Win a Bottle of Delicious Whiskey with the “I Call Bulls**t” Challenge!
[NOTE: UPDATED CONTEST INFO BELOW]
I’m starting a new semi-regular Election-2012 feature at the League, and if your party or candidate is worth your support and you can prove it – you could win a bottle of top-shelf Oregon micro-distilley whiskey!
Let me explain.
Today in my car I was listening to talk radio, and I heard a claim attributed to Mitt Romney parroted many, many times by hosts and callers alike. The claim went unchallenged, and everyone who repeated it was outraged. This claim, which would indeed be outrageous if it turns out to be true, is this: If you have a change of address to your business, the government requires you inform them… by filling out 33 pages of a 33-page standard change of-address document. I googled this enough to make sure that it is being reported on the web as well (it is), but not enough to either verify or disprove this claim. No one, as far as I can tell, is saying, “Wait, that doesn’t sound like something that exists. That sounds like something antigovernment people like to pretend exists.” But to me it sounds like that’s what people should be saying.
So I decided that between now and the election in November, if I hear a claim by either side that just sounds too outrageous to be true, I am going to offer a bottle of fine Oregon whiskey to the person that can verify the truth of that bold assertion. (If you aren’t a big whiskey drinker, you can claim either a bottle of Oregon micro-distilled vodka, or bottle of fine Oregon Pinot Noir.) Political bloggers can prove me wrong, and then drunkenly link to the subsequent post where I eat crow and admit that the seemingly fantastic whopper was in fact the real deal. I figure this will be a fun way to highlight bad election reporting and political BS, and because we live in a weird enough world I suspect a few of these claims will be true, and an intrepid reader will be able to drink to my cynicism on my dime.
So first up is the new right wing meme that the government makes you fill out a 33 page document to simply notify them of a change of address.
This is a real contest, and if you win you will receive real (and high-quality) booze. Here are the rules:
- The challenge is considered valid for a one week period. (Since this story is being reported as if it were a confirmed fact, this seems like plenty of time.) Any entries received after June 24 will not be accepted.
- A report from a trusted news agency, like a blog writer at the Daily Caller explaining he totally knows a guy who had to do that, will not be acceptable. In order to win you must email to me a PDF of the 33 page change-of-address form.
- My understanding was that this was what you have to do for the federal government, but I am willing to give reporters the benefit of the doubt for an error, and so will accept any state, county or city change of address form that is 33 pages in length as well.
- I will verify with the government agency of whatever entries I receive that the document sent to me both exists and is a change of address form. (So don’t bother trying cheat by submitting a one page form and adding 32 other random forms to it.)
- If there are more than one winners, I will choose a single prize winner at random. I will identify that person in a subsequent post, and explain how the claim was proved to be true.
So have at it, denizens of the intertubes! Send in that 33-page change of address form, and see your name in pixelated glory! Or simply wait for the next challenge. There are sure to be quite a few before this election cycle is done.
JUDGES RULING & UPDATE:
Thanks to the strong google-fu of our readers, we do appear to now know the document that Mitt Romney was referring to: the Medicare 855, a form series for enrolling Medicare providers and contractors. After speaking with our own Medicare representative Doris, it appears that this is indeed a long form that needs to be resubmitted for a change of address.
So, does the new right wing meme pan out? Well, yes and no… but not really.
First of all, the circumstances of this case are highly specific; the “if you’re a business and you move you have to fill out a 33 page document” trope is clearly bullshit, if this is indeed the situation from which the meme was born. Also, according to Doris, the form is lengthy but in order to submit a change of address, you don’t actually have to fill out the multi-page document. Per Doris, “there are a few boxes you have to check, and maybe half a dozen lines to fill out. It’s pretty easy.” (Note: After having perused the document, the degree to which it is “pretty easy” is highly subjective.) So even in this highly specific case the notion that someone had to fill out a 33-page document to change their address is clearly intentionally misleading.
In other words, while I believe we may indeed have found the primordial ooze this meme has come from, it is indeed bullshit.
I like the “I Call Bulls**t Challenge” idea and think it will be fun to do over the next few months, so we’re going to treat this like one of those “practice hands” you do when someone at the table is playing poker for the first time, and we will declare a winner anyway. Please note that this is a one time deal: this level of “proof” of a new political meme will not even get you a sniff of those heady whiskey vapors in future Challenges. This meme is bullshit, but I am treating this as an opportunity to be the sketchy guy at the edge of your junior high school playground giving you that first taste of weed for free.
Which brings me to the tentative winner: Either kenB or Plinko.
The rules of the contest stated that entries had to be emailed to me, and that if there were more than one correct answer I would randomly pick a winner. In this case, because we’re doing a “practice round” and the
bullshit winning answer has already been disclosed in the threads, I’m closing the entries for the Medicare Enrollment Forms, and I’m giving kenB the benefit of the doubt for not having followed the rules and emailed.
I will wait until June 24 on the highly unlikely possibility that someone sends me a pdf of an actual change of address form that is 33 pages long, in which case that person will be crowned Challenge King or Queen. If this does not occur, I will flip a coin to declare either kenB or Plinko the current Challenge King.
Since Plinko was first to get his in (his email arrived before kenB’s post went up) he will have the option to call heads or tails prior.