September 10th, 2008

Book Cover

Good Morning!

I had a fragrant night of dreams, active, involved.

I woke to these words:

Isn't it simply a flock of deer resting on all sides of the issue?

Is it?   All of us with our own opinions, our own needs for connection and isolation, protection and perseverance to make it on our own.

We are the six billion religions of whom the Dalai Lama speaks.

We also are cells, each one of us trying to decide whether to join an organ, whether to live in heart, colon, or gut.

As I thought about the dream, I saw lions come, too, and geese, all gathered to drink from one huge well.

If I can find and feel the fear in the Republican attacks, perhaps, I can better reach to bring them into my fold, to gently teach.

May today be an offering of that for me.   This is a Zach day, one of my most precious treats.  

alan - joshua tree bloom


I can't remember if I saw the word McPain, or dreamed it, but when I first heard about Palin, I quickly saw that if you remove the L, that stands for Love, you have pain and that rhymes with McCain.

If I use McPain for these two, I think I can be kinder, because I can see them in pain, a pain that requires floundering on McCain's part, and vicious attacks on Palin's.   Seeing them in pain, lashing out, fearful is the way to deal with them without causing harm in myself or leaping to fear, defense, or attack.

We must surround them with love, ingest them as an amoeba takes in food, envelop, and in that, eliminate them, having absorbed the nourishment we need to take this election and claim true change.

barack obama

The way it currently is -

Dear Abby:

There is a very good chance that my 17 year old kid just knocked up  
his 18 year old girlfriend.

Dear Distraught:

If you're a Democrat, you should be deeply ashamed of your moral  
failure and the blame should be placed squarely on you, the parent.  
You're the problem with society.

If you're a Republican, congratulations on the beautiful miracle your wonderful family has been blessed with.

barack obama

Libertarians for Obama!!!

Libertarians for Obama?

If you like smaller government, should you vote for Barack Obama? Alex Tabarrok, a professor of economics at George Mason University, makes the case at Marginal Revolution.

“War is the antithesis of the libertarian philosophy of consent, voluntarism and trade,” Tabarrok writes. “ With every war in American history Leviathan has grown larger and our liberties have withered. War is the health of the state. And now, fulfilling the dreams of Big Brother, we are in a perpetual war. A country cannot long combine unlimited government abroad and limited government at home. The Republican party has become the party of war and thus the party of unlimited government.” He later adds:

The libertarian voice has not been listened to in Republican politics for a long time. The Republicans take the libertarian wing of the party for granted and with phony rhetoric and empty phrases have bought our support on the cheap. Thus — since voice has failed — it is time for exit. Remember that if a political party can count on you then you cannot count on it.

Exit is the right strategy because if there is any hope for reform it is by casting the Republicans out of power and into the wilderness where they may relearn virtue. Libertarians understand better than anyone that power corrupts. The Republican party illustrates. Lack of power is no guarantee of virtue but Republicans are a far better — more libertarian — party out-of-power than they are in power. When in the wilderness, Republicans turn naturally to a critique of power and they ratchet up libertarian rhetoric about free trade, free enterprise, abuse of government power and even the defense of civil liberties. We can hope that new leaders will arise in this libertarian milieu.


alexander calder

Don't watch TV!

This comes my way this morning.  I think we all know the dangers of TV, the glass teat as Harlan Ellison so accurately and eloquently called it, all those years ago.

I post this here, not finding anything, in the moment,  to dispute it.  It is five years old.  I think it is important to turn off the TV and open a book.  The chance of manipulation then is between you and words.   Read well, the breath and pace of other great minds.

Of course, we might also have to turn off our computer monitors and that would interrupt this discourse that we each give time to enjoy.   Hmmm!   Thoughts?

"United States Patent 6,506,148
Loos January 14, 2003

Nervous system manipulation by electromagnetic fields from monitors

Physiological effects have been observed in a human subject in response to stimulation of the skin with weak electromagnetic fields that are pulsed with certain frequencies near 1/2 Hz or 2.4 Hz, such as to excite a sensory resonance. Many computer monitors and TV tubes, when displaying pulsed images, emit pulsed electromagnetic fields of sufficient amplitudes to cause such excitation. It is therefore possible to manipulate the nervous system of a subject by pulsing images displayed on a nearby computer monitor or TV set. For the latter, the image pulsing may be imbedded in the program material, or it may be overlaid by modulating a video stream, either as an RF signal or as a video signal. The image displayed on a computer monitor may be pulsed effectively by a simple computer program. For certain monitors, pulsed electromagnetic fields capable of exciting sensory resonances in nearby subjects may be generated even as the displayed images are pulsed with subliminal intensity."

If you analyse this, one can see that this in effect gives the subliminal suggestor (mind
controller) FOUR separate vehicles to simultaneously transfer subliminal suggestion:

1. By the modulation of the magnetic field intensity (brightness).
2. Modulation of the video stream.
3. Modulation of the audio stream (two channels if in stereo mode)
4. Modulations within the program material



I am receiving this message from just about every woman I know at this point, so I thought I would put it here in case you missed it, and I want to add to this plea that men and women unite.   This is not a time to divide in any way, so I invite everyone to sign this and add their comments and forward it on.  Men and women are suffering with this choice.   Let's use every name and comment we can get.  Unite!!!
  Let's slam them with common sense, kindness, intellect, and what is right.

Friends, compatriots, fellow-lamenters,

We are writing to you because of the fury and dread we have felt since the announcement of Sarah Palin as the Vice-Presidential candidate for the Republican Party. We believe that this terrible decision has surpassed mere partisanship, and that it is a dangerous farce on the part of a pandering and rudderless Presidential candidate that has a real possibility of becoming fact.

Perhaps like us, as American women, you share the fear of what Ms. Palin and her professed beliefs and proven record could lead to for ourselves and for our present or future daughters. To date, she is against sex education, birth control, the pro-choice platform, environmental protection, alternative energy development, freedom of speech (as mayor she wanted to ban books and attempted to fire the librarian who stood against her), gun control, the separation of church and state, and polar bears. To say nothing of her complete lack of real preparation to become the second-most-powerful person on the planet.

We want to clarify that we are not against Sarah Palin as a woman, a mother, or, for that matter, a parent of a pregnant teenager, but solely as a rash, incompetent, and all together devastating choice for Vice President. Ms. Palin's political views are in every way a slap in the face to the accomplishments that our mothers and grandmothers and great-grandmothers so fiercely fought for, and that we've so demonstrably benefited from.

First and foremost, Ms. Palin does not represent us. She does not demonstrate or uphold our interests as American women. It is presumed that the inclusion of a woman on the Republican ticket could win over women voters. We want to disagree, publicly.

Therefore, we invite you to reply here <
<> > with a short, succinct message about why you, as a woman living in this country, do not support this candidate as second-in-command for our nation.

Please include your name (last initial is fine), age, and place of residence.

We will post your responses on a blog called "Women Against Sarah Palin," which we intend to publicize as widely as possible. Please send us your reply at your earliest convenience; the greater the volume of responses we receive, the stronger our message will be.

Thank you for your time and action.



Quinn Latimer and Lyra Kilston
New York, NY
<>  < <> >

**PLEASE FORWARD WIDELY! If you send this to 20 women in the next hour, you could be blessed with a country that takes your concerns seriously. Stranger things have happened.

Katie Emmet Peterson
275 Clinton Avenue #4-5
Brooklyn, NY 11205

barack obama

(no subject)

There are many opinions on the subject of Sarah Palin and where she stands. We know she is a creationist, anti-abortion and supports oil drilling in Alaska.

I moved my car today and caught a quick quip on the radio as to whether capitalism works. It was said that capitalism requires compassion and uniting to help others. Those are my words. That is what I heard. He said the downfall of capitalism began when Ronald Reagan said, "We fought a war on poverty and poverty won," and people laughed.

Here is an interesting look at the war on poverty and if anyone "won."

Here is also an article on Sarah Palin and whether or not, she is a "tough fiscal conservative" as many might prefer. I believe in fiscal conservatism. I have not seen that in these eight years under Bush. We had a balanced budget. Now, we do not. I am not hearing the McPain team give us numbers that add up to returning us to a balanced budget which is what this country needs, but probably can no longer attain. A balanced budget has been placed out of reach. Why?

Chris Suellentrop

Sarah Palin may be many things, but she is not a “tough fiscal conservative,” Michael Kinsley writes in his column for Time magazine.
“Of the 50 states, Alaska ranks No. 1 in taxes per resident and No. 1 in spending per resident,” Kinsley writes. “Its tax burden per resident is 2 1/2 times the national average; its spending, more than double. The trick is that Alaska’s government spends money on its own citizens and taxes the rest of us to pay for it.” He continues:
Alaska is, in essence, an adjunct member of OPEC. It has four different taxes on oil, which produce more than 89 percent of the state’s unrestricted revenue. On average, three-quarters of the value of a barrel of oil is taken by the state government before that oil is permitted to leave the state. Alaska residents each get a yearly check for about $2,000 from oil revenues, plus an additional $1,200 pushed through by Palin last year to take advantage of rising oil prices. Any sympathy the governor of Alaska expresses for folks in the lower 48 who are suffering from high gas prices or can’t afford to heat their homes is strictly crocodile tears.
As if it couldn’t support itself, Alaska also ranks No. 1, year after year, in money it sucks in from Washington. In 2005 (the most recent figures), according to the Tax Foundation, Alaska ranked 18th in federal taxes paid per resident ($5,434) but first in federal spending received per resident ($13,950). Its ratio of federal spending received to federal taxes paid ranks third among the 50 states, and in the absolute amount it receives from Washington over and above the amount it sends to Washington, Alaska ranks No. 1.
barack obama

Libertarians for Obama!

I am checking out how Libertarians feel about Obama.  I come across this.

Libertarians for Obama

Obama '08

February 2, 2008

Something that has been overlooked when it comes to civil liberties

Filed under: civil liberties — Tags: , , — Posted by William @ 8:18 pm

Obama, before becoming a United States Senator, was, of course, a state senator in Illinois. His campaign has used an accomplishment of his during this service as evidence of his ability to be a politician and pass legislation over intense opposition: he spearheaded a law mandating the videotaping of police interrogations I think that beyond his political ability, this event is telling of another important facet to Obama’s candidacy: his commitment to civil liberties.

Radley Balko, senior editor of Reason magazine, has authored a groundbreaking study on the use of paramilitary police tactics.  He has also, on his personal blog, examined the lack of proper accountability for police officers who break the law or overuse force. Through this work, he has highlighted an inordinate number of abuses in Chicago, Illinois.  Here is a short list that does not purport to be exhaustive:

The law mandating interrogation videotaping was, unsurprisingly, vigorously opposed by the police, among others.  By fighting for the passage of the interrogation-videotaping law, Obama has proven himself to be not only the only presidential candidate with a basic understanding of the necessity to systemically reduce police abuses, but also one of the only politicians in office with such an understanding.

Speaking personally, this issue is one of the first things that made Obama an appealing candidate to me.  His decision to lead the campaign to get this law passed reveals a deep moral character and a sympathy to heightened oversight of a police force that increasingly sees itself as separate and distinct from “civilians.”  I trust him to use the power of the federal government granted under Section 5 of the Fourteenth Amendment to enforce this oversight.  No other candidate has this record.

barack obama


Is Barack Obama a libertarian paternalist?

The most remarkable thing about Richard Thaler and Cass Sunstein's Los Angeles Times Op-Ed on April 2 was their treatment of the title for their "new movement," libertarian paternalism, with such affection. (Thanks to Mark Thoma for the tip.)

Put away your jumbo shrimp -- that's one whopper of an oxymoron the economist and the law professor at the University of Chicago have dreamed up. Libertarians despise paternalism! That whole nanny-state thing? They are so not down with it. In libertopia, people get to make their own free choices, as long as they don't hurt anyone else, or infringe upon their property rights. Big Daddy can take a hike.

But some libertarians also like to dabble in contrarianism (how else do we explain Ron Paul?), so perhaps that gives us a clue. Thaler and Sunstein describe a style of government in which citizens are free to choose -- how they invest their money, how they give away their money -- but the options among which they can select from are structured so as to steer them in the socially correct direction. Designing those options, they write, is a process known as "choice architecture." Government, they argue, needs to do a better job picking choices.

We welcome you to our new movement: libertarian paternalism. We are keenly aware that both those words are weighted down by stereotypes from popular culture and politics. Why combine two often reviled and seemingly contradictory concepts? The reason is that if the terms are properly understood, both concepts reflect common sense. They are far more attractive together than alone -- and taken together, they point the way to a whole new approach to the role of government.

The libertarian aspect of the approach lies in the straightforward insistence that, in general, people should be free to do what they like. They should be permitted to opt out of arrangements they dislike, and even make a mess of their lives if they want to. The paternalistic aspect acknowledges that it is legitimate for choice architects to try to influence people's behavior in order to make their lives longer, healthier and better.

By now readers are probably wondering how Barack Obama fits into all this. Easy -- Obama's chief economic adviser, Austan Goolsbee, is a paradigmatic choice architect. Thaler exerts considerable influence on Goolsbee's views. In Noam Scheiber's illuminating look at Obama's advisers in the New Republic, the relationship is described as follows:

As it happens, Thaler is revered by the leading wonks on Barack Obama's presidential campaign. Though he has no formal role, Thaler presides as a kind of in-house intellectual guru, consulting regularly with Obama's top economic adviser, a fellow University of Chicago professor named Austan Goolsbee. "My main role has been to harass Austan, who has an office down the hall from mine, " Thaler recently told me. "I give him as much grief as possible." You can find subtle evidence of this influence across numerous Obama proposals. For example, one key behavioral finding is that people often fail to set aside money for retirement even when their employers offer generous 401(k) plans. If, on the other hand, you automatically enroll workers in 401(k)s but allow them to opt out, most stick with it. Obama's savings plan exploits this so-called "status quo" bias.

At Economist's View, Thoma says he is bothered by the implications of libertarian paternalism -- "the subtle manipulation to get me to do things someone else thinks I should be doing." Which raises a great existential dilemma: Is it better to be told to do something directly, or to be given the illusion that you are the master of your destiny?

barack obama

Hooray for Women, and Men, too!!

I received this lovely response back from my comment for "Women against Sarah Palin."

My heart is warm, cuddly, and inspired.

Thanks so much for writing. The response has been immense! We've heard from women of all ages from all over the US and internationally.

Here's our blog:

It's incredibly inspiring to read so many intelligent, wise, and impassioned opinions. Thank you.

Yours truly,
Lyra and Quinn

p.s. Don't worry- we won't add your name to any kind of mailing list.
We're just two young women who had to do something.

So, if you haven't yet signed, do so now. I also asked them if men could also sign. I think, though, it says women, it is important to honor the feminine side of men, since we are clearly honoring the masculine side of women with the barracuda.

barack obama

another look at Obama -

As I go back through the news, I see that there is much more support for Obama than I realized so why is the news right now so stridently for McPain.   Oh, right!   We have Katie Couric changing the news to make McCain look good.  No bias there.

Why some conservatives are backing Obama

Monday, July 7, 2008


(07-07) 04:00 PDT Washington -- The "Obamacans" that Sen. Barack Obama used to joke about - Republican apostates who whispered their support for his candidacy - have morphed into a new phenomenon, or syndrome, as detractors like to call it: the Obamacons.

These are conservatives who have publicly endorsed the presumptive Democratic nominee, dissidents from the brain trust of think tanks, ex-officials and policy magazines that have fueled the Republican Party since the 1960s. Scratch the surface of this elite, and one finds a profound dismay that is far more damaging to the GOP than the usual 10 percent of registered Republicans expected to switch sides during a presidential election.

"The untold story of the Bush administration is the deliberate annihilation of the Reaganite, small-government wing of the Republican Party," said Michael Greve, director of the Federalism Project at the American Enterprise Institute, a conservative think tank. "A lot of people are very bitter about it."

Many conservatives and their brethren, the free-market, socially liberal libertarians, are deeply skeptical of Obama's rhetorical flirtations with free-market ideas and view his policies as orthodox liberalism. Yet one measure of their rupture with the GOP is their open disregard for Republican nominee John McCain and their now almost-wistful view of a president the Republicans impeached.

"When he leaves the room, everybody thinks he just agreed with them," Greve said of Obama. "We don't know if you're really buying a pig in a poke here. It could be the second coming of the Clinton administration. If people have any confidence in that, I think a whole lot of conservatives would vote for him."

Such sentiments reflect a collapse of the "big tent" conservative coalition that Republican President Ronald Reagan forged in 1980, uniting free-market, small-government types, Christian evangelicals, cultural traditionalists and anti-communists, now called neoconservatives. The neoconservatives, whose intellectual leaders include New York Times columnist David Brooks and Weekly Standard publisher Bill Kristol, remain firmly inside the GOP and strongly back McCain, who appeals to their model of "national greatness." So do mainstream conservative think tanks such as the Heritage Foundation, which issues regular attacks against Obama's economic plans, and the traditionalist magazine National Review.

The left often lumps these factions together, but the Iraq war and President Bush's "compassionate conservatism" that led to an expansion of government have ruptured the coalition. Many conservatives are aghast at the rise in spending and debt under the Bush administration, its expansion of executive power, and what they see as a trampling of civil liberties and a taste for empire.

"I do know libertarians who think Obama is the Antichrist, that he's farther left than John Kerry, much farther left than Bill Clinton, and you'd clearly have to be insane to vote for this guy," said David Boaz, executive vice president of the Cato Institute, a libertarian think tank. "But there are libertarians who say, 'Oh yeah? Do you think Obama will increase spending by $1 trillion, because that's what Republicans did over the past two presidential terms. So really, how much worse can he be?' And there are certainly libertarians who think Obama will be better on the war and on foreign policy, on executive power and on surveillance than McCain."

Libertarians are tired of Christian evangelicals, who they believe captured the GOP under President Bush. Evangelicals, for their part, are skeptical of McCain, who in 2000 called Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson "agents of intolerance." McCain has tried to make amends, promising to stand firm on abortion and same-sex marriage, and appoint conservative Supreme Court justices, but mistrust runs deep.

Douglas Kmiec is former chief of the Office of Legal Counsel in the Reagan and George H.W. Bush administrations, and now a constitutional law professor at Pepperdine University and a devout Catholic. Kmiec endorsed Obama earlier this year, despite his conviction that Obama "believes in a pretty progressive agenda."

Kmiec said his support deepened after meeting with Obama and other faith leaders last month, during which the busy candidate spent 2 1/2 in a freewheeling discussion with people who differed with him.

"I think he's the right person at the right time to re-establish principles of constitutional governance that have been ill treated by the current administration, and to free us from the tar paper that we know is Iraq," Kmiec said, adding that many Republicans privately agree. "I think he's a man in the market for every good idea he can find, and he doesn't care what label it comes with."

David Friedman, the son of late conservative icon and Nobel economist Milton Friedman, has also endorsed Obama. Calling McCain a "nationalist," Friedman, an economist at Santa Clara University, thinks Obama could turn out like the liberals who deregulated New Zealand's economy.

"Of the two, Obama is less bad and at least has a chance in some ways of being good," said Friedman. Friedman likes Obama's University of Chicago advisers such as Austan Goolsbee and Cass Sunstein, who he believes are trying to forge a new leftism that incorporates free-market views. "I don't expect to agree in general with them," Friedman said, "but I certainly would be happy if the left became more libertarian, since the right seems to be less libertarian than it used to be."

Many see the Iraq war as hostile to conservative values and as a "friend of the state" - something that inherently expands the reach of the government, as Milton Friedman once described war.

"People don't understand that there has always been a small but very significant element of conservatives who have been against the war from day one and who, like me, also hate George Bush and think he's the most incompetent president in American history," said Bruce Bartlett, a supply-side economist who coined the term Obamacons. "The few people who are slavishly pro-Republican, live or die, slavishly pro-Bush like the Weekly Standard crowd, have gotten lot more publicity than they deserve."

Many conservatives are looking for a Clintonesque "Sister Soulja" or "end welfare as we know it" moment from Obama, a concrete demonstration of a willingness to abandon Democratic dogma.

"The Republicans have left the libertarian baby on the doorstep, but Democrats won't open the door," said Boaz. "There are people saying Obama's a University of Chicago Democrat, and you can't spend 10 years at the University of Chicago without having some appreciation for markets. I'd like to believe that. I just don't see the rubber meeting the road."

Matt Welch, editor in chief of the libertarian Reason Magazine and author of "McCain, the Myth of a Maverick," thinks Obama's conservative support "comes as much anything else from people being exhausted with the Republican coalition, who are mad at one wing or another, and they just think it's time for them to lose. It's just, 'Look, we're out of ideas, we're exhausted, it's not working, we don't know what our principles are anymore, let's take one for the team and have a black guy be the president for a while.' "

Obama is actively trying to switch one prominent Republican to an Obamacan: former Secretary of State Colin Powell, who met with both candidates last month.

CORRECTION: This story should have stated that President Bill Clinton was impeached.

alan&#39;s beach photo

Food for thought -

As those of you who have been with me awhile know, I enjoy Heron Dance and Rod MacIver.

You can check it out at:

Here are some quotes from this issue.  

The Navaho word hozho, translated into English as “beauty,” also means harmony, wholeness, goodness. One story that suggests the dynamic way that beauty comes alive between us concerns a contemporary Navajo weaver. “A man ordered a rug of an especially complex pattern on two separate occasions from the same weaver. Both rugs came out perfectly and the weaver remarked to her brother that there must have been something special about the owner. It was understood that the outcome of the rugs was dependent not on the weaver’s skill and ability but upon the hozho in the owners life. The hozho of his life evoked the beauty in the rugs. In the Navaho world view, beauty exists not simply in the object, or in the artist who made the object; it is expressed in relationships.

- J. Ruth Gendler, Notes on the Need for Beauty

First, the self is not a fixed entity but a dynamic process of relationships. Second, underneath the patina of different religions, people around the world have common moral intuitions. Third, people are equipped to experience the sacred, to have moments of elevated experience when they transcend boundaries and overflow with love. Fourth, God can best be conceived as the nature one experiences at those moments, the unknowable total of all there is.

- Columnist David Brooks, New York Times, May 13, 2008

Our ancestral primate brains began to expand at an accelerating rate—two tablespoons of gray matter were added every 100,000 years. By the time the cerebral topping off had finished the human cortex had more than doubled in volume. Arguably, no organ in the history of life has evolved faster.

Over the last 600,000 years, perhaps stimulated by dramatic fluctuations in global climate or by the need for still greater social cooperation, Homo sapiens’ brain size again almost doubled, from 835 grams to 1,460 grams. More important, by the end of the Neolithic era our ancestors could produce 2,000 centimeters of cutting edge out of a kilogram of stone. In short, brain size doubled, and tool-making efficiency grew 5,000 percent. From the scanty evidence available, however, it seemed that until very recently the evolution of human social organization lagged behind the evolution of tool making.

- George E. Vaillant, from Spiritual Evolution, A Scientific Defense of Faith

heart&#39;s desire

Nathaniel Tarn

Today I was reading the poetry of Nathaniel Tarn. His poem Ins and Outs of the Forest Rivers by the book of the same name is exquisite.

It is too long to put here tonight when I am tired, so I give you the end of an article by Brenda Hillman.

You can read the whole article at:

Brenda Hillman:

Finally, the goal is to bring together in one life acts of imagination that involve choice. Creation involves the disappointment of having to be selective. The poet accepts that life is made of particulars and we must choose among them. It is partly this tension between the ‘everything’ and the ‘something’ that lends so much energy to his writing; The ecstatic pushes against the need to hold back. Tarn has written dynamically about how much creation itself has to do with selection, the giving up on the all-inclusive:
“I take the aim of art to be the creation of an order so surprising that it cannot fail to be perceived by receivers as new and different from what went before. ...While there may be an urge to be all-inclusive, or as all-inclusive as possible (few creators immediately attain the desirable level of selectivity), the new order is little by little forced to give up on totality. Personally, my whole life has been haunted by the urge to totality, to the incorporation of what the Chinese call the Ten Thousand Things, on the one hand, and the radical pain of the obligation to select on the other. Totality probably continues to haunt the ongoing process in any poetic production.”
Almost everything that can be said of a terrific book of poetry can be said of this one. When reading Tarn’s poems, I am reminded about the big scope of poetry, about what it can truly do. Both deeply sustaining and pleasurable, it is an awe-inspiring Selected? that a poet knows the importance of living at this level:

For those who continue to wish to work down here,
life has to provide some means of ending.
It switches the powers off one by one:
our needs, the joy one takes in them.
Eventually most of the things that have pleasured us
are wearied by rubbing away
or deadness of desire in the marrow.
Then we lie down and prepare ourselves
to be transformed entirely into light
in order that we might be devoured by no other life.

barack obama

The pump stops here!

Sarah Palin hopped onto the scene with quite a great deal to say for herself. Now, it seems people are checking up on her statements and they are not quite what she said. It seems God building the world in six days is still tops in accomplishment and Palin is placed back in the more natural scheme of things.

Here is the first part of an article from the NY Times. You can read the whole article at:

Palin's Pipeline is Years from Being a Reality

Published: September 10, 2008
ANCHORAGE — When Gov. Sarah Palin of Alaska took center stage at the Republican convention last week, she sought to burnish her executive credentials by telling how she had engineered the deal that jump-started a long-delayed gas pipeline project.

Stretching more than 1,700 miles, it would deliver natural gas from the North Slope of Alaska to the lower 48 states and be the largest private-sector infrastructure project on the continent.

“And when that deal was struck, we began a nearly $40 billion natural gas pipeline to help lead America to energy independence,” said Ms. Palin, the Republican vice-presidential nominee. “That pipeline, when the last section is laid and its valves are opened, will lead America one step farther away from dependence on dangerous foreign powers that do not have our interests at heart.”

The reality, however, is far more ambiguous than the impression Ms. Palin has left at the convention and on the campaign trail.

Certainly she proved effective in attracting developers to a project that has eluded Alaska governors for three decades. But an examination of the pipeline project also found that Ms. Palin has overstated both the progress that has been made and the certainty of success.
The pipeline exists only on paper. The first section has yet to be laid, federal approvals are years away and the pipeline will not be completed for at least a decade. In fact, although it is the centerpiece of Ms. Palin’s relatively brief record as governor, the pipeline might never be built, and under a worst-case scenario, the state could lose up to $500 million it committed to defray regulatory and other costs.

Contributing to the project’s uncertainty is Ms. Palin’s antagonistic relationship with the major oil companies that control Alaska’s untapped gas reserves.

Ms. Palin won the governor’s office in part by capitalizing on populist distaste for the political establishment’s coziness with Big Oil, and her pipeline strategy was intended to blunt its power over the process. Her willingness to take on the oil companies has allowed the McCain campaign to portray her as a scourge of special interests.

Now, though, she will need the industry’s cooperation if her plan is to succeed, and just this week, her office said she intended to reach out to the North Slope oil companies.

As Ms. Palin takes to the road to campaign with Mr. McCain, invoking the pipeline as a major victory, some Alaska lawmakers who initially endorsed her plan now believe it was a mistake. State Senator Bert Stedman, a Republican who is co-chairman of the finance committee, said that in its contract with the chosen developer, TransCanada, the state bargained away too much leverage with little guarantee of success.

“There is no requirement to lift one shovel of dirt or lay down one inch of steel,” he said.