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Tilting at Windmills

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July 23, 2009

CNN'S DOBBS PROBLEM.... CNN's Lou Dobbs has, by all appearances, gone mad. He now questions the citizenship status of the president on a daily basis, and tells his audience that he's a victim of a "liberal media" conspiracy.

CNN has taken to debunking its own host over and over again.

In the wake of Lou Dobbs' repeated claims on the July 15 edition of his radio show that President Obama needs to "produce a birth certificate" and that Obama's birth certificate posted online has "some issues," several of Dobbs' CNN colleagues as well as other members of the media have debunked Obama birth certificate theories, often ridiculing those who embrace such theories as "nut jobs" who advance "ludicrous" claims that are "more conspiratorial than factual." Indeed, according to the Los Angeles Times, CNN distanced itself from Dobbs' comments. Reporter James Rainey wrote: "[O]ne CNN employee reminded me several times that Dobbs' most pointed assertions were made on his radio program, which is unconnected to CNN."

Nonetheless, Dobbs has continued to repeat the "birther" claims on both CNN and his radio show, stating on the July 20 edition of his CNN program that the birth certificate questions offered by "passionate supporters" "won't go away because they haven't been dealt with, it seems possible to, straightforwardly and quickly," and saying on the July 21 edition of his CNN show, "We had people, including reporters from the LA Times, calling up because I referred to this. ... Instead of calling the White House to ask why they didn't do it, they're calling me to ask why I said I don't know what the reality is. No one does." Additionally, on the July 21 edition of his radio show, Dobbs criticized "certain quarters of the national liberal media that are just absolutely trying to knock down the issue of President Obama's birth certificate," stating that they are "focused on being subservient and servile to this presidency rather than being inquisitive and doing their jobs with, you know, the White House."

The L.A .Times' James Rainey spoke to Brooks Jackson, director of Annenberg Political Fact Check and a reporter with 34 years in the business, including 20 at CNN. Jackson said, "CNN should be ashamed of itself for putting some of that stuff on the air."

Yes, it should. For all the network's efforts to characterize itself as the real, unbiased cable news outlet, it continues to give Lou Dobbs a high-profile platform for obvious, unsupported madness. It makes Dobbs look like a loon, but more important, it's a painful embarrassment to CNN.

A network spokesperson distanced CNN from Dobbs' crazed radio show, and told Rainey, "On CNN, Lou is an independent reporter who covers stories that people are talking about, and often showcases issues that aren't being covered by the mainstream media."

For a network that keeps giving very large paychecks to a television personality who is misleading its audience with transparent craziness, this explanation needs some work.

Steve Benen 10:05 AM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (84)

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Comments

Geeze, one black guy gets elected President and all hell breaks loose with conservatives. I'm thinking in 2016 we should find a Muslim lesbian to run just to watch the ensuing fireworks.

Posted by: doubtful on July 23, 2009 at 10:07 AM | PERMALINK

Look, they employed Glenn Beck, and they'd still be employing Glenn Beck if he hadn't left of his own volition for Fox. So how embarrassed do you think they are by Dobbs? My guess is that they're glad for the publicity.

Posted by: Lee Gibson on July 23, 2009 at 10:08 AM | PERMALINK

Lest it be forgotten: until recently, CNN was the entity which featured Glen Beck ranting for a couple of hours nightly on their Headline News channel.

Posted by: wilson46201 on July 23, 2009 at 10:09 AM | PERMALINK

Steve, Did you see the Daily Show last night? Jon Stewart eviscerated Lou Dobbs. He also -- in a hysterically funny way -- pointed out that the reporter who refuted Dobbs was his replacement for the day!

Dobbs needs to follow Beck to Fox, tout suite.

Posted by: lou on July 23, 2009 at 10:09 AM | PERMALINK

This whole birther thing is just nuts. Don't these people read the Constitution? The requirement is that the President has to be "a natural Citizen". There is no definition of what "a natural Citizen" is, so lets take a wild guess and say they were referring to those who a considered citizens by virtue of birth. The US is one of the few jurisdictions that recognizes jus soli and jus sanguinis both, that is citizenship by right of place of birth and citizenship by right of blood.

Is there anyone of those tinfoil hat idiots out there who is actually arguing that Obama's mother wasn't a US Citizen? No? Then the whole argument is moot, Obama is a "a natural Citizen". Doesn't matter whether he was born in Hawaii or Timbuctoo. Get over it!!!

Posted by: majun on July 23, 2009 at 10:11 AM | PERMALINK

I can see why Worldnutdaily and talk radio would have Dobbs etc, but what is the wire-up-the-asshole kick that MSM have about wanting such flakes on their supposedly "respectable" networks? Also, does Dobbs etc make note that McCain definitely being born in the canal zone may illegitimize him for Prez?

BTW, Sarah Palin apparently declared Alaska a sovereign nation or etc.
See http://www.wnd.com/index.php?fa=PAGE.view&pageId=104524.
So she's more sympathetic to the Alaska Independence Party after all, despite bitching that she never joined herself, only hubby Todd.

Posted by: demoraptor on July 23, 2009 at 10:19 AM | PERMALINK

cnn has been on this downward slide for the past few years.. between the chatterbunnies and the propagandists, it's an insult to ted turner's vision of a reliable news organization.

Posted by: linda on July 23, 2009 at 10:22 AM | PERMALINK

To be fair, Article II, Section 1 does state, "No person except a natural born citizen, or a citizen of the United States, at the time of the adoption of this Constitution, shall be eligible to the office of President..." (italics mine).

Does that mean that the only candidate for President is John McCain? He is the only one who was alive "at the time of the adoption of this constitution"!

Posted by: Stetson Kennedy on July 23, 2009 at 10:23 AM | PERMALINK

Why do you progressive *ssholes keep attacking real Americans like Lou Dobbs?

Lou is correct about Obama's citizenship. All that The Chosen One has to do to clear this up is to provide a real birth certificate that I will agree is not forged! Until then, we are absolutely correct in pointing out that Obama is not the legitimate president of the United States.

Also, do not forget that the esteemed intellectual center of the Congress, Dan Burton, has already proven that Hillary Clinton murdered Vince Foster with a lesbian bullet!

Posted by: RepublicanPointOfView on July 23, 2009 at 10:28 AM | PERMALINK

Those lesbian bullets are bad news. They arrive in U-Hauls, I heard.

Posted by: shortstop on July 23, 2009 at 10:30 AM | PERMALINK

PuHlease, Mr Murdock, give me Shep Smith's time slot, PuHlease. Haven't I groveled enough?

Now, where can I order some of Caliber .69 bullets? Could use a bunch of them on the border.

Posted by: Crazy Lou D on July 23, 2009 at 10:34 AM | PERMALINK

"...and often showcases issues that aren't being covered by the mainstream media."

Funny, I thought CNN was THE mainstream media. They really should be more responsible with their position.

Posted by: Marko on July 23, 2009 at 10:37 AM | PERMALINK

Obama Shambama is clearly not even human, you stupid liberals. He has been sent here by an evil force. And you God hating liberals are too stupid to know that you're stupid. Liberals are so stupid, they can't even see when a birth certificate is fake. Somewhere, Shambama's phony mother is laughing her lizard laugh.

Posted by: Free Lover of Freedom and Free Liberty on July 23, 2009 at 10:37 AM | PERMALINK

cnn's explanation does need a little work, it leaves out all the money they make out of turning the cable 'news' outlet into a grocery store tabloid (as do they all)

and

how continuing to nurture this madness and stoopidity on the american public is a great social experiment, like so many done by little ten year-old boys with sticks, just "tapping" people and things to see what will happen.

this puer patriarchy -- aka the msm -- is an amazing thing to observe... from a safe distance.

... if there is a safe distance.

Posted by: neill on July 23, 2009 at 10:37 AM | PERMALINK

"For a network that keeps giving very large paychecks to a television personality who is misleading its audience with transparent craziness, this explanation needs some work."

The real explanation is actually pretty obvious, but does of cause have the unfortunate problem of not being suitable for an official response by CNN.

The CNN honchos observe Fox doing extremly well with the Tea Baggers, Birthers, Minutemen, and other assorted Crazy People and they drool for a share of that success. Lou Dobbs is exactly the right guy to get that for CNN, since he does already have good credibility with the target audience. He just needs to get a little more crazy, which is no problem for the gentleman whatsoever.

Like any halfways decent conspiracy theory, the Birther thing is self sustaining and it looks to get so big that it will register with foreign correspondents. Reports about it in the international press, and especially YouTube clips like the crazy lady in Rep Castle's recent townhall meeting will do wonders for US reputation in the world.

Posted by: SRW1 on July 23, 2009 at 10:37 AM | PERMALINK

I don't get it. Why doesn't President Obama just release his birth certificate and put this whole debate to rest? What is the big secret? If I was elected President I would have absolutely no problem releasing a copy of my BC. I just don't get it. It makes no sense what so ever.

Posted by: beta boy on July 23, 2009 at 10:37 AM | PERMALINK

I'm sure glad someone got that Donahue nut off the air a few years ago.

Posted by: inkadu on July 23, 2009 at 10:38 AM | PERMALINK

RepublicanPointOfView, how right you are! Let the State of Hawai'i hand over the original paperwork from the hospital where Obama was born, not some wimpy xerox but the original. And let Orly Taitz examine it in the privacy of her own home, overnight and unsupervised, because if they make her look at it in the State Archives, who knows what sort of devious mind-control might be used? I'll bet that by the next morning she'll be able to prove that it never existed. And then we can swear in John McCain, with Sarah Palin as one heartbeat away from the nuclear launch codes, and live happily ever after.

Or something.

Posted by: T-Rex on July 23, 2009 at 10:40 AM | PERMALINK

I liked the old Free Lover of Freedom and Free Liberty better. This one is not what you would call subtle.

Posted by: shortstop on July 23, 2009 at 10:40 AM | PERMALINK

"All that The Chosen One has to do to clear this up is to provide a real birth certificate that I will agree is not forged!"

Thanks for being so upfront about it, because that is precisely the point: Nothing whatsoever Obama could do beyond what has already been done stands a snowballs chance in hell to get the Birthers to agree, nothing.

Posted by: SRW1 on July 23, 2009 at 10:43 AM | PERMALINK

Obama has produced a certificate of live birth issued by the State of Hawaii. I know I saw it. I guess birthers want to over look that fact, or to claim that a certificate of live birth isn't the same thing as a birth certificate. Of course for those of us who live in the real world a certificate of live birth is what counts. The "birth certificate" given to the mother is nice, but it it isn't conclusive. It is often lost by the mother. A certificate of live birth is produced from the state's records and is considered the official proof of birth.

In this case the rest of the evidence is compelling. The hospital, not the family, sent in a contemporary birth announcement to the local newspaper. Finally there is the common sense question the birthers don't want to address. What sane urban first world woman would travel to third world Kenya to have a baby?

Why is Lou Dobbs wasting his time on this? Has he run out of aliens he to bash?

Posted by: Ron Byers on July 23, 2009 at 10:44 AM | PERMALINK

This is not the last time this will happen unless we fix the constitution to clarify the citizenship requirements for the Presidency. I believe any U.S. citizen should be eligible to seek the Presidency, regardless of birth circumstances (Please don't tell me about Schwarzenegger, Kissinger, et al - this issue should not be tied to any individuals.)

Because of the mobile and global society in which we live, we will encounter more and more of these eligiblity questions as time goes on. Lets' fix it! Amend the constitution to make any U.S. citizen of age eligible for the Presidency.

(Won't happen, of course - inertia is strong. Sigh.)

Posted by: Virginia on July 23, 2009 at 10:44 AM | PERMALINK

Schade that our nation has fallen so far. When a "Citizen of Kenya" can out think, out talk, out perform a Connecticut Yankee turned FAUX Texan, yes, truly a shame.

Posted by: berttheclock on July 23, 2009 at 10:46 AM | PERMALINK

This is not the last time this will happen unless we fix the constitution to clarify the citizenship requirements for the Presidency. -Virginia

Oh, yes, that would instantly restore sanity to the moon-gazing throngs of subhumans who we call Birthers.

This will happen as long as they continue to be unhinged racists and the President continues to not be a white man.

No amount of logic or clarification will relieve them of their condition.

Posted by: doubtful on July 23, 2009 at 10:52 AM | PERMALINK

I was a loyal CNN viewer for years. Then I started to take note of the smarmy, smug, patronizing tone of Wolf Blitzer. It irked me, but I continued to tune in. Then they hired Glenn Beck. Even after he left, their credibilty remains shattered in my view. I refuse to tune in to CNN. If enough of us stop watching, they'll get the message.

Posted by: Winkandanod on July 23, 2009 at 10:52 AM | PERMALINK

Yeah, beta boy, you might produce your birth certificate, however, you might have problems reading it?

Strange things about birth certificates. They are not always correct. For example, I found out, recently, that mine is incorrect. When the info was passed from a hospital in KCK to Topeka, my father's middle name was misspelled, but, the worse mistake was the changing of my mother's maiden name. So, now, I have to remember the incorrect version when dealing with Social Security. For anyother purpose, I have no problems with using my mother's real maiden name.

Just loved the comment from the bean counter at our local SSA office, when she said, "No, that is not your mother's maiden name!" I asked her, "Did you know her?"

Posted by: berttheclock on July 23, 2009 at 10:55 AM | PERMALINK

I wonder what the ideological breakdown is for the audience of cable news shows (not just Fox). I'll bet it's largely conservative across the board. The sit in their cars listening to paranoid talk radio then they get home and sit on their fat asses all evening flipping from one cable news show to another looking for the most divisive exchange or outrage.

Complain all you want about these on-air nuts, but they're giving their audience what it wants and delivering the ratings to the advertisers.

If you were to take a single primetime hour and add up the total number of viewers for all of the cable news stations I bet it would be less than what CBS pulls in for an embarrassment like Big Brother. Too much credence is given to the content of those shows. They are in fact, narrowly focused to their own agendas.

Posted by: Saint Zak on July 23, 2009 at 10:56 AM | PERMALINK

Out here in the Heartland, we have republican controlled talk radio 24/7 and have been listening to the 'birthers' for more than a year.
They are now ecstatic because the "story" is now getting coverage in the "state owned media." Make no mistake, this is part of the continuing effort to discredit and delegitimize the Obama presidency. I don't think it is coincidental that it is appearing nationally at the time of the great health debate.

"Spoofing" the effort and discounting the right wing is the equivalent of shouting "let them eat cake."

Posted by: JoanneinDenver on July 23, 2009 at 10:57 AM | PERMALINK

Meh. In their campaign to sit right between Fox and MSNBC, it makes sense to have a wingnut on there. I mean, it's a horrid show, but if you're trying to break the perception that you're yet another outlet of the liberal media, then Dobbs would be the way to do it.

Posted by: Chris on July 23, 2009 at 11:01 AM | PERMALINK

Sort of OT, I continue to be amazed by the capacity of people of my own political persuasion to watch cable news in large amounts. As I may have mentioned before, I can feel myself getting measurably dumber and super-measurably more anxious/angry when I watch Fox, CNN or MSNBC. That goes for Olbermann's self-satisfied showboating (although he has some decent regular guests) as well as for the usual lineup of idjits, race baiters and whiners. Maddow is the only one who doesn't leave me stupider than when I started, and I don't even watch her but once or maybe twice a week.

I understand we have to know what's going on and what most people are watching, and I do take a quick look at everybody's shows now and then to see who they are and what their shtick is. But I'm always surprised at how many fellow libs post stuff like, "I was watching Morning Joe and..." or "Chris Matthews has been terrible every night this week..." How do people voluntarily stand this every day?

Posted by: shortstop on July 23, 2009 at 11:04 AM | PERMALINK

Reimpose the fucking fairness doctrine and this stuff will die. Otherwise it's here to stay.

Winkandanod, you realize that even if you don't watch, both Fox and CNN get a slice of your monthly cable payment. So long as you have cable (or satellite) you are helping pay Lou Dobbs' (and Bill O'Reilly's, and Glenn Beck's) salary.

Posted by: jimBOB on July 23, 2009 at 11:06 AM | PERMALINK

CNN is unwatchable anymore. I only like MSNBC for the last couple years.

Posted by: Patrick on July 23, 2009 at 11:07 AM | PERMALINK

If you want to get your mind really reeling, ask yourself for a simple solution to "prove" once and for all to these cretins. If you listen to them the only solution is for the President to take his original birth certificate and go door to door through America so they can each "examine" it.

Posted by: Capt Kirk on July 23, 2009 at 11:10 AM | PERMALINK

"How do people voluntarily stand this every day?"

Masochistic tendecies help. Having one's TV in one's S&M, B&D dungeon works, as well.

Posted by: berttheclock on July 23, 2009 at 11:11 AM | PERMALINK

If you listen to them the only solution is for the President to take his original birth certificate and go door to door through America so they can each "examine" it.

Although they haven't admitted it to themselves, for them the only solution is for Obama to wake up one morning, exclaim, "Oh, my god! I'm black! My bad!" and promptly resign.

Posted by: shortstop on July 23, 2009 at 11:13 AM | PERMALINK

Ask yourself this: if for the last 10 years one person got all of their news from Fox and CNN and another person got their news from the NBC and the BBC, which person would have the better grip on reality? Which person would be in a better position to judge which issues were really important?

Nutballs make for entertaining TV but Lou Dobbs seems to think just because a conservative says something angrily in public they need to be taken seriously.

I miss Walter Cronkite.

Posted by: pj in jesusland on July 23, 2009 at 11:13 AM | PERMALINK

CNN has slowly become a joke every since Ted Turner left. Probably why nobody watches them anymore (not that any of the any other networks are any better).

Any wonder why Jon Stewart is now the most trusted newperson in America after the death of Walter Cronkite (who can now spin in his grave).

Posted by: mfw13 on July 23, 2009 at 11:14 AM | PERMALINK

The reason the birthers can get any mileage out of this is because of the ambiguity of the eligibility requirement in the Constitution. Look up "natural born" on Wikipedia for a pretty good rundown of the issue.

I repeat, this will happen again unless we fix the Constitution. Any U.S. citizen of age should be eligible for the Presidency.

Posted by: Virginia on July 23, 2009 at 11:15 AM | PERMALINK

Grow some spine, CNN. For a powerful media outlet to permit this brand of subversive commentary is an abdication of any pretense of responsible journalism. Fire the guy.

Posted by: FC on July 23, 2009 at 11:16 AM | PERMALINK

The eminent David Horsey penned it best at the Seattle P-I. He displayed photos of 100 "pundits" from the media. He then showed an equals sign with a slash through it and on the right one photo of Walter Cronkite.

Posted by: berttheclock on July 23, 2009 at 11:19 AM | PERMALINK
Maddow is the only one who doesn't leave me stupider than when I started, and I don't even watch her but once or maybe twice a week.

You really need to watch Maddow more often. She is what all those talking head shows SHOULD be -- policy, intelligent discussion and debate (except when Buchanan is on ... which I just don't get), and none of the yelling and crosstalk and raging stupidity on most shows.

If she weren't a lesbian, and I weren't married, I'd propose to her. ;-D

I agree about Olbermann as well. Sometimes I enjoy it, others times I can't bear it. But at least he's smarter than everyone at Faux put together.

Haven't seen much of the Ed Show, but the few times I have I really enjoyed it ... except for the studio. Way, waaayyy too distracting -- lights blinking, etc. They need to get rid of that crap and just let him do his thing.

Posted by: Mark D on July 23, 2009 at 11:30 AM | PERMALINK

So why make Lou Dobbs a martyr claiming a liberal conspiracy to discredit him. Don't give him a platform. Ignore him and the birthers. If the GOP governor of Hawaii cant convince them the man was born in Hawaii then what can? It doesn't matter how much proof you provide they are not going to accept it because this is not about truth but causing doubts about Obama.

Posted by: aline on July 23, 2009 at 11:33 AM | PERMALINK

I repeat, this will happen again unless we fix the Constitution. -Vriginia

And I repeat: as long as the President is a Democrat and not a white guy, the unhinged throngs of loons on the right will harp on minutiae to disguise their racism and binary ideological intolerance.

You're making the mistake of projecting rationality on those with no grasp of reality.

For goodness sake, go listen to some of the recording from Birther town halls where they angrily snarl, "We've got to take back our country," as they hold up their birth certificate in defiance.

No amount of amending the Constitution will introduce rationality to these people.

As far as why these lies "get mileage," well, it's a baseless, negative falsehood about a prominent Democrat. That's the corporate media's bread and butter.

Posted by: doubtful on July 23, 2009 at 11:34 AM | PERMALINK

Here's an example for you, Virginia. Clearly, the entire cheering audience is allergic to facts and immune to rational thought. I don't think you're goal of inclusive eligibility would would resonate with them.

Posted by: doubtful on July 23, 2009 at 11:38 AM | PERMALINK

You really need to watch Maddow more often.

Maddow is extremely bright, well-informed, fair and hard-working, not to mention totally charming. She is very, very good at what she does, far better than anyone else. But even her show takes an hour to give me information that I can get in 5-10 minutes of reading.

That's not her fault. Slow pacing and a lot of flab are what shows like this are about. But I don't want to spend an hour a night watching it, unless I'm doing something else (or two or three something elses) at the same time. (During the campaign, all bets were off -- I spent hours every day glued to the set and online as all of us junkies did.) I do watch clips online every day, though, many of them from her show.

Posted by: shortstop on July 23, 2009 at 11:43 AM | PERMALINK

Just as a hypertechnicality: a child born abroad to a parent with US citizenship is not automatically a citizen. The parent needs to have lived in the US for some number of years (I think 4), not consecutively) prior to the age of 14, and needs to provide the dates when applying for citizenship for the child. However, grandparents can also apply for US citizenship for the child, but need to physically take the child to the US in order to apply.

Citizenship issues can be complex and tricky and vary from country to country.

That said, the birthers are crazy, treasonous, whackjob loons. Their goal is to have Obama removed from office, forcibly if necessary. Medication would not be inappropriate.

Posted by: katmom on July 23, 2009 at 12:12 PM | PERMALINK

CNN has let this go on too long at this point. They can't fire Dobbs now; that would only make him a martyr in the eyes of the right. The right draws energy from its persecution complex, and it's been all too obvious that they are looking for someone or something to rally around. Firing Dobbs would renew their cries of left-wing media bias, fire up the talk-radio gasbags, and bring more wingnuts out of the woodwork.

Posted by: dr sardonicus on July 23, 2009 at 12:30 PM | PERMALINK

Birthers are crazy and hilarious, and certainly deserving of derision and ridicule, but I think they might be a little more dangerous than we realize. I mean, if you're a Birther, and you REALLY believe that the President of the United States is a fraud, and you REALLY believe that he is a Kenyan, and you REALLY believe that there is a Grand Conspiracy designed to Destroy Real America, why wouldn't you take a shot at him? I mean, as far as motivations for potential assassins go, I've heard worse.

Posted by: BrendanInBoston on July 23, 2009 at 12:32 PM | PERMALINK

This needs to be said: even if Obama and/or the State of Hawaii releases his actual birth certificate, there is every likelihood the Birthers will claim it's a forgery. After all, this is a massive conspiracy that's been planned from well back in 1960, isn't it?
This is what "they" planned back in 1960 (who "they" are is obvious: FDR's worshippers): Get a white woman impregnated by a black Kenyan visiting the country. Raise the boy in a Muslim school in Asia for a few years, but pretend he's really Christian. Ship him off to a liberal college, and then move him to Chicago so he can hang out with discredited 60s bomb-making hippies. Trick potential GOP opponents into being sex-crazed (even with drop-dead gorgeous blonde wives who make Trekkie geeks drool) or just-plain crazed (hi, Mr. Keyes!) to ensure the plot's success. Also trick the Republican leadership into massive spending deficits and a wasteful overseas war in Iraq that distracts the country from more necessary targets (Hey, Cheney, caught Bin Laden yet???), along with massive governmental incompetence allowing our financial institutions to collapse at the right moment (two months before the 2008 Election) to ensure this questionable person gets elected into the White House. And then that covert Kenyan Candidate gets to DESTROY AMERICA (as long as America hasn't already been destroyed by massive Republican-built deficits, strained military resources, lack of health care to 1/4 of the nation, and insane gun-toting wingnuts shooting up churches, cops, and museums).
All that massive subterfuge, all those pieces needing to be placed all the way back in 1960... I'm amazed that conspiracy worked to perfection almost 50 years later. Wow. Whoever planned this has (or had) enough foresight to play the Lotto with some success, you think?
Somewhere in the universe Occam is laughing his ass off.

Posted by: PaulW on July 23, 2009 at 12:43 PM | PERMALINK
But even her show takes an hour to give me information that I can get in 5-10 minutes of reading.

Well, yeah. There's that. :-)

And online is definitely the way to go in many respects. For example, the guy at the end of the show really isn't all that funny. He seems super-duper nice and all, but ... just not all that great, and online I can skip that segment.

My worry is that she won't get the ratings MSNBC wants and will get chopped, while an asshat like Joe Scarstupid will stay on the air.

We need more Maddow-like pundits on TV. Many, many more.

Posted by: Mark D on July 23, 2009 at 12:48 PM | PERMALINK

Dr. S. wrote, "CNN has let this go on too long at this point. They can't fire Dobbs now; that would only make him a martyr in the eyes of the right. The right draws energy from its persecution complex, and it's been all too obvious that they are looking for someone or something to rally around. Firing Dobbs would renew their cries of left-wing media bias, fire up the talk-radio gasbags, and bring more wingnuts out of the woodwork."

I don't much care for what crazy people "think" or want. Ceding ground to them is not the answer. It is never to late to do the right thing. If you are going the wrong direction, stop and turn around. Better late to your principles than never. And yet one more cliche.. Evil flourishes when good people stand by and do nothing.

I suggest everyone who is upset about this write to CNN. Tell them this is unacceptable and explain why. Reasonable, orderly, civilized society must be actively created and defended. We must insist on ethics, standards and a sense of civic duty in our news media, or, bad as it is, it will continue to deteriorate.

Posted by: FC on July 23, 2009 at 1:12 PM | PERMALINK

PaulW @ 12:43: SITUOILHAO?

Mark D @ 12:48: Isn't it inevitable that the conservative movement eventually take over broadcast television for the same reasons they took over AM radio in the 80s/90s?

That they're too backwards, stubborn and brain-dead to take on new technologies? Just call it "hand-me-down media".

Posted by: JTK on July 23, 2009 at 1:34 PM | PERMALINK

"This needs to be said: even if Obama and/or the State of Hawaii releases his actual birth certificate, ..." - PaulW

Dood: BOTH events have already occurred. It's statements like this that perpetuate the myth.

Born in the U.S.A.

Please follow the link and let us know if there's anything you don't understand.

Posted by: Marko on July 23, 2009 at 1:38 PM | PERMALINK

Shortstop, you are a fool. Typical humorless liberal. Obama is no better than an animal, that was the metaphor I was employing. Yet you missed that, it must be your socialist education. Typical.

Posted by: Free Lover of Freedom and Free Liberty on July 23, 2009 at 2:26 PM | PERMALINK
FC: "I don't much care for what crazy people 'think' or want. Ceding ground to them is not the answer."

Well, neither is debating them as though they're capable at this point of rational thought. Fire Lou Dobbs? Nah. Let them wallow in their own muck.

Learn to see the humor of the situation, and then laugh at them publicly . I mean, this stuff is great material. Rep. Mike Castle got booed at his own townhall meeting, which was obviously chock-full of white wingnuts, simply for rightfully insisting to some emotionally-stunted trailer trash waving her own birth certificate and a small American flag that Barack Obama is a citizen. Hilarious!

This is the GOP's problem. Let them find their own way out of it.

Remember, we don't have to "prove" anything. The president's birth certificate is online, and it has been authenticated ad nauseum. The burden is clearly on the GOP Birther / Nativist crowd, to prove the president was in fact born in Kenya.

And as for those Republicans who currently seek what they believe to be political advantage by freewheeling their way down that clearly marked cul-de-sac:

"For they have sown the wind, and they shall reap the whirlwind. The grain has no stalk, the bud shall yield no meal." - Hosea 8:7

Aloha.

Posted by: Donald from Hawaii on July 23, 2009 at 2:55 PM | PERMALINK

Marko,

You don't know what you're talking about. The issue will not be dropped until Obama releases his original, 1961 long-form birth certificate identifying the hospital in which he was born and the attending doctor. All that's ever been made available is a meaningless 2007 computer printout of information allegedly in a database. It's no substitute for the original, contemporaneous document, no matter how many stamps and seals are put on it.

And also, Marko, why not link me to a picture of the newborn Obama with his mother in Hawaii -- in the hospital, on the beach, in her Honolulu home. I'm sure she took hundreds of pictures of her first born in Hawaii -- if that's in fact where she was. Just one, Marko!

Posted by: Northeast Elizabeth on July 23, 2009 at 3:06 PM | PERMALINK
Free Lover of Freedom and Free Liberty: "Shortstop, you are a fool. Typical humorless liberal. Obama is no better than an animal, that was the metaphor I was employing. Yet you missed that, it must be your socialist education. Typical."

shortstop may well be many things, but "fool" is most certainly not one of them. You're way out of line.

So, if you can't debate responsibly here as an adult, i.e., sans name-calling and invective, then I suggest that you take your cue from Jack Nicholson, and go sell crazy someplace else - and take your racist "humor" with you.

Posted by: donald from Hawaii on July 23, 2009 at 3:14 PM | PERMALINK

Northeast Elizabeth, the burden is on you to prove Barack Obama was born in Kenya, not on Marko to show that mother and son are from Hawaii, a point of fact which has already been well-established by any reasonable and rational standard - the operative phrase here being "reasonable and rational."

Oh, and before I forget - your fifteen minutes are up.

Posted by: Donald from Hawaii on July 23, 2009 at 3:23 PM | PERMALINK

Free Lover is a parody and this is all in fun, Donald. FL, this latest version is better, but still not the quality of the original.

The issue will not be dropped until Obama releases his original, 1961 long-form birth certificate identifying the hospital in which he was born and the attending doctor.

We need the attending doctor's name now? Then what? He has to be personally interviewed, and if he declines or has died, it's more evidence of the conspiracy? Or perhaps he's black or a Democrat, which would be irrefutable evidence that he's part of the cabal since 1961. Anyway, Hawaii may have been a state in 1961, but it was only a few years old. There ought to be laws against electing people who were born in states that haven't been states very long, don't you think? Aaagh! Look out for that man in the white coat! He's just trying to silence you! Speak truth to power, girl!

Posted by: shortstop on July 23, 2009 at 3:31 PM | PERMALINK

NE Liz? Just cuz you don't like the 'format' doesn't make Obama 'undocumented'...MANY people have lost the fancy piece of paper that was stuck in the baby books and these are the copies that the State sends you. AND on top of it, these copies were authenticated by the Sec. of State of Hawaii. YOU couldn't get that much to prove YOU are a citizen. GROW UP! It's a FACT! and just because you don't want to BELIEVE it, doesn't make it less true. The TRUTH, remember??? Some things ARE absolute.

Posted by: Sysprog on July 23, 2009 at 3:36 PM | PERMALINK

"The issue will not be dropped until Obama releases his original, 1961 long-form birth certificate identifying the hospital in which he was born and the attending doctor."

It won't be resolved then, either. I doubt he has access to the original, I know I can only get official copies, not my original. But let's say Obama can get it and does release it. The first Birther to get his hands on it will simply set it on fire. Then he can legitimately say that no original exists. The originals are never released precisely for this reason. And this is why we accept official copies as proof of birth.

That said, Obama's birth certificate has fewer problems than mine. My family came here in the 1720's, my ancestors fought in the Revolution and has lived here ever since. Yet I have trouble proving my birth. The town I was born in no longer exists because it was incorporated into another town. So whenever I move to another state, I run into trouble proving who I am because the the non-existent birthplace. I've had to get the state of Pennsylvania to send affidavits acknowledging that the town in question really existed at the time.

Posted by: fostert on July 23, 2009 at 3:39 PM | PERMALINK

"On CNN, Lou is an independent reporter who covers stories that people are talking about, and often showcases issues that aren't being covered by the mainstream media."

People talk about Lyndon LaRouche. At least at the card tables that occasionally appear outside my local post-office. And he hasn't got much mainstream coverage since the last time he was sent to prison in 1988.

And you know when it comes down to it when was the last time you saw the Birth Certificate of Queen Elizabeth II? If that is not proof of LaRouchism what isn't Mr. Dobbs? Maybe you need to have a regular segment.

Christ if we are just going to adopt the "People are talking" standard why not just turn the media over to Drudge?

Oh sorry, that already happened.

Posted by: Bruce Webb on July 23, 2009 at 3:43 PM | PERMALINK

Elizabeth: I provided a link that proves that Obama's documentation has been certified by the state he was born in. All you did is a "hand wave" and call bullshit on the entire state of Hawaii. I challenge to provide a link that refutes any of the FACTS in the link I provided. For your convenience, here it is again:

Born in the U.S.A.

"And also, Marko, why not link me to a picture of the newborn Obama with his mother in Hawaii -- in the hospital, on the beach, in her Honolulu home. I'm sure she took hundreds of pictures of her first born in Hawaii -- if that's in fact where she was. Just one, Marko!"

Yeah, I got yer baby picture RIGHT HERE


Posted by: Marko on July 23, 2009 at 4:31 PM | PERMALINK

JTK @1:34 - Okay you're gonna have to speel out SITUOILHAO? for me. :)

Apologies to Marko if I missed the "Yes they released the birth certificate" part of this argument. It does underscore my point: release the birth certificate and the Birthers will still scream/whine/gnash their teeth about it.

And for Northeast Elizabeth: can I see *your* birth certificate? 'Cause I have reliable information that you're really born in Kingston Jamaica to a mother from China and a father from Barcelona, and I'd like to get your original birth certificate to make sure... and I'll just lay it next to a hot stove for a few minutes while I feed my cats, hope you don't mind...

Posted by: PaulW on July 23, 2009 at 4:32 PM | PERMALINK

OK, I'm with ya, Paul.

Posted by: Marko on July 23, 2009 at 4:51 PM | PERMALINK

Northeast Elizabeth, the burden is on you to prove Barack Obama was born in Kenya

lol, there's burden of proof in a comment thread?
I'm just concerned with the truth, not dopey procedural arguments about imaginary burdens.

I doubt he has access to the original, I know I can only get official copies, not my original . . MANY people have lost the fancy piece of paper that was stuck in the baby books and these are the copies that the State sends you

Obama said he had the original certificate in his "Dreams" book and the Hawaii Secretary of State admits it is available in their files. Stop trying to spread misinformation. I can't tell you how many "Obama is an American" conspiracy theorists I've run into who insist the original can never be found. It's undisputed that it can be made public today. The "it doesn't exist" excuse is just ruse to stop the terrifying truth from coming out.

I provided a link that proves that Obama's documentation has been certified by the state he was born in.

You sure did. Now show me some contemporaneous document that proves he was born in Hawaii, not some 2007 computer print-out. A state certifying something does demonstrate that it's true, unless you believe everything the government tells you. Which you probably do.

Great "picture" -- thanks for conceding defeat on the issue. Betcha searched around the internet a bit before realizing you'd never find one of the newborn Obama in Hawaii. The truth makes that impossible, doesn't it?

Posted by: Northeast Elizabeth on July 23, 2009 at 5:26 PM | PERMALINK

The part I don't get -- and I do make allowances for the obvious pathologies and below-the-mean intellectual endowments common among these people -- is what they think our politics should be right now.
Their own people -- the ones they lionized and hagiographed for 7 of the last 8 years -- had total control of the engines of power in the country. They had the executive and the judiciary (of which they still have majority power), and they had complete control for 6 years and, through the arcane rules of the Senate and the utter uselessness (or deliberate connivance?) of the Senate's "majority leader," effective control for the remaining 2, of both Houses of the legislative branch -- and, of course, near-total control of the media, the banking and financial system, and the corporate structure that owns and operates the country.
And what was the result? A collapsing economy; reductions in the numbers and pay rates of jobs in many fields, especially manufacturing; a substantial drop in the value of the currency; an unwinnable war; dramatic drops in the military's strength and readiness, and in the security of the country (not to mention the single worst mass-murderer of our times walking free and unhindered in his operations); orders-of-magnitude increases in the numbers and viability of the country's enemies; and an increase in the rate and severity of weather-related catastrophes at least some of which is the result of the global warming phenomenon that has worsened under their watch.
And the people they want to put in the place of the duly-elected President are... the same people who brought us to this parlous point.
I understand that ideology limits one's ability to properly perceive factual reality. But there does have to be some limit, no? At the very least, at the moment one is on the plane as it's going into its deathspiral, one still can't at that point be insisting the pilot in charge is right, can one?

Posted by: smartalek on July 23, 2009 at 5:34 PM | PERMALINK

"You sure did. Now show me some contemporaneous document that proves he was born in Hawaii, not some 2007 computer print-out."

It is not a computer print-out. It is the official birth certificate that every other Hawaiian citizen gets. And that's not good enough for you?

And the link actually does provide contemporaneous evidence from the local newspaper:

    In fact, the conspiracy would need to be even deeper than our colleagues realized. In late July, a researcher looking to dig up dirt on Obama instead found a birth announcement that had been published in the Honolulu Advertiser on Sunday, Aug. 13, 1961 (pic of the announcement)

A state certifying something does demonstrate that it's true, unless you believe everything the government tells you. Which you probably do.

So you don't accept birth certificates from Hawaii? You need some solid evidence (with a link) to refute the birth certificate that has been certified. Hand waves and innuendo is not good enough.

Great "picture" -- thanks

You're welcome. Your problem is that you think my response was sillier than your request. Whatever such picture might be produced would be claimed as a fraud. It would be impossible to verify the provenance of any such picture so what's the point? It is just another moving goal post for you Birthers.

Posted by: Marko on July 23, 2009 at 6:18 PM | PERMALINK

It is not a computer print-out. It is the official birth certificate that every other Hawaiian citizen gets. And that's not good enough for you?

Yes, it's a 2007 computer-generated document which draws its information from a database created well after 1961. So, no, it's not good enough. What's good enough is the birth certificate created in 1961 by the witnesses to the birth. Your argument that every Hawaiian citizen gets one is not relevant to the question of Obama's birthplace.

And the link actually does provide contemporaneous evidence from the local newspaper

The cliipping only confirms that Obama was born on August 4, a fact I do not dispute. It doesn't state where. That his parents had an address in HawaIi on August 13 does not prove that he was born in the state. I wasn't born at my parent's house, but in a hospital in a different city.

So you don't accept birth certificates from Hawaii? You need some solid evidence (with a link) to refute the birth certificate that has been certified. Hand waves and innuendo is not good enough.

The 2007 COLB proves nothing so there's nothing to refute.

You're welcome. Your problem is that you think my response was sillier than your request. Whatever such picture might be produced would be claimed as a fraud. It would be impossible to verify the provenance of any such picture so what's the point? It is just another moving goal post for you Birthers.

it's pretty easy to prove the provenance of picture (hint: science!). Obama has released pictures of himself later in childhood and throughout his life so it's telling that there's nothing available for the period in dispute. What exactly is your argument -- that he's deliberately withheld them because he was afraid of birther criticism?
Posted by: Marko on July 23, 2009 at 6:18 PM | PERMALINK

Posted by: Northeast Elizabeth on July 23, 2009 at 9:17 PM | PERMALINK
lol, there's burden of proof in a comment thread?

Yup. It's telling that you don't think so, though, because it shows that you have no case and you know it.

Yes, it's a 2007 computer-generated document which draws its information from a database created well after 1961. So, no, it's not good enough.

Sorry, but the state of Hawaii and the U.S. government disagree with you. Sucks to be you, doesn't it?

Posted by: PaulB on July 23, 2009 at 9:33 PM | PERMALINK

Oh, and Elizabeth? Thanks for conceding defeat on the issue.

Posted by: PaulB on July 23, 2009 at 9:34 PM | PERMALINK
The issue will not be dropped

Um, yes, actually, it will. By everyone sane, anyway. Whether you, personally, choose to drop it is entirely up to you and wholly irrelevant to the rest of us, other than as a source of amusement.

Posted by: PaulB on July 23, 2009 at 9:37 PM | PERMALINK

Yes, it's a 2007 computer-generated document which draws its information from a database created well after 1961. So, no, it's not good enough.

it is precisely good enough. replacement birth certificates are issued every single day, and suffice as proof of identification.

i'm sorry the country elected a black man and a democrat and it bothers you. perhaps you should seek counseling?

Posted by: st on July 23, 2009 at 9:40 PM | PERMALINK

Keeping your validly issued, original birth certificate locked in a steel box at home, with a state agency issuing a "statement" it's valid?

Sounds straight out of Rules for Radicals, how to inflame a conspiracy theory.

I blame Obama.

Posted by: apetra on July 23, 2009 at 11:12 PM | PERMALINK

Hey Elisabeth, thanks a lot for stepping by and providing a live example of a Birther.

Just out of curiosity, how do you envision an acceptable 'verification process' to work. You wrote 'A state certifying something does demonstrate that it's true, unless you believe everything the government tells you', though I suppose you meant to say does not demonstrate that it's true. In line with that the certification by the Republican Governor of Hawaii obviously is not good enough for you and your buddies.

We're in a quandary here, aren't we? Because the certification of such documents usually is government business, isn't it? But if the government isn't good enough, whose certification would be? Give me a few persons. Not by name but by position, because specific people acceptable to you may not be acceptable to some of your other Birther friends, and if we wish to establish a credible 'validation process' it obviously will also have to work in the future, ie it needs to be independent of people alive today. And if government certification is not good enough today, how could it be good enough in the future? Or would in the future be sufficient for a candidate not to be 'different'?

So how is this going to work? Or do you seriously expect a process whereby a document would need be made available for inspection to anybody in the US who requests it? Educate me.

Posted by: SRW1 on July 23, 2009 at 11:51 PM | PERMALINK

SRW1,

You've misframed the question as one of governmental certification or verification. All I'm interested in is quality of the underlying facts corroborating Obama's birthplace. I've explained why the contemporaneous 1961 BC prepared by witnesses would be sufficient and why the 2007 COLB drawn from some database wouldn't. It has nothing to do with whether the document comes from government records, whether the Governor, Secretary of State or some lower level bureaucrat signs it, or whether the document has a pretty red seal and is topped with a bow.

Perhaps this simple example will clarify matters for you. Suppose a collection agency was haranguing you about a ten year old speeding ticket. You know there's been some mix up (you've never even been pulled over by a cop in your life), but the agency says it has a certified printout of your driving record from the DMV saying you received the ticket on 7/24/99 and were fined $150 on 8/31/99. You demand the original speeding ticket sign by the cop, identifying the place and time of the offense, the drivers license ID number, and the make and model of the car. Would you really accept the certified record over the original ticket?

Posted by: Northeast Elizabeth on July 24, 2009 at 8:03 AM | PERMALINK

"it's pretty easy to prove the provenance of picture (hint: science!)"

You're kidding, right? You won't accept a valid birth certificate issued by the state, but you would accept a picture of a 1-day old baby with his mother on Waikiki as being proof solid. I guarantee you that any such picture produced would only generate more controversy.

Speaking of which, I watched Chris Matthews on MSNBC last night, who had an interview with G. Gordon Liddy, one of the proponents of the "Birther Theory". Matthews asked Liddy what the problem was. Liddy pretty much stated what you have said - that the COLB was not good enough, yada, yada, yada. Matthews then produced not only a copy of the official Birth Certificate.

Liddy complained that the BC was redacted. Sure enough, there was a number in the top right of the document that the state blacked out. However, Matthews also produced a photograph of the actual document held by the state with the number revealed. Liddy was somewhat incredulous and requested an opportunity to review the documents.

Then Matthews asked Liddy what his compelling evidence to the contrary was. Liddy said that there is a sworn deposition from Obama's step-grandmother that she witnessed him being born in Mombasa, Kenya. That was it. No hospital names or other corroborating evidence. Just the testimony of an old lady against the entire state of Hawaii. This, however has been debunked.

A clip of the full interview here

At the end of the interview, Matthews asked Liddy if this was proven to his satisfaction, what would he do about it. He said he would say he was wrong. So it will be interesting to see where the goal posts move to now.

Posted by: Marko on July 24, 2009 at 8:39 AM | PERMALINK

Well, one way to counter these "birthers" would be to insist that before being allowed to be interviewed on the subject of Obama's birth, that they bring with them their own ORIGINAL - not an offical copy - but their own original birth certificate for the host to inspect before being allowed to discuss it on the show.

Posted by: Bartender on July 24, 2009 at 9:18 AM | PERMALINK

Elisabeth,

I consider your reply evasive, as you haven't bothered to say whose verification, if not that of the state of Hawaii, would satisfy you. I can't see how you can't dispute that a verification process for whatever document is necessary, and you can't seriously expect that this document would have to be shown to you personally and all of your like minded Birthers friends. Without defining what procedure would close this case for you and your Birther friends, you will have to excuse if I consider the demand for specific forms of evidence just one step in an endless game.

Secondly, your example of a speeding ticket is non-applicable, because it is reversed with respect to the Birther campaign against Obama. In his case the 'police' confirms that the information they have on file concerning the 'speeding ticket' conforms to his claim, ie both sides agree, and there is no third party, like the Birthers now, that injects frivolous objections. I am using frivolous, because you guys have no credible evidence, other than your paranoia that doesn't count, to dispute what is also well supported by circumstantial contemporaneous evidence. And if you haven't understood it yet, in a case of frivolous claims like here, the burden to provide evidence to keep a case going is on the third party.

Thanks anyway for your reply.

Posted by: SRW1 on July 24, 2009 at 9:33 AM | PERMALINK

You won't accept a valid birth certificate issued by the state, but you would accept a picture of a 1-day old baby with his mother on Waikiki as being proof solid. I guarantee you that any such picture produced would only generate more controversy.

Yes, an original photograph from 1961 can easily be determined to be authentic.   The paper it's on, the film used, and other markings are sufficient to place it. Just don't give me instead a 2007 affidavit from some bureaucrat stating that he or she has reviewed pictures in a file and Obama was born in Hawaii.

It's rather remarkable that of all the photos Obama has released, he hasn't provided one of him as newborn in Hawaii.  Your arguments about "more controversy" are quite irrelevant.

Matthews then produced not only a copy of the official Birth Certificate.

Something missing from your sentence, obviously, but I watched the video.  Marko, you do realize that all Matthews produced was the 2007 COLB computer printout, don't you?  That wasn't the contemporaneous 1961 original long form identifying the hospital, doctors, etc.  Yes, the certificate number was on the COLB, something we've known from day
one, but all that confirms is that there's an original 1961 long form certificate bearing that number, which we've also known all along. We need to see the 1961certificate with the corroborating information.   Libby certainly botched the interview by not pointing this all out,  but his ignorance doesn't affect my arguments in the least.

SRW1, I've stated as clearly as possible that I want a DOCUMENT, not a procedure. I don't care if the Queen of England dances around the 2007 COLB and sings a song certifying that the facts in it are true. I want to see the 1961 original. Just scan it in and post it on the Internet. I don't care whether it's verified, certified by anybody.

In this connection, I note that I fully accept the uncertified, unverified scans of the 1961 Honolulu newspaper announcements of Obama's birth. I don't care that they're unsigned and we don't even know who wrote them. What matters is that they're contemporaneous and contain some corroborating information. It's just not sufficient info to conclusively resolve the issue.

I can't decipher what you were trying to say about the speeding ticket analogy, but to the extent you seem to imply I should be satisfied by a police officer certifying that there's information in a file, you've missed the point. I want to see the ticket written out at the scene of the offense with all the contemporaneous, corroborating, witnessed facts it contains. And I want to see Obama's 1961 BC, not 2007 certifications or silly excuses why the original can't be produced.

Posted by: Northeast Elizabeth on July 24, 2009 at 10:11 AM | PERMALINK

I am continuing follow-ups in today's new thread

Posted by: Marko on July 24, 2009 at 10:36 AM | PERMALINK

Elizabeth,

"I want to see the 1961 original. Just scan it in and post it on the Internet. I don't care whether it's verified, certified by anybody."

You will have to excuse, but to expect me to believe that this what will resolve the question for you Birthers is rididiculous.

"I want to see the ticket written out at the scene of the offense with all the contemporaneous, corroborating, witnessed facts it contains."

Obama and the State of Hawaii, as the official authority to make that statement, agree on what the document says. In your made-up example you and the police disagree what it says. That is why your example is non-applicable.

If you and the police would agree on the speeding ticket, would you still insist on seeing the original? Would you in the case that you and the police agree say that the original needs to be produced just because your crazy neighbour says that he doesn't believe this?

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