Saturday, September 27, 2008

A Stitch In Time

Daily Telegraph writer Garry Linnell highlights the arguments made against capital punishment then delivers the inconvenient truth:

By the time they make their third point, the anti-capital punishment gang throw in a favourite red herring. The death penalty, they say, is no deterrent to further crime. Yet a recent studies suggest otherwise.

In Harris County, Texas, where executions are most aggressively carried out, there has been a 72 per cent decrease in the annual murder rate since 1982.

In the US, which suffered an explosion of crime and urban breakdown in the mid-1970s at the same time its Supreme Court ruled against the death penalty (later overturned), you are now less likely to be murdered than in 1960.

University of Colorado economics professor Naci Mocan conducted a study on more than 6000 death sentences in the US between 1977 and 1997. His findings suggest that every execution meant five or six extra murders were not committed. "Science does really draw a conclusion ... The results are robust," Mocan said.
Brave lad, Linnell, speaking in favour of a protection under the law that our political and social betters, including the vast majority of the mainstream media, would deny us.

However, Linnell makes the fundamental mistake of falling for a component of the very first anti-death penalty argument he highlights:

Their first port of call is always the claim that the taking of any life lowers and demeans us as a society.
An aspect of this is to portray executing a murderer as murder itself, and Linnell begins his otherwise good piece by doing this very thing, suggesting we 'have murder in our hearts' for wanting the likes of the Bali bombers and the killers of Anita Cobby dead.

The execution of a vicious killer is not murder in a legal, moral or even Biblical sense ('thou shalt not kill' is an oversimplified translation of 'thou stalt not unlawfully take a human life'), nor is it revenge. It is a method of saying to all citizens that a society so highly values human life that, if you unlawfully steal that life from another, your own existence will be forfeit.

Interestingly, comments are invited on the Linnell piece at but none have been published.

-- Nick

Saturday, September 06, 2008

Palin - The Right Woman

Nick and I have been watching the coverage of the US Presidential election season with interest this week following the introduction of Alaskan governor Sarah Palin as the Republican's Vice Presidential nominee.

Here are a number of observations:

1. The media were caught flat footed
It has often been observed that 'it's news if its news to the media'. On other words, it doesn't matter that other people were long aware that Palin had always been on the radar for nomination.

In early 2008, the American Scene thought Palin "seem[ed] very appealing" as a "non-obvious" veep pick and Stop the ACLU said that Palin "would be a great choice." The American Spectator ran a column in February urging that McCain pick Palin. The same month, Ace of Spades pronounced Palin "the perfect nominee for vice president" and Rush Limbaugh said that Palin was "high up on the list, now, of potential vice presidents for Senator McCain." At the end of February, the idea started to seep into the MSM when The Washington Post's Chris Cillizza interviewed Palin and floated the idea of her being the veep.
The truth of the matter is, the media has been too enthralled by Democrat Obama's campaign to pay too much attention to what the Republicans were doing and it came back to bite them.

2. You can be 'the wrong kind of woman'
Who knew? It seems that the cheer leading by institutionalised feminists for successful women is one-eyed to the extreme. The left eye, that is.

One would have thought that the story of a woman who went from joining the school P&C committee and to become a corruption busting, extremely popular state leader, all while raising five children (including one with special needs) with the support of her husband would be a pin-up girl for feminists - 'see, girls can do anything'.

Except, there's a problem as the Daily Mail's Peter Hitchins warned:

Watch as the ultra-feminist sisterhood back away in horror from Sarah Palin, John McCain's new running mate.

Mrs Palin is technically female, but she's enthusiastically married, hates abortion and thinks criminals should not be the only people allowed to own guns. She's everything Hillary Clinton isn't. In short, she's the wrong kind of woman.
Indeed. In fact the National Organisation of Women who purport to speak for women had this to say:

NOW PAC Chair Kim Gandy said, "Sen. John McCain's choice of Alaska governor Sarah Palin as his running mate is a cynical effort to appeal to disappointed Hillary Clinton voters and get them to vote, ultimately, against their own self-interest."

Gov. Palin may be the second woman vice-presidential candidate on a major party ticket, but she is not the right woman. Sadly, she is a woman who opposes women's rights, just like John McCain.
What are those rights? Ah yes, abortion. Apparently if you're a woman and don't support abortion, then one is a self-loathing female misogynist.

3. Oh, yes, let's not forget that Sarah Palin is a political conservative
That always flummoxes the media and those on the left side of politics who hate seeing 'their' people (i.e. ethnic minorities, women, gays) hold a view other than their officially sanctioned left-of-centre stereotype.

They dismiss her in a bigoted short hand - Christian, Creationist, pro-life, pro-guns, anti-abortion, anti-gay - when the truth is far more complex.

And as Janet Daly of the Telegraph noted:

Like Margaret Thatcher before her, Mrs Palin is coming in for both barrels of Left-wing contempt: misogyny and snobbery. Where Lady Thatcher was dismissed as a "grocer's daughter" by people who called themselves egalitarian, Mrs Palin is regarded as a small-town nobody by those who claim to represent "ordinary people".

What the metropolitan sophisticates failed to understand in the 1980s when Thatcher won election after election is even more the case in the US: most (and I do mean most) ordinary people actually believe in the basic decencies, the "small-town values", of family, marital fidelity, and personal responsibility. They believe in and honour them - even if they do not manage to uphold them.
Whether Palin is up to the job as Veep is something that will be proven one way or another during this campaign and should be Republicans win the US presidency in November.

But so far, so good.

Nick and I have said that a dream ticket for the US presidential elections in 2012 would be Sarah Palin and Condeleeza Rice.

These two dynamic, accomplished, experienced women who will have earned their place on the ticket and not simply because they ticked the boxes for hollow, knee-jerk leftist, political quota filling.

-- Nora

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Freedom From The Press

We must be allowed to report freely, says the editorial in today's Gold Coast Bulletin, after a trial was aborted and the judge agreed to have the case heard in Gladstone because of biased and sensational coverage in the Gold Coast Bulletin.

Funnily enough, the story deemed worthy enough for a page 4 in its print edition, is not to be found in its online edition.

And indeed that is true. The cornerstone of any true democracy is freedom of the press and this is something that this blog supports whole heartedly.

But there is a proviso - that expectation of, if not right to, that freedom comes with the responsibility to use that liberty wisely.

Sadly over the past 10 years the Gold Coast Bulletin has not used that liberty well.

It has turned from a fair to middling regional newspaper to a second-rate sensationalist tabloid where lines between straight reportage and 'outrage' sensationalism have blurred to the point non-existence.

The faux outrage on its front pages with respect to real and perceived slights against the city have earned the paper the nickname of The Gold Coast Hysterical and is an embarassment to the locals.

Its pages cheapens its young female reporters by making them reveal the minutae of their lives as the Go Girls or, more recently the Play Girls.

How can you take, for instance, a court reporter seriously when she's spent the past five years of her life bemoaning everything from poorly fitting bras, humungous hangovers and leering after hot guys.

The Gold Coast Bulletin gleefully reports on the binge-drinking antics of Schoolies and wonders why Surfers Paradise has a poor reputation.

It attempts to titillate with bikini pictures more suitable for lads mags and wonders why families appear unwelcome in the city.

It plays partisan politics and then wonders why the same lame duck council gets returned.

It slags off at other cities and then wonders why the Gold Coast has a poor reputation interstate.

By all means report freely, Gold Coast Bulletin, but know that you do so only under the condition that you report soberly, seriously and sensibily - attributes sadly lacking in its news pages for a very long time.

-- Nora