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Wrap-up of news and opinion from your not-so-humble correspondent.

The Politically Correct Sarah Palin

Sarah Palin is turning into quite the liberal.

On June 8th and 9th, 2009, David Letterman told a few jokes on his late-night CBS show that his writers didn’t set up properly. Letterman was trying to joke about Sarah Palin’s pregnant-out-of-wedlock daughter, Bristol.

You don’t need to convince me that David Letterman’s jokes are caustic and just nasty. They are, and the meaner Dave gets the harder Letterman’s audience laughs, with bandleader Paul Shaffer as the Voice of the Angels scolding his boss when Letterman skirts the edge of what passes for good taste these days.

But if you’re going to run for high office on conservative family values — as Sarah Palin did — having your unmarried daughter knocked up by a boyfriend who manages to escape the shotgun wedding is an obvious politically liability. It’s not traditional. It’s not sanctified. It’s not done.

Publicly embracing your pregnant-out-of-wedlock daughter on the campaign trail squashes the guideline that children of politicians are off-limits, opening the subject up to journalists and comedians alike.

Letterman jumped into the loophole when the Alaskan governor and one of her daughters showed up in Dave’s own stomping grounds — New York City.

Letterman’s first opening monologue joke on June 8, 2009, was that when Sarah Palin and her daughter attended a baseball game at Yankee Stadium, “One awkward moment for Sarah Palin at the Yankee game, during the seventh inning, her daughter was knocked up by Alex Rodriguez.” Rodriquez was the Yankee’s third baseman notorious for liaisons with strippers and call girls.

Letterman told a variation the next night when he quipped, “The toughest part of her visit was keeping Eliot Spitzer away from her daughter.”

Eliot Spitzer was the married New York governor who’d resigned three months earlier when it was exposed that he’d been visiting high-priced call girls.

Okay. As nasty jokes go, this one was pretty fair and balanced, since it linked scandals of the Republican Sarah Palin with the Democrat Eliot Spitzer.

But, as I said, Letterman’s writers didn’t do their due diligence, because Sarah was at the baseball game not with 18-year-old Bristol but with her 14-year-old daughter, Willow.

So Letterman’s writers opened up a loophole for Sarah Palin to fire back, and fire back she did: “Any ‘jokes’ about raping my 14-year-old are despicable. Alaskans know it and I believe the rest of the world knows it, too.”

Now. Sarah Palin’s staff also failed in their due diligence, because neither Alex Rodriguez nor Eliot Spitzer were rapists, but clients of call-girls. So, if anything, David Letterman wasn’t calling Sarah Palin’s 14-year-old a potential rape victim. He was calling her a whore.

Here’s what “the rest of the world knows.”

Letterman’s jokes were intended to make fun of 18-year-old pregnant-out-of-wedlock Bristol, not 14-year-old Willow.

If Sarah Palin really didn’t know that, and wasn’t just deliberately acting clueless about the obvious intent of Letterman’s joke, she’s just — well — retarded.

Which brings us to the latest example of Sarah Palin’s use of political correctness to silence those she regards as political adversaries.

Back in August, 2009, in a private weekly strategy session, White House Chief of Staff, Rahm Emmanuel, needed a colorful phrase to describe what he regarded as the realpolitik cluelessness of left-wing Democrats who planned to run TV ads against fellow Congressional Democrats who wouldn’t support the President’s proposal for a “public option” in health care, even if splitting the party meant that no bill at all would make it to the President’s desk.

Rahm chose the term of art to describe the clueless: “fucking retarded.”

No one reported this until the Wall Street Journal did in a story run January 26th.

Sarah Palin’s two-year-old son, Trig, is a Down Syndrome child — what Devo’s first single in 1977 called “Mongoloid.”

Down Syndrome children are supposed to be learning impaired, though that’s not always true. But the term “retarded” is no longer used by the medical or teaching professions, and the common schoolyard epithet when I was growing up — “retard” — is now politically incorrect.

So is “mongoloid.” So is “moron.” So is “idiot.” So is “stupid.”

In fact, the only allowable term for persons of reduced intelligence these days is “Republican.”

But Sarah Palin — somehow missing that Rahm Emmanuel’s comment was directed at Democrats — decided that his use of the term “retarded” was an insult to her baby, and has now called for Rahm Emmanuel to be fired for using the word.

Sarah Palin takes

Sarah Palin takes Umbridge — er, umbrage — at use of the word “retarded.”

For using a word she doesn’t like. Palin wants the word “retarded” to be regarded as equivalent to the “N” word — and use of the “N” word can aggravate the circumstances of an act to make it into a “hate crime.” If Sarah Palin gets her way, calling someone “retarded” could be a felony.

Well, what term of art should I now use for a so-called conservative who repeatedly engages in fits of political-correctness designed to shut up people she doesn’t like?

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While We’re At It, Let’s Talk About Free Speech, Egalitarianism, and Common Sense

Let’s cut the crap.

There is diversity in human beings.

I’m fat and deconditioned. I’m not going to win any Olympic medals for the United States.

Down Syndrome children are often enough as mentally limited as I am physically limited. Sarah Palin’s son, Trig — and honestly it’s too early to know — just might not be smart enough to run for President of the United States.

But then again, Trig’s mother is no mental giant, and she might, so who knows?

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The President Gets Some Right

During his State of the Union address, President Obama offered several proposals that made my ears perk up. He proposed freezing government spending. He promised that all American troops would be out of Iraq by August 2010. He called for eliminating capital-gains taxes on small business investment. He called for building new nuclear power plants. He even said nice things about “clean coal” technologies.

Then, on February 1st, the Obama administration did something I’ve been waiting for a president to do since 1969: announce that the future of the United States exploration of space did not lie with NASA, but with private industry. Obama is sending NASA back to its original mission of research, and saying future space flights need to be accomplished by private firms.

If President Obama accomplishes nothing else during his administration, his “deprogramming space flight” may well be as important to the future of the human race as President Kennedy’s launching a program to land an American on the moon by the end of the 1960′s.

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Initial Disclosures

The Director of National Intelligence: DNI. Deny. But is it plausible deniability?

California. CA. See-ya!

Nevada. NV. Envy? You know it!

Hawaii. HI. That’s got to be good for tourism!

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