Friday, September 28, 2012


Maybe I can preempt some right-wing spam for a few people. You're welcome.

The above is the sort of crap that RWS™ like Drudge et al., and his dutiful mail-forwarders, like to upchuck into the political scene. Here are the facts:

Is the Obama Phone Obama's doing? No. The universal service requirement dates back at least to the Communications Act of 1934. The Lifeline program specifically was started in 1984 under President Reagan and was expanded in 1996 under President Clinton to allow qualifying households to choose to apply the benefit to either a landline or a cell phone. So no, it's not an Obama handout.
Shockingly, despite the bipartisan origins of the service, the idea of an "Obama Phone" for the undeserving has existed for a long time. A couple email forwards, debunked by, were circulating in October 2009 and described poor people shamelessly showing off their free phones:

I get crap like that sent to me all the time, often accompanied by the ironic phrase "Snopes confirms!!!"  Yesterday someone rediscovered the oldie favorite about Barack and Michele Obama having "relinquished!!!" their law licenses under "questionable!!!!" circumstances. Other than disproving it, Snopes confirms. I mean, how stupid do you have to be, how gullible, how deeply in need of hate to fail to recognize bullshit like that from a mile away? Enough, evidently, that Drudge is considered credible and Foxorovobeckian dishonesty is considered biblical in its literalism.

I'd been collecting the stuff that people send me like the above, planning to wrap it up in a stinky ball and drop it into this space. But it's a fool's errand. Those who believe it will always believe it; and the more the evidence mounts that they're wrong, the further it pushes their heads to where they can neither see nor hear it. Exactly, in other words, where they like it.


  1. I don't know how extensive this program is, but the state of Illinois is giving all the employees at a Handicapped Development Center where my sister works cell phones "in case they need to get hold of them." What a joke! My sister has the mental capabilities of a 4 year old and has a caregiver who has a phone, and I'm sure that's the case for virtually all the clients. And Obama has nothing to do with this. Oh, and did I mention the state of Illinois is broke to the extent they aren't paying their bills to vendors such as pharmacies, hospitals, schools?

  2. There are lots of programs for recycling old cellphones: donating them to outfits that do what you describe. So at least the phones themselves may well have cost nothing.

    By the way: please note my request to leave some sort of identifying moniker at the end of your comment, so I can tell one anonymous from another. Initials will do.


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