Comrade Governor Palin!

( – promoted by Colorado Pols)

New York Times article on Governor Sarah Palin:

http://www.nytimes.com/2008/09…

When Ms. Palin had to cut her first state budget, she avoided the legion of frustrated legislators and mayors. Instead, she huddled with her budget director and her husband, Todd, an oil field worker who is not a state employee, and vetoed millions of dollars of legislative projects.

That’s funny: Mr. Palin, the former member of secessionist-affiliated political party, helps her with the state budget. I wonder if she’s even capable of balancing her own check book.

Throughout her political career, she has pursued vendettas, fired officials who crossed her and sometimes blurred the line between government and personal grievance, according to a review of public records and interviews with 60 Republican and Democratic legislators and local officials.

If elected, Palin probably can’t wait until she can start tapping people’s phones back home.

Last summer State Representative John Harris, the Republican speaker of the House, picked up his phone and heard Mr. Palin’s voice. The governor’s husband sounded edgy. He said he was unhappy that Mr. Harris had hired John Bitney as his chief of staff, the speaker recalled. Mr. Bitney was a high school classmate of the Palins and had worked for Ms. Palin. But she fired Mr. Bitney after learning that he had fallen in love with another longtime friend.

Wasilla meets Peyton Place.

But in 1995, Ms. Palin, then a city councilwoman, told colleagues that she had noticed the book “Daddy’s Roommate” on the shelves and that it did not belong there, according to Ms. Chase and Mr. Stein. Ms. Chase read the book, which helps children understand homosexuality, and said it was inoffensive; she suggested that Ms. Palin read it.

“Sarah said she didn’t need to read that stuff,” Ms. Chase said. “It was disturbing that someone would be willing to remove a book from the library and she didn’t even read it.

She said she didn’t need to read that stuff before banning it. Isn’t that what the Soviets said about the bible?

In the middle of the primary, a conservative columnist in the state, Paul Jenkins, unearthed e-mail messages showing that Ms. Palin had conducted campaign business from the mayor’s office. Ms. Palin handled the crisis with a street fighter’s guile.

“I told her it looks like she did the same thing that Randy Ruedrich did,” Mr. Jenkins recalled. “And she said, ‘Yeah, what I did was wrong.’ ”

Mr. Jenkins hung up and decided to forgo writing about it. His phone rang soon after.

Mr. Jenkins said a reporter from Fairbanks, reading from a Palin news release, demanded to know why he was “smearing” her. “Now I look at her and think: ‘Man, you’re slick,’ ” he said.

Slicker than Alaskan screech-owl shit.

Not deeply versed in policy, Ms. Palin skipped some candidate forums; at others, she flipped through hand-written, color-coded index cards strategically placed behind her nameplate.

Where was that color-coded index card explaining the Bush Doctrine when she needed it?

The Wasilla High School yearbook archive now doubles as a veritable directory of state government.

Maybe she was voted “Most Likely To Employ Cronyism” back in the day.

Many lawmakers contend that Ms. Palin is overly reliant on a small inner circle that leaves her isolated. Democrats and Republicans alike describe her as often missing in action. Since taking office in 2007, Ms. Palin has spent 312 nights at her Wasilla home, some 600 miles to the north of the governor’s mansion in Juneau, records show.

During the last legislative session, some lawmakers became so frustrated with her absences that they took to wearing “Where’s Sarah?” pins.

Many politicians say they typically learn of her initiatives – and vetoes – from news releases.

“Where’s Sarah?” That’s what the news media wants to know, regarding more one-on-one interviews.

At an Alaska Municipal League gathering in Juneau in January, mayors across the political spectrum swapped stories of the governor’s remoteness. How many of you, someone asked, have tried to meet with her? Every hand went up, recalled Mayor Fred Shields of Haines Borough. And how many met with her? Just a few hands rose. Ms. Palin soon walked in, delivered a few remarks and left for an anti-abortion rally.

I can imagine her saying, “You wanna talk? You’re gonna have to stand next to me and hold this ‘Abortion Kills Children’ sign.”

It is part of a pattern, Mr. Fagan said, in which Ms. Palin characterizes critics as “bad people who are anti-Alaska.”

Now, she gets to call her critics “Un-American.” What a step up!

At the movies: “W.” and “Milk”

Two upcoming films deal with personalities and politics. What do they have in common? Actor Josh Brolin.

Hoo-boy…it’s Oliver Stone’s film “W.” about George W. Bush (with Brolin as the President):

And then there’s “Milk,” about the late, openly gay San Francisco city supervisor Harvey Milk (played by Sean Penn; Brolin plays his assassin, Dan White):

Must be the season for political films.

Will anyone be going to see either film? Boycotting either film? Waiting for the DVD releases? Boycotting the DVD releases?

Mark Udall has a better chance of winning than his cousin, Tom, in New Mexico?

Well…at least according to one pundit, Mark Udall may have a better chance of winning a Senate seat than his cousin, Tom, in New Mexico (who will likely win handily).

From a political roundtable put together by Salon.com:

http://www.salon.com/news/feat…

[Thomas F. Schaller for Salon.com]: Let’s fly down to the Rockies. There are Mormon cousins running in two Southwestern states. You’ve got representatives Mark and Tom Udall vying for the open seats respectively in Colorado and New Mexico, made available by the retirements of Wayne Allard and Pete Domenici. If I told you it’s Wednesday, Nov. 5, the day after the election, and there’s one Sen. Udall and one failed Udall candidate, who is the Sen. Udall most likely to win in those two states?

[Jennifer Duffy, senior editor of the Cook Political Report]: That’s an easy one. That’d be Tom Udall in New Mexico. I moved that race today to leaning Democratic. The Republican, Congressmen Steve Pearce, really starts this race as the underdog and probably does not have the time or the means to catch up in an environment like this.

[Amy Walter, editor of the Hotline, the premier daily news digest of Washington politics]: Totally agree. I would argue that it’s more likely than not that [both Udalls] end up serving together.

[Nathan Gonzales, political editor of the Rothenberg Political Report, a nonpartisan newsletter covering U.S. House, Senate and gubernatorial campaigns]: The most likely scenario is that they both win. I think that Tom Udall is running a great campaign. His ads are particularly good in my opinion, but the only case I can make to, be the contrarian, [is] that because of the Democratic attacks and the amount of information they have against Bob Shaffer, former congressman, who’s the Republican nominee in Colorado, I wonder if Steve Pearce has a better chance in New Mexico because he isn’t saddled with some of the baggage that Democrats are going after Shaffer with.

And, yes, to add insult to injury, Salon.com did spell Bob Schaffer’s last name wrong in the above report.

Libertarian Bob Barr to wreak havoc on McCain in Colorado?

( – promoted by Colorado Pols)

It’s possible, I guess; however, I suspect Barr will do more damage to the GOP in his home state of Georgia. But Colorado keeps getting mentioned in articles about Barr’s candidacy and his Nader-like potential to effect the outcome of the presidential election.

From today’s New York Times article:

http://www.nytimes.com/2008/06…

On the ballots in 30 states so far, Mr. Barr has the chance to be a spoiler for Mr. McCain, the presumed Republican nominee, in several states, among them Alaska, Colorado and Georgia. Mr. Barr’s campaign advisers also assert he has similar potential in other mountain states, New Hampshire, Ohio and other swing states.

Similarly, Mr. Barr could have impact in Colorado, where Mr. Perot’s presence gave Bill Clinton the opening to win the state in 1992, said Robert D. Loevy, a professor of political science at Colorado College in Colorado Springs.

“If Bob Barr gets it up to 3, 4, 5 percent of the vote, it could definitely throw Colorado to Barack Obama,” Mr. Loevy said.

Will Libertarian Bob Barr's candidacy lead to Barack Obama's victory over John McCain in Colorado?

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TV show NOW on Colorado prisons

Recommended segment of the PBS show NOW about private prisons. It looks at Colorado as a prime example of the practice gone awry. Rep. Buffie McFadyen discusses the union members who side with her objections to private prisons: retired military guys who mostly vote Republican.

http://www.pbs.org/now/shows/4…


HINOJOSA: Almost seven percent of America’s inmates are now housed in private prisons. It’s much more here in Colorado, where almost one in four inmates is in a private facility. Colorado’s inmate population has exploded – it’s six times larger than it was in 1980 as a result, the state forks over almost 95 million dollars a year in taxpayer money to corporate jailers to house its excess prisoners.

Across the country the numbers have been growing faster than the government can build prisons. In fact the U.S. Now has the largest prisoner population in the world…2.3 million people behind bars…more than Russia…more than China.

As the industry grows, so does a backlash – from critics who argue that these private prisons are not only morally wrong but unsafe for both inmates and the people who are paid to guard them.

HINOJOSA: Buffie McFadyen knows about prisons. She has twelve of them in the district she represents in the Colorado legislature, ranging from the state penitentiary to the notorious federal supermax.

MCFADYEN: There’s a veil of secrecy that comes to prisons cause we don’t want to talk about it… and we need to start talking about it…

HINOJOSA: She is also the most outspoken critic of private prisons in the state. We sat down with her during a recess in the house chamber to find out why.

MCFADYEN: For me it’s just plain and simple. Phil-philosophically, this is wrong. As long as you put money on bodies in a cell, you pay stockholders for those bodies in a cell, you will-we will never see a reduction in our prison populations in this country. And in Colorado where-where we doubled our prison population in less than ten years, it’s despicable.

HINOJOSA: Critics say the whole issue with you, Buffie, is you’re just allied to the unions that protect these workers that work in the state facilities?

MCFADYEN: Oh, I-I-I’m arm in arm with the American Federation of Government Employees. We really don’t have a big union in the state as far as state employees in the prisons. I’m-I’m locked arm in arm. The irony for me that you-the unions at the federal facilities are almost 70 percent Republican. They’re retired military. Their-their-their civilian job is working for the Bureau of Prisons. So they’re stuck with a Democrat woman named Buffie, and they probably-a lot of them have never elected a Democrat before.

John McCain’s “war criminal” quote

In 1997, John McCain, referring to his service in Vietnam, told 60 Minutes, “I am a war criminal. I bombed innocent women and children.”

Will that quote ultimately wind up hurting McCain during his campaign for the Presidency?

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Noted artist’s Obama print

Here’s the print that artist Shepard Fairey released today. The run of 350 has already sold out.

Fairey is noted for his iconography of Andre the Giant, often with the word “Obey” accompanying the imagery. Humorously enough, a tiny Andre appears within the Obama print, as well.

Fairey explains why he endorses Obama on his web site:

http://obeygiant.com/

In addition to his other design work, Fairey recently created the cover artwork for the Led Zeppelin compilation Mothership:

http://farm2.static.flickr.com…

 

More on Mike Huckabee’s Willie Horton

Expose on the Huffington Post today concerning Mike Huckabee’s commutation of the sentence of a criminal, who raped a woman after being released:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/…

Little Rock, Ark — As governor of Arkansas, Mike Huckabee aggressively pushed for the early release of a convicted rapist despite being warned by numerous women that the convict had sexually assaulted them or their family members, and would likely strike again. The convict went on to rape and murder at least one other woman.

Confidential Arkansas state government records, including letters from these women, obtained by the Huffington Post and revealed publicly for the first time, directly contradict the version of events now being put forward by Huckabee.

While on the campaign trail, Huckabee has claimed that he supported the 1999 release of Wayne Dumond because, at the time, he had no good reason to believe that the man represented a further threat to the public. Thanks to Huckabee’s intervention, conducted in concert with a right-wing tabloid campaign on Dumond’s behalf, Dumond was let out of prison 25 years before his sentence would have ended.

Expect Mike to have to answer to this throughout the rest of his campaign.

Boulder’s ex-mayor: a smelly squatter?

The web site Boing Boing alerted me to a story taking place in Boulder that I haven’t been following, although it’s made its way extensively into local news.

From the Denver Post:

“More than 200 people protested outside the home of a couple who added more than 1,400 square feet of their neighbors’ land to their own property using a centuries-old legal doctrine.

“Some protesters carried signs Sunday outside the home of Richard McLean [former Boulder mayor] and Edith Stevens that read, ‘You’ll never enjoy a stolen view.’ Others yelled ‘shame’ and ‘thief.'”

There’s a lively discussion on Boing Boing’s web site regarding the issue, which involves Boulder’s ex-mayor:

http://www.boingboin…

And a link to the numerous article that have been written about the case:

http://news.google.c…

Hemp article New York Times

From a New York Times article entitled “Sober North Dakotans Hope to Legalize Hemp”:

“Though federal authorities ban the growing of hemp, saying it contains tetrahydrocannabinol, the psychoactive substance better known as THC in marijuana, six states this year considered legislation to allow farmers to grow industrial hemp, and Representative Ron Paul, Republican of Texas, introduced a bill in Washington that would let states allow such crops. In state legislatures, the advocates of hemp note that it contains mere traces of THC, and that hemp (grown in other countries) is already found here in clothes, lotions, snack bars, car door panels, insulation and more.

“But no place has challenged the government as fiercely as North Dakota. Its legislature has passed a bill allowing farmers to grow industrial hemp and created an official licensing process to fingerprint such farmers and a global positioning system to track their fields. This year, Mr. Monson and another North Dakota farmer, with the support of the state’s agriculture commissioner, applied to the Drug Enforcement Administration for permission to plant fields of hemp immediately.”

http://www.nytimes.c…

The article mentions car door panels: as I understand it, both Mercedes and BMW use composite material made with hemp.

I recall that Senator Lloyd Casey introduced a couple of hemp bills in Colorado back in the ’90s, without success. At one time, the Colorado Farm Bureau and the Colorado State Grange endorsed the effort to legalize industrial hemp. I wonder if now might be a good time to reintroduce such a bill in Colorado.

Street Fight documentary & Newark’s indicted ex-Mayor Sharpe James

Street Fight: That’s the title of another political film that comes recommended by me. The 2005 documentary is made relevant, again, by Thursday’s indictment of Sharpe James, the former-Mayor of Newark, New Jersey:

http://www.nytimes.c…

The movie documents novice politician Cory Booker’s run against Mayor Sharpe James — and James’ old-school political machine. Here’s the trailer for the film Street Fight:

Booker eventually wins the Mayor’s race in Newark, a city that has long struggled with issues of violence and corruption. But the city Booker oversees still faces an increasing murder rate; and Booker, himself, still faces serious and calculated opposition from political opponents:

http://topics.nytime…

Udall and Schaffer on the War in Iraq

( – promoted by Colorado Pols)

Will the respective positions of Mark Udall and Bob Schaffer on the War in Iraq help or hurt their individual chances of winning the U.S. Senate seat in 2008?

As reported by the Rocky Mountain News, here are their previous (2002) and more recent stands (as of December 2005, that is) on the conflict:

http://www.rockymoun…

*****

Rep. Mark Udall, D-Eldorado Springs, opposed Iraq invasion

• Udall in late 2002: “Those who don’t remember history are doomed to repeat it. We learned in Vietnam you have to have a core goal and you have to know what you’re trying to accomplish. I think we have a clear initial goal to ensure Iraq doesn’t have weapons of mass destruction. A goal that’s just (as) important: What do we do if Saddam Hussein is overthrown? The administration needs to do more to explain how do they plan to insert democratic institutions into Iraq? How long will it take? Are we committed to the five, 10 years many people think will be involved?”

• Udall now: “I wouldn’t change anything in that statement.”

• Lessons: “I haven’t looked backwards that way. We’re in a pickle here. We’ve got a series of bad choices . . . I think the best of the bad choices is to see our way clear to the goals, the initiatives we’ve put in place over this next year about infrastructure, training Iraqi forces and supporting this (new Iraqi) government.”

*****

Former Rep. Bob Schaffer, R-Fort Collins, supported Iraq invasion

• Schaffer in late 2002: “The classified information just verified what’s blatantly obvious to begin with and reinforced every argument the president and secretary of defense have made . . . Biological agents? There’s no question . . . It’s beyond a shadow of a doubt that Saddam Hussein has the capacity and the intention to kill massive numbers of Americans. Anyone in Congress who doesn’t understand this is simply not paying attention.”

• Schaffer now: “No credible American leader who was sincere about containing an aggressive Saddam Hussein would have come to any other conclusion. Even without 9/11, I think it’s highly likely we would have seen a continuation of the (1991) Gulf War in Iraq during the current president’s term in office.”

• Lessons: “My one and only regret is that so much emphasis was placed on the weapons of mass destruction, to the point where many perceived that was the single justification . . . I see my old friends in Congress. I constantly ask them: The information we had, (that) I had seen, was so overwhelming and corroborated. Where did it go? These specific mobile labs and armaments and equipment, where did it all go?”

Denver Election Woes

(This is going to get nasty – promoted by Colorado Pols)

Big story over the last couple of days: Denver City Auditor Dennis Gallagher has demanded the resignation of the election officials responsible for Denver’s election night fiasco. Mayor Hickenlooper is on the defensive, as Denver lands on the national news for hosting one of the nation’s most problematic elections.

http://www.rockymoun…

A barely tested software program is blamed:

http://www.rockymoun…

Amendment 44 vs. the Nanny State

Wow. No one in this voluble crowd had anything to say about the Amendment 44 debate when ColoradoPols posted it as part of a thread:

http://cbs4denver.co…

I see that the “con” side to Amendment 44 maintains that the initiative sends the “wrong message to kids.”

How refreshing then to read the Las Vegas Review-Journal’s endorsement of the bid to legalize an ounce of marijuana in Nevada: “Opponents argue passionately that the initiative sends the wrong message to children. But arguing that in order to protect kids we must limit the rights of adults to make their own personal choices is to advocate the creation of an infantocracy and a return to alcohol Prohibition. In fact, many of this nation’s drug policies have long been expensive failures.”

I’ll be curious to read what the Denver Post eventually opines on Amendment 44 here in Colorado. The Rocky Mountain News has already spoken in favor of the existing “Nanny State.”

Both ways on Referendum I and Amendment 43

Here’s what I find funny. Specifically, when a candidate who’s known to go both ways on issues or when a shill for a religious organization says the following:

“I’m against Referendum I because it’s too *specific*. It only defines a civil union as between a homosexual couple.”

Then, they’ll say:

“I’m for Amendment 43 because it defines marriage as a union between a man and a woman.”

What’s it goin’ be? Are you against specificity or for specificity?