Wednesday, July 29, 2009

And Now, Something Different

squash blossoms
Where squash come from

Over the past week or so, all my favorite blogs have said everything I could have said (and in most cases, said it better) about the Alaska Quitter. This has left me with a little extra time and thank goodness, because the garden has been literally spilling over in exuberant fertility.

I've been taking pictures of the vegetable garden we planted in two raised beds—a new addition to the yard this spring. The beds are made of seasoned western cedar, shipped all the way from the Pacific Northwest, and measure 4' wide by 12' long by 22" high.

huge zucchini leaves
Platter-size zucchini leaves

The entire garden is a huge success, but the most prolific crops so far have been members of the squash family: zucchini, crookneck and cucumber. If you garden, you are probably familiar with that time in the summer when the produce starts coming hot and heavy. The last few weeks have been 'that time' for these plants, and they haven't slowed down yet.

I took some liberty with this Paul Simon tune (here's the real thing on Youtube to help you keep tune) because I could use a little help now:

Fifty Ways to Serve Zucchini

The problem is the garden's bursting with the stuff
The answers need to get here fast because it's tough
I thought at first perhaps there'd never be enough
But I need fifty ways to serve zucchini

Light up the grill, Jill
Bake some in bread, Fred
Dip one in sauce, Hoss
Just get me squash-free

Stuff some in fowl, Powell
Add them to soup, Snoop
Bread 'em and fry, Guy
Just get me squash-free

The frig's veggie drawer is getting hard to close
And every day I go outside to find lots more of those
They've grown so huge that they've abandoned their neat rows
And I need fifty ways to serve zucchini

Light up the grill, Jill
Bake some in bread, Fred
Dip one in sauce, Hoss
Just get me squash-free

Stuff some in fowl, Powell
Add them to soup, Snoop
Bread 'em and fry, Guy
Just get me squash-free

One day's haul - 3 large zucchini, 2 crookneck and a 16" cucumber

So far, I've prepared zucchini in these ways:
  • Sliced, breaded and lightly fried in vegetable oil
  • Chopped and sauteed lightly with Vidalia onions, added to rice, ground beef, tomatoes, cheese and stuffed into bell peppers (also from the garden)
  • Cut into sticks, dipped in butter and rolled in crumbs and parmesan and baked
  • Raw, dipped in favorite salad dressing
  • Halved and sliced thinly, added to tossed green salad
  • Sliced together with crookneck squash and steamed lightly, served with butter and lemon
  • Chopped, with a little bacon, chives and jalapeno, combined in fritter batter and deep-fried, served with basil mayonnaise (fresh basil from garden, lemon juice blended with mayo - yummm)
  • Grated and baked into several loaves of zucchini bread

Zucchini bread cooling on stove

I've managed to foist a few zucchini (and cucumbers, lettuce and swiss chard) off on relatives, neighbors and friends. But still they come! Anyone have any more good ideas on what to do with these green beauties?

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Sarah Palin Rejects Ethics Finding

The Bottom Line

Thomas M. Daniel, the independent investigator hired by the Alaska Personnel Board to produce a report on Sarah Palin's 18th ethics complaint (see list below), finds that:

In light of the evidence that the governor expressly authorized the creation of the trust and the fact the trust website quite openly uses the governor's position to solicit donations, there is probable cause to believe that Governor Palin used, or attempted to use, her official position for personal gain in violation of Alaska Statute 39.52.120(a). (Full report, PDF)

The Irony - a Double Whammy

Daniel concludes there is probable cause to believe that Palin violated the Executive Branch Ethics Act when she allowed and authorized the establishment of a legal defense fund (Alaska Fund Trust, AFT for short) to pay for her personal attorney costs associated with defending against ethics complaints. 

Keep in mind that Palin takes credit for reforming Alaska's ethics laws, one of her first achievements as governor.  CNN quotes Daniel as saying, "I can only apply the Ethics Act as currently written.  And as currently written, it does not allow a state official to use her position to solicit funds to pay for a private attorney or any other personal expense."

The Denial - or What the Meaning of 'Is' Is

CNN prints this response from Sarah Palin, via her spokeswoman, Meghan Stapleton:
The fund itself was not created by me nor is it controlled by me. Neither I nor my lawyer has received a penny from this fund.

I find the notion that I have taken any action pertaining to the legal defense trust fund misguided and factually in error. I have not 'acted' relative to the defense fund, and it is misleading to say I have.
I can think of several actions the soon-to-be ex-governor took that related directly to the Alaska Fund Trust.  Let's take a look.

The Rebuttal - Oh Yes You Did

First, we find in Daniel's report:
[Ms. Kristan Cole, Trustee of the Alaska Fund Trust] stated...that the governor gave her approval to create the trust as the "official" legal defense fund for the governor and authorized the use of her photograph on the trust's website.
Next, remember all the occasions during which Sarah Palin, along with her staff and spokespersons, bemoaned the heavy financial burden on her family from battling "frivolous" ethics complaints? I certainly see her frequent "poor me" comments as actions taken to stimulate donations to the AFT.

Then there's SarahPAC.  This is a separate political action fund guided by FEC reporting regulations.  As soon as the Alaska Fund Trust was established, however, the following message appeared on the Home page of the SarahPAC Web site urging contributors to pay the AFT a visit:

In fact, for a time on the SarahPAC site, visitors were explicitly told to wait for the official fund that Sarah was setting up instead of donating to the unofficial fund established by businessman Clayton Paslay.

SarahPAC is authorized by Sarah Palin. On the PAC's site, in answer to the frequently asked question, "Who is behind SarahPAC?" we read:
Gov. Sarah Palin believes all Americans must work together for the future, regardless of their party affiliation. Gov. Palin is the honorary chair of SarahPac, and its supporters are Republicans, Democrats, Independents, and those unaffiliated with any political party.
Daniel didn't mention the SarahPAC connection, but it lends further credence to the notion that Sarah most definitely took action of some kind by pointing prospective donors to the AFT.

The Questions

According to question #8 on the FAQ page for the Alaska Fund Trust, contributions and expenditures shall be disclosed by the Trustee on a quarterly basis in a categorized accounting.  The AFT was founded on April 22, 2009, three months ago.  Three months is also a quarter of a year.  When will this disclosure be published and who gets to see it?

I'm particularly interested in this question because of statements made by Meghan Stapleton and John Coale (husband of Greta Van Susteren and unofficial advisor to Sarah Palin) that seem to contradict Palin's assertions that neither she nor her lawyer has gotten a penny from the fund.

The Washington Post reported on July 13, 2009:
Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin’s political action committee raised nearly $733,000 in its first five months, according to a report filed Monday with the Federal Election Commission.

Stapleton said about $1.2 million has been raised between SarahPAC and a fund set up to help Palin pay more than $500,000 in legal debts stemming from multiple ethics complaints filed against her.
And this from Newsweek on July 18, 2009:
John Coale, a Washington lawyer who helped Palin set up a legal-defense fund and PAC, tells NEWSWEEK the fund is "well on its way" to paying off $500,000 in legal debt from the campaign and another $100,000 in bills incurred later, leaving questions about how big a part money woes played in her decision to resign.
According to Stapleton, the AFT has or had close to $500,000 in it, just about equal to Palin's supposed $500,000 debt due to ethics complaints. How much has been paid out so far, and to whom?

According to Coale, the AFT has plenty of money and is already paying off legal debt.  Except in this case, the $500,000 figure is as a result of the campaign, not ethics complaints from Alaskan "anklebiters."  So if the money was there why was Palin still whining about how the ethics complaints were bankrupting her?

What did the ethics complaints really cost Sarah Palin? Who released the Daniel report marked 'confidential' and why?  Did Sarah Palin resign so she could take the money and run without further oversight or annoying rules?  Why is the AFT still open for business and soliciting donations?  Why is there still a link on SarahPAC directing visitors to the fund?

Please find more posts on this topic at The Mudflats, Shannyn Moore, Progressive Alaska here and hereCeltic Diva's Blue Oasis, and Palingates here and here.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Bauer and Allot Have It SO Wrong

Politico published an article three days ago titled "Trig Palin has divided America," by Gary Bauer (yes, that Gary Bauer) and Daniel Allot.  It starts out like this:
A year ago, Palin gave birth to her youngest son, Trig, who has Down syndrome. Since then, mother and son have become objects of the left’s unrelenting scorn and the right’s unflinching fidelity.
There's so much wrong with this article it is hard to know where to start.  First of all, it is not possible that Sarah Palin gave birth to Trig.  There's no evidence to support this birth and a whole lot of evidence to the contrary (<-- read some of the older posts on this blog). If you have not thought to challenge the story yet, you have quite a ride ahead of you.  If you are a blue pill sort of person, you may as well just go back to sleep.  If you are inquisitive and seek truth, take the red pill and use the brain you were born with.  Or just read back through my posts on this topic.

The authors of the aforementioned article go on to assert that:
Palin is controversial, in part, because America is divided over disability. We’ve established laws and institutions that protect people with disabilities. But we also do everything we can to make sure they don’t see the light of day.
According to Bauer and Allot, Palin stands opposed to "powerful trends," the thrust of which would just as soon eliminate "an entire class of people," the disabled.  The 'Right to Birth' crowd and the families that include a person with a disability (400,000 of them?) flock to Palin because of the courage of her choice. Somehow this means that others who have no idea what this choice entails have a hatred for Palin because of her choice.

What Bauer and Allot don't touch is the fact that whoever birthed Trig presumably had a choice, a choice that Sarah Palin would do her best to deny to you and me. 

Whether or not you have a family member with a serious disability, you can probably imagine that caring for that dear one requires educating oneself about the condition, plus spending lots of time and probably lots of money getting professional assistance to help that dear one live the best life he or she can under the circumstances.

Trig Palin blinded by stage lights

The image above shows just one instance of many when Sarah was on the campaign trail.  She held Trig up as her certificate of passage into the club of the real-life pro-birthers.  This baby is staring up at thousands of watts of spotlights, and the noise from the cheering Sarasites at the Republican National Convention is no doubt deafening—at least to a baby that can hear.  To this day we have heard nothing but platitudes from Trig's assumed mother about supporting children with birth defects.  We see Sarah in Running World magazine talking about how great it feels to burn, to get hot, when she runs.  We see Sarah in Twitter decrying an Alaskan blogger who posted an image for a day that replaced Trig's face with that of a talk show host with whom Sarah has a very cozy relationship.  We see six- or seven-year-old Piper struggling to lug Trig around, sometimes while she is precariously perched in high heels.

But what we don't see is the kind of care Trig is getting, the sacrifices that any mother with a Down syndrome baby would have to make to get frequent checkups and special therapy.  We also don't see Sarah as Governor making positive steps toward funding for special services, or promoting the kinds of organizations in her own state that are instrumental in providing for and helping families with disabled members.

Here's what we do see.  Sarah signing autographs on the body of a child who is not enjoying the spectacle:

sarah signs baby who cries out

For a closer look, I rotated and cropped the image.  You tell me if this young one appreciates this particular photo-op:

Bauer and Allot have it so wrong.  Those of us who see Sarah Palin for who she is (and who she isn't) do not despise people who are born with disabilities.  We may want to retain the option to choose whether or not we take on a lifetime of effort and expense to take care of a mal-formed or severely disabled child.  But we do not "hate" Sarah Palin because she claims Trig is her burden, or her joy, from her god.  More power to those who have the resources and the time to nurture and care for those disabled from birth.

But a pox on those who claim that mantle, that halo, when it is not theirs to take.  And that, dear readers, is exactly what Sarah Palin is doing.  If you have any doubts, do the research.  If you have any doubts, remember that Trig is and has been her "ticket to ride."  The least you could do is verify the facts.  You'll find she has provided none of her own.  If you still have doubts, just start adding up all the times she has lied or exaggerated or twisted the actual truth in any number of other issues.  I do not think she can tell the truth, the whole truth.

Another Politico article, this one by Steve Seckler, says:
But what I really think cemented Sarah Palin’s most loyal following and elevated her personal mystique to a level transcendent of her politics was the single most selfless decision of her life: to give birth to her son Trig. That seemed the case among many at my 4th of July parade, including those who I know never attend church and would rather talk combines and corn borers than abortion or gay marriage.
To Palin’s supporters as well as many who are not, no diva smirk or vapid interview response can ever say as much about her as the image of her nursing Trig on the Straight Talk Express.

That is exactly why we must continue to educate others and spread the truth about Sarah's amazing hoax regarding Trig.

The foregoing is my personal opinion regarding the hoax that Sarah birthed Trig, and especially that she nursed Trig.  Look at the Republican National Conventions pictures again.  Tell me who in the Palin family, if anyone, actually nursed Trig.

Lies.  More lies.  Red pill or blue, it's up to you.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

It's 21 22 Ethics Complaints, Not 18 ... But Who's Counting? (updated again and again)

Sarah Palin has so many ethics complaints that major news outlets can't keep track anymore! Huffington Post reprinted an AP story by Rachel D'Oro yesterday claming the current number is 18 instead of what appears to be 21 22. In order to keep the record straight, we need a list!

Since no list is worth anything without supporting documentation, you can find links for ethics complaints numbers 1 through 18 at Newsminer and also at Alaska Daily News (ADN).

Find a link for number 19 here,
a link for number 20 here (even though the article misstates number as 19),
a link for number 21 here,
and a link for number 22 here.

Without further ado, here are the 21 22 acknowledged complaints (there may have been more that were just never made public) against Sarah Palin and her administration as of July 15 16 20, 2009.

# Date Filer Description Results
1 7/28/08 Alaska Legislature Abuse of Power re: firing Walt Monegan (aka Troopergate) 10/10/08
Sarah Palin found guilty of abuse of power
for permitting husband and staff to harangue Monegan about the trooper
2 8/06/08 Andree McLeod (AK resident) Undue influence exerted by Palin and staff exerted to get a job for a Palin supporter
Palin staff member advised to take ethics training
3 8/20/08 Brian Kraft (AK resident) Breaking election law by taking public position on ballot initiative concerning Pebble Mine 05/08/09
Complaint rejected by APOC (Alaska Public Offices Commission)
4 9/02/08 Sarah Palin (AK resident) Self-disclosure filing with AK Personnel Board (re: Troopergate) 11/03/08
Personnel Board found no abuse of power for Sarah Palin letting aides and husband hassle Monegan, but also, no investigation of who committed perjury in their contradictory sworn statements, Palin or Monegan
5 9/03/08 PSEA (AK Public Safety Employees Association) Improper disclosure of the trooper's personnel records and amended to include allegation of harassment (bundled with charge #4) 11/03/08
Dismissed together with #4 by AK Personnel Board
6 10/13/08 Walt Monegan (AK resident) Request by filer for a hearing to clear his name (it had been sullied by Palin and staff) 11/03/08
AK Personnel Board said there was no legal basis or jurisdiction for a hearing on this matter
7 10/23/08 CREW (Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics) Expensive wardrobe purchased for Sarah Palin with donor money violates FEC regulations 05/19/09
FEC ruled "party money" is not covered in ban
8 10/24/08 unnamed filer Abuse of power for charging AK for children's travel 02/23/09
AK Personnel Board negotiated settlement wherein Sarah Palin paid ~$8,000 to reimburse for costs
9 11/14/08 Zane Henning (AK resident) Alleged abuse of office by doing "post-election damage control" in interviews from Governor's office 03/23/09
Dismissed by AK Personnel Board
10 12/02/08 Anthony Martin (AK resident) Sarah Palin violated ethics by campaigning for Saxby Chambliss of Georgia 03/23/09
Dismissed by AK Personnel Board
11 12/18/08 unnamed filer Alleged misuse of funds by allowing her picture to be used to promote Alaska seafood in national publications while also promoting her national political ambitions 01/12/09
Dismissed by AK Personnel Board
12 01/12/09 Edna Birch Interference in job hiring 02/20/09
Dismissed by AK Personnel Board because filer failed to use a real name
13 01/26/09 Andree McLeod (AK resident) Palin aide Bill McAllister worked on state time to benefit Palin's extra-AK political interests PENDING
14 01/26/09 Andree McLeod (AK resident) Palin aide Kris Perry worked on state time to benefit Palin's extra-AK political interests 06/05/09
Dismissed by AK Personnel Board
15 03/18/09 Andree McLeod (AK resident) Improper use of state resources for partisan political purposes 05/27/09
Dismissed by AK Personnel Board
16 03/24/09 Linda Kellen Biegel (AK resident) Conflict of interest by advertising for husband's sponsor by wearing Arctic Cat gear during official duties 06/02/09
Dismissed by AK Personnel Board
17 04/22/09 Sondra Tompkins (AK resident) SarahPAC constitutes ethics violation by misusing official position and accepting outside employment 05/08/09
Dismissed by AK Personnel Board
18 04/27/09 Kim Chatman (AK resident) Alaska Fund Trust (AFT) violates ethics rules by funneling improper gifts to Sarah Palin 06/24/2010
PALIN SETTLES - has to return $386,000 because AFT declared illegal.
19 07/06/09 Zane Henning (AK resident) Illegal continuation of per diem collection when Sarah Palin's home is less than 50 miles from Anchorage office PENDING
20 07/10/09 Ray Ward (AK resident) Illegal compensation collected by Sarah Palin for giving radio and television interviews since '08 campaign ended PENDING 07/15/09
Dismissed by AK Personnel Board (in part for not being properly notarized)
21 07/14/09 Andree McCleod (AK resident) Failure to transfer power to Lt. Gov during '08 campaign, while collecting salary during "off duty" status PENDING 07/24/09
Dismissed by AK Personnel Board as legally flawed
22 07/20/09 Andree McCleod (AK resident) Failure to disclose gifts within 30 days of receipt PENDING

To summarize the 21 22 complaints we know about:

One found Sarah Palin abused her power.

One found Sarah Palin illegally solicited funds for her personal use while Governor.

Two were dismissed by the Personnel Board with various repercussions.

Eleven Twelve were dismissed by the Personnel Board with no other actions.

One was rejected by APOC.

One was rejected by the FEC.

Five Four Three are still pending resolution.

The AK Personnel Board has consistently refused to affix any finding of fault. As a reminder, this group of three persons is appointed by and serves at the pleasure of the Governor.

Go figure, eh?

Friday, July 10, 2009

Who's for the Talibanization of America?

In a sort of follow-on from the last post...

A few weeks ago I was reading the comments on Phil Munger's outstanding blog, Progressive Alaska.  An anonymous person left a comment under one of his posts that almost shook me off my chair (and that's not an easy thing to do).  Here is part of what 'anonymous' said:
My goal for this country is for the god of the Bible to be in charge of the leaders of this country. If the leaders of this country are NOT Born Again Christians, than [sic] they should not be allowed to hold office.

My goal is for English to be the National Language.

My goal is for homosexuality to be against the law as it is an abomination to God.

My goal is for the Bible to be taught to our children as The way to live a moral and just life.

My goal would be to rid our televisions electronic games and media of all the sex and violence.
A real person said this.  I did not make it up.

Between then and now I did a little research on the proscriptions enforced by the Taliban.  Before I print this, please know that most Muslims do not subscribe to the more extremist view of Sharia Law that is reflected below.  But there are extremists in every religion and the Taliban who are currently operating in parts of Afghanistan and in a certain section of southern Pakistan seem intent on enforcing these rather strict social rules.

From "Life under the Taliban:"
The Taliban have issued edicts forbidding women from working outside the home, except in limited circumstances in the medical field.

The Taliban prohibit girls from attending school.

Women and girls are not allowed to appear outside the home unless wearing a head to toe covering called the burqa.

Women are also forbidden from appearing in public with a male who is not their relative.

Acceptable punishments for these infractions are public hangings, amputation of limbs, and stonings.

And this, by Jan Goodwin, Echo NYC (sorry, the link was no longer functional):
Claiming that they are restoring Afghanistan to the "purity of Islam," the Taliban regime has "expunged all leisure activities. Their list of what is illegal grows daily: music, movies and television, picnics, wedding parties, New Year celebrations, any kind of mixed-sex gathering. They've also banned children's toys, including dolls and kites; card and board games; cameras; photographs and paintings of people and animals; pet parakeets; cigarettes and alcohol; magazines and newspapers, and most books. They've even forbidden applause -- a moot point, since there's nothing left to applaud."

According to another source, Religious Tolerance, we read:
Within Sharia law, there are a group of "Haram" offenses which carry severe punishments. These include pre-marital sexual intercourse, sex by divorced persons, post-marital sex, adultery, false accusation of unlawful intercourse, drinking alcohol, theft, and highway robbery. Haram sexual offenses can carry a sentence of stoning to death or severe flogging.

(Can you imagine the trouble some of our legislators would be in, were we to adopt similar 'laws?')

And finally, some other general proscriptions include:
  1. Shaving one's beard
  2. Flying kites
  3. Gambling
  4. Music and dancing at weddings
  5. Displaying pictures or portraits (idolatry)
  6. Broadcasting music in any shop or business location
If we go back to the person who left the comment at Progressive Alaska and compare his or her goals with the laws for which one can be stoned to death or suffer amputations, do you see a lot of difference?
  • A leader must be a born-again Christian.  So, we should strive to become a theocracy?
  • No language other than English will be tolerated.  I suppose this is an attempt to deny the multiculturalism that has made our country so great.
  • Homosexuality is illegal, and presumably punished severely.  My 'god' doesnt care about sexual orientation; that is not what is important at the end of the day.
  • All children must be indoctrinated using the 'christian' bible.  So much for freedom of, or from, religion. This flies in the face of our country's founding ideals.
  • No more sex or violence on TV, in games, or media.  Might want to talk to the US Military who use sex and violence in games to train troops.  Not saying I approve, but this sounds a lot like no TV, no music, and no games period.  Not a far cry from no kites, no dancing or music at weddings, and death for sexual offenses.
The anonymous person who so fervently laid out his/her goals should really do a little studying, and maybe, just maybe, he or she might notice that the stated goals are not at all dissimilar to those held by one of America's sworn enemies.

We need to be vigilant in finding and disarming any movement in this country that seeks to impose a particular moral regime on everyone.  It's fine with me if you want to grow your beard or wear a burqa.  But don't tell me I can't dance and sing at weddings or fly kites or keep a parakeet or only vote for a person who claims to be a born-again Christian.

This is our country.  You vote for who you want.  So will I.

Thursday, July 09, 2009

H&HT takes a small side path for a moment

A person's religious faith should be a private thing.  Or at least that's how I view it.  I recall a passage in the Christian bible's New Testament about how you should go into your closet and pray instead of standing on the streetcorner, because if you pray in public your reward will be of the temporal world and what you really want is a reward in the eternal world.  Besides, inner conviction and conscience are such intensely personal things.  It is one thing to study or practice various devotions with others.  It is a totally other thing to attempt to coerce, scare, prey upon or cajole people to join your particular morality club—as if your passage into some wonderful hereafter depended on how many followers you could number.

Throughout her life my mother kept searching for the right church and the right pastor who would give the right message.  For a time we were Jehovah's Witnesses. In an attempt to be counted among the 144,000 who would be saved (yes, only 144 thousand) she would take hold of the official version of the bible sanctioned by the Witnesses and go door to door spreading the good word and the Witnesses' literature.  At some point she must have realized that she wouldn't make it into that elite group, and we stopped going to the Kingdom Hall.

I was, according to what I've been told, baptized Lutheran.  But in addition to the years spent as a Jehovah's Witness, I believe that mom went to Baptist and Methodist and maybe even Universalist churches.  Later on she found an evangelist who was on television and who published books with which she was enthralled for a while.  She used to exchange the latest little booklets with her brother's wife who also was enamored of this same evangelist.  Her brother, my uncle, was more the scientific sort and as far as I know, simply tolerated his wife's fervor for this "prophet." 

When mom and my step-dad retired to run a small gas station/convenience store in rural Arkansas, she became a ditto-head—yes, a Rush Limbaugh devotee.  She searched the local churches for some place she felt comfortable, but I don't think she ever found one.  On more than one visit there, I remember seeing little hand-printed signs stuck on the shelves next to cans of pinto beans, Spam and 6-packs of Oreo cookies.  The signs read, "Ditto-heads welcome here!" And, "Proud to be politically incorrect."

Until the day my mother died, she seemed convinced that I was a godless hippie and an incorrigible, despicable liberal.  Rush had found a permanent place in her psyche.  I think she still had a few friends who commiserated with her views, but she never found a better congregation than the clumps of ditto-heads who faithfully listened to Rush's AM broadcasts.

Which brings me to why I write about any of this today.  Two ladies, somewhat more aged than I, knocked on my door today.  They clutched handsful of small pamphlets that they offered to me.  The first lady inquired if I was a Christian.  I replied, no, I was not affiliated with any one major religion.  They told me they wanted to invite me to their Baptist church down the street and they wanted to make sure that I knew that their religion was the only one who had a figurehead who had risen from the dead for me, and therefore, was the one true religion.

I do not disparage these sweet ladies' religious preferences.  I informed them that I had studied—at length—most of the world's major religions and that I found remarkable similarities in all of them, by way of explaining that I understood and appreciated each path.  They continued to remind me that there was only one true faith: theirs.  I asked them if they had ever spent any time looking at other major religions' holy books.  They hadn't, and looked puzzled that I would even ask such a question.

The front porch visit ended with them telling me that they would pray for me.  I thanked them, but thought to myself that their words were a tad condescending, and that their energy might be better spent in other endeavors.

I honestly don't mind when Mormons or Jehovah's Witnesses or just the local Baptist church ladies come to my door with their messages of redemption or whatever.  What I do mind is when people get it in their heads that their way is the only right way and they purposely infiltrate the political structure in order to be in a position to legislate their particular flavor of morality.

If I stand barefooted doing an esoteric dance, a legominism, at dawn on the Soltices and the Equinoxes, or if I don a robe and perform the Sema on December 17, or if I practice green meditation with a Buddhist monk, or if I chant "La illa ha illala" while sitting in the morning, or if I peruse the Kabbalah, or if the last thing I say before laying down to sleep is, "Lord, have mercy," that is my business and I would never insist that anyone join me.  The spiritual journey is necessarily unique for each person.

For what it's worth, I am not afraid of Sarah Palin because I think she stands a snowball's chance of succeeding in gaining a national political office.  But I am dreadfully wary of what she represents in the religious arena.  Extreme religious views such as the ones I suspect she feeds on, views that insist on a sectarian takeover of every major aspect of life in our country, give me chills.  If I may, "Thanks, but no thanks, to anyone who doesn't understand why we must maintain a clear separation between church and state."

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

Cataloguing 32 Lies Told by Sarah Palin

Andrew Sullivan of The Daily Dish has a post out today that tells the story, line by line, of how (un)trustworthy Sarah Palin is, called The Odd Lies Of Sarah Palin: A Round-Up.

He prefaces his triple-checked list of lies with,
After you have read these, ask yourself: what wouldn't Sarah Palin lie about if she felt she had to?
I'm not sure where Sullivan is going with this, but he makes a pretty solid case that Our Lady of the Iquitarod's words should be taken with a large grain of salt. 

The sad part is, statements that have issued from her mouth have simply been accepted without verification since she came on the national scene.  Where have all the journalists gone, long time passing?

When will we ever learn?

Friday, July 03, 2009

The House That Sarah Built - continued....

Over the last few months I've watched traffic on my little blog, and there has been one story in particular that is revisited, consistently, more than others :  The House That Sarah Built.

Based on a story first exposed by The Village Voice, I raised further questions and provided some images that to me seemed to indicate that some features of the Palin House on Lake Wasilla looked a lot like the features in the multi-million-dollar Wasilla Sports Complex.

Sarah and Todd's house as a backdrop, friends and family standing by as she resigns

Many readers who have paid attention to the various palin-gates (and many dedicated bloggers who also picked up on this story) have pointed to this "house-gate" as possibly the one that finally sticks on Sarah and Todd.

Today, after Ms. "Don't You Want To Do Me" Palin tendered her resignation as Governor of Alaska, I read this story by Max Blumenthal in the Daily Beast:  Did a Scandal Sink the U.S.S Palin?
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.
Is it possible that the iceberg heading Sarah's way—and the reason she so abruptly and clumsily resigned—has something to do with a real investigation into just where the building materials came from for the house outside of which she stood today as she quit her current job?

Inquiring minds really want to know. 

Governor Sarah Palin RESIGNS

Quickie post here, I'm sure you all have heard the surprising news...  here's my prediction on some of the REAL reasons for this July 3rd Friday holiday weekend announcement:

  1. SarahPAC is not going to report the kind of income that she'll need to move into the big league for a 2012 campaign.
  2. Her "defense fund" (Alaska Fund Trust) is also not raking in nearly enough money to help pay for existing legal bills in addition to paying to defend her against upcoming ethics complaints.
  3. There is, in addition to more troublesome ethics complaints, some big investigation in the wings, either from the IRS or the FBI or both.  This is not something she is going to be able to get her Personnel Board to take care of.
  4. She figured she'd better throw in the towel now by committing sepuku, essentially, in the hopes that she will not figure very highly on the radar when the real feces hits the proverbial fan.
We'll see how much of this turns out to be true.

In the meantime I'm wondering how many lips will loosen once they realize that Sarah no longer holds a position of power and the ability to do them or their families harm.

And I'm also wondering how long it will take to undo / turn around / the policies that her appointees have in place - like making it illegal for Alaska natives to fish for their survival this winter, for example.

Wednesday, July 01, 2009

By Popular Demand...

Well, thank you to one of my readers for asking for more video.  Same as the last, this video displays clips from the Faux Noise production about Sarah Palin when she was a candidate for vice-president.  They got lots of footage from Elan Frank, who had shot video over 2-3 days encompassing April 8, 2008.  The reason this footage is so incredibly valuable (and likely the reason Faux has pulled its video of this very time frame) is because Sarah supposedly gives birth to Trig just 10 days later.

Clips here are taken from Part Two of the Faux Noise production (credit: Elan Frank) that I captured and converted.  There may be more coming, I still have to scour parts 3 - 5 of that "commercial for Sarah" that Greta Van Susteren narrated.  Take it for what you will, at least this time I figured out how to add some sound!