I thought it was understood that tanning (as in: baking under the sun's rays, or in a tanning bed) is a dangerous, carcinogenic activity. But there is a whole industry of UV apologists I never knew about until I started Googling graphics for this post.
I've been watching the first season of MAD MEN on DVD, which dramatizes the early-60s advertising counter-attack on critics of tobacco: SMOKING IS FINE, EVERYONE DOES IT. (One amazing thing on MAD MEN is the constant puff, puff, puffing on high-tar cigarettes like LUCKY STRIKES; we baby-boomers grew up with that, and I'm surprised we aren't all dead.)
And now, they are telling us that searing the skin with ultraviolet rays is safe! Well, of course it is!
And guess who?!?
Palin’s Private Tanning Bed in the Alaska Governor’s Mansion
One of Vice Presidential Candidate Sarah Palin’s First Actions as Alaska Governor Was to Equip the State Building with a Tanning Bed
By Al Giordano and Bill Conroy
Special to The Narco News Bulletin
September 15, 2008
Indeed, John McCain claims that he is always careful to use sunscreen, as well as wearing hats, caps and long sleeves. John McCain has had four melanomas, removed in 1993 and 2000.
“The governor did have a tanning bed put in the Governor’s Mansion,” Roger Wetherell, chief communications officer of Alaska’s Department of Transportation and Public Facilities, confirmed to this newspaper. “It was done shortly after she took office [in early 2007] and moved into the mansion.”
The home tanning bed in the Governor’s Mansion in Juneau adds a trivial fact among the many, big and small, coming to light about the right-wing’s latest celebrity, McCain’s gamble to try and wrestle the election away from Democrat Barack Obama, but one that – tug the thread – leads to other questions about elitism, ethics, public health and the insufferable phoniness that plagues politics and politicians.
An expensive, specialized machine, unaffordable and out of reach to most American homes, utilized to artificially enhance one’s appearance, provides an apt metaphor for political image-making in campaigns. In fact, such an energy-hungry appliance, in most cases, requires a dedicated circuit, a voltage regulator and 220 volt wiring (and for some deluxe models, a hardwire connection to the power source) — a set-up not found in 96-year-old homes.
Republican presidential nominee John McCain recently said, of Palin, “she knows more about energy than probably anybody in the United States of America.” That kind of hyperbole can be expected from the guy who picked her out of relative obscurity, but so far both McCain and Palin have claimed that Alaska supplies “20 percent” of the United States’ energy, when, according to factcheck.org, that figure is “not even close… Alaska’s share of domestic energy production was 3.5 percent,” and just 2.4 percent of total domestic energy consumption. Okay, so Palin may not know more about energy than other national leaders, but the revelation that her newly re-wired Governor’s Mansion includes a tanning bed may indicate that in this time of high oil prices forcing most Americans to conserve energy, Palin consumes more energy than the others.
Tanning beds of the kind used by tanning salons can cost upwards of $35,000 each.
Asked whether taxpayer funds were used to equip the Alaska Governor’s Mansion for Palin’s tanning bed, Public Facilities spokesman Wetherell confirmed that the mansion’s electrical system had been upgraded early in Palin’s term. He insisted that the electrical work was not prompted by the extra needs of a tanning bed, but, rather was part of a project undertaken to bring the historic mansion’s wiring up to current building standards.
Since governors (and vice presidents) are generally expected to be healthy role models for the nation’s youth, Governor Palin’s darkening secret raises Edwardsian questions about her habit, which medical professionals and organizations have identified as a threat to public health, a cause of skin cancer, and a problem of abuse and addiction among teenagers and others through a condition that they call “tanorexia.”
Who Paid for the Governor’s Tanning Bed?I guess we need a tanned Vice President, though, don't we? Seems a small price to pay!
Alaska has a very strict ethics law governing public officials. In the case of the governor, the Alaska attorney general, who oversees the state’s Department of Law, enforces the ethics laws.
Judy Bockman, an Alaskan assistant attorney general who administers the states ethics act, says the governor is mandated to disclose any gift exceeding $150 in value if that gift is in anyway connected to her official position or if it is intended to influence the performance of her public duties. And a gift is defined, she says, “as the transfer of property to a public official at less than full value.”
Bockman says she was not aware of Palin’s tanning bed. That fact would seem to indicate that the governor did not list it as a gift, since such disclosures are to be filed with “a designated supervisor,” which in the case of the governor is the state’s attorney general.
Wetherell of the Department of Transportation and Public Facilities confirms that fact as well, indicating that he was informed by the Governor’s Office that Palin purchased the tanning bed “with her own money, so there was no need for an ethics disclosure.”
Wetherell says that Palin bought the tanning bed from a health club, adding that it was not a brand new machine. The fact that the tanning bed was acquired from a business also seems to indicate that it was a commercial model — which can command a hefty price tag as Wiese and Mensik point out.
Wetherell was not able to provide the name of the health club, the model of the tanning bed, nor the price Palin paid for the machine, which means there is no way of verifying, at this point, if Palin did, in fact, purchase it with her own money, and if so, whether she received a discount off market value exceeding $150 in deference to her position as governor.
If, in fact, the tanning bed was donated to Palin or her family, or provided at discount exceeding $150 as a favor due to her position, based on Bockman’s explanation of the state’s ethics law, it would have legally had to appear on her state ethics disclosure filings.
Bockman also explained that it is incumbent on a public official to disclose a gift in any case where that official suspects he or she received special treatment.
“There is an absolute bar against taking any gift that is inappropriate,” she says.
In any event, the examination of a potential ethics violation is handled on a case-by-case basis based on the particular circumstances of the event, Bockman adds.
“We don’t judge the appearance of impropriety,” Bockman says. “We look at the facts.”
The name of the health club that allegedly sold the tanning bed to Palin, its model and cost, form of payment, and that of the state contractor who did the electrical upgrade work at the Governor’s Mansion, are subject of continuing reporting by this newspaper. (Have a lead or a tip? Send it along to firstname.lastname@example.org)
Listening to: Patti Smith Group - Till Victory