the adventures of ernie bufflo

things magical and mundane


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bumper to bumper

So, Sarah Palin’s latest thing is telling her fans to approach people with Obama stickers on their Subarus and ask them, “How’s that hopey changey thing workin’ out for ya?” You don’t need me to break that down for you, but let me just say that if I manage to avoid approaching people who STILL have Bush ’04 stickers on their cars to thank them for helping destroy our country for 8 long and horrible years, and if I can avoid sticking my tongue out and hollering “Ha ha, you LOST!” at people who have McCain/Palin stickers on their cars, then maybe Palin fans could avoid bugging me about my Obama car magnet.  Not to mention, some guy already ran a father and his daughter off the road for having an Obama sticker on their car, BEFORE Palin made that statement, so she’s basically inciting violence (again).

But then, today, I saw some bumper stickers on a Subaru that made me want to flag the drivers down and ask them if they wanted to be BFFS.  I saw this on my way home:

Because that’s a crappy phone picture I took all stalker style (I blurred out the license plate so as not to be too stalkeriffic), I’ll tell you what some of the stickers say: “Pro-child, Pro-Family, Pro-Choice” “Vaginas” “Uppity Women Unite” and “My kid has more chromosomes than yours.” SC, I probably don’t need to tell you, is quite a red state. So seeing a bunch of feminist and disability activist stickers on a car is rare and rather heartwarming for this bleeding heart liberal.  I wish I could have pulled up alongside and waved and told the driver, “Hi, your stickers rule!”  But the traffic didn’t allow.  I sure hope that Subaru driver doesn’t get accosted by Sarah Palin fans, but if they do, I have a feeling they can handle it.

Just in case any of you get accosted by a Sarah Palin fan who wants to know how that “hopey changey thing is workin out for ya,” you can check out this handy list of awesome hopey changey things Obama has done in the past year or so in office.  Then you can say, “Well, it’s workin’ out pretty darn well, actually!”  And then you can feel like another sticker I saw in a parking deck today– like a Righteous Babe (or Dude):


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don’t let the door hitcha on your way out

So, almost a month after her crazy pre-Fourth-of-July “Declaration of Independence,” Sarah Palin is no longer governor of Alaska, having handed over power to the Lt. Gov. who was sworn in yesterday after Palin, apparently wearing the hide of a one-eyed one-horned flying purple people eater that she hunted aerially, gave a pouty and trademarkedly random farewell speech that many pundits have compared to a poorly given high school commencement address.

Despite the fact that Palin thinks it’s OBVIOUS why she resigned, we still don’t really know why.  My best impression given what she’s said?  The press is mean and she can’t take it.  And she wouldn’t be able to do anything in her second half of a term, anyway, even without the mean mean press, because she’s under the impression that “lame ducks” can’t accomplish anything at all, ever.

Now, people who know me, and they know how much I love this state, some still are choosing not to hear why I made the decision to chart a new course to advance the state. And it should be so obvious to you. (indicating heckler) It is because I love Alaska this much, sir (at heckler) that I feel it is my duty to avoid the unproductive, typical, politics as usual, lame duck session in one’s last year in office. How does that benefit you? No, with this decision now, I will be able to fight even harder for you, for what is right, for truth. And I have never felt like you need a title to do that.

I’m reminded again of Dahlia Lithwick’s Slate piece about Palin’s communication style. She appears to REALLY think that she’s made herself perfectly clear and anyone who doesn’t understand why she does what she does is just being dense on purpose. Lithwick wrote:

If you think of Palin as someone who never felt herself to be fully heard or understood, not truly politically realized in the eyes of the American public, her rage toward the country, the media, and those of us who fail to love and understand her is easier to comprehend. Think of an American visiting France who believes that if he just speaks louder, he will be speaking French. Palin has done everything in her power to explain herself to us, and still we fail to appreciate what she is all about. I’d be frustrated, too, if I thought I was offering up straight talk and nobody was getting the message. Especially if I held a degree in communications…because she believes she has been crystal clear all along, she’s come to resent us, too. The enduring political lesson of Sarah Palin may simply be that for most of her political career she’s been lost in translation, without fully appreciating that only in translation was she ever, briefly found.

So, no one really knows why Sarah Palin quit being governor, and no one, apparently not even Palin herself, knows what she is going to do next.  Given the fact she has reiterated multiple times now that she “doesn’t need a title” to effect change, I’m thinking maybe she’s done with elected office?  Not that she could WIN elected office anyway.

Though Palin has a small but very enthusiastic fan base, she (and those who see her as the future of the GOP) seems to misunderstand that in order to win a GOP nomination, she cannot rely solely on white evangelicals.  The Wall Street wing of the party basically hates her, perhaps because they’ve always stood for smarts and economics, two things that Palin can’t count on as strong suits.  At least one GOP strategist has called her “another Huckabee,” but in reality, she’s LESS than a Huckabee, as in a recent Washington Post poll, Huckabee outstrips Palin in support from white evangelicals, 2-1.  Imagine if Huckabee and Palin were both in the running for the nomination.  Together they’d split the social conservative wing, and a third person would likely win the nomination, probably someone like Mitt Romney.

So, if you ask me, Palin may very well continue to be a player in terms of the sheer attention that she gets.  She’ll definitely have a book, and maybe her own TV talk show, just like Huckabee.  She’ll probably raise money for the party and support candiates with similar views.  But I doubt she’ll ever win a nomination for national office, and even if she did, there’s no way she’d actually win that office.  Statistically, the more America gets to know about her, the more Palin’s favorability wanes, as was the case in Alaska as well.

So, while I love to make fun of her, particularly because I think she’s a not-particularly-intelligent whiner, you probably won’t be hearing from me as much on the subject of Sarah Palin.  All she really is, when it comes down to it, is an attention whore.  And when people like me write about her, and better yet, give her someone to point to as part of the evil evil liberal, elitist media, we are giving her exactly what she wants.  So, farewell Sarah Palin.  Don’t let the door hitcha on your way out. *wink*


bufflo roams back home

a pic from our trip: a weed near Red Rocks in CO.

a pic from our trip: a weed near Red Rocks in CO.

So, I’m back from a week spent in Colorado with family, and I’m catching up on all the things I’ve missed out on during what was probably a much needed break from the internets and news.  Seriously, my Google Reader had “1000+” items in it when I got on for the first time this morning since Tuesday (besides a little BlackBerry powered browsing while sitting in airports).  And since I’m motoring through it, I figured I’d put a few of the hits right here.  Sorta like a less-timely Bufflo Tips.  I will probably be blogging more about my trip later, but for now, enjoy some linkylinkys.

First up: I love Jenny Lewis’ video for her song See Fernando.  She’s definitely a girl crush of mine.  If someone would PLEASE teach me how to embed non-YouTube videos on WordPress, it would be much appreciated.  In the meantime, you have to watch this 60′s spy-thriller music video here.

Next, check out the trailer for No Impact Man (and Family)’s documentary!  I’ve loved following their journey on the blog and look forward to seeing the film.

  • We have been out of town for a week.  Duh.  We were staying with family who probably had every toiletry that I could possibly need and thus could have preventing me from needing to pack any.  We didn’t check any bags.  We were gone less than a week.  I overpacked.  It’s chronic.  I should have read this post, from one of my fave bloggers, Decorno.
  • Journalism great Walter Cronkite died this week, and Glenn Greenwald points out that most of the journalists marking his passing and running retrospectives are nowhere NEAR the journalist Cronkite was, and are opposed to doing the kind of reporting he did.  Greenwald writes:

    Cronkite’s best moment was when he did exactly that which the modern journalist today insists they must not ever do — directly contradict claims from government and military officials and suggest that such claims should not be believed. These days, our leading media outlets won’t even use words that are disapproved of by the Government.

  • I used to respect John McCain, even if I didn’t always agree with him, until he ran such a despicable campaign for the presidency and chose an idiot to be his running mate.  Now, he’s losing even more points from me because he’s blocking nominees to the Department of the Interior because he wants a copper mine to be allowed in a national forest.
  • Via Jezebel, I never thought Charlie Brown could be creepy.  Turns out he can.
  • Nate Silver notes that Sarah Palin really *isn’t* all that much of a fundraiser.
  • Meanwhile, in my absence, Palin decided to try to string a few coherent sentences together (a huge undertaking from the Queen of Fragments, though I’m guessing this piece was heavily edited by someone with at least a bare-bones knowledge of basic grammar) in opposition to cap and trade in the Washington Post.  Alex Koppelman of Salon’s War Room blog summarized the op ed thusly:

    While the piece is certainly more coherent than her resignation announcement or some of her past interviews, the article makes numerous unsubstantiated claims and reads like a greatest hits list of Republican talking points on the Waxman-Markey energy and climate bill currently working its way through Congress.

    The entire piece refuting Palin’s points is worth a read if you haven’t seen it yet. I like this part: “She does not rely on any scientific evidence to back up any of the bold statements she makes in the piece.” BECUZ SARAH PALIN DON’T NEED UR FANCY BOOK LERNIN’.  ALSO, SY-ENCE IS FUR ATHEEISTS.  Another good reaction to the Palin op ed can be found at The Daily Beast, written by Edward Markey, of Waxman-Markey fame.  I think I’ll trust the chairman of the Select Committee on Energy Independence and Global Warming and the Energy and Environment Subcommittee of the Energy and Commerce Committee over a less-than-one-term governor with a degree in communications that apparently failed to give her a basic grasp of Standard English any day.

  • Ezra Klein says Palin probably didn’t write it.  She signed her name to it.  He’s probably right.  He also writes:

    The term “global warming” is absent. So is “climate change.” It’s a bit like an op-ed that attacks firefighters for pointing pressurized water cannons at everything but never mentions fires, or a column that condemns surgeons for sticking sharp things into people but never mentions illness.

  • Conor Clark at The Daily Dish says “Palin’s op-ed displays an ignorance for the subject so profound it’s almost gutsy. Almost.”
  • Obama nominated a Surgeon General who isn’t Sanjay Gupta and who seems to be an all-around awesome lady.  Apparently some haters think she’s too fat to be Surgeon General, 4rlz.  Frances Kissling of Salon’s Broadsheet addresses those haters.
  • Meanwhile Ezra Klein has a sensical piece about why we as a society should worry about obesity.
  • So, a bunch of “Blue Dogs” are threatening to derail health reform.  Nate Silver points out that this could hurt them in the end, as their districts have higher rates of uninsurance than most.  He writes:

    Mike Ross of the Arkansas 4th, where almost 22 percent of the population is uninsured? This is a bill designed to help districts like his. And the same goes for most of the other Blue Dogs. A lot of the time, these guys are stuck in a tough spot between their party and their constituents. Here, those interests are mostly aligned.

  • Yay for good news when it comes to SAVING THE ANTIBIOTICS.
  • And finally, check out this piece on How Outlet Malls Rip Us Off, and maybe next time you head to the outlets, take a smart phone so you can check reference prices online and find out what retail price REALLY is.


taking Palin at face value doesn’t help her cause

So, Sarah Palin resigned almost a week ago in a rambling, babbling speech punctuated with the honking of waterfowl in front of a hastily gathered group of mostly local news reporters.  In the week that followed, pundits and bloggers have been going nuts analyzing Palin’s resignation and trying to figure out WHY.  Palin doesn’t understand why anyone would be wondering about underlying reasons or scandals.  Wearing her waders, she told ABC News “You know why they’re confused? I guess they cannot take something nowadays at face value”.

OK.  So, here’s what she said (emphasis mine):

Political operatives descended on Alaska last August, digging for dirt. The ethics law I championed became their weapon of choice. Over the past nine months I’ve been accused of all sorts of frivolous ethics violations….

“The state has wasted thousands of hours of your time and shelled out some two million of your dollars to respond to ‘opposition research’ — that’s money not going to fund teachers or troopers or safer roads…. Todd and I are looking at more than half a million dollars in legal bills in order to set the record straight. And what about the people who offer up these silly accusations? It doesn’t cost them a dime so they’re not going to stop draining public resources — spending other peoples’ money in their game.

“It’s pretty insane — my staff and I spend most of our day dealing with this instead of progressing our state now.”

Let’s take this apart one point at a time, shall we?

  • Palin seems to suggest that most of the ethics complaints are filed against her by “political operatives” and enemies.  I’ll let Salon’s Joan Walsh take this one (emphasis mine):

    All but one of them were filed by her constituents in Alaska. That one exception was a complaint by a DC watchdog group about her $150,000 clothing gift from RNC. It was ultimately dismissed, but it dealt with an unclear area of campaign-finance law…Four of the complaints were filed by a Republican former ally of Palin’s, Andree McLeod, who turned on her because she felt Palin was cutting ethical corners, hiring cronies and using a private email account to conduct public business outside the realm of public records. Many of the complaints predated her vice presidential nomination. And at least one of the complaints was clearly justified; Palin had to pay back about $8,000 in travel expenses for her children. Another is still pending: A seemingly reasonable complaint about Palin charging the state per diem when she’s living in her own house in Wasilla rather than the governor’s mansion.

    If you’d like to read a complete listing of the ethics investigations, the Anchorage Daily News has compiled a list.  As you can see, only one complaint was filed by a political operative, and many were quite serious, the opposite of “frivolous.”  Even in some of the cases in which Palin was found to have done nothing wrong, other actions were taken.  The list mentions one member of her administration who was ordered to undergo ethics training because of “troubling emails.”

  • Now about those hours wasted and dollars spent.  Where does Palin get this “millions of dollars” total?  David Murrow, a Palin spokesperson, acknowledged to a Plum Line reporter

    that this total was arrived at by adding up attorney hours spent on fending off complaints — based on the fixed salaries of lawyers in the governor’s office and the Department of Law. The money would have gone to the lawyers no matter what they were doing.

    Greg Sargeant continued:

    The ethics complaints have apparently not had the real world impact Palin has claimed, and didn’t drain money away from cops, teachers, roads and other things.

    So once again we return to the total cost of the ethics investigation, as tallied by the Anchorage Daily News: $296,000. And where do the bulk of these charges come from? Again from the Anchorage Daily News:

    The bulk of the expenses — $187,797 — appear to stem from Troopergate, the messy case involving Palin’s former brother-in-law, a state trooper, who got on the wrong side with Palin and her family. Palin herself initiated at least a part of the ethics case to counter a legislative investigation into the same matter.

    And when they report that Palin initiated part of the case “to counter a legislative investigation” what they mean is, she tried to have the investigation moved to the jurisdiction of people she had the power to fire if they returned a verdict she wasn’t happy with. Palin, as Talking Points Memo notes, “has the power to fire the personnel board’s members, the independence of its judgments is hardly beyond reproach.”

  • And now for Palin’s argument that the burden of these investigations is so crippling that she and her staff can do little else.  As Talking Points Memo reported, at the time of her announcement, there were only 3 ethics investigations still pending against Palin, hardly an overwhelming number.  And none of those three is as serious as the Troopergate investigation, which she managed to weather while remaining governor AND campaigning for the Vice Presidency.  I just don’t buy that she can’t keep doing her job in the face of the remaining cases.  If they really are as frivolous as she claims, they’ll be dismissed as quickly as the others have been.

So.  Palin is wrong about who is bringing the ethics complaints against her, she is wrong about their level of seriousness, she is wrong about how much they are costing the state, and she is most likely wrong about how crippling they are of her ability to do her job as governor, the job she promised to do for at least one full term.  Moreover, she is using the very ethics reform she champions as one of her crowning achievements as an excuse for being a quitter.  Steve Benen points out that there is more than a little irony in this, and that perhaps instead of quitting, Palin could use her immediate knowledge both of what it takes to pass ethics reform and of the flaws in the current ethics law, to improve the law:

To hear Palin tell it, her opponents are now using her own achievement against her — exploiting the law to waste taxpayer money, bankrupt the state’s governor, and paralyze state government. Doesn’t that suggest there’s something wrong with the new ethics laws? If the measures were written in such a way as to make it easy and cost-free for anyone to cripple the state’s political process, then don’t the reform laws need reforming? Indeed, even putting Palin aside, won’t all future Alaskan governors have to deal with the same problem? It sounds like Palin has firsthand experience in identifying the flaws in her own law. If she weren’t quitting, and letting her own flawed ethics rules force her from office, maybe she could work on improving the system and helping the state.


Sarah Palin is right about one thing?

XXFactor writer Emily Bazelon thinks “Sarah Palin is right about one thing.”  Bazelon believes that Palin may be correct in that she would not be able to accomplish much as governor in her final year and a half in office.  Bazelon writes:

I’m starting to see the unvarnished point. Given what a target of controversy she’s become, what legislative agenda could she push through?…It’s a funny sort of toppling: I resign because of the damage my detractors are doing to me, even though I did nothing wrong and I am still tough as nails.

I think this gives Palin not nearly enough credit for her strained relationship with the Alaskan legislatures and other government officials. Prior to being tapped as McCain’s VP pick, Palin achieved most of her successes in Alaska through bipartisanship. Time Magazine’s Jay Newton-Small brought this up in his piece on “Five Reasons Alaskans Think Palin Quit.” He quotes Harry Crawford, an Anchorage Democrat:

With Sarah, we were able to do things that we’d been trying to do for 25 years. Everything she can point to in terms of achievements was done with nearly uniform Democrats votes and just a smattering of Republican votes.

And then Sarah went and bit the hand that fed her all the little victories she highlighted on her resume as she ran for VP by running a dirty, nasty, hateful campaign that culminated in people shouting threats against Obama at her rallies. She accused a sitting Senator of “palling around with terrorists.” Perhaps she expected never to come back to Alaska, but she couldn’t have expected to come back and have everything be hunky dory after she led one of the most despicable campaigns in years. If Palin isn’t able to accomplish anything as governor, it’s her own damn fault.

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