this:
Tipster: Sarah had a one-night stand.

Journalist: How do you know?

Tipster: It was steamy, man.

Journalist: And with whom did she have this steamy, one-night stand?

Tipster: Glen Rice, the NBA star.
Then, the journalist could simply check with Glen Rice to see whether he would confirm the story. Isn't that simple?

It's said that Glen Rice has confirmed the story. The National Enquirer's breathless, screaming headline is "WORLD EXCLUSIVE! SARAH PALIN BOMBSHELL BOOK SHOCKING CLAIMS!" Larry Brown Sports has "Glen Rice and Sarah Palin Reportedly Had One-Night Stand." The story at Larry Brown Sports links to a video of Sarah Palin as a sportscaster on an Anchorage TV station.

Could I get Joe McGinniss to confirm this story about something that's said to be in his book? Me? A lowly blogger? Nah! Don't even ask. Just hit publish!

Update: The Washington Post has "Report: Glen Rice, Sarah Palin had a one-night stand in ’87," which embeds the Sarah Palin sportscaster video.

Update: The Miami Herald has "Glen Rice: I slept with Sarah Palin."

Update: The New York Daily News has "Sarah Palin had sex with basketball player, snorted cocaine and cheated on husband, book claims."

Update: The New York Daily News has "Mama Grizzly Palin Mauled In New Tell-All Book." What will we tell the cubs?

Update: The New York Times has "She Could See This Guy From Her House," written by famous book and film critic Janet Maslin:
... And these stories need not be consistent. “The Rogue” suggests that Todd Palin and the young Sarah Heath took drugs. It also says that she lacked boyfriends and was a racist. And it includes this: “A friend says, ‘Sarah and her sisters had a fetish for black guys for a while.’ ” Mr. McGinniss did in 2011 make a phone call to the former N.B.A. basketball player Glen Rice, who is black, and prompted him to acknowledge having fond memories of Sarah Heath. While Mr. Rice avoids specifics and uses the words “respectful” and “a sweetheart,” Mr. McGinniss eggs him on with the kind of flagrantly leading question he seems to have habitually asked. In Mr. Rice’s case: “So you never had the feeling she felt bad about having sex with a black guy?” ...
I read that as an indication that Glen Rice confirmed the story.

Update: A three page excerpt of McGinniss' book has been published by The New York Times, here. It's about McGinniss' adventure of looking for a place to rent in Alaska.

Update: Joe McGinniss will be interviewed on NBC's Today Show, tomorrow at 7:00 A.M (Eastern, check your local schedule). The show will include Todd Palin's -- Palin Inc's CEO? -- response to the book.

Update: The Daily Beast's Book Beast has "New Palin Book’s 6 Juiciest Leaks."

Here is Joe McGinniss' interview on "Today:"

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