Sarah Palin’s Per Diem

9 09 2008

Ahh, poor politicians and their ongoing frat party in this nation’s capitol. Let’s be clear, both sides are touting change as being the only option to save our nation and yada, yada, yada.

I’m all for change. I think change is good.

But, and this goes for both parties, words are meaningless unless actions accompany those words.

I haven’t been sitting over here at Chez Coma busting out on Sarah Palin, who I still think has little experience to take on what could be the most important office in recent history. (And, of course, hanging out with carnies and cool people, living my life the way I want to.)

No, but I also want to say that that Gov. Palin’s actions aren’t lining up with her words. I realize that every government official gets a per diem. I’ve no problem with that when It’s company business and running a state is a company.

What I do have a problem with is charging the taxpayers of her state for this after only 19 months in office:

She wrote some form of “Lodging — own residence” or “Lodging — Wasilla residence” more than 30 times at the same time she took a per diem, according to the reports. In two dozen undated amendments to the reports, the governor deleted the reference to staying in her home but still charged the per diem.

If you are hanging out at your own house, why in the world would you charge the state you run for per diem?

I realize the first family is going to get some perks as well but the Palins’ charged the state of Alaska more than I make in a year including this:

The family also charged for flights around the state, including trips to Alaska events such as the start of the Iditarod dog-sled race and the Iron Dog snowmobile race, a contest that Todd Palin won.

Granted, Palin has spent less than the governor she replaced but I still can’t help but question $707 per night hotel bills.

I can’t wait for the day I see a politician stay at a Super 8 like the rest of us. Or even a Marriot which is a luxury for many of us.

Politics as usual. We can talk about change all we want but the new school is just the same as the old school, it just has a new coat of paint and that’s about it.


Annoying Autobiographical Pause #387

11 03 2008

In my non-cyber existence, I’ve been busy herding cats. I know that might not make a lot of sense but it does to me.

Let me explain, last week we had a bank robbery. Batesville and I treked to the bank (no one was hurt) stood in the burning cold and did what we do. So it was a lot of hurry up and wait. (They caught the suspects in Nashville and dude wore a wig that looked somewhat like this.)


It’s all about the hurry up and wait these days. Because the paper I work for is not a daily and we do not have access to wire services like the Associated Press, we have to be creative. Our staff is wicked small and has an almost family feel about it. The community feels a sense of ownership for this paper which has been part of the town since 1884.

When there isn’t a big news story, we rely on feature stories about people in the community. (There isn’t always a bank robbery going on, campers.) We also rely a lot on what’s going on in city board meetings and the like. You do find some juicy stuff in that but it only applies to what’s happening in our area.

We were hyperlocal before it was a word.

Sports is huge (and probably sells more papers than anything) because some of these kids playing high school athletics will only appear in newsprint once. They aren’t all like, let’s say, Chad Clifton who’s played for the Green Bay Packers for years now but grew up in our tiny burg.

I read a lot about viral marketing, new ranges of time for a news story (remember I’ve discussed the length of stories such as how long Watergate dominated the news in the mid-70s or even Iran-Contra 15 years later in comparison to, let’s say, how long the Spitzer story is going to be in the news) and keeping up to date with so much available at one time and how it impacts our community.

The news watercooler time has changed with the Internet and with 24/7 news. It depends on what news is happening at the time.

I used to work in radio and I miss the immediacy of delivering that kind of news. Now it’s a matter of finding what we will run front page when the cycle is already somewhat over.

And sometimes we have a lot and sometimes not so much but determining what our audience wants can give you a headache.

So, it’s a lot of crunch time busy then some down time where we try to determine what our community wants but the crunch time is pretty intense. And we are in the midst of learning video which, believe me, is a challenge for my old tired ass but I’m enjoying it.

And we are reorganizing to a degree to make adjustments in the world of journalism. It’s why I follow guys like Jack Lail and blogs like Music City Bloggers and TennViews, which in essence has the feel of a community newspaper. Demarcationville also keep us with this as well. I’m trying to learn. I have hundreds of sites in my feedburner about the changes in news.

It’s challenging.

Things are changing and this is always on my mind.



Annoying Autobiographical Pause #576

11 01 2008

Everyone I know has been running around in Hooterville like chickens with our heads cut off. It’s been tiring, needless to say, getting ready for the benefit and has brought up a lot of things that have had to be dissected and processed in my little ole’ brain. We tackle one issue, than we move to the next level. Such is life.

Kinda like Pacman, but I digress.

I’ve thought a lot this week about the human condition. About our purpose on this planet and why some people decide to live in moment seeking joy and others don’t. I guess that’s just folks, but it’s had me doing some soul-searching that has snuck up on me unexpectedly. We hear about change (this week’s political buzzword) and life’s choices all the time, but sometimes, when I need a bit of direction on these things, I head to Sam Davidson’s place. I don’t know why I do, but there is usually something over there I find that I need at the moment. (Thanks Sam.)

And I’m glad I did this morning, because what he wrote spoke to me.

And so, I can get jaded or dissatisfied when life bogs me down with the real process of change. Things in the real world take real time. Political processes, approval process and biological processes all take time. I then very easily get jaded or dissatisfied with the word ‘process‘ because it signals a lengthy amount of time or even a perceived delay.

But it doesn’t mean I’m any less hungry for change. It doesn’t mean I don’t dream of a better tomorrow any less frequently. Indeed, my hunger for change may only increase due to my belief that change can happen (after all, I change things everyday, remember?). Adding to my witness that change can happen is a hickory-like belief that change should happen. Put these together and I’m resolutely preaching that change must happen.

I have realized in the last few years, I keep sitting on a wall seeking changes but I am hesitant about the actions to take. Is it out of fear? Is it out of not wanting to leave my comfort zone?

Do we just accept things and go on home to watch TV? You see, I don’t want to be that person. I want to be the person who embraces life, and I do to a large degree, but I’ve been in a brain rut for awhile. Working on the Friends of the Stewman benefit has been good for me in many ways but it’s brought up a lot of questions about my own personal journey.

I said it yesterday and more than once, I believe everything is connected. Action does spark reaction. It’s a matter if we as human beings and spiritual creatures learn and grow from it all.

And that I have to face the fact that just because I seek inner growth and peace doesn’t mean anything to anyone else but me.

And, my friends, that has to be enough.

And for whatever reason, although I’m a bit apprehensive about it all, I’m all right with that.