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Houston, We Have A Stimulus February 14, 2009

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I’m feeling pretty sick right now (head cold), but I doubt I feel as sick as Sarah Palin.  You see, the stimulus just passed the Senate, and now she gets to choose whether or not to eat her anti-stimulus rhetoric and take the money allocated to Alaska.  And she’d better make up her mind quickly, or at least within 45 days…

I also ran across a rumor going about that there is some secret clause in the stimulus requiring registration for all guns.  This is patently untrue, from what I was able to find out – the one major gun-related item in the package appears to be enforcement money for the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms to attempt to stem the flow of illegal guns into Mexico.  Which doesn’t sound like universal registration to me, but then I just belong to the regular NRA and not the tinfoil-hat NRA.  As most of the residents of Alaska carry their tinfoil-hat NRA badge with pride, however, I expect to see this rumor spread like wildfire.

Sarah Palin Hates Me? January 13, 2009

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Apologies for the long hiatus between the last news item and this one; I was on a sandy beach escaping Fairbanks’ two-week cold snap.

Sarah Palin has been busy with the media lately, giving interviews to whoever wants them.  In these interviews, she mostly criticizes the same people who are keeping her fifteen minutes of national fame alive- the media.

She’s come out really strong lately against bloggers, probably (and I’m only guessing here) because the majority of the high-quality blogs out there weren’t particularly supportive of her political ambitions.  In an interview with Esquire, Palin let this little gem fly, “Bored, anonymous, pathetic bloggers who lie annoy me….I’ll tell you, yesterday the Anchorage Daily News, they called again to ask — double-, triple-, quadruple-check — who is Trig’s real mom. And I said, Come on, are you kidding me? We’re gonna answer this? Do you not believe me or my doctor? And they said, No, it’s been quite cryptic the way that my son’s birth has been discussed. And I thought, Okay, more indication of continued problems in the world of journalism.”

Upon the publication of Palin’s attack on their reporting, the ADN released a lengthy, point-by-point response- published, fittingly, on the editor’s blog.  In their response, the ADN claimed that the only reason their reporter was asking about Trig at all was that the paper was working on a story debunking conspiracy theories about Palin and her campaign.  Furthermore, the paper claimed that they had to abandon the story due to lack of cooperation from Palin’s family and office.  The ADN characterized Palin’s attack as at best factually incorrect, and at worst intentionally misleading.

Sarah Palin, though, tends to move in only one direction once she’s going, so she hasn’t backed down on the anti-blog rhetoric.  In an interview with Alaska Report published today, Palin opined that bloggers aren’t held appropriately to account when they lie.

The subject of people not being held to account when they lie, especially in the world of politics, is an area which has become rich with examples over the past five or ten years.  Given this, it’s extremely tempting to caustically turn Palin’s words right back at her.  I think that in this particular instance I’ll take the high road, though, and leave you to pick your own favorite person who hasn’t been held to account for lying to the Alaskan and/or American people.  I feel like bloggers don’t rate very high on the list, but maybe I’m too close to the topic.

Palin’s Problem: Not Enough Media Attention? December 23, 2008

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Apparently our governor has decided that her problem during the campaign was that she didn’t give enough interviews. That’s great logic, because she was so well-prepared for the few that she did. If she had done more, I’m sure it would have done great things for the public’s opinion of her.

Alaska Briefs December 20, 2008

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Here’s a recap of news of the past several days in Alaska politics:

-Sarah Palin’s church was damaged in a “suspicious” fire. Firefighters are treating it as an arson. Members of my family were in Eagle River for the state high school wrestling tournament, but they insist that their proximity to the fire was coincidental.

-Don Young stepped down from his seat as ranking member on the House Natural Resources Committee. He stated that it’s a temporary move for the good of the party.  Question: If it’s for the good of the party (that is, if they want him to have  a lower profile in the event he gets indicted for something), how is it going to be a temporary move?  Good luck getting that seat back, Don. 

-Levi Johnston’s mother was arrested on six felony drug possession charges.  In case you forgot, Levi Johnston is Bristol Palin’s betrothed.  Word from the ADN is that the drug in question was oxycontin, a.k.a. “hillbilly heroin,” which gained notoriety as Rush Limbaugh’s painkiller of choice.  I have to say that with Bristol’s unplanned pregnancy, the Katie Couric interview, the $150,000 $180,000 clothes debacle, the turkey interview, and now this, the Palin clan is really making Alaska look like a classy, forward-looking state.

North to the Future, indeed.

Monday Briefs December 8, 2008

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A few little items that didn’t really merit a post on their own:

  • The District 7 recount is scheduled for tomorrow.  Check here for news as it comes in.
  • The Sarah Palin clothing story resurfaced– the cost of the clothes is now up to $180,000, and the cost of her makeup was $110,000.  I really dislike this story- it feels so tabloid-ey. Even though I find the expenditure wasteful in the extreme and indicative of poor judgment, I’m not planning on bringing it up again unless someone brings charges or something.
  • A grand total of six Alaskans contributed to Obama’s transition fund.  One of them was my sister’s second grade teacher.  Alaska is a small place.
  • Ted Stevens has asked for a new trial in Alaska.  No clue if the request will be granted, but if it is, good luck finding an impartial jury here… at least that’s what Stevens is banking on, I’m sure.

Palin Won’t Release Troopergate Deposition December 5, 2008

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ADN’s political blog is reporting that the governor’s office is refusing to release the deposition Sarah Palin gave to the Alaska Personnel Board.  Apparently Palin views the matter as over and done with, and wants to put it behind her.  She’s also refusing to release Todd’s deposition and a host of other related material.

Her promise to make the personnel board’s findings public, she says, didn’t apply to material which was not explicitly in the final report.  That promise notwithstanding, what does Sarah have to gain by refusing to make her testimony public?  Much of her side of the story has already been made public in the news media, and I don’t anticipate that her answers to the personnel board were substantially different than the ones we’ve heard, so she probably doesn’t have to worry about charges of her story changing.  Furthermore, the personnel board cleared her of wrongdoing, so nothing she or Todd said in the depositions can be that damaging, can it?  I’m baffled.

I will say this: the question of whether Sarah Palin acted improperly in
a) trying to get Trooper Wooten fired, and/or
b) in removing Walt Monegan as Commissioner of Public Safety
completely aside, the one thing I’m taking away from this case so far as an Alaskan is that our governor, whose chief talking point in the campaign was that Alaska’s government should be transparent and accountable to the people, didn’t mean what she said.  

More than anything else, I’m disappointed.

State Budget: We’re Screwed December 4, 2008

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So remember here, where I argued that Sarah Palin might want to stay home from campaigning in Georgia and deal with emergent crises like our massive potential budget shortfall?

 

This is bad.  This is so f***ing bad.

This is bad. This is so f***ing bad.

 

Yeah, that situation isn’t improving much.  I’d really like to hear someone from the executive branch at least talk about this, because we’re about 30% underwater for the state budget right now.  That’s a lot of money.

In other news, Alaska prices at the pump are still nearly a dollar above the national average per gallon.  It’s great when you get screwed both coming and going.

UA Board of Regents Meeting: Highlights December 3, 2008

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I went to the UA Board of Regents meeting on non-political business, but it was a long meeting, and I had the opportunity to hear what Martha Stewart (no, not that Martha Stewart), the university’s Director of Federal Relations, had to say about the new political reality for Alaska in Washington, D.C.  Here are the high points:

  • She thinks that Alaska won’t be badly damaged with regard to appropriations: although Stevens is gone from the appropriations committee, his best friend Dan Inouye (D-HI) is the chairman, and Inouye knows what it’s like for Alaska due to his friendship with Stevens and his experience as a senator from a non-lower-48 state.  Inouye is likely to remain friendly to Alaska.
  • With regard to our existing Senate committee appointments, she said that having Lisa Murkowski on the Energy & Natural Resources committee is going to prove very beneficial to Alaska as we work to restructure the U.S.A.’s energy economy.  She also mentioned that Mark Begich has put in for a variety of appointments, including Appropriations and Commerce.  She thinks it’s unlikely he’ll get Appropriations but Commerce is a definite possibility.
  • She characterized Stevens’ staff as “still in shock” after the defeat, and unsure of their future.  She’s not sure how many, if any, will be picked up by Begich for his staff, but that Stevens’ office on the Hill will close December 22.
  • Of Don Young, she said, “This is probably his last term in office.”  I didn’t have a chance to ask why she thinks that.  Young’s challengers have certainly improved in terms of credibility and posing a legitimate threat, but he won this past race pretty handily even if it wasn’t the 40% thrashing he usually delivers.  Perhaps Stewart is expecting that Coconut Road earmark to catch up to him in court?

That was basically it.  There were other highlights to the meeting, but for the most part they were university-related, not politics-related.  Enjoy your Wednesday.

Oh wait- I just remembered I have one other quote to relate.  University President Mark Hamilton apparently met with Governor Palin at the Great Alaska Shootout basketball tournament in Anchorage last weekend- just prior to her trip to Georgia to campaign for Saxby Chambliss- and Hamilton had this to say:

“I reminded her that we [the University] have no money… she was very happy and very upbeat, and what that means in a political setting I have no idea.”

Sounds like politics as usual.

Palin To Campaign In Georgia As Oil Prices Plummet November 25, 2008

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This morning brings news that Sarah Palin will travel to Georgia next week to campaign for threatened Republican senator Saxby Chambliss in his runoff election against Jim Martin.  I can’t remember the last time a losing vice-presidential candidate was called on for support in such a pivotal race (well, unless you count Joe Lieberman in this year’s presidential election, but I’d argue he didn’t help much).

This, ordinarily, would all be well and good.  Sarah is obviously very popular with a good percentage of the GOP’s base, and as she is a savvy politician it would be unrealistic to expect that she curtail opportunities to keep her name in the national spotlight.  In this case, though, I worry that she doesn’t have Alaska’s best interests at heart.

Why am I concerned?  Well, in short, it comes down to a dollar figure: $44.53. (more…)

Just When You Thought It Was Safe To Watch TV Again… November 24, 2008

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A Republican-aligned PAC has apparently decided that they might as well spend their money after the election rather than before it, and is running ads on Alaskan TV stations thanking Sarah Palin for “being an articulate, straightforward, and uplifting champion of common sense conservative ideals.”

CNN reports that the group is spending $50,000 to air the ad in Alaska; no word on the magnitude of a national buy yet.

Here’s the ad- there are a few different versions; this is the “Drill, Baby, Drill” version: