Be careful what you believe about presidential candidates

There seems to be a pattern developing with some of the calls I've taken on the presidential election. There was the reader who called earlier this week wondering how Barack Obama could be a presidential candidate when he wasn't born in this country (he was born in Indonesia, the caller said).


Without having his biography handy, I assured the caller he must be overlooking something obvious. Surely, investigators savvy enough to turn up a kindergarten essay in which he said he wanted to be president wouldn't have overlooked something so obvious. Later, to satisfy my own curiosity, I looked it up and found he was born in Hawaii.


That mystery was far easier to solve than the multi-page documentation supporting a reader's point that the Constitution requires the president to be a male. Hillary Clinton could be charged with fraud, he wrote. He included as proof Article II of the Constitution, which states "The executive Power shall be vested in a President of the United States of America. He shall hold his Office during the Term of four Years ..." Also included were many more excerpts from the Constitution referring to the president as "he."


Hard to argue that one, I suppose, especially if you're one who believes in a strict interpretation of the Constitution. This could be the smoking pronoun that knocks Hillary out of the election.


But the most befuddling of callers is the man who phones every few months from Alberta, Canada, and in a clear and logical voice makes an argument that Hillary Clinton is actually a man. It wasn't hard to classify that caller as delusional, but overall it sends a clear reminder that you should be careful about where you get your information about candidates. If that caller had the savvy to make his case in a chain e-mail, he'd probably soon have a legion of followers sharing it as fact. At least, if he's right, Hillary won't have to be worried about whether the Constitution prohibits women from running for president.


Those myths aren't limited to Hillary. Some believe Obama is a covert militant Muslim. Then there's the story that Mitt Romney advocated pornographic programming while on the board of a hotel chain and that Rudy Giuliani has ties to the mob.


Rumors, lies, half-truths ... they go on and on. Who knows where they come from and who knows if any are true. But it's a good policy to treat the "facts" you read in chain e-mails as entertainment rather than edification.


•••


It's predictable ... after the flooding in Fernley last weekend, good people are getting organized to help out.


Helaine Jesse, vice president of development and external affairs at Western Nevada College, is helping to organize volunteers to help out this Saturday. She's encouraging college employees, families, and friends to help (and I think you can read that to say everyone's welcome to pitch in).


If you are interesting in helping, meet at 8:30 a.m. at the Cottonwood Elementary School in Fernley, located off Highway 95A. Bring boots, rubber gloves, brooms or shovels, if you can. And if you have a pick-up truck to help haul away carpet and other damaged items, all the better.


The effort is being coordinated by Fernley churches. For more information, call Calvary Chapel at 575-2834.


So far, the reviews on FEMA's response to the flood have been positive. Hannah Vick, a FEMA employee based in Eau Claire, Wis., was helping to set up their office next to city hall in Fernley on Thursday. She said victims need to know they have to register separately with the Red Cross and with FEMA, as their records aren't shared. To register with FEMA, victims should call 1-800-621-3362.


•••


Some readers noticed the American Profile magazine that came in the Jan. 7 issue of the Appeal and asked whether it's a one-time thing. Actually, the publication will be in the Appeal every Monday. And I can find no better reason why than the magazine's own description of its mission to celebrate hometown American life: "It's a heartfelt reminder of what's good about who we are and the places many of us still call home.


"American Profile is about places where drive-in movies, county fairs, and simple acts of neighborly kindness are more than fond memories. They are woven into the fabric of everyday life. It's about Sunday afternoon picnics, 4th of July parades where people aren't ashamed to shed a tear when the flag passes, and about doing what's right-just because it's right. American Profile is about this country's roots, and the people and places that still make America great."


I'm sure you'll agree our country could use more of that.


You'll find another publication, Relish, inserted into the Appeal on a monthly basis beginning on Jan. 16. No, it's not about condiments, at least not exclusively. It will be a monthly food magazine "dedicated to celebrating America's love of food." It will have recipes, tips, articles on cooking and entertaining and more.


Relish actually began as a part of American Profile. It became so popular, they made it into a publication of its own.


We hope you'll enjoy both additions to the Appeal.




• Barry Ginter is editor of the Appeal. You can reach him at 881-1221, or via


e-mail at bginter@nevadaappeal.com

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