The B.S. Report made a special road trip to the White House yesterday to make podcast history: the first-ever podcast with a sitting U.S. President. Take that, Marc Maron! Even if we only had 25 minutes, Grantland editor-in-chief Bill Simmons and President Obama covered a bunch of sports-related topics, including how the President manages to make time to follow sports; his feelings on Linsanity and the Bulls' title chances; whether he considered getting involved with the NBA lockout; the wisdom of a college football playoff system; his feelings on concussions and the NFL; what it's like to throw out the first pitch before baseball games; his favorite White House visits from championship teams; coaching his daughter's basketball team; the pearls of wisdom he recently dispensed to Chris Paul and Blake Griffin; and his answers to two "greatest ever" questions (one basketball, one television).
You can listen to the B.S. Report with President Obama on ESPN.com Podcenter or oniTunes.
For a complete transcript of the podcast, click here.
NOTE: In case you missed the news conference of Sheriff Joe Arpaio’s “Cold Case Posse,” WND plans to have the entire event available in 15-minute increments beginning Friday morning atthis online location.
PHOENIX – An investigative “Cold Case Posse” launched six months ago by “America’s toughest sheriff” – Joe Arpaio of Arizona’s Maricopa County – has concluded there is probable cause that the document released by the White House last year as President Obama’s birth certificate is a computer-generated forgery.
The posse, comprised of former law enforcement officers and lawyers with law enforcement experience, has interviewed dozens of witnesses and examined hundreds of documents. It also has taken numerous sworn statements from witnesses around the world.
Mike Zullo, Arpaio’s lead investigator, said his team believes the Hawaii Department of Health has engaged in a systematic effort to hide from public inspection any original 1961 birth records it may have in its possession.
“Officers of the Hawaii Department of Health and various elected Hawaiian public officials may have intentionally obscured 1961 birth records and procedures to avoid having to release to public inspection and to the examination of court-authorized forensic examiners any original Obama 1961 birth records the Hawaii Department of Health may or may not have,” Zullo said.
The investigators say the evidence contained in the computer-generated PDF file released by the White House as well as important deficiencies in the Hawaii process of certifying the long-form birth certificate establish probable cause that a forgery has been committed.
The investigation was launched after 250 members of the Surprise, Ariz., Tea Party, presented a signed petition to Arpaio in August 2011 asking him to undertake the investigation.
The Tea Party members petitioned under the premise that if a forged birth certificate was used to place Barack Obama on the 2012 Arizona presidential ballot, their rights as Maricopa County voters could be compromised.
Arpaio believes a congressional investigation might be warranted and has asked that any information relevant to the investigation held by other law enforcement agencies be forwarded to his office.
The Cold Case Posse advised Arpaio that they believe forgers committed two crimes. First, they say it appears the White House fraudulently created a forgery that it characterized as an officially produced governmental birth record. Second, the White House fraudulently presented to the residents of Maricopa County and to the American public at large a forgery represented as “proof positive” of President Obama’s authentic 1961 Hawaii long-form birth certificate.
“A continuing investigation is needed to identify the identity of the person or persons involved in creating the alleged birth certificate forgery and to determine who, if anyone, in the White House or the state of Hawaii may have authorized the forgery,” Arpaio said.
Among the evidence released at the press conference are five videos – which can be seen at the end of this article – to demonstrate why the Obama long-form birth certificate is suspected to be a computer-generated forgery.
The videos consist of step-by-step computer demonstrations using a control document. They display the testing used by the investigators to examine various claims made by supporters of the April 27 document.
The investigators contend the videos illustrate their conclusion that the features and anomalies observed on the Obama long-form birth certificate were inconsistent with features produced when a paper document is scanned, even if the scan is enhanced by Optical Character Recognition, OCR, and optimized.
Additionally, the posse says, the videos demonstrate that the Hawaii Department of Health Registrar’s name stamp and the registrar’s date stamp were computer-generated images imported into an electronic document, as opposed to rubber stamp imprints inked by hand or machine onto a paper document.
“That we were able to cast reasonable suspicions on the authenticity of the registrar stamps was especially disturbing, since these stamp imprints are designed to provide government authentication to the document itself,” Zullo said, emphasizing that if the registrar stamps are forgeries, the document itself is likely a forgery.
The investigators also chronicled a series of allegedly inconsistent and misleading representations that various Hawaii government officials have made over the past five years regarding any original birth records held by the Hawaii Department of Health.
“As I said at the beginning of the investigation, the president can put all this to rest quite easily,” Arpaio said. “All he has to do is demand the Hawaii Department of Health release to the American public and to a panel of certified court-authorized forensic examiners all original 1961 paper, microfilm and computer birth records the Hawaii Department of Health has in its possession.”
Arpaio emphasized that the Hawaii Department of Health needs to provide, as part of the full disclosure, evidence regarding the chain of custody of all Obama birth records, including paper, microfilm and electronic records to eliminate the possibility that a forger or forgers may have tampered with the birth records.
The sheriff said the president should also authorize Honolulu’s Kapi’olani Hospital, the birth hospital listed on the Obama long-form birth certificate, to release any hospital patient records for Stanley Ann Dunham Obama, his mother, and for the newly born Barack Obama, to provide corroboration for the records held in the Hawaii Department of Health vault.
“Absent the authentic Hawaii Department of Health 1961 birth records for Barack Obama, there is no other credible proof supporting the idea or belief that President Barack Obama was born in Hawaii, as he and the White House have consistently asserted,” Zullo said.
“In fact, absent the authentication of Hawaii Department of Health 1961 birth records for Barack Obama, there is no other proof he was born anywhere within the United States.”
In addition, investigators say they have developed credible evidence that President Obama’s Selective Service card was a forgery, based on an examination of the postal date stamp on the document. Also, records of Immigration and Naturalization Service cards filled out by passengers arriving on international flights originating outside the United States in the month of August 1961, examined at the National Archives in Washington, D.C., are missing records for the week of President Obama’s birth.
88-year-old Johnny Barnes stands on the street corner in his town in Bermuda for six hours every day and shouts, "I love you!" For 28 years, he has been an instigator of happiness and a purveyor of love. He is Mr. Happy Man.
"Once I knew the whole story, I knew I wanted to make a film about him," Morris said in an email to The Huffington Post. "Johnny is inspirational not just for his altruistic attitude, but for his incredible dedication to making other people happy through what might seem like a very odd ritual but means a lot to the people who pass by him."
Barnes gained the name Mr. Happy Man after getting stuck at a busy intersection while walking through his town of Hamilton City, according to Morris' Kickstarter page for the project. Instead of grumbling about it, he took the opportunity to make commuters' days by bidding them good morning with a wave. Twenty-six years later, and his routine is the same.
"As far as Johnny Barnes goes, who can get to know him without having a smile plastered on their face?" Morris said. "I've never seen anyone as dedicated to living a loving, happy life and sharing it with others. I've been really lucky in that I've been able to help Johnny spread his message to an audience larger than the one that passes him every morning on Crow Lane."
In a behind-the-scenes clip of Barnes he adds,"I greet people and let them know that live is sweet. Life is beautiful. No matter what happens in life, it's always sweet to be alive. Enjoy the sunshine, the flowers, the birds -- they're happy. The good lord and I are just trying to make people happy."
In a way, Morris mirrors the characters in his films -- a man doing what he loves and loving the people around him.
"I've always said that I've been drawn to these characters because they've spent their lives doing what they love to do, even if it's off the beaten path," Morris said. "As a filmmaker, I'm pursuing a career that is off the beaten path and I hope that as a result, I'll be just as happy as they are when I reach their age."
Often referred to as the Jackie Robinson of tennis, Althea Gibson was born to sharecropper parents in South Carolina on August 25, 1927. Defying all odds, she became the first African-American tennis Grand Slam champion and arguably the greatest female athlete of all-time.
When she was 3, Althea’s family moved to Harlem and a life filled with hardship as the Gibsons were on public assistance for a time. Growing up, Althea disliked going to school, so much that she often played hooky. Her father was very strict on these occasions but also taught her to box, a skill that would come in handy in their rough neighborhood.
Tall and graceful, Althea found refuge in sports. Tennis, however, was segregated and Althea had to learn the game on courts only after they were closed at night. But within a year after first picking up a racket, 15-year-old Althea won the Girl’s Championship of the American Tennis Association. (An African-American organization established to promote tournaments for black players.)
Gibson won ATA Women’s titles in 1944 and 1945 and, a record 10 straight championships from 1947-1956. But were it not for Alice Marble, she might never have competed in tennis’ Grand Slams.
Marble, a former # 1 player, wrote a piece in American Lawn Tennis magazine lambasting her sport for excluding a player of Gibson’s caliber. Marble’s article caught notice and in 1951, Gibson became the first African-American player ever invited to Wimbledon. A year later, she was a Top 10 player and climbed to No. 7 in 1953.
But it was in 1956 that Althea first shocked the world at Roland Garros. At 5’11’ and incredibly powerful, she won the singles title in straight sets. She also won the doubles crown with Angela Buxton who was Jewish and herself banned from places like the L.A. Tennis Club.
In all Gibson would power her way to 56 singles and doubles championships and 11 Grand Slam titles, including the singles crown at Wimbledon and the U.S. Nationals (now the U.S. Open) in 1957 and 1958. But, inexplicable as it sounds, often Althea was not allowed in the locker rooms or dining areas of tournament venues. She would literally come in and exit through the back door.
Hardly shy, the racial hardships that Althea endured only made her more determined. “I didn’t give a darn who was on the other side of the net. I’d knock you down if you got in my way.”
But tennis was an amateur sport, and even the under the table money just covered expenses. In 1959 Gibson turned pro, but there was no women’s tour so she had to depend on exhibitions.
Amazingly, Gibson turned to golf, making history once again as the first black woman on the LPGA. While she became one of the top female golfers, she didn’t dominate and eventually returned to tennis.
With the advent of tennis’ Open Era in 1968, Gibson tried to repeat her past success and garner some of the lucrative prize money. But at 41, she couldn’t keep up with her younger counterparts. Finally, Althea came to realize that she must retire.
In 1971 Althea was inducted into the International Tennis Hall of Fame, the first African-American so honored. Unfortunately, just as in her early childhood, Gibson’s last years were dominated by hardship.
After a stroke, in 1994 Althea was so destitute that she couldn’t pay her rent or cover the cost of her medications. She reluctantly confessed to Angela Buxton that she was even suicidal. Without informing Althea, Buxton wrote a letter to a tennis magazine.
Funds poured in from all over the world for Althea, totaling nearly $1,000,000. Overwhelmed by the generosity of her peers and fans, her health nonetheless continued to decline. On September 28, 2003, she died of respiratory failure in East Orange, New Jersey. She was 76.
Though Althea didn’t go looking for the role of pioneer, she was one. A college graduate, she traveled the world playing a game she loved. She was by far the best women’s player of her era as evidenced by her singles record at Grand Slam events, an impressive 53-9 — 16-1 at Wimbledon, 27-7 at the U.S., 6-0 at the French and 4-1 at the Australian.
Along an incredible life’s journey in which she broke down so many barriers, Gibson also wrote a book, recorded an album, appeared in a movie and even ran for New York State Senate. She once hit batting practice at Yankee Stadium with Mickey Mantle and Roger Maris who were in awe of her amazing athletic prowess. And in 2001, Althea’s picture was featured on the Wheaties cereal box.
Given the title of her autobiography, I Always Wanted to Be Somebody, Althea Gibson achieved that and far, far more. She was somebody all right.
(Jack Neworth’s “Laughing Matters” column appears every Friday in the Monica Daily Press and is available online at: www.smdp.com. He can be reached at email@example.com.)