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A Minor Point

Normally I wouldn’t bother with this, but then it occurred to me – these clowns write laws, words have meaning.

I like to spell people’s names correctly. I was taught from an early age to do this, and I get a little annoyed at all of the correspondence I get with my name misspelled, so I looked up House GOP Leader John Boehner. While I was copying down his name from the GOP Leader’s Page I noticed the number one story on the Top News section is: House Dems Condone Slanderous Moveon Ad, Refuse to Consider Resolution Condemning it.

As someone who writes laws, Mr. Boehner should be aware that a printed advertisement cannot, by definition, be slanderous, it might be libelous, but slanderous is out.

For those who don’t know: slander is spoken; libel is written. Not an important distinction for a guy in a bar, but fairly major for people who write the laws.  The best path is to stick with defame; it’s always good.


1 John B. { 09.22.07 at 4:57 am }

This article, pointing out that Republican lawmaker John Boehner doesn’t know the law any better than a barfly, would be defamatory if it weren’t true.

2 Steve Bates { 09.22.07 at 8:02 am }

Heh. According to the wiki, “[b]y the law of the Twelve Tables, the composition of scurrilous songs and gross noisy public affronts were [sic] punished by death.” Anyone wonder why I am fond of our First Amendment, not to mention the outcome of the Zenger trial?

Another thing the GOP leadership appears not to know is that largely thanks to the Zenger acquittal, in America, truth is an absolute defense against defamation charges. (Not so in many other countries, including the UK.)

I presume you noticed that MoveOn got about $0.5m in contributions the day after the resolution. Their letter to members, which several blogs published, was almost gleeful… a polite version of “defame us some more”!

On to the really important question, which I, not watching much television, cannot answer: how does Rep. Boehner really pronounce his last name?

3 Bryan { 09.22.07 at 1:17 pm }

If you are going to condemn people for what they do, you really should be able to accurately describe it.

Truth is relative to its political value to these people, John.

As a “public person,” by virtue of the actions of the Shrubbery, the General would have a very high bar indeed to get a hearing in a court in the US on a libel complaint.

The congresscritter says it is pronounced “BAY-ner”, but that is not a version of German with which I’m familiar. I can’t say I’ve ever heard anyone pronounce Goethe “GAY-ta”.

The real losers in this are the 22 idiots with the D after their name in the Senate who have cut themselves off from a source of political and financial support.

4 Steve Bates { 09.22.07 at 8:48 pm }

Why any rational Dem officeholder would deliberately alienate MoveOn is quite beyond me. I suppose the key word is “rational”: those 22 were not acting rationally. What could they possibly hope to gain with the overwhelming majority of the electorate that want us out of Iraq? I didn’t much like the ad myself, but should our government… two branches, no less, not counting the Dick Cheney branch… be condemning a group’s political speech?

I had a high school classmate whose family name was Boehme who pronounced it bee-me, almost like “beam me up, Scotty.” I guess Americans of German descent transform those umlauts any way they have to.

5 Bryan { 09.22.07 at 9:17 pm }

The German version of my last name is Doemke, and a short “u” is as close as English can come.