In reply to Wednesday's post on Rep. Howard Coble's VFW membership, 'Hesiod' (link doesn't work: it's 2/6, 9:56 AM) refuses to take back the accusation:
Many veterans of the Coast Guard are, in fact, eligible for membership in the VFW. Of course, there's little evidence that Howard Coble is one of them.
Coble's VFW membership is itself prima facie evidence of his eligibility, since the VFW presumably checks the credentials of its applicants, and I think it's fair to guess that 99% of its members are in fact qualified. If 'Hesiod' had read my post and the comments on it (especially rlbtzero's), he would know that facing enemy fire or even actual presence in a war zone are not necessarily requirements for VFW membership. It's the Veterans of Foreign Wars, not the Wounded Veterans of Overseas Combat: you don't have to be John McCain to join.
'Hesiod' thinks the ball is in Coble's court, but it is actually in his own: if you have no evidence whatever that someone else is a fraud, you need to keep your accusations to yourself until you find some. (And maybe 'Hesiod' can: it's conceivable that Coble is a fraud.) When Matt Drudge reported the rumor that Sidney Blumenthal was a wifebeater, Blumenthal didn't have to prove that he was not, all he had to do was deny it and show that Drudge had no evidence that he was, and Drudge was left facing serious legal and financial consequences.
Applying the 'Hesiodic' standard to evidence is easy, and fun. I have no evidence that 'Hesiod' himself is a registered sex offender, or a paid agent of a hostile government, or a San Quentin inmate with library privileges that include unrestricted internet access (perhaps a stoolie), or a genetically-engineered subhuman mutant, or a lot of other things. I've always assumed that he is not any of these things, since very few people are, and I prefer to give even a 'Hesiod' the benefit of the doubt.* But I have no evidence that he is not any of these things, or for that matter that he is not all of them: they are not mutually exclusive.† Should I consider the questions open? Or should 'Hesiod' withdraw his imputation that Rep. Coble has joined the VFW under false pretenses? Any honest man (or mutant) would have done so already.
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*I've always assumed that he's just a common or garden variety asshole, but that's quite a different matter, and there is a huge mound of evidence for that proposition.
†Then again, he does seem to have a lot more time to post than most of us with regular jobs, and that could be taken as a point in favor of his being an agent of a foreign power, a prison inmate, or a caged mutant with time on its