Friday, July 24, 2009

A regret and a call for leadership

This Sunday, Governor Sarah Palin will resign her office, and Lt. Governor Sean Parnell will take her place. We here at ASP are sad to see Governor Palin go. Both Akidis and Jellaby wish her well and encourage her to not be discouraged by the plethora of incompetent, unprincipled and outright jealous voices that seek to destroy her. Check back here for follow up posts on what Conservatives can learn from Palin's time as Governor.

At the same time, ASP calls on Sean Parnell for bold, decisive and directed leadership. We know that he has the ability, the ideas, and what Governor Palin did not have: the right people. Sean Parnell has a circle of people that he can trust. Governor Palin, unfortunately, did not. She was not perfect as Governor, but no one is. What liabilities exist for Parnell?

1. There will be enormous pressure to keep the same department figures that have hampered the advancement of good policy.

2. The gas line which unfortunately does not look as optimistic as it did a year ago (because of the market, not because of AGIA), could eat up too much energy and momentum.

3. The media may try to ignore Parnell (they will try) for the summer and start coverage of the Governor's race a year ahead of time. It will be important to put forth an agenda for the next year, make it easy to communicate, relatively short (3-4 items), and come up with a communications strategy for it.

4. Parnell may be too timid.

All of these liabilities can be overcome. Let's hope they are.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

It's a Sad Day

The tragic news just came out today: Governor Palin has appointed Bill Hogan as Commissioner of the largest (and most ineffective) department in Alaska, the Health and Social Services Department.

This was an incompetent appointment. I'm really disappointed in this selection. Governor Palin has made the wrong decision, and it will be costly to Alaska. HSS needs an executive to focus the mission of the department and reign in the silos that have developed, not another degree in social work. It's as if she doesn't take any state government office seriously, except for that which relates to oil and gas. My support for the Governor on this blog in the past has been strong and vocal. Now, my criticism of her is going to be just as vocal.

Governor Palin, it is not your job to only be focused on oil and gas issues. The job requires multi-tasking. You have pursued reforms in other areas of government, but they have been less than enthusiastic, and the people who oppose you know it. The death of your health bill over the last regular session was a result of your oversight (or lack of it). You were probably sabotaged by some people working for you in the administration, but that is no excuse. You are running a state, not the city of Wasilla.

First, I recommend you get a chief of staff who knows what he is doing from out of state. I am guessing, but there is probably no one in Alaska who would make an effective chief of staff. There may be some bad PR, but it's nothing you can't handle. Second, you need to fire the Commissioner of Transportation, and let the chips fall where they may. Third, you need to find someone understands health and education policy, holds your views on it, and hire that person to work in your office. Fourth, you need to audit (traditional and performance) the department of Health and Social Services. That auditor needs to be accountable to your office alone. You can turn this around, but you need to start now.

Sunday, November 4, 2007

Abortion Industry Scores

Thanks to the Alaska Supreme Court Oligarchy, parents are barred from having a say in whether or not their teenage daughters can have an abortion. I don't own my own business, but this has got to be good news for Big Abortion's tween marketing department.

Check out this ridiculous quote by our esteemed Chief Justice:
"From time to time, we are called upon to decide constitutional cases that touch upon the most contentious moral, ethical, and political issues of our day. In deciding such cases, we are ever mindful of the unique role we play in our democratic system of government. We are not legislators, policy makers, or pundits charged with making law or assessing the wisdom of legislative enactments. We are not philosophers, ethicists, or theologians, and 'cannot aspire to answer' fundamental moral questions or resolve societal debates. We are focused only on upholding the constitution and laws of the State of Alaska," wrote Fabe.

Bullshit. It is difficult to believe that this is what passes for competency in Alaska's highest court. I don't understand how the people could choose such a jud....oh, that's right. We don't get to choose. Read the ADN article here. The article tries to downplay the decision giving the number of teenagers who had abortions in 2006. But for some reason, the question of how such a decision would affect the numbers in the future didn't come up.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

What Should Don Young Do?

Opportunists are piling on Diane Benson in the race against Don Young because of a practice that characterizes the entire house. Earmark kickbacks are rampant, and they are very difficult to track. Did Don Young support an earmark in exchange for something? I don't know. Is Dave Obey making shady deals behind the closed doors of his office while he and his staff sort out the 36000 earmarks that were submitted? I don't know. Did John Murtha do the same? I don't know. Intent is very hard to prove. The problem is with the culture in planet Washington. There have been suggestions on how to change it, but so far Chairman Obey has not heeded the advice. This is not a defense of Don Young. He is going to have to defend himself before I defend him.

What do I think he should do? Right now, I think he should address this directly. He needs to speak more to it. So far, it's only democrats that are mounting against him. Yes, I said only democrats ---LeDoux is just a RINO (Republican In Name Only). He may be able to pull through this, but I hope, for the sake of Alaska, that Don Young is carefully considering more than just his own pride in these events. The only problem with my advice is that the Ethics Committee in the US Congress is going to try to stretch this investigation as close to the election as possible. By speaking to it, he is just giving the number one campaigner for the democrats ---the ADN--- ammo.

The sad thing is that I don't think it would be wise to trust anyone currently running against him to actually do things differently when it comes to earmarks.

Thursday, October 4, 2007

Income Tax???

Tom Brennan writes about how spoiled we are here in Alaska. Read the article here. The article makes a lot of points (too many for one article). Some of them are good points; some of the points i simply disagree with; and one of the points is just plain foolish: He seems to think we should have kept the income tax.

I may look like it, but I'm not stupid. I'm only pressing this point because I think Mr. Brennan needs to have a better explanation for this belief. I would have a tough time arguing that it's a Conservative belief. I realize there are a bunch of quasi Marxist Liberals around blathering away about the state getting its "fair share." But let's not sell out our principles to debate them on this point.

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Governor Rolls Out ACES

Today the Palin administration rolled out ACES, the reform to PPT. You can visit the website here. ACES stands for Alaska's Clear and Equitable Share.

What makes the debate over the tax interesting is the nature of everyone in it, and what they are pushing. There seem to be two kinds of Conservatives and one kind of Liberal (There are Liberals who are inconsistent, but we'll leave that alone for now).

The first kind of Conservative takes the same kind of position that Conservatives would take at the national level. Lower taxes and less government are the better way to go. We here at ASP tend to advocate the free market, but we also think this first kind of Conservative is wrong to use free market justifications to justify a lower PPT tax.

The second kind of Conservative operates from the principle that the resources are owned by the people of Alaska (as it says in the Alaska Constitution), and that it is the duty of elected officials to manage, sell or develop those resources for the best possible profit for the citizens here. The oil, mines and even the large stash of natural gas that the producers have stored up north: it all belongs to the citizens of Alaska. While this kind of Conservative would revolt if the federal government tried set up something similar, he's okay with this situation at the state level. Inconsistent?

I argue no. There is a qualitative difference between the state and federal government. A federal government is a kind of utilitarian construct. The state governements in most cases are bodies where the people have a genuine connection with each other that is more than utilitarian. Because of this qualitative difference, there are things we can do at the state level that we would never do at the federal level.

The Liberal who seeks to raise the PPT tax, does so for Marxian reasons, and would push for a higher tax even if the resources were not owned by the people of Alaska. What the Modern Liberal argues for at the state and federal level is the same, because ideology is not nuanced by context. Blinded by its forward march to whatever utopia it sees, it cannot discriminate between community (state) and construct (federal), and will gladly walk over any tradition, moral, principle or person who stands in the way. And that is what makes it inferior to the other two.

Both kinds of Conservatives need to keep the locus of debate between them and not allow this to become a conversation between Liberals and Conservatives. Ideology has little if anything constructive to contribute to the conversation.

Sunday, September 30, 2007

Hot Spots at 37,000 Feet?

Alaska Airlines is testing in flight Wi-Fi. I have a bet with Akidis about how much it will cost when it first comes out. I predict it will be about as popular as the in flight phones they have available. But, kudos to them for being innovative. Read the article here.