Paul Jenkins

So, imagine you are Sarah Palin and in a distracted moment you kinda torture the Paul Revere story in front of a pesky reporter despite your attending six or 12 colleges. The next thing you know, Margaret Thatcher, former Head Babe of the Free World, refuses to have anything to do with you. That's right. Margaret Thatcher, of all people, a woman you profess to adore and admire and want to meet, treats you, ironically, as if you have Frank Murkowski cooties. Bugger off, she says. In fact, not only does the Baroness Thatcher see you as akin to a dose of political smallpox or a nasty rash, but an aide tells a snooty London newspaper that chatting you up as you wing your way to the Sudan -- and you're going only because you can see it from your new house -- would be belittling to the old girl...Paul Jenkins
As they prepare to finally cough up more than 24,000 pages of Sarah Palin's emails gleaned from her brief, odd stint as governor, Alaska officials tut-tut they are going to withhold 2,415 pages from the public. Why? Those communications are privileged, personal or somehow exempt from Alaska's disclosure laws. Or so they say. How convenient. Guess where the good stuff will be. No, really. Guess. Now, you might wonder, as I do, how emails sent or received by a governor or her minions on state time, using state resources, yakking about state business can be personal or exempt from disclosure laws. But state officials say there is the right to privacy thing and the attorney-client privilege thing and the "deliberative process" thing. Apparently -- and it was a shock to me -- there is no...Paul Jenkins
There is more than a little cosmic weirdness afoot. After yet another in a long string of delays, Alaska promises to release next month at least some of the 26,500 emails sent by Sarah Palin during her demi- governorship. Those emails have been sought by news media and private citizens for more than two years. In a strange juxtaposition, conservative filmmaker Stephen K. Bannon plans to release a "two-hour-long, sweeping epic" next month about Palin's rise to power in Alaska, reports RealClearPolitics' Scott Conroy, who viewed a rough cut of the film. He is the author of "Sarah from Alaska." Conroy says the film "attempts to explain and justify the biggest stain on Palin's record: the fact that she abruptly quit her governorship two years ago." The story, Conroy says, is that Palin...Paul Jenkins
It is time for TransCanada, Exxon and the state to lay their cards on the table; time to tell Alaskans whether their natural gas pipeline project is deader than Donald Trump's presidential campaign. To almost nobody's surprise, BP and Conoco Phillips yanked the plug on their Denali gas line project, an effort to build a $35 billion, large-diameter natural gas pipeline from Alaska's North Slope to points south. Who could blame them? The companies said that after more than three years and $165 million they could not drum up enough binding "ship-or-pay" agreements to secure financing. That leaves former Gov. Sarah Palin's gas line Frankenstein the only project still kicking, but even it is gasping for air, living out its days on the state's generous dole. The history of this mess is painful...Paul Jenkins
When I was a kid, a bunch of us would hang around outside a busy liquor store near a major road intersection. Traffic was brisk in the early evening and there always was an army of bums in the shadows at the edge of the store's parking lot. We would wait, looking for the right mark to go inside and buy beer or vodka for us. Oh, we tried to rustle it up ourselves, but no matter how we tried we could not pass for 21. The ID we swiped from my buddy's big brother did not work, either. We'd get tripped up on, "What is your birth date?" or "That's funny, you don't look like your picture." We had no choice but to hire the job done. It did not take long to get the booze, pay our supplier enough for a bottle of his own and be on our merry way to a party or the beach. It was a regular thing...Paul Jenkins
While devouring Geoffrey Dunn's excellent new book, "The Lies of Sarah Palin," it hit me like a bolt out of the blue, "Good grief, what if she does not run in 2012? What if she is satisfied to carp from the cheap seats? What will happen to those of us who patiently have waited for the gaffes, the faux pax, the Palinisms?" Without her, the 2012 campaign would be painfully dull, a lackluster bit of political blah-blah-blah. What would commentators comment about? What would talking heads talk about? What about the new words, like "refudiate," the tweetmeister offers up? On the GOP side, heaven forbid, conservatives could find themselves stuck with only the wit and wisdom of Mitt Romney or Newt Gingrich, or Ron Paul; or Tim Pawlenty or Rick Santorum. Oh, and for a measure of wackiness, there'...Paul Jenkins
Oil production in Alaska is drying to a dribble. North Slope industry investment is stagnant. Exploration has fizzled. Alaska's Clear and Equitable Share oil rip-off is strangling the state. Hey, let's go on a road trip, yeah, a "Norway Policy Tour." Fourteen of Alaska's lawmakers planned to jet off with business and community leaders to do just that. They wanted to get a feel for how that small, but rich, nation handles Arctic issues, manages its very fat sovereign wealth fund and deals with economic and energy development. Let's be clear. The trip, postponed because of the special legislative session, is not a junket. It will entail torturous, 11-hour days, eating of vast quantities of lutefisk and the ritual wearing of Elmer Fudd hats. The it's-not-a-junket tour is being put together...Paul Jenkins
If you are numbed by the blah-blah-blah of today's cookie-cutter politics, listening to Donald Trump is like sticking your finger into a light socket. The guy is grim death for stodgy politics, a one-man carnival, a heart attack for Republicans and Democrats alike. Only a few weeks ago, The Donald was content being a filthy-rich real estate tycoon and star of "The Apprentice," his reality TV show. Then, with Obama's poll numbers tanking -- even Charles Manson says he's an "idiot" -- The Donald started yakking about running for president. The talking heads pooh-poohed it as crass self-promotion, but now the 64-year-old zillionaire is beginning to look like a candidate. He flits here and there doing nonstop interviews, assuring everyone he is the Democrats' worst nightmare, and GOP leaders...Paul Jenkins
It will be interesting to see how, or even whether, Gov. Sean Parnell reacts to the Alaska Senate's thumbing its nose at reforming Alaska's Clear and Equitable Share oil tax during the misbegotten legislative session thankfully coming to an end. Unafraid of Parnell, senators spit on his shoes and went about the business of spending an embarrassing amount of state money -- can you imagine a $3 billion capital budget? -- and made it clear they could not begin to be bothered by what he thinks about them or ACES. Oh, and we're not doing anything about it, anyway, they said. Now, it is Parnell's turn. He would not be the first governor to go bonkers at this kind of legislative braggadocio. The question is: Will he? Parnell successfully pushed his House Bill 110 through the Legislature's lower...Paul Jenkins
The city's election is behind us, thankfully, and now it is time to do something smart and move future balloting from April to November, and link it up with the state's general election. Oh, and we again should require 50 percent, plus one vote, to win office in Anchorage. Having the city election on the first Tuesday in April, as we have done since the early 1990s, has contributed to lousy participation, low public interest and a political system dominated by unions and special interest groups that flourish in the vacuum caused by voter disinterest. City elections draw more flies than voters, and the withering effects are obvious -- and grim. In the previous election, only 18 percent of registered voters even bothered to vote. On Tuesday, the turnout was better by just a whisker. Only 21...Paul Jenkins