Thursday, 31 March 2011

Open thread - Thursday

This photo is exquisite and made think of Ripley. It came via e-mail from a friend not connected to the blog.

Nature produces the most amazing colours and I'm happy a photographer noticed this beaufiful, delicate combination.

Sarah Palin's very interesting "Wild Ride"

Discussions about Sarah Palin's "Wild Ride" were revived in a recent thread, so let's review some of the events, using my favourite source of information: Sarah Palin herself!

Palin: And, uh, he wasn’t due for 4 or 5 weeks later and um, while I was at energy conference I felt perfectly fine but uh, had thought maybe a few things were starting to progress a little bit that perhaps there was an idea there that he might come early. So I called my doctor at about uh four in the morning in Texas and um I said ya know I’m gonna stay for the day here at the energy conference - have a speech that I was determined to give at one o’clock that afternoon and, um, had Todd check on a couple of flights that were earlier than we had scheduled. I decided it would be ok to, um, skip the reception that night that we’d already by that time have taken care of our meetings and my speech. So Todd checked on flights. A flight allowed us to get out a little earlier than we had planned. Skipped the reception and, um, called my doctor before I got on the plane to say, ‘Yea, we think that we will come home a few hours early,’ and, uh, she said ‘OK call when you land and I’ll check you out.’ But none of my babies had been early and being my fifth child I know what labor feels like (laughing) and if I had felt at all that I was really engaged in uh, labor activities I would not have desired to fly and, um, get back uh, to deliver in Alaska. But anyway, so no real huge labor signs. Landed in, uh, in Anchorage at about 10:30. Got out to the valley at 11:30 and she met us at the hospital, checked me out and said, ‘Um, Yea you look, you may have it um tonight or in the morning.’ And it was smooth, it was relatively easy, in fact it was very easy, the easiest of all of them because he was so tiny. And, um, it’s just been absolutely wonderful. It was all, it just all seemed meant to be… the logistics and everything else just worked out so perfectly and to us he’s absolutely perfect, too.

Reporter: Of course you’re back to work already today and actually signed a bill that day, right?

Palin: That day, yeah, staff came out to the hospital and I signed a bill there so I could uh make sure we transmitted that in time and then uh here today also yeah, we have some energy updates I didn’t want to miss so that was good look and at him he’s just doing so well and it’s been easy and relaxing and again all it seems just meant to be this way.

Reporter: You said you felt some signs of labor, what were those signs?

Palin: Well not contractions so much because I had Braxton Hicks contractions for months as every pregnant woman does, and nothing real painful but just knowing that, um, it was feeling like, I may not um, be able to be pregnant a whole other four or five weeks knowing that it would be not a bother to call our doctor and let her know. And um she’s delivered how many babies over the year did she say?

Todd: Lots.

Palin: A lot. It’s been a couple of decades of her delivering babies. We knew to call her and just get her advice and, um, from there we again decided to skip the energy conference reception and come on home and get checked out.

Reporter: So did your water break?

Palin: Well, if you must know more of those type of details, but, um…

Reporter: Well, your dad said that and I saw him say it so that’s why I asked.

Palin: Well that was again if, if I must get personal, technical about this at the same time, um, it was one, it was a sign that I knew, um, could lead to uh, labor being uh kind of kicked in there was any kind of, um, amniotic leaking, amniotic fluid leaking, so when, when that happened we decided OK let’s call her.

Going Rogue

The next month, Todd and I checked into a hotel in Dallas. The following day I was scheduled to keynote another oil and gas conference. My pregnancy was going fine, and with five weeks to go, I felt great. But at 4 a.m., a strange sensation low in my belly woke me and I sat up straight in my bed.

It can’t be, I thought. It’s way too early.
Moments later, I shook Todd awake.

“Something’s going on.”
He sat up in bed, instantly alert.

“I’m calling CBJ.”
“No, don’t do that. It’s one a.m. in Alaska.” I didn’t want to call anyone yet.

I just wanted to take stock and see whether this baby was really coming. I also wanted time and pray and asked God silently but fervently to let everything be okay.

Desperation for this baby overwhelmed me.

Please don’t let anything happen to this baby.
It occurred to me, once and for all. I’m so in love with this child, please God, protect him!

After all my doubts and fears, I had fallen in love with this precious child. The worst thing in the world would be that I would lose him. God knew what He was doing.

Over my protests, Todd called CBJ. I told her that I felt fine and absolutely did not want to cancel my speech and disappoint the folks at the conference, including my cohost, Texas Governor Rick Perry.

We agreed that I would stay in contact with CBJ through the day, I’d take it easy, give my speech, then catch an earlier flight back to Alaska. I still had plenty of time.

Later that afternoon we entered a packed house at the energy conference, where I’d speak on the urgent need to tap conventional supplies and innovate on stabilizing renewable sources.

Sarah Palin goes on to describe her speech, saying that she had contractions when she told a joke:

Big laughs. More contractions.

Then I introduced everybody to Todd, Alaska's "First Dude," who, instead of sitting at the head of the table, was standing at the back of the hall, giving me the "get on with it, let's keep it short this time" look and practically holding the door open for our quick exit to the airport.


The audience graciously gave me a standing ovation. Then I handed the mic back to Rick and walked off the stage.

"Hey," Rick drawled over the sound system with a chuckle, "we're not finished with the program!"

I turned around, smiled, waved, and kept moving.
"I know you're pregnant," Rick said, joking into the mic.

"But don't tell me you're going off to have the baby right now!"
The audience laughed. I smiled and waved good-bye.

I thought, if you only knew!
I reached Todd at the exit, and he eyed me with a grin, "Love this state, but we can't have a fish picker born in Texas."

Many hours and two plane flights later, with Todd and our daughters nearby, I delivered Trig Paxson Van Palin into the world at Mat-Su Regional Medical Center.

Nomoosestew posted a link to the website Babycenter, where air travel during pregnancy was discussed:

Reviewed by Aaron Deutsch, M.D., August 2006

If you have a normal, healthy pregnancy, it can be perfectly safe to fly during most of it. Discuss your trip plans with your doctor or midwife, however, before booking your flight. In certain high-risk cases, your healthcare provider may advise you to stay close to home throughout your pregnancy.

You may find that your second trimester — weeks 14 to 27 — is a perfect time to fly. Once you're past the first trimester, in all likelihood your morning sickness will be behind you, your energy levels will be higher, and your chances of miscarriage will be low. However, you shouldn't travel after 36 weeks.

Before you leave, have your prenatal caregiver refer you to an obstetrician or midwife at your destination in case you need medical attention during your vacation. If you'll be traveling during your second or third trimester, it's a good idea to carry a copy of your prenatal chart. The chart should include your age, the date of your last menstrual period, your due date, the number and outcomes of any prior pregnancies, your risk factors for disease, pregnancy-related lab tests and ultrasounds, medical and surgical history, and a flow sheet of vital signs taken at each visit.

In the comments section on the item "
Is it safe to fly during my third trimester?" most moms-to-be take the issue of air travel a bit more seriously than Sarah Palin. They really don't want anything to happen to their babies. One of them had a cautionary tale about not being properly prepared.

"I flew with my second at 32 weeks and then had a prem birth (whether they were related or not I'll never know), with the third I flew a 12 hour flight at 16 weeks, and recently I've had two miscarriages before getting pregnant with my fourth. My doctor has advised me with the miscarriages and pre-term not to fly - which is disappointing (I really wanted to go away and used to be cabin crew so think of flying as nothing), but I understand it is best to avoid risks. I wouldn't want to be mid-flight if anything went wrong and it's really not worth the risk."

"I'm 34 weeks with my first and have a scheduled trip for work at 36 1/2 weeks. I work in administration for an academic medical center and even though I would be on a direct private flight traveling with a physician who happens to be a high risk obstetrician, I am forgoing the trip. My doctor explained that the minor change in air pressure (since we live at a relatively low elevation) can cause my water to break, which would force me to deliver in a hospital far away (and in this case, a small hospital with limited neonatal capabilities) without my husband and family. Despite the low odds of it happening, it's not a chance I'm willing to take. It would be one thing if the travel caution was about my discomfort, but I'm not forcing my daughter to enter this world sooner than she's ready, and definitely not because of my job. I appreciated knowing the precise risk from my doctor rather than the vague caution in the pregnancy materials I'd researched."

"These posts are right on! Including the one whose doctor told her there is a risk for water breaking and delivering away from home. However, for me, I traveled, boastfully at 29 wks w/ my first. I had dr's note and his blessing days before I left. I had no issues prior. On day 2 of my visit I felt some leaking and after 2 ER visits over 3 days, it showed positive for amniotic fluid. On the 1st ER visit they told me I was incontinent. I delivered at 30 weeks in WI when I live in VA. Very thankfully, my husband made it and I was visiting family in my hometown. The hospital is ranked 2nd & 4th in the nation for NICU and for the hospital. I was very lucky because I didn't check any of that out before I traveled."

Somebody totted up how many air miles Sarah Palin clocked in her the third trimester of Trig's pregnancy and the result was a staggering 18,000!

Dr Cathy Baldwin-Johnson appears to have a very laid back attitude to pregnancy. She had personally attended to Sarah Palin's second miscarriage and had informed the governor about genetic abnormalities and carried out tests regarding possible heart defects that could prevent Trig being delivered in the small community hospital in Palmer. Sarah Palin herself confirmed that Trig was born with holes in his heart.

It seems that Dr Baldwin-Johnson definition of "high-risk" is very different from what the lay person and other doctors would deem to be risky. The wild ride was only one of many, many flights Sarah Palin took while pregnant with Trig, never a problem with the good doctor...

This amazing doctor is also able to perform internal examinations through a phone line to check if the cervix is dilated and test fluids from thousands of miles away from her patient.

The Trig pregnacy and the wild ride, with all the contradictions in Sarah Palin's and her doctor's accounts of them, never cease to amaze!

Going Rogue has other fascinating stories about Sarah Palin's obstetric adventures and I'll look into them in a future post.

On Palin Deceptions, Audrey, in her very first post, tells us how the wild ride motivated her to start the blog.

Wednesday, 30 March 2011

Open thread - Wednesday

Sweet Pea

Sweet Pea

Sweet Pea with Dublin

Sweet Pea with Dublin

GrannyJ sent me these pictures of Sweet Pea and Dublin:

I thought I would send along some photos of Sweet Pea. Use any of them if you would like to one day. Everyone was so great with all their comments when we got her. She has got to be the sweetest, easiest puppy we have ever had. She has taken over every one of Dublin's beds but he does not seem to mind too much. We have discovered that only her mama was a lab. Her poppa was a Rottweiler- which you can see in the markings on her legs. Last weekend my grandsons were here - 4 y.o twin boys and she was terrific with them. We are so lucky that she found us.

Thank you GrannyJ, they look great together and are very handsome dogs!

Sarah Palin's Abortiongate - An interesting timeline

I really like quoting from Going Rogue when I delve into Sarah Palin's timelines.

When Track was just a couple of months old, the commercial fishing season began. Todd was low on the BP totem pole, so he couldn't take much time off to work our leased site on the shores of Bristol Bay. We depended on the season's catch as part of our annual household income, so dad and I, along with our fishing partner, Nick Timurphy, a full-blooded Eskimo, fished without our captain.


I headed to the Bay to work the site when Track was ten weeks old. Mom came along to babysit. It broke my heart to leave him for whole days at a time while I was out on the water plucking salmon from the nets, but I did what I had to do.

From the next section of the same chapter:

Todd and I shared one car, and we loved our little life together, though with the Slope and fishing schedule we still didn't see each other very much. I was surprised by how much I loved motherhood. We desperately wanted another baby right away, so I was excited when I learned I was pregnant again. We were sure it was another boy, and we decided to call him Tad, a combination of Todd and Track.

I loved the fact we had planned so well and that events were falling neatly into place in our well-ordered lives. Our babies would be a year apart, right on schedule.

We (...) fished without our captain.

Sarah obtained a Resident Crewmember license that year:

1989, 714790, BB-30, Resident Crewmember, 06/25/1989

Their fishing site:

Todd Palin has a set-net operation in Bristol Bay—he fishes close to the beach—and an informal poll of attendees suggested that he is respected in the industry. “Nushagak Bay,” Kevin Adams, a board member of the Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute, said, referring to the location of Palin’s nets.

I found some interesting data about fishing in Bristol Bay:

I can't find out for sure how many weeks Sarah Palin stayed in Bristol Bay doing what she had to do, for how many of those weeks the site was closed to fishing, if she had to stay on to make up for closures or when Todd came back from the North Slope, but this statement points to Todd not being around: "We fished without our captain."

Considering that she had to take her ten week old baby to the Bay, co-opting family members to help with the fishing and babysitting, this passage sounds contradictory to me:

I loved the fact we had planned so well and that events were falling neatly into place in our well-ordered lives. Our babies would be a year apart, right on schedule.

It doesn't sound well-ordered and the planning doesn't seem so good.

Another strange passage:

...though with the Slope and fishing schedule we still didn't see each other very much.

If she had to hold the fort that season, Todd didn't have a fishing schedule to prevent them from seeing each other, just the Slope.

Never mind. They had desperately planned to have their babies right on schedule, one year apart. Track was born on April 20, which places conception around the end of July. So it follows that for Tad to be on schedule, he needed to have been conceived around the same time of the year... but Todd was on the Slope.

Does something smell fishy in Sarah's little tale?

Please read other posts about Abortiongate for better context.

Tuesday, 29 March 2011

Open thread - Tuesday

Some birds are elegant and graceful.

Others, not so much...

But I think they're all gorgeous in their own way.

These photos were sent to me by my friend Dominique. They were part of a huge slideshow. I selected the birdie images for this open thread, but there are other themes and I'll use them some other time.

Today I needed something to soothe my nerves and these lovely creatures certainly helped...

As a bonus, watch this nice birdie animation. It old, but very sweet.

Sarah Palin, please shut up!

President Obama

Senator John McCain

Republican Sen. John McCain of Arizona was critical of the president’s timetable for action in Libya, but said he is confident the American military will succeed.

“He (President Obama) waited too long, there is no doubt in my mind about it. But now, it is what it is,” McCain said in an interview on CNN’s “State of the Union” taped Friday. “We need now to support him and the efforts that our military are going to make. And I regret that it didn’t – we didn’t act much more quickly, and we could have.”

Reality show star Sarah Palin

(Transcript of the interview for those who can't stand the sound of Sarah Palin's voice. Plus, longer version at Politicususa)

I have the impression that if Obama went to Libya and dispatched Gaddafi with his own hands, Sarah Palin would find something wrong with it. Greta Van Susteren lost her way during the interview and contradicted herself several times. Obama is wrong when he doesn't act and he's wrong when he does.

Sarah Palin doesn't understand the word humanitarian, only American interests. She doesn't understand what team effort means and doesn't recognize the international community. If she had her way, the US would be at war with half of the world, picking and choosing which regimes to change, who to assassinate, all according to her own "doctrine." Kill, baby, kill!

Now she really pissed me off.

Sarah Palin's America is the America people all over the world feared and despised. The America that had only its own interests coming into play, without regard for the interests of the people in other countries. America was involved in many armed conflicts in the past, not always with proper justification for its actions.

America also waged regime changes from behind the curtains. Brazil, Chile, countries in Central America and many others had to swallow America's version of democracy, based on America's interests only. I'll speak for Brazil, where we had to endure over twenty years of American endorsed military dictatorship, where people "disappeared," were imprisoned for no good reason or had to leave the country (if they could). If it's wrong for a tyrant to impose his own will on his own people, what makes it right for America to act in the same way, imposing her own will on the rest of the world?

The Europeans and their empires shaped the fractured world we have today; their legacy is not an honourable one, but they appear to have learned a few lessons along the way. Why should anybody want an American Empire, why should anybody want America (or any other country) calling all the shots???

Living in a peaceful world can only be achieved if we work together and remember the lessons from history. In Sarah Palin's world, might is right and whether she likes it or not, America is no longer the mightiest of them all. She has already been poking at a country that is gaining power and will continue to do so.

Sarah Palin's America is a danger to Americans and to the rest of the world.

Monday, 28 March 2011

Open thread - Monday

Mrsgunka sent me another good video. There is technology available to bring very important changes in terms of energy, so why aren't we being offered the opportunity to drive these cars? Why aren't power stations being built using the same principle?

Mrsgunka's e-mail contained the following paragraph, which then led to a link to the video:

Honda already has a similar vehicle ready, and so does BMW. It is now proven we don't need gasoline powered vehicles anymore. The back room deal with oil companies is to provide them 20 more years and then slowly introduce these cars. Imagine filling your car up with salt water then using it to power your home with air conditioning and heat. Talk about upsetting the energy market.

The video is a clip from Top Gear, a hugely popular program from the BBC.

Recent bits and pieces about Sarah Palin

It's time for another summary of recent news about Sarah Palin.

Geraldine Ferraro—Historical Footnote, but Better than Sarah Palin

Even with the higher profile that had come with being the nominee, she was unable to successfully run for higher office, losing nomination races for the Senate in 1986 and in 1998. This suggests that her main claim to fame is as a novelty candidate selected for a Mondale campaign that had little to lose with the long odds that were against it. On the other hand, she was a lot smarter than Sarah Palin and had a substantive career before being a media sensation.

I can't embed the videos from Fox News about Geraldine Ferraro, but I noticed a marked difference between Sarah Palin's and Kay Bailey Hutchison's tributes to Ferraro. Hutchison had a genuine personal account, Sarah Palin offered the usual soundbites about that glass ceiling she always mentions when talking about other female politicians. Palin treasures her one encounter with Ferraro, as if it made them BFFs... I also noticed that Hutchison disagrees with Sarah Palin's opinion on how president Obama dealt with the Libya issue...

Sarah Palin vs Bill Maher

Former Alaska governor Sarah Palin slammed HBO’s Bill Maher Sunday, criticizing the comedian after he slammed Ms. Palin, calling her “dumb.”

Although Ms. Palin did not mention Mr. Maher by name she did say that she would not waste her time “responding to personal, vulgar, sexist venom spewed my way.”

From Sarah Palin's Facebook note:

(I won’t bother responding to it though, because it was made by he who reminds me of an annoying little mosquito found zipped up in your tent; he can’t do any harm, but buzzes around annoyingly until it’s time to give him the proverbial slap.)

Contradictions... I'm not going to respond to it , but I'll do it by responding to it, comparing the guy to a mosquito. She also says she's through with the whining about the media and proves it by whining some more. Plus ça change...

Sarah Palin Has More Facebook 'Likes' Than Any Republican Presidential Hopeful

Among all Republican presidential hopefuls, Sarah Palin is winning in popularity on Facebook, as first observed by Technorati.

When looking at official Facebook pages, the former Alaska governor and TLC reality star has more than 2.8 million "likes."

We all know that a great number of Sarah Palin's "likes" come from people who are moved by curiosity and don't really like her at all. People can't follow her page without clicking "like." She may appear to be doing better than her Republican rivals of Facebook, but some of her strongest supporters seem to have changed their minds about her:

Tea Party: We Want Mitt Romney, Not Sarah Palin

Can we remove "Tea Party darling" from Sarah Palin's moniker? If the results of a new poll are to be believed, then yes.

According to a report in the New York Daily News, the poll from Pew Research finds 24% of Tea Party members say Mitt Romney is their choice for the Republican presidential nomination in 2012. Mike Huckabee was second with 19%, followed by Newt Gingrich at 15% and Ron Paul with 13%.

How did Palin fare? -- just 12% of Tea Partiers favor her right now. Of course, that could all change if or when she actually enters the race.

Michele Bachmann wasn't included in the poll.

Mitt Romney is the Tea Party new king and Michele Bachmann may be the new queen-in-waiting.

The Daily Telegraph headline doesn't agree with the body of the article about Bachmann:

Is Michele Bachmann the new Sarah Palin? Republicans warm to woman they once saw as a joke

A Tea Party favourite, Mrs Bachmann is a former tax lawyer who many moderates in the party think could prove its biggest liability in the forthcoming primary for the 2012 nomination.

Her gift of the gaffe is such that a leading Republican consultant recently said that she made Sarah Palin look like Count Metternich.

Meanwhile, back in India, the gossip websites are busy using Sarah Palin's notoriety to promote a young actress:

American politician Sarah Palin goes ga-ga over Sonakshi!

“Though Sarah admitted that she hadn’t watched her film, she was reportedly taken by surprise at the actress popularity. Sonakshi too added that she wants to do her bit in creating awareness amongst the masses, especially with regards to education and women’s health-related issues,” added the source.

Moreover, Palin was also surprised to see the newbie’s inclination towards social responsibilities, especially the emancipation of women in the sub-continent.

I saved the best until last, to close this post on a high note. Geoffrey Dunn has given an interview about his book:

The Lies of Sarah Palin - The Untold Story Behind Her Relentless Quest for Power, an interview with author Geoff Dunn

[...] my book will be the first in-depth, cohesive portrait of Palin between two covers. It begins with her childhood--in many ways dysfunctional -- and leads through to only a few months ago and her shameful response to the carnage in Tucson. Secondly, I have been leaked thousands of pages of documents--from throughout Palin's life--that no other journalist has ever seen.

I've also gotten some people to talk, both on the record and on background, who have never spilled the beans before.

It sounds very promising, we can't wait to read this book!

Sunday, 27 March 2011

Open thread - Sunday

Let's have a musical open thread. It nourishes the spirit. I chose two very different versions of the same piece: Libertango.

Astor Piazzola and Yo Yo Ma playing together... what a dream!

The second version came to me courtesy of my brother, a music enthusiast.

Funny flashback on this quiet Sunday

Here's an interview with the two Canadian comedians who pranked Sarah Palin during the VP campaign:

I suppose the phone call from Sarkozy is part of Sarah Palin's experience in foreign relations, no?

Sarah Palin is now putting herself in the same league as Geraldine Ferraro. I don't think Ferraro would have let the prank phone call get past the first couple of sentences. It's interesting to note that the only people who had to be told they were the butt of the joke were Britney Spears and Sarah Palin. One was young and not terribly bright, the other should have known better, but her narcissism (and her trademark ignorance) got the better of her.

This is Sarah Palin's assessement of president Sarkozy in Going Rogue: "He's got to be drunk", I thought. Then she blamed campaign staff for letting the call through...

Right away, the phones started ringing. One of the first calls was Schmidt, and the force of his screaming blew my hair back. "How can anyone be so stupid?! Why would the president of France call a vice presidential candidate a few days out?!"

"Good question", I thought. "Weren't you the ones who set this up?"

Let her stupidity speak for itself:

Sarah Palin: This is Sarah.

Masked Avengers: Ah, yeah, Gov. Palin.

Palin: Hello.

Masked Avengers: Just hold on for President Sarkozy, one moment.

SP: Oh, it's not him yet, they're saying. I always do that.

MA: Yes, hello, Gov. Palin.

SP: Hello, this is Sarah, how are you?

MA: Fine, and you? This is Nicolas Sarkozy speaking, how are you?

SP: Oh, it's so good to hear you. Thank you for calling us.

MA: Oh, it's a pleasure.

SP: Thank you sir, we have such great respect for you, John McCain and I. We love you and thank you for taking a few minutes to talk to me.

MA: I follow your campaigns closely with my special American adviser Johnny Hallyday (French rock star), you know?

SP: Yes, good.

MA: Excellent. Are you confident?

SP: Very confident and we're thankful that polls are showing that the race is tightening and...

MA: Well I know very well that the campaign can be exhausting. How do you feel right now, my dear?

SP: I feel so good. I feel like we're in a marathon and at the very end of the marathon you get your second wind and you plow to the finish.

MA: You see, I got elected in France because I'm real and you seem to be someone who's real, as well.

SP: Yes, yeah. Nico, we so appreciate this opportunity.

MA: You know I see you as a president one day, too.

SP: Maybe in eight years.

MA: Well, I hope for you. You know, we have a lot in common because personally one of my favourite activities is to hunt, too.

SP: Oh, very good. We should go hunting together.

MA: Exactly, we could try go hunting by helicopter like you did. I never did that. Like we say in French, on pourrait tuer des bebe phoques, aussi (we could kill baby seals, too).

SP: Well, I think we could have a lot of fun together while we're getting work done. We can kill two birds with one stone that way.

MA: I just love killing those animals. Mmm, mmm, take away life, that is so fun. I'd really love to go, so long as we don't bring along Vice-President Cheney.

SP: No, I'll be a careful shot, yes.

MA: Yes, you know we have a lot in common also, because except from my house I can see Belgium. That's kind of less interesting than you.

SP: Well, see, we're right next door to different countries that we all need to be working with, yes.

MA: Some people said in the last days and I thought that was mean that you weren't experienced enough in foreign relations and you know that's completely false. That's the thing that I said to my great friend, the prime minister of Canada Stef Carse (Canadian country singer).

SP: Well, he's doing fine, too, and yeah, when you come into a position underestimated it gives you an opportunity to prove the pundits and the critics wrong. You work that much harder.

MA: I was wondering because you are so next to him, one of my good friends, the prime minister of Quebec, Mr. Richard Z. Sirois (Canadian comedian), have you met him recently? Did he come to one of your rallies?

SP: I haven't seen him at one of the rallies but it's been great working with the Canadian officials. I know as governor we have a great co-operative effort there as we work on all of our resource-development projects. You know, I look forward to working with you and getting to meet you personally and your beautiful wife. Oh my goodness, you've added a lot of energy to your country with that beautiful family of yours.

MA: Thank you very much. You know my wife Carla would love to meet you, even though you know she was a bit jealous that I was supposed to speak to you today.

SP: Well, give her a big hug for me.

MA: You know my wife is a popular singer and a former top model and she's so hot in bed. She even wrote a song for you.

SP: Oh my goodness, I didn't know that.

MA: Yes, in French it's called de rouge a levre sur un cochon (lipstick on a pig), or if you prefer in English, Joe the's his life, Joe the Plumber.

SP: Maybe she understands some of the unfair criticism but I bet you she is such a hard worker, too, and she realizes you just plow through that criticism.

MA: I just want to be sure. That phenomenon Joe the Plumber. That's not your husband, right?

SP: That's not my husband but he's a normal American who just works hard and doesn't want government to take his money.

MA: Yes, yes, I understand we have the equivalent of Joe the Plumber in France. It's called Marcel, the guy with bread under his armpit.

SP: Right, that's what it's all about, the middle class and government needing to work for them. You're a very good example for us here.

MA: I see a bit about NBC, even Fox News wasn't an ally as much as usual.

SP: Yeah, that's what we're up against.

MA: Gov. Palin, I love the documentary they made on your life. You know Hustler's Nailin' Paylin? (porn movie)

SP: Ohh, good, thank you, yes.

MA: That was really edgy.

SP: Well, good.

MA: I really loved you and I must say something also, governor, you've been pranked by the Masked Avengers. We are two comedians from Montreal.

SP: Ohhh, have we been pranked? And what radio station is this?

MA: CKOI in Montreal.

SP: In Montreal? Tell me the radio station call letters.

MA: CK...hello?

Saturday, 26 March 2011

Open thread - Saturday

Lets have a thought provoking open thread for a change. Mrsgunka (she's on a roll!) sent me this video and asked a question:

"This was 2 years ago. Wonder what the numbers are now?"

Thank you, Mrsgunka. Now we have to get our heads around the staggering numbers presented in this video...

Palin and Bachmann - the blind leading the blind

I would like to share a glimpse into the the minds of two people I admire. Both believe that asking questions is more valuable than accepting things without further thought.

Stephen Fry

People sometimes accuse me of knowing a lot. 'Stephen,' they say, accusingly, 'you know a lot." This is a bit like telling a person who has a few grains of sand attached to him that he owns too much sand. When you consider the vast amount of sand there is in the world such a person is, to all intents and purposes, sandless. We are all sandless. We are all ignorant. There are beaches and deserts and dunes of knowledge whose existence we have never even guessed at, let alone visited.

It's the ones who think they know what there is to be known we have to look out for. 'All is explained in this text - there is nothing else you need to know,' they tell us.

We are perhaps now more in danger of thinking we know everything than in those dark times of religious superstition (if indeed they have gone away). Today we have the whole store of human knowledge a mouse-click away, which is all fine and dandy, but it's in danger of becoming just another sacred text. What we need is a treasure house, not of knowledge, but of ignorance. Something that gives not answers but questions. Something that shines light, not on garish facts, but into the dark, damp corners of ignorance.

(Excerpts from Stephen Fry's foreword - The Book of General Ignorance)

Isaac Asimov

The greatest scientist have been wrong on this point or that - Newton on the nature of light, Einstein in his views of the uncertainty of principle - and it does not lessen respect for their achievements. Scientists expect to be improved and corrected; they hope to be.

The Moral Majority, however, speaks, it would seem, with the voice of God. How do they know what they know? Why, they themselves say so; and, since they speak with the voice of God, the Moral Minority is never wrong and cannot be wrong.

And it is these ignorant people, the most uneducated, the most unimaginative, the most unthinking among us, who would make themselves the guides and leaders of us all; who would force their feeble and childish beliefs on us; who would tell us what books to read and what not, what thoughts to think and what not, what conclusions to accept and what not.

And what does the Bible say? "If the blind lead the blind, both shall fall into the ditch" (Matthew 15:14).

(Excerpts from the essay "The Blind Who Would Lead" - The Roving Mind)

Stephen Fry celebrates ignorance as the gateway to acquiring knowledge and Asimov doesn't close the door to accepted principles being challenged and corrected. Both men believe in curiosity as a motivating factor for expanding the mind.

Many prominent politicians and talking heads have their minds closed to the possiblity of other viewpoints being valid at all. Their truth is absolute and should be imposed on the rest of the country. Hey, let's not stop there - their truth should be imposed on the rest of the world!

The list of such holders of absolute truth is long, but the ones that irritate and dismay reasonable, thinking people the most are Sarah Palin, Michele Bachmann and Glenn Beck.

Two of them have ambitions to achieve higher office, so Stephen Fry's "Something that shines light, not on garish facts, but into the dark, damp corners of ignorance" would be good advice for the MSM: They should stop being dazzled by shiny objects and start shining a light on the dark, damp corners of Palin's and Bachmann's lives in order to deliver the electorate from ignorance.

The media has a duty to prevent the US from falling into the ditch.

Friday, 25 March 2011

Open thread - Friday

I have three jokes for you. Readers were enthusiastic about sharing a good laugh and sent me these:


Two elderly women were eating breakfast in a restaurant one morning. Ethel noticed something funny about Mabel's ear and she said,

''Mabel, do you know you've got a suppository in your left ear?'

Mabel answered,

'I have a suppository in my ear?'

She pulled it out and stared at it. Then she said,

'Ethel, I'm glad you saw this thing... Now I think I know where to find my hearing aid.'


A little silver-haired lady calls her neighbor and says,

"Please come over here and help me. I have a killer jigsaw puzzle, and I can't figure out how to get started."

Her neighbor asks, "What is it supposed to be when it's finished?"

The little silver haired lady says, "According to the picture on the box, it's a rooster."

Her neighbor decides to go over and help with the puzzle.

She lets him in and shows him where she has the puzzle spread all over the table.

He studies the pieces for a moment, then looks at the box, then turns to her and says,

"First of all, no matter what we do, we're not going to be able to assemble these pieces into anything resembling a rooster."

He takes her hand and says, "Secondly, I want you to relax. Let's have a nice cup of tea, and then," he said with a deep sigh ............

"Let's put all the Corn Flakes back in the box."


The light turned yellow, just in front of him. He did the right thing, stopping at the crosswalk, even though he could have beaten the red light by accelerating through the intersection.

The tailgating woman was furious and honked her horn, screaming in frustration, as she missed her chance to get through the intersection, dropping her cell phone and makeup.

As she was still in mid-rant, she heard a tap on her window and looked up into the face of a very serious police officer. The officer ordered her to exit her car with her hands up.

He took her to the police station where she was searched, fingerprinted, photographed, and placed in a holding cell.

After a couple of hours, a policeman approached the cell and opened the door. She was escorted back to the booking desk where the arresting officer was waiting with her personal effects.

He said, "I'm very sorry for this mistake. You see, I pulled up behind your car while you were blowing your horn, flipping off the guy in front of you and cussing a blue streak at him. I noticed the 'What Would Jesus Do' bumper sticker, the 'Choose Life' license plate holder, the 'Follow Me to Sunday-School' bumper sticker, and the chrome-plated Christian fish emblem on the trunk, so naturally...

I assumed you had stolen the car."

Thanks to Mrsgunka, Tumbleweed and Grammy97 for spreading some good humour.

Sarah Palin saw India from the car and hotel windows!

I have just received this video from a reader in India and must share it with you. (H/T to AE)

Did Sarah Palin think she did well in this interview?


(Open thread will follow a bit later than usual)

Sarah Palin's ignorance issues - Israel has a zoning problem


A nonconforming use is when there's a conflict between existing property use and a new zoning law. It's common for the existing use or qualities of a property to conflict with new zoning regulations. Two ways a use may be nonconforming are:

- The nature or a characteristic of a building doesn't meet zoning laws
- The activity going on in the building doesn't conform to the law

OK, maybe Israel has a zoning issue after all, for nonconforming use of land. But it's not a local issue:

The establishment of Israeli settlements are held to constitute a transfer of Israel's civilian population into the occupied territories and as such are illegal under the Fourth Geneva Convention.

In 2000, the editors of the Geneva Academy of International Humanitarian Law and Human Rights Palestine Yearbook of International Law (1998–1999) said "the "transfer, directly or indirectly, by the Occupying Power of parts of its own civilian population into the territory it occupies, or the deportation or transfer of all or parts of the population of the occupied territory within or outside this territory" amounts to a war crime. This is obviously applicable to Israeli settlement activities in the Occupied Arab Territories."

In 2004 the International Court of Justice, in an advisory, non-binding opinion—noted that the Security Council had described Israel's policy and practices of settling parts of its population and new immigrants in the occupied territories as a "flagrant violation" of the Fourth Geneva Convention. The Court also concluded that the Israeli settlements in the Occupied Palestinian Territory (including East Jerusalem) have been established in breach of international law and that all the States parties to the Geneva Convention are under an obligation to ensure compliance by Israel with international law as embodied in the Convention.

Israel denies that the Israeli settlements are in breach of any international laws. The Israeli Supreme Court has yet to rule decisively on settlement legality under the Geneva Convention.


Israel captured and occupied the territories [Gaza Strip and West Bank] in the 1967 Six-Day War. In 1980 Israel annexed East Jerusalem, but United Nations Security Council Resolution 478 declared it "null and void" and required that it be rescinded, stating that it was a violation of international law. The annexation lacks international recognition.

Israel's legal rationale for the annexation of East Jerusalem principally revolves around the notion that conquest resulting from a defensive use of force entitles the victor to unilaterally annex occupied territory. However, this reasoning has not been recognized by any other country, since unilateral annexation of territory conquered during war, even in defensive conquest, is prohibited by customary and conventional international law.

"I would take the opposite approach, by the way."

Well, well... the foreign relations expert doesn't acknowledge the Geneva Convention or the United Nations Security Council. Sarah Palin's whims would override international law and all the conventions agreed by the international community. [Does she think the 10th Amendment applies to Israel?]

Sarah Palin didn't know how to run Wasilla and had to hire a city manager. She didn't know how to run Alaska and had a shadow governor (marginally less incompetent then herself). She abused her power on more than one occasion and the ethics rules didn't apply to her...

Sarah Palin didn't know "what is it exactly that the VP does everyday day" and she definitely doesn't have a clue about what the job of an elected president of a country (any country) entails. Under Sarah Palin, the US would be a rogue state. Sarah seems to believe that the executive is the only power in the country, she wouldn't need a Secretary of State, the Congress, the Senate or the Supreme Court - "I would do this, I would do that" - all in the vacuum of her own deluded, misguided, ignorant mind...

Thursday, 24 March 2011

Open thread - Thursday

We haven't enjoyed pet pictures for a while. These photos were sent to me by a friend, just for an awww moment...

Let's finish with the picture of a special companion of one of our own friends, Ripley's cat Foofy:

Foofy has a lovely smile. Thanks, Ripley.

Sarah Palin v Obama on Libya - Soundbites v Real Leadership

Sarah Palin talked to Greta Van Susteren about Libya and was her usual gung-ho self, attacking the president for not taking the lead, blah blah. Sarah Palin's approach to foreign relations, diplomacy and strategy is "bull in a china shop" style and if anybody shows disrespect for "our men and women in uniform," it's her, not the president. In her book, the troops are there for America to display her might without any regard to the loss of human lives. She also shows disrespect for America, as any major involvement in another conflict would hurt the recovering economy.

America has taken the lead, but being engaged in two other wars, there is understandable concern abour further involvement in Libya. John Bohener demanded to know when Obama is going to hand over control of the operation to European and other allies.

There are conflicting views about Obama's approach to the situation in Libya and what role America should play in it. In the UK, some commentators said Obama is the first American president to show real leadership in a long time. On Newsnight a couple of nights ago, the general consensus was that president Obama is right in his balanced decision to let the international community take the lead, with America as a team player instead of going in with all guns blazing and taking other countries kicking and screaming into the battle as it did in the past. These political commentators recognize that president Obama is dealing with a financial crisis at home, existing wars abroad and can't afford to commit to further loss of life and to finding the many millions of dollars to fund a full involvement in yet another conflict.

Sarah Palin's simplistic "solutions" don't take the complexities of the situation into account at all. As she is now an "expert" in foreign relations, her attacks on the president will escalate and her soundbites become more poisonous, but still lack any substance or any understanding of how things work in the real world.

Jason Easley has a very good article
about Sarah Palin's views on Israel, Iran and how she's losing it.

Wednesday, 23 March 2011

Open thread - Wednesday

Mrsgunka sent me this charming video. Please note the difference in attitude to wildlife conservation compared to a neighbouring American state...

Thank you, mrsgunka.

Will Sarah Palin's personal finances be revealed?

Moseyon suggested a post about presidential candidates personal financial disclosures. I had a look at the legal requirements and they are:

Personal Financial Reports Filed by Candidates

The Ethics in Government Act, as amended, requires candidates for federal office to file disclosure reports of their personal finances. 5 U.S.C. §101(c). This is a requirement only for individuals who have met the statutory requirements to become candidates. As defined in 11 CFR 100.3, an individual becomes a candidate for federal office when either the individual or a person authorized by the individual to conduct campaign activity on his or her behalf receives over $5,000 in contributions or makes over $5,000 in expenditures.

A personal financial disclosure report must be filed within 30 days after the individual becomes a candidate or by May 15 of the same calendar year, whichever is later, but in any event at least 30 days before the primary or general election. 5 U.S.C. §101(c). Candidates should contact the appropriate office listed below for further information on forms and filing requirements. In addition, Presidential and Vice Presidential candidates must file copies of these reports with the Federal Election Commission. 5 U.S.C. §103(e).

House Candidates: House Committee on Standards of Official Conduct, HT-2, The Capitol, Washington, DC 20515 (202/225-7103). Senate Candidates: Senate Select Committee on Ethics, 220 Hart Senate Office Building, Washington, DC 20510 (202/224-2981). Presidential and Vice Presidential Candidates: U.S. Office of Government Ethics, 1201 New York Avenue, NW, Suite 500, Washington, DC 20005 (202/482-9300).

Candidates who voluntarily register as a candidate with the FEC even though they have not crossed the $5,000 threshold should notify the appropriate Ethics Committee of their voluntary registration.

Sarah Palin's financial disclosure for the 2008 vice presidential campaign:

The income and assets required by the FEC are those of the candidate and the spouse. The reports filed with APOC (Alaska) included income earned by Sarah Palin's children as well:

Will we see Sarah Palin's personal financial reports for 2011?

Considering that her speaker fees are shrouded in mystery and that America by Heart didn't do so well, would she want to make the information public? We would find out if her fees are inflated in public but much more modest in reality, we would find out how much money she made in royalties... we would learn a bit too much, don't you think?

Is he going to run or is she just going to carry on collecting speaker fees, money for her Fox News appearances, donations to her Sarah Pac and other bits and bobs for as long as possible and keep the information about her earnings all to herself?

Tuesday, 22 March 2011

Open thread - Tuesday

I received this story by e-mail:

In Washington, DC, at a Metro Station, on a cold January morning in 2007, a man with a violin played six Bach pieces for about 45 minutes. During this time, approximately 2,000 people went through the station, most of them on their way to work.

After about 3 minutes, a middle-aged man noticed there was a musician playing. He slowed his pace and stopped for a few seconds, and then he hurried on to meet his schedule.

About 4 minutes later the violinist received his first dollar. A woman threw money in the hat and without stopping, continued to walk. At 6 minutes a young man leaned against the wall to listen to him, then looked at his watch and started to walk again.

At 10 minutes a 3-year old boy stopped, but his mother tugged him along hurriedly. The kid stopped to look at the violinist again, but the mother pushed hard and the child continued to walk, turning his head the whole time. This action was repeated by several other children, but every parent - without exception - forced their children to move on quickly.

At 45 minutes the musician was till playing continuously. Only 6 people stopped and listened for a short while. About 20 gave money but continued to walk at their normal pace. The man collected a total of $32.

After an hour he finished playing and silence took over. No one noticed and no one applauded.

There was no recognition at all.

No one knew this, but the violinist was Joshua Bell, one of the greatest musicians in the world.

He played one of the most intricate pieces ever written, with a violin worth $3.5 million dollars.

Two days earlier, Joshua Bell sold-out a theatre in Boston where the seats cost an averaged $100 each, just to sit and listen to him play the same music.

This is a true story. Joshua Bell, playing incognito in the D.C. Metro Station, was organized by the Washington Post as part of a social experiment about perception, taste and people's priorities.

From the Washington Post:

As it happens, exactly one person recognized Bell, and she didn't arrive until near the very end.

Stacy Furukawa positioned herself 10 feet away from Bell, front row, center. She had a huge grin on her face. The grin, and Furukawa, remained planted in that spot until the end.

"It was the most astonishing thing I've ever seen in Washington," Furukawa says. "Joshua Bell was standing there playing at rush hour, and people were not stopping, and not even looking, and some were flipping quarters at him! Quarters! I wouldn't do that to anybody. I was thinking, Omigosh, what kind of a city do I live in that this could happen?"

When it was over, Furukawa introduced herself to Bell, and tossed in a twenty. Not counting that -- it was tainted by recognition -- the final haul for his 43 minutes of playing was $32.17. Yes, some people gave pennies.

"Actually," Bell said with a laugh, "that's not so bad, considering. That's 40 bucks an hour. I could make an okay living doing this, and I wouldn't have to pay an agent."

Recent bits and pieces about Sarah Palin

It's been a busy weekend for Sarah Palin. Her visit to India and speech were not really a sucess. Her shallow platitudes didn't go unnoticed.

An Indian website gently pokes fun at her speech:

On the perfidious Britishers

‘Friends: our two democracies understand this struggle for freedom. It’s the struggle of those who defiantly dumped tea in Boston Harbor to protest a British tea tax. And it’s the struggle of those who courageously marched to the seacoast near Don-dee [sic] to make their own salt in defiance of a British salt tax! This hunger for ‘Freedom & Opportunity’ is proof that what we call the “American Dream” is not just “American.” It is the universal dream of people everywhere! I believe it’s created within us!’

Misuses the word ‘enormity’

‘There, in my home state of Alaska, we’re so proud of nature’s beauty & our towering mountains, but certainly here relatively near the spectacular Himalayas can I appreciate an even greater sense of nature’s enormity! One of the mountains near my home (I see it everyday from my kitchen window!) is called “Pioneer Peak”’

Kapil Komireddi
was more direct:

Palin was out of her depth. It’s appalling enough that a contender for the American presidency, the putative leader of a popular anti-government movement, cannot conjure up a compelling vision for her country. But the speech also confirmed Palin’s illiteracy in foreign affairs. Talking about energy – the centerpiece, apparently, of her “vision” for America — Palin had no words to assuage Indian anxieties about nuclear energy in the wake of the tragedy at Fukushima in Japan. Energy-starved India is likely to be one of the world’s biggest markets for American nuclear technology, but Palin was content with empty platitudes: there was repeated praise of free-trade, condemnations of government spending, and even a mention of the moose her daughters had recently spotted outside their house in Alaska.

Opinions on Sarah Palin's visit to Israel are divided. David Frum, a member of the Republican Jewish Coalition, thinks she will lose support and votes. His viewpoint is purely political. On the other hand, Morton Klein, president of the Zionist Organization of America, believes the trip will help her, but he focuses on her biblical motives for supporting Israel.

David Frum:

Sarah Palin is visiting Israel, a move which normally helps GOP candidates. But as my latest CNN column points out, by ignoring the Republican Jewish Coalition she may be writing off an opportunity to broaden her support.

The RJC local chapters are active in almost every state. Jewish Republicans may seem a minority of a minority, but the local chapters contain disproportionate numbers of local Republican activists — the kind of people who make a difference in a state primary.

Over the months since November 2008, the RJC had repeatedly offered to organize an Israel tour for Palin. They have repeatedly invited Palin to speak at their meetings. As a member of the RJC board, I know that Palin’s team engaged in extended conversations about these invitations. Yet they were abruptly shelved. The RJC organization learned that its invitation would not be accepted the same way everybody else did: by reading the newspaper.

Why? We cannot know for certain. But we do know this: Some members of the RJC board — including me, and one or two others — have publicly said critical things about Palin.

The seeming result: Palin decided the RJC was dead to her.

Morton Klein, in this article: Sarah Palin Woes Evangelical Vote with Pro-Israel Stance, Says Zionist Group (woes?)

Morton Klein, the national president of Zionist Organization of America, said Palin’s expression of support for the Jewish state while visiting a holy site will definitely help her politically.

“This will only increase her votes,” Klein told The Christian Post.

Palin’s trip to the Jewish state is speculated to be an effort to energize her base.

Her comments about Israel’s effort to restore the tunnels along the wall are in line with the views of Christian Zionists, who defend Israel’s occupation of the West Bank on biblical grounds.

Christian Zionists favor Israel because they say God has named Jews as His chosen people. These conservatives and others have also criticized President Barack Obama for not supporting Israel enough despite Israel being the U.S.’s strongest ally in the Middle East.

ZOA’s Klein insisted, “Evangelicals are more supportive of Israel because they believe in the Bible.”

Sarah Palin, he said, is definitely a pro-Israel evangelical. Klein, who said he knows Palin personally, said she had a picture of an Israeli flag in her office while governor of Alaska.

Another item making the news is Sarah Palin's aborted visit to Bethlehem:

Daily Telegraph

Sarah Palin has emerged at the centre of a potentially embarrassing mystery when she abruptly aborted a visit to Bethlehem just yards from an Israeli checkpoint guarding the entrance to the city of Christ's birth.

The Guardian

Sarah Palin apparently had second thoughts about crossing an Israeli checkpoint on Monday to visit Bethlehem during a three-day visit to Jerusalem.

The former governor of Alaska pulled up to the checkpoint run by the Israeli border police to the south of Jerusalem in a white people carrier, with her husband, Todd, her assistant and Israeli guides.

None of the occupants left the car nor did they speak to the police officers at the checkpoint, according to photographers at the scene. They then turned around and drove away. A spokesman for the Israeli police said there was no incident at the checkpoint and a spokesman for the Israeli army said that Palin's group had not co-ordinated a visit to the occupied Palestinian territory.

The right wing Israeli Prime Minister appears to be very keen on Sarah Palin:

Former Republican vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin and her husband Todd concluded their brief first visit to Israel on Monday by meeting Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and his wife Sara at his official residence in Jerusalem.

Ahead of the meeting, Netanyahu’s office checked with Palin to see whether they could expand it to a full reception for her with other politicians and aides, but she politely declined.

J Street officials, who are in Israel for a meeting of the Knesset Diaspora Affairs Committee, complained on Monday that Netanyahu had refused a request to meet with them but had chosen to meet with Palin.

The left-wing American lobby’s president, Jeremy Ben-Ami, said he had wanted to meet with Netanyahu “to introduce ourselves and explain how we can work together as allies.”

Ben-Ami wrote in a letter that “while the Prime Minister doesn’t have time to meet a movement that now represents over 170,000 pro- Israel, pro-peace supporters, he has time to host Sarah Palin for dinner.”

Yesterday was World Down Syndrome Day. Did you see Sarah Palin's enthusiastic tweet and encouraging the Facebook note about it? *crickets*

She had her phone with her in Israel...