Wednesday, April 14, 2010

The Elusive Contracts Of Sarah Palin

So, Sarah Palin is scheduled to speak at Cal State Stanislaus in June. (Yes, there is a Cal State Stanislaus. I live in the freaking state and I had no idea.) The thing is that she was being awfully secretive about things like what she was getting paid. Normally, I wouldn't think much of it. After all, plenty of people have spoken at universities for commencement addresses or whatever and it doesn't necessarily mean that they're getting paid. But this whole dealio with Sarah Palin had gotten a little weird. Very secretive. It's like she's a CIA operative or something.

Now, rumor has it that she's getting somewhere in the neighborhood of $100,000 per speaking engagement. If you're unfamiliar with our currency system here in the US, that's a hell of a lot of money. It's a hell of a lot more money when you consider who she is and what she's receiving the money for. From what I can tell, she's a fairly hot hockey mom who has a folksy way of speaking that a certain group of people really like. And at the beginning, she really seemed to me like she could have gotten something along the lines of a third party all riled up. But then, I think what happened is she became acclimated to this faux rock star climate that circled her and decided to just rake the bucks instead.

Not only did she decide to command the pay of a rock star, she also decided that she needed some of the perks of a rock star. According to The Huffington Post and The San Jose Mercury News , a couple of CSU students recovered a bunch of documents from a campus dumpster the other day. Among those documents were six of the nine pages of Sarah Palin's contract rider for when she speaks. (For those unfamiliar with the term, a rider is basically one's list of "demands", though I think they would call them "requirements" in order for them to speak and/or perform.) Some of the things that she asks for have a rather elite feel to them. Personally, I find the whole thing outrageous and it's not because she's making a ridiculous amount of money on all of this. It's because people are PAYING her a ridiculous amount of money to do...something! I don't know what the something is. I don't know what the something is about. I don't know if the people who pay to listen to her speak know. I don't know if she knows.

She doesn't appear to be organizing anything. She doesn't appear to be gearing people up in any specific direction. She doesn't have a lot of facts on her side. She certainly doesn't have a lot of experience on her side. I can't tell who is guiding her and in which direction she is being pointed. It's just all very, very weird. Not as weird as some of the things that the requires in her contract, but still very weird.
Where to begin?

SATELLITE EVENTS: Customer agrees to provide a 2-way satellite broadcast. For Q&A, the questions are to be collected from the audience in advance, pre-screened and a designated representative (by Customer and approved by Speaker via WSB) shall ask questions directly of the speaker to avoid delay time with a roving microphone in the audience. (The WSB is the Washington Speaker's Bureau, by the way. I guess that's like her agent or her people or something.)

Well, that's convenient. It's a good thing that they're screening all questions in advance of them being asked. You know, to avoid a time delay. Uh-huh. That's it. Actually, I'm guessing it's to avoid an answer delay on Mrs. Palin's part, but they can call it what they want, I suppose. She does seem to have a difficult time with impromptu questions that she hasn't been prepped for. That Katie Couric question about what she reads really threw her for a loop. She wouldn't want to be unprepared like that again, I would imagine.

COMMERCIAL AIR: Customer shall be responsible for roundtrip, first class commercial air travel for two between Anchorage, Alaska and event city and full, unrestricted roundtrip coach airfare for two between event city and the lower 48 US States. At the Speaker's discretion, the departure/return city may vary for the first class airfare."

OK, so she wants to fly first class. I don't have a problem with that very much. I find it a little odd that she and whoever she travels with (I'm guessing Todd) get to go first class, but for her two handlers or whoever the other two are, coach is perfectly fine for them. All right, then. But what about when she doesn't fly commercial?

The private aircraft MUST BE a Lear 60 or larger (as defined by interior cabin space) for West Coast Events; or, a Hawker 800 or larger (as defined by interior cabin space) for East Coast Events and both are subject to the Speaker's approval. The Speaker reserves the right to change the flight plans at any time.

Now, it doesn't seem to specific when private aircraft would be used. But, given how it says that the "Speaker reserves the right to change the flight plans at any time", I'm guessing that it might be up to her if she wants a Learjet or not. The Lear holds up to 9 people and the Hawker holds up to 13 from what I can tell. Given as how she only needs 4 people to travel with her commercially, it would appear that this is just when she wants to show the fam this lovely country of ours and take them with her. That's pure speculation. That Sarah Palin can ask for a Learjet whenever she wants to is absolutely ludicrous to me. She wasn't even a governor for an entire two years!!

Customer agrees to provide the Speaker and traveling party with ground transportation in both originating city and event city. Transportation will be by SUV(s) from a professionally licensed and insured car service. lf SUV(s) are not available, black town cars may be substituted. WSB wrll arrange all of the Speaker's ground transportation. Only representatives of the Speaker or WSB are to meet the Speaker at the arriving/departing airport. In addition, for those events that do not take place at the hotel where the Speaker and traveling party are slaying, the cars and drivers will need to wait at the venue for the duration of the program.

So, she's expecting (and getting) an entourage similar to that of President Barry? What's with the black town cars may be substituted for the SUVs? Since when can you substitute an SUV with a black town car? Not often.

PRIVATE BUSINESS: The Speaker reserves the right to participate in private business including but not limited to book or political events during their visit. For any other event which is subject to media coverage, the Customer will be advised of such event. For international events, the Speaker also reserves the right to visit privately with the host government's Head of State, Head of Government, Ministerial-level officials, the U.S. Embassy and others as necessary. The Speaker reserves the right to accept the invitation of host government to overnight at an official residence.

Good to know that if the Queen comes calling while she's speaking in one of the lower 48 states that she'll be able to sit down with Her Majesty for a little chat as per her contract here. Is there a chance in hell of that happening? Seriously. If she's off speaking somewhere and there's some Head of Government from a foreign land, does she really think that they're going to want to meet with her? For what purpose? Amusement? (Vladmir Putin would have her for lunch. Then again, he's kind of an outdoorsy guy. Maybe they could bond over ripping the guts out of a deer or something.)

Presentation: Customer to provide a tall, wooden lectern with lip and fixed microphone in addition to a hand-held microphone. An overhead light, either from the ceiling above the lectern or a spotlight, directed at the Speaker's notes on the lectern is required along with a back-up lighting system for the lectern. Lighting should be at a comfortable, but appropriate, production- level for the Speaker to be able to see the full audience from the lectern/stage without interference. A spotlight directly on the Speaker should be avoided.

No spotlights directly on her. Just shine them on her notes. What about her hands? Should there be lights there so that she can read those notes as well?

Unopened bottled still water (2 bottles) and bendable straws are to be placed in or near the wooden lectern. A representative of WSB or the Speaker's party will open the water at an appropriate time prior to the Speaker's participation in the program. No Plexiglas or thin lecterns please. If Speaker is seated on-stage at a table customer to ensure that the table is skirted.

She doesn't even open her own water? I don't give a fat rat's ass about the skirted table. Skirt whatever you want. But for cryin' out loud, can't she open her own damn water? And what's with the bendy straws? Are we six? Oh, wait. Is it so she doesn't mess up all of that lipstick or something? I have no idea. It's a little odd if you're asking me. Most "regular people" (which is what she's selling herself to be) can open their own damn water.

And look, I know that there are plenty of people out there who have riders in their speaking or performing contracts. I get that. I find this absurd because it's Sarah Palin. She hasn't really done anything and I don't know what in the world she's doing...other than making a gazillion dollars off of a bunch of people who wouldn't be able to tell you what in the world she's doing either. (And a copy of these documents can be viewed here. Enjoy.)

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