Sarah Palin responds to crosshairs controversy, hugs metaphor tighter

Sarah Palin got into some controversy late last week when she posted what her critics have described as a “hitlist” of Democrats who voted for the healthcare reform bill that represent districts previously held by Republicans.

To be sure, the rhetoric surrounding the debate has been intense including controversy where a coffin was allegedly placed on the front-lawn of a Congressman (the claim is disputed).

John McCain (R-AZ) weighed in to offer that talk of “target” districts has been used politically by both sides for years and years. Indeed, even in Canada, one division of a party’s “war room” is the “target seat management” desk. And you thought that we Canucks were all polite and peaceful! As an aside, the Green Party was the sole exception and referred to their war room as a “nerve centre” during the last election.

Democrats and those on the left complain that the rhetoric, especially from those in the Tea Party movement on the right has been troubling, suggesting that some in the movement hope that revolution will come to bring change as it did after the same event over 230 years ago that inspired the name of the current group of self-described “patriots”. And as any group that combats another will do to make a point about their opponents, fringe elements will be emphasized by the one as representative of the whole of the other.

Palin, in response to the criticism, has posted another Facebook post which looks to diffuse the controversy by more tightly embracing the metaphorical. In the post she writes,

March Madness battles rage! My family and I join millions of Americans enjoying college basketball’s finest through March Madness. Underdogs always get my vote as we watch intense competition bring out the best in these accomplished teams.

The Final Four is an intense, contested series (kind of like a heated, competitive primary election), so best of luck to all teams, and watch for this principle lived out: the team that wins is the team that wants it more.

To the teams that desire making it this far next year: Gear up! In the battle, set your sights on next season’s targets! From the shot across the bow – the first second’s tip-off – your leaders will be in the enemy’s crosshairs, so you must execute strong defensive tactics. You won’t win only playing defense, so get on offense! The crossfire is intense, so penetrate through enemy territory by bombing through the press, and use your strong weapons – your Big Guns – to drive to the hole. Shoot with accuracy; aim high and remember it takes blood, sweat and tears to win.

Focus on the goal and fight for it. If the gate is closed, go over the fence. If the fence is too high, pole vault in. If that doesn’t work, parachute in. If the other side tries to push back, your attitude should be “go for it.” Get in their faces and argue with them. (Sound familiar?!) Every possession is a battle; you’ll only win the war if you’ve picked your battles wisely. No matter how tough it gets, never retreat, instead RELOAD!

– Sarah Palin

What do you think of Palin’s rhetoric? Does it serve the GOP well to whip up its base over Obama’s successful passage of the healthcare reform legislation? Do the Republicans need to regroup under a new issue or is it just the messaging that is unhelpful? Or do you believe that this is the right track and tone for the GOP to take to make gains in November?

Bill Ayers denied entry into Canada. So why the shock?

Today, American radical William Ayers was denied entry to Canada.  Here’s the an excerpt from the article on the story in the Globe and Mail:

William Ayers, a distinguished education professor from the University of Illinois at Chicago, said he was perplexed and disappointed when the Canada Border Services Agency declared him inadmissible at the Toronto City Centre Airport on Sunday evening.

He said he has travelled to Canada more than a dozen times in the past.

“It seems very arbitrary,” he said. “The border agent said I had a conviction for a felony from 1969. I have several arrests for misdemeanours, but not for felonies.”

According to the Canadian Immigration and Citizenship website, a decision to keep Ayers out of Canada would not have been made arbitrarily,

“Some people are inadmissible—they are not allowed to come to Canada. Several things can make you inadmissible, including involvement in criminal activity, in human rights violations or in organized crime. You can also be inadmissible for security, health or financial reasons.”

Just in case you’re wondering about the sort of criminal activity Ayers has been involved with, look no further than a New York Times piece coincidentally published on September 11th 2001,

”I don’t regret setting bombs,” Bill Ayers said. ”I feel we didn’t do enough.” Mr. Ayers, who spent the 1970’s as a fugitive in the Weather Underground, was sitting in the kitchen of his big turn-of-the-19th-century stone house in the Hyde Park district of Chicago. The long curly locks in his Wanted poster are shorn, though he wears earrings. He still has tattooed on his neck the rainbow-and-lightning Weathermen logo that appeared on letters taking responsibility for bombings.

In his book Fugitive Days, Ayers writes about bombings he participated in which included the US Capitol Building and the Pentagon.  So, now that we have reviewed a partial record of criminal activity of Mr. Ayers, why would he be so “perplexed” at CBSA’s refusal to admit him to Canada. In fact, in a blog posting by Ayers, the former leader of the Weather Underground writes of a similar experience with Canadian border service officials when he was previously denied entry to Canada,

[The CBSA official] handed me a form called “Allowed to Leave Canada” and asked me to sign under, “I hereby voluntarily withdraw my application to enter Canada. . . .” I, of course, refused.

After an hour in a holding area, he fetched me and escorted me back through security and US customs, where agents from both sides of the border shared a collegial laugh. As we made our way to the next plane to the US, officer 1767 assured me: “I’m not denying entry into Canada on the basis of your membership in Students for a Democratic Society.” I thought of the chorus from Leonard Cohen’s “The Patriot”: “Ah the wind, the wind is blowing.”

I was first on the plane, seen to my seat by my escort, and my passport returned. The times they are a’changing

Ayers’ trouble with CBSA officials seems to be a common occurrence according to his blog post,

“This has become a common-place for me whenever I travel to Canada — I’m always diverted and delayed, always questioned about my anticipated length of stay and the nature of my business, always double-checked. Whenever I’ve asked why I’m being subjected to this special treatment, the reply has always been the same: ‘Just a routine check.'”

Note that this rejected entry into Canada that he describes in his blog post happened in 1995, long before Barack Obama had been suggested to have links with Ayers, long before Obama’s political campaign and long before GOP VP nominee Sarah Palin suggested that Ayers was a “terrorist”. Therefore, this accusation by the man who arranged for Ayers to come to Canada today is moot,

Jeffrey Kugler, executive director of the Centre for Urban Schooling, is deeply disappointed in the turn of events. For him it’s a question of academic freedom. “It’s kind of ironic the day before Barack Obama is going to become president this is what the Canadian border security has done,” said Kugler. “It seems ridiculous that one university can’t have a professor from another university to come and give a lecture on an important educational topic.”

In a CBC interview today on As It Happens, Ayers was interviewed and he was unapologetic for his “illegal actions” during his time in the Weather Underground and to this day calls his acts “appropriate”.

What were his “appropriate” acts? In his own words,

“The Weather Underground went on to take responsibility for placing several small bombs in empty offices — the ones at the Pentagon and the United States Capitol were the most notorious — as an illegal and unpopular war consumed the nation.

The Weather Underground crossed lines of legality, of propriety and perhaps even of common sense. Our effectiveness can be — and still is being — debated. We did carry out symbolic acts of extreme vandalism directed at monuments to war and racism, and the attacks on property, never on people, were meant to respect human life and convey outrage and determination to end the Vietnam war.”

Seems fairly clear, doesn’t it? Though Ayers was never convicted of any crime, he has admitted to having committed criminal activity. The CBSA has previously denied Ayers. However, if you see this as open and shut, you don’t share the bizarre logic of the NDP. Here is Olivia Chow’s press release on today’s events,

New Democrat Citizenship and Immigration Critic Olivia Chow calls on the Minister of Immigration and Minister of Public Safety to allow educational theorist, Bill Ayers entry into Canada.

Bill Ayers was denied entry into Canada Monday where he was scheduled to speak on education reform at the University of Toronto.

“Canada must respect academic freedom and allow Bill Ayers to share his insights on reforming our education system” said Olivia Chow. “At-risk children deserve policies that produce equality in academic outcomes and deserve to gain high academic achievements. The decision to ban Bill Ayers must be reversed.”

When Bill Ayers became a household name during the last election and after his criminal acts were described to the American electorate, Barack Obama wouldn’t touch the man with a ten foot pole. Now, the NDP goes out of their way to speak out against the Canadian rule of law barring the admittance of a self-declared domestic terrorist.

US Election 2008: Linkstream

Newer
Electoral College: Data from electoral-vote.com: Obama 353 | McCain 174 | Tied 11
Candidates vote: Palin, Obama, McCain, Biden
Electoral College: Prediction from fivethirtyeight.com: Obama 348.6 | McCain 189.4
Voting problems: Twitter Vote Report
Get out the vote: Voter turnout above 60% a safe bet?
Voter Intimidation: Black Panthers brandish nightstick outside of polling station in PA (FNC followup)
Get out the vote: Freebies a ploy to get out Democrats?: Bush/Cheney webmaster
Get out the vote: Free Starbucks, Free McDonalds, Free Krispy Kreme, Free Ben&Jerrys for voting
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Cruikshank apologizes for Mallick column, recognizes CBC’s left-wing editorial bias

A mea culpa from CBC News publisher John Cruikshank concerning this column by Heather Mallick published on the CBC website.

In the column, Mallick calls American voters “white trash”, Republican men “sexual inadequates” and Sarah Palin a “hillbilly” among other slurs.

Here is Cruikshank’s letter (emphasis mine):

More than 300 people have taken the trouble this month to complain to the CBC ombudsman about a column we ran on CBCNews.ca about Republican vice-presidential candidate Sarah Palin on Sept. 5.

The column, by award-winning freelance writer Heather Mallick, was also pilloried by the National Post in Canada and by Fox News in the U.S. Despite its age — it is three weeks old, several lifetimes in web years — this posting remains a subject of fascination in the blogosphere.

Vince Carlin, the CBC ombudsman, has now issued his assessment of the Mallick column. He doesn’t fault her for riling readers by either the caustic nature of her tone or the polarizing nature of her opinion.

But he objects that many of her most savage assertions lack a basis in fact. And he is certainly correct.

Mallick’s column is a classic piece of political invective. It is viciously personal, grossly hyperbolic and intensely partisan.

And because it is all those things, this column should not have appeared on the CBCNews.ca site.

Healthy restraint
On the whole, the CBC News policy handbook takes a very anxious view of any mixing of opinion in with the news business. It sees the two as nitro and glycerin, innocuous on their own but explosive together. This is a very healthy restraint for a public broadcaster.

But every news organization needs to have an opinion dimension. Access to different viewpoints helps readers, listeners and viewers make reasoned choices, especially during an election campaign.

As a public broadcaster we have an added responsibility to provide an array of opinions and voices to complement our journalism. But we must do so carefully. And you should be able to trust us to provide you with work that’s based on solid reporting and free from the passionate excesses of partisanship.

We failed you in this case. And as a result we have put new editing procedures in place to ensure that in the future, work that is not appropriate for our platforms, will not appear. We are open to contentious reasoned argument but not to partisan attack. It’s a fine line.

Ombudsman Carlin makes another significant observation in his response to complainants: when it does choose to print opinion, CBCNews.ca displays a very narrow range on its pages.

In this, Carlin is also correct.

This, too, is being immediately addressed. CBCNews.ca will soon expand the diversity of voices and opinions and be home to a diverse group of writers with many perspectives. In this, we will better reflect the depth and texture of this country.

We erred in our editorial judgment. You told us in no uncertain terms. And we have learned from it.

Here was CBC ombudsman Vince Carlin’s assessment of the complaints that followed Mallick’s column,

twitter releases govtweets.com clone

Today, twitter released its own version of a website I developed in the summer and launched about a month ago.

Twitter Election 2008, like its predecessor called govtweets.com that I coded, aggregates twitter mentions of John McCain, Barack Obama, Joe Biden and Sarah Palin in real-time as a constant stream of data updated using asynchronous javascript and xml (AJAX).

I contacted some of the folks at twitter about my idea on July 22 when I was developing the website. The release of their version of the idea today is nicely designed and I’m flattered that they’ve released it to a wider audience. When a big player like twitter validates your proof of concept, you say thanks! So a big thank you to twitter!

Of course, for your Canadian fix you can check out govtweets.ca. Twitter has yet to touch the Canadian election in an official way. I hope they do soon.

govtweets update

Both govtweets.com and govtweets.ca are humming along nicely as the websites track the real-time online conversation via twitter on the POTUS race and the Canadian federal election. Here are some stats I just compiled from the levels of activity on the both govtweets.ca and govtweets.com:

In the past 8 days on govtweets.ca, there have been 303 tweets about Stephen Harper, and 120 about Jack Layton and 92 about Stephane Dion.

Comparatively, in the last 8 days at govtweets.com, there have been 24838 tweets about “Palin”, 22869 tweets about “Obama”, 20671 tweets about “McCain” and 4051 about “Biden”.

Conclusions that we can draw from this are that McCain’s pick of Sarah Palin for VP has generated much more chatter than Obama’s pick Joe Biden. Further, we can see that American politics is much more discussed globally than Canadian politics. But, I think we can also conclude that Canadians are still in the early stages of posting tweets.

And… for those of you who are wondering, I’ll be adding Elizabeth May to govtweets.ca soon.

Meet the Palins

Last night I saw Sarah Palin accept her party’s nomination for Vice President of the United States. I was sitting a couple of rows behind the VIP stand and watched as Palin’s family, the subject of intense media scrutiny (both fair and unfair), were seated and as they watched their mother, wife and daughter make history as the first woman on the GOP Presidential ticket.

Governor Palin’s family faces a phalanx of cameras

A riser (top-left) focuses their attention and telephoto lenses on Palin’s family.  At the time, the Governor of Hawaii was speaking on stage making introductory remarks about Sarah Palin.  Nobody seemed to notice.

and from above

Governor Palin accepts her party’s nomination for VPOTUS.

Senator John McCain joins Governor Palin and her family on stage after her speech.  Presidential candidates do not usually appear in person at a convention until the final day, but Obama broke with the orthodoxy and it came as no surprise that McCain showed up last night.

Here is Palin’s speech.

From the convention floor, a few observations for those watching the speech on television:

– Michigan delegates wore hockey jerseys emblazoned with “RNC”.  They chanted “hockey mom” at Sarah Palin during the speech.  Palin recognized them and seemed to integrate it as a point in her speech.

– At one point Palin emphasized that regular folks will decide who becomes President of the United States and not the media elite.  A few in the crowd stated chanting “N-B-C” and much of the convention joined in.

What to expect from Sarah Palin’s speech tonight

Alaskan Governor Sarah Palin will address delegates tonight at the RNC at the Xcel Center in St. Paul, Minnesota. Here’s what to expect from her speech.

Expect Palin to introduce herself to the American people and give a deep auto-biographical account of herself.

Expect Palin to also address the deeply personal attacks from the left-wing blogosphere on pregnancy rumours and attacks on her daughter. Strong messages of the family value of support and a call for american empathetic reflection is what we will probably see.

Expect Palin to address her special experience as the Governor of Alaska and what this means for energy independence in America. Palin and McCain will address drilling ANWAR as gas prices are on the rise for families and business.

Expect Palin to address her unique position as a woman on the VP side of a presidential ticket this year. Expect Palin to make direct reference to Hillary Clinton and thank her for putting 18 million cracks in the glass ceiling. Expect Palin to appeal to Clinton supporters, independents, Republicans and Democrats to break that glass ceiling together and move America forward with the GOP.