Not long after Rick Perry became Governor of Texas, according to an Associated Press release on May 12, 2001 he signed the James Byrd Hate Crimes Act (HB 587) named for a black man in Jasper, Texas, who was dragged to death behind a pickup in 1998. In a bill-signing ceremony on May 11, 2001 Perry said: As the Governor of our diverse state, in all matters it is my desire to seek common ground for the common good. In the end, we are all Texans and we must be united as we walk together into the future. That’s why today I have signed House Bill 587 into law. Texas has always been a tough-on-crime state. With my signature today, Texas now has stronger criminal penalties against crime motivated by hate. President Obama signed a similar law, and the Texas statute signed by Perry does effectively establish a special “protected class” status including enhanced sentencing for crimes allegedly motivated by bias against it.
A federal district judge has blocked Alabama’s tough new immigration law from going into effect and says she will decide whether it is constitutional. Sharon Lovelace Blackburn, chief judge for the Northern District of Alabama (a post for which she was nominated by the elder President Bush), acted on behalf of a coalition of Hispanic activists and leftist lawyers from the American Civil Liberties Union, the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), the Obama administration, and various leftist churches. The Montgomery Advertiser reported that Blackburn's ruling will last in until September 29 "or until she issues an order on the specific injunction requests, whichever comes first. That order would come no later than Sept. 28." The law was scheduled to go into effect on September 1.
In its annual Index of Economic Freedom, the joint effort by the Heritage Foundation and the Wall Street Journal, Canada ranks 6th among the 179 countries of the world, ahead of the United States (9th), the United Kingdom (16th), Japan (20th) and Germany (23rd). Considering ten components of economic freedom (among them: Business Freedom, Fiscal Freedom and Government Spending), the report ranks countries on the degree to which “individuals are free to work, produce, consume and invest in any way they please, with that freedom both protected by the state and unconstrained by the state.” The latest report from the Canadian Labour Force Survey illustrates the degree to which Canadians have benefited from the rebound from the global recession by exercising their freedom to work, with employment increasing by 215,000 from July, 2010 and 675,000 since the bottom of the recession in July, 2009. In a workforce of 17 million, this represents an improvement of 4 percent at a time when employment in the United States has remained flat over that same period. Unemployment in Canada is 7.2%, a full two percentage points lower than in the United States.
Many in the media are saying how unusual it is for our economy to be so sluggish for so long, after we have officially emerged from a recession. In a sense, they are right. But, in another sense, they are profoundly wrong. The American economy usually rebounds a lot faster than it is doing today. After a recession passes, consumers usually increase their spending. And when businesses see demand picking up, they usually start hiring workers to produce the additional output required to meet that demand. Some very sharp downturns in the American economy, such as in the early 1920s, were followed quickly by bouncing back to normal levels or beyond. The government did nothing — and it worked.
Television watchdog groups are warning that the line up of prime-time shows the major networks are set to trot out this fall are trashier than ever, with over-sexualized content the increasing norm. Matt Philbin of the Culture and Media Institute (CMI) told CBN News: “It’s clear that Hollywood is out of ideas when it comes to sit-coms and prime-time dramas. Everything now has to focus on sex.” Philbin noted that there are several new shows “where entire plots depend on characters having had hook-ups, characters having bad relationships and going out to find rebound sex.” Analyzing a handful of the network’s raunchiest offerings, CMI’s Erin Brown noted that the upcoming prime-time season will include shows “about immature bachelors hooking up before they grow up, the 1960s’ playboy bunnies, and navigating the pitfalls of a one-night-stand with your coworker….” Among the programs Brown highlighted in her analysis of the fall TV lineup:
Overall U.S. unemployment is 9.1 percent. For white adults, it's 8 percent, and for white teens, 23 percent. Black adult unemployment stands at 17 percent, and for black teens, it's 40 percent, more than 50 percent in some cities, for example, Washington. Chapter 3 of Race and Economics, my most recent book, starts out, "Some might find it puzzling that during times of gross racial discrimination, black unemployment was lower and blacks were more active in the labor force than they are today." Up until the late 1950s, the labor force participation rate of black teens and adults was equal to or greater than their white counterparts. In fact, in 1910, 71 percent of black males older than 9 were employed, compared with 51 percent for whites. As early as 1890, the duration of unemployment among blacks was shorter than it was among whites, whereas today unemployment is both higher and longer-lasting among blacks than among whites. How might one explain yesteryear's lower black unemployment and greater labor force participation?
New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg has decided there will be no clergy presence at the upcoming ceremony observing the tenth anniversary of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks at the World Trade Center. “City Hall officials, who are coordinating the ceremony, confirmed that spiritual leaders will not participate this year — just as has been the case during past events marking the anniversary,” reported the Wall Street Journal. “The mayor has said he wants the upcoming event to strike a similar tone as previous ceremonies.” Evelyn Erskine, a spokeswoman for the Mayor, told CNN that the ceremony “was designed in coordination with 9-11 families with a mixture of readings that are spiritual, historical, and personal in nature.” She added that “rather than have disagreements over which religious leaders participate, we would like to keep the focus of our commemoration ceremony on the family members of those who died.”  
In June 2009, President Obama addressed the American Medical Association to promote his national healthcare bill, as he declared a seemingly forthright promise to the American people: "No matter how we reform health care, we will keep this promise to the American people. If you like your doctor, you will be able to keep your doctor, period. If you like your health care plan, you’ll be able to keep your health care plan, period. No one will take it away, no matter what," he vowed. But as the law develops and stipulations of its contents unfold, ObamaCare opponents are challenging the President’s June 2009 declaration. Indeed, certain provisions in the law will stoke the very fears individuals with employer-based health insurance hold: they will lose their existing health plan and be dumped into the federal exchanges — an insurance "marketplace" subsidized by the federal government.
As Rick Perry preaches his down home, “Don’t mess with Texas” version of the neo-con gospel (see his latest comment regarding “taking the fight to the enemy”), he is coming under increased scrutiny not just of his record (and there is plenty there to scrutinize), but of his gravitas. Along those lines, Politico asked, “Is Rick Perry Dumb?”   There is something about Rick Perry and the manner in which he attempts to exude populism while embracing one after the other of the neo-con, Republican establishment articles of faith that make Politico’s question not nearly as daft as it may at first sound.   The article in Politico opens with a very quick survey of Governor Perry’s past problems with being regarded as a deep thinker:
Elements of Al Qaeda and other Islamic extremist groups were known to be key players in the NATO-backed uprising in Libya from the beginning, but now it appears that prominent Jihadists and terrorists are practically leading the revolution with Western support. One terror leader in particular, Abdelhakim Belhaj, made headlines around the world over the weekend after it emerged that he was appointed the chief of Tripoli’s rebel Military Council. Prior to leading rebel forces against Gaddafi’s regime, Belhaj was the founder and leader of the notorious Libyan Islamic Fighting Group (LIFG). Eventually the terror “Emir,” as he has been called, was arrested and tortured as an American prisoner in the terror war. In 2004, according to reports, he was transferred to the Gaddafi regime — then a U.S. terror-war ally.  
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