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Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Seen in Modesto: Birther Idiocy Creeps Closer to Bay Area

Posted By on Tue, Sep 15, 2009 at 12:59 PM

But we've still got plenty here - OBAMA'S BIRTH CERTIFICATE
  • Obama's birth certificate
  • But we've still got plenty here
Notwithstanding a barrage of intemperate comments on our recent post discussing the comparative claims to insanity of the "birther" and "truther" movements, we here at The Snitch had thought that adherents of these conspiracy theories were comfortably removed from the Bay Area. In backwater patches of states like Arizona or New Hampshire, both home to birther outbursts this summer, it seems plausible that anti-Obama paranoia would gain a foothold.

But the shadows lengthen in our evening land. Yesterday, my mother snapped the above photo of a birther's car window in Modesto, just 90 miles east of San Francisco. Like most of California, Modesto is significantly more conservative, both politically and socially, than this city; then again, it's hardly deep-red Republican territory. Its congressman, Dennis Cardoza, is a leading member of the "blue dog" coalition of moderate Democrats.

The birther theory, for those of you lucky enough to have remained ignorant of it so far, is that Obama is ineligible to be president because he was not born in the U.S., as is required by the Constitution. In a gracious effort to combat this claim, Obama has even released copies of his birth certificate from his home state of Hawaii (pictured below), but the birthers have not been sated. Now, it appears, these cretins are within spitting distance of our ultra-liberal city on a hill.

  • Obama's birth certificate
Then again, maybe we shouldn't be so crestfallen. After all, Modesto -- an agricultural hub of the Central Valley known for its almonds and walnuts -- is sort of a strange place. Its leafy streets have been the scene of some outsize national scandals, including the Gary Condit-Chandra Levy affair, the Laci Peterson murder, and the childhood of Star Wars auteur George Lucas.

And it's not like we're immune to conspiracy theories right here in San Francisco. After all, the San Francisco Bay Guardian recently co-sponsored a 9/11 truther movie night -- truthers, for the uninitiated, think the Bush administration either destroyed or permitted the destruction of the World Trade Center for its own nefarious purposes -- and that alternative weekly's city editor, Steven T. Jones, suggests that the attack resulted from "a conscious decision to just stand down" by the U.S. government.

To Mr. Jones and his buddies, we have an alternative suggestion: PG&E did it!

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Peter Jamison


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