Birthers lose to an empty chair

February 5, 2012

Yes, really.

Despite dire warnings from an administrative law judge in the Georgia Secretary of State‘s office, Obama’s attorneys refused to even put in an appearance at the hearing to decide whether Barack Obama is eligible to run for president under the Constitution’s natural born citizen clause.  Facing a contempt citation, they refused to lend the attention that an appearance by the president’s lawyer would give to such a circus trial.

Empty Chair, by Jim Strong Photography, copyright 2006

Beautiful photo of an empty chair, by Jim Strong, copyright 2006 — go buy a print from him (click the picture), and have him autograph it. That empty chair’s cousin made better arguments in a Georgia courtroom that did Orly Taitz or any other birther.

Pleading their case before a judge mad at Obama, with no defense put up by Obama’s lawyers at all, the birthers still lost.  Their case does not cross the threshold of credibility a case needs to be taken seriously, the judge ruled.  Obama is a natural born citizen, Obama is perfectly eligible for the presidency due  to his Hawaiian birth, and the birthers should fold their tents and go back to their figurative plows or knitting.

The birthers lost to a defense argued (badly) by an empty chair.

If your livelihood depends on their going back to their plows and needles, you’re in trouble.

Were you surprised?  Birthers have lost every one of these suits.  Birthers still don’t give up.

Here, read the decision at SCRIBD:  Barack Obama is who he says he is.

View this document on Scribd

Judge Michael Malihi was not pleased with Obama’s lawyers for their failure to show.  That tactic force the judge to actually look at the evidence presented and rule that what was presented by the birthers not only does not make the case that Obama is not a natural born citizen, but that the evidence does not even make a prima facie case that further arguments are needed — the evidence sheds no light, it’s “not probative.”

Technically the ruling is advisory to the Georgia Secretary of State; no one expects the SOS to go completely off the rails, barking down the halls of the capitol building to graze the lawn, and decide contrary to the recommendation from Judge Malihi.

Several birthers allowed themselves to get excited that their string of bad luck and courtroom smackdowns might be changing.  They have been disappointed.

The world works, and law again proves its value.

More, Resources:

Tip of the old scrub brush to reader Whatever4, who alerted us to the decision and gave us the link to Scribd.


Social studies insanity spreads through South

April 23, 2010

Texas isn’t the only state afflicted with people trying to gut social studies.

A Georgia legislator introduced a resolution to instruct the Georgia Supreme Court that our government is not a democracy, but is instead a republic.

See what the Texas State Board of Education wants to have happen?

Georgia House of Representatives H.R. 1770 (2010):

A RESOLUTION

Informing Georgia Supreme Court Chief Justice Carol W. Hunstein that Georgia is a republic, not a democracy; recognizing the great differences between these two forms of government; and for other purposes.

WHEREAS, on March 16, 2010, Georgia Supreme Court Chief Justice Carol W. Hunstein appeared before the Georgia General Assembly for the State of the Judiciary address, and in her speech Chief Justice Hunstein mistakenly called the State of Georgia a democracy; and

WHEREAS, the State of Georgia is, in fact, a republic and it is important that all Georgians know the difference between a republic and a democracy -– especially the Chief Justice of the Georgia Supreme Court; and

WHEREAS, the word “republic” comes from the Latin res publica, which means “the public thing” or “the law,” while the word “democracy” comes from the Greek words demos and kratein, which translates to “the people to rule”; and

WHEREAS, most synonymous with majority rule, democracy was condemned by the Founding Fathers of the United States, who closely studied the history of both democracies and republics before drafting the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution; and

WHEREAS, the Founding Fathers recognized that the rights given to man by God should not be violated by an unrestrained majority any more than they should be restrained by a king or monarch; and

WHEREAS, it is common knowledge that the Pledge of Allegiance contains the phrase “and to the Republic”; and

WHEREAS, as he exited the deliberations of the so-called Constitutional Convention of 1787, Founding Father Benjamin Franklin told the awaiting crowd they have “A republic, if you can keep it”; and

WHEREAS, a republic is a government of law, not of man, which is why the United States Constitution does not contain the word democracy and mandates that “the United States shall guarantee to every State in this Union a Republican Form of Government”; and

WHEREAS, in 1928, the War Department of the United States defined democracy in Training Manual No. 2000–25 as a “government of the masses” which “[r]esults in mobocracy,” communistic attitudes to property rights, “demagogism, … agitation, discontent, [and] anarchy”; …

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED BY THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES that the members of this body recognize the difference between a democracy and a republic and inform Georgia Supreme Court Chief Justice Carol W. Hunstein that the State of Georgia is a republic and not a democracy….

Tip of the scrub brush to the Volokh Conspiracy, where you’ll find erudite and entertaining comment, and where Eugene Volokh wrote:

Now maybe this is just a deep inside joke, but if it’s meant to be serious then it strikes me as the worst sort of pedantry. (I distinguish this from my pedantry, which is the best sort of pedantry.)

Whatever government Georgia has, and whatever government the English language has, it is not government by ancient Romans, ancient Greeks, the War Department Training Manual, or even the Pledge of Allegiance. “Democracy” today includes, among other meanings, “Government by the people; that form of government in which the sovereign power resides in the people as a whole, and is exercised either directly by them (as in the small republics of antiquity) or by officers elected by them. In mod. use often more vaguely denoting a social state in which all have equal rights, without hereditary or arbitrary differences of rank or privilege.” That’s from the Oxford English Dictionary, but if you prefer the American Heritage Dictionary, try “Government by the people, exercised either directly or through elected representatives.” Government by the people’s representatives is included within democracy, as is government by the people directly.

“Joke” is an accurate description, but one that escapes the sponsors and irritates the impedants on the Texas SBOE.

Gavel to Gavel offers the insight that this is the legislative response to an address to the legislature by Georgia’s Chief Justice.

When legislatures have too much time on their hands, and engage in such hystrionics, one wonders whether the legislature wouldn’t be better off left in the dark by not inviting the views of the Chief Justice in the future.  Perhaps the Chief Justice should decline any invitation offered.

What we now know is that some Georgia legislators are all het up about the difference between a republic and a democracy, though I’ll wager none of them could pass an AP world history or European history quiz on Rome and Greece.  And what is really revealed is that some Georgia legislators don’t know their burros from a burrow.

You can also be sure of this:  Such action is exactly what the so-called conservatives on the Texas SBOE wish to have happen from their diddling of social studies standards.


Typewriter of the moment: Flannery O’Connor

December 18, 2007

Flannery O'Connor's typewriter at her farm Andalusia, near Milledgeville, GA - NY Times photo

Photo by Susana Raab for The New York Times; caption: “The writer Flannery O’Connor’s desk and typewriter in her bedroom at Andalusia, her farm near Milledgeville, Ga. She was a master of the Southern Gothic.”

From the Travel section article of the New York Times, February 4, 2007, by Lawrence Downes:

I was met at the door by Craig R. Amason, the executive director of the Flannery O’Connor-Andalusia Foundation, the nonprofit organization set up to sustain her memory and preserve her home. When the affable Mr. Amason, the foundation’s sole employee, is not showing pilgrims around, he is raising money to fix up the place, a project that is a few million dollars short of its goal. The foundation urgently wants to restore the house and outbuildings to postcard-perfection, to insure its survival. Last year the Georgia Trust for Historic Preservation placed Andalusia on its list of most endangered places in the state.

For now, the 21-acre property is in a captivating state of decay.

There is no slow buildup on this tour; the final destination is the first doorway on your left: O’Connor’s bedroom and study, converted from a sitting room because she couldn’t climb the stairs. Mr. Amason stood back, politely granting me silence as I gathered my thoughts and drank in every detail.

This is where O’Connor wrote, for three hours every day. Her bed had a faded blue-and-white coverlet. The blue drapes, in a 1950’s pattern, were dingy, and the paint was flaking off the walls. There was a portable typewriter, a hi-fi with classical LPs, a few bookcases. Leaning against an armoire were the aluminum crutches that O’Connor used, with her rashy swollen legs and crumbling bones, to get from bedroom to kitchen to porch.

There are few opportunities for so intimate and unguarded a glimpse into the private life of a great American writer. Mr. Amason told me that visitors sometimes wept on the bedroom threshold.


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