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Author Joe McGinniss Passes

7:52 pm in Uncategorized by EdwardTeller

Phil+and+Joe+McGinnis

 

From the Washington Post:

NEW YORK — Joe McGinniss, the adventurous and news-making author and reporter who skewered the marketing of Richard Nixon in “The Selling of the President 1968” and tracked his personal journey from sympathizer to scourge of convicted killer Jeffrey MacDonald in the blockbuster “Fatal Vision,” died Monday at age 71.

McGinniss, who announced last year that he had been diagnosed with inoperable prostate cancer, died from complications related to his disease. His attorney and longtime friend Dennis Holahan said he died at a hospital in Worcester, Mass.

I got to first meet Joe in the fall of 2008 (at the time of the above image, taken by my wife, Judy Youngquist), when he came to Alaska right after the presidential election campaign. He was contemplating writing a book about Sarah Palin, and hung out a lot with the Alaska progressive bloggers, who were at that time a close team of colleagues. I had read The Selling of the President, Going to ExtremesFatal Vision, and Blind Faith, and had followed the controversies surrounding the latter books over the years.

We started writing back and forth occasionally, through email.  He often wrote to me after I had posted another installment in my long-running Saradise Lost series of articles.

In the spring of 2010, he came to Wasilla, Alaska, where he moved into a small lakeside house directly adjacent to the Palins’ cult compound. I helped him set up his own security perimeter, with signs, chains, padlocks and other stuff. My dog went over and pissed, possibly pooped on the Palins’ lawn. Joe was disturbed. I wrote about it, and Joe got more disturbed. We ended contact abruptly. The rest of the time he was in Alaska.

He could be prickly. So can I.

By the time he finished his book on Palin, we were back into regular correspondence. He named me or quoted me fairly extensively in The Rogue. Just before publication, McGinniss asked me to promote the book here at Firedoglake‘s book salon. We did that session on September 25, 2011.

Joe told me he was ill fairly early on. He stopped writing back to me sometime last fall. Just last week, I wondered aloud to my wife how he might be doing. And Sunday evening, watching Sarah Palin’s bizarre CPAC rant, I hoped he was enjoying it. It was Palin’s very best truly awful speech yet.

Before The Rogue‘s publication, Palin had already self-destructed after the Tucson massacre of  early January, 2011, when she blathered about critics of her target meme aimed at severely injured U.S. Rep. Gabielle Giffords’ 2012 campaign, as committing “blood libel” against Palin:

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But Joe’s book was instrumental in putting what should have been the final nails in Palin’s political coffin. Too bad the spikes weren’t crafted in silver, eh?

As Palin re-insinuates herself into the lizard brain of paleo-conservatives, with her Putin putdowns and 8th grade snark, the headline to the New York Times review of The Rogue frames McGinniss’ last project well:

Sarah Palin Could See This Guy From Her House

Glad to have known you, Joe McGinniss.

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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:

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 →

Comparing Four Books That Critically Address Sarah Palin

4:32 pm in Uncategorized by EdwardTeller

Four Palin Books

[I'll be hosting author Joe McGinniss here at the firedoglake book salon next Sunday, September 25th.  This is not the introductory review, but rather a comparative assessment]

I. I finished reading Joe McGinniss’ new book about Sarah Palin, The Rogue, last night.  It is due to be released Tuesday, after having gotten more pre-release coverage than any of the other books critical of Palin had managed to garner.

Since the end of the 2008 presidential election, four critical books that either solely addressed Palin’s shortcomings, or devoted a portion of the volume to them, have struck me as outstanding in one way or others:

Bloggers on the Bus by Eric Boehlert
Going Rouge edited by Richard Kim and Betsy Reed
The Lies of Sarah Palin by Geoffrey Dunn
The Rogue by Joe McGinniss

Blind Allegiance by Frank Bailey, with Jeanne Devon and Ken Morris, seems to have fallen flat, though, mostly because it is a dull read, and when one finishes it, one suspects the collaboration didn’t manage to gel into something that could have combined the strengths of the authoring partners, but mushed instead into a poorly disguised coverup for what Bailey didn’t want us to know, and a wounded representation of what might actually be in those emails.  Geoffrey Dunn, who reviewed Blind Allegiance for The Anchorage Press in late August, is even more critical of the book’s shortcomings:

Like Palin in Going Rogue, Bailey leaves out some critical information in Blind Allegiance – information that he had most certainly access to, because it’s information that involved him. And in so doing, he made me realize that Blind Allegiance, for all its inside revelations is, in fact, a second, albeit more subtle, cover-up involving Troopergate.

Dunn goes on to describe material that was leaked to him “subsequent to completing my book.”  He writes:

The documents were records of statements given during the Petumenos investigation by Bailey and his sidekick Ivy Frye, and, taken with the findings and conclusions of the Petumenos report, point to a conspiracy of sorts in framing the collective response by Palin’s inner circle to the Troopergate investigation in the late summer and early fall of 2008.

Dunn then lays out aspects of the conspiracy in such a way that one can’t but wonder why Devon and Morris could have felt they had clean hands while working with Bailey.  After all, the two collaborators have supposedly seen thousands of the emails that didn’t make it into Blind Allegiance.  Whether they were merely incurious, or accommodating in helping Bailey in what Dunn seems to indicate may be a possible criminal coverup, we may never know.  Based on Andree McLeod’s findings in going through the emails released by the State of Alaska, I’ve believed for some time that this may be the case.

Dunn questions the honesty of Bailey, regarding the latter’s sworn testimony to the Petumenos Inquiry:

When the Petumenos Report was released on November 3 – the day before the national election – Bailey says “I welcomed what I eventually came to understand was undeserved vindication.” Say what? “Eventually came to understand?” Bailey knew at the time it was undeserved.

According to Bailey, in finding that there was “no probable cause Governor Palin violated the state’s executive branch ethics act in her dismissal of Walt Monegan,” Petumenos “relied predominantly on [Palin's] testimony to arrive at this conclusion.” But Petumenos made no such claim in his report. In fact he cited the testimony of several witnesses who “gave sworn depositions to independent counsel” – among them (guess who?) Frank Bailey, who made no mention of this deposition in his book. In fact, Petumenos specifically identified Bailey (page 36 of the Petumenos Report) as providing corroborative testimony that Palin knew nothing about activities being directed by her husband and Bailey against Wooten.

In fact, Petumenos devoted significant attention to Bailey in his report. He goes over in detail Bailey’s now notorious conversation with Lieutenant Dial. Bailey’s testimony, according to Petumenos, directly contradicted that of Walt Monegan and also Colonel John Glass of the Alaska State Troopers. Bailey makes no mention of this in his book, either. Moreover, Petumenos noted that “Bailey also corroborated the Governor’s assertions with respect to her concern about the Commissioner’s lack of progress on trooper recruitment as part of discussions regarding replacing Commissioner Monegan with Mr. Kopp in July of 2008.” Again, no mention of this in Bailey’s book – the fact that he was a corroborating witness to Palin throughout the investigation.

Dunn goes on to tackle that subject. He details Petumenos’ attention to Bailey’s relationship to Palin administration emails, raising this question in conclusion:

Again, no mention of this Petumenos finding in Blind Allegiance. But it raises the obvious question: Does Bailey have access to any other relevant emails that were not provided Petumenos and which are relevant to Troopergate? Certainly the October 3, 2006, email had direct probative impact on the scope of the Petumenos investigation and was not included in the “exhibits” of evidence provided as a formal addendum to the Petumenos Report. Are there others?

Of course there are.  Essentially, many feel the authors of Blind Allegiance have a lot to answer for before that book can be fully assessed historically.

Bailey’s book pays scant attention to bloggers in Alaska or elsewhere.  It leaves out a lot of previously known information about Palin’s absorbtion in new media and social networking tools.

II. All the way back in early 2009, Eric Boehlert’s look at how such tools, particularly those of the netroots blogging community, Bloggers on the Bus, gave national readers a glimpse of what was then a tightly knit community of progressive new media writers here who were openly sharing information with the journalists, videographers, writers and others, who flocked north in the fall, to begin reporting on the startling pick of the McCain campaign for a running mate.

At the time, Boehlert and others were skeptical of the meme that Sarah Palin might not be the birth mother of TriG Palin.  He constructed Chapter 13 of his book around a contrast between bloggers like me, who he felt reported about that issue and others responsibly, and those who he felt had not, naming the chapter after my long series on Palin here, Saradise Lost.  By the time his book came out, I was more skeptical of Palin’s story than I ever had been, and wrote Eric about that, including pictures that had surfaced since his publication, indicating Palin may well have faked the pregnancy.

More important than the TriG coverage in Boehlert’s account, is his understanding in the book that new media and social networking tools have changed political communication irreversably.

III. The Lies of Sarah Palin, which I reviewed in detail in May, takes up a lot of room describing the 2008 campaign, and paints it vividly, with remarkable detail and vignettes.  Author Dunn brings up Boehlert’s attention to Alaska bloggers on page 213:

Independent voices from the internet “influenced and altered the road to the White House” in ways never before imaginable.  Moreover the intrepid band of bloggers from Alaska did the public vetting of Sarah Palin that the media failed to do.  They were ahead of the curve every step of the way.

Dunn’s assesment of Andree Mcleod as an “Anchorage-based good-government activist” is the most thoroughly symaptheic portrait of her yet penned.  Where Bailey et al seem to demonize McLeod, Dunn managed to put McLeod into the context of bipartisan political activists in Alaska who truly do want, and – as in McLeod’s case – demand good government.  Both Bailey and Dunn contribute to the huge volume of material that shows Palin’s claim to have been such an activist to be the smelliest kind of bullshit.


IV. The Rogue is a helluva read.  It is the fifth book by the author I have read, having read The Selling of the President and Going to Extremes multiple times.

Although McGinniss’ book, like Bailey’s contains no index (Dunn’s has a superb one), I’m almost willing to forgive that.  Bailey’s book looks from inside a gubernatorial administration mostly.  Dunn’s concentrates largely on the 2008 presidential campaign from August 28, 2008 on.  McGinniss’ book is largely about Wasilla, where I live.  As with the community, the book is populated with many, many of my friends and adversaries over the years.

I feel almost too close to a lot of the content to be able to review the volume.  It does bring up, once again, a subject Judy and I have discussed fairly frequently over the past three years – how much we’ve forgotten about Palin, that we knew, and that we knew was really awful.  McGinniss addresses the climate of fear the Palin camp has created in the Wasilla area since the mid-1990s, better than anyone else has.  Far better.  He lived through it.

Here’s one example.  My longtime friend (since 1974, in Seattle, before he moved to Alaska), Dewey Taylor, used his truck to bring some chairs over to McGinniss’ new rental next to the Palins.  Apparently, some of Palin’s advocates took note:

Then I hear that at about four o’clock this morning somebody shot out the driver’s side window of Dewey Taylor’s truck, which was parked in his driveway

I call him and offer to pay for a new window.  “Don’t be reidiculous,” he says, “it was probably just a coincidence.”

“How long have you lived there?”

“About twenty years.”

“Ever had a problem with a vehicle parked in your driveway before?”

“Nope.”

“I don’t think it’s a coincidence.”

A couple of interesting things should be noted here.  I see Dewey a lot.  He’s never discussed this incident with me.  Strange, eh?  Maybe not, as three months earlier, Palin-loving vandals (a week after this incident) had drained the oil from my Subaru (probably using a Jabsco pump), cut the oil warning light wire, and cost us $3,500.00.  And I’ve never shared that with Dewey.  We’re both “I’ll move on” kinds of people – Dewey more than I – but did fear of even dwelling on the vandalism help us keep our mouths shut?

How many other stories like that are there out here in the Mad Zoo?  The climate of festering fear or immediate retribution here – not just from the Palins, but from the nutty right-wing and Christianist zealots – should not be underestimated.

For those who complain about how McGinniss was purported to have taken advantage of informants in Going to Extremes, there won’t be much that I’ve found in this new book which will bring that back up.

McGinniss is even more scathing than Dunn in his assessment of the failures of Alaska’s main media outlets during Palin’s rise and short reign at the top of Alaska politics.  And, far more than Dunn, he observes Palin’s ability to play the media – and the media’s inability to shake itself of the Palin habit – up to the date of publication.

Six months ago, I would have totally disagreed with this McGinniss assessment of new media and blogs:

I sometimes wonder why anyone bothers to blog.  Almost nothing anyone writes changes anyone else’s mind.  Most people who read a blog already agree with the writer’s point of view.  The others read so they can write quick, nasty comments in response.  The whole blogosphere sometimes seems like one vast game of verbal paintball.

I’m not in total agreement with McGinniss on this, mind you.  And perhaps he hasn’t played paintball in the right setting yet, as it can be very enjoyable.  I learn something every day at one blog or another.  Blogs which Joe list at his own blog can be the way he describes - Palingates, Politicalgates, and The Imoral Minority, for instance.  Yet even at those places where the commenting communities are so predictably like Joe’s description, one can learn valuable information.  Others McGinniss lists, like The Daily Dish and Glenn Greenwald, are among the most valuble resources for reliable information anywhere (The Daily Dish does not publish comments).  And I’m tired, as Joe must be, of the pettiness commenters often show toward people and situations they show themselves to know little or nothing about.

Like Going to Extremes, The Rogue gets into amazing detail of daily life here, in this case from his perspective of spending the summer of 2010 on Lake Lucille.  A lot of what he writes about has been covered before, but his decriptions of the Heath and Palin families, along with the other assorted characters of this seemingly never-ending soap opera, are rife with raw humor.

He gets much more into the conflicts in the minds of central characters than any other author.  Sarah Palin’s predecessor as Wasilla mayor, John Stein, intially didn’t want to talk to or meet McGinniss.  I know, from having stayed in John’s house in Sitka, that Going to Extremes is in the library there.

Joe kept after John, who finally relented and invited the author over.  Their discussions are by far the best to cover Stein’s relationship with the young politician he was mentoring through the early 1990s.

The book has been criticized for leaving out interviews with Palin supporters.  However, as in Dunn’s book, one doesn’t need to be further illuminated in the goofiness of Palin’s devotees than we already have been.

The book concludes looking back at Palin’s very bad early 2011, particularly since her insanely self-centered respose to the January shootings in Tucson.  McGinniss is wary of not only the symbiotic relationship media has come to rely upon regarding Palin, but of his own, with the book coming out and campaign seasons ramping up:

This may be a strange thing to say in [opening] the last chapter about the star performer of the circus.  But no matter how much my book sales might benefit from a Palin presidential campaign in 2012, I sincerely hope that the whole extraveganza, which has been unblushingly underwritten by a mainstream media willing to gamble the nation’s future in exchange for the cheap thrill of watching a clown in high heels on a flying trapeze, is nearing its end.

The Rogue may be the best close look at how a small town in America related over a period of 20 years to a politician who had an uncanny ability to draw upon hatred, superstition, gang organizing and media incuriosity since Sinclair Lewis’ novel of 1935, inspired by Huey Long, It Can’t Happen Here.

Regarding the dustup over McGinniss’ role in the release of manuscripts of Blind Allegiance back in February, and how that might have had an impact on the Bailey book’s sales prospects, I’ll just say that with Bailey coming out of hibernation now to talk about comparisons, McGinniss book looks like it will help Bailey’s sell more copies, just as stores and the publisher were about to remainder Blind Allegiance.

note – the author of this article is referenced several times in The Rogue

Joe McGinniss Starts His Book Promo Tour Thursday – He Will Be at firedoglake on the 25th – Updated

11:37 pm in Uncategorized by EdwardTeller

Phil+and+Joe+McGinnis

Joe McGinniss’ new Book, The Rogue, comes out on the 20th of September. Thursday morning, he will be on the Today Show.

Gary Trudeau was one of the few people McGinniss gave an early advance copy of the book to, as anyone who regularly reads Doonesbury might have guessed.  Trudeau is upset that at least three major papers, The Chicago TribuneThe Atlanta Journal-Constitution and Newsday have stopped running Doonesbury because it is featuring excerpts and a fictitious story line based upon some of the book’s content.

McGinniss told me last week that advanced sales of the book were approaching a quarter million copies.  He and his publisher have been quite shrewd in getting press in the run-up to release, with The National Enquirer running a story today on NBA star Glen Rice, back when he was a junior in college, playing in the University of Alaska Anchorage’s Great Alaska Shootout tournament, and the rogue was a fledgeling reporter at Anchorage’s preeminent TV station, KTUU.  According to the book (at least, according to Gary Trudeau):

“She was a gorgeous woman. Super nice. I was blown away by her. Afterward, she was a big crush that I had. I talked about her for a long time. Only good things.”— Glen Rice on Sarah Palin, from The Rogue, by Joe McGinniss Read the rest of this entry →

Joe McGinniss and Andrew Sullivan Are Disturbed by Alaska Blogger’s Palin email Discovery

10:56 pm in Uncategorized by EdwardTeller

Last Friday’s release of thousands of pages of emails from Sarah Palin’s private email account, upon which she and others illegally conducted government business from December 2006 until late August 2008, has been more difficult to digest for those who did not have specific targets they are seeking from within the massive dump. Or, for those who are new to Palinology. Three Palin-centric sites seem to have come up with the most interesting tidbits: The out-of-state sites Palingates, and its offshoot, Politicalgates, and the Anchorage site, The Immoral Minority.

This weekend, The Immoral Minority blog was one of the first to note that it seems then-Gov. Palin spurned or ignored serial killer Jeremy Morlock’s plea for help to her, requesting help on a compassionate transfer, before he went over the edge.

Jesse Griffin at IM got a lot of major kudos today for further research. He has been spending time on Palin’s email activity around the time of the alleged birth of her alleged younger son, TriG. First of all, once again using Joe McGinniss’ term, I remain Trignostic. But Gryph’s find even stirred McGinniss to think more deeply on what Griffin’s analysis implies.

Essentially, Griffin caught a draft of the email Palin sent out after the birth of TriG, 12 days before he was supposed to have been born. Jesse analyzes its content in detail:

Through the more than two and a half years we’ve been writing about and thinking about the baby story, the phrases “Smoking Gun” and “Nail in the Coffin” have been used more than once. Each time, unfortunately, it doesn’t seem to clinch it. In spite of evidence that I (and others) have considered irrefutable, somehow it’s ignored, minimized, or explained away with absurd arguments. I’m not going to use either phrase now because I’ve learned not to take anything for granted. But I believe we’ve now seen an email that proves beyond a shadow of a doubt that Sarah Palin’s pregnancy was not as reported.

On Monday, April 7th, Sarah Palin sent this letter from her official government account to her yahoo accounts. It was the draft of the letter she eventually sent to friends and family after Trig was “born” on April 18th, eleven days later. We’ve known about this letter for years, as quotes from it were released to the press within three days after Trig’s delivery. It had gained considerable notice because Sarah Palin wrote the letter in the name of Trig’s Creator (i.e, God) But, of course, no one knew that she’d actually written it more than a week earlier.

This letter has already appeared in a number of media reports since the emails were released. Most of them take the position of the U.K Daily Mail, that this is a “touching” and “extraordinary” letter which should prove once and for all that Trig is really Sarah’s.

Not so fast.

This letter was written when Sarah Palin was supposedly thirty-four weeks pregnant. Six weeks away from her announced delivery date of May 18th.

How can you possibly explain her writing a letter which thanks God for giving her an exceptionally easy pregnancy (“Then, I let Trig’s mom have an exceptionally comfortable pregnancy so she could enjoy every minute of it,”) when she should have been six LONG weeks away from the end? Still facing the weeks that any woman will tell you are going to be the most uncomfortable, weeks where, my female friends who have been pregnant tell me, you can’t hardly find a comfortable position to sleep, your back hurts constantly, you have to run to the bathroom hourly, and sometimes the baby kicks so hard you cry.

How could Sarah know for sure that her birth would be easy and free of complications or that her baby would be, except for the Down Syndrome, healthy? I asked a friend who has had multiple home births if she could imagine writing a letter like this six weeks before her babies were born, when she still could not know the outcome, and she said, “No. You always worry. Even when you know you’ve had healthy babies before and you know your body and your midwife, you always worry.”

And what about this sentence? “and I even seemed to rush it along…” I believe this is a clear reference to the fact that Trig came early. But how could Sarah possibly have known, on April 7th, that that was going to happen?

Andrew Sullivan’s reaction to Gryph’s look was this:

But if God had already told her at least ten days earlier that Trig would be premature and would “rush [the pregnancy] along,” why would she be surprised at all? Had she already forgotten God’s message to her? And why would she further doubt God’s decision and not get to a hospital immediately – if she had been forewarned about a premature pregnancy? More to the point, the passage in the email about God “rushing” the pregnancy along is edited out of the letter as published in “Going Rogue.” Maybe it was edited out for length. Or maybe Palin makes so much stuff up she can’t keep her stories straight and has to retroactively cover her tracks.

Your call.

Sullivan appears to have continued to be bothered by what the email implies, writing in a later post that looks at the emails Palin sent around the time TriG was supposed to have been born, as he compares sections from Palin’s first book, to emails she sent during the time of the alleged birth:

It seems to me we have two options. It’s possible that Palin simply made up her drama of labor, or exaggerated it for effect, when in fact it was a routine, if rare, pregnancy, and she had mild warnings that the birth may be premature, and she gussied that up into a tall tale of her pioneer spirit, guided by her doctor, who refused to take the NYT’s calls as soon as Palin hit the big time. I think that’s the likeliest explanation, given the sheer world-historical weirdness of the alternative.

But it’s also possible that she never had that baby at all. I mean, if you read the emails and independent reports above and were asked if this woman were in labor with a special needs child, and that her water had already broken, would you believe it? Just put all the facts in front of you and ask yourself that question.

So she is either a self-serving drama queen who didn’t realize her story would imply she put her child – and many others on the planes – at great risk and then winged it to make her story more plausible; or she is a fantastic hoaxer and liar at a world class meshugana level that, at some point, will make Weinergate look like a damp squib.

To my mind, either option makes her unfit for high office, which is all you need to know really. And the fact that she has never been asked about this by any MSM journalist tells you so so much about what motivates the DC press corps. It’s certainly not curiosity.

Joe McGinniss, whose book on Palin is slated for September release, was also struck by Griffin’s reading of the pre-birth emails:

I’ve declared myself as “trignostic,” meaning I am skeptical about Sarah’s story of her pregnancy with Trig and his birth, but I am not yet certain that it could not be true.

If it’s a hoax, it would be the worst ever perpetrated on the American electorate by a candidate for national office.

That’s a lot to swallow, which is why MSM has simply turned its collective head.

I’m still not convinced (i.e. persuaded beyond a reasonable doubt), but recent close readings of the newly-released Palin emails by Jesse Griffin at Immoral Minority and Andrew Sullivan at Daily Dish bring me closer to concluding that Sarah’s tale is an absolute and utter fraud and that Trig, in fact, was not her baby.

To me, the questions have always been valid, and the MSM dismissal of Sullivan as a misogynist freak with a tinfoil beard has been shameful.

The question of whether or not Trig was really Sarah’s baby was much on my mind last spring and summer in Alaska. Both Levi’s sister, who was photographed holding him soon after birth, and Levi’s mother assured me that conspiracy theories about Trig were absurd: Sarah gave birth to him, just as she said.

I devote a full chapter of THE ROGUE to this question, and have material in other chapters that relates directly to it.

My research did not uncover proof that Sarah was lying, but I returned from Alaska last fall more skeptical about the official version of events than I’d been when I got there.

McGinniss goes on to describe how Palin appears to have spent the hours before catching a plane from Texas to Alaska, as her amniotic fluid supposedly trickled out:

What’s new in the emails is proof that seven hours after being overwhelmed by desperation about the fate of her new gift from her Heavenly Father, Sarah was firing off BlackBerry messages, including one about Andrew Halcro, one of her opponents in the gubernatorial race of 2006, who’d started a blog often critical of her.

“What a goof he is…truly annoying,” she wrote in the throes of her desperation about Trig’s fate. She added, “I’m headed home from Dallas.”

We’ve all heard about compartmentalizing, but, hey, let’s get real: her great gift from her Heavenly Father is at risk of dying before he’s even born and Sarah is bitching about Andrew Halcro?

Despite being overwhelmed by desperation, Sarah also fired off a note to an aide that morning, instructing her not to proceed with a fake letter to the editor of the Anchorage Daily News–one that was to be sent as if it came from Sarah–responding to criticism from a couple of Anchorage radio personalities.

“Don’t submit at this time as there will be more thought put into this…” she wrote.

In THE ROGUE I wonder about how Sarah spent the hours between the onset of desperation at four a.m. and her luncheon speech. Now we know: she was on her BlackBerry, dealing with inconsequential matters, as her amniotic fluid continued to leak, putting her baby, hour by hour, at increasing risk.

No matter how you fall on the issue of TriG, Palin was (and is) one whacked-out person.

Palin 2012 – “Game On!”

4:56 pm in Uncategorized by EdwardTeller

With those two words, Sarah Palin ended her abysmally empty, yet fully shrieky speech in front of about 1,200 or so Tea Partiers and 5,000 or so pro-labor protestors in Madison Wisconsin last Saturday.  Palin went after Obama at least 25 times in the 15-minute speech. Here’s the rest of the final line:

It starts here. It starts now … Mr. President, Game on!

The speech, as theater, was pure disaster:

It did not get very wide coverage for more than 24 hours.  Her facebook and twitter spin doctors have gotten frantic early this week, as they try to create something positive about the Madison debacle to drown out the increasing interest in the rebirth of the TriG birthers.  Here’s Dave Weigel at Slate.com:

In the two years and eight months that Sarah Palin has been a political celebrity, I’ve never heard a conservative complain about the media ignoring her. Not until last night. That was when Palin’s web consigliere Rebecca Mansour loaded up Twitter and started tweeting at official media accounts to ask when they hadn’t given more coverage to Palin’s Tea Party speech in Madison this past weekend. She tag-teamed with Jim Nolte, the editor of Andrew Breitbart’s Big Hollywood site — that’s why @jimnolte is mentioned in the tweets.

Weigel took screenshots of the frantic tweets.

What has Palin’s staff atwitter is the attention drawn to a “paper” written by a Northern Kentucky University journalism professor, Brad Scharlott.  A draft of it was picked up by the campus newspaper on April 7th.  Scharlott’s theme in the paper, titled Palin, the Press, and the Fake Pregnancy Rumor, is this:

[I]t’s fair to ask if the U.S. press should have treated the fake pregnancy rumor as untouchable, both in 2008 and up to the present day. After all, if there seemed to be any real chance that the rumor was true, that might mean that a candidate for the vice presidency had staged a hoax about the birth of a Down syndrome child and then used that birth to promote her political career. This article looks at what American journalists knew, and when they knew it, concerning the fake birth rumor – and it finds there was insufficient evidence for the press to conclude that Palin was telling the truth about Trig. The article then looks at what factors may have caused the press to give Palin more deference than she was due, and how journalists might have reacted differently. Finally, the article considers how the spiral of silence theory casts light on press performance relative to the Trig hoax rumor and, relatedly, the Obama fake birth-certificate rumor.

Geoffrey Dunn, author of an upcoming book, The Lies of Sarah Palin, (to be featured at the firedoglake Book Salon on Saturday, May 7th) wrote today about Prof. Scharlott’s conclusion:

1) that Palin “likely” staged “a hoax” concerning the birth of her son Trig;

and 2) that “a spiral of silence” prevented the mainstream U.S. media from adequately investigating the circumstances of Trig’s birth.

Dunn is among those lining up against the out-and-out TriG birthers. He’s also among the most reasonable.  Dunn’s article, titled Sarah Palin’s Version of Trig’s Birth May Be More Troubling Than The Hoax, is an excellent summation of the battle since April 7th between the TriG truthers and those who think Palin’s hiding of her 2007-2008 pregnancy was merely part of her attempt to kill the poor little guy.  (I happen to fall into the latter category.  Or at least I do today).

Here’s Dunn’s description today, of Palin’s “wild ride” (the term invented by Alaska progressive commentator Shannyn Moore for the TriG birth scenario as described by the Palin clan):

I cover the ensuing details of Palin’s so-called “wild ride” from Texas back to Alaska in considerable detail in my book, but in short–according to information she gave at a news conference immediately following her return–Palin claimed that she called her physician in the middle of the night from her hotel room in Texas to discuss what Palin referred to as “amniotic fluid leaking.” Despite the presence of this fluid–a strong indicator of impending birth and which potentially exposed Palin and her child to infection–Palin stayed in Dallas and delivered her speech later that day.

Rather than getting checked at a nearby hospital in Dallas before her departure (Baylor Medical Center was less than ten minutes away), Palin and her husband commenced on their return flight home to Anchorage via Seattle. They did not tell flight attendants of Palin’s medical situation. The failure of the Palins to inform airline personnel of her impending medical situation not only put her infant and herself at risk, it also potentially put all passengers and staff on the two flights at risk as well. As The Atlantic’s Andrew Sullivan (who deserves a commendation for keeping this story from being buried completely) dubbed it, Palin’s decisions were “reckless beyond measure.”

Once returning to Anchorage late in the evening of April 17, Palin claims to have bypassed the Providence Hospital in Anchorage (which has a neonatal intensive-care unit and is located only a few minutes from the Ted Stevens International Airport) for the roughly hour-long drive to the Mat-Su Regional Medical Center, located just off the Parks Highway, roughly seven miles outside of Wasilla (and which has no neonatal intensive-care unit).

Three days after Trig’s birth, Palin and her husband held a news conference in Anchorage, with Trig joining them. The audio recording of the news conference provides a fascinating glimpse into the Palins’ mindset at the time of Trig’s birth and their chafing at criticism of their decision to fly back to Alaska. Again, I cite several passages from the press conference in my book, but what follows are some highlights:

Sarah Palin: Well that was again if, if I must get personal, technical about this at the same time, um, it was one, it was a sign that I knew, um, could lead to uh, labor being uh kind of kicked in there was any kind of, um, amniotic leaking, amniotic fluid leaking, so when, when that happened we decided OK let’s call her [her physician, Cathy Baldwin-Johnson].

The answer was classic Palin–evasive, circuitous, garbled and indirect. In fact, The Anchorage Daily News story the following day, by Kyle Hopkins, reported that Palin had not asked her physician “for a medical OK to fly.”

Hopkins also contacted an obstetrician in California, Dr. Laurie Gregg, active in the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, who said that “when a pregnant woman’s water breaks, she should go right to the hospital because of the risk of infection. That’s true even if the amniotic fluid simply leaks out.”

As for the distinction that Palin was trying to make between “breaking” and “leaking,” Gregg was not buying into it. “To us, leaking and broken, we are talking the same thing,” Gregg asserted. “We are talking doctor-speak.”

The Palins were clearly irritated by the direction of the questioning. “There’s a lot of new doctors out there on the streets in the last couple of days,” Todd Palin asserted irritably.

There still are, Todd.  And I have to say that the TriG birthers have a lot of material that makes sense.  The three sites which are most relentless are the Alaska site, The Immoral Minority, and two out-of-state sites, Palingates and Politicalgates.  They are sometimes backed up by Andrew Sullivan, now over at The Daily Beast.

With release of Dunn’s book in early May, the release of Palin ex-chief-of-staff Frank Bailey’s tell-all tome (to be published in late May by Christian book publisher, Howard Books – their big hit last year was  Pastor Rick Warren’s The Purpose of Christmas) Blind Allegiance to Sarah Palin in late May, and Joe McGinniss’  The Rogue: Searching for the Real Sarah Palin, coming out in late September, Palin’s staff will only get more tweaked.  Not only the two May books are coming out soon, but the State of Alaska has finally stated it will release piles and piles of Palin emails next month.

Palin may have come up with 25 reasons to diss Obama as she was booed by thousands in Madison, but she’s about to be assailed by several more thousand emails, articles, op-eds and author interviews that will challenge her very second-rate publicity machine.

All I can say is – “Game On, Sarah!”

The SFGate Geoffrey Dunn Palin Book Interview – “Let Us Count Our Blessings”

7:57 pm in Uncategorized by EdwardTeller

Gloria Nieto’s long interview in the San Francisco Chronicle with author and journalist Geoffrey Dunn, on the advent of the distribution of Dunn’s book (release date – May 10th) about Sarah Palin, is the richest, least sensational in-depth article about Palin’s past, present and future written yet in  2011. It is also informative in the sense that Dunn has much to say about Alaskans and our politics.

Nieto’s not up enough about Alaska politics to ask about some of the nuttiness of the current legislative session, but she and Dunn were able to address the dynamics of Alaska party politics. Dunn was clear that this will be an important aspect of his look at Palin’s rise:

Nieto asks Dunn:

I am curious about the people of Alaska. There is the liberal wing which seems to have become energized from her being up there and organizing more. Maybe it is because more people are paying attention, the blogs are getting more attention, the radio up there has been on fire. Even Rachel Maddow went up there. So what can you tell me about the folks up there you have known for a long time whose voices are finally being heard in the lower 48. It isn’t so much a voice crying in the wilderness anymore.

Dunn’s response is interesting:

Alaska’s political culture is as complex as any I’ve ever seen in the world. People forget that it’s an oil-driven economy and therefore it’s an oil-driven political system. It’s like Louisiana, circa 1933. In many respects, Palin was simply a symptom of Alaska’s longtime political culture of corruption.

I do think the left was energized some by Palin’s presence (after her nomination), but in the last election, Scott McAdams, the Democratic nominee for U.S. Senate and a great guy, only received 23 percent in a three-way race with two Republicans. Joe Miller, whose politics are somewhere to the right of Attila the Hun, got 35 percent. So don’t let Rachel Maddow’s cameo in Anchorage fool you. I would say there’s been a left wing awakening in Alaska–even a coalescing–but not yet a full-scale movement.

One thing I will say: Alaskans by and large are much more practical than ideological in their politics and the parties are less influential than they are in other states. Don’t forget, Palin an against the Republican establishment for governor in 2006 and was elected as a “moderate.

Dunn isn’t the first person to note recently how little “party” has to do with some of the basic dynamics of Alaska politics. He is also appreciative of three law enforcement officers whose problems with Palin he seems to have woven into the fabric of the book’s narrative. He has apparently dedicated his book to them – Irl Stambaugh, the Wasilla police chief Palin inherited from the previous administration (and fired); Walt Monegan, the state public safety director Palin hired and then forced out; and Alaska State Trooper officer Mike Wooten, who Palin failed to get fired.

Dunn agrees with my assessment that Palin’s reaction to the January 9th Tucson shootings finished her chances of ever becoming the GOP 2012 nominee:

Well, I’m a gambling man, and a few months ago I would have bet any amount of money that Palin would wage a race for the GOP nomination in 2012. That’s why she quit her governorship; she hated being governor and wanted to be president. She has clearly been positioning herself for such a run since October of 2008. But her irresponsible remarks both before and after the carnage in Tucson has severely impacted her favorability ratings. I’d say right now her chances of running are 50-50. Her chances of winning the GOP nomination are now a very long shot. The Republican establishment is absolutely united in its opposition to her. Even her former lapdog, Billy Kristol, has signaled his opposition to her candidacy. As for winning the presidency, slim to none.

Let us count our blessings.

The atmosphere of sensationalism leading to fiasco last month involving the leak of Frank Bailey’s Palin book manuscript, and the way the leak involved author Joe McGinniss, whose own Palin book is coming out soon, is completely absent from Dunn’s interview with Gloria Nieto. No doubt, to keep from saying the same stuff over and over, as Dunn has more pre-release interviews, more details will emerge on what is in the book. Dunn claims the book morphed from one in which Palin was an important character to one in which she is the book’s subject. Like millions of Americans, Dunn’s views on Palin have changed.

He really is a super nice guy. I know this from my conversations with him as his idea for a book evolved, and he kept on trying to find a plausibly positive human face with which to portray Palin. Other people who dealt with Geoffrey during the book’s composition have shared their delight in dealing with his persistent questions and hilarious stories. There’s a sense of empathy in Dunn’s assessment of Palin’s trajectory:

Let me note that Palin HAD a decent shot of winning the GOP nomination, but she blew it. She was gifted with the instant celebrity that went with her selection by McCain–and celebrity now plays a role in the election of a president–and she had a solid brand that stood squarely in opposition to Obama. She is the anti-Obama, if you will. But she has blown it both tactically and strategically over the past two years. She can’t put an organization together. She is absolutely dysfunctional. And she is a pathological liar, so she can’t keep her story straight. Palin had it all handed to her–and her various pathologies have brought her down. It would be a Greek tragedy if she weren’t such a farce and a lightweight. Her fall is a Shakespearean comedy.

And she has fallen.

I’ve been asked several times to write music about Palin – an opera, a musical comedy, a song or an overture. The closest I’ve come to latching onto an idea has been something that would encompass what Dunn describes in his comment above – an overture mimicking some of the great Shakespearean comedy musical themes, emphasising the farcical aspects of her “lightweight” personality. Unlike my imaginary overture, though, Dunn’s book promises to be unsparing, if empathic:

One of the things that really pissed me off early on in the Palin campaign was her latching on to the “special needs” issue because of her son, Trig. As you know, I have a so-called “special needs” child, and the thought of Palin serving in any way as a spokesperson for special needs kids or for families with special needs kids made my stomach turn. She has never walked the walk. Ever. In fact, I wrote a piece about it for the Chronicle and it was picked up all over the country. So I suppose that was an early impetus.

Then when she began rattling off about “death panels” in respect to Obama’s health care reform I hit the roof. It was a flat-out lie. As a survivor of very advanced and very aggressive colon cancer, I’ve had to deal with end-of-life decisions; I’ve had first-hand experience. You want to know who the death panels are? They’re the medical insurance companies that prevented me from getting a colonoscopy before I turned 50, even though I had moderate symptoms. So I lost several body parts to the death panels. And I had to deal with my father’s death in a VA hospital because he didn’t have proper end-of-life counseling. Sarah Palin has never dealt with anything like that. My father had an old Navy phrase that fits her to a “T.” I will refrain from using it.

I’m looking forward to all these Palin books. I haven’t read any of the ones published so far. Who knows whether Bailey will find a publisher? His looks by far the least promising. Dunn’s certainly looks very interesting. McGinniss has the capability and connections to write the book that finally nails the silver stake into the heart of the nutty Sarah Palin cult. But – again – as Dunn and many of us have observed – the cult is already in its death rattles.

Let us count our blessings.

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.