Photo: Office of Rep. Leo BermanHere's Texas state rep. Leo Berman explaining to Reeve Hamilton why he suspects the President of the United States was not born in the United States:
"I'm just a person who wants to see fact," he said.
Though the Obama campaign produced a certificate of live birth from Hawaii, Mr. Berman was not swayed. "The latest rumor I hear, and I don't know if this is true or not," he said, "is that he's used about 25 different Social Security numbers."
Mr. Berman said he got his information from e-mail and online video clips. "YouTubes are infallible," he said.
Emphasis mine. Anyways, as a test of Berman's universal theory of YouTubes infallibity, I present this 100-percent-true documentary about how Denver International Airport is actually a New World Order death camp. No, really it's true; I saw it on YouTube:
New Hampshire heard arguments from citizens about a bill to ban gay marriage. Concerned citizen Howard Kaufman took to the floor of the state house to float the second-wackiest conspiracy theory of the week: Gay marriage is a secret gateway to Islamic law.
The wackiest conspiracy of the week? That belongs Avi Lipkin, an American-born Israeli who revealed (scoop!) that President Obama is pushing for amnesty for undocumented residents as part of a secret plot to flood the nation with 100 million Muslims. As MoJo's David Cornexplains, the plan is to "turn this country into an Islamic nation by the end of his second term." And the United Nations is in on it!
At a town hall meeting in Pompano Beach, Rep. Allen West(R-Fla.) was asked by the director of CAIR's South Florida chapter why he thinks Islam is so horrible. West, who's been floated as a vice presidential candidate, responded: "I've been on the battlefield, my friend. Don't try to blow sunshine up my butt and tell me it's warm and fuzzy." Which is gross.
West appeared on Fox and Friends to explain what he meant on Wednesday, and, after first labeling Muslims "an enemy,"warned that he would not tolerate being portrayed as an "enemy of Islam." Because seriously, where did anyone get that idea?
Tennessee has already banned Islamic law. But just in case they missed something the first time around, Volunteer State lawmakers are going to try to do it again. A proposed bill before the state legislature would make "material support" for Islamic law punishable by 15 years in prison. Per the bill, "The knowing adherence to sharia and to foreign sharia authorities is prima facie evidence of an act in support of the overthrow of the United States government." Among the ways you can show adherence to Sharia: getting married, not robbing banks.
Facebook/ Mike Hogan for MayorFebruary's been a busy month in the war on reproductive rights. Last week, MoJo's Kate Sheppard broke the story about an effort in South Dakota to classify the murder of abortion doctors as a "justifiable homicide" (the bill was scrapped); this morning we told you about a similar effort in Nebraska, which the Omaha Police Department says could incite violence; and in Georgia, lawmakers are considering a bill that would conceivably permit the state to execute women who have miscarriages.
The legislators behind these efforts have generally deflected criticism by arguing that their bills are being misinterpreted. But Jacksonville, Florida mayoral candidate Mike Hogan doesn't really have that option. Participating at a candidate forum at a Catholic church on Monday, Hogan emphasized his long-standing opposition to Roe v. Wade, which is to be expected from a conservative Republican. But then he went one step further:
Hogan added that the only thing he wouldn't do was bomb an abortion clinic, then the law-and-order advocate added, with a laugh, "but it may cross my mind."
The Mandarin crowd applauded.
In a follow-up interview with the FloridaTimes-Union, Hogan emphasized that his comments shouldn't be taken seriously, because he was only pandering. "I mean, I'm not going to be politically correct," he told the paper. "That was a joke. This was an audience for this. This is a Catholic Church. I guarantee you they are 110 percent pro-life."
As you're surely aware, today's Presidents Day. And what better way to celebrate than with a mixtape? We scoured the Internet for a song about each president—44 in all, provided you count Grover Cleveland twice. The result is an odd mix, probably inappropriate for your next house party, but redeeming in its own way: Come for the Blind Willie Johnson, stick around for the straight-to-YouTube ballad performed by a Martin Van Buren impersonator (it's a niche market). In a neat twist, the most difficult president to find a song for, Chester A. Arthur, was also the one with the richest musical legacy: Chester Arthur Burnett, whom you know as Howlin' Wolf (Warren G., alas, is not short for Warren Gamaliel).
Anyways, check out the playlist here. And in the meantime, here's my all-time favorite: "No More Kings," by Schoolhouse Rock, via Pavement:
President Nixon jamming at the Grand Ole Opry in 1974.
Happy Presidents Day! We admit, it's not the most thrilling of holidays: Too chilly for barbecues, too cheap for presents—we didn't even get a tree this year. So to spice things up, here's a treat: 44 songs about the 44 presidents. It's 43 songs, technically, but you're expected to listen to the song "Grover Cleveland's Mustache" twice. Or just ignore Grover Cleveland altogether; everyone else does.
We mixed it up as best we could: some campaign songs, some diss tracks, some campaign songs that today would be mistaken for diss tracks ("Get on a Raft With Taft!" No, really, we dare you!). There are good songs and bad songs and a few songs you won't so much listen to as survive—kind of like our presidents. Anyways, enjoy. And if we missed your favorite, drop us a line in the comments; if we get enough enough suggestions, maybe we'll release the B-sides.
1) George Washington: Pavement, "No More Kings." Schoolhouse indie rock: It's what the Framers intended.