See MoJo's full coverage of the surge of unaccompanied child migrants from Central America.
Last week, Rep. Phil Gingrey (R-Ga.) wrote a letter to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention with a dire warning: Some of the child refugees streaming across the southern border into the United States might carry deadly diseases. "Reports of illegal immigrants carrying deadly diseases such as swine flu, dengue fever, Ebola virus and tuberculosis are particularly concerning," Gingrey wrote. "Many of the children who are coming across the border also lack basic vaccinations such as those to prevent chicken pox or measles."
Gingrey's analysis carried an aura of credibility among conservatives, because, as Judicial Watch noted, the congressman is "also [a] medical doctor." But his two-page letter is filled with false charges—there's no evidence that migrants carry Ebola or that they're less likely to be vaccinated—from an inconvenient messenger: The congressman has himself pushed legislation to discourage some kinds of mandatory vaccinations in the United States.
According to the World Health Organization, Ebola virus has only ever affected humans in sub-Saharan Africa. (It has been found in China and the Philippines, but has never caused an illness, let alone a fatality.) Central America is far away from sub-Saharan Africa:
Central America is on the left. Google Maps
Ebola has a 50 percent mortality rate and a remarkably short life-span, so it's safe to assume that if it had somehow made its way across the Atlantic to our own hemisphere, we would've heard it by now; some congressman probably would've sent a letter. But apparently Ebola fearmongering can travel across the Atlantic even if the disease can't: A similar allegation was leveled in Italy last spring, with activists warning that migrants from Guinea were bringing Ebola with them to the peninsula. (Although false, the claim was at least more plausible: There is an Ebola outbreak in Guinea.)
Gingrey's misdiagnoses aren't confined to Ebola. As the Texas Observer points out, when it comes to measles, children in Guatemala, El Salvador, and Honduras are more likely to be vaccinated than children in the United States. None of those countries have recorded an outbreak of measles in 24 years. Kids in Marin County are more at risk.
Texas congressional candidate Larry Smith (left) with Republican gubernatorial nominee Greg Abbott
Iraq War vet Larry Smith is the Republican nominee to take on Rep. Filemon Vela (D-Texas) in November. He's also, it turns out, an armchair psychiatrist. According to Smith, Barack Obama's handling of the child refugee crisis along the Mexican border suggests the president is suffering from Münchausen syndrome by proxy, a rare psychological condition that causes caretakers to abuse kids.
"Today, we hear of reports that children are being abused, being used by drug cartels, and even dying," Smith said in a statement on his website last Thursday. "If a high school administrator prompted such mass abuse, that person would quickly be without a job and perhaps even found behind bars. The mental stability of the school administrator would be in question. Is a President of the United States who does such horrific acts deserving of less scrutiny and accountability?…People who intentionally hurt children for attention can be accused of Münchausen Syndrome by Proxy."
Münchausen syndrome by proxy is often tabloid fodder and often deadly. In June, a New York mother believed to be suffering from the affliction was charged with second-degree depraved murder and first-degree manslaughter after feeding her son so much salt he became brain-dead. In another Münchausen case in 2011, an Arizona mother was charged with child abuse for deliberately poisoning her daughter.
Conservatives have found a new line of attack on the ongoing refugee crisis along the southern border: The children who are migrating en masse from Central America and crowding into detention centers are not children.
"I realize that in Barack Obama's America we now classify anyone under the age of 26 as a child eligible for their parent's healthcare insurance," writesRed State's Erick Erickson. "But I'm pretty sure a normal person would not classify these men as children." He links to this tweet:
Erickson's analysis is correct—the people in this photo are not children. The way immigration detention works is that children are separated from adults and then sorted by age and gender. This is noted in nearly everysinglestoryonthesubject. Just because more than 48,000 minors have been detained crossing the border in 2014 doesn't mean adults have simply stopped coming over.
Lest you think that the administration is inventing this influx of young migrants, here is a photo of migrant children crowded into a single room. I found it on Breitbart:
If you want to make it as a snitch in the fast-growing sport of muggle quidditch, there are a few simple rules to live by. Keep the two people with yellow headbands in your sight at all times. Call fouls when you see them. Don’t let your showboating get in the way of your performance. And keep your booty shaking. "You gotta do a little duck waddle—stick your butt out," advises Austin Nuckols, a lanky University of Richmond student with curly hair in a Spiderman-inspired quidditch jersey. "That's right, get a little twerk going," he says. "Work on your twerk!"
Nuckols in offering a tutorial in snitching in a back room at a convention center in downtown DC for the second day of the third annual QuidCon, the only convention focused on the nuts and bolts of starting or managing a quidditch team. Conceived eight years ago by a small group of students at Middlebury College in Vermont, the International Quidditch Association now boasts 225 official teams in at least 13 countries, in addition to wheelchair quidditch and several varieties of "kidditch." Even as the Harry Potter books and movies that first popularized it fade from view, the sport has begun to find its legs.
But like angsty, teenage Harry Potter in book five, competitive quidditch is finding that its new powers come with some growing pains—in the most literal sense. Muggle quidditch has a concussion problem.
Colorado Republicans thought they'd dodged a bullet last month when primary voters chose former GOP Rep. Bob Beauprez as their gubernatorial nominee over Tom Tancredo, a former congressman and notorious anti-immigration activist. Not so much. On Wednesday, Democrats circulated a little-noticed 2010 video in which Beauprez rails against the 47 percent of the American population who he claims are dependent on government. Sound familiar?
"I see something that frankly doesn't surprise me, having been on Ways and Means Committee: 47 percent of all Americans pay no federal income tax," Beauprez said in the video. "I'm guessing that most of you in this room are not in that 47 percent—God bless you—but what that tells me is that we've got almost half the population perfectly happy that somebody else is paying the bill, and most of that half is you all."
"I submit to you that there is a political strategy to get slightly over half and have a permanent ruling majority by keeping over half of the population dependent on the largesse of government that somebody else is paying for," Beauprez said.
Beauprez's comments, which came in an address to a local rotary club, bear an uncanny resemblance to the infamous remarks, first reported by Mother Jones, that Mitt Romney made to donors during his presidential campaign. (Romney's final tally: 47 percent of the vote.) A survey released by Rasmussen on Wednesday showed Beauprez running even with incumbent Democratic Gov. John Hickenlooper.