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Satirist sends Palin ‘Where the Rogue Things Go’

I just got off the phone with San Francisco-based political humorist Will Durst, who’s set to satirize the unique American political phenomenon that is Sarah Palin with the release of his new book “Where the Rogue Things Go,” a parody of Maurice Sendak’s classic for children.

From publisher Ulysses Press:

Where the Rogue Things GoCreative and entertaining, the book begins with Sarah’s early episodes of bad behavior—from her failings at higher education to her practicing of witch doctor religion. It retells the time when she seemed doomed to suffer the political version of being sent to bed without dinner for her abuse of power as governor of Alaska, but instead finds herself transported (almost as if on a magic boat) onto the national political stage as the 2008 Republican Vice Presidential candidate.

Where the Rogue Things Go follows each of Sarah’s pathetic missteps on the campaign, while simultaneously illustrating the legions of fans who inexplicably grow and grow until they surround her at every campaign stop like trees in a thick forest. But Sarah must also win over the snarling, filibustering, tea-bagging monsters that lead America’s right wing. She does so with her greatest ploy of all—she bewitches them with a single wink and they crown her Queen of the Rogue Things.

This cautionary tale continues Sarah’s story into a tragic future where now President Palin and the Rogue Things go on an unconstrained rampage of extreme conservatism that sends America’s economy, environment, and culture back to the dark days of the Bush/Cheney years. With childlike clarity and colorful artwork, Where the Rogue Things Go offers a smart rebuke to Palin’s lipstick-on-a-pit-bull rebranding of failed right wing policies.

“The illustrator is just putting on the final touches and then it gets to the publisher and then they send it to the lawyers… so we’re thinking maybe the beginning of May before it comes out,” Durst told me. “It’s a gentile pastiche, is what it is – we’re mocking and scoffing and taunting but were doing it with taste.”

Will DurstHe said that to liberal-leaning political humorists, Palin is the gift that keeps on giving. Or something like that.

“She’s like the Republican herpes, she erupts every two weeks or so,” Durst said. “If there weren’t a Sarah Palin, we would’ve invented her. For those of us going cold turkey on Bush, she’s like a double dose of methadone.”

He’s hoping she’ll find the book “funny and amusing. She’s got a great sense of humor, so I’m hoping next time we can collaborate on something.”

Durst was calling from Chicago, where he’s “telling some jokes to drunks in bars, my usual job,” he said – fortuitous timing, given that former White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel swept to victory over five rivals in Tuesday’s mayoral election, the first wide-open, non-incumbent mayoral vote the Windy City has had in 64 years. “I made fun of the audience last night – I said, ‘What are you doing here, you’re supposed to be voting!’ ”

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Yee: How much is CSU paying Palin to speak?

State Senator Leland Yee, D-San Francisco, is asking the California State University Stanislaus Foundation to disclose whatever pay has been promised to former Alaska Governor and 2008 Republican vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin for her June 25 speaking engagement at the university.

Few if any students will be able to attend the event that has a per ticket cost of $500, Yee noted in his news release, which announced he sent a letter today to campus president and foundation chair Hamid Shirvani. From the letter:

The sensational nature of former Governor Palin’s political commentary, coupled with an ongoing book tour, has allowed her to charge top dollar for speaking engagements. As was reported in the media, her speaking appearances typically command $100,000 per event. To that end, I request the foundation to respond to the following issues: 1. Is the former governor being compensated by the CSUS Foundation in any form for her participation in the event on June 25th? If so, please describe the amount and nature of the compensation being awarded to the former governor. 2. Please disclose any contracts between the former governor and the CSUS Foundation involving the June 25 speaking engagement.

Yee noted the Foundation’s stated mission is to “to supplement services and funding provided by the state so that our students, our faculty and our community experience a margin of excellence that private support affords,” and he wants to know whether money is being diverted from students to pay Palin’s speaking fees.

“At a time when students are struggling to afford an education at CSU, I would hope that spending potentially hundreds of thousands of dollars on a guest speaker for a black-tie gala would be low on the priority list,” he said in his news release. “Money that is spent on bringing an out-of-touch former politician to campus could be spent on scholarships and other financial assistance during these challenging budget times.”

Yee said CSU officials have argued that the contract with Palin prevents the foundation from disclosing how much they are spending for her appearance, yet a state law he authored in 2008 prohibits state or local agencies from allowing an outside entity to control the disclosure of information that is otherwise subject to the California Public Records Act (CPRA). The law states that regardless of any contract term to the contrary, a contract between a private entity and a state or local agency is subject to the same disclosure requirements as other public records.

Yee has another bill now pending, SB 330, which would clarify that campus foundations and auxiliaries must adhere to the CPRA. CSU and University of California foundations and auxiliaries often perform government functions and are staffed entirely by university administrators, yet despite their sole purpose being for the benefit of the schools, CSU and UC administrations argue that they are private entities that need not adhere to open government laws. The state Senate passed SB 330 on a 37-1 vote in January, and the bill now awaits a hearing in the Assembly Higher Education Committee. Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger last year vetoed a similar bill that the Assembly had passed 76-0 and the state Senate had passed 35-1.

“It is time for CSU and UC administrators to stop acting like they are running private country clubs,” Yee said today. “These are public institutions that should embrace transparency and accountability.”

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Books for the already-convinced

Inside Obama's BrainTwo new titles crossed my desk this week: “Inside Obama’s Brain” (Portfolio, $24.95) by Sasha Abramsky, and “Going Rouge – Sarah Palin: An American Nightmare,” (Health Communications, $15.95) edited by Richard Kim and Betsy Reed. Both are likely to please the people who are likely to buy them.

Abramsky – a Sacramento-based freelance journalist and senior fellow at Demos who reports on political personalities and cultural trends for outlets such as the Atlantic Monthly, the Huffington Post, Mother Jones and the Nation, among others – interviewed almost 100 of President Obama’s current and former friends, colleagues, classmates, staff, fellow activists, neighbors and so on. He introduces his book thus:

In a very real way, we want answered the question, “what makes Obama tick?” That core question is what Inside Obama’s Brain sets out to answer. To do so, one has to ask a host of smaller questions: How does he approach problems? What ideas and intellectual theories make up his political credo? How does he communicate with friends and foes? How do his many skills play out in his chosen fields, the worlds of writing, organizing, law and politics? And why is it that so many people not just in the United States but around the world are so seduced – and so willing to be seduced – by his words and his presence?

The responses, provided by relatives, friends and colleagues from the many layers of Obama’s extraordinary life, and by his own words – put forth in his books and essays, in media interviews spanning more than a decade, and in numerous campaign speeches and political meetings – reveal the complexity of a man who has become something of a mythical figure in his own lifetime.

Although well-researched and generously footnoted, this book starts from the premise that President Obama is an inspirational figure, transformative for the better; it wraps up by calling him “a living legend.” Those who disagree with the President politically aren’t likely to think much of this book.

Going RougeSimilarly, “Going Rouge” – edited by two senior editors at the Nation – is meant as rebuttal to Palin’s bestselling memoir, “Going Rogue” (HarperCollins, $28.99) right down to the portrait on the cover: Instead of Palin wearing red in front of a cloud-dappled blue sky, it’s Palin wearing red in front of storm clouds and a lightning bolt.

And in this case you can judge a book by its cover. “Going Rouge” collects essays from liberal writers including Jim Hightower, Katha Pollitt, Gloria Steinem, Tom Frank and many others seeking to deconstruct Palin’s “maverick” political persona and policies, casting her as “a Christian fundamentalist opposed to the teaching of honest sex education in schools and in favor of teaching creationism alongside evolution, a climate-change-denier and government-basher alarmingly ignorant of the world and totally unprepared to be president.” It reviews all her gaffes and her conservative policy statements from last year and since, and contemplates “the nightmarish prospect of her continuing to dominate the nation’s political scene.”

Like Abramsky’s book, this one isn’t likely to change any minds, just to reassure those who’ve already made their minds up.

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Schwarzenegger video of the week

This week, best wishes for a happy Thanksgiving from the guys at JibJab… unless you happen to be a turkey…

Looks like we’ve discovered something else Arnold Schwarzenegger and Sarah Palin have in common.

Previous SVOTWs: November 18, November 11, November 4, October 28, October 21, October 14, October 7, September 30, September 23, September 16, September 9, September 2, August 26, August 19, August 12, August 5, July 29, July 22, July 8, July 1, June 24, June 17, June 10, June 3, May 27, May 20, May 13, May 6, April 29, April 22, April 15, April 8, April 1, March 25, March 18, March 11, March 4, February 26, February 19, February 12, February 5, January 29, January 22, January 15, January 8, January 1, December 25, December 18, December 11, December 4, November 27, November 20, November 13, November 6, October 30, October 23, October 16, October 9, October 2, September 25, September 18, September 11, September 4, August 28, August 21, August 7, July 31, July 24, July 17, July 10, July 3, June 26, June 19, June 12, June 5, May 29, May 22, May 15,
May 8, May 1, April 24, April 17, April 10, April 3, March 27, March 20, March 13, March 6, February 27, February 20, February 13, February 6, January 30.

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Romanowski: McCain & Palin used my supplements

I was talking with former NFL Pro-Bowl linebacker and Oakland Raider Bill Romanowski today, one of half a dozen East Bay notables I interviewed for a forthcoming story about their reactions to Obama’s win.

Romanowski said he’s inspired by Obama, but was proud to have played a role in the McCain/Palin campaign, too. What’s that, you say? Well, it seems John McCain and Sarah Palin might be satisfied customers of Romanowski’s Lafayette-based Nutrition53 nutritional supplement business.

“We had found out that Sarah Palin had been using my Lean1 product — it was said she went from a size 6… to a size 4,” Romo told me. “So, being able to eat healthy and to keep the figure that she wanted to keep, she utilized Lean1. I’m just excited that I’m able to make an impact, that my company is able to make an impact in people’s lives. My career in the National Football League for so many years was about me and my ego, and now when I think about it, I want my legacy to be, ‘This guy, yeah he was a tough football player, he won Super Bowls, but he also changed people’s lives… That really excites me, I get passionate each and every day.”

Romo said it was also rumored that John McCain was taking his Neuro1 product, which Nutrition53’s Web site says “delivers the neuronutrients you need for the best mental energy, focus and memory to perform in your daily life.”

The New York Daily News reported this about a month ago, followed by the Rocky Mountain News, and then by bloggers questioning McCain’s health and acuity. Palin’s Lean1 use was picked up by the New York Daily News last week. The campaign didn’t comment on any of those, and I’m guessing it won’t do so now.