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September 06, 2008

Comments

How dare you bring up Sarah Palin's family??!? I'm kidding, of course, but I'm sure the McCain campaign will respond just so to any importunate fellow who should raise questions about Palin's record in public office.

Indeed. It sounds like more of the same. No wonder the Republican base is so enamored of her.

OMG eminent domain! I look forward to hearing from the Volokh (or other) libertarians on this.

Yes, please stop picking on the "McHuntress"--at least long enough to view this:

http://therealmccain.com/butler/

and pass it along.

Thank you for being you and not taking over my feeble mind when I come to visit.

Sexist.

So just to be clear...

She was over her head running a city of 5,000.

Terrific.

Jim Henley:

I'm not sure if you were directing your comment ("Sexist") at me or someone else. I'm not a sexist, I AM a hypocritist. Sarah Palin is a liar, first and foresmost. She is a sanctimonious bitch who brags about her experience and christian moral stance when she is apparently not very experienced or very christian. If she can't stand the heat she should walk away.

2 points.
The center was subject to a city wide vote.
When during the school year you can have days where the sun never really rises into the sky, a indoor rec center no longer seems quite so frivolous, and small town Alaska has a lot of focus on youth sports.

Sarah Palin is a liar, first and foresmost. She is a sanctimonious bitch who[...]

That is a novel defense against charges of sexism.

I for one will be voting McCain/Palin on the basis of their pro-hockey platform. By my estimates, if we extrapolate her record as mayor to the possibility of her running the nation, she will spend $9.15 TRILLION dollars on hockey rinks for our fine citizens. Once we add in the cost of mullets, estimated at $20/citizen for $610 billion, our fine nation will be able to express our superiority on the ice on a grand scale. That will show the Russians.

nous.

How so? Please explain how calling her a liar and a pitch is sexist. Should I have called her a liar and a prick?

Jim Henley does not make funnies. Doesn't believe in the funny.

Funny things are occasionally written in response to Jim Henley, sometimes unintentionally. I'm sure he regrets these occurrances.

OTOH, Welcome! And you brought vitriol! Good choice, I don't think anyone else did.

I wonder why the Politico (or the Democratic Party, for that matter) has never made a point of the equivalent per-capita numbers for the US under Bush.

US government debt has risen by close to $13K per person during Dubya's tenure. For a family of 4, that's over $50K. The vast majority of American families picked up more debt from Dubya than they saved in taxes. He did not "let them keep more of their own money"; he gave them an advance on their credit card.

I scream at my TV any time a talking head says the word "trillion". Not even mathematicians have a gut feel for astronomical numbers like that. Per-capita, or per-family, is the only way to make budget numbers understandable to actual human beings.

--TP

Tony P.:

It would be interesting to see how the "Quiverfull" crowd--folks like the eighteen kids and counting, Duggans-- reacted to those figures. They'd probably have to sell most of the kids!

Demo, the b-word is a sexually loaded term used mostly against women or to question the macho qualities of men. The fact that its definition also includes some genuinely negative behavior traits does not change the fact that, because of its more common uses, the opinion formed will more likely be about the character of the person using the term than about the person they are describing. Surely you can express your judgement using terms less freighted with additional meanings - not to mention, in a manner in keeping with the posting rules.

The problem with using reports like this as political ammunition is you risk your own credibility once people actually read them. If the report is factual, then Palin apparently approved that her city should build a sports complex and she must have pushed for it. And that's the extent of Palin's involvment.

Then the report includes somebody's ignorant accusation that "... it was her job to make sure things were done correctly". Meaning what? That Palin should have waved a magic wand to prevent the 3 or 4 involved parties from suing each other? Or that she should have magically prevented this: "...the federal judge reversed his own decision..."

I think most people's reasonable conclusion from this would be simply that all lawyers should be fed to the sharks. But since Palin isn't a lawyer, whatever your accusation is makes you look petty.

Well, since Palin is in conclusion, we can't ask her, so I guess we are prohibited from speculating. I suppose after the election is the time frame dfp21 is thinking, based on previous comments. Convenient, eh? Though it kinda contradicts the whole notion of executive experience.

Too bad you don't have enough courage to actually stand up and discuss your the positions you lob out of your car window as you drive by. More's the pity.

conclusion should be seclusion. Drive by trolls tend to affect my spelling...

Meanwhile, in a semi-related story:

http://politicalticker.blogs.cnn.com/2008/09/06/florida-republican-group-to-boycott-oprah/

I'm sure Ms. Winfrey will get all repentant and see the error of her ways.

Right.

efg

democommie:

You mean these people? I note with interest that

She and her husband, Jim Bob Duggar, said they'll keep having children as long as God wills it
which I have no comment on, since it would be rude and illiberal to judge other people's family planning techniques.

Perhaps God will send the Duggans more little tax deductions, perhaps he won't. But when that 18th kid is born, their share of Dubya's debt increase will be a neat, round quarter-million dollars. God giveth, Dubya chargeth.

--TP

Hey "liberal japonicus" - today I don't mind wasting time trading insults with morons like you. So by all means, let's do it. Your serve.

Should I have called her a liar and a prick?

Jerk works, and has the advantage of being gender-neutral.

Thanks -

Thanks for taking up the challenge of returning, now do you want to stretch yourself with discussion, or is that too a little too much for you? Or are you under the impression that calling me a moron constitutes discussion?

"liberal japonicus" - please stop playing with yourself and serve.

DFP, as I recall, Palin described her job in Wasilla as being like a community organizer with actual responsibilities. I would assume that those "actual responsibilities" include not fouling up and costing her citizens an extra million dollars when due diligence could have avoided it. You apparently disagree, and suggest the fault instead lies with some underling. Well, let me point out that it was her responsibility to supervise her underlings - and I'm guessing the org chart in a town of 6000 isn't all that deep - especially with regard to her signature project. If she wasn't reaponsible, where should the buck have stopped? Has someone stepped forward to say it was all their fault, and none of Palin's? And doesn't that make her just one of those despised community organizers?

Well, "Community Organizing" in Chicago means stirring up black people, which is Un-American.

Running a podunk town in uber-ultra-White Alaska (and not doing a very good job on top of it) is leadership just short of Ike commanding on D-Day, so you all see why you're confused.

MAN, am I glad the Republican Party is around to point these things out to us.

""We find it to be an abuse of her power -gained on the backs of our patronage of her advertising empire - to use her program to so blatantly support Obama in the face of this historic moment..." by refusing to have Obama or Biden on.

Riiiiigggghhht.

It's anyone's privilege to boycott whomever they wish to, of course.

"Hey 'liberal japonicus' - today I don't mind wasting time trading insults with morons like you. So by all means, let's do it. Your serve."

This is a fine way to get banned, as well as convince people you don't know how to make a logical argument, and thus have to substitute abuse.

Clearly the hockey fan ratio here on ObWi is quite low. "Ice time" is in high demand in hockey towns and was at a real premium in Wasilla. Don't you know anyone who has gotten up a 4 a.m. to get ice time? No? Well, then you just don't get it then.

And have you ever tried to play hockey at -40 degrees? No? Ever experienced cabin fever after a month of sub zero temperatures?

A few facts to consider:

Wasilla was growing incredibly fast during the time Palin was mayor. It was just a blip on the Parks Highway (the highway linking Fairbanks and Anchorage that passes through Wasilla and goes right by Denali National Park-but it's named after George Parks, not the national park) when I was a kid. Almost overnight it grew to what is a large community in Alaska. I remember in the 90's it was the fastest growing "city" in America.

And Palin followed her campaign pledge and reduced the mayor's salary.

Before you take Palin to task on using bonds to pay for a high-taxpayer-demand facility, I'd be curious to know if there are any cities out there that DON'T use bonds to pay for capital expenditures. It seems fairly common to me. Especially during a huge period of growth.

And raising the sales tax, well, there's the whole tourist angle. Raising sales taxes is a great way to pay for something with money from visitors that won't mind it much. The City of North Pole used to have (if I remember right) a sales tax that fluctuated to capture more $$ during the summer. I call that smart when you have armies of tourists in the summer that won't miss and extra .5% a bit, especially when the sales tax is typically lower than what you find in the lower 48. It looks like Wasilla, according to its homepage, is going to be only relying on sales tax due to the huge increase in revenues. According to the same homepage, it looks like the bond will be paid off early.

I tried to look up the appellate case in Westlaw but could not find anything. Case is not reported. Newspaper accounts state that the City and Lundgren were both negotiating with the Nature Conservancy at the same time but Wasilla with the local branch and Lundgren with the national. Wasilla thought it had a deal and sued. Apparently, it was supposed to be a sure thing.

Now to me as an attorney that can only mean counsel for the city advised to go ahead. I have seen nothing to the contrary. I haven't even seen anything that points to whether Palin or the city council approved the construction in light of the need to sue over title.

It appears a citizen's committee still approved the site in spite of the problems, although I haven't been able to verify if that was after the 2002 ruling in Lundgren's favor.

In the end, the city still got the land for what Lundren is saying is a heck of a deal since it only has to pay 1.6 million or so and Lundren says its worth at least 2.5.

and the sources for a lot of this seems to be a long-time citizen-opponent of Palin's and the former mayor she defeated two times.

I'd cite all my sources for the above, but I simply don't have the time.

Warren Terra - I manage a couple groups at a large University, maybe 15 people. I had to fire one person 5 years ago for poor performance. Sort of like Palin fired somebody in the news for poor performace. There continue to be excellent and poor results within the groups I manage. More excellent than poor. That's all I hope for. More good than bad. That's life.

To determine whether I'm competent you'd have to ask my boss or poll my employees, not troll for a "gotcha" event. To determine whether Palin's competent, you'd have to ask her boss (the voters) or her employees. The voters have spoken. And it seems like her ex-employees for the most part love her.

bc, as an actual attorney, do you frequently use the Chewbacca Defense outside of blog comments? Almost nothing you wrote is relevant. Nobody cast aspersions on the dedication of hockey players, the growth rate of Wasilla, or the practice of using municipal bonds. I didn't even know the Nature Conservancy was involved; I still don't know how. The issue, the whole issue, is Mayor Palin's administration incompetently building her signature project on land which the town did not own, resulting in huge expenses. The only relevant property values are those from back when they attempted to get ahold of the property, so saying they still got a bargain is highly disingenuous.

Having looked over a few pages worth of threads and comments I see that calling people stupid and calling them morons is okay. Saying disparaging things about women or men is okay. Being rude and crude is okay.

I think I get it.

Governor Palin is a dishonest individual who is delusional and wouldn't know the truth if it bit Governor Palin in the ass. Senator McCain is a lying sack of crap who long ago traded integrity for the what he perceived to be power.

Know what though? It's just not the way I feel about them. My feeling for them is much too visceral to worry about offending them, or their supporters.

So, I'll stay off your threads and we'll both be happier. You really should use some common sense, though, and tell the trolls like dfp21 to fuck off or just ban them.

bc, thank you for presenting a more full picture. It doesn't represent 'change' or 'fiscal responsibility' from my perspective because these type of projects tend to take more from the community than what they give. Your view may differ, obviously. Coming from a small city, it seems to me that most of these types of investments are too overblown for the area involved, thus the unnecessary waste.

Don't you know anyone who has gotten up a 4 a.m. to get ice time? No? Well, then you just don't get it then.

Yeah, I do actually. But here's the thing: if people NEED ice time so badly, they should be able to pay for it. There's no need to make everyone, including elderly people and people who have no interest in skating or hockey pay for an ice rink. I mean, if there are enough people who want ice time, the market will provide, right? Why should everyone in town subsidize a small number of skaters and hockey players?

fine post, hilzoy.

By equivocating on whether to attack Palin, the Dems are missing an opportunity to define her.

after her crash course in federal issues, she's going to come out with her guns blazing, and ours guys will be looking stupid as they try to explain that the world is a complicated place.

To determine whether Palin's competent, you'd have to ask her boss (the voters) or her employees. The voters have spoken. And it seems like her ex-employees for the most part love her.

The 'ex-employees' each get a bonus of $4,000 dollars a person (and that's including people under the voting age, so it's probably higher, especially if the Palin's 5 children family is representative, not that there is anything wrong with 5 children, I wish more people in Japan would have 5 children so we could avoid the demographic pinch coming), so it's understandable why the majority might 'love her', but do you think it represents good public policy?

On the other hand, this 'ex-employee' doesn't sound like she's in love.

Of course, you seem to suggest that the presidential race is simply a popularity contest, which is pretty telling.

Your serve.

Having looked over a few pages worth of threads and comments I see that calling people stupid and calling them morons is okay. Saying disparaging things about women or men is okay. Being rude and crude is okay.

democommie, because the site leans to the liberal side, we tend to be more strict with people who are perceived to be coming from that point of view. Sorry if you can't accept that, but that's the way it is here. I hope you will, with some reflection, see why it is not simply an affectation, but a way to protect the place from those who might pretend to be from the left.

"I remember in the 90's it was the fastest growing 'city' in America."

Cite, please? I ask because this is a claim apt to be made again before the election, and I'd like to know if it's true or false.

Here's one:

[...] According to the bureau, the city that grew most rapidly from 1990 to 1996 was Henderson, Nev., where the population rose by 88.4 percent to 122,339. Henderson was followed by Chandler, Ariz., with a 59 percent increase; Pembroke Pines, Fla., up 53.5 percent; Palmdale, Calif., up 51.6 percent, and Plano, Tex., up 50.4 percent.

Filling out the top 10 are Las Vegas, up 46 percent; Scottsdale, Ariz., up 37.6 percent; Laredo, Tex., up 34.2 percent; Coral Springs, Fla., up 33.5 percent, and Corona, Calif., up 32 percent.

I don't see Wasilla.

Census data. I don't find Wasilla it here, either.

"Having looked over a few pages worth of threads and comments I see that calling people stupid and calling them morons is okay."

Posting rules.

"By equivocating on whether to attack Palin, the Dems"

Who, specifically, is doing that? Cite?

The issue, the whole issue, is Mayor Palin's administration incompetently building her signature project on land which the town did not own, resulting in huge expenses. The only relevant property values are those from back when they attempted to get ahold of the property, so saying they still got a bargain is highly disingenuous.

You assume the answer to the question in a different direction than I. I assume that the city made a valid decision to pursue building based on the information at hand, probably from those darn attorneys. I haven't seen anything different. Have you?

I also assume that in 2002, when Palin was either on her way out or no longer mayor, and the court decision came down, the city made another decision to proceed. That's when the citizen committee appears to have made its recommendations. I assume that they discussed eminent domain as an alternative. The rest of it clearly occurred after she left.

Why should everyone in town subsidize a small number of skaters and hockey players?

What, no baseball fields, soccer fields, etc. in your neck of the woods? And don't assume the number is small (you are assuming, right?) Plus this is more of a community center.

I think there are valid criticisms to be had. I just think making this one bigger than it is based on an incomplete record is not a good use of time and seems petty.

And I think the record is there to be had. If someone would do the basic work of reviewing the court decisions, finding out what info was available when the decision was made to proceed, WHO made that decision, I'd be more interested.

BTW, I'd be interested in what the Annenberg papers eventually say when the coverup is over. I'm not making any assumptions based on that incomplete record and am not interested now, other than to see the coverup ended.

bc, as an actual attorney, do you frequently use the Chewbacca Defense outside of blog comments?

I'm not arguing for anyone here as an attorney. And you're not paying me as such!

And just because you don't think its relevant doesn't make it so. I'm sure every politician has a mistake that isn't representative of his or her entire record. And I'm not even convinced this is a mistake attributable to Palin. It might be. Someone go get the entire record!

And after I put in a disclaimer that I didn't have time to give cites . . .

I had to fire one person 5 years ago for poor performance. Sort of like Palin fired somebody in the news for poor performace.

Doubtful. You're not even motivated to do even minimal research, are you?

Try it. It improves your arguments immensely.

I don't see Wasilla

Oh, the time it would take . . .

O.k., looks like it was the fastest growing city of its size for a time. You can call the city at: (907) 373-9050 on Monday and I'm sure they'll tell you the applicable time period.

What, no baseball fields, soccer fields, etc. in your neck of the woods?

Well, no sewage plant in the town either. Still isn't. And the tax hike she rescinded in her first years was for the police force.

Wouldn't those be higher priorities? However, if the sports center/community center was of more importance, I would like to know why. And why it was so poorly planned at first glance.

I think those are reasonable questions to ask.

liberal japonicus – Regarding your “popularity contest” suggestion, I actually do believe that America's system of government is the best one on earth. Mainly because our Constitution reserves all power to the States, except the few powers granted to the federal government. The guiding principal is that local control is superior to centralized control, and requiring people to organize and support themselves results in stronger healthier people. In short, freedom is better than subservience.
Your example where Palin demanded that the energy companies pay Alaska a market price for rights to take the Alaska’s natural resources, fighting the rampant bribery, is proof that Palin is the antidote to the poison in Washington, which has become a gigantic money pot in which politicians bathe themselves and their friends, family, and lobbyists. That behavior of the past 15 years (30? 50?) by Democrats and Republicans alike is destroying the financial and moral health of the country.
McCain has made a name for himself complaining about that corruption (not that he’s achieved anything other than complain). Palin has been in a position to either go along and get along with the Alaska money-fueled corruption, or do something about it. She did something about it.

P.S. I ask that my "moron" accusation be striken from the record.

I think those are reasonable questions to ask

Questions, yes, I agree. But answers need a full record, not assumptions.

Frex, I can't even tell what "began building roads and installing utilities" entailed. Did the city hire an engineer to do prelims? Not a big deal if that's all it was. Did they actually put in water and sewer hookups on the adjacent street? Not a big deal since Lundgren was, by his own testimony, going to develop it anyway. Those would just be time-saving steps regardless of outcome. Did they pave the proposed parking lot? Big deal.

The only apparent error from the record is the city failing to get a signed PA from the Nature Conservancy. It's unclear why and whether Palin had anything to do with it. Everything after that beginning fact is just picking up the pieces.

Get the record. Until then, this is, IMHO, stupid.

"Ice time" is in high demand in hockey towns and was at a real premium in Wasilla. Don't you know anyone who has gotten up a 4 a.m. to get ice time? No? Well, then you just don't get it then.

Clearly a good reason to blow $20 million dollars you don't have.

G-d, but jocks can be self-righteous about their hobby. Personally, I like comic books, so MY town should issue a few million in bonds to build an IMAX film center dedicated to 24-7 showings of superhero films. You disagree? You just don't get it, do you, you elitist creep? Have you never gotten up at 4 a.m. to get opening night tickets? Oh, the PAIN!

What I'm hearing is, it's more than okay to wreck the budget, it's great, so long as what you spend it on is useless. Got it. I understand the Iraq War so much better now.

BTW, on my map it looks like Wasilla is about 45 minutes from Anchorage. I'm not real clear on why it was impossible, for such a crucial matter as hockey, to drive to a rink. Most small towns live off the nearest big city for recreation (and newsflash, 9,000 is a small town in the real world, the dinky city neighborhood where I grew up was more than 10 times that size).

Mind you, it was their money, their debt, their taxes, and their business. But I'm way too elitist to consider their or her judgment good.

"O.k., looks like it was the fastest growing city of its size for a time."

No, it looks like the city claims it. That's nice. Cities claim all sorts of untrue things about themselves. Similarly, I'm the cutest and and most charming guy on this thread. Oh, look, I'm going to cite myself, if asked for proof.

I gave you links to the actual Census data. Give me a link back that shows Wasilla, please. The Census data is right there in front of you. Where's Wasilla?

I'm perfectly prepared to believe the claim. I'd just like a cite to the Census, which, you know, makes all this info available, right there.

Let me help: I'm not trying to catch you out; I just want to nail it down one way or another. Here is some Alaska data. More. More.

That's the 4-link limit per comment.

"By equivocating on whether to attack Palin, the Dems"

Who, specifically, is doing that? Cite?

find your own silly "cite."

I just clocked sixty, count 'em sixty GDP-valid hours researching law for lawyers.

I have no intention of stepping and fetching anything for you.

you might try the Obama camp, Michael Moore, and a general yielding among Barack's advocates to the shoe-on-the-other-foot claim that what few attacks there have been are sexist in nature.

Even hilzoy has effectively said the choices Palin has made in raising her kids are off limits, although it would appear that only issues Palin has ever investigated are those that concern the relationship between government and family, from the uterus to the alter.

it seems to me that if there are any uteri or alters under her influence, they're fair game.

"Regarding your 'popularity contest' suggestion, I actually do believe that America's system of government is the best one on earth"

You've actually studies all the systems of government of every country on earth?

I'm impressed.

"G-d, but jocks can be self-righteous about their hobby. Personally, I like comic books, so MY town should issue a few million in bonds to build an IMAX film center dedicated to 24-7 showings of superhero films."

Too many of those films are crap. We need my town to buy original copies of all the important Marvel and DC comics from their first issues onwards, so everyone can handle real copies of their own, and read them as they were meant to be read. Any copies worn out by this need to be replaced.

We also need complete collections of the important pulp magazines, including Astounding Stories of Super-Science and Amazing Stories, as well as Planet Stories, Science Wonder Stories, Galaxy, and the Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction.

Think of the children!

gwangung - Since you didn't provide any info at all, I have to assume you know nothing at all, which didn't stop you from posting. So I'll explain it to you. Palin was aware (either first or second hand) of a State Trooper's criminal behavior.

http://media.adn.com/smedia/2008/07/21/16/Wooten_suspend_letter.source.prod_affiliate.7.pdf

For whatever technicalities of Alaska law, she didn't have the authority to fire the Trooper, but did have the authority to fire the Trooper's boss when he wouldn't fire the Trooper. I would have done the same thing, assuming I had had the same courage Palin did to potentially antagonize the Troopers.

I think there are valid criticisms to be had. I just think making this one bigger than it is based on an incomplete record is not a good use of time and seems petty.

no, it's big. It's about governance and how well she does it. in fact, it's hard to imagine a more damning criticism for the job she wants.

Questions, yes, I agree. But answers need a full record, not assumptions.

I can quite readily make tentative judgements, subject to revision with further information. I don't find that remarkable to do.

And I am interested in the decision making process that led to this as opposed to a sewer plant.

I'm a hockey fan, a hockey mom, and a onetime player in adult leagues, but for the life of me I can't understand why a town of 6500 needs a $15 million hockey rink. A hockey rink, certainly, but why wouldn't $2 or $3 million be enough?

Moreover, whether the Nature Conservancy was negotiating with two buyers at once is irrelevant. Only one buyer can actually buy the property, and if Wasilla wanted it, Palin should have made sure they bought it instead of imagining that the seller would wait until they made up their mind. If they wanted an option, they should have bought an option.

We also need complete collections of the important pulp magazines, including Astounding Stories of Super-Science and Amazing Stories, as well as Planet Stories, Science Wonder Stories, Galaxy, and the Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction.

Think of the children!

Hm. I think I would think highly of a politician who mentioned this.

"By equivocating on whether to attack Palin, the Dems"

Who, specifically, is doing that? Cite?

find your own silly "cite."

Okay, you're unwilling to back up your claim. And you find the idea of supporting claims to be "silly." Your choice. I'll give your claim all the attention it deserves, and note for the future your lack of interest in supporting your claims with checkable sources, then. Carry on.

bc, a little more seriously, I think you're right that Palin is probably not to blame for a title screwup -- although you're guessing as much as Hilzoy as to exactly what went wrong. That said, it doesn't say anything for her record either. She appears to have presided over something of a mess in a short stint as mayor: blew through a huge wad of federal pork, supervised a building program that for a community that size would have been pretty extravagant even if the deal hadn't gone sour, fired her police chief, and fired her head librarian for not letting her censor (and was forced to retract it). Nothing there gives me great confidence in her. I'd rather see great results than excuses.

She may have learned something from the experience, as she does seem to be having a smoother run as governor so far.


Gary, gwangung, you warm the cockles of my heart. There will always be free tickets in my IMAX theater for you.

The Census data is right there in front of you. Where's Wasilla?

Oh, great. Now you're going to claim Palin lost Wasilla.

The Census data is right there in front of you. Where's Wasilla?

It's right in front of you, Gary. Why do you expect me to do the work?

interestingly, wasilla's fact page as well as my home town of Fairbanks don't have 2006 census data like San Francisco. Maybe that's why?

It looks like Wasilla went from 4028 in 1990 to 5469 in 2000 according to the census. Don't know how that compares. And the growth may have been late 80's I heard.

Here's another self-serving reference. I don't have the time or inclination to do any more. I saw it with my own eyes.

I don't know why I'm helping out bc, but I'll do the arithmetic for him. If he is correct that Wasilla went from 4028 in 1990 to 5469 in 2000, that is a growth of 35% over ten years.

Upthread, Gary provides cites that show Corona, California being the tenth fastest growing city from 1990-1996, growing 32% over six years. So clearly, Wasilla is not even in the top ten fastest growing cities in that period, unless we have some reason to believe that Wasilla somehow had a higher population in 1996 than it did in 2000.

although you're guessing as much as Hilzoy as to exactly what went wrong.

I agree but I've been clear I'm assuming and guessing. My point is that the left is assuming and guessing and not admitting it. This is all over the blogs.

She appears to have presided over something of a mess in a short stint as mayor

six years?

blew through a huge wad of federal pork

??? what do you mean by this exactly? I've heard the $26 million dollar number before, and looked it up at the taxpayers for common sense. Sure, they total up 26.9 million during Palin's term but a bunch of that was for the entire borough and 15 million was for a regional rail line upgrade.

Ah, quit reading kos! I assume (correct me if I'm wrong) that this is what you mean. And it's b.s. The entire upgrade runs from Wasilla through Anchorage on down to Girdwood serving all the citizens in between. Not a pet Wasilla project. Here's an Alaska Rail Road study on just the Wasilla portion, but the whole project is I think around $200 million and benefits a bunch more people than Wasilla.

So what's a small town mayor to do when a regional project impacts her town, threatening to make her town safer by having the rail line bypass the town to eliminate dangerous at-grade crossings? Just sit back?

I can see that Wasilla got around $1 million per year while she was mayor not counting the rail project. I have no idea how that compares nationwide.

supervised a building program that for a community that size would have been pretty extravagant even if the deal hadn't gone sour,

I think this is another Alaskan thing. Communities event the size of Wasilla tend to be economic hubs much more so than a similar town in the lower 48. Just my opinion.

fired her police chief, and fired her head librarian for not letting her censor (and was forced to retract it).

??? How does firing a police chief mean anything? Happens all the time in America. Right?

And the librarian thing is coming from a long-time crank (see above). Palin didn't censor. Look, whatever happened may have been absolutely valid. The record isn't clear on that one as well. The librarian isn't speaking (you'd think she would if there were really something to it).

Nothing there gives me great confidence in her.

Admit it-nothing would! She was a popular mayor (though not without her critics) and is a popular governor.

So clearly, Wasilla is not even in the top ten fastest growing cities in that period,

But I never said it was the fastest growing over that period of time. I had just heard that for a while it was, and i think the city's website has it right (fastest growing of its size) for a while. That's all I said. But I can't do the math because I don't know what time period to turn to.

How does firing a police chief mean anything? Happens all the time in America. Right?

For "intimidating" her? Or "not sufficiently supporting her"? Or whatever the reason of the week is? Hm. Not that often, I don't think...

And the librarian thing is coming from a long-time crank (see above).

This was dual-sourced, of course.....

(And, of course, there's the recall surrounding the librarian).

"My point is that the left is assuming and guessing and not admitting it."

Somebody needs to school Norby again.

" I had just heard that for a while it was, and i think the city's website has it right (fastest growing of its size) for a while."

Without defining what "of its size" and how long "a while" means, the claim is meaningless. The fastest growing city that has 8,593 people for two days, because no other city was precisely that size for those two days? Or something more meaningful?

Not that this matters, but you're making, or passing along, a claim that's meaningless right now, it's so vague and unsubstantiated, for whatever little that matters (more or less nothing; I'm just pointing out for the sake of pickiness).

As for the rest, again, either people can establish some measure to measure how good or bad a mayor is, or they can argue subjective opinions all they like as long as they like.

I'm watching Disk 1 of The Wire, Season 5, myself.

Wow, the sports complex was an "eminent domain action". Who'd a'thunk it? Looks like America's Most Famous Hockey Mom and her pals tried to steal the property under color of law and got their little plan thrown out of court. No wonder right-wingers hate judges they can't control.

I'm watching Disk 1 of The Wire, Season 5, myself.

Same here. It's in the very laptop I'm writing this comment on, open in another window but not playing.

And the librarian thing is coming from a long-time crank (see above).

That's the same person you referred to as a "long-time citizen-opponent of Palin's" (that is, Anne Kilkenny? Is the talking point in Republican circles now that she's a "long-time crank"?

Palin didn't censor. Look, whatever happened may have been absolutely valid.

Presuming that Kilkenny is telling the accurate truth - no, it's hard to see how it could be. A mayor can't tell a librarian to remove books from a town library that the mayor doesn't approve of. That's censorship.

The record isn't clear on that one as well. The librarian isn't speaking (you'd think she would if there were really something to it).

Anne Kilkenny notes that people who oppose what Sarah Palin wants - as for example, the hundred people in Wasilla who opposed her firing the town librarian for refusing to censor the library at the mayor's orders - becomes Palin's "enemy". Assuming Palin is still on the ticket after 12th September, I'm afraid some journalist will probably find and badger Wasilla's librarian for "the story" of what went down in 1996...

So what's a small town mayor to do when a regional project impacts her town, threatening to make her town safer by having the rail line bypass the town to eliminate dangerous at-grade crossings? Just sit back?

you just admitted that contrary to the whole McCain/Palin view of big government, it ain't all bad.

I mean really Wouldn't a theoretically consistent government basher have hammered the spikes themselves?

I mean really Wouldn't a theoretically consistent government basher have hammered the spikes themselves?

It would be like Lent in the Phillipines.

dfp: The posting rules prohibit incivility, like calling people morons. The fact that you retracted it (plus the fact that I somehow missed your comment last night) is the reason you haven't been banned.

I mean really Wouldn't a theoretically consistent government basher have hammered the spikes themselves?

Good point. This is a valid criticism. My point was simply that laying the whole 26 million at her feet didn't seem appropriate.

My point was simply that laying the whole 26 million at her feet didn't seem appropriate.

Not trying to bust your chops here, but it kinda undercuts the whole exec experience meme as well.

"If the report is factual, then Palin apparently approved that her city should build a sports complex and she must have pushed for it. And that's the extent of Palin's involvment."

Is there some reason to think that the report by the Wall Street Journal (not exactly a flaming-left liberal screed) isn't reasonably factual? Must we assume that any positive statement about Palin or McCain is true until proved otherwise, while anything even MILDLY negative is false until proved otherwise?

The questions it raises are:

[1] ADMINISTRATIVE SKILLS. The role of CEO, whether in private industry or government, is to oversee the performance of all the specialists to ensure that things get done right. You don't have to be a lawyer to know that it's risky to spend any substantial money on building something unless you either own the property outright or have a WRITTEN agreement to buy the property at a fixed price. If Palin didn't realize this, and didn't ensure that the town's lawyer had COMPLETED the necessary paperwork, then she screwed up. (It's not the most horrible mistake in the history of the world, but it implies a certain reckless desire to "get on with it" and not worry about petty details. Perhaps that recklessness is why McCain recognizes a soul mate.)

The defense from the former city finance chief (who blamed the Nature Conservancy for "causing confusion" by dealing with two different potential buyers at one time) is just plain silly Can these Champions of the Free Market really say with a straight face that there was something weird about an owner trying to get bids from as many buyers as possible? Did they expect the Nature Conservancy to sit on the property forever, turning away a serious buyer, just in case Wasilla MIGHT decide to follow through on the purchase?

[2] JUDGMENT. The more important question is whether it made economic sense for such a small town to build a lavish sports complex on its own dime. It seems particularly inconsistent with McCain's and Palin's repeated claims that they're "reformers" who believe in "small government".

I grew up in a small town in Massachusetts that in the late 1950's had a population of about 10,000 (double the size of Wasilla in 2000). Hockey was THE sport in our high school, and the team had to drive down to Providence to practice at odd hours. According to Google Maps, that drive takes 39 minutes, only a little less than the 43-minute drive from Wasilla to Anchorage.

If anybody had suggested that our little town should build our own hockey rink, they'd have been laughed out of the Town Meeting. Nowadays, the population has grown to about 22,000, and there IS a hockey rink in town, but it's a PRIVATE facility (built originally as an Olympic practice site) and it can draw customers from a densely populated matropolitan area)

If there really was a market for a sports complex in the Wasilla area, why didn't the town try to find private developers to build one? If no private developers thought they could make a go of it, why did the Mayor think that Wasilla could operate it at a profit? (Apparently during the 2002 campaign leading up to the referendum on the bonds for the sports complex, proponents were claiming that -- like the Iraq war -- it would "pay for itself".)

Possibly Palin could make the case that the sports complex actually was a good deal, and more important than the sewage-treatment plant that the town also needed. But unless people are allowed to ask questions -- and Palin is willing to answer them -- we'll never know.


"If the report is factual, then Palin apparently approved that her city should build a sports complex and she must have pushed for it. And that's the extent of Palin's involvment."

Is there some reason to think that the report by the Wall Street Journal (not exactly a flaming-left liberal screed) isn't reasonably factual? Must we assume that any positive statement about Palin or McCain is true until proved otherwise, while anything even MILDLY negative is false until proved otherwise?

The questions it raises are:

[1] ADMINISTRATIVE SKILLS. The role of CEO, whether in private industry or government, is to oversee the performance of all the specialists to ensure that things get done right. You don't have to be a lawyer to know that it's risky to spend any substantial money on building something unless you either own the property outright or have a WRITTEN agreement to buy the property at a fixed price. If Palin didn't realize this, and didn't ensure that the town's lawyer had COMPLETED the necessary paperwork, then she screwed up. (It's not the most horrible mistake in the history of the world, but it implies a certain reckless desire to "get on with it" and not worry about petty details. Perhaps that recklessness is why McCain recognizes a soul mate.)

The defense from the former city finance chief (who blamed the Nature Conservancy for "causing confusion" by dealing with two different potential buyers at one time) is just plain silly Can these Champions of the Free Market really say with a straight face that there was something weird about an owner trying to get bids from as many buyers as possible? Did they expect the Nature Conservancy to sit on the property forever, turning away a serious buyer, just in case Wasilla MIGHT decide to follow through on the purchase?

[2] JUDGMENT. The more important question is whether it made economic sense for such a small town to build a lavish sports complex on its own dime. It seems particularly inconsistent with McCain's and Palin's repeated claims that they're "reformers" who believe in "small government".

I grew up in a small town in Massachusetts that in the late 1950's had a population of about 10,000 (double the size of Wasilla in 2000). Hockey was THE sport in our high school, and the team had to drive down to Providence to practice at odd hours. According to Google Maps, that drive takes 39 minutes, only a little less than the 43-minute drive from Wasilla to Anchorage.

If anybody had suggested that our little town should build our own hockey rink, they'd have been laughed out of the Town Meeting. Nowadays, the population has grown to about 22,000, and there IS a hockey rink in town, but it's a PRIVATE facility (built originally as an Olympic practice site) and it can draw customers from a densely populated matropolitan area)

If there really was a market for a sports complex in the Wasilla area, why didn't the town try to find private developers to build one? If no private developers thought they could make a go of it, why did the Mayor think that Wasilla could operate it at a profit? (Apparently during the 2002 campaign leading up to the referendum on the bonds for the sports complex, proponents were claiming that -- like the Iraq war -- it would "pay for itself".)

Possibly Palin could make the case that the sports complex actually was a good deal, and more important than the sewage-treatment plant that the town also needed. But unless people are allowed to ask questions -- and Palin is willing to answer them -- we'll never know.


I think there are valid criticisms to be had. I just think making this one bigger than it is based on an incomplete record is not a good use of time and seems petty.

I think you're right. I think the whole hockey rink thing is a tempest in a teapot.

My question about Palin is what she brings to the table that makes her remotely qualified to be vice president of the US. Especially considering the McCain is a cancer survivor, and would be the oldest man to take office as President if he should win.

I watched some of Palin's speech the night she gave it, and have watched the whole thing since. I was curious about the reform stuff she had been involved in in Alaska, so I wanted to hear what she had to say.

It was a pretty good political speech, and she's a poised and articulate speaker. At about 25 minutes in, she gets into her criticism of Obama, which was frankly a lot of schoolyard trash-talk horsesh*t. Another comment about that in a minute.

My issue with Palin is that there just isn't a lot there. No real analysis of anything, no detail to any of her assertions of what she would do, just a lot of largely content-free platitudes.

I invite you to offer a counterexample from her acceptance speech, or any other public statement she's made.

She's a hockey mom. BFD. I know lots of hockey moms.

She hunts. BFD. I know lots of folks who hunt. I know lots of folks who can field-dress their kill, and who eat what they hunt.

She was mayor of her small town. BFD. My little four-square-mile town of 20,000 people is run by five selectmen, who serve without pay, and each of whom brings a more impressive resume CV to the table than Palin. Mayor of a town of less than 6,000 people simply IS NOT a useful background for high level executive office at the national level. Period. It is irrelevant.

She has been governor of Alaska for a year and half. To repeat, BFD. Alaska has 600K people. That is less than one quarter of one percent of the population of the rest of the US. The biggest city in Alaska is Anchorage, population about 280K. There is no other city above 100K people. 280K sounds like a good, solid, medium sized city, until you realize that the population density is 153 people per square mile.

Dude, my WHOLE FREAKING COUNTY has a population density 10 times that. That's not a city, by any definition any of the 99.8% of the people who do not live in Alaska will recognize.

If I understand correctly, almost 90 percent of the state budget comes from royalties on oil and mineral rights, which are by law considered to be the collective property of the people of Alaska. There is no individual income tax, no state sales tax. only 25 of 161 municipalities levy a property tax.

There is no significant black or hispanic population in Alaska. There is no significant manufacturing base in Alaska. There is no significant financial or technology sector in Alaska. There is no significant agriculture in Alaska.

There's at most a minimal highway system. The capital is not accessible by road. The western part of the state has no road connection to the rest of the state.

The state of Alaska employs a grand total of 15,000 people statewide.

I could go on, but I'll stop.

The only thing Palin brings to the table as far as relevant political or executive experience is governor of Alaska. As far as I can see, there is NOTHING about running the state of Alaska that would prepare you for an executive role at the federal level.

Nothing.

I have nothing against Alaska, in many ways it sounds like a delightful place. It just ain't anything like the rest of the country, and the 99.8% of us who DO NOT live in Alaska deserve leadership that has a reasonably good likelihood of having a clue.

That ain't Palin.

As far as Palin's comments about Obama, I'll just say that I have no idea where she gets the stones to criticize his background or his accomplishments. I have no idea who the F she thinks she is.

Palin brings nothing to the table except for her appeal to the religious right wing. That might be enough for a Republican campaign wonk, but it means nothing to me.

I'd be delighted to see the left side of the aisle drop the issue of all of the alleged scandals of Palin's tenure as mayor and governor, because I just don't think she's worth the attention.

I'm sure she's a lovely person and a popular governor of Alaska. She's just not a person with a serious or relevant resume. I'm not putting the state of Alaska down, it's just not relevant experience to the second highest executive office in the US.

She doesn't have the goods.

Thanks -

If I understand correctly, almost 90 percent of the state budget comes from royalties on oil and mineral rights

Sarah Palin, petro-governor :-)

--TP

bc, thanks for the fact-check. For some reason, I had the misimpression that she was a one-term mayor; and I'll take your word that most of the $26MM was part of a regional subsidy. So, I take those parts back. Not sure what you mean by "economic hub," unless it's that Wasilia is very wealthy, which is not the impression I got.

Russell, well put.

Let me add, I just don't see that she has any great interest in the rest of the country and world. From a job interviewer point of view, if you don't have credentials, or experience, you've got to at least love the work. Palin is obviously a patriot, but I don't see that she wants this job, as a job. She got the offer on a platter, and anyone would take that offer, but does she actually care about the job?

The one thing that makes me nervous about Obama is his inexperience; but at least he has spent years teaching the Constitution, traveled extensively, is a national policy wonk of the first order, and seems to have had his eye on the wider stage from early in his career. In other words, he doesn't have enough practical experience in grade, but at least his interests and passions match the job he's looking for.

Palin, in contrast, is the archetypal mayor or small-state governor: she bursts with passion for her home town and its ways. I bet she can name every street and every business in Wasilia, maybe every family. As to America, though, well it's obvious she's a patriot, which is or should be a given for pretty much any office-holder, but does she have any views of her own about America and how to run it, beyond the reflexive anti-government, liberal-bashing stuff we see on RedState?

Crafty, What I understood bc to mean by "economic hub" is that it's the place where people from a much bigger area come to shop and find services.

Augusta, Maine, 15 miles from where I live, has a population of 18,560 (July 2006 est. via Wikipedia).

It has 2 huge "marketplaces" -- like malls but not all in one building. There are 2 Staples stores (for 18000 people? I don't think so), the only big bookstore for 70 miles, both a Lowe's and a Home Depot, both a Linens and Things and a Bed Bath and Beyond, etc. There are probably 50 (wild guess) smaller towns, some actually towns of 5-6000 people, some totally rural, at least one almost as big as Augusta (Waterville, which has a couple of smaller malls but nothing like Augusta's marketplaces), from which people come to shop in Augusta. (Many of them also work in Augusta; it's the state capital.) Not to mention that the hospital for a big area is in Augusta, along with doctor's offices, law offices, social service agencies, etc. etc. that draw clients/patients from many smaller towns and villages.

That's what I thought bc meant by "economic hub," and it's easy to imagine that in Alaska that function would be served by a town of 6000 or 8000 or whatever it is.

(Footnote: Bangor, 70 miles north of Augusta, is another such hub. Population maybe in the 30's, nothing north of it but forests and potato fields. People come to the Bangor Mall from 120 miles away, sometimes from Canada.)

Gotcha, JanieM. But if 7,000 or so is the hub, there's not a lot for it to be the hub of -- which is what Alaska's population density tells us anyway, especially with Anchorage only 45 minutes drive away. So I'm still underwhelmed by the judgment.

Crafty, What I understood bc to mean by "economic hub" is that it's the place where people from a much bigger area come to shop and find services.

That's an interesting point because there is definitely going to be a mismatch if the city/town serves a much larger outlying population that don't have any voice in choosing the chief executive. I bring this up because I believe, fairly or unfairly, from time to time, the Texas Republican platform has been used as an example of an ur-platform, and that pattern of hubs with people travelling long distances holds there as well. This is not suggesting that Maine is a revanchist Republican stronghold, but that pattern (which is can only be supported with cheap gas, btw) provies the template for the way that Republicans view the world.

Crafty, I'm underwhelmed as well; I'm with you about Palin, regardless of the demographics/economics of Alaska. But as for Wasilla being 45 minutes from Anchorage, that's only in one direction. Augusta is less than an hour from Portland, which is almost like a real city (with a really big mall), but people in the area for which Augusta is a "hub" certainly don't go to Portland to get their groceries.

lj, you made me chuckle. I wrote a little about this in Feb. when I was first hanging out here, when we had our caucus in Maine. State government is pretty dominated by Democrats, much to the eternal dismay of business interests. We have 2 Democratic congressmen (yes, -men is accurate in this case) and 2 more well-known Republican senators (Collins and Snowe). I don't want to get started on the ins and outs of state politics, but Maine is certainly by no measure a "revanchist Republican stronghold."

lj, you wrote: That's an interesting point because there is definitely going to be a mismatch if the city/town serves a much larger outlying population that don't have any voice in choosing the chief executive.

On rereading, I realize that I'm not sure what you mean by "mismatch." Certainly the citizens of the outlying towns don't have a say in whether Augusta builds more malls, or a new Y (they just did), or a new library (the town turned that one down). On the other hand, Augusta has a much higher percentage of tax-exempt property than most of the outlying towns do, because it's the capital if for no other reason. So property taxes there are sky high (not that they're low elsewhere in Maine). And Augusta residents have the mixed blessing of huge (well, all things are relative, right?) numbers of non-residents driving into and out of town every day. I avoid driving across Augusta if at all possible, and I don't have to put up with it every day.

russel:

Looks like you suffer from Alaska envy. You really need to take a trip up there before you die.

And basing our presidential elections on population density would result in, what, every president being from Manhattan? How is population density relevant? Alaska's a huge state (we joke that if Alaska was split in half Texas would be the third largest state). Your state probably doesn't have nearly the percentage of public land that Alaska does. What does that mean?

And I'm not entirely clear on what you mean by "no significant" black or latin populations. I got my hair cut from Gloria porque podia obtener almuerzo y un corte de pelo a la misma vez (and she was a former Woman of Distinction, a prestigious award sponsored by the Girl Scouts). And our mayor of Fairbanks was black, but I guess he wasn't significant. Or my "adopted" aunt. Life experience counts, not the size of your locale's various ethnic groups. Palin's married to a man with Alaska native heritage. Doesn't that count for something?

And how does the lack of a state income tax or sales tax preclude fitness for office? I guess we have to scratch Washington, Lincoln, Jefferson clear down to what, Roosevelt simply because they did not have the privilege of having an income tax or state sales tax? And Biden's from Delaware-no sales tax there! Scratch him!

I have nothing against Alaska, in many ways it sounds like a delightful place. It just ain't anything like the rest of the country, and the 99.8% of us who DO NOT live in Alaska deserve leadership that has a reasonably good likelihood of having a clue.

The assumptions you make are amazing to me. You have no idea what living in Alaska is like and, apparently, no idea what kind of people the state produces.

I could go on to talk about how well-traveled Alaskans are, the great school system, how many Alaskans go out of state for college (including Palin, myself and pracically every member of my extended family (Dartmouth, MIT, Welsely, U. of Oregon, Creighton, and Northwestern among my dad's siblings), the debates over a state income tax in lean years, the debates that most municipalities have from time to time regarding sales taxes, how Alaska looks to other states in drafting laws (don't they all), how Alaska has a very transient population with those from the lower 48 coming up to spend a few years then leaving giving Alaskans exposure to all sorts of strange, lower 48 practices and traditions, like big government, high rates of taxation, decades old political machines, etc. etc. There is good and bad everywhere and it doesn't preclude someone from running for higher office. Heck, I'm conservative and I think good people come out of San Francisco!

Sure, I'm being somewhat faceitious, but this is about a person, not a place. You might as well be saying "nothing good comes from Alaska." I beg to differ, and you have my 10th amendment-anti-federalist-home state-lovin' dander up. The focus should be on her and what she thinks and believes in. And since when is coming from outside a problem necessarily constitute a bad thing? Ever heard of outside perspective?

And there's plenty of video on the web about Palin without me needing to provide you links. But here's one.

"And I'm not entirely clear on what you mean by 'no significant' black or latin populations."

Easy answers to simple questions:

Alaska:

[...] black persons, percent, 2006 (a) 3.7%

[...]

Persons of Hispanic or Latino origin, percent, 2006 (b) 5.6%

I grew up in Brooklyn (2000 figures):
[...] Black or African American 36.4%

[...]

Hispanic or Latino (of any race) 19.8%

That's more or less what he means. Not that you can name a couple, or a couple of dozen, dark-skinned or Latino folk. That there are ten times and four times more such folks in more diverse places in America.

"And how does the lack of a state income tax or sales tax preclude fitness for office?"

The point is that Palin hasn't had to struggle with hard choices in a deficit environment.

I'm pretty sure Russell wasn't trying to insult Alaska or Alaskans.

bc: And basing our presidential elections on population density would result in, what, every president being from Manhattan? How is population density relevant?

If you can run a small company based in one locale with 20 employees, does that qualify you in one step to be CEO of Microsoft?

According to 2005 data, the number of households in Alaska was 1/485th the number of households in the whole of the US. So the proportion is more like: You've run a company of less than 150 employees for less than 2 years, and before that for a few years you ran a company of less than 5 employees. Now someone's offered you the job of CEO of Microsoft. Do you: (1) Leap at the chance - you can't see how you personally will come out badly from this (2) Explain politely that there must be some mistake, you're not qualified for this position (3) Laugh / run screaming?

This is not "nothing good comes out of Alaska": this is supremely underqualified. Everything we hear about Palin's experience as Mayor of Wasilla suggests she ran it by cronyism and personality - and made some very expensive mistakes. Russel's right: Palin is no more fit to be President of the US than the CEO of the last software company I worked for (under 100 employees) was to be CEO of IBM. If you know anything about management, you know scale matters. A person who can successfully manage a small company who takes their management style to a company 10 times the size is likely to be a disaster. And we're talking, quite literally, a difference of two orders of magnitude.

And how does the lack of a state income tax or sales tax preclude fitness for office?

Indicative. Means the state governor has no experience of working with money raised from taxes. Given that whoever is next President will begin with a budget in deficit by billions, thanks to Republican policies of cutting taxes and spending money the country doesn't have, giving the job to someone who doesn't have any experience of running even a state on money raised by taxes, does not sound like a practical idea.

The focus should be on her and what she thinks and believes in.

Actually, no. I mean, I can see that McCain has certain basic requirements - his VP had to be solidly anti-choice/anti-gay marriage, for example, and Palin had gone on record as saying that if her daughter was raped and got pregnant she would force her to have the baby, and that she believes that marriage ought to be restricted to mixed-sex couples only. It's clearly important to McCain that his running mate is ideologically pure.

But the past 8 years of the US lurching from disaster to disaster have shown what happens when someone becomes President who doesn't have the ability to run a country. George W. Bush didn't have the ability to run a smallish company, and being governor of Texas is (so I have been told) a relatively do-nothing post: the war on Iraq was run (is being run) on the basis that if you massage the figures to look good and ignore the figures that don't, you can have a nice pretty Powerpoint display to show at a board meeting and that's all that matters.

That's how George W. Bush ran three companies into the ground, bc: that's how he's broken the US military, lost the war in Iraq (killing over a million people), and got the US from a budget surplus to a record deficit.

The next President, regardless of party, would have to be someone who was capable of cleaning up the mess that George W. Bush has left. I doubt if McCain is that person: I'm bloody sure Palin isn't.

You might as well be saying "nothing good comes from Alaska."

Not at all.

I want to emphasize again that I have NO ISSUE with Alaska per se, or with the people who live there.

My point in enumerating all of the various factoids about Alaska was to illustrate that it's a unique place, with unique issues (and lack of issues), and that even a very successful tenure as governor of Alaska is unlikely to prepare you for high level executive office at the federal level.

Or, in other words, what Gary said.

It's not a dig at Alaska. It's a factual comment about Alaska vs the nation as a whole.

Thanks -

P.S. -

Looks like you suffer from Alaska envy.

You may have a point there. :)

Thanks -

Or, in other words, what Gary said.

And jes. Sorry jes, I posted before I had read your comment!

Thanks -

Hi JanieM,

You said
On rereading, I realize that I'm not sure what you mean by "mismatch."

Well, as you point out, there are a variety of different effects, that may or may not balance out, but I was thinking that you basically have a situation where there is a group of people who can't vote on particular issues and there are those who can. Ironically, with the pro-business tilt of America, you point out that it is the town/city residents that end up losing out the most, which I hadn't thought of, but I realize that you may be right. However, if the price of gas takes a big leap in price, the assumptions that local economies are based on may no longer be operative.

That there are ten times and four times more such folks in more diverse places in America.

But I knew that. That wasn't my point. Alaska also doesn't have the same racial divide as the lower 48. Racial tolerance and diversity is as much a state of mind as it is experience. I'd argue that the experience can get in the way. Growing up in Alaska was remarkably free of prejudice. There was a bit with respect to the Native Alaskans, but not in my family (I have an adopted 1/2 Eskimo brother who is 6'3". Go figure.) And I doubt there is in Palin's, being married to a man with native ancestry. Would it be better if Palin were from a more racially troubled part of the U.S.? Ridiculous argument.

Last time I was in Brooklyn I visited my dad's childhood friend from Alaska who is married to an south american who gave me the Spanish edition of Cien Años de Soledad. They live right by Spike Lee. And the first thing the main character talks about in the book is discovering ice. That's a clear literary allusion to the open mindedness of Alaskans and their inherent qualifications for higher office. You, like the child in the book, need to climb the mountain and discover ice. So there.

Racial tolerance and diversity is as much a state of mind as it is experience. I'd argue that the experience can get in the way.

Actually, I'd argue the opposite. Lack of experience often means bringing a buttload of assumptions and attitudes to the table that are unexamined. I don't know how many times white people just ASSUME things about, say, Asian people, that aren't true and it wastes time getting things straight (and that's with a fairly well assimilated group). For another, a lot of people just don't get some of the everyday problems that black folks, regardless of their class. Or they may understand it intellectually, but not emotionally---and it's that emotional understanding that's key. I find that knowing diverse people is helpful in that emotional understanding (granted, some people are going to be thick as bricks no matter what...).

I think you're on MUCH stronger ground drawing parallels with the Eskimo arguments. There's plenty of emotional and day-to-day understanding there, which an intelligent person can generalize to a fair amount to other circumstances.

That's a clear literary allusion to the open mindedness of Alaskans and their inherent qualifications for higher office.

Wait a minute. You were doing pretty good there trying to argue that Alaska isn't more racist than other states.

Now you;re trying to argue that Alaskans are "inherently" more qualified for higher office than people from the other 49 states?

By the way: I grew up in a part of the UK in which non-white ethnic minorities were (are) very small minorities. It's a wholly different situation than growing up in (for example) London, which is one of the most diverse cities in Europe. And I think that, left alone, someone who grows up in an undiverse society is more likely to absorb casual racist stereotypes as truth than someone who grows up in a diverse society - just because that someone is unlikely to be faced with the real people of that stereotype.

This doesn't make them (us: I was certainly in that group till I was in my late teens) hatefully racist - intentionally discriminatory. But it does, IME, make a person more likely to make offensive jokes (such as) and think they're funny; and it does - again, IME - make a person less capable of dealing with people from other ethnic communities.

But in any case, my point about the scale of being Mayor of Wasilla not being good experience for being POTUS still stands - and neither is being governor of Alaska, certainly not with less than one full term served.

Would it be better if Palin were from a more racially troubled part of the U.S.? Ridiculous argument.

Not ridiculous at all. Part of my teaching responsibilities in past years involved mentoring... I forget what the term of art was, but basically they were students with crappy backgrounds. Here in Wisconsin, that translated to two, very distinct groups: rural students from the north -- similar, as I understand it, to Alaska -- and minority students from the big cities, predominantly Milwaukee.

Three very simple observations, then:

1) Both sets of students had real, fundamental challenges involved in learning math. That's why they were there, after all.
2) Both sets of students could well learn to get along and become friends. There was nothing inherent in their backgrounds that prevented this.

BUT

3) They had absolutely no idea -- literally, no idea whatsoever -- of the problems and challenges of the group of students. Didn't understand each other at all.

In that sense, then, I'd say Palin is critically lacking in understanding crucial for major national office; and, to my mind even worse, the same is true (mutatis mutandis) with Alaska's budgetary dynamics versus the country's budgetary dynamics.

Sorry, let me correct and amplify 3):

3) They had absolutely no idea -- literally, no idea whatsoever -- of the problems and challenges of the other group of students. Didn't understand each other at all at first; and even after significant interaction over the course of the semester, there was still a serious cultural gap that had to be bridged on a periodic basis.

Anarch, I note that they seemed have had this problem even WITH substantial and probably pretty rich interaction on a day to day land personal level. And probably with the best of intentions

I think it's harder to bridge that gap when you deal with other folks on a more formal basis or not even at all (likely to happen when you're an exec....)

So to be fair, let's not exclude native americans in our "diversity" exercise. And let's take a look at other states. Alaska, including native americans, had 24.7% of the population that was black, latin, or native american (we're leaving out the asians because they are too darn successful in Alaska and the filipinos are taking over Pt. Barrow).

So, minnesota has 9.5% of these minorities.

Uber-liberal Oregon only has 13.5% (and only 1.9% black. Pwned!).

Massachusetts (John Kerry Country!!) has 15.1% and only .3% native american ('cause you guys chased them all out of there!).

And the Clintons, you know, didn't move to Brooklyn but Chappaqua, which has a white population of 89.9%. And Bill came from Arkansas, which only comes in at 21.5% in our little diversity math equation.

Now how about Obama and Biden? Biden's home state of Delaware comes in at 27.6% with a large African American population but no Native American population to speak of (.4%) (for shame! there was a tribe named after the state).

And Illinois tops them all at an even 30.0%. Not bad, but hardly putting the hurt on Alaska's 24.7%.

(Query: how does the census count military families? Do they report a "home state"? If so, Alaska's percentage would be slightly higher).

Even glorious San Francisco County only comes in at 21.8%, but that's only because I was excluding Asians. A whopping 53.9% with them included.

So, yes, Gary, you live in a more diverse area than Alaska (surprise). But not if you exclude the Asians.


So to be fair, let's not exclude native americans in our "diversity" exercise. And let's take a look at other states. Alaska, including native americans, had 24.7% of the population that was black, latin, or native american (we're leaving out the asians because they are too darn successful in Alaska and the filipinos are taking over Pt. Barrow).

So, minnesota has 9.5% of these minorities.

Uber-liberal Oregon only has 13.5% (and only 1.9% black. Pwned!).

Massachusetts (John Kerry Country!!) has 15.1% and only .3% native american ('cause you guys chased them all out of there!).

And the Clintons, you know, didn't move to Brooklyn but Chappaqua, which has a white population of 89.9%. And Bill came from Arkansas, which only comes in at 21.5% in our little diversity math equation.

Now how about Obama and Biden? Biden's home state of Delaware comes in at 27.6% with a large African American population but no Native American population to speak of (.4%) (for shame! there was a tribe named after the state).

And Illinois tops them all at an even 30.0%. Not bad, but hardly putting the hurt on Alaska's 24.7%.

(Query: how does the census count military families? Do they report a "home state"? If so, Alaska's percentage would be slightly higher).

Even glorious San Francisco County only comes in at 21.8%, but that's only because I was excluding Asians. A whopping 53.9% with them included.

So, yes, Gary, you live in a more diverse area than Alaska (surprise). But not if you exclude the Asians.


So to be fair, let's not exclude native americans in our "diversity" exercise. And let's take a look at other states. Alaska, including native americans, had 24.7% of the population that was black, latin, or native american (we're leaving out the asians because they are too darn successful in Alaska and the filipinos are taking over Pt. Barrow).

So, minnesota has 9.5% of these minorities.

Uber-liberal Oregon only has 13.5% (and only 1.9% black. Pwned!).

Massachusetts (John Kerry Country!!) has 15.1% and only .3% native american ('cause you guys chased them all out of there!).

And the Clintons, you know, didn't move to Brooklyn but Chappaqua, which has a white population of 89.9%. And Bill came from Arkansas, which only comes in at 21.5% in our little diversity math equation.

Now how about Obama and Biden? Biden's home state of Delaware comes in at 27.6% with a large African American population but no Native American population to speak of (.4%) (for shame! there was a tribe named after the state).

And Illinois tops them all at an even 30.0%. Not bad, but hardly putting the hurt on Alaska's 24.7%.

(Query: how does the census count military families? Do they report a "home state"? If so, Alaska's percentage would be slightly higher).

Even glorious San Francisco County only comes in at 21.8%, but that's only because I was excluding Asians. A whopping 53.9% with them included.

So, yes, Gary, you live in a more diverse area than Alaska (surprise). But not if you exclude the Asians.


Actually, I'd argue the opposite

I'm sure it is in some situations. My point is it is the person, not the place for the most part.

And I left out Asians only because they weren't in Gary's original math gwangung. Asians are a significant (4.6%) part of the population in Alaska and have a much larger impact than the number suggest. In Fairbanks, for example, the International Arctic Research Center brings over a large contingent of Japanese, Korean Air Cargo refuels in the state, and, most importantly, the Thais and Koreans have brought over their excellent cuisine to complement the Japanese and Chinese. And its not just food. I practiced immigration law in Alaska and about half my practice was working with Asian businesses.

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