Trump seriously wanted an alligator moat at the border. Footage shows Obama mocking the idea in 2011.
via Lis Power / Twitter

There are too many differences between Barack Obama and Donald Trump to list them all. But a recent Trump controversy exemplifies how the two differ in their basic humanity.

On Tuesday, a chilling report in The New York Times showed just how far Trump is willing to go to secure the U.S.-Mexico border.

In a March meeting, Trump was fuming about undocumented immigrants crossing the border so he proposed some ideas that are so extreme they seemed to come from the Middle Ages.


Privately, the president had often talked about fortifying a border wall with a water-filled trench, stocked with snakes or alligators, prompting aides to seek a cost estimate. He wanted the wall electrified, with spikes on top that could pierce human flesh. After publicly suggesting that soldiers shoot migrants if they threw rocks, the president backed off when his staff told him that was illegal. But later in a meeting, aides recalled, he suggested that they shoot migrants in the legs to slow them down. That's not allowed either, they told him.

The idea that Trump has no problem shooting, impaling, and feeding migrants to man-eating reptiles shows a complete lack of respect for human dignity.

It's no wonder his administration thought that separating families at the border was somehow acceptable.

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Trump denied the accusations on Twitter.

In light of the controversy, footage has emerged from 2011 when President Obama made a speech at the border in El Paso, Texas in which he joked about Republicans wanting a moat filled with alligators at the border.

During his speech, Obama boasted about the upgrades he had made in border security, including more agents, completion of some fencing, and increased cargo screenings. But he said that no matter what he does, Republicans will still want more.

"We have gone above and beyond what was requested by the very Republicans who said they supported broader reform as long as we got serious about enforcement," Obama said.

"But even though we've answered these concerns, I gotta say I suspect there are still going to be some who are trying to move the goal posts on us one more time," he continued.

"Maybe they'll need a moat," Obama said jokingly to laughter from the crowd. "Maybe they'll want alligators in the moat."

Obama's claim that the GOP wants alligators and a moat at the border was a joke that mocked the GOP's obsession with undocumented immigrants.

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This obsession with security seems even more questionable when one looks at the actual facts about undocumented immigrants in the United States. According to Pew Research, the number of undocumented immigrants in the U.S. has been on the decline since 2007 — four years before Obama's speech.

Further, the fear of undocumented immigrants committing crimes is largely unfounded, because study after study shows they commit fewer crimes than native-born Americans.

Unfortunately, anyone who wants alligators at the border probably hasn't much use for facts.

When "bobcat" trended on Twitter this week, no one anticipated the unreal series of events they were about to witness. The bizarre bobcat encounter was captured on a security cam video and...well...you just have to see it. (Read the following description if you want to be prepared, or skip down to the video if you want to be surprised. I promise, it's a wild ride either way.)

In a North Carolina neighborhood that looks like a present-day Pleasantville, a man carries a cup of coffee and a plate of brownies out to his car. "Good mornin!" he calls cheerfully to a neighbor jogging by. As he sets his coffee cup on the hood of the car, he says, "I need to wash my car." Well, shucks. His wife enters the camera frame on the other side of the car.

So far, it's just about the most classic modern Americana scene imaginable. And then...

A horrifying "rrrrawwwww!" Blood-curdling screaming. Running. Panic. The man abandons the brownies, races to his wife's side of the car, then emerges with an animal in his hands. He holds the creature up like Rafiki holding up Simba, then yells in its face, "Oh my god! It's a bobcat! Oh my god!"

Then he hucks the bobcat across the yard with all his might.

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Images courtesy of John Scully, Walden University, Ingrid Scully
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Since March of 2020, over 29 million Americans have been diagnosed with COVID-19, according to the CDC. Over 540,000 have died in the United States as this unprecedented pandemic has swept the globe. And yet, by the end of 2020, it looked like science was winning: vaccines had been developed.

In celebration of the power of science we spoke to three people: an individual, a medical provider, and a vaccine scientist about how vaccines have impacted them throughout their lives. Here are their answers:

John Scully, 79, resident of Florida

Photo courtesy of John Scully

When John Scully was born, America was in the midst of an epidemic: tens of thousands of children in the United States were falling ill with paralytic poliomyelitis — otherwise known as polio, a disease that attacks the central nervous system and often leaves its victims partially or fully paralyzed.

"As kids, we were all afraid of getting polio," he says, "because if you got polio, you could end up in the dreaded iron lung and we were all terrified of those." Iron lungs were respirators that enclosed most of a person's body; people with severe cases often would end up in these respirators as they fought for their lives.

John remembers going to see matinee showings of cowboy movies on Saturdays and, before the movie, shorts would run. "Usually they showed the news," he says, "but I just remember seeing this one clip warning us about polio and it just showed all these kids in iron lungs." If kids survived the iron lung, they'd often come back to school on crutches, in leg braces, or in wheelchairs.

"We all tried to be really careful in the summer — or, as we called it back then, 'polio season,''" John says. This was because every year around Memorial Day, major outbreaks would begin to emerge and they'd spike sometime around August. People weren't really sure how the disease spread at the time, but many believed it traveled through the water. There was no cure — and every child was susceptible to getting sick with it.

"We couldn't swim in hot weather," he remembers, "and the municipal outdoor pool would close down in August."

Then, in 1954 clinical trials began for Dr. Jonas Salk's vaccine against polio and within a year, his vaccine was announced safe. "I got that vaccine at school," John says. Within two years, U.S. polio cases had dropped 85-95 percent — even before a second vaccine was developed by Dr. Albert Sabin in the 1960s. "I remember how much better things got after the vaccines came out. They changed everything," John says.

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