Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Let's have a letter-writing contest!

Okay, here's the deal.

On November 21st some douchewad going by the name of "Richard Baker" had a letter to the editor printed in the Sentinel (Google cache here).

Here it is in its entirety, but feel free to skip to the end of it.
Local resident believes House Speaker is corrupt
Editorial / Opinion
Posted: 11/21/2008 07:24:17 AM EST

I wonder if many Americans are aware of what our Speaker of the House has pulled on the public?

Nancy Pelosi's home district includes San Francisco, and Star Kist Tuna's headquarters is also located in San Francisco.

Star Kist is owned by DelMonte Foods and is a major contributor to Nancy Pelosi.

Star Kist is also the major employer in American Samoa, employing 75 percent of the workforce there.

Paul Pelosi, Nancy Pelosi's husband owns $17 million worth of Del Monte stock.

In January 2007, when the minimum wage was increased from $5.16 to $7.25, Pelosi had American Samoa exempted from the increase so Del Monte would not have to pay the higher wages.

This would make Del Monte products less expensive than their competition's.

Last week when the huge bailout bill was passed, Pelosi added an "earmark" to the final bill, adding $33 million for an "economic development credit in American Samoa."

Now remember this: Nancy Pelosi called the Bush administration "corrupt," and I guess, she, of all people should know..

Now the Big 3 car manufacturers, Ford, Chevrolet, and Chrysler are wanting billions to bail them out of their own stupidity, and many big cities are lining up with their hands out for money too.

When will this end with the government bailing out every one who gets in line for their piece of the pie with worthless paper dollars? Of course, the giant companies will have to have their "working seminars" at those posh resorts with the bailout money, and they will not be able to earn more in bonuses than last year, so apparently the normal bonuses of millions of dollars are OK.

I guess we haven't seen the end of this socialist gang in Washington yet, and all I can say is God Help America because we ain't seen nutthin yet.

Richard Baker,
Total nonsense, of course. Also mostly plagiarized from a chain email. If you like, you can go ahead and compare it to the original as seen (and debunked) on Snopes here.

Okay, so one sack of lies got by the Sentinel's ace fact-checkers! Surely that couldn't happen again, could it?

Of course it could!

In December 10th's letters to the editors we find this letter, also "written" by someone by the name of Richard Baker. Since it'll get archived soon, I'll reproduce it in full here.

Again, feel free to skip to the end...
Reader says taxpayers shouldn't pay for speaker's plane
Editorial / Opinion
Posted: 12/10/2008 10:49:28 AM EST

Madame Pelosi wasn't happy with the small private jet that comes with the speaker's job, no, Madame Pelosi was aggravated that this little jet had to stop to refuel, so she ordered a big fat jet with a bedroom that could get her back to California without stopping, carry her staff, family and friends.

Nancy's big fat jet costs us, the hard working American taxpayers, thousands of gallons of fuel every week.

Since she only works three days a week, this gas guzzling jet gets fueled and she flies home to California, cost to the taxpayers of about $60,000, one way.

Unfortunately we have to pay to bring her back on Monday nights.

Cost to us is another $60,000.

That is $480,000 per month and that is an annual cost to the taxpayers of $5.7 million.

I think of the military families in this country doing without and this woman, who heads up the most do-nothing Congress in the history of this country, keeps fueling that jet while doing nothing.

Madame Pelosi wants you and I to conserve and wants us to buy smaller cars and Obama wants us to get a bicycle pump and air up our tires. And they want to talk about Sarah Palin's dress and what it cost.

What a direct slap in the face to the taxpayers. She can get away with it because no one in Washington has the guts to stand up to her.

Richard Baker
Here is the Snopes page showing you the very-similar original chain email this came from and debunking this sack of lies.

So in less than three weeks we've had two letters from this one idiot that were mostly cut-and-pasted from a chain email. Both take about 5 seconds to debunk. Both were printed in the newspaper.

Additionally, my copy of the phone book does not list a "Richard Baker" in the city of Fitchburg. That may not mean anything (lots of people aren't listed), or it may mean he's not even a real person.

Obviously, the Sentinel has absolutely no quality-control or factchecking taking place on its letters to the editor.

This is bad for them, but good for us...

It's time for a contest!

Let's see who can get the most ridiculously false and idiotic letter to the editor published in the Sentinel!

Here's how to play:
  1. Write a letter to the editor about your topic of choice. Make sure it's really stupid, though. Think along the lines of "B. Hussein Obama can't be presdent becase he's a Secret Muslin!", but dumber. Or just copy a wingnut chain mail. Whatever.
    Note: Sensible, intelligent, or even well-written letters to the editor may be automatically disqualified. We're looking for crazy wingnuttery only. But it still needs to pass for a real letter! It's a careful balancing act.
  2. Submit it to the Sentinel here. I don't recommend using your real name unless you want everyone to think you're an idiot. Don't impersonate any real people either, though. Stay under the radar.
  3. Either email it to me, or leave it as a comment on this post, but stick the word "sentineleditorialcontest" at the top of your comment so I can hold it up in moderation until after it's in the paper. Email is probably safer, because sometimes my comment system goes wonky. This step is necessary so that people don't take credit for someone else's stupid letter. I need to see the letter before it appears in the paper.
  4. You can swap those two steps above if you want. It would probably make sense to wait at least a few days before trying to get your craziness into the paper anyway.
  5. Watch the letters to the editor section of the Sentinel for your letter to appear.
  6. When it does, laugh derisively. Also, send me a follow up email or comment mentioning it, just in case I'm not paying attention.
  7. ???
  8. Profit!

I think that's it.

Then maybe we can vote on everything that gets printed, and crown a winner. The prize will be nothing but bragging rights. Or maybe a t-shirt proclaiming your awesomeness. Who knows?

If I'm the only one who actually does this (and you can bet I will), then I'll just declare myself the winner and write "I AM AWESOME" on a t-shirt with a magic marker, which I will then wear while sitting on my couch.

But if even one other person does it, I become ineligible for the prize. Which means if you're the only one to do it you automatically win! So do it!

Let's say the contest ends on January 31st at some point in the future (I won't set a timetable or the terrorists would win!). So you have plenty of time to get in there. Maybe even two or three times if you're good.

That is all.