Obamas: Left Hands to Heart … Fake Photo

Complete nonsense continues to pervade the internet, including this photo, which has generated accusations of “treason” and demands for the impeachment of the President:

Obamas Left Hands to Heart

Obamas Left Hands to Heart

A friend of mine posted this picture on Facebook, with the question:

“Is this for real?”

The answer to which is, NO, it’s not.  It is a patently doctored photo, as can be seen by comparison to an original photo taken close in time at the same event.  I have not been able to find the original of the exact photo which was used to create this fake, but this one is close enough to demonstrate conclusively the fakery involved:

Obamas Hands to Heart (Original)

Obamas Hands to Heart (Original)

How was it done?

There were several tricks applied to the original photo to create the fake image:

ObamasHand to Heart 1-4Obamas Hand to Heart fake 1-4

First, the original photo was flipped vertically, so as to create what is, essentially, a mirror image.  This gives the immediate impression that the President and First Lady have their left hands over their hearts, rather than their right hands.

There are a couple of dead giveaways to the “flip”:

1)  The part in the First Lady’s hair (real photo parted on left and swept across the right eyebrow;  fake parted on right and swept across the left eyebrow). 

Obamas Hand to Heart original & fake 1

2)  And, lest you’re inclined to say that she changed her hairstyle, check out the ribbon bars on the chest of the Marine at the President’s elbow.  In the original, the ribbon bars are correctly displayed on the left side of the Marine’s chest.  In the fake, they appear on the right side.  Whatever the First Lady may have done with her hair, it’s an absolute certainty that the Marine Corps has not changed its uniform regulations regarding the display of service ribbons.

Obamas Hand to Heart original & fake 2

Second, the photo was tightly cropped to eliminate the other people present at the time (probably to avoid having to reverse “fake” the arms of the other people in the photo).  Notice that the saluting arm of the Marine behind the president is eliminated entirely from the picture.

Third, there are some obvious modifications to the photo which can be seen if it is sufficiently enlarged:

3)  Rings were added to the hands of both the President and the First Lady.  The one on the President’s hand in the fake photo is a particularly obvious (and poorly done) addition.

Obamas Hand to Heart original & fake 3

4)  The jacket alignment and buttons on the President’s suit coat were (once again rather amateurishly) modified to make it look as if the buttons are on the right side of the jacket.

Obamas Hand to Heart original & fake 4

I am no particular fan of President Obama — I rank him #8 of the 12 Presidents of my lifetime, as explained in one of my earlier blog posts:


On the other hand, I believe that criticism of the man should be based on actual facts from the real world, not made up BS, much of which appears to be motivated by considerations other than presidential policies (or politics). 

“Civil Disobedience” in Utah



in response to the federal government’s shutdown of national parks, San Juan County in Utah has threatened to take over the national parks within its borders:


NPR: Utah County Threatens Takeover of National Parks


The NPR article opens with the following:

“San Juan County has become the fifth county in Utah to declare a state of emergency in response to the closure of National Park areas.

“But the San Juan County Commission has also decided to storm National Park Service barricades, take control of some parks, and reopen them to the public.

“‘This is civil disobedience,’ says Phil Lyman, a CPA and county commissioner from Monticello, Utah, in the southeastern corner of the state. ‘What’s happening to us is wrong.'”

San Juan County plans to use sheriff’s deputies, search and rescue volunteers, firefighters, EMTs, portable toilets, garbage trucks and three mobile command centers in its operation of the national parks.

Yes, this would be an act of civil disobedience … and I applaud it!  This is exactly what government should do in an emergency — step in and fix the problem.  Unfortunately, the bloated, arrogant, over-weening federal government doesn’t give a damn about the hardships that its “shutdown” has created for local communities. 

So, those local communities have to take it upon themselves to do what’s best for their people.  More power to ’em!



The state of Arizona has Reached an agreement with the federal government to re-open the Grand Canyon:

Grand Canyon Train Station 1981

Grand Canyon Train Station 1981


Grand Canyon

Grand Canyon



The federal government has also announced its willingness to cooperate with other states that want to reopen national parks:


Note the two caveats to this agreement, however:

“Interior Secretary Sally Jewell told state officials that she would consider agreements with governors who are willing to fully fund National Park Service personnel to reopen the 401 parks nationwide that have been closed since Oct. 1.”


Blake Androff, an Interior Department spokesman, stressed that the state’s payments would be viewed as donations and would not be reimbursed unless Congress passed legislation to do so.”

In other words, we’re willing to let you do our job — a job that we can’t or won’t do, as long as you pay for it and don’t expect us to reimburse you.  What a shameful disgrace.

Puts me in mind on one of Thomas Jefferson‘s comments on government:

“I hold it that a little rebellion now and then is a good thing, and as necessary in the political world as storms in the physical.”  See Note below.

It seems likely that Jefferson would approve of San Juan County’s plans to exercise some civil disobedience and “a little rebellion”.


Note:  The Jefferson quote is from a letter written by him from Paris on January 30, 1787, to James Madison.  The full text of the letter is available on the “Archiving Early America” website here:



Grand Canyon Photos © 2013 Jim Reilly

Words of Wisdom from the Dugout


Clint Hurdle is the manager of the Major League baseball Pittsburgh Pirates.  This year, he has guided his team to its first winning season & first playoff appearance since 1992.  None of which would normally get him mentioned here.

However, Hurdle does something which politicians and lawmakers — indeed, everyone in the political-legal arena — would do well to emulate.  He inspires people.

One way he does this, every day, is by issuing a “Thought of the Day”, via his smartphone, to his players, their wives and friends, his friends and others — more than 1000 people around the world.

On September 9th of this year, his team was stuck at 81 wins — one shy of a winning season — and on a 4 game losing streak.  They would be playing the Texas Rangers that night and facing one of the best pitchers in the game.

In anticipation of this game, he sent the following “Thought of the Day”:

Tim Wrightman, a former All-American UCLA football player, tells a story about how, as a rookie lineman in the National Football League, he was up against the legendary pass rusher Lawrence Taylor. Taylor was not only physically powerful and uncommonly quick, but a master at verbal intimidation.

Looking Tim in the eye, [Taylor] said, “Sonny, get ready. I’m going left and there’s nothing you can do about it.”

Wrightman coolly responded, “Sir, is that your left or mine?”

The question froze Taylor long enough to allow Wrightman to throw a perfect block on him.

It’s amazing what we can accomplish if we refuse to be afraid. Fear — whether it’s of pain, failure or rejection–– is a toxic emotion that creates monsters in our mind that consume self-confidence and intimidate us from doing our best or sometimes even trying at all.

Make a difference today.

Love Clint

The anecdote about Tim Wrightman and Lawrence Taylor is interesting, but is neither the important part of this message nor the motivation for blogging about it.  Rather, it is the last full paragraph that moved me to write this.

Much of what passes for political discourse in the United States today — and what motivates laws and governmental procedures — is fear.  Fear of people:  terrorists, murderers, child molesters, religious zealots, virtually anyone who is perceived to be dangerous — or even just different.  Fear of things:  internationally, nuclear weapons — locally, guns.   Fear of equal rights for all people and of social change.

All too often, people respond to fear by seeking the protection of laws designed to prevent that which is feared.  And our politicians respond to the people by passing such laws, even when they are ineffective or, worse yet, counter-productive.

We seem to have forgotten the words of Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s first inaugural speech, “… the only thing we have to fear is fear itself.”  We are becoming a nation of sheepish ninnies, fearful and risk-averse.

We readily submit to laws which treat us like children, incapable of making our own decisions (such as the so-called “war on drugs” and the panoply of federal, state and local rules governing what, when and how much we can eat and drink). 

We readily submit to laws and procedures which supposedly make us “safer”, but actually subject us to insult, indignity and embarrassment, as we meekly submit to invasive searches and remove our belts and shoes before entering airport terminals, courthouses and federal buildings. 

We cannot even watch Clint Hurdle’s Pirates play baseball without first being stopped and searched in order to enter the stadium where the game is being played.

We Americans have a proud history of strength in the face of adversity and courage in the face of fear.  Our country was founded by men and women willing to defy the world’s reigning power and who pledged  to each other their lives, fortunes and sacred honor. 

It was built into the greatest country in the world by men and women who risked all to explore, settle and tame a continent;  who bravely fought and all too often died in war to protect our freedoms;  who explored the highest mountains and the ocean’s depths; who rode rockets into space and went to the moon;  and who made this “the land of the free and the home of the brave”.

Which takes me back to Hurdle’s message of the day on September 9th.  A message we should repeat to our political leaders and lawmakers … and one which we should insist that they have in mind when they make decisions about the well-being our of country and its people:

It’s amazing what we can accomplish if we refuse to be afraid. Fear — whether it’s of pain, failure or rejection–– is a toxic emotion that creates monsters in our mind that consume self-confidence and intimidate us from doing our best or sometimes even trying at all.


For the full story of Clint Hurdle and his “Thought of the Day” messages, see this moving and inspirational story by Tom Friend of ESPN.com: