A clue to what kind of political leader (president?) Sarah Palin would make is in the fact that she keeps secret how much money she makes for public speaking. She seems to be in this thing more for the money than any sense of public duty or altruism. You know she complains that the status quo in politics worry more about fattening up their own pocket books along with those of the special interests who fund them than representing the citizens at large.
I bring this up because Palin is lined up to speak at the state-run university in Turlock, California and it is reported she may be paid as much as $100,000 to do so. Tickets to hear her speak are being sold for $500 each. And this thing is at least partly supported by public funds because the California State University Stanislaus Foundation, the non-profit group sponsoring the event, gets administrative support from public funds and there presumably will be public-funded security — how much public funding no one knows, because such foundations are not subject to public disclosure laws.
And for all I know this is the usual thing — public figures getting big bucks for talking to the public at public venues.
But it is wrong, no matter who does it. The very idea that political aspirants or spokespeople, or even has-beens, would charge the public to speak to them is absurd and shameful and just plain wrong. Worse yet, university officials refuse to disclose how much public funds are to be spent. Gee, I thought Ms. Palin would want more transparency in the evil government she rails against.
And to be clear here, I don’t begrudge Palin profiteering from on her extended 15 minutes of fame — I just don’t think it ought in any way to be at the public expense.
And now to another subject, that strange word “niggardly”. It is not a form of the dreaded “N” word but it is often confused with it.
And sometimes, or at least in one case close to where I live (a town south of where I live), the confusion is apparently the whole idea — a despicable play on words.
A sign was posted on a local business that was going under. It claimed President Obama (our first black president), is “niggardly” and is hurting small businesses.
Niggardly means stingy (you can look it up). But it is a relatively obscure word not often used in every-day conversation or even every-day writing in the mass media.
There have been several controversies over the word’s use over the years, but in most of them the use was innocent, clearly not intended to be a double meaning.
While I object strongly to the implication of the local use of the word, I do not agree with those who are suggesting its use should be prosecuted as a hate crime. I don’t think I even agree in the concept of prosecuting hate crimes. While I believe in going after anyone who harms someone else, we don’t want to impinge on free speech or make even thoughts illegal. But we can consider the source of some of these things and judge accordingly.
You can call up the “niggardly sign” story on the internet and see the photo of the sign. Actually it does not make sense to me, except for the obvious excuse to pretend to innocently use a word that sounds and looks like “nigger”, and thus pander to the ignorant and bigots (and ignorant bigots) among us. It just seems to say Obama is stingy and hurts small business. I thought the complaint against Obama was that he was anything but stingy in that he was handing out too many public dollars. Whether he hurts small businesses, I could not really say.