Now that I am also less cranky, I will say that when the final roll is called up yonder, I will do my level best to ensure my friend Bob (among other accomplishments) is also known for two things. First, “Chicken Bob” which is a delicious way to prepare barbeque chicken (see infra), and “The Bob Rule.”
I first met Bob when I was a low level flunky at the State Legislature, and Bob was a medium-high level state employee, doing a bunch of testifying or advising or some such. After one particularly trying day of fighting for Truth, Justice, and The Oregon Way (don’t ask), Bob and I were heading home when he turned to me and said “You know what it takes to be a successful politician? Not brains, talent, ambition, savvy, common sense—none of that. To be a successful politician, you have to have only one thing, and that’s absolutely no sense of self-consciousness or embarrassment.” I stopped dead, and thought about every political person I knew or had read about, and realized that Bob had found the one common denominator they all shared: everyone of them were able to say something completely crazy in all good conscience, even if they knew what they were saying was crazy.
That conversation was over twenty years ago, and nothing that has happened since then to put even a dent in The Bob Rule. I am telling you the story of Bob, because the latest twist and shake of the Sarah Palin saga has brought The Bob Rule back to the fore.
By now, certainly everyone reading this is well aware that Alaska’s own Sarah Palin has seen fit to resign as Governor.
So, intrepid people that we are, legions (we are called “Legion,” for we are many) have leaped forward to suggest reasons as to why Governor Palin resigned. For example, my niece the notorious troublemaker suggested that Governor Palin resigned, because Governor Palin felt bad after reading all the terrible things I wrote about her. I wish.
"To the extent several websites, most notably liberal Alaska blogger Shannyn Moore, are now claiming as 'fact' that Governor Palin resigned because she is 'under federal investigation' for embezzlement or other criminal wrongdoing, we will be exploring legal options this week to address such defamation . . . This is to provide notice to Ms. Moore, and those who re-publish the defamation, such as Huffington Post, MSNBC, the New York Times and The Washington Post, that the Palins will not allow them to propagate defamatory material without answering to this in a court of law."
What is it with politicians in Alaska? The Mrs. and Uncle Ted Stevens were able to “remodel” a mountain cabin, by getting $410,000. of work, with only having to pay $160,000. I guess the secret is hiring the right building contractor, which in Senator Stevens’s case was the chief executive of an oil services company that (back in the day) did a whole bunch of government work. If you want to know more about The Ted Stevens Story, you can go here.
But what are the rumours of “embezzlement” and “other criminal wrong doing” targeted at poor Sarah Palin? Well, it involves the family homestead. From the Daily Kos, here is a picture of the two story, four bedroom, four bath, 3,450 sq. foot lakeside shack that the Palins call home, valued at $552,000. All well and good. What’s not so good is that some people are asking where did the house come from. The Official Story is husband Todd Palin built the house with “a few friends [unspecified] who were contractors.”
What’s getting “re-published” is that at the same time that La Casa Palin was built, just down the road the Wasilla Sports Complex, a $12.5 million public works project, was built by Howdie Inc., a primarily residential contractor owned by one Mr. Howard Nugent. Who is Howard Nugent? Among other things, he’s a financial contributor to Sarah Palin. Many of the army of subcontractors building the Wasilla Sports Complex were also Palin contributors. If you want to see the whole laundry list, here is a link.
One of the bigger subcontractors for the Sports Complex was Spenard Builders Supply (SBS). To be fair, SBS is described as Alaska’s leading supplier of wood, floor, roof, and other building materials. However, SBS is also a sponsor of Todd Palin’s snowmobile racing team, and hired Sarah to act in a statewide television commercial in 2004. In 2002, SBS supplied the materials for both the Sports Complex, and the Palin home.
Here’s what gets the Palins (and their attorneys) all excited: the story circulating the “liberal blogosphere” (as opposed to the usual suspects that make up the Unrepresentative Eastern Liberal Media Establishment (the UELME)) is (part one) SBS and the contractors who built the Wasilla Sports Complex are the “buddies” who “helped” Todd Palin build the Palin home, (part two) they built the Palin house in exchange for then Mayor Sarah’s awarding of contracts for building the Wasilla Sports Complex. And (part three) Sarah Palin suddenly decided to resign as Governor not because everything is going great in Alaska (it’s not); nor because Alaska is projecting a $1.3 billion budget gap for fiscal year 2010 (which is 30% of the state’s total budget), and Sarah Palin is not up to the demands of dealing with the fiscal crisis (she’s not); but because she is trying to head off an investigation into who gave the Palins’ their home, and what benefits they received in exchange for the largess.
The Palin camp’s self-righteous chest thumping centers around allegations that there is a pending “criminal” investigation or a “federal” investigation. For example, in a July 4 2009 article, the Anchorage Daily News quotes Van Flein saying “I can say definitively I am aware of no criminal investigation whatsoever involving Sarah Palin. Zero.” What does that mean? Well, it could mean there is an ethical investigation, which is civil as opposed to criminal. Or it could mean there is an investigation involving the Palin home, as opposed to investigating Sarah Palin personally. Or it could mean there are boatloads of investigations of Sarah Palin—only Van Flein is “not aware” of them. But does Mr. Van Flein’s statement mean that SBS and Howard Nugent did not build and pay for the Palins’ home? Not even vaguely.
Still, the same Anchorage Daily News article goes on to quote Mr. Van Flein saying “[t]he Palins used a combination of personal savings, equity from the sale of their private home, and conventional bank financing to build the house, like millions of American families.” Okay----but did the Palins get a deal, like Uncle Ted, in that they paid in the neighborhood of thirty cents on a dollar for work and materials? Proving that would be easy enough, but apparently Mr. Van Flein’s statement failed to include particulars.
So, ‘splain it to me, Ricky: why is the blogosphere in an uproar?
Second, people not from Alaska may ask why not just go look at the building permits, and see who were the Palins’ contractors? Here’s why not: as Mayor of Wasilla, Sarah Palin blocked an effort to require the filing of building permits, so there is no public record of just who the elves were who built the Palin home.
Fourth, why is Governor Palin suddenly resigning now? On its face, her statement makes no sense at all. The timing is also strange: the Friday of a three day weekend? Either Sarah Palin truly is erratic and irresponsible, or there is some other reason she is rushing out the door. The sloppy nature of her statement also suggests the timing was rushed, despite Governor Palin’s insistence that “this decision has been in the works for awhile.” Additionally, the statement is especially bitter about what Governor Palin feels are frivolous ethics complaints, strongly implying that those complaints have driven her from office.
[I]t may be tempting and more comfortable to just keep your head down, plod along, and appease those who demand: “Sit down and shut up”, but that’s the worthless, easy path; that’s a quitter’s way out. And a problem in our country today is apathy. It would be apathetic to just hunker down and “go with the flow”. (All punctuation and grammar in original).
Is it so hard to believe that like Senator Stevens, Sarah Palin honestly feels her public service entitles her to a free house, and that she should be excused from having to admit that she has received such a blessing? I'm just asking here.
In the meantime, New York Times v. Sullivan is still good law, and I fully intend to “re-publish” everything I see fit, regardless if in Mr. Van Flein’s view it is “defamatory,” and I will certainly do my part to “propagate defamatory material.” As for “answering to this in a court of law,” as they say in the mystery stories: Bring it. And don’t stop to pick any flowers.
This recipe is simplicity itself. First, make a marinade as follows. I can never remember the exact ratios, but it’s something like this: two part soy sauce and one part vegetable oil, add like half a teaspoon powdered ginger (more if you like it real gingery, less if you don’t want it so gingery). Put the chicken inside a ziplock plastic bag, to maximize marinade contact with chicken.
Now, Bob lets the chicken marinate between 45 minutes to an hour. I like chicken with lots of soy and lots of ginger, so I let it sit overnight. However you do it, discard the marinade, and barbeque the chicken over a medium fire, being careful not to overcook it (unless you like it that way).
Chicken Bob goes especially well with corn on the cob, and pretty much everything else.