B12 Solipsism

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To Ignore Sarah Palin Or Not

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Don't Bring Yer Guns to Town

I’m sick of reading about her myself, and yet, Palin’s latest outrageous gaffe seems to draw so much media attention, I’m conflicted about whether to ignore her or not.

Josh Marshall writes:

Frequently a reader will write in to say, “Why are you giving her so much attention? You’re just pumping her up. If you and the other places would stop giving her so much oxygen, she and her whole circus would just wither away.”

I don’t know which circle of the hell of myopia you need to be residing in to think like this. But it’s very deep in there, I assure you. Much as I love this thing our team has created, I assure you that Palin’s popularity, notoriety, footprint on the public stage is quite independent of TPM. Indeed, TPM and a dozen other similar or not so similar publications you can find on the web. Palin is such a big deal because she’s got a chunk of the political nation that is very, very into her. She resonates deeply with her core supporters. She’s one of those people who cuts an electric figure on the public stage because she slices right through the society and generates one intense response from one side and a completely opposite but equally intense response from the other. And she says, let’s be honest, a lot of really crazy stuff.

This is actually a real blind spot for liberals in general — the idea that things that are crazy or tawdry or just outrageous are really best ignored. Don’t give them more attention. You’re just giving them what they want. Or maybe it’s not so practical and utilitarian. Maybe, they say, it’s just beneath us. Focus on the important stuff.

(click to continue reading The Deal with Palin | Talking Points Memo.)

 

Written by Seth Anderson

January 23rd, 2011 at 2:55 am

Posted in politics

Tagged with ,

Sarah Palin is The GOP Standard Bearer

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dreidel dreidel

I’ve been pretty successful at ignoring Sarah Palin for a while,1 in the vain hope that she would stop being the GOP standard bearer if nobody paid attention to her, but Palin’s latest hateful egocentrism was too much. Since I’m not a paid pundint (sic), I couldn’t bear to watch her entire seven minute hate, so have instead relied upon professionals who have more intestinal fortitude to parse her half-truths and slanders.

Such as:

so let’s just lead off with Sarah Palin’s video response to critics who alleged that her crosshairs map and no-holds-barred rhetoric contributed to a political climate that may have helped lead to the Arizona massacre:

Sarah Palin: “America’s Enduring Strength” from Sarah Palin on Vimeo.

A few quick things to note. First, the obvious care that went into making this video — the pre-written script is over seven minutes long; she clearly rehearsed the reading at some length; and the backdrop includes an American flag on the right flank — demonstrate once again that Palin and her advisers knew this was a potential make-or-break moment. Palin, of course, has long taken her case directly to supporters via Twitter and Facebook, while not permitting herself to be exposed to any journalistic cross-examination. Utilizing a pre-taped video message is a new twist on that strategy, and a reflection of how high the stakes have become.

Second, her core accusation on the video, the one that was clearly selected with an intent to drive headlines, not only accuses critics of “blood libel,” but actually accuses them of expressing concern and outrage about the shooting in bad faith, as if they are doing so in an effort to do nothing more than damage her politically:

(click to continue reading The Plum Line – Sarah Palin and `blood libel’.)

I don’t know if Palin’s teleprompter told her to slip in the phrase “blood libel” to discuss Arizona’s only Jewish Congressperson, or if Palin freelanced it, but since the 7 minute hate was obviously not an off-the-cuff production, perhaps someone might have done a bit of research:

Blood libel (also blood accusation) refers to a false accusation or claim that religious minorities, usually Jews, murder children to use their blood in certain aspects of their religious rituals and holidays.

Historically, these claims have–alongside those of well poisoning and host desecration–been a major theme in European persecution of Jews.

The libels typically allege that Jews require human blood for the baking of matzos for Passover. The accusations often assert that the blood of Christian children is especially coveted, and, historically, blood libel claims have often been made to account for otherwise unexplained deaths of children. In some cases, the alleged victim of human sacrifice has become venerated as a martyr, a holy figure around whom a martyr cult might arise. A few of these have been even canonized as saints, like Gavriil Belostoksky.

In Jewish lore, blood libels were the impetus for the creation in the 16th century of the Golem of Prague by Rabbi Judah Loew ben Bezalel. Many popes have either directly or indirectly condemned the blood accusation, and no pope has ever sanctioned it.

These libels have persisted among some segments of Christians to the present time.

(click to continue reading Blood libel – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.)

I’m a firm believer in free speech, even for maggots festering on the political body such as Sarah Palin, but enjoying free speech doesn’t preclude others from criticizing your words if they are as inflammatory as Palin’s.

“Instead of dialing down the rhetoric at this difficult moment, Sarah Palin chose to accuse others trying to sort out the meaning of this tragedy of somehow engaging in a ‘blood libel’ against her and others,” said David Harris, president of the National Democratic Jewish Council, in a statement. “This is of course a particularly heinous term for American Jews, given that the repeated fiction of blood libels are directly responsible for the murder of so many Jews across centuries — and given that blood libels are so directly intertwined with deeply ingrained anti-Semitism around the globe, even today.”

“The term ‘blood libel’ is not a synonym for ‘false accusation,’ ” said Simon Greer, president of Jewish Funds for Justice. “It refers to a specific falsehood perpetuated by Christians about Jews for centuries, a falsehood that motivated a good deal of anti-Jewish violence and discrimination. Unless someone has been accusing Ms. Palin of killing Christian babies and making matzoh from their blood, her use of the term is totally out of line.”

U.S. Rep Gabrielle Giffords, who was shot in the head Saturday and remained in critical condition in a Tucson hospital, is Jewish.

Abraham Foxman, national director of the Anti-Defamation League, said “it was inappropriate at the outset to blame Sarah Palin and others for causing this tragedy or for being an accessory to murder. Palin has every right to defend herself against these kinds of attacks, and we agree with her that the best tradition in America is one of finding common ground despite our differences.

“Still, we wish that Palin had not invoked the phrase ‘blood libel’ in reference to the actions of journalists and pundits in placing blame for the shooting in Tucson on others. While the term ‘blood libel’ has become part of the English parlance to refer to someone being falsely accused, we wish that Palin had used another phrase, instead of one so fraught with pain in Jewish history.”

(click to continue reading Blood libel: Jewish leaders object to Palin’s ‘blood libel’ charge – chicagotribune.com.)

And contrasting Barack Obama’s speech, Halmark-esque as it was, with Palin’s vitriol reminded a lot of folks why Obama won the election.

Wednesday was bookended by two remarkable — and remarkably different — political performances that demonstrated the vast expanse of America’s political landscape.

The day opened at 5 a.m. with Sarah Palin, whose seven-and-a-half minute video statement captured with precision the bubbling anger and resentment that is an undercurrent of the national conversation about our public discourse.

Sarah Palin issued a forceful denunciation of her critics in a video statement posted to her Facebook page. It ended with President Obama, whose plea for civility, love and compassion — for us to all be not just better citizens but better people — exposed for the first time the emotions of a leader who has spent two years staying cool and controlled for a nation beset by difficult times.

The tone of the two speeches could not have been more different. The venues were a world apart — the smallness of a rectangular video on a computer screen and the vastness of an echo-filled basketball arena.

And they both served as a reminder of the political clash to come when the 2012 presidential campaign gets underway in earnest next year.

(click to continue reading Obama and Palin, a Tale of Two Speeches – NYTimes.com.)

Or:

In the span of a single news cycle, Republicans got a jarring reminder of two forces that could prevent them from retaking the presidency next year.

At sunrise in the east on Wednesday, Sarah Palin demonstrated that she has little interest—or capacity—in moving beyond her brand of grievance-based politics. And at sundown in the west, Barack Obama reminded even his critics of his ability to rally disparate Americans around a message of reconciliation.

Palin was defiant, making the case in a taped speech she posted online why the nation’s heated political debate should continue unabated even after Saturday’s tragedy in Tucson. And, seeming to follow her own advice, she swung back at her opponents, deeming the inflammatory notion that she was in any way responsible for the shootings a “blood libel.”

Obama, speaking at a memorial service at the University of Arizona, summoned the country to honor the victims, and especially nine-year-old Christina Taylor Green, by treating one another with more respect. “I want America to be as good as Christina imaged it,” he said.

It’s difficult to imagine a starker contrast.

 

(click to continue reading Barack Obama takes opportunity Sarah Palin missed – Jonathan Martin – POLITICO.com.)

Can we all take a vow to ignore Sarah Palin for a while now? At least until she announces she is running for president in 2012?

Footnotes:
  1. Since 9/2010 on my blog []

Written by Seth Anderson

January 13th, 2011 at 9:32 am

Posted in politics

Tagged with , , ,

Sarah Palin and her Sad and Moldering Sadness

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Michael J. Gross of Vanity Fair had the unenviable task of writing a long article about the delusional gadfly Sarah Palin. Worth a read, despite that nearly all1 the sources are off the record. And they aren’t kind: Palin is apparently quite the cold and angry diva when she isn’t on camera or on stage.

Spectators in Ketchikan

[Sarah Palin] manages to be at once a closed book and a constant noisemaker. Her press spokesperson, Pam Pryor, barely speaks to the press, and Palin shrewdly cultivates a real and rhetorical antagonism toward what she calls “the lamestream media.” The Palin machine is supported by organizations that do much of their business under the cover of pseudonyms and shell companies. In accordance with the terms of a reported $1 million annual contract with Fox News, Palin regularly delivers canned commentary on that network. But in the year since she abruptly resigned the governorship of Alaska, in order to market herself full-time—earning an estimated $13 million in the process—she has submitted to authentic, unpaid interviews with only a handful of journalists, none of whom have posed notably challenging questions. She keeps tight control of her pronouncements, speaking only in settings of her own choosing, with audiences of her own selection, and with reporters kept at bay. (Despite many requests, neither Palin nor her current staff would comment for this article.) She injects herself into the news almost every day, but on a strictly one-way basis, through a steady stream of messages on Twitter and Facebook. The press plays along. Palin is the only politician whose tweets are regularly reported as news by TV networks. She is the only one who has been able to significantly change the course of debate on a major national issue (health-care reform) with a single Facebook posting (in which she accused the Obama administration, falsely, of wanting to set up a “death panel”).

Palin makes speeches before large audiences at least a few times a week, on a grueling schedule that has taken her to as many as four locations in three states in one day. She’s choosy, restricting herself to Tea Party gatherings; fund-raisers for charities and Republican organizations and candidates; and moneymakers for herself, mainly business conventions and “Get Motivated!” seminars. Judging from the bootleg videos that sometimes turn up, her basic speech varies little from venue to venue. She presents herself as the straight-shooting, plainspoken, salt-of-the-earth advocate for “hardworking, patriotic, liberty-loving Americans” and as the anti-Obama, the lone Republican standing up to a federal government gone “out of control.” Last July, the quarterly filing by Palin’s political-action committee, SarahPAC, revealed a formidable war chest and hefty investments in fund-raising and direct mail, the clearest signs yet that she may indeed run for president. Republican leaders privately dismiss her as too unpredictable and too undisciplined to run a serious campaign. But on she flies, carpet-bombing the 24-hour news cycle: now announcing her desire to meet with her “political heroine” Margaret Thatcher (the better to look like Ronald Reagan, presumably, though Palin seemed unaware that Thatcher is suffering from dementia); now yelping in theatrical complaint (“I want my straws! I want ’em bent!”), to shrug off revelations that her speaking contract demands deluxe hotel rooms, first-class air travel, and bottles of water with bendable straws; now responding (in a statement read on the Today show) to reports of her daughter Bristol’s re-engagement to Levi Johnston; and all the while issuing scores of political endorsements and preparing a fall media blitz. A TV show, Sarah Palin’s Alaska, for which Palin is being paid $2 million, will have its premiere on the TLC network in November. A new book, America by Heart: Reflections on Family, Faith, and Flag, will be published the following week.

This spring and summer I traveled to Alaska and followed Palin’s road show through four midwestern states, speaking with whomever I could induce to talk under whatever conditions of anonymity they imposed—political strategists, longtime Palin friends and political associates, hotel staff, shopkeepers and hairstylists, and high-school friends of the Palin children. There’s a long and detailed version of what they had to say, but there’s also a short and simple one: anywhere you peel back the skin of Sarah Palin’s life, a sad and moldering strangeness lies beneath.

(click to continue reading Sarah Palin the Sound and the Fury | Politics | Vanity Fair.)

 

Footnotes:
  1. or all, haven’t finished reading yet []

Written by Seth Anderson

September 1st, 2010 at 7:41 am

Posted in politics

Tagged with

Sarah Palin Is Still A Joke

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I sincerely hope Sarah Palin runs for President in 2012, perhaps with Michelle Bachman as her sidekick, just for the comedy alone. Ms. Palin is not a serious person, and not even mentally strong enough to withstand softball question from the corporate media.

David Corn reports, in part:

During an interview with The Daily Caller, [Sarah Palin] went further, calling Journolisters “sick puppies” — as she reacted to another article on the now-defunct list-serv revealing e-mail messages sent the day John McCain surprisingly picked Palin to be his running mate. In these e-mails, several participants — including two Mother Jones reporters who worked for me at the time — pondered why McCain had picked Palin and what would be an effective critique of her. That liberal reporters would privately discuss how best to criticize a conservative politician whose policies they oppose does not strike me as shocking. In fact, I am certain that during the 2008 campaign journalists at conservative media outfits talked among themselves about how best to puncture Obama.

But Palin was offended. In responding to The Daily Caller piece, though, she conceded a major point about herself: She does not posses a hardy enough constitution to be president. In that interview, The Daily Caller reports, Palin said the media became a key reason she decided not to finish out her term as governor. Consider that for a moment. Eight months after the grueling 2008 campaign was over, Palin, by her own admission, was not tough enough to handle the media and had to quit her job as Alaska governor. After confessing that, how can she possibly present herself as presidential timber? If she allowed herself to be hounded out of office in Juneau by the big bad press, could she withstand the slings and arrows of the media while under pressure in the White House?

This part of her reaction to The Daily Caller article is a tell. Looking to scapegoat the media for her decision to quit — a decision widely described at the time on the left and right as bizarre — she displays her own weakness. Does a true commander in chief turn tail when “sick puppies” bark?

I wonder if Palin meant to reveal this much. Possibly, she was lazily exploiting the latest Journolist revelation. Bashing the liberal media is good for Sarah Inc. It sells books and six-figure speeches. And it’s good politics, for this theme is an oldie-but-goody relished by the GOP base and Tea Partiers — the sort of voters who will dominate the Republican Party’s 2012 presidential primaries. Still, saying that she could not do her job in Alaska because of pesky reporters is a true admission of weakness. If you can’t stand the heat from reporters (including the ferocious liberals of Journolist), how can you be strong enough to deal with the Russians, the Chinese, the North Koreans, the Iranians, the Taliban, and, oh yes, the terrorists? They’re a bit more fierce than Katie Couric.

(click to continue reading Palin’s Shocking Admission: Not Tough Enough to Be President.)

 

Written by Seth Anderson

July 23rd, 2010 at 9:48 am

Posted in politics

Tagged with

Sarah Palin and TLC

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The rumors are Discovery Communications1 is paying Ms. Palin $1,000,000 an episode for some Alaskan reality-esque show. Nice work if you can get it, no? But will it be worth it to the network? Will the controversy keep blue chip advertisers from sponsoring the show, ala the highly successful boycott of Glenn Beck’s show?

Wrong Bus
[Wrong bus, Juneau, Alaska]

Sarah Palin used to say the only difference between a pit bull and a hockey mom was lipstick, but now she might hope that advertisers didn’t take that line too seriously.

It’s the hockey mom, after all, that would attract more marketers to “Sarah Palin’s Alaska,” the eight-part documentary series that Discovery Communications has acquired for its TLC channel.

The show will be supervised by Mark Burnett, the force behind such TV hits as CBS’s “Survivor” and NBC’s “The Apprentice,” and will strive to “reveal Alaska’s powerful beauty as it has never been filmed,” as Discovery’s chief operating officer, Peter Liguori, said in a statement today. “The deal was just concluded this week and now we begin the development and production,” a Discovery spokesperson added. “TLC is about strong characters and compelling narratives, and there is absolutely no intention of making a political program whatsoever.”

But Ms. Palin, a figure as polarizing as she is charming, will be the star attraction. Even though the show won’t be political, her central role will have an effect on its audience and ad support.

Ad buyers are already suggesting that the show may not attract advertising from big marketers that need to appeal to the broadest possible audience. Smaller players, on the other hand, may see opportunity.

[Click to continue reading Will Marketers Buy Into ‘Sarah Palin’s Alaska’? – Advertising Age – MediaWorks]

Testimonial Kodachrome

And as many others have pointed out, Sarah Palin on a science channel? Sarah Palin who doesn’t believe in evolution, as if evolution is just an opinion to agree or disagree with; Sarah Palin who thinks man and dinosaurs walked the earth together, slightly over 6,000 years ago? Sarah Palin the avowed hater of secular liberalism, and presumedly anti-science? She’s the one getting multiple millions of dollars to appear on TLC? Why not just piss your corporate dollars in the ear of a dead moose and film that?

In tough economic times, “a lot of cable networks are walking away from their brands and trying to get ratings,” said Mr. Berger2. “They’ll do anything they can do to get ratings and it’s a short-term fix, but I think it’s really hurting many networks in the long term,” because such stunts often draw broader audiences that don’t stick with the channel.

Critics have already pointed out that Ms. Palin’s track record on the environment doesn’t necessarily pair up with that of Discovery Communications, TLC’s parent. In 2008, the company launched Planet Green, a cable channel devoted to sustainability, and a companion website, TreeHugger.com. Ms. Palin, on the other hand, has come to be associated with the chant “Drill, baby, drill,” for advocating the drilling of natural gas and oil in her home state.

Footnotes:
  1. corporate parent of TLC []
  2. Ira Berger, director-national broadcast, at Dallas independent Richards Group []

Written by Seth Anderson

March 26th, 2010 at 10:01 am

Reading Around on February 7th through February 17th

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A few interesting links collected February 7th through February 17th:

Written by swanksalot

February 17th, 2010 at 1:00 pm

Posted in Links

Tagged with , , , ,

Palin knows more about energy policy than anyone else in America

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Sarah Palin knows more about energy policy than anyone else in America, or so claimed John McCain. Hmm, surprisingly1 Ms. Pal-Around Palin seems to have lost most of her knowledge since last fall.

Standard Oil Co of Ind

Sarah Palin, the soon-to-be-ex-governor of Alaska, has an opinion piece (a screed, really) in Tuesday’s Washington Post in which she shrilly blasts away at “President Obama’s cap-and-trade energy plan,” calling it “an enormous threat” to the U.S. economy.

Palin’s thesis comes loaded with plenty of rhetoric and zero facts. It offers nothing more than assertions about the emissions reduction part of the bill, ignores the energy investment and green jobs provisions, blames “Washington bureaucrats” for hampering oil development in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (not Congress, where elected lawmakers have repeatedly expressed the American public’s desire to keep ANWR off limits), and fails to even take note of the underlying issue—catastrophic climate change.

Couldn’t Palin’s ghostwriters have cribbed from any of the well-researched, highly technical criticisms produced by just about every conservative think tank in the land?

[Click to continue reading Palin eschews facts and economics in blasting cap-and-trade bill | Grist]

Laughable, really.

385 parts per million - Polapan Blue

Joseph Romm adds:

Amazingly, the Post has published an op-ed on climate change legislation by the governor of the state that is currently the most battered by climate change, without any discussion of climate change or its impacts on that state. Heck, even Alaska GOP Senator Lisa Murkowski pointed out in a May 2006 speech on climate change that the tremendous recent warming had opened the door to the “voracious spruce bark beetle,” which devastated over three million acres in Alaska, “providing dry fuel for outbreaks of enormous wild fires.”

In one of the most unintentionally humorous pieces of crap the Post has ever subjected on the public, Palin states:

Unfortunately, many in the national media would rather focus on the personality-driven political gossip of the day than on the gravity of these challenges. So, at risk of disappointing the chattering class, let me make clear what is foremost on my mind and where my focus will be:

I am deeply concerned about President Obama’s cap-and-trade energy plan, and I believe it is an enormous threat to our economy. It would undermine our recovery over the short term and would inflict permanent damage.

Seriously.

[Silver lining note: In a perverse way, perhaps we should be grateful to the Post. Probably the best thing that could happen to climate legislation is if Palin becomes the lead spokesperson attacking it.]

Let’s set aside the rather obvious fact that the bill that doesn’t even start imposing a cap until 2012, so it’s absurd to assert it will “undermine our recovery over the short term.” The reverse case is, in fact, stronger — see Nobelist Krugman attacks “junk economics”: Climate action “now might actually help the economy recover from its current slump” by giving “businesses a reason to invest in new equipment and facilities.

Moreover, even in 2012, the total value of the allowances will be under $50 billion (in a $15 trillion economy) and all that money is going to be returned to the economy, so again, like all economic models show, the bill will have no significant negative impact.

No, what’s so laughable about this piece is that Palin wouldn’t even be considered by the Post as a suitable candidate for an op-ed on the climate bill if it weren’t for the national media’s focus on personality-driven politics.

[Click to continue reading Quitter-in-chief Sarah Palin attacks climate action and clean energy in falsehood-filled piece | Grist]

I echo the thought: the best thing for climate change legislation is probably having Sarah “Quitter” Palin as its lead opponent. More fact checking at Media Matters if you want a laugh (at Ms. Sarah Barracuda Palin’s expense). And at The Atlantic, The Huffington Post, Brad DeLong’s blog, John at Eschaton, and probably elsewhere.

For the record, I don’t know enough about the proposed Cap and Trade legislation to say whether it is something I support or not, but I do know that Sarah Palin is probably even more clueless.

Footnotes:
  1. not really []

Written by Seth Anderson

July 15th, 2009 at 8:10 am

Reading Around on July 13th

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Some additional reading July 13th from 11:10 to 19:39:

  • Unscientific America and those awful atheists : Pharyngula – Mooney and Kirshenbaum are busily carping at these ghastly “New Atheists” for imagined transgressions against reason and the appropriate application of science, but what do they have to say about Christians who believe that crackers turn into Jesus in their mouths, or that a magical ensoulment occurs at fertilization to turn a zygote into a fully human being, or that children should be kept in ignorance about sex, or that woman’s role is as subservient breeder, or that using condoms to prevent disease is a violation of a divine dictate that the only purpose of sex is to have babies, or that people who love other people of the same sex deserve stoning…? Compared to the “New Atheist” insistence that remarkable claims about magic sky fairies ought to be regarded as patent nonsense, those can be rather destructive to society…and also negatively affect the acceptance of science. Rick Warren surely deserves as much condemnation as Richard Dawkins.
  • Baglione

  • Unscientific America, the gift that keeps on giving : Pharyngula – “Ultimately, this whole exchange illustrates the failure of Mooney/Kirshenbaum’s arguments. The demotion of Pluto, the rise of the “New Atheism”, PZ Myers, and blogging are all recent phenomena — they do not deal with the causes of the disconnect between society and science, and treating them is a distraction from dealing with the real problems. This book is more like a collection of poor rationalizations for complaining about stuff they don’t like than a serious and scholarly attempt to address a significant social problem. To useless, I must also add the adjective lightweight.”
  • Atheist

  • Greetings in a Taxi – “A raised hand generates an irresistible magnetic pull on a taxi driver. After some years the mind is trained to seek it out to the point of forming light-poles, reflections in parked cars, weaving tree branches, and on a slow night, just about any shape into that desired sign, the symbol of time not spent in vain. Depending on the time of day or night, what follows that hopeful hand will vary from absolute silence to aggressive and usually unwanted camaraderie, but in every case it always begins with some sort of greeting..”
  • Palin’s Long March to a Short-Notice Resignation – NYTimes.com – Oh, boo fucking hoo. Her acid tongue was able to destroy her base all on its own.

    “Lawmakers who had supported her signature effort to develop a natural gas pipeline turned into uncooperative critics.

    Ethics complaints mounted, and legal bills followed. At home Ms. Palin was dealing with a teenage daughter who had given birth to a son and broken up with the infant’s father, a baby of her own with special needs and a national news media that was eager to cover it all.

    Friends worried that she appeared anxious and underweight. Her hair had thinned to the point where she needed emergency help from her hairdresser ”

eat a bag of dicks

Written by swanksalot

July 13th, 2009 at 8:00 pm

Posted in Links

Tagged with , , , , ,

Speaking of Race

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Speaking of race relations in contemporary America, Frank Rich writes:

The essence of Palinism is emotional, not ideological. Yes, she is of the religious right, even if she winks literally and figuratively at her own daughter’s flagrant disregard of abstinence and marriage. But family-values politics, now more devalued than the dollar by the philandering of ostentatiously Christian Republican politicians, can only take her so far. The real wave she’s riding is a loud, resonant surge of resentment and victimization that’s larger than issues like abortion and gay civil rights.

That resentment is in part about race, of course. When Palin referred to Alaska as “a microcosm of America” during the 2008 campaign, it was in defiance of the statistical reality that her state’s tiny black and Hispanic populations are unrepresentative of her nation. She stood for the “real America,” she insisted, and the identity of the unreal America didn’t have to be stated explicitly for audiences to catch her drift. Her convention speech’s signature line was a deftly coded putdown of her presumably shiftless big-city opponent: “I guess a small-town mayor is sort of like a community organizer, except that you have actual responsibilities.” (Funny how this wisdom has been forgotten by her supporters now that she has abandoned her own actual responsibilities in public office.)

The Palinist “real America” is demographically doomed to keep shrinking. But the emotion it represents is disproportionately powerful for its numbers. It’s an anger that Palin enjoyed stoking during her “palling around with terrorists” crusade against Obama on the campaign trail. It’s an anger that’s curdled into self-martyrdom since Inauguration Day.

Its voice can be found in the postings at a Web site maintained by the fans of Mark Levin, the Obama hater who is, at this writing, the No.2 best-selling hardcover nonfiction writer in America. (Glenn Beck is No.1 in paperback nonfiction.) Politico surveyed them last week. “Bottomline, do you know of any way we can remove these idiots before this country goes down the crapper?” wrote one Levin fan. “I WILL HELP!!! Should I buy a gun?” Another called for a new American revolution, promising “there will be blood.”

[Click to continue reading Frank Rich – She Broke the G.O.P. and Now She Owns It – NYTimes.com]

Palin is the hero to those same reactionary bilious few who celebrated George Wallace a scant few decades ago.

Written by Seth Anderson

July 12th, 2009 at 1:01 pm

Posted in politics

Tagged with , ,

Reading Around on July 6th through July 7th

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A few interesting links collected July 6th through July 7th:

  • Sarah Palin Speaks to ABC News – ABC News – Palin said there is a difference between the White House and what she has experienced in Alaska. If she were in the White House, she said, the “department of law” would protect her from baseless ethical allegations.

    “I think on a national level, your department of law there in the White House would look at some of the things that we’ve been charged with and automatically throw them out,” she said.

    There is no “Department of Law” at the White House.

  • Where in the World Are the Federal Trade Commissioners? | Mother Jones – Since President George W. Bush appointed Kovacic to a Republican slot in 2006, he has averaged nearly 100 days of foreign travel a year. So far in 2009, he has been abroad for more than 60 days. (He spent the end of June in Taiwan, Rome, and London, and celebrated July 4th in China at a conference on competition law.)

    All this jetting about appears somewhat out of sync with the commission’s largely domestic role. The FTC’s wide-ranging mandate includes everything from enforcing used car sales regulations to ensuring that clothing manufacturers properly instruct consumers whether or not to put their shirts in the dryer. It runs the “do not call” registry to keep telemarketers at bay and cracks down on bogus weight loss cures. The agency also shares responsibility with the Justice Department for overseeing mergers and acquisitions of big companies and enforcing antitrust laws.

  • Retro Comedy: The 15 Creepiest Vintage Ads Of All Time – “What do murder, pedophilia, suicide and a baby tiger have in common? They have all been used to sell stuff in these amazingly disturbing vintage ads!

    These are real, untouched advertisements from the good old days. It doesn’t matter if it’s lovely ladies or adorable clowns, somehow these old-time ad wizards found ways to traumatize us while pedaling everyday products.”

    Some of these I’ve seen before, but some were new-to-me

Written by swanksalot

July 7th, 2009 at 11:00 am

Reading Around on July 4th through July 5th

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A few interesting links collected July 4th through July 5th:

  • Can I Get a Witness? | TPM – yet more evidence that the Washington Post is in a death spiral”But it is bizarre to say that Palin is uncomfortable in the role of the victim. In fact I’m not sure I’ve ever found a better use for this much over-used word. As Noam Scheiber explained in one of the earliest and perhaps most insightful profiles of Palin, victimhood and resentment are Palin’s twin touchstones. They define who she is.”
  • Cat M.D.s prevent heart attack fatalities | The Daily Blank – Image by swanksalot via Flickr “Owning a cat could mean the difference between life and death. The University of Minnesota recently released a study that the risk of dying from a heart attack is 40% higher among people who have never owned a cat, compared to people who have.”
  • Confirmed: God is slightly gay – “Behold, the ongoing, increasingly startling research: homosexual and bisexual behavior, it turns out, is rampant in the animal kingdom. And by rampant, I mean proving to be damn near universal, commonplace across all species everywhere, existing for myriad reasons ranging from pure survival and procreative influence, right on over to pure pleasure, co-parenting, giddy screeching multiple monkey orgasm, even love, and a few dozen other potential explanations science hasn’t quite figured out yet. Imagine.

    Are you thinking, why sure, everyone knows about those sex-crazed dolphins and those superslut bonobo monkeys and the few other godless creatures like them, the sea turtles and the weird sheep and such, creatures who obviously haven’t read Leviticus. But that’s about it, right? Most animals are devoutly hetero and straight and damn happy about it, right?

    Wrong.”

  • Daily Kos: State of the Nation – Palins Poetry – Awesome.
    “The following is the complete text, directly transcribed, of the portion of Sarah Palin’s resignation speech available on video. The text is accurate and unaltered; a portion of the speech is missing from the beginning because the video does not start until then.The lines have been transcribed, however, in the form of vers libre poetry, which seemed appropriate under the circumstances.”
  • War: Retreat of the 20,000 — Printout — TIME – “Retreat, hell!” snapped Major General Oliver Prince Smith, commander of the 1st Marine Division, with which he had fought on Guadalcanal, New Britain, Peleliu, Okinawa (TIME, Sept. 25). “We’re not retreating, we’re just advancing in a different direction”

    Wait, you mean Sarah Barracuda Palin flubbed a quotation, again? She needs to stop letting Trig vet her speeches

Written by swanksalot

July 5th, 2009 at 11:02 pm

Possible Palin problem – the iceberg scandal?

with 2 comments

It would be unsporting not to speculate what caused Sarah Barracuda Palin to become a quitter.

Where Did I put that damn rock?
[People, maybe journalists, looking for stuff, Mendenhall Glacier, Alaska, 2007]

The Village Voice’s Wayne Barrett wrote about a very questionable construction project back in October of 2008:

THE $12.5 MILLION sports complex and hockey rink that is the lasting monument to Palin’s two terms as Wasilla mayor is also a monument to the kind of insider politics that dismays Americans of both parties. Six months before Palin stepped down as mayor in October 2002, the city awarded nearly a half-million-dollar contract to design the biggest project in Wasilla history to Kumin Associates. Blase Burkhart was the Kumin architect on the job—the son of Roy Burkhart, who is frequently described as a “mentor” of Palin and was head of the local Republican Party (his wife, June, who also advised Palin, is the national committeewoman). Asked if the contract was a favor, Roy Burkhart, who contributed to her campaign in the same time frame that his son got the contract, said: “I really don’t know.” Palin then named Blase Burkhart to a seven-member builder-selection committee that picked Howdie Inc., a mostly residential contractor owned at the time by Howard Nugent. Formally awarded the contract a couple of weeks after Palin left office, Nugent has donated $4,000 to Palin campaigns. Two competitors protested the process that led to Nugent’s contract. Burkhart and Nugent had done at least one project together before the complex—and have done several since.

A list of subcontractors on the job, obtained by the Voice, includes many with Palin ties. One was Spenard Builders Supply, the state’s leading supplier of wood, floor, roof, and other “pre-engineered components.” In addition to being a sponsor of Todd Palin’s snow-machine team that has earned tens of thousands for the Palin family, Spenard hired Sarah Palin to do a statewide television commercial in 2004. When the Palins began building a new family home off Lake Lucille in 2002—at the same time that Palin was running for lieutenant governor and in her final months as mayor—Spenard supplied the materials, according to Antoine Bricks, who works in its Wasilla office. Spenard actually filed a notice “of its right to assert a lien” on the deed for the Palin property after contracting for labor and materials for the site. Spenard’s name has popped up in the trial of Senator Stevens—it worked on the house that is at the center of the VECO scandal as well.

Todd Palin told Fox News that he built the two-story, 3,450-square-foot, four-bedroom, four-bath, wood house himself, with the help of contractors he described as “buddies.” As mayor, Sarah Palin blocked an effort to require the filing of building permits in the wide-open city, and there is no public record of who the “buddies” were. The house was built very near the complex, on a site whose city purchase led to years of unsuccessful litigation and, now, $1.3 million in additional costs, with a law firm that’s also donated to Palin collecting costly fees from the city.

[Click to continue reading New York News – The Book of Sarah (Palin) – page 5]

Perhaps some very damning evidence has recently emerged to bolster the ethics imbroglio Mr. Barrett describes? Whatever will we do without Ms. Palin to ridicule? Her understudy / loonie-in-waiting Michele Bachmann is nowhere near ready to assume the mantle, yet, until she either gets carted away to an interment camp, or gets selected by Mitt Romney in 2012. Maybe Palin’s scandal is even worse than this one, I suspect we’ll know pretty soon.

Written by Seth Anderson

July 4th, 2009 at 1:57 pm

Posted in politics

Tagged with , , , ,

Straight Talk From Sarah

with 2 comments

Gail Collins laughs, as so many of us are this weekend, at Sarah Barracuda Palin and her quitter’s mentality.1

Truly, Sarah Palin has come a long way. When she ran for vice president, she frequently became disjointed and garbled when she departed from her prepared remarks. Now the prepared remarks are incoherent, too.

“And a problem in our country today is apathy,” she said on Friday as she announced that she would resign as governor of Alaska at the end of the month. “It would be apathetic to just hunker down and ‘go with the flow.’ Nah, only dead fish ‘go with the flow.’ No. Productive, fulfilled people determine where to put their efforts, choosing to wisely utilize precious time … to BUILD UP.”

Basically, the point was that Palin is quitting as governor because she’s not a quitter. Or a deceased salmon.

Sarah Barracuda made her big announcement Friday afternoon on the lawn of her home to an audience that appeared to include only Todd, the kids and the next-door neighbors. Smiling manically, she looked like a parody of the woman who knocked the Republicans dead at their convention. She babbled about her parents’ refrigerator magnet, which apparently had a lot of wise advice. And she recalled her visit with the troops in Kosovo, whose dedication and determination inspired her to … resign.

“Life is about choices!” declared the nation’s most anti-choice politician.

[Click to read more of Gail Collins – Sarah’s Straight Talk – NYTimes.com]

house, Ketchikan Alaska
[House and Car, Ketchikan, Alaska]

So far my favorite Palin resignation piece is the Daily Kos diarist who turned portions of Palin’s speech into free verse:

and im not gonna put alaskans through that

i promised efficiency

and effectiveness

thats not how im wired

im not wired to operate

under the same old politics as usual

i promised that four years ago

and i meant it

it thats not what is best for alaska at this time

im determined to take the right path for alaska

even though it is unconventional

and its not so comfortable

with this announcement

that im not seeking reelection

ive determined its best to

transfer the authority of governor

to lieutenant governor parnell

and i am willing to do this

so that this administration

with its positive agenda

and its accomplishments

and its successful road to

an incredible future for alaska

so that it can continue without interruption

and with great administrative and legislative success

There’s more if you’re interested. It almost makes Palin’s babbling readable, actually. Read the rest of this entry »

Footnotes:
  1. sorry for the poor grammar, but I need more coffee still. First draft is the version that makes it onto this blog anyway. []

Written by Seth Anderson

July 4th, 2009 at 9:33 am

Posted in politics

Tagged with , ,

Reading Around on July 3rd

without comments

Some additional reading July 3rd from 14:02 to 18:15:

  • Photos of Sarah Palin from RunnersWorld.com – “I used to joke around with John McCain during the campaign about coming jogging with me. And once I asked him what his favorite exercise was, and he said, ‘I go wading.’ Wading. He lives on a creek in Arizona, so he goes wading. That cracked me up.”
  • Matt Taibbi – Taibblog – Goldman Sachs is reeling under public pressure – True/Slant – That a company as rich and powerful as Goldman would stoop to peering through the web version of a locker-room peephole to make a few extra pennies either front-running random trades or somehow using visitor data “not for their benefit” shows how completely and utterly morally absent this company is. There is not an ill-gotten dollar they will not chase, no matter how small or insignificant the sums might be.

    Word should be spread about this and anyone who used the Goldman 360 portral for trading should seriously investigate this situation, as it is entirely possible you’ve been ripped off …

    More to the point, the fact that Goldman is getting enough public pressure that it feels it has to respond to these queries shows that the company is reeling. And the fact that their public statements have been so hilariously transparent and clumsy shows that they’re rattled and don’t know how to handle this kind of heat, which they’re not used to getting

  • Email Full-resolution Photos From the iPhone 3G S | Geek stuff – “What I found was, the photos contained in the email were full-resolution 2048×1536 photos, not the puny 800×600 photos that get sent via the “Share” method.”
    basically, use copy/paste

Written by swanksalot

July 3rd, 2009 at 7:02 pm

Reading Around on July 2nd

without comments

Some additional reading July 2nd from 13:49 to 19:05:

  • Travel With Your Mind: Sky Saxon Remembered – Sky Saxon, lead singer with 60s garage punk legends the Seeds, died on the morning of June 25, 2009 (or as his official web site put it, he “passed over to be with YaHoWha”); as it happened, he died the same day as both Michael Jackson and Farrah Fawcett, ensuring that the entertainment press, who might have been expected to treat his passing like a one-line filler item, didn’t even give it that much attention. But Saxon hadn’t been a celebrity in the traditional sense for a very long time. Sky may have been a rock star for about two years on the strength of the singles “Pushin’ Too Hard” and “Can’t Seem To Make You Mine,” but after those twenty-four months as a bargain-basement Mick Jagger, he evolved into Flower Power’s Last Man Standing, a guy who let his freak flag fly with a wild-eyed sincerity that made most of his peers from the Sunset Strip scene look like weekenders, and transformed his story into something far more interesting than the typical two-hit wonder and cult hero.
  • The Perfect Burger and All Its Parts – NYTimes.com – While some chefs have groused quietly about the insatiable demand for burgers, most are philosophical. “All chefs can be frustrated by the buying public sometimes,” said Clark Frasier, a chef with restaurants in Massachusetts and Maine. “In this economy I’m happy to sell anything they want to eat.”

    All this high-powered attention has produced some new ways of thinking about and cooking burgers. Interviews with 30 chefs provided dozens of lessons for the home cook that aren’t terribly difficult and don’t cost much money. And it all yielded the ideal burger.

  • Daily Kos: How a Kos diarist helped spark McCain-Palin infighting – Schmidt put the matter to rest with an breathtaking reply to Palin:

    "Secession," he wrote. "It is their entire reason for existence. A cursory examination of the website shows that the party exists for the purpose of seceding from the union. That is the stated goal on the front page of the web site. Our records indicate that todd was a member for seven years. If this is incorrect then we need to understand the discrepancy. The statement you are suggesting be released would be innaccurate. The innaccuracy would bring greater media attention to this matter and be a distraction. According to your staff there have been no media inquiries into this and you received no questions about it during your interviews. If you are asked about it you should smile and say many alaskans who love their country join the party because it speeks to a tradition of political independence. Todd loves his country

Written by swanksalot

July 2nd, 2009 at 8:02 pm