Sunday, August 31, 2008

A Poor Excuse for a Scandal

A good analysis of Gov. Palin's so-called "scandal" here.

(Found through a comment to a post at The Volokh Conspiracy.)

Friday, August 29, 2008

Sarah Palin - A good choice.

As I said earlier, here's more...

Why is she a good choice? Well, there is no question about her conservative credentials:
  1. Pro-life.
  2. Pro-gun.
  3. When she takes an oath to uphold the constitution, she takes it seriously (she vetoed a bill that would have banned Alaska from granting same-sex partner benefits - even though she supported it - because it would have violated the state constitution).
  4. She has a long history of rooting out corruption in government - regardless of party.
  5. Cuts spending (including her own salary), and works to balance the budget.
All of this is public record, and easily available for all to see.

What about weak points?

Many are criticizing her selection saying she "lacks experience" and that it invalidates McCain's criticism of Obama's lack of experience. After all, she'll be "only a heartbeat away from the presidency." But there are several reasons this is a false argument.

She has four years experience on the Wasilla city council, and seven years as the mayor. She has nearly two years experience as the governor of Alaska. While Alaska is one of the most sparsely populated states, this is still more experience in an executive position than Obama can lay claim to (without even counting her time as mayor of Wasilla). In addition is something I never considered until I read a very insightful comment by Straightarrow over at SayUncle.

Given the sheer size of Alaska and its low population density, it would be much more difficult to run than other states. Wyoming still has the lowest population density of any state in the union, but nowhere near the vast distances between population centers. Services and infrastucture demands in Alaska will prove the mettle of an executive or reveal them to be unsuited for the task.

A person competent to administer any other state could still be in over his/her head in Alaska. With Palin’s record of success to this point in the toughest laboratory of leadership in the country I find it amazing that some are so dismissive of the talent and character it takes to perform well in that laboratory.

Think about it. It's not really obvious until you do. How much infrastructure goes into something as basic as maintining the roads in a state like Alaska? Harsh winters, permafrost, limited resources, and roads that go through countless miles of wilderness. Then there's the harbors, which are essential to maintaining civilization in Alaska. Ice buildup on any harbor structures has to be a constant problem, and repairs are probably only possible in the short summers. It has to be done right the first time. Now imagine you have to do all of this with a limited tax base (i.e. a small population), and all the materials - especially fuel - are significantly more expensive than in more populous states, and if those harbors and roads shut down - either because of damage or weather - you can't get any more materials to fix them until they reopen.

Obama has nothing even close to this level of experience. He's been a legislator for almost all of his career, with no government executive experience.

Oh, and lets not forget the fact that she's running for vice-president, while he's running for the real thing. I think it's just a little more important for him to be experienced than for her.

The Public Safety Commissioner dismissal "scandal."

This is probably the greatest "weakness" that she has, and it's not much if you look at the actual facts.

As of August 29, 2008, Alaska Governor Sarah Palin is being investigated by an independent investigator hired by the legislature to determine whether she abused her power when she fired Public Safety Commissioner Walter Monegan.
On July 11, 2008, Palin dismissed Monegan and instead offered him a position as executive director of the state Alcoholic Beverage Control Board, which he turned down. Her power to fire him is not in dispute. But Monegan alleged that his dismissal may have been an abuse of power tied to his reluctance to fire Palin's former brother-in law, an Alaska State Trooper, Mike Wooten, who had been involved in a divorce and child custody battle with Palin's sister, Molly McCann.
Hmm. Okay, using your position as governor to try to get your ex-brother-in-law fired, as some sort of payback for a custody battle, sounds pretty bad. If that was all it was. Let's read on.

In 2006, before Palin was governor, Wooten was suspended for 10 days for threatening to kill McCann's (and Palin's) father, tasering his 11-year-old stepson, drinking beer in his squad car, and violating game laws. After a union protest, the suspension was reduced to five days.
You know, even if this guy wasn't my sister's ex, even if I'd never met him before in my life, I would want to know just why the heck he wasn't in a jail cell somewhere, never mind why he still had a badge. A five day suspension? That's just plain ridiculous!

Of course, there's also the question of whether or not she even knew at the time that the whole "abuse of power" was even happening.

Palin acknowledged that there were a number of calls from her office on the matter, and that in one of these Frank Bailey, a member of her administration, mentioned "a family tie with the Governor there" and said "we don't know why this guy is still working." Both Palin and Bailey say that happened without her knowledge and was unrelated to her dismissal of Monegan, and Bailey was put on leave for two months for acting outside the scope of his authority as the Director of Boards and Commissions.
Bailey is either a really loyal politico, or she really didn't know what he was doing until afterwards and got mad. But frankly, any governor's staffer who doesn't look into why a trooper like Wooten hasn't been fired isn't doing his job, regardless of any relationship to the governor. The difference here is that it was probably that same relationship that brought it to their attention.

Frankly, McCain didn't pick her to lure the die-hard "Hillary" democrats to him, or because he thought the hard-core feminists would vote for him just because she's a woman (from what I've seen on the 'net, they hate her more than him - she's a woman on "all the wrong sides of women's issues" - basically a traitor in their minds). He picked her because she has a strong appeal to his conservative core constituents, and her strengths serve to lure the conservative leaning undecided to vote for him. The fact that she is a woman will be a draw for the middle leaning "Hillary" crowd too, but that's really just a bonus.


Sarah Palin for Vice-President!

Like many, I had hoped for this, and expected to be disappointed. I'm glad I was wrong.

And a cool picture. (from Bruce, with a h/t to SayUncle.) I think I know where she stands on the 2nd Amendment.

More after work.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

The Good Guys Don't Always Win

Another one from Xavier. Go here and read the whole story.

Did you read it? Good. Here are a few things I hope you noticed.

"As they walked from the business toward their Chevrolet Tahoe vehicle, Katherine, who was carrying the night deposit from Catfish King, observed a male suspect running toward her from the wood line at the back corner of the property," an arrest affidavit stated. "She heard the suspect yell something, but she did not understand what he said."

Womack, brandishing a handgun, then shot Jeffreys in the ankle before exchanging gunfire with Labrozzi, who had a handgun on him, the report stated.

If the story here is correct, he never gave them a chance to comply, or even make sure his demands were understood. He just started shooting.

Criminal records show Womack has one prior arrest. Hudson police booked him into Angelina County Jail in March 2007 and charged him with deadly conduct for allegedly fighting at Hudson High School where he was a student.
Like most criminals who kill, this was not his first time breaking the law, and not his first violent crime either.

Sunday night's deadly attempted robbery is the second incident in eight months at Catfish King in which an armed robber approached a manager closing the business. [...] In the December robbery, the woman [ed. - Not the same woman.] told police she was walking to her car when she heard a rustling noise in the woods before two males with blue bandanas approached her. One pulled a handgun and told her, "This is a robbery." The other sprayed the woman with pepper spray and took her purse before both ran back into the woods.
Again, the victim was attacked without being given a chance to comply. She was lucky they only wanted the money, and not her. That robbery could easily have turned into a kidnapping and rape once she was incapacitated by the pepper spray.

A month later, the same assistant manager was robbed at gunpoint while making a deposit at Huntington State Bank[.]
That makes three robberies since December, two of which were on the premises. This business has obviously been targeted. The cockroaches have been watching to learn where the money goes, and when, and have been taking advantage of it. It makes me think that Labrozzi was escorting Jeffreys (his girlfriend) because of the previous incidents. I would be. The police simply cannot be there every single night for every business, or even for one business every night for eight months. I think he knew that.

Things to learn from this:

1) The cockroaches won't always threaten and make demands, often they simply attack and take. Don't trust them not to attack.

2) Be aware of your surroundings. Condition yellow is good. If you're carrying large amounts of money, at night, with few or no other people around, you should be even more alert. Something closer to condition orange, but with no specific threat source. In my mind I call this condition amber. You are both vulnerable and desirable as a target, but there is no specific threat to focus on.

3) The police cannot protect you if they are not there with you when the attack occurs. If that were the case, the cockroaches would either go somewhere else, or wait until the police are not there to protect you. Do not rely on the police to protect you.

4) The sad truth is that, even if you are aware, alert, armed, and prepared for an attack, you still might not survive. All that only gives you a greater chance of survival, not a guarantee. Unfortunately, one innocent in this case did not survive. However, his sacrifice allowed his girlfriend, another innocent, to survive, and allowed the police to catch this particular cockroach.

This is nothing but a tragedy, but
Keith Edward Labrozzi II, 24, of Lufkin, Texas, died a hero.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Why should I always carry?

Xavier has a good post by Don Myers on why we should always take advantage of our carry permits. You should also check out this (which gives details on the story behind the post) and this (on recognizing threats), both related to the topic.

Bottom line, evil happens everywhere.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Enough is enough.

[The following was posted by me as a comment at SayUncle in response to another comment. I've seen this same sentiment expressed in comments in various other blogs, and couldn't leave it alone anymore. The shooter shall remain nameless.]
"Well you gotta admit they secured the perimeter at Va.Tech. Not one cops got across it before [nameless one] was finished. That’s a hundred percent effective. And they never lost a victim, they found them all."
Straightarrow: Please read the timeline from the report on Virginia Tech. It's available here. Specifically, look at page 7 of the PDF that link takes you to.
"9:45 a.m. The first police officers arrive at Norris Hall, [...] rush to one entrance, then another, and then a third but find all three chained shut. Attempts to shoot open the locks fail." (emphasis added)
and on page 8:
"9:50 a.m. Using a shotgun, police shoot open the ordinary key lock of a fourth entrance to Norris Hall that goes to a machine shop and that could not be chained. The police hear gunshots as they enter the building. They immediately follow the sounds to the second floor."
The news cameras didn't get there until 10-15 minutes into the incident. That's when all the footage of officers outside was filmed. Yes, they were securing the perimeter... BECAUSE OTHER OFFICERS WERE ALREADY INSIDE!

I don't know if you're familiar with Norris Hall, but 5 minutes is about the right amount of time to run around the building to try the main entrances, and then figure out where else you might be able to get inside. The ground floor windows are not an option. They have metal panes, and the windows themselves are very narrow. I doubt a full grown man in a ballistic vest and a gunbelt could squeeze through easily, if at all, and it would be stupid to try when you don't know if the gunman could come into that room while you're halfway through.

I'm sorry if I come off as ranting here, but I've seen this same sentiment in several blog comments over the last few weeks, and I can't let it go unanswered anymore. It pisses me off, because it ascribes cowardice where none exists, because it's WRONG, because it's based on MSM misinformation, and because the facts can be easily checked by anyone interested.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Road Rage + Concealed Carry Permit = NO Shots Fired!

Story here.

The summary is: Lost college student pulls over to check his map. Guy in a Porsche pulls in behind him, gets out of his car and approaches with a baseball bat, yelling about how slow the student was driving. Student takes his Glock out of the glove compartment, gets out of the car with the pistol visible. Man with bat puts his hands up, gets back in his car and drives away.

The student called law enforcement from his parents' home, no charges filed against him.

A perfect and legitimate defensive use of a firearm.

h/t to Sebastian at Snowflakes in Hell.

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Jury Nullification

Wandering around the web, I stumbled on this thread on jury nullification at Patterico's Pontifications. The best comment on the subject I found there is this one. In part:

Jury nullification is the reason for juries in the first place. Absent that power, there is no reason whatever to involve nonspecialists in evaluating evidence and applying the law.
The reason juries exist, and are supposed to be made up of the “peers” — social equals — of the defendant, is that the jury has the power to say, “Yes, this was a violation of the law, but the law is an ass in this case. Turn ‘im loose!”
A jury that cannot nullify is not a jury. It is a panel of incompetent lawyers. Eliminate that power and you have eliminated the guarantee that the jury system offers the accused.
The important part here is "in this case." Jury nullification in one case does not affect any other case - past, present, or (for the most part) future. It applies only to the specific case the jury is deciding. Unlike a circuit court (or higher) decision, it is not binding on any other case, anywhere - even in the same court the next day. The law remains as it was.

It can also be a great tool if the legislature is not paying attention to the people. If enough prosecutions under a bad law are victims of jury nullification, there's a good chance the prosecutors will stop bringing charges under that particular law, because it looks bad if they lose (and that is where it can affect future cases).

Having said all that, there is another important point that needs to be made. Jury nullification is a tool that should be used both sparingly and carefully. It has been used for good (when juries would refuse to convict conductors on the underground railroad) and evil (when juries would refuse to convict klansmen for murders). It still has that potential today, and likely always will.

Note: I know this was an old thread, but I got inspired, and just couldn't leave the subject alone.