Saturday, September 29, 2007

Fact Check (dot) Org -- Hoots' Referral and Opinion

As a subscriber to Fact Check.Org I receive intermittent reports on a variety of stories passing under their close scrutiny.

We are a nonpartisan, nonprofit, "consumer advocate" for voters that aims to reduce the level of deception and confusion in U.S. politics. We monitor the factual accuracy of what is said by major U.S. political players in the form of TV ads, debates, speeches, interviews, and news releases. Our goal is to apply the best practices of both journalism and scholarship, and to increase public knowledge and understanding.

The Annenberg Political Fact Check is a project of the Annenberg Public Policy Center of the University of Pennsylvania. The APPC was established by publisher and philanthropist Walter Annenberg in 1994 to create a community of scholars within the University of Pennsylvania that would address public policy issues at the local, state, and federal levels.

We all know politicians say things that are not right. Sometimes they don't know they are wrong (ignorance), sometimes they do (lying) and sometimes they play the first while living the second. Voters, like members of a jury, are charged with deciding which is which. This site is another tool in the toolbox. From what I can tell, they really don't operate with any political agenda so I commend them to my readers for consideration.

As the presidential race continues I watch all the candidates from both parties, trying to decide who I would like to have as president. Unfortunately those I like are not good presidential material, either because they lack what pundits call "electability" or because the qualities I like are coupled with other qualities I can't support...qualities ranging from goofy to dangerous. At the nether edge of things, I like a lot of what Ron Paul and Newt Gingrich say, but both violate a rule I heard long ago that needs to be better known: Always tell the truth, but don't be always telling it. Among the Republicans, Thompson and Giuliani look good, but I can't tell if I like them because of who they are or because I have been watching too much television. Among the Democrats McCain and Dodd come across as having the best character and credibility, but both are lackluster and not likely to be selected. For both parties, we are stuck with nominees who look "electable" even if other qualities are, shall we say, somewhat dim.

Fact Check.Org's last two spotlights are good examples of how they work. The last one examines what candidates SAY they would do IF they become president. The other one looks at how the president and Congress wrestled over S-CHIP appropriations.

Stuck in Iraq? September 27, 2007

Bush's False Claims About Children's Health Insurance September 21, 2007

Don't be misled by the headlines. The reports are fat with details, quotes and other solid information. Headlines in this case are calculated to get attention. Content, on the other hand, is solid meat.

So where am I leaning?

I like Obama best of all the candidates but I think he lacks the political muscle to do as he would like in Washington. Mrs. Clinton, baggage and all, has that muscle. Of all the issues facing the country, universal health care is for me the most important. I recall her first run at that windmill from years ago, during Bill Clinton's first term. She took on the whole Congress, both Senate and House, and went down fighting all the way. Congress did all in their lobby-larded power to kill what they perceived to be a deadly snake. And if Hillary Clinton has any worry it should be whether or not that scar tissue has healed enough for another try.

The choice is between a Cocker Spaniel and a Rottweiler.

My money is on the Rottweiler.

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