Newsweek says Palin cut funds to teen moms, Juneau paper says not true.

Newsweek has become the latest mainstream media source to repeat the inaccurate story that Sarah Palin cut funds for teen moms.
In a story suggesting her policies have not been family friendly, Katie Paul writes:

Meanwhile, both this year and last year, she has used her line-item veto to slash state funds for programs providing precisely the kinds of resources Feminists for Life supports for at-risk mothers on the fence about abortion. She cut by 20 percent the funding for Covenant House Alaska, a state-supported program that includes a transitional home where new teenage mothers can spend up to 18 months learning money management and parenting skills. Critics have jumped all over that decision, arguing that the decision looks especially bad in light of the news that Palin’s 17-year-old daughter has since become pregnant.

I addressed the facts on this matter via a blog post, a statement from Covenant House Director, Deirdre Cronin, and an op-ed published on Today, the Juneau Empire addressed the matter in a news analysis.

In a story that’s getting repeated frequently nationally, the Washington Post reported that Palin “slashed funding for teen moms” in the 2008 budget.
The story has a delicious irony, with Palin herself to soon become the mother of a teen mom.
What actually happened was that Palin cut $1.1 million from $5 million to help Anchorage’s Covenant House expand. The transitional home for teen mothers actually received an increase of $3.9 million.
The money was in the state’s 2008 capital budget, where the state provides extra money to go with the state’s operating budget, which funds ongoing programs.

The Juneau analysis also addresses other spin and is worth the read.

Anne Kilkenny comments on the Sarah Palin book banning story

Well, she comments a little bit.
Anne Kilkenny is the Wasilla, AK resident who wrote a lengthy email to friends about Sarah Palin. The email has gone viral. has verified it and it is posted on the Anchorage Daily News website. Mrs. Kilkenny is a registered Democrat and appears to be in the 20% of Alaskans who do not approve of Palin’s work as Governor.
In her email, Mrs. Kilkenny said Sarah Palin tried to remove the town librarian, saying:

While Sarah was Mayor of Wasilla she tried to fire our highly respected City Librarian because the Librarian refused to consider removing from the library some books that Sarah wanted removed. City residents rallied to the defense of the City Librarian and against Palin’s attempt at out-and-out censorship, so Palin backed down and withdrew her termination letter. People who fought her attempt to oust the Librarian are on her enemies list to this day.

I wrote Mrs. Kilkenny to ask on what books she thought Palin wanted removed. Critics have protrayed this episode as censorship. On the other hand, it is possible that the books in question were inappropriate or books about which many people would disagree. Mrs. Kilkenny wrote back with what at first seemed like a canned email.

Hello, My name is Anne Kilkenny. I wrote a piece on Sarah Palin which is posted on the following website with my permission: I’m sorry that I cannot reply personally and directly to your email, but email is coming in faster than I can even read it. I applaud you for trying to verify the things that you receive before you send them around the internet. I have learned several things from this experience. #1) I’m impressed with how hard the press is working and how fast they have gotten up to speed on this very small town’s political history. The people in the regular media are doing a pretty doggone good job. The reports I’m reading in the newspapers and seeing on the major networks are as close to totally accurate as is reasonable to expect, given this imperfect world and the fact that everyone has had to go from zero to 60 in under 2 seconds, #2) How wonderful my fellow American are. People are NOT into the Karl Rovian politics of personal destruction. Americans are idealists; we desperately want to find someone to vote FOR and to believe in, and we keep looking for that perfect candidate.

It is hard to miss her clear political views here. I think her email regarding Palin should be read with this in mind. However, then she answers my questions about the books at issue.

I’m sorry I don’t know which books Sarah Palin wanted removed from the Wasilla Public Library collection. Censorship is censorship: what difference does it make which books? Over the years, City Librarians had selected books for the colletion [sic] based on standard professional guidelines. Thank you for taking your responsibilities as a citizen so seriously, Anne

A couple of observations here. Probably any lists which are being circulated on the web are not accurate. I do think it matters which books were at issue. I am not as trusting as Mrs. Kilkenny in the “standard professional guidelines” of librarians. Periodically, books are purchased which are not appropriate for kids and parents have valid concerns. Raising these concerns about what kids read is not censorship in my view, it is an effort to have a voice in establishing kid-friendly community standards.
Socially liberal and conservative people conflict over this matter frequently. Is it censorship to restrict sexually explicit movies to adults? Or is it proper guidance of youth? Knowing the books Palin was concerned about is quite relevant to charges of censorship.
UPDATE – 9/8/08
Charles Martin at Explorations continues to unearth lots of material regarding the Palin rumor. He has a link to this 1996 article reprinted in a local Wasilla, AK paper regarding the controversy over the library. I think this piece clears up most questions regarding the matter. She asked for no books to be banned, nor did she ask the librarian to engage in censorship.

Trooper at heart of Alaska investigation says Palin "wonderful" choice

A couple of hours ago,CNN posted an interview with Mike Wooten, Sarah Palin’s ex-brother-in-law where he said McCain’s choice of Palin as running mate was “absolutely wonderful for the state of Alaska.” The crux of the interview was that Wooten denies drinking in a patrol car and says he is sorry for the mistakes he admits he did make. According to CNN,

In 2006, state investigators found Wooten guilty of “a significant pattern of judgment failures,” including using a Taser on his 10-year-old stepson and drinking beer while operating a state trooper vehicle. Wooten was suspended for 10 days as “a last chance to take corrective action.”

An investigation is being conducted to determine whether Palin’s office pushed for Wooten to be fired. An additional question is whether she fired Public Safety Commissioner Walt Monegan for refusing to remove Wooten from the patrol.
As I watch the video, I wonder why Monegan did not fire Mr. Wooten or at least provide more time off than Mr. Wooten received (5 days).

It appears that concerns regarding Mr. Wooten were well founded.

Song wars: Heart doesn't heart Sarah Palin

Heart’s sisters Ann and Nancy Wilson are not feeling the love with sister Sarah Palin this morning. Last night, after John McCain’s speech, Heart’s hit song “Barracuda” was played, most likely in tune with Sarah Palin’s high school nickname of “Sarah Barracuda.”
The Wilson girls don’t share Palin’s political views and consequently don’t want to share their tune with the GOP. However, my understanding is that if a royalty is paid, then the song may be used.
Obama stepped into similar waters using the Brooks and Dunn song “Only in America” during his convention. In contrast to sisters Wilson, Brooks and Dunn take a more artistic view of the use of their work. “Only in America” songwriter, Don Cook said:

“…For us as writers and them as performers, truthfully, we’re proud when anybody uses our song for something that’s substantial. Even if you’re diametrically opposed politically to the person who’s using your song, the fact that they like it well enough to use it at an important place in their life, you have to love that.”

Well said…

Tell the Washington Post that a raise is not a cut

Yesterday, I posted a statement sent to me by Deirdre Cronin, Executive Director of the Covenant House Alaska. Cronin’s release took issue with a Washington Post report claiming Alaska Governor Sarah Palin slashed funds for teen moms in the 2008 budget.
Executive Director Cronin issued the statement in response to questions regarding the erroneous report. This kind of incomplete reporting helps no one and fuels Republican charges that the mainstream media has taken sides in the election. While I am generally cautious with such claims, the incomplete reporting with the misleading headline does seem to cross over from reporting news to spin.
Michelle Malkin is calling for readers to contact the Omsbudman at the Washington Post to request a retraction and fuller reporting of the facts surrounding the Covenant House. It would be responsible to post the Cronin statement since Ms. Cronin considers a raise to be a raise and not a cut.
Send links and respectful comments to

"Our operating budget was not reduced" – Director of teen center

I just received this from Deirdre Cronin, Executive Director of Covenant House Alaska. This debunks the Washington Post’s story I addressed yesterday. I had asked her for a statement regarding the Post story and she provided this information.

Covenant House
September 4, 2008
Contact: Deirdre A. Cronin
Executive Director
“Covenant House Alaska is a multi-service agency serving homeless and runaway youth, including teen mothers. The majority of the agency’s annual operating budget is privately raised, with no more than 10 to 15 percent of funds coming from state grants in any given year. We are grateful for the support we have received from Governor Sarah Palin, the Alaska legislature and our Congressional delegation over the years.
Despite some press reports to the contrary, our operating budget was not reduced. Our $3.9 million appropriation is directed toward a multi-year capital project and it is our understanding that the state simply opted to phase in its support for this project over several years, rather than all at once in the current budget year.”
Covenant House Alaska is Alaska’s largest private non-profit adolescent care agency serving homeless, runaway and at–risk youth between the ages of 13 and 21. With particular expertise in helping some of the most hopeless teens grow into independent, successful and productive adults.

More on this story here…

Sarah Palin did not slash funds for teen mothers

Contrary to a report from the Washington Post, Alaska Governor, Sarah Palin, did not slash funding for a program for teen mothers.
The Washington Post’s Paul Kane reported late yesterday that “Palin Slashed Funding for Teen Moms.” The far-left Huffington Post repeated the story this morning. To support this contention Kane pointed out that “Palin reduced funding for Covenant House Alaska by more than 20 percent, cutting funds from $5 million to $3.9 million.”
Covenant House Alaska is a faith-based, not-for-profit agency which provides a variety of services to troubled teens, including a home for teen moms. Although the work with adolescent mothers is only one component of their work, Kane focused on this aspect of their work due to the revelation that Governor Palin’s teen daughter is 5 months pregnant.
In Alaska, the governor is allowed to reduce spending allocations in the service of sound management and fiscal accountability. To prove his contention that Palin slashed funds for teen mothers, Kane produced the Alaska 2008 budget with Sarah Palin’s line by line adjustments. It is true that lawmakers allocated 5 million to Covenant House Alaska and that Mrs. Palin cut that allocation to 3.9 million dollars. However, what is misleading about the Post headline is that the allocation of 3.9 million is three times more than Covenant House Alaska received from government grants in 2007. According to records on the Covenant House Alaska website, the organization received just over 1.3 million dollars from grants in 2007 and nearly 1.2 million in 2006. Even with the reductions, Governor Palin signed a budget which provided three times more funds than the organization received in 2007.
Thus, the Post report is misleading on two counts. One, the funding in question went to an organization which engaged in many different services, including work with teen mothers. There was no funding exclusively earmarked for pregnant teens.
Two, the report leaves the impression that the Governor reduced existing funding levels, when in fact, the Palin-approved budget allowed a massive expansion of funding for this worthy faith-based organization. The organization’s total revenue for 2007 was just over 3 million dollars and so the 3.9 million approved by Palin and the Alaska legislature was a huge increase.
Viewed within the context of prior expenditures, it becomes clear that Governor Palin increased funding for social services which benefit kids, not “slashed” them as the Post reported. However, it also appears clear that she is not afraid to exercise some measure of fiscal discipline, even when the reduction targets those of similar ideology. Covenant House wants to expand housing capability and as a part of their marketing makes a clear religious appeal saying,

Just as Christ in His humanity is the visible sign of God’s presence among His people, so our efforts together in the covenant community are a visible sign that effects the presence of God, working through the Holy Spirit among ourselves and our kids.

I cannot figure out why this context was not provided. It is clear that Governor Palin did not cut funding. It cannot be a cut in funding when you get a raise, even if the raise was not as great as originally contemplated.
UPDATE: 9/4/08 – The Covenant House Alaska Executive Director states that she is glad for the support of Governor Palin.

Some light on Sarah Palin's church affiliation

Lots of rumors have been flying around about McCain’s VP pick, Sarah Palin and her family. In trying to understand her worldview, church affiliation has been of great interest. This seems understandable given the scrutiny given to Barack Obama’s pastor and the worldview espoused there.
Some are reporting that the family attends Charismatic or dominionist churches, but it appears that they attend a Bible church in Wasilla. Rob Schenck of the National Clergy Council said in a press release that the Palins told him the same thing at the Dayton, Ohio announcement of her VP selection. Peter Kirk at Gentle Wisdom gives a nice rundown of sources on this topic.
Here is some footage of Gov. Palin speaking at an Assembly of God church in Wasilla where she apparently attended as a child/teen. The Bible church she attends now would not be of similar views of charismatic gifts as would the Assembly church.
And then just released is this Newsweek feature on the Palin’s religious affilation…

McCain campaign discloses that Palin's daughter is pregnant

To address rumors that Sarah Palin was covering up her daughter’s pregnancy via a story about her most recent birth, the campaign today disclosed that Bristol Palin is expecting and will marry the infant’s father.
Until today, I was not aware of the rumors flying on the liberal blogs, but apparently they were being picked up by some mainstream sources which led to the disclosure.
Here is the Palin’s statement:

Statement from Sarah and Todd Palin
ARLINGTON, VA — Today, Sarah and Todd Palin issued the following statement regarding today’s Reuters story:
“We have been blessed with five wonderful children who we love with all our heart and mean everything to us. Our beautiful daughter Bristol came to us with news that as parents we knew would make her grow up faster than we had ever planned. We’re proud of Bristol’s decision to have her baby and even prouder to become grandparents. As Bristol faces the responsibilities of adulthood, she knows she has our unconditional love and support.
“Bristol and the young man she will marry are going to realize very quickly the difficulties of raising a child, which is why they will have the love and support of our entire family. We ask the media to respect our daughter and Levi’s privacy as has always been the tradition of children of candidates.”

No real political fall out as yet, and I don’t expect there to be.

McCain-Palin, 2008

Looks like the Veepstakes goes to Sarah Palin…
The AP is not so sure, but all signs point that way…
CNN says it is so.
Here is what the McCain campaign is saying about the pick:

My Friends,
I am honored to announce that I have chosen Governor Sarah Palin of Alaska as my choice for the Republican nominee for Vice President. As a father with three daughters, I can’t express how proud I am to choose the first female Republican Vice-Presidential nominee.
Sarah Palin is a trailblazer and a reformer. As the first female governor of Alaska, she challenged a corrupt system and has been a tireless advocate for reform – passing a landmark bill on ethics reform. She has taken on the old politics in Alaska and reformed the state’s energy industry. She rejects wasteful pork barrel spending. She’s fearless – exactly the type of leader I want at my side and the type of leadership we will bring to Washington.
My friends, together Sarah Palin and I make the strongest presidential ticket and I know that she joins me in asking for your support as we head into our Convention week in Minnesota. We’re shaking things up in this campaign – and Governor Palin and I are ready to bring real reform to Washington.

From the FOXNews account:

Born in Sandpoint, Idaho, on Feb. 11, 1964, Palin moved with her family at the age of three months to Wasilla, Alaska, though she returned to her birth state to attend the University of Idaho, where she studied journalism and graduated in 1987 with a bachelor’s degree.
Palin is the mother of five children — Bristol, Willow, Piper, Track and Trig, who was born in April with Down syndrome.
She grew up in Wasilla, just outside of Anchorage, played on Wasilla’s state champion girls’ basketball team in 1982, wore the crown of Miss Wasilla in 1984 and competed in the Miss Alaska contest.
She began her professional career as a television sports reporter, but after she married her husband, Todd, she helped run his family’s commercial fishing business. Other professional endeavors included the ownership of a snow machine, watercraft and all-terrain-vehicle business.
She ran for Wasilla City Council in 1992, winning her seat by opposing tax increases. Four years later, she was elected mayor of Wasilla at age 32 by knocking off a three-term incumbent.
At the end of her second term, party leaders encouraged her to enter the 2002 race for the Republican nomination for lieutenant governor. Against veteran legislators with far more experience, Palin finished second by fewer than 2,000 votes, making a name for herself in statewide politics.
Palin had exceptionally high approval ratings through mid-2007 and received high marks for her accessibility, a change from Frank Murkowski’s administration.

The information about Sarah Palin is pouring in (Did someone give a speech last night?). Here is an interview with Newsmax where she discusses social and energy issues.
And a long Anchorage news article regarding her run for Gov.