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Sarah Palin coming out big winner in Turlock? You betcha

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POSTED April 15, 2010 2:58 a.m.
Turlock, on the map?

You betcha.

About 99 percent of the free world had no idea where Turlock was until hysteria over Sarah Palin’s speaking engagement at the California State University, Stanislaus campus brought out tons of detractors eager to turn her June 25 visit into the equivalent of a modern-day political reenactment of Joan of Arc being burned at the stake.

Here are the latest “facts” as we now know them.

• University students who are not big fans of Palin conveniently find parts of her contract intact among a bunch of shredded papers in a dumpster.

• That means that some dimwit that shredded tons of documents forgot to completely destroy the one that is the proverbial smoking gun.

• Those same students told how their suspicions were aroused when they noticed a number of vehicles at the CSUS administration center and lots of people working on a furlough day. Of course this just proves the Palin crowd’s theory that it would take 20 university staff members with PhDs to shred one document and then they apparently can’t do that right.

• CSUS President Hamid Shirvani either doesn’t keep track of every little investigation into his campus by Attorney General Jerry Brown or else the document that he claimed was stolen from the office of the vice president for university advancement after it was placed in a recycling bin just surfaced out of thin air conveniently without the most critical element as far as detractors are concerned - how much Palin is getting paid.  Or perhaps the line of defense will be that the university didn’t “technically” exist as the document at the time the request for public records pertaining to Palin’s speech was made through the Public Records Act had already been trashed - or at least the CSU leadership thought it had been.

• State Sen. Leland Yee, D-San Francisco, when he’s not busy doing a bang up job driving California into the ground with his 119 colleagues when it comes to budget matters likes to hyper-ventilate by comparing the flap to Watergate.  Of course he does have serious questions about why a non-profit foundation that isn’t under the state’s direct control is spending non-tax dollars how it sees fit. One has to wonder if the foundation has inked a deal to bring the Rev. Al Sharpton to CSUS how the senator would be reacting today.

• Those CSUS students offended that Palin was tapped to speak at the university’s 50th anniversary celebration staged by the non-profit foundation shouldn’t worry too much about what that says about their school. It’ll surprise you to know this is apparently the second annual 50th anniversary gala as last year there was also a 50th anniversary gala. The speaker for that event that commanded $250 a ticket was none other than Gary Sinise who plays Lt. Dan Band on “CSI New York.” No one was yelling about how the choice of Sinise reflected poorly on CSUS not being taken seriously. First-class universities would have booked David Caruso who plays Horatio Caine on “CSI Miami.”

• All of the folks who got riled up about Palin having the audacity to get paid for a speech while at the same time violating the sanctity of that esteemed temple of higher learning that was once known as Turkey Tech on Monte Vista Avenue, have now created such a big media storm that the speech will probably generate 100 times the attention it would have gotten before.

• Even Palin’s detractors can play “Gotcha!” in trying to silence those they disagree with by their own little snippy digs.

• Palin, who in her speeches leaves the impression that she doesn’t believe universities are hot beds of free speech or intellectual honesty, is a strange pick from that perspective to help commemorate a university’s 50th anniversary.

• The most strident protestors have ended up re-enforcing the underlying message that Palin has been conveying to the Tea Party folks - the establishment as defined by elected leaders (Sen. Yee) and the universities (the firestorm of protestor with a heavy sprinkling of CSUS faculty and students) fear the movement.

• Controversy sells. That explains why the $500 tickets are in such high demand.

When all is said and done, the university foundation will probably pocket a couple hundred thousand dollars free and clear and Palin will get publicity worth 10 times whatever her speaking fee is thanks to the controversy that her detractors have whipped up.

It only makes you wonder whether her opponents would have been better served not trying to make it seem like the Teapot Dome scandal.

And if that reference is tad beyond their grasp they might want to hit the history books a bit more than they do the key pad to Twitter their outrage about someone with a different outlook than they have stepping on to their hallowed taxpayer-financed campus to have the audacity to express views that they don’t like.
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