Back in September 2008, MSNBC's Chris Matthews floated a specious allegation that then-Governor Sarah Palin had ties to an advocate of Alaskan secession named Joe Vogler. Although the charge was roundly discredited, it was one of the many early attempts to smear Palin as a wacky extremist.

Two years later, it appears at least one writer for a liberal magazine thinks Alaskan secession would be a fun little topic to bat around the Web.

"Thought Experiment: Should Alaska Secede From the U.S.?" asked the headline for Daniel Stone's August 18 The Gaggle blog post at

August is slow around Washington, so we figured it’d be high time to toss around the idea of kicking Alaska out of the unionor the state leaving on its own accord.

The reason? Those darn Alaskans are too conservative, too critical of federal government intrusion, yet they are net recipients of federal aid from Washington spending:

Calling your political opponents Nazis can get old after a while.

That's why one needs to mix it up, perhaps by suggesting that they're akin to the radical Islamic clerics that inspire terrorism.

Just ask MSNBC's Chris Matthews.

During the "Political Sideshow" segment of his June 1 program, the "Hardball" host compared Sarah Palin's Facebook page posting about author Joe McGinniss renting the house next door to a "fatwa" aimed at "rev[ving] up anger at the author" from amongst her "mob" of followers [MP3 audio available here]:

PalinFenceWith all the major news stories and developments out there, the editorial board at the Mat-Su Valley Frontiersman in Wasilla, Alaska, Sarah Palin's hometown, is bemused, bewildered, and somewhat befuddled at the national media's interest in a privacy fence (HT Michelle Malkin) on residential property.

The just-built fence is on Palin's property. Its purpose is to frustrate the prying eyes of author Joe McGinnis, who has moved into a house next door for what is said to be the next five months.

The Palins are understandably none too pleased at the orchestrated attempt at privacy invasion that appears to either be funded by or will ultimately be reimbursed by publishing giant Random House. Readers here will share that feeling once they see who is expending precious newsroom resources trying to follow the McGinnis v. Palin saga instead of dealing with legitimate news stories.

Here is some of what the Frontiersman had to say on Saturday (bolds are mine):

Time's Michael Crowley, late of the liberal publication The New Republic, took to his new magazine's Swampland blog with a salutatory post yesterday. After the obligatory kind words about how excited he was to be on board "another great [journalistic] institution," Crowley laid out his case about why author Joe McGinniss was foolish for renting a house right next door to the Palin family's Wasilla residence.

He did take a few swipes at Palin in the process -- arguing Palin is on a mission to discredit journalists and this just bolsters her argument -- but Crowley's case is the polar opposite of Slate's Jack Shafer, who defiantly praised McGinniss's journalistic "a**holery." Here's the relevant excerpt from Crowley's May 27 post (emphases mine):

On Monday's Countdown show, substitute hosted by liberal MSNBC political analyst Lawrence O'Donnell, during a segment with Newsweek's Jonathan Alter about former Governor Sarah Palin's resignation speech from the weekend, Alter referred to what he called Palin's "fibs" and "absurdities" as he reminded viewers that she is very popular in the Republican party despite the flaws Alter and his ilk see in her. Alter: "She is now an icon within the Republican party, and we can, you know, laugh at her and point out all of her fibs and all of her absurdities, but she has a hard core constituency within that party that suggests that her career is not entirely over."

Alter later recounted some of the elements of her weekend speech, including "attacking the national media," and contended that her words would play well with Republicans, "even if it rubs us the wrong way." Alter:

On the Saturday Early Show on the morning of July 4, CBS anchor Priya David mocked Sarah Palin’s famous phrase, "You betcha," as she introduced a report by correspondent Nancy Cordes on the Alaska governor’s decision to resign from office. David: "Resign from office? You betcha. Alaska Governor Sarah Palin dropped a political bombshell Friday, announcing that she's leaving her post, but her future plans remain a mystery."

Unlike her report on the CBS Evening News from the previous night, this time Cordes refrained from referring to Palin’s speech as "rambling" and "confusing," but she did run a soundbite of the Politico’s Mike Allen calling Palin’s decision "odd." Allen: "If you’re trying to promote yourself as a steady leader, this is an odd way to run for President." On Friday night, Cordes had run a soundbite of Allen calling the announcement "bizarre." Allen: "This is very unusual, even bizarre. Governors just don't stop in the middle of their terms when there’s no clear reason."

Below is a complete transcript of the relevant report from the July 4 CBS Early Show:

Tourism has recently been up a little in Juneau, Alaska. More folks than ever have been interested in taking bus tours through Alaska's capital city with a major attraction being the Alaska State House where Governor Sarah Palin goes about her daily work. In fact, the tours have been gaining in popularity since before John McCain asked the governor along for his run for the White House -- Palin being a draw the whole time. The bus tours are so popular that adorable little Piper has even set up a lemonade stand to sell tourists a glass of lemony goodness to quench their thirst for something wet as well as something cute.

And Palin haters in Alaska are livid. They want the bus tours stopped and little Piper's stand razed to the ground. Palin Derangement Syndrome (PDS) strikes again. It's an ugly, ugly thing, this PDS and one man in particular is leading the charge but curiously enough his long past of agitation and his criminal record don't quite seem to be making any of the stories in the Old Media.

My therapist told me to take two shots at Chris Matthews and call him in the morning . . .

Mike Barnicle is back to looking down his nose at bloggers.  After Mika Brzezinski claimed on today's Morning Joe that "blogging isn't journalism," the former Boston Globe columnist declared that "95%, 99% of blogging isn't journalism. It's therapy for the blogger."

The predicate was a provocative one.  Willie Geist read from an Esquire interview of Sarah Palin in which she said that—long after the issue had been put to rest—the Anchorage Daily News called her—based on allegations in blogs—to ask whether she was indeed the mother of Trig, her youngest child.  Palin took that as evidence of continuing problems in the world of "journalism," prompting Mika and Mike to go off on us members of the pajamahadeen.

Remember when you were a kid and you and your best friend got caught doing something you two weren't supposed to be doing? Remember the first words blurted from your mouth was, "Well, it's HIS fault?" It's a common reaction for a kid trying to avoid the wrath of Mom that he knows is coming after getting caught for doing what he knew was wrong in the first place. Well in essence, this is what the executive editor of the Anchorage Daily News, Pat Dougherty, did in reaction to the furious question that Governor Sarah Palin had for the editor's choice of continuing to pursue the idiotic and insulting claim that Sarah is not the real mother of son Trig. In response to being outed, editor Dougherty blamed everyone else for his continuing to publish the ridiculous conspiracy theory that only idiots, hatemongers and fools could believe.

In a good catch by McClatchy Watch, Dougherty gets caught spreading hateful rumors about Governor Palin, gets called out on the fact by Governor Palin herself, then looks back wide-eyed in feigned innocence and points his finger at bloggers and people on the left that have persisted with their own interest in this stupid story.

Governor Mom tapped her foot and asked lil' Dougherty why he's promulgating known lies in his paper and he blurted out, "It's their fault, Mom." Of course, in the adult world, that juvenile excuse does not work. Dougherty needs to take responsibility for what HE placed in the paper HE controls. He should admit that HE just wants to find any way at all to destroy Governor Palin. His faux shock at being exposed is as phony as a three dollar bill.

Looney LeftIt would seem New Scientist magazine recently decided to sacrifice credibility in the field of research.  Journalistic research, anyway. 

In their recent article titled, "Science heroes and villains of 2008," New Scientist has taken the liberty of naming some noteworthy individuals in the field.  As their opening salvo states (emphasis mine): 

The collective brain of New Scientist has come up with 8 scientist heroes of the year and people to look out for in 2009, 3 non-scientists who deserve special mention - and two possible bad guys.

Apparently, the collective brain has recently slipped into a vegetative state.

Of the three non-scientists who deserve special mention, one is Philip Munger, an editor of the Progressive Alaska blog, guest of Air America radio broadcasts, and Daily Kos loon.  His contribution to science that earns him the status of hero?  Claiming that Sarah Palin once told him that dinosaurs and humans coexisted.  Ah, my hero.  Einstein, Newton, Hawking... and Munger, of course!

Wasilla Church FireThere was a fire Friday at Wasilla Bible Church, where GOP vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin and her family are members. The fire did $1 million in damage. The photo at the right is among three that are in a slide show at Wasilla's local paper, the Mat-Su Valley Frontiersman, whose story is here.

The Washington Post has a short AP story at Page A02 (more on that shortly). The New York Times has nothing about it on its home page. A Times search on "Palin Church" (without quotes) leads to the same AP story; a review of today's print edition shows that the story appears on Page A41.

Does anyone think a similar fire at Chicago's Trinity United Church of Christ, which Barack Obama attended for almost two decades until earlier this year, would have been as quietly covered -- even if Obama had lost?

Maybe it's just as well that the AP's coverage isn't too prominent yet, because Rachel D'Oro's story added an agenda-driven undercurrent in the last excerpted paragraph:

Seven days before America elects a new leadership team, Newsweek is making a last-ditch attempt to portray GOP vice-presidential nominee Sarah Palin as a religious nut.

In her article "Jesus and Witches," Newsweek Religion Editor Lisa Miller suggests Palin believes in witchcraft, thinks the world is coming to a fiery end in her lifetime, and may have a "special sense of destiny" fueled by her "apocalyptic theology" and Alaskan "Last Frontier identity." Miller even hints Palin may be anti-Semitic.