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Civil Rights
  • Ron Paul and House Democrats Lose Vote on Indefinite Detention

    Among the disadvantages of spending all one's time on the campaign trail while remaining a member of Congress is that the invisible hand does a poor job of casting votes in the House of Representatives. You really have to be physically present to make your voice heard.

    This year, Ron Paul has missed 79% of all House roll call votes, but since taking a more laissez faire approach to securing delegates to the Republican National Convention, the Texas congressman has had time to be ignored in Washington, rather than on the campaign trail, for a change. Yesterday, Paul joined a press conference led by the aptly named Adam Smith, a Washington State Democrat, to speak in opposition to the indefinite detention of American citizens…

    Smith has an amendment with Reps. Justin Amash (R-Mich.) and John Garamendi (D-Calif.) that would undo provisions in last year's defense authorization bill and the 2001 Authorization for Use of Military Force that allow terror suspects captured on U.S. soil to be detained indefinitely.

    "I do not believe a republic can exist if you permit the military to arrest American citizens and put them in secret prisons and be denied trial," Paul said of supporting the amendment.

    Such crazy talk! Everyone knows the government only makes mistakes on relatively mundane matters of social and economic policy, but would never err in cases of life and death.

    It's by this logic that the House voted last week to cut funding for food stamps — government can't run welfare schemes without fraud and abuse. And it's why House conservatives oppose stricter financial regulation — government bureaucrats are incompetents, who only dream of tying up American business in a tangle of regulatory bondage, like a desperate Fifty Shades of Gray-reading housewife. But on matters of national security, government achieves God-like omniscience — because magic.

    It's this scale of risk versus competence that allows us to permit teenagers to pilot commercial airliners, while forbidding them from driving cars. Oh, we don't do that? Because that's an insane assessment of potential dangers?

    Well, don't tell Congress. This morning, the amendment to bar detention without trial was voted down 238-182, with just 19 Republicans joining Paul in supporting the measure.

    Photo by T.J. Kirkpatrick/Getty Images News/Getty Images

    Tags: Civil Rights, House of Representatives, Ron Paul, Terrorism
  • Now President Obama Isn't Even Sure If Gays Face Discrimination

    After "evolving" backwards from full support for marriage equality in the '90s to tepid support for stripped-down civil unions in the '00s, President Obama couldn't possibly let his gay supporters down any more, right?


    After months of dodging questions about the progress of an executive order prohibiting discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity in federal contracting, the White House won't issue the directive, but will instead study whether gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender employees require employment protections…

    The delay represents a departure for the president who committed to supporting a "formal written policy of non-discrimination that includes sexual orientation and gender identity or expression…for all Federal contractors" as a candidate in 2008 and pledged to fight for the community in 2009 and 2011. "I'm here with a simple message: I'm here with you in that fight."

    Yes, he's right here with you. Inside the closet. From marriage laws to anti-discrimination measures, the President refuses to out himself as a supporter of gay rights.

    Hopefully, Congress will act once they see the results of the White House study. Just kidding! It's Congress — nothing will ever get passed. On the bright side, the study to determine whether gays face discrimination in the workplace is in good hands. Sources say it's being conducted by Dr. Obvious of Duh University.

    Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images News/Getty Images

    Tags: Barack Obama, Civil Rights, Laws, LGBT, Marriage Equality
  • Chris Christie Celebrates Black History Month by Forgetting Black History

    Black History Month is a time to celebrate the great contributions African Americans have made to our country over the years and to remember the noble struggles of the civil rights movement.

    But for New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, Black History Month is a time to completely forget black history

    Christie proposed putting the question of same-sex marriage on the November ballot rather than seeking its legalization through legislation. "The fact of the matter is," he said, "I think people would have been happy to have a referendum on civil rights rather than fighting and dying in the streets in the South"…

    Assembly Speaker Sheila Oliver (D-Essex) had sharp words for the governor and said he needed a "history lesson."

    "Governor — people were fighting and dying in the streets of the South for a reason," she said. "They were fighting and dying in the streets of the South because the majority refused to grant minorities equal rights by any method. It took legislative action to bring justice to all Americans."

    While apologizing for his remarks yesterday, the governor mistook his foot for a sandwich and shoved it right in his mouth

    Gov. Chris Christie this morning attempted to clarify statements he made about same sex marriage and civil rights, but in the process called an openly gay assemblyman who was among the governor's detractors "numbnuts."

    I'm not sure Christie should be talking about another politcian's nuts when he probably hasn't seen his own for two decades.

    Better hurry up, Governor. There's still a few minority groups left to insult. I don't think he's hit the Jews yet. Well, Passover is right around the corner. I'm sure he'll get an opportunity to make a Holocaust joke soon enough.

    Oh, that Chris Christie. He yells! He makes bone-headed comments! He uses colorful epithets! I think I smell a new sitcom: "Sh*t New Jersey Governors Say."

    Photo by Slaven Vlasic/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images

    Tags: Chris Christie, Civil Rights, Marriage, Marriage Equality, New Jersey, Racism, Republicans
  • Can an East New Haven Mayor Be Bigoted If Some of His Favorite Takeout Is Mexican?

    TacosThere's one foolproof remedy for cynicism about the federal government: whatever you think of the incompetence or unresponsiveness of federal elected officials, just remember that state and local politicians are much, much worse.

    Some public servants dedicate their time to protecting us against the scourge of fetus burgers and incipient Sharia law, while others oversee police departments that allegedly engage in systematic discrimination against Latinos. As the Hartford Courant points out, there's a simple explanation for the latter policy

    For those who are wondering why the East Haven Police Department is out of control, one possible answer is that Mayor Joseph Maturo is an idiot.

    [When asked by a reporter what he was doing for the Latino community after the FBI arrested four of his police officers for civil rights violations...] A moderately sentient public official in such a circumstance might say that he planned to meet with leaders of the community to apologize for the officers' behavior and ask them to join him in making changes to prevent such unacceptable conduct.

    But the likelihood of finding a moderately sentient public official in local government is pretty iffy! So, no, the East New Haven Republican did not pledge to reform his police department. Instead, he pointed out that some of his best friends meals are Mexican

    Maturo: "I might have tacos when I go home. I'm not quite sure yet. I have spent two years in Puerto Rico, um, I will probably do the same thing for the Latino community…"

    Reporter: "You realize that's not really the comment to say right now, you might have tacos tonight."

    Maturo: "I might have spaghetti tonight…Being of Italian descent, I, in this community, have been at times thought to be of an ethnic background…

    Maturo has since apologized for his comments, saying he "let the stress of the situation get the best of me and inflamed what is already a serious and unfortunate situation," but perhaps he also owes an apology to all the ethnic and religious groups he has NOT reached out to. When African-Americans are allegedly stopped and frisked without probable cause, does Maturo ever soothe communal tensions by watching a Flavor Flav marathon on TV? And what did he think of the State of the Union address (Muslim outreach, of course)? Inquiring minds want to know!

    Photo by David McNew/Getty Images News/Getty Images

    Tags: Civil Rights, Connecticut, FBI, Latino, Police, Racism
  • Barack Obama Legalizes Illegal Aliens

    Don't get me started on immigrants! Sure, I am technically a hispanic immigrant. But I'm not talking about Mexicans and Latinos! I'm talking about whatever is the next group of people who we will all decide to arbitrarily hate. They're (going to be) taking our jobs!

    And now, Obama has made it easier for those figurative and/or literal future aliens by treating them like people

    Obama administration officials announced on Friday that they will propose a fix to a notorious snag in immigration law that will spare hundreds of thousands of American citizens from prolonged separations from immigrant spouses and children…

    The law requires most immigrants who are here illegally to return to their home countries in order to receive their legal visas.

    The catch is that once the immigrants leave the United States, they are automatically barred from returning to this country for at least three years, and often for a decade, even if they are fully eligible to become legal residents.

    Now, Citizenship and Immigration Services proposes to allow the immigrants to obtain a provisional waiver in the United States, before they leave for their countries to pick up their visas. Having the waiver in hand will allow them to depart knowing that they will almost certainly be able to return, officials said.

    It's almost like Obama believes we should treat human beings as if they had rights.

    Unless you're a suspected terrorist, in which case, good luck finding your teeth in a windowless, dark cell!

    Tags: Barack Obama, Civil Rights, Immigration, Terrorism