Tuesday, September 30, 2008


Everybody's Enron

When I consider the current economic meltdown, once I work through my own mix of fear and denial, I find myself thinking about Papa and Mama Bush.

It's a shame that, for all their wealth, they can't come up with $700 billion to bail out their oldest boy.

I wonder if the House didn't tap into some feelings yesterday about bailing Poppy and Bar's boy one more time and just find itself unable to come up with the appropriate enthusiasm. Not this time, buddy, you could almost hear them saying. You've poo-ed your pants once too often.

For those of us who didn't sufficiently emphathize with the rank and file at Enron, here's our second chance. Dubya and his cronies have Enron-ized the whole damn economy.

Where are the erstwhile employees of Enron now, I find myself wondering. How are they getting along? Should they move in with us, or we move in with them?

The torrent of dismay that swept through the House yesterday was years in coming and years too late.

Even now I wonder if sensible economists will be able to pry loose the greedy little theoretical fingers of the neocons. And to lead us out of this mess, whom can we exhume?

I suppose that Congress will recover sufficiently to hold its nose and make some deal, all the while obfuscating what it really means to those of us outside its hallowed chambers. After voting with him all these years, they're going to have to clean up after him one more time. He's been out of his league for 8 years, and he won't make it up to you now.

And then what? My fellow Americans, you'd just better do the right goddamned thing on election day. This has to stop, and at best, there's only one way out... if that.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008


McCain Continues to Balk at Debate

A tearful John McCain continued to seek a graceful exit strategy from his imminent debate with Barack Obama in Oxford, MS, even though his rival for the presidency promised him "do-overs" if he finished second.

"It's not fair," McCain whimpered. "It's better when we get our base to call him the Anti-Christ and a Muslim and stuff like that. He made the economy fall down, you know."

McCain also had requested that running mate Sarah Palin accompany him, citing her experience in talking fast. The Obama campaign declined the request.

"Not fair not fair not fair,"McCain said. "I'm busy saving the economy that Obama messed up, and all Obama Hussein wants to do is talk."

Monday, September 22, 2008


Made Ya Look

Dear Congress,

Henry Paulson wants to dance with you.

The step is the (thanks, Tom Lehrer) Mephistopolian, Masochistic Tango.

In order to execute this step, it's important to ignore the following language in the bail-out bill:

Decisions by the Secretary pursuant to the authority of this Act are non-reviewable and committed to agency discretion, and may not be reviewed by any court of law or any administrative agency.

Of course, the Secretary works for the President, so you'll actually be giving the current chimp another avenue of escape from accountability. Another S role to complement your M.

I'm encouraged that Democrats don't want to sign blindly on the dotted line. But for God's sake, read every fucking word, will you?

Saturday, September 20, 2008


Cheerfully (Economically) Illiterate

In the past 20 years it hasn't been easy to get anything like a well grounded education in economics.

Even the academy has been an ivy-covered breeding ground of narrowness and intolerance, the free market neo-cons driving everyone else underground. The free market has been the altar of the secular side of culture: it's as infallible as the Pope. Don't regulate the market or its minions; the market will always correct itself.

Except when it doesn't.

Last week the president lashed out at Congress for allowing the current mess to happen. What a hoot. Congress hasn't done anything on its own since he assumed his unfortunate position at the helm of state. And from that helm Dubya has sent one hell of a message.

Having pushed the government into staggering debt and dumped it into the fiscal arms of the Chinese, Dub has let anyone who would take advantage of his permissiveness, from the heads of Halliburton to the naked short-selling asses of the stock exchange floor, that any little thing they might want to do is fine with him, as long as they contribute heavily to the campaign coffers of Republican candidates.

The more than a trillion dollar bailout is consistent with Dubya's personal history: someone will always step up and front your losses. Daddy will always provide. Daddy, and then the taxpayers. Even his Texas Rangers fortune came at the expense of the taxpayers of Arlington, Texas. Look it up.

It's a pity that the economy can't become born again, just as Dubya was. I guess the current bailout is an attempt at economic resurrection.

That a significant percentage of the current crop of voters sees fit to trust the economy to another free market extremist shows how far we have to go in the correction of our own economic illiteracy.

John McCain and George W. Bush share a level of ignorance about economics that has led to their over-reliance upon advisers to do their thinking for them.

The rest of us aren't much better off.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008


Getting Real about Palin

A friend just handed me a list of books Sarah Palin allegedly tried to get rid of at the public library in Wasilla. It looked extremely familiar; in a past incarnation I found it both interesting and necessary to research book censorship. The list was a hit and miss list of books you typically see in the American Library Association's Banned Books Week Resource Guide.

There's always the risk of succumbing to rumor mills. Somebody has to go for the truth, whatever it may be.

So I did a little Googling and came across an article from an Alaskan who has known Sarah Palin for many years. I lifted it from another blog, but consider it to be so important in its responsible representation of the facts that I am reprinting it here. The McCain campaign is doing everything it can to cleanse Palin's reputation, and as such will obliterate both rumor and reality as if they are one and the same. Read on:

A suburban Anchorage homemaker and activist — who once did battle with the Alaska governor when Palin was mayor — recounts what she knows of Palin's history.

By Anne Kilkenny

Editor's note: The writer is a homemaker and education advocate in Wasilla, Alaska. Late last week, Anne Kilkenny penned an e-mail for her friends about vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin, whom she personally knows, that has since circulated across comment forums and blogs nationwide. Here is her e-mail in its entirety, posted with her permission.

I am a resident of Wasilla, Alaska. I have known Gov. Sarah Palin 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 percent 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 for vice president and won't vote for her can't quit smiling when talking about her because she is a "babe."

It is astonishing and almost scary how well she can keep a secret. She kept her most recent pregnancy a secret from her children and parents for seven months.

She is "pro-life." She recently gave birth to a Down's syndrome baby. There is no cover-up involved here; Trig is her baby.

She is energetic and hardworking. She regularly worked out at the gym.

She is savvy. She doesn't take positions; she just "puts things out there" and if they prove to be popular, then she takes credit.

Her husband works a union job on the North Slope for BP and is a champion snowmobile racer. Todd Palin's kind of job is highly sought-after because of the schedule and high pay. He arranges his work schedule so he can fish for salmon in Bristol Bay for a month or so in summer, but by no stretch of the imagination is fishing their major source of income. Nor has her lifestyle ever been anything like that of native Alaskans.

Sarah and her whole family are avid hunters.

She's smart.

Her experience is as mayor of a city with a population of about 5,000 (at the time) and less than two years as governor of a state with about 670,000 residents.

During her mayoral administration, most of the actual work of running this small city was turned over to an administrator. She had been pushed to hire this administrator by party power-brokers after she had gotten herself into some trouble over precipitous firings, which had given rise to a recall campaign.

Sarah campaigned in Wasilla as a "fiscal conservative." During her six years as mayor, she increased general government expenditures by more than 33 percent. During those same six years, the amount of taxes collected by the city increased by 38 percent. This was during a period of low inflation (1996-2002). She reduced progressive property taxes and increased a regressive sales tax, which taxed even food. The tax cuts that she promoted benefitted large corporate property owners way more than they benefited residents.

The huge increases in tax revenue during her mayoral administration weren't enough to fund everything on her wish list, though — borrowed money was needed, too. She inherited a city with zero debt but left it with indebtedness of more than $22 million. What did Mayor Palin encourage the voters to borrow money for? Was it the infrastructure that she said she supported? The sewage treatment plant that the city lacked? Or a new library? No. $1 million for a park. $15 million-plus for construction of a multi-use sports complex, which she rushed through, on a piece of property that the city didn't even have clear title to. That was still in litigation seven years later — to the delight of the lawyers involved! The sports complex itself is a nice addition to the community but a huge money pit, not the profit-generator she claimed it would be. She also supported bonds for $5.5 million for road projects that could have been done in five to seven years without any borrowing.

While Mayor, City Hall was extensively remodeled and her office redecorated more than once.

These are small numbers, but Wasilla is a very small city.

As an oil producer, the high price of oil has created a budget surplus in Alaska. Rather than invest this surplus in technology that will make us energy independent and increase efficiency, as governor Sarah proposed distribution of this surplus to every individual in the state.

In this time of record state revenues and budget surpluses, she recommended that the state borrow/bond for road projects, even while she proposed distribution of surplus state revenue: Spend today's surplus, borrow for needs.

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.

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 two 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.

When then-Gov. Frank Murkowski was handing out political plums, Sarah got the best, chair of the Alaska Oil and Gas Conservation Commission — one of the few jobs not in Juneau and one of the best paid. She had no background in oil and gas issues. Within months of scoring this great job, which paid $122,400 a year, she was complaining in the press about the high salary. I was told that she hated that job: the commute, the structured hours, the work. Sarah became aware that a member of this commission (who was also the state chair of the Republican Party) engaged in unethical behavior on the job. In a gutsy move which some undoubtedly cautioned her could be political suicide, Sarah solved all her problems in one fell swoop: got out of the job she hated and garnered gobs of media attention as the patron saint of ethics and as a gutsy fighter against the "old boys' club," when she dramatically quit, exposing this man's ethics violations (for which he was fined).

As mayor, she had her hand stuck out as far as anyone for pork from Sen. Ted Stevens. Lately, she has castigated his pork-barrel politics and publicly humiliated him. She only opposed the "bridge to nowhere" after it became clear that it would be unwise not to.

As governor, she gave the Legislature no direction and budget guidelines, then made a big grandstand display of line-item vetoing projects, calling them pork. Public outcry and further legislative action restored most of these projects — which had been vetoed simply because she was not aware of their importance — but with the unobservant she had gained a reputation as "anti-pork."

She is solidly Republican: no political maverick. The state party leaders hate her because she has bit them in the back and humiliated them. Other members of the party object to her self-description as a fiscal conservative.

Around Wasilla, there are people who went to high school with Sarah. They call her "Sarah Barracuda" because of her unbridled ambition and predatory ruthlessness. Before she became so powerful, very ugly stories circulated around town about shenanigans she pulled to be made point guard on the high school basketball team. When Sarah's mother-in-law, a highly respected member of the community and experienced manager, ran for mayor, Sarah refused to endorse her.

As governor, she stepped outside of the box and put together of package of legislation known as "AGIA" that forced the oil companies to march to the beat of her drum.

Like most Alaskans, she favors drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR). She has questioned if the loss of sea ice is linked to global warming. She campaigned "as a private citizen" against a state initiaitive that would have either protected salmon streams from pollution from mines or tied up in the courts all mining in the state (depending on whom you listen to). She has pushed the state's lawsuit against the Department of the Interior's decision to list polar bears as a threatened species.

McCain is the oldest person to ever run for president; Sarah will be a heartbeat away from being president.

There has to be literally millions of Americans who are more knowledgeable and experienced than she.

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

Claim vs. Fact

Why am I writing this?

First, I have long believed in the importance of being an informed voter. I am a voter registrar. For 10 years I put on student voting programs in the schools. If you google my name, you will find references to my participation in local government, education, and PTA/parent organizations.

Secondly, I've always operated in the belief that "bad things happen when good people stay silent." Few people know as much as I do because few have gone to as many City Council meetings.

Third, I am just a housewife. I don't have a job she can bump me out of. I don't belong to any organization that she can hurt. But I am no fool; she is immensely popular here, and it is likely that this will cost me somehow in the future: that's life.

Fourth, she has hated me since back in 1996, when I was one of the 100 or so people who rallied to support the city librarian against Sarah's attempt at censorship.

Fifth, I looked around and realized that everybody else was afraid to say anything because they were somehow vulnerable.

Caveats: I am not a statistician. I developed the numbers for the increase in spending and taxation two years ago (when Palin was running for governor) from information supplied to me by the finance director of the City of Wasilla, and I can't recall exactly what I adjusted for: Did I adjust for inflation? For population increases? Right now, it is impossible for a private person to get any info out of City Hall — they are swamped. So I can't verify my numbers.

You may have noticed that there are various numbers circulating for the population of Wasilla, ranging from my "about 5,000" up to 9,000. The day Palin's selection was announced, a city official told me that the current population is about 7,000. The official 2000 census count was 5,460. I have used about 5,000 because Palin was Mayor from 1996 to 2002, and the city was growing rapidly in the mid-1990s.

Anne Kilkenny is a homemaker and education advocate in Wasilla, Alaska.

Sunday, September 07, 2008


The Boink Factor

Like everywhere else in our country, the library has been abuzz with talk of Sarah Palin. Since I work in a community that has both liberals and progressives in hearty numbers(progressives have their own party in Vermont so that they don't have to be mistaken for liberals), the response to her candidacy is less than reverent.

JoAnn came to the circ desk the day after the announcement, and after we discussed the fate of this year's tomato plants, the conversation shifted to Sarah.

"You know, I think I see a connection between the Oscars and the old men in the Republican Party," she told me.

I looked at her blankly and she continued. "You know those old guys in the studios who still vote for Best Actress? One of my friends in the Academy told me that they generally vote for the actress they'd most want to... to.." (This was a public place, after all).

"Boink?" I asked quietly.

"Yes!" she flashed her dimple. "You know, the Republican Party is 70 per cent men,lots of them old, so it figures that they'd use a scale like the old guys in Hollywood. That's probably why they chose Palin."

(Here once followed a variety of geezer fantasies that I have deleted, since they gross me out, and I can only assume that they would do the same to readers.)

You get the idea.

Friday, September 05, 2008


Baked Alaska

If she's done nothing else, Sarah Palin has energized discussion of the election along new lines.

While Obama has labored to create an environment in which issues play center stage, and the rights of candidates' children to privacy should remain sacred, Palin and her handlers have outed her daughter Bristol and attempted to re-frame the debate around personalities. It isn't the issue, the thinking goes; it's the person.

And what a person. Here's a lady who believes that the war on Iraq is a mission from God. The $30 billion national gas pipeline project that she wants built in the state is part of "God's will," and she advises her followers to "pray for that."

Add to that her bizarre form of tough love regarding daughter Bristol, whom she has single-handedly turned into the most famous pregnant teen in America. (Jamie Lynn Spears even sent her a baby gift.) Pushing beyond the inevitable questions regarding her communication with and supervision of her daughter, Sarah has copped an identity theme from her family mess: see! She has the same problems we do!

But we don't all push 17 year-olds into matrimony and parenthood as a lesson in "growing up." And we don't all make plans to head to D.C. during crisis times. Bristol may have "made her bed," as they say, but she's still 17 years old. If Palin doesn't want to stay home and play babysitting grandma, that's fine, but her kid seems to be getting more notoriety than support with her mom's political plans.

Given Sarah's opposition to sex education and counseling in the schools, her tough love seems more like revenge; that big smile for grandparenthood seems to come from clenched teeth.

And the Republicans want this person, this woman, as a national leader?

Tuesday, September 02, 2008


Ask Sarah!

She's shown us gals that we can do it all--be basketball stars, beauty queens, wives, mothers, hockey moms, and now, Our Party's candidate for vice president of the United States of America!

Now Sarah extends the hand of friendship and support to her fellow Vagina-Americans and answers your questions here!

Dear Sarah!

ongratulations on your very big honor. I'm so excited for you and am looking forward to the day when we'll have a roll model like you just a heartbeat away from the presidency!!! It's just too fab! Well, on to my problem. Like I said before, your a real roll model for me, and like you, I never forget that Jesus is Lord. However, my daughter Brandi seems to have taken after her father, my first hubby, and has turned into a fornicator of the first order. Now she has two rug-brats and another on the way, and she expects me to look after them while she attends welfare-to-work classes at the local junior college. When I read that your own Bristol was about to become a mother, I knew that you would be the one to help me. Frankly, my ambitions run more toward yours, and I didn't raise that little tramp to provide me with more baby sitting in my golden years. I have found me a good Christian man who won't stand in my way, so the skys the limit. How will do combine motherhood, grandmotherhood, and vice presidenthood? Please answer soon!

Ambitious Too

Dear Ambitious,

I believe that it was my husband Todd's great-great Eskimo grandmother who once said, It Takes a Village to Raise a Grandchild. Of course, some liberal politician had to come along and steal that for a book title, but believe me, I heard it here first.

Think about it: it takes a village. By village I mean the people who can be there for your children and grandchildren while you take the credit for being a mom and pursue power.

My "village" is made up of my many loved ones, as well as the experiences I have had over the years. My lifelong membership in the NRA made me the the crack shot I am today, and as a result I am about to have a brand-new son-in-law who knows better than to drop little Bristol after he's had his way with her! I shot my first rabbit when I was only 10, and if Levi thinks that he isn't just another horny little bunny to me, he has another think coming! As for Bristol, she needs to learn that fornication leads to babies leads to life as a wife and mother. I will leave her my big book of wild game recipes and two cartons of Pampers when I head for Washington!

The sharp elbows I developed from my basketball days (they didn't call me Sarah Barracuda for nothing!) developed in me the ruthlessness that a gal needs for a successful political career. I can shove anyone aside--kids, grandkids, commissioners, library directors, police chiefs, state troopers--never losing sight of my goals. There's no decision you make that you can't deny later, and of course, all medical records are confidential, so you pretty much have a free ride when it comes down to any squeaker situations.

I couldn't have accomplished all that I have without the love, support, and fear of those in my special "village." I recommend that you draw upon your personal "small town" to make your own dreams come true!


p.s. Just to show you that government can be responsive to your needs, I promise to cancel any welfare-to-work programs at local junior colleges the minute I get into office! That'll keep the little slut home!

Monday, September 01, 2008


Photo Op!

Check out all the presidential concern as Dubya cuts the convention, the better to focus on the possible impact of Gustav on the Gulf coast. Wow!

Wanna write a caption for what Mister President has to say about his efforts here?

Meanwhile Cheney, who is also skipping the convention (at the behest of the RNC) can shoulder his shotgun and help keep the streets of Loosy-Anna safe from property crimes. Maybe he can get lifetime NRA member Sarah Palin to ride shotgun. (Ouch).

I think it's great that they have learned so much from the missteps of Katrina.

Does this all spell Legacy, or what?

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