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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 →

Jesse Gryphen’s Palin Pregnancy Bombshell – Shailey Tripp Interview – Updated

1:00 pm in Uncategorized by EdwardTeller

Alaska blogger Jesse Gryphen, whose Alaska blog, The Immoral Minority, was one of the first to question aspects of Sarah Palin’s pregnancy with her younger son, Trig, has posted the above interview with Shailey Tripp, the young woman who purports to have had a long-term sexual relationship with Palin’s husband, Todd.  He managed to interview Tripp shortly after the National Enquirer lifted a gag order on Tripp discussing subjects related to the Palins.  According to Gryphen:

Shailey was kind enough to give me this first interview after she walked away from her deal with the National Enquirer, and I am very grateful.  However do not think that this is the last you will hear from Shailey.  In fact, now that the Enquirer’s gag order has been lifted, she is free to tell her story to as many media outlets as she sees fit. (And those media outlets can contact Shailey directly by visiting her new blog.)

I’m still agnostic on the subject of whether or not Trig is Palin’s birth son.  I lean slightly toward the school of thought that feels she gave birth to this special needs child at the conclusion of series of wildly irresponsible acts, any one of which might have killed the fetus, the mom or both.  In the chapter of his book, Bloggers on the Bus, devoted to Alaska bloggers and the 2008 election, Eric Boehlert credits me and others with having gone the responsible route, and concentrating on Palin rather than on her family and the Trig birth rumors.  Since publication, I’ve written Eric, declaring that I’m no longer as sure as I once was.

Update: Jesse Griffin has posted a transcript of the interview at his blog.

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.

Wife of 2007 Indy 500 Winner Gets into it with Wife of 2007 Iron Dog Winner over Killing Wolves from Airplanes

2:40 pm in Uncategorized by EdwardTeller

This may be the back-and-forth smackdown that doesn’t go away.

Both Ashley Judd and Sarah Palin have hubbies who love to win races. Within days of the 21st Century’s most laughable active politician forming a fundraising PAC for her cause, activist actress Judd is helping the Defenders of Wildlife raise funds for their causes. Palin is now calling Judd and opponents of killing wolves from planes and helicopters "an extreme fringe group."

Is the race now on to see who can raise the most money – Palin or Judd? Perhaps.

Ashley Judd is married to 2007 Indianapolis 500 winner, Dario Franchitti. Alaska Governor Sarah Palin is married to 2007 Tesoro Iron Dog winner, Todd Palin. Both Franchitti and Todd Palin are entered in the 2009 events. This year’s Indy 500 will be on May 24th. This year’s Iron Dog – a 2,000 mile snowmobile race from Fairbanks Alaska to Nome and back – begins this Saturday morning, at 10:30 a.m.
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