Daily Flog: Alaska or bust; GOP fights off depression; shrinking lobsters



Running down the press:

As expected, Bristol mire was highly profitable this morning:

Daily News: ‘Bristol Palin’s pregnancy was an open secret back home’

Good adjectival application, except for the usual fuckin’ bowdlerizing:

Doe-eyed Bristol Palin, 17, and ruggedly handsome Levi Johnston, an 18-year-old self-described “f—in’ redneck,” have been dating a year, locals in Wasilla, Alaska, told the Daily News.

Der Spiegel: ‘McCain’s Bush-Style Campaign Worries the Center’

Before you settle in for yet another day of Jerry Springer-style Palin family drama, go to Germany for some other news about the Republicans:

McCain’s popularity has long rested on his being a man of the center. The media liked him for his openness. Now, though, McCain has hired a number of former Bush advisors, and his campaign is swerving to the right.

On Tuesday evening in St. Paul, it almost seemed as though the Republicans didn’t want to see the end of the Bush era. Just before 7:30 p.m., applause began rippling through the XCel Center. In the Fox News studio, just under the arena’s rafters, President George W. Bush‘s former chief strategist Karl Rove had sat down for an interview. One row of delegates after another stood up, turned toward Rove and waved excitedly. Rove waved graciously back.

And the German site doesn’t neglect der kinder mutter; it simply treats it as political news:

[T]he choice of Sarah Palin as McCain’s vice presidential candidate was one which came as a surprise to the Republicans — and a not entirely pleasant one for moderates within the party. Since then, it has become clear just how spontaneous the decision was. The last two days have been dominated by coverage of Palin’s pregnant, unmarried 17-year-old daughter, her lack of experience and her extremely conservative views on environmental issues.

Indeed, the choice of the ultra-conservative governor of Alaska seems little more than a poorly disguised gambit to get the religious right behind McCain. It is a clear signal that two other possibilities that had been considered by McCain — the former Democrat Joe Lieberman and the ex-head of Homeland Security Tom Ridge — were unacceptable due to their pro-choice positions.

Straight shooting from the Germans that cuts through the bullshit over here: “poorly disguised gambit to get the religious right behind McCain.”

Yes, the Palin choice smells like a Rovian maneuver. Wonder if we’ll ever find out whether he was the one behind it.

Daily News: ‘Killer smiled as he bragged to dad about chilling student murder’

The morning’s best creepshow stuff:

A drifter who spent time in a psych ward confessed Tuesday to killing a Pace University student found with a cord around his neck and a plastic bag shoved down his throat, police sources said.

Jeromie Cancel, 22, brutalized 19-year-old Kevin Pravia, sat near the honor student’s corpse to watch the horror movie Saw and then bragged about the murder to his father, the sources said. Asked why he did it as he was marched out of the 10th Precinct stationhouse Tuesday night, Cancel shouted, “Because I wanted to. You got a problem with that?”

Nope, no problem, Jeromie. Listen, have a good day. Gotta run now.

Times: ‘City Feels the Economic Pinch, but It’s Only a Pinch, So Far’

Doing its best to attach a smiley face to the situation, the paper dispatched Patrick McGeehan to find people who don’t think the economy is rapidly sinking. In a city this big, you’re bound to find some, and in a story that smacks of small-town reporting, he did:

Across the city, owners of independent businesses agree that the city is in the throes of an economic downturn. Consumers are feeling pinched, they say, credit is harder to come by, and higher food and fuel costs are eating into profits.

To a surprising degree, though, many say they are not feeling deep pain from the slowdown — at least not yet. Many say they have had to reduce prices, but their sales are holding steady or are down only slightly. Others say they are moving ahead with plans to expand or open new branches, stormy economic forecasts notwithstanding.

Vague bullshit that’s mostly stiff-upper-lip quotes from merchants and which includes zero from, say, the tens of thousands of people who have been laid off or fired. “To a surprising degree”? Not backed up.

The problem for readers: If you just read the headline, you’re being misled. But then if you go on and read the story, you’re wasting your time with boring misinformation. Misled or bored — you decide.

For a more realistic look at the economy — even for those of us who don’t dine at hoity-toity restaurants — turn to the food section for Frank Bruni‘s ‘As Belts Tighten, Lobsters Shrink and Bar Menus Grow.’ That’s a real story with real information about how we’re being fricasseed.

Daily News: ‘Online bookies taking bets on whether Sarah Palin will get dumped’

Already tired of the Republicans and their catering to the Good Book evangelicals? Go to Ireland:

The online bookies Intrade are taking bets on whether a string of embarrassing revelations will force GOP vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin to withdraw from John McCain’s ticket.

The market opened at 3% that Palin would be cut and then climbed as high as 18% before settling down to 11.6% at the end of the day.

Intrade chief executive John Delaney, based in Ireland, said he had no reservations about starting the Palin market.

“[Was it] a political decision for us? No. We list markets that are relevant to people, that people have a passionate interest in,” he told Reuters.

I wrote about Intrade’s political market in May 2007 (“Wolfie’s Stock Soars”). Now you can keep track of Palin.

By the way, as the story doesn’t note, Obama appears to be the favorite over McCain, according to the Irish site’s punters.


Tired old headline style, not to mention the mixed-metaphoric lede:

John McCain, Fred Thompson and former Democratic vice-presidential nominee Joe Lieberman galloped to the defense of embattled Sarah Palin yesterday, trying to shield her from attacks that she’s not veep material, as well as from the firestorm over her pregnant teenage daughter.

If Fred Thompson’s name makes the first paragraph of your Palin story, you gotta problem.


Great head, supported by a cute lede:

Two thousand bras equaled one bust.

A Queens man was arrested yesterday on charges of selling $80,000 worth of hot Victoria’s Secret brassieres… on eBay.

L.A. Times: ‘Hitting an old foe: the media’

James Rainey, the paper’s “On the Media” reporter, paints a dramatic picture:

Delegates to the Republican National Convention whirled in their seats en masse and called out from the floor: “Tell the truth! Tell the truth!”

The chants and finger-wagging were directed toward the sky boxes. Their target: the television networks and the rest of the “liberal mainstream media.”

Then he continues with what has to be the worst idea for a lede in the history of political-convention coverage:

It happened 20 years ago, as the GOP gathered in New Orleans, Times political writer Mark Z. Barabak recalled this week.

Huh? He’s interviewing one of his colleagues? About something that happened 20 years ago? Rainey continues:

But the scene could have come from the convention floor Tuesday in St. Paul, where the Republican faithful began working out once again on a favorite punching bag.

Yes, it could have, but it didn’t.

In fact, another mediocre West Coast paper snared an anecdote that really did happen in St. Paul. Danny Westneat of the Seattle Times trolled the convention floor asking about George W. Bush and came up with this:

One delegate told me he couldn’t answer because he simply hadn’t given Bush any thought lately. I pressed him: He’s still the president, isn’t he?

He started to say something, then stopped. He insisted he couldn’t be quoted by name.

Then he took my reporter’s notebook and wrote across it: “Worst president ever.”

Times (U.K.): ‘Obama support hits 50 per cent as Republicans look to Palin speech’

Rupert Murdoch‘s London paper is your better choice than Murdoch’s New York City paper — or any other NYC paper — if you want political news. If you want to put the Palin news in perspective, here’s part of how the Brit paper’s Hannah Strange portrays it:

Mrs Palin has been holed up at her suite at the Hilton Minneapolis since Sunday night, as Mr McCain’s top advisers brief her on the nominee’s policy positions, national issues and how to introduce herself to an audience of millions.

The Alaska governor is sure of a rapturous welcome from the Republican convention, where delegates have rallied to her defence following the news that her daughter Bristol is having a baby with her boyfriend-turned-fiance.

As a staunch social conservative and lifetime member of the NRA, her selection sent the party’s powerful social and evangelical conservative base into peals of delight.

But her speech must win over a far tougher crowd — an America that hardly knows her and has been bewildered by a series of dubious revelations — from her past membership of the fringe Alaska Independence Party to an audio recording of her laughing while a campaign opponent was called a “bitch”, “cancer”, and mocked for her weight.

Yo, bitch, you ain’t all that. “Jer-ry! Jer-ry! Jer-ry!”