Saturday, November 21, 2015


Breitbart News reported that eight Syrians were apprehended as they tried to cross the border from Mexico into Texas. It was enough for Texas Governor Greg Abbot to vow to prevent any Syrian refugees from entering into Texas. Donald Trump speculated that the Syrians might be members of ISIS. The attempted infiltration showed the need to build a “big, beautiful wall,” Trump added. People who read “news” article like this are likely to picture eight terrorists trying to sneak into America where they can create carnage like that which happened in Paris. We can almost see eight young Middle Eastern men like those who killed 129 people in France.
Part of any news story is what is omitted. What the Breitbart report omitted is that these eight Syrians were made up of two families, two men, two women, and four children. To say that they were apprehended suggests that they were caught trying to sneak across the border. In fact they were not “caught.” They presented themselves to border agents as they sought asylum in the United States.

Did Breitbart leave these things out because he was ignorant of the facts, or did he deliberately leave them out to distort what really happened? 

Monday, November 2, 2015


About a third of the seats were empty when Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders stopped to give a lunchtime talk to seniors here [Manchester, NH] during a swing through the state.

This is from an article in the Boston Globe. It doesn’t look good for Bernie. A few months ago he drew an audience of 10,000 in Portland, ME.

However, at the same time the Burlington Free Press ran an article under this headline: Overflow crowd lines up to hear Bernie Sanders in N.H. This article was also picked up by USA TODAY.
What are you supposed to believe? While some “news” media purposely distort or even misrepresent news item, as far as I know, The Boston Globe and USA TODAY are pretty straightforward. So which one of these articles is true?

The fact is, both articles are true, but they describe events in a different context. The Globe article tells us that the senator was speaking to a bunch of seniors, but it never specifies more. Presumably it was some kind of senior center in Manchester, NH. In the room where Bernie spoke, a group of seniors were playing cards. They didn’t come to hear a presidential candidate. They came to play cards. The event was part of a two-day swing through New Hampshire. By itself it was not a big deal.

The overflow crowd was in another New Hampshire town, Warner. In Warner, Sanders spoke in the town hall. Evidently it had been talked up more than the event in Manchester had. There was not enough room in the building for everyone to get in. After Bernie spoke to the audience inside the building, he came out and spoke to the overflow crowd. 

So, is Bernie’s support falling, or is it surging? You can’t tell from these articles, especially the Globe article. Except to say that he senator spoke to a group of seniors, it does not say where. One-third of the seats were empty. How many were full? What was the capacity of the room where he spoke? How well was the speech publicized ahead of time? The article says that Bernie "stopped to give a lunchtime talk." The wording suggests that the event might have been impromptu.

The US TODAY article, on the other hand, tells us that the event was in a town hall in a small New Hampshire town (population 2800). Having grown up in a small town in New Hampshire, I know that the town hall could not hold more than a couple of hundred. We do not know how many people the place where Bernie spoke in Manchester could hold.

Before we can draw valid conclusions about these speeches in the Granite State, we need to know more facts than we are given in these two news articles.

Saturday, October 24, 2015


A 14-year old girl in Henrico County, VA, could be charged with assault and battery after she threw a baby carrot at her middle school teacher. School authorities charge that the girl used the baby carrot as a weapon in an assault on the teacher.

Presidential candidate Dr. Ben Carson said if someone tried to assault him with a baby carrot, he would not just stand there and take it. He would urge the miscreant to throw the baby carrot at someone else, Hillary or Donald perhaps.

Congressman Gerald X Pettybone meanwhile urged legislation requiring all baby carrots to be registered with the proper authorities.

Wednesday, October 7, 2015


    For the past month or so Donald Trump has surged to the top of the polls for the Republican nomination. It is clear to thinking people that the Donald is terribly unqualified to be President of the United States. He is a racist, a mysoginist, a narcissist, and a bully. He doesn’t have any policy proposals. What he says about issues is clearly off the cuff rather than carefully reasoned. He has insulted many individuals and groups of people. He said that McCain is not a hero, just someone who happened to get captured, even though McCain was captured because his plane was shot down, and he refused to get out of “Hotel Hanoi,” where he had been tortured, when he had a chance. How can anyone think Donald Trump could be President of the United States?
    The secret is: Of course Trump could not be President. However, most of the other Republican candidates are not credible presidential material either. Carly Fiorina laid off tens of thousands when she was CEO of Hewlett-Packard and eventually fired from her job, but at least she didn’t go bankrupt three times, like Trump. Some of the “facts” that she rattled off in the debates weren’t exactly accurate, but at least she prepared for the debates rather than making off-the-cuff remarks. In her campaign for the Senate, she made fun of her opponent’s hair. Jeb Bush may not seem to have a lot of energy or be the brightest bulb in the pack, but at least he seems to be a compassionate, reasonable man. Scott Walker may be the least qualified, but even he wouldn’t be as bad as Trump. Walker has shown more good sense than he usually does by dropping out of the race. Ted Cruz wants to try to shut down the government again, but at least he isn’t calling Mexicans murderers and rapists.

    None of these Republican candidates look very good if you take a careful look at them, but at least you can say of any of them, at least they aren’t as unqualified as Donald Trump.

Thursday, September 3, 2015

Tuesday, September 1, 2015


For a long time we thought that Scott Walker was pretty dumb, but his latest plan has forced us to change our mind. His proposal to build a wall between the U. S. and Canada is brilliant. It would keep all those Canadians from streaming over to border to take American jobs.

As we think about it, maybe the purpose of the border isn’t to keep Canadians out, but to keep Americans in. Some Americans are thinking about moving to Canada if somehow Donald Trump becomes the next American president. What we want to hear from Gov. Walker is how he plans to make the Canadian government pay for the 3,987 mile wall.

Saturday, August 29, 2015


Writing in the Washington Post, Ruth Marcus raises the issue of Joe Biden’s age. If he decides to run for the presidency and is elected, he will be 74 on Inauguration Day. Some people are worried that he will be too old and would vote against him because of his age. Marcus suggests that Biden could counteract that question if he seeks a younger running mate and announces that he will seek just one term.

Of course people have raised the same question about Democratic candidate Carl Perrin. On Election Day the former English professor will be 86. Would he consider promising to serve just one term if he is elected to the presidency? “Don’t be ridiculous,” Perrin answered. “At the beginning of my second term, I will just be 90, too young to be sitting around on a rocking chair, waiting for my turn to play shuffleboard.”