Or maybe “turkey”
The modest California town of Turlock in Stanislaus county currently boasts a population of 70,000 and a campus of the California State University. The university is the legacy of a sufficiently well-connected state senator who thought his hometown should snag one of the new campuses being planned during the 1960s expansion of the CSU system. It gave Turlock something else to brag about aside from the poultry farms that inspired the memorable radio jingle about “Turkeys from Turlock.” (This is assuredly the reason that California State University, Stanislaus, is fondly referred to by many as “Turkey Tech.”)
I recently had breakfast in Turlock with an old grad school buddy who is a professor at Stan State (that's the other nickname of CSU, Stanislaus). It was impossible, of course, to avoid twitting him about the selection of Alaska's former half-term governor as guest of honor for the “celebration of excellence” marking Stan State's fiftieth anniversary.
Perhaps Sarah Palin is not someone you automatically associate in your mind with “excellence.” Or “education.” The snarky among us might say the same thing about Stan State, but the truth is that CSU Stanislaus has gained a reputation as a good deal in public higher education. Away from the high-cost environments of the CSU's urban campuses, Stan State offers a low-rent alternative path to bachelor's and master's degrees. (We shouldn't hold it against Stan State that one of its professors is the wacky IDiot Richard Weikert.)
Besides, as my friend pointed out, the university's leadership is simply pandering to the local political environment—and taking advantage of it. California's Central Valley is the locus of blood-red politics and teabagging. The university's “independent” foundation doesn't have to admit how much money it's paying Palin to aw-shucks her way through a “Knowledge is good” speech. The foundation claims, however, that it will clear between $100,000 to $200,000 from her appearance, even after crossing Palin's palm.
So think about it. The right-wing residents of Stanislaus county are being drawn like moths to Palin's bright and shiny flame. In return, each will be relieved of at least $500. (The hardcore Palinistas can unload $50,000 for the honor of being called “platinum sponsors.”) All of that money will go into student scholarships and other educational programs.
And, as we all know, the result of a public higher education in the liberal arts is more liberals. Glenn Beck said so, and he's an “expert” (on everything!).
Yeah, let's take their money.