Church & state

Church & state September 8, 2008

State paid for trip when Palin told students to pray for pipeline

Gov. Sarah Palin used state funds in June when she traveled from Juneau to Wasilla to speak to graduating evangelical students and urge them to fan out through Alaska “to make sure God’s will be done here.”

State records show that Palin submitted a travel authorization for a quick round-trip visit to attend the June 8 graduation of the Master’s Commission program at the Wasilla Assembly of God, the church where she was baptized at age 12. The only other item on the agenda for that trip was a “One Lord Sunday” service involving a network of Mat-Su Christian churches earlier that morning at the Wasilla sports complex.

The records show Palin flew from Juneau on Saturday, June 7. She returned to Juneau that Monday afternoon. The plane tickets cost the state $519.50, and she claimed an additional $120 for meals and other expenses.

Fly home for church services for the weekend, call it official state business, and charge the taxpayers $640 bucks. Nifty trick.

* * *

State Senate President Lyda Green, Republican, of Wasilla, Alaska, on Gov. Sarah Palin:

“She’s not prepared to be governor. How can she be prepared to be vice president or president? Look at what she’s done to this state. What would she do to the nation?”

Sen. Thad Cochran, Republican of Mississippi, on Sen. John McCain

“The thought of his being president sends a cold chill down my spine. He is erratic. He is hotheaded. He loses his temper and he worries me.”

* * *

To understand what likely prompted McCain to choose Palin, here’s Funny or Die with what may be the most astute analysis of John McCain at Saddleback that I’ve seen anywhere:

http://www2.funnyordie.com/public/flash/fodplayer.swf?af2c813e

Yep. …

The Culture Wars are here again
We’ll appeal to hate and fear again
We’ll declare ‘The End Is Near’ again
Culture Wars are here again …

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  • Froborr

    Hate to say it, Tayi, since I’m generally not a big fan of federalism, but that bridge sounds like a local or state issue, not a federal one. Regardless of whether the bridge was a good idea or not, earmarking federal funds for it was a bad idea.
    As an aside, I really don’t like this broad-brush “earmarks are evil” approach. The proper use of earmarks is to control how the money allocated to a particular chunk of government is spent. They can, for example, be used to ensure that federal money given to states to support certain programs (such as welfare and education, both of which receive large amounts of federal funding but are administered at the state level) are actually spent on those programs.
    It’s rather like the “lobbyists are evil” and “special interests are evil” brush. My mother has Parkinson’s and, as an intelligent, articulate, relatively (for Parkinson’s sufferers) young woman who lives near DC, she has gone lobbying on behalf of special interests like the American Parkinson’s Association many times. People who lobby for evil or wasteful causes just to get a paycheck and people who “lobby” by borderline-bribing officials are the problem, not all lobbyists.
    For the record, when pollsters go around asking people to name all five rights in the First Amendment, the one most often left out is the right to petition Congress with a list of grievances. In other words, the right to lobby.

  • Jenny Islander

    Okay, as the resident of another Alaskan town that had a Bridge to Nowhere, here are my two cents about the issue:
    When our Bridge to Nowhere was built, the island it went to had a few private homes, a bunch of semi-feral ponies, and a small boat harbor. You got back and forth by boat. A lot of people (me included–too young to vote at the time, but full of opionions) complained that the bridge was a multi-million-dollar boondoggle, that it connected us with nothing useful, that the money could be better spent on blah blah blah blah.
    Now the island has a much larger small boat harbor, a busy gravel pit, a state facility devoted to finding out more ways to turn local seafood into saleable products, another one devoted more to pure fisheries science (that one has an extremely cool aquarium, touch tank, and whale skeleton on public view), a new seaplane facility that is much larger and better sheltered than the old one on the main island, two parks with lots of picnic tables and observation spots, a gazebo, a radio antenna with more range than the old one on the main island because it isn’t right up against a mountain, the same private homes, and no more ponies because they were slowing down traffic by being too cute. The island comes up a lot in discussions of where to put the new jail, library, post office, polisce station, senior citizens’ housing, and cruise ship dock when the old ones fall apart. Because our town is crammed in between a range of low mountains and the ocean on a very small plot of level ground and the nearest developable land is on the other end of the Bridge to Nowhere.
    This is just how things are when you live on an island. So for me, Palin’s Bridge to Nowhere is a non-issue. I am a lot more nervous about her than I was when she was tapped due to other issues I wasn’t aware of at the time. Like her portraying herself as a Real True Christian, unlike those other people who were just raised Christian. I think that putting a Jesus fish in an ad–any kind of ad–is completely missing the point. “At last we will have a Christian mayor?” No thanks.

  • Vermic

    Did Clancy research the Japanese at all, or was he just running out of countries that the U.S. could credibly bomb?
    That’s probably not an “either-or” question.

  • JayH

    Geds writes: That was actually the plot of a Tom Clancy book. Jack Ryan, the newly-appointed NSA, survived by accident after an airline pilot crashed the party. With his plane.
    That would be either Debt of Honor or Executive Orders. I remember listening to it in audio-book form during a time when I had longer commutes. Read by the superb Edward Herrmann.
    Because I’d “read” the books, when Al-Qaida did their dastardly works seven years ago Thursday, I was saddened… but not surprised.

  • Jenny Islander

    That was actually the plot of a Tom Clancy book. Jack Ryan, the newly-appointed NSA, survived by accident after an airline pilot crashed the party. With his plane.
    While the Stock Market subplot is fairly neat, I really had to stop reading Tom Clancy with that book.
    The Japanese attempt to destroy the American economy, and then threaten nuclear war if we don’t give them Guam? Did Clancy research the Japanese at all, or was he just running out of countries that the U.S. could credibly bomb?

    Wait, was the Japanese attempt to subvert the American economy in the same book as the lone Japanese pilot losing his mind and doing a kamikaze maneuver with a 747?
    I thought that the stock market one was a pretty good story about the dangers of having too much political power concentrate in the hands of people who don’t have to (or don’t think they have to) lay it down after a defined term of office. You have the visible government trying to run a modern country and, in the background, a bunch of oligarchs who think of themselves as the true powers in Japan and nearly destroy their nation trying to refight the battles of their young manhood.

  • Well, I have no problem with the federal government refusing to fund things like bridges in small towns, necessary or not. Government can’t fund every single good project out there, there have to be priorities and maybe that means Ketchikan doesn’t get a bridge even if it would benefit them. That’s life. Its just that I can see someone lobbying for federal funding for the bridge in good faith; they may be wrong about its importance to the rest of the country, but its not one of those issues where if you support it you’re clearly corrupt.
    The sports center Palin pushed as mayor in Wasilla seems to me like a much more clear-cut case of a project that no one wanted and that shouldn’t have even been begun.

  • Jeff

    Its just that I can see someone lobbying for federal funding for the bridge in good faith
    That’s fine. But when the federal funds are dropped, saying “Thanks but no thanks” (if she said it) is just stooopid.

  • Jeff

    Not to mention, if that happens shouldn’t the next person in the line of succession be the prime suspect anyway ?
    I guess it depends on if you view Kind Hearts and Coronets as fiction or autobiography!

  • Wait, was the Japanese attempt to subvert the American economy in the same book as the lone Japanese pilot losing his mind and doing a kamikaze maneuver with a 747?
    If I recall, I think that the United States and Japan went to war for no damn good reason in one book, then the kamikaze airline thing happened at the very end, which went in to a “To Be Continued…” and the next book started with Jack Ryan taking over, the US economy getting attacked by a computer virus that wiped out the stock market, and Saddam Hussein infecting everyone in the military with SARS or something before attempting to conquer Saudia Arabia.
    I’m also reasonably certain I’m not making this up.

  • Saddam Hussein infecting everyone in the military with SARS or something
    That would be the U.S. military, not his own.

  • cjmr

    That would be either Debt of Honor or Executive Orders.
    I’m pretty sure that’s Debt of Honor and Executive Orders is the one where a group of terrorists from the Middle East were plotting to spread an Ebola (or some similar hemorrhagic fever) epidemic by way of dropping infected aerosols in major airports. I read both of those on the Metro the year I was pg with #1.
    I also was amazed that everyone was surprised that terrorists might use airliners as bombs…

  • Caravelle

    If I recall, I think that the United States and Japan went to war for no damn good reason in one book, then the kamikaze airline thing happened at the very end, which went in to a “To Be Continued…” and the next book started with Jack Ryan taking over, the US economy getting attacked by a computer virus that wiped out the stock market, and Saddam Hussein infecting everyone in the military with SARS or something before attempting to conquer Saudia Arabia.
    Am I glad I never went further than “The Hunt for Red October”…

  • SchroedingersDuck, that is a scary list. Ted Stevens and Alberto Gonzales?

  • JayH

    Caravelle writes: Not to mention, if that happens shouldn’t the next person in the line of succession be the prime suspect anyway ? :p
    You may very well think that; I couldn’t possibly comment.
    Hey, help me mop up this Coke, will ya?

  • Tonio

    The current question at the WashPost/Newsweek site On Faith addresses the dichotomy of conservative Christian groups backing Palin while forbidding women from becoming clergy, asking if this is hypocritical for any religion to do this. Some of the groups’ spokespersons make a distinction between the church and the world at large, but their arguments for the no-women rule come down to “Because God said so.” What is the more effective way to refute that argument? Point out their incorrect reading of scripture? Ask for evidence that Paul was indeed speaking for God? Or address the fallacy of authoritarianism itself?

  • Tonio

    Also, I glanced at the first issue of the Left Behind comic series. Rayford and Hattie look like they could join the Mile High Club any minute. But the most startling thing I found is that Buck looks like Andy Gibb with stubble!

  • JayH

    Tonio asks: The current question at the WashPost/Newsweek site On Faith addresses the dichotomy of conservative Christian groups backing Palin while forbidding women from becoming clergy, asking if this is hypocritical for any religion to do this. Some of the groups’ spokespersons make a distinction between the church and the world at large, but their arguments for the no-women rule come down to “Because God said so.” What is the more effective way to refute that argument? Point out their incorrect reading of scripture? Ask for evidence that Paul was indeed speaking for God? Or address the fallacy of authoritarianism itself?
    IMHO: in general, a discussion on the correct reading of scripture is your best bet. Trying to confront either the authority of scripture or the authoritarian leanings of the believers will be perceived as attacks.
    In particular, however, you’re working at a huge disadvantage here: the very nature of the discussion means that you’re perceived as having a dog in the fight, which means any attempt to address the worthiness of the scriptural argument will, at best, close their ears, and at worst, make you an Agent o’ Evil. (If you’re polite, an Unwitting Agent o’ Evil. If you’re rude, a Liberal.)

  • Dash

    You may very well think that; I couldn’t possibly comment.
    JayH, you are officially my favorite person at this point in time. (I was trying to think of another quotation from the House of Cards series, but I came up dry–it’s been a while.) I miss Ian Richardson!
    About the issue of a woman in authority: I know of at least a couple of RTC submissive-wife, head-covering-wearing women who voted or caucused for Hillary Clinton. I asked one of them about this, as she had previously been quite vociferous about a woman never being in authority over a man. (For the record, if she had treated her children like she treats her husband, it would have been very close to reportable child abuse.) She had apparently changed her position: the White House is not the church or the home, and a woman should be submissive in the church and the home. She did not of course admit to any change in her position.
    So I’m guessing there is flexibility there that we know not of. That said, as has been pointed out previously on this blog, there are RTC blogs that are dealing with the question of whether a woman should be in elective office as a serious topic for debate.

  • Jeff

    I found this odd book called “Survivors” — It’s the story of the Straits: Con-Air pilot Rayford, his wife Irene and their children Chloe and Raymie. The author clearly dispises RTCs like L&J and doesn’t bother to cover it up.
    He’s also a MUCH better author than Jenkins, not that saying much.

  • Ryan

    At what point do you stop pointing to comments and say he IS malicious or stupid?
    Never! It is always a good time to try humoring your opponent. This way, you don’t look like an opponent yourself, and they’ll lower their defenses!

  • cosmicdancer

    dichotomy of conservative Christian groups backing Palin while forbidding women from becoming clergy,
    The interesting thing is, not all conservative Christian denominations forbid women from becoming clergy. The Nazarenes not only encourage it and always have, but tend to joke about how dominating Nazarene women usually are. It makes it really weird when they try to pay lip service to men’s “divine right to rule over women” becuase it’s so obvious that it’s not what’s actually going on and people have no idea why they’re even saying it.
    The Salvation Army ordains women, and so do many Pentecostal denominations, this woman is particularly famous

  • Drake Pope

    Never! It is always a good time to try humoring your opponent. This way, you don’t look like an opponent yourself, and they’ll lower their defenses!
    Plus, you’ll never really be able to tell whether or not the person is sounding like that because of a political disagreement or if it is because they are bad people. While it does seem somewhat disingenuous to imply the Republican governments spend less money than Democratic governments, especially since it’s so obviously, painfully not true, it’s also quite possible that conservatives really don’t have an objection to spending in general and just oppose the specific areas in which Democrats would prefer to focus on. They don’t have a problem spending trillions on the military but they are less comfortable with spending the same amount of money on health care.

  • Ryan

    Well yeah, they think the USA will be invaded and conquered at a moment’s notice if we DON’T keep building up and deploying the military!

  • Anonymous

    The interesting thing is, not all conservative Christian denominations forbid women from becoming clergy.
    That was brought out in the On Faith discussion, which focused on Southern Baptism and on Muslim fundamentalism. Most of the Christian fundamentalists I’ve encountered come from independent churches. Is Southern Baptism a type of fundamentalism? The denomination’s positions on political issues don’t seem all that different from fundamentalism.
    Trying to confront either the authority of scripture or the authoritarian leanings of the believers will be perceived as attacks.
    You may be right. What is the best tactic against authoritarianism in general?
    the very nature of the discussion means that you’re perceived as having a dog in the fight, which means any attempt to address the worthiness of the scriptural argument will, at best, close their ears, and at worst, make you an Agent o’ Evil.
    Why is that the case? The only dog I have personally is the fact that I have daughters. My other interest in the issue is from the general principle of human freedom, but that would apply to everyone.
    “As long as women are excluded from any position, then it will be possible to justify excluding them from every position.” – Pamela K. Taylor, co-founder of Muslims for Progressive Values

  • In Debt of Honor, the Japanese populace gets a little miffed with the Americans because we turn some of their less polite trade practices against them. So a renegade Japanese megacorporation owner kidnaps the Prime Minister, constructs nuclear weapons and builds silos in the Japanese islands, puts a virus in the American stock exchange computers, plots with the Indian Navy to tie up our navy off Sri Lanka, invades some U.S. territories in the Pacific, and plans to take back the “Northern Resource Area” from the Chinese and Russians. Oh, and he murders the American sex slave mistress of one of his co-conspirators because she’s a liability, just to make sure we know he’s eeeeevil.
    Parts of the novel, are of course, a bit plausible. Big business has a difficult-to-calculate amount of political power in Japan. (Totally unlike our beloved America, U.S.A! U.S.A!) The bit where they solve the stock exchange problem is fairly cool. The war is mostly resolved by special ops work, because a novel about a conventional war with Japan would be utterly unwieldy and dubious. And the Japanese culture does have a certain touch of arrogance which is matched in the West only by… well, I’ll let you guess.
    On the other hand, there’s plenty of ridiculousness. The idea that Japan would want to trash the economy of a major trade partner; the idea that the Japanese would be able to stare down the militaries of China, Russia, and the U.S. with only the JSDF and two-dozen nuclear missiles; the idea that the Japanese people would stand for that (these are the only people in the world who have been nuked, and they seem to consider the weapons abominations for some reason); the idea that even a zaibatsu owner could just stage an unnoticed coup one afternoon; etc.
    And as has been mentioned, a Japanese airline pilot takes the death of his brother in an undeclared, unprovoked war of aggression so personally that he drops his 747 on Capitol Hill, making Jack Ryan president for the next book. (Interestingly, as near as I could tell for the part of Executive Orders I could get through, there are no international repercussions from this incident at all.)
    Red October is an excellent book. I have a Naval Institute Press first edition; the plot is taut and believable, the characters are fleshed out and interesting, and the closest thing to a ‘bad guy’ is a Congressman who demands to know what the military is up to. (Which is kind of his job, and all. Too bad there’s a dirty left-leaning spy on his staff. Oh, wait, but the spy we have doing the same darn thing in the Russian military ministry is a good guy and a hero.) At any rate, IMHO, Red October was the peak of Clancy’s writing career. I guess he was able to fire his editors after that.

  • Tonio

    MikhailBorg, your post suggests that Clancy is shackled to the ideology of everyone being out to destroy America. I tried reading Red October but gave up after about 30 pages – the military details were almost incomprehensible, although the characters were appealing. I once read an early interview with Clancy and later spoke with the reporter – the man was hypernegative about everything. He sounded very much like the type of person who sees himself surrounded by idiots and fools, who cannot be tolerated in conversation because he turns every exchange into an extended rant about the government or the neighbors.

  • Jeff

    It is always a good time to try humoring your opponent.
    Others have tried to humor or engage aunursa. I’ve seen no results. I’ll let everyone else play “Good Cop”; I’m satisfied with “Bad Cop”.

  • Yes, the incredibly excited audience thing was funny, but if you watch the original real vid, the “conception” line did get an approving roar.
    Here is a link to the transcript of a comedy routine that Sarah Palin may have considered doing in the talent portion of that beauty contest. <a href="http://extremelyevilmusic.com/blog1/2008/09/sarah_palins_comedy_routine.html&quot; Enjoy.

  • Anonymous

    closest thing to a ‘bad guy’ is a Congressman who demands to know what the military is up to.
    That sick bastard! I bet he tried to use the Congress to check the powers of the executive branch too. And if he did that, then he probably tried to pass laws and regulate government spending as well. Such depravity should not be allowed to appear in print where children might find it!

  • Reynard

    Posted by Monkay: Here is a link to the transcript of a comedy routine that Sarah Palin may have considered doing in the talent portion of that beauty contest. Enjoy.
    There are times when recycling garbage is *NOT* a good thing. *THAT* was one of them…

  • LadyM

    Re: Tom Clancy.
    I’m personally still in love with Rainbow Six. Evil, evvvvvvvvvil environmentalists! Want to take out the entire world with a disgusting virus and build a utopian society where, for some reason, they still get to ride around in jeeps and hunt lions. I am now totally convinced that this is the ultimate goal of all environmental movements.
    And the best part is that at the end of the book, the environmentalists are left naked in the jungle to bond with nature, hardy har. Fantabulous.