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The skinny on tanning-gate: pale tale about Palin?

  "Sarah Palin -- Fake Baked Alaska." "It's Sunny All Year Round in the Govenor's Mansion in Alaska." "Caribou Barbie -- Malibu Barbie?"

   These are some of the blog headlines triggered by the news that the Alaska governor and Republican vice presidential nominee installed a tanning bed in the governor's mansion.

   While some bloggers and people leaving online comments have cited the tanning bed as an example of misplaced priorities for Palin, one Buffalonian is cheerfully defending her.

   Dan Humiston, founder of the Tanning Bed chain of tanning salons, is taking the opportunity to get some free publicity for his congressional campaign.

   Humiston is running against Rep. Brian M. Higgins, D-Buffalo, and he also happens to be the president of the Indoor Tanning Association.

   "Especially in northern locations like Alaska, indoor tanning can help guard against wintertime depression and ward off diseases associated with vitamin D deficiency," Humiston said in a statement from the association that was picked up across the Web this week.

   Humiston said concerns about the health effects of tanning are overblown by the "sun scare industry," though he admits overexposure to the sun or artificial sun can cause skin damage.

   Does it matter at all that Palin put a tanning bed in the governor's mansion? Should the media even be covering this issue? Does it make you less likely to vote for her?

   And do you agree with Humiston that tanning, in moderation, is a good way to get a healthy glow and avoid seasonal depression?


   -- Stephen T. Watson


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