The week's top stories at Facing South

FAR-RIGHTRELIGIOUS GROUP BEHIND "DEATH PANELS" MYTHLINKED TO OTHER HEALTH REFORMDISTORTIONS: Sarah Palin appears tohave picked up the misinformation that led toher "death panel" charges from the LibertyCounsel -- a far-right religious groupaffiliated with Jerry Falwell's LibertyUniversity empire in Lynchburg, Va.(8/11/2009)

BIGOIL HOLDING "TOWN HALLS" ON CLIMATEBILL: Inspired by thecorporate-backed protest movement againsthealth insurance reform, an alliance foundedand funded by the oil industry and otherbusiness interests opposed to greenhouse gasregulation is planning a series of ralliesagainst climate legislation.(8/13/2009)

"BIRTHER"PHENOMENON STRONG IN RURAL SOUTH, POLLSTERSFIND: New polls out from a NorthCarolina polling firm find that largepercentages of voters in that state andVirginia don't believe President Obama wasactually born in the United States -- while asurprising number also question whetherHawaii is really part of the country.(8/12/2009)

"DEATHPANEL" ARCHITECT A PRO-LIFE REPUBLICAN FROMGEORGIA? One of the biggest promotersof advance care planning -- the concept somepoliticians have slammed as creating "deathpanels" -- is Sen. Johnny Isakson. He calledthe "death panel" claims "nuts," but he alsoblastedthe White House for linking him to thespecific policy in the House reform bill.(8/10/2009)

SWASTIKASPRAY-PAINTED AT OFFICE OF BLACK GA.CONGRESSMAN: The office of Rep. DavidScott of suburban Atlanta was also hit withother graffiti using racial slurs and callingfor "Death to all Marxists!" The lawmakerbelieves he's been targeted over remarks hemade at a recent town hall on health carereform, which he supports. (8/11/2009)

VOICES| RED-BAITING AND RACISM: SOCIALISM AS THENEW BLACK BOGEYMAN: With thoseopposed to the president's politicallycautious Democratic agenda decrying him as a"socialist," anti-racist writer and educatorTim Wise digs into the phenomenon and asks:Is "socialism" racist code for thelong-standing white fear that black folkswill steal from them? (8/12/2009)

IN OTHER NEWS: Obama'sgift to the mining industry ... Theendof family detention? ... Corporatelobbying goes from fake to fraud ... N.C.Congressman gets death threat over healthcare reform ... Watchdogwarns of far-right militia resurgence.