PALIN. I know, I know -- the more attention which the halfwit Tea Party darling receives, the more she inflates in the national consciousness. But she's receiving it anyway, thanks in no small part to Faux News, and the media at large. So it is incumbant upon those of us with half a lick of sense to repudiate her wilder statements. Former Alaska governor and failed Vice-Presidential candidate Sarah Palin is currently on a bus tour of (coincidentally) those states holding the earliest primaries in the 2012 presidential election, disingenuously disguised as a "One Nation Tour". In the Washington Post, a regular feature called The Fact Checker: The Truth Behind the Rhetoric examines a series of Palin distortions and outright lies, under the headline Sarah Palin Collects A Bushel of Pinocchios on her bus tour.
The Fact Checker's mission is described here, and can be summarized as (a) checking of facts, not on opinions; (b) focusing on the issues most important to voters; (c) sticking to the facts without regard to ad hominem attacks; (d) adopting a common sense approach to arriving at conclusions; and (e) drawing equal attention to inaccurate statements by both the left and the right. A Pinocchio is the symbol of a graduated scale of honesty, with four Pinocchios being a blazing liar. Palin has earned four. To read her more egregious statements, and the facts which belie them, check out the report here.
I noted with amusement that an entry in the satirical Borowitz Report listed a series of statements attributed to Palin which, though they were indeed satire, were also credible as things Palin might actually have said. Through the looking glass ....
Finally, in Palin/Bachman: Separated at Brain, David Phillips compares the surreal claims of Palin to her rival for Tea Party ascendancy, Representative Michele Bachman. As each strives to outdo the other in hijinks reminiscent of the Three Stooges (minus one), Phillips offers a reality check which must be sobering for conservatives everywhere -- "It's hard to imagine that mainstream Republicans are happy with these two. The Tea Party has become the base of the Republican Party, and you cannot win a Republican primary without your base. So, as a Republican you criticize either of these two at your peril.
"Perhaps the best that the GOP can hope for is that they start going after each other. Which is entirely conceivable. Both are camera and microphone hounds -- even if they require a controlled (see FOX) environment. When it comes to the leader of the soul of the Tea Party, I've got a pretty strong feeling that there can be only one.
"While both Palin and Bachmann are prone to extraordinary gaffes, they are not exactly the same. There is an underlying meanness in Palin which I have yet to see in Bachmann. A nastiness that underscores her nickname, "the Barracuda". Whereas Bachmann is a genuine whackadoodle. As one local politician (who shall remain nameless) confided in me, 'she really believes that the Martians are coming.'
"So this is the choice before the Tea Party, and to a degree the GOP as well. The Tea Party has to decide whom they like more, and the GOP has to decide who hurts them less. The crazy person who knows nothing, or the mean person who knows nothing.
"Because the truth is, neither of these messengers can be fixed. Both are guilty of profound levels of ignorance. Of which, there are two kinds -- the regular sort, and the willful sort. The first kind can be fixed. The second cannot. They don't have the first kind."
WEIGHT LOSS. As one who, over a period of several years lost 55 lb., this caught my attention. A Science Daily article report on a study comparing weight loss in two different environments -- "Participants in two weight-loss programs -- one involving traditional health club sessions and the other delivered online in a 3D virtual world -- lost similar amounts of weight and body fat, but the online contingent reported significantly greater gains in behaviors that could help them live healthier and happier lives." Wow. Check out the article to learn more.
D-DAY. On a much more sober note, today marks the 67th anniversary of the D-Day landings on the beaches of Normandy during World War II. Arguably the largest military operation is the history of warfare, D-Day also carried the highest risk. If the Allies had failed to establish a beachhead and subsequently drive Nazi Germany to defeat, genocidal totalitarianism would have become a much more global presence than it is today (and it does still exist, make no mistake). Here's a salute to the brave young men and women and their visionary leaders to took that risk, many by sacrificing their own lives. An image of the American cemetary and memorial at Normandy appears below.