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Archive | August, 2011

When is a ball point pen a “recording device”?

That was the most interesting question to come out of a story at the Post & Email blog in an article by Sharon Rondeau yesterday.

imageThe story goes that Monroe County, Tennessee, Sheriff’s Deputy Bennie Byrum testified that there is a sign outside on the door of the Madisonville courthouse prohibiting recorders. The testimony was given in an action against George Raudenbush, who was charged with carrying a recording device into the court. The Post & Email shows pictures of two signs that do not mention recorders and claims that there is no sign that does. Rondeau is yelling “subornation of perjury.” This testimony (it appears) was given while Walter Fitzpatrick III was away putting his own recorder back in his car.

The bizarre part is this from Fitzpatrick’s comment about Raudenbush’s recorder:

Fitzpatrick has told The Post & Email that the “recorder” was not a recording device, but rather, a ballpoint pen.  The Mont Blanc pen, a birthday present to Raudenbush, was confiscated and has not been returned.

One wonders if the pen looked like this Mont Blanc styled digital voice recorder (click image for details).


In a remarkable coincidence, the digital voice recorder I ordered arrived just today. Mine is not disguised as anything. I got it to record shortwave radio broadcasts.

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Honolulu prepares for Orly’s attack

Orly Taitz has filed a motion in the federal district court in Hawaii in an attempt to compel Hawaii state health director Loretta Fuddy to give Orly Taitz a peek at Barack Obama’s original birth certificate pursuant to discovery in her federal lawsuit Taitz v Astrue. Dr. Fuddy, through the office of the Hawaii State Attorney General David M. Louie, has filed a memorandum with the court objecting, saying that the subpoena was not properly served, is contrary to law, and irrelevant to the underlying case at controversy. Hawaii’s right on all three counts.

Taitz will lose. Here’s the State’s memorandum to explain why:

TAITZ v ASTRUE (USDC HI) – 9.0 – MEMORANDUM in Opposition to Plaintiff's Emergency Ex-Parte Motion –… by Jack Ryan

Thanks to the late Dr. Rodney T. West, Hawaiian obstetrician and contemporary of Dr. David A. Sinclair who delivered President Obama for the idea for the title of this article. West’s book is Honolulu Prepares for Japan’s Attack.

H/t to Rickey.


Sorry, nothing much to write about. Orly’s birthday is next week (August 30). Station KTAR contradicts WorldNetDaily. Our sometimes contributor. A. R. Nash has published a couple of articles here and here.

I look around the Birtherverse and all I see is crap, crap and more crap.

Gonzo birtherism

My short article on Tim Adams’ masters thesis garnered quite a number of comments (116 as of just now). Adams’ exercise in creative writing towards an English degree is, according to him, an example of “gonzo journalism” a style made famous  by journalist Hunter Thompson. (I’m a fan of one modern gonzo journalist, Jon Ronson, the author of several accounts of his travels with racists and conspiracy theorists.) Rather than an objective observer of events, the gonzo journalist is personally part of the story. This from Adams:

I’m wearing my most appropriate gonzo journalist attire; a fine braided men’s straw hat with pheasant feather band (birds were indeed harmed in the production of this product, and eaten too, no doubt). I have a single silver conch shell, a token from the Native Hawaiian people’s movement, given to me in the islands, with my black out sunglasses hanging from the brown leather thong that circles my neck. I’m wearing an Alfred Dunner plaid linen jacket, size 44 regular. It was an original from the mid-sixties, one I’d pulled out of second hand shop for three dollars, and in excellent condition. The light green/brown plaid on off white patterned fabric goes well with the mint green Hawaiian shirt I’m wearing beneath it, festooned with huge white plumeria blossoms. I’m also wearing a gold watch and new khaki colored trousers with a pair of dark brown Docksider shoes. Nothing in my ensemble is cheap, and the colors and style allow me to pull this off, just barely enough to appear professional, and I stay much cooler in the ninety-degree heat of this sticky, summer day than the stiffs  sweating it out in the gray pinstripes.

The rambling thesis is the personal narrative of what followed when Adams showed up at a white racist  gathering and subsequently gave a radio interview on a racist program where he said that he was an elections worker in Hawaii and from that knew that Barack Obama had no long-form birth certificate. When asked to explain what he was doing at a white racist convention1, Adams claims that he was covering it as a journalist. Adams is the center of his birther story.

I cast about in my mind for another example of a gonzo journalist birther (what I’m calling “gonzo birtherist”) and of course Jerome Corsi comes to mind. He acts as a journalist, writing articles for WorldNetDaily and what he describes as investigative books. Recently Corsi was in Surprise, Arizona, where he spoke to a Tea Party group that subsequently presented, along with Corsi, a petition to Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio, asking him to investigate Barack Obama for identify fraud.

Can you think of other examples of birther activists acting as journalists?

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1The Council of Conservative Citizens Statement of Principles forms the basis for calling them racist.

Clockwise v anticlockwise

The topic is Tim Adams’ May 2011 masters thesis. [The preceding link is to a PDF. I had problems opening it in my browser. I suggest you “save as” and read it offline.] Adams came to prominence in the Birtherverse, when he, a clerk at the Hawaii Elections Division, came forward to say that Barack Obama had no long-form birth certificate. He never explained exactly how he knew that, but he nevertheless became an instant celebrity among the birthers.

Now two news sources, WorldNetDaily and ConWebWatch are reporting on his thesis presented at Western Kentucky University, one defending Adams and one painting Adams and his paper in the worst possible light.

There are two issues here: fairness and accuracy. Neither article is fair: WND ignores anything bad in the thesis and ConWebWatch ignores anything good. They are both advocacy pieces. However, Cashill is not accurate and as far as I can tell ConWebWatch is. I left this comment at WorldNetDaily:

WND is an odd source. They will print some lies and they won’t print others. Joseph Farah defends the rights of his "commentators" to say whatever they want, so the demonstrably fake story of the 1981 Travel Ban to Pakistan by commentator Janet Folger Porter remains at WND since 2009 with no hint that it’s a lie. On the other hand WND has vigorously debunked the fake Kenyan birth certificates for Barack Obama.

The problem is that it is difficult to know when WND is engaging in reporting (where they won’t usually lie outright) or printing commentary (where the commentators are free to lie outright) and I’m not sure that even WND always keep that straight. Generally all of the "experts" saying Obama’s long form is a fake are commentary or reporting of commentary. I suppose Bob Unruh is a reporter, and I don’t know what Jerome Corsi and Jack Cashill are.

What you can be sure of is that WND is a highly biased web site that engages in spin, innuendo and taking things out of context. Accepting anything from WND without confirmation from elsewhere is a recipe for embarrassment.

I was in error on one point; it is clear from the story’s labeling that Cashill is a commentator.

The Adams thesis is turgid and rambling and, in my opinion, totally unsuited for a scholarly thesis. I read a little and got disgusted.