Take Five (Birth of a Vexation edition)

ONE: Dinner Is Swerved…

Readers will, I’m sure, remember the ugly incident in Phoenix when Barack Obama commandeered an entire airport to land his gas-guzzling private jet, then jumped out of it, ran over to Governor Jan Brewer’s outstretched index finger (which was minding its own business on the runway) and aggressively confronted it with his face.

Energetically wagging the digit in a desperate evasive maneuver, Brewer was nonetheless unable to escape Obama’s patently rancorous smiling and nodding. Following this terrifying experience, she commented: “I felt a little bit threatened, if you will…”

Brewer courageously ventured to Washington last weekend for the annual National Governors Association meeting and once again found herself antagonized, this time by an invitation to a black-tie dinner at the White House. In contrast to the Phoenix fiasco, though, on this occasion she was not caught off-guard by the wily Kenyan’s impudence:

Brewer said in an interview… that she had a scheduling conflict.

“I’ve just decided I wasn’t going to be going because I had some other commitments I had to attend to,” Brewer said…

Obama’s liberal media running dogs predictably refused to take Brewer’s dignified explanation at face value and pressed for more details, but to no avail:

A spokesman, Matthew Benson, declined to say whether the conflict was state business or personal.

“We’re not going to get into our schedule,” Benson said.

Bravo, Mr. Benson! This transparency stuff could easily get out of hand. Best to nip it in the bud, just like your boss did:

Brewer, who dined at the White House last year and will attend a policy discussion with other governors and Obama… laughed when asked to identify her scheduling conflict.

TWO: Posse Comatose

Thursday afternoon, I waded into the fever swamp that is WorldNutDaily to catch their live video feed of Sheriff Joe Arpaio’s press conference announcing the results of his cold case posse’s investigation into President Obama’s birth certificate. After enduring two or three choppy, incomprehensible minutes – memo to Joseph Farah and the WND techs: streaming video is supposed to, you know, stream – I opted for Phoenix’s ABC 15, whose feed was perfect.

The press conference didn’t disappoint. It was just the sort of stupendously dumb display of rank birther hokum I’d been hoping for. Arpaio spoke first, and let’s just say he’s as good a public speaker as he is a sheriff. He opened by saying that he had “felt the investigation could clear President Obama’s name,” but – surprise! – it didn’t. He believes probable cause exists to indicate forgery and fraud may have been committed. Arpaio “cannot in good faith report” that the long-form birth certificate and Selective Service registration released by the White House are authentic. History was unfolding, right before my eyes!

Arpaio then turned the microphone over to Mike Zullo, the posse’s lead investigator. Zullo noted that he would be presenting a series of videos to assist with his muddled remarks concerning multi-layer PDFs and OCR software, but took pains to point out that they were “draft videos” rather than final versions, and contained some typos. Hey, that’s perfectly understandable! After all, the posse’s only been at this for five and a half months. My favorite typo: “all that ailes the long form birth certificate.”

And Zullo (who, when asked, later confessed to being a Republican, although he denied being a Teabagger) made it clear that he and the other members of the posse (former police officers, attorneys, graphics experts and forensic document examiners) have done a lot more than just misspell words. Zullo insisted that the posse members “were not willing to merely speculate or engage in conjecture” and that the birth certificate “failed every test we put it through.” At one point, he paused, looked around the room, and said in a sepulchral voice, “This is serious. This is very serious.”

He noted that the posse tried but failed to obtain passenger manifests for incoming flights from Kenya at around the time of Barack Obama’s birth. They did obtain microfilm copies of INS records from the National Archives, 685 rolls, 10 years’ worth, but to their shock and awe, the records from August 1 to August 7, 1961 – the very week the President was born… somewhere – were missing.

Zullo turned briefly to the Selective Service document, which he described as “not just forged, it’s poorly forged.” He concluded that “there’s no question” a criminal investigation is needed, and casually added that the posse has identified a person of interest in the forgery of the birth certificate. Jeezum crow!

Swift Boat Liar Jerome Corsi was up next; I still do not understand why. He said something about the death of “fellow reporter” Andrew Breitbart and noted that Breitbart had interviewed Arpaio the night before, or asked to, or something.

Carl Seel, a Republican who represents District 6 in the Arizona House of Representatives, spoke next; again, I still do not understand why. He muttered something about having a bill pending, presumably to prevent Kenyans from making the ballot in Arizona, then said he had to get back to the Legislature to get some stuff done, or something. He commended Sheriff Joe, and concluded with: “Thank you very much. God bless America.”

Arpaio returned to the podium, noting that a lot of media were present and commenting insightfully that some might say his investigation is “pointless, silly, trite.” Having spent over an hour essentially accusing the President of the United States of being a criminal, Arpaio was adamant that he was “not accusing the President of the United States of any crime.” He was refreshingly candid about his ignorance of civics, confessing that he doesn’t know who has jurisdiction over this matter. He’s considering asking the State of Hawaii to get involved, but doubts that they’ll help. Maybe he’ll talk to Congress instead. Maybe not. Who’s to say?

Zullo spoke again, citing “numerous sworn affidavits” attesting to something or other. Then he related a puzzling anecdote about a retired government employee who had a conversation in the ’80s with Barack Obama in the front yard of Bill Ayers’ mother’s house. The future President was introduced as a foreign student. Or maybe it was the government employee who was a foreign student. Or maybe it was Bill Ayers, or maybe his mom. History is terribly confusing.

Arpaio, being the stand-up kind of guy he is, took a few questions from the press. A reporter asked if he wasn’t essentially accusing the President of living a lie. The sheriff clutched his pearls and tut-tutted: “I’m not accusing him of any lying or crime… I didn’t say that… I never said that… he can present other information proving he was born here… it’s not my problem they came up with this information and documentation… I’m not accusing anyone of anything until we find out who may have committed these alleged crimes…”

Last word goes to a reporter who prefaced one of the final questions in the news conference with: “None of us are stupid in this room.”

THREE: Post-Apocalypse Now

When the United States finally succumbs to some unstoppable threat like a nuclear attack by Iran, Sudafed, or buy-one-get-one-free abortions, one state might not get caught with its pants down. That state is Wyoming:

State representatives… advanced legislation to launch a study into what Wyoming should do in the event of a complete economic or political collapse in the United States…

House Bill 85 passed on first reading by a voice vote. It would create a state-run government continuity task force…

Scoff if you will, but that’s just good planning, folks. After all, who knows what sort of doomsday scenario might one day threaten the state? A plague of brain-eating zombies from Idaho might not be probable, but it’s always a possibility. Neighboring Montana suspiciously harbors the largest headcount of grizzlies in the lower 48. And if Mitt Romney fails to get the Republican nomination, his fellow Mormons in nearby Utah are all too capable of turning on their fellow Republicans in Wyoming. So it’s good that the legislators are considering all kinds of possible problems, and all kinds of possible solutions:

And House members approved an amendment… by state Rep. Kermit Brown, R-Laramie, to have the task force also examine conditions under which Wyoming would need to implement its own military draft, raise a standing army, and acquire strike aircraft and an aircraft carrier.

Things took a shocking turn this week when the bill was defeated. Even worse, it turns out that Brown’s aircraft carrier idea wasn’t serious:

The military amendment was a tongue-in-cheek addition from an opponent who thought the rest of the measure was a waste of time.

Republican state Rep. Kermit Brown says the aircraft carrier plan injected “a little bit of humor into the bill.”

The absurdist provision brought enough attention that the bill’s sponsor, Republican state Rep. David Miller, thinks it killed the proposal.

A Republican with a sense of humor… maybe Armageddon is right around the corner after all.

FOUR: “Mom, why are those men marrying each other!?”

One Million Moms, all 12 of them, are alarmed by recent developments in Riverdale, USA:

Select Toys ‘R’ Us stores are now selling ‘Archie’ comic books with a same-sex wedding displayed on the front cover. The front cover reads “Just Married” with two men marrying and one is wearing a service uniform. This comic book is being sold in select stores across the country. One example is the Queensbury, NY location in the upstate New York area.

… children are now being exposed to same-sex marriage in a toy store. This is the last place a parent would expect to be confronted with questions from their children on topics that are too complicated for them to understand. Issues of this nature are being introduced too early and too soon, which is becoming extremely common and unnecessary.

One Million Moms, a puppet organization of the American Family Association, has been in the news a lot in recent months, organizing entertainingly unsuccessful boycotts of JC Penney (for hiring Ellen DeGeneres as a spokesperson) and Ben & Jerry’s (for christening a new flavor – with reference to a mildly amusing and very long-in-the-tooth sketch from Saturday Night Live – “Schweddy Balls”).

Jon Goldwater, CEO of Archie Comics, has described gay character Kevin Keller and his marriage to boyfriend Clay as:

“… part of a concerted effort to make Archie’s universe mirror the diversity and complexity that today’s readers encounter in their lives.”

Of course it’s insidious concepts like diversity and complexity that the American Family Association is determined to expunge from the nation, one boycott at a time. Goldwater’s response to their newest vendetta is splendid:

“We stand by Life with Archie #16. As I’ve said before, Riverdale is a safe, welcoming place that does not judge anyone. It’s an idealized version of America that will hopefully become reality someday. We’re sorry the American Family Association/OneMillionMoms.com feels so negatively about our product, but they have every right to their opinion, just like we have the right to stand by ours. Kevin Keller will forever be a part of Riverdale, and he will live a happy, long life free of prejudice, hate and narrow-minded people.”

So I wish Clay and Kevin a long and happy life together. And here’s to you, Jon Goldwater! Now the ball’s back in your court, One Million Moms; I can’t wait to see what irks y’all next.

FIVE: Dead Wrong

While Barack Obama and his fellow Democrats keep going after the low-hanging fruit of actual issues needing actual government attention, Republicans have taken a much more “free jazz” approach, expending untold amounts of energy and taxpayer money to solve problems that don’t even exist.

In South Carolina, one such imaginary problem is being treated as an existential threat: dead voters. As noted in a previous Take Five, Attorney General Alan Wilson is so concerned about the fictional scourge of posthumous voting that he’s asked for a SLED investigation. That investigation is still ongoing, but another one undertaken by the State Election Commission has pretty well demonstrated that Wilson is full of crap:

The commission found that of the 207 cases reviewed, there was no evidence in 197 of them that fraudulent votes had been cast. The commission said that records in the other 10 cases were “insufficient to make a determination.”

As is invariably and predictably the case whenever Republicans start squawking about “voter fraud,” a number of factors are involved here (detailed in this PDF), none of them supportive of Wilson’s bare-assed voter disenfranchisement agenda:

106 cases were the result of clerical errors by poll managers… 56 cases were the result of bad data matching… 32 cases were voter participation errors… 3 cases were the result of absentee ballots being issued to a voter, who then died before Election Day…

Wilson’s office was quick to scoff, and intends to hold out for the SLED results:

“To give this state’s election process the clean bill of health we would like, we can’t simply rely on the review of some 200 of 950 records… that is unsatisfactory.”

Don’t be surprised when the results of the SLED probe are also deemed unsatisfactory, since they’ll almost certainly confirm the Election Commission’s findings.