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Was Palin’s Latest Quit Enough Reason to Write Another Chapter of “Saradise Lost”? – After Watching Broomfield’s “You Betcha!” – Nah

10:43 pm in Uncategorized by EdwardTeller

Palin+toast-1

[author's note:  My real name is Phil Munger, as most longtime fdl pups already know.  I've lived in or near Wasilla since 1983, and have known Sarah Palin since 1990]

The announcements at the end of last week, broken first at Malia Litman’s blog, that Sarah Palin would not be renewing her contract with FOX News, didn’t surprise many.  It certainly didn’t surprise me.

It did drive Palin back into the news for a few brief hours, though.  She even made it to the top of Twitter for about six hours.  It may be the last time she’s able to do that.

Her supporters don’t view it that way.  I commented at TBogg’s obligatory post on her latest quit, in response to monoceros4:

monoceros4:

She’s gonna run for office again, I predict, with no real intention of winning. It’ll just be about making a lot of noise and (more importantly) collecting all that sweet sweet campaign money.

Edward Teller:

Her followers are chipping in already:

We should all go to Sarahpac and donate today, in a show of thanks and solidarity!! I’m going right now.

I soooo wish I had some extra money right now!!!

Me too!

I know, the economy is not the greatest, Obama is blasting us every day, it is after the holidays, etc. Hopefully a lot of people will at least be able to scrounge up a few dollars to make a statement in quality if not in quantity!!

I all but stopped writing about Sarah Palin after October 5, 2011, when Palin announced she would not be a GOP primary candidate for the 2012 presidential race.  I’ve got enough to do already, with 2.5 jobs, and with my wife handling more work than that, and sometimes needing my support.

And there’s another thing.  Even thinking about what Palin brought me, a lot of my friends, Wasilla – where I live, Alaska, and people outside Alaska through, gives me the creeps.

Even though I no longer feel compelled (until now) to write about Palin, a lot of others do.  Basically, they fall into four camps:

1).  Her avid devotees The Zombies.

2).  The Palin haters, most of whom still standing represent die-hard Trig Truthers.

3).  Unfortunate reporters, assigned the Palin beat at their media outlet.

4).  Gossip columnists who still get an uptick in hits when her name is in a headline.

Back to Palin giving me the creeps.

When she first made national news in late August 2008, I was torn between getting the truth out and an inner fear that someone might harm me, my family or one of our pets.  Some of the news reports, blog articles and books about Wasilla and Palin that have come out in the succeeding 4.5 years have thoroughly documented that my concern was warranted.

But I got sucked into the phenomenon of close Palin coverage.  And I did my job, which was to just plain get the fucking truth out about an incredibly poor VP choice, from a local perspective.  After Palin and McCain went down, the important part of the job was truly over, but Palin was such a changed governor, that the ride went on.

When she quit as governor, I was ready to quit the Palin beat too.  Unfortunately, she was already riding the rise of the Tea Party and her resonance with the rural, less educated part of the GOP base.

Then, when she made her “blood libel” remarks after the Tucson shootings, most knew she was finished as a national figure.  However, she was making a lot of money through SarahPAC, and – let’s face it – she was no more of a clown than any of the other GOP primary candidates in early 2011.

Palin did strike out at some of the local Alaska bloggers who wrote critical articles, and who were interviewed for national media stories:

The first was Linda Kellen Biegel, who had filed an ethics complaint about Palin wearing snowmobile company-provided clothing with their logos, while officiating at an opening ceremony in which her husband participated.

Then she attacked radio commentator and blogger Shannyn Moore, for merely reporting there was speculation Palin was resigning as governor because of a criminal investigation.  I had reported the same thing, but Moore was more of a threat, so she was threatened with litigation.

Far worse, Palin’s supporters sought to utterly destroy Anchorage blogger, Jesse Griffin, for his persistent articles questioning the Trig Palin birth narrative.

When I posted a poll at my blog, asking whether the term “saint” or “slut” (the former term got 15%, the latter got 85%) was more applicable to Palin, a Palin Zombie blog recommended following me, posting my address, calling my employer to complain (all of which had happened to Griffin).

Three weeks later, my Outback’s engine seized up, having been drained of the oil I had checked and topped off 280 miles earlier.  It took me a while to figure out how it had been done.  Had to get a new engine.

I now lock my cars.  And we constantly check our oil.

As irrelevant as Palin should always have been outside Alaska, there must be some lessons to be learned here.  The summations in Geoffrey Dunn’s The Lies of Sarah Palin, Joe McGinniss’ The Rogue and other critical works on Palin’s rise and stumbling only go so far, as she was still a “player.”

Dunn’s book was dignified.

McGinniss’ was hilarious.

Nick Broomfield’s film on Palin, for British media, You Betcha!  made me throw up.

His film may be the last major attempt to portray Palin’s Wasilla background that gets major play.  It has been available for months, and segments on youtube for weeks.  I’d been avoiding it, as I knew it would be creepy, and suspected I’d be in it.  I am (beginning at 31:36).  I truly did not want to immerse myself back into this for 90 minutes, but given the coverage of Palin’s fallout with FOX, and its significance, I had to watch it.

It is creepier than I imagined it would be.  It should be.  The cheap, Twin Peaks music is actually appropriate.  Watching it, and hearing people I’ve known for years express their fear of Palin’s hold over her advocates didn’t just give me the willies.

About 15 minutes into the film, I went out into the two feet of snow behind my boat.

I puked.

And puked.

Again and again.

Until all the bile having had to think about her for the past three days had brought was purged.

Thank God it is far from my garden, far from my well.

I covered it up, so my dog won’t find it before the ravens do.

You Betcha! – by Nick Broomfield:

Compare and Contrast – Three Palins

10:31 pm in Uncategorized by EdwardTeller

When the movie trailers for Game Change (debuts March 10 on HBO) and Iron Sky (debuts in theaters on April 4) came out, a few Alaska blogs covered them.  Even though I live in Wasilla and have known Palin for far too long, I’ve pretty much stopped covering her, as she’s no longer the major danger to the direction of political discourse she once was.

Palin pretty much did herself in, which was inevitable.  But as the GOP presidential primary and caucus scene gets more complicated, we’ll see Palin doing everything she can to attempt to be part of what might end up being some sort of an arbitration process.

Her speech Friday at the end of the CPAC Convention has been hailed by supporters and critics as one of her better efforts.  The Christian Science Monitor even went so far as to insinuate Palin back into the center of the GOP vortex – “Sarah Palin wows CPAC. But has the race for the White House moved beyond her?”

We’ll see.  Jesse Griffin, an Alaska Blue Dog blogger and Obama apologist, who basically survives off  of nipping at Palin, writes quite effectively of the CPAC speech:

Palin is fired up like we have not seen her since the 2008 campaign.

Clearly this is what she has been preparing for during the last several months.

Her big comeback.

As much as I hate to say it, she hits EVERY note that this crowd wants to hear, and throws out more red meat than a train slamming through a herd of caribou.

Just a sample: “The Tea Party rose up, because Americans WOKE up! And our movement, it is bigger than one person. It is bigger than one candidate. It is bigger than one party. It’s about one country united under God. We aren’t red Americans.  We’re not blue Americans. We’re red, white, and blue, and President Obama we are through with you!”

Even at the 7:00 mark the OWS protestors cannot stop her momentum.

She not only leads the crowd in a chant to shout the protestors down, which evolves into a chant of “Sarah, Sarah, Sarah,” she then takes a victory lap at the end, in which, bathed in the crowd’s adulation, she trumpets her victory over the interlopers, “See you just won! You see how easy that is?”

There is little doubt that this speech, chock full of attacks on the President, will inspire her followers to start throwing money at her again by the truckloads, while fantasizing that THIS clearly means that she has reconsidered and is now ready to throw her hat into the ring and save the country from the evils of the Obama administration.

And that is exactly why she showed up.

It is.   And her nutty supporters will send her scores of thousands of dollars for her effective use of a teleprompter.

But she’s as doomed as a political fixture as Thomas Eagleton was in the late summer of 1972. The two movies, coming out over the next couple of months, will be the final straw. Read the rest of this entry →

President Palin Deals with Her Enemies

1:40 pm in Uncategorized by EdwardTeller

It is January 27th, 2013.  Newly inaugurated President Sarah Palin’s Press Secretary, Andrew Breitbart, is asked if the White House is aware that the following people have died under mysterious circumstances during the preceding 24 hours:

Joe McGinniss
Frank Bailey
David Letterman
Keith Olbermann
Maureen Dowd
Jesse Griffin
a couple of bloggers in Germany, from the blog Politicalgates
Charlie Gibson
John Bitney
Tina Fey
Andrew Halcro
Frank Gwartney
Andree McLeod
Mike Wooten

Press Secretary Breitbart, begins his answer by referring to the date September 30, 2011.  He notes that the White House understands that, as in the case of Anwar al-`Awlaqi, there will be no comment from the White House on this matter past noting that “any matters related to these events are classified.”  He defers further questioning, referring reporters to The Department of Justice, and Attorney General Joe Arpaio.

Breitbart then leaves the podium, barely bothering to hide his smirk.

Juan Cole:

I can only quote Clarence Darrow here, “All men have an emotion to kill; when they strongly dislike some one they involuntarily wish he was dead. I have never killed any one, but I have read some obituary notices with great satisfaction.” Personal satisfaction apart, one is still left with the question of law raised by Paul and the ACLU.

Here’s a troubling thought: do you really think it would be a good idea to give a President Michele Bachmann or a President Rick Perry the authority to kill American citizens at will and with no due process? [emphasis added]

Being a historian, I try to understand these issues by looking at how we got where we are. As a civil libertarian, I am concerned that whatever is done be done within the law.

Glenn Greenwald: Read the rest of this entry →

FDL Book Salon Preview: The Rogue – By Joe McGinniss (The Hate Continues)

1:41 am in Uncategorized by EdwardTeller

The Rogue - Searching for the Real Sarah Palin

The Rogue - Searching for the Real Sarah Palin

[This is the extended version of the preface to Sunday's Firedoglake Book Salon, which was limited to about 1,000 words.]

I. Longtime journalist and award-winning author Joe McGinniss’ newest book, The Rogue, is the latest – but by no means last – book about Sarah Palin.  Palin is not only the most famous Alaskan in history, she has uniquely combined political activity, celebrity, motherhood, grandmotherhood, a spousal relationship, borderline religious beliefs, professional victimhood, the American gossip universe, pop culture, legal obfuscation, new media and social networking.  Increasingly known for being thin-skinned and somewhat lacking in spatial awareness,  Palin, more than any American politician in a generation or so, almost begged McGinniss – or any investigative author – to move next door.  As I wrote here last year, a couple of days after McGinniss was able to do just that:

[A]uthor Joe McGinnis, who is writing a critical book about Sarah Palin, was looking for a place in Wasilla to rent this summer, as he continues his research. He was offered the house next door to the Palins’ Lake Lucille cult compound-in-progress. He wasn’t looking for the place. It came looking for him. What would you do?

Having spent time with McGinniss at the crucial point between when he moved in, and the Palins’ reaction to their new neighbor set in concrete the scene for how the book played out, I can say that Joe really was hoping to be able to just be their next-door neighbor.  He did not want to make waves, and was hoping to sit down with Sarah and Todd socially, perhaps professionally, and go through notes with them as work proceeded.  I’m not kidding.

What ended up happening was another over-reaction by Sarah, similar to many those of us who had been watching her for a long time had witnessed before.  Her facebook people went all professional victim for her and, to quote Palin in another context – “Game on!” Read the rest of this entry →

Joe McGinniss Issued Cease and Desist Order for Distributing Rival’s Palin Manuscript – Updated

3:47 pm in Uncategorized by EdwardTeller

The Beverly Hills law firm, Bonfante Steinbeck, has issued a cease and desist order to author Joe McGinniss.  McGinniss has been identified by numerous sources as the originator of copies of the manuscript to an unpublished draft of a book on Sarah Palin by her former confidante and state official, Frank Bailey.  Bailey was Palin’s Director of Boards and Commissions, an office more powerful than that of the Lieutenant Governor.

Representing Bailey and his collaborators on the book, Ken Morris and Jeanne Devon, Bonfante Steinbeck attorney Dean M. Steinbeck writes:

February 20, 2011
SENDER INFORMATION:
Ken Morris, Frank Bailey and Jeanne Devon

RECIPIENT INFORMATION:
Joe McGinniss

RE: COPYRIGHT INFRINGEMENT

Dear Sir:

I write on behalf of Ken Morris, Frank Bailey and Jeanne Devon (collectively, the “Copyright Owners”). The Copyright Owners are co-owners of the copyright in the unpublished manuscript entitled “Blind Allegiance to Sarah Palin: A Memoir of our Tumultuous Years” (the “Work”).

Between February 16, 2011 and February 18, 2011 you were the recipient of an unlawfully distributed version of the Work. Although you knew that the Work was (i) distributed to you in strict confidence, and (ii) an unpublished manuscript, you choose to unlawfully distribute the Work to multiple news outlets, bloggers, political activists, and any one else you felt might be interested.

As a result of your actions, hundreds of articles and blogs have been published detailing the Work. Some of the publications have summarized the Work in great detail, and others have reproduced the Work’s content verbatim. As an author, you are well aware that your actions have significantly impaired the Copyright Owners ability to market the book.

The Copyright Owners believe your actions were done with the single intent of destroying the marketability of the Work. It is no secret that you are writing your own “tell-all” book about Sarah Palin. By releasing the Work prior to publication, you have limited the actual interest in the Work and thereby salvaged the marketability of your own book. This matter appears to be no more than that of a jealous author sabotaging a competitor via unlawful and unscrupulous means.

The Copyright Owners are currently reviewing their legal options and I can assure this is not the last time you will hear from them. Besides showing an utter lack of professionalism, you have, at a minimum, willfully caused significant damages by engaging in unfair competition and violations of copyright law. In order to minimize the damages caused by your actions, the Copyright Owners hereby demand that you cease and desist from distributing any portion of the Work. Additionally, the Copyright Owners demand that you provide a full list of the parties to whom you distributed the Work.

Several bloggers and news sources received the manuscript from McGinniss very early Friday morning last week.  Many of us have written to McGinniss, asking him why he sent the manuscript out.  To my knowledge, he hasn’t yet answered anyone.  Some articles have been pulled or heavily modified since Bonfante Steinbeck issued a general cease and desist letter late last weekend to media outlets that were carrying extracts from what the authors claim to be a rough draft.  Within the past few hours, Craig Medred’s article at the Alaska Dispatch, Why did Palin name a pro-choice judge to the Alaska Supreme Court, has been pulled from the Alaska Dispatch Blog.  Medred’s article’s subject was the same issue I tackled in my only post before this one on the manuscript’s unauthorized release:

The item that caught my eye most, though, is this one, posted at Jesse Griffin’s Immoral Minority:

“In BLIND ALLEGIANCE TO SARAH PALIN: A Memoir of our Tumultuous Years, Bailey explores such key events as Palin’s gubernatorial victory, Troopergate, illegal coordination with the Republican Governor’s Association, never-before-revealed scandals such as a judicial appointment as payoff for a favorable child custody ruling for Palin’s sister.”

That, I believe, is a serious felony in the State of Alaska. Could it be that the State, by holding onto Palin’s emails for so long – they say the emails will be released in May – is covering up this crime and others by the Palin family until the statute of limitations makes prosecution improbable or impossible? If that is the case, then we need to see the emails the state has on why they’re holding onto her emails.

McGinniss’  release of the manuscript has been vexing to the Alaska bloggers who supported him while he stayed in Alaska last year.  I’m not one of them, though.  After setting up his security perimeter at the house he rented next to the Palin cult compound on Lake Lucille last May, he and I had a disagreement, resulting in no further contact.  Jeanne Devon, one of the parties to the book, helped McGinniss extensively throughout his stay here, though, and is deeply hurt by the author’s action.

McGinniss, it has been reported to me, has all but finished his book on Palin, as has author Geoffrey Dunn.  Unlike Bailey et al, McGinniss and Dunn have publishers lined up.  Supposedly the manuscript found its way to McGinniss, after it had been sent out to a number of publishers by the author, hoping to find a buyer.

Update – Tuesday 7:00 a.m. PST:

1.  Joe McGinniss emailed me late yesterday afternoon, declining to answer my query on why he released the manuscript.  He wrote “Now that Jeanne [Devon] has got lawyers involved, I’m just not able to comment.”

2. In the Tuesday edition of the Anchorage Daily News, an unsigned article notes that GOP activist and longtime Palin foe Andree McLeod:

is charging that Bailey, Morris and Devon are acting unethically by trying to make money off a book based on e-mails Bailey collected as a state employee. McLeod first filed an ethics complaint against Bailey last year when she found out he was working on the book.

The executive ethics act bars current or former public officials from using information gained during the course of their work for personal gain if the information hasn’t been publicly disseminated. Most recently, McLeod wrote Alaska Attorney General John Burns on Friday asking what he was going to do about it.

McLeod emphasized that Bailey’s agent wrote that the e-mails are “not subject to FOIA requests and therefore will not be included in the email correspondence scheduled to be released by Alaskan officials this May.”

Morris last week said that Bailey had thousands of e-mails from the Palins. The state is reviewing Palin’s e-mails for an expected spring release in response to public records requests, including those from news organizations and McLeod.

This is more of the kind of bizarre aftermath Palin’s sloppy tenure as governor has saddled upon Alaskans.  One Alaska blogger, Jesse Griffin, has finished the manuscript.  He writes this morning:

If you thought Sarah Palin was vindictive, you will not be disappointed by this book.

If you thought the personal mythology about her family was bullshit, this is the book for you.

And if you thought that Sarah Palin uses her looks to get away with everything just shy of murder, this book will make that an absolute certainty.

A Quick Roundup of Reactions to “Sarah Palin’s Alaska”

8:01 am in Uncategorized by EdwardTeller

I was encouraged by Harriet Baskas, a travel writer from MSNBC, to watch “Sarah Palin’s Alaska on TLC (The Leering Channel) yesterday evening.  I missed the first six minutes because of a phone call, but managed to take in most of the rest.  Afterward, I wrote a short post for my blog.  Then I helped my wife get prepared for another week’s work mentoring first- and second-year teachers in the Alaska Bush, flying in small planes out to village schools in Native communities thousands of years old.

My observations were mostly mirrored at other blogs or in post-show news stories:  The scenery is spectacular, Todd appears perpetually annoyed, the kids are props, she would not be one of my rock climbing partners more than once, author Joe McGinniss – their next-door-neighbor last summer – has been slandered, and, and – that ghastly, screechy, cat claws-on-glass voice!

Here’s my rock climbing take:

The rock climbing episode was simply awful. I can sympathise with Sarah that the first step for a beginner is really, really hard, but most tyro climbers quickly realize how much energy it takes within a few vertical moves, how one can take advantage of staying close to the rock face, and how isometric the whole exercise is.

She kept on leaning outward and whining. Her pants seemed to restrict lateral moves of her legs, which wasn’t her fault. But her whining and self pitying was horrid. (I used to rock climb – 5.7 – 5.8-ish level)

The rock climbing episode was simply awful. I can sympathise with Sarah that the first step for a beginner is really, really hard, but most tyro climbers quickly realize how much energy it takes within a few vertical moves, how one can take advantage of staying close to the rock face, and how isometric the whole exercise is.

She kept on leaning outward and whining. Her pants seemed to restrict lateral moves of her legs, which wasn’t her fault. But her whining and self pitying was horrid. (I used to rock climb – 5.7 – 5.8-ish level)

Gawker posted an article with visual aids, titled The Five Most Ridiculous Moments from Sarah Palin’s Alaska Premiere:

5) Is Rock Climbin’ Hard? You Betcha!

4) The Requisite “Mama Grizzly” Reference

Palin watched two grizzly bears go at it—and then related it to herself and made a veiled political reference, obviously.

3) (Border) Fence Talk

Palin lamented the fact that a reporter moved in next door. Worse, this guy is writing a “hit piece” on her! So, Todd built a 14-foot fence to keep him away—and Palin thinks the rest of the country should do the same (to keep out illegal immigrants!)

2) Like Bristol, Like Willow

Palin’s daughter, Willow, had a boy over. Willow and the boy tried to go upstairs together, and Palin didn’t like this.

1) The Theme Song.

The comments at the Gawker article contain gems such as this:

A better view of the fence [with a photo of Todd's monstrosity], it’s beyond me why anyone would listen to this band of twits when they apparently can’t even be trusted to build a fence that doesn’t look fucking stupid.

Maia Nolan, arts & entertainment wonk at The Alaska Dispatch wrote a long article as she watched.  My favorite line:

After the Fox News interview, the family piles into a motorhome and cruises up the highway toward Denali National Park. Here is perhaps the most major difference between Sarah Palin’s Alaska and Maia Nolan’s Alaska: Members of the Palin and Heath families ride unsecured in the back of the motorhome, lounging on couches, getting up and walking around. That would have been heaven for us as kids. But in Maia Nolan’s Alaska, Dad the fishing guide was also Dad the paramedic, who would have been as likely to feed his children paint chips as to put them in a moving vehicle without seat belts.

Alaska blogger Jesse Griffin wrote about the series premiere at The Immoral Minority. His post centers on the Palins’ (and TLC‘s) trashing of McGinniss:

The fact that Palin uses this new program to deliver a little payback to the author who dared to cast his shadow on Casa de Palin, should come as no surprise to anybody who read “Going Rogue”, which essentially reads like one long Bitch-a-Palooza about everybody who Sister Sarah believes did her wrong.

However in THIS case Sarah and TLC were both warned by the author’s lawyer to remove ALL images of Joe McGinniss, pixelated or not, from the program or face possible legal proceedings.

As you can see from the CBS report above, neither Palin nor TLC took that warning seriously.

Perhaps this time Grizzled Mama will find that it is much harder to bully people people once they move thousands of miles away from Wasilla.

Living in Wasilla, as I do, I can attest that some of us are certainly not intimidated.

The UK Guardian (!) live blogged the episode:

9:06pm ET / 2.06am GMT: Sarah likes to do her “researching” on the porch, looking at the lake. She’s possibly looking for Russia because she doesn’t seem to have any papers in front of her.

9:08pm ET / 2.08am GMT: Sarah and the slightly scary Todd are bitching about the reporter who rented a house next door to them. Todd built a 14ft fence: “This is what we need to secure our nation’s border”, says Sarah. “How would you feel if some dude who was out to getcha was 15ft away from your kids,” she wails. Aww, so protective of her kids! Admittedly she is complaining to a reality TV crew who are following around her teenage daughters and their boyfriends. But that’s totally different.

9:10pm ET / 2.10am GMT: My sofa companion asks: “Isn’t it strange that Palin’s first real attempt to show her suitability as a presidential candidate is, not to bone up on foreign policy or reinstate herself as governor of Alaska, but to be on a reality TV show?” Yeah, well, he’s an east coast elite. What can you expect? He doesn’t understand the Real People.

9:13pm ET / 2.13am GMT: Ooh now we’re seeing the raftin’ Palins approaching a bear fishing, just to prove how down with nature. Unfortunately, they were criticised yesterday by the Alaska Wildlife Alliance for breaking rules and getting too close to bears. But “rules” is just another word for “big government trying to control the real people and turn them all into communists and send them to death panels”, of course.

9:16pm ET / 2.16am GMT: “This is so cool” giggles Sarah as the bear that they’re harassing splashes about miserably in the water. “A lot of time they want you out of their territory,” she says, as ignorant of irony as ever.

The European blog, Palingates, carried a guest post by a woman who watched the episode with her 7-year-old daughter, Bella:

Todd, Sarah and Willow hop in a bush plane to head up to Ruth Glacier. The weather is too bad, so they are forced to turn back. When it is time to try again the following day, Willow says her back hurts and she is staying home. Sarah and Todd head out alone. Willow, no doubt, immediately calls Andy and they go upstairs. Meanwhile, out on Ruth Glacier, Sarah has to step over 100-foot deep crevasses so she doesn’t fall to the center of the earth. She whines and whines about how hard it is to climb a rock face, but that she Will. Not. Quit. Because she is NOT A QUITTER, doncha know?! Todd has a look on his face that says he is just repeating this over and over inside his head: “20 million dollars, 20 million dollars, 20 million dollars.” Then, out of nowhere, he says, “let’s go, juicy.” Yes — he calls her juicy. I don’t even want to know. Bella is bored by this scene. She says, “mom, why do you keep rolling your eyes?” I tell her I’m annoyed with Sarah. She says, “yah, she doesn’t seem very nice.”

Sarah has now faced death three times in this episode (bears, crevasses, scaling a rock wall), and all three times, she won. They make it to the top. The episode ends with Sarah saying, “how are we going to get back down?” I wonder, “how will I make it through 7 more episodes?”

“Well, that’s it,” I say. Bella says, “Mom, I have a joke for you. Why is Sarah Palin from Alaska?” Why, I say? “Because she is so cold.”

I’m not sure I could have said it better.

Nor could I.