Monday, 17 May 2010

Palingates Weekly Roundup

Guest post by Mrs. Tarquin Biscuitbarrel

It's hard to imagine a slow "news cycle" in $arah Palin territory. So let's get cracking again! Last week's eight posts attracted 4,416 comments!


Sunday, May 9
Mother's Day -- Open Thread

In which photo would you prefer to appear with a bundle of joy, this one...?

...Or this one, photographed by Jim Davis, which appeared in the New York Times on July 12, 2009?

Sarah Palin signing baby

We enjoyed a rare partial break from You-Know-Who ("No-Not-Voldemort, Wiseguy," as I have to say), courtesy of Regina, whose open thread served up a tempting mixed grill of photographs, cartoons, and jokes. In the comments thread, Palingaters reminisced and honoured mothers, grandmothers, children, daughters, and friends. Touchingly, many of these tributes went to relatives who are or were also friends--how delightful! What what a concept, for some of us! Not forgotten were the fur-bearing companions. When so many of these sustain their housemates with unconditional devotion, even the technically accurate description of "non-human" seems an inappropriate tag. "Not like some," Winnie-the-Pooh's pal Eeyore would say. Who ever packed more ominous meaning into just three words than could this legendary donkey?

Donkey drawing

A luckless high school graduating class fell victim to a commencement speech delivered by Chuck Heath Sr. in which he detailed how his most famous daughter allegedly had field dressed an Eeyore, but that's getting ahead of the week's recap...


Monday, May 10
Greg Palast and Geoffrey Dunn offer two different perspectives on Wally Hickel-- and "The Rogue Candidate" is coming soon!

When former Alaska Governor Walter J. ("Wally) Hickel died on May 7 at the age of ninety, Sarah Palin pulled out all the stops to express her condolences... by Twitter, of course:
"Upon his passing,we honor Gov Walter Hickel’s life,he made real difference in the world.Unsurpassed impacts on Alaska,the Arctic&her people"
Fortunately, two seasoned investigative journalists--Greg Palast and Geoffrey Dunn--take far, far more than 140 characters at a go as they continue to analyze the life of a man who helped make Alaska what it is today, for better or worse. "Wally Hickel invented Alaska and told me he regretted it," writes Palast. "He also invented Sarah Palin, and I was hoping... to ask him whether he also regretted that second invention."
Hickel is one of the main forces, according to Palast, "who successfully managed to talk Alaska Natives into signing away to oil and gas developers the energy rights to the land upon which their forebears had lived for thousands of years."

Walter Hickel, elected Governor of Alaska twice over twenty-five years, was one strange Republican," notes Palast. "Nixon expelled him from the Cabinet in 1970 for publicly opposing the invasion of Cambodia. Hickel was a Huey Long-style populist socialist. 'Private property,' he told me, 'is an artifact of the temperate zone; it just won't work for most of the planet.'... But for a man averse to private property, he owned lots of it and hungered for more. He was undoubtedly Alaska's richest man, and how he got it, and how he maneuvered to get more, with Nixon's help, and later, Palin's, was the reason I have been investigating him."

"Thirty years ago, Hickel realized that his arctic dreams lay in Alaska's vast reserves of gas, oil, coal, and lumber. But extracting and shipping those resources required removing a large obstacle: the land's ownership by Indians and Natives."

Since the American dream of single-family home ownership was regarded by Hickel as "an artifact of the temperate zone," evidently he didn't think it at all odd to consider the Arctic as ripe for exploitation. With the tropics also considered non-temperate and therefore fair dinkum for making a buck, it's very easy to visualize Hickel and his cronies relaxing on a shaded verandah in some exotic locale, while a man of color in a starched white jacket bows deferentially from the waist, proffering a tray of cocktails.

"Hickel, elected Alaska's second governor in 1966, was driven crazy by the Natives' ownership of the land," says Palast. "He told me, 'You can only claim title to land by conquest or purchase. Just because your granddaddy chased a moose across some property doesn't mean you own it.'"

Dang! That excludes Chuck Heath Sr., waving his shotgun, from declaring eminent domain!

Palast, who investigated the Exxon Valdez grounding for the Natives' Chugash Alaska Corporation, currently reports on BP and its relationship with Alaska. He gratefully accepts tax-deductible donations at; the full article on Hickel appears at

Geoffrey Dunn's Huffington Post article about Hickel was more sympathetic to the man than Palast had been, but Dunn captured Hickel's blunt remarks about the young politician whom he had once mentored.

"When I asked Hickel about then-governor Sarah Palin, his disposition turned hard. Hickel had played a major role in her victory as governor in the 2006 election--his stamp of approval went a long way toward getting her elected--and he expected a place at the table with the young governor... In the immediate aftermath of Palin's election, however, Palin cast Hickel aside. As anyone who has ever worked with or for Sarah Palin knows full well, her capacity for deceit and betrayal knows no bounds. She stabbed Hickel in the back... As a result, [he] viewed Palin with personal disdain, describing her 'political opportunism' in the most condemnatory terms possible. He lost all respect for her... He was not bitter--he was a much bigger man that that--but at the same time, he was not afraid to show his disgust. 'I don't give a damn about her,' he told me.

"When I asked him for a formal, on the record response to Palin's stunted career as governor, he took a deep pause. 'She fell in love with the national spotlight and lost her ethical compass,' he said thoughtfully. 'That was a sad day for Alaska and America.'"

Seasoned Palin-watchers might declare that Sarah Palin owes Wally Hickel for ever assuming that she had an "ethical compass" in the first place. What did she do with it when she had one? And where did it go? The root cellar? eBay?

Zachary Roberts, a new face to many of us here, is raising money for a trip to Alaska in June in order to collect more information for his video project, "The Rogue Candidate: Palin, Alaska & the True Story."

Click on the image below to watch a video snippet, and to toss some money Zachary's way:


To say that Patrick is "fond" of original documents is a typically modest remark, akin to noting that Shakespeare was "fond" of writing sonnets. Quoting from, showing genuine documentation, stone-cold, fact-filled-facty-fact-facts--not just, "I heard somewhere that..."--are the sign of a real seeker of the truth. Not only has Patrick been in direct contact with the office of California State Senator Leland Yee (D-San Francisco), who has been monitoring with dismay the murky circumstances under which $arah Palin has been booked to speak at California State University/Stanislaus, but he also has obtained more than 150 pages of internal CSUS documents.

Readers can download the 151 pages of internal emails HERE (attention: 75 MB).
Second download link HERE.
As an alternative to the download, you can also view the pages here:

The communications reveal:

* CSU frantically tried to prevent bad PR even before the event was announced to the public.
* The main reason why Sarah Palin's speaker's fee remains undisclosed is that CSU fears negative headlines--which they are getting nonetheless.
* Professors of CSU Stanislaus protested Palin's June 25 appearance via internal campus e-mails, to no avail. Some professors insist that furtive scheduling and Palin's costly fees and expenses could damage the reputation of the campus.
* The CSU administrators' public insistence that several pages of the Palin contract were "stolen" from a university recycling bin by two students is simply laughable.
* Personal convictions and relationships provide a revealing explanation as to why the administration of CSU Stanislaus fights so hard for Sarah Palin. For example, Kristin Olsen, assistant vice president for communications and public affairs at CSU Stanislaus, who plays a prominent role in these e-mails, is a radical anti-choice activist who currently is running as a Republican for a seat in the California Assembly. And Bernie Swain, chairman of the Washington Speakers Bureau, which handles Palin's speaking engagements, has maintained his friendship with CSU Chancellor Charlie Reed since their "good old days" at The George Washington University.

Alex Cantatore, did some actual... wow!...reporting at the Turlock Journal, which published an article beginning, "Sarah Palin documents generate more questions than answers". "The Journal made contact with [Eve] Hightower [the university's director of media relations], but she did not respond to Journal questions regarding the University's attempt to bury the story," wrote Cantatore. "The counteroffensive continued in an April 17 e-mail from Nick Garcia of Ignite Consulting, where Garcia said he would 'track the online response to the articles and work to insert our messaging on these news comment sites,' effectively admitting to shill commenting. Hightower did not respond to questions on the nature of the university's relationship with Ignite Consulting, nor did she elaborate on services Garcia had performed."

"Shill commenting"! We are dazzled by this perfectly apt new term!

One of the people whom Garcia copied on his e-mail is Beth Miller, a partner in the "advocacy communications" firm of Wilson Miller Communications, Inc. Julie Soderlund, also a Wilson Miller executive, is the spokesperson for Carly Fiorina's 2010 Republican primary campaign for the U.S. Senate. Palin endorsed Fiorina just a few days ago, angering Tea Party candidate Chuck DeVore and his supporters. "Will the circle be unbroken?" as the old tune goes, " By and by, Lord, by and by..." We hope the circle breaks: Sunlight is the best disinfectant, especially for political campaigns!

Even without forking out more than a thousand dollars per minute for soggy, previously tossed word salad, CSU Stanislaus currently struggles to maintain its standards within an especially tight budget. Students suffer more than anyone, especially considering that the money shelled out for just one Palin speech could easily finance at least one four-year degree, all expenses included. As the scholarship-grubbing member of the proletariat that I once was, even now, this kind of waste, fraud, and abuse of state funds makes me hopping mad. Imagine what the students think! "Palin's upcoming visit could cost some students a shot at a scholarship. Without warning, scholarships at CSU Stanislaus are being eliminated," reported the local CBS affiliate on May 6.

CSU Stanislaus - Palin cartoon

Students at CSU Stanislaus already have begun demonstrating against the Half-Term GINO's visit, and they have more than a month in which to marshal their efforts. Anyone interested in lending a hand or a shout-out can e-mail them at

CSU Stanislaus - Palin protest flyer
A copy of State Senator Yee's most recent remark about the taxpayer-funded cover-up of Palin's scheduled appearance at CSU Stanislaus was sent to Palingates:
“I am shocked that the university is using either taxpayer dollars or foundation funds to help cover-up their wrongdoing. The university already has several employees responsible for media relations. It is truly unconscionable that they would find it a priority to contract with a partisan PR firm at a time when students and faculty are struggling. The documents released this week by CSU raise more questions than answers. Many of the correspondence clearly had preceding and subsequent emails that were not released as required by law.”

Sarah Palin - Birmingham

Sarah Palin has very strange priorities, Regina notes, in what may be the understatement of the decade. Though her grandson Trig has Down syndrome, Mrs. Palin did not waive or reduce her fee for her appearance at a fundraising dinner on May 11 forRainbow Omega, a residential facility for developmentally disabled adults located in Eastaboga, Alabama.

Palin reportedly received her usual fee of $100,000-plus-expenses for the address. An estimated 800 attendees paid a minimum of $250 apiece to attend the benefit dinner.

Her talk had very little to do with special needs, and plenty to do with attempting to warm up the crowd with "redneck jokes," which were met with a tepid response from a polite and somewhat baffled crowd. Mrs. Palin bashed "Obamacare," reintroducing the widely-debunked notion of "death panels," and insisting that senior citizens and the special needs community would be prime "victims" of the newly passed health care reform.

$P also, too, treated the audience in Birmingham to anecdotes about her honeymoon. To date, during various speeches, $P has claimed to have gone "moose hunting," and to have honeymooned in Hawai'i, that oh-so-troublesome state crammed with Asians, where she reportedly bought her legendary $35 wedding ring. In Going Rogue, no mention is made of a honeymoon, nor of any festivities after Sarah and Todd took their "broke butts" to the courthouse for the nuptials. Their wedding supper was picked up from the drive-through window at Wendy's.

After the speech, Mrs. Palin met with reporters... for less than five minutes. She repeated her "commonsense concept" that people should help themselves or count on Christian charities in order to meet the needs of developmentally disabled children. Above, in $arahWorld, all aspects of government need to keep its sticky beaks from interfering with these families. Babies who insist on being born both with special needs and to financially struggling families should expect a lifetime of dependency on faith-based charities. Or they can go without. In $arah's small mind, these babies should expect no health care, no early intervention, and certainly no education, if the big bad government has anything to do with its planning or funding.

As advocates go, says Regina, "$arah Palin is the worst thing ever to happen to the special needs community, starting with Trig."

While cheerfully agreeing to soak an organization caring for developmentally disabled adults, Palin gave a warm Tarheel welcome performed gratis--up front, that is--when she delivered the keynote address to the National Rifle Association in Charlotte, North Carolina, on May 14.

We can safely surmise that in addition to admiration, on Friday Mrs. Palin got the kind of support she can take to the bank. The NRA confab offers an excellent opportunity to collect checks made out to SarahPAC, although we won't know how much she took in until the records are filed next year. The 2010 NRA convention is expected to be the largest event of any kind ever to be held in Charlotte. Demographics of the NRA members--two-thirds of whom are male, 92 percent Caucasian, and predominantly over thirty years old--indicates that $arah Palin wouldn't miss THIS gathering for all the ammo at WalMart.

During her speech to the NRA, $arah referred to the most iconic member of her family not by his given name, but as "Trigger."

More about $arah's happy sojourn with the gun fetishists to come on Saturday...

Remember everything said about Bristol as the "face of single motherhood"? About the "unrelenting responsibility," how she gets up at four every morning and works an "eight to five job"? About how she can't go to parties and all, because according to her public service announcements, a baby speaking with an adult male voice tells her to stay home and tend to his diaper rash?

That was LAST week. [Insert melodramatic teen eye roll here] I mean, that was CENTURIES ago. So... not... any... more!

Bri$tol has signed with Single Source Speakers, a sharp-eyed Palingates reader noted. And sure enough,Bri$tol not only has a full page to herself at the bureau's website, but her fees are in the top range charged by head honcho Ron Miller. A modest fellow, "he began scheduling speakers in 1984 and didn't just help set the standard for flawless customer service--Ron became the standard." Wow. Too bad Ron went into business too late to take credit for booking the Sermon on the Mount. What would he have charged for that?

Single Source Speakers targets an inspirational, conservative, Christian market. Bri$tol's areas of expertise are billed as "Abstinence, Conference, Fundraiser, Pro-Life, Special Event/Holiday, Women's, Youth." Though his web site shows Ron Miller photographed with Oliver North and Bill Clinton, they aren't among the speakers whom he places. In what Ron calls his "infrequently asked questions" appear these pertinent queries:

"Do speakers ever waive their fees?"

"How can my non-profit organization justify the expense of hiring a top-notch speaker?"
Hiring a top-notch speaker is not an expense. It’s an investment.

Oh, so having Bri$tol Palin address your friendly neighborhood abstinence summit is an "investment"! This outfit is distinctly less upscale than $arah Palin's representatives, the Washington Speakers Bureau, as Single Source Speakers' lowest fee scale is "up to $2,500." But hey, a girl has to start somewhere. Especially one who just scraped through high school. So let's start her at the top billing rate! For speakers earning more than "$10,001," Single Source notes discreetly, "Call to discuss."

And Bri$tol already has a gig lined up, an "interactive interview session" at the 39th Heartbeat International Annual Conference, a meeting of "nearly 700 pregnancy support providers from 17 countries," which will take place May 18-20 in Orlando, Florida. Though she may not have known it at the time, the "choice" Bri$tol claims to be so proud of making is not only one that she and her mum would deny to other girls and women, as a subject of public discussion, it's much more lucrative than actually using birth control, and not having a baby at all. If there are any women out there earning top dollar delivering a highly publicized speech entitled, "Thanks to taking responsibility for my own reproductive health, I use contraception, am valedictorian of my high school class, and have a National Merit scholarship to college in the fall," I'd like to hear about it. (Here's when austintxx puts his "crickets" YouTube.)

Jennifer O'Neill
Nine divorces and looking fine: Jennifer O'Neill

Among the best-known speakers booked by Single Source are Cover Girl Cosmetics model and actress Jennifer O'Neill ("The Summer of '42"), and writer Kevin McCullough, whose 2008 book The Kind of Man Every Man Should Be "threw down the gauntlet to modern feminism, and began to rebuild the ever-so-needed 'real man' for today's world."

Setting contemporary manhood standards: Kevin McCullough

McCullough and O'Neill probably do not appreciate being ranked below Bri$tol Palin, occupying the "$5,001 to $10,000" fee range. Unhappily, this demonstrates that all of the life experience in their lengthy bios does not outweigh pure notoriety in the global marketplace of right-wing ideas. They're still being paid less than an inarticulate teenager best known for getting pregnant.
O'Neill's bio with Single Source tactfully omits the fact that she has been married and divorced nine times. NINE. That statistic blows her right off the Glasgow Coma Scale ("Less than eight? Intubate!"), and strikes me as slightly more traumatic than undergoing one abortion, an experience that O'Neill has made the focus of her fundraising for "crisis pregnancy centers."

However, neither having undergone an abortion or divorced so many guys, I guess only Jennifer O'Neill can compare the experiences from a podium. After the check clears, of course.

Single Source Speakers - screenshpt Bristol Palin

Single Source Speakers - screenshpt Bristol PalinSingle Sources offers very basic advice--why, you can almost hear $P's voice:

"How can I, the sponsor, treat a speaker so that when they leave they can tell others of their positive experience with my organization?"


* Pick the speaker up in a Pinto station wagon
* Provide lodging at Motel 6
* Take them to Taco Bell or McDonald’s for meals
* Chauffeur them around town to show them off to your friends


* Unto others as you would have them do unto you.


What? No Taco Bell?!

Single Sources carefully words the statement that Bri$tol Palin is "working on her first book." Similar to the careful parsing of the verb "to have," employed with such success by her mother ("Mrs. Palin has a son named Trig"), we should not assume that Bri$tol actually is writing a book. Perhaps she's reading one that somebody else wrote, before she puts her name on it. The comments section buzzed with prospective Palin family book titles, the most popular was this one, from our own Vera City:
"From Open Legs to Open Doors: the Bristol Palin Story"

"Following the tradition of women in her family, Bristol Palin turns unwed pregnancy into a path to security. Her maverick move is to not marry the father of her child, but just get the money directly. Follow Bristol's journey as a young girl learning from her high profile mother how to fleece a nation, while hiding your past, to her whirlwind teen years learning the lucrative value of abstinence. Read her thrilling revelation on how you can have your baby and your hymen too! (Amen to hymens!) Learn how she braved repeated threats of assault in the remote regions of Alaska, just next to the Best Western, and her harrowing experiences without her cell phone. Thrill to her adventures in independence as she holds down numerous jobs before the age of twenty, which no one sees her performing and never last very long."

Sarah Palin at the 2010 NRA convention holds up her hand where she wrote, "I am the NRA."

*May 14 - 00:05*

That Austin-based group called "Heroic Media" has no right to that moniker. "Heroic" is the only word for the amount of stamina demonstrated by Kathleen and Patrick, as they listened to a substantial portion of the National Rifle Association convention, via live-streaming Internet feed.

Says Patrick, "It was a freak show of epic proportions. The NRA, laughably billing itself as a 'non-partisan' organization, presented every prominent right-wing lunatic they could get their hands on. After having listened at the beginning of the event to the crazed speeches of the leaders of the NRA themselves, we were not very surprised to see that speakers like Ken Blackwell, John Bolton, Michael Reagan, and Oliver North were the preferred choice."

Every speech stressed how dark, evil, liberal powers in Washington try to suppress the "good Americans" (i.e., the ones who look just like them--two-thirds of NRA members are male, and ninety-two percent are Caucasian), taking away their nebulous "freedoms," as well as their guns. John Bolton managed to introduce some new angles, calling Barack Obama "the first post-American president," whatever that means, and claiming that the United Nations wants to take away Second Amendment rights. He must have been plugging his ears with his fingertips during the 2008 campaign, when Barack Obama announced that he had no intention to alter Second Amendment rights.

But this is the same John Bolton who has had a famously stormy relationship with the United Nations throughout his career. Shortly after the 9/11 attacks, Bolton caused an uproar by remarking that "the Secretariat Building in New York has thirty-eight stories. If you lost [the] ten stories today [that house the United Nations], it wouldn't make a bit of difference."

Also, too, according to Bolton, the USA should never be required to ask the United Nations first, should the United States wish to attack another country. How convenient! The perfect concept the beat the Bolshevik...I mean the Islamic hordes which are apparently at American's doorstep. This illuminating example of neoconservative "thinking" is noteworthy, as Sarah Palin is willing to be used as a mouthpiece by neocons, sources tell Palingates, such as Bill Kristol of The Weekly Standard (former chief of staff to Vice President Dan Quayle), and Randy Scheunemann (whose consulting firm, Orion Strategies, receives hefty consulting fees from SarahPAC). They write, they send those pesky pieces of paper to Sarah Palin, and she delivers a free-form "policy slam," mixing what she thinks they think, with what she thinks she thinks.

Sarah's address to the NRA was covered with appropriate gravitas by the New York Daily News, which dispatched Joanna Malloy, one of the paper's gossip columnists, to observe how politicians are "currying favour with the NRA, the country's biggest-spending lobby."Malloy gave this thankless task a good shot, first noting that Sarah has "better legs than Haley Barbour." (Who doesn't have better legs than Haley Barbour?!)"Her earrings are better, too," added Malloy, "The vision of Palin walking onstage in slingback heels and a form-fitting black dress was like an airgun shot into the audience of 9,000." Well, phew. Given how heavily armed the audience is, we should give thanks that the response resembled only "an airgun shot."

All of the redneck jokes that were met politely, but without enthusiasm, earlier in the week at the Rainbow Oasis fund-raiser in Alabama garnered a much livelier reception from the NRA. Baby shower at the shooting range, check! "Bambi's mother on the plate," check! Honeymoon on a hunting trip, "that's us!" crowed Palin. Check Going Rogue. On page 50, after the Palins became as one at the Palmer courthouse, they left notes and flowers on their parents' porches. "I heard later that Mom bawled," said Lynn Vin... Sarah. No honeymoon described, whether hunting, or in Hawai'i with all of those noisome Asians, where Sarah reportedly bought her legendary $35 wedding ring. The official version of the Palin nuptials, says Going Rogue, is that Todd moved into the Anchorage apartment that Sarah shared with her sister, Heather, and went to work days as a baggage handler, while spending his nights "plowing snow and clearing the steps of the BP Exploration Alaska office building until the fishing season would start again."

Come on, Sarah, this is your own damned book! You got married in August! How much snow was there to clear? When does fishing season start, anyway?

For those who stubbornly remain unimpressed by Sarah's fabled physical charms, a clear head frees up logical thinking skills to compare what Sarah says with what she put her name on what someone else said that she said. If you catch my drift, and I don't mean snow.

Another redneck thigh-slapper involves "using a fishing license as an ID." Too bad Sarah didn't have her license on her when she was busted while operating a commercial set-net fishing boat without one, a felony in Alaska. According to Palingates' Alaska savant Barb Dwyer, Sarah brushed off that little incident as a "clerical error."

Sarah referred to her grandson Trig as "Trigger." Ow.

And, of course, the NRA gathering offered plenty of wholesome family fun:

*May 13 - 00:05*

Instructor teaches Caleb Zwiefel, 8, to shoot a gun at the shooting range
inside the NRA 139th annual convention.

Sarah NRA convention - ugly picture

Not very long ago, a candidate for the Presidency of the United States declared that he was "a uniter, not a divider." That candidate, George W. Bush, became our forty-third president. And as far-fetched as this analogy once might have seemed, 43 resembles a Kumbaya-humming centrist compared with the causes that Sarah Palin publicly espouses. She possesses, in spades, a knack of upsetting and alienating a number of core constituencies, many of which overlap:

* Women
* Environmental groups
* Animal-lovers
* The special-needs community
* Parents
* Christians vs. non-Christians
* Immigrants and ethnic minorities vs. native-born "rill" Americans

Intelligent, peace-loving, sensible people are all disgusted with Sarah Palin's hypocrisy, divisiveness, and vindictiveness. Her shallow statements, repeated platitudes, and word salad may make us laugh, but deep down we're horrified.

Sarah Palin is loved and admired by "low-information" voters who can't see beyond a pretty face or a shapely body, by people too ignorant to seek information, too racist to be objective. She's in a comfortable relationship with ruthless neocons and large corporations. They, and Sarah, see one another as useful tools to symbiotically achieve their own ends. And she gets a pass from the media because she means big bucks for them.

Hopefully the intelligent, sensible people are in the majority and will continue to see through Sarah Palin's lies, continue to be outraged by her ill advised statements and will show their power when the mid-term elections take place later this year and again in 2012.

Sarah Palin told the NRA Convention:

"The NRA is making a difference by telling the truth, we're making a difference by not imposing more gun laws, but by enforcing the existing ones. And that's just common sense. But the anti-gun groups don't deal with common sense, they deal with that emotionalism and propaganda... and they deal in lies."

Here are some fact--not lies--concerning gun fatalities:

In a single year, 3,012 children and teens were killed by gunfire in the United States, according to the latest national data released in 2002. That is one child every three hours; eight children every day; and more than 50 children every week. And every year, at least 4 to 5 times as many kids and teens suffer from non-fatal firearm injuries. (Children's Defense Fund and National
Center for Health Statistics)

* America is losing too many children to gun violence. Between 1979 and 2001, gunfire killed 90,000 children and teens in America. (Children's Defense Fund and National Center for Health Statistics)
* In one year, more children and teens died from gunfire than from cancer, pneumonia, influenza, asthma, and HIV/AIDS combined. (Children's Defense Fund)
* The rate of firearm deaths among kids under age 15 is almost 12 times higher in the United States than in 25 other industrialized countries combined. (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)

Each year, there are 34,000 gun-related deaths in the U.S. How many of those dead are children, and has that number increased in the last few years? Here are the facts. Safety expert Gavin de Becker found out while researching his books, The Gift of Fear and Protecting the Gift, that:

* Every day, about 75 American children are shot. Most recover — 15 do not.
* The majority of fatal accidents involving a firearm occur in the home.
* Gunshot wounds are the single most common cause of death for women in the home, accounting for nearly half of all homicides and 42 percent of suicides.
* An adolescent is twice as likely to commit suicide if a gun is kept in the home.
* More teenage boys in America die from gunfire than from car accidents.
* Gunshot wounds are now the leading cause of death for teenage boys in America (white, African-American, urban, and suburban).

Researchers at have collected the following statistics on kids and guns:

* Twenty-nine percent of high-school boys have at least one firearm; most are intended for hunting and sporting purposes.
* Six percent say they carry a gun outside the home. (The National Institute of Justice, 1998)
* From 1980 to 1997, gun killings by young people age 18 to 24 increased from about 5,000 to more than 7,500. During the same period, gun killings by people 25 and older fell by almost half, to about 5,000. (The U.S. Department of Justice)
* There are about 60 million handguns in the United States. About two to three million new and used handguns are sold each year. (U.S. Senate Statistics)
* Nearly 500 children and teenagers each year are killed in gun-related accidents. About 1,500 commit suicide.
* Nearly 7,000 violent crimes are committed each year by juveniles using guns they found in their own homes.(Senator Herb Kohl, D-Wisconsin, sponsor of the safety-lock measure)
* Every day in 1994, 16 children age 19 and under were killed with guns, and 64 were wounded in this country.(National Center for Health and Statistics, 1996)

As American children and young people continue to die from the plethora of guns that feed American gun culture, the four million members of the National Rifle Association continues to chant its slogans:

"Guns don't kill people, people kill people."

"I'll give you my gun when you take it from my cold, dead hands!"

Baby with gun

If the sight of a toddler in a pretty petal-pink T-shirt, gnawing on the butt of a .357 Magnum doesn't upset you, you just might be a member of the NRA, a supporter of Sarah Palin... or both.

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