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Political commentary from Andrew Malcolm

Category: Books

Bristol Palin says her virginity was 'stolen,' but Levi Johnston didn't rape her

Bristol Palin says her virginity was 'stolen' but Levi didn't rape her

Bristol Palin was on "Good Morning America" on Monday to clear up a few things from her memoir, as well as to tell the country that she felt her mom should run for president.

Bristol, Sarah Palin's oldest daughter, is currently on a book tour in support of her autobiography, "Not Afraid of Life: My Journey So Far," which came out last week.

While on "GMA" Monday morning, Palin -- an advocate of sexual abstinence among teens --  discussed a passage in the book where she described her first sexual encounter as being one she had in a tent with then-boyfriend Levi Johnston.  Bristol wrote that she and Johnston drank wine coolers, and she woke up in the tent not knowing what had happened until she overheard Johnston bragging "with his friends on the other side of the canvas" that the couple had copulated.

The 20-year-old former "Dancing With the Stars" contestant said she felt like her innocence had been stolen.

"I’m not accusing Levi of date rape or rape at all," Palin told "GMA," "but I am just looking back with my adult eyes that I have now and just thinking ‘that was a foolish decision.’ I should have never been underage drinking, and I should have never gotten myself into a situation like that.”

When asked if she felt her mother should run for president, Palin said, "Absolutely. I think she's awesome. ... I think she's smart. I think she would be awesome for our country."

Currently Palin's book is  #37 on the Women's Biographies list of bestsellers on Amazon behind memoirs by country superstar Shania Twain and Frank Sinatra's wife Barbara.


Bristol Palin puts Arizona house up for rent

Levi Johnston dubbed 'the gnat' by Bristol Palin in her memoir

Levi Johnston to release a tell-all book about Sarah Palin's family

-- Tony Pierce

Photo: Former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin and daughter Bristol Palin arrive at Italian Embassy for an MSNBC after-party following the annual White House Correspondents' Assn. dinner in Washington on  May 1, 2011. Credit: Jonathan Ernst / Reuters

Meghan McCain fires back at Bristol Palin with a shot of love

Meghan McCain

Meghan McCain, the sassy daughter of Sen. John McCain, responded to excerpts of Bristol Palin's forthcoming memoir.

Bristol, the dancing daughter of former Gov. Sarah Palin, leveled barbs against the McCains in "Not Afraid Of Life: My Journey So Far," painting Meghan as a diva and critical.

Meghan was "constantly checking us out, comparing my family to hers and complaining", Bristol, 20, wrote in the autobiography set to hit stores Friday.

Meghan's mom, Cindy McCain, was also criticized in the book. After Cindy told a pregnant Bristol that she wished to be "one of the first people to hold your baby," hoped to be invited to "your wedding when it comes together" and the desire that she and Sen. McCain could be "godparents of your child," Palin was less than flattered.

"I had just met her, and I wondered why she wanted any type of guardianship over my child," Bristol wrote.

Bristol also complained that when the families first met after it was announced that Sarah Palin would be McCain's running mate, Meghan "ignored us during the entire visit."

Meghan, the author of "Dirty Sexy Politics," replied Thursday via Twitter and YouTube in a unique you-catch-more-bees-with-honey approach by sharing a link to a video from 2008 showing herself with Bristol's youngest sister Piper and gushing over her father's pick.

"I am so proud that this is my father's choice for his vice president," Meghan is heard narrating over clips of Palin and the Republican senator. "I didn't think I could be more proud of my father and this campaign and then I wake up today and feel like my heart is going to explode with pride for her and him and this choice and the direction that this campaign is going."


Bristol Palin puts Arizona house up for rent

Levi Johnston dubbed 'the gnat' by Bristol Palin in her memoir

Levi Johnston to release a tell-all book about Sarah Palin's family

-- Tony Pierce

Photo: Meghan McCain arrives at the 2011 Time 100 Gala ceremony in New York on April 26. Credit: Lucas Jackson/Reuters.

Levi Johnston dubbed 'the gnat' by Bristol Palin in her memoir

Levi Johnston in happier times with Bristol Palin and Sen. John McCain

Levi Johnston is referred to as "the gnat" in Bristol Palin's new memoir "Not Afraid of Life: My Journey So Far."

The 20-year-old single mother and the eldest daughter of former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, will see the book, published by William Morrow, hit the shelves on Friday.  

In the autobiography, co-written by Nancy French, Bristol describes losing her virginity to Johnston. According to the anti-teen pregnancy advocate, she and her on-again-off-again boyfriend first made love in a tent after a night of drinking too many wine coolers.

The Associated Press, which was able to purchase the tome earlier this month, reports that Bristol wrote that she woke up in the tent not knowing what had happened until she overheard Johnston bragging "with his friends on the other side of the canvas."

Bristol, a former "Dancing With the Stars" contestant, refers to her son Tripp's father as “the gnat named Levi Johnston [who was] constantly spreading false accusations against our family.” She also calls Johnston, who has a book of his own coming out soon, a bad boyfriend "who cheated on me about as frequently as he sharpened his hockey skates."

“Better be a (bleeping) boy,” Bristol says Johnston said when she told him he was pregnant with Tripp.


Bristol Palin puts Arizona house up for rent

Old Palin emails reveal she thinks the media is somehow biased

Levi Johnston to release a tell-all book about Sarah Palin's family

-- Tony Pierce

Photo: Levi Johnston in happier times with Bristol Palin and Sen. John McCain Credit: Susan Walsh / Associated Press

Breaking: Old Sarah Palin emails reveal she thinks the news media is biased somehow

News media scramble to acquire 24,000 emails of alaska governor sarah palin 6-10-11

Sarah Palin emails.

If you're someone who loves poring over ancient emails, even if they're not yours, today is The Big Day.

The state of Alaska has released 300 pounds of emails from Sarah Palin's term as governor up there, from inauguration until shortly after that old geezer John McCain threw a Hail Sarah pass and picked her as his Republican VP partner in September 2008.

The GOP pair didn't win.

Because Palin hasn't been governor for years, is not running for any office at the moment and keeps making gobs of money, lots of public comments and attracts tons of lovers and haters, news media interest in what she'd written as a nobody governor is intense.

Some apparently understaffed news orgs have even asked for the public's help in sifting through roughly 13,000 emails on 24,000 pieces of paper, which the state is charging about $750 to acquire. Remarkably, however, such organizations felt no need to seek volunteer public scrutiny digesting President Obama's large healthcare bill that Nancy Pelosi warned had to be passed before public examination.

Surely more huge revelations in coming days. But so far, no smoking cursors in the Palin paper poundage.

We've learned that having unexpectedly upset the state's entrenched, aged Republican political establishment as an anti-corruption reformer, Palin is suspicious of signs of opposition forming in those wings, including the state's congressional delegation, which includes the daughter of the man she ousted.

We've learned that Palin talked with Newt Gingrich but soured on that relationship; welcome to that club. That she was surprised at being picked by McCain.

Amazingly, even back then a lot of people seem to dislike Palin, even enough to make death threats. As governor, Palin liked to drive her own car in that vast state and once may have texted while behind the wheel. And we now know that Palin paid for her daughters' tanning bed.

You can read the entire compilation right here.


Sarah Palin plays the media like a violin

Piper Palin seems to share her Mom's distrust of the media sometimes

You know how Sarah Palin said Paul Revere warned the British? Well, he did

-- Andrew Malcolm

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Photo: Brian Wallace / Associated Press (News media scramble to acquire thousands of old Palin emails).

Brigitte Nielsen says she had a fling with Schwarzenegger: 'We didn’t hold back'

Arnold Schwarzenegger and Brigitte Nielson in Red Sonja

Brigitte Nielsen, the Danish actress and former Playboy model, is claiming that in 1985 while Arnold Schwarzenegger was dating Maria Shriver, the two actors had an intimate affair.

Nielson, who is promoting her autobiography "You Only Get One Life," told the Daily Mail last week that the romance between her and Schwarzenegger on the set of "Red Sonja" was passionate but that both parties knew the fling would only last as long as the shoot.

"Since we both knew that it wouldn’t last beyond the movie, we didn’t hold back," Nielsen said of the dalliances. "We wanted to try everything and so we did. There were no restrictions, no promises, nothing, and it was a great time in my life."

One year later, Schwarzenegger would marry Shriver, but according to Nielsen the future governor never talked about his feelings for the woman who would become the mother of his four children.

"He never spoke about her -- and the way he was living his life with me, I felt I was the only one," Nielsen told the Mail. "Then I realized about him and Maria and, wow, I felt cheated. Maybe I wouldn’t have got into it if he said, 'I’m going to marry Maria and this is dead serious,' but he didn’t, and our affair carried on."

Nielsen, who most recently appeared on several VH-1 reality shows ("The Surreal Life," "Strange Love," "Celebrity Rehab With Dr. Drew"), said that even back in the 1980s Schwarzenegger had his eye on the prize -- the political prize, that is.

"He told me at the beginning of shooting 'Red Sonja,' 'One day, I will become governor of California,' " Nielson recalled. "And we were all laughing, but I had a feeling he would do it one day."


Arnold Schwarzenegger admits to adultery, Twitter erupts with jokes

In Schwarzenegger's Brentwood neighborhood, shock over news of affair

Steve Lopez to Schwarzenegger: You want criticism for your actions? Here it is

-- Tony Pierce

Photo: Arnold Schwarzenegger and Brigitte Nielsen in "Red Sonja." Credit: Warner Bros.

Late-night jokes: Herman Cain's campaign pizza promise

Republican presidential candidate Herman Cain

As The Ticket's 66,000-plus Twitter followers here and 6,800 Facebook fans here know, we regularly share our daily picks of the late-night jokes of interest, usually before broadcast each night. Feel free to pass them on to friends using the Share buttons above. Normally, we publish these on Monday mornings.

Fallon: The safest UPS delivery driver has now logged 4 million miles without an accident. He's being awarded UPS' highest honor -- long pants.

"SNL": A new study finds that the average college-age man thinks about sex 18 times a day. Oh, I'm sorry, I left out the word "bazillion" -- 18 bazillion times a day.

Fallon: 85-year-old Hugh Hefner and his 25-year-old fiancée, Crystal Harris, have sent out their wedding invitations for June 18. She told guests to wear white, but bring black just in case.

Leno: A nice warm story out of China. Disney is building a theme park there. Which means someday Chinese children will be able to go to the toy shop and buy toys they made.

Fallon: Herman Cain, former CEO of Godfather’s Pizza, says he’s running for president. And this is cool -- if his campaign isn’t over in 30 minutes or less, you get your pizza for free!

Fallon: Subway sandwich shops are testing a new upscale décor -- wood panels and lounge seating to distract you from the tuna fish being served with an ice-cream scoop.

Leno: A new 3-D version of "Titanic" coming out. In this one, the captain doesn’t see the iceberg coming because he's not wearing the special glasses.

Fallon: Facebook launches a "Send" button. That’s great because when I log onto Facebook, my first thought is, "Not enough people sending me things."Hugh Hefner and Crystal Harris

Conan: Over 6 million people attended Cuba's International Book Fair a while back. As usual, the most popular book sold was "How to Build a Raft Out of This Book."

Letterman: A new law says no outdoor smoking in New York City now. Bus exhaust's OK. Toxic meth lab fumes OK. Radioactive steam fine. Roasting a goat on the curb OK. But no outdoor cigarette smoking.

Fallon: Donald Trump says he may run for president as an independent, and when Donald Trump says he's gonna do something, Donald Trump ... says he's gonna do something.

Conan: A Chicago lawyer is being accused of hiring a woman with large breasts to sit with him in the courtroom and distract jurors. Asked for a ruling, the judge said, "Sorry, could you repeat that?"

Fallon: Today is National Hug Your Cat Day! Or as cats call it, "Yeah, don’t do that."


The good news in Supreme Court order to release 46,000 felons

Obama's sunken approval ratings are also bad news for Libya's Kadafi

-- Andrew Malcolm

Don't forget to follow The Ticket via Twitter alerts of each new Ticket item. Or click this: @latimestot. Our Facebook Like page is over here. We're also available on Kindle. Use the ReTweet buttons above to share any item with family and friends.

Photos, from top: Herman Cain (Jonathan Ernst / Reuters); Hefner and Harris (Matt Sayles / Associated Press).

Sarah Palin plays the media like a violin: Her turn now

Sarah palin one nation Bus As Seen From the Rear 5-31-11

Sarah Palin, with her counterintuitive secret publicity bus tour, is demonstrating one of the most important rules of American politics:

There is nothing the U.S. media wants more than something it thinks it can't have. Hence the power of news leaks that manipulate the thrust of their initial presentation. Hard-to-get is a rigid rule of human behavior. Ask any teenage boy or girl.

And there are few things more sweet to Palin and her fervent supporters cheering their TV sets this week than the image of a hungry know-it-all "lamestream media" caravan of 15 or more vehicles traipsing along behind her red-white-and-blue bus enroute to they-know-not-where to do they-know-not-what.

To make it worse, each one of the frustrated, confused chasers knows that Fox News' Greta Van Susteren is....

Continue reading »

The secret lesson within Newt Gingrich's botched campaign launch

Newt Gingrich campaigns in Iowa 5-16-11

There's an important, hidden lesson in Newt Gingrich's presidential campaign kickoff for all the other Republican White House wannabes:

Take your time.

There's no rush.

It's only May.

Why set yourself up as a target any sooner than necessary? President Obama would be delighted to have Republicans fighting among themselves ASAP, so he can look calmer, more presidential by comparison, while his opponents try to prove their conservative bona fides to that raucous crowd on the right side.

Obama announced early to get going on his billion-dollar campaign fund, which is $255 million more than he needed last time as a nobody. A billion dollars is a really impressive number -- unless you're falling short, say, because of the economy or this time your less enthusiastic base is saying, "Yes, we won't."

Interestingly, only one month into his campaign Obama aides are already trying to walk back that billion-dollar boast and the first quarter's report, due out in early July, that was supposed to blow away everyone else's money haul.

The president will do two Boston fundraisers tonight after his ....

Continue reading »

Osama Bin Laden purportedly had an 'extensive' collection of pornography in a wooden box


Osama bin Laden might have been looking at a lot more than news reports of himself on the television set in his home in Pakistan. Reuters reported Friday that U.S. commandos found a "fairly extensive" collection of pornography at the terrorist's suburban hideout.

U.S. officials told Reuters they did not know whether the Al Qaeda leader had purloined or viewed the materials, described as "modern electronically recorded video," and they did not know where in the three-story compound the adult content was discovered.

However, an unnamed official told ABC News that the "huge" stash was found in a wooden box in Bin Laden's bedroom. 

Needless to say, bloggers are having a field day with this discovery.

Reason's Jacob Sullum, on a post titled "Bin Laden Was a Narcissistic, Beard-Dyeing Porn Fan (Also a Mass Murderer)", wondered whether the release of this news is part of the government's attempt "to discredit him after his death so ... he doesn't become a martyr in the eyes of the Arab youth," as former White House counterterrorism official Richard Clarke speculated when the videos of Bin Laden watching television were released last week.

Jack Stueff of Wonkette, the satirical political blog, asked, "Oh no! Why did we heathen Americans haveto make sexual intercourse so alluring to bin Ladne’s body? Now he’ll never get into heaven. He was so close to getting into heaven!" Stueff's headline was "Officials Uncover Osama Bin Laden’s Inevitable Porn Stash".

TMZ went withthe headline: "Osama bin NAUGHTY-- Porn Found In Hideout".


Rush Limbaugh on Osama bin Laden's death: 'Thank God for Obama'

Osama bin Laden's $50-million bounty should go to Sept. 11 victims, lawmakers say

Geronimo: A century after his death, mysteriously tied to Bin Laden, the CIA and Skull and Bones

-- Tony Pierce

Photo: Osama bin Laden is shown watching himself on television, with U.S. President Barack Obama also on screen, in this video frame grab released by the U.S. Pentagon May 7, 2011.  Credit: REUTERS/Pentagon/Handout

Obama hails White House poetry night with prose

President Obama's remarks on poetry night, as provided by the White House

THE PRESIDENT:  Hello, everybody.  Please have a seat.  Welcome to the White House.  I am going to be brief, because on a night like tonight, my job is to get out of the way and let the professionals do their job.

I do want to start by thanking our extraordinary performers for taking time out of their busy schedules to be with us.  I also want to recognize the President’s Committee on the Arts and the Humanities for putting on this event and for everything they do to support the arts. (Applause.)  Michelle Obama greets poetry night at White House 5-11-11

The power of poetry is that everybody experiences it differently. There are no rules for what makes a great poem.

Understanding it isn’t just about metaphor or meter. Instead, a great poem is one that resonates with us, that challenges us and that teaches us something about ourselves and the world that we live in.

As Rita Dove says, “If [poetry] doesn’t affect you on some level that cannot be explained in words, then the poem hasn’t done its job.” Also known as, it don’t mean a thing if -- (laughter) -- it ain’t got that swing. That’s a little ad-lib there. (Laughter.) 

For thousands of years, people have been drawn to poetry in a very personal way -– including me. In the spirit of full disclosure, I actually submitted a couple of poems to my college literary magazine, and you will be pleased to know that I will not be reading them tonight. (Laughter.) 

But as a nation built on freedom of expression, poets have always played an important role in telling our American story.

It was after the bombing of Fort McHenry during the War of 1812 that a young lawyer named Francis Scott Key penned the poem that would become our National Anthem. 

The Statue of Liberty has always welcomed the “huddled masses yearning to breathe free.” Soldiers going off to fight in World War II were giving -- given books of poetry for comfort and inspiration. And whenever our nation has faced a great tragedy -– whether it was the loss of a civil rights leader, the crew of a space shuttle, or the thousands of Americans that were lost on a clear September day -– we have turned to poetry when we can’t find quite the right words to express what we’re feeling.

So tonight we continue that tradition by hearing from some of our greatest -– as well as some of our newest -– poets. Billy Collins, who is here with us, calls poetry “the oldest form of travel writing,” because it takes us to places we can only imagine.  So in that spirit, I’d like everyone to sit back, or sit on the edge of your seats, and enjoy the journey.

Thank you very much.  (Applause.)    ####

Photo: Michelle Obama greets the poetry evening crowd. Credit: Jewel Samad / AFP/Getty Images


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About the Columnist
A veteran foreign and national correspondent, Andrew Malcolm has served on the L.A. Times Editorial Board and was a Pulitzer finalist in 2004. He is the author of 10 nonfiction books and father of four. Read more.
President Obama
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