Thursday

Sarah Palin by Ann Kilkenny


Hey, when you can't get Sarah to sit down
and speak honestly for herself, let someone who's
known her for years do so.

A note to all by Anne Kilkenny
Dear friends,

So many people have asked me about what I know about Sarah Palin in the last 2 days that I decided to write something up . . .

Basically, Sarah Palin and Hillary Clinton have only 2 things in common: their gender and their good looks. :)

You have my permission to forward this to your friends/email contacts with my name and email address attached, but please do not post it on any websites, as there are too many kooks out there . . .

Thanks,
Anne

ABOUT SARAH PALIN
I am a resident of Wasilla, Alaska. I have known Sarah since 1992. Everyone here knows Sarah, so it is nothing special to say we are on a first-name basis. Our children have attended the same schools. Her father was my child's favorite substitute teacher. I also am on a first name basis with her parents and mother-in-law. I attended more City Council meetings during her administration than about 99% of the residents of the city.

She is enormously popular; in every way she’s like the most popular girl in middle school. Even men who think she is a poor choice and won't vote for her can't quit smiling when talking about her because she is a "babe".


She’s not very tolerant of divergent opinions or open to outside ideas or compromise. As Mayor, she fought ideas that weren’t generated by her or her staff. Ideas weren’t evaluated on their merits, but on the basis of who proposed them.

While Sarah was Mayor of Wasilla she tried to fire our highly respected City Librarian because the Librarian refused to consider removing from the library some books that Sarah wanted removed. City residents rallied to the defense of the City Librarian and against Palin's
attempt at out-and-out censorship, so Palin backed down and withdrew her termination letter. People who fought her attempt to oust the Librarian are on her enemies list to this day.

Sarah complained about the “old boy’s club” when she first ran for Mayor, so what did she bring Wasilla? A new set of "old boys". Palin fired most of the experienced staff she inherited. At the City and as Governor she hired or elevated new, inexperienced, obscure people,
creating a staff totally dependent on her for their jobs and eternally grateful and fiercely loyal--loyal to the point of abusing their power to further her personal agenda, as she has acknowledged happened in the case of pressuring the State’s top cop (see below).

As Mayor, Sarah fired Wasilla’s Police Chief because he “intimidated” her, she told the press. As Governor, her recent firing of Alaska's top cop has the ring of familiarity about it. He served at her pleasure and she had every legal right to fire him, but it's pretty clear that an important factor in her decision to fire him was because he wouldn't fire her sister's ex-husband, a State Trooper.

Under investigation for abuse of power, she has had to admit that more than 2 dozen contacts were made between her staff and family to the person that she later fired, pressuring him to fire her ex-brother-in-law. She tried to replace the man she fired with a man who she knew had been reprimanded for sexual harassment; when this caused a public furor, she withdrew her support.

She has bitten the hand of every person who extended theirs to her in help. The City Council person who personally escorted her around town introducing her to voters when she first ran for Wasilla City Council became one of her first targets when she was later elected Mayor. She
abruptly fired her loyal City Administrator; even people who didn’t like the guy were stunned by this ruthlessness.

Fear of retribution has kept all of these people from saying anything publicly about her.

However, there’s a lot of people who have underestimated her and are regretting it.

Anne Kilkenny
August 31, 2008


So there you have it in a nutshell. She's a nut. She's in a shell.
She's a bully, a hypocrite and a liar. Do you really want her running the country?

Monday

Pillars of Democracy


Why does the following film contest sound like nonsense? Can you imagine making an anti govt documentary about "democracy" (which I'll assume most of them would be) and getting a prize for it?

State Dept. seeks democracy videos

Government teams with media orgs on contest

The U.S. State Dept. has revealed its latest diplomatic tool: user-generated content. At the U.N. on Monday, representatives revealed the Democracy Video Challenge, a government initiative co-sponsored with half a dozen high-profile media orgs including NBC Universal, the DGA and the MPAA.

The challenge in question will be to create a three-minute video completing the phrase “Democracy is...” in hopes of receiving a prize package that includes set visits, tickets to the Universal Studios L.A. theme park, and meetings with everyone from U.S. government officials to “new-media experts.”

Rather than attempting to monetize the content, sponsoring orgs will contribute various prizes and incentives, including PSAs promoting the competish on NBC (NBC News correspondent Richard Engel also presided over the afternoon’s launch party).

James Glassman, undersecretary of state for public diplomacy, said the initiative was aimed to “convene people for a conversation.” Glassman is a Bush appointee, but stressed that the initiative was thoroughly bipartisan and includes nonmedia sponsors like the Intl. Republican Institute and the National Democratic Institute.

The State Dept.’s Jonathan Margolis said he hoped that the contest would start “a dialogue on democracy” -- the prizes will go to regional winners from six different parts of the world, as well as one anonymous winner. Videos will be broadcast on YouTube. Entry deadline is Jan. 31.

Oooh! a Visit to a set!! (Fox news anyone?) Tickets to a studio tour!!! (Sign up here for propaganda, and you'll get free tickets to stuff we're selling you!!) Prizes will go to winners from six different parts of the world (can anyone spell Middle East? If they don't love us, let's have a contest so they can prove they love us! But then, you have to assume they like us enough to make videos praising our form of democracy with "Bombs From Above") and one "anonymous winner." Hilarious. Ya think Mr. Been Ladin' could even submit a video on democracy ("Democracy means never having to say you're sorry") or does this mean they have a ringer who's going to win anyway? Oy. What a country. What a concept!

Hmmm. A contest. With no cash prizes, but "prizes that we consider prizes." Sounds like the Bush description of the Economy. And if you don't agree with the govt's version of Democracy, (The VP pit bull Sarah Palin's version of Democracy, signing loyalty oaths, and harassing librarians, or ex brother in laws) you won't be put on the "do not travel" list. Even if you're Cat Stevens. Really.

So I went to the government website to see if they can define what "Democracy is." According to the website, there are "ELEVEN PILLARS OF DEMOCRACY. " (Why does this sound like the Seven Pillars of Islam? Just asking.) Here they are:

THE PILLARS OF DEMOCRACY
  • Sovereignty of the people.
  • Government based upon consent of the governed.
  • Majority rule.
  • Minority rights.
  • Guarantee of basic human rights.
  • Free and fair elections.
  • Equality before the law.
  • Due process of law.
  • Constitutional limits on government.
  • Social, economic, and political pluralism.
  • Values of tolerance, pragmatism, cooperation, and compromise.
Okay. The first 8 seems to make arguable sense. Sovereignty is "the exclusive right to have control over an area of governance, people, or oneself. A sovereign is the supreme lawmaking authority." (wiki) An exclusive RIGHT to have governance over ONESELF. That sounds amazingly like Choice to me. And Gay Rights. And all the things this administration has flaunted or ignore for 8 glorious years.

A Guarantee of Basic Human Rights: Human rights refers to the "basic rights and freedoms to which all humans are entitled."[1] Examples of rights and freedoms which are often thought of as human rights include civil and political rights, such as the right to life and liberty, freedom of expression, and equality before the law; and social, cultural and economic rights, including the right to participate in culture, the right to food, the right to work, and the right to education. (wiki)

Okay, now it's getting interesting. We know that Freedom of Expression isn't guaranteed by anyone, or you wouldn't be arrested for protesting in St. Paul. The right to food - Hmm.. not sure that's ever been enforced.. check out the food lines near your local shelter.. Right to work? I don't think so.. unless you're part of a govt. bailout - and the right to education... okay, it's all debatable. Some school systems seem like they're shelling out more rights than others, but again, debatable.

But now it gets interesting:
  • Constitutional limits on government.
  • Social, economic, and political pluralism.
  • Values of tolerance, pragmatism, cooperation, and compromise.
Excuse me? There's no definition of democracy anywhere that includes these three lemons - put there by whoever wrote this paragraph at the State Gov website.. hmm, a loyalist no doubt. . There's nothing about Constitutional limits on Govt, except in right wing blogs and books that quote the State dept. idea of democracy. Economic and political pluralism? Values of cooperation and compromise? Says who? I defy anyone to find a reference to the source of where this information came from - it sounds, once again, like an administration who hires faith based candidates over secular ones, or hires people who can wash the science out of the truth to fit their own reality. Really, who writes this nonsense?

So, to all you would be filmmakers out there - good luck defining Democracy as the State Dept defines it!!! You're in for some real prizes. Either way, this disclaimer at the bottom solves it all:

This site is produced and maintained by the U.S. Department of State's Bureau of International Information Programs.
Links to other internet sites should not be construed as an endorsement of the views contained therein.

And on a final note - anyone catch McCain's daughter Meghan on Larry King tonight? A slight slip of the tongue where she said she was blogging about her father "The President." The bit about her being "obsessed" by Sarah Palin - c'mon, she's gotta be kidding. Her father only met her once before picking her and his daughter is "obsessed" by her? I'm sure Palin's kids are cute and wonderful.. but c'mon. "Impressed" I could believe. Obsessed sounds like a word that's been fed to Meghan.

I think Sarah's a creep, a bully, a hypocrite and a prevaricator of the highest degree - and the worst choice McShame could have picked for a VP. Notice these words are gender free. If it was about her being a talented women, there are many others with much more credits and service to the nation who should have been considered - but this is such a Karl Rove choice it's nauseating. And now she's refusing to answer questions about Troopergate, when it was the Republicans in Alaska who brought the charges. Obsessed? Oy. What a country. What a concept.

My two cents.



Sunday

Sarah Palin skewered by a Rich Frank

Back to the topic at hand. Normally I'm not crazy about Frank Rich. But I found this article insightful on our pal, Sarah Pal-in

Op-Ed Columnist

The Palin-Whatshisname Ticket

Published: September 13, 2008

WITH all due deference to lipstick, let’s advance the story. A week ago the question was: Is Sarah Palin qualified to be a heartbeat away from the presidency? The question today: What kind of president would Sarah Palin be?

Fred R. Conrad/The New York Times

Frank Rich

Barry Blitt

It’s an urgent matter, because if we’ve learned anything from the G.O.P. convention and its aftermath, it’s that the 2008 edition of John McCain is too weak to serve as America’s chief executive. This unmentionable truth, more than race, is now the real elephant in the room of this election.

No longer able to remember his principles any better than he can distinguish between Sunnis and Shia, McCain stands revealed as a guy who can be easily rolled by anyone who sells him a plan for “victory,” whether in Iraq or in Michigan. A McCain victory on Election Day will usher in a Palin presidency, with McCain serving as a transitional front man, an even weaker Bush to her Cheney.

The ambitious Palin and the ruthless forces she represents know it, too. You can almost see them smacking their lips in anticipation, whether they’re wearing lipstick or not.

This was made clear in the most chilling passage of Palin’s acceptance speech. Aligning herself with “a young farmer and a haberdasher from Missouri” who “followed an unlikely path to the vice presidency,” she read a quote from an unidentified writer who, she claimed, had praised Truman: “We grow good people in our small towns, with honesty and sincerity and dignity.” Then Palin added a snide observation of her own: Such small-town Americans, she said, “run our factories” and “fight our wars” and are “always proud” of their country. As opposed to those lazy, shiftless, unproud Americans — she didn’t have to name names — who are none of the above.

There were several creepy subtexts at work here. The first was the choice of Truman. Most 20th-century vice presidents and presidents in both parties hailed from small towns, but she just happened to alight on a Democrat who ascended to the presidency when an ailing president died in office. Just as striking was the unnamed writer she quoted. He was identified by Thomas Frank in The Wall Street Journal as the now largely forgotten but once powerful right-wing Hearst columnist Westbrook Pegler.

Palin, who lies with ease about her own record, misrepresented Pegler’s too. He decreed America was “done for” after Truman won a full term in 1948. For his part, Truman regarded the columnist as a “guttersnipe,” and with good reason. Pegler was a rabid Joe McCarthyite who loathed F.D.R. and Ike and tirelessly advanced the theory that American Jewish immigrants from Eastern Europe (“geese,” he called them) were all likely Communists.

Surely Palin knows no more about Pegler than she does about the Bush doctrine. But the people around her do, and they will be shaping a Palin presidency. That they would inject not just Pegler’s words but spirit into their candidate’s speech shows where they’re coming from. Rick Davis, the McCain campaign manager, said that the Palin-sparked convention created “a whole new Republican Party,” but what it actually did was exhume an old one from its crypt.

The specifics have changed in our new century, but the vitriolic animus of right-wing populism preached by Pegler and McCarthy and revived by the 1990s culture wars remains the same. The game is always to pit the good, patriotic real Americans against those subversive, probably gay “cosmopolitan” urbanites (as the sometime cross-dresser Rudy Giuliani has it) who threaten to take away everything that small-town folk hold dear.

The racial component to this brand of politics was undisguised in St. Paul. Americans saw a virtually all-white audience yuk it up when Giuliani ridiculed Barack Obama’s “only in America” success as an affirmative-action fairy tale — and when he and Palin mocked Obama’s history as a community organizer in Chicago. Neither party has had so few black delegates (1.5 percent) in the 40 years since the Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies started keeping a record.

But race is just one manifestation of the emotion that defined the Palin rollout. That dominant emotion is fear — an abject fear of change. Fear of a demographical revolution that will put whites in the American minority by 2042. Fear of the technological revolution and globalization that have gutted those small towns and factories Palin apotheosized.

And, last but hardly least, fear of illegal immigrants who do the low-paying jobs that Americans don’t want to do and of legal immigrants who do the high-paying jobs that poorly educated Americans are not qualified to do. No less revealing than Palin’s convention invocation of Pegler was the pointed omission of any mention of immigration, once the hottest Republican issue, by either her or McCain. Saying the word would have cued an eruption of immigrant-bashing ugliness, Pegler-style, before a national television audience. That wouldn’t play in the swing states of Colorado, New Mexico and Nevada, where Obama already has a more than 2-to-1 lead among Hispanic voters. (Bush captured roughly 40 percent of the Hispanic vote in 2004.)

Since St. Paul, Democrats have been feasting on the hypocrisy of the Palin partisans, understandably enough. The same Republicans who attack Democrats for being too P.C. about race now howl about sexism with such abandon you half-expect Phyllis Schlafly and Carly Fiorina to stage a bra-burning. The same gang that once fueled Internet rumors and media feeding frenzies over the Clintons’ private lives now express pious outrage when the same fate befalls the Palins.

But the ultimate hypocrisy is that these woebegone, frightened opponents of change, sworn enemies of race-based college-admission initiatives, are now demanding their own affirmative action program for white folks applying to the electoral college. They want the bar for admission to the White House to be placed so low that legitimate scrutiny and criticism of Palin’s qualifications, record and family values can all be placed off limits. Byron York of National Review, a rare conservative who acknowledges the double standard, captured it best: “If the Obamas had a 17-year-old daughter who was unmarried and pregnant by a tough-talking black kid, my guess is if they all appeared onstage at a Democratic convention and the delegates were cheering wildly, a number of conservatives might be discussing the issue of dysfunctional black families.”

The cunning of the Palin choice as a political strategy is that a candidate who embodies fear of change can be sold as a “maverick” simply because she looks the part. Her marketers have a lot to work with. Palin is not only the first woman on a Republican presidential ticket, but she is young, vibrant and a Washington outsider with no explicit connection to Bush or the war in Iraq. That package looks like change even if what’s inside is anything but.

How do you run against that flashy flimflam? You don’t. Karl Rove for once gave the Democrats a real tip rather than a bum steer when he wrote last week that if Obama wants to win, “he needs to remember he’s running against John McCain for president,” not Palin for vice president. Obama should keep stepping up the blitz on McCain’s flip-flops, confusion, ignorance and blurriness on major issues (from education to an exit date from Iraq), rather than her gaffes and résumé. If he focuses voters on the 2008 McCain, the Palin question will take care of itself.

Obama’s one break last week was the McCain camp’s indication that it’s likely to minimize its candidate’s solo appearances by joining him at the hip with Palin. There’s a political price to be paid for this blatant admission that he needs her to draw crowds. McCain’s conspicuous subservience to his younger running mate’s hard-right ideology and his dependence on her electioneering energy raise the question of who has the power in this relationship and who is in charge. A strong and independent woman or the older ward who would be bobbing in a golf cart without her? The more voters see that McCain will be the figurehead for a Palin presidency, the more they are likely to demand stepped-up vetting of the rigidly scripted heir apparent.

But Obama’s most important tactic is still the one he has the most trouble executing. He must convey a roll-up-your-sleeves Bobby Kennedy passion for the economic crises that are at the heart of the fears that Palin is trying to exploit. The Republican ticket offers no answers to those anxieties. Drilling isn’t going to lower gas prices or speed energy independence. An increase in corporate tax breaks isn’t going to end income inequality, provide health care or save American jobs in a Palin presidency any more than they did in a Bush presidency.

This election is still about the fierce urgency of change before it’s too late. But in framing this debate, it isn’t enough for Obama to keep presenting McCain as simply a third Bush term. Any invocation of the despised president — like Iraq — invites voters to stop listening. Meanwhile, before our eyes, McCain is turning over the keys to his administration to ideologues and a running mate to Bush’s right.

As Republicans know best, fear does work. If Obama is to convey just what’s at stake, he must slice through the campaign’s lipstick jungle and show Americans the real perils that lie around the bend.

Shame on Metrolink

Okay, I'm time out from piling on Palin to point out the phoniness of the Metrolink announcement, moments after the crash of its train headlong into a freight train that the cause was "due to an engineer who ignored the red signal."

Now, what about this statement seems unusual? Do companies usually claim responsibility before the facts are in? Why would they do that? Out of compassion?

Hmm. A casual search shows that a company called Viola is responsible for putting engineers on the trains. Interesting. The govt outsources the people who run the trains. And Viola is owned by a worldwide conglomerate.. so.. what is Metrolink's responsibility?

They maintain the track. Oh, I get it - you decide to put trains on a single track (where else in the world do trains run on one track? Are we saving track space? Apparently only in California). Then you blame the dead engineer, because obviously he can't say that the equipment was faulty.. he can't say anything. So why not blame the dead guy because then Metrolink won't be RESPONSIBLE?

Or am I just being too cynical?

Now there's an outcry that there was a "rush to judgment." How about a heinous act by an evil corporate entity? Wow. Cravenness, callousness abounds.

That's my two cents and I'm spending them here. Here's the NY TIMES.. repeating what Metrolink told them was the case.. and it ain't the case yet, now is it?


LOS ANGELES — An engineer who ran a red signal here and crashed head-on into a freight train likely caused the nation’s deadliest commuter train wreck in nearly four decades, a spokeswoman for the rail line said Saturday.

Skip to next paragraph
Monica Almeida/The New York Times

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger toured the scene in the San Fernando Valley on Saturday as the investigation continued. More Photos »

The death toll rose to at least 25 from the collision on Friday of the northbound Metrolink train carrying about 225 passengers and the freight train in Chatsworth, a mostly residential district in the northwest San Fernando Valley, officials said. The number of dead may rise, they said, because of the 135 people injured, 40 were in critical condition.

The federal investigation into the crash had just begun, but a rail line spokeswoman, Denise Tyrrell said, “Our preliminary investigation shows it was a Metrolink engineer that failed to stop at a red signal and was the probable cause of the accident.” She acknowledged that it was unusual for the agency to announce findings before a federal team investigates.

The crash was the deadliest commuter train accident in the nation since 1972, when 45 people died in Chicago, and the deadliest train crash of any kind since the 1993 Amtrak crash in Mobile, Ala., in which 47 people died.

At the crash site, firefighters and other rescue workers toiled nonstop Saturday, sifting through and searching for bodies under tons of twisted metal, shattered glass, charred seats and engine parts.

The engineer was the only one of five train workers — three on the freight train and two on the commuter railroad — to die in the crash, Ms. Tyrrell said. She said the engineer, whom she did not identify, worked for an Amtrak subcontractor that had been used by Metrolink since 1998.

Ms. Tyrrell said her agency’s preliminary findings determined that the signal on the track was working properly, and that both trains appeared to be traveling about 40 miles per hour. The conductor of the train, who gives the commands to the engineer, was being interviewed by law enforcement officials, she said.

Metrolink disclosed its findings so quickly, she said, because officials of the rail line, “want to remain on honorable grounds with the community.”

“One way to do that is to be honest and forthright from the beginning,” she said, adding, “We don’t come to this conclusion lightly.”

National Transportation Safety Board officials were far less conclusive. A safety board member, Kitty Higgins, said that while the agency could “absolutely not rule out” human error, it would examine track signals, equipment and many other factors. Three data recorders taken from the two trains, as well as a video recorder from the freight train, would be analyzed, she said.

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger of California, who arrived at the scene midafternoon, said, “The investigation, of course, continues on.”

At a news conference, Mayor Antonio R. Villaraigosa of Los Angeles said the last of the dead had just been pulled from the wreckage of the freight train’s 11 boxcars and the three Metrolink cars, which had been traveling from downtown to the city’s northern suburbs. The mayor quoted a firefighter who he said had told him: “It was very, very difficult. It was like peeling an onion, to find all the victims.”

Nearby, the Los Angeles County coroner set up a large tan air-conditioned tent in the grassy area between the wreck and Chatsworth Hills Academy.

Many passengers described how their quiet commute had been dotted with chatter about the coming weekend until it was punctured by instant terror and carnage shortly before 4:30 p.m. Friday.

Passengers flew into one another’s laps; nearly severed limbs became tangled together, and blood spilled along the cars’ aisles. In some cases, the living were trapped beneath the bodies of the dead.

The first sound was “a huge explosion,” said Greg Tevis, 59, who regularly rides the train from his downtown law office.

“People who had their legs under the seats got broken legs,” Mr. Tevis said. “People were moaning; you had to get them off the train. One lady was trapped under a seat, and we asked her if she wanted us to pull her out, because we didn’t know whether her spinal cord was hurt. She said to take her out.”

Rebecca Cathcart and Michael Parrish contributed reporting from Los Angeles, and Matthew L. Wald from Washington.

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