Interesting Rumors from a Reliable Source…

22 11 2008

It’s a relatively quiet day on the Mudflats. That always makes me nervous. It usually means that shortly there are going to be so many things hitting the fan, I won’t even have time to cover them all. That’s been the pattern, anyway.

There’s a little fallout from Turkey Gate. New news is promised on Monday regarding the crazy Stevens trial revelations which one reader brilliantly described as “Dynasty meets Northern Exposure meets The Sopranos.” But other than that, not much news. This gave lots of time today for speculation about things here in Alaska. Will the Governor be running for Lisa Murkowski’s senate seat in 2010, or will she try for another term as governor? And WHO will rise up and run against her? Will Ted Stevens win his appeal? Will I actually be able to consume turkey this Thanksgiving after witnessing Joe the executioner and his cone of death?

But a couple hours ago, I heard a little sound…..a sound you can only hear when it’s quiet. Like a paper envelope being slid under a door. (OK, this happened via email, but it doesn’t make as good a story) Minding my own business, sitting at my rolltop desk, watching the snow fall, the sound made me look up. I turned around, and sure enough I spotted it – an envelope, face down on the wide plank entryway floor. I stood and hurried over to the door, flung it open, and looked right….nothing. Looked left….and I just about made out a glimpse of a black cape as it whisked around the corner and out of sight. Hmmmm. I thought about pursuing the caped stranger, but as I had just been blogging, and following the proper dress code rules, I was in my pajamas and didn’t feel like racing out in the cold.

“Mudflats”. Yes, it was addressed to me. I slit open the envelope, intrigued. No return address, and the letter was signed “A Reputable Source.” (That means I know who it is, but I can’t tell you).

And the contents of the mystery note? A clue. A clue, which addressed one of the very questions I had just been pondering, and it wasn’t the one about the turkey, which won’t be answered until Thanksgiving Day.

The question? Who will step up to be the dragon slayer in 2010? Who has the smarts, the experience, the integrity, and the chutzpah to go toe-to-toe with Sarah Palin, whether she runs for governor, or senator. And there was the answer, scrawled in unfamiliar penmanship – Democratic State Senator Hollis French.

Ahhh. This is good. He is very qualified, has an impressive resume, and is one of the White Knights of the Legislature. Before he gets the official Mudflats endorsement, however (not that this endorsement is particularly coveted), I’m going to wait and watch and see what happens when the Legislature meets again. They have much on their plates, and they need to know they are supported, but they have some tough decisions ahead and people will be watching.

I saw Hollis French on Thursday. He was on line at Costco. That’s why I love this state. Our representatives aren’t somewhere distant, holed up in a marble tower. They don’t seem alien and unapproachable. They are on line at Costco, buying fruit. LOTS of fruit. The man really loves fruit. So, when it becomes appropriate to send something to Hollis French when he becomes our next Governor, or Senator, I’ll make it a fruit basket, and make it under $250.

Advertisements




Sarah Palin Back at Work. (Video)

8 11 2008

Here’s part of Sarah Palin’s press availability on Friday at her Anchorage office. She’s back on the job, sans stylist, sans makeup artist, and sans Neiman Marcus wardrobe. She perks up a little by the end, but she is not looking particularly happy these days.  When questioned about her abrupt change in lifestyle, Palin responded:

“It’s gonna be busy days here like it was busy days on the trail bein’ the governor full-time, in addition to bein’ a candidate. Now, of course, we get to concentrate on just one of those.”

It’s interesting to note, that Palin never actually turned the reins over to Lt. Governor, Sean Parnell while she was gone. Instead, she felt she would be the best person to manage the affairs of state (since she had all that free time to concentrate on Alaska), and took along with her long-time hometown friend and aide Kris Perry to the tune of $1000 a day. Perry was facilitating communication between the governor and her staff in Alaska. This travel bill will be paid by the residents of Alaksa to the tune of $1000 a day. Keep this in mind when you get to that first highlight I’ve marked below.

Highlights:
1:35 – talking about “being prudent with other people’s money”
2:18 – I know that I know that I know…..?!? (A new Palinism for sure)
5:19 – Advice to the girls of America – “You better study hard.” (learned that one at the Couric interview)
6:30 – The other 49 states are behind Alaska in equality
7:30 – A run for the senate seat if Stevens gets elected and expelled? “Not plannin’ on that.”
7:45 – “This is the best job in the world” (Who wanted that VP job anyway…)
9:30 – She wants to help “fix” the media.  There’s a funny exchange in here where Palin tried to discredit whoever reported on those “anonymous sources” in the McCain campaign that said she was a nightmare.  Then she finds out it was the New York Times. 

Now that you know what to look for, grab a cup of tea or a glass of wine, or a crunchy snackfood, and enjoy 10 minutes of post-election Palin.





Fellow Navy P.O.W. Speaks About McCain.

3 09 2008

Wow.

In addition to raising important issues of temperament, this also raises health issues that people may not be thinking about. My dad was a P.O.W., and I remember when he got ill during my childhood, my mother quoted his doctor as saying that after going through that experience, he “wouldn’t make old bones”. My dad passed away at 65. John McCain just turned 72.

McCain has said that sometimes he makes rash decisions, and that sometimes they come back to bite him, but he always takes responsibility and lives with the consequences. That’s nice, but what happens when it’s not just McCain, but the world that is asked to live with those consequences?

There has been lots of discussion about John McCain’s judgment in choosing Palin as a running mate. To be honest, I am still amazed that Sarah Palin actually accepted this position in the first place, and what it says about her judgment. I have mentioned before, that many Alaskans, including State Senate President Lyda Green (a long time critic of Palin) have questioned her qualifications to be governor. “She’s in over her head” was a common sentiment on the blog comments in the Anchorage Daily News well before the VP rumors began to swirl.

So, knowing that she was facing investigation, knowing that a significant chunk of Alaskans questioned if she was ‘over her head’, knowing that the media is ruthless in its ‘vetting’ process of candidates, knowing that Alaska is facing some pretty big issues of its own (new pipeline project), and knowing that every waking moment of her time will be spent trying to get up to speed while her family, her friends, and her town are put under a giant magnifying glass…she took it. Knowing that she has 3 school age children, a pregnant unwed teen and a special needs infant that will need a tremendous amount of love and care, she took it. Knowing that she’d only been out of the country once, in 2007, knowing that she held a journalism degree and has no foreign policy background or experience, and knowing that she’d have to be on national television debating Joe Biden, she took it. Knowing that historically, she has a statistical 1 in 3 chance of being the president of the United States by succession, not including the four bouts with skin cancer and the P.O.W. factor, she took it.

Would you have taken it? I’m guessing that most of us would think, “Are you kidding? No way!” And we would be right, and prudent, and we would be putting our country first.





Gov. Squeakyclean to Speak at Republican Convention

21 08 2008

In a world of corrupt Republicans, Sarah Palin has apparently made enough of an impression on the G.O.P. that she’s been asked to speak at the Republican National Convention on September 2nd. It looks like a little pesky thing like an ongoing ethics investigation isn’t enough to keep her from being invited to speak on the evening in which “Reform” is the theme. (Is it possible they don’t read political blogs, or newspapers, or surf the internets?) She’ll be slotted in the evening before keynote speaker Rudy Giuliani. Popcorn and irony go so well together.

Here are the speakers for the evening:

  • Former New York City Mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani
  • Former Gov. Mike Huckabee (Ark.)
  • Former Gov. Tom Ridge (Pa.)
  • Gov. Sarah Palin (Alaska)
  • Gov. Jon Huntsman (Utah)
  • Rosario Marin, California Secretary of the State and Consumer Services Agency and former Treasurer of the United States
  • Former U.S. Sen. Fred Thompson (Tenn.)
  • Gov. Linda Lingle (Hawaii)
  • Former Lt. Gov. Michael Steele (Md.)

UPDATE: (After coming up for air after laughing myself silly)  McCain has just handed Obama a nice election day gift…the election.  This should eliminate all doubt that McCain is capable of making a serious presidential decision.  Apparently the creationist beauty queen who is under investigation by the Legislature would be a heartbeat away from the presidency in a McCain administration.





Bailey Under Bus. Todd on Couch?

21 08 2008

Kerthunk… That was no speed bump, that was the sound of Frank Bailey being thrown under the bus. Frank ‘The Pressurizer’ Bailey was the one in the Palin administration whose phone call strongly voicing the displeasure of the Governor and her husband, that Walt Monegan hadn’t fired their ex-brother in law Trooper Mike Wooten. You know the whole story by now… This chapter of the Palin bad novel was recorded and retained by the DPS, so it’s aaallll on tape. Jeez. If it weren’t for all that damned recording equipment, Republicans would have a much easier time of it up here in the Great Land.

In any case, now that Frank Bailey has been ‘put on administrative leave’ (with full pay during the investigation), we have to ask ourselves, “What about the other times Palin’s people did the same thing. Palin, at first, denied that ANY of these contacts ever took place, but now apparenlty it seems to have happened over 20 times! And at least one of those times, the contact came from Todd Palin. Uh-oh. Does this mean Todd will be put on ‘administrative leave’ too? I know he’s not technically part of the administration, but since he’s been holding meetings in her office while she’s away, I just thought…. Maybe he’ll just have to sleep on the couch.





Palin Investigates Self in Innovative Winning Strategy.

13 08 2008

It’s good to start the day with a chuckle…and there are chuckles aplenty in the latest hilarious hijinks of our wacky governor Sarah Palin. We discovered last month that the Legislature would be conducting an investigation of the controversial firing of DPS chief Walt Monegan. That little debacle had everything – drama, revenge, infidelity, abuse of power, intimidation, drunk driving, child custody issues….and on and on. It was nice, frankly, to have a little respite from the slime; a time of cleansing; a mental sorbet. Now it’s time for the next course.

This one, although equally serious, has the feel of lighthearted satire. Here’s the deal:

After the Monegan debacle, Palin said she welcomed an investigation, had nothing to hide and was completely innocent. A few days later, backpedaling, said there really didn’t need to be an investigation and that she was willing to answer all questions she was asked. But the Legislature proceeded.

Retired state prosecutor Steven Branchflower was hired by the Legislature to investigate Palin and her administration regarding the Monegan firing. Here’s where we enter the land of the absurd.

Palin (aka ‘the accused’) decided that she didn’t want to wait for the investigation to begin. She’d rather know ahead of time what would be uncovered by the Legislature’s investigation. That would make things much nicer for her…. you know, eliminating the element of surprise, and having a heads up. What to do… (lightbulb goes off)

The solution? She directed the Alaska State Attorney General, Talis Colberg to investigate FIRST, and include interviews with Department of Public Safety employees. The accused’s ‘investigation of self’ apparently began in July, and interviews started on August 4th. The AG refused to say who was interviewed or how many interviews were conducted. Meanwhile, Branchflower has not even started the Legislature’s official investigation yet.

Go ahead, chuckle. I did.

Predictable reactions?

Jay Ramras (chair of the House Judiciary Committee:

“I think it is harmful to the credibility of the administration, harmful to the process and harmful to all the parties involved. It’s just the worst possible thing to be doing.”

John Cyr, executive director of the troopers union:

“It’s an abuse of her office” for Palin to involve the attorney general.

Legislators and Alaska citizens who have an ounce of common sense:

“Ummm. Witness intimidation? Witness tampering? Misuse of the Attorney General? Misuse of state resources? Are you kidding me???”

Governor’s spokeswoman Sharon Leighow:

No comment. Talk to the Attorney General.

The Attorney General Tallis Colberg:

“We’re commited to trying to cooperate as best we can…”

I just love that. This has become a catch phrase in the Palin administration…”committed to try”. Now that’s REAL commitment.

The governor’s justification for launching this preemptive investigation? Representative Hollis French told the Wall Street Journal that a worse-case scenario might be impeachment. Yeah….and? Apparently even acknowledging that this WAS the worst-case scenario had the administration in a tizzy. Palin and her hench-people figured that this was the winning strategy.

Time, once again, to sit back and watch the fallout.





Palin’s Power Trip – Off With Their Heads!

17 07 2008

Is this it? I’ve been wondering what it will be that sinks the so-far unsinkable ship of Sarah Palin. So far, despite little chinks here and there in her teflon armor, Sarah the Magnificent has emerged fairly unscathed. Until now, perhaps.

There’s been all sorts of buzz and inuendo and rumor about the real reason Sarah Palin fired Commissioner of Public Safety, Walt Monegan. The administration’s official reason was that they wanted to “go in a new direction”. Alaska Public Safety in a new direction? Like….letting the criminals go free? Abandoning rural Alaska to fend for itself? Martial Law? Anyone who’s been paying attention has been pretty impressed with Walt Monagan’s integrity, work ethic and genuine commitment to the Troopers and the people of Alaska. New direction? We didn’t get it.

Palin buddy and brand-new Commissioner of Public Safety Chuck Kopp, (who replaces Monegan, the ‘chucked cop’) made a statement mumbling something about “looking forward to moving forward” and not commenting on prior leadership…which is code for “There’s a story here, and I’m not going to tell you what it is.” That usually means the story is worth knowing. Bloggers and other interested parties began pricking up their ears, and waiting for the inevitable leak.

Well, the leak turned out to be a tsunami in the form of a blog post from Andrew Halcro titled “Why Walt Monegan Got Fired: Palin’s Abuse of Power.” I strongly urge everyone to read it. Here’s the gist of what he claims.

Palin wanted Monagan to cut the budget for the State Troopers. Already underfunded and stretched to the breaking point, he said no. (gasp)

But the second, and far creepier reason, the one that surely will be setting the blogosphere on fire and accelerating her fall from the ivory tower if it is substantiated, is this. Let me preface this by saying that no…I’m not making this up. Stay with me. Sarah Palin’s younger sister Molly used to be married to Mike Wooten. Mike Wooten has been an Alaska State Trooper for the last 8 years. Molly and Mike went through a messy divorce. The Palins were not pleased. Halcro relates a truly bizarre series of events that can only be described as ‘stalking behavior’ committed by the Palin family against Trooper Wooten. Notes on windshields, threatening phone calls, Todd Palin (Sarah’s husband and Alaksa’s ‘First Dude’) taking pictures and sending them to Wooten’s supervisor. There were a total of 25 complaints filed against Wooten. Each time, an Administrative Investigator would review the complaint, find it unfounded or not substantiated, and dismiss it. The other side of the story is that Wooten is no angel…extramarital affair, dry tasering his step-son (he says at his step-son’s request),…..it goes on and on. Another Alaskan political bad movie.

Fast forward to 2008. Now, Sarah Palin is the Governor.

“Twice in the last few months complaints were filed by the governor’s office accusing Wooten of improperly using his patrol car. Both times he was visiting his kids at school and both times he had permission from his sargent. The last complaint came in May after Todd Palin saw Wooten pulling out of the school parking lot and six days later the complaint landed on Wooten’s supervisor’s desk.

During the legislative session this past spring, Palin reportedly told Commissioner Monegan to fire Wooten because he was giving Troopers a bad name. However Monegan said he would do no such thing.

A short time afterwards, it was discovered that confidential material in Wooten’s Administrative Investigation file had been released to his ex-wife and her attorney. This drew outrage from the Public Safety Union as well as the Commissioner. AI files are strictly confidential and can only be released with the written signature of the Trooper, but yet no one could explain how the detailed confidential information was released.

Reportedly, both Commissioner Monegan and Colonel Audie Halloway warned that if they found out the file was leaked by the governor’s office, they would pursue charges.

Unfortunately, Commissioner Walt Monegan has been fired and word on the street is Colonel Audie Halloway’s days are numbered as the new commissioner brings in those who won’t object when the governor uses the Troopers as her own private security force.”

You may now pick your chin up off the desk.

Where will this all go from here? Local mainstream media is picking up the story, as is the Associated Press. Will this little nugget be featured in the upcoming Wall Street Journal article on Palin? How about People Magazine? Is the image of the squeaky-clean, hockey mom who hands out cash forever sullied? Have her VP chances just gone up in a puff of smoke? Will she be thrown under the Straight Talk Express Bus?? One can only wait and speculate. In addition to Halcro, Celtic Diva is hot on the trail with a report from the latest press conference, as is Anchorage talk radio, including KUDO 1080am which should have plenty to say tomorrow.

Governor Palin herself has just released a statement. “critics have taken this to rediculous extremes”, “false allegations”, “outrageous” and my favorite, “It is unfortunate, as we seek to address a growing energy crisis in this state, that this matter has been raised now.” Yes, perhaps it would have been more polite to wait until we have a gas line to talk about why Monegan was fired? Nice try. You can read the governor’s entire statement HERE.

And to Ethan Berkowitz and Diane Benson, I say, lean back, enjoy the popcorn and see how Lieutenant Governor Sean Parnell fares in his House race if Palin goes from Queen of Light, to millstone around the neck.

We live in interesing times.