Republicans at it again: birther conspiracy revives in Kansas

According to today’s New York Times, the Secretary of State in Kansas is seeking a copy of President Obama’s birth certificate because a citizen wacko, suspecting foreign birth, challenged the legitimacy of Obama’s being on the Presidential ballot.

After a hearing on Thursday, the state’s Objections Board, led by Kris W. Kobach, the conservative Republican secretary of state, said it needed more information before issuing a ruling, probably on Monday, on the challenge filed this week by Joe Montgomery of Manhattan, Kan.

Mr. Montgomery’s main argument was he believed that that under case law, to be eligible to become president, a person must be born in the United States to parents who are citizens. Mr. Obama’s father was from Kenya. Mr. Montgomery also speculated that the birth certificate that Mr. Obama released last year may have been forged.

This all, of course, ignores the fact that the White House released the damn birth certificate (the long form) last year, and the short form in 2008; both can be downloaded at the link.

Republican silly season is just beginning; we have two more months of fun!

Here’s the long form, for crying out loud (click to enlarge):


  1. Posted September 14, 2012 at 2:15 pm | Permalink

    Why would anyone name their daughter Stanley Anne?
    Child cruelty, I say.

    • E.A. Blair
      Posted September 14, 2012 at 2:19 pm | Permalink

      I used to work with a guy named Beverly Dennis (he used the middle name almost exclusively). Sometimes it’s a family thing.

      • Posted September 14, 2012 at 2:25 pm | Permalink

        Speaking from personal experience, it’s a terrible thing to do to a child. It’s selfish. Parents should consider the implications at school and at large.

        • Posted September 14, 2012 at 5:42 pm | Permalink

          This judge from New Zealand set an admirable precedent by ruling that naming your kid “Talula does the Hula from Hawaii” is not permissible since it might be a possible “social handicap”.

          • JonLynnHarvey
            Posted September 14, 2012 at 8:23 pm | Permalink

            Never name your child “Justin Case” or “Ben Dover”

          • infiniteimprobabilit
            Posted September 15, 2012 at 3:09 am | Permalink

            Well in actual fact he didn’t specifically rule on the name, he made the 9-year-old girl a ward of the court so she could legally change it.

            This was a custody hearing so details are (rightly) very sketchy but one would guess the parents had many other deficiencies in addition to their bizarre taste in names.

      • Marella
        Posted September 15, 2012 at 11:53 pm | Permalink

        Beverly did actually used to be a boy’s name, so maybe they’d not caught up with its change in status.

    • M. Rodriguez
      Posted September 14, 2012 at 2:58 pm | Permalink


    • Filippo
      Posted September 15, 2012 at 8:41 am | Permalink

      “Stanley” is the problem, right? Not “Anne.”


      Earlene from Earl.

      Melvina from Melvin.

      There are many other examples at the moment escaping my recollection.

      From my limited experience, this sort of naming is particularly prevalent in Appalachia.

      Definitely an implied female subordination to a male, just as a ship is a “she” under the control of a patriarchal organization, as opposed to an “it.”

      • Posted September 15, 2012 at 8:55 am | Permalink

        also particularly common in Latin/Catholic countries. Manuela, Rafaella, Antonia…

      • Filippo
        Posted September 16, 2012 at 6:17 am | Permalink

        Also, “Carroll” is not that rare of a name for a man in the Southeastern U.S.

        Re: “Connie” Mack of U.S. baseball fame.

        Some reasonable and appropriate care should be taken regarding naming, Shakespeare’s question, “What’s in a name?” notwithstanding.

        I have known of a Mr. Pigg and a Mr. Hogg.

        Of course, there are all kinds of names in all kinds of languages. Occasionally a name in a foreign language sounds offensive to the ears of those with delicate sensibilities who speak another language.

        If memory serves me, in Nov or Dec ’78, four dissidents were allowed to leave the Soviet Union. The last name of one of them was transliterated from the Cyrillic to the Latin alphabet as “Shytm.” In the local evening paper, it was spelled that way. In the morning paper, it was redacted as “Sh–m.” I wish I had kept clippings from both papers. I haven’t been able to find this incident online.

  2. E.A. Blair
    Posted September 14, 2012 at 2:16 pm | Permalink

    Has anyone examined Kobach’s DNA to find out if he’s really a specimen of H. sapiens?

  3. Greg G
    Posted September 14, 2012 at 2:18 pm | Permalink

    Has anyone verified the birth certificates for Joe Montgomery and Kris W. Kobach? We shouldn’t allow non-citizens to be challenging or ruling on the citizenship of American citizens.

  4. Claimthehighground
    Posted September 14, 2012 at 2:27 pm | Permalink

    Regarding the 2 parents as citizens claim –
    Title 8 of the U.S. Code, Section 1401, defines the various categories of who is a “citizen of the U.S. at birth”, one of which is:
    Anyone born in a U.S. possession [e.g. Hawaii], if one of the parents is a citizen [e.g. Mom] and lived in theU.S. for at least one year [she did]. So these nutcases are left with only the birther thing to bloviate about. Toto, I’m glad we’re not in Kansas anymore.

    • Gary W
      Posted September 14, 2012 at 4:11 pm | Permalink

      As far as I can tell, the birther claims are nonsense, but your argument here seems rather dubious. First, Obama was born in 1961. When was the legal provision you cite enacted? The U.S. Code has been changed many times. Second, Hawaii was already a state when Obama was born, so any provision applying only to people born in “possessions” of the United States wouldn’t seem to apply to him. Third, the quoted argument refers to “case law” (i.e., the rulings of courts) on citizenship, so I don’t think the question can be resolved simply by appealing to the text of a law anyway.

      • Claimthehighground
        Posted September 14, 2012 at 5:33 pm | Permalink

        OK, that makes it easier. The legal provision I cited is the current law. Hawaii was admitted as a state in 1959 and B.O. was born there in 1961. The same section of the current law is: “anyone born inside the United States” (and under the jurisdiction of the U.S.). So since he was not the child of a diplomat e.g., he is a U.S. citizen unless it can be proved that he was not born in this country. I don’t know what you mean by implying that court rulings are not valid in this matter.

        • Gary W
          Posted September 14, 2012 at 7:48 pm | Permalink

          I wasn’t saying court rulings are not valid. They are valid. Statutes are interpreted by judges. That’s why you can’t resolve the issue simply by citing the text of a statute. I think it’s virtually certain that Montgomery’s claim about case law is false. I’ve never heard of anyone born in the U.S. being denied citizenship merely because one or both of his parents is not a citizen. I’d like to know what cases he has in mind.

      • Mark
        Posted September 15, 2012 at 8:17 am | Permalink

        Since Hawaii was a state when Obama was born, the relevant law is the 14 Amendment. The 14th Amendment states that all persons born or naturalized in the United States and subject to the jurisdiction thereof are citizens.

        Any ambiguity over whether children born of foreign citizens who are not ambassadors or military personnel (like Obama’s father) are “subject to the jurisdiction” of the United States was resolved by the Supreme Court case of Wong Kim Ark. So, legally, Obama is and has been since birth a citizen of the United States and the law that establishes that is the 14th Amendment and the Supreme Court’s Wong Kim Ark decision.

    • Thanny
      Posted September 14, 2012 at 5:27 pm | Permalink

      All that’s required is that the mother be a US citizen. It doesn’t matter where the child is actually born.

      For example, Mitt Romney’s father, George Romney, who ran for president in 1968, was born in Mexico but was a natural born US citizen because his parents (in particular his mother) were citizens.

      I know the laws were changed to exclude citizenship through the father, because of US servicemen overseas, but I don’t know if they’ve since been changed back. But at the time that Obama was born, all that mattered was that his mother was a US citizen, and she was. He could have been born in Kenya, or on the moon, and he’d still be a natural born US citizen.

      Funny how none of the talking heads ever bring that simple fact up.

      • suwise3
        Posted September 14, 2012 at 8:01 pm | Permalink

        Facts don’t matter. What matters is bringing up lies, half-truths and conspiracies to people who want to believe them.

  5. gbjames
    Posted September 14, 2012 at 2:33 pm | Permalink

    Here’s the only sensible response. Ask Kansas to verify that Mitt Romney is not a unicorn.

    • Posted September 14, 2012 at 2:40 pm | Permalink


    • Notagod
      Posted September 14, 2012 at 3:38 pm | Permalink

      He’s definitely unicorny.

      Mitten’s father was born in a Mormon colony in Chihuahua, Mexico.

      • Posted September 14, 2012 at 4:12 pm | Permalink

        Not only that, but said father ran an (obviously unsuccessful) presidential campaign of his own without ever being challenged on citizenship grounds.

        And, you know what?

        McCain was born in Panama. Didn’t seem to upset Republicans four years ago.

        Clearly, the question here is not Obama’s citizenship but the melanin content of his skin.

        I’m voting for Jill Stein, but this birther nonsense is shameful bullshit beneath even the likes of Karl “Swiftboat” Rove and Grover “Bathtub” Norquist.”



        • gr8hands
          Posted September 17, 2012 at 10:11 am | Permalink

          Actually, Romney’s dad was challenged about his citizenship, but it didn’t go anywhere because his candidacy didn’t go anywhere.

    • Posted September 14, 2012 at 4:04 pm | Permalink

      Don’t be silly! Of course he’s not a unicorn. The Unicorn is a noble beast. But do, really, if you’re resident in Kansas, demand proof that he’s a human being.

    • pulseteresa
      Posted September 14, 2012 at 5:36 pm | Permalink

      Already signed it!

  6. M. Rodriguez
    Posted September 14, 2012 at 2:57 pm | Permalink

    Birther action turns me on

  7. Brenda Nelson
    Posted September 14, 2012 at 3:06 pm | Permalink

    They’re getting desperate.

    • suwise3
      Posted September 14, 2012 at 3:23 pm | Permalink

      Not desperate at-all! Doesn’t even matter that they all (Republicans) hate Romney. They will vote for him. And all the lies/mud/whatever they sling at Obama works quite well. Doesn’t have to be true. All it has to be is… repeated again and again.

  8. Posted September 14, 2012 at 3:37 pm | Permalink

    I’d like to apologize to the rest of the nation for the midwestern stupidity that seems to be on display so frequently these days. Missouri passed a superflous “right to pray” law, then seeks to ban birth control, now our fuckwit neighbors, not content with being humiliated in the documentary Flock Of Dodos, has to go and do this crap! Not all midwesterners are inbred, uneducated, crazy assbags. most, but not all.

    • Dawn Oz
      Posted September 14, 2012 at 4:14 pm | Permalink

      As an Australian, I’m aware that many of my American intellectual cousins spend much of their time being nonplussed and then embarrassed.

      Our sympathy is with you.

  9. Posted September 14, 2012 at 3:40 pm | Permalink

    I aslo attend UMKC, and I really don’t know why this guy was ever allowed on campus, much less teach any classes. but, I’m a biology major, not a law student. that’s even worse, this guy teaching law…wtf…

  10. david
    Posted September 14, 2012 at 3:59 pm | Permalink

    It’s a mad mad mad mad world !.

  11. Dawn Oz
    Posted September 14, 2012 at 4:18 pm | Permalink

    Jerry, I love, ‘Republican Silly Season’.

  12. kansaskitty
    Posted September 14, 2012 at 4:33 pm | Permalink

    Believe it or not, this Joe Montgomery is employed at that socialist land grant institution, Kansas State University’s College of Veterinary Medicine. He must have about been driven out of Manhattan after this story hit the news – he has now written to the Kansas Board of Objections (which Kobach sits on) and requested his complaint be withdrawn. The board is scheduled to meet Monday, so we’ll see if they still entertain the complaint or not. These idiots & others like them are making my state a laughing stock, and have been for years. Embarrassing.

    • Brenda Nelson
      Posted September 14, 2012 at 10:47 pm | Permalink

      I know exactly how you feel: I’m from Arizona.

  13. Janice Godfrey
    Posted September 14, 2012 at 6:21 pm | Permalink

    Actually, it was the State of Hawaii that released the short form birth certificate. These people are crazy. Let’s elect one President. Ha!

    • Curt Cameron
      Posted September 14, 2012 at 11:12 pm | Permalink

      Not sure what you mean here – the Obama campaign released the short form to reporters in 2008. That’s the version that anyone born in Hawaii will get if you ask for your birth certificate. Someone looks at the records, then prints out a certificate if you were born there.

      The long form is the old original form from 1961, normally kept in the clerk’s office and not released. However, for the President, they made an exception and sent him a copy, which the White House then released to reporters.

  14. Posted September 14, 2012 at 6:24 pm | Permalink

    There may be hope for us yet:

    Judge throws out Walker’s union bargaining law

    I’m still surprised the unions are even bothering with the courts on this one. The proper response would have been a state-wide strike by all union employees, not just state union employees.

    Hell, this sort of bullshit would have justified a nation-wide strike.



  15. Posted September 14, 2012 at 6:44 pm | Permalink

    Not to get too worked up about it. Kansas is a lost cause for so many reasons…

    Truly these people are ludicrous. I wonder how long it will take them to become part of the American experience.

    • Posted September 14, 2012 at 6:49 pm | Permalink

      Please don’t give up on Kansas!

      I’m in Arizona, which many might consider an equally lost cause. But the state is slowly trending Blue, and parts (such as Tempe, where I live) are as Blue as any Blue state.

      Europe was in far worse shape a few centuries ago than anywhere in America is today. What would have happened had people despaired at that and given up on the Enlightenment?


      • Tim
        Posted September 14, 2012 at 11:57 pm | Permalink

        I’ll bet you thought the Pale Blue Dot was a photograph of earth taken from Voyager. Actually, it is the city of Austin, TX.

    • Filippo
      Posted September 15, 2012 at 8:55 am | Permalink

      Which prompts one to seek a cogent definition of “the American experience,” along with “Americanism,” “American Values” and “American Exceptionalism.” What U.S. state is not significantly infected with “ludicrous”? My state of birth, Tennessee, bears the Scopes Monkey Trial. A little over a hundred years ago, one of the two Indiana state houses considered a bill decreeing that Pi be exactly 3.

      The U.S. could have been a little more “exceptional” had it not condoned slavery in its founding constitution.

  16. Tim
    Posted September 14, 2012 at 11:59 pm | Permalink

    Silly season? When is it not in season in Redneckistan?

  17. Posted September 15, 2012 at 6:02 am | Permalink

    Kansas at it again. That state should be teleported to the border of California and absorbed.

    • Brenda Nelson
      Posted September 15, 2012 at 12:25 pm | Permalink

      It doesn’t work. Arizona is already on the California border and look what’s happened to us.

      The sad thing is that, when Arizona entered the Union, it was a *very* progressive state. *sigh*

  18. E.A. Blair
    Posted September 15, 2012 at 7:00 am | Permalink

    Breaking News: Kansas Birther Ballot Initiative Nixed

  19. Reginald Selkirk
    Posted September 15, 2012 at 12:34 pm | Permalink

    Mr. Montgomery’s main argument was he believed that that under case law, to be eligible to become president, a person must be born in the United States to parents who are citizens.

    Well he’s just plain wrong about the requirements, and if the Secretary of State of Kansas doesn’t know it, he’s incompetent.

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