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.
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:
Just a week ago this Monday, the Cherokee Nation’s Supreme Court ruled that the tribe may revoke the citizenship rights of black members. The case stemmed from a 2007 vote in which the Nation amended its constitution to allow the expulsion of the descendants of Cherokee-held slaves; this inspired a lawsuit by the “Freedmen,” as the black Cherokee are known. A district court found in favor of the Freedmen, but the Supreme Court overturned that ruling, arguing that the Cherokee alone have a right to determine who is and is not a fellow tribesman. The result is that these erstwhile Cherokees, approximately 3,000 strong, will now be denied benefits that inclusion in the tribe affords, such as free healthcare and education, and voting and housing rights.
The Freedman had enjoyed Cherokee citizenship status ever since it was granted through a treaty with the U.S. government after the War Between the States.
Former Secretary of State Colin Powell took sharp issue Sunday with what he called "cheap shots" at him and other officials in the Bush administration by Dick Cheney in the former Vice President's memoir, In My Time, scheduled to be released this week. In an interview on CBS's Face the Nation.
Powell told host Bob Schieffer that if certain "White House operatives" and members of the Vice President's staff had been more forthcoming, the appointment of a special prosecutor to investigate who leaked the identity of CIA agent Valerie Plame would not have been necessary and the investigation would have been shortened by more than two years. Powell made that comment while responding to Cheney's statement in his book that Powell preferred to express his doubts and differences with administration policy to others, rather than directly to the President.
"It was as though he thought the proper way to express his views was by criticizing administration policy to people outside the government," Cheney wrote about the former head of the State Department.
The implications in the New York Times’ article about Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) were clear even in the title: “A Businessman in Congress Helps His District and Himself” — Issa was using his position as chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform committee to enrich himself.
In the article, Eric Lichtblau implied that even the close proximity of his congressional office and his business office “on the third floor of a gleaming office building overlooking a golf course” in San Diego, signaled a highly suspect intermeshing of corporate and political interests. Lichtblau said that as Issa’s personal fortune has grown during his years in Congress (he was first elected in 2001), “so too has the overlap between his private and business lives, with at least some of the congressman’s government actions helping to make a rich man even richer and raising the potential for conflicts.”
An Illinois judge has ruled that the state can end its relationship with Catholic adoption groups because of their refusal to place children with homosexual couples. Reuters News reported that charities connected with the Catholic dioceses of Springfield, Peoria, and Joliet had filed a lawsuit in June 2011 “to prevent Illinois from canceling their contracts to provide child services shortly after a state law took effect legalizing same-sex civil unions and after the Attorney General opened a probe into the groups’ policies.”
Reuters reported that over the past several decades, the Catholic adoption and foster care groups “have been part of a network of private child welfare agencies paid by the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services [DCFS] to help find foster and adoptive homes for children in the state in need of temporary or permanent care.”
An open letter:
Dear Michael Medved: On August 25, you had Jeffrey Lord on your nationally syndicated talk show. Lord had written an essay for The American Spectator in which he articulated several criticisms of Texas Congressman and Republican presidential candidate Ron Paul. Anyone who has ever listened to your show for any given length of time knows full well that you had no intention of taking Lord to task for his comments. Quite the contrary, as expected, your interview with this former Reagan staffer proved to be but one more opportunity to feed your apparent obsession with ruining Paul’s reputation among the ever growing number of voters who are gravitating toward him.
It is interesting, though, that for however misinformed and, thus, uncharitable, Lord’s criticisms of Paul were, they weren’t unqualified. In addition to conceding Ron Paul’s soundness of character, he acknowledged as well the single-handedness with which he has altered the national dialogue by reshaping the dialogue within the GOP: in 2008, Paul was well ahead of the curve when it came to the Federal Reserve and spending generally. For Paul’s contributions to altering the character of the GOP, Lord confesses to being grateful.
The owners of a bed and breakfast in Vermont are being sued by a lesbian couple and the ACLU for refusing to host the couple’s “wedding” reception at their facility. As reported by CNSNews.com, the lesbian couple, Kate Baker and Ming Linsley, plan to “marry” this autumn in Vermont, one of the handful of states that have legalized same-sex marriage. Nearly a year ago Ming’s mother, Channie Peters, contacted the Wildflower Inn about scheduling the couple’s reception there. But according to the ACLU, when she explained that the couple would consist of “two brides,” she received a subsequent e-mail from a planner at the inn, explaining: “After our conversation, I checked in with my innkeepers and unfortunately due to their personal feelings, they do not host gay receptions at our facility.” In July the ACLU took the case to the Vermont Superior Court, arguing that the inn’s policy excluding homosexuals violates the state’s human rights law which prohibits discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation. Declared the ACLU: “This case is about discrimination, pure and simple. When a business that is open to the public refuses to serve two people and their guests solely because the two people are a same sex couple, it is no different than restaurants not serving individuals because they were black, or other businesses keeping out women or Jews. It is discrimination and it is illegal.”
Speaking to reporters at a breakfast sponsored by the Christian Science Monitor, AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka made it clear that his union is backing off from supporting President Obama and the Democrats in the 2012 elections and is instead going to funnel union funds into attempts to influence state outcomes.
We’re going to use a lot of our money to build structures that work for working people. You’re going to see us give less money to build structures for others, and more of our money will be used to build our own structure….
Let’s assume we spent $100 in the last election. The day after Election Day, we were no stronger than we were the day before. If we had spent that [$100] on creating a structure for working people that would be there year round, then we would be stronger.