Wikipedia and the Senator

If anything came out of the rise of the extreme right in this country, snarky, disparaging, self-righteous, intolerant, often slanderous slams of one’s opponents is that thing. I hate it!

The recent revelation that Senator Rand Paul gave speeches, wrote books and columns that contained significant chunks lifted from and unattributed to Wikipedia reminds me of how Vice President Joe Biden suffered significant opprobrium when he made the same mistake in the 1980s. It cost him a chance at the Presidency, eh?

Similarly, Rand Paul’s career should suffer, too, in this more judgmental, less forgiving political environment 30+ years later. Hang him high! That’s Senator Paul’s answer to the foibles of his opponents, Republican or Democratic. Take no prisoners, give no benefit of doubt.

As no fan of the man, I suppose I should join in a chortle and come up with some snarky, disparaging, self-righteous, slanderous slams to show I want him to wallow in a pile of dog turds for being a slime ball who plagiarizes.


Believe me, Evil Me is frothing at the mouth, trying to keep Good Me from using this screamingly good opportunity to hate on the Senator! Whew! The sweat’s on both Evil’s and Good’s brows as I type!

Let’s try to be Good Me today.

The Senator shows signs of having incredibly thin skin for a public character. It’s OK to tear down others, but God help the fool who points out his foibles: If duels were legal still in his home state, Rachael Maddow would have to learn how to point a dueling pistol or handle a rapier or political smear at 10 paces! The Senator indicated he’d take down people in a duel if he could, he so dislikes being found out! “Boohoo! Leave me alone, meanies!”

Whoops, Evil Me slipped in a snarky comment. Here’s what Good Me says about the charges against the Senator: Everyone knows staff prepare speeches, write books, present the ideas of the politicians they serve in all media so the politicians have time to do whatever they do. It’s not dishonest, as such, just disingenuous to suggest anything put out by politicians is original – literally original – to them most of the time.

Remember how the right-wing had hissy attacks when the President used a Teleprompter to give a speech? As if no other politician in the world doesn’t use this tool when possible, rather than fumble through 3″ X 5″ cards on a podium. When extemporaneous talks occur, unintended remarks sometimes come out, the message spins out of control, and the Rand Pauls of the world never let up on the “glitch”. Benghazi has elements of this, where specific words in specific order and time weren’t used, though words significantly the same were. But never mind! Snark on! Hang him high!

So, if the Senator uses words crafted by his staff that include some broadly “borrowed” lines from Wikipedia, I don’t applaud him for clever use of staff. I say staff failed their boss. Like it or not – and the Senator doesn’t – time constraints sometimes lead to short cuts. Short cuts inevitably lead to complications down the line. There is a direct benefit to success when specific steps are taken in a process (putting out the official line for the Senator) to assure that it isn’t muddled by scandal or errors in fact. Of course, effective use of time and resources such as staff is a measure of a good manager….

Quoting big sections of Wikipedia entries in speeches and other media without attribution is a perfect set up for the end of a career. I suspect the Senator didn’t approve this short cut, giving him the benefit of the doubt.

On the other hand, it happened on Senator Paul’s watch. If the President did something like this (failed at managing his staff), Paul would be the first to call for impeachment of the President or some other extreme means of discrediting the President and his administration.

The Evil Me says, “Hang the Senator high! Let him swing in the wind as an example for all who follow to learn from and fear!”

The Good Me says, “Let the Senator limp back to Tennessee to lick his wounds. No fair poking pointy sticks at him. No fair destroying his reputation on circumstantial evidence. Let him examine what happened, have a graceful way out. If there is no graceful way out, may he return to being a doctor and get out of national political life forever. He’s innocent until proved guilty, a basic presumption of our law.”

The Bad Me says, “…but I smell his blood…!”

It’s hard paying attention to Good Me, but I know it’s for the best. If I can’t respect the man, I should respect the office of Senator. Oh, and try not to slip into snarky, disparaging, self-righteous, intolerant, slanderous slams of the Senator while he’s hemorrhaging bad karma. Rawr!


Look at the upper left side of a Wikipedia entry, and you'll see this link to where you can make a charitable donation.

Look at the upper left side of a Wikipedia entry, and you’ll see this link to where you can make a charitable donation.

I support Wikipedia with annual contributions. When you open a Wikipedia article and see a banner at the top asking for donations, give it some thought, especially if you use the resource regularly. It actually is an IRS-recognized charity in the US, and contributions can be claimed on your return to the degree allowed.

I refer to Wikipedia often enough I feel a contribution is reasonable.

There is one link above to the Joe Biden entry that tells of his experience with plagiarism. It’s one way I use Wikipedia.

8 thoughts on “Wikipedia and the Senator

  1. Well the A495 is a Canon Powershot and takes brilliant pictures. I am definitely a one button shot camera operator as I don’t have a clue about anything beyond is there enough light. Take a look at the video I took at a service one week and if you ignore the wobble because I didn’t have the tripod (see I can’t even get the basics right!) you’ll see it’s good. So’s the sermon – and he’s back this Sunday so I’m looking forward to that. I think for £35 it’s good.

    • It must have some sort of shake control feature because it doesn’t look that shaky to me. I’d call that more than acceptable video quality, too. It’s amazing how much improvement’s been made in digital cameras since the first ones were put on the market!

      One thing you can do (without a tripod on hand) is to prop it up on a desk or something solid. I’ve done that many times with good results. Of course, handheld videos of action scenes allows for a lot more movement. It can improve and add to a video, though it’s one of those things one establishes through practice and experience making videos.

      It isn’t tragic, but the proper way to display the US flag (per US Flag Code- it’s a law that defines how it’s displayed, but doesn’t have penalties) is with the blue field of stars on the upper left. The flag in the video, then, just needs to be flipped to deal with anal Americans who see it. Ha!

  2. They are memories for you to keep also and I wish I’d made more of my cat.

    Also of course like human beings, as they get older, it’s not so easy to get into playful mode so there may not be that many chances.

    I have a Canon A495 which is as cheap as chips, about £35 and could not be easier to use and turns out amazingly good videos.

    • I agree on the memory business. Louie, the cat I had before the boys, was an adult when I got him. I regret I never got to see him as a kitten when I watch the videos I made of the boys when they were babies! I really enjoy watching these old videos because I can see that personalities traits they have now were definitely in place when they were little. For example the play thing. Andy never plays right away when I bring out a toy, but Dougy gets instantly wound up, same as when they were kittens! On the other hand, they both enjoy playing with each other, one of the reasons I agreed to take Dougy when offered a second kitten from their litter. Their other brother and only sister live in the same household in South Dakota, and are reportedly not fans of each other. I got the two best kittens!

      The Nikon point-and-shoot isn’t extremely cheap, but it is cheap by Nikon standards. I am pretty certain I just wore it out. I get a focus issue message when I turn it on now, and the photos I took of the boys a couple days ago are pretty soft-focus: I think that was the start of the end.

  3. Quite honestly I don’t like the look in his eyes and I wouldn’t waste one bit of energy on him. You can’t change him, so there’s no point. They won’t let anyone get between them and their trough unless they are forced to leave – although hopefully sooner or later someone will….

    You have two beautiful boys there who just might want you to video them?

    Oh all right then, let’s be honest, I would like to see a video of them, as I am totally cat deprived!

    Where I live it is definitely a dog’s town. It’s quite scenic here and nice to walk the streets, so people get a dog to walk with them and then you see someone’s dog you like and you start chatting. Not for me, I hardly ever see a cat these days.

    I thought of taking in a homeless old mutt but they want quite a bit of money. One local shelter wanted £175. Then they spent £35,000 ($50,000) on a luxury rabbit hutch and I kid you not. They did say it was absolutely necessary. Some people!

    • I think he will crash and burn. He can lay it out on others, but has been incredibly thin-skinned when found out on this plagiarism business. Especially in this time, anyone with a thin skin is screaming to become a victim!

      I think my one camera is damaged or worn out. The other (webcam) requires some cooperation from the boys. I like to get in close. I still haven’t located where that Ba-Da-Beam video was stuffed away. The boys like it more than their other laser toy. I suspect part of that is because the beam is bigger than the other one. I like it better because it uses fewer batteries than the other one, and seems not to go through batteries as fast. I’ve found that when the boys get all wound up and chase each other, they are especially susceptible to the charms of the Ba-Da-Beam. Gad! If my camera worked yesterday, you would have seem Andy doing flips and leaps to try to capture the beam! He generally doesn’t get as wound up in toy play this way. Dougy does, however! (I have another video camera that I haven’t figured out how to use yet. I’ve had it for year, but it’s heavier and less easily handled than my simple point-and-shoot camera, my usual camera for video.) Stay tuned!

      Dogs have to be kept inside or chained up in my town. There are a couple dog parks, but otherwise walking the dog on a leash is the law. I wouldn’t feel good about having a dog, though I like them! As for that rabbit hutch… whew! The adoption fee for dogs and cats at the local shelter is quite a but less than you have to pay. The fee is mostly for sheltering and feeding the animal till adopted. You get part of the fee back when you bring proof of vaccinations and if you spay or neuter the animal. It think it was about the same as a Ba-Da-Beam by the time you did all the things they rebated fees for. Of course, the veterinarian makes up an amount that probably brings total cost up to the same range as you pay. I know that by the time you buy litter, litter box(es), grooming items, food and dishes for food and water, toys, etc., you run up some big money! I’ve found it worth the bucks for the two I adopted from the shelter. The boys, because of health issues, were much more expensive from the outset, but aren’t too bad now. I do have an appreciation why my parents didn’t let us have a dog when I was growing up, though! (Well, I got to have one after all my siblings grew up and left home except one, who was a year or two away from attending university: They decided I needed some company! So, I got to have Peanuts, a handsome setter-looking black and white mutt. He was a great dog, with a sense of humor!)

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