Friday, September 05, 2008

My Sarah Palin experiences

I'm not about to use my bike blog to air my political views about the 2008 election or the speeches in the Republican National Convention, although I have to admit, I'm always disappointed by the weight given to the delivery of political speeches when what matters is the content, and the convictions behind the content. But no! That's not why I'm writing this quick post. I have an hour to burn before I head out for my day-long bike ride, and it seems all the cool Alaska bloggers are blogging about Sarah Palin these days, so I thought I'd take my turn, and share my own Palin anecdotes. Especially now that I'm receiving e-mails from strangers about it.

How well I know Sarah: I've never actually met the woman or spoken to her, although I did pass up several Juneau meet-and-greets. I've only seen her twice walking down the street, always with young aide-type people, never with a huge body-guard contingent. A good friend of mine works right above Sarah's office in the building opposite the Capitol. She told me she can look out her window and see our governor typing away at her computer. She said if she were a sniper, she'd have a direct shot. I wonder now if she sort of wishes she took it. (Kidding, kidding.)

The eBay jet: Now we have another popular talking point, the unpopular jet purchased by the people of Alaska for one greedy former Gov. Frank Murkowski, which our hero Sarah Palin put up for sale on eBay to protest big bad self-centered government. Geoff and I actually bid on this jet last fall, pledging our eBay accounts to purchase the plane for a cool $1.4 million. Unfortunately, we did not meet the state's reserve price. Nor did anyone else. The jet never sold on eBay. I'm not sure how the state got rid of it - probably through a licensed broker.

The Bridge to Nowhere: Sarah Palin's flip-flop on this issue is inarguable. She undoubtedly told residents of Ketchikan that she supported building the Gravina Bridge before the 2006 election, then took all the federal money, said Alaska wasn't ready to build the Gravina Bridge, and distributed it to other state highway projects. One topic I'm surprised hasn't come up more is Juneau's "Road to Nowhere," a road that would do little more than carry our ferry terminal 70 miles north and cost several hundred million dollars to build. Palin also supported this project during the election, then immediately squashed all of Murkowski's hard-fought recon work and abandoned the road project as soon as she took office.

Juno from Juneau: Yup, I've even been receiving e-mails about Bristol. I'm surprised more evil liberal blogger attention isn't being paid to how strange all of the Palin kids' names are. My friend has this theory that each Palin child was named after the place where he or she was conceived. Track is a place Sarah Palin used to run around when she was a high school athlete. Bristol is a popular place to be a commercial fisherman. Willow is the Mat-Su Valley town that almost became our state's capital during the last big capital-move push. Piper is an airplane. And Trig ... he's still trying to figure that one out. Levi is a popular name in Utah, with Mormon origins. But my friend found the baby daddy's MySpace page, and he can say with confidence that Levi is definitely a product of Wasilla. Not sure what that means ...

Well, it's about time for me to go for my ride. Sorry for this random post. I couldn't resist.


  1. i thought that too -- the kids HAD to be named after the place they were conceived! i'm still a little lost on the originals of Trig though....

  2. I have heard Trig alludes to trigger, as in the gun part. Maybe it sounds cooler than Range?

    Anyway, Jill, seeing as how you are in the news buisness,and it sounds like maybe you want to get political, maybe you can start another blog. Then you wouldn't have to worry about chasing your fanbase away...Just a thought.

  3. I'm glad you posted this. It's interesting to read the thoughts of one of her constituents.
    Give us more if you got it.

  4. Trig could be trigonometry aka Math Class?...=-)

    I won't get into my opinion of Palin as a candidate for VP, but I must admit she has made the last week more exciting.

  5. Any fans of the Daily Show? They've had a lot of coverage of the reaction to the VP pick.

  6. I believe it was noted in the press that Trig is a Norse name -- for courage? Or another admirable trait.

    I too have had many inquiries from friends and family. I live 5 miles from the Palin house. I have to admit, my family now thinks that Wasilla might be worthy of visiting....wierd. I hate how politics and celebrity collide. (Nothing new on that one.)

  7. NY times Aug 25, 2007 reported former governor Murkowski's luxury Jet sold for 2.1 million

    Be careful...

  8. maybe since trig isn't actually sarah's child she didn't know where it was conceived... sorry, couldn't stay away from this most obvious response.

  9. Missed the humor of the sniper comment...unfortunate reference...

  10. Jill, you have a great blog. I really enjoy reading it. I know this is a little off the subject but, how did you get that cool picture added to your background? I'd love to add a picture to my background. If you have a second will you point me in the right direction.

    jake-mail@juno dot com

  11. we named our first child after the place we figure she was conceived.

    Julia - young woman
    Whitney - from he white island

    the bleached-gravel island in the Matanuska River where we think she was conceived washed away later, so she's from a place that no longer exists.


  12. @ anonymous 2:08, I bet you miss alot of jokes huh?

  13. Didn't appreciate the snipper joke. Not really all that funny.

    It will be an interesting election.

  14. Sniper joke gets two solid thumbs up. May Art roam free forever!

  15. Thanks juancho :-)

    I should know by now that two things I should never attempt on my blog are politics and humor. I'm not very good at either.

  16. It was reported in the Daily News around the time fo the birth that Trig was a family name; Todd Palin's great uncle, if I recall correctly. :)

    Both Todd and Sarah ran track in hs.

    Todd's family is from the Dillingham area and they fished Bristol Bay.

    I can't remember the personal significance of Willow and Piper to the Palins, but yeah, the Alaska town and the plane were the sources :)

    I believe it turned out that My Space page for Levi Johnston was a fake.

  17. I appreciate the perspective, thanks for the post.

  18. Nice! I've met Palin enough that this post makes me feel I should give folks my perspective. Let me think ...

  19. Jill, a quick Q is your intention of the line "evil liberal bloggers". Is this ironic and humorous or literal? I never know with you Western types.

  20. Hi, Jill. I think you need a new GPS. When you vote in U.S., you must take in account that it will influence for the rest of the world, not only for your merry-go-round, or worst, your battlefield.

  21. Sniper comment is perfectly appropriate. This "pro-lifer" advocates shooting wolves from airplanes and helicopters, including an act about a month ago where the Alaska State Government shot down a wolf pack, and then proceeded to pull 14 one-month old pups from a den and shoot them all in the back of the head.

    An eye for an eye.

  22. I am totally against the killing of any wolves for any reason. I still feel the "sniper" comment was inappropriate and fail to see any humor in it.

    I would like to read the article about the wolf killing incident mentioned by anonymous.

  23. Vito,

    Sorry. I certainly didn't mean any offense. I thought it was akin to saying "I'm going to kill my annoying cats." Obviously, no one who says this is really going to kill their cats, just as my friend doesn't really want to kill Palin.

  24. Tex ...

    The "evil liberal bloggers" was just a mostly neutral reference to the media criticisms that Palin referred to during her chaotic first week as a candidate. I'm of the opinion that the media is not inherently liberal; they're just doing their job and asking tough questions and making harsh (but fair) judgements. There were some particularly ridiculous claims on that Daily Kos blog, though.

  25. Here ya go Vito...

    Wildlife biologists kill 14 wolf pups on Alaska Peninsula
    Controversial move meant to help caribou.

    The Associated Press July 20th, 2008 12:19 AM

    FAIRBANKS -- State wildlife biologists killed 14 wolf pups on the Alaska Peninsula as part of a predator control program to help a struggling caribou herd. S

    Biologists found the 4- to 5-week-old pups when they landed to collect carcasses of adult wolves shot from a helicopter two months ago near Cold Bay, about 600 miles southwest of Anchorage.

    Biologists had killed 14 adult wolves, including mothers of the pups. "As we got on the calving grounds, we took adults, and in the course of taking adults we found there were pups," said Doug Larsen, director of the state Division of Wildlife Conservation, from Juneau.

    "The issue then was do we leave the pups to fend for themselves and starve or do we dispatch them," Larsen said. "Our feeling was that it was most humane to dispatch them."

    Each pup was shot in the head.

    "It's a quick, humane way to kill them," said area management biologist Lem Butler of King Salmon.

    Larsen justified the pup killings to halt a "precipitous decline" in the Southern Alaska Peninsula Caribou Herd. The herd has declined from an estimated 4,100 animals to 600 in six years, in large part because wolves prey heavily on newborn calves.

    "Nobody likes to go out and kill critters, particularly when they're young," Larsen said. "But when you have a specific objective and that's the way to achieve that objective, sometimes you have to do things that you don't like."

    The department won Board of Game approval to shoot wolves from a helicopter on the herd's spring calving grounds. "The main goal was to turn around what has been a precipitous decline in the Southern Alaska Peninsula Caribou Herd; doing that involved removing wolves," he said. "We killed 28 wolves as part of that program, and they came out of packs we identified and that was in keeping with the plan."

    The dens were on state land, just outside the Izembek National Wildlife Refuge. If the dens had been on federal land, "We wouldn't have been in position to go in there," Larsen said.

    The state issued a press release June 27 about killing wolves but made no mention of killing pups, only that "wolves from three packs were shot from a helicopter by Alaska Department of Fish and Game staff."

    It was the first time in more than 20 years that department biologists killed wolves from the air. Butler said it was his opinion that the use of the helicopter was more pertinent than killing pups.

    Omitting the pup killings "wasn't an attempt to hide anything, by any means," Larsen said.

    Wildlife scientist Gordon Haber, who often criticizes the department's wolf control programs, noted the pup killings on his Web site.

    Haber, who focuses most of his attention on Denali Park wolves with support from the Outside animal-rights group Friends of Animals, said officials did not publicize the pup killings because they feared public backlash.

    "They understood how strongly most people would react at the thought of state employees helicoptering to a couple of natal dens and, after killing the adult wolves, grabbing (14) frightened young pups and one-by-one blowing their brains out with a pistol," Haber wrote in his blog.

    The department explored options to prevent killing the pups, Butler said. "We looked into potentially getting them adopted by a zoo but there were no available options," he said.

    The wolf kills marked the first time Department of Fish and Game personnel have actively participated in a state predator control program in 15 years. The state's predator control plan has been limited to private pilot and gunner teams shooting wolves from the air or ground in five areas of the state, including three Interior Alaska regions, to boost caribou and moose populations. Almost 800 wolves have been killed in four years.

    An initiative on the primary ballot Aug. 26 seeks to make it illegal for anyone except state employees to shoot wolves from the air and only in cases that are declared a "biological emergency" by the Department of Fish and Game commissioner.

    Butler said removing wolves appears to have increased calf survival in the Southern Alaska Peninsula herd. Last year, less than 1 percent of newborn calves survived to 4 weeks old. This year, more than 50 percent of calves were still alive.

    Haber contends the herd will rebound without killing wolves but state game managers did not want to take that chance.

    "You can only hold off so long," Larsen said. "We held off as long as we should have."

    Killing pups in dens was a traditional method used by Alaska Natives to control wolf populations. It has been outlawed for decades, though a Native group from Bethel is petitioning the state Board of Game to allow it again in that region.

    Killing pups will not become standard department practice, Larsen said. "I think it's fair to say this was an extremely unique set of circumstances," he said.

  26. I stopped reading at the sniper joke - sorry.

  27. Thanks Anon.
    Pretty sad stuff I have to say. Appreciate you posting that.

  28. I don't get what's so wrong with the sniper joke. maybe one of you oversensitive types could enlighten me.

  29. I liked the sniper evil liberal bloggers jokes! Lighten up, people. I can't wait 'til this is all over...but I suppose it will never be over now, will it President Palin?

  30. Anon who posted the article, that's a very sad account of what power humans have over animals. Without knowing all of the facts, I disagree with the killing of the wolves. But, to compare the value of wolves' lives to a human’s life is ridiculous. I am a life-long vegetarian who has never killed a living animal, nor have I ever consumed an ounce of an animal’s body (and I believe completely in the conservation of animals and their habitats), so obviously I value the wolves lives. If you've ever consumed meat, which was the result of the killing of an animal, does that mean you should be killed as well in order to keep it even? "An eye for an eye," as you quoted. Probably not.

    For you to build a case to seemingly support the killing of a woman (“an eye for an eye”) due to the slaughtering of wolves is laughable. I’m sorry your education system failed you so badly and that you were raised with such shallow morals. Good luck in life.

  31. palin's scary. another whack job evangelical spouting "god's will" and other nonsense.

  32. jill you are a total bitch

  33. I like what I've herd so far about Palin. seems like a good person, and a breath of fresh air. Palin doesn't come off as the "liberal eats her own bitch" that Hillery does. But rather a mom that is ready to take names and kick some butt. Kind of reminds me of our 45th gov. Ann Richards (Texas). Except Palin's conservative, which is a bonus.

    Jill, love the blog.


  34. I don't agree with you Anon. The wolves were not just killed. They were not killed for food, they were not killed for pelts. They were killed as part of an Alaska Wildlife program to limit wolf number to boost caribou numbers, which is based on fuzzy science at best (ie - no science).

    To go into the den of a HIGHLY sociable and intelligent animal like a wolf and systematically blow the brains out of 14 -one-month old puppies is a crime (if not legally, than morally). The argument of human life being more valuable than animal life holds some merit, but not when the evils of that person are at a gross level. Even religious types are appalled by this type behavior - if I'm not mistaken one of the bible's main tenants is to protect the planet. Where exactly does shooting a scared wolf pup in the head fall with that.

    Imagine the scene if you will. 14 wolves are minding their own business, when a helicoptor comes out of the sky and proceeds to shoot all of them. Their crime? They were killing Caribou, something they have done for thousands and thousands of years. The helicopter lands, they find the pups. Whimpering, scared shitless pops. Cute as hell, just looking for their mom. Ever seen a five-week old puppy? Same thing. Imagine them getting pulled out of the den. Imagine the shock as the first gun shot goes off. Imagine the immense fear of the pups. It's a horrible, horrible scene. And it's something Palin supports. If you don't believe me, do your web research.

  35. I read articles about this, and as I stated clearly in my post, I do not agree with the wolves being killed. However, there are obvious reasons why a human life is more valuable than an animal's (note that I disagree with the killing of ANY animal). It's obvious that it was wrong that they were killed, but if you honestly believe that a human's life is comparible in value to that of wolves' lives, you should finish reading this and go directly to an institute to have yourself examined. You obviously do not value human life. It's scary to know there are people out there like you. People who know you should fear for their lives. God forbid one of them hits a dog with his or her car (even if it's an accident). If he or she doesn't use its pelt or eat its meat, you may rationalize that you should shoot your friend for taking an innocent life. Trust me, I do not agree with the killing of those pups. It's sad, and I have not come to peace with it, but if you think that this mother of many children who need her (some have special needs) should be left without a mother for the rest of their lives because she was shot in the head while sitting at her desk, I don't believe you could go up to each of her children and say, "I'm sorry your mother was murdered and that you don't have her to be there for you and to comfort you, but she deserved to die because of the wolves." Seriously dude. Think about it.

  36. dv8, I see your point, but I agree with anon. A human's life outweighs an animal's, even if the animals were killed for a stupid reason (which I completely agree with you!) But there are morals in this world...

  37. This comment has been removed by the author.

  38. "Lipstick on a pig...."

    Obama is imploding.

  39. This comment has been removed by the author.

  40. "an eye for an eye and soon the whole world would be blind"

  41. I really enjoy your blog and I "got" your humor. Thanks for giving us your experiences with Governor "Quaylin". I hope she and "McSame" go away soon and leave our country to heal itself under the leadership of a true American hero - Barack Obama!.

  42. in response to lisa p.

    Barack Obama, American Hero?? Huh? I don't understand

    I believe it was McCain who gave up 5 years of his life as a POW fighting for YOUR freedom to write your comments. As I recall, Barack did not serve in the US Military fighting for the Freedom you are granted each and every day!!

  43. I suspect that the quality of the responses to this post has convince Jill to never, ever write about politics again. It seems as though any reference to a current contest short circuits most humans' brains and provokes an immediate reptilian response.

    Great blog, Jill. Thanks :)


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