Tag Archives: Sarah Palin

Making Fun of Republicans

Always a treat, but not always possible.  I spend most of my time being scared of them.  But these days, we have a unique opportunity here in Florida to watch them squirm. 

First of all, the RPOF (Republican Party of Florida) is bankrupt.  And I mean that in the financial sense, not in the idea or moral arenas.  Well, not officially, quite, but I read in the paper last week that they have like $1,000 in the bank and $400,000 in debts.  That may have something to do with the fact that their former chairman stole a bunch of money from them.    I can’t remember, but I don’t think he’s in jail–yet. 

Now they are totally screwed.  Rick Scott won the Republican primary.  Rick Scott is not really a Republican, he just ran as one and won.  His “ideas” are more in line with the Tea Party, although granted, it’s getting harder and harder to tell the difference.  The RPOF backed his opponent, the so-called “establishment candidate”, Bill McCollum, who is the current State Attorney General.  Bill was about the most lackluster, milquetoast candidate you could have picked, and as far as I can tell, has never had an original idea in his head.  It takes him an average of two months, once someone else has put forward a position, for him to say, “Oh yeah–I’m for that too.”  Normally I would be for more civilized dialogue, but one of my fellow citizens this week called him an “ankle-biting cretin”.

So the RPOF hates Rick Scott and the feeling is mutual.  But now you should see them trying to backtrack.  Now they are “embracing” him.  Let’s let bygones be bygones, they say.  The alternative, as one uncharacteristicly honest Republican said, is for the Democratic candidate to win.  No evidence that Rick Scott is embracing back.  He doesn’t need them.  And here’s why the RPOF is screwed:  Scott won by putting $50 million of his own money into his campaign.   The RPOF doesn’t have the money to back him now, even if they were so inclined.  And the worst of it?  As one analyst said, “I expect the wallets to slam shut now.”

So they’re broke, and nobody is going to be rushing forward to give money to a gajillionaire. 

Rick Scott’s campaign slogan is “Let’s get to work”.  Since part of his plan is to cut state government by 20% (and Florida already has the lowest per capita payroll for state employees of any other state), he’s going to have to work extra hard.  He’ll have to be doing about 5 jobs, including emptying the trash and vacuuming his office before he leaves every day at 11:00 P.M. 

I am so extremely tired of the simplistic slogans and buzzwords, but more tired of the fact that they seem to resonate with too much of the electorate.  If Scott wins the governorship, about the best thing you can hope for is that he won’t be able to accomplish most of what he promises.  If he is, then the government of Florida will collapse.  It will be like Wall Street, where they credit default swapped themselves into disaster. 

Scott is so bad that even Sarah Palin hasn’t endorsed him (so far).

Sarah Palin and Three-Syllable Words

Sorry.  I’ve taken it long enough, and I just can’t stay quiet about Sarah any longer.  Here’s the thing I hate most about the Sarah Palin phenomenon:  you can’t criticize her.  If you’re male, you’re a sexist; if you’re female, you just hate her because she’s beautiful.  And there’s no argument to counter that.  It’s like the old joke about asking when you stopped beating your wife.  As soon as you start to say, “But I never…”, you realize you’ve been trapped.  If you’re a liberal critic, that goes double for you, and if you’re a liberal critic in the media, triple.  Said another way by Judith Warner of the NY Times:

“The idea that women with a “major education” think they’re better than everyone else, have a great sense of entitlement, feel they deserve special treatment, and are too out of touch with the lives of “normal” women to have a legitimate point of view, is a 21st-century version of the long-held belief that education makes women uppity and leads them to forget their rightful place. It’s precisely the kind of thinking that has fueled Sarah Palin’s unlikely — and continued — ability to pass herself off as the consummately “real” American woman. (And it is what has made it possible for her supporters to discredit other women’s criticism of her as elitist cat fighting.)”–July 9, 2009 

That’s why I have viewed the reactions of conservatives over the last week with great glee.  They aren’t so easy to dismiss.  First there is David Brooks, who technically isn’t a conservative, he’s a moderate, but he’s the most liberal of the people I’ll refer to here, not counting Warner.  His op-ed In Search of Dignity concludes that Sarah Palin and Mark Sanford have none; Obama does.    To quote him:  “Then there was Sarah Palin’s press conference. Here was a woman who aspires to a high public role but is unfamiliar with the traits of equipoise and constancy, which are the sources of authority and trust.”  He says worse, but you get the drift. 

Then there was Russ Douthat who wrote about Palin and Her Enemies.  He’s quite a bit more sympathetic to Palin than most, but he says she should have said no to John McCain.  Well of course.  But her ego would not have allowed that. 

Now today, there is Kathleen Parker, who I guess is pretty enough and conservative enough to get away with her criticisms.  Her column from yesterday begins:

“WHEN YOU’RE up to your waders in barracuda, blame the media.

And quit your job.

And say you did it for the people.

And hire an agent.

And try to keep a straight face.

On your way to the bank.”

Parker ends her column by saying that if this is altruism, “there’s a lakeside house in Wasilla with a fabulous view of Russia you’re just gonna love”.

By far, however, the comment that struck home with me was by, of all people, Jeb Bush.  (What is the world coming to?)  Here’s a summary from CNN Political Ticker, although the actual interview with Jeb is in Esquire magazine.  There’s a link to it in the CNN article if you’d prefer to go to the source.  The relevant quote: 

“Told that Joe the Plumber had briefed congressional Republicans on Gaza, Bush launched into a defense of intellectualism. “I think it’s okay to have a deeper understanding of things. I think it’s okay to talk in three-syllable words. The world we’re living in is incredibly complex,” he told the magazine. “And simplifying things to the point where you’re misunderstanding where we are as a nation isn’t going to help people overcome their fears or give them hope that they can achieve great things. I don’t get inspired by shameless populism.”  Shameless populism?  He may have been talking about Joe the Plumber, but who else does that remind you of?  Also when asked who he thought the leaders of the Republican Party are, Sarah wasn’t mentioned. 

So while listening to Sarah’s garbled speech and cutesy folkisms (Only dead fish go with the flow?  Huh?)  may make me grind my teeth together, I am comforted by this prediction:  she will never be either President or VP.  The Republican Party will not let that happen.  I’m not sure she’ll ever make it to Congress either.  Maybe she should try to run for mayor of Wasilla again, if there are enough people even there who still trust her.

Wrap Rage and Sarah Palin

Now that we’ve determined who the Leader of the Free World will be for the next four years–and I use that term somewhat facetiously, I’ll bet there are leaders of several other free countries in the world who chafe at that title–it’s time to turn our attention to other important matters we’ve been neglecting.  I refer in this case to wrap rage.  Today’s New York Times had an article on the front page taking up this important issue.  http://www.nytimes.com/2008/11/15/technology/internet/15packaging.html?ei=5070&emc=eta1

But before I go further, let me say that thankfully, we don’t have to leave the election completely behind.  We still have Sarah Palin to kick around, because she keeps opening her mouth.  This week both Maureen Dowd and Dick Cavett (who called Sarah the Wild Wordsmith of Wasilla) have published opinion pieces in the New York Times referring to Sarah’s mangling of the English language.  It’s one thing to listen to her in person, but when you actually read a transcript of what she’s said, you realize there is no There there. 

Lewis Carroll, in his poem Jabberwocky, used nonsense words to make sentences, and I quote:  “Twas brillig and the slithy toves did gyre and gimble in the wabe.”  Now that sentence would make perfect sense, if you knew what brillig and toves and wabes were.  By contrast, Sarah Palin uses perfectly good English words, but manages to string them together in such a way that the end result doesn’t make sense even if you understand the individual words. 

On to wrap rage.  You will understand this perfectly.  The wrap refers to those hard plastic packages that small electronics and many other items come in.  The ones you can’t open.  Scissors sometimes don’t work.  I’ve been known to use the same clippers I use to cut down small tree seedlings to get into these packages.  Once I tried to melt the edges of one of the packages with a cigarette lighter, and strange fumes floated into the air…when I woke up, I noticed that all the dogs were hovering in the furthest corner of the back yard and the cat was dead.  No really, just kidding, but the burned edges of the package had merely sealed themselves together again. 

I’ve always fantasized about inventing a sort of acid (which should come with the package) that you would pour on once you got home.  It would miraculously disappear the package but leave the item within intact.  I’ll bet there’s even a way to do it, but I imagine it would require a working knowledge of chemistry, which leaves me out.  Whoever does eventually invent it should, in my opinion, win both the Nobel Prize for chemistry and the Nobel Peace Prize. 

The NYT article says that approximately 6,000 people per year are treated for injuries sustained by trying to open these packages.  If you don’t cut or stab yourself first, the sharp edges of the package get you once you finally manage to cut a hole in it by some method. 

But hope is on the way.  Some companies have apparently decided that stress-free packaging is consumer-friendly.  It’s hard to get repeat business from customers who died while trying to set your customer-proof packaging on fire. 

Just in case you thought these two topics–wrap rage and Sarah Palin–are unrelated, I’m about to tie it all together for you.  Trying to open one of these packages is like trying to understand Sarah Palin.  Either one will have you tearing your hair out in clumps.  Unless the fumes get you first.

Sarah Palin and the Shoes

Who won the debate?  Biden.  I have nothing further to add.  I read commentary and analysis and poll results until it nearly gave me a migraine, and I don’t even have migraines.  I will say this about Biden, his smile is just as dazzling as Palin’s (but without the winks), and I thought that sky-blue tie was a really nice touch.  It softened his image right off the bat.  I was glad he avoided that blazing red “power tie” that politicians seem to be so fond of. 

However, in all that I’ve read, I have yet to see a single mention of a critical component of the debate, which is Sarah Palin’s choice of shoes.  For several “behind the podium” photos, click here:


Now first of all, these shoes are red, unless my eyes are deceiving me.  That was in many ways a brilliant choice.  Sexy and aggressive at the same time.  Kind of a Scarlett O’Hara statement.  But, was this the time for red high heels?  Real, working, serious women don’t wear red high heels to work.  When I think of political women of power–Golda Meir, Madeleine Albright, Hillary Clinton even–I don’t see them wearing red high heels. 

Okay, you say, but they’re all older and uglier.  Fine, how about Benazir Bhutto or Eva Peron?  Do you see them in red high heels?  Well, Eva Peron, maybe.  But the point is that if you wanted to project a sensible, take-charge image, you would have chosen flats, or at the least, low heels.   I think Sarah Palin was deliberately projecting sexy.  Well, as the old saying goes, use what you got. 

Interviewer:  Sir, who do you think won the debate?

Guy:  Sarah Palin of course.

Interviewer:  Would you mind sharing why you think so?

Guy:  She has much better legs than Joe Biden. 

It’s too bad there won’t be another Veep debate, because I have suggestions for Palin on footwear.  In her case, I would skip the flats and low heels and go directly to snow boots.  I’ll give you two choices, you pick which you think most projects a strong, yet feminine image.

This selection, by Sorel, is called “Joan of the Artic”. 

Nice name, but there is a sort of tackiness to the rubbery lower section, making them look like galoshes. 

Personally, I prefer these.  I like that ostrich feather effect at the top, and the lowers are suede, treated to be water-repellent.  Much more elegant.  Strong, yet feminine.  I wonder if they come in red?


Breaking News from Andy Borowitz

McCain Replaces Palin with Startled Deer

Hoofed Running Mate Could be Game-changer


With less than a week to go before the crucial vice-presidential debate, GOP presidential nominee John McCain announced today that he was replacing his running mate, Alaska governor Sarah Palin, with a startled deer.
According to campaign insiders, the decision to select a hoofed mammal to replace Gov. Palin evolved after Sen. McCain watched his running mate’s performance in a series of interviews with CBS’s Katie Couric.
“Good Lord, a startled deer could do better than that,” Sen. McCain reportedly said, prompting his aides to draw up a shortlist of startled deer.
The Arizona senator supposedly brushed aside concerns that a startled deer would wilt under the pressure of a televised debate, telling aides, “At least a goddamn deer won’t go on about Alaska being close to Russia.”
The McCain campaign said today that Sen. McCain’s new running mate, Bucky the Red Deer, would not be made available to the press prior to the debate.
“Bucky is very much a work in progress,” said McCain campaign manager Rick Davis. “Right now we’re working on keeping him from bolting off the stage.”
Bucky’s opponent in the upcoming debate, Delaware senator Joseph Biden, appeared today to be trying to manage expectations for the high-stakes face-off with his four-legged rival.
“Bucky the Red Deer is articulate, bright and clean,” Sen. Biden said.  “That’s storybook, man.”
Elsewhere, former “American Idol” star Clay Aiken revealed that he was gay in an exclusive interview with Duh magazine.

The Dismantling of John McCain

I never thought I would see it, but he’s doing himself in, and conservatives are throwing the first clods of dirt on the coffin.  I was astonished last week by George Will’s column, which closes with the following words:  “It is arguable that, because of his inexperience, Obama is not ready for the presidency.  It is arguable that McCain, because of his boiling moralism and bottomless reservoir of certitudes, is not suited to the presidency.  Unreadiness can be corrected, although perhaps at great cost, by experience.  Can a dismaying temperament be fixed?”

This afternoon, I heard David Brooks of the New York Times acknowledge on NPR that he thinks McCain is reckless.  I thought I would faint.  He has been an admirer of McCain.  The evidence?  The selection of Sarah Palin as veep choice, which is increasingly embarassing; the phony “suspension” of the campaign to ride to the (unnecessary) and distracting “rescue” of the Wall Street “rescue plan”; the vow to stay in Washington until a solution was reached, followed by a reversal and agreement to go ahead and participate in the first Presidential debate, which he tried to get Obama to agree to cancel.  Er, postpone.  McCain is like a billiard ball that keeps eternally careening off the sides of the table in defiance of the laws of physics. 

The Palin selection was sort of the first clue about how off the wall McCain’s judgement is.  See David Brooks’ opinion of that decision here:  http://www.iht.com/articles/2008/09/16/opinion/edbrooks.php?WT.mc_id=rssmostemailed  Not an endorsement of Obama for sure, and he’s naive about Palin’s strength and skills and history, but…he makes a good point.   

I wanted to get this post in before the actual debate starts…in just a few minutes now.  Obama has twice the judgement and intellect and restraint of McCain.  I just hope he doesn’t get nervous.  I hope he makes McCain mad, so that everyone gets to see his “unsuitable temperament”.  I hope he isn’t too nice to make that happen.  David Brooks’ admiration of McCain seems to be based on his belief that McCain is a really good Senator, but maybe not the right guy to be President.  Yeah, David, me too.

The Federal Airborne Hunting Act

It may seem as if I’ve become a broken record on the subject of aerial hunting, and that may be true.  But, so what?  I wanted to add some information left out of my last post on the subject of aerial wolf hunting in Alaska. 

There is something called the Airborne Hunting Act, passed in 1971, which is an addition to the Fish and Wildlife Act of 1956.  It is also known as the Shooting from Aircraft Act.  It prohibits “shooting or attempting to shoot or harassing any bird, fish or other animal from an aircraft”.  So far so good, but there is a “but”.  Exceptions can be made for certain specified reasons, including protection of wildlife, livestock, and human life.  Any fool can see these are exceptions big enough to drive a truck (or an airplane) through.    It’s the protection of wildlife exception, specifically the protection of moose and caribou, on which Alaska bases its current regulations. 

Where the brouhaha comes in is that Alaska recently changed its law in two ways.  If you’re going to hunt wolves, in many cases the only logical way to get to some of the remote areas wolves are found is by plane.  But originally, you could not kill a wolf on the same day you flew.  (And how exactly would that be enforced?)  Some time ago, the law was changed to allow so-called Same Day Shooting.  With this law, you could follow the wolf in a plane, but before shooting it, the plane had to land, and the shooter had to be at least 100 feet from the plane.  This is a pretty stupid law, because this is where the part comes in about running (harassing, if you will) the wolf with the plane until it was too exhausted to move any more.  Then the plane lands, the shooter takes a leisurely stroll 100 feet away, and shoots the wolf.  The phrase “shooting fish in a barrel” comes to mind.  The first recent change to the law in Alaska says you can now shoot wolves from the air.  And you might as well.  Same Day Shooting was a farce.  The second change is this:  at first only officers from the Alaska Department of Fish and Game could engage in aerial hunting.  Now private hunters are allowed to do so as well.

The real question is whether there is a need for wolf hunting at all, except to satisfy the thrill-seeking trophy hunters.  There is a situation known as Low Density Dynamic Equilibrium or LDDE, which simply stated means that in a given area, the population of moose is lower that the habitat would support due to predation by bears and wolves.  But from the Alaska Department of Fish and Game’s own website comes the following statement:  “LDDE does not present a biological problem–moose are not likely to become threatened, endangered, or extinct due to predation.”  http://www.wildlife.alaska.gov/management/planning/mcgrath/pred_prey.cfm?

However, the low densities are more of a problem near villages and roads.  This same article states that in these areas, people “want or need” to harvest more moose than the system can support.  In other words, people have outhunted near the most convenient areas.  Wolves have nothing to do with it. 

If there is a need to reduce wolf numbers–and there is no evidence that’s true–that does not change the fact that aerial hunting is cowardly, unsportsmanlike, and reprehensible. 

In the Lower 48, Wyoming’s plan for wolf “management” once wolves are removed from the Endangered Species List has been rejected in federal court.  http://www.starvalleyindependent.com/2008/07/federal-court-decision-changes-wolf-management-in-wyoming/ In the process of reading Wyoming’s plan, I didn’t see any reference to aerial hunting, but it would have allowed poisoning. 

It’s still legal in those states where wolves exist for a rancher to shoot a wolf if he/she catches it in the act of attacking livestock.  Where there have been multiple attacks, livestock owners can be issued a special “kill permit” which allows them to kill wolves in the area even if they aren’t caught in the act.  Defenders of Wildlife pays ranchers the market value of any animal which can be proven to have been killed by a wolf.  They have been doing this since the re-introduction of wolves to the Rockies, and have paid out over a million dollars so far.  There are other ways to “manage” wolf/people interactions: trapping and relocation, to name one.  More use of guard dogs, for another.  There are many breeds of herding/guard dogs who are very fierce, Anatolian Shepherds for example. 

There is currently a bill creeping its way through Congress to close the loopholes in the Airborne Hunting Act.  Let’s hope it finds its way through Congress before Sarah Palin has anything to do with it.  Aerial hunting is barbaric and unnecessary.  Aren’t we a better country than this?

Wolfgate: Sarah Palin and the Wolves, Part 2

As anyone who has ever read a single word I’ve written knows, I love to read fiction, but fiction that teaches me something.  Recently I finished a novel called “Winter Study” by a writer named Nevada Barr.  Ms. Barr was a park ranger at one time, and her continuing character Anna Pigeon is a park ranger for the National Park Service.  I’ve only read two of the Anna Pigeon books:  the first took place in Natchez Trace National Park in Mississippi.  “Winter Study” takes place in Isle Royale National Park, a place I’d never even heard of, so I learned something in the first paragraph. 

Isle Royale is in Lake Superior.  It officially “belongs” to the State of Michigan, even though it’s a long way from there.  It’s in the very north of the lake, about 18 miles from the Canadian border.  Its significance is that in the park, the longest running study of predator/prey interaction has been going continuously since 1958.  The predators are gray wolves; the prey, moose.  The island is a living laboratory, where only about 20 mammal species reside, so you don’t have all the variability you might have in a place like Wyoming or Alaska.  At any one given time, you have between 15-25 wolves, and 700 to 750 moose.  So it’s a bit of a microcosm. 

I’ve been charged by a reader with providing real data as to why wolf eradication, supported by Sarah Palin in Alaska, is a bad idea.  As opposed to “environmental Nazism”–using “scare tactics” and emotional arguments to make the case.  This reader, ptfan1 (who is a big Sarah Palin fan, I might add–perhaps he might want to think of changing his name to spfan1) says that while he himself could never pull the trigger, there may be a need for wolf management somewhere like Alaska.   I think that’s a fair request.  So I spent way too many hours yesterday reviewing wolf management practices.  I read the entire policy on the state of Wyoming’s plan for wolf management.  I read extensively from the Alaska Department of Fish and Game’s policy for bear and wolf control.  See that here:  http://www.wc.adfg.state.ak.us/regulations/pdfs/predator_control.pdf

Please note that they specifically refer to it as “control”, not management.  Management typically refers to efforts to preserve wolf populations.  Control means elimination.  This is only one of two links I’ll provide, because this is a blog, not a term paper.  If you want to check the veracity of what I have to say, you’ll have to do your own research.  As my mother and my teachers used to say when I asked the meaning of a word, Look it up. 

In Alaska, caribou and moose are a major source of food.  Wolves eat caribou and moose too.  During severer than normal winters…Interruption:  I live in Florida.  I consider a severe winter to be one in which the temperature drops to 50 degrees F. before December first.  But in severe winters in Alaska, the herds start to starve.  Moose eat everything off the trees to a height of about 8 feet.  The younger and shorter moose starve faster.  As they get weaker, this makes it easier for wolves to catch them.  But during these severe winters, wolves aren’t faring that well either.  In the end, more moose are killed by starvation, human hunting, and cars than are ever killed by wolves.  Here’s your second link:  http://www.nationalreview.com/swan/swan090403.asp

I read a lot about the re-introduction of gray wolves to Yellowstone Park as well.  That happened because of what the scientists call an “ecological cascade”.  The elimination of the top predator caused a domino effect, which had disastrous consequences to everything from plant life to songbirds. 

There is abolutely no scientific evidence that wolves do significant harm to moose or caribou populations in Alaska.  It’s more of a mindset.  When it gets harder to find a moose, blame the wolves.  The mindset is that the only good wolf is a dead wolf.  I coulda had that moose if you hadn’t killed it, you evil Wolf thing. 

If Alaska continues this practice, it will find itself in the same situation as Wyoming, wondering what the hell happened.  Bounties on wolves were what destroyed the wolf population in Wyoming; Sarah Palin wants to institute the same practice–$150 for the left foreleg of a wolf.   Guess her degree in journalism didn’t require any courses in biology…or American history.