From law school to the Senate, Joe Biden has been a thief.

The long-time, apolitical web site, Famous Plagiarists, has a good summary of Biden’s serial plagiarisms.

As a writer who has been plagiarized and as a college teacher who has nailed — and failed — plagiarists, I’ve seen this form of intellectual theft. It’s dishonest and it stinks. The same goes for plagiarists.

The New York Times has written about Biden’s plagiarism as has the Washington Post which notes that Biden was forced out of the 1988 Presidential nomination race by his dishonesty.

This lawsuit, by Clinton supporter Philip J. Berg, certainly raises many, many questions. In addition to charges that Obama is not constitutionally eligible to run for president, the suit alleges fraud on the part of Obama.

If the allegations are false, it SHOULD be easy for Obama to put them to rest with the proper documentation. Otherwise?

Here are the documents as filed on August 22, 2008 with the Federal District Court, Eastern District of Pennsylvania.

These are the original .pdf’s. (Adobe reader needed). Other websites have scanned the documents and created some HTML pages that read very badly, more due to the scan rather than the actual writing itself.

The Complaint

Motion For Temporary Restraining Order

Memorandum in Support of Motion

Judge’s Order Denying Temporary Restraining Order

The attorney who filed the suit is a 9/11 Truther. … but if Obama wishes for this to go away, it would be easy for him to provide the appropriate documentation if it exists.

If the only thing that Obama or his supporters can offer is an ad hominem attack on Berg, this will not go away.

This is also a wonderful task for an enterprising investigative reporter to work on … to either verify or disprove the allegations using credible, provable sources.

One of my favorite, daily, MUST-READ blogs, The Patry Copyright Blog, is dead.

This literate, calm, well-reasoned blog did more for actually understanding copyright than anything else on the web.

Patry started the blog when he was in private practice with a firm where my former patent lawyer worked.

But when Patry left private practice to join Google, many readers were incapable of accepting that this was HIS pesonal opinion rather than Google’s. That was a hassle.

His other reason for ceasing the blog is the depressing state of copyright, having been distorted by Congress so that corporate dinosaurs can pervert into an anti-competitive tool.

Here’s what he has to say about that.

The Current State of Copyright Law is too depressing

This leads me to my final reason for closing the blog which is independent of the first reason: my fear that the blog was becoming too negative in tone. I regard myself as a centrist. I believe very much that in proper doses copyright is essential for certain classes of works, especially commercial movies, commercial sound recordings, and commercial books, the core copyright industries.

I accept that the level of proper doses will vary from person to person and that my recommended dose may be lower (or higher) than others. But in my view, and that of my cherished brother Sir Hugh Laddie, we are well past the healthy dose stage and into the serious illness stage.

Much like the U.S. economy, things are getting worse, not better.

Copyright law has abandoned its reason for being: to encourage learning and the creation of new works. Instead, its principal functions now are to preserve existing failed business models, to suppress new business models and technologies, and to obtain, if possible, enormous windfall profits from activity that not only causes no harm, but which is beneficial to copyright owners. Like Humpty-Dumpty, the copyright law we used to know can never be put back together again: multilateral and trade agreements have ensured that, and quite deliberately.

If you give a damn about copyright, you should read the whole post. And mourn not only the passing of Patry’s blog, but his reasons for putting it to sleep.

Obama handled himself very well yesterday and that does not bode well for McCain:

“In no way do I think John McCain’s campaign was racist. I think they are cynical,” Obama said Saturday. “Their team is good at creating distractions and engaging in negative attacks.”

A presidential campaign is a Darwinian process. Each candidate is a general or a CEO, called upon to pull together the best team with the best ideas and command/manage them effectively.

The fact that McCain continues to pace Obama in the polls is a miracle given the sloppy, bumbling, badly coordinated campaign. It is, of course, difficult to wage a campaign against a Teflon, rock-star candidate who so clearly has the news media shamelessly eating from his hand.

But McCain’s campaign has shown neither creativity nor resourcefulness in developing countermeasures. Whining and complaining about the media’s obvious bias shows no strength.

McCain’s strategy pertaining to Obama’s lack of a record has not stuck because the campaign has presented no evidence. Where is their opposition research … the data that can be convincing rather than simply suggestive? For example, legislation he’s sponsored, versus legislation passed?

And then there is the Internet.

McCain’s web illiteracy is his grocery scanner moment. He’s lucky it could not be capture in a photo or video.

But even worse is the campaign’s failure to use the Web effectively. A few YouTube videos do not comprise a strategy. Where is their social networking strategy? Not just FaceBook, but building their own system? (Not hard. My 15-year-old son William built an entire FaceBook, MySpace-type system in the first month of summer vacation.)

Where is the Internet effort to pull McCain supporters together? To find contributors? To make fact-based opposition research available to bloggers and other supporter?

All that is AWOL.

What we have here is a failure of command. McCain has not been able to be the General of his own army, has not pulled together the best people and inspired them to work together.

Obama has.

If a presidential campaign demonstrates the capacity of the candidate to lead and command, then McCain has a failing grade so far.

So far this campaign has been Obama versus Obama. Rev. Wright versus hope and change.

If he really wants to win, McCain has got to get in the game.

CNN: The Obama Channel?

July 31st, 2008

Geez … I hate to watch television, regardless of the channel.

But I went out to the garage just now to walk on the treadmill. Turned on the TV.

At 2:30 (PDT) I let the remote rest on CNN. Wolf Blitzer’s Situation Room. The “situation” was the room.

For eight minutes — all the way to the first commercial break — there were two stories: The first was Hillary Clinton giving a speech to the AFSCME union about why it was vital to elect Obama and more Democrats. The second was a speech by Barack Obama making fun at McCain for his ads making fun at Obama (The Paris/Britney ads).

Then came the commercial break.

So here we have the lead “news” segment on what purports to be a major source of news, devoted entirely to partisan speeches by Obama and Hillary.

No comment from the news personalities and nothing from the McCain side. I hate the fluffy, vapid stuff on TV and this viewing is, obviously anecdotal and far from scientific. But every time I do accidentally watch “news” on the tube, I resolve never to do it again.

pew poll news media CNN: The Obama Channel?

Little doubt, then, why recent public opinion polls show CNN and the rest of the media sliding into the toilet — still better than Congress, of course, but that’s not saying much.

None of them — regardless of whether they’re liberal or conservative, would ever have gotten a passing grade in the university journalism classes I taught.

Washington Post Media Critic has also written about the fawning, over-coverage of Obama. You may also want to read some of his other insights. Here is an index.

The Obama campaign has issued a public statement condemning lyrics on one cut of a Ludacris’ “Gangsta Grillz: The Preview” mixtape, hosted by DJ Drama.

Track 9, “Politics as Usual”, is a rap ballad extolling the presidential candidacy of Barack Obama. Its lyrics include insults aimed at Hillary Clinton, John McCain and President George Bush.

Hillary: “that bitch is irrelevant.”
McCain: “don’t belong in any chair unless he’s paralyzed”
Bush: “is mentally handicapped.”

The lyrics also modestly chastize Jesse Jackson for not standing behind his comments about cutting off Obama’s testicles.

Listen for yourself:

“As Barack Obama has said many, many times in the past, rap lyrics today too often perpetuate misogyny, materialism, and degrading images that he doesn’t want his daughters or any children exposed to,” campaign spokesman Bill Burton said in an e-mail statement Wednesday. “This song is not only outrageously offensive to Sen. Clinton, Rev. Jackson, Sen. McCain and President Bush, it is offensive to all of us who are trying to raise our children with the values we hold dear. While Ludacris is a talented individual he should be ashamed of these lyrics.”

The intro, track one “And Starring” features a refrain including:

Smoking some grow
kicking in yo do’
taking all yo hos

Ludacris, whose real name is Chris Bridges, has met previously with Obama as an informal advisor.

Lyrics throughout the preview, and other Ludacris albums, feature copiously using of shit, fuck, nigger, Goddamn and other profanity.

No further comment necessary. See more of Non Sequitur’s wisdom.

nonsequitur Hey GOP! Hey Dems! You Listening? ... Nah. Didnt Think So

(click on cartoon for full-sized image)

What do Animal Liberation Front bombers have in common with the man who killed two people at a Unitarian Church in Tennessee? Or Abortion clinic bombers and Earth Liberation Front arsonists?

They are all domestic terrorists rooted in the same phenomena that have destroyed political discourse and consensus in American politics. Those roots would be:

  • The refusal of individuals to compromise their personal concepts of right and wrong in order to further the common good.
  • Insular, intellectually segregated groups of people who create and self-confirm extreme beliefs and their entitlement to act on them regardless of the impact on others.

Like many people, I have puzzled over the vicious, polemical extremes that dominate politics today. Discourse about differing opinions has been replaced by demonizing those who disagree. Both Left and Right, Democrats and Republicans resort to rants rather than persuasion.

The lack of moderation, and the permission granted by political leaders for their followers to engage in scorched earth tactics, inevitably incites the mentally unstable to acts of violence.

A newly published book, The Big Sort, sheds some light on why all this is happening now.

According to the book, “In the 95th Congress (1977-1979), 40 percent of the 435 members were moderates,” Bishop writes. “By the 108th Congress (2003-2005) this moderate bloc had be whittled down to 10 percent.”

Further, the book states that, “In 1976, less than a quarter of Americans lived in places where the presidential election was a landslide.” The authors define “landslide” as winning by 20 percent or greater. “By 2004, nearly half of all voters lived in landslide counties.”

Nothing illustrates this schism better than the county-by-county maps of presidential voting from 1976 to 2004.

Along with this, the book documents how, over the past three decades, Americans have chosen to segregate themselves in ways that avoid contact with people who might disagree with them politically.

Now, the match that ignites all this gasoline: <The Big Sort presents numerous studies proving that people isolated from differing opinions become more extreme, especially with regard to political issues. In effect, people in homogeneous groups trend toward political extremes as they try to prove they have drunk the common Kool-Aid. They do not tolerate dissent or discussion. Moderates then must decide whether to comply with the group or allow themselves to be driven away.

A study published in 2006 by Penn political scientist Diana Mutz found that only 23 percent of Americans have regular discussions with people they disagree with politically. And the more education a person has, the worse this gets.

Moderates willing to work together for a common goal despite their differences have been replaced by tinhorn demagogues trying to stir up hatred and intolerance for anyone they disagree with.

The self-sorting polarization of the electorate is why both political parties have abandoned any attempt at trying to sway moderates — there are damn few left. Instead, campaigns focus on inflaming their supporters’ passions, encouraging them, to intimidate the opposition and make sure they go to the polls.

This is how both the Nazis and Communists came to power. It invigorates the ideological psychos on the fringes and gives them permission to burn, bomb and kill.

The political “leadership” of America is responsible for extremism that leads to death and violence.

Buy this book. Read it. Study it. It has no answers of its own, but knowledge is power and acknowledging a problem is the first step to solving it.

Reader James Lange posted a comment today and asked: Could you bust another malicious email for us. I got the following – allegedly an articles by Maureen Downd in the NYT, but could find no such article in the NYT archives and noticed that the ”the web site security monitors” and ”the security people” were un-named. It doesn’t smell right.

Well, I ran across this late last week and also felt that it didn’t pass the smell test. The first place I went was Snopes.Com.

And according to this piece, the following “column” is fake.

By MAUREEN DOWD Published: June 29, 2008

OBAMA’S TROUBLING INTERNET FUND RAISING

Certainly the most interesting and potentially devastating phone call I have received during this election cycle came this week from one of the Obama’s campaign internet geeks. These are the staffers who devised Obama’s internet fund raising campaign which raised in the neighborhood of $200 million so far. That is more then twice the total funds raised by any candidate in history – and this was all from the internet campaign.

What I learned from this insider was shocking but I guess we shouldn’t be surprised that when it comes to fund raising there simply are no rules that can’t be broken and no ethics that prevail.

Obama’s internet campaign started out innocently enough with basic e-mail networking , lists saved from previous party campaigns and from supporters who visited any of the Obama campaign web sites.
Small contributions came in from these sources and the internet campaign staff were more than pleased by the results.

Then, about two months into the campaign the daily contribution intake multiplied. Where was it coming from? One of the web site security monitors began to notice the bulk of the contributions were clearly coming in from overseas internet service providers and at the rate and frequency of transmission it was clear these donations were “programmed” by a very sophisticated user.

While the security people were not able to track most of the sources due to firewalls and other blocking devices put on these contributions they were able to collate the number of contributions that were coming in seemingly from individuals but the funds were from only a few credit card accounts and bank electronic funds transfers. The internet service providers (ISP) they were able to trace were from Saudi Arabia, Iran, and other Middle Eastern countries. One of the banks used for fund transfers was also located in Saudi Arabia.

Another concentrated group of donations was traced to a Chinese ISP with a similar pattern of limited credit card charges.

It became clear that these donations were very likely coming from sources other than American voters. This was discussed at length within the campaign and the decision was made that none of these donations violated campaign financing laws.

It was also decided that it was not the responsibility of the campaign to audit these millions of contributions as to the actual source (specific credit card number or bank transfer account numbers) to insure that none of these internet contributors exceeded the legal maximum donation on a cumulative basis of many small donations. They also found the record keeping was not complete enough to do it anyway.

This is a shocking revelation.

We have been concerned about the legality of “bundling” contributions after the recent exposure of illegal bundlers but now it appears we may have an even greater problem.”

Well, let’s pause a moment.

obama newyorker1 205x300 Toon versus Toon: Obama & McCain React Very Differently

The New Yorker satirizes “2Cool4School” Obama and he goes ballistic. Most of the news media accompany his trajectory, crying “Tasteless! Unfair!

obama hillary george torture mccain 300x300 Toon versus Toon: Obama & McCain React Very Differently

Then the Rolling Stone runs the following cartoon and “Hothead” McCain takes it in stride. The media fail to say a word. Here we have McCain who was tortured as a POW, being tormented by (right to left) Obama, George W and Hillary.

Draw your own conclusions about the candidates and the media.

Oh, that Rolling Stone piece? It’s a journalistic gem full of sound and fury and conveying nothing useful. here’s the lead:

Full Metal McCain

Haunted by the ghosts of Vietnam, the one-time maverick has transformed himself into just another liberal-bashing fearmonger

MATT TAIBBI
Posted Jun 26, 2008 12:04 PM

Evening, June 3rd, in a muggy, dragonfly-beswarmed place called the Pontchartrain Center, just outside New Orleans. Half a continent away, amid yet another legacy-smashing fusillade of unsolicited invective from Bill Clinton, the excruciating Obama-Hillary mess is finally wrapping up, in a pair of anticlimactic primaries somewhere over the darkened plains of Montana and South Dakota. But here in the Big Easy, John McCain has chosen this moment to mount his first general-election attack against the Great Satanic Liberal Enemy — who, as luck would have it, turns out to be a Negro intellectual from Harvard who’s never served in the military. And this is supposed to be a bad year for Republicans?

You’d never know it from listening to McCain, whose kickoff speech is the same election-year diatribe that Republicans have been giving for decades, one long broadside against those goddamned overgrown Sixties weenie liberals who hate the flag, love the bomb-tossing enemies of America and are bent on the twin goals of ending the system of free enterprise and placing every aspect of our lives under government control. McCain pegs Obama as a man who wants to take America “backward,” to the failed ideas of the Sixties. “I’m surprised that a young man has bought into so many failed ideas!” he says, to furious applause. Then, spitting out a forced, ugly laugh that he must have practiced many (but not enough) times in the bathroom mirror of the Straight Talk Express, he adds, “That’s not change we can believe in!”

Read the rest if you have the stomach for it.