And they call him Lonewacko

I don’t want to pollute the WIndy with his nonsense, but as a way of explaining: I called Hawaii back in November when I started writing longer pieces about the Obama Birthers. They pointed me to this 10/31 statement:

Therefore, I as Director of Health for the State of Hawai‘i, along with the Registrar of Vital Statistics who has statutory authority to oversee and maintain these type of vital records, have personally seen and verified that the Hawai‘i State Department of Health has Sen. Obama’s original birth certificate on record in accordance with state policies and procedures.

Literate people read this as “we have Barack Obama’s birth certificate.” Lonewacko/Chris Kelly/24Ahead reads this as “we have a document that MAY INDEED SAY THAT OBAMA WAS BORN IN KENYA.” It’s the stupidest argument I’ve dealt with in my mini-career in the Obama Birtherverse, and I’ve dealt with some high-grade stupid shit. Lonewacko/24Ahead’s evidence that… uh, that Hawaiian bureaucrats don’t mean “birth certificate” when they say “birth certificate,” and instead mean “certification of live birth in foreign country,” is that one of the bureaucrats blew him off. Hell, who wouldn’t blow him off?

Why won’t Hawaii say more? I don’t know? Why don’t I call them again? Because they answered my question already!

Oh, Lonewacko: Those people you keep e-mailing about this? They’re laughing at you.

You were right about the political acumen of the Ron Paul activists, though.

Andy Martin moves on

I see that the mentally ill anti-Semite has trotted along from his Obama conspiracy theories and is now giving “the media” (the invisible people he imagines when he spits out his blog posts) advice about Obama cabinet appointments and Rod Blagojevich.

I bring this up in part because I have my last (I hope!) piece about the Obama Birthers running tomorrow, and because I just today noticed The Smoking Gun’s file on Martin. They have his fundraising letter from his pseudononymous congressional campaign. Yes, the one about “Jew Power.” It’s really beyond parody.

Why notice him at all? Well, until people started kicking his ass again, Martin was appearing on Fox News and speaking at “PUMA” conferences held by people who later campaigned for the McCain campaign–some on special “Democrats for McCain” tours.

Big bad John

Color me confused: Why make a high-volume statement like this that is so obviously in bad faith? Surely, no one thinks Harry Reid opposed the appointment of Danny Davis, who’s a fool, because he’s such a racist.

Below the radar, Cornyn is probably going to make a lot of snide race-baiting comments from now to 2010. He leads the GOP’s Senate campaign arm, and in his state, black railroad commissioner Michael Williams is going to run for Senate. If he gets out of the primary, Republicans will try again to convince white liberals that they’re a racially progressive party.

Merry Christmas, Powerline

On 12/23, Powerline’s John Hinderaker reports on the “duplicate ballot issue” in Minnesota’s Senate race.

The recount in the Coleman-Franken Senate race is drawing to a close, and the result depends on the outcome of the motion that the Coleman team argued before the Minnesota Supreme Court (minus two of its members who are serving on the Canvassing Board) this afternoon. The motion relates to duplicate ballots that have been counted, giving Franken an extra 130 or so votes. If Coleman prevails on the duplicate ballot issue, he wins the recount; if not, Franken will win by somewhere between 25 and 50 votes.

On 12/24, Coleman loses in an unanimous decision by the Minnesota Supreme Court. Powerline’s Scott Johnson comments:

As a result of the Supreme Court ruling on the issue of double counted ballots, the ballots in issue will be included in the totals rendered by the Board of Canvassers in early January. If the margin between the candidates is fewer than 130 votes, or if other substantial issues remain as a result of the treatment of the 1,600 absentee ballots, a contest is guaranteed. I take the Coleman campaign statement’s slight hesitation on this point only to mean that so long as the margin is not prohibitive, a judicial contest of the recount is now inevitable.

Old and busted: if Coleman loses at the MSC, Franken wins! New hotness: if Coleman loses at the MSC, Coleman still wins! Maybe! Meanwhile, InTrade drops the chance of a Coleman win from 14% to 6%.

Swing State Project FTW

The site’s breakdown of presidential vote by congressional district continues in California, gerrymandered to hell and back in 2001 in order to create safe seats for every Democrat and Republican. It was a GOP bloodbath. Republicans now representing “blue” seats, with several seats left to be analyzed:

Dan Lungren (CA-03)
Buck McKeon (CA-25)
David Dreier (CA-26)
Ken Calvert (CA-44)
Mary Bono Mack (CA-45)
John Campbell (CA-48)
Brian Bilbray (CA-50)

No results yet for CA-11, which Jay McNerney picked up for the Democrats in 2006 from Richard Pombo, but given that Obama won every county in CA-11 I think it’s now a blue seat.

Fringe wars

My favorite thing about the Obama Birthers is that they’ve already split into factions. I know, it’s surprising–you’d think getting your ass kicked in every court with a gavel and desk would build some movement solidarity. But no! There are four major players in the Obama Birtherverse, and three of them hate the others.

One of the three is Andy Martin, and that really shouldn’t come as a surprise. The man can’t pass the bar because he’s so clearly mentally unstable that no state will give him a license. He is the retarded P.T. Barnum of the Obama Birtherverse. Now, he’s convinced that two other Obama Birthers, Phil Berg and Leo Donofrio, are con men. Here’s his response to the press conference I covered for Slate:

The U. S. Supreme Court becomes ground zero in a con game by anti-Obama profiteers. Paranoia spreads as hucksters undermine the anti-Obama movement. Con artists such as Philip Berg seek to cash in by filing false legal claims against Barack Obama.

Not that Martin ever asks for money. Oh…

URGENT APPEAL: The Committee of One Million to Defeat Barack Obama is raising money to oppose President-elect Barack Obama. Please give generously up to the maximum of $100. Our ability to fight and defeat Barack Obama is directly dependent on the generosity of every American.

“The Committee of One Million to Defeat Barack Obama limits itself to $100 maximum contributions; there are no bundlers, fat cats or illegal contributions. Obama is opposed to everything America stands for,” says Executive Director Andy Martin.

Yes, that is from the very same post I quoted above. But it’s still pretty fun to read: Martin accuses World Net Daily of printing “gibberish,” calls out the people who claim “Obama’s grandmother was at his birth in Kenya” as “unhinged” morons, and accuses Phil Berg of legal “hyperventilation.”

Berg hates Martin, too, as Martin filed a complaint against Berg and is running around calling him a con artist. Donofrio attacks anyone who sues Obama on grounds other than his moronic “Obama’s father was a British subject!” argument.

And then there’s this. My favorite part is that Lindsey has the same Macbook that I do.


I can’t really be objective about this movie. In my gut I know what Chris Orr is talking about. This is Good Will Hunting Gus Van Sant, not Elephant Gus Van Sant. It’s Hollywoody. It traffics in cliches. The martyr dies (spoiler alert!) in slow motion.

And yet… no, I can’t put fingers to keys and claim I did not start tearing up at the first minute of this movie. As Orr notes, and criticizes, Van Sant begins the film with the same shocking footage that begins The Life and Times of Harvey Milk, the brilliant 1984 documentary. Dianne Feinstein, president of the board of supervisors, informs the press that “Mayor Moscone and supervisor Harvey Milk have been shot… and killed.” Members of the media scream. “The suspect is supervisor Dan White.”

How can you not choke up at that? As with so many moments in Milk, resisting the emotional tug is like holding still your leg as a doctor raps it with a hammer. It’s mind-boggling that no one has made this movie before, and dramatized the last great civil rights battle of the 20th century, especially when its key figure was as flamboyant and witty and out there as Harvey Milk. The popular film that I can best compare to Milk is Edward Zwick’s Glory (1989), the melodramatic story of Robert Gould Shaw and the first all-black volunteer company. Similar scene-chewing, similar cast-the-guy-who-looks-like-the-guy ethos (you could easily mistake the street mural of Shaw outside my house with Matthew Broderick), similarly functional this-is-what-happened dialogue that the screenwriters leaven with jokes.

I was impressed with how Van Sant resisted making Milk into a saint. The character flaws are there-pettiness, an eye for much younger men. Van Sant frames the film with Milk’s tape recordings, marked “in case,” recorded in the event of his assassination. But he does not use the large chunks of the tapes that eschew rhetoric like “should a bullet enter my brain, let it obliterate every closet door” and instead name and shame Milk’s political foes, the people he demanded not be appointed to fill his supervisor’s seat. Sean Penn’s Milk (and there’s really no criticism to make of Penn’s acting here) is smart and funny, and you want to cry when he’s killed, but he is not sanctified onscreen.

There are two other actors who play ball here. Josh Brolin’s Dan White is perfect, slow-boiling and sociopathic, but with an obvious and unfulfilled need to be liked. Diego Luna gets less screen time as Jack Lira, but he nails the role: it is obvious why Milk’s friends hated Lira, and Milk’s fawning over him bring much-needed distance between us and the martyr-politician. He’s never as flawed as when he’s making excuses for his drunken boy toy. We need to see him flawed like that.

That said, Van Sant makes some easy, lazy choices, perhaps because he cannot understand, or does not want to understand, the cops and social conservatives whom Milk fought against. I don’t think any cop is ever given a name or face. When White gives up his job, he is buttonholed by cops who literally pull him into a room and shut the door. We never hear what they say or who they were. I see the dramatic purpose, but it’s misbegotten–what the cops were doing in San Francisco was dramatic, and involved a war of insults and insubordination to a police chief who demanded they be more gay friendly. And while it would be hard to find as actress to play Anita Bryant–less odious people have been tried by the ICC–hell, Van Sant found a perfect Dan White. The reality of the film suffers, actually, because the news clips keep intruding on the drama.

Ah, sour grapes. I heartily recommend this movie. It’s a melodrama, but so was Milk’s life–yes, the SF opera house was really the last thing he saw as Dan White murdered him, as the police report would tell you. You will cry like your family dog just died, and you will make me feel less ridiculous for my blubbering act in the dark theater.

Curse you, Instapundit

One bug in your blogging formula is that you don’t warn people when you link to Jennifer Rubin or Andrew Malcolm. Two more wrongheaded political writers do not exist: they figured out early that conservatives like to get the ego-stroking all-is-well-ism of talk radio in print form, too.

Life is too short, but if some people made a team effort out of it, they’d have fun grabbing all of the Rubin statements from 2007 and 2008 that never panned out. No one more often predicted the political demise of Barack Obama, except maybe Victor Davis Hanson. And at least his writing has some faux-classical flair, versus the bland talking points of Rubin.

Oh, about the story he links: No Republican with a brain thinks the party is on the “comeback trail” because it won a Georgia runoff and is exploiting the Blagojevich drama.