Whenever I mention the Obama birth certificate business some reader makes the valid comment that this stuff should be ignored, not amplified by arguing about it.

But now that President Obama has secured and released his long form birth certificate and Donald Trump has moved on to demanding his fifth-grade report card, there are a couple of interesting takes on the birther controversy.

Byron Tau has a piece in Politico on how efforts by officials in Hawaii to put the matter to rest left openings for the conspiracy nuts, or in some cases actually fueled the movement.

And Will Bunch, my former colleague at the Philadelphia Daily News writes in his blog Attytood that the way things were breaking, the president might have been wiser to keep his long form birth certificate hidden and let things simmer awhile.

"The whole "birther" controversy was the best thing that happened politically to Barack Obama since the invention of Facebook," Bunch writes. "...the focus on the birth certificate was creating massive confusion and disagreement within the Republican Party -- exactly what you want when you're an incumbent Democratic president with an approval rating in the 40s. The idea that birther mania amongst the GOP's Tea Party rank and file could create a nominee like a Donald Trump, whom a mature politician like Obama would clobber in the November 2012 general election -- even if unemployment hovers at 9 percent -- should be almost too good to be true for Team Obama."

Read the rest here.

Finally, as a native Texan, I'm troubled to learn from the New York Times that contact with the cuddly Armadillo is the source of a third of the cases of leprosy in the United States.

At least, Gardiner Harris tells us, the dillos got it from us humans.