Friday, June 10, 2011

Various and Sundry for the Week of June 10

Lots of email this week, asking my opinion on things Palin.

A while back I joined other bloggers and some media outlets in a voluntary Palin black-out.

I discovered that, after a month without Sarah Palin, well, you know I just didn’t miss her.

At all. (I suspect that’s how Todd feels after a month at fish camp, but I digress)

So I endeavored to keep it that way.

Sure, every once in a while, when she did something especially silly, stupid, or hateful I’d write a bit about her, my Palin ban is more like Anthony Wiener’s pledge of fidelity than what you’d call an actual hard (get it? Get it?) and firm rule. But I’ve been trying to keep the Palin to a minimum. I’ve actually written a few posts about her and then dumped them just because I didn’t want to give her any more attention. There are plenty of sites out there that keep her sufficiently covered, and for the most part I would like nothing better than to see her fade quietly into the arctic tundra with the rest of last year’s moose manure. Alas, I strongly suspect that she will not have the good grace to go quietly away and enjoy her new found millions. The words “grace” and “Palin” don’t belong in the same sentence together. And now, as the American 2012 presidential election cycle is jiggling into full Brownian motion, she’s starting to occupy more than her fair share of my email again.

This irritates me.

It irritates me for a number of reasons. One, because there are four hundred and fifty million Americans and surely there are better candidates for the GOP nomination than this silly git. It irritates me that a significant fraction of Americans are so damned stupid that they’d vote for Zombie Robot Cannibal Hitler’s Head In A Pickle Jar so long as he belonged to the right political party. And two, because writing about Palin is gratuitous. It bugs me that Stonekettle Station’s hit count jumps by twenty thousand every time I mention the word Palin (damnit, I did it again!). Yes, I know, I’m a blogger I’m supposed to want high hit counts, and I do, but it irks me nonetheless.

I understand that people, both those who are Americans and those who aren’t, are fascinated by Sarah Palin. It’s the same simian trait that makes us all slow down and gape at a horrific car wreck or watch that poor bastard try to do a lift with Kirstie Alley on Dancing With the Stars. We can all deny that we do it, but we all know that we can’t help but watch in horrified fascination – especially when we think nobody is watching us. An anonymous commenter under the previous post lamented the amount of press Sarah Palin gets and then went on to suggest that I spend my time doing something constructive instead of writing about her (the commenter didn’t specify what that might be, but I assume he meant I should be at my computer curing cancer, working towards world peace, or bitching about Obama’s socialism) – and yet that same commenter searched the internet for “Sarah Palin, Paul Revere gaffe,” read the whole article here on Stonekettle Station (and sixty something comments under the post), and then took the time to make a disdainful admonishing comment.

Like it or not, she’s news (which says something about us as a species).

Like it or not, for good or bad, she’s a force in American politics (which says something about the state of American politics).

Like it or not, she’s unlikely to go away any time soon (you can see where this is going, right?).

Like it or not, people are curious about her and the media would be remiss in its duty if we didn’t write about her.


And so, like I said, I get questions.


What do you think about the release of Palin’s Email:

I think it’s much ado about nothing.

I think that if you’re expecting some big surprise, a smoking gun, a wienergate, well, you’re going to be massively disappointed. The Alaska governor’s office released 24,199 pages of email – and withheld 2,275. About 20% of the released material has been redacted. The current governor’s office and Palin’s lawyers have gone over this material with a fine toothed comb, it’s taken them nearly three years to do so, and you can bet they didn’t leave any major surprises. People who love Sarah will see her voluminous correspondence as evidence of an engaged, common sense, hardworking state CEO … and people who hate Palin will read each line as further proof of her vindictive, small minded, hateful incompetence. Whatever camp you happen to fall into, you’ll likely find support for your view in the released documents.

The fact that there are few Americans in between those two positions says more about Sarah Palin than anything likely to be in those emails.

Do you think Palin is going to run for President:

No. Yes. Beats me. This is a sucker bet. I think she’s doing exactly what she says she’s doing, i.e. keeping her options open. I think she’s thinking about it in as much as she thinks about anything. I suspect at this point, more than anything else, she’s basking in the adulation of her supporters who keep begging her to run, save us Sarah! Saaaaave us! Yer so pretty, yer so wunnerful! Derp derpity derp! I think she enjoys the cheering crowds, the paparazzi, and the attention one hell of a lot more than she’ll ever enjoy actually campaigning. She’s on vacation and having the time of her life, a campaign is work, damned hard work and she’s not doing that. Yet.  But, notice that she very, very carefully has not declared support for any other candidate or potential candidate. You’ll also notice that she rickrolled Mitt Romney – and don’t you believe for one damned minute that she didn’t do that deliberately. Romney is the best candidate the conservatives have at the moment, there is no way that she wasn’t warned that she was about to drive the Juggernaut of Freedom right over top of him. Palin the High School Beauty Queen doesn’t like competition, she’s made that abundantly clear. She upstaged Romney on purpose, bet on it.

I think she’s waiting.

If I had to guess, I’d say she’s waiting to see if a genuinely popular conservative jumps into the ring, somebody she can’t beat in the primaries. If so, she’ll offer herself as a running mate, and if not she’ll step in at the last minute as the GOP savior by popular demand.

But like I said, predicting Sarah Palin’s next move is a sucker bet, I wouldn’t put any money on it – the only thing that is for sure and for certain is that she loves it when you try to guess what she’ll do next.




Speaking of the campaigns that aren’t: Gingrich can’t convince his staunchest supporters that he’s the right man for the job. What’s that tell the rest of us?

Honestly folks, if you haven’t figured Newt out by now, the fact that his entire team abandoned ship within the first month of the campaign should tell you a few things:

- Folks who specialize in getting people elected, don’t think Newt is electable. And they’d rather be unemployed than try to run his campaign. Whoa.

- Newt can’t pick people to run his campaign, yet you expect him to be able to pick a Cabinet? The Joint Chiefs? Supreme Court Judges? Color me dubious when it comes to his personal leadership and his ability to judge people. 

- Newt will not heed the advice of experts, including experts he’s paying to be experts, even if it means he crashes and burns. You think he’ll follow the advice of his Cabinet, The Joint Chiefs, The Supreme Court, You, should he become President?  If you believe that, I strongly suspect you’re the kind of person who thinks your cheating spouse will settle down once there is a baby on the way – Let’s ask Mrs. Gingrich 1 and 2 how that worked out for them.

- Apparently, what brought this about was the fact that he decided to take a two week vacation in Greece because his trophy wife was complaining about how much time his campaign was taking up. Note that he’d only been campaigning for two weeks. Poor Newt, I strongly suspect his love of power will cost him yet another marriage.

Strange things happen in politics and I won’t count Gingrich out until he’s out – and maybe not even then – but if Newt was playing the Tarot, I suspect he’d be looking at The Hanged Man right about now.


And finally: The Wiener Mobile

“This was a very dumb thing to do”

That’s what Tony “Oscar Meyer” Wiener said yesterday.  This was a very dumb thing to do. Dumb?  No, Tony, it wasn’t a dumb thing to do. Dumb would be a step up. Dumb would be screwing up American history on national television and then pretending that you didn’t. That’s dumb. 

Texting pictures of yourself in various states of undress to random people on the internet wasn’t dumb, it was downright criminally fucking stupid

It’s the kind of stupid that you only get from men who refuse to grow up. 

It’s the kind of stupid you only get from men who think with their dicks. 

Stop, I know what you’re thinking.  But, before you start telling me how Tony the Hard-on didn’t do anything criminal, how he’s such a great Congressman that he should be forgiven, and how tweeting pictures of himself to woman on the internet is something between him and his wife, just stop before you say something you’ll regret later.

See, Anthony Wiener is a United States Congressman.  Sexting it up with random women on the internet? Sending pictures of his junk out into cyberspace?  Folks, this isn’t some dumbassed teenager, what he did was not a stunt or a mistake.  And it sure wasn’t some isolated incident. This was a grown man, a married man with a pregnant wife, a United States Congressman who deliberately and with malice aforethought sought out women on the internet for sexual relationships.

Big deal, right?

Wrong. Wrong. Wrong.

Now pay attention because this is the important part: Anthony Wiener isn’t a guy who just “made a mistake,” Anthony Wiener is the kind of guy who put his dick ahead of the security of the nation.

Yes, that is correct. Anthony Wiener put his dick ahead of the security of the United States of America.

See Anthony Wiener is a guy with a security clearance and congressional access who deliberately put himself in a position to be compromised.

We are all damned lucky that a scumbag tabloid journalist like Andrew Breitbart ended up with those pictures, and was self serving enough to publish them, instead of if Wiener’s online infidelity had ended up in the hands of somebody who decided to blackmail their way into congress. 

Understand now?

Do I think he should keep his job? You’re kidding, right? 

I wouldn’t trust this guy to hold my jacket while I washed my hands. 


More later.


  1. Agree with you about Weiner.
    And if he touched your jacket you'd best burn it.

    And jeez, the validation word here is "weene"
    Off to wash my hands and keyboard and bleach my eyes

  2. I've had people tell me that the Democrats are throwing Weiner under the bus for this, that's bullshit. Anthony Weiner threw America under the bus every time he made the decision to take pictures of his dork and send them to strangers. He risked his career while Americans counted on him to fight for them, to fight for health care, to fight for jobs. I hadn't thought about the National Security angle, but holy crap. you're right.

    Any person who is so incredibly brain-dead to do what he did is not qualified to be a leader.

  3. How is the fishing going? June in Alaska - that is so much more important and real than the fantasy of American politics....I hear the throbbing bio-mass of the Russian River Reds....

  4. Your take on our Sarah?


    On Newt?


    On Weiner?


  5. This comment has been removed by the author.

  6. So, once again, you raise some very interesting questions/ comments... First and foremost has to be whether that poor bastard actually tried to do a lift with Kirstie Alley on Dancing With the Stars? If so, poor bastard!

    As for the Palinianation of your blog... I don't think that it is something that you can choose to do or not do... almost like choosing whether to breathe or not. She almost invites, solicits, buys the attention. It is almost impossible for me to believe that someone elected to the governorship of a state could be so ignorant or that someone running for the presidency of the United States couldn't see this... When McCain announced that he was selecting her as his running mate I thought it was a stroke of genius... until the first time I heard her open her mouth!

    Unfortunately that act catapulted her into a position where she actually believes that she is a leader, that she is relevant, that people respected her! Had he not done that we would all have heard of her when the investigation against her performance as Governor of Alaska began. And then she probably wouldn’t have had the opportunity to pimp her daughter out to reality TV or to have a program herself…

    Which leads to her intent to run or the Presidency… and someone else raised this perspective to me the other day… Why? Why would she give up all the attention, all the money and all the assumed relevance and power to be the President? She has all of that without any of the stress or responsibilities of the office! Her bus tour is being paid for by a PAC and as long as she doesn’t commit to the race she can spend it almost as she wishes! She see herself playing a key role in the 2012 Republican Convention and if by that time there is no clear front runner, then, as you said, she steps, or rather, slithers in to save the GOP and the election… and when she loses it will be the fault of the lamestream media…

  7. Whoops... I forgot the angle on the Weiner fiasco... and felt the need to get this off my chest before I got rear ended by it...

    I agree that what he did should be cause for him to have his security clearance pulled but not sure of where or what the criminal violation would be.

    Having said that, I question whether the same criteria for clearances used for the average citizen is used for our congressional representatives... based on reported actions (DUI, financial mismanagement, public trysts, etc) I would question whether the majority could pass a Public Trust Background Investigation much less a TS-SCI... Just saying...

  8. If Larry Flint offered Palin 10^6 $ to pose would she?

  9. Getting tougher to stand up and be proud, more like embarassed.

  10. Oy Vey. I've always agreed with you 100% but boy did you ever go off the rails with your Failin predictions.

    News flash, she is not running. She never had any intention of running. To actually run there are some basic things one must do including assembling certain kinds of staff. She has not done any of that and at this point it's too late to do it.

    But that is just one of many reasons it is obvious she never had any intention of running. It is simply worth more money to keep that question hanging out there. So congratulations, you have been Palined! I thought you of all people would have been above all that nonsense. But no, you are just putting more money into her gucci purse.

  11. Re: Weiner- yes, NewRulz1951- I get the same from blindloyal Dems- that somehow it's either traitorous or puritanical to criticize Weiner. Ridiculous! Agreed- It's not about his marital fidelity- it's the judgement- like with Edwards, the lying, covering up, etc, and this case SUCH a public forum- and as Jim Wright points out the, subsequent vulnerability to more nefarious targets. I think this conservative fervor in the country makes the left afraid to criticize its own. A dangerous set up.

  12. I'm a first time commentator, so I'll get the adulation out of the way. Thank you for blogging! With Summer lasting just minutes up there it's great that you take the time to share your thoughts with us mere mortals. Your writing style is wonderfully conversational and very readable.
    I'm glad you post about Palin, I think the more written about her the better. If she uses the word count about her as a guide, she might just decide to run. She would suck the wind out of all the other repugnican's campaigns and Obama would skate to another term. Along those lines, I used to have wet dreams about a Palin, Trump, Bachmann debate.
    I hadn't given a thought to the Weiner security clearance issue, takes the whole issue from silly to serious.
    I look forward to your next post.

  13. The crappiest thing about being northern these days is not the weather or the lack of sunlight. It's the fact that EVERYONE wants to talk to us about Palin, the dumbest person to ever venture north of the Arctic Circle to exploit us for personal gain and fame.

    And that's including a ton of wickedly stupid "adventurers" from the south who need to be rescued every year after coming here.

  14. jim jiim - A Palin/Trump/Bachmann debate? OMG, I would PAY to see that.

  15. Regarding Sarah, I fear that we may have to endure the "is she or isn't she running" senario every 4 years. We already know that she loves the publicity.

    Regarding Newt, not sure what to think except that I know I'm not voting for him.

    Regarding Weiner, I can't believe that anyone in this day & age doesn't know that whatever is posted on the Internet can (and will) become public knowledge.

  16. On Weinergate, I find it entirely sad that some lefties are trying to justify what Anthony did by comparing him to Ensign and Vitter. How is it ever proper to give someone a pass based on what someone else was able to "get away with." Weiner's actions should be judged on their own merits. As sophisticated as he seems to be at the technological marvels of the internet, he is obviously immature at using good judgement, and how that impacts his ability to function as a US Congressman is the thing to focus on.

    Personally, I think he should go. He had no reasonable assurance who he was sending those photos to. For all he knew, he could have been sending them directly to Andrew Breitbart, or someone with even worse motives.

    Disclaimer: I'm a Democrat.

  17. To all you Weiner dolts. He will survive and thrive. On a scale of 1 to 10 of sex scandals this rates a 1.

    Was he caught phoning hookers from his congress office during senate votes (Vitter)....errum no. Does he like to wear diapers when he visits hookers (Vitter again)...errum no. Did cheat on his wife (Sanford)...errum no. Did he do anything besides whack off to stuff done on the internet....errum no. If that is considered grounds for divorce that would pretty much make all marriages null and void.

    Much ado about nothing really. Was it dumb.....hell yea. If that is grounds for resignation then kiss half of congress goodbye.

  18. Well we could talk about Walker pimping Wisconsin. Dressing her all up like a harlot and selling to the highest bidder. Now he's gone after our beer on behalf of Millers. Microbreweries are/were as fast growing industry.

  19. Anonymous @ 10:28 which part of don't be a dick did you not understand? Or did you not bother to read the commenting rules?

    You can disagree and you can state your opinion without being an asshole. Don't do it again.

  20. Jes wondering, Jim, being also a 1st-timer as of this week and throughly enjoying your blog ...

    Was Anonymous @ 10:28's wordcrime "dolt"?? His/her comment didn't seem too flamey to me ...

    Aloha from Honolulu


  21. Finding America Motorcycle Tour

    Having recently purchased a new motorcycle, I am publicly announcing the start of the Official Finding America Motorcycle Tour(c). I will not publish a schedule, nor will I sit for interviews. However, any of the Press that want to find me and follow me around will be treated like the running dogs they are, except of course for Greta Van Susternan who is welcome to ride on the pillion (bitch seat to some)as long as she doesn't say anything while the cycle is in motion. Anyone that has her phone number, let me know.

  22. @Pookapooka. Yes. You want to piss me off, start out an anonymous comment by calling everybody else here a dolt.

    You want to act like an 8 year old dick, go over to 4 Chan or Yahoo News.

    Anonymous could simply have said, "I disagree with the general condemnation of Wiener in this comment thread, compared to other Congressional scandals, such as Vitter, this is much ado about nothing." and so on. You can disagree without being a jerk about it.

  23. Anon:10:28,

    The point you missed is that this isn't about the type of sex in the scandal. The sexting isn't the "crime", it's what Hitchcock called "The MacGuffin", the completely arbitrary object that motivates the crime.

    It wouldn't matter if Weiner's MacGuffin was that he enjoyed the Twilight films, the point is that he was ashamed of it, and willing to lie to try to make it go away. That prompts the questions, "What else would he have been willing to do to prevent his McGuffin from becoming public?"

    (It also prompts the question, "Why?" I mean, I don't care if people send pictures of their dicks to each other, and yet I've never done it. Why would someone who does care do it?)

    "If that is grounds for resignation then kiss half of congress goodbye."

    Given the number of second-wife-who-used-to-be-my-PA's, you would think so.

  24. Me thinks it has nothing to do with my choice of words regarding throw weiner under the busers and everything to do with the fact I said he is wrong about Failin actually planning to run.

  25. No. It has to do with you calling everybody who disagrees with you a dolt.

    I'm not a big fan of passive-aggressive bullshit, if it was about your comment regarding Palin not running, I would have said it was about your comment regarding Palin not running.

  26. Fair enough. Like Wiener, in hindsight, I should have handled it differently.

  27. Thanks, Anonymous. And for the record, there was nothing particularly egregious about your comment and I'm not trying to be a dick here. It's just that in America today, nobody seems to be able to discuss politics without resorting to trollage. I'm perhaps overly aggressive in policing my comments section because I will not allow Stonekettle Station to disintegrate into that kind of toxic battleground. I've seen it happen over and over on other blogs, such as John Scalzi's Whatever - which used to be great place, and then turned into 4-chan when it got too popular. People can't even discuss movies on the IMDB forums without flaming each other. I just won't tolerate it here.

    Something I'd like to point out: I expected people to disagree with my position on Wiener. Also, my condemnation of Wiener does not in any way mean that I support Vitter or any other government employee engaged in questionable behavior. Members of the US Government should be held to a higher standard, the consequences for betrayal of the public trust should be swift and terrible for each and every single one of them. Period.

  28. Jim said:
    Members of the US Government should be held to a higher standard, the consequences for betrayal of the public trust should be swift and terrible for each and every single one of them. Period.
    That's true of any government, especially elected ones. We, as societies, give government officials the power to govern us, and we should expect them to behave in a manner that does not reflect poorly on us.

    Personally, I would love to be head up a coalition of more than 50% of the people of a country, (state, province, political division, whatever) walk into the leader's office, and fire his ass!

    Isn't democracy wonderful!

  29. "Members of the US Government should be held to a higher standard, the consequences for betrayal of the public trust should be swift and terrible for each and every single one of them."

    That danger of this attitude is that you create exactly the situation you are afraid of. Ie, since people are human, sometimes they screw up. By having a zero tolerance policy coupled with "terrible consequences", it increases the temptation to do just one small favour to prevent someone reporting your mistake.

    (Perhaps it would just be better to just jail all of them for a couple of years once they leave office. It's the only way to be sure.)

  30. You're certainly correct, should this be carried to extremes - however, those of us in the military were held to a higher standard than the average civilian and there were often terrible consequences for failure to adhere to those standards. Most of us didn't consider those standards to be too terrible of a burden.

  31. The only argument that I have here is that Anthony Weiner, unlike most of his colleagues on both the left and right, appeared to be addressing real issues with his congressional seat.

    I will gladly trade a U.S. President who gets blow-jobs from his interns but balances the budget for a celibate who believes in the fantasy math of tax cuts during wars. I will also trade a congressman who engages in actual dick waving but works on things like Climate Change for the metaphorical dick-wavers who voted in Congress to declare that it didn't exist.

    Same deal with gays in the military. When it comes to troops in combat the rule is: "who cares if he's gay: he hits what he shoots at."

    The ultimate standard that cannot be fooled is performance.

  32. Out of curiosity I've been googling but I don't think there's been any instance before now where the majority of a would-be president's campaign team walked out rather than at least try to see things through.

    Heck, even Ross Perot's team stayed with him until he conceded.

  33. Love it when you make me think! I hadn't looked at Weiner's deal from quite that angle before. Thanks!

  34. Hello, all. Pam here. First-timer.

    I have been browsing around here at Stonekettle and loving it! I ended up here because a friend shared your "America" post from March. Amazing how things swirl around the Internets and surface after months. I'm glad you're writing and sharing.

    Anyway, I'm with Pangolin -- I'd rather have a progressive, bold dick-waving Congressperson than a climate-change-denying dick-waver. Great term, that, dick-waver!

    I believe "they" went after Weiner with such fervor because he was rattling the cage of one Clarence Thomas regarding his wife's employment and his subsequent conflict of interest in cases like Citizens United. You can rattle the cage of some poor middle-class schmuck, but you cannot rattle the cage of the powerful.

    I'm also very frustrated at the IOKIYAR double-standard. I really do not understand why the Dems piled on him the way they did. And why the "liberal" media kept at it when they would have dropped it after a few days if he was a Repub. IMO.

    Nuff said.


  35. I endured 9 months of irritation trying to get my Top Secret security clearance when I was AD USN.

    And I wasn't coming close to anything actually interesting.

    And Weiner gets one just because a bunch of New Yorkers elected him (and now I have ANOTHER reason to dislike New York City).

    He sits on the House Committee for Energy and Commerce, in the subcommittees of Investigations and also Health. Mighty interesting things going on there.

    I'm glad he resigned. Now all he has to do is remain away from politics. He'll probably go into something safe, like teaching college.


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