More Ethics Charges Against Sarah Palin

Following Sarah Palin’s announcement that she intends to resign as governor and speculation that this is to avoid action against her for ethics violations, yet another report of ethics violations has come out:

In the wake of Governor Palin stepping down from her job, new allegations have surfaced today in Alaska charging Palin with additional violations of the Alaska Executive Ethics Act.

Zane Henning — a conservative government watchdog from the governor’s hometown of Wasilla and an oilfield worker on Alaska’s North Slope — asserts in a letter to Alaska Attorney General Daniel S. Sullivan that Palin has “been charging and pocketing per diem to live in her home and has used the process for a personal gain since being elected.”

The Washington Post first broke this story last September during the 2008 presidential race, but until now, no formal ethics charges have been brought on the matter in Alaska.

In a detailed press release accompanying his complaint, Henning declared that:

“Palin’s use of the per diem is in direct conflict with Section 39.52.120. (a) of the Alaska Executive Ethics Act….More than a thousand state employees commute from the Mat-Su Valley daily and none of them get to pocket free money.”

Marion Barry Arrested Again

Marion Barry was arrested again, this time for stalking a female companion. He is currently on probation for failing to pay his federal income taxes.

Posted in Democrats, Scandals. Tags: . 4 Comments »

Will Palin Change Her Mind?

There are many theories as to why Sarah Palin announced that she intends to step down as governor of Alaska. She might see this as beneficial to prepare for a 2012 run, especially as she will be able to avoid making the hard choices required of a governor during a recession. She might have decided take advantages of the big dollars she can make outside of politics so she can support her taste in clothing. She might be resigning due to a scandal. Keeping an eye on Russia might have become too big a responsibility for her to continue.  Josh Marshall has what is perhaps the most bizarre theory of all:

Let me start by saying I don’t think this is likely. But given our experience with Larry Craig, I do think it’s worth considering. Remember, former Sen. Larry Craig came out and announced he was resigning his office. But folks who listened closely noticed that he only announced his ‘intent to resign‘. And later he decided that his ‘intent’ had changed and he wouldn’t resign after all. He ended up serving right through the last day of his term in January 2009.

Now, Palin’s situation is different in as much as Craig was under great pressure to resign and the ‘intend to’ workaround ended up just buying him time. Palin did this totally out of the blue. But given the thundering derision that has greeted her decision and exposure as a quitter of gargantuan proportions, is it possible she’ll reconsider? After all, if she’s resigning, why doesn’t she just resign? Why wait until the end of July?

This is not very likely as, while the announcement has generated a tremendous amount of publicity, to announce that she has changed her mind would make Palin appear even more ridiculous than she does now.  Such a move would wind up defining her, and we can imagine how the late night comics would find easy laughs by questioning if she plans to change her mind on every decision she should make.

Still, with Sarah Palin we cannot exclude the totally absurd. She often does act  impulsively and irrationally. In case Palin should decide to announce that she has changed her mind, Matthew Cooper has even written the start of her speech.

Posted in Sarah Palin. Tags: , . 3 Comments »

New Guidelines To Expand Embryonic Stem Cell Research

Bloomberg reports on the impact of new regulations regarding federal funding of embryonic stem cell research:

Stem cell research in the U.S. will expand under rules that allow federal government funding for scientists working with unused embryos created at fertility clinics, freeing hundreds of cell lines for study.

The final guidelines released today by the National Institutes of Health increase the number of stem cell lines available for research from 20 to more than 700, the acting director of the agency, Raynard Kington, said in a conference call. Funding for new lines require documents showing the cells were donated, and stem cells being used for research and those from other countries can be approved by an NIH working group.

Embryonic stem cells can grow into any kind of tissue and may accelerate research into cures for diseases such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s. President Barack Obama on March 9 lifted restrictions on U.S. government funding for the research imposed in 2001 by former President George W. Bush. The NIH received more than 49,000 comments on the draft rules.

The new rules are “a big step forward,” said Susan Solomon, chief executive officer of the New York Stem Cell Foundation, in a telephone interview today. The absence of a working group option “may well have been an oversight in the draft version.”

An earlier draft of the guidelines released for public feedback in April would have excluded some existing stem cell lines that didn’t meet all the requirements. The new rules ban U.S. funding to scientists using stem cells from embryos created solely for research purposes.