Current Events and the Psychology of Politics

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Apr 28th, 2011

Summary: The White House produced a copy of President Barack Obama’s detailed Hawaii birth certificate after obtaining a special waiver from the state to make it public. Recent polling had shown two-thirds of Republicans (and smaller percentages of independents and Democrats) believing Obama was born overseas or voicing uncertainty about his place of birth — and celebrity developer Donald Trump, who had taken the lead in sowing doubts about Obama’s birth, was gaining a following as he flirted with a Republican presidential bid. … One-year retrospective: One year ago today, on April 28, 2010, Aubrey Immelman reported that an increase in terrorist attacks in Pakistan and Afghanistan triggered a sharp rise in the number of civilians killed or wounded there in 2009, pushing South Asia past the Middle East as the top terror region in the world, according to figures compiled by National Counterterrorism Center.

Dec 4th, 2009

Summary: The November 30, 2009 national edition of the Washington Times features a full-page ad by the anti-Obama website, claiming that President Obama is not a natural-born citizen of the United States. The ad copy claims that under a 60-year-old British law, President Obama is a citizen of Britain and “is currently also a British protected person and/or a British citizen to this day.” is run by Charles F. Kerchner, Jr., a plaintiff in a birther lawsuit filed against President Obama in New Jersey. … One-year retrospective: One year ago today, on December 4, 2008, Aubrey Immelman reported that New York University journalism professor Charles Seife had written a New York Times op-ed column proposing an interesting resolution to the tight U.S. Senate contest in Minnesota between incumbent Republican Sen. Norm Coleman and Democratic challenger Al Franken: cast a lot to determine the winner by chance.