Saturday, May 29, 2010

Back By Her Own Demand: Sarah Palin!

Joe McGinness is a well-respected author.  A writer of both fiction and non-fiction, McGinnis is known for his thorough research and documentation.  His body of work includes:

* The Selling of the President (1969), about the marketing of Richard M. Nixon
* The Dream Team (1972)
* Heroes (1976)
* Going to Extremes (1980)
* Fatal Vision (1983)
* Blind Faith (1989)
* Cruel Doubt (1991)
* The Last Brother: The Rise and Fall of Teddy Kennedy (1993)
* The Miracle of Castel di Sangro (1999), the story of Castel di Sangro Calcio.
* The Big Horse (2004)
* Never Enough (2007)

He began following and writing about the unlikely, yet meteoric rise of political phenomenon Sarah Palin, and about a year ago, wrote a piece for the on-line magazine Portfolio entitled "Pipe Dreams," which discussed Sarah's bragging about creating a pipeline that doesn't yet exist.  Though factual, McGinniss' article wasn't exactly complimentary.

Suffice it to say, Mrs. Palin is not fond of Mr. McGinness.

Currently, McGinness is working on a book due to be published by Broadway/Random House in 2011.  He has said his working title is "Sarah Palin's Year of Living Dangerously."

As you might imagine, that makes Sarah, the beauty-queen runner up, half term quitter Governor, ghost-written author and Presidential wanna-be extremely unhappy, because McGinniss has something She-Who-Would-Be-President does not.  Credibility.

In finishing up his book, McGinniss decided he needed to spend a few months in Alaska, specifically in Wasilla, Sarah's home town, conducting more interviews and gathering more background information.

This is where it gets interesting.

According to his son, Joe McGinnis Jr. (a respected novelist himself), Joe Sr. was contacted by the woman who owns the house next door to the Palin home.  She had been seeking a renter.  According to McGinniss Jr., there's a bit more to that story, too.  Apparently, the woman had completed some renovations (whether to her home or theirs is unclear) at the Palin's request.  After the renovations were completed, the Palins refuse to pay for them.  

In retrospect, they probably shouldn't have reneged on whatever deal they had with her, because... well, Karma can be a bitch.

This neighbor of Palin knew McGinniss was working on his book, and contacted him, offering to rent him her  house.  McGinniss, not being a dummy, realized that her rental rate of $1500 a month was a pretty good deal for him, and it beat the hell out of staying at the Best Western Lake Lucille Inn.

To her credit, this neighbor had turned down more lucrative offers from The National Enquirer, which hoped to have paparazzi staying there, stalking the Palins and snapping pictures whenever they walked out of the house.

And... as you might expect, when she got the word that Joe McGinnis was moving in next door to her, Sarah Palin went berserk.  Her Facebook page is one of the places where she issues her proclamations, and she wasted no time in attacking Mr. McGinnis there, implying he was a stalker, and quite possibly a pervert as well!  In part from Sarah's page:
Joe announced to Todd that he’s moved in right next door to us. He’s rented the place for the next five months or so. He moved up all the way from Massachusetts to live right next to us – while he writes a book about me. Knowing of his many other scathing pieces of “journalism” (including the bizarre anti-Palin administration oil development pieces that resulted in my Department of Natural Resources announcing that his work is the most twisted energy-related yellow journalism they’d ever encountered), we’re sure to have a doozey to look forward to with this treasure he’s penning. Wonder what kind of material he’ll gather while overlooking Piper’s bedroom, my little garden, and the family’s swimming hole? (emphasis mine)
To underscore the Palin's paranoia, Todd immediately grabbed his tools, and scabbed another 8 feet or so of height on to the existing fence between the houses, creating (as Mudflats called it) quite the fencetrosity.

The scale and ferocity of Palin's reaction left McGinnis sort of stunned and disturbed. He hadn't planned to publicize where he was staying at all, and he had hoped to keep it off the internet.  He felt no reason to invade the Palin's privacy, or to make a big deal out of it, and her implication that he would be peering over the fence, spying on her children, deeply offended him.  As McGinniss said,
"These little kids, I couldn't care less about them," said McGinniss. "I have my own kids and grandkids to care about. I don't have any interest in Palin's kids. I'm not going to write, oh, I saw Trig run across the lawn, and I saw someone else change his diaper. I haven't been writing for 40 years to wind up on that level. I'm just very offended by this." (emphasis mine)
Good job, Sarah!  You've managed to wrest Teh Crazy™ Crown back from Rand Paul, and get back into that media spotlight!

But guess what?  
All you've really done is ensure that Joe McGinniss will sell even more copies of "Sarah Palin's Year of Living Dangerously."


Friday, May 28, 2010

Was I Unfair To Senator Mark Begich? No, I Don't Think So.

Last week, I posted a piece critical of Senator Mark Begich.

The original thrust of my post was Begich’s comment about his fellow Democratic Senators (and by inference, anyone else) angry over Senator Lisa Murkowski’s single-handed blockage of a bill which would have raised the oil spill liability cap from its current pittance of $75 million to $10 billion.
Begich's cavalier aside was the source of my annoyance, and the reason for my post.
To quote Mr. Begich:  
“If you look at the list of those Democrats (senators), they just don’t like oil and gas, period.”
Begich’s offhand comment about his fellow Democratic senators, whom he says are engaging in “an emotional response” was uncalled for, and merely a bone tossed to the home oilpatch crowd. 

My opinion is that the senators he categorically deemed "anti-oil" are right.  An angry response, hitting BP in the pocketbook (because that's the only thing they understand) is exactly what is called for, but that's another argument for another time.

Because of that post, I’ve been taken to task by an anonymous commenter who believes that I’m unfairly criticizing (even lying about) Begich, and that I should publish a retraction.

Personally, I think Mark’s statements concerning his fellow senators was false, and he’s the one who should be offering a retraction.

Anyway:  The commenter accused me of falsely saying that Begich supported Murkowski’s abuse of her senatorial power.  His/her parting shot:
"You shown (sic) your readers that they can't trust you. They shouldn't trust you. You don't deserve their trust. You make false allegations and worse yet, you don't have the decency to admit you have no evidence to support the allegation you printed."
Let me say this about evidence:  Go back to the interview by Matt Felling, included in the post the commenter found so offensive, and watch it in its entirety.

In the clip, Felling pointed out that the Republicans were blocking any raise of the spill liability cap, and that Murkowski in particular was responsible.  

At about 13:00 in, Begich was specifically asked by Felling if he was “disappointed in what she’s (Murkowski’s) doing?"

Instead of answering that question, Mark sidestepped, talked about the administration's concerns over squeezing out smaller oil producers, and said that he and Murkowski were working together to come up with (and I’m paraphrasing here) a plan that makes sure it isn’t just the mega oil companies that can develop the oil resources, but to ensure that smaller ones without the financial wherewithal to cover a $10 billion spill liability can participate as well (I think that also is a piss-poor public policy approach, but again, it's another argument for another time). 

During the interview, Mark would not even risk saying he was “disappointed” by Murkowski’s actions.

Maybe no one else out there agrees with me, but in my opinion, Begich's evasive reply to Felling's question not only indicated tacit support for Murkowski, it was a typical Begich weasel response.

So, to the anonymous commenter slamming me:

The price of your subscription is hereby cheerfully refunded.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

British Polluters Seeking Settlement On '06 Prudhoe Bay Spills

Lawyers for BP and federal regulators appear to be working hard to settle a civil lawsuit the government brought against the oil company in connection with the 2006 pipeline spills in the Prudhoe Bay oil field.

You see, the continuing oil catastrophe in the Gulf of Mexico (something of this magnitude can't reasonably be called a "spill" anymore) resulting from the Deepwater Horizon explosion really shouldn't be a surprise.

It is the "crown jewel," the culmination of years of what is clearly BP's corporate policy:  The accumulation of money ranks ahead of the law, human safety, and the environment.

The article continues:
The U.S. Department of Justice on March 31, 2009, sued BP on behalf of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and federal pipeline regulators.
The suit seeks millions of dollars in fines for alleged water and air pollution violations, as well as failure to meet deadlines in a corrective action order from the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration.
BP's lawyers have denied many of the federal claims, and say some of the deadlines in the corrective action order were impossible to meet.
Well of course they were.  Corrective action costs money.

I'm wondering if these were the same liability lawyers who held some of survivors from the Deepwater Horizon rig hostage, and browbeat them into signing away their right to sue.

Anyway - this settlement is peanuts to BP.  As such, it looks as though it will be resolved in less than a decade.

The litigation resulting from the Gulf will not be settled in my lifetime.  How much environmental damage caused may never be fully assessed.

The people running BP deserve jail time.  A lot of it.