Sarah Palin was the talk of barbeques across the country after her Friday announcement that she would not only not run again, but that she would be resigning her office by the end of the month (Read the published text of that announcement here). The question on most people's mind is why she's doing this. Her offered reason—an unwillingness to be a lame duck, cruising through her last months in office—is pretty unsatisfying to some pundits. Some political enemies were quick to speculate about a soon-to-be-revealed scandal (and it's hard to blame them, given recent Republican woes), and Palin has already moved to clear herself from any scandal over a newly built Wasilla Sports Complex. Of course, the other obvious guess is that this is some crazy scheme to elevate her presidential prospects in 2012, and a very presidential-sounding Facebook message posted on July 4 adds to that view. But even Republicans, including Karl Rove, think that mid-office resignation is a pretty risky political move. One thing is sure: Her move has changed the shape of the gubernatorial race, and a number of fence-sitters have moved quickly to officially file for the race.

Odds & Ends: