Friday, September 5, 2008

The TR: Pugnacious Palin, Pigskin, and Punitive PR

Ladies and gentlemen, the conventions are over. We're quite well-rested, actually, since Johnny Boy's speech put us to sleep faster than Tylanol PM after a hard day's blogging. But we digress; how are you? Did you survive these past couple of weeks without us? We missed you too!


Last night proved that McCain plans to be the Good Cop of the ticket. His race to the middle is a time-honored strategy, and the focus on the economy in his speech was a surprise to everyone. (Although, when your wife pieces together an outfit that costs as much as a Scottsdale split-level, you might want to tread carefully). Expect to see Gentle John for at least the duration of the month. But the GOP is very much the party of Sarah Palin -- and on the whole, it'll be merciless.

The Caribou Barbie media sideshow finally hits the road next week, as she tours the swing states for the first time with McNice. (If you've been missing the blogosphere explosion over Palin, check out our Culture Minister's round-up for the quick scoop.) Hey, McCain campaign, Palin may go over great with the 700 Club, but with practical-minded suburbanites, not so much. Keep her on the "small towns matter" messaging and away from, er, her political beliefs. Politico agrees with us, smart people that they are.

We certainly haven't heard the last of the Bristol Palin/Levi Johnston saga. Watch for an interview with Bristol and/or her terrified baby daddy in the near future. You'd better hurry, Couric; Tyra's already chompin' at the bit.

Tonight ABC, NBC, and CBS will simultaneously air the star-studded fundraising event "Stand Up To Cancer." What's more, Youtube, Myspace, Blogger, Twitter, and even iTunes are being utilized for an online appeal. So we can watch TV, liveblog from our PC, Twitter from our PDA AND cure cancer, all at the same time?! We're sold.

Lest you forget there are actual policies in politics, coming off a five-week recess next week,Congressional Dems will push for a bill that allows limited drilling in Alaska. Of course, effective Republican messaging on the issue moved the Dems from their previous no-drilling stance. The inches they're giving conservatives can now turn into miles, no matter who is elected in November.

And football is now underway! Remote controls all over the nation will be held hostage until February. We'll try to keep the cheese puffs off the furniture.

The Week That Was

Luckily, the Truth Squad finally showed up this campaign season, with the AP's Jim Kuhnhenn providing a thorough screening of the hollow truths of Gov. Palin's prime time screed. But it isn't as if the GOP is actually responsive to reporters these days. According to leaked campaign memos, this is all part of the plan.

McCain's snub of Larry King over CNN's scrutiny of Sarah Palin, combined with Palin's anti-press rhetoric on Thursday, are only the latest shots in the campaign's all-out war on the 4th estate (but the reporters say they're sorry!). We can now add CNN to a blacklist that includes Time Magazine, NBC, MSNBC, The New York Times, US Magazine, internet news and, uh, Van Halen (we're still A-listers, of course). Is it any wonder that Palin's first interview was with People Magazine? If McCain wins, insiders tell us he'll give his first interview to Soap Opera Digest, then leak it to Perez before it's published. Oops, who's that "celebrity candidate" again?

While St. Paul recovered from Hurricane Sarah, a counter-convention organized by, um, Drizzle Ron (Paul) attracted 1,200 people, to the dismay of the RNC. The party that's always fallen into line behind its standard-bearer is losing its base, bit by bit.

Just in time for back to school, the Army has released its first line of civilian clothing through Sears -- it's truly the softer side of war. (What, Wal-Mart passed?) Thanks to this latest recruitment ploy, middle-class high school and college students can now use REAL camo to better evade the school-approved recruiters prowling their cafeterias.

Ah, the cruelties of social network ads. The Post's Rachel Beckman provided a mortifying look at how Facebook has been singling out her flaws through its super-spy-techno-targeted ads. It's likely you've experienced the same thing too, dear reader. Whatever, Facebook, your redesign is confusing and your logo is... fat. Hmph.

A Virginia man convicted of slamming into a police car while DWI is being sentenced to... PR! In addition to his traditional punishment, David J. Stout was ordered by the presiding judge to help publicize the state's Move Over program, meant to curb accidents with patrol cars. PR as punishment? The folks at TR Central Booking are all for it -- this would REALLY free up our schedules. Ex-cons can totally handle Kinkos employees and Starbucks baristas, right?

From Pam Avery at our Western Office, a tribute to Ike Pappas:

History will remember Ike Pappas, who died in Arlington, Va. on Sunday, as the CBS news correspondent whose on-the-spot coverage of Jack Ruby shooting Lee Harvey Oswald, JFK's assassin, rocked an already shell-shocked nation. And it was his voice heard 'round the world announcing in awe humankind's first walk on the moon. Ike covered Vietnam, national and international disasters and much more until he was unceremoniously dumped by CBS in the late 1980s for having a "face fit for radio, rather than TV." What many don't know is that fighting Greek that he was, Ike picked himself up and created Ike Pappa Productions, producing and narrating some of the finest documentaries -- including a stellar series on NASA's mission to the moon -- in the country. I met Ike while searching for a host for my nationally syndicated radio program, EarthWire. Ike became more than the host. He became the de facto executive producer, a business partner, and my mentor. His sonorous voice commanded attention and respect. No EarthWire script passed his lips until it had been polished into a verbal gemstone by Ike. He was a master of the fine phrase; but more, he was a stickler for the truth, which was reflected in his news coverage, his documentaries, and in every episode of EarthWire.

Thanks, Ike, for being a great mentor and friend.


Coming off the focus on Gustav and with Ike and Hanna on the way, storm coverage this season has been as attentive as we predicted. The TR Weather Center is imploring the media to at long last link all of this to climate change. Don't make us design a PowerPoint about it, people.

Have a great weekend!


SnarkQueen said...

I liked this CounterPunch article on Palin by long-time fellow traveller Karyn Strickler, so am offering a link and text.

Suzanne, aka SnarkQueen

Weekend Edition
September 6 / 7, 2008
Sarah and the Hillary Voters
Palin by Comparison


I admit that while watching Sarah Palin in action at the Republican convention, I was mesmerized. On the surface, it seemed that she actually was a strong, positive, female role model. She reminded of some of the best characteristics of the powerful women in my own life. Palin has it all -- and she has it all at once. I found my woman-self feeling proud and impressed.

But when I listened to Palin speak on the radio, without being bombarded by visuals, I was jolted back to my senses and was reminded of something I, and every other progressive American woman knows well: that the media image of this would-be-maverick, tough-girl reformer was all style over substance.

Sarah Palin may be the only person in America who believes that George W. Bush is a wimp. She doesn’t represent 4 more years of his failed policies, she would move us so much farther to the right, that we might just fall off the edge of her flat earth, which is not warming due to human activity or the fossil fuel economy, but was created in 7 days; after Alaska seceded from the Union; abortion was outlawed; everyone abstained from sex, but still gets pregnant; Dwight Eisenhower was a founding father; Jesus had no actual responsibilities; Hillary supporters voted McCain/Palin and the polar bear lived happily ever after.

Abortion Rights

As a long-time advocate of women’s issues, I have concluded that you can judge any society, organization, government, religion or person by the way they treat their women. And any such group or individual who would deny a woman the fundamental right to choose safe and legal abortion, is at base, simply attempting to control women and strip them of their personal autonomy and dignity.

Anti-choice executive, Sarah Palin is advocating a position more retro-grade than any our nation has ever seen. Yes she wants reform, but any change she seeks on the issue will hurl women backwards in time and erase the hard-fought gains of the feminist movement since Palin doesn’t even believe in allowing abortion for victims of rape or incest.

I know from vast, personal and political experience in the trenches on the abortion issue that “Feminists for Life,” a group in which Palin claims membership, is an extremist group and certainly not the people that American women and families want making national policy on the abortion issue. Palin thinks so highly of zygotes, that she wants them to have more rights than those of us who came successfully through the birthing process and developed into self-actualized women.

Abstinence Education

Palin supports “Abstinence Education,” in which the curriculum is: “Just say ‘No’ to sex.” While any concerned parent might hope abstinence is the path chosen by their teenager -- the abstinence-only sex ed curriculum does not educate young people to make informed choices about how to protect themselves from sexually transmitted diseases and unwanted pregnancies, in situations where they do not abstain from sexual activity.

Palin’s 17 year old daughter is living proof of the fact that abstinence-only education does not prevent pregnancy and it doesn’t work as a public policy. In order to believe that abstinence ed is anything but a failed concept, Palin would have to believe that her daughter did abstain from sex and still got pregnant. Uh, didn’t that happen about 2008 years ago to a woman named Mary?

The truth is, when uneducated young people engage in sexual activity, without protection, there are adverse consequences that reverberate throughout their lives and the lives of children and family.

Her daughter’s pregnancy is a private, family matter according to Palin and her handlers. That’s what abortion rights advocates have been saying for decades, but apparently we haven’t convinced Palin. Her daughter’s pregnancy may be a private matter, but Palin’s approach to sex ed is not -- especially when she is asking to lead our country and wants to inflict her stone-age policies on our children.

Climate Change and Endangered Species

The International Panel on Climate Change, the world’s scientific authority on climate change, has concluded that climate change is caused by human activity on the earth. Sarah Palin, a nemesis to environmentalists, has said, “I’m not one though who would attribute it [global warming] to being man-made,” She’s out of step with other Evangelicals on this issue. Even John McCain believes that people are causing global warming.

In the face of a fossil fuel economy that is driving us to war, destroying our environment, exacerbating global warming and jeopardizing our national security, all that Palin can say is “Drill, drill, drill.”

And she doesn’t want those pesky polar bears in her way of her insatiable search for oil. That’s probably why she helped Alaska sue the Fish and Wildlife Service to remove the polar bear from its endangered species list. The charismatic polar bear is swimming until it drowns in warming, rising waters, exacerbated by global warming, driven by the fossil fuel economy.

Palin’s disrespect for science does not stop with the denial of the biggest climate emergency humanity has ever faced, and ignoring the threats to endangered species, it extends to her desire to dumb-down our children with “Creationism,” which belongs in Bible school, not public school.

Her respect for other forms of wildlife is dubious at best as she reportedly advocates helicopter hunting in which the hunter pursues the hunted to exhaustion in a helicopter and then kills them. Oh wait, Alaska says they are not “hunting” wolves and bears from helicopters, they are “managing” them. I don’t think that makes them any less dead.

The Pledge of Allegiance and Country First

When asked in a 2006 Alaska Eagle Forum questionnaire, “Are you offended by the phrase ‘Under God’ in the Pledge of Allegiance,” she replied, “Not on your life. If it was good enough for the founding fathers, its good enough for me and I'll fight in defense of our Pledge of Allegiance.”

The Pledge of Allegiance was written by Francis Bellamy in 1892, long after the time of our founding fathers. Bellamy's original Pledge read, "I pledge allegiance to my Flag and the Republic for which it stands, one nation, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all."
President Dwight Eisenhower signed the bill amending the Pledge of Allegiance to include the phrase “under God,” on Flag Day, June 14, 1954.

An advocate of “Country First,” Palin and her husband Tood have reportedly dabbled in secessionist politics. Does she really want Alaska to form its own country? It’s alright with me as long as she stays in Alaska -- but which country is it that is supposed to come first?

The Best-Ever Community Organizer

During the Republican Convention Sarah Palin said, “Before I became governor of the great state of Alaska, I was mayor of my hometown. And since our opponents in this presidential election seem to look down on that experience, let me explain to them what the job involves. I guess a small-town mayor is sort of like a “community organizer,” except that you have actual responsibilities.”

You would think that a “reformer” and major Jesus freak such as Palin would recognize that J.C. was one of the most effective community organizers to ever live and not take such a condescending tone toward those unmoved prime movers of reform -- the grassroots political organizers -- like her opponent Barak Obama.

Ms. Christian, whom we’ve already discovered is no student of history, probably doesn’t see the irony in the fact that the dude who tried Jesus and presided over his crucifixion, Pontius Pilate, was a Governor.

Hillary Voters Going for McCain/Palin -- Are You Kidding Me?

To those in the media who keep asking whether Palin will attract disaffected Hillary voters, and to John McCain for his cynical hope of manipulating women voters I say: Sarah Palin, you are no Hillary Clinton. Women voters understand the profound differences. Implications to the contrary are insulting. And Sarah is indeed Palin by comparison.

Karyn Strickler is a writer and political organizer living outside of Washington, DC. Contact her at .

Copyright Karyn Strickler 2008.

Anonymous said...

I was in line at Burger King, when this elderly white woman strikes up a conversation with me (guess I looked friendly enough), talking about Sarah Palin/McCain and Obama. There were HER WORDS:

"You know Sarah Palin had certain books removed from the library shelves in her state?!? She's being used by McCain to get votes....she's a b*tch, and McCain is no good. Do you think Obama's going to win? I like him, he's a good man..." I swear my mouth dropped to the floor LOL LOL LOL!!!

Man-In-The-Middle said...

The attention that Palin is getting is interesting; she's definitely something the likes of which we haven't seen on the national political landscape. But it is kind of strange that her media exposure is being limited by her handlers. What's up with that Snarkqueen? :-\

SnarkQueen said...

It's absolutely a first in presidential contests, M-in-the-M. What's appalling is how they're getting away with it. What if Hillary had refused to only do interviews if reporters were "nice"? It's an example of tokenism making all of us look bad. I'm sure she'll do a great job with the softball questions Charles Gibson lobs her and then everyone will say "see those mean weany-headed liberals!" It's completely appalling. If you're going to be Pres or Veep you've got to head out to battle every day, baby, and show us what you've got. Sarah maybe just ain't got it.

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