Friday, 31 December 2010

Palingates in 2010 - The Year in Review

By Blueberry Tart

All other news was dwarfed by the January 12th earthquake in Haiti. Our wonderful reader CR46 was an early medical responder to the massive tragedy and gave us an eyewitness report a few weeks later. We later heard from Bandit Basheert and others telling of medical teams that went to Haiti to help save and rebuild lives. Ironically, this subject became a “Palingate” in December, when Sarah Palin offended many people by exploiting the tragedy for political gain.

Other January highlights:

Palingates started the year with a list Sarah’s greatest accomplishments of 2009 (Lie of the Year, Horrible Celebrity Parent, Hypocrite, Douchebag, etc.). Hmmm. The more things change, the more they stay the same.

Scott Brown shook the political landscape by taking Ted Kennedy’s Senate seat. Brown distanced himself from Palin, “forgetting” that he had spoken with her. Sarah apparently found Brown’s nude centerfold acceptable, but not Levi’s.

The publication of Game Change, along with interviews of the authors and Steve Schmidt, highlighted Palin’s lack of vetting, bizarre behavior and “mental instability.” How does the VP candidate being considered mentally unstable by her own campaign NOT warrant any follow up by the media? This media misfeasance is why Palingates’ work is so necessary. Schmidt also said Palin’s book was “100% fiction” and that her RNC clothes bill was upwards of $250,000.

The Palins blitzed the media that they love to hate, as the custody battle with Levi heated up. He (again) promised a tell-all book; Bristol the born-again virgin promoted abstinence; Palinbots threatened the judge in the custody case. Palin appeared on Oprah with Nellie Olsen hair, and flopped in her debut as a pundit on Fox News.

Palingates continued its exposé of Babygate and Track Palin-Menard’s true parentage.

Palin’s critique of the TV cartoon “Family Guy” led to a powerful comment by Andrea Friedman, the actress in the show whose character has Down Syndrome. Palingates published the full text of Friedman’s email critique of Palin, including this statement that had been omitted by the NYTimes: “My mother did not carry me around like a loaf of French bread the way former Governor Palin carries her son Trig around looking for sympathy and votes.” This story evoked a huge reaction, bringing many new readers to Palingates and “casting a cloud over her credibility” as a spokesperson for people with special needs. Time Magazine noted that Andrea Friedman had outflanked Sarah, the “master of identity politics.”

Other February highlights:

Palingates revealed that Rebecca Mansour is Sarah Palin’s secret messenger, writing the Facebook and Twitter pearls of wisdom over which the media fawns.

Following up on a Mudflats story, Palingates explored Palin’s failure to pay property taxes on her vacation houses, and Regina began itemizing all the expensive toys that the Palins owned even before her book deal made her wealthy.

MSNBC released thousands of emails, revealing among other things Todd Palin’s role as “shadow governor.”

Palin wrote notes on her hand that she used during her Nashville Teabag appearance. Proving how juvenile and shameless she is, Palin then repeated this middle school behavior over and over and over and over and over, ad nauseum.

An account in Going Rogue telling of Todd’s months-long fishing expedition in 1988 and the harrowing journey back so that he could marry Sarah indicates that he was away fishing when Track was conceived.

Palingates followed up on information published by The Immoral Minority, dating the Triggy Bear photos to May 3, 2008 and showing that the occasion was a birthday party for Levi at the Palin’s, belying Palin’s claim that Levi had not spent time there.

We had some good laughs also, too!

In March, the Congress passed the health care legislation that Sarah Palin had tried so hard to thwart. That month, her negative and violent rhetoric heated up. After she screeched, “Do you love your freedom,” hecklers were forcibly removed during her speech with John McCain in Arizona. Palin doubled down on the “don’t retreat – reload” message, combined with a map showing campaign “targets” in the “crosshairs.” Her violent message offended even some of her most loyal apologists. This occurred against the backdrop of increasing incidents of violent rhetoric and threatening actions by militias, with recent publicized arrests in Massachusetts (of a Sarah Palin fan) and Michigan.

Other March highlights:

Was the “wild ride” reckless behavior or fraud?

Palin’s use of her kids as political props goes way back.

Todd Palin’s IronDog team is sponsored by Mystik Lubricants, a subsidiary of Venezuelan oil despite Sarah’s criticism of Hugo Chavez.

Palin’s grifting in Hollywood (“they were like locusts…”)

More pieces of the Dairygate puzzle.

Remember Palin’s Fox network show, “Real American Stories”? I didn’t think so. Its much-heralded debut fizzled badly, after the trailer showed LLCoolJ and Toby Keith, implying that they had agreed to be included in the show, which they disputed.

We learned about Sarah’s deal with TLC for Sarah Palin’s Alaska, upon which we have been gagging (double entendre) recently. Regina "found" this preview.

April (and the coming months) was dominated by Deepwater Horizon explosion; I need not recount the devastation it caused, but instead want to link to a recent NYT article on the explosion. Palingates was fortunate to have regular commentary by Eye on You and other readers who followed this disaster closely. The Gulf disaster also led to numerous idiotic statements by our antihero over the coming months, culminating in her infamous interview by Bill O’Reilly where she invoked Dutch and Norwegian dike-builders to stop the leak, as BO’R visibly winced.

April was also the month of the David Kernell trial. Palingates raised the issue of Sarah Palin apparently committing perjury, based on the reports of her testimony; this was picked up by many blogs and Keith Olbermann. (As covered later, Bristol also lied under oath.) Fox News reported that Bristol referred to seeing photos of her newborn son on the internet in fall 2008 (the transcripts indicated she referred to her brother; oh, to have the tapes!). The trial ended with Kernell’s conviction on one of four felony counts, and one misdemeanor. Of course, the Palins were not held accountable for lying under oath.

Other April highlights:

Our reader mxm analyzed SarahPAC’s first quarter report, followed by additional work to reveal Sarah’s connection to the ultra-Christian Thomas More Law Center and work by other consultants.

Micmac and Palingates exposed the infiltration of NOW by people paid by the McCain Campaign and SarahPAC. Micmac also reported on Palin’s connection to Scientologists and on SarahPAC treasurer Tim Crawford.

Palin’s upcoming speech at California State University Stanislaus blew up into a political scandal, with the discovery that the CSU trustees lied, obfuscated and shredded the contract that they had claimed did not exist; fortunately, two intrepid students found key pages. State Senator Leland Yee led attempts to hold the university trustees accountable. Patrick posted on the threatening messages sent to Senator Yee. [ Patrick’s excellent post on the incredibly foul and disgusting, threatening messages received by California State Senator Leland Yee ]
We had boots on the ground covering Sarah’s screeches at the Boston Common and Eugene, OR along with Bill Hess’ coverage of the Wasilla TP rally, and Tildama suffered through transcribing one of her more unintelligible speeches. Finny had several excellent guest posts, showing a remarkable ability to get inside SP’s skull.

Palingates explored parallels between the movie “Juno” and Sarah’s faked pregnancy.

A continuing theme is the toll that Palin’s ambition takes on her children.

The biggest stories in May were the continuing investigation into the CSU Stanislaus coverup and Joe McGinniss becoming Sarah’s next door neighbor. Palingates first reported the $75,000 speaking fee, plus expenses, for the CSU Stanislaus speech; this story was picked up and linked to by numerous MSM and blogs. Patrick investigated further, showing that the CSU trustees had deliberately tried to prevent bad PR and highlighting the links of CSU to Republican/right-wing politics.

In an extraordinary Facebook rant, Sarah disclosed that author Joe McGinniss rented the house right next door to Sarah’s family compound on Lake Lucille; this led to “Fencegate.” As we’ve seen on SPAK, she still can’t let it go, and in fact shows that it is she who is the intruder. Patrick found that the same house served as a rehab center for recovering addicts for several years, apparently without the Palins building a fence.

Other May highlights:

Bristol, Tripp and Willow were featured in a glossy spread in Harper’s Bazaar
. Bristol also reportedly signed with a speakers’ bureau and is writing a book. Adequate snark fails me at present.

Sunnyjane offered us a sobering guest post about the takeover of the Republican party by right-wing extremists who bear close parallels with other authoritarian regimes.

Sarah aligned herself with and endorsed candidates in Arizona and elsewhere who would deprive people of their civil rights.

We learned that she charged much less for a Republican fundraiser and the NRA than for the CSU Stanislaus speech, and she charged even more ($100K plus expenses) for a speech to a charity serving developmentally-disabled adults.

Palin showed her ignorance of energy issues, offering only simplistic sound bites instead of solutions; Palingates rebutted.

Her luggage got lost a lot. Her memorable tie-dye outfit and the “borrowed clother” schtick reminded us of her RNC shopping spree, which Susan Eisenhauer and others criticized.

Mickey7 had a great guest post on Sarah’s reactionary positions regarding health care.
Sarah sent condolences by Twitter when Wally Hickel died; it’s just how she rolls.

The big story in June was the Gulf oil disaster. Sarah went on a tweeting rampage in June, urging Governor Bobby Jindal to build berms to avoid a “ravished coast,” trying to blame President Obama and/or the “greens” for the oil spill and claiming that “drill baby drill” was really a nuanced call to expand drilling in “safe” places like the ANWR.

Palingates showed how Alaska’s tax on oil makes drilling offshore more profitable and joined Rachel Maddow and others in drilling home Sarah’s big lie, as she made lame excuses to try to deflect any responsibility for the oil spill from herself and her Giddings, TX cohorts. She also lied about her actions in Alaska and ignored the history of spills that have occurred there.
Palingates also posted on the toxicity of the dispersant used by BP, and later highlighted the work of Dr. Riki Ott, who blew the whistle on the dispersants in Alaska after the Exxon Valdez spill, and is working now to educate people about what is happening in the Gulf.

The Bill O’Reilly interview of Palin was another classic Sarah Palin rant, complete with jabbing fingers, interruptions and nasty, self-satisfied smirks. Best line from Sarah: "The Dutch, they are known, and the Norwegian. They are known for — for dikes and for cleaning up water and for dealing with spills.”

Other June highlights:

Ethics investigations were another big story in June. Sarah’s slush fund, AKA the Alaska Fund Trust, violated Alaska law by using Sarah’s position as Governor to solicit funds that could be used for her personal benefit. In the blink of an eye, a new fund was in operation. Palingates highlighted the work of Andrée McLeod to hold Palin and other public officials accountable and to promote transparency in government.

Palingates unveiled the Babygate Summary, providing a condensed version of all the information amassed over the past 21 months of investigation of the many, many discrepancies in Sarah’s pregnancy story.

The latest development in the Sarah-CSU speech scandal was that Homeland Security was training local police and firefighters to break up demonstrations at the event.
Later, Palingates had its first (?) live-blogging party, covering the CSU Stanislaus speech and the open-mike comments afterward.

Palingates and its secret photographer revealed that Levi was spending time at Bristol’s condo, leading to numerous stories and a link from Andrew Sullivan.
Regina had a wonderful post on several families whose beautiful, happy children have special needs showed us the sharp contrast between the loving care that these children receive and the cold and distant way Sarah treats little Trig.

July was a big month to look more closely into Palin family dysfunction. There was Bristol’s announcement (via tabloid and on TV) of her re-engagement to Levi (but respect her privacy!). Palingates had a big push on Babygate, with a narrative summarizing the facts

and Lidia17’s brilliant videos, showing clearly that Palin’s pregnancy with Trig was a hoax. Patrick had two excellent interviews with Nicole Sandler: HERE and HERE and put together an interesting post regarding the Morlocks and Palins, Bristol’s pregnancies and Track’s parentage.

The disclosure of “Journolists” emails proved that Babygate was not an invention by bloggers; several in the MSM raised good questions about Sarah’s implausible tale, but were intimidated into not writing/publishing on this topic out of fear of that it was too “unseemly” or might even be a dirty trick. (Perhaps a similar dynamic is playing out regarding Bristol now.) Kilob guest-posted on why Trig was essential to Sarah’s selection as VP candidate and there were many links to and fro with Andrew Sullivan and other bloggers writing on this theme, along with some arrogant, lackadaisical commentary from Dave Weigel.

Other July highlights:

We celebrated Quitter Day! This memorable moment from 2009, complete with word salad supreme, hyperventilation and the accompaniment of honking geese, is forever enshrined in cyberspace for our entertainment and to steel our determination to put an end to Sarah’s political future.

Regina retired as the “owner” of the blog, but as we now know, she is still involved, thankfully!

Kathleen wrote about the dangers posed by the Pebble Mine, and Jon Corbett of Dillingham took the opportunity afforded by the filming of Sarah’s TV series to promote protecting the fish of Bristol Bay. Sarah’s people tried to silence him, but he refused to sit down and shut up.

Palingates revisited National Enquirer reports of Sarah’s affair with Brad Hanson, Track’s Oxycontin addiction, his vandalism of school buses, Bristol’s drug use and promiscuous behavior, her time banished to Aunt Heathers, etc. These are all the more interesting in light of Sarah’s recent comment, seemingly verifying the NE reports of her children’s mistakes.

Sarah continued her tweeting frenzy, including the “backassward” attention-getting ploy and her lame claim to coin “refudiate.” Or was it a typo and you really meant “redudiate,” Sarah?

Eye on You posted on Palin’s dangerous lie about the “Ground Zero Mosque.”

Patrick also examined Sarah’s “qualifications” to be President and her close ties to religious extremists.

August was the month when the Palins bullying was shown on video for the world to see. The backdrop was the filming for SPAK, which was supposed to show the Palins in a positive light but, instead, led to several “incidents” in which their vindictive nature was on full display. Shannyn Moore posted a video of a confrontation between the Palins and Kathleen Gustafson, a teacher who dared to hang up a banner proclaiming Sarah the “Worst Governor Ever.” It shows the Palins surrounding and intimidating Kathleen physically and Sarah rolling her eyes on finding out Kathleen is a teacher. There were many links and nods from other blogs to PG’s post with slo-mo eye-roll. Later in August, she did the eye roll thing again at Senator Stevens’ funeral. Then, Todd tried to intimidate Hawk at the airport in Valdez, putting on full display the Palins’ mean streak.

Other August highlights:

Patrick spread the word about Sarah Palin’s true character and about the Babygate hoax during his interview by Verna Avery Brown on the radio program “What’s At Stake” on Pacifica Radio. rated Sarah’s claim about President Obama’s position on tax cuts as a “pants on fire” lie and her/RAM’s later juvenile rant-buttal as “false.”

Did Sarah Palin’s endorsement cost Karen Handel the nomination for Governor of Georgia? It seems so, as Handel went from holding a comfortable lead to losing the runoff -- and for the mere cost of $100,000 that Palin charged Handel’s campaign.

The controversy about building an Islamic Center several blocks from Ground Zero heated up; Palin was called out explicitly by 40 religious leaders for her fear-mongering about the Islamic Center controversy.

Idaho Vandal presented an excellent guest post on Sarah Palin’s “college collage”: the journey through five colleges before reportedly receiving a degree in 1987 in journalism. Or was it communications? As with all things Palin, her college story is hard to follow and doesn’t add up. She knows that this works well to cover up lies.

Palingates covered the Beck-Palin “Restoring Honor” rally in Washington D.C. Many readers contributed to the posts, and Kimba provided boots-on-the-ground views and photos.

The CSU Stanislaus contract was finally officially released to the public, proving that the Trustees lied when they said they could not produce it and also validating the information that

September began with a bang, with the publication of Michael Joseph Gross’ excellent article on “Sarah Palin: The Sound and the Fury” in Vanity Fair. Despite planning to write a complimentary piece, his research convinced him that Palin is a constant liar and fraud, and extremely vindictive to those who dare question or cross her. The article highlighted several stories that Palingates broke, and acknowledged Palingates and other blogs that have done the heavy lifting by investigating Sarah’s many “gates.”

Later in the month, others in the media challenged Palin’s claims.

Palingates continued its excellent work to expose the radical right-wing in America and its inroads to achieve power and influence. Patrick had several excellent posts on this subject. He showed his photos of a divided Berlin and reminded us how easy it is to be distracted by the trivial aspects of Sarah’s Palin’s celebrity, while her extremist political views and divisive persona attract minimal scrutiny. He also covered the Forbes Magazine smear of President Obama and critiques of the Forbes article by the Columbia Journalism Review and The Economist. He reminded us of the influence of the Koch Brothers and parallels to the rise of the Third Reich.

Other September highlights:

Palingates honored 9/11 by posting a documentary on the NYFD by Jules and Gedeon Naudet. This is a powerful, emotional memorial to all those who lost their lives, and to all those who braved the horror in the days and weeks after 9/11 to “see what we can do to make this situation better.”

In contrast, Sarah and Glenn Beck attempted to exploit the September 11th anniversary, which was all the more disgusting in light of Beck’s outrageous comments disparaging the families of 911 victims.

Richard Trumka of the AFL-CIO likened Palinism to McCarthyism offered a blunt critique of her hypocrisy, lack of accountability and poisonous rhetoric. Patrick expanded on this theme in an excellent piece on how investigative journalists exposed Joe McCarthy, leading to his downfall.

Both Sarah and Bristol Palin made comments that were inconsistent with their prior statements relating to their pregnancies. On Jay Leno’s show, Bristol said she did not attend her prom because she was pregnant. She previously stated that she didn’t know she was pregnant until May, and the prom was in mid-April. Oops! Sarah said that Trig was born at 7½ months, not 8½ months and that a doctor, not a technician, performed the ultrasound. Bristol also debuted on DWTS.

Palingates looked more closely at two of the candidates Palin endorsed: Joe Miller and Christine O’Donnell. Palingates raised the question of whether Miller is involved in an illegal scheme to coordinate with the Tea Party Express. The post connected the dots to funding by the Koch brothers. O’Donnell’s insane comments made for an interesting post about another apparently mentally unbalanced Republican candidate.

Lidia17 produced another brilliant video, showing how the Wild Ride is a travesty, a lie and a hoax.

Palingates explored Sarah’s connection the extremist New Apostolic Reformation (NAR). The influence of Engle and his ilk on Sarah Palin and a host of other Republicans is frightening, and should be a wake up call about the insidious influence of the ultra-right-wing NAR.
Palingates scooped the media in announcing Lisa Murkowski’s write-in campaign.

October was Miller time…time to shine a light on Sarah Palin’s candidate for U.S. Senate. Now that we know how that all turned out, we can breathe a sigh of relief that Gestapo Joe did not prevail. In October, it looked like he might win, until inconvenient truths about Miller came. Thanks to Alaska Dispatch and others, his breach of ethics case was made public.

We also learned of Miller’s close ties to the extremist Alaska Citizens Militia and Alaska Independence Party, a secessionist organization to which Todd Palin belonged for seven years. There are maybe two degrees of separation between Sarah Palin and the Michigan Militia movement that trained Timothy McVeigh, Terry Nichols and other terrorists. Joe Miller extolled the “success” of the Berlin Wall and recommended that we build a similar wall on the Mexican border. (Palin has recommended this repeatedly, as well.) Patrick posted moving photos of the young Germans who lost their lives seeking freedom.

Another major Palingates theme in October was how the independent media has been co-opted and is now at the heart of political corruption. We saw (in two excellent videos) how the media is controlled by a handful of multinational corporations, determining which politicians get on the air, who gets funding, covers politicians instead of politics, and focuses on the spectacle rather than the information that voters need to understand what choices are in our interests. A second video shows how The News Corporation uses sophisticated manipulative techniques to deliberately blur the line between news and opinion.

Palingates also featured David Brock and Media Matters and their efforts to expose how extremists have captured the media and skewed U.S. politics far rightward.

Patrick had two excellent posts on the influence of the Koch Brothers and Americans For Prosperity, which they formed to fund right-wing groups and oppose regulation of their energy and other industrial activities. The second post reports on the relationship between the Kochs and other right wing power brokers, the media and others, including justices Scalia and Thomas of the U.S. Supreme Court.
Other October highlights:

Palingates covered Anderson Cooper’s investigation of Andrew Shirvell, the Michigan Assistant AG who stalked the president of the Michigan Student Assembly at UMich; Shirvell was later fired. The post had many updates and included an important documentary, White Power USA, showing how Right-wing extremists are “the most dangerous domestic terrorism threat in the U.S.”

We revisited Troopergate and Sarah Palin's "vindictive streak."

Palingates’ eyewitness reported that Sarah actually flew to LA, rather than going by motorhome as she had claimed; and we also learned of her fondness for Baileys.

We looked into the roles Mat-Su Regional Health Center and Dr. Baldwin-Johnson played in the Palin birth hoax. If the myth were true, then both Mat-Su and CBJ practiced medicine beyond what they are certified to do. But their malpractice insurers would not allow them to carry out a high-profile birth with 7 high-risk factors. Palin’s birth myth would have represented a breach of Mat-Su’s own policies, ergo, Palin did not give birth to Trig at Mat-Su (or anywhere else, for that matter).

Margaret Thatcher’s biographer Claire Berlinski ridiculed the idea of Sarah as a presidential candidate, and Aaron Sorkin jumped into the fray as well: "Sarah Palin's an idiot. Come on. This is a remarkably, stunningly, jaw-droppingly incompetent and mean woman."

October’s finale was the report by our Palingaters at the Rally to Restore Sanity!

Palingates had several momentous posts in November, most notably the worldwide scoop on America by Heart, which led to many, many links and mentions by MSM and other blogs. She criticized Levi, American Idol contestants, Hollywood, President Obama, Mrs. Obama, etc., and presented a classic case study in psychological projection.

Sarah Palin rails in her book "America by Heart" against "American Idol" contestants, praises her family, slams Levi Johnston and Hollywood

Sarah Palin's next grand slam: Hollywood filmmakers "disparage the war effort", "trash what the troops fight for", show "reflexive anti-Americanism"

Sarah Palin's "America by Heart": Ugly stabs against Barack and Michelle Obama, Malia included to prove point - BONUS: Meet "the entitled whiners"!

The MSM and other blogs also picked up Patrick’s post about Sarah’s support of extremists. She “favorited” a tweet about President Obama being a Taliban Muslim, and when Patrick’s post went viral, she blamed the “favoriting” on her Blackberry.

Palingates had another scoop that didn’t get as much attention, providing the firmest proof to date that Palin is planning to run for President. PG linked Sarah’s Facebook page administrators with the new Sarah Palin 2012 Facebook group, showing that Palin approved the creation of the new group promoting her 2012 candidacy.

Other November highlights:

Patrick threw down the gauntlet, stating conclusively that Sarah faked her pregnancy with Trig and dared her to prove Palingates wrong. [Update: crickets.] Palingates also published a letter from Alaska Airlines confirming that flight attendants (on four separate flights) did not notice Palin’s advanced pregnancy nor any signs of distress.

The fake reality show garnered much attention.

Shockingly, we learned from Sarah herself that the show is laced with political messages.

Leadfoot and Bella entertained us with their witty commentary and sleuth led hilarious live-blogging parties.

David Kernell was sentenced to a year and a day at a halfway house. Palingates examined the sworn testimony of Bristol and Sarah Palin, showing that it included false statements and exaggerations. The post also showed that Palin deliberately circumvented the public records law by using private email accounts for state business.

mxm reported on numerous deficiencies in Sarah’s FEC filing, and also detailed the “who’s who” of Sarah Palin’s braintrust and how much she pays them. Questions abound. Hopefully the FEC will stay on the job.

The Brits see right through Sarah; one said that the idea of Sarah as POTUS “terrifies me rigid” and another thought that “Michael Palin would do a better job.”

Sarah blatantly lied to excuse Bristol’s and Willow’s foul-mouthed Facebook rants.

The “lame stream media strategy” was a recurring topic in December. “…When your voice contradicts reality and truth, the only way to create space for it is to discredit reality and truth.” We saw the MSM again give free rein to Palin to create her own narrative, when Time Magazine “interviewed” her by email and bought into the foolish notion that Sarah actually writes her books and op-ed pieces.

Fortunately, more Republican pundits are saying out loud that she is not presidential material.

And more people are challenging the lies, like Margaret Cho, who stood by her report about Sarah pressuring Bristol to do DWTS to win back fans for Sarah. Alaska Dispatch and many others pointed out how unreal “Sarah Palin’s Alaska” was and many, including hunters and outdoorsmen/women, weighed in about what a novice Sarah is and how her show is all staged…in short, SPAK has proven to more and more people that Sarah is a fake.

The good news is that the more people know about Sarah Palin, the less they like her. With her media saturation strategy, people are apparently becoming really, really sick of her. Her favorable to unfavorable numbers show a steady decline in her appeal, and a steady increase in the number of people who view her unfavorably and would not vote for her under any circumstances. There is hope for us yet!

Palingates showed that the fake pregnancy was not a rumor put out by blogs after Palin’s nomination, but was widely discussed and given credence in Anchorage months before Palin’s selection as the VP candidate.

Kathleen looked at Sarah through a Vonnegut lens, as a personable person with a psychopathic personality who has no conscience.

More fake reality, through Leadfoot and Bella’s clear eyes. Many thanks to them, austintxx and many others who sacrifices themselves to spare the rest of us!

The Palins’ Ghostwriter Strikes Back. All criticism of the Palins must be redudiated!

Palin proved to most anybody with any common sense that she has none at all, by allowing her kids to be unrestrained in moving vehicles. Even folks who are apolitical recognize an irresponsible parent when they see one. Palin is Exhibit A.

The topping on the 2010 cake: Palingates is Bloggers Choice Best Political Blog for 2010 -- WOOHOO! Many thanks to our readers and our whole team for these successes!

Palingates would like to wish all our readers and the behind the scene research team a fantastic New Year!

(Clicking on the month above the photos will take you to all the posts for that month.)


End-of-year musings by Patrick:

That was an amazing surprise when Blueberry Tart sent us this post, and truly the last "highlight" of the year. We are so grateful for her hard work on the weekly round-ups, and now on the "yearly round-up." A big cheer for Blueberry Tart!

Also, a big cheer for Regina, who put the layout for this post together, which took several hours, as well as the layout for the round-ups every week. As you all know, Regina stepped back from her role as the "primary blogger" on Palingates earlier this year due to a severe case of "Palin fatigue", but she is still with us, and 2011 will surely be an exciting year for all of us again.

Then there is Kathleen, whose influence on Palingates is much greater than is visible from the outside. Kathleen is a highly skilled professional researcher who doesn't get fooled by anyone, and that's exactly what you need when you deal with Sarah Palin, the woman of many, many secrets. Also, many thanks to Kathleen for correcting my grammar on a daily basis. ;-)

2010 was an unforgettable year. Speaking for myself, Palingates pretty much dominated my life in 2010 and didn't leave much time for anything else, including earning money, which was a voluntary choice and something I will never regret. Taking over the editorial responsibility for such an important blog was sometimes a burden, but most of the time it was pure joy. Already in 2009 it became apparent that Palingates developed into something special, something unique - a hard-hitting investigative blog with a great community. So I had the feeling that we were on a "mission." We all together wanted to prove that the "boundaries" of the internet haven't been fully explored yet. Citizens can have a much stronger voice on the internet than many would believe - provided these citizens are willing to invest a lot of work and are determined and sometimes daring. That's at least my opinion.

We had several successes and could push a number of important stories into the mainstream, however, I am afraid to say that we missed an important goal, which is bringing the story of Sarah Palin's faked pregnancy into the mainstream. The faked pregnancy is of course just one among several important issues concerning Sarah Palin. However, knowing for such a long time already that the pregnancy was faked, I personally had quite high hopes that we could bring it into the MSM in 2010. This we didn't achieve, although we did try. Apart from the numerous posts about this topic, we did for example conduct several background conversations to important people in the media and in politics about this and other subjects. The Palinbots would go nuts if they knew who we have talked to. ;-)

On the other hand, we had a lot success with other topics - more success than I would have expected in my wildest dreams. The year already started extremely well when in February we got the attention of the media with the "Andrea Friedman story." The reporting of Palingates about Andrea Friedman was only possible because a reader had the right connections and provided us with information that nobody else had. It happened on several other occasions afterwards in 2010 that important stories on Palingates were only made possible because readers and other important people took the initiative in the background and gave us very important material or information. The "community concept" of Palingates proved to be a smashing success. We managed to motivate our readers and they were willing to help us, often even without us asking for anything. I do hope that many, many blogs will follow this example in the future and will establish similar online communities in order to work for common goals.

The high point of the year for me personally came with "America By Heart." I had one of the most amazing weeks of my life ever. That really was something special. ;-) Again, only the help of a reader provided us with the material that nobody else had. A big, special "thank you" to this reader who with this generous gesture made it possible for Palingates to jump to "another level."

Finally, a big thank you to all our guest posters, our tireless researchers in the background, commentators, donors and other readers. We have a very special community here on Palingates, and you can all betcha that 2011 will be even more exciting than 2010!


Wednesday, 29 December 2010

Musings on the art of commenting

Do you love your freedom?

Those of us who spend a lot of time on the internet encounter many different things. Some sites are simply functional or informative. Others express opinions and invite debate - or not.

The blogosphere, by and large, involves some degree of debate. In recent months, sites like the Huffington Post have changed the way the comments are moderated and that doesn't sit very well with the more outspoken readers. Some sites have rules, others don't.

The diversity in approach to comments around the internet made me think of how things are on our very own Palingates. When I started it all those months ago, I was an avid reader of Palin Deceptions, a very moderated blog, and I thought moderation was the "in" thing to do. So I clicked on the corresponding alternative when setting up the blog parameters. It lasted about one week. I couldn't be bothered to moderate the comments and didn't see the point of it. The moderation feature came off and things ran very smoothly until a certain spammer reared his head. Long excerpts from a critique of Don Quixote were posted hundreds of times on several threads. I have nothing against Cervantes (far from it), but these comments were posted as an attack on Palingates, with the single aim of disrupting the discussions. Blogger didn't offer appropriate tools to solve this problem, so we deleted the spammy comments manually and switched to Disqus.

We still don't have moderation, but can cope with malicious attacks without having to waste time and without interrupting the discussion. It was a very good decision. The threads became more fluid, the debate more dynamic and the number of people joining in multiplied over the weeks. Trolls don't last very long and there's no need to ban anybody for dissenting opinions. Commercial spammers are swiftly dispatched and our readers are spared some very corny jokes and raunchy videos from a Swedish site, among offers for laptops, IT solutions and anatomy enhancing products.

Just as a matter of curiosity, these are our internal rules:

  • Spammers and malicious impersonators are banned. Malicious impersonators are those who appropriate regular commenters usernames and post comments that confuse the discussion. Others post under several different monickers in an attempt to validate their previous comments. These are called out, but not necessarily banned. Once their game is up, they leave on their own accord.
  • Comments containing personal contact details are deleted. In the case of our own regular commenters, it's for safety reasons and anybody who wishes to get in touch with each other via e-mail is encouraged to contact Patrick, who will facilitate it. Contact details for third parties are not published if there's a risk of backlash against the person concerned. Media, government bodies and organisations contacts are OK.
  • Flagged comments are considered and discussed a case at a time.

The opinions of the blog owners are expressed in the main articles and the comments posted through Disqus express the commenters personal opinions. The responsibility for main posts rests with the named authors and the responsibility for Disqus comments rests with each individual. There is a note on the sidebar explaining this.

On very rare occasions, comments are flagged as inappropriate. We look at each case as they arise. We have to balance some things out before making any decisions. If we delete a particular comment, will it affect the flow of the conversation? Are we disrespecting someone's opinions? In the convivial atmosphere at Palingates, sometimes a "just for fun" moment can create a conundrum for us. We have many journalists visiting the blog, looking for solid information about Sarah Palin. The numbers are bound to grow after we won the award for best political blog. If a comment or a picture attached to a comment is posted for fun but would make a wrong impression, we think it's better if it's not there. In such cases we always contact the person who left the comment or picture to explain why we have deleted it.

We understand that our lack of rules may be confusing at times, but it's very difficult to establish criteria that's waterproof. Most of the time things work very well.

We don't have filters, but every now and then Disqus decides to swallow random comments for no good reason. When we spot these, they're quickly approved. Considering that we have over ten thousand comments each week, sometimes it's a bit tricky to keep on top of Disqus's idiosyncrasies... 99.9% of the time, if a comment disappears, it's not due to moderation.

Palingaters are very busy people and the comments come in thick and fast. It's a very mixed bag. We have networkers, link providers, deep thinking people, irreverent people, short commenters, lurkers, occasional trolls, you name it, we have it. Seriousness, snark, humour, concern for each other are all present every single day and provide the unique flavour of Palingates. I've noticed that when Sarah Palin or her "perfect" family are particularly irritating, the tone of the comments changes slightly and the language becomes a bit blue. Again, each comment is considered individually and addressed from the point of view of adding to the discussion or not. I also noticed that when things get too heated, people post soothing youtube videos, which are much appreciated as a mental health break.

Of course this amount of freedom is not to everybody's taste. The trolls themselves don't know how to cope with it. They come from sites where people are ordered "to leave my blog, motherf&*%#r!," which would never happen on Palingates.

We love our freedom and on the rare occasions when we have to look at a comment more closely and make a decision, we always ask ourselves if we are suppressing ideas and opinions. An open forum shifts some of the responsibilty regarding how things are presented, but we're still responsible for the overall "image" of Palingates.

Let me finish on a light note. Poor Track went all the way to Eye-rack to fight for the 1st Amendment and it would be very sad if we didn't show how much we love our freedom and value the freedom of others...


The unreality of Sarah Palin's Alaska

As the series Sarah Palin's Alaska continues, with seven episodes aired and a bumper episode to go, many questions were raised, about the narrative and about what we see on the screen. Of course the whole series was planned beforehand and each episode focuses on members of Sarah's family, always showing her in the best possible light (according to Sarah and her fantasies about herself and her family).

We saw Sarah climbing Denali, fishing, kayaking, shooting anything that moves, hunting, riding ATVs, driving her own car... or have we?

Some of her driving raised questions, as Piper was sitting in the backseat without a seatbelt, piping in, criticizing Sarah's driving. Have a look at these screenshots and ask yourself: "Where's the camera?" (The first two shots are from the first leg of the day's travels and Piper was sitting in the front, wearing a seatbelt.)

The idea behind any film, fiction or reality, is to make the viewer forget that there are cameras and great number of people involved in each scene. Are we to believe that there are miniature cameramen especially recruited to film driving scenes? This is how it's usually done:

The car to be filmed is mounted on a low towing dolly and pulled by a camera truck. For safety reasons, there may be troopers' cars in front and behind the car with the "star."

Alternatively, these contraptions may be used, but the car is then towed by a truck and the cameras operated remotely:

Inside the camera truck there's a computarized monitor and the director has full control of each camera:

There we have it: a "natural" driving scene. Piper was told to look bored and say something about Sarah's "driving," so it would tie in with Sarah's little narrative about Piper having changed and no longer being enthusiastic about spending time with mom.

Bear in mind that there is a lot of waiting around for all the gear to be set up and any scene has a number of takes. By the time Piper managed to get her lines right she was probably very bored indeed...

Whether Sarah's car or the giant RV were towed or not, the fact remains that the whole contraption is still a collection of moving vehicles and seatbelts should have been worn. Can you imagine what could have happened if a moose had dashed in front of the whole convoy?

The point of this technical post about a trivial driving scene is to highlight the unreality of this series. There's nothing wrong with using all the techniques available to film makers in order to achieve a seamless result and grab the attention of the viewers without any distractions.

But the whole narrative is dishonest. This series was put together to show Sarah's version of reality. She wanted to show that there aren't any challenges she won't embrace. Any outdoor pursuit, any highly specialized trade (wow!), Sarah can do it. She assigned herself the task of protecting Kate Gosselin and her brood because she's a sharp shooter. Kate left the camping site because that was her script. Kate was the vulnerable city girl against Sarah's fearless frontier woman. She created a tale of hunting in a remote spot, where only one person could be transported on the plane at any one time. The crew with all their paraphernalia must have teleported to that spot, yes? Willow's boyfriend "sneaked" upstairs, past the whole crew, because he was told to do it. Willow smashed Piper face into the cake because... you guessed, she was told to do just that. Willow's car "crash" was all fiction, probably filmed with a double.

In the unscripted bits, Sarah Palin used her "travelogue" to issue a number of jabs aimed at her neighbour, Michelle Obama, bloggers... the list is long. These are some of the moments that can be taken at face value - Sarah unplugged. That's how she unwittingly confirmed the National Enquirer stories about her unruly children.

Another thing she tried to do was attempt to correct her "refudiate" gaffe. She claims that she intended to type "d" and hit "f" instead. What was Sarah trying to type? Redudiate? Repupiate? The fact is, she committed the "typo" on Hannity days before she tweeted it. His voice after she said it barely disguises his embarrassement:

I could go on, but I'm not going to analize each episode from a technical perspective or dissect the narrative of each week's episode. All I can say is that what Sarah Palin chose to show as a normal family, with their troubles and tribulations, was scripted and acted by her prop family and other unsuspecting incidental actors (cousin Matthew, for one) to make her appear normal and loving in her family life and a superwoman the rest of the time. The only real thing is Sarah Palin in full narcissistic glory and nobody seems to have attempted to stop her. Maybe they tried and failed.

All this idiotic make-believe with the beautiful state of Alaska in the background - just another useful prop.


Some readers pointed out that the driving scene could have been filmed using the same type of set-up as in the program Cash Cab, where tiny cameras are mounted where needed. It's very possible that TLC did the scene this way, in which case we have to assume that Sarah was really driving while being filmed, not concentrating a 100% and had her 9 year old daughter sitting in the back, unrestrained. It looks bad either way.

The post may not show exactly how it was filmed, but it's an illustration of how unreal the things we see on TV on a daily basis really are. It's an encouragement not to take the end product at face value, especially when the narrative is so dishonest.

Unfortunately, there's hardly anything left on TV that can be taken at face value. Even "live" news reports can be stage-managed these days, but perhaps that's a subject for another post.

Tuesday, 28 December 2010

Palingates Weekly Roundup - December 20 to December 25

Briefly guest-posted by Mrs. Tarquin Biscuitbarrel

For lo, the Palingaters are still rejoicing, as Christmas came a couple of days early when Palingates won the 2010 Bloggers' Choice Award for Best Political Blog!

Pragmatic Kathleen points out, "Start voting now for 2011!"

Sarah Palin's Alaska - Episode 6 - A reader's review

Another great review of Sarah Palin's Alaska, the internet people thank Leadfoot and Bella. Sarah and family went camping in a huge RV, rode ATVs, did some rafting, then Sarah decided to have some "quality" time with Piper, so they went for a spot of waitressing and to play with some puppies. Bella noticed that the Palins don't believe in seatbelts. There was the usual dig at someone, this time directed at Michelle Obama and her anti-obesity campaign. One interesting gem from this episode was Sarah's remark regarding her children's mistakes. She said she "feels sorry for some of her kids because their mistakes are played out on the front page of the National Enquirer which really SUCKS for them." Very revealing...

Sarah Palin Breaks the Law, and Has No Common Sense
Guest Post by JoeChristmas [M.D.]

JoeChristmas, who's an emergency-room physician, expanded a comment in a previous thread into a powerful guest post..

"Rule #1 of emergency medicine--Human beings do not make good projectiles," says Joe. The TLC series "Sarah Palin's Alaska" captures on film ANOTHER form of Palin family hypocrisy: Piper and Trig are riding in a recreational vehicle and in a car, without wearing a seat belt (Piper) or restrained in a car seat (Trig). maelewis researched and posted the Alaska state laws on the use of child safety belts and seats in recreational vehicles, making it crystal-clear that the Palins put their children in danger and broke the law by allowing them to wander unrestrained in an RV. In fact, the very law the Palins broke, S. B. 72, is one that Sarah Palin signed into law as governor before she quit. At the suggestion of BlueberryTart, a screen shot shows Piper riding in the back seat of a car, clearly unbelted.

Joe reminds us of another woman--arguably the most famous woman in the world at the time of her death--who might have survived a fatal crash had she been wearing a seat belt. Her name was Princess Diana.

That tragedy took place in 1997. More than a decade later, why does Sarah Palin not observe the law she passed? "As far as I am concerned she has been caught red handed," noted Dr. Joe. "But it's not the first time. Fellow reader, mxm, pulled this little excerpt from the Washington Post (September 7, 2008):

"'WASILLA, Alaska -- One Friday in June, Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin joined the chief of the state prison system on a tour of the Point MacKenzie Correctional Farm, a 90-minute drive north of Anchorage. It was a routine visit but for the presence of the governor's infant son, Trig.
'Palin held her baby in her arms as the warden drove a short distance around the facility, said corrections director Joe Schmidt, who sat next to Palin. A few days later, the governor got a warning from her public safety commissioner that someone had complained that she did not strap Trig into a car seat for the ride.
'Palin dismissed the complaint as petty, and the commissioner, whom she appointed, took no formal action. But the incident shows the degree to which family and politics are bound together in Palin's career.'"

"So that will be her excuse: it's petty. Well…it's NOT petty, or trivial, or draconian, or unreasonable. This is a subject that I know something about.

"I have worked as an emergency medicine physician for almost 25 years now -- mostly at Level 1 trauma centers. I have watched the seat belt issue progress, yes progress, over the span of my career. When I started out as an intern in a busy trauma center in Pittsburgh, there was no seat belt law in Pennsylvania. Roughly, 30% of drivers wore their seat belts at that time. Nightly, grimly, we would see devastating head and neck injuries as the result of motor vehicle accidents. Now, as the result of seat belt laws, and the remarkable, transformative acceptance of this simple habit, I rarely see head or neck injuries as the results of car accidents. Where I live in Virginia, upwards of 96% of drivers are restrained. Now, I take care of people, several times a day, who will be stiff and sore for a few days, but, importantly and humanely, they walk out of the ER. SEAT BELTS SAVE HEADS, NECKS AND LIVES."

Well, I can't add anything to that.

White Christmas in Germany--Very White

"Kathleen and I are spending Christmas with my parents at their home in North Germany," writes Patrick, "and somebody has obviously been dreaming about a white Christmas, because Germany is covered under a huge blanket of snow, and it's especially 'bad' in North Germany right now. Well, it's a huge joy for the children, that's for sure. It feels a bit like being in Alaska, just without the mountains and the wildlife. Speaking about Alaska: We don't plan to publish posts during Christmas about our usual "object of desire", which means: Palin-free time for the next days! :-)

"I am sure that the queen of mean will find some cunning ways to push herself into the headlines again very soon, so we will certainly not run out of material after Christmas until New Years Eve. After all, she doesn't cope very well with not being the center of attention."

Patrick knows $P pretty well, don't you think? After signing off with some gorgeous photographs of the traditional architecture banked with snow, and even a soundtrack of German carols, we Palingaters elsewhere on this funny blue marble we call home heeded the admonishments. The comments were full of good wishes, sharing memories, menus, visiting relatives, gift-opening rituals, and family traditions.

However, another Palin managed to edge into the headlines over the holidays. First off, the National Enquirer published an article about Bristol Palin's new boyfriend AND her wish "to have a baby in 2011." (CR46 deadpanned, "Perhaps in February or March 2011?") And then there's Bristol's new house, a five-bedroom, two-bath home in Maricopa, Arizona, purchased for $172,000 in cash from someone who purchased it after foreclosure as an "investment." The location is a bit of a head-scratcher, as the much-foreclosed-upon community is not convenient to upscale Arizona living, but IS convenient, to a garbage dump, a casino, and a prison. (BanditBasheert)

Will Bristol still be eligible for Native Health Services living away from her family of origin? CR46 thinks not: " Native health services are very hard to get away from your tribe of origin. The system when placed was meant to keep us 'on the reservation.' Brisket will be out of luck as far as native healthcare services. No other tribe has to allow a member of a different tribe access and most 'off reservation' service providers will not accept Native Healthcare services as the payee. This ended up way off from where it was supposed to. But as an example I would have to travel from Texas to Minnesota to exercise my rights to Tribal healthcare. Most tribal services ( especially in SW and SE USA) are not very good to start with. Beyond basic shots I would never take a child to any Native Healthcare services or depend on them for care for my family. I didn't when our kiddos were little and I wouldn't now."

Rumors have been circulating about whether Bristol would attend Arizona State University, about which commenter salad girl said, "I am a college counselor and have worked with hundreds of students with SAT prep, essays, college selection, etc. ASU is a college that anyone can get into. It is not selective. When I have a student with a low GPA and low SAT scores and no spark....ASU is the one college I know the student will get into (and the students I work with are out of state, from New Jersey). That is not to say that there aren't intelligent good students at ASU, particularly in their honors program; however, it is a college known as a safety. Dull Bristol will be admitted as long as she can pay the tuition." But for which state can Bristol claim residency?

Merry Christmas, Everyone! A Very Special Christmas Collection, and UPDATE from France

Patrick provided even more soundtrack for a Very Palingates Christmas, with tunes by Ella Fitzgerald, Ray Charles, John Lennon, Tom Waits, Dean Martin, Nat King Cole, and Louis Armstrong, while Regina's photographs from France were complemented by the traditional song, "Mon Beau Sapin."

Assorted comments and links

A ribbon-garlanded Palingates THANK YOU to poster Katanalori of, for an extensive write-up on Palingates and its win for Best Political Blog in the 2010 Blogger's Choice Awards.

My first reaction, while watching last night's show, was that if someone had never heard of Sarah Palin before, had never heard some of the ugly, divisive things she's said, or had never seen her "cutesy" winks and smirks when putting down anyone with a progressive mind , she'd seem like some sort of wonder woman. This is revisionist "reality" programming at its finest. And yet, even to a Palin-virgin, anyone who hasn't really paid attention to her over the last couple of years, I think her desperation comes through. She's trying too hard to imprint the image of "Frontier Gal", HER impression of what a feminist is, apparently. She goes out of her way to show how she tries everything, which is fine, except I think she believes she's the ONLY woman in the world who tries everything, which is very insulting to the millions who do. I think she's spent her life coming in second place, and has had to play up her "talents". She's a "jack of all trades, but master of none". All of this would be insignificant except for one thing...she's got the "Speaker's Corner at Hyde Park" tied up, and she won't step down voluntarily. As Fox news made her, it's now going to be up to Fox to break her.

Sarah just sent out her Christmas card

Bristol sent hers yesterday
(repeated here in case you missed it)

And also too I sent out mine

A Fan From Chicago:
I think there is a lot of over-thinking going on about the AZ home purchase. Something is definitely odd about the choice of neighborhoods, the buyer, the method of payment, etc. And I don't think we know what it is.

What I can't imagine it is that it is a set up for Mrs. Palin to run for Kyl's seat, be appointed by crazy Gov. Brewer to an unexpired McCain seat, Bristol with a political career, etc. Sarah Palin has no interest in being anything but "The One." No way she wants to be one of 435 members of Congress. No way she wants to one of 100 Senators. Especially with no seniority.

Mrs. Palin is not a doer. She's a wanna be. All evidence is that she doesn't have the chops to do the hard work to make a difference and move up. I think any lines of inquiry/theory/speculation that whatever the hell is going on with the house purchase is laying the groundwork for a political career in Arizona is totally misguided.

It must have something to do with something (tax issues, hiding a pregnant kid, proximity to LA, stupid real estate ideas, some kind of a head fake, desire to move the hillybillies to an equally squalid part of a warm state) is just speculation.

Don't fall for it. Keep focus on the things that are known.

Shut Up Barbie: The New Feminism of the Far Left

Jason Easley says: This is a powerful, profound, and excellent post.

For a family that places a high value on their security and secrecy, this Bristol Buys a House story, complete with address, price, and desire for college education is too much information. It's a very well organized publicity campaign. But, what's the point? One possibility is to distract us.

What were we talking about before we took off a couple of Palin-free days? Sarah failed to use a seat belt for Piper when Piper appeared in SPA, and Joe Christmas gave us a very serious account of what happens to unbuckled passengers. It was a violation of Alaska state law. Furthermore, the reality show showed us Trig dancing in the RV when he should have been secured in a car seat, another violation. Maximum fine of $50. isn't much punishment. However, the former governor showcasing her state should be setting a good example. She bases her political qualifications on her family values, even bragging that she is a mama grizzly protecting her children. But, she didn't protect her children in a moving vehicle.

Sarah may have also violated child labor laws. While Alaska has very generous tax write offs for film companies working and filming in the state, they do have a very serious list of industries in which minor children, 17 years and under, cannot work because of safety issues. Willow is 17 or younger, and when she appears on TV tonight, she is working, whether Sarah calls it a family outing or not. According to the Alaska Film Board, she is appearing in a film (video), and she is working. Minors, 17 years and younger are prohibited from working in the logging industry, and that's exactly where they are going tonight.

Alaska also require forms to be filed for children working in the entertainment industry in Alaska, and their pay has to be set aside in a special account reserved for them, according to the Jackie Cougan Law. (He was the child star whose parents spent all of his earnings). I think that by the time we get to the Alaska records, VF will have filed the necessary papers (retroactively, if necessary). But it is worth a visit to the Alaska Department of Labor to see the industries in which prohibit minor children working, including commercial fishing. Sarah will have eight episodes which deserve to be rerun on TV, with a good lawyer keeping notes.

There isn't going to be a very big fine, but the price that Sarah will pay is embarrassment and more bad publicity. The house in Maricopa is a publicity stunt, maybe meant to save face for Bristol who originally said that she wanted to have a baby in 2011, not a house in Arizona. Bristol is not capable of orchestrating this kind of publicity, but Sarah is, and she wants to appear to be deciding if she is running for president or not. She needs to divert attention from something, violations made during the filming of SPA? another gate?

Redwood Palinizer:
Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to all of my fellow Palingaters! I am sitting here in Redwood country waiting for my children to get up and rip into their presents and I am taking a little time for some quiet reflection. I just wanted to say that I am so grateful for this wonderful blog and for all of the folks who come here daily and write about their lives. I visit here every day and I have learned so much about every aspect of life from all of you. Believe it or not, I consider all of you my friends and I know it sounds silly but I do believe that I could come here anytime and my thoughts and ideas would be embraced and also, too, I would receive help if I needed it.

Two years ago this past June my most beloved father passed away and I lost my most treasured friend and confidant. I wasn't sure I could navigate life without his love, support and wisdom. I struggled so terribly for the first few months, especially when in August of that same year I had to take my son away to his first year of college and leave him. It was so painful to lose Dad and then have my son away just a few months later.

To make a long story short, Palin was tapped to run with Mccain, I was outraged and I discovered Patrick and Regina through other blogs and then followed them here and the rest is history! Palingates has become my place of comfort and the place where I feel free to rant and let my feelings out and I am so, so happy to have you all!

I think my Dad would've liked it here, too!

This is my favorite passage from the Bible, even though it's not part of the Christmas story, it's about love, which is what Christmas is all about:

Corinthians 13 (New International Version, ©2010)

1 If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal.

2 If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing.

3 If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing.

4 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.

5 It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.

6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.

7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

8 Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away.

9 For we know in part and we prophesy in part,

10 but when completeness comes, what is in part disappears.

11 When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me.

12 For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.

13 And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.

To my friends at Palingates, I wish you the most magical and loving Christmas ever! Patrick, your photos are wonderful, and the music divine. Warmest holiday wishes to you, Kathleen, Regina, Peter, and families!

For some reason, I miss my mother very much this year, even though she's been gone for 23 years. It occured to me the most cherished childhood memories I have of Christmas were because of her, and I'd like to share my thanks....

Mama, thank you for buying me that yellow metal Tonka Toy dumptruck, even though I was a girl. Yes, I was a tomboy, and went on to learn to fly planes and do other "guy things", long before we were 'supposed to'.

Thank you for letting me take a 50-cent chance every Friday night, as we walked past the mom-and-pop toy store, to try my luck with the "golden key" that just might open the giant treasure chest inside the store.

Remember that Christmas Eve when I was 7 years old? Yeah, I snuck out of my bedroom and spied you wrapping gifts from Santa. Hmm... you made eye contact with me for a brief 1/2 second. I ran back to my room, and you never, ever mentioned it.

Funny - every Christmas Eve as we were headed out to church, you suddenly remembered that you left your purse in the house. So, I waited in the car for what seemed like a half-hour. Finally we drove off, leaving Grandma & Grandpa at home to "finish setting the table". But oddly, Santa had always been for his visit while we were gone! There were piles of presents under our aluminum Christmas tree - the one that changed colors thanks to the rotating color wheel.

Thank you for the huge Raggedy Andy doll. He seemed three feet tall! I loved him, but wondered why his red yarn hair looked different than normal. You explained that all the good cotton that year was going to make uniforms for our brave soldiers in Vietnam.

I loved going to the giant Lutheran church every year to listen to Handel's "Messiah"! You always made sure to bring along an extra pocket pack of Kleenex, because both of us were guaranteed to cry during the "Hallelujah" chorus.

Lastly, thank you for teaching me the Christmas message about how Jesus loved all of his little children, no matter their color or position in life. It gave me an aware mind for a lifetime of viewing the world with open eyes. Because of that, I was led to this wonderful home of Palingates, where like-minded people have gathered.

MERRY CHRISTMAS TO ALL, and to all, a good night.

Hal Turner, Sean Insannity's friend, gets 33 months in prison.

ProChoiceGrandma in reply to Wesinoregon
Good to hear that news! I hope the Palinbots will start to recognize that there are consequences to threats like Turner committed, but looking at the comments on that article, it appears they are all the more incensed. sigh Sometimes I wonder if the entire Republican Party has joined a militia. At least we know Teabaggers like Joe Miller are connected to militias.

IN HONOR OF MICHELLE OBAMA, we've been cooking healthy things for our luncheon tomorrow - (well, except the tamales) - my husband cooked baked apples, stuffed with mincemeat and poached in apple cider. We're having squash casserole, homemade cranberry sauce, fresh pineapple/kiwi/strawberry salad, sliced ham with sourdough bread and fresh peach crisp from peaches I froze last summer.

LOVE YA, MICHELLE, Sp is a kook.

Everyone drive safely and WEAR THAT SEATBELT! And in honor of sP's Alaska, my daughter and I are spending Sun. nite at a spa and getting pedicures and facials!!!

Palingates has been my favorite site/blog since near its inception, yet this is my first post.
The timeliness and quality of content at Palingates from all who participate is extraordinary; there is some very real wisdom here. Congratulations and thanks to Patrick, Regina, Kathleen, Leadfoot_LA & Bella and too all who regularly contribute. My morning, afternoon and evening would not be complete without a visit.

Cheers to all.

[In response to] Sondra [Tompkins]: Looks like you found another possible update. Piper is 9 years old NOW -- birthday in March.. She is seen riding in the front seat of the car, with a seatbelt, in the second video of episode 6.
Protect kids from air-bag injury by following these rules:

* Booster seats should be placed in the back seat. If you have no choice and must place it in the front (that is, if your car is a two-seater), push the passenger seat as far back as it will go.
* A law passed in 1995 allows car manufacturers to install a manual cut-off switch that temporarily disables a passenger-side air bag. As recommended by National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, if you must place a child in a booster seat in the front seat and your car has this cut-off switch, disable the air bag for the duration of the ride. Be sure to switch the air bag back on when you remove the booster seat.
* All kids 12 years old and younger should always ride in the back seat, and in the middle of the back seat whenever possible. All passengers must have their seatbelts buckled.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to all Palingaters!I was especially pleased that Santa gave the Palin Watchdog Team the honor of "Best Political Blog", as the last winner had held that title for three years in a row. Quite an accomplishment. And I was also quite pleased to see that Santa left a coal in the sock of that "Misrepresentative agit-prop website that makes a cynical business out of spewing Palin's twisted view of the American political landscape out into the blogoverse, under the guise of "valid journalism and news."

...I'm doing a rib roast tomorrow with horseradish sauce and au jus on the side. Potatoes and spinach will also be served with the roast. Some crusty french bread and a good red wine will go with the dinner. We have cookies and candy, plus pumpkin and french silk pies. Already being naughty - we both had a slice of pie for breakfast - heaven!

...A toast to all here, wishing them the best wishes for this holiday season, whatever their beliefs system. I'm into the winter solstice, greenery tradition. Though I go to a xmas service at different churches every year. Sometimes St. Patricks in NYC, or other churches. This year an evening candlelight service at the Lutheran Reformed Church a few blocks from my home. My mother was a devout Greek Orthodox Catholic, who went to Roman Catholic churches. I go, in her memory, and because I find the service beautiful. I wish all of you my warmest regards.

Maricopa is in Pinal County. If you shuffle the letters around P i n a l also spells Palin. Maybe they think it's destiny? You probably remember the sheriff of Pinal County, Paul Babeu. He appeared in the "build the dang fence" ad with McCain. The telegenic Sheriff Babeu is thought to have ambitions for higher office himself. Pinal is not a border county, but the sheriff injected himself into the border/SB1070 debate after one of his deputies was shot...

Dropping in again, after I finished cleaning and made banana pudding. : ) I am just so southern, you all, but it's for my granddaughter, actually.

Seems to me this isn't about Bristle at all--it's about you know who--as usual. She's prepping for running for Prez. Much easier to do in AZ than from AK. We still don't know for sure whether or not she's bought a residence there yet--but it has to be near enough to BP; I suppose Ivy will be the live-in nanny for Tripp, and to keep an eye on BP. Remember, Van Flea Bag is in AZ, too, and he's her best bud right now. She doesn't pay him that retainer for nothing. Besides, Alaskans are probably just as sick and tired of her as we are, and there's really nothing for her there, after she scored more cash with TLC. People know that she was just using AK for her own gain.

What does Twitler have to lose in running? Probably nothing. She would probably lose the nomination, but gain traction with her reactionary base and the teabaggers, increase her speaking fee, and go all out on another fund-raising drive for herself. I'm beginning to think we'll never get rid of her.

P.S. She can't run for anything in AK anymore, and after her Prez run, she'll do the tour thing again, building up support for perhaps running for something in AZ, national, of course. Or she could fake it, like she fakes everything else.

Oh my .... you guys gotta see this!!

Hilarious Video from Media Matters as SP wins the "glenn beck excellence in misinforma­tion" award.

Hahhahahh!! This needs to go VIRAL!!

Real Alaskans Can’t Relate To Sarah Palin’s Super-Expensive Adventures on Her Show! Insider Reveals! Exclusive!
— Chloe Melas

Sarah spends thousands to go on her TLC adventures, but a local who’s known Sarah for years says that’s NOT typical Alaskan behavior!

Sarah Palin sets the bar high on her reality show — too high, actually. Mama Grizzly shows fans a beautiful and exciting side of her native Alaska each week on Sarah Palin’s Alaska, but it turns out her weekly adventures are anything but typical! spoke to a lieutenant at an Alaskan police department, who insists that no one in Alaska actually does the things America sees Sarah, Todd, Bristol and the family do every week!

“We all think the show is great and love watching it each week,” our source admits. “But these things she’s doing cost a lot of money. You don’t see people going up mountains, taking long fishing trips, and shooting caribou each week.”

In case you forgot, researched the cost of the Palin’s hunting trip, which resulted in one bagged caribou, and the grand total came out to $42,400! But it doesn’t stop there: Early on in the season, Sarah went on a two-day fishing trip , and then enjoyed a climbing expedition on Mt. McKinley which ran her a whopping $12,250! Almost all her weekly adventures have involved using bush planes to travel, which Sarah has said – ALL Alaskans do!

So while Sarah may boast regularly about the “real” Alaska, the Palin’s lifestyle as portrayed on her “reality” show is entertaining to her fellow Alaskans, but hardly relatable!

...and the Last Word(s)

* Today Mrsgunka and the Unsinkable Mrgunka are celebrating their fifty-first wedding anniversary! May there be many more!

* After her recent knee surgery, Cheeriogirl is back a-posting ("Palingates posters posting, eleventy Palins pouting, and a wedding ring thrown into Lake Lu-cilllle!"). We wish you a speedy recovery!