Saturday, 13 December 2008
NO NEED TO CHECK FACTS....IT'S OBAMA TIME
Apparently the Washington Post is going to end its fact-checking
feature - and the Annenberg Foundation will be severely curtailing its
How convenient that this will be done just as the Obama administration is
about to take office.
Here are the particulars - with appropriately sarcastic commentary -
First, these sad tidings from the (laughably
self-styled) Fact Checker at the Washington
Post also called it quits:
November 3, 2008
The Fact Checker is shutting up shop on Nov. 4.
Over the last 15 months, I have checked some 200 claims and statements
relating to the presidential campaign, and received 18,000 comments, many of
them vehemently disputing my verdicts. Pinocchios have entered the campaign
lexicon, and are sometimes used as a verb, e.g. You were Pinocchioed for
that statement. I will leave it up to readers to decide whether the whole
experiment has been worthwhile. For this farewell edition, here are a few of
my personal favorites from the long, winding campaign
Sure, it could be argued that the Washington
Posts Fact Checker was just an election thing. The rest of the time the
Washington Post is unconcerned about facts.
But what is the Annenberg Foundations FactCheck.org also
Good-bye For Now
See you in 2009!
Thursday, December 11, 2008
We end our weekly series with one, last look at
the 2008 election circus. Just the Facts! will be back in 2009 with
occasional episodes and updates.
Oddly enough, the Annenberg folks never said they
were only doing this for the campaign in their about
About FactCheck.org -
We are a nonpartisan, nonprofit
consumer advocate for voters that aims to reduce the level of deception and
confusion in U.S. politics. We monitor the factual accuracy of what is said by
major U.S. political players in the form of TV ads, debates, speeches,
interviews and news releases. Our goal is to apply the best practices of both
journalism and scholarship, and to increase public knowledge and
The Annenberg Political Fact Check is a project
of the Annenberg Public Policy Center of the University of Pennsylvania. The
APPC was established by publisher and philanthropist Walter Annenberg in 1994
to create a community of scholars within the University of Pennsylvania that
would address public policy issues at the local, state and federal levels.
The APPC accepts NO funding from business
corporations, labor unions, political parties, lobbying organizations or
individuals. It is funded primarily by the Annenberg
Obviously this is no longer going to be necessary,
since there will be no more deception in politics with the Obama ascendency and
the Democrats taking complete control of the federal government.
Still, for their sheer hypocrisy, we award the
Annenberg Foundation and the Washington Post five (out of five)
They have a point, of course. What possible reason
has Barack Obama given us for fact-checking? Hasn't he
been completely honest with us about jeremiah wright? And tony rezko? And william ayers? And rod blagojerkevich?
And wasn't he completely forthcoming about blocking BAIPA legislation in Illinois
because it didn't assure the retention of abortion rights (which
it did)? And didn't he immediately make sure we saw his
original birth certificate to prove he is legally able to be our President?
What possible reason do we have to doubt him?
SARKOZY'S ELECTRIC CAR PROBLEM
Poor Nicolas Sarkozy.
The President of France wants all the right people to like him. But he
has this information that flies in the face of one of their most cherished
myths....er, indisputable facts.
What a dilemma.
Here, courtesy of the Financial Times of London, is how he is handling
it. The suppression is his; the bold print is mine:
President Nicolas Sarkozy would dearly like to end
Frances rotating presidency of the European Union on a high note by brokering
this week a deal on a grand European response to global warming and energy
efficiency. The ultimate plan is to cut carbon dioxide emissions by 20 per cent
with member states at the same time drawing their future energy needs from clean
renewable sources by the same percentage amount. Under the circumstances, it is
no surprise that the automobile industry has found itself at the heart of the
climate change debate.
Indeed, Mr Sarkozys own government commissioned
months ago one of Frances leading energy experts Jean Syrota, the former
French energy industry regulator to draw up a report to analyse all the
options for building cleaner and more efficient mass-market cars by 2030. The
129-page report was completed in September to coincide with the Paris motor
show. But the government has continued to sit on it and seems reluctant to ever
Yet all those who have managed to glimpse at the
document agree that it makes interesting reading. It concludes that
there is not much future in the much vaunted developed of all electric-powered
cars. Instead, it suggests that the traditional combustion engine powered by
petrol, diesel, ethanol or new biofuels still offers the most realistic prospect
of developing cleaner vehicles. Carbon emissions and fuel consumption could be
cut by 30-40 per cent simply by improving the performance and efficiency of
traditional engines and limiting the top speed to about 170km/hr. Even
that is well above the average top speed restriction in Europe, with the notable
exception of Germany. New so-called stop and start mechanisms can produce
further 10 per cent reductions that can rise to 25-30 per cent in cities.
Enhancements in car electronics as well as the development of more energy
efficient tyres, such as Michelins new energy saver technology, are also
expected to help reduce consumption and pollution.
Overall, the Syrota report says that
adapting and improving conventional engines could enhance their
efficiency by an average of 50 per cent. It also argues that new-generation
hybrid cars combining conventional engines with electric propulsion could
provide an interesting future alternative.
By combining electric batteries with conventional
fuel-driven engines, cars could run on clean electricity for short urban trips
while switching over to fuel on motorways. This would resolve one of the biggest
problems facing all electric cars the need to install costly battery
recharging infrastructures.The report warns that the overall cost of an
all-electric car remains unviable at around double that of a conventional
vehicle. Battery technology is still unsatisfactory, severely limiting
performance both in terms of range and speed. The electricity supply for these
batteries would continue to come from mostly fossil
There you go. If you don't like the answers, just forget you ever asked
them. That makes it all go away.
Al Gore will be so proud.....
HOW FRANKEN IS GOING TO DO IT
This highly informative little blog from John Hinderaker of www.powerlineblog.com explains how al
franken can overturn the Minnestota senate election and remove Norm Coleman as
the winner. Please pay special attention to the two paragraphs I've put in
bold print, which are the blueprint for this theft-in-progress:
Today, in a surprise move, Minnesota's Canvassing
Board acceded to Al Franken's demands and requested that all of the state's counties identify
absentee ballots that were incorrectly disqualified on election day, and count
them. No one knows how many such ballots there are, but the most recent
indications are that there may be 1,600 that will be so classified.
What makes this situation odd is that each
county is being called on to identify its own election day errors. How the
counties choose to do so may depend on their partisan composition. Following the
Canvassing Board's ruling--which is only a request, not an order--the Coleman
campaign petitioned Minnesota's Supreme Court for an order setting out uniform
standards for the counties to follow in defining and identifying "improperly"
This means that the scenario many
Republicans have feared will come to pass; two Republican Supreme Court judges
are on the Canvassing Board and likely will recuse themselves from participating
in Coleman's appeal. The bottom line may well be that the more partisan
counties--generally speaking, the Democrat-dominated ones--will have
considerable latitude in selecting the ballots that are now to be added to the
On paper, this is a losing battle for Franken. He
needs to make up a 200-vote deficit, and errors by county election judges
presumably are randomly distributed among the candidates (the Senate race had
three viable candidates). Even if 1,600 new ballots are put into play, it would
strain the law of averages to the breaking point to imagine that Franken's total
would exceed Coleman's by more than 200. But with varying levels of partisan
commitment among county officials, the identification of "improperly" excluded
ballots will not necessarily be random.
Got that? They can decide who to count and not count. They can make up
their own rules as they go along.
As John pointed out, since both candidates got virtually
the same number of votes, it stands to reason that ballots erroneously rejected - which
should therefore be entirely random - will be just about even too.
For franken to overcome his deficit requires a percentage of ballots in his favor
that does not have anything to do with reality and would, in a black-humor
way, be comical if it happened.
But then again, franken writes comedy sketches, doesn't he?
It looks (and smells) like al franken's Christmas present came early
this year. (Yeah, I know he's Jewish - so is Coleman, by the way -
but this ruling is straight from Santa Claus).