Back Home, Palin Finds a New Landscape

Please read article, cited after the quote. Articles open in a new window.

“Todd Heisler/The New York Times

Many in Alaska said they did not know what to expect from Gov. Sarah Palin, shown Tuesday in a stop at a local coffee shop, now that she was back in the state.

Published: November 8, 2008

ANCHORAGE — Gov. Sarah Palin has returned to Alaska fully recast and amplified.

Adored by many national conservatives, Ms. Palin is a prospect for a presidential run in 2012, supporters say. Caricatured by opponents, she is a candidate for political oblivion, say others.”


Palin Gets Pranked by Canadian Radio Station.

Palin Gets Pranked by Canadian Radio Station.

1 11 2008

In a prank call lasting about six minutes, Governor Palin believes she is talking to French President Nicolas Sarkozy. I guess Palin went “rogue.” And obviously they don’t vet their calls.

MONTREAL – A Quebec comedy duo notorious for prank calls to celebrities and heads of state has reached Sarah Palin, convincing the Republican vice-presidential nominee she was speaking with French President Nicolas Sarkozy.

In the roughly six-minute telephone interview released Saturday, Palin and the pranksters known as the Masked Avengers discuss politics, pundits, and the perils of hunting with Vice-President Dick Cheney.

Throughout the conversation, there are plenty of clues that something’s amiss.

He identifies French singer and actor Johnny Hallyday as his special adviser to the U.S., singer Stef Carse as Canada’s prime minister and Quebec comedian and radio host Richard Z. Sirois as the provincial premier.

What a colossal, embarrasing PR disaster just 3 days out! Wonder how McCain will take it?

UPDATE: A full transcript is available on Daily Kos for those of you who can’t bring yourselves to listen to the whole thing, which is impossible to do without palms on face.  Here’s a portion of it: (FNS is fake Nicholas Sarkozy and SP is Sarah Palin)

FNS: I just want to be sure, I don’t’ quite understand the phenomenon “Joe the Plumber,” that’s not your husband, right?
SP: Mmhmm, that’s not my husband but he’s a normal American who just works hard and doesn’t want government to take his money.

FNS: Yes, yes, I understand, we have the equivalent of Joe the Plumber in France, it’s called, “Marcel, the guy with bread under his armpit, oui.”
SP: Right. That’s what it’s all about, is the middle class, and government needing to work for them. You’re a very good example for us here.

FNS: I  seen a bit about NBC even Fox News wasn’t an ally, an ally, sorry, about as much as usual.
SP: Yeah that’s what we’re up against.

FNS: I must say, Governor Palin, I love the documentary they made on your life, you know, Hustler’s “Nailin Palin.”
SP:  Oh, good, thank you. Yes.

FNS: That was really edgy.
SP: [Laughs] Well good.

Prominent Alaskans Demand an Apology from the McCain-Palin Campaign.

Prominent Alaskans Demand an Apology from the McCain-Palin Campaign.

1 11 2008

One of the most interesting things about living in Alaska is that you get a true appreciation of how large and how small it is – large geographically, and small socially.  The fact that there are so few people means that it’s almost impossible to spend a day doing errands without running in to someone you know, it’s common to find out that two of your unrelated friends actually know each other, and that engaged citizens can really affect positive change in the political process.  Another consequence of this “smallness factor” is that those who hold public office, and do a good job, become very well respected in the community.  Everyone knows who they are, and when they have something to say, people listen.

People generally respect one another here.  You learn quickly that you’d better treat people well or it might come back to haunt you. The guy you just told off will undoubtedly end up being your kid’s soccer coach, or the guy who pulls over to help you change a tire when it’s 20 below zero.  The woman that just made you land on the horn in traffic is undoubtedly going to be standing next to you in line wherever you’re going, or will be serving you your lunch.

This is why Alaskans, regardless of their political affiliation, watched in horror as Megan Stapleton (former local newscaster turned Palin spokeswoman) and attorney Ed O’Callaghan (an ‘outsider’ hired by the McCain campaign) started giving press conferences, calling themselves the “Truth Squad”.  The Truth Squad’s purpose it seemed, was to sully the reputation of former Commissioner of Public Safety Walt Monegan.  According to the independent investigator hired by the Alaska State Legislature, Palin abused her power in his firing.  She wanted Monegan to fire her ex-brother in law, an Alaska State Trooper who she felt had wronged her family.  Monegan couldn’t legally act, because the matter was already closed.  Palin fired him anyway.

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Keith Olbermann: Palin doesn’t have a problem with Alaska’s socialistic collectivism

Keith Olbermann: Palin doesn’t have a problem with Alaska’s socialistic collectivism

By: Keith Olbermann

Oct. 28: In a Special Campaign Comment, Keith Olbermann cites yet another example of the McCain campaign accusing Barack Obama of something of which they themselves are guilty. In this case, Sarah Palin is accusing Barack Obama of advocating socialism when she literally used that word to describe the collective wealth sharing in her home state of Alaska.

See video at Link Below:

Palin Pipeline Terms Curbed Bids

Palin Pipeline Terms Curbed Bids

by Justin Pritchard and Garance Burke

ANCHORAGE, Alaska – Gov. Sarah Palin’s signature accomplishment – a contract to build a 1,715-mile pipeline to bring natural gas from Alaska to the Lower 48 – emerged from a flawed bidding process that narrowed the field to a company with ties to her administration, an Associated Press investigation shows.

[In this July 3, 2007 file photo, Department of Revenue commissioner Patrick Galvin, right, with Gov. Sarah Palin, center, and Marty Rutherford, Department of Natural Resources deputy commissioner answers question during a news conference in Anchorage, Alaska, after Palin began calling for applications to build a natural gas pipeline. (AP Photo/Al Grillo)]In this July 3, 2007 file photo, Department of Revenue commissioner Patrick Galvin, right, with Gov. Sarah Palin, center, and Marty Rutherford, Department of Natural Resources deputy commissioner answers question during a news conference in Anchorage, Alaska, after Palin began calling for applications to build a natural gas pipeline. (AP Photo/Al Grillo)

Beginning at the Republican National Convention in August, the McCain-Palin ticket has touted the pipeline as an example of how it would help America achieve energy independence.

“We’re building a nearly $40 billion natural gas pipeline, which is North America’s largest and most expensive infrastructure project ever, to flow those sources of energy into hungry markets,” Palin said during the Oct. 2 vice presidential debate.

Despite Palin’s boast of a smart and fair bidding process, the AP found that her team crafted terms that favored only a few independent pipeline companies and ultimately benefited the winner, TransCanada Corp.

And contrary to the ballyhoo, there’s no guarantee the pipeline will ever be built; at a minimum, any project is years away, as TransCanada must first overcome major financial and regulatory hurdles.

In interviews and a review of records, the AP found:

  • Instead of creating a process that would attract many potential builders, Palin slanted the terms away from an important group – the global energy giants that own the rights to the gas.
  • Despite promises and legal guidance not to talk directly with potential bidders, Palin had meetings or phone calls with nearly every major candidate, including TransCanada.
  • The leader of Palin’s pipeline team had been a partner at a lobbying firm where she worked on behalf of a TransCanada subsidiary. Also, that woman’s former business partner at the lobbying firm was TransCanada’s lead private lobbyist on the pipeline deal, interacting with legislators in the weeks before the vote to grant TransCanada the contract. Plus, a former TransCanada executive served as an outside consultant to Palin’s pipeline team.
  • Under a different set of rules four years earlier, TransCanada had offered to build the pipeline without a state subsidy; under Palin, the company could receive a maximum $500 million.

“Governor Palin held firmly to her fundamental belief that Alaska could best serve Alaskans and the nation’s interests by pursuing a competitive approach to building a natural gas pipeline,” said McCain-Palin spokesman Taylor Griffin. “There was an open and transparent process that subjected the decision to extensive public scrutiny and due diligence.”


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Palin quizzed over Alaska sacking

Palin quizzed over Alaska sacking

Sarah Palin campaigns in Ohio, 23 Oct

Mrs Palin rejected the first ethics inquiry as politically motivated

US Republican vice-presidential nominee Sarah Palin has been questioned under oath over her alleged abuse of power as governor of Alaska.

Meanwhile, Barack Obama has halted campaigning to see his seriously ill grandmother, speaking of concerns that she might not live until election day.

Polls show Mr Obama’s lead growing in some states, but narrowing in Florida.

His Republican rival John McCain is in Colorado as he seeks to take advantage of Mr Obama’s absence from the trail.

Ethics questions

Mrs Palin took a break from campaigning in Pennsylvania and Missouri on Friday to give her deposition to the Alaska Personnel Board investigation.

The governor is accused of violating ethics rules when she fired the state’s top law enforcement official, Walt Monegan, allegedly because he refused to sack her former brother-in-law, a state trooper.

Barack Obama campaigns in Indianapolis, 23 Oct

Mr Obama will return to the campaign trail on Saturday

Mrs Palin spoke to the independent lawyer leading the inquiry – which was requested by herself – in an interview which lasted several hours.

Her husband, Todd, also gave a deposition to the lawyer, Timothy Petumenos.

An initial investigation by Alaska’s state legislature found Mrs Palin did have the authority to remove Mr Monegan from his post but had breached ethics laws by seeking to have her ex-brother-in-law fired.

The McCain-Palin campaign dismissed the probe as politically motivated.

After Mrs Palin’s testimony, campaign spokesman Taylor Griffin said she considered the deposition “an opportunity to get an unbiased, independent review of the facts”.

‘Gravely ill’

Mr Obama has travelled to Hawaii to be with Madelyn Dunham, his 85-year-old grandmother, and will return to the campaign trail on Saturday.

“Without going through the details too much, she’s gravely ill,” he told ABC news.

“We weren’t sure and I’m still not sure whether she makes it to election day.”

Mr Obama’s visit to his grandmother comes as two leading Republicans announced they had chosen to endorse him rather than their party’s own candidate.

Former Bush White House press secretary Scott McClellan and former Republican Minnesota Governor Arne Carlson threw their weight behind Mr Obama.

The news, only days after former Secretary of State Colin Powell gave his endorsement to the Democratic candidate, may dent Mr McCain’s efforts to seize back the initiative, correspondents say.

Mr Obama also received an endorsement from the New York Times.

The newspaper said it was backing the Democratic candidate because he “has the will and the ability to forge the broad political consensus that is essential to finding solutions to this nation’s problems”.

Mr McCain spent Thursday campaigning in the key I-4 corridor in central Florida, travelling from the Atlantic coast to Sarasota on the Gulf of Mexico.

John and Cindy McCain in Florida, 23 Oct

John McCain has been attacking Mr Obama over tax policy

He has been stepping up his attacks on Mr Obama as a tax-and-spend Democrat who wants to share the wealth.

“He’s more concerned about using taxes to spread the wealth than creating a tax plan that creates jobs and grows our economy,” Senator McCain told a cheering crowd at an Ormond Beach, Florida.

A Quinnipiac poll of Florida voters indicated that Mr Obama’s eight-point lead on 1 October had contracted to 5%.

A Tour of the Alaska Federation of Natives Convention – Surprise Troopergate Spottings!

A Tour of the Alaska Federation of Natives Convention – Surprise Troopergate Spottings!

23 10 2008

I went to meet a friend today at the AFN Convention in downtown Anchorage. AFN stands for Alaska Federation of Natives. Every year, Native Alaskans come from all over the state to meet in Anchorage. The event is cultural, social, political, and practical. Today was the opening day, and I was scheduled to meet my friend for lunch. I looked up the program online and discovered that our Governor was due to address the convention at 10:30, so I planned my trip accordingly.

The convention was held in the newly opened Dena’ina Convention Center, and it was the first sizeable event held there. The first actual event held there was the Sarah Palin Welcome Home rally which I attended undercover….but that was hardly sizeable.

The facility is quite impressive, and able to hold many thousands of people.

Beautiful hanging 2-story art featuring Alaskan critters.

Beautiful hanging 2-story art featuring Alaskan critters.

I slipped in a seat just in time to hear Anchorage Mayor Mark Begich deliver a nice address.  He had a big hand in getting the convention center built, and talked about the process of giving it an Alaskan Native name.  He also talked about his six years as Mayor, his past experiences hosting AFN Conventions in his city, “Alaska’s largest native village,” and his travels around the state.  He, of course, is campaigning heavily right now in his attempt to dethrone Ted Stevens, and take the Senate seat that Stevens has held….forever.  He finished up and was met with rousing applause and a standing ovation.  Enthusiasm factor on a scale of 1-10:  8

Then, the recorded announcement from Sarah Palin.  She was flanked by flags, and sat next to a big vase of white roses.  I can’t tell you exactly what she said, but you can probably imagine.  She went on about how Todd and her kids are part Native, and they “cherish their Native heritage” (a point disputed by several Native people I know), and talked about comin’ together, and seekin’ change, and energy costs, and her travels around the state, and her travel to Kuwait, and the Alaska National Guard.   Then there was a reminder of the $1200 energy rebate checks everyone got, and how they came out early this year. (Sounds awful “spread-the-wealth-around” to me…)  There was a strained reference to Native legend, trying to tie something in to a story about the Raven.  Then a folksy story about two frogs stranded in a pail of milk.  One gave up and died, the other kept kicking until the milk turned in to butter and then hopped out.  She learned this story from embattled Attorney General Talis Colberg, who is under pressure to resign becuase of his conduct in the Troopergate fiasco, when he told state employees they didn’t need to comply with legislative subpoenas.   I’m guessing this little fable is meant to let us know that no, he will not be stepping down any time soon…he’s just gonna be kickin’ away until unethical behavior turns in to butter.  As a matter of fact, Sarah told us, Talis Colberg himself will be heading up a sub-cabinet on rural affairs.

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