Thursday, April 09, 2009

Levi, Special Olympics and Trig

It's hard to think of Sarah Palin without also thinking about the rest of her family, and in particular, Trig Paxson Van Palin. Sarah made sure everyone knew how pro-life she was by carting Trig around everywhere with her during the campaign. Trig has Down syndrome, a chromosomal disorder, which means he will need special education, careful medical monitoring and extra encouragement as he grows.

Organizations like Special Olympics provide unique assistance and opportunities to children and adults with Down syndrome, giving them the chance to excel while rewarding hard work and dedication, and cultivating the will to succeed. Special Olympics programs could not exist without public and private financial support; and Special Olympics could not exist "without the time, energy, commitment and enthusiasm of its diverse volunteers."(1)

Levi Johnston kissing Trig Palin who is being held by Bristol Palin

Levi Johnston is one of those volunteers.  He coaches a Special Olympics Alaska ice-hockey team.(2)

Someone who seems to know Levi left this comment (replying to someone else who had made disparaging remarks about Levi) after a US Magazine article about the CBS interview:
This "PUNK" is a coach for the Special Olympics hockey team in Alaska. This "deadbeat" had a $67,000 a year job on the North Slope in Alaska before Palin got him terminated by bragging about him being there without a high school diploma. This "beast" of a man is working with his father to gain apprenticeship status so he can have a meaningful trade, that is IF the Palin's stop their distracting him with playing keep away with his son so he can focus his attention.(3)
So, why would Levi care enough about the developmentally disabled to volunteer as a Special Olympics hockey coach at age 17 or 18?  Could it have anything to do with Trig?

Sarah Palin and Mercede Johnston holding Trig Palin

The image above was taken prior to May 5, 2008, in the Palin family kitchen.  Sarah Palin bends in to the picture, and Mercede Johnston, Levi's sister, holds an infant Trig.  This image was on Mercede's MySpace page which was public at the end of August, 2008.  The MySpace page was made private shortly thereafter.  The caption that went with this picture was "Mommy-in-law, Trig and myself."

Bristol Palin and Mercede Johnston, holding Trig Palin

This image also comes from Mercede's MySpace page and was titled "Family Love."  Note the chair, the woodwork, and the piece of paper hanging on the cupboard in the background.  Note also Mercede's and Trig's clothing.  They match those in the previous image exactly.

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Levi Johnston holding TRIG and Mercede Johnston

The photo above appeared briefly on the video screen that was visible during the Johnston's interview with Tyra Banks.  Note the chair.  Check.  The kitchen and woodwork.  Check.  The paper hanging on the cupboard in the background.  Check.  Mercede's and Trig's apparel.  Check.

Here, then, is 17-year-old Levi Johnston, sometime prior to May 5, 2008, paternally holding ... his girlfriend's mother's baby?

They say a picture is worth a thousand words.  Put this image together with a teenage boy's unusual volunteerism for special needs children.  Remember this rugged Alaskan youth loves hockey, fishing and hunting.  Then review again the recent interviews that Levi has given, where he quietly but determinedly expresses his angst at not being able to share in seeing and raising his new son, Tripp.  Connect the dots.

I'm not the only person who has noticed the importance of this previously unpublished image.  Palin's Deceptions took note, right away.  Andrew Sullivan, the only sort-of mainstream blogger to address Babygate before finally dropping it several months ago, has a post about it.  Wonkette has now weighed in, too.

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On the one hand, we have Sarah Palin who talks about supporting Special Olympics, but slices a $550,000 line item in the 2008 budget for it by 50%.(4)  There was enough money to fully fund the request.  The state spent over $2 billion in PFD checks to residents.(5) And Sarah Palin tried to turn down (and may have succeeded in doing so) $40 million in Federal stimulus funds for special education programs.(6)

And on the other hand, we have Levi Johnston who is doing volunteer work for Special Olympics and demonstrating one heck of a lot of tenderness to a special needs child, if we can believe the pictures at all.  Who is acting more like a real parent of Trig Paxson Van Palin?

(1) Special Olympics Volunteers
(2) Newspusher
(3) US Magazine article
(4) Think Progress
(5) Alaska population: 680,000 x $3,200 per person from State = $2,176,000,000
(6) The Plumline
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