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Monday, February 06, 2023

Is it just us, or was this the longest week of all time? It seemed to creep along at a bafflingly slow pace. Maybe it’s because the mid-semester workload finally set in; maybe it’s because we’re going through a dire coffee shortage. Whatever the cause, it’s finally over. To make it official, here’s this week’s.. 

Darts & Laurels

One of the earliest rallies of Republican presidential hopefuls went down in Iowa during the Iowa Freedom Summit. It was a strange, strange gathering of the has-beens and weirdos of the Republican establishment — Donald Trump still has dreams of blustering around the Oval Office. But while nobody decisively “won” the Freedom Summit, a clear loser did emerge.

Sarah Palin burst her way back into the national spotlight in a way no one else ever could. During Palin’s speech, her teleprompter gave out — forcing her to ad lib her points as best she could. The “best she could” is still pretty terrible from the perspective of, you know, getting into public office. 

But for the rest of us, it was pretty damn hilarious. It has been described as rambling and incoherent; indeed, we found it awe-inspiring. Tangent after tangent degraded until it became clear she had abandoned any effort to string real sentences together. It even got weirdly erotic: “‘The Man’ can only ride you if your back is bent. So straighten it. Then he can’t ride you!” Her speech was so insane that GOP luminaries have started to dismiss her as a camera-happy basketcase. So we’re giving a thanks-for-the-laughs-before-all-the-politics-get-ugly LAUREL to Sarah Palin.

Unfortunately, inexplicably irrational behavior isn’t always a laughing matter. Such is the case with the recent measles outbreak at Disneyland — one which has landed dozens of people, many of them children, in hospitals. It would be one thing if it were an outbreak of an obscure, difficult-to-cure disease. But this is measles, a disease which was controlled and, in 2000, declared eliminated in the U.S. 

The successful elimination of measles was due entirely to the use of the measles vaccine. But the recent anti-vaccination movement preying on the paranoia of new parents has convinced thousands to abandon this treatment. It’s a philosophy without basis in any shred of actual evidence whatsoever and has reached its logical conclusion. Thanks, nimrods: Measles is back. We’re giving a your-unfathomable-stupidity-is-putting-others-in-danger DART to the anti-vaccination movement.

As you may or may not be aware, newly-instated UF President Kent Fuchs dropped by the Alligator office on Wednesday to speak with the editorial board. Not to brag, but it was pretty sweet — we got to meet with the big man upstairs, so to say, and it turned out he’s a cool guy. He introduced himself to us at the Alligator and laid out what he wanted to do for his next 12 months here at UF. We’re looking forward to what is shaping up to be an accessible and transparent administration. Here’s a thanks-for-dropping-by LAUREL to President Fuchs.

[A version of this story ran on page 6 on 1/30/2015]

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