Meanwhile, back in reality, Obama’s election certified

January 9, 2009

It’s one of those arcane and many argue archaic things the “founders” left us, but the electoral college’s process of electing the president of the U.S. rumbled to completion yesterday when Congress opened the ballots from the electors, and then certified that Barack Obama will be the next president of the U.S.

Preparations for the inauguration continue unabated.

But for those still clinging to their tinfoil hats, even as the deadline rapidly approaches to go to High Definition Television, January 9 and January 16 offer chances for the Supreme Court to overturn the election, by ruling Obama’s birth was invalid.  Some, confusing the Supreme Court with Congress, urge a landslide of letters to the Court itself (“that’ll show ’em!”).

I’ve managed to get myself banned at that last website.  I asked the author to make a case, to provide the evidence and arguments against Obama’s eligibility.  Such an appearance of gravity and Newtonian physics scares the bejeebers out of these groups.

One of the most intrigueing questions now:  What will the Bergites and Dononfrions do after inauguration? Are there enough of them that Pfizer is working on a treatment, or cure?


Baltimore Sun: Obama eligibility challenge likely to be refused

December 7, 2008

Responsible media, generally called in denigrating styel “mainstream media” by many of our more nutty nut cases, have held off in commenting on the Supreme Court’s position on the case against Obama’s election discussed in conference last Friday, December 5.

Except the Baltimore Sun, which notes as the Bathtub did, that the appeal is likely to go no further.

We won’t know for sure until tomorrow.

Meanwhile, Eric Zorn at The Chicago Tribune says “enough already,” and calls for the conservative moonbats to give up the nasty, fruitless calumny.  (Also see this Tribune story.)


Should a teacher let students know her voting preferences?

October 14, 2008

Law professor Stanley Fish tackled the issues around teachers wearing campaign buttons in the classroom, at his blog with the New York Times.

Fish says teachers don’t have a free speech right to wear buttons supporting their favorite candidates.

My point is made for me by William Van Alstyne, past President of the AAUP and one of the world’s leading authorities on the first amendment. In a letter to current president Nelson, Van Alstyne corrects his view that faculty “have a first amendment right” to wear campaign buttons. “I have no doubt at all,” he declares, “that a university rule disallowing faculty members from exhibiting politically-partisan buttons in the classroom is not only not forbidden by the first amendment; rather, it is a perfectly well-justified policy that would easily be sustained against a faculty member who disregards the policy.”

Right! It’s no big deal. It’s a policy matter, not a moral or philosophical matter, and as long as the policy is reasonably related to the institution’s purposes, it raises no constitutional issues at all. On Oct. 10, the United Federation of Teachers filed suit to reverse the button ban, claiming that the free speech rights of teachers had been violated. If that’s their case, they’ll lose.

I think he’s right — check out his post, and tell us what you think.


Robert Reich: Prophet? Or just a very good observer?

September 21, 2008

Is Robert Reich a prophet, an economic and employment Jonah sent to Nineveh-on-the-Potomac?

Read Reich’s remarks, about the economics conditions of most Americans, including people in Pennsylvania, and Barack Obama’s observation that some people left behind by our economy are bitter.

Especially read the final three paragraphs, where he warns we are headed into even more turbulent economic waters.

Now notice the date of that piece.

What is your definition of “prophet?”


Actors, not soldiers, in RNC video

September 7, 2008

I’m a bit relieved, actually, that they didn’t interrupt a soldier’s funeral to make a political ad — but should we otherwise be concerned?

Real flag, but actors hands.  Screen grab of RNC video by CBS News

Real flag, but actor's hands. Screen grab of RNC video by CBS News

You remember that video of a soldier’s funeral shown at the Republican Convention on Tuesday night?  The funeral depicted in the video was stock footage, staged by actors — see “Fake soldiers used in RNC video.

But might we worry about a trend?  The video makers also screwed up and put up footage of a Walter Reed Middle School in a portion of a film intended to depict Walter Reed Hospital.  The principal of the school disavowed any connection to the campaign.  Oops.

Why not just stick to the facts that we have?


Wrong in the small things

September 5, 2008

21“His master replied, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!’ Matthew 25:21 NIV

As I’ve listened to the Republican speeches this week, I’ve noticed a nasty trend:  They get small things wrong, usually just for a good line.  Good Hollywood writing, but snarky, and missing historical context.  Good speeches, but a preface to bad policy, I fear.

Two examples.

First, I listened to the smarm from former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee Wednesday night. It’s always a struggle to listen to Huckabee because of the way he mangles facts.  He had a great laugh line:

In fact, I don’t know if you realize this, but Sarah Palin got more votes running for mayor in Wasilla, Alaska, than Joe Biden did in two quests for the presidency — that oughta tell you something.

Well, yeah, it tells me Mike Huckabee can’t count.

I remember looking at vote totals, and Biden’s were not great, compared to others like Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama.  But I would have sworn Biden got a couple thousand votes in Texas, or some other race after he’d dropped out.  That should be approximately equal to a winning candidate in a town like Wasilla, which has 9,000 residents if you count the sled dogs and every moose that’s ever wandered through (slight exaggeration — the population is officially listed at under 6,000).

Sure enough, it turns out that Biden got almost 80,000 votes in the Democratic primaries this campaign.  Palin would have had to have gotten every man, woman, child and dog in Wassilla to vote for her, nine times each, to equal that vote. Huckabee was off by a factor of 9.   Huckabee can’t count.

What else in Huckabee’s speech was off by a factor of 9?

Then, Thursday night, former Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Ridge said that 230 years ago this nation was founded by men who were called mavericks themselves:

More than 230-plus years ago, a group of leaders – some people called them mavericks – dared to think differently, dared to act boldly and dared to believe its future leaders would preserve, honor and protect the great land of the free.

Oh, really?  Who called them mavericks?  That would have been very prescient of them — the phrase didn’t come into use until cattle became big business in Texas, more than 100 years after the founding.  The word comes from a Texas cattleman, Samuel Augustus Maverick (1803-1870), who used to leave his stock unbranded, and then claim all unbranded cattle on a range as his.  It was a semi-legal way to steal cattle from his neighbors.

Critically, Maverick’s having been born in the year of the Louisiana Purchase, it’s highly unlikely that anyone in Philadelphia in 1776, the event Ridge was obviously referring to, would have called themselves after his actions 75 or 100 years or more in the future.

David Barton, the King of the Misquote and Mangled Quote, was a Texas delegate — surely he could have corrected these minor historical errors — had Barton any idea about what really happened in history.

Should we dismiss this errors as one-liner jokes, or do Republicans really deserve criticism for failing to know history?  It’s astounding that they’d get wrong the well-known history of our founding, don’t you think?

Coupled with Sarah Palin’s defense of the Pledge of Allegiance — “if it was good enough for the founding fathers, it’s good enough for me” (the pledge was written by a socialist minister in 1892, more than a century after the Constitution) — one could make a case that ignorance is a value the Republicans value, in their audiences.


Obama hoaxers crawl out of the woodwork, onto the internet

August 31, 2008

 

Dennis at Thinking in a Marrow Bone — not an Obama supporter, mind you — posted a conversation he had with a guy who posted a hoaxed photo of Barack Obama, purporting to show him holding a landline telephone upside down.

This is the hoax photo

Dennis called him on the hoax.  After a few rounds of weak defense, and then moral waffling of significant proportion, the hoaxer deleted the comments from his blog.  Dennis preserved the conversation at TMB.

Moral of the story:  Don’t believe much of what you hear or see, without corroboration.  If a claim casts aspersions on someone, and comes on the internet, check it out before granting credence. Thanks to Dennis, an honest guy, for exposing the hoax and preserving the record of it.

Hoaxers are malicious and will do almost anything to damage Obama, even if it requires bringing down the U.S. and burning the flag.  No wonder George Washington wanted out of this sort of politics.

Question:  What’s the deal with the clock in the doctored photo?  [Oh – it says “3:00 o’clock”]

Honor roll:  Bloggers and others who exposed the hoax:

Dishonor roll, the Little List, bloggers who tried to perpetrate and perpetuate the hoax, or who got suckered themselves:

Special Consideration:

 


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