Monday, September 29, 2008

National Talk Like A Congressman Day

"Gawrsh, Mickey! Where'd ev'rybody's 401K go?!"

Congratulations to Congress for proving that yes, indeed, they DO matter. Now that you have proof-positive that you CAN have an impact on the markets, would you please do something that will impact them in a positive manner?

A pox upon both your houses!

The last time I saw such fancy footwork was watching Riverdance. "How do we scuttle this deal without looking like we're trying to scuttle this deal? I know! I'll give a big speech in favor of the deal while starting off insulting the other party whose votes we're insisting on. Oh, and let's get mad at them for not attending a meeting we didn't invite them to! That'll do it!"

The other side is just as bad. "We don't believe in this, but rather than try to present any rational arguments against it let's just pretend to go along and then refuse to support it. This our chance to stick it to both Bush AND McCain! Those traitors!"

Well done, you fools! You're bringing about the very event you claimed to be trying to save us from.

Come November when I enter the voting booth I'll be looking really hard for a "Purge" button.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Nerves of Steel? Me?

My financial advisor* called me on Friday to discuss some options he's considering for one of my investments. While he had me on the phone he asked me if I was feeling okay about all the turmoil in the markets lately (Lehman, AIG, the government bailout, etc). I admiited I was a little nervous about it.

His response: "Really?! Wow, if you're nervous I'd better make sure I call all my clients and make sure they're okay with everything."

I didn't realize I had a reputation as a cool-headed investor. I doubt I'd be so calm if I were doing it myself. But I hired this guy so that I won't have to worry about it, because HE will. And so far my investments, while not doing well, are at least outperforming the market (or under-tanking, if you prefer). At times like these there's little to do but try and ride it out.

What I didn't get to explain was that I'm nervous because the government is stepping in. I have little faith in the government to not screw things up worse. The more I read about what was happening, the more it seems that something had to be done, but whether or not what they're doing is right will take time to determine.

From the response on Wall Street today, I'm not the only one who is concerned.

I understand the call for the government to also do something to help all those struggling with their mortgages. I sympathize to a degree. Why bail out the big companies, who have been hiring the best and brightest to see this sort of thing coming and avoid it, while Joe Homeowner who doesn't have an army of advisors on his side gets no help (at least yet. The government claims there is already something in the works for him)?

I guess it's harder to have sympathy for Joe Homeowner, as I've been in his position. I didn't fall for the pitch. I saw the danger in buying more house than I could afford using an ARM. I guess the difference is that I'm not a gambler. I'm a pessimist, and figured the ARM would bite me sooner or later. I stuck with what I knew, what I could control, and stayed within our means. So where's MY bonus for NOT screwing up?

Well, the reality is, I'm living my "bonus." I am able to sit back and ride out the storm with less worry (I can't say "no worry", as I've learned never to assume my job is safe).

Someone I spoke to recently mentioned hearing a talk show in which the host asked some expert pundit what impact this last week's events would have on the average consumer. The expert replied "Well, if you're living within your means, not much."
That's largely true, but I suspect that sooner or later I'll be getting a tax bill for all of this. I don't have enough sympathy to offer for everyone, and even less tax money. I'd prefer, if it's got to go somewhere, that it go where it will have the greatest positive impact.

The cold, hard reality is that shoring up a few big companies will probably do more than sheltering a bunch of homeowners. As much as it galls me to save the bacon of companies that should have known better, it's more likely to help.

* - Yes, that sounds a bit pretentious, but I've found one that works with me not because I'm rich, but because he wants to help make me rich (and ride my coattails). I can't imagine he's making very much off me at this point, and I've even seen him make moves to minimize the fees he could charge me. I like this guy and the company he works for enough to semi-seriously consider working for them.

Friday, September 19, 2008

I Thought I Was Done...

...with political posts this week. But then along came this to put things into perspective:
The Russians say a fish rots from the head down. They ought to know. It may not be factually true that Nero fiddled while Rome burned, the saying has passed into common usage because the image as the ring of truth to it: time and time again, the good and decent common people have manned the walls of the city, and have been ready to give their lives in its defense, only to discover too late that some silk-robed son of a b**** has snuck out of the palace at midnight and thrown open the gates to the barbarians outside.

It begins with references to D&D and Tolkien, and ends with a fanfare for the common man. Read the whole thing.

Goin' Retro

We have two stereos in the house with cassette decks. One squeals like the breaks on a steam engine when you play a tape, and the other just won't stay running. I got bored a couple weeks ago and started tinkering with the latter. I don't think I actually did anything--it just decided to start working again.

So I dug out some of my old tapes that have been collecting dust in a box under the guest-room bed. There are a lot of tapes I haven't missed not listening to. They belong to a different me, I think. The musical Chess, for example. I used to love it. If I got depressed I'd put on both tapes and just wallow in my depression until it was gone. Now I just can't bring myself to listen to it. It's just too depressing.

There were a few tapes I thought I'd pull out again and enjoy. On the whole, meh. They just don't do it for me anymore. But there is one golden oldy that has managed to stay in style: Philip Aaberg.

He was one of the original Windham Hill stable, though I'm not sure why. He's much less repetitive and much more melodic (not to mention rhythmic) than George Winston, and much more complex than David Lanz. His music is not intellectual for the most part, at least not for me. It's almost visceral, perhaps because even on his slower numbers he endows them with incredible energy.

But then my first exposure to Aaberg was live. It was while I was in college as a music student. One of the piano teachers recommended we go, and I needed to attend a certain number of concerts per semester. When I got there I was a bit worried. Nothing but earth-toned wool and cotton sweaters. This was one of them Yuppie Hippie concerts!

And then Aaberg himself came out, and my outlook didn't improve. Boots, black jeans, and a black formal jacket painted with some sort of day-glo artwork. But then he started to play. Steinways are not light pianos (I know, I made a college career of moving them), but he made the thing shudder. I was sure the sustain pedal was going to get stomped off.

He got walls of sound out of that piano I'd never experienced before, and I'd swear he had at least fifteen fingers. I was blown away, and now I have three of his albums. They're good albums, but I still prefer him live.

His music is all over the scale, covering boogie, jazz, gospel, bluegrass, and impressionism. For me, the high point is his "Upright" album, which Aaberg calls "Windham Hill's first dance album". It does have some real barn-burners, but The Piece for me is "Slow Dance (reprise)", a solo piano meditation on an earlier ensemble piece that has infinitly more heart than the original.

My car has a cassette deck as well, so for the last few days I've been enjoying a private concert on the way too and from work. Today I'll close out my work-week with the second side of "Upright", which includes "Slow Dance (reprise)". I can't think of a better transition to the weekend.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Why I'm Vegetarian

I am a vegetarian (practically vegan, really). Why? Well, because of this sort of thing, really. I'm not necessarily against raising meat for food, or eating meat, either. But the animals deserve decent treatment in the mean time.

The drive to mass-produce meat has opened the door to hideous abuses. There's something wrong when we treat our corn more gently than we treat our cows. And since I can't guarantee that whatever I may eat was treated well and was able to enjoy what life it had prior to my dinner table, it's easier to just not eat meat.

Besides, my wife has done a wonderful job of proving to me that giving up meat doesn't mean giving up variety and taste. I'm a guy who can't stand salads. I've been eating vegetarian for at least five years now, and I've not missed it.

If you want some recipes, let me know. We've got some good ones.

On Second Thought, Let's Not Go To Camelot...

Todd Zywicki makes a case for Congress making itself irrelevant:
In the abstract, I am no fan of the administrative state and see the theoretical value of political accountability. But if I have to choose who I'd trust to deal with the big decisions, it is hard to make the case that Congress as it actually exists is who we want in charge. Over the past few years, the Executive and Courts have increasingly filled the gap that they perceive as existing because of Congress's incompetence. One would like to say that if the Executive or Judiciary won't step in Congress will step up. But that doesn't seem like a realistic scenario to me. It is a vicious cycle and it is hard to see how that cycle can be broken.
I'd never thought of it like that before, but I'm having difficulty arguing with his assessment.


American Digest has declared this the Capslock Election.

Sad, but true.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

World of War(on terror)craft

An article in Wired show an intelligence analyst's ideas on how terrorists could use World of Warcraft to plan operations. Far fetched? Not really, but I do have to side with one person quoted who suggests that not much is gained from that venue over any of the others available.

I think it's just an excuse for intelligence agents to get paid to play WoW at work. ;-)

Up a Creek Without a Clue

The current melt-down of several major financial institutions reminds me of the movie "Without a Clue", a Michael Caine/Ben Kingsley take on the Sherlock Holmes setting. There's a scene in a pub where a pretty young lady is walking through the crowded room when someone pinches her bottom. She complains loudly and calls on the perpetrator to reveal himself. At this point Michael Caine, as a drunken, bumbling Sherlock Holmes steps forward and offers his assistance in indentifying the perpetrator.

"Young lady," he declares, "By astute observation of the clientele and consideratin of the facts at hand I can inform you with complete confidence that the perpetrator was...ME!" He pinches her bottom. "There, you see?! I did it again!"

The scene all too closely parallels our current economic meltdown. For those who believe the government should step in and do something about the current crisis, consider this: The government caused for the current crisis. From Investor's Business Daily:
Tough new regulations forced lenders into high-risk areas where they had no choice but to lower lending standards to make the loans that sound business practices had previously guarded against making. It was either that or face stiff government penalties.

Those regulations came as part of a Clinton-era move to make loans available for minorities. But if you think things are bad now, just wait until Obama is through.
And the worst is far from over. By the time it is, we'll all be paying for Clinton's social experiment, one that Obama hopes to trump with a whole new round of meddling in the housing and jobs markets. In fact, the social experiment Obama has planned could dwarf both the Great Society and New Deal in size and scope.

Boy, that just makes me feel all warm, fuzzy, and confident. I can't wait to be an investor in the Obama Era!

Update: It gets better. Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac got away with their shenanigans by avoiding government scrutiny through strategic contributions to lawmakers. Neither candidate is clean, but Obama got considerably dirtier.

And with Biden supporting credit card company MBNA where his son was a lobbyist, it's really hard for Obama/Biden to make the case for change. Frankly I'll be surprised if either party can clean up Washington. As any drug counselor can tell you, before you can change you've got to want to change.

I'm not saying that politicians who've long benefitted from the Beltway Gravy-train can't grow disgusted with it and decide to change it. But it'll take more than just the occupant of the White House to get the job done. We've already seen how well BOTH parties have done in cleaning up their own act while enjoying a majority in Congress.

Don't expect me to hold my breath on this one.

Monday, September 15, 2008

That's President Doom To You!

A photographer hired by Atlantic Monthly to take pictures of John McCain evidently purposely ran the session to get the worst pictures she could get, then photoshopped them some more and put them up on her site as an attack on McCain. She evidently welcomes anyone else to use them for their own gratification, so someone took her up on it: (Warning: Language)

I have to admit I'm one of the people who think McCain looks pretty darn good as an evil overlord, and it's probably increased my interest in voting for him.

A Bit of History

An interesting interview with Geraldine Ferraro:
The [New York] Times recently did a piece about McCain and Palin "touching" [when greeting each other onstage at the Republican Convention]. But Fritz and I, we never did anything that would look like we were holding hands or hugging or anything. No touching. Now, we see McCain and Palin hugging, even the guys are hugging other guys, for goodness sake.

She offers some interesting perspective on how times have changed in 24 years.

Surrender Dorothy, Part II

I didn't realize there would be a part two, but there was. The answer to my last question was "yes". Emma saw the sky-writer from her school and got excited about the airshow too. We decided that I would take the kids and go, though my wife had other commitments. I was a little nervous about handling all three kids in an unfamiliar situation like that, but I needn't have worried. They were terrific.

The airshow was...loud. Very, very loud. When we first arrived there was a flight of six F-15E's repeatedly buzzing the field. It wasn't long before I was wishing they'd stop as much as my older son was. The first couple of times were inspiring. The fourth of fifth time it was merely exhilirating. By the tenth or twelfth time it was just noisy.

On a mildly humorous note, as we were going through the security checkpoint I was explaining what the soldiers were inspecting our bags for to the kids. Walter asked what would happen if they found something in our bag we weren't supposed to have. I told him they'd probably take it away, but we didn't need to worry because I'd checked the air base's website beforehand to see what items were prohibited. Several soldiers overheard that and smiled, and one expressed his shocked gratitude that I'd actually think ahead like that. I suspect there had been more than a few "positives" in their searches (and probably a fair number of "positives with attitude").

Anyway, we did have a great time. It was noisy, yes, but we got used to it--though I was nearly hoarse from trying to talk to the kids by the time we were done. We got to see, touch, and climb through lots of different planes.

The kids seemed most impressed by the cargo planes. I think they were a little nervous about the fighter planes after I'd told them their job was to destroy things. No amount of reassurances on my part could convince them there wasn't an element of danger in getting too close.

The kids' all-time favorite, though, was the C-17 Cargomaster. It was simply huge, and the kids were quite impressed to find out it could hold three schoolbusses or a complete twin-rotor helicopter inside. I probably should have let them go up to the flight deck, but by that time we'd already been there for three hours and none of us felt up for standing in another line.

My favorite moment was the Heritage Flight. They put a P-51 Mustang (WWII-era), F-4 Phantom (Vietnam-era), and a F-15E Strike Eagle up in the air at the same time. After each plane gets their own spotlight for awhile they then bring all three back. They form into a very tight V formation with the P-51 in front, flanked by the two jets.

It's called the Heritage Flight as it's a tribute to the history of the Air Force and all those who have served. It's a moving tribute, and it brought me to tears (and I'm getting choked up again just writing about it). Seeing three eras of history represented in one formation is cool enough, but in stark contrast to everything that's gone before in the day, it's incredibly quiet. The two jets, who just a few minutes earlier were shaking the ground with their high-speed passes, are now throttled down low enough to keep pace with the P-51 (no small feat, I'm sure, let alone while flying practically within touching distance). The unusual quiet and low speed adds an ethereal, slow-motion quality.

For a sentimental, patriotic military-supporter like me, it's full heart-ripping material. I suspect the only thing that could have hit me harder would be the Missing Man formation. One of my pictures turned out well. I'll see if I can add it later.

About that time, unfortunately, a man behind me noticed my "Suomi" cap. He'd been to Finland and recognized the name, so he tapped me on the shoulder to ask about it. So here I am, tears running down my face (my hands were full of tired three-year-old at the time), trying to be polite and explain my Finnish "ancestry" when I'd really rather be left alone until the well ran dry. I'm not sure if it was better or worse that he seemed totally oblivious to my state.

We spent about four hours there before we needed to head home. As we were out in the parking lot trying to find out car the Thunderbirds flew in. I think we had a better vantage point than the audience did, actually. We ate our snack and phoned home to let them know we were on the way while they repeatedly buzzed us. By then we were either half-deaf or used to it, as they didn't seem as loud as some of the other fighters. Perhaps F-16s are quieter.

My thanks goes out to the husband of a lady I work with who climbed up on their car to help us spot ours. I was headed in the wrong direction. We might have still been looking by the time the airshow closed if not for him.

We got home not long before my mother came for her first visit since we bought our new house. None of us had any difficulty falling asleep that night. It was a long day, but a good one.

Funny though, but air traffic at our local airport seems so much quieter now.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Surrender Dorothy!

I just got a call from home telling me to look outside. There was a military jet skywriting an advertisement for the air show this weekend. I got outside just in time to miss it. She'd finished (though she didn't put a 'w' on Airsho).

I admit I'm very much a little boy where airplanes are concerned. Nine years of living near the airport flight-lane hasn't changed that. Nor has having spent more time on airplanes than Sarah Palin has spent in Europe. If there's an airplane flying by I have to look.

This is especially so with military planes. We live just 40 miles away from an Air Force base (where the air show will be held), so you'd think it's a no-brainer that I'd have gone to at least one of the yearly shows by now, but I haven't. I really need to go. If I weren't already booked this weekend I'd consider it.

Next year my boys will be six and four. I think that may be the time for three little boys (one having a drivers license) to go to the airshow. I wonder if the girls would want to go too.

Palin Derangement Syndrome

Let me just say that while I plan to vote for McCain, I really wish there was someone I could feel better about to vote for. And, as likeable as Palin is, if she were running for President I wouldn't vote for her.

That said, I can see why she was a brilliant pick for McCain:
     - She's an unknown, so she's guaranteed to pick up lots of press coverage as the press seek to tell us who she is.
     - As an unexpected choice the media were caught off guard. They were unable to get any "good stuff" on her before she had a chance to deliver "The Speech".
     - "The Speech" and her background connected her to Middle America in a way that NO candidate has done thus far.
     - "The Speech" and her background irritates--even infuriates--the Left leadership and media in a way no other candidate has done thus far.
     - Not realizing that Palin has connected with Middle America--or just not caring, as they tend to consider Middle America to be "white trash America" and too stupid to count--the Left leadership and media have unleashed their fury on Palin.
     - Obama is getting next to no coverage now, as even the media who have been worshipping him are too busy attacking Palin.
     - Middle America, whether they agree with her or not, see much they have in common with Palin. Thus the relentless, mean-spirited media attacks are viewed as an attack on Middle America.
     - Obama knows this, but he is unable to control his supporters. He sees the danger and there's nothing he can do. He sees that these attacks are only elevating Palin while dragging him down by association.
     - This has Obama rattled, and he's struggling to regain his footing. Instead he wavers between feeling obligated to attack Palin and wanting to ignore her. Unable to decide, he's not doing either very well.
     - His entire campaign is now off message. He's no longer about Change. He's about...regaining control of his campaign.
     - This all capitalizes on Obama's obvious sidelining of Hillary Clinton. Had he at least vetted Hillary he wouldn't be in this trouble now. Instead, he chose Biden, apparently to defend himself against the "lack of experience" angle. Biden, while experienced, is NOT about Change. He is firmly connected to everything that Middle America sees as wrong with Washington. Meanwhile, McCain now looks like the candidate of Change.
     - Obama has been prepping himself for a fight centered on his lack of experience (remember Obama's European Vacation?). He chose Biden based on that. Suddenly his opponents are not only dropping that angle, as Palin is at the least no MORE experienced than Obama. The fight Obama was prepared for is not materialising.
     - The next best thing his campaign can come up with is to turn the "Lack of Experience" angle around against Palin. But she's the candidate for VP, not President, so it just doesn't work as well. Furthermore, she's got a solid record of accomplishment in what she HAS done, indicating that her lack of experience is more of a plus than a minus.
     - Obama has never been good when he's off-script. And his campaign currently has no script. In the absence of a script he's struggling, and the rabid anti-Palin-ism of his supporters become HIS script by default, as it's the only message currently coming from the Left.
     - Obama's success thus far has come from having a positive campaign that LOOKS like it's not the same "Politics As Usual." He's been cultivating a utopian vision that appeals to the best that is in us. The current anti-Palin environment has stripped the veneer off his movement. HE may be above such things, but his followers have been exposed as the same mean-spirited, prejudiced, hate-mongers that have been the public face of Liberalism for the last eight years. The Emperor has his clothes, but his robe has been opened, and exposed all the rats lurking beneath.
     Note: Not for a moment am I claiming there aren't plenty of mean-spirited, prejudiced hate-mongers on the Right. There are so many of them, in fact, that while I am most likely a conservative, I'm not about to admit it, because I don't want to be associated with THOSE PEOPLE. But there are so many of those types on BOTH sides that I really feel that there is no comfortable home for me, politically.

I don't believe McCain was so smart, so prescient as to have known all this would happen if he selected Palin. I think he had an inkling about some of it. Whether I agree with his policies or not(and there are some that scare me, frankly), I have to admire his skill. He made a choice that has single-handedly changed the face of the election.

I'm not sure that's entirely a good thing, either. The face we are starting to see is not a nice one.

But it certainly makes an interesting contrast between the two candidates. Obama has said for some time "judge my by how I run my campaign." Well, he's been running his campaign well so far. But then he's been on top. He's felt comfortable. McCain has been struggling all along and has nearly been out several times. But he's kept his head and pulled out some key plays when the pressure is on. Now the pressure is on Obama, and it's his turn to struggle. I guess we'll finally get a chance to see how good a clutch player he is.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

You Find What You Look For

For the record, I don't believe the following quote from Obama was directed at Palin:
"You can put lipstick on a pig ... it's still a pig. You can wrap an old fish in a piece of paper called change. It's still going to stink after eight years."
That said, you'd think the man who keeps finding racist comments under every rock, and who keeps warning audiences that the Republicans are going to play on their fears about his race, would be more careful not to make any comments that could be interepreted as sexist.

And he should not act self-righteous and outraged over this. Some of us have just enough long-term memory to recognize the hypocrisy.

UPDATE: Some commenters at Instapundit are pointing out the proximity of "lipstick/pig" to "old fish" to suggest this was not unintentional, but an actual swipe at the lipsticked pitbull and the old McCain. They make a good point. But I'll hold with my initial opinion for now.

I still think Obama crying foul over the McCain campaign's outrage is hypocritical, though. As much as I'd like to have seen McCain's campaign just ignore the whole thing and let it take on it's own life without their help. Best thing they could do? Have McCain and Palin either both make statements that they didn't think it was intentional or, as someone else suggested, compliment Obama on his newfound sense of humor. Perhaps even jokingly refer to each other as "the lipsticked pig and the old fish" a few times and then drop it.

I don't think we're going to get anywhere in American politics by being hyper-sensitive about everything. It does nothing to get us past our current problems. I believe learning to laugh at ourselves and then dismiss it shows maturity and confidence while putting those who make such attacks (or overreact to such attacks) look foolish and petty--as they should.

Friday, September 05, 2008

Obama: Community Organizer

No, this is not about the Palin dig. This is simply to call out an article in The New Republic about Obama's work as a community organizer and how it shaped the person he is now. This article is fascinating if for no other reason than it opens up a perspective on inner-city life and problems that I, frankly, have never encountered.

It also connects with my work as a homeowners association president. I am, in a small sense, a community organizer.

No, I won't be running for President. I'd never vote for me.

Rah Rah, Sis Boom Bah!

I watched John McCain's acceptance speech last night. Many, if not most, of the pundits are claiming it wasn't that great of a speech, and that Palin's speech was better. Of course many of those same people felt that Obama's speech was overshadowed by Bill Clinton's.

For me, I think I can sum them both up thusly: Obama spoke to his base. McCain spoke to the moderates.

I think he was speaking to me. I'm the guy who hates the amount of hate in politics these days. I'm the guy who despises the lack of cooperation and progress. So when McCain doesn't even mention his opposition for over half his speech, and doesn't mention him that much in total, I like that. I want to know why I should vote for him, not why I shouldn't vote for his opponent. I have a friend who won't vote for either, and I sympathize.

And it made a difference to me when he essentially said there's plenty of blame to go around. I agree. Both parties have been complete and total idiots lately. They've been insisting on holding a water fight on the Titanic. And while I doubt it can happen very much, I still like to hear someone call for bi-partisan cooperation. That it comes from someone who, for good or bad, has done that just makes it more credible.

I also was pleased to see him call his own party to repentance. One thing that was missing from Obama's speech was an admission that he even has a party, let alone that they're doing anything wrong. HE is going to do everything--as if his own party won't try and stop him on some of it. McCain was right to say "Hey, we've screwed up as a party, and it's time we fixed it". I hope he can do it, whether he becomes president or not.

I was already planning to vote for McCain. I doubt there's much he could do short of total reversal of who he is or what he believes that could change that (though I've learned to never say never where politics is concerned). But after last night I feel that much better about my decision. I'm hoping to be able to look back one day and say "Yes, I voted for him, and I'm proud of it."

Thursday, September 04, 2008


It looks like one of the few initial attacks on Sarah Palin that will stand up is her alleged misuse of power in firing a subordinate for not firing a state trooper under his jurisdiction. The issue is already under investigation, but I'm sure all the media furor will make it all but impossible to continue at this point. A fairly detailed report of the situation can be found here.

There is obviously much more to this case than what the average media report lets on. From the report above I have to wonder just why Trooper Wooten is still employed. For a law enforcement officer to make death threats against anyone is indefensible. For him to remain a law enforcement officer afterward is reprehensible.

The accusations against Wooten (granted, none are verified in the article above):
- Threats against Palin and her family
- Shooting a cow moose without a permit
- Tasering his stepson (by invitation, but still!)
- Drove a trooper vehicle while drinking
- Refused a transfer

Perhaps most of these are a smear campaign by Palin's family, but at least two charges should be verifiable (tasering and refusing a transfer), and possibly a third (shooting the moose), as there are supposedly witnesses. That should at least be enough to merit formaly inquiry and discipline, and should bolster the case for the other two charges. Those alone could make a respectable case for dismissal.

Now add to that:
- Most governors rely on the state police for protection. At the very least, Wooten's continued employment could serve to poison the rest of the force against her, putting her security at risk.
- It could also put him in a position to make acting on his threats that much easier.
- His law enforcement credentials could easily get him past any other security measures that could be arranged, giving him easy access to any of her family at will.

I'd certainly be concerned in her position. But no, at that point it's not firm grounds for dismissing Monegan, who oversaw the state police. Nor would doing so improve the situation, except perhaps for the reasons she stated--Wooten's continued service undermines the integrity of the state police organization. Those charged with enforcing the law shouldn't be breaking the law.

But that's not the reason Monegan was dismissed. He was also uncooperative in curtailing his budget as requested. No one is contesting that charge, which while not exactly validating it, certainly lends it credence. If the Wooten situation had never happened and he'd been fired for that reason would anyone be raising an eyebrow today? She violated no laws in firing him. The only issue is whether the Wooten situation played any part in her decision.

Frankly, what's wrong with it if it did? Her concerns are valid, and so far Monegan has not offered any evidence that he acted at all to alleviate her concerns. He didn't even order an investigation, from what the article says. It appears that by and large Monegan and his organization not only did as little as possible to answer valid concerns for Palin's family's safety, but actually took steps to circumvent what legal recourse they did have by intervening on Wooten's behalf over a restraining order against him.

What it sounds like to me is this is just one more "good ol' boy network" that Palin tried to break up--only this time it was personal. If this had been any other citizen of Alaska in her situation, and they'd appealed to her to help, she'd be in big trouble today if she'd done nothing and Wooten had gone on to hurt someone. But instead, because it's her own family she's expected to turn a blind eye?

If that's the case, may I never be governor.

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Life After Smallpox

The cafeteria table I chose had a magazine on it someone had left behind. It was titled "Domino: A Guide to Living With Style". One look at the cover told me "living with style" must be in the same vein as "living with kidney failure" or "living with tapeworms". In this case I would certainly equate their notion of style with chronic illness.