Tag Archives: Alaska

Multiple Standing Ovations For Governor Sarah Palin at Houston Energy Summit

Sarah Palin new glasses

Before Sarah Palin was Governor of Alaska [and after she was term limited out as Mayor of Wasilla] she was Chairman of the Alaska Oil and Gas Conservation Commission. One of the most powerful jobs in Alaska, and the oil and gas industry as a whole.

Once elected Governor, Palin was then elected Chairman of the nation’s Interstate Oil and Gas Compact Commission, which comprises all of the oil and gas producing states in America. The National Governors Association, comprised of Governors from all 50 states elected Palin as Chairman of their Natural Resources Commission.

Palin is a recognized expert on oil and gas production and has been involved in exploration and developing best practices and ethics for the industry.

She is quite famous for taking on Big Oil, numerous times. So much so, industry insiders wrote the best seller Sarah Takes On Big Oil which is still available through Amazon.

By Gary P Jackson

Governor Palin headlined the Decision’s Maker’s Breakfast at the North American Prospect Expo in Houston on Thursday. She was greeted by a standing ovation and left to one as well. “It’s always a pleasure to be back in Alaska’s sister state Texas.” Palin told the excited audience.

When asked, she still isn’t ruling out a presidential run in 2016. Many in the media are ridiculing her for not committing, never mind most so-called hopefuls haven’t either. Here’s the thing. Governor Palin still has her TV show on The Sportsman Channel and new episodes, already filmed, are still airing. Once she declares, The Sportsman Channel will be forced to discontinue airing episodes. There are only a handful of episodes left that haven’t aired. I have no idea whether Palin will, or will not run. I do know there is absolutely no hurry for her to declare, especially when basically no one else has, yet. We all know the rules seem to be different for Governor Palin, but come on!

We have some excepts from Governor Palin’s speech, sourced from several reports. Her speech included a moderated question and answer session. [Which will be reflected by highlighting questions asked]

Energy is my baby. I absolutely love it. It’s the theme that I miss most about my governing responsibilities. Being able to help spur investment and exploration and development and, you know, responsibly extracting that most valuable resource we have in Alaska and so many other places. And being able to feed and fuel our great nation with what God has created for man’s responsible use.”

My husband Todd started off with BP on the North Slope of Alaska. We raised our kids with that North Slope lifestyle. Thank you so much for paying my bills for many years.

About Obama asking Congress to designate parts of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge in Alaska as a wilderness area, although he will look into opening the Atlantic coast to oil and gas exploration:That’s a bogus exchange. The Atlantic potential out there has already been tried. … Picture a football field — that’s ANWR — and a postage stamp. That’s the size of what we need to explore.

Not to mention the fact offshore drilling has major environmental risks not found when drilling on land! ~ Gary

Concerning slumping oil prices and job cuts:Now is the time to start planning for more drilling, for more production. With downturned prices like this, it gives y’all a chance to sort of catch a breath, right, and plan for the future. We can look at it as the glass half empty or half full. Of course, the half empty part is the job losses. From a humanitarian standpoint, it’s sad to see people threatened with their employment. But, on the other hand, these low oil prices can actually really help spur our economy and, ultimately, help the industry.

Right now low oil prices are helping to spur our economy, though they are hurting the oil and gas industry. Now is the time to plan for more drilling and more production. It’s a time to catch your breath and plan for the future.

Can government do anything to help the industry at this time?Usually government just gets in the way, and is so much of the problem in our economy. But right now government can spur more production by lifting the export ban.

But instead of common sense moves like that, the administration is hurting the industry by blocking Keystone XL, by pursuing land grab in Alaska. By enabling an EPA guilty of vast regulatory overreach. The punative aspect of it is to really stick it to the American people.

The president is not for American energy independence. If he were he wouldn’t be trying to lock up the Alaska National Wildlife Refuge. That’s 20 million more acres he wants to lock up from development.

All we need to explore and develop ANWR is a 2,000 acre swath. Alaska is 400 million acres when you consider our water and land. A postage stamp in the middle of a football field. That’s all the land we need to develop.

As for the Keystone XL pipline:It’s a no-brainer. It’s basic infrastructure. We have millions of mile of pipe streaming across this country. It’s the safest way to transport friendly fuel. It’s a shame [President Obama] has taken off the possibilities for America and for Canada to transport this fuel. It will get to market somehow.

Currently the oil in question is being transported by rail. There have been numerous spills due to derailments. NOT having the Keystone Pipeline is an environmental disaster. With the pipelines, spills are virtually none existent. Conspiracy theories have sprouted due to the fact the railroad used is owned by one of Obama’s top cronies, Warren Buffet. In public Buffet has said he is for the pipeline, even though it would hurt his bottom line. ~ Gary

The administration is not understanding the inherent link between energy and security and energy and prosperity. He’s rewarding the environmentalists who are extreme in saying there would be environmental harm in developing ANWR. They worry about the impact on the moose and caribou. Well we’ve had the Trans-Alaska Pipeline for decades, and that pipeline has not been adverse at all.

On the contrary, “the animals like the warmth that the pipeline gives off. “The animals mate under the pipeline. I haven’t actually seen it but that’s what I’m told. If oil and gas development is risky to wildlife, if it is to hurt one caribou, then that one caribou should take one for the team and allow the rest of the country to benefit.

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Governor Sarah Palin and her team in front of the Trans-Alaska pipeline.

Speaker John Boehner, Congresswoman Michelle Bachmann, they took the time to fly up to Alaska and actually visit ANWR. The president has never been up there. Politicians need to take the time to see for themselves what they’re voting on.

I can’t wait for 2016. That election I can see from my house. I hope for a GOP candidate who understands energy and understands infrastructure.

Hillary Clinton will be the Democrat candidate because she has the money. After her, it’s a shallow bench.”

Is there any chance a dark horse could emerge to challenge her?Not really, because of the money. Hillary Clinton will seize the opportunity to collect those funds. Hillary is it.

As for Vice President Joe Biden?He’s been in politics long enough to have voted against the Trans-Alaska pipeline.

Palin says the field of GOP candidates representa deep bench.”

Common sense conservatives — we’re going to have our hands full.

Is Sarah Palin considering a run?I’m so sorry you asked that. It’s just too early. But a lot can change.”

Can we win?I don’t underestimate the wisdom of the people. Enough is enough for this hopey changey stuff that didn’t work.” America needs common sense. America needs to reclaim exceptionalism.

Candidate Obama promised to fundamentally transform America. But we don’t need that. We need to restore what’s great about America.

On the topic of international relations:

It’s been said that Saudi Arabia has recently been trying to seek back bigger market share. To penalize the shale players. And that the U.S. is going along with it to extract penalties against Putin and Iran.

But a side effect is that the U.S. is becoming more of the global oil swing player. The Saudis are basically allowing America to take over the decide on production levels and the market.

With so much of the world oil supply dominated by OPEC and Saudi Arabia, it’s just such a shame that we are so enormously under the influence of foreign countries.

We want to get out from under that. That’s why I support things like Keystone and fracking and horizontal drilling.

America should have the ultimate goal of being really energy independent, instead of going over to Saudi Arabia and bowing before the king. We don’t want to have to rely on what’s going on over there.

It’s tough to imagine that the Middle East can get even worse than it is, when you consider the evil. The terrorists spreading out across the globe. America losing its position of strength.

But it will get worse.

The Saudis will try to get rid of competition, which includes America.

Russia will be a problem as well.Putin is like a wounded bear. Very unpredictable. He still has the KGB in him. He bullies his neighbors.

There’s reports out there that billionaire Russians out there are helping to fund some U.S. environmental groups that oppose fracking and basic developments here so that the public will want to ratchet down production. That would bolster the position of the Saudis. The Russians. These dollars coming into environmental groups. I would like to find out whether that’s true.

America has to stand up to all this. It’s a psychological, emotional type thing. Our young people are losing the sense of what it means to be America. The Constitution, freedoms. What we will do on our lands. How we will responsibly develop God-given resources for our use. The founding fathers created a blueprint to allow us to be exceptional. We are exceptional.

Freedom isn’t free. You have to fight for it. That’s why I support the U.S. military. They are America’s true heroes.

Thanks to Michelle McCormick for her hard work and contributions.

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Now THIS is What I Call “Access Hollywood” ~ Sorry Extra ~ Mario Lopez IS A Lucky Guy!

By Isabel Matos

Penetrating the culture is such an important part of Sarah’s mission. Andrew Breitbart said it best: that the GOPe would have to transcend that to compete with her, and guess what? She is definitely doing it all. I still don’t know what  Mario Lopez did to deserve this but it sure is fun watching him enjoy his visit in Alaska.  Please RT the tweets below to start getting the media used to the culture changing.. and that we are a part of it this time.  Pop culture matters!

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Last month Mario Lopez met with Sarah and Todd Palin who hosted Sportsman Channel’s “Iditarod Unleashed” the Monday following the interview.

H/T Lynda for Twitchy Page Lead

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Rep. Gohmert Sets Record Straight on Palin Russia Comments

I am always amazed that some six years post our country’s 2008 presidential election there are people who still cannot differentiate between a quote from Gov. Sarah Palin and a scripted skit that was performed by Tina Fey.   I’m not exactly sure what prompted Rep. Louis Gohmert to put himself out there for Gov. Palin but God bless him for doing so.

From Gohmert’s Youtube page:

In light of the breaking news in Ukraine, Rep. Louie Gohmert (TX-01) took time on the House floor to set the record straight on the comments made by Sarah Palin on Russia. He read from her exact statements in 2008 and also from the exaggerated Saturday Night LIVE script.

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EPA Director Shows No R-S-P-E-C-T for Alaskans

Before we go any further, yes, I know that I spelled the word “respect” incorrectly.  I suppose I wanted to emphasize that many of those serving in this President’s administration are seemingly cut from the same cloth.  When I read the following entry on Chuck Heath, Jr.’s Facebook page, I must confess that I felt a range of emotions starting with anger, then sadness and again anger.

Here’s what Chuck Heath, Jr. wrote:

Gina McCarthy, the head of the EPA and an Obama appointee, visited Alaska and was given a couple of small gifts from the locals. One of the gifts was a jar of moose meat. McCarthy is quoted as saying, “that stuff could gag a maggot”. She was also given a souvenir pin from the community of North Pole. When asked about it, she said “I threw the f…ing thing away!”

Zero respect for the traditions and kindness of Alaskans, and it looks like our own Alaska Senator Begich has stepped up to defend her.

Take a look at McCarthy’s record on carbon credits, Keystone Pipeline stance, etc., and you’ll get a good look at someone that is thwarting American resource development and energy independence.

This is another reason we want the Federal government to STAY OUT OF OUR BUSINESS!

I can only venture to guess that Ms. McCarthy has absolutely no clue as to the amount of work that went into that life-sustaining jar of moose meat.  There was the planning and preparation for the hunt.  There was the time invested in the hunt itself with no guarantee that it would be successful.  Finally, if the hunter is successful, the meat must be properly field-dressed and then cured, canned, or frozen in order to preserve it so that the meat is safe to eat. A lot of work went into that gift of canned moose meat!

Would it have really been that difficult to simply say “thank you”?  Was it necessary for a government official on a taxpayer funded trip to drop the F-bomb?  Somewhere along the way, Ms. McCarthy missed the important lesson of “do unto others”.

Is it really too much to expect R-E-S-P-E-C-T from public servants? Apparently so.

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Charity and Spirit at Port Alsworth, Alaska, are Praiseworthy and Inspiring! (Includes Greta’s “Last Call” Update)

You may have gotten a glimpse of it already but posts like this are just wonderful to read over and over. This one exudes energy, spirit, and the goodness (God’s goodness working through giving hearts) that was present at Port Alsworth in Alaska on Sunday. Sarah Palin was nothing short of effusive in describing the worthy project and her admiration for the work that Franklin Graham and Greta Van Susteren are doing. She also gave another shout out to her friends Parnelli Jones and Walker Evans who came a long way to be there. The pure love she feels for the troops, their families, and the appreciation she has for their sacrifice and patriotism just jumps off the page and makes you want to be there. I felt it.

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Franklin Graham’s Samaritan Purse again steps up to the plate to positively impact lives!  We’re so thankful for Samaritan’s Purse’s presence in Alaska, where Franklin has traveled and virtually homesteaded for decades. (He first arrived at… age 17 to work blue-collar jobs on our Trans-Alaska Pipeline!) He’s so engaged in assisting our wounded warriors, and this unique program he leads with passion and hands-on humbleness is changing our heroes’ lives. Franklin knows firsthand a soldier’s sacrifice, having a son serving honorably in the U.S. Army, so he brings injured troops and their spouses to a fishing camp in a special, very remote community to enjoy “God’s Country” (as Todd calls it; it’s his old stomping grounds in the Bristol Bay area), and helps our brave warriors heal in body and soul and relationships?

What an awesome team Franklin has assembled to embrace our troops! The entire tiny town of Port Alsworth gathers along their gravel airstrip to welcome the arriving planes carrying our wounded. American flags and children’s handmade posters are proudly waved, serving as a substitute for the traditional Welcome Home ceremonies these young families missed out on, as most of the guys were rushed from war zones to hospitals instead. Enjoy the pictures Greta Van Susteren posted on Gretawire:

http://gretawire.foxnewsinsider.com/

With such charitable hearts (and a soft spot for the Last Frontier!), Greta and her husband asisted this worthy cause as she took time away from Fox News to travel across the country to honor our troops. This picture shows the soldiers’ plane arriving to the town’s enthusiastic greeting, and of course the individual up front — working non-stop to capture this mission of goodness — is Greta! I consider her an Alaskan sourdough, proving herself a great fisherman and breakfast cook on this trip.

Thank you for your effective efforts, Greta and John, Franklin Graham and Samaritan’s Purse, our friends Parnelli Jones and Walker Evans (who traveled far to pay tribute), and all of Port Alsworth! And infinite amounts of thanks go to our troops and their families for serving something greater than self. We love and honor you.

 Sarah Palin

flag wavingUpdated @ 8:17 p.m.
Cabins warriors and spouses stayed in, fishing with Greta and Rev. Graham:
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The picture above is from the lodge for wounded warriors. Gretawire: We have nine couples this week. Most are recovering from multiple injuries. They are some of America’s best.
This picture was taken a little while ago in front of Samaritan Lodge Alaska. We have nine couples this week. Most are recovering from multiple injuries. They are some of America’s best
Gretawire: This picture was taken a little while ago in front of Samaritan Lodge Alaska.
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Samaritan’s Purse Organizes “Operation Heal Our Patriots” Retreat for Wounded Veterans in Alaska

Governor Sarah Palin and husband, Todd, joined Samaritan’s Purse President Franklin Graham, Greta Van Susteren and husband, John Coale, in greeting a new group of veterans to the “Operation Heal Our Patriots” ministry at a wilderness retreat in Port Alsworth, Alaska.  The ministry is dedicated to couples whoses spouses have been wounded in military combat or have had combat-related injuries after 9/11. The Palins arrived on Sunday with friends and famous racers, Parnelli Jones (1963 Indianapolis 500) and Walker “the Legend” Evans, (Off-road Motorsports Hall of Fame), but this was the 12th out of the 15th week for couples to experience support and God’s presence through shared experiences.palins greet

Veterans enjoyed fishing off the Jay Hammond on Friday with Graham and Greta, on a boat named after the former governor of Alaska, celebrated the vow renewals of three couple who rededicatated themselves to marriage, and listened to a performanc by a formal opera singer and Iraqi veteran.

Our best wishes to the couples who are part of this great ministry. You have our prayers as well.  We appreciate the personal sacrifice that each one of you has made for this country.  For more information see http://www.samaritanspurse.org/article/greta-van-susteren-visits-patriots-in-alaska/

Three images from Greta Van Susteren posted on Gretawire: http://gretawire.foxnewsinsider.com/.

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The Samaritan’s Purse is a humaritarian organization providing relief world-wide while doing Christian missionary work. Its name is derived from the Parable of the Good Samaritan, where Jesus teaches loving your neighbor as yourself. Its international headquarters are in Boone, North Carolina.

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Samaritan’s Purse in Haiti, December, 2012, after a cholera outbreak.

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Samaritan’s Purse in Birmingham, Alabama, May, 2011

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Will ACES Be Discarded?

by Whitney Pitcher

During her CPAC speech last Saturday, Governor Palin included some Alaskan constitutional populism (emphasis added):

If Mrs. Thatcher were with us here today, she would remind us that there is a big difference between being pro-business and being pro-free market. On this there can be no mistake where conservatives stand. It’s time for “We the People” to break up the cronyism and put a stake through the heart of “too big to fail” once and for all.

That includes these resource-rich states like Alaska, my home state. Read your constitution, Alaskans. Realize that the natural resources that God has created for man’s use — they’re not owned by the big multinational conglomerates and the monopolies. They’re owned by the people. They don’t own them, so don’t let them own you. You have a right to those resources to be developed for our use.

Governor Palin rightfully notes two important issues in particular–1) the Alaskan constitution’s charge that development of resources for the good of the people 2) the warning that the people (and politicians) of Alaska  not allow themselves to be owned by the oil companies.

The Alaskan constitution notes that the state’s natural resources belong to the people and are to developed for their maximum benefit :

 The legislature shall provide for the utilization, development, and conservation of all natural resources belonging to the State, including land and waters, for the maximum benefit of its people.

Governor Palin’s point is especially salient and timely when it comes to Alaska’s natural resources. On Wednesday night, the Alaska state senate passed a bill that if passed in the House and signed by Governor Parnell would overhaul the oil tax reform plan, ACES, that Governor Palin signed into law in 2007. Unlike Governor Palin’s ACES, however, this bill was not discussed in a transparent and comprehensive manner:

 The newest version of the oil tax bill was introduced Thursday. In the hours before it passed there no public testimony. There was no testimony from Alaska’s independent oil explorers. The only industry testimony came from Alaska’s Big Three oil producers, which had been invited to testify.

“It was sort of striking that the oil industry gets a chance for public comment and the rest of Alaskans don’t,” Wielechowski said.

Many of the smaller independent players in Alaska’s oil patch are the beneficiaries of tax incentives aimed at new production from new fields, rather than the strategy pushed by Parnell and championed by legislative leaders of pumping oil, faster, from known fields.

Testimony from the Big Three acknowledged that the oil-tax changes proposed under SB 21 would make Alaska a more competitive tax environment. But they would not promise new production.

One of the positives of ACES is that smaller, independent oil companies have been able to develop in Alaska. In fact, the number of oil tax returns filed with Alaska has increased 383% since ACES was passed. Annual capital expenditures have nearly doubled since FY2007, meaning that producers are engaging in increased infrastructure development (i.e. more rigs) and the like. These expenditures are helping to lead to increased profits for even the major oil companies. For example, in 2012, 13% of Conoco Phillips’s oil and gas development occurred in Alaska, but Alaska contributed to 34% of their income. Additionally, according to Alaska’s own labor statistics, oil and gas jobs increased more than 15% between 2007 and 2012.

So, why is there a push for reforming ACES? Because of the very thing that Governor Palin warned against in her CPAC speech–being owned by the oil companies. In theory, the Senate bill is better for the oil companies because it flattens ACES’s tax rate and provides incentives for new oil. This sounds pro-business, right? That’s what Governor Palin warned about in her CPAC speech as well. There’s a difference between the invisible hand of the free market and the hand-in-hand “pro business” relationship between business and government. This “hand-in-hand” relationship is the very type of relationship that was the impetus for ACES being passed in the first place, as the Murkowski administration prior to Palin’s administration was shrouded in corruption due to the pay-to-play deals between the oil companies and lawmakers. Governor Parnell has not had that kind of relationship in his dealings, but he has had a revolving door relationship between the oil industry and politics. As I wrote nearly two years ago:

In the early and mid 1990s, Parnell served in the Alaska House of Representatives and Senate. Following his time in the Senate, Parnell became director of government relations for ConoccoPhillips. He then went to work for Governor Murkowski as the director state division of oil and gas from 2003 to 2005. During part of this period time, Governor Palin had served as an oil and gas commissioner until she encountered unethical behavior from another commissioner and Alaska GOP chair,Randy Ruedrich, and she resigned and lodged a complaint against Ruedrich. Prior to running for Lt. Governor in 2006, Parnell worked at Patton Boggs, a law firm that represented ConocoPhillips and ExxonMobil in the Exxon Valdex oil spill case.

Although the bill was passed in the Senate, it was proposed at the request of Governor Parnell. He found 11 allies in the Senate, and the bill passed 11-9. One Senator, Peter Micciche, who is also employed as a ConocoPhillips natural gas plant supervisor,  paid lip service support to ACES, indicating he would reject Governor Parnell’s proposal. However, Micciche ended up voting for the modified Senate bill that Governor Parnell applauded.

The Senate bill removed the capital expenditure credits that ACES has, which particularly benefited the smaller companies who were not given the opportunity to testify before the Senate. The credits gave companies breaks on infrastructure development and expansion (e.g. new rigs) and the like, which because of economies of scale, helped smaller companies (with their smaller budgets) be able to grow.  This was another thing Governor Palin noted during her CPAC speech, “if you’re not at the table, you’re on the menu”.  Such may be the case for these smaller companies who were not given a voice in these Senate debates.

ACES has not only helped boost Alaskan jobs and investments by oil companies, it has strengthen Alaska’s fiscal health. ACES has helped create $16.5+ billion in state savings and has contributed to Alaska being upgraded to a AAA credit rating by both Fitch and Standard and Poor’s in the past 14 months. As a House committee begins to discuss this bill today, one would hope that, rather than appeasing the oil companies for increased production that may or may not occur, legislators would look at the economic and overall fiscal benefits that ACES has brought to the state.

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New York Sun: Hey Let’s Move the Marathon-To Sarah Palin’s Alaska

By Gary P Jackson

Here’s an interesting editorial from the New York Sun. In the end, their solution is to move the entire Marathon to Alaska. They note Sarah Palin is a world class runner.

In fact, in 2005, at age 41, she ran a marathon quicker than Paul Ryan’s rather dubious times claimed at age 20.

Both of her parents have run marathons, and her dad Chuck has run the Boston Marathon. In fact, Sarah’s 2005 run at the Humpy’s Marathon, at age 41, was only a nine minutes off the time needed to qualify her for the Boston run.

Alaska is beautiful, clean, and uncongested. Should they move New York’s race there? I do really don’t know. Should they run a major world class marathon there, of the same caliber? Absolutely!

From the Sun:

Congratulations are in order for the New York Post, which has finally found a way to expose the New York City Marathon for the boor that it has become. The Post saw early how galling it would have been to divert generators and money and bottled water and law enforcement and attention to the marathon at a time when millions of New Yorkers were suffering in the wake of Hurricane Sandy. The president of New York City Roadrunners, Mary Wittenberg, who oversees the race here, fought this logic all the way. When she lost, she turned around and, in a petulant outburst, started blaming the press for her predicament. The Post promptly launched a campaign for her resignation. We wish the paper luck.

The Post has illuminated something that has been bothering at least some of us New Yorkers for years. We don’t know how to quantify the size of the faction. It may or may not be a majority. But there are those of us who have never understood where a private club and the bank for which they have emerged as a marketing exercise come off taking over so much of the public space in the city for their private business. They take over our bridges, expressways, avenues, and parks, and force many who rely on them to maneuver around their vainglory. Wikipedia estimates that 2 million persons come out to cheer the runners. In a city the size of New York, that means three quarters of New Yorkers are not cheering.

Or to put this another way, the thing for Mrs. Wittenberg to bear in mind is that the New York Post is the centrist in this contretemps. It has been campaigning merely for the city’s leadership and the marathon authorities to get their priorities straight in respect of the current catastrophe. It had the savvy, the values to grasp that the wake of Hurricane Sandy was no time for the city of New York to be fooling around with a marathon.

There are, however, others who would just as soon see the New York City Marathon be canceled permanently. We have no beef with the runners personally; we admire their athletic stamina. We just sense the time has come for the marathon to move to another location altogether, maybe Alaska, where there is a lot of unused space. It even has, in Sarah Palin, an ex-governor who is a runner even more celebrated than Ms. Wittenberg and who has far more empathy with — far more ability to connect with — people.

[H/T Jews for Sarah]

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An Alaskan Review of “Our Sarah: Made In Alaska”

Tracey Porreca is an Alaska resident and founder of Alaskans4Palin. We’re proud to offer her review of Our Sarah: Made In Alaska which was provided for review by MNS

By Tracey Porreca

Determined to give an honest review and not to allow my friendships with the family influence my review of the book, I found it difficult in reading the first few pages not to notice similarities between what was being described, and what I know of the authors. “Fish out of water” feelings in describing the surreal nature of being thrust into the limelight, and the journey of their lives to this point described in ways I’ve witnessed in person, affirmed this book is truly written from the heart of these authors, not just from memory. Personal connections (and difficulties in the timeliness of my review) aside, I endeavor to review “Our Sarah: Made In Alaska.

Being “Alaskan” is hard to describe to those outside without the typical clichés – the adventure, the rugged landscape and the people who inhabit it, and the lifestyle. I believe it’s all these things that make it hard to describe what it’s like to live here and become a part of it, but this book has done a very good job of describing the components that make up that pioneer spirit. Every person’s walk through life is different, and every Alaskan’s path is even broader. Not gushing over Sarah Palin’s accomplishments, but rather weaving a tale of their life’s journeys, you are left to the realization that each step in life forms us, shapes us, into who we become. We use these influences to make the decisions that affect ourselves and others. The how’s and why’s of Sarah Palin’s decisions as an individual and political influence are left to the reader – the book is a journey you take with Sarah Palin’s father and brother into who she has become. Not spending a lot of time gushing over Sarah and how exciting it is to be a family member, but more time telling Alaskan stories that build a framework of how Sarah came to be the person she is. This book is as much about living life in Alaska and taking all the best things from it, as it is a telling of how that lifestyle shaped who Sarah Palin is today.

The well-known topics of faith, patriotism, family, and a love of outdoors and sports, are dealt with affection and care. This is not a book that tells you why she is who she is – it’s more a book of discovery. While their writing styles are different, each chapter brings you closer to understanding more about Alaska and the Heath/Palin family.

While I personally know Chuck Sr. better than I do his son, I was surprised at some of the things revealed in this book – stories I’ve never heard and things about both their pasts that led to “ah ha” moments and put things into perspective. One of the things I’ve always enjoyed when being around Chuck Sr. are his stories – his ability to tell any tale. He is one who has a gift for being able to recount an event and not make the listener feel as if he is being told a “fish story,” but rather someone who has a sage wisdom about that of which he speaks. You’re privy to a piece of living history in the stories he recounts. His son is an amazingly good writer and does an excellent job of making this book enjoyable while telling his version of growing up, “Alaska Style” in the Heath household.

If you think you’ve heard it all, and read it all – think again. This book makes the picture clearer than ever before, told by those who lived it and were there, not by those who admire or have their own agenda. It led me to appreciate and understand them, and Sarah Palin, even more.

There will be those Alaskans (and those outside), particularly in the media, who will read this review and others and form their own opinions from the reviews – not the book. The comparisons will come as well as some negative meme, and that is truly unfortunate. As an Alaskan, I ask that you read the book and form your own opinion. We Alaskans enjoy our independence and free spirit – it suits us well. After reading this book you can’t help but have a better understanding and appreciation for the foundation that Sarah Palin’s family and their experiences have given her, and this book is a testament to that.

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What Governor Quinn Could Learn from Governor Palin

by Whitney Pitcher

There is good reason that the acronym of Illinois’s nickname is LOL. True–it does stand for Land of Lincoln, but it is also indicative the fact that our state is the laughingstock of the country. We’ve been approaching a fiscal cliff for quite sometime. Our budgets are bloated, and our state continually borrows money. Our pension systems are massively underfunded, and our credit rating is being downgraded on a seemingly monthly basis.

Our pension problems are our latest fiscal fire. There are five state pension systems–one for legislators, one for judges, one for teachers outside of Chicago, one for state employees, and one for state university employees. Right now, these pension systems are underfunded by $83 billion  (although new rules in such estimates put that number at $206 billion) and have the potential to go bankrupt by 2018The 67% state income tax increase and 46% corporate tax increase passed in  a lame duck session in early 2011 has done little if anything to help better fund education or help improve the pension situation.There are two ideas that have been pushed by Governor Quinn–pension reform and a federal bailout.   Pension reform was not achieved during the most recent regular session, nor a special session this past summer. The pension reform plan that Governor Quinn proposes includes increasing individual contributions, reducing cost of living adjustments, increasing the retirement age, and requiring that state pensions only be provided to state workers (i.e. make school districts responsible for providing teacher pensions). If implemented, these partial reforms would perhaps help, but in some respects, these changes would be considered merely nibbling at the margins. These ideas are not relentless reform.

In addition to his pension reform plans, Governor Quinn is toying with another idea to help stabilize the state’s fiscal situation–a federal bailout. In his FY2012 budget speech, Governor Quinn stated (emphasis added):

 Consider the state’s unfunded pension liability as a mortgage on future public employees’pension payments. Illinois has a long history of high unfunded liability—a big, decades-long mortgage problem, a big risk. After fiscal year 2010, following losses from a deep recession, the unfunded liability sat at over 60 percent. While the pension reform of 2010 improved the situation by decreasing future liabilities—and certainly the economic recovery improved net assets for the pension funds significant longterm improvements will come only from additional pension reforms,refinancing the liability and seeking a federal guarantee of the debt, or increasing the annual required state contributions. Until one or more of these options is achieved, pension funding issues will persist.

So much for that Illinois state motto of “state sovereignty, national union”! When you become dependent on outside sources to hold up your debt and subsidize your failure you begin to lose your sovereignty. The same could be said about America as a whole with roughly a third of our debt held by foreign nations.

The Illinois Policy Institute (a conservative think tank akin to a Heritage Foundation or Cato Institute) has pushed two key ideas to tackle the state pension problems. One is to change the pension funds from a defined benefit to a defined contribution system, which means that taxpayers no longer shoulder the liability of pensions and how they are invested. The other is to reject a federal bailout, as it would create “winner and loser” states throughout the country and runs counter to the constitutional concept of federalism. In short, the answer to Illinois’ problems could simply be: “listen to Governor Palin”.

This past week, Senator Jim DeMint of South Carolina joined with the Illinois Policy Institute to push for blocking federal bailouts of state and municipal pensions, and Senator Mark Kirk of Illinois had also made the same call in May 2011.  Federal bailouts for states have been discussed in recent years because of the woeful straits that states like Illinois and California have found themselves in. In December of 2010, Governor Palin wrote a piece against the bailout of states by the federal government:

American taxpayers should not be expected to bail out wasteful state governments. Fiscally liberal states spent years running away from the hard decisions that could have put their finances on a more solid footing. Now they expect taxpayers from other states to bail them out, which will allow them to postpone the tough decisions they should have made ages ago and continue spending like there’s no tomorrow. Most Americans would say these states have made their bed and now they’ve got to lie in it. They accepted federal dollars and did not voice opposition to the unfunded federal mandates, and they even re-elected politicians who foisted debt-ridden programs on them that could never be sustained.

[…]

My home state made the switch from defined benefits to a defined contribution system, and as governor, I introduced a number of measures to build on that successful transition, while also addressing the issue of the remaining funding shortfall by prioritizing budgets to wrap our financial arms around this too-long ignored debt problem. When my state ran a surplus because we incentivized businesses, I didn’t spend it on fun and glamorous pet projects for lawmakers – though that would have made me quite popular with the earmark crowd. In fact, I vetoed more excessive spending than any governor in our state’s history, and I used the state’s surplus to bring our financial house in order by paying down our unfunded pension plans that some other governors wanted to ignore. This fiscal prudence didn’t make me popular with the state legislature. In addition to vetoing hundreds of millions of dollars in wasteful spending, I put billions of dollars into savings accounts for future rainy days, much like most American families do in responsibly planning for the future. I also enacted a hiring freeze and brought the education budget under control through a commitment to forward-funding. I returned much of the surplus back to the people (it was their money to start with!) through tax relief and energy rebates. I had proven as the mayor of the fastest growing city in the state that tax cuts incentivize business growth, and though the state legislature overrode some of my veto cuts and thwarted an additional tax relief request of mine, the public was supportive of efforts to rein in its government.

It’s one thing to veto spending and reduce the size of government when your state is broke. I did it when my state was flush with revenue from a surplus – though I had to fight politicians who wanted to spend like there was no tomorrow. It’s not easy to tell people no and make them act fiscally responsible and cut spending when the money is rolling in and your state is only 50 years shy of being a territory and everyone is yelling at you to spend while the money is there to build. My point is, if I could fight this fight in Alaska at a time of surplus, then other governors can and should be able to do the same at a time when their states are facing bankruptcy and postponing this fight is no longer an option.

The reforms that Governor Palin implemented helped lead to a 34.6% decrease in total liabilities during her tenure. In fact, Alaska is third best in the nation in the percentage of its pension system that is funded. Additionally, due in part to pension reform and other fiscal measures implemented by Governor Palin,  Alaska’s credit rating has twice been upgraded by Standard and Poor’s and once by Moody’s since 2008. In addition to the bias of the media and the ill intentions of the GOP establishment, Governor Palin’s stellar record is not as well known as it should be because she prevented problems from reaching a tipping point by nipping them in the bud. She didn’t have to put out the proverbial fiscal fire because she removed the kindling before the fire could start. That doesn’t mean, though, that governors on both sides of the aisle can’t learn from her by implementing the reforms that helped make Alaska one of the most fiscally sound states in the country.

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