Alan Keyes was born on Mars and I have the proof

My macabre interest in Dr. Alan Keyes, politico-turned-raving lunatic, is rarely rewarded with such riches.

Presidential candidate Alan Keyes, vice-presidential candidate Wiley S. Drake, and the Chairman of the American Independent Party, Markham Robinson, have filed suit in California Superior Court in Sacramento seeking to bar Secretary of State Debra Bowen from certifying to Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger the names of Electors, and from transmitting to each presidential Elector a Certificate of Election, until documentary proof is produced and verified showing that Senator Obama is a “natural born” citizen of the United States, and does not hold citizenship of Indonesia, Kenya or Great Britain.

In addition, they have asked that the court issue a peremptory writ barring Senator Obama’s California Electors from signing the Certificate of Vote until such documentary proof is produced and verified.

In response to questions about why the suit was being filed, Ambassador Alan Keyes commented, “I and others are concerned that this issue be properly investigated and decided before Senator Obama takes office. Otherwise there will be a serious doubt as to the legitimacy of his tenure. This doubt would also affect the respect people have for the Constitution as the supreme law of the land. I hope the issue can be quickly clarified so that the new President can take office under no shadow of doubt. This will be good for him and for the nation.”

Keyes was a particularly tiny speedbump on Obama’s route to the White House. The 2004 Illinois Senate race was the weirdest turning point in a future president’s career since, I’d argue, LBJ’s stolen 1948 election. A rundown: the Democratic frontrunner imploded in a spouse abuse scandal, after Obama won the nomination the GOP frontrunner imploded in a similiar spousal scandal (he’d forced his wife to have sex in front of strangers in Paris clubs), and the Illinois GOP, given a choice between a pro-choice Bush official and Alan Keyes (who didn’t have any ties to the state), waited until Mike Ditka passed on the race then nominated Keyes. Keyes went on to lose in a 43-point landslide to Obama despite performing rather well in the debates.

I don’t know what happened to Keyes since then. He was an odd and argumentative person before 2004, and a political punching bag (the only man defeated by George W. Bush, Barack Obama, AND John McCain), but he wasn’t crazy. I believe that as his circle tightened, and his support was limited to a bunch of religious extremists like the falangists, he lost his grip on reality. Hence his blathering, uninformed performance in the one 2008 debate he was allowed in (the final Iowa GOP debate) and hence this. I’d say Keyes should be ashamed, but he doesn’t have shame anymore.

This, by the way, is only the second funniest wrinkle in the Obama birth conspiracy theory. The funniest is the slap-fight between Phil Berg, the deranged 9/11 conspiracy theorist who filed the most high-profile suit against Obama (alleging that he was born in Kenya AND an Indonesian citizen), and Andy Martin, the anti-semitic fringe candidate (who, yes, ran in the 2004 GOP Senate primary in Illinois) who now claims that Obama’s real father is Frank Marshall Davis. Martin is now suing Berg (filing an official complaint to his state’s legal board) because he fears that Berg is trying to discredit real truth-seekers like him.

Serve the service

I have a soft spot for presidential conspiracy theories the same way I have a soft spot for the radio shows about UFOs that come on in the 1 a.m. hour. To wit, this shit.

How would I go about buying stock in the companies that pad rubber rooms? Things are going to be overflowering by election day 2012.

I Don’t Know What to Do Now That Pink Has Turned to Blue

This doesn’t strike me as a particularly useful map. It obsesses over which Democrats represent districts that voted for President Bush in 2004. But 2004 was, you know, four years ago. This year Barack Obama clobbered McCain in every Kerry state and all of the non-deep South, non-Great Plains, non-Arizona Bush states. As a result, outside the deep South, basically every Democrat is from a “safer” district now. Look at Virginia. The first number is how much of the vote John McCain scored in this district. The second number is what George W. Bush scored four years ago, when he easily defeated John Kerry statewide. I’ve bolded the districts where the representative is now from the party whose presidential candidate lost the district. (VA-02, VA-05, and VA-11 all replaced Republicans with Democrats this year.)

VA-01: Rob Wittman (R) – 51% (60%)
VA-02: Glenn Nye (D) – 49% (58%)
VA-03: Bobby Scott (D) – 24% (33%)
VA-04: Randy Forbes (R) – 49% (57%)
VA-05: Tom Perriello (D) – 51% (56%)
VA-06: Bob Goodlatte (R) – 57% (63%)
VA-07: Eric Cantor (R) – 53% (61%)
VA-08: Jim Moran (D) – 30% (35%)
VA-09: Rick Boucher (D) – 59% (59%)
VA-10: Frank Wolf (R) – 46% (55%)
VA-11: Gerry Connelly (D) – 42% (50%)

See what happened? Only two of the state’s six Democrats are in McCain-voting districts, one of them in a squeaker (Perriello) and one whose southwest district is so safe for him that the GOP didn’t even field a challenger (Boucher.) Two of the state’s five Republicans are now in Obama-voting districts, even though their districts voted for Bush last time. And two of the three Democrats elected this year, Connelly and Nye, are in districts that swung from Bush to Obama.

Keep in mind, all of this happened in a state whose Republican governor and legislature started the decade by gerrymandering the districts for maximum GOP strength. Bush carried nine of Virginia’s 11 districts twice. McCain carried only five of them. Once we learn the full results from states like Michigan, Minnesota, Indiana, Iowa and Wisconsin, places where Obama dramatically outperformed in the suburbs, I think we’ll learn that most congressional districts went blue at the presidential level. In 2004, 255 congressional districts had gone red.

Quote of the decade (this week)

John Hinderaker strikes up the band:

Bush never gets sloppy when he is speaking publicly. He chooses his words with care and precision, which is why his style sometimes seems halting. In the eight years he has been President, it is remarkable how few gaffes or verbal blunders he has committed. If Obama doesn’t raise his standards, he will exceed Bush’s total before he is inaugurated.

What do you think of that, President Bush?

“I regret saying some things I shouldn’t have said,” Bush told CNN’s Heidi Collins when asked to reflect on his regrets over his two terms as president. “Like ‘Dead or Alive’ and ‘Bring ’em on.’ My wife reminded me that, hey, as president of the United States be careful what you say.”

And that’s correct.

Wrapped Up in Books I: Alternadad

When I turned 27 I resolved to do something I’d resolved to do when I turned 26: Keep a log of the books I read. I find it awfully difficult to recall, instantly, from stuff I’ve read unless I’ve written something down.

So, Book One of my 27th year:

I started reading Pollack seven years ago, when he was still living in Philadelphia, writing for McSweeney’s, and writing stories as a fictional version of himself who had become (in his own mind) America’s Greatest Living Writer. He had a blog where the mask slipped, but only slightly, and he could excoriate left-wingers and right-wingers at the moment when they got the most ridiculous (see “Iraq War, the”).

Anne Lamott, shut up.

And so on. Little did I know that Pollack was expecting a baby boy, that he would move his new family to Austin, and that he would make the leap from “writer that NPR listeners like” to “writer that NPR listeners will buy tickets for at a reading inside a major university” with a book about the mundane wackness of child-rearing. In Alternadad (published a while ago) Pollack drops character and writes movingly about falling in love, buying a home, and raising his son Elijah. His wife loses interest in her artwork. Their son is denied access to a wonderful school and stuck inside one that only looks fit on the surface. There is joy, as Elijah discovers and enjoys some of the music Neal likes. There is tragedy, as father and son join a cultish gymnastics class. There is more tragedy, as the neighborhood the family has moved into is slowly revealed to be a John Carpenter nightmare. But there’s mostly a lot of humor and hope and delirious baby talk.

If I were a young man I’d resent Pollack for no longer being the type of guy who cracks wise about poets and becoming the type who blogs at But I don’t resent him, of course. This is a deeply funny book, touching and wincingly honest, and if there are imitators out there I’d like to read them.

Bring your own slaves

Since I let this blog die, Twitter was invented and Facebook got a whole lot more popular. It seems odd, then, to point out that I took the day off to visit Charlottesville, VA for the first time. I mean, this happened hours ago. Everybody that wants to know already knows.

But that’s where I am. Being white and twentysomething I make a point out of hitting any college town that’s reasonably within my reach. When I was in Colorado, it was Boulder. When I was in the Twin Cities, it was Dinkytown. Charlottesville stacks up even though all I’ve done is buy a T-Bone Burnett record and eat a sandwich at Cafe Europa. As I learn more, you will know more.

Return of the mack

Don’t cry for me, readers. The truth is I never left you. A few months back weird WordPress bugs nibbled away at the moorings of this site. Posts that were written years ago (literally, as I’ve been blogging since 2001) were pushed up top. Spammers ran free and wild and naked through the digital streets. It sucked. And since I could blog at Reason’s Hit&Run, I moved on from here.

But! I’m back and beginning the tedious work of re-blogrolling, re-linking to all my articles, and re-establishing as the place to read my prescient and never-hackneyed opinions. For example, I hear that one football team is doing good right now.