New Pic of Bristol! DON’T LOOK!

6 09 2008

Hat tip to Mudflats reader Drew Brown for this TIVO capture.

You looked, didn’t you. So did I. What do we make of that?

How do we sort out the rumor, policy issues, competence issues, judgement issues and gossip? Where do the lines blur between them? Is it fair to talk about her pregnant teen daughter Bristol? Is it fair to ask questions about her marital fidelity, or if she is Trig’s real mother? When does gossip become a rumor, and rumor become plausible, and plausible rumor become verified fact? These questions are good because they make us at least stop and examine how the media does business, and how we judge our political candidates, and ultimately where we place the only real power we have – our vote.

Is Bristol fair game? Our first instinct is probably, no. Family is off limits. But what happens when family matters demonstrate decision making ability, criteria for judgment, and how the candidate will enact potential policy decisions? That changes things.

Sarah Palin has repeatedly said that having her baby is Bristol’s ‘decision’. And isn’t Bristol lucky to have a decision, and a supportive family, and someone who wants to marry her, and parents who are well-off and willing to help her, and the help of a nanny. Yes, she is. And, frankly, it would be a mistake to question the family’s decision because it is their decision, and that’s the point. The crux of this issue is that Palin believes other girls like Bristol should have no decision – not in the case of rape, or incest, or both. Not if you’re 12 or 20 or 55, rich or poor, married or alone, sick or well, able or disabled.

Palin believes her daughter should not have had a choice, even if she had been raped, even if she had been 12, and even if she had been a victim of incest, or all three. And she doesn’t think any other family should have a choice either. Really. Entitled to her opinion? Yes. Will mainstream America agree? Not if you believe the statistics.

So, given the fact that teens will be teens, and subject to the potential of hormone-induced bad judgment, what is Palin’s solution? Surely, we all want to prevent as many unwanted pregnancies as possible. Right now, because of Roe v. Wade, choice is the law. We know that all across the country, teenage girls, like her daughter, are getting pregnant by accident and having legal abortions. What would Palin propose to do about it? Something that doesn’t work. Her solution is abstinence only. No sex education. No information. No birth control. Just say no. She, herself, can see in a real and clear way, that this doesn’t work. Just ask Bristol. And just ask Sarah, who was pregnant when she married Todd.

So what does all this this tell us? She makes important policy decisions based on religious conviction. She sticks with failed policy, even when the failure is obvious and hard-hitting. She believes in taking away currently available decisions for all of America, despite the fact that the majority of Americans oppose it. Qualities we want in a president?

And yes, I say president, and not vice president. Anyone accepting the role of Vice President stands a very real chance of becoming president by succession. The odds are better than 30%.

When looking at the scandalous pictures, and reading the scads of gossip that is bubbling up in Alaska and wending its circuitous way toward main stream media coverage, we need to ask ourselves how they may demonstrate Palin’s stated policy decisions, decision making ability and the criteria she uses to make them. And we will, no doubt, get caught up in the personal scandals, because we’re human. But let’s watch what else they teach us.

And just for good measure, what does John McCain feel about this?

The Associated Press reported that Sen. John McCain (Ariz.), the presumptive Republican presidential nominee, opposed funding to prevent teen pregnancies, a position that Palin also took as governor. “The explicit sex-ed programs will not find my support,” she wrote in a 2006 questionnaire distributed among gubernatorial candidates.Reporters asked McCain in November 2007 whether he supported grants for sex education in the United States, whether such programs should include directions for using contraceptives or whether he supports President Bush’s policy of promoting abstinence.

“Ahhh, I think I support the president’s policy,” McCain said.

Ahhhhh, I think we’re in trouble.

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Here We Go… RNC Watch Open Thread.

3 09 2008

Here we go everyone.  I’m sitting here in Anchorage with  my cocktail, my bucket of popcorn, and my Pepto Bismol.

Rudy is taking the stage.  Did anyone at the DNC have to wait for the applause on applause lines?

Did you guys know that John McCain was a POW?

I see what we’re in for.  Barack Obama bashing, line by line down his resume.  Community Organizer (laughter), celebrity Senator, no executive experience.  Never had to lead people in crisis…. is he going to say 9/11?

He just actually said, “This is no time for on the job training.”  Ummm…. what about Sarah?

Lots of reform talk, but no specifics.   Put government on the side of the people, shook things up, …

Oh Good God.  They’re chanting “Drill Baby Drill”. And they won’t stop.

September 11th!  He said it!  Everyone take a drink!

Terrorists, Islamic extremism, ….more terrorists, surge, Democrats afraid to insult terrorists.

He just said Joe Biden should get ‘that VP thing’ in writing.  In case Obama flip flops.  That’ll be a great clip to play back if Palin is asked to leave. leaves gracefully.

Obscure negative references to the U.N.  Tries to start the U-S-A chant…semi-successfully.

HA!  The spin:  Obama looked back by choosing experience.  McCain “looked to the future” when he picked young and inexperienced.

He’s “sorry that her home town isn’t cosmopolitan enough” for Barack Obama.  “The first day she was mayor she had more executive experience” than Barack Obama and Joe Biden combined.  Where’s my drink?

 Here we go. Palin is on.  Crowd goes wild.

Why does she keep saying John” S”. McCain??   Mom of a troop.  Deployment on 9/11.  More U-S-A chanting.  Family introductions. We’re just like you.  Special needs children need special love. (*Note to self.  make a post about how she cut funding in Alaska for special needs education).

Lukewarm applause for Todd being a steelworker.  Intro of parents.  Hardworking small town people are always proud of America. (as opposed to whom?)

The difference between a hockey mom and a pitbull?  Lipstick.

Piper is licking her hand and wiping it on Trig’s head.  Ew.

“A small town mayor is something like a community organizer except that you have actual responsibilities”.  The ‘bitter’ comment is resurrected.  Big boo for ‘the media’ who thinks she’s unqualified.  Doesn’t care about their opinion, she’s going to Washington to serve the country.  (Pepto Bismol)

She talked about putting Murkowski’s luxury jet on Ebay and selling it.  (OK, that was a good move).

Talked about her vetoes.  Didn’t mention that it included housing for unwed mothers in crisis and special ed. 

For the THIRD TIME she’s taken credit for scuttling the bridge to nowhere, even though it’s completely untrue.  Also says Alaska has a budget surplus.  Don’t think we’ve ever NOT had one.  Lots of oil $ here.

Iran sabre rattling and energy independence.  Take it from a “gal who knows the North Slope of Alaska”, we’ve got plenty of oil.

Obama only uses the word “victory” when talking about his own campaign.  Talks about the dreaded “columns” at the DNC convention. “What does he do after holding back the waters and saving the planet?” Big government.  (more Pepto Bismol)

“Al Qaeda is plotting to inflict catastrophic harm, and [Obama] is worried that someone won’t read them their rights”.  (pounding head on desk) Now lots of tax talk.

“Some use change to promote their careers.  Others, like John McCain use their careers to promote change.”  High flown speechmaking, self-created presidential seals….

Hey, did you guys know that John McCain was a P.O.W.?

Whew.  We survived.   And here’s the whole family.  And that’s one ginormous flag.

And here’s John McCain.  “Don’t you think we made the right choice for the next Vice President of the United States?”   Ummm….





Destination Alaska. They’re Heee-eere.

3 09 2008

Alaska State Senate President, and Wasilla Republican Lyda Green

Our sleepy, uneventful state in the upper left corner of the continent has suddenly, strangely, become the center of the political universe. Tourist season is technically over, but media season has now begun, and has brought with it a host of outsiders.

First, is the belated McCain vetting team, that landed yesterday, presumably to fan out across the state, talking to Republican party officials, Palin insiders, and critics, to do some fact finding, damage control, and bargaining. Will Lyda Green, the State Senate President, fellow Wasilla Republican, and harsh Palin critic suddenly stop talking and become the next ambassador to Palau?

Then there’s progressive talk show icon Ed Schulz. He’s hosting a town hall meeting at the University of Alaska in Anchorage. A thousand Alaskans will cough up between $25 and $100 to stand before the microphone and tell the world exactly what they think of Sarah Palin. The show will be played back on September 15th. Should be interesting. And yes, I’ve got my tickets.

Next, are the folks from The Nation magazine. They know exactly what the McCain team is up to, and they will be doing damage control on the damage control, and reporting as much as possible on the back room dealings that are sure to be happening very soon.

And of course, the ultimate vetting team, The National Enquirer, is already here. Who knows, they may have even been here first. We don’t know. They work in mysterious ways. After the Edwards debacle, in which the Enquirer scooped the entire Main Stream Media, and gave themselves a peculiar sort of political ‘cred’, people will be listening closely to what they have to say. These are the folks who have no hesitation getting down in the dirt and asking all those questions that make the main stream media, and most bloggers cringe. It’s hard to draw the line between what’s off-limits and what can be used legitimately to illustrate judgment, and decision making ability. To the Enquirer, nothing is off-limits. They will be busy people… The newest rumors starting to get teeth involve Track Palin and 3 friends being arrested for vandalizing several school buses. Troopers showed up. And yes, this is Mike Wooten’s area. Bus-gate. And despite the admission that Bristol is pregnant, rumors that Trig is not Sarah’s baby persist.

Not used to being in the spotlight, or feeling like anyone is particularly interested in what we have to say, I’m sure there will be many Alaskans perfectly pleased to spill their guts to whoever asks a question. The media will have a field day. Whatever happens with the election, Alaskans will be talking about this for years.

Helpful hint: If any of the media wants to stay under the radar, they’d better not show up in suits, ties, or makeup. Dead giveaway.





Is John McCain Rich? Ask Him.

20 08 2008

I was watching the Saddleback Civil Forum the other night, and John McCain was asked to give a specific number in terms of defining “rich”…when did middle-class become “rich”? His answer, which nearly knocked me off my chair, was “5 million”. Then I got to thinking….maybe he was concerned about labeling himself as “rich”, so he probably shot for a number that was just out of his range. Maybe last year he pulled in $4.8 million, so he was parsing his answer so he wouldn’t get caught calling himself “rich”.

Turns out I gave him way too much credit. Last year he pulled in a cool $6 million…rich, even by his own high standards.

I love how the Reverend just laughs out loud at his answer, as does the audience. Then he does one of those weird gasbag noises he makes when he’s trying to laugh along but doesn’t really get what the joke is.

Enjoy the above video from the DNC.





MLK Was a WHAT?

20 08 2008

I once asked my mother why she listened to Rush Limbaugh, knowing full well that she’s a dyed-in-the-wool Democrat. She looked at me and said, “Know your enemy.”

I got an email from Human Events (Newt Gingrich’s ultra-right smear machine newsletter). Yes, I get it daily thanks to my mother’s advice, and I read it until I can’t stomach it anymore. On the non-Ann Coulter days I sometimes get to the end. Today’s email reads:

HELP RAIN ON OBAMA’S PARADE

This is a campaign like no other. With your help, we will put up 50 – that’s right – 50 “Martin Luther King, Jr. was a Republican” billboards all over the City of Denver, while the Democratic Party is having their national convention there.

What a way to upset the “coronation” of the Democratic Party’s “messianic” presidential nominee, Sen. Barack Obama. Arrogant is the word for Obama, a far left-winger, who is attempting to assume the mantle of Dr. King by giving his political acceptance speech on the anniversary of Dr. King’s “I Have a Dream” inspirational civil rights speech. History shows that Dr. King was a minister who embraced the traditional values that made our country great. Obama has the most liberal voting record in the US Senate. Obama is no MLK.

Join the fun. Donate now to our Denver billboard campaign and help make history. No amount is too small.

Why am I telling you this? Sometimes we need a little cold water in the face. So, if this appalls you, and you haven’t done anything today to move the debate in the direction you want it to go, do it.

Oh, and remember when McCain, at the Saddleback Civil Forum, said that one of the three wisest people he knows who he would rely on heavily if elected, was Representative John Lewis, an African-American Democrat from Georgia? What was Lewis’ response at being used as McCain’s token black friend?

“Sen. McCain and I are colleagues in the US Congress, not confidantes. He does not consult me. And I do not consult him.”

The wise, wise John Lewis, who marched with King in the 1960s, called the MLK was a Republican ads an “insult to the legacy and the memory of Martin Luther King Jr.” and “an affront to all that he stood for.”

Time to start taking that wise counsel you talked about Senator, and denounce this attempt to distort the spirit of a great American who is no longer here to defend himself from the mud slinging cesspool that the Republican party has become.





A-Team vs. Wolfpack – You Make the Call…

13 07 2008

Remember as a kid when you used to guess which superhero could take the other one in a fight?  Spiderman vs. Aquaman,  Batman vs. The Lone Ranger, Underdog vs. Quick Draw McGraw….  The possibilities were varied, and dominated much schoolyard conversation between 2nd and 6th grade.  The latest Don Young rediculousness makes me wonder…who would win if the  A-Team took on the Wolfpack in a superlobbyist fight?  But then I realized that the nine lobbyists on the ‘A-Team’ were actually also IN the  29-lobbyist ‘Wolf Pack’.  So if you are on the A-Team, you are also in the Wolfpack, but Wolfpack membership doesn’t necessarily mean you’re on the A-Team.   So to have this hypothetical showdown,  the A-Team would have to defect FROM the Wolfpack, which could complicate things.  But still, it could be done.  After defection, the A-Team would still be outnumbered about 2 to 1, but they’re some heavy hitters with extra lobbyist superpowers…  I’m thinking it would be a close fight.

But of course, the greater issue here is that a 75-year old congressional representative, the one and only “Congressman for all Alaska” thinks it’s cool running around making up stupid names for his lobbyist buddies because….what….he’s frozen in time as a 12-year old?  What’s next, a handwritten sign on his office door that says “No Democrats Allowed”?  A secret Corrupt Bastards handshake?  A big Republican Treehouse in Washington?

Ooooo.  Maybe the Wolf Pack and the A-Team could reunite, and ambush John McCain’s “Truth Squad” on the “Straight Talk Express”!  They’d never see it coming.  A nickel says they could take ’em!  Are you in? (spits on palm)  Shake.

As we contemplate the new American “Bad Guy” (the lobbyist), in all its incarnations, enjoy this awesome offering from the satirical mastersite – The Onion.   You won’t know whether to laugh or cry, so do both.

And a note to Berkowitz, Benson, Begich and the rest of the Democratic lineup.  Please no ‘teams’, ‘packs’, or ‘squads’ – we’re all adults here.





Obama – The Last Frontier Strategy

17 06 2008

Chris Weigant at Huffington Post makes an excellent case for what we here in Alaska have known all along. I’ve been squawking for months now about Obama coming to Alaska, and how Begich and Berkowitz would benefit from the Obama bump. (No, not the ‘terrorist fist jab’ kind..the increase in poll numbers kind).

My neck is sore from nodding through the entire post, in which Weigant clearly spells out the advantages of a visit to the Great Land.

  • He might actually WIN here.
  • He would significantly improve the chances for Begich and Berkowitz.
  • He would force John McCain to come too, and stand shoulder to shoulder with Stevens and Young who are not only the earmark kings, but are up to their eyeballs in federal investigations. His only other alternative would be to stay home and let the chips fall where they may.
  • So far Howard Dean’s ’50 state strategy’ appears to be working, and Alaska is actually one of those 50 states.

And come on….would you want to have to work with those jokers for four more years??

Great to see this broader coverage, and that the idea has had a trickle-up effect. Obama camp, are you listening?