Bedtime in Alaska – Night Kitchen

17 11 2008

I know the question that you all must be asking yourselves.  What does Brian think of Sarah Palin’s potential multi-million dollar book deal?  And what does he think of the moose chili she’s been dishing up to the national media? 

Well, I’ll just let Brian speak for himself.


I’m happy to see so many of you enjoying the Blog Thread over on the forum for off-topic conversation!  There are always some growing pains when change is involved, but for the most part everyone seems pleased!  I am pleased too.   Here’s one of the reasons.  I wanted to share part of a lovely email I got today which is posted with permission:

My husband, the computer geek of the family, found your blog during the election; and I became an avid fan/reader.   I’m a 61-year old technophobe who is terrified of pressing the wrong button or doing/saying something stupid, so I just remained what you blogger experts call a ‘lurker.”  I loved reading the comments from others who shared my feelings and fears.  

I’ve continued to read the blog because Alaska is still near and dear to my heart, but I’ve always felt like an interloper because the people who are regular contributors seem like family, and I believed that I would be intruding into private conversations.  I admit to sometimes thinking, “It’s nice you can chit chat and feel such camaraderie with one another, but what does this have to do with the original subject?”  I also thought the rush to be first without saying anything was really beside the point especialy since you had addressed that issue in an earlier blog.

So, when I logged on last night before going to bed, I was delighted to see that you had come up with a fantastic way to allow the friendships to continue while enabling readers like me to feel more confident in posting.  Thank you, I believe you will have a more coherent dialog in the thread comments, and I expect to see new readers commenting more frequently.

That just made me smile. 

So, to the ‘Night Kitchen’ crew, I’ve left you a shiny new thread (a clean kitchen) over on the forum.  If you haven’t been there yet, it’s a little bit different, but it works the same.  You’ll have a thread and you can post back and forth to each other on whatever topic moves you.

The link is HERE, and the thread is called ‘The Night Kitchen is Open’!  Also, open threads will be posted throughout the day in the same spot for your conversational pleasure.

Good Night Mudflatters!  See you in the morning.


Palin’s Audacity of Hype – Coming to a Bookstore Near You!

17 11 2008

Are you ready for the hard-bound copy of The Audacity of Hype?  Well, Sarah Palin may just oblige, at least, if the law allows.  Poised to rake in a cushy book deal of reportedly up to $7 million, Palin may have to weigh her options.  Alaska state law says that a sitting governor can only hold down one job.  So, “best-selling author” may be an illegal line on the resume…at least for the next two years of her term.

From TimesOnline:

She failed to save John McCainfrom presidential election doom, but Sarah Palin, the Republican senator’s controversial running mate, may yet emerge as the saviour of the American publishing industry. Literary agents are queueing up to sign her to a book deal that could earn her up to $7m.

With Barack Obama’s election victory certain to generate dozens of volumes from politicians, strategists and journalists – and with another shelfload of memoirs expected from members of President George W Bush’s administration – Palin’s personal account of her tumultuous introduction to national politics is widely regarded as the book most likely to repay a multi-million-dollar advance.

“She’s poised to make a ton of money,” said Howard Rubenstein, New York’s best-known public relations adviser.


With publishers as nervous as everyone else about next year’s economic prospects, Palin’s popularity has become a boon. “Nobody is waiting for George W Bush’s memoirs,” one New York agent noted.

A provision of the Alaska Executive Branch Ethics Act restricts outside employment. It says: “The head of a principal executive department of the state may not accept employment for compensation outside the agency that the executive head serves.”  So, it sounds like Sarah Palin must continue to live the ascetic life of a state governor, and forego the lucrative, glittering life of a celebrated author and multi-millionaire.

Not so fast…

It would mean this, IF you assumed that Palin thought that the Alaska Executive Branch Ethics Act was actually binding.  If you will recall, the Alaska Executive Branch Ethics Act is that very same act that was referred to in the Branchflower Report of the Troopergate Investigation by the Alaska Legislature.

Let’s see…..yes, it’s still right here on my desk…under….this pile of papers… (thumbing through).  Ah.   Page 8, section II – Findings: (clears throat and uses ‘official sounding voice’)

Finding Number One – For the reasons explained in section IV of this report, I find that Governor Sarah Palin abused her power by violating Alaska Statute 39.52.110(a) of the Alaska Executive Branch Ethics Act.  Alaska Statute 39.52.110(a) provides

“The legilature reaffirms that each public officer holds ofice as a public trust, and any effort to benefit a personal or financial interest through official action is a violation of that trust”

(Closes giant 264-page report)  So, there you have it.  If she feels comfortable violating THATone, then a job-on-the-side book deal is cake!  It shouldn’t be long before you can pre-order on Amazon.  I’m guessing it’ll be out in time for her 2010 bid for the Senate, when Lisa Murkowski comes up for re-election.

There’s only one thing that would actually make me buy this book, and it’s not going to happen.  I would consider buying the book if, and only if, Palin wrote it herself.  Or better still, if she dictated it verbatim.  I’d put it on my “humor” shelf, and use it as a constant source of entertainment.

But I have a feeling that once an editor (God help the poor soul) got finished with it, and removed all the “also”s and “too though”s, and the rest of the Palinese word salad, and created actual sentences, with subjects and predicates, and got rid of the syntax mutilation, there wouldn’t be much left to say, or much left to be amusing.  And I can imagine shocked colleagues walking into said editor’s office on Monday morning to find him/her lying on the floor, still seated in the toppled chair, gripping a red pen, and muttering quiet little word bits at the ceiling, staring upward with unblinking eyes, gazing into the literary abyss…”must shore together…solutions also…energy independence…don’tcha know…progress the country…”

More likely, since command of the language completely eludes her, there would be a ghost-writer involved somehow, and that would just be no fun at all.

Another Election Eve in Alaska. Recount Possibility?

17 11 2008

1600. That’s the magic number. If Mark Begich can increase his lead from 1022 to 1600, it will put him over the recount threshold. If the margin of victory is under .5%, the state will pay for a recount if requested by either candidate, or a group of 10 citizens. If the margin is over .5%, then the candidate would have to pay for a recount himself. An automatic recount is generated only in the unlikely (but nothing would surprise me at this point) event of a tie.

Will Stevens ask for a recount if he comes up short?  It’s anyone’s guess.  If anyone would do it, it’s Ted.  But he may decide to leave well enough alone, and spare himself from his almost certain expulsion from the US Senate.  But Stevens is not one to back down.  Ever.

Let me be the first to say that Alaskans are eagerly looking forward to this election being over.  We were all prepared to wrap it up on November 4th, and are now faced with the election that wouldn’t die.  But, there is a bright side to a potential recount.  Recounts are done by hand count.  It would be interesting to see how a good old-fashioned hand count fared in comparison to the suspect results that come from our particular brand of nefarious vote counting software.  It might be the only vote of integrity Alaskans will have seen for several cycles.

And, if it flips the other way and Stevens regains his advantage, maybe Mark Begich will demand a recount.

The counting finishes tomorrow with approximately 24,000 ballots coming from Anchorage, Southeast Alaska, and the Kenai Penninsula remaining.  When all is said and done it looks like Alaska’s percentage of voter turnout will be about 65%, which is less than the 66% voter turnout just four years ago, despite Palin and Obama on the ticket, and despite the addition of more than 20,000 new registered voters this year.  There are many loose ends to be tied up before this is all over, and once the votes are counted.

And just in time for a little comic relief from the Stevens-Begich duel to the death, check out Juror #11’s Blog! That’s right.  Blogging jurors.  This is a hilarious recounting of the Ted Stevens trial from the perspective of Juror #11.  Too bad she wasn’t allowed to blog during the trial! This is the juror who, although initially pegged as an alternate, got to step in when the infamous Juror #4 fled the scene after making up the story about her father dying, so she could go attend a horse race.

Here’s Juror #11’s summary of the trial’s opening statements: (‘Salmmy’ is Ted Stevens….we don’t know why yet, but have been promised an explanation in the future)

The prosectution: I am Rosie, and Salmmy is guilty of fraud! False Statements! Lying! Receiving Gifts! Furniture! Generator! Free Work done on his house! Statue! Puppy! Stained Glass Window! Mustang! – Wait?! Did she just say Mustang? What was that about a Mustang? Whose Mustang? Are you giving out Free Mustangs? Damn, now I really have to listen to find out more about that mustang! (yes, I love mustangs and am sure at one point I doodled ‘Mustang of love’ a dozen times in my notebook like a love sick teenager. I really hope they shredded those notebooks). Sadly, after the mustang bit my head was a little cloudy, but I think she said that they would prove their evidence in the next couple of weeks.

The defense: I am a whimisical old man! I don’t like microphones or standing in one spot! (I swear his nickname was going to be Orville Redenbocker if he had continued in this vein. I wanted to give him a straw hat, bow tie and a red stripped vest). Luckily he got to the point: Salmmy is innocent! He is old and confused! He hardley even goes to Alaska! His wife handled all the bills! His bestest friend didn’t tell him what was happening! Seriously? Oh, and Bill Allen is the Evil. He tricked Salmmy!

There are also before and after pictures of Ted’s chalet, and other amusing tidbits about the Alaskan trial of the century.  I’ll be putting a link in the sidebar for this one.

And then tomorrow, back to the serious stuff.

Palin’s Future in the Gop.

17 11 2008

I hesitate sometimes to call the Republican Party, the G.O.P. Grand Old Party….it just doesn’t seem to fit. Old, maybe, but hardly grand these days. I continue to call it that because it’s shorter, easier to type, and if you pronounce the acronym in your head when you read it, it’s amusing. Gop. The party has given me and many others such heartburn over the last eight years, that if thinking “gop” when we read G.O.P. brings a smile, then so be it. They owe us.

I’ve been watching the Sarah Palin “Victory Tour” with much amusement. Never has a failed Vice Presidential candidate with such high negative ratings done so little for so many for so LONG after they should have been home licking their wounds.

In the great piece by Frank Rich in yesterday’s New York Times, he notes:

Palin’s manic post-election publicity tour, which may yet propel her and “the first dude” to “Dancing With the Stars,” is almost a parody of the McCain ad likening Obama to Paris and Britney. Anyone who says so is promptly called out for sexism by the P.C. police of the newly “feminist” G.O.P.

At the risk of being so reviled, let me point out that in the marathon of Palin interviews last week, the single most revealing exchange had nothing to do with her wardrobe or the “jerks” , as she called them, around McCain. It came instead when Wolf Blitzer of CNN asked for some substance by inviting her to suggest “one or two ideas” that Republicans might have to offer. “Well, a lot of Republican governors have really good ideas for our nation,” she responded, without specifying anything except that “it’s all about free enterprise and respecting equality.” Well, yes, but surely there’s some actual new initiative worth mentioning, Blitzer followed up. “Gah!” replied the G.O.P.’s future. “Nothing specific right now!”

The good news for Democrats is a post-election Gallup poll finding that while only 45 percent of Americans want to see Palin have a national political future (and 52 percent of Americans do not), 76 percent of Republicans say bring her on.

And in the mean time, those other GOPers (goppers?) in government are having second thoughts about Ms. Palin. There were grumblings and mumblings from the Republican Governors’ Conference, whining that Palin was getting all the media attention and she didn’t actually say anything. The eye-rolling and squirming in chairs was palpable.

Newt Gingrich yesterday denied that Palin would be the new standard bearer going in to 2012. Instead, after saying with a straight face that Palin was “wonderfully intelligent”, he went on to explain that there would most likely be 20 or 30 representatives that would carry the sedan chair filled with GOP ideals through the desert and into the future.

Sunday, after the Alaskan governor completed an intense week of media appearances despite her ticket’s decisive defeat, Gingrich was trying to play her down some.

“I think that she will be a significant player,” Gingrich says, “But she is going to be one of 20 or 30 signficant players. She’s not going to be the party’s de facto leader.”

Gingrich’s incomplete list of potential party leaders may be somewhat inflated. But it is interesting that the former House member agrees with many GOP backers that the desperately needed new leadership will come from the ranks of the 21 surviving Republican governors that have produced two of the last three GOP presidents.

Gingrich added: “She’s going to be a much bigger story in the short run. But, I think, as she goes back to being governor and as she works in Alaska, you’re going to see a group of governors emerge, not just Sarah Palin.”

While the dilution begins, I’m thinking Sarah Palin may not be the GOP’s best friend, she may be the Democrats’.