I wonder what the GOP’s vice presidential candidate for 2008 is doing?

This is why we should never listen to John McCain again, because he thought this woman was qualified to be president of the United States if he died in office (Via Talking Points Memo):

Sarah Palin’s camp has finally weighed in on the Alaska birthday party brawl that put the former Republican vice presidential nominee and her family back in the national spotlight this past week.

The website Real Clear Politics spoke to what it described as a “source close to the Palin family” who offered the Palins’ side of the physical, bloody altercation that took place on Sept. 6 at a house in Anchorage. The article said the source’s description “diverge[d] significantly” from what had been reported elsewhere, but the anonymous portrayal essentially confirmed the broad outlines of the fight, including that Sarah Palin herself was present and was shouting as it all went down.

On Friday, TPM published a detailed account of the brawl based on reports from several news outlets as well as our own reporting. Two named eyewitnesses reported seeing the former Alaska governor at the party, including one who said he saw Palin’s husband Todd, son Track, and daughter Bristol were involved in multiple melees with other party guests that night. One anonymous source said Sarah Palin was “nearly crawling on top of people” while screaming and shouting profanities.

Stay tuned for the next episode of “Real Housewives of Wasilla.”

Spare the rod or be indicted

Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson has been indicted for child abuse, but I’m not sure what to say about this:

Adrian Peterson has been informed that he was indicted by a grand jury in Montgomery County, Texas for Injury to a Child. The charged conduct involves using a switch to spank his son. This indictment follows Adrian’s full cooperation with authorities who have been looking into this matter. Adrian is a loving father who used his judgment as a parent to discipline his son. He used the same kind of discipline with his child that he experienced as a child growing up in east Texas. Adrian has never hidden from what happened. He has cooperated fully with authorities and voluntarily testified before the grand jury for several hours. Adrian will address the charges with the same respect and responsiveness he has brought to this inquiry from its beginning. It is important to remember that Adrian never intended to harm his son and deeply regrets the unintentional injury.

Speaking as a veteran of being disciplined with a switch, I can say that this was one of the more traumatizing forms of punishment in childhood.

All of you out there know what a switch is, right? It’s a very thin branch, maybe a yard long that makes the most horrible noise, mini-whiplike, when you swing it through the air. As a kid, you make sure you aren’t wearing shorts, ever, because if you did something wrong and your mom told you to “Get me a switch,” you didn’t want to have any exposed skin.

That’s the other thing about the switch, you had to go to the bush and pick out the weapon that was going to be used on you. And getting hit by the switch was horrible. There’s no way to defend yourself. Your parent would go for the legs, and if you tried to block it with your arm the switch cuts into your skin. So you ended up running around and having your mom say “Don’t you run away from me!” If you had a choice between the switch and the belt, take the belt, because the switch really stung.

So, yeah. The switch was horrible. I felt its sting in Ohio and New York and South Carolina and anyplace else I screwed up as a kid and an adult was nearby. And I’m not the only one who knows about the switch:

So a lot of us know about it, but we would have never imagined calling the police. If that was the case, my mother, my grandmother, my aunt, my uncle, my father my cousin, my brothers, my sisters and an occasional babysitter would all have been in jail.

No, strike that. That wouldn’t have happened, because if I’d called the cops, the officers would have showed up, heard my parent say, “Hell, yeah, I used the switch because the boy did X, Y, or Z.” And the result would be the cop would agree with the adult and probably get a switch and use it on me, too.

That said, I never used a switch on my kid. That was one of those things from childhood that I swore I would never do as an adult. But I’m not surprised that it’s still used as a form of discipline.

I guess what surprises me most about the Adrian Peterson indictment is that this happened in Texas. That’s like “spare the rod and spoil the child” ground zero. I’d think switches were the state flower. (Yeah, OK, it’s the yellow rose, but you get the point.) I can’t see this going to trial in east Texas. The jury would say “Not Guilty” in a heartbeat and get a switch to use on the kid for calling the police.

There’s actually a pretty good piece on the Vikings blog Daily Norseman that comes to the same conclusion as I do. Unless Peterson went overboard and left bleeding welts on the kid and put him in the hospital, I don’t see how he gets convicted. And I’m as anti-corporal punishment as you can get.

But don’t get me started on being whipped with an extension cord. That’s what we kids got when the switch wasn’t available.

Predicting the future

This is a cartoon I picked up for my blog on Aug. 21:

1114This is part of a story that ran in the New York Times on Aug. 24:

Michael Brown, 18, due to be buried on Monday, was no angel, with public records and interviews with friends and family revealing both problems and promise in his young life.

The fact that a cartoonist can see that the the unarmed black victim of a police shooting is going to be portrayed as deserving of his fate shows that there’s going to be no justice whenever these things happen.

And the demonization of the victim continues:

Stein was discussing the shooting with host Steve Malzberg and said the use of the term “unarmed” to describe Brown, who was “apparently on marijuana,” was akin to “calling Sonny Liston unarmed or Cassius Clay unarmed.”

“He wasn’t unarmed,” Stein said. “He was armed with his incredibly strong, scary self.”

Oh, remember when Adam Lanza in Connecticut executed all of those grade schoolers? What did the Times write then?

The interviews revealed that his mother, Nancy Lanza, confided to friends several years ago that her son, who classmates said had been found to have a type of autism, was faring poorly and being bullied in high school. More recently, he had cocooned himself in front of electronic game consoles in the basement of their home, playing warfare games.

So the unarmed black kid who was “no angel” is shot down in the street by a cop, and the arsenal packing white kid, who was “being bullied in high school,” goes to the local grade school and in the end 28 people are dead.

Who’s the victim, and who’s the victimizer. I read the news and I can’t tell anymore.