On the 20th anniversary of the Exxon Valdez oil spill, as Redoubt Volcano threatened a long-neglected retainment dike system holding 6 million gallons of crude oil, on Alaska's pristine Cook Inlet, Gov. Palin erupted again and again about media unfairness.
Both Gov. Palin and Redoubt Volcano have been erupting periodically over the past week. The height of eruptions for both occurred Tuesday, the 20th anniversary of the Exxon Valdez oil spill, and 45th Anniversary of the Great Alaska Earthquake.
Another Palin eruption occurred this Tuesday. Alaskan progressive blogger, Linda Kellen, filed an ethics complaint against Gov. Palin at the beginning of the week. Here's Linda's press release:
Linda Kellen Biegel, better known as blogger "Celtic Diva," is filing an ethics complaint with the Attorney General today against Governor Sarah Palin. The complaint alleges a conflict of interest when Governor Palin wore specially designed snow-machine gear advertising her husband Todd's biggest Iron Dog sponsor, Arctic Cat Inc. She did so while acting in her official capacity as Governor of the State of Alaska and official starter of the Iron Dog Snow Machine Race.
Not only was she well aware that there would be extensive Alaska media coverage, the Palins also knew that international magazine Sports Illustrated was coming to do a story on Todd.
Biegel provides links to the Palins' APOC Financial Disclosure Statements for the last two years, which reveal the thousands of dollars Todd Palin receives in sponsorship benefits from Arctic Cat. While there is nothing illegal in actually receiving sponsorship money, this makes the Governor's wearing of Arctic Cat gear while representing Alaska the equivalent of a walking billboard, providing benefits to a private company from whom she and her family derive income.
The complaint claims Governor Palin violated of AS39.52.120 of the Alaska Executive Branch Ethics Act, Misuse of official position:
(A) A public officer may not use, or attempt to use, an official position for personal gain, and may not intentionally secure or grant unwarranted benefits or treatment for any person;
(3) use state time, property, equipment or other facilities to benefit personal or financial interests
The online version of the complaint can be found RIGHT HERE.
The governor, in what was perhaps an unwise move, almost immediately posted a response to the complaint at the Governor's web site's press page:
March 24, 2009, Juneau, Alaska – Governor Sarah Palin issued the following statement in response to another ethics complaint filed today. Filed by an Anchorage political blogger, the complaint alleges the governor “… improperly used her position and state resources to serve her personal financial interests by being a walking billboard for Arctic Cat ...”
"Are Alaskans outraged, or at least tired of this yet - another frivolous ethics charge by a political blogger? This would be hilarious if it weren’t so expensive for the state to process these accusations and for me to defend against these bogus harassments. Yes, I wore Arctic Cat snow gear at an outdoor event, because it was cold outside, and by the way, today, I am wearing clothes bearing the names of Alaska artists, and a Glennallen Panthers basketball hoodie. I am a walking billboard for the team’s fundraiser! Should I expect to see an ethics charge for wearing these, or the Carhartts I wear to many public events? How much will this blogger's asinine political grandstanding cost all of us in time and money?"
Whoa! Can't her press people just nicely tell her, "Maybe I can help a little with the editing, ma'am"?
Palin blew her top first, at last Friday's annual Anchorage GOP Lincoln Dinner. Earlier today, Blue Texan at firedoglake carried Palin's most choice, most patently selfish, most patheticly clueless quote from the speech:
Some in the media actually participated in not so much the 'who-what-where-when-why' objective reporting on candidates and positions, those five W's that I learned when I had a journalism degree so many years ago in college, when the world of journalism was quite different than it is today," she said.
"No, things have changed," she continued. "But complaining? Or whining? Absolutely not. But I am going to call it like I see it. It doesn't do any good to whine about any of this. But I can call it like I see it. Sometimes it gets me in a lot of trouble when I speak candidly, and I speak from the heart and I do such a thing. But I am going to."
"And there was that media slant this go round," she said. "And unless things change, the GOP had really better can stand together, 'cause we got that on the battlefield also. I call it like I see it and like I lived it on the campaign trail. Not complaining, but dealing with reality."
Talk about an ashfall of perfect Palinisms. She simply doesn't have a sense of when she is actually parodying - herself.
Meanwhile, today, as Redoubt Volcano again is erupting and sending ash up to 60,000 feet into the atmosphere, closing airports and roads, Gov. Palin announced just minutes ago, that she has appointed one of Alaska's most cantankerous characters as her new Attorney General.
Wayne Anthony Ross, Alaska's best-known 2nd Amendment advocate, and a member of he NRA's national board, is intensely disliked by rural Alaska Natives. He has been, over the years, the most staunch advocate of the diminution of subsistence rights for Alaska Natives, to benefit mostly White urban and out-of-state hunters. Recently, Ross defended now-convicted ex-Alaska Representative Vic Kohring, in the closing stages of Kohring's battle against his Federal corruption conviction. Kohring is in the middle of the first year of his sentence.
Before that, at the beginning of the Iraq War, Ross defended a man in Kenai, up on charges for dumping water on anti-war protesters in Kenai - in sub-freezing weather. Both the Kohring and Kenai cases were taken by Ross pro bono. Here's Shanyn Moore's description of the W.A.R. scenario:
Governor Palin just nominated Wayne Anthony Ross as the new attorney general. Talis Colberg had resigned February 9, just days after the State Senate had found Todd Palin and Palin aids in contempt for ignoring subpoenas during the Branchflower/Troopergate investigation.
W.A. Ross, who drives around Anchorage in his Hummer with the license plate "WAR", is less than savory to those who value free speech. In 2003, Ross defended Jeff Webster of Soldotna, Alaska. Webster had dumped gallons of water on war protesters in freezing weather. The protesters wore black and held signs with pictures of soldiers in hospitals that read "Victims of War." Ross argued Webster was the victim of the protesters since his son was fighting in Iraq.
Ross, a anti-choice advocate and NRA official, is a blatant pander to the base Sarah Palin is hoping to woo in the 2012 election. Her statements at the local republican dinner this past weekend bellyaching about not having a McCain campaigner to pray with have gone national. Her need for a prayer assistant is reminiscent of the Pharases and Sadusees warning from the book of Matthew.
Palin's pandering to her national "religeous base" is hurting Alaska. W.A.R. is not an appropriate choice for attorney general...he's a sound bite.
Also, during this week, the Alaska Press Club announced it is honoring Wasilla housewife Anne Kilkenny, whose September 1st email to Lower-48 friends about Sarah Palin went viral.
The club had already bestowed this year's First Amendment Award to somebody else, but some board members felt Kilkenny's email, and its somewhat understated biographical background on Palin's rise from Wasilla Planning Commission to Governor had provided much-needed deep background at a time when reporters from all over the USA were converging upon Alaska.
Kilkenny will be honored Saturday at a luncheon at the press club annual conference. The conference is now - as I sit here manning the registration desk for them - undergoing radical revision, because the Anchorage Airport has just been completely shut down, due to today's volcanic eruptions occurring almost within view of the runways.