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Trump’s Lawsuit Over Birth Certificate

     Admitted liberal Bill Maher, of HBO’s “Real Time”, decided that he was going to add his own voice to the notion that President Obama is not a US citizen. Apparently, he had heard Donald Trump call for the President’s birth certificate one too many times and decided to turn the tables on  Trump. (Newsmax)

Donald Trump


     On “The Tonight Show” Maher announced that he would pay 5 million dollars to the charities of Trump’s choice, if Trump released his birth certificate to prove that he was not the “spawn of his mother having sex with an orangutan”. Almost immediately, Trump publicly released his birth certificate with a letter from his lawyer that said in part, “Attached hereto is a copy of Mr. Trump’s birth certificate, demonstrating that he is the son of Fred Trump, not an orangutan.”papa

     Then, Trump demanded the five million; Maher refused to pay it. Now, Trump is filing suit against Maher for the five million. “He made an offer, I accepted the offer.” Maher claims that it was clearly a joke and that no contract was formed between he and Trump. Trump’s response to that was to criticize the delivery and demeanor of Maher when he made the remark by noting that, “He was very upset, he was angry, he was flustered, he was all screwed up and nervous. We’re going to find out whether or not it was a joke.” trumpy

     Trump continued to attack Maher by also noting that, “I don’t think he’s much of a comedian. Look at his past; his past is so bad. He’s not a smart guy. And my parents were so good-looking. My mother was a great beauty”.

     I find it fascinating to see these two men go at it over appearance. Trump has hair like…well like nothing else and it’s quite the turn of events to see Maher talk about someone’s appearance. There’s the pot criticizing the kettle! ( I didn’t want to use the analogy of the turkey telling the pigeon that he’s got a fat…)

     For pic o’ day, after reading all this it made me believe that this had to be real:


The Truth about Truth

It seems that every commercial is now political. In fact, we receive logs regarding our ads and they show that very few are running right now. Of course, that’s no surprise.  Political advertising has the right to purchase ads at the lowest price on the station. And by law, they can “bump” non-political ads from the airwaves.

Most of the time, an ad barely catches my attention. How many politicians walking in their casual sweater or talking intently to a crowd in their rolled-up-sleeves can you really take. Then, an ad will come on TV that charges some amazing statistic or belief about the opposing candidate.

John McManus has written a book “Don’t be fooled: A Citizen’s Guide to News and Information in the Digital Age“, to give tactics on sifting through the truth versus lies. It helps turn all of us journalists.

The Internet has given us all the ability to do quick fact checking. He gives some suggestions for places to turn to.  Here are a few places to look: a site managed by the University of Pennsylvania that you will see listed in newspapers.  It analyzes statements by politicians and news makers. They pull material from radio, TV and print advertisements. a place to go when you hear a story that sounds so unbelieveable that you cannot tell whether to believe it or whether it is a myth. a site operated by the “Tampa Bay Times” that claims to sort out the truth. It rates politicians claims and even gives one category of “pants on fire”.

It’s great to have the Internet. Wouldn’t it be great to have a “truth light” on the TV for watching the news there. Or, maybe invent a flashlight to shine on friends, when they tell stories. Kinda like the mood ring, to see if they would change colors.  Truth is fun!

I guess if there is some fear of what is out there… this is what happens:

Presidential Debate Legal Agreement

If you have watched any of the Presidential or Vice Presidential debates, then you know that there is a bit of arguing between the participants. Tuesday’s debate seemed to have more interruptions and moderator Candy Crowley had a hard time getting President Obama and Governor Romney to stop talking or going beyond indicated time limits.

There was some mention of rules. That’s when I found “Time” magazine’s article that lists the rules for all the debates. Among the stipulations: The candidates aren’t supposed to use props. I guess no charts or graphs: The candidates cannot reference specific  individuals in the audience except family members;  and the candidates are not supposed to ask each other any direct questions. I know that rule was broken a few times.

When I watched Tuesday’s debate, it looked like they both were breaking several rules and ignoring time limits. In the heat of the moment, I guess it’s difficult not to directly argue too. It’s the same temptations that all lawyers face in the heat of battle during trial.

During the debate on Tuesday, some of the camera angles looked strange to me. Specifically, it looked like the President was sitting at an angle. Looking at this agreement indicates that the TV networks had rules to follow. Networks were supposed to avoid cutaways that showed one candidate’s expression or visual response to the other answering the question.  I guess you have to maintain a face without shock or anger. Now that is a real public speaking talent.

Everything has rules in politics. To me, it looked like an argument and not like my old college debate days. Maybe that’s why the agreement literally stipulated  that the debate commission would enforce rules and restrictions “to the best of the commission’s abilities”.  The wildness of politics!

For pic o’ day, I went with a cat with a bit of an attitude:

Does Oil Drilling = More Jobs?

     In 2007, the Washington Post convinced a world-renowned violinist named Joshua Bell, to act as a street musician during morning “walking work traffic” (about 7:50 am). How many people would stop and listen. A tip cup was placed, to see how many would donate money. The article shows the result or watch the condensed  video here, to see what happened. 

     Bell looks a bit like Donnie Osmond, according to the Post reporter. He first began to play Johann Sebastian Bach’s “Partita in D minor for solo violin”. He was playing on a 3.5 million dollar Stradivari violin. It was purposely a study in humanity.

     The previous week, Bell had played to packed audiences, to seats that had cost hundreds of dollars. After this little “Post study”, he was headed for more concerts in various countries.

     The video shows that some people did stop momentarily. Most of the over 1000 people that walked by, gave him little notice. In a span of about 45 minutes, his “donation cup” collected a total of $32.17.  As the author of the article states, “If a great musician plays music, and no one hears it, was he really any good.”.

     The reporter of the story “Pearls Before Breakfast”, won a Pulitzer prize for the article. It was concluded that  the crowd of people didn’t appreciate the artist and music. 

     Maybe if someone had just announced the greatness of the musician; the expense of the violin or the music being played. Maybe then, the passersby would have known to stop and appreciate. Did it prove that people really base their opinions on what everyone else thinks? Are we really so reliant on the “herd mentality” that we have difficulty forming our own opinion? Are we really too busy with our daily lives to notice what is going on around us?

     This past week, I received a mass email from a candidate, running for the US Senate. Twice in the email, he pointed out that Washington was keeping us from Drilling for Oil, and that such policy was costing jobs for America.  

     This past week, the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform held a hearing titled “Making the Gulf Coast Whole Again: Assessing the Recovery Efforts of BP and the Obama Administration after the Oil Spill”.

     RockyKistner writes that the Republican Chairman of the House Committee, first called Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour as the lead witness. Haley was a former energy industry lobbyist. Filings show that his lobbying firm (Barbour, Griffith and Rogers) had received 2.96 million in lobbying fees (1999-2003) from the energy industry. 

     When Barbour was head of the Republican National Committee; during the 1994-96 election cycle, the oil and gas industry donated over 30 million to Republicans.  Oil and Gas interests have also donated millions to personal campaigns for Governor.

     Barbour told the House Committee that the issues regarding Oil drilling were economic, not environmental. He blamed the media, in his testimony, for making oil-coated wildlife look like “chocolate pelicans”. He emphatically told the House panel that all seafood testing, so far, has shown to be safe to eat, within the beaches of Mississippi.

     Barbour maintains that the massive Deep-water Gulf blowout was worth the risks, because of the benefits of the other 30,000 oil wells in the gulf. “The risk of 1 in 31,000 is worth taking when you are talking about something so important to the economy of the United States”.

     When Representative William Lacy Clay asked Barbour if Barbour’s view on drilling is a dangerous policy, Barbour replied that “the industry tries to prevent accidents and protect people because it’s expensive when they don’t” Barbour then went on to quickly add that “I’m against excessive regulation”.

     The last person to testify was Michael R. Bromwich, Director of the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement. (BOEMRE) He pointed out that the bi-partisan commission that was studying the Oil spill, had concluded that there had been 79 serious loss of well control incidents in the Gulf, since 1996. That was the Commission that recommended slowing down and regulating our US drilling applications.

     In the coming days, we will hear more from politicians about the regulation of oil drilling versus the impact to our jobs,  if such drilling is not permitted off our US coasts. It seems to be argued along party lines. The question, I guess, is whether we get convinced that no matter the environmental cost, that it is too expensive not to drill for our future;  Or, are the jobs that are really being created, really within the area of environmental clean-up?

     Environmentalists are trying to win the argument of safety and beauty. The Oil Industryand their allies are  trying to win the argument of economics. Who will the herd follow or will we not take the time to really stop and listen?

The Sirens For Oil

      In the epic poem, The Odyssey, written in 800 B.C. by  Homer, the hero Ulysses, faces a difficult problem. He and his men had embarked on a long sea voyage. He knew that they would be sailing past the Sirens; female enchanters who used their beautiful voices to lure men to the island.

     Ulysses knew that these “enchanters” lured men there, for the purpose of luring them to their death. At that time, no man had been able to listen to the sirens without giving in to the temptation of coming to the island and the beach was “piled with bone heaps of men now rotted away”.

     To protect his men, Ulysses required that all of them put wax in their ears to keep them from hearing the tempting voices of the Sirens. However, Ulysses was unwilling to “plug” his own ears because he wanted to hear their beautiful voices. He was faced with the dilemma of hearing the sirens versus wanting to live.

     Ulysses told his men to bind him to the ship with rope that could not be broken.  He ordered them not to release him, no matter what he said or did, until they had safely passed by the island and out of the hearing of the Sirens.  He was able to hear the songs without losing his life.

     There is a  battle being waged between environmentalist and Oil companies. As oil companies scour the coastline of Alaska, they are running into polar bears who are already facing extinction from shrinking and thinning ice.  In response, President Obama has designated 187,000 acres as “critical habitat” for polar bears under the Endangered Species Act, which could have an impact on future drilling.

     In response to this designation, the Alaskan Governor is threatening to file suit against the Obama administration. The basis of the potential suit is that the Governor believes that the President is overstepping Federal authority and stepping on States’ rights. The argument is that it hinders oil exploration, which impacts job creation and the economic welfare of Alaska.

         Is Oil exploration like the song of the Sirens? Does the beautiful sound of job creation, decrease of dependence on foreign oil and the benefits of the economics of oil drilling outweigh the environment? Are oil leaks, equipment placed all over landscape and nature and wildlife destruction an acceptable amount of collateral damage,  to make our country energy independent?

      Oil exploration is a two-sided issue. It really comes down to who is the singer of destruction and who should be putting wax in their ears. All I know is, no oil company or lobbyist is working hard toward alternatives to drilling. Is it a song of destruction to drill or fail to not drill?

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