Thursday Reads: Birther Madness, Town Hall Uprisings, Tornadoes, and Armadillos

Good Morning!!

Just so everyone will know what’s going on–we are trying out having some ads on the blog so that we can raise a little money for ongoing improvements. We hope no one will be too bothered by this. We are working on blocking ads that we don’t think belong on “the little blog that could.” If you see something offensive, you can let one of us know.

Now for today’s news links. As of late last night, the right wing nuts were still in an uproar about Obama’s birth certificate and whatever else they can think of to try to make him seem illegitimate. I don’t get it. There are so many things to criticize about Obama–why focus on these nutty conspiracy theories? I hate to say it, but it has to be racism and/or xenophobia. Check this out from birther start Orly Taitz:

“Look, I applaud this release. I think it’s a step in the right direction,” so-called “birther queen” Orly Taitz told me in one of her many media interviews this morning. “I credit Donald Trump in pushing this issue.”

But she still has her suspicions. Specifically, Taitz thinks that the birth certificate should peg Obama’s race as “Negro” and not “African.”

“In those years … when they wrote race, they were writing ‘Negro’ not ‘African’,” Taitz says. “In those days nobody wrote African as a race, it just wasn’t one of the options. It sounds like it would be written today, in the age of political correctness, and not in 1961 when they wrote white or Asian or ‘Negro’.”

Taitz says she’s not giving up her fight. She also claims Obama isn’t a “natural born citizen” because she uses a standard that requires both parents to be American citizens — a misreading of the Constitution which if enforced would have rendered several other American Presidents ineligible.

These people are utterly shameless. I wouldn’t dare go look at World Net Daily to see what they’re saying. Oh wait…the Washington Post did it for me.

“It raises far more questions than it answers,” said Joseph Farah, editor in chief of WorldNetDaily and birther extraordinaire, almost breathless between media interviews.

Farah, whose online publication has run hundreds of articles over the past couple of years questioning Obama’s citizenship, professed delight at the latest development. So did real estate tycoon Donald Trump, who has found that raising questions about Obama’s legitimacy is political jet fuel for someone pondering a presidential run.

And across the pond they’re laughing at us.

Has there ever been a more absurdly surreal moment, even in US politics, that unchallengeable theatre of the absurd and the surreal? One moment, we were watching a property magnate, with one eye on the presidency, the other on his reality TV show ratings, and puffed up like a bullfrog, rejoicing on an airport tarmac in New Hampshire that America’s President of two years had finally made public his birth certificate.

The next, America’s TV networks interrupted their schedules to cut to the White House, where that self-same President appeared to confirm the momentous fact: not that Barack Obama had indeed been born, but that the happy event indeed took place, as no sane person has ever doubted, on the unimpeachably American soil of Hawaii, one August evening in 1961.

Of late, however, America has seemed to be taking leave of its senses. A quarter of the population, polls showed, and close on half of Republicans, still refused to believe that unassailable fact.

Sometimes it’s just so embarrassing to live in the same country with these bumpkins.

From Think Progress, historian Douglas Brinkley is calling for NBC to drop Trump’s show (I didn’t know he had one) and for corporate sponsors to pull their ads.

Also from Think Progress, another Republican is schooled by his constituents at a town hall meeting.

Rep. Charlie Gibson (R-NY) felt the heat of that movement last week when constituents responded to his fear mongering about undocumented immigrants not paying taxes by asking him, “You mean like GE?!” Yesterday, at yet another town hall meeting captured on YouTube, his constituents angrily and passionately rejected the GOP’s budget plan and demanded that the rich pay their fair share.

Check out the video:

Yelled out at the end: “Tax the rich!” Keep fighting back America!

Minkoff Minx can update us on the storms hitting the Southern states. From the LA Times this morning: Deadly storms, tornadoes kill more than 170 in South

TUSCALOOSA, Ala.— A wave of tornado-spawning storms strafed the South on Wednesday and early Thursday, splintering buildings across hard-hit Alabama and killing at least 178 people in five states.

At least 128 died in Alabama alone, officials said early Thursday. Among the cities hit hard by a tornado was Tuscaloosa, home to the University of Alabama. The mayor said sections of the city were obliterated and its infrastructure decimated.

“What we faced today was massive damage on a scale we have not seen in Tuscaloosa in quite some time,” Mayor Walter Maddox told reporters Wednesday.

The tornado “paralyzed many city operations that directly respond to events like we experienced today,” he said. “Pray for us.”


Did you know you can get leprosy from an Armadillo?

“A preponderance of evidence shows that people get leprosy from these animals,” said Richard W. Truman, director of microbiology at the National Hansen’s Disease Program in Baton Rouge and lead author of a paper detailing the discovery in the New England Journal of Medicine.

Until now, scientists believed that leprosy was passed only from human to human. Every year, about 100 to 150 people in the U.S. are diagnosed with the malady, which is also known as Hansen’s disease. Though many have traveled to countries where the disease is relatively common, as many as a third don’t know where they picked it up.

Most of those cases are in Texas and Louisiana, where leprosy-infected armadillos live too.

The good news is that leprosy can now be treated with a combination of antibiotics.

I know this news post has been on the lightweight side, but it’s the end of the semester and I’m stressed out and don’t want to deal with anything too heavy. Feel free to do that in the comments though. What are you reading and blogging about today?


62 Comments on “Thursday Reads: Birther Madness, Town Hall Uprisings, Tornadoes, and Armadillos”

  1. Minkoff Minx says:

    BB that video on Gibson is great. One thing that bothers me is that I am not really seeing those angry townhall people getting play on MSM. Oh there is Trump and Birther crap galore and the Royal Wedding coverage (which is just more crap.)

    As for the horrible damage and loss of life in the South this morning:

    Live blog: Storms leave 173 dead in southern U.S. – This Just In – CNN.com Blogs

    [Updated at 6:39 a.m. ET] Extreme weather across the southern United States has left at least 173 people dead, according to state officials. The death toll in Mississippi climbed to 32 early Thursday.

    At least 178 dead, hundreds injured as tornadoes, thunderstorms hit South

    Hardest hit was Alabama where 128 people died, most when a mile-wide tornado gouged its way across the state.

    Storms also killed 32 in Mississippi, 11 in Georgia and one each in Tennessee and Virginia.

    Here is that video recorded by Crimson Tide Productions. This is the tornado hitting Tuscaloosa and the University of Alabama campus…

    It looks like areas and neighborhoods have been completely obliterated.

    There are reports of 138 tornadoes touching down yesterday, I am sure that number will change as some get reported more than once…but it still could break the record set back in 1974.

    There is one tornado (per Fox News) that ripped across 4 or 5 states, which could be another record.

    Tornado outbreak for the record books: how did deadly, destructive event happen and what does it mean? – Capital Weather Gang – The Washington Post

    The devastating tornadoes that chewed up swaths of the South and Southeast Wednesday were rare, mile-wide plus beasts, causing hideous damage, including denuded trees, flattened buildings, and pancaked cars.
    […]
    Thanks to the 139 tornadoes reported (this number will change as the National Weather Service conducts their damage assessments), April 2011 has now almost certainly seen more tornadoes than any other April on record since 1954 when an estimated 407 tornadoes descended from the heavens.
    […]
    In a surreal twist, wreckage from Tuscaloosa made it onto The Weather Channel, albeit about a half hour later and 50 miles away, as pieces of sheet metal and other debris rained down onto a bewildered Jeff Morrow in Birmingham, a veteran meteorologist for the network. Morrow then stared helplessly as the same tornado barreled across northern Birmingham.

    I saw that tornado live as it made it’s way through Birmingham. Here is a link to that:

    Raw: Birmingham tornado

    Will post more on this later, because they are still having search and rescue operations..now that there is day light, so news teams are not being allowed into the real bad areas. (Per Jim Cantore this morning on Weather Channel)

  2. CinSC says:

    I’ve been having a chuckle for a while at some of the banner ads that have popped up on my itouch when checking in on Skydancing (pro/donate Obama ads). They are easy to ignore.

    • bostonboomer says:

      Those are wordpress things. They don’t show if you are signed in as a registered user. The new ones are our attempt to collect a few pennies from WP’s ads.

      I don’t mind them. The only ones I hate are the ones that pop up and block what you are reading and the ones that move.

      • Delphyne says:

        I’m signed in and can see the ads. They’re not a problem for me – I smiled at one of them as I had purchased the item for my dog (Thundershirt) to help calm her down during storms, high winds, etc. That ad seems to follow me all over the place!

      • Branjor says:

        Delphyne, did the thundershirt work? My dog is gone now, but she was scared to death of thunder and I was considering buying one for her. I tried soothing music and herbs, but they only worked marginally.

    • Minkoff Minx says:

      I just saw one for RuPaul…I mean Ron Paul…we are working on adjusting the content.

  3. Glenn McGahee says:

    I’m so glad we’ll all be reading this week about birtherism and the racism that has caused Obama’s poll numbers to drop. If people knew he was a true American and really equal to white people they would vote for him in droves, just like they did in 2008. Lets discuss this for 3 or 4 weeks instead of this:
    http://www.latimes.com/business/sc-dc-0428-court-class-action-web-20110427,0,1239412.story

    • bostonboomer says:

      Thanks for the link. I wrote this post late last night, so that story wasn’t up yet.

      I’m sorry you’re offended by my following up on the birther story. I don’t intend to keep writing about it for 3-4 wks.

    • Glenn, I can’t tell if that’s a general comment about the media situation or if you were directing that at Sky Dancing, but
      I linked to that Supreme Court decision on class action small claims yesterday… there’s a lot going on right now. What we cover of birtherism is to note how it’s a distraction and its fallout in terms of how it obfuscates the political dynamics.

      What I think is really obnoxious is how the infotainment media is acting like “oooh glad we got that birther thing out of the way so we can get back to talking about the real news.” Oh right, so glad the media is going to go back to discussing Wills and Kate’s Royal Wedding and Paul Ryan’s “serious” budget and Obama needing to invite Ryan over for lunch.

      • Minkoff Minx says:

        Wonk, you are so right about that infotainment comment. With limited, very limited access to the internet, I can’t get my news information on my own terms. And watching the cable news is terrible.

  4. Pat Johnson says:

    “Birtherism” is nothing but racial hatred wrapped in a shawl of political dialogue.

    There should be a litmus test applied to those seeking attention via this issue that includes a clean bill of health from a panel of psychiatrists before they are given a forum to hold news conferences and clog up the airwaves with this sludge.

    No problem in disliking Obama for his leadership qualities that has nothing to do with his race but giving this nonsense attention by the MSM is beyond stupidity.

  5. Branjor says:

    An article at AlterNet says that the outrage over TSA scans was an orchestrated campaign by the right wing to scapegoat workers and prevent them from unionizing.

  6. janicen says:

    I just sent a small donation to help out the website. I’ve been out of town and even when I’m in town, things are crazy busy here with the countdown to my daughter’s graduation from HS and preparations for university next year. Sorry I missed the donations for MM’s laptop, but I’m glad to help out in any way I can. Keep writing, Sky Dancers. This is one of the best blogs around.

  7. paper doll says:

    I can’t believe the horrific lost of life due to these storms! Excuse me but that is the top story over BC and wedding!

    • paper doll says:

      I mean it should be the media’s top story!

      • Pat Johnson says:

        “Press coverage” is exactly what is wrong with this nation’s priorities.

        How much time has been spent this week on “The Royal Wedding”? How much space has been given over the wedding gown itself?

        The MSM has done a disservice for the past 20 years in covering idiots like Trump and Palin who are the least qualified people to ever seek higher office yet surround them in a mantle of credibility by continually seeking their “analysis” as if either one knows what the hell they are talking about.

        Granting Trump or Palin an opportunity to offer nothing more than a “yak yak” session, devoid of thought, reasoning, or solutions, is one of the most useless forms of journalism ever put forth by this medium.

        It gives them a status they do not deserve. Real issues are happening in this nation that would have a lasting effect on where we go in the future but time is spent on morons, idiots, frauds, drug taking celebrities, liars, cheats, and fools.

        The media has done nothing but add to the cultural and intellectual life of this country by highlighting the vapidity that is the coverage given over to the least capable among us for solving the problems we face on a daily basis.

        Perhaps the fact that Kate Middleton has employed 6 hairdressers for her wedding day has solved the “jobs” problem in England but to make that a headline while ignoring the real events is maddening.

        Better that they should set up cameras on the floor of the NY Stock Exchange and watch our futures being exchanged for the chance to “make a few more bucks” on an already insolvent nation.

      • Better that they should set up cameras on the floor of the NY Stock Exchange and watch our futures being exchanged for the chance to “make a few more bucks” on an already insolvent nation.

        That’s too much reality for “reality” TV.

  8. okasha says:

    The tragedy in Alabama is appalling. More violent weather, and more of it, will be a major factor as climate change occurs.

    How odd that they’ve just now “discovered” that Hansen’s Disease can be passed from armadillo to humans. Back when I was a teen-aged Girl Scout–a long, long time ago–we were taught that dillos were a reservoir for the disease and not to (a) try to pet the cute little babies and (b) not to let the younger girls try to pet the cute little babies.

    • bostonboomer says:

      That’s interesting. Maybe the study was done because of the folk knowledge of people who drew conclusions from their own observations.

      • gregoryp says:

        Not sure about that. I don’t think this is anything new. As a biologist I have always been taught not to be handling those particular critters without taking proper precautions. I’ve known that since my undergrad days. There also was an article on this in Scientific American 7-10 years ago.

      • From the article BB linked to:

        Truman and co-workers had wondered for some time whether the small mammal might be transmitting leprosy. For years scientists had known that other than humans, armadillos are the only known natural hosts for M. leprae in the world. The animals get sick from M. leprae infections just like people do, and eventually die from kidney and liver damage. But unlike humans, they are more susceptible to catching the bug: In some parts of the South, more than 20% of armadillos have the infection.

        Confirming that the animals could pass the disease to people required sophisticated genetic analysis. It also depended on a wealth of data accumulated over the last decade on similarities and differences among the genes of M. leprae bacteria collected around the world.

        Current article from SciAm:

        http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=armadillos-leprosy-humans

  9. From Think Progress, historian Douglas Brinkley is calling for NBC to drop Trump’s show (I didn’t know he had one) and for corporate sponsors to pull their ads.

    Good. Chuck Todd and the rest of the MSNBC gang are laughing at the birthers this morning as usual, but it looks odd when NBC hasn’t canceled Trump’s show yet.

    • madamab says:

      Don’t you think they should have canceled his show when he declared his Presidential run? That is standard procedure, I thought. Hasn’t Fox already done so for the the Repubs who have shows on that network?

      I do not think Trump’s show should be canceled because he demanded the birth certificate be shown. That seems extremely authoritarian to me. There was nothing wrong or illegal about the demand, and as I recall, Rush and all the other members of the VRWC still have jobs after their heinous lies during the Clinton Presidency.

      • Has Trump actually officially declared he’s running yet?

        I think asking sponsors to pull back and letting the marketplace put pressure on NBC to cancel him is ok.

        Rush and much of the VRWC unfortunately work at conservative media outlets where this pressure doesn’t have as much effect as it would on NBC.

      • madamab says:

        Wonk, I thought he had officially declared, but it looks like he hasn’t. My bad. The last I saw, the NBC Powers-That-Be are claiming they think his proposed run is a ratings stunt. We’ll see how long they stick to their guns on that one.

      • Seriously says:

        He keeps weaseling, whenever anyone presses him to formally declare, he says he can’t do it until his show is off the air. He’s trying to work about 10 different angles on 4 separate sides, laughing all the way.

  10. madamab says:

    The latest thing now is to claim that the PDF of the document was altered. I have to say, WHO CARES?!!!

    The idea that Obama wasn’t born in the US was always ludicrous to me. If his place of birth were really an issue, they would have dealt with it the way McCain did; admit it and find a loophole that let him run anyway.

    I do think the sequence of events was extremely bizarre, but I doubt we’ll ever know the truth about why the disclosure didn’t happen before the 2008 election.

    • If his place of birth were really an issue, they would have dealt with it the way McCain did; admit it and find a loophole that let him run anyway.

      I tried explaining this to some PUMAs back when… futile.

  11. dakinikat says:

    markknoller Mark Knoller
    WH says Pres Obama will go to Alabama tomorrow to inspect storm/tornado damage & confer with officials & families about federal assistance.

  12. dakinikat says:

    here’s more on the type of thinking behind Trump’s Racist Dogwhistles:

    Oklahoma GOP Lawmaker Sally Kern: ‘Blacks’ Don’t Work As Hard As White People
    The Republican-controlled Oklahoma House of Representatives passed a proposed constitutional amendment yesterday that would eliminate Affirmative Action in state government. The offical GOP reasoning for the change is that while “discrimination exists,” “I don’t think Affirmative Action has been as successful as we like to believe,” the bill’s sponsor, state Rep. T.W. Shannon (R), explained. But perpetual extremist state Rep. Sally Kern (R) offered her argument for ending the system that helps minorities advance: “blacks” simply don’t work as hard as whites:

    Rep. Sally Kern, R-Oklahoma City, said minorities earn less than white people because they don’t work as hard and have less initiative.

    “We have a high percentage of blacks in prison, and that’s tragic, but are they in prison just because they are black or because they don’t want to study as hard in school? I’ve taught school, and I saw a lot of people of color who didn’t study hard because they said the government would take care of them.”

    Kern said women earn less than men because “they tend to spend more time at home with their families.”

    While Kern has long history of taking outlandish positions — from saying homosexuality is more dangerous than terrorism to introducing legislation to force teachers to question evolution — her bigoted comments reflect a disturbing trend among even mainstream conservatives to blame valuable social safety net programs for creating a culture of dependency or even “slavery.”

    Also another good reason not to just vote for vaginas without checking their brains first.

    • bostonboomer says:

      Oh my God! I can’t believe there are still people who will say things like that out loud. You’d think they’d at least have enough shame to keep their horrible thoughts to themselves.

      • Pat Johnson says:

        bb, enough people went to the polls and actually casts votes for these people.

        Which keeps me firmly convinced that as bad as these people are as lawmakers, their constituents share the same outrageous beliefs and are as equally stupid.

        Another “plus” for the uninformed electorate that would place so many of these nitwits in positions of power.

        Another “WTF moment” coming to you straight from the folks in the GOP.

        Hell, they are probably looking at her right now as an upcoming presidential candidate sometime in the future!

    • madamab says:

      Also another good reason not to just vote for vaginas without checking their brains first.

      LOL! Indeed.

      I wonder if it ever bothers these people that they are completely full of sh*t?

    • Branjor says:

      Whenever I read that stuff coming out of a woman it always seems very, for lack of a better word, unnatural to me. I expect it from a man, but from a woman it just seems unnatural.

  13. Pat Johnson says:

    Trump just underscores the ability to throw out any lie out there and hope it sticks to the nearest wall.

    Even when it begins to “ooze” down the sides of the wall in question these people will find reasons to defend it by declaring as he does, “I win anyway because I forced him to produce it”. Nobody loses if you can manage to hold a straight face even when your nose is rapidly growing at the rate of inflation.

  14. Minkoff Minx says:

    I wanted to update you, Dak just forwarded an email that says the laptop has shipped…yea!

  15. stacyx says:

    I created a firestorm at my blog by denouncing the birthers and most of the people who are pissed off at me are Hillary supporters! Go figure!

    Now Trump has blown his racist dog whistle yet again with the whole “Obama needs to show his academic records” because of course, an African American can’t get into the Ivy League unless it was the result of Affirmative Action. I guess next Obama will have to prove he’s not a Muslim. It never ends.

    Grrrrr….

    • dakinikat says:

      My Facebook page has been a regular hatefest too. They all appear to think trump is something he is not and it’s just unadulterated xenophobia.

    • madamab says:

      I didn’t think it was bad to ask Obama to prove his citizenship BEFORE the election, or demand that he prove at least SOME of the things he was asserting about his life. The man was completely unvetted in every way, especially when compared to the under-the-microscope treatment most Presidential candidates received.

      At this point it would be great if we knew more about him, but it’s really not that important, is it? He’s already the President. To me, he will always be a fraud and a phony, no matter what documentation he produces about his Hollywood-manufactured backstory. He is a bad man who does bad things. That’s really all I need to know.

    • Pat Johnson says:

      You have to go back to the beginning and ask when this theory went into overdrive, who drove the engine, and why it was used.

      I won’t go so far to suggest that all who bought a ticket on this train are racists, but it gave those who hated Obama from the beginning a handy place to hang their hats.

      By intimating that there was merit in bringing forth the accusation they were able to express their disdain by creating a cover.

      But again, a weak president invites those with the ability and platform to plant seeds of mistrust when he refuses to fight back from the outset.

      But no matter how much evidence is presented to contradict the lie, there will always be those out there who prefer to believe it.

      When Orly Taitz was dragging this dead cat through the courts for the last few years, few paid her any attention. But Donald Trump uses the same means as a vehicle for his ride to the WH and many sleeping dogs awoke and took notice.

      The difference lies in the credibility of messenger. But the message remains the same.

    • Stacy, glad you dropped by here!

      I’ve long thought that the fringe types who held onto questioning Obama’s citizenship were more anti-Obama than they were really for Hillary. They weren’t the vast majority of Hill’s 18 million. They’re just really loud. IMHO.

      • WomanVoter says:

        They also are not watching that Donald Trump is trying to put the blame on Hillary or as he says ‘The Clintons’, while launching his next set of questions of the certificate being released.

        He is shameless…they forget this man paid his wife a DOLLAR a year for working to build the family business.

      • Woman Voter,

        They probably are watching and either believe the lie about Clintons asking for his birth certificate and don’t think it’s a bad thing OR have already turned on her long ago for endorsing Obama, becoming his SecState, etc. anyway. They may have voted for Hillary in the ’08 primaries, but I don’t think they’re the heart of her coalition of supporters or share much an interest in the causes and values she’s working for.

  16. Pat Johnson says:

    The “birther” theory has about as much credence as Bush being accused of having a hand in 9/11, or that Sarah Palin is not the mother of her youngest child.

    Half baked theories issued by disaffected people who bear little affection for the accused. Say it often enough and it becomes fact in the minds of many.

  17. WomanVoter says:

    Tuscaloosa, Alabama Terrorized by #Tornadoes, Hundreds Dead (280)

  18. Pilgrim says:

    I think the birtherism is silly stuff, which appeals to people who are pretty silly and, yes, racist.

    But…

    I’m underwhelmed by the rhetorical skills of a guy who has to use a teleprompter to inform the American people how “heartbreaking” he finds the tragic death and destruction of those windstorms.

    • bostonboomer says:

      Of course his inability to speak without a teleprompter is unrelated to his race or where he was born–but Trump would probably disagree.

  19. Seriously says:

    It’s really encouraging to see people fighting back against these memes at the Townhall meetings, but it also really underscores the lack of options voters have. Come to Massachusetts where the Democrats will be more than happy to take away your collective bargaining rights, while the “progressives” like Patrick morph into full Axlerovian mode and lecture everyone on the maturity and civility of accepting being worked over with a heart full of gratitude. The system is broken, and I think millions of voters know that broken feeling pretty intimately. Always and forever, just words.