Long story short, Snopes has classified the story as 'MIXTURE,' containing both true and false elements, despite saying in their first statement that it is false.
Statement reproduces President Obama's response regarding opposition to his veterans' health insurance plan.
The beginning of Snopes' response:
This item is another entry difficult to classify as either "true" or "false." It's false in the literal sense that President Barack Obama did not utter the words attributed to him above; this piece is an excerpt from a form of satire that makes political or social points by putting outrageous words into the mouths of others.
However, even if the words aren't literally true (i.e., they're not something Barack Obama actually said), the issue they reference is not, as in most satirical pieces, a fabrication or a highly exaggerated version of reality.
Ah yes, the old "in a literal sense" conundrum.
The point here is that the claim they're addressing is whether the words actually are Obama's. They come right out and say they're not, but then go on a huge rant about policies of which they're obviously not fond. Many people are outraged by this. I'm guessing it's because everyone has always thought of Snopes as the last bastion of unbiased truth on the Internet. Everyone but me, that is.
This is bothersome to me because many Snopes-checkers rarely read past the green or red 'True' or 'False' indicators on any given subject, trusting that Snopes knows what they're talking about. In this case, their declaration of it as 'False' is not justified by the actual evidence they've presented.
Now, I'm not saying that Tony Blair did tell this amusing anecdote at a cocktail party, but the only "evidence" they have regarding its untruth is speculation from a man whose job it is to make Tony Blair look good -- a man that wasn't even present at said dinner party in the first place. In legal dramas on television, I believe they'd call that "hearsay." And I object! It's the word of someone who was present against someone who wasn't. Not exactly fair reasoning. (It is my claim, however, that had Tony Blair's press secretary been present, and had Tony Blair actually said it, the secretary would still say he didn't. That's his job, afterall.)
With evidence like that, Snopes could, at best, only classify the story as "unverifiable." After discovering this, I spent several hours going through all the George Bush articles on Snopes.com looking for bias. Granted, my results clearly showed my own confirmation bias -- I'm just going to pretend like that's not a problem. Suffice to say, according to my research, the statement that "Snopes is generally favorable towards Republicans whenever blatant evidence to the contrary doesn't make it impossible to do so," is a big fat "True."
So anyway, if you rely on Snopes to determine whether or not the things you hear are true, then you need to -- at the very least -- actually read their evidence for whatever determination they make and then use your own skills of deduction before you go snidely emailing it off to whatever poor sucker repeated it as fact.
You might not actually deserve the smug, self-righteous feeling you get when you do that.
So I was thinking about the now-infamous shoe attack on President George W. Bush, and I was reminded of something someone's grandpa used to say: "close only counts in horseshoes and hand-grenades."
The journalist who threw his shoes came pretty darn close to hitting George, BOTH times, without even a twitch from the secret service between the first salvo and the second. He got close, but seeing as how thiis is neither horseshoes nor hand-grenades, it just resulted in funny newsreports world-wide.
Imagine, however, how the situation would have played out if the shoe-thrower in question had been Richard Reid, the so-called "Shoe Bomber" responsible for us having to take our shoes off at airport security. BLAMMO! Every future press conference would then feature reporters in just their socks, slipping and falling on the polished marble floors.
"Mr. President, I'd like to ask you about your space policy; but first, check out how well I can moonwalk."
At this time, I'd also like for you to imagine how it would have played out had it been Reed Richards -- the stretchy "Mr. Fantastic" of Fantastic Four fame -- who had attacked Dubya with his shoes. He wouldn't have even needed to THROW the shoes; he could just kick from wherever he was standing, definitely able to hit his mark.
Hey, remember when I mistook John McCain for John McClane, linking to livefreeordiehard.com as his campaign page? Well now, COINCIDENTALLY, Twentieth Century Fox Films has done the same thing, even using "Yippie Kay Yay America" as a slogan like I did, linking right from livefreeordiehard.com with a bumper sticker graphic very similar to the one I made. And how were people getting to livefreeordiehard.com to see the advertisement? That's right, those thousands of people were getting there because I had the common decency to link them there.
Granted, I never followed through by making a full-on campaign page because it was too much work for a stupid joke, but it gave Fox the opportunity to show that there is NOTHING TOO STUPID, provided someone comes up with it for them first. On the plus side, their site looks JUST LIKE the one I was going to make, so that's all good. I particularly like the quote about John putting himself in his opponent's shoes. I'd link to it, except that unlike my version of the site, theirs is entirely flash and impossible to use.
Anyway, to the people at 20th Century Fox I only have one thing to say: "You're welcome."
The other night's exhibition of crazy political ideals prompted some discussion from a friend intrigued by my Ron Paulian Libertarian Fantasyland. He was particularly perturbed by the idea of things like roads and schools not being paid for with taxpayer moneys, and wondered what I thought about them. I must confess that the school angle had simply not occurred to me before, so after a little thinking I went with the standard Libertarian answer (private companies). Like all Libertarians, I became smug after giving an answer of such sufficient convincingness.
"But what about poor families? How will they pay the tuition at these privately run schools?" he countered.
Once again, the idea of people unable to pay for school had simply not occurred to me. I briefly felt my world-view beginning to crumble, but then, mercifully, sudden inspiration struck.
"We put webcams in the gymnasium and charge pedophiles money to watch all the kids chasing bouncy-balls around and climbing ropes in those skimpy shorts. This will bring in TONS of money, effectively making tuition null and void."
See, with a little creative thinking, Libertarianism can solve ANY problem. We don't need the government to solve all our problems (badly) when we have millions of citizens willing to MAKE money off all the problems.
I was really hoping -- because of the truthfulness of my answers -- that it would read from top to bottom in order of craziness. In large part it did, but I'm a bit surprised that Mike Gravel didn't even beat McCain, let alone Giuliani. I did expect Kucinich to be a little higher on the list, though, as I kinda like the guy. I truly hope for a "Ron Paul / Dennis Kucinich" ticket, as I think that'd be the perfect balance of differing crazies to ensure that I don't hate my country as much in the future as I have lately. Which, actually, is quite a lot.
I guess the results didn't stack up the way I expected because the quiz isn't really designed to return results relevant to the craziness of the candidates -- instead it just shows MY craziness. There were a bunch of them that I didn't answer because they didn't have appropriate choices, many that I feel are not relevant to presidential politics, and one that I had to answer dishonestly. The dishonest one was about federal funding of stem cell research, and I had to inaccurately mark as "yes," despite being against federal funding of ANY research. I'm NOT, however, against stem cell research -- provided that the government isn't paying for it -- so I decided to answer by the "spirit" rather than the "letter." I'm of the nutjob opinion that the government is rubbish at pretty much everything it does, and that therefore we should let it do as little of said rubbish as possible. Privatized science will work just as good -- better, even; we all know that every major technological advancement in the last century has been as a result of pornography anyway, which, as far as I know, is one area we spend very little federal money on. (Unless, of course, you count all the federal agents pretending to be little kids to lure sexual predators on the internet, and/or posting child porn so that they can bust the people who download it.) To those that insist that they help pay for science research I say that you're free to write as many checks as you'd like. I know I sure will be. They'll just be to private research groups rather than the government.
So, in summary, I hope this brief foray into my nutjobbery will help quiet the people who insist upon haranguing me every four years about how it's my duty as an American to exercise my constitutional right to vote, making them instead relish my decision to not take part. Mmmm, relish.
Know what I think would be a fantastic use of genetic engineering?
Splicing together Ron Paul and Mike Gravel to create the PERFECT LEADER FOR THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA. They're both passionate, they're both saying things YOU CAN'T HELP BUT nod in agreement to, and they're both REALLY freakin' nuts.
What could symbolize America more than someone batshit passionate about things pretty much everyone has trouble disagreeing with? I think this hypothetical chimera candidate would give even John McClane a run for his money, and you know how much I want to see him elected.
I suppose they could even make two variants so they could run together as a "Paul-Gravel / Gravel-Paul" ticket in '08.
This is quite the unexpected blow, but I submit that Americans have a long-standing tradition of being unwilling to take certain jobs, and that this should have been expected. One might say that this country is founded on the idea that all men should be free to choose the jobs they don't want to do.
Unlike everyone else that's complaining about this issue, though, I have a solution. Instead of a single "War Czar," we just need to create a "Bureau of War" and staff it with the one group of people who have a long-standing tradition of accepting the jobs the rest of us Americans don't want to do: illegal Mexican immigrants.
This solves both the Czar problem and the immigration/amnesty problem, because all so-called "illegal" Mexican immigrants will now be government employees, entitling them to benefits like healthcare, taxation, and the always popular "not getting kicked out of the country." Having seven million "War Czars" ought to get things in Iraq nailed down at least seven million times faster than the single "War Czar" that we're currently unable to find, so this proposition wins all around.
Also: taking into account the popular sterotypes of both Mexicans and government workers, this pairing seems like a pretty good match to me.
I try to avoid politics as much as humanly possible, but today heard some speculation about possible Republican candidates. One in particular jumped right out at me as a particularly great choice, and I immediately decided to back him.
Unable to find any campaign materials online, I decided to make my own.
It's that time of year again, when young men's fancies turn towards the gifts that the fairer sex hopefully have bought for them.
Older men -- such as conservative/liberal talkshow hosts -- have their thoughts turned toward the Sissyfistian task1 of preventing the further secularization/desecularization of this, the last vestiges of the oppressive, religiously-ruled/secular-based land our four fathers2 so obviously intended. Every year they make a big stink about it as if it were a new phenomenon -- one which is more important than it was the year before.
This man contends that this is the way it has always been and the way it will always stay, regardless of the efforts of those to undermine/uphold the values we've lived under for so long. Why, the very word "Christmas" itself is indicative of this long-running polarization; as any first-year Spanish student can tell you, "Christ mas" quite literally means "more Christ," showing that at the very beginning of Christmas, efforts were already underway to desecularize/secularize it3.
I'd just like to just request that everyone take a step back, revel in the secularization/desecularization they so enjoy, and stop whining that the other side is trying to ruin it for you. They're not4.
Oh, also: Try a Chicken Enchilada Grilled Stuft Burrito, available now at Taco Bell.
1: Sissyfist was that old greek dude who is constantly trying to push that big round rock up that hill. If I had to guess, I'd say that he got the name because his hands were pretty much useless due to that constant crushing weight. He'd try to hit anyone who made fun of him -- which was pretty much everyone -- but his hands hurt so much he could never commit to the punch, instead saying "owie," jumping up and down, then chasing the big rock down the hill.
2: Thomas Jefferson, George Washington, Abe Lincoln, and Abe Vigoda.
3: Those on the pro-secularization side used it, but punctuated it as: "More?! Christ."
OK. Can you please tell me why black-box voting systems are a good idea?
Putting aside the conspiracy theories as to the motives behind Diebold, and whether or not they "rigged" the election or whether they were "committed to helping Ohio deliver its electoral votes for the president next year," can anyone still say that using a system that no one knows anything about is a good thing?
The only way to run an election with this type of machine is to allow anyone and everyone to see how they work, and to be able to handle the errors as they happen -- not 2 years later when it's too late to fix. There should be no secrets, because secrets let information like the fact that over 100,000 voting errors slip through the cracks. It's a real shame that the systems failed, but requiring conspiracy theorists to find out about it is really terrible. I'm convinced that had people known what was going on when it did, there'd be alot more people outraged by this than there are now. As it is now, it's just the tinfoil hat people and me -- who some of you probably consider a tinfoil hat person.
I realize that paper ballots can be manipulated as well, but it takes a hell of a lot more effort and people involved to pull it off. With a black-box system, it really only takes one.
After all this complaining, I actually do have a solution for this problem: let the Amish run our elections in 2008.