Archive for the ‘Sarah Palin’ Category
There are things that happen in this world that get reported as news but really aren’t.
Like Governor Sean “Captain Zero” Parnell losing yet another of his silly Federal lawsuits. How can that be news? If something happens five or six times in a row, is it still “news”? Isn’t it “olds” by this point? This time the lost lawsuit involved the roadless area classification imposed back in the Clinton administration. Technically, Captain Zero hasn’t lost all of the lawsuits. But his record is embarrassingly bad. He’s giving lawyers a
bad worse name.
David Lawrence, the Shell executive for North American exploration, including the extensive series of debacles surrounding the Chukchi and Beaufort Sea drilling programs, “announced his resignation.” Shell denies he was fired. Right. You can practically hear a public address announcement: “The sacrificial lamb will report to the chopping block for the ceremonial beheading.” If there is anyone left in America who is naive enough to believe that heads weren’t going to roll at Shell, well, WC envies them their charming world view. While its drill rigs are being repaired, WC invites Shell to study the sunk cost fallacy.
Long-time readers know WC is a big fan of effective graphic displays of information. The New Yorker has an outstanding interactive graphic presentation of the NCAA men’s basketball tournament, based upon the revenue and expenses of the basketball programs at each of the 64 schools. The hypothesis is that the schools with the most money will win. As a graphic illustration of WC’s premise – always follow the money – it’s wonderful. WC won’t completely spoil it for readers, but will note that the pre-tournament pick to win, Louisville, has an astonishing $42 million dollars in revenue, far more than any another school.
It’s always chancy trying to read the tea leaves at oral argument in the U.S. Supreme Court. The discussion in conference among the justices and the exchange of draft opinions really does make a difference. Recall the oral argument on the Affordable Care Act. But it’s reasonably clear that Justices Kennedy and Sotomayor, at least, are inclined to dismiss the appeal on California’s Proposition 8 banning same-sex marriages. The technical phrase is cute: “dismiss the petition as improvidently granted.” WC suspects you wouldn’t be surprised, either. The challenge to the Defense of Marriage Act will depend on what Justice Kennedy decides to do. But while there’s been very rapid change in the U.S. on same sex marriage, rapid change doesn’t happen very often in the U.S. Supreme Court.
And no, the fact that The Quitter stood in front of CPAC, the most avowedly conservative body in the U.S., and advocated communism isn’t news either. It’s irony. Wasted irony, in the case of The Quitter, but irony nonetheless.
WC will temporarily lift the ban on The Quitter in this forum and briefly address her appearance at CPAC.
In a phrase, The Quitter isn’t going to increase either her appeal or the size and scope of the conservative movement in American politics by preaching to the choir. But that’s what she did. Her speech to the Conservative Political Action Conference offered no new ideas. Not one. It was a rehash of her 2008 vice presidential acceptance speech. She trundled out all of the old one-liners; even President Obama’s nationality. Sure, it may get cheers from the CPAC crowd. But CPAC has a proven record of failure. The Teabaggers and their ilk can win the occasional local race, but twice now they have lost the Presidency. But soul-searching, new ideas and reaching out to the undecided voters who might make a difference? Didn’t happen.
In fact, she railed against mainstream Republicans. It’s part of the reason that WC thinks that both Alaska’s Shame and the Teabaggers are past their sell-by date already. The Teabaggers define themselves as anti-Republicans. Instead of trying to build a majority, they drive away part of their own. Absent something extraordinary, it means they are likely to diminish in importance. A few mosquitoes in the tent of government. Their whining is annoying, and sometimes they can make your skin itch, but really not very important.
Because The Quitter has turned into a one trick pony, her act only has meaning to the Teabaggers. To the rest of us, including the undecided and independent voters whose support the Teabaggers need if they are going to be anything but an embarrassing footnote in American history? Same old same old.
Move along, move along. Nothing to see here. And please don’t feed the animals.
It’s hard to go wrong in America betting on dumb. A recent story involving Alaska’s very own Quitter illustrates the point nicely.
Our tale starts with a fake news story in satirical Daily Currant, reporting that Alaska’s Shame was going to go to work for the fledgling Al Jazeera America news network as a host and commentator. The story even has a purported quote from the Quitter:
As you all know, I’m not a big fan of newspapers, journalists, news anchors and the liberal media in general. But I met with the folks at Al-JaJizzraa (sic) and they told me they reach millions of devoutly religious people who don’t watch CBS or CNN. That tells me they don’t have a liberal bias.
You have to admit, Currant got just the right tone of belligerent ignorance in the claimed statement.
But dumb doesn’t stop with the Caribou Queen. Suzi Parker, who blogs for the Washington Post in “She the People” missed the detail that The Daily Currant is a satirical website and might, you know, make stuff up. She treated the story as straight, and wrote a blog post around it. In Journalism classes, they always tell you to confirm your sources. Oops. Parker’s piece has since been edited to put a big, bold face apologia at the top.
But not before Dylan Byers, a columnist for the Politico, called Parker out for her research blunder.
Parker called the Quitter’s claimed cuddle-up to Al Jazeera ”a cautionary tale about what can happen when politics and celebrity meet.”
Byers called Parker’s report is “a cautionary tale about what can happen when writers cite satirical websites, such as The Daily Currant.”
WC calls it dumbness being contagious.
Political gadfly Andree McLeod sued Governor Parnell over The Quitter’s use of private email to conduct state business. The various books and exposés of The Quitter’s half term governorship have clearly established that The Quitter used private email to hide her misconduct from the public. There may not be admissible legal evidence, but it’s not in serious dispute. McLeod sought to get those private emails under the Public Records Act and to have use of private email for official business declared to be an automatic violation of Alaska public records laws.
None of this is exactly news: the process of providing The Quitter’s emails to the public took years, remains incomplete even today and what has eventually been produced is swiss cheese: full of holes that smell funny.
But McLeod’s lawsuit went to the Alaska Supreme Court, and it issued an opinion last Friday. And decided that McLeod had won. Or at least won half a loaf.
It requires a close reading of the decision to understand how victory was snatched from the jaws of defeat. Justice Carpeneti, writing for a unanimous court, held that private emails involving state business were “public records” and should be preserved. In other words, The Quitter, the First Spouse and members of her administration could not evade the scope of the Public Records Act by conducting state business by private emails.
Justice Carpeneti declined to find that the use of private emails for public business was a per se – automatic – violation of the Public Records Act. However, he found “McLeod established that the duty to preserve emails exists as to both official accounts and private accounts, and that the duty cannot be extinguished by a public official’s unreviewable decision simply not to preserve them.”
Obviously, this is only half a loaf. While public business conducted by private email creates a public record, there are serious practical problems with tracking down those emails. McLeod didn’t raise those issues – or at least the court fond she hadn’t – and the court wasn’t about to volunteer. And the Alaska Supreme Court has only belatedly reached email, a decades-old technology. Tweets and text messaging remain legal terra incognito. The law has never been very good at keeping up with technology.
But props to Ms. McLeod. And to her attorney, Don Mitchell. Sometimes simple stubbornness can accomplish what reason and logic cannot. And maybe, now that the dust has settled, the Alaska Legislature can simply ban use of private email for state business.
It appears that The Mitt’s campaign is indeed doomed. The Quitter, Caribou Barbie herself, is starting to offer The Mitt her advice on how to revive his hypocrisy-swaddled presidential campaign.
With so much at stake in this election, both Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan should ’go rogue’ and not hold back from telling the American people the true state of our economy and national security. They need to continue to find ways to break through the filter of the liberal media to communicate their message of reform.
Does anyone have any idea what Alaska’s Shame is saying here?
Wait. Does anyone care?
WC had intended to post an essay mocking the statements of Wasillan Mark Ewing, candidate for the State House, at the Greater Wasilla Chamber of Commerce candidates forum.
But in a flip-flopping series of statements, worthy of a gaffed salmon, Ewing has done a better job on himself than WC could ever do. If you’ve got your breakup boots, rubber apron and protective eye wear ready, wade into this apologia:
You are 100% correct after calling the radio talk show and posting on Facebook the next day I then checked the Wasilla Chamber web site and realized the words in the paper were mine, and I should have made that point clear and apologized to the Frontiersman, Mr Welner and also to the public. It was a poor decision on my part to not remember what I said used to describe children with special needs. I know now that what I meant to say and what I said were completely different and after reading comments from a broad parental base that all children can learn regardless of their handicap I am not against teaching special needs children and clearly not trying to hurt any students or parents that have a child in that situation.
I am sorry and thank you for pointing this out. I do feel we should have special needs schools for those that are severely handicap with programs more directed to their necessities. If this cost me the election then so be it, I felt there were many other issues I could have pointed at regarding the budget during this question.
WC will give you a chance to rinse the word salad fragments off before proceeding further…
Better now? Okay then, onward. After years of listening to and reading The Quitter’s incoherent word Jumbles™, WC has very low expectations of the Wasilla public schools. But this sentence wins some kind of prize: “It was a poor decision on my part to not remember what I said used to describe children with special needs.”
Not your only poor decision, Candidate Ewing. Starting with the Declaration of Candidacy…
• The Facebook post in question wasn’t written by Bristol Palin; it was written by her ghostwriter, Nancy French, who doesn’t even bother to sound like Bristol any longer.
• Bristol Palin’s – and Nancy French’s – knowledge of the institution of marriage apparently excludes non-Anglo cultures, excludes most of history and excludes the Bible. “Thousands of years about thinking about marriage.” Bah.
• Bristol, honey, folks who live in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones. The proverb has been traced back to Geoffrey Chaucer’s ‘Troilus and Criseyde‘. Eh. Never mind.
Why in the world is anyone listening to this partially educated, seriously confused, unwed mother and single parent? Or the scumbags who use her?
WC has received numerous emails in response to his recent, brief post mocking The Quitter. Mostly, they want more blog posts on Caribou Cathy and her poisonous family. But giving the ex-governor attention is rewarding her, it is giving her what she craves. All of which is why Wickersham’s Conscience has been a largely Palin-free zone for months now.
But WC offers a compromise: he will make this one additional post, offering what others are saying about Alaska’s Embarrassment and a few choice bits from the Word Salad Shooter herself. Besides, it’s May Day. A holiday that stands for everything The Quitter claims to dislike, to the extent The Quitter understands May Day traditions.
Andrew Sullivan, at The Dish:
I have two working theories, in so far as I think about this farcical fabulist at all any more. The first is that she really is a grifter, who knew when to cash in. The second is that she is an attention-monger and destiny-seeker who realized, especially after the McGinniss book, that she didn’t have enough talent or brains to overcome the tsunami of gossip, scandal and investigation into her real life that a run for the presidency would bring. So she took the money and ran. In some ways, I actually thought she was more sincere than that. And more delusional. But the cynics were right.
Tim Heffernan, in The Politics Blog at Esquire, wrote of Palin:
What Palin wants is not approval or adulation, but something altogether different: adoration. This is the reason she only ever appears before friendly crowds, only ever reads from her own script, never exposes herself to criticism or questioning. Inside her carefully constructed bubble, she is never less than beloved. But in the real world of electoral politics, even the most popular figures are lucky to net less than 40 percent disapproval. Palin cannot handle that. Her public image, which is her image of herself, is of the perfect conservative Christian woman. She will never expose that image to the jeering mob again.
Palin’s own efforts to remain credible are laughable and pathetic. Here’s one of her comments in response to her endorsement of The Newt:
This week a few handpicked and selectively edited comments which Newt made during his 40-year career were used to claim that Newt was somehow anti-Reagan and isn’t conservative enough to go against the accepted moderate in the primary race,” she wrote. “What we saw with this ridiculous opposition dump on Newt was nothing short of Stalin-esque rewriting of history. It was Alinsky tactics at their worst.
Now Sarah Palin just might have a glimmer of an idea who Josef Stalin was, but she doesn’t know Saul Alinsky from Joe the Plumber. And Alinsky’s well-regarded manual for grass-roots organizations, Rules for Radicals: A Pragmatic Primer for Realistic Radicals, is frequently used by the Right as a playbook. FreedomWorks, the tea party group headed by former Republican House leader Dick Armey, gives copies of “Rules for Radicals” to its leaders. “His tactics when it comes to grass-roots organizing are incredibly effective,” FreedomWorks spokesman Adam Brandon told The Wall Street Journal. Tea partyers aggressively confronting lawmakers at town hall meetings is straight from Alinsky’s playbook. The Newt’s criticism of The Mitt’s wealth is a classic Alinsky tactic. Palin’s criticism of her own party’s tactics would be laughable if it weren’t ironic.
And then there is her comment to the always judicious Sean Hannity, where she said of President Obama, “He is bringing us back, Sean, to days — you can hearken back to days before the Civil War, when unfortunately too many Americans mistakenly believed that not all men were created equal.” So Alaska’s Shame thinks the President, who last time WC checked appeared to be, you know, Black, wants to return to the pre-Civil War days. Dumb, dumber, dumbest, and then Sarah Palin.
If any of WC’s readers wonders why WC mostly ignores this shrill termagant, WC hopes he has answered your question.
WC doesn’t usually write about Alaska’s Biggest Embarrassment anymore, but WC was astounded to learn recently that The Quitter is serving a useful purpose. Yeah, WC was surprised, too.
It seems a nude painting of her adorns a dive bar in Chicago.
Sure, it’s old news – 2008, actually. Sure, it’s a very bad painting. But the key point is that the opus hangs at the Old Town Ale House, owned by Elliotts’s wife, where it remains a prime attraction among his display of more than 200 celebrity portraits and other bad, racy art. That’s right, Palin is still selling beer.
Best of all, Elliot said, “I find her bizarrely fascinating, even though I pretty much despise everything she stands for.”
Reportedly, Elliott’s next masterpiece was a nude of ex-Governor and convicted felon Rod Blagojevich.
Even bad art can serve a purpose. WC has been to the Old Town Ale House. It really is a dive bar.
We now return to more aesthetic blogging.
Richard Ekow channels a message to Santorum and The Quitter. It’s worth the read just for the last lines:
I know, I know. You grew up working class. If you’ve said it once you’ve said it a thousand times: You used to be a regular guy. So what? I used to be an angel.
WC was in the Lower 48 recently, and every conversation with an Outsider, sooner or later, turned to Alaska’s Shame, The Quitter. It’s very embarrassing.
But a new Alaska figure is emerging who has the potential to be even more embarrassing than The Quitter. You might not have thought that was possible. WC might have even thought it was impossible. But then along came Gordon Warren Epperly. Juneauites will know him from his incessant letters to the Juneau Empire.
Citizen Epperly has filed a complaint with the Director of the Division of Elections seeking to keep President Obama’s name of the ballot in Alaska. WC has provided that link to his vindictive, ignorant and puerile racist screed, but WC also warns you to prepare to be outraged. This is seriously far over into tin foil hat territory.
Not all citizens are apparently satisfied with having their racism and misogyny be a subtext to their hatred. Citizen Epperly brings them front and center.
Worse, national bloggers have reported on it. Dr. Conspiracy has picked up on it and posted a deconstruction.
WC isn’t sure that the State of Alaska is paying Gail Fenumiai, the Director of the Division of Elections, enough money. First she had to put up with Joe Miller’s incessant lawsuits; now this. She’s good. Her decisions are proven sound. She needs a raise if she has to deal with this kind of crap.
Can Citizen Epperly please take his medications, don his tin foil hat and crawl back under his rock?
Once again, WC opened the year with wishes for the upcoming months. And once again, WC’s hopes were mostly dashed. But with just a week or so left in 2011, let’s look at the specifics:
1. WC wishes that the Republican House and the Democratic Senate recognize that health care reform isn’t a political football, or a springboard to electoral success in 2012, but the best solution so far to the looming health care crisis facing our nation.
NOT. If the Republican presidential wannabes are any indication, the hate is actually higher now than when the bill was signed into law. Not that any of them have a better idea. Representative idea: Ron Paul would abolish Medicare and Medicaid. If the patient has a fever, put him in the freezer. That’ll fix him, youbetcha.
2. The Department of Defense today is the largest single part of the federal budget. If the budget is to be balanced, it must be reduced. Unlike social security, which is funded, defense spending is a direct drain on taxes and the biggest contribution to the deficit. WC wishes Congress would recognize and address the problem.
MAYBE. A by-product of Congress’s shameful failure to deal with the deficit itself, either directly or through the not-so-Super Committee, is a pending, significant across-the-board reduction in the defense budget. The predictable pissing and moaning is already under way, and there are strong indications Congress will recant. But as of year end, an accidental modest success.
3. WC wishes that the Gods imagined by shepherds, nomads and farmers could see fit to adapt their edicts to a world with finite resources, doomsday weapons and horrific overcrowding. And that those Gods’ followers would then listen.
NOT. You need look no further than the sorry horde of Republican presidential wannabes, all of whom compete to be more zealous than the others in clinging to a pastoralist religion in a post-industrial society. Worse, they insist, on threat of citizenship, that the entire country give its unqualified embrace to doctrine that has the sun circling the earth. Iran remains a theocracy. And, with the death of Christopher Hitchens, our culture has lost one of its remaining voices of reason in this circle of absurdity.
(The next wish requires discussion of former half-term governor, Sarah Palin. Wickersham’s Conscience is a Palin-free zone. But to address those January 1 issues, WC has to make an exception. WC promises to be brief.)
4. Her ambition will force her to run for president, even though she doesn’t want either responsibility or the accountability that would come with the job. WC wishes that Palin would develop enough self-awareness, sufficient insight, to recognize Machiavelli is right.
MAYBE. Palin announced she was not a candidate for president in 2012. The world breathed a collective sigh of relief. Comediennes and a few Palinbots blinked back tears. WC suspects she still harbors dreams of deadlock at the Republican convention, and that she is somehow begged to step in. But, as of the year end, that nightmare scenario hasn’t occurred. Self-awareness and insight? Not so much.
So it’s another disappointing year. None of WC’s wishes came completely true, but as of year end perhaps two are partially so. Two failed completely. Better than 2010, but still a disappointment to WC. Maybe next year.
The whole world of Palinbots is a tangled, murky mess, unlikely to be worth the effort required to try to sort it out. But at least some of that world seems to have turned on The Quitter following her announcement she would
not no longer seek the U.S. Presidency.
Someone named John Ziegler (“the 54th most important talk host in the country”) wrote an angry, anguished open letter to Alaska’s Shame, that is classic example of Eric Hoffer‘s description of a fallen True Believer. A sample quote:
I certainly never could have imagined that things would have turned out this way when we met at your house for the most extensive interview you have ever done about the 2008 election. While I don’t regret my efforts to set the record straight about what happened to you, I do wish I had never taken up your cause and made the mistake of thinking you wanted honest and truthful counsel.
Note the self-aggrandizement, the disappointment and the belated, bitter recognition of Caribou Cathy for what she truly is. All in the same paragraph.
Oddly, posts on the subject of The Quitter are by far the most popular blog entries on Wickersham’s Conscience. WC’s article on Palin’s followers and the Dunning-Kruger effect – a one-off cheap shot if there ever was one – is the most popular ever posted by WC. But after every Palin post, WC always feels like he needs to wash his hands. And popularity isn’t what this blog is about.
The Quitter’s obsessive, narcissistic need for attention is only fed the public’s unhealthy stares, including even this blog. Because this clinically disturbed person is no longer a candidate for anything except an historical footnote, there is no longer any legitimate reason to waste time, electrons and bandwidth writing about her. WC declines to further feed her sociopathic needs.
So, absent some unforeseen event, Wickersham’s Conscience will be a Palin-free zone from this point forward. The world is full of wonders, substantive issues and foolishness, all of it more important than Wasilla’s Queen of Darkness. WC looks forward to bringing his magpie sensibilities to those matters.
Now, if you’ll excuse WC, he has to go wash his hands.
WC’s immediate prior post, of course, was a Leonard Cohen song. Andrew Sullivan posted this today:
I was at the gym when the news [of Palin's announcement] broke, hence the late post. And, of course, the news was juxtaposed by the untimely death of Steve Jobs. Leonard Cohen once said of America that it was “the cradle of the best and the worst”. Today, we lost one of the very best in American history, a reticent genius and entrepreneur, an inspiration for countless of us who has changed the very fabric of our lives. And we also saw the end of the road for one of the very worst: a nasty, callow, delusional, vicious know-nothing, brewed in resentment, and whose accomplishments could fit on a postage stamp.
It’s a fitting comparison: achievement versus resentment, creativity versus narcissism, hope versus fear. I know which one will get the bigger headlines tomorrow. And there is some comfort in knowing it will pain her.
WC will miss Steve Jobs. Jobs won’t be creating any more insanely great products, although WC is confident Apple will. WC won’t miss The Quitter, although the three year national nightmare may be over. But WC is less confident than Sullivan that Alaska’s Shame will quietly go away. But we can hope.
R.I.P. Steve Jobs. Thanks for all the useful tools.
As WC has noted earlier, while he admires Joe McGinniss’s writing, he’s not a fan of Joe McGinniss the man, who has some significant ethical issues. But this isn’t a review of Joe McGinniss; it’s a review of his book. And it’s pretty good. It’s not perfect, but it’s the best glimpse so far at The Quitter and her world.
As WC has noted earlier, even reviews of books about The Quitter have gotten controversial. But WC has a long track record of leaping into the tiger’s jaws.
McGinniss had to have a narrative “hook” on which to hang his story. What he chose was the Palins’ complete overreaction to McGinniss’s moving in next door. According to McGinniss, it was a combination of chance and vengeance. Chance that the space was available; vengeance because the landlord who saw the chance to slip a knife into the Palins was yet another of their victims. And while other critics have accused McGinniss of stealing the late Hunter S. Thompson’s technique of injecting himself into the story, that’s not correct. Nor does McGinniss use Thompson’s “gonzo” approach. Heck, John McPhee was using the “narrator as participant” approach before Thompson was first fired by the National Observer.
The book’s point of view moves between the biography of Palin and the trials and tribulations of McGinniss in researching his story. It works pretty well, although the digressions into Dominionism and The Quitter’s other weird religious beliefs drag a bit. For those of us who have lived the story in Alaska, there’s not a lot that’s new, although McGinniss found a few tidbits that were new to WC and some quotes that are simply outstanding. But newness isn’t the point. The point is telling an accurate, critical tale of a political and social phenomenon that’s accessible and entertaining. And at that level the book succeeds quite well.
One thing McGinnis does that was new for WC at least was provide quotes from media outside of the U.S. WC isn’t so parochial that an outsider’s view isn’t enlightening. Here’s the English Telegraph on the embarrassing Sarah Palin’s Alaska:
Various people called things like Truck and Trog, Troop or Trib or Troll wander about, walk-on players in this risible woman’s delusional pitch for power. Alaska looked very fetching, though. It was a bit like being on a spectacular holiday marred by the worst travelling companion imaginable.
The explanation for the famous preview copy to G. B. Trudeau and resulting cartoons are there: it’s payback for Trudeau’s earlier “coverage” of the hysteria surrounding McGinniss’s move next door to the Palins. The cartoons are even reproduced in the book.
But for WC, the most revealing and insightful new item came shortly after Palin was first elected to the Wasilla City Council:
At the end of that first council meeting, a friend of Sarah’s who had voted for her but who worried that her lack of knowledge – especially in the field of economics – might pose a problem, stepped up to hand her a copy of The Worldly Philosophers: The Lives, Times and Ideas of Great Economic Thinkers, by Robert L. Heilbroner. Sarah would not even look at the cover of the book. The friend tried to hand the book to her but she would not take it. When he put it on the table in front of her, she pushed it to the edge with the back of her hand saying, “I never read anything that might conflict with my beliefs.”
WC is a lawyer, and recognizes the story is unattributed double hearsay. But McGinnis has little motivation to lie, and the story fits so well with everything we actually know about this woman, that WC is inclined to credit the tale.
But the other thing what is clear from this book is that The Quitter isn’t the only narcissist involved. McGinniss, admittedly to a far lesser extent, is also a narcissist. Which is why WC chose Caravaggi’s fine painting to illustrate this review.
WC has read Dunn’s Lies of Sarah Palin, Bailey’s Blind Allegiance and even Palin’s wretched Going Rogue. WC hopes his readers will excuse him for not having read Bristol’s bio. McGinnis’s The Rogue is the best of the batch, but, WC hopes, not the best book that will ultimately be written about the sociopathic Sarah Palin and our culture’s infatuation with her.
It started with a pretty harsh review in the New York Times of Joe McGinniss’s The Rogue, his new biography of The Quitter.
Geoffrey Dunn, author of The Lies of Sarah Palin, was upset enough by Maslin’s review that he wrote a very strong, effective attack on Maslin and her book review.
What’s notable about both Maslin’s review and Dunn’s critique of Maslin’s review is how they both engage in personal attacks. Maslin says McGinniss is “too busy being nasty to be lucid.” Dunn says Maslin is racist. Maslin complains McGinniss uses unsubstantiated sources. (WC wonders if Ms. Maslin has read anything, anything at all by Bob Woodward.) Dunn complains about Maslin’s “unbridled demonization of McGinniss.”
Perhaps there is something about The Quitter that makes debate about even a biography of her ugly? Is it possible for a person to be so ugly, so nasty, so virulent, that any conversation about her becomes ugly? WC has read Dunn’s book, Bailey’s book and will likely read McGinnis’s book, too, although WC isn’t a fan of Mr. McGinniss or his tactics. And if WC does read The Rogue, he’ll post a review of it here to see if it’s possible to discuss the biography without spitting poison.
The blogosphere is all aflutter over many newspapers decision to censor Doonesbury’s recent series of cartoons on Joe McGinnis’s upcoming exposé, The Rogue. The Fairbanks Daily News-Miner, never a newspaper to rush into the breach, apparently “didn’t have room” to publish today’s cartoon. As a service to his readers, WC provides a link to the cartoon’s internet home: http://www.doonesbury.com/strip.
The quotes pulled from the book are pretty good, too:
On her first day of office, Sarah changed the screensaver on the mayor’s official computer to read, ‘GOD LOVES YOU, SARAH PALIN.’
In a cartoon series that has savaged clueless reporter Hedley, Fox News, Sarah Palin and even Joe McGinnis, Garry Trudeau has again demonstrated why he remains America’s consistently best cartoonist, 40 years down the line. Props to Trudeau; shame on the News-Miner.
WC is a fan of XKCD, one of the best web comic out there on the Series of Tubes™. WC is also a Mac user, dating back to the original Macintosh, and the mess that was Windows Vista gave him considerable pleasure smirking. But the tag line, “Better than Vista,” has much broader utility than merely pwning a lame operating system. WC will offer some examples:
It’s pretty clear that,as many of us suspected from the start, Palin’s pride and joy, the Alaska Gasline Inducement Act (“AGIA”) is a complete bust. On the available evidence, no one, not one North Slope natural gas producer, has signed up to ship their gas to the Lower 48 via Transcanada, The Quitter’s hand-picked gas pipeline company. That won’t stop Transcanada from exhausting ever penny of the $500 million the State of Alaska pledged to underwrite Transcanada’s efforts. Still, it’s better than Windows Vista.
The Quitter herself, unable to complete an intelligible sentence, a gubernatorial term or an intellectual conversation, is still flirting with her dwindling coterie of supporters and inflicting herself on the body politic. That helium and fingernails-on-a-chalkboard voice will keep on screeching nonsense. Still, she’s better than Windows Vista.
PolticProf has conveniently summarized the September 7 GOP presidential wannabe debates, which WC presents here:
Rick Perry: Texas is good. I like Texas.
Mitt Romney: Seriously, I have a plan. And I used to work in business.
Michele Bachmann: I have crazy eyes.
Ron Paul: I am a very cranky old man.
Jon Huntsman: You get that I’m the reasonable one, right?
Newt Gingrich: I am a lot smarter than these other folks. Not that you care.
Herman Cain: I speak in clear, plain sentences to convince you that the complex is simple.
Rick Santorum: I’m over here. Hi! Hello! Woo hoo!
Still, they’re better than Windows Vista… Wait. No. They’re not.
Two guys are out hunting, and while walking off the trails they come upon a huge hole in the ground.
They are amazed by the size of it. The first hunter says “Wow, that’s some hole; I can’t even see the bottom. I wonder how deep it is?”
The second hunter says” I don’t know, let’s throw something down and listen and see how long it takes to hit bottom.”
The first hunter says “There’s this old automobile transmission here, give me a hand and we’ll throw it in and see”.
So they pick it up and carry it over, and count one, and two and three, and throw it in the hole.
They are standing there listening and looking over the edge and they hear a rustling in the brush behind them.
As they turn around they see a goat come crashing through the brush, run up to the hole and with no hesitation, jump in head first.
While they are standing there looking at each other in stunned silence, an old farmer walks up. “Say there! You fellers didn’t happen to see my goat around here anywhere, did you?”
The first hunter says ” Funny you should ask, but we were just standing here a minute ago and a goat came running out of the bushes doin’ about a hundred miles an hour and jumped headfirst into this hole!”
“No way! I had him chained to a transmission!”
- MarthaUnalaska, Comment to Mudflats Blog
Sometimes failing to see the connections between the transmission and the goat can cost you your goat. WC will undertake to explain.
The blogosphere is all aflutter over the renewed and new revelations about Joe McGinnis’s conduct with Frank Bailey’s manuscript for Blind Allegiance (Amazon link). The well-regarded TruthOut published a piece yesterday, looking into Joe McGinnis’s role in leaking the draft manuscript. Jeanne Devon, a co-author, quite reasonably posted a link to the TruthOut piece. McGinnis weighed in on his blog. And the whole mess went viral. WC doesn’t have a dog in this fight, but that’s never stopped WC from weighing in. But first, let’s get the players straight.
- Joe McGinnis: ethically-challenged, best-selling author; leaked Frank Bailey’s manuscript of Blind Allegiance to the Web.
- Frank Bailey: devoutly Christian former Palin devotee, subsequently thrown under the bus. Co-author of Blind Allegiance, quasi-biography backed by part of a cache of emails.
- Jeanne Devon: primary author of The Mudflats, probably Alaska’s best know blogger. Co-author of Blind Allegiance. Slashed by McGinnis. Disclaimer: WC’s posts are sometimes used by The Mudflats.
- Ken Morris: former Wall Street banker, sometime author and co-author of Blind Allegiance.
- Charlie Conrad: a Broadway Book executive editor; fed manuscript of Blind Allegiance received from Carol Mann to Joe McGinnis. Broadway Books is an imprint of Random House.
- Carol Mann: Owner of Carol Mann Agency, agent for Frank Bailey, Jeanne Devon and Ken Morris as co-authors of Blind Allegiance.
- David Drake: Crown Publishing Group’s Director of Publicity. Crown Publishing is another imprint to Random House, McGinniss’s publisher.
- Matthew Harwood: author of the TruthOut piece on the McGinnis and his conduct regarding the Blind Allegiance manuscript.
Former Palin-insider Frank Bailey had a story tell, backed by a large collection of Palin emails. Incapable of writing the story himself, he was joined by two co-authors, Jeanne Devon of The MudFlats and Ken Morris. The authors were represented by well-regarded agent Carol Mann. Mann shopped the manuscript for what became Blind Allegiance to various publishers, including several imprints of Random House. One such imprint, Broadway Books, through its executive editor Charlie Conrad, and in violation of industry practices, leaked a copy of the manuscript to Joe McGinnis. McGinnis, for his own reasons, but likely to kill the competition, published the manuscript to the world via the Web. With the manuscript out in public, finding a major publisher and sales of Blind Allegiance were adversely impacted. Matthew Harwood, in an effort to get at the truth, writes an piece for TruthOut.
The Transmission, the Goat and the Chain
McGinnis and Broadway Books:
Anyone who has taken even a modest interest in his career knows the Joe McGinnis and ethics are strangers. There’s a very good book about it by Janet Malcolm, The Journalist and the Murderer (Amazon link) that removes any lingering questions about Joe McGinnis’s ethics: he simply hasn’t got any. If he ever did, they vanished somewhere in the course of researching and writing Fatal Vision (Amazon link). What McGinnis did to Frank Bailey and his co-authors is completely consistent with that utter absence of integrity McGinnis has shown over decades of work. With Joe, it’s all about Joe. A good writer who is not a good person.
Shame on McGinnis’s agent, Broadway Books Executive Editor Charlie Conrad, for forwarding the manuscript to his author, McGinnis. Conrad knew McGinnis was writing a Palin book. By forwarding a copy of the unpublished manuscript to McGinnis, Conrad opened his author to a plagiarism lawsuit as well as knowingly put the manuscript in the hands of a demonstrably unethical author. At best, it was grossly reckless. More likely, it was part of a scheme to kill potential competition for McGinnis’s book.
Shame on Crown Publishing Group’s Director of Publicity David Drake who claimed that because the Carol Mann Agency, Bailey’s agent, distibuted the Blind Allegiance manuscript without an explicit reservation of rights, somehow the copyright and other intellectual property rights were waived or lost. That’s not how copyright law works, that’s absolutely not industry practice and Drake knows it.
WC has read Blind Allegiance. The primary problem with the book is that, on the whole, Frank Bailey is not a very sympathetic character. Bailey, like it or not, is the protagonist of the biography. You have to be a very, very good writer (think Ford Maddox Ford in The Good Soldier) to draw a sympathetic portrait of a louse like Bailey. WC’s darn education got in the way again, and reminded him of Robert Penn Warren’s Pulitzer Prize-winning All the King’s Men, a superb fictionalized story of Huey “The Kingfisher” Long. The story of the Huey Long character, “Willie Stark,” is told by Jack Burden, a reporter who becomes Stark’s go-to guy for blackmail, character assassination and skunk projects. Burden and Stark both gain a measure of our sympathy over the course of Warren’s novel, but Burden is smarter than Bailey. And Burden never tries to claim sympathy; he earns it. Bailey: not so much. Bailey is a mostly a Jack Burden without much self-awareness, and less intelligence.
Frank Bailey’s flaws weaken Blind Allegiance.
Jeanne Devon and Ken Morris:
Good writers, a bit off their usual turf, trying their best to make a silk purse out of a sow’s ear. They very nearly bring it off, but a sympathetic portrait Frank Bailey is probably beyond any writer’s skills.
Carol Mann and the Carol Mann Agency:
An agent trying to do her job, playing by the written and unwritten rules of her industry, who was blindsided by Charlie Conrad’s violation of those unwritten rules, and Conrad’s client, Joe McGinnis’s, unscrupulous violation of those rules.
Nice work. The first comment on his TruthOut piece, copied from PoliticGates, is a very nice synopsis of publishing industry practices, and helps outsiders understand just how far out of bounds Conrad and McGinniss were. And how lame David Drake’s excuses are.
The Morals of the Story
So this story, like any true tale, has bad guys, good guys and clueless guys. No surprise there. But there are morals WC can glean:
Never try to teach a pig manners; it will waste your time and annoy the pig.
The enemy of your enemy is not necessarily your friend.
It only takes one snake to wreck the picnic.
Despite what you were told, cheaters do prosper.
And, of course, check for a chain and other connections before you pitch the transmission in the big hole in the ground.
A big tip of the hat to MarthaUnalaska for reminding WC of the parable of the transmission and the goat.