Too bad to check: Palin's Hong Kong speaking gig some kind of prank?

I am, shall we say, highly skeptical.

CLSA, the Asia-focused broker who invited Mrs. Palin as keynote speaker for an Asian investment conference, is well known for their cheeky takes on investment research.

In the past, they’ve polled Asian fortune tellers for index targets, hired anime cartoonists to draw Japanese research, and generally love to push the boundaries between entertainment and analysis. They are a real research firm, it’s just that they love to sprinkle in some hilarity every now and then as a smart marketing gimmick.

Sarah Palin is this year’s big laugh for them.

Her invitation as keynote speaker in Hong Kong is so ridiculous that its absurdity can’t be accidental.

What’s the punchline? They’re going to pay her a hundred grand to come read what I’m sure will be a perfectly serviceable speech on foreign relations — and that’s it? Investment bankers in the audience snickering at the very sight her, in some weird financial industry version of a pig party? Reading the post, I kept waiting for some detail about how they’re insisting on a Q&A period and planning to ambush her there or setting up some elaborate “Carrie” stunt where pig’s blood drops from the rafters, but no. Sure smells like it’s a legitimate offer to have an in-demand political celebrity make an appearance and this — this — is the best the left can do to spin it their way. Exit question: Assuming this turns out to be true, isn’t it horribly bad press for CLSA? The left may enjoy it, but conservative media will have a field day with it.