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Jul 04 2009

Happy Hour Discurso

Today’s opining on the public discourse.

Well, this is a hell of a way to begin a holiday weekend:

Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin (R) decided to shake up an otherwise slow news day with an astounding announcement: not only has she decided to skip a re-election campaign next year, she’s also resigning from office altogether later this month.

“Gov. Sarah Palin will resign her office in a few weeks, she said during a news conference at her Wasilla home Friday morning.

Lt. Gov. Sean Parnell will be inaugurated at the Governor’s Picnic at Pioneer Park in Fairbanks on Saturday, July 25, Palin said.

There was no immediate word as to why she will resign, though speculation has been rampant that the former vice presidential candidate is gearing up for a run at the 2012 Republican presidential nomination.

Did your eyes pop when you first got the news? Mine did. And I’m salivating, too, because this might end up being juicy:

Update: This just in my inbox, from a source connected sometimes to CNN:

“Here’s a quote I got from law enforcement here in Alaska yesterday afternoon regarding Palin “a criminal indictment is pending authorization.”

Oooo, and what might that be about?

Max Blumental reports on The Daily Beast that Sarah Palin may have quit her job today because she was trying to avert a major, yet-to-be-disclosed corruption scandal. The gist of the rumor is that an Alaska building company called Spenard Building Supplies (SBS) was awarded a contract by Palin to build a hockey arena in Wasilla, AK, and in return, SBS helped construct Palin’s home:

Many political observers in Alaska are fixated on rumors that federal investigators have been seizing paperwork from SBS in recent months, searching for evidence that Palin and her husband Todd steered lucrative contracts to the well-connected company in exchange for gifts like the construction of their home on pristine Lake Lucille in 2002. The home was built just two months before Palin began campaigning for governor, a job which would have provided her enhanced power to grant building contracts in the wide open state.

SBS has close ties to the Palins. The company has not only sponsored Todd Palin’s snowmobile team, according to the Village Voice’s Wayne Barrett, it hired Sarah Palin to do a statewide television commercial in 2004.

Though Todd Palin told Fox News he built his Lake Lucille home with the help of a few “buddies,” according to Barrett’s report, public records revealed that SBS supplied the materials for the house. While serving as mayor of Wasilla, Sarah Palin blocked an initiative that would have required the public filing of building permits—thus momentarily preventing the revelation of such suspicious information.

Just months before Palin left city hall to campaign for governor, she awarded a contract to SBS to help build the $13 million Wasilla Sports Complex. The most expensive building project in Wasilla history, the complex cost the city an addition $1.3 million in legal fees and threw it into severe long-term debt. For SBS, however, the bloated and bungled project was a cash cow.

I didn’t go with my gut when Mark Sanford went missing. I chuckled quietly to myself and said, “Betcha he’s with a mistress,” but I decided it would be irresponsible to speculate. Fuck responsible. As Hilzoy said, “what’s the point of blogging if not to amass a record of your unfounded speculations so that you can go back and see how wrong you were?” I’m going with my gut: if a narcissistic, power-hungry, scandal-plagued, clueless git like Palin steps down suddenly, it’s not because of mental instability or a contractor getting a sports complex in return for building her house. My feeling is that when the real reason breaks, it’s going to be a lot bigger than that. I mean, make Mark Sanford’s wildly irresponsible jaunt to Argentina look positively pedestrian big.

We’ll see if I’ve called this one. No matter what happens, it shall be endlessly entertaining. Fuck, it already is – just watching her rabid followers try to spin this is going to be the greatest summer blockbuster of all time. Look, the trailer’s already out!

Fox is coming around, too. A little while ago, Stuart Varney said, “Let’s get back to this resignation,” before pausing to correct himself. “Not the resignation but stepping aside from the governorship.”

Nice. They have a euphemism for every occasion.

While Sarah Palin’s “Brave Sir Robin” act is utterly captivating, we must not forget that there’s a whole forest worth of stupid out there merrily burning. Why, the Family Research Council’s practically a forest unto itself:

The Family Research Council, arguably D.C.’s most influential religious right organization on social and cultural issues, picks its battles carefully — and applies its principles selectively.

For example, the FRC had closely allied itself with South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford (R), right up until his sex scandal, at which point the group no longer had anything to say about the governor. The FRC has apparently been saving up its outrage for Kevin Jennings, an Obama appointee to the Department of Education who (cue scary music) happens to be gay.

The Family Research Council has embarked on a new public relations effort against a particular Obama Administration appointee, Kevin Jennings, saying he should not be in his new position at the Department of Education because of his previous position in private activism — as executive director of GLSEN, the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network.

Jennings is set to begin his new job on Monday, as Assistant Deputy Secretary of Education for the Department’s Office of Safe and Drug-Free Schools, after his appointment was announced about a month ago. And this week, FRC launched a last
-minute Web petition to oppose him. It asks a pointed question: Would you choose this teacher to guide your children?

The far-right group has gone through a book Jennings wrote a few years ago about his life experiences, including his belief that the religious right movement should “drop dead,” to try to create a controversy where none exists.

Think Progress’s Amanda Terkel did the debunking of the FRC’s little “fact” sheet. I’m sure you’ll all be shocked to know there weren’t any facts on it.

Just as shocked as I’m sure you’ll be to see Glenn Beck stubbing his fingers on the bottom of the barrel trying to find something to smear liberals with:

Glenn Beck was frothing at the mouth this week — just before he went on an obviously much-needed vacation — about an obscure French book that is hard to obtain and which no one appears to be reading, aside from a handful of anarchist aesthetes:

While the government warns that right-wing extremists could be domestic terrorists, and The New York Times, says I could incite those crazy conservatives to violence, the extreme left is actively calling for violence!

As world economies go down the tank and unemployment continues to rise, disenfranchised people are set to explode.

The dangerous leftist book that could spark this is “The Coming Insurrection.” This is a call to arms for violent revolution, authored anonymously by a French group called the Invisible Committee who want to bring down capitalism.

[snip]

Funny thing about that. The extreme right — the people Glenn Beck wants you to forget all about — have actually been calling people to arms for a number of years now.

They’ve done it with books like The Turner Diaries and Hunter, as well as lesser-known texts such as Richard Kelly Hoskins’ Vigilantes of Christendom, Robert Pummer’s The Road Back to America, and Ben Klassen’s The White Man’s Bible. All these texts explicitly advocate the use of lethal violence on a massive scale in instituting white-supremacist rule. And they have roughly the same kind of circulation that The Coming Insurrection does.

Which is to say, they’re largely relegated to the fringes. But that doesn’t mean people don’t act on them — these books have in fact inspired the very kinds of acts of domestic terrorism that Beck wants to pretend away as just “isolated incidents” that have nothing, nothing at all!, to do with right-wing fearmongers like himself.

Glenn. When violent left-wing militias are lauded on mainstream teevee as “patriots,” when left-wing talkers can espouse the ideas found in that silly little anarchist book and be seen as serious pundits instead of raving fruitcakes, when the “extreme left” is synonymous with the Democratic party… then you can froth, and I won’t laugh my ass off at you. Until then, please stop trying so hard. I almost did myself an injury guffawing at your pathetic little “But Mommy, the other kids do it too!” whine.

Because, you see, Glenn, the difference between our side and your side is that our side still considers people on the extreme left to be ridiculously fringe, whereas you spout gobs of the most outrageous bullshit coming out of your extreme right as “common sense,” and only occasionally remember to condemn the violent parts for appearances’ sake.

Not that you’ll understand the difference, so we shall stop whacking you with the Smack-o-Matic, and instead turn our attention to Rick “Man on Dog” Santorum, who is still able to make headlines with teh stoopid:

On Tuesday, former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum discussed the Supreme Court’s recent 5-4 ruling in Ricci v. DeStefano on Frank Beckman’s radio show. The ruling overturned a decision made by Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor and two other judges on the 2nd Circuit. Though Santorum made the common conservative claim that all nine justices actually disagreed with Sotomayor, he went further than most, claiming that the liberal justices who dissented, particularly Justices Souter and Stevens, only dissented in order to “protect” Sotomayor:
SANTORUM: I could be wrong on this, but believe it or not, politics does inject itself into the Supreme Court and I think there were probably a lot of justices who may or may not have been on that side of that issue, but came down on that issue that way in a sense to protect her because she knew she was coming on the court, had to make sure she could get on the court. And to me, this should have been a nine-nothing decision.

Ladies and gentlemen, you can now stop wondering why Rick never made it to the Supreme Court, and instead is a former senator.

Not to be outdone, the Con party has replaced an egregiously stupid former senator with an even more stupid current one:

Sen. Jim DeMint (R) of South Carolina yesterday became the first U.S. senator to endorse the military-backed coup in Honduras. He issued a statement denouncing the democratically-elected president and heralding those responsible for the coup as “guarantee[ing] freedom.”

The statement comes about a week after DeMint unveiled his own health care plan, which amounted to little more than hundreds of billions of dollars for the insurance companies.

To get a better sense of what this guy all about, consider DeMint’s interview with Human Events, a right-wing magazine, to talk about his worldview, which included his belief that “most members of Congress lean socialist.”

[snip]

“Democracy cannot work when you have a majority of people dependent on the government. And this is not just the poor. The way we’ve set up Social Security and Medicare, everyone who retires are dependent, parents are dependent on the government for education of their children and now, if you look at the folks who come through my office — business people, farmers, bankers — everybody is coming to Washington to get their piece of
the government because we’re running all this money through here now.”

Just so we’re clear, an elected Republican senator believes Social Security, Medicare, and the existence of a public school system are necessarily threats to our functioning democracy.

And just think – he’s only one example among many ridiculous fools currently infesting the Senate courtesy of the GOP.

It’s a good thing this sort o’ burning stupid doesn’t release much greenhouse gas. Otherwise, we’d have reached the tipping point at least a year ago, and would now be innundated under several hundred feet of freshly-melted polar ice. Venus would be looking at us right now, saying, “Daaamn, Earth. I’ve seen some pretty incredible runaway greenhouse effects, but that’s extreme.”

2 comments

  1. 1
    Chris Rhetts

    Rush Limbaugh just signed a contract with with Clear Channel worth around 400 million dollars. Sean Hannity signed a similar contract for 100 mil. Bill O'Reilly pulls down an estimated 9 million a year. None of these numbers include the extra millions these guys make for endorsements, special engagements and other side jobs. All of this should tell you there are plenty of boneheads out there willing to pony up almost any amount in order to listen to some jackass confirm, on air, their warped, cartoonish version of reality. Sarah Palin would be a natural fit for broadcasters like Clear Channel or Fox. My guess is that we will be hearing a lot from her as a right wing talking head. Consider the advantages: First, she doesn't have to make sense or pay attention to the facts. Second, if she is indicted and even convicted, it won't matter, since wing nuts are always willing to believe charges against their idols are just part of a liberal conspiracy. Third, in a heartbeat she goes from making 6 figures a year to 7. Heck, if G. Gordon Liddy and Ollie North are any indication, a conviction on corruption charges would probably boost her salary anyway…

  2. 2
    Cujo359

    If it's any comfort I agree about Palin. I think at this point she's a non-issue either way, so I haven't given this a lot of thought. That's why it shouldn't be a lot of comfort.

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