Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Most of Arizona SB 1070 blocked by Federal Judge

Judge Susan Bolton has issued a temporary injunction against key parts of Arizona Senate Bill SB 1070. Among the provisions that she blocked include requiring all immigrants (including legal immigrants) to carry papers with them at all times and the provision that would require police to consider the immigration status during routine police contacts.

This is good news but of course Governor Jan Brewer immediately announced plans to waste more of the state's money by appealing the decision to the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court in San Francisco. Governor Brewer apparently has little confidence in that body, making clear she plans to continue to appeal all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court.

And of course the Sheriff of Nottingham, Joe Arpaio, said that he will be running another immigrant sweep tomorrow whether the new law is in force or not.

One provision that was left intact allows any local bigot to challenge the police in court with a lawsuit if said local bigot believes that the police are not enforcing the provisions of SB 1070. Right now that doesn't mean much since there are few of the really odious provisions left intact, but not tossing this out could be a problem in the long run if some of the provisions are ever ruled back in play or if similar laws are passed with this provision.

Concerns for the future, but for today, this is a happy day.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Tea Party claims to not be racist by writing a racist letter and listening to a racist speaker

Suppose that someone accused you of doing something and you didn't think the accusation was fair. How would you respond?

Well, we know how the Tea Party responds. This past week the NAACP passed a resolution aimed at the Tea Party, specifically for not confronting racist comments, signs and other displays from within its ranks (for example, Kentucky Senate candidate Rand Paul suggesting that we go back to segregated lunch counters.)

So how does the Tea Party handle this? By the official spokesman of the Tea Party Express, Mark Williams, proving the NAACP's point by writing a hypothetical letter from the NAACP President to Abraham Lincoln, not only full of racist language but even telling him that he should not have ended slavery.

And then they follow that up by listening to a video from David Duke, the former Klan Imperial Wizard who a few years ago ran for Governor of Louisiana and then later for President.

This isn't how you prove you aren't racist!

I think, having listened to all the Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck, Michael Savage and Sean Hannity I could stomach, that this is the result of the 'alternative media' coming to full fruition. They keep preaching about how the First Amendment guarantees the right to use 'politically incorrect speech' and they make a big deal out of doing it on air. So this kind of comes natural to them and their followers by now.

The issue of politically incorrect speech of course is NOT a first amendment issue. Nobody disputes that the first amendment gives you the legal right to call anyone any name you want to. You won't be prosecuted in a criminal court for it.

But that's not to say that you won't be held accountable for the consequences of your speech. Just as someone whose Constitutional right to free speech can be sued in civil court for slander or libel if they say or write falsehoods about people, so too if you insult someone using racist language you have to accept the consequence, which is that you will be judged a racist and an ignoramus for using it. You can't have it both ways. Go on all the racist rants you want, and listen to speeches by all the bigots you can find, but don't then be upset when someone calls you a racist. Because by your words and the associations you keep, so will you be judged.

Thursday, July 08, 2010

Reverse paternity? This is the kind of thing that gives lawyers a bad name

Lebron James is in the news tonight, after announcing that he will join re-signed star Dwyane Wade and free agent star Chris Bosch playing for the Miami Heat. James could have made more money staying in Cleveland, or playing in New York, New Jersey or Chicago but it seems as though the lure of having some teammates who can help him win a championship was just too good to pass up.

There is another story about Lebron in the news today too, and it's too bizarre to believe. A Washington D.C. lawyer is suing LeBron, claiming to be his father. No, I'm not making that up. The lawyer, Leicester Stovell, is claiming to have had sex one time with LeBron's mother, Gloria James, after meeting her in a bar in 1984 and that somehow that entitles him to $4 million.

Washington (CNN) -- A Washington lawyer has filed a lawsuit in federal court, claiming he is the father of basketball star LeBron James.

Leicester Stovell alleges that the athlete and his family have been involved in a cover-up to deny paternity by committing fraud and misrepresentation. He told HLN's "Prime News" on Thursday that he wants "a carefully structured and secure DNA test" to prove he's the NBA all-star's father.

Stovell says he has been trying for three years to establish paternity and is seeking $4 million in damages. An earlier test ruled out the possibility, but he said the test could have been tampered with -- "and there are indications that there was a motivation."

Oh, and just in case you figured the suit itself wasn't already a record for having an unmitigated case of chutzpah, consider he also, after allegedly learning that Gloria James was pregnant added this touching reminder:

Stovell said his only request was that the child, if a boy, play basketball.

Awww, how much this is pulling at the heartstrings....

Stovell then goes on:

He said his memory of the encounter resurfaced more than 20 years later, "after being asked whether I had a son, and I then systematically explored all of my past for that possibility."

I guess he'd have to say that to explain how come he never thought about it during the intervening twenty years. You know, the twenty years during which a kid growing up without a father might have found one worth having around. In fact, it appears that Mr. Stovell only thought about this once it became obvious that LeBron was going to be earning tens of millions of dollars.

Luckily, like any huckster, Stovell eventually gets crossed up by his own mouth:

He says he was informed by Gloria James months later that she was pregnant. He claims she told him the child would be named LeBron, similar to Leicester Bryce, Stovell's first and middle names.

What was that he had said earlier in the interview about him not thinking about whether he had a son for twenty years? He claims a woman he met at a bar and had sex with once, wanted to name her son after him, but then he went 20 years without thinking about whether he HAD a son?

Not only do I believe that the first DNA test was true and that Mr. Stovell is a first class huckster and charlatan, but even if he IS LeBron's dad, the HECK he deserves $4 million! He deserves exactly what he ever gave to his 'son.'


Monday, July 05, 2010

Five year blog anniversary

Five years of writing this blog.

And looking back at the first day of this blog I can see that five years ago, much has changed, but much has not. I put up three posts that day:

Welcome to the Institute of Deep Thinking

On Nuclear Proliferation and Iran

I'm proud of my country and I want to restore the image that I'm proud of

It was a different world then. George Bush was still pretty high in the polls, having won re-election the year before, and this was before Katrina exposed the ineffective cronies he'd put in charge of key agencies. The Iraq war was only two years old and the White House was still expressing optimism that victory was almost won. Afghanistan was on the backburner, an afterthought. There were almost daily threats of a new war against Iran. The economy wasn't great, but it wasn't bad and housing prices were going up at a dizzying rate.

Some of what I wrote then turned out to be too optimistic, but then I did make a statement then that turned out to be very accurate. From the second post five years ago:

In Iran today, over 60% of the population is under 30—people with no memory of the Shah and who took no part in the revolution but have instead come to resent the strictures of an Islamic society. As the years pass, this number will grow. The revolutionary rhetoric of Ayatollah Khomeini is as dead to them as the rhetoric of Lenin is to Russians. And like the Russians, Iran’s internationalist revolutionary fervor (where they actively tried to incite Islamic revolution in neighboring countries) seems to have passed with the aging of that generation, bled dry by the Iran-Iraq war. The mullahs have their hands full just maintaining internal control, and it is hard to see why they would start a nuclear war which would devastate their country and destroy what hold they still have....

Going back to the Soviet Union, it fell because of a policy of ‘constructive engagement.’ People saw our freedom, and wanted it for themselves. If anything, the survival of Cuba and North Korea, almost alone among old line anti-capitalist Marxist states (recall that China and Vietnam have had the foresight to develop private enterprise) is indicative that failure to engage the people of these nations strengthens the regime instead of undermining it. I pointed out in I-2 that Iran has a similar internal structure, where young people want change and the old line revolutionaries want to preserve the status quo. Engage the people who will be the future, and a future of freedom will arrive one day, and the people will earn it themselves, and treasure it all the more.

Obviously as we've seen in the past year that younger generation in Iran did want something else. Only our foreign policy wonks didn't expect that. Maybe I should have sent that post to the CIA.

Sunday, July 04, 2010

Borne aloft by words and dreams. Words to die for, that a dream might come true.

234 years ago this very day, modern hyperspectral imaging technology has verified that Thomas Jefferson crossed out a word in an early draft of the Declaration of Independence and replaced it with a different word. The word he crossed out was, 'subjects' and he replaced it with 'citizens.'

And so a revolution was born. Americans were not merely British subjects of the Crown who wanted King George to pay attention to a list of grievances, but instead were ready to leave that union, for better or worse, and strike out into the world on our own.

And the first challenge was to defeat King George's army. After nine long, bloody years (measured from the battles of Lexington and Concord on April 18-19, 1774) to the final treaty ending the war in 1783, freedom was won and independence was assured.

As Americans we often disagree about many things. I welcome conservatives to challenge me on this blog, not because I will often agree with them, but rather because I love living in a country where I can write this blog, they can comment on it, and we are both protected by the same Constitution. We can go back to the partisan battles tomorrow, but for today I am glad to be part of a great nation along with more than 300 other people.
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