Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Saradise Found - Chapter 12 - Only Three Hours Left to the Anchorage Daily News Palin Fundraiser

Yesterday, the Anchorage Daily News Washington DC reporter posted an ADN political blog entry that brought suck-up stenography to a new height. She wrote an entry there that basically, with no attention to journalistic decorum, promoted sites that want you to donate to Sarah Palin. She observed that there are very few hours left before an important deadline approaches - July 1st. She then ran one of the Palin promotional emails in what appears to be its entirety.

Its hard to tell, because I've been removed from the mailing lists of all Alaska Governor Sarah Palin-related public information output channels. I've been on all of them, but somehow, I've also subsequently been removed.

I'm on Don Young's and Lisa Murkowski's lists, even though I've written critical articles about them. I'm on Mark Begich's, even though my action helped lead to his having been removed from Blue America, an important fundraising tool.

Yesterday, I was critical of ADN writer Erika Bolstad's Palin fundraising blog entry. Twice. But it was totally impossible to blame Erika for the ADN's placement of an expanded piece based on her Monday one, above the fold on page one of Tuesday's print edition of the paper. The headline reads, "SarahPAC pushes for donations by today." (emphasis added)

I have never seen the ADN do this before today. The expanded article fails to mention a couple of important facts about the SarahPAC fundraiser:

1) It was initially a week-long fundraiser, with a goal of raising $500,000.00. At the end of the week it had raised less than 22% of the goal.

2) It appears that a substantial amount of the 22% raised was money actually raised before the onset of the fundraiser.

As PA noted on May 2nd (Saturday Alaska Progressive Blog Roundup - May 2, 2009 -- The Week the Anchorage Daily News Died Edition), "the ADN is charging their readers a lot of money for doing a lousy job."

If all this kneepad suck-up to the Palin idolatry were being done in a vacuum, it would be bad enough. But on the same morning people who bought the ADN had to decide whether or not to send Sarah money by midnight, Alaska bloggers were nailing Palin's propaganda & the Cross fantasy world, by telling the truth that is coming out of the lower Yukon.

ADN reporter Kyle Hopkins is starting to get it, but so far, he's being relegated to outer ADN blogastan. And even though reporter Sean Cockerham fully understands how incredibly truth-challenged the Palin administration is on just about everything he has to report, the editors seem to be refusing to turn him loose.

Will the ADN finally come around?

Even Andrew Halcro is so upset about how bad the Palin propaganda ministry is getting, he came out of seclusion to pen a new piece today.

Go, Andrew!

Saradise Lost - Book 2 - Chapter 74 - The Vanity Fair Merry-Go-Round in the Media Begins

Coleman Concedes - Mark Begich Has a New Partner

Catching Up on Mat-Su Valley News

I. Now here's a true icon - Katie Hurley!

Katie will be the
Grand Marshall of the 2009 Wasilla Water Festival Parade, on the 4th of July.

Katie was Secretary of
Alaska's Constitutional Convention. Along with Convention delegate Vic Fischer, Alaska's Thomas Jefferson (Vic framed much of the language of our constitution), Katie is Alaska's greatest living Democrat.

Back in 2006, Katie ran against Vic Kohring for the Wasilla Alaska House seat, a seat she had once held. She was active in last year's Democratic Party Convention, held in Palmer, and may be the only person in the Valley who could have beat Talis Colberg in the mayoral race for the borough, earlier this June.

The Mat-Su Democrats will be marching together in the same parade. We welcome anybody who wants to march with us Saturday. We'll also be gathering together right after the parade, at Nunley Park (250 E. Swanson), kiddy corner from Wasilla City Hall. We'll be serving ice cream, homemade goodies and punch. We'll be hanging out at Nunley Park until at least 1:30 p.m. on parade day.

Come join us!

III. Erick Cordero was appointed the the Mat-Su School Board earlier this year. He's running for the job, now. He's holding a campaign kickoff planning meeting this evening (Tuesday) at Vagabond Blues, in Palmer. If you're interested in pitching in for one of the most outstanding young people to get involved in Valley politics in years, be there!

If you're in Palmer over he next few days, you may be interviewed. Radio Free Palmer is training young people - very young people, like middle schoolers on up - to become news and public affairs reporters. They're out and about over the next few days.

I just found out yesterday that the owner of
KMBQ-FM (99.7) radio in Wasilla (and an owner of other stations, including Anchorage's KBYR), John Klapperich has been providing valuable support to Radio Free Palmer, as they slowly but surely get closer to providing full public radio service to Palmer and the eastern Mat-Su metropolitan area.

John's gone green at
KMBQ. He will also be the master of ceremonies for the Wasilla Water Festival Parade.

I'll be playing in the
Mat-Su Community Band during the hour before the parade. They will play near the Teeland's Building, or on the deck of the Teeland's Building.

images - Katie Hurley by PA; Erick Cordero by Celtic Diva

Monday, June 29, 2009

We Had Our Fill of Baghdad Bob - When Will We Have Enough of Emmonak John?

John Moller, Alaska Rural Affairs Advisor to Gov. Sarah Palin, apparently under enormous pressure, has posted a video at the State of Alaska web site, that the state is purporting to back Gov. Palin's contention that subsistence needs are legally being met in the lower Yukon River, as the summer of 2009 inexorably sweeps up and down a river that has nurtured hundreds of communities for thousands of years.

The video is of an older gentleman, who is picking up some fish that apparently have been donated or owed to him. Who he got them from is unclear [update - there may be clarification in the comments & The Mudflats may be offering a transcript today], but it doesn't appear he caught them himself.

He wasn't subsistence fishing at the time Moller interviewed him. But, like most people in Emmonak or in Western Alaska, he was willing to happily, honestly engage in conversation with a visitor to his community.

Moller turned the footage over to Palin's people, who are now calling it proof of "Subsistence in Emmonak." Unfortunately, it is far more true than these pathetic acolytes of Palin realize. One might posit that the future "subsistence" regime for this magnificent culture that Moller misrepresents here is one of happy people picking up their handouts. Sick, huh?

Here's the link.

Baghdad Bob lost his job.

As long as our media keeps being more interested in bringing in $$$$ to Palin during the final hours of the second fundraising quarter of 2009 than in truly representing what is happening on the Yukon, and in other Alaska Native communities, and in the Alaska bush in general, Moller and Palin will keep their jobs.

Perhaps, they'll even prosper.

hat tip to FarfromFenway Fan

Are Palin and Moller Lying About Emmonak? - Updated

Last week, Alaska rural affairs advisor John Moller was in the lower Yukon River region, as funds and aid trickle in for flood damage repair, energy assistance rebuilds and modifications, and as subsistence/commercial fishing efforts are attenuated or thwarted by a severe shortage of Kings.

Before Moller left Emmonak for Wasilla to attend a series of events designed to force Native Alaskans to reject their thousands of years of cultural heritage to become fundamentalist and evangelical zombies, he must have given Palin some information from the YK Delta that is beginning to be highly questioned.

On Saturday, Palin twittered from Kosovo, "half of the people in Emmonak have met subsistence needs and the other half believe they can do the same."

But all information coming in from the lower river suggests this to be far from the truth. A poll taken today of 65 people in Emmonak (full results Wednesday) indicates that five people have met their entire subsistence goal, while over 51 people were below or well below 50%.

According to one reporter:

"the hell with Sarah Palin" is the best quote I got. These people get pissed when I tell them what Moller said about 50% having their quota.

Additionally, money for work done for the Federal and State governments by villagers has not even been deposited in banks, well over a week after some of the work should have been paid for, making it hard to purchase fuel for boats to catch the virtually worthless Chums they might be allowed to fish for for four hours (!!!) tonight, having been forced to pass up Kings that were worth over ten times as much per pound as commercial catch.

As I wrote last week, Moller promised a Progressive Alaska interview about two months ago, but has not returned any recent emails or phone messages sent to him, or left at his office. Further attempts to get through to him today have so far failed (5:30 PM).

Don't expect a more detailed version of this serious Alaska rural story to come soon from the Anchorage Daily News, for instance. Their biggest Palin item on the web today was Erika Bolstad's cut-and-paste hack job, running a series of appeals from Palin fundraising organizations, to contribute to her by midnight tomorrow. It appears that at least one of the funding appeals posted by Bolstad may have been run in its entirety, with lots of helpful information, making it extremely easy to get the money to Palin soon.

Not surprisingly, most commenters at this disgusting display of stenography by someone who used to be a decent reporter, are calling Bolstad on this brazen appeal on behalf of Palin, with many suggesting people along the entire course of the Yukon could better use the money Bolstad is encouraging people send to Palin.

Updated - 9:00 p.m:

1) Just back from a board meeting. Driving there and back, I was thinking, "has the Anchorage Daily News ever before printed two emails, one in its entirety, from a candidate who may be running for a statewide office, who is an incumbent, who is soliciting funds for a variety of undefined political and legal objectives, without giving the printing of the solicitations some sort of journalistic context?"

Maybe, but I can't think of any. Can any readers come up with an example?

2) Gryph, at The immoral Minority, has printed an article with more quotes from one of my lower Yukon sources, and from the Emmonak City Manager.

ps - somebody might want to get a google cache of Bolstad's story before they reel it on in...

Two Fantasy Character Polls and a 3D Wrestling Fantasy YouTube

I saw this cartoon sometime last year at a blog post that was having a contest for best Palin caricature. It is apparently an illustration from a cartoon book.

The Mudflats posted it today, to head an essay on a poll for you to vote on some unlikely combinations of fantasy characters in a comic book scenario.

You can go there, check it out, and vote.

Saturday, Progressive Alaska put up the two polls at the right side of your screen, with an essay explaining what the poll is about.

Meanwhile, in another neighborhood of the fantasy world Sarah Palin seems to inhabit more comfortably than our real one (Palin's weirdest fantasy tweet of the weekend - "Thank you Wasilla for Trail of Healing! May God bless efforts of reconciliation; it shall be manifested in more respect for AKs First People," while she continues to screw over Begich, Murkowski, Young and AK's First People on some very important Real Native issues, behind-the-scenes), Palin is active in the 3-D fantasy wrestling world. Here she is, battling one mean woman wrestler, Dame Dracula:

And here's Tonya Harding, our readers' choice to replace Meg Stapleton as Palin's liaison with SarahPAC, battling FAUX News nut, Glenn Beck:

The Stonewall Riots - The Battle Continues

I meant to post this Sunday, but a friend brought over some salmon from his fish wheel above Chitina, so I got caught up in helping him (they're in the smokehouse now).

The 40th anniversary of the start of the Stonewall Riots in Greenwich Village was Sunday. The riots continued for days. Our current battle in Anchorage for gay rights began only a few years after the riots. It is still being fought.

While courageous young people in Iran are fighting on the streets to diminish the influence over their lives by religious bigots who have taken over their government, so we are fighting in Anchorage against religious bigots who think they run our government.

Same battle, different battlefields.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

PA Arts Sunday - June 28th 2009 - Part II -- YouTube in the Classroom - A Question

Brigham Young University in Salt Lake City announced Friday that they are lifting a ban on YouTube:

SALT LAKE CITY (ABC 4 News) - After being banned since 2006, YouTube is back online at on the campus of BYU.
All this month, school administrators talked about lifting the block. They said they chose to life the ban because of the educational value of YouTube.

Along with the access to YouTube, BYU has also created a site, besafe.byu.edu to make sure students and the general public stay web savvy. [emphasis added]

I use YouTube a lot in a college course I've taught since long before YouTube existed. Music Appreciation. My basic responsibility in teaching the course is to get students to obtain a lifelong love of any kind of music, no matter how much exposure or non-exposure they have had to music before they have taken the class.

Each year there are more excellent videos at the site to help supplement the class materials. I've encouraged publishers and authors revising texts and creating new ones to find ways to engage students through audio-visual materials that have some of the punch one finds at YouTube.

I'm in a dilemma this semester. In the course, I usually use two YouTube episodes from Igor Stravinsky's Le Sacre du Printemps. Many regard this 1913 ballet to be the most important musical work of the 20th Century. If you think you know what is generically called "classical music" and you don't know le Sacre, you don't really know "classical music." The work has had a profound impact on thousands of composers, tens of thousands of performers and millions of people who have heard or seen the work. I regard it, along with Mozart's Marriage of Figaro, Beethoven's 3rd Symphony and Wagner's Tristan und Isolde, to be one of the most important advances in musical thinking of all time.

In class, after introductory material played from the course CDs, played by me on piano, and illustrated in a powerpoint presentation, I usually show two YouTubes of excerpts from the ballet.

The first is of the introduction. I use the magnificent restoration of the original sets, costumes and choreography, created by Millicent Hodson, Kenneth Archer and Robert Joffrey, in 1987 (I wish it was available in DVD. I've looked and looked):

Then I play the ending of the work. The entire work shocked audiences to the point of madness, but the ending Danse Sacrale, even more shocking, in which a young virgin, chosen by her peers, dances herself to death, was not at all like The Nutcracker, or Stravinsky's earlier masterpiece, The Firebird.

There are several versions of the Danse Sacrale on YouTube, a couple of them done completely nude. I've use the version, danced by Malao Airaudo, that is performed by the Pina Bausch Wuppertal Dance Theater. In it, the solo dancer's top - by purpose - reveals her breasts.

I've never felt reluctant to show this tremendously powerful performance to college classes, but should I show it to a college class in which a high school student or students are enrolled?

That's my dilemma. Here's the performance:

image - 1913 set design for Le Sacre du Printemps Part One, by Nicholas Roerich

PA Arts Sunday - June 28th 2009 - The "Blasphemy" of Meg Stapleton

If you google the set of word set desecration + iconic + image, the first two items that come up this morning are a Wonkette article from June 25th, and an article from WhatdoIknow?, published this morning by Steve, about Meg Stapleton's weird statement issued last week, upon discovering an image at the web site Celtic Diva's Blue Oasis, showing Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, seemingly holding a tiny Eddie Burke in her arms.

The fifth item, though, is an article from January 20th, protesting somebody's desecration of an actual icon in Bend, Oregon, by inserting President Obama's head in place of that of the baby Jesus, in a photoshop of a religious painting done in the traditional Madonna and Child modality of the Catholic Church.
Progressive Alaska hasn't published any of the altered images of the following real picture of Palin with her youngest child, Trig.
But I'll defend to the ends of the earth and the blogosphere those who have. As we've seen, Stapleton has mostly brought far more laughter upon herself and Gov. Palin than sympathy, for her statement last week. And, even though PA didn't post the altered images, we have now posted two of them with President Obama inserted, either as the adult in the combination, or, as in the case above, the child.

I'm not holding my breath for Obama's press secretary calling the Alaska Democratic Party to have me removed from my obscure party posts.

The two finest analyses of Stapleton's statement that I've read, are those by AK Muckraker at The Mudflats, and the article referenced above, by Steve at WhatdoIknow? They both analyze Meg's statement, word by word.

AK Muckraker analyzes Stapleton's use of the word, desecration:

1) desecration (noun) -
    An act of disrespect or impiety toward something regarded as sacred: blasphemy, profanation, sacrilege, violation. See sacred/profane.

“Malicious desecration?” “Iconic representation?” Does the spokeswoman or the governor herself believe that a picture of she and Trig is literally a sacred object? Might be time to find that knob that says “rhetoric” and turn it down a notch…or three. I mean, if you’re worried about offending people and all.

Steve also looks at the same word:

Desecration. Merriam Webster's online dictionary isn't too helpful:
: an act or instance of desecrating : the state of being desecrated
But you can link to desecrate:
1 : to violate the sanctity of : PROFANE
2 : to treat disrespectfully, irreverently, or outrageously
And sanctity?
1: holiness of life and character : godliness
2 a
: the quality or state of being holy or sacred : inviolability
b plural : sacred objects, obligations, or rights

So there is a religious etymology to this word, but it has come to be used in other contexts as well.

Steve goes on to look at the whole episode, which he calls the "Baby Burke Brouhaha." Steve, who is the ethicist among the Alaska progressive blogging community, has come to our defense at key times, and has helped to rein us in - me especially - on occasions. His essay on this "brouhaha" takes advantage of his having watched this combination of drama queen petulance, comedic internet explosion, irony deficiency and nasty reactions unfold over the past few days.
I heartily recommend Steve's essay - here it is.

Steve wonders to what degree Palin's religious beliefs have embedded themselves in her syntax, and that of her acolytes:

Using both desecration and iconic image in one sentence strongly suggests to me that there was either intentional manipulation to give this a religious spin, or that Palin's staff are so steeped in religion that they think in those terms and just write this sort of language naturally.

We need go no further than today's (Sunday) tweets to see more of this:

Thank you Wasilla for Trail of Healing! May God bless efforts of reconciliation; it shall be manifested in more respect for AKs First People
about 14 hours ago from TwitterBerry

Trail of Healing: Moller, Will Mayo, other Native leaders say important to remember past as we move forward, but must not live in the past
about 14 hours ago from TwitterBerry

Fortunately, we've always got AKM's pal, Brian, to bring us back to our senses:

Saturday, June 27, 2009

New Poll - Should Barack Obama Apologize to Sarah Palin for Sanctioning Linda Kellen's Actions?

SarahPAC spokesperson, Meg Stapleton, has asked for President Obama to take action:

Linda Kellen Biegel, the official Democrat Party blogger for Alaska, should be ashamed of herself and the Democratic National Committee should be ashamed for promoting this website and encouraging this atrocious behavior. Babies and children are off limits.

It is past time to restore decency in politics and real tolerance for all Americans. The Obama Administration sets the moral compass for its party.

Short of another massive show of support for Gov. Palin, like the brilliantly orchestrated, overwhelming demonstrations outside of David Letterman's studios two weeks ago, Obama might be let off the hook on this. Some feel Obama should be impeached for not immediately condemning Linda's action. Others aren't so sure.

Maybe if shown the results of a Progressive Alaska Poll, Obama might react more swiftly. Here it is:

Should President Obama Apologize to Alaska Governor Sarah Palin for Linda Kellen's desecration of a sacred icon?

And, in case Meg is voted off the island, who should replace her?

Saturday Alaska Progressive Blog Roundup - June 27, 2009 -- Wonkette Edition

Some people have a natural bent for the comedic. I'll use the example of Wonkette founder, Ana Marie Cox. Some people do not have the knack for understanding what comedy is, let alone possess the ability to use comedic wit in their work. I use SarahPac spokesperson Meg Stapleton as an example.

Some people with a gift for comedy and humor seem to be kept away from a platform where that talent could be portrayed. A lot of good comedians in Hollywood, or on the stage, get shunted into some other dramatic field, often by their agents, sometimes by their fans. I always thought Karl Malden would have made a great comedy star. The closest he came was his award as Best Actor for a Golden Globe, for his role as Herbie in the film version of Gypsy (1962).

Some people without a gift for comedy and humor seem to be inexorably thrust into areas where that gift might have come in handy from time to time. How Alaska Governor Sarah Palin could have chosen a chief spokesperson for her national aspirations utterly devoid of a sense of irony may go down as one of Palin's chief mistakes.

What began as a more-tasteless-than-usual joke about Bristol Palin, by comedian David Letterman, has now morphed, with Meg Stapleton's help, into a situation where Sarah Palin is lifting lines from Letterman to diss Sen. Kohn Kerry, in her own inept jokes, told to a group of troops at Camp Bondsteel, in Kosovo. Alaska progressive blog, WE'RE NOT THAT STUPID, covers this subject rather well, in a short essay called, Irony.

How we got from Letterman's pathetic joke to Stapleton's being the butt of successive Wonkette columns has its own ironies. Essentially, even though the entire sane 3/4 or more of the USA figured out long ago that Lettermen ineptly meant Bristol rather than one of Palin's younger kids in his late night joke, 99% of the die-hards at SarahPAC and Team Sarah and C4P still believe Letterman meant a younger child.

Somehow this entire conspiracy theory-laden crew at the Sarah shrines completely missed the first appearance of what has now become a huge trove of misrepresentations of a well-known real picture of Palin, holding up her youngest child, Trig, in front of the cameras. The original is a typical politician with child photo.

On June 19th, in a late night open topic thread at Crooks and Liars, the site ran a cartoon showing Palin holding David Letterman, instead of Trig. No complaints. Perhaps because, in part, the comments went somewhere Palin has been careful not to walk since Trig's birth:

It seems to me that all Dave Letterman has to do with Sarah Palin is do a dramatic (tongue in cheek style) representation of Palin's " wild ride" account of Trygg's birth. It reads like a farce and has the anodyne quality of having been composed by Palin herself. If truth can be stranger than fiction, then lets see who believes what after they get a taste of Palin's version.

On June 23rd, for the third blog post header picture out of a series of five, Anchorage blogger Linda Kellen posted an image similar to
C&L's from the 19th, only Anchorage AM radio host, Eddie Burke's head had replaced Letterman's. The graphic was created by Dr. Chill, as part of a series connected to Linda's fundraiser that ended up obtaining all the funds she needed to pay the State of Alaska for a public records search. (If you're a regular reader at Celtic Diva's Blue Oasis, you'll know that the header at the top of the blog often changes, sometimes being a political-based graphic, sommetimes a landscape, sometimes a picture taken by Linda's daughter, etc.).

Within hours, the clueless Stapleton came unglued, issuing this statement:

Recently we learned of a malicious desecration of a photo of the Governor and baby Trig that has become an iconic representation of a mother's love for a special needs child.

The mere idea of someone doctoring the photo of a special needs baby is appalling. To learn that two Alaskans did it is absolutely sickening. Linda Kellen Biegel, the official Democrat Party blogger for Alaska, should be ashamed of herself and the Democratic National Committee should be ashamed for promoting this website and encouraging this atrocious behavior.

Babies and children are off limits. It is past time to restore decency in politics and real tolerance for all Americans. The Obama Administration sets the moral compass for its party. We ask that special needs children be loved, respected and accepted and that this type of degeneracy be condemned.

This set of paragraphs has been dissected several places on the web. It doesn't make any more sense with time, and has been parodied. Here's my parody of the content:

The image at the left might be Alaska Governor Sarah Palin. praying to Rev. Muthee to rid Her iconic Presence of the malicious desecrations of Her Hallowed Image by the misrepresentation of Her love of all things living, unless She wants to kill them.

Others have, too, but Wonkette used Stapleton's goofy press release for a platform for a hilarious column, posted yesterday afternoon, called Sarah Palin Will Soon Condemn, Bomb The Entire Internet:

The Virgin Palin, Our Lady of Eternal Anger, gave birth to the New Jesus at some point last year — or not,
who knows, and now Andrew Sullivan just cares about Iran (which is a good thing!) so we’ll never find out the truth — and ever since it has been both a Cardinal/Venial Sin and Sharia Law that no mortal shall “desecrate” an image of the Sacred One … no one but Sarah Palin herself, because Allah both allows and encourages the use of the Holy Infant as a cheap political prop as long as such cruel hackery is performed by the Virgin Palin herself.

Palin’s fury was such, when she found out some blog “on the Internet” had combined a picture of her cradling one of her Magic Babies together with a picture of her Jedi Master, some dingbat old radio talk-show clown in Alaska, that she did verily send her dumbest disciple, “Brother Meg,” to start a Jihad against the Entire Internet.

But we know what happens when a fear-and-anger crazed Snow Witch starts a vain war she can never hope to win: The Internet Strikes Back.

Which is to say, Palin basically poked a stick in the world’s largest beehive filled with cheap & tireless insanity, and the SomethingAwful.com goons have unleashed a pack of Photoshop Dogs From Hell to make the most incredible collection of Sarah Palin Desecration Images in the History of Time, the end. [emphasis added by PA]

Does anyone miss how important a sense of irony might be amongst Palin's publicists by now? I suppose if you don't, you never will. If you don't, I'd suggest you watch John Ziegler's paean to Palin twenty times in a row, taking breaks for the bathroom only.

Part of the irony of Stapleton's reaction is that by making this such a HUGE issue, the Palin camp will perhaps be forced to revisit one of the touchiest subjects in the Alaska Governor's recent past - her conduct during the end of her most recent (2007-2008) pregnancy, and the questions that have surfaced in that regard.

Progressive Alaska
, after reading Stapleton's press release, decided to get permission to re-post two articles that had originally appeared at other blogs. The first was Shannyn Moore's August 29th 2008 post about Palin's highly questionable actions during her final few days of what most agree to have been a serious pre-delivery situation for both mother and unborn child. The second was a very imporant post from early 2009, that was originally published at Celtic Diva's Blue Oasis, written by somebody experienced in the problems of late term pregnancies involving potential special needs babies.

Anyone who thinks that Crooks and Liars, or Celtic Diva's Blue Oasis, or anyone else, by posting photoshopped images of David Letterman or Eddie Burke or Meg Stapleton or Sarah Palin or Terry Schiavo or Darth Vader or Dick Cheney or an Imperial Starship Trooper, in a pose with Sarah Palin, did more harm to Trig than Palin herself did in the days before the kid's birth, is not being honest about life itself.

Stapleton, still clueless at the end of the week, asked President Obama to discipline Celtic Diva. Stapleton had already brought us into the land of "You Can't Make This Shit Up!" Now she was entering some weirder neighborhood there. Leave it to The Mudflats to be ready, though:

Let’s think this through for a minute. What might be the outcome of this request? Does Palin believe that the President of the United States, leader of the free world, will stop what he’s doing, and get down in the political muck to bring down a woman who runs a local political blog in Anchorage Alaska? I’m guessing he’s smart enough to recognize that this would be a foolish idea. No national politician in their right mind would go there. Which is why Sarah Palin does. And why our president in 2012 will be … Barack Obama.

Besides, he’s got his own battles to fight right now…like this recent depiction of him and his beautiful baby daughter….who now sports the apalling head of none other than liberal bazillionaire George Soros.

Each day I become more convinced that Tonya Harding would do a better job as SarahPAC spokesperson than Meg Stapleton. Or maybe Ana Marie Cox. She left Wonkette some time ago, and has become very savvy in the ways of Washington, DC. If I were Meg, after this week, I'd be looking for a new job.

images - top, Ana Marie Cox; bottom, President Obama, holding George Soros (I think it has been photoshopped by somebody working for the Republican Party somewhere, uh, maybe even one of their official bloggers, or a parry officer, or something like that - yeah, that's the ticket)

Friday, June 26, 2009

Saradise Lost - Book 2 - Chapter 73 -- Palin's Twitter Strategy Revealed?

I've suspected for some time that Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin's twitter word salad - her twitter stuff is like the tapas version of the salad -
is being fed to her through the administration apparatus in a filtered way. It is the most upbeat stuff she comes up with, though she can seldom resist the urge to insert some level of 8th grade humor.

Here's from a comment at The Mudflats:

Not sure if all state departments have received the same “directive” from the Gov’s office but our dept heads have told us to forward to them info for the Gov to tweet about. When we inquired further we were told, in no uncertain terms, ONLY THE GOOD STUFF! So I guess it’s to hell with reality… she obviously wants the whole world to think that everything she touches turns to gold, smells like flowers & basks in holy light.

This shouldn't be surprising. Other governors who twitter probably are pursuing a similar strategy.

It would be nice to find out if there's a paper trail on this, though. How much would that information request cost - $4,000,000.00?

Michael Jackson's Passing

I was never a Michael Jackson fan, though I liked the Jackson Five, and the art of his sister, Janet.

He had a powerful influence on music in the mid-1980s, though, that came just as the world was getting tuned into personal stereos (remember the original cassette-playing Sony Walkman?). The sound of music being played in public places was just then becoming overly ubiquitous. Consequently, it was his voice that was the voice of America to young people all around the world during that decade.

Perhaps the most profound thing he did was work as the central figure, along with composer-arranger Quincy Jones and composer-performer Lionel Richie, on We Are the World.

Gov. Howard Dean on Health Care Reform Efforts in DC This Week

Gov. Mark Sanford Needs to Keep on "Soul Searching"

I wonder how far he's going to take his King David metaphor? Here's what he said after the press conference:

I remain committed to rebuilding the trust that has been committed to me over the next 18 months, and it is my hope that I am able to follow the example set by David in the Bible - who after his fall from grace humbly refocused on the work at hand. By doing so, I will ultimately better serve in every area of my life, and I am committed to doing so.

I doubt Sanford is contemplating how King David's sex life ended up, at the beginning of I Kings:

1- Now king David was old and stricken in years; and they covered him with clothes, but he gat no heat.

2- Wherefore his servants said unto him, Let there be sought for my lord the king a young virgin: and let her stand before the king, and let her cherish him, and let her lie in thy bosom, that my lord the king may get heat.

3- So they sought for a fair damsel throughout all the coasts of Israel, and found Abishag a Shunammite, and brought her to the king.

4- And the damsel was very fair, and cherished the king, and ministered to him: but the king knew her not.

Alaska's Youngest Blogger

erin and hig have taken young (3.5 months old) Katmai Winter McKittrick with them down to Cape Yakataga. They're working with occasional Progressive Alaska contributor and Cascadia Wildlands' Alaska field representative, Gabe Scott. Here's erin's description of the project:

We’d been invited on this journey by Gabe Scott of Cascadia Wild, looking at the aftermath of several decades of logging at Cape Yakataga and Icy Bay. 20,000 acres (over 30 square miles) were clear cut, mostly on Mental Health Trust land, with some on state land to which the University of Alaska had logging rights. But they stopped logging in the summer of 2007, just before we walked through the first time. Not because of any outcry at the vast expanse of forests being flattened, not because the waste inherent in the operation was unacceptable, and not because the system where we fund our universities and mental health programs through clearcutting seemed dumb. They stopped the logging because it stopped making money.

We were there to look at how well the logging company had cleaned up, to do a few experiments, and to plot out restoration possibilities.

They're doing some real basic environmental restoration, along with their assessment activities - things like planting willow stakes along river and stream banks, where the loggers left the place ruined:

We planted willow stakes in the hope that their spreading roots might keep a bank from collapsing, preventing the salmon eggs from suffocating under a wash of silt, helping out a salmon run that might otherwise dwindle. We experimented with quick ways of strewing or planting vegetation on the road, hoping it might accelerate the rate at which the gravel turns to forest. Decades from now, Gabe speculates that perhaps the young dense trees in the upcoming forest could be thinned.

In addition to involving their baby as much as possible in their daily activities, they've started a blog for little Katmai, subtitled, "Our little Alaskan Volcano":

Tuck baby into wrap, face into mommy or daddy’s chest. Shoulder backpacks that seem oddly bulky for just a few days travel - expanded by a collection of baby diapers, baby sleeping bag, baby clothes and a baby life vest. A much larger volume than baby himself, in fact. Walk a few minutes until baby falls asleep. Continue until baby screams.

Pluck him out, nurse him, and pop him back into the wrap, face out this time. Protect baby’s eyes from the bushes as he gets a close-up tour of river bank alders, logging road ditches, and forests. Try to keep mosquitoes off the baby’s face. Continue until baby screams.

Pluck him out, nurse him, and pop him back into the wrap, face in. Repeat.

images - erin and hig

Saradise Lost - Book 2 - Chapter 72 -- Comedy Blog C4P Holds Meaningful Fundraisers for Linda & Dennis

The image at the left might be Alaska Governor Sarah Palin. praying to Rev. Muthee to rid Her iconic Presence of the malicious desecrations of Her Hallowed Image by the misrepresentation of Her love of all things living, unless She wants to kill them.

Meanwhile, those dang, pesky Alaska bloggers are at it again.

We are continuing to ask questions. And we're providing information nobody else has the time, resources or will to reveal.

We've sent a video blogger to the lower Yukon, while the people there are meeting one of their biggest challenges since Europeans gave them venereal disease, smallpox and influenza.

We've raising thousands of dollars to get information into the public domain - information that should be freely available to citizens.

We've raising money and votes to send pesky bloggers to national conferences, so that they know Alaskans can think.

We're doing most of this on our own, with the awesome help of our regular readers. But Thursday, we got help from two political humor web sites.

One of them, Wonkette, is long-established. I've been an occasional reader for years. The other humor site, Conservatives4Palin, is a fairly recent development. Progressive Alaska would link to it on our right-hand sidebar of links, under the humor category, but it isn't an Alaska site. It is a Palin humor site based somewhere else. Some have suggested Buenos Aires, Argentina, but I think "film maker" John Ziegler's john might be more accurate.

Thursday, they probably set a record for people who linked to them from progressive Alaskan sites, as they devoted a lot of space (three articles) to our coverage of Meg Stapleton's most recent nonsense.

Why am I even bringing up this humor site? Because they helped us raise money yesterday, and they deserve a little bit of thanks for that. We'll figure out how to use them to raise more money for our causes, once we get the hang of it. Some might call Thursday a trial run. We need to learn fast, because they have a far shorter shelf life than we do, and our concerns and duties make far more sense than do theirs.

After all - C4P is devoted to Sarah Palin. We are not.

Thanks, C4P!

Update - Friday 3:00 p.m:

Shannyn has moved way out front, but you can vote for her anyway.

Dennis has interviewed Alaska rural Affairs advisor, John Moller, in Emonak. Gov. Palin even twittered about it:

"AKGovSarahPalin John also met w/CNN reporter [Dennis Zaki] while in Emmonak & shared welcomed GOOD NEWS of region…as a result, highly unlikely interview will air:)"

We'll see, Sarah...

Thursday, June 25, 2009

You Helped Dennis Get to Emmonak, Linda Meet Her Goal for Public Disclosure, AKM to Get to Netroots Nation - Now You Can Help Shannyn Too

Dennis Zaki has arrived in Emmonak, where he will visit with many people, getting the truth on how the fishing is going there, in a climate of doubt about the future viability of a 7,000 year-old culture. You got him there.

Linda Kellen will be filing her request for public documents today, with the State of Alaska. You made her filing request possible, through your generosity.

AK Muckraker
has gotten a scholarship to attend the 2009 Netroots Nation Conference. You nominated and voted for her, and she got the scholarship, because of your support.

Now, Shannyn Moore has been nominated to receive the same scholarship. She needs votes to obtain it - lots of votes.

Only you can get her that direct support. Go to Democracy for America's voting site, to support Shannyn!

image - Shannyn, Dennis & Phil, standing; AKM in a Brian disguise at upper left

Saradise Lost - Book 2 - Chapter 71 -- Delivering the Real Issue

[this post is a reprint of an article from Celtic Diva's Blue Oasis. It was originally published on January 17, 2009. It is being reprinted here now, partially in response to the ongoing attacks against Linda Kellen, Shannyn Moore and AK Muckraker]

--- by Lee Tompkins, BSN

"Captive Alien Held in Area 51 by U.S. Military!"

"Elvis Is Alive!"

"U.S. Government Fakes Moon Landings!"

"Sarah Palin Fakes Pregnancy, Claims Daughter's Child as Her Own!"

All very sexy headlines and all conspiracy theories that some continue to believe to this day. Are any of them true? Who knows? What is more interesting is how and why such claims are picked up and seized by a segment of the American public. The first three are ones that I can't really comment on but the Sarah Palin one I can, having watched the story closely from the time the Anchorage Daily News reported the curious story of Trig Palin's birth last April, and having the requisite background in the medical field as a labor and delivery nurse as well as the necessary swiftness of foot and mind to avoid stepping in any BS in the field.

To some extent these stories are all crazes that took hold because people wanted to believe them. The world has been enchanted with the idea of space aliens all the way from a love affair with H.G. Wells to the Great Gazoo. The idea of E.T. being held captive in Roswell was one that our Star Trek-Star Wars-Lost in Space generation of baby boomers would latch onto with all the fierceness of a lassoed Bantha.

Everybody loves Elvis. Who wouldn't want to see him alive and performing at the Sands in Vegas?

The faked Apollo moon landing theory rocketed during a time in which Americans had a high degree of distrust in the government, who were either trying to draft you to go fight a war in a rice paddy or up to their usual dirty tricks breaking into the Watergate hotel. Would it really be a stretch that such a government would totally fabricate their proudest, most historic achievement?

Which bridges us to the case of Sarah Palin.

Let me say categorically that I think the widely disseminated rumor that Sarah Palin is not the mother of her child Trig is totally false, although I know many well-informed and well-educated people who believe otherwise, and I certainly understand their theory.

I'm going to spend some time discussing the reasons why I think the Palin faked pregnancy story is not true, but first I think it is of interest to comment on why this story has really caught hold of the imagination of many.

Sarah Palin, after being thrust into the national consciousness as a Hail-Mary VP pass by McCain and the Republican Party, gave disastrous interviews with Charlie and Katie, which allowed the public begin to see the real unscripted Palin. All the while Troopergate was coming to head in Alaska, as well as other ethical issues dug up by a curious national news media. And a general consensus was formed about Sarah Palin by the public, and that consensus, held by all but her most ardent supporters, was that they disliked her. They saw her as phony, hypocritical and frightfully unprepared to be anywhere near the White House. She ended up with the highest negativity rating ever for any VP candidate, and an all-you-can-eat late night comedy feast.

So, the public loved Elvis and wanted to see him alive and there was a hopeful expectation that maybe he was still. And the general public disliked Sarah Palin and when the bizarre circumstances of the birth of her child Trig became generally known, the public wanted to believe that she was capable of faking a pregnancy in order to bolster her standing as a "family values" candidate by avoiding the baggage of a daughter who was about to become an unwed teenage mother. Avoiding that didn't quite work out for Palin as it turned out, but that didn't stop a vocal minority of conspiracy theorists to believe Palin capable of such chicanery earlier. The public wanted to believe the worst of Sarah Palin.

Which is kind of funny in a sad way when you think about it, because what the evidence very strongly suggests is that Palin was guilty of recklessly endangering the life of her unborn child, which to me is far worse than faking a pregnancy, to protect her political ambition and perhaps the reputation of her daughter. It's just not as sexy of a story, not one the public could latch onto with such fervor. Discussing ruptured membranes ain't exactly something to talk about at the dinner table. And since "life imitates art more than art imitates life" it's highly doubtful the Desperate Housewives' writers will be opening next season with one of the wives flying transcontinentally with preterm premature rupture of membranes.

The public couldn't understand why anyone would do anything other than take the greatest of care and every absolute precaution with the health of a special needs child, whose parent should have been their greatest advocate and protector.

The faked pregnancy theory was easier to believe. And so it was born.

But with birth eventually comes death, and so the conspiracy that was born should now be allowed to die so that the real issue can come to light: the questionable judgment of Sarah Palin, and the local news media's inadequate coverage which put the public it serves at risk.

A couple of Google searches and it's not difficult to figure out that the likelihood of a Down's pregnancy in a 44-year old woman is 25 times greater than that of a teenager. Of course, overall more Down's babies are born in the younger age groups but that is reflective of the greater numbers of pregnancies occurring in younger women than older women. That statistic alone should be convincing enough, but it is probably not.

Certainly looks can be deceiving, but Palin looked pregnant, as I noticed and questioned whether she was pregnant after seeing a photo of her on the ADN website several days before she announced she was expecting. And after delivery she appeared to carry the appropriate postpartum weight you would expect to see. As mothers we've all been there.

The argument against a conspiracy that bothers me most personally is this: the very idea that doctors or nurses would involve themselves willingly in a cover-up is absurd, and quite frankly, insulting. If while working I was asked to aid and abet an unethical activity I would have promptly turned in my badge and walked out. Reviewing this supposed scenario over and over I just don't see how this could have happened at any reputable medical facility.

If you are one that still believes Elvis is alive then it is doubtful I've convinced you that Palin is Trig's mom. I agree, it would be easy for Palin to refute the claim by providing Trig's birth certificate and/or photos of her immediately after delivery, looking tired and disheveled, just as I did, holding her precious new gift. Why she has yet to do so I haven't a clue. Does she enjoy the attention this controversy receives? I can't answer that. All I do know is that if someone questioned whether one of my kids was my own it would take me all of five minutes to prove it.

In a strange way I'd almost rather be writing about a faked pregnancy than what really happened and was reported on in the April 22nd issue of the ADN by reporter Lisa Demer as well as a KTUU evening news cast that interviewed Palin's father, Chuck Heath. Contrary to Demer's page A-7 headline, Palin did put Trig at risk by wanting an Alaska birth.

During that KTUU interview Health proclaimed his daughter's water broke in Texas but that she managed to avoid delivery until she returned to Alaska. To a labor and delivery nurse's ears, this was the equivalent of nails running down a chalkboard.

"She did what?? Is this really true, if so, what the hell was she thinking?? Why did her doctor allow her to do this??"

It wasn't until Demer's article appeared a couple of days later that some of my questions were answered, but were answered in such a manner that left me with more questions: questions of Palin's judgment. If you can't make good choices and decisions during the most critical time of one's life, can you or should you be trusted to make decisions at less critical times or for others??

Palin chose to fly to Texas for a Governor's conference at 35 weeks of pregnancy. Why she chose to go instead of sending a surrogate is unknown and unreported. According to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists late pregnancy air travel poses an increased risk of preterm labor and other complications such as premature rupture of membranes (leaking amniotic fluid). And the Governor, having already known Trig was a Down syndrome child, knew this was a higher than average risk pregnancy, since Down's children often have additional congenital problems such as cardiac issues.

Palin's water broke at 4:00 am Texas time and at that time was having contractions that were "different" than contractions she had previously, she informed her Alaska family physician Dr. Cathy Baldwin-Johnson. Palin reportedly told her physician she would be staying to deliver a luncheon address, one she was "determined to give."

The exact nature of any advice given by Dr. Baldwin-Johnson to Palin in these conversations is unclear and unreported. The very limited reporting here includes that Palin was having contractions, but "did not ask for a medical OK to fly." Whether she was advised to seek medical care with one of the hundreds of OB doctors and several well-equipped OB facilities in Dallas is unreported. Whether the risks of traveling with an undiagnosed complication of pregnancy in a high risk situation were discussed with Palin is unreported. Whether advice was given that it was absolutely safe to travel back or that the doctor advised her to return without a hands-on medical evaluation is unreported.

Any doctor who was at all prudent would have insisted that Palin be evaluated hands-on in Dallas, with appropriate fetal monitoring and verification of membrane status. Any mother who was at all prudent and interested in doing everything she could to protect the life of her unborn child would follow that advice and would have asked her doctor whether it was safe to fly, i.e. asked for a medical OK to fly. What would be the point of any conversations between Palin and her doctor if these incredibly important issues weren't asked and addressed? Physicians cannot diagnose over the phone. (Hopefully Palin didn't call to discuss the weather). We do know that if advice to be seen locally was given or that the risks of traveling long distances by air were discussed with the Governor, that advice and those risks were ignored by Palin.

The reason Palin made this decision is unclear. Todd Palin is quoted as saying "You can't have a fish picker from Texas", indicating that he found the possibility of Trig being born in Texas distasteful. Whether Todd Palin coerced the Governor to avoid medical care in Texas and return to Alaska is uncertain and unreported. What is true is that any woman presenting to an OB facility in Texas with ruptured membranes would not have been allowed to travel by air and would have required Palin to sign out Against Medical Advice (AMA) had she expressed an intent in flying back to Alaska to deliver. An AMA for a government leader would look very bad.

Having given her speech, Palin caught an earlier flight out of Dallas, a fact previously unreported. At the airport she did not inform the flight personnel that she was pregnant and was suffering a complication of pregnancy, thereby putting the entire flight at risk for diversion should further problems or delivery become eminent. Airliners are woefully inadequately prepared for medical emergencies and lack any proper equipment necessary to resuscitate a newborn. Even a 35-week fetus may have immature lung development.

Upon arrival to Alaska 11 hours later, she and her husband drove to Matsu-Regional Hospital in Palmer, a drive that usually takes at least an hour, rather than going to a larger facility in Anchorage, which was no more than 15 minutes from the airport and the only facility in the state with a Level III NICU. The reason for that is unknown and unreported. It is reported that the delivery had to be induced at Mat-Su Regional and the baby was delivered at 6:30 a.m.

Many who believe in the conspiracy theory cannot understand how a multiparous woman could manage to fly with preterm premature rupture of membranes for such an extended period of time without delivering. I wouldn't have made it with my rapid 2nd labor, so I can't answer that question. It simply isn't something I would have ever contemplated.

The notion that Palin had to be induced therefore she wasn't really is labor is grossly misunderstood by the general public. Inductions are NEVER done on a preterm pregnancy unless there is a known complication or problem with the fetus. If the governor had arrived at the hospital with ruptured membranes but without other complications, more than likely her family physician would have waited until the morning to begin induction, a usual routine at busy OB facilities. The fact that the governor's induction began in the middle of the night is strongly indicative that significant problems were occurring that warranted immediate attention, problems such as fetal distress or infection due to the extended time period of ruptured membranes.

The bottom line
Why Governor Palin chose to give a speech over seeking appropriate care for her unborn child is known only to Governor Palin, but her actions speak volumes to those of us listening, and listening carefully.

In my opinion I believe Governor Palin's actions indicated she knowingly and recklessly endangered the life of her unborn child.
She is incredibly fortunate that the outcome was ultimately positive, but someone else may not be so lucky, hence the failure of the local news media to do it's job to properly report and to warn others that Governor Palin's choices were not the wisest.

So why didn't they? A few possible answers:

1. Sensitivity to the governor during a difficult time giving birth to a baby that will require life-long intensive therapy if it is to achieve an IQ score higher than the Down's average of 40. That's fair enough.

2. Governor Palin sells newspapers to a segment of the population the news paper is targeting: females. We all know we shouldn't bite the hand that feeds us.

3. Popularity. Governor Palin's approval ratings were high at the time and the news paper supported the governor's position on various political issues such as increased oil taxation, etc.

Sarah Palin was lucky, Sarah Smith or Sarah Jones may not be. The ADN failed in it's obligation to the public it serves to fully inform and educate on potential public health and safety issues. The accolades the governor received for being a "tough Alaskan woman" may prove deadly for someone imitating her actions. Popularity trumped common sense and good sound journalism. Regardless of the sensitivity issue the ADN, even at a later date, should have yet failed to inform the public that the governor's actions were wrong, and dangerous.

Because of this failure I believe the ADN is partially culpable for this whole conspiracy theory. If they had done their job right to begin with, the details of the birth would have been more clear and this nonsense about faked pregnancy would have been supplanted by the clear realization that Palin risked the life of her unborn child, took absolutely no prudent precautions for reasons one cannot even imagine, all to avoid having a fish picker born in Texas.