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Saturday, November 3, 2007

Palin, Polar Bears, and Duct Tape

How would you like a Vice President who has the guts to stand up to hard-line liberal environmentalists, but is humble enough to take time out of a busy legislative session to appear at the grand opening of her home town's new Wal-Mart?

Sarah Palin has done both in the last week, showing again why she is arguably THE premier conservative leader in the nation.

In a remarkable display of gutsy leadership, Gov. Palin came out strongly against the listing of Alaska's perfectly healthy polar bear population as a "threatened species" based solely on global warming speculation. In a letter to U.S. Interior Secretary Dirk Kempthorne, Palin said the following, "The listing of a currently healthy species based entirely on highly speculative and uncertain climate and ice modeling and equally uncertain and speculative modeling of possible impacts on a species would be unprecedented." The listing is being proposed based on climate modeling by the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) which predicts that Alaska's polar bear population will be totally wiped out by shrinking amounts of summer sea ice in the next 50 years. Palin left open the possiblility of protecting the bears in the future, but said (rightly, in my opinion) that it would be premature to make such a decision now. The state of Alaska maintains that the USGS' "middle-of-the-road" predictions are "selective". Doug Vincent-Lang, a special assistant with Fish and Game, told the Anchorage Daily News, "They predetermined their outcome in choosing the models they chose." Palin also noted that conferring "threatened" status based on climate change predictions could "open the floodgates" for petitions to protect thousands of other species.

Palin also took time this week to participate in the grand opening of the newly expanded Wal-Mart supercenter in her hometown of Wasilla. In addition to cutting a red duct tape ribbon (the Wasilla location sold more duct tape last year than any Wal-Mart in the country), the Governor made some touching observations about the townsfolk that I think could be applied to herself as well, "The (Mat-Su) Valley is a unique place, and not just because we are the duct tape capitol of the world, which we are proud of being in Wasilla. But we are hard working, very unpretentious, just good, salt of the earth people that live here and are working in this store." On a more poltical note, this shows that Gov. Palin is one of those rare polticians (especially in Alaska) who respects American capitalism but is willing to stand up against graft and corruption when businesses step over the line (as in the cas of Alaska's oil industry).

I sincerely hope that the GOP presidential nominee will realize just how badly we need "good, salt of the earth people" like Sarah Palin in the next administration....and I pray that the Governor will be willing to answer the call.

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