Now there's a Palin wine. It's called Palin Syrah, reports the Web site Seriouseats.com, and its creation had nothing to do with the rise of VP candidate Sarah Palin, according to San Francisco wine bar owner Chris Tavelli.
When Tavelli chose the wine, Palin wasn't on his radar screen. Any parallels people draw between Palin Syrah and Sarah Palin are a "total coincidence," Tavelli said.
It's cheap ($13/bottle), Chilean and organic, described in his tasting notes as "white pepper, madrone, dry." A regular customer thinks he should amend those notes to read: "moose meat, salmon, hint of gunpowder."
Since her VP nomination, though, sales have plummeted. Tavelli says he has two cases left. He'll wait to see the outcome of the election before deciding to re-order.
Free Sarah Palin from "chauvinistic chains." That was CNN anchor Campbell Brown's "rant," as she called it, prompted by the control the McCain campaign exerted Tuesday over the VP candidate's minimal access to the media. You can watch it here, but here's an outtake:
"Tonight, I call on the McCain campaign to stop treating Sarah Palin like she is a delicate flower that will wilt at any moment. . . . By treating Sarah Palin different from the other candidates in this race, you're not showing her the respect she deserves."
"Free Sarah Palin. Free her from the chauvinistic chains you're binding her with. Sexism in this campaign must come to an end. Sarah Palin has just as much a right to be a real candidate in this race as the men do. So let her act like one.
Maureen Dowd of The New York Times was acidic over Palin's brush with world leaders in New York.
Sarah huddled with Henry in his Park Avenue office, next to pictures of Ford and Reagan. The two made an odd couple: the last impure Rockefeller Republican and the first pure Rovian Republican, grown totally in the petri dish of cultural crusaderism.
Meanwhile, Palin look-alikes are popping up. The New York Daily News invested time and energy in creating a Palin imitator and sending her around New York for reaction Monday. See its photo gallery of New Yorkers reacting, read the account of it here.
The Daily News hired 29-year-old look-alike Kristy Webb to walk in Palin's patent leather pumps for a day - accompanied by two fake bodyguards - to see what kind of welcome she'd get when she spends the day here Tuesday.
The verdict: Sorry, Sarah. New Yorkers can't wait to meet you, but not too many of them are going to vote for you.
In Bangor, Maine, a local TV newscaster is said to be a double for the VP candidate, reports USA Today and the local newspaper, Sun Journal. Her name is Cindy Michaels at WVII-TV, who she says she perfected her look (updo and glasses) long before Palin became a household word. According to the newspaper, one reader complained that Michaels was "the K Mart version of Sarah Palin."
Does your head hurt yet? Maybe this will help. Here's the latest collection of Palin humor from Barely Political.com.
"Sarah Palin's husband has refused to testify in an abuse of power investigation in Alaska. He was given a subpoena, and he is ignoring it. So it looks like this guy's going to have no trouble fitting into Washington. He seems to pick it up right away. It's like second nature" -- Jay Leno
Speaking of Todd Palin, he didn't escape the New York news media either. "Dad at play on Sarah's big day," reads The New York Post headline. He took Trig, Piper and Willow to the carousel in Central Park and bought the kids hot dogs, soft pretzels and ice cream, which they ate on a park bench.
"They looked happy. They all rode the carousel. They were enjoying themselves," carousel operator Charlie Mendoza said.
Mendoza - who has given rides to Angelina Jolie and Robert De Niro - said he did not bar the public from going on the rides while the Palins were there.
"We don't shut down for anybody," Mendoza said.
Palin's Troopergate moves get a bad reaction in Alaska. But it's not all light around Palin. Time magazine reports that the Alaska governor is getting bad ratings at home.
But almost every move she has made related to Troopergate since she was named McCain's running mate has damaged her credibility and standing. Most recently the shifting public explanations for why Monegan was fired have looked shaky. At one point it was that they didn't share the same general law enforcement priorities, at another it was that he hadn't done enough to crack down on rural bootlegging, and most recently it was for his unauthorized travel to Washington to lobby for federal dollars.
Even in iconoclastic Alaska there are rabid Democrats and rabid Republicans who now only view Troopergate through the lens of national politics. But far more people, on both sides, see this as a more nuanced situation and one that may end up costing Palin more here than it ever should have.
The Alaska Politics blog posted Ivan Moore's latest poll numbers this morning, showing a drop from Palin approval ratings in the 80s down to 68 percent. Alaska Dispatch, looking at the same numbers, asks "Is the honeymoon over?" And CNN.com quotes Rep. Jay Ramras, the Republican chairman of the Alaska House Judiciary Committee, saying he has confidence in the Legislature's investigation of Palin's firing of former Public Safety Commissioner Walt Monegan. He said he wants it to continue.
The Legislature's inquiry is scheduled to be completed Oct. 10, and Ramras said there was "zero chance" it would be shut down. Though two lawsuits have been filed to halt the investigation, he said, the investigator hired by lawmakers has enough documents and interviews to write a "materially complete" report.
"There's no question the report is going to be produced," he said. "There is a question of which folks will participate in it and which ones won't."
Troopergate investigator draws praise. ABC News quotes former Mayor Tony Knowles on the investigator hired by the state Personnel Board to look into Gov. Sarah Palin's firing of former Public Safety Commissioner Walt Monegan.
"He's very solid. He'll do a good job," Knowles said of Tim Petumenos.
Jeff Feldman, the attorney representing Monegan, told ABC that he has worked with Petumenos in the past and respected his work.
In 1982, Petumenos won a conviction against former state Sen. George Hohman over a bribery deal involving two Canadian aircraft. In 2002, his firm handled the $15 million bond issue for Wasilla's hockey complex, a pet project of then-mayor Palin.
Some remain skeptical of the independence of the Personnel Board investigation.
Meanwhile, state Democrats charge that the Personnel Board can't be trusted with an investigation because it is weighted with political supporters of Palin's.
"One donated to her campaign, one was appointed by her," argued State Sen. Bill Wielechowski of Anchorage. "It's stocked with people she appointed or supported her. . . I don't have a high degree of confidence in what they will issue."
In other news and views critical of the Alaska governor:
> In Alaska, community organizers have real responsibilities (Los Angeles Times)
In response to Palin's convention remark about community organizers, writer Steve Lopez visits with Anchorage community organizers to see what they do.
When I first began asking around town for the names of community organizers, people quickly mentioned Mark Butler. He's the manager of the Anchorage Federation of Community Councils, a nonprofit that is somewhat similar to the neighborhood councils we have in Los Angeles.
"Alaska is a place where, if you're interested, you can really make a difference," Butler said.
> Palin and sexual abuse policies (Alaska Real)
When it comes down to it, Palin hasn't made a difference in any of the real issues of the state, and her stand on sexual abuse is turning back the clock. We can't afford to go back. We've been the bottom-rung state in this area for nearly half of our existence as a state. We may be number one for wealth, but the poverty of solutions for the worst problems is becoming more and more apparent.
> Robert F. Kennedy Jr.: Palin's Big Oil infatuations (Los Angeles Times)
When oil profits are at stake, her fantasy world appears to have no boundaries. About American's deadly oil dependence, she mused recently, "I beg to disagree with any candidate who would say we can't drill our way out of our problem."
I guess the only difference between Sarah Palin and Dick Cheney is ... lipstick.
Wall Street's potential federal bailout draws approval and warnings for Alaskans. KTOO reports that Alaska Permanent Fund trustees and investment experts who met in Juneau yesterday remain "bullish" on the U.S. government's $700 billion plan to stabilize financial markets. The $35 billion fund lost $800 million last week, but fund officials say it made up most of that loss since then.
Permanent Fund board chairman Steve Frank: "We are in pretty good shape to weather what we think will be a temporary downturn in the market."
But KUAC, in an interview with Joel Rosenblatt, a Stanley Morgan financial adviser with clients in Alaska, sounded a more cautionary. Rosenblatt warned against a sudden move away from stocks, but was critical of unregulated hedge funds and warned that ordinary Americans may feel the effect of the turmoil on Wall Street.
Ocean acidity threatens Alaska waters. KFSK reports that the surface layer of the world's oceans has been "acidified" by 30 percent in the last 60 years. Research scientist Jeff Short from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration explained the concern.
New research suggests that increasing carbon emissions in the atmosphere is producing carbonic acid in the ocean, which can affect the shells on sea creatures.
Short referred to studies on the pteropod snail. New research shows that exposure to high levels of this bicarbonate disintegrates the snail's shell. That's could be bad for the future of salmon fisheries, as pink and chum salmon prey on these snails, he said.
Other headlines of interest to Alaskans:
> Fairbanks carbon emissions are higher than the national average (Fairbanks Daily News-Miner)
Fairbanks released 64 percent more greenhouse gases per resident last year than the national average, according to new estimates from an energy center.
The report, an energy-and-emissions audit, ordered by the Fairbanks North Star Borough, will serve as a baseline document for Fairbanks, where business and government leaders have responded to skyrocketing energy costs the same way many homeowners have - by looking for ways to calculate, and if possible, curb, energy use.
The move is potentially a new delay for a mine that was supposed to be close to starting production after nearly two decades of development. Earlier this year the mine estimated an early 2009 start. The new estimate is late 2009 if the high court rules in its favor.
The decision also means that Coeur has chosen to fight environmental groups instead of going with a plan they support.