Thursday, January 22, 2009

The Obameter

We have a good local newspaper called The St. Pete Times. Usually it's good: Not great. This is not entirely the fault of The St. Pete Times. There are many papers struggling to survive, and the Times has had to cut back a great deal on staff and output.

But recently they've started Politifact, which features the Obameter - a continual guide to promises kept and facts checked on statements made by both Obama and others in his government. It's a wonderful little gimmick and I now have the shorter of the two Obameters installed to the right on this page.

Of course this is one more example of the news being broken down in easy-to-digest pieces, and that's sometimes dangerous. It can encourage people to not take the time to thoroughly understand the issues on their own. However, we increasingly have less time to devote to the things which are important (such as politics) and I find that it's both fun and informative.

It will be interesting to see how accurate this is, as The St. Pete Times has shown a liberal bias in the past (and as most of you know, I prefer a more balanced, moderate view). But for now, the Obameter will reside to the right of my posts.


Ed Abbey said...

Sounds similar to which I rely on quite a bit.

I failed to find your Obameter. Perhaps I checked before you got it installed?

Ed Abbey said...

Ah... I hit refresh and there it was.

mal said...

I think we are in for an interesting ride. He is already shooting some sacred cows. (the revolving lobbyist door and the "Imperial" Presidency)

Now, if he just holds a BBQ to finish them off

The Lazy Iguana said...

He said he would end the revolving door. He also said he would revise (or should I say RESTORE) the rules around executive privilege.

The truth meter thing is interesting. What it says to me is that the paper expects an administration that actually does what it said it would do. Otherwise - what is the point? People would get tired (and depressed) of seeing the truth needle in the red day in and day out - for years and years and years.

It could also be a gimmick. And really - the quote about slaves building something with the needle at 100% true is a stretch. What does that have to do with anything?

Saur♥Kraut said...

Lazy, Good points all, and I agree with them.

As you say, there's little point to some of this. But I'm hoping that they'll feature all the promises Obama made, as we go along.

Ed, I think it may be similar to but it is independant. It's a good gimmick for a struggling paper.

Mal, I like seeing a sacred cow BBQ myself!

Daniel Hoffmann-Gill said...

The start has been good, the anti-lobby steps, the pay freeze, the Gitmo issue and CIA prisons.

All good. Keep 'em coming.

Mr. Althouse said...

I don't see it, but the link to the paper works. It's a good idea. The press serves many functions, perhaps too many, but among the most important is the "watchdog" role. I like Obama so far and I do support him, but I am not one to overlook transgressions - no matter whose they are. Our government, no matter who occupies its offices, works for us and we have not only a right, but a responsibility to keep an eye on it.

Even a paper with a liberal bias gets that.

Good post -


Matt Waite said...

The widget not showing up on the page is my fault. I'm the developer of PolitiFact (and an employee of that good, but not great newspaper you mention). Some bad data got passed to the widget and it broke. It should magically appear where you put it here in a few minutes once the fix hits the live servers. Sorry about that.

Just so you know -- the widget you installed will be to the Truth-O-Meter, which rates the truthfulness of things politicians are saying. There isn't an Obameter widget yet. I'm going to finish one up in the morning and put the code you'll need in the same place you found the Truth-O-Meter widget. So stay tuned.

I really appreciate you checking out the site, for linking to it and for using our widget. We never dreamed people would take such an interest in it.

Saur♥Kraut said...

Matt, How delightful! I appreciate your popping in. I do know that some of the reporters do check in on my blog from time to time (and I am flattered). I can't wait to see what's next.

Mr. Althouse, I agree entirely.

Daniel, So far, I'm not upset over anything he's done. Yet. ;o) But it's still early in the game. However, let it be said that he can probably do no worse than Bush or Carter.

daveawayfromhome said...

So, let me get this straight: eight years of Bush's lies and secrecy, and there was no "truth"-meter.
Two days of Obama, and such a meter is deemed necessary.

Yep, that's media bias alright.

I dont have anything against a fact checker, but the timing strikes me as a day late and few trillion dollars short.

Daniel Hoffmann-Gill said...

Spot in Dave! Spot on!

Bryan said...

Has it been determined yet whether or not he's even a legal U.S. Citizen?

Call me old fashioned but I still believe in the rule of law.

Daniel Hoffmann-Gill said...

I can only hope Bryan that you're joking at Saur's expense regarding that silly post about whether he was an American or not?

Saur♥Kraut said...

Dave & Daniel, I think you're being oversensitive here. The truth is that the St. Pete Times endorsed Obama. I suspect this is an attempt to show how fabulous he is.

Bryan, It never has been determined or laid to rest by anyone of credibility, from what I understand.

There were a couple of people(that were pro-Obama) who claimed to have seen the birth certificate in person and photographed it. But the problem is that an impartial third party should have been brought in and these people were not document experts. Ideally, the State of Hawaii would weigh in, and they've been silent and refused to intervene in this debate.

To add to it all (and I don't think I mentioned this before), Obama's relatives in Africa claim that they attended his birth. In Africa. The theory is that it was a last minute birth, and unexpected, and as soon as she could travel again, Obama's mom took him back to Hawaii.

True? False?

There have been a couple of lawsuits over this, and at least one has been dismissed because the judge felt that an ordinary US citizen could not challenge such a thing. And whomever has the jurisdiction to do so has not, so it remains in limbo.

Philip Berg was one of the first to bring the lawsuit alleging that Obama is not a citizen. His site is no longer functional.

Snopes feels that the allegation is false, but their arguments in favor of Obama are not complete and do not address all the issues.

Daniel, To forestall any badgering by you, I will ask you if you badger your local news services any time they report on something you don't like. I do not know if Obama is a true citizen or not, and I do not see enough evidence to convince me that he is.

This doesn't mean that he IS, this doesn't mean that he isn't. It simply means that I am letting Bryan know what's out there. I cannot come to a conclusion at this time, and it's moot anyway, as the press is very pro-Obama and it's extremely doubtful if they'd ever bother to do any true investigative work on this.

Bryan said...

Thanks for the update on the citizenship issue.

daveawayfromhome said...

Let. It. Go.

Matt Waite said...

daveawayfromhome: So you know, we started PolitiFact in July of 2007 as a way to fact check the presidential campaign. At that time, the conventional wisdom had Hillary Clinton and Rudy Giuliani as your odds on favorites for major candidates for president. Eight years ago, I was covering Port Richey in Pasco County for the Times as a reporter. When we started is only about having the idea and the people to be able to execute on it.

Saur♥Kraut said...

Daniel, I made it clear. I have no patience for this. I have (and still am) been attempting to not be rude about this. But I need to be able to express myself clearly and objectively without being ridiculed. We all know that you're devoutly to the left of liberal. So, in return, I ask politely for you to (as Dave said) Let. It. Go.

I have deleted your last comment because, frankly, I am tired of being accused of things I am not when I attempt so hard to be objective and very clear in what I say. I do not go to YOUR blog and call you a commie pinko. Please give me the same respect.

Daniel Hoffmann-Gill said...

It's got nowt to do with liberal or conservative but with the truth.

And what you are perpetuating here is a myth and a lie, here is the full rebuttal, again for you to read and realise that (I CAN'T BELIEVE I'M SAYING THIS) Obama is an American citizen.

The Lazy Iguana said...

The truth-o-meter is already getting lazy!!!!!

"Says a Congressional Budget Office report on spending by House Democrats in the economic stimulus concluded it "is just not stimulus. It won't help the economy grow."

Eric Cantor on Wednesday, January 21st, 2009 in an interview on the Fox News Channel."


Its false. Most things on Fox "news" are. If you hear it in Fox and nowhere else - it is false. Always. Very easy rule to remember.

Getting very lazy there truth-o-meter! Not quite as lazy as I am, but close :)

daveawayfromhome said...

Fox News: the National Enquirer of the broadcast world.

Uncle Joe said...


Saur Saur Saur......


Saur♥Kraut said...

Daniel, Oh good, well you laid that one to rest. Goodness knows that no one can forge a birth certificate. Again - when a documents expert or the State of Hawaii weighs in on this, I'll be impressed.

AGAIN: Not saying Obama is a citizen, and I'm not saying that he's not. I'm simply saying that I've seen no convincing proof that he is.

Lazy, ;o) I don't watch Fox, but your sweeping generalizations about it make the prospect enticing. I prefer CNN, but perhaps I'm missing something.

Uhcle Joe, ?

Daniel Hoffmann-Gill said...

So basically Saur, you are shown the truth and ignore it.

Add that to the fact that those who are in power and who had to judge the status of Obama when he ran for power the first few times round saw the original and yet somehow, that isn't enough?

This what makes you look like your head is buried in the sand and that you've one rule for a politician that is conservative and another for one that is human.

You're blinded by prejudice and you can't cope with the best man winning.

Uncle Joe said...

I finally got a ?
I was just sighing once again for the heavy load you bear.

Daniel Hoffmann-Gill said...

Uncle Joe, whatever heavy load you refer to, it sure ain't one of requiring evidence.

Saur♥Kraut said...

Uncle Joe, Thanks.

Daniel, In turn, I will say that I believe that you are so blinded by the wishful thinking that you are laboring under that you are inable to see more than one side to this issue.

Thankfully I am more objective and will willingly say that I don't know the answer, but I also will not pretend that something is solved until it is.

The Lazy Iguana said...

Saur - it is solved. For the insane "fake birth certificate" story to be believed you have to take that the following are all true.

1. In 1961, a black baby born in Kenya was predicted to one day be President of the USA. So the fake hospital records were forged and a fake birth announcement was placed in a local Hawaii newspaper.

By the way - this alone should pretty much squash the theory. What was this person who predicted this? Not even Nostradamus saw it coming.

2. A whole lot of people in Hawaii are in on the scam.

3. When Obama applied for a US passport (which we know he has) he had to send off proof of citizenship. The State Department knows that documents are produced. And by the way - your passport states the country of origin (birth) - so although a US naturalized citizen can get a US passport the country of birth will NOT say USA. Now since at the time the State Department was part of the Bush administration you have to accept that Bush, Cheney, and Rice knew about this "scandal" and said NOTHING. Nothing. Not a peep. Not anything.

when you add it all up, there is just no way it is true. No way. You have to grasp at too many straws.

The thing is that the proof HAS been shown to the people who really needed to see it. The goobers that are still talking about the "fake" and the "he will not show it to me" would still claim it is fake even if Jesus returned to the planet and said it is real. Or even if they were invited to White House to examine the original document themselves.

By "goobers" I mean the ultra right wing talk radio goobers.

You have to ask yourself this. Why are there NO Senators or Representatives calling for an investigation? I know why. The elected officials know there is nothing there. All that would happen is that their credibility would be shot.

The people on the TV / radio have no credibility to lose.

Really. Do you think that it is possible Bush knew and said nothing???? And you KNOW that the Secretary Of State has access to ALL State Department files.....

daveawayfromhome said...

Seriously, Saur, I've always considered you to be intelligent and fairly level-headed, but the level of credence you seem to place in this story is beginning to give me pause.
Quite simply, as Lazy points out, the level of deception required to have pulled off this scam is far beyond anything that the Bush Administration (and who else would have covered it up before the election) is capable of. If anything, it would be more likely that BushCo would fake evidence that Obama wasnt a natural-born citizen...

hey, wait a minute.

Word verification: "dedenit"

Daniel Hoffmann-Gill said...


I love it Saur, keep banging on, no one with a mind that functions believes Obamas ins't an American, the fact you ignore all the evidence and continue to fight a lost battle is wonderfully OBEJECTIVE and MODERATE of you.

Heh, you make me laugh and Dave and Lazy have it down pat.


Saur♥Kraut said...

Daniel, I am confused. Your recent posts are so seething and full of hatred toward me that I am baffled as to why you want to bother coming in here at all. Just to badger and be hateful?

Hopefully you're having a bad day.

Dave & Lazy, I understand exactly what you're saying. I don't think that you understand what *I* am saying. And I give up trying.

daveawayfromhome said...

Apparently I dont. It appears that you give some creedence to the idea that Obama faked his birth certificate. I just dont buy it. I can see plenty of reasons for the opposition to start this story as a fake, but I can see no reason for Barack to have gotten as far as he did with no one on the Republican side, which controlled the federal apparatus at the time, having called him on it.

Anyway, our last president was most definitively native-born, with a lineage containing two other presidents, and look at the job he did. Maybe we'll be better off with an alien.

Saur♥Kraut said...

Dave, Ah, but you disagree as a gentleman and I appreciate it. I try very hard to never make it personal (unless it's something positive). In my case that's due to years of training in the political and business arenas, but I find it a laudable skill. It's additionally a great deal more effective as we can concentrate on the issues. Alienate someone, and the issue is over - even if you're right.

I suspect that if Obama were conservative, the press and every Democrat on the Hill would be howling for a mutually agreed upon expert.

As of now, no expert has ever examined that birth certificate in person. If I'm wrong, I will be delighted to say so - do you know of any expert that has examined it?

daveawayfromhome said...

I generally find that personal attacks do little to make your case. Of course, I also find that you can rarely change anyone's mind, and that the most you can generally hope for is to get them to shut up and back down. That's why name-calling is so prevelent - it's a schoolyard tactic, and while it may shut down the dialog, it rarely shuts down the opponent. Still, I'll admit to the occassional snark, but usually I just feel jerky after doing so (it's generally a case of irresistable word play for me), and I try to avoid it.

"As of now, no expert has ever examined that birth certificate in person. If I'm wrong, I will be delighted to say so - do you know of any expert that has examined it?"

No, but I dont know that no expert has not examined it, either. I can well imagine someone simply not responding to this because to do so gives it legitimacy, even if the answer is "no". Better to let the conspiracy nuts rant without proof than to give them proof and have them call you a liar.

And, seriously, the press is not liberal. If anything, the press actually is neutral because the liberals are all convinced that it has a conservative bias. That doesnt mean that it doesnt piss both of us off.

Actually, I suspect the real story is that the press is neither conservatively nor liberally biased, but rather is something less savory. Sensationalistic, maybe? Like one of those people who knows just who to prod so that it starts a fight, so that they can watch and be entertained by (or in this case, report on and make a profit from) it.

I suspect that the nation would be far better served if the news medias were all run as non-profits. One of the worst things that the Gingrich congress did was slash funding to Public Broadcasting (while simultaneously giving a tax break 5X that size to Faux).

daveawayfromhome said...

You know, now that I think about it, how much of the current "culture war" that we've been experiencing since the Clinton Administration can be attributed to the media? How many of these ideas that people argue about get started by some talking head giving "analysis" or opinion? Is it possible that the MSM generates these controversies in order to give itself something to report on? I'd be curious to know how things would be in this country if everyone simply turned off the TV or radio everytime some talking head started opining on something rather than presenting straight facts. If people maybe used their own brains to put the pieces together, rather than listen to an "Authority" who has nothing in common with them except a mouth.
Incidentally, that would mean no Rush and no Bill'O and no Keith'O and no Randy Rhodes, or any of their ilk at all for a week. Whatever their background, those people are not reporters, they are commentators at best, and "entertainers" would be a more accurate description.

Next time you listen to a talk show, ask yourself, is the host actually looking for a true and honest discussion, or is he rabble-rousing, riling up the yokels to create the kind of stir that creates "news", which they can then report on and give the spoon another spin in the pot?

Saur♥Kraut said...

Dave, Excellent points, all - especially about the press. I find that the press still has a liberal bias in some organizations but there is no doubt that there are members of the press that are equally biased in the ultra right wing philosophies (such as Rush Limbaugh).

My fave news source is CNN and I find that it is relatively neutral, despite what all the right wingers claim. I am very objective (even when I don't like something) and I can say that CNN generally stays in the middle. That doesn't mean that some don't go one way and some the other - but it seems to balance out, as a whole.

Daniel Hoffmann-Gill said...

I'm angry becuase you're perpetuating myths but dress up as a moderate.

Saur♥Kraut said...

Daniel, Get angry all you want, but let's not call names or attempt to deliberately wound in order to take an unfair advantage - deal?

Daniel Hoffmann-Gill said...


Saur♥Kraut said...