The ACLU of Arizona has released thousands of emails it says prove that SB 1070, Arizona’s controversial immigration law, was racially motivated. According to a report by the Arizona Republic, the emails, acquired through a public records request, are to and from the author of SB 1070, recalled Arizona Senate President Russell Pearce (R). The documents may help the ACLU to convince a federal judge to prevent the “show me your papers” section of SB 1070 from going into effect.
Key excerpts from the over 10,000 pages of emails include:
One email, with a the subject line “What’s a racist?” included the following:
The part of SB 1070 that is currently being challenged by the ACLU is section 2(B), the “show me your papers” provision. The Supreme Court struck down three other provisions of the law earlier this summer, but left 2(B) intact, noting that there are potential constitutional problems with the section. The ACLU filed suit in federal court earlier this week contending that 2(B) unlawfully discriminates against Latinos and individuals of Mexican origin.
A recent poll of registered Latino voters found that 66 percent of those polled oppose the Supreme Court’s decision to leave “show me your papers” intact, while only 29 percent approve. Seventy-nine percent of Latino voters are concerned about racial profiling, responding likely to the question “how likely is it that Latinos who are legal immigrants or U.S. citizens will get stopped or questioned by police?” And 70 percent believe that allowing police to check immigration status will not increase public safety.
Our guest blogger is Billy Corriher, associate director of research for Legal Progress.
Sheriff Joe Arpaio, who calls himself ?America?s toughest Sheriff,? faced damning evidence of widespread racial profiling in a class action lawsuit that began yesterday in Phoenix. The suit was brought by several Latino persons who allege that Arpaio?s police force discriminated against them during traffic stops. In his opening statement, the plaintiffs? attorney said, ?A fundamental value of our nation is equal protection under laws, regardless of race or ethnicity.?
Arpaio?s attorney argued that ?race and ethnicity had nothing to do with their traffic stops.? But the testimony of a criminal justice expert detailed who was targeted by Arpaio?s ?immigration sweeps.? The expert said there was a ?much higher likelihood? that deputies would run Hispanic names than non-Hispanic. He also testified that if a deputy ran a Hispanic name, the stop would take two minutes longer. Another recent study found that, in certain parts of Maricopa County, Latino drivers are more than nine times as likely to be stopped by Arpaio?s deputies than non-Latino drivers engaged in the same conduct.
One of the plaintiffs is a Mexican tourist who presented deputies with a valid visa and ID but was nevertheless arrested. The driver of the vehicle, a white person, was not cited for speeding (the deputies? proffered reason for stopping the car).
After this trial concludes, Arpaio is still facing a lawsuit from the U.S. Department of Justice which, in addition to racial profiling, accuses the sheriff?s office of using racial slurs and failing to investigate hundreds of sex crimes. DOJ is exploring the possibility of criminal charges against Arpaio for targeting his political opponents with frivolous arrests. Rather than fixing these systemic problems in his department, Arpaio is engaged in a wild goose chase for evidence of fraud in President Obama?s birth certificate.
Yesterday, Congressman Ed Markey?s (D-MA) Natural Resources Committee staff released a report called ?Our Pain, Their Gain: Mountains Destroyed for Coal Shipped Overseas.? It outlines how coal exports from Appalachia have been growing over the past few years. And, quite surprisingly, how some of the companies in the region export up to 100 percent of the coal that they mine.
As the report details:
Coal exports have nearly doubled since 2009 to 107 million tons last year, now accounting for almost 12 percent of U.S. production. Three out of every four tons that are exported come from the Appalachian region.
Some these exports are from mountaintop removal mines — one of the most destructive types of mining that destroys mountains in order to access the coal underneath. Already, mountaintop removal has flattened an area the size of Delaware and polluted more than 2,000 miles of streams.
As Markey?s report concludes:
While mountaintop removal mines are happy to sell to the highest foreign bidder, it?s the Appalachian people who are paying the steepest price for this coal that America no longer uses.
The use of coal in the United States is on the decline due to the rise of natural gas, a strong activist community, and new public health regulations making it difficult to keep old, dirty power plants open. But coal companies have seen exports as a way to continue growing. In fact, exporting coal is often more lucrative than selling it domestically.
Coal exports in other parts of the country are expected to increase, particularly from Wyoming and Montana?s Powder River Basin. A number of companies like Peabody and Arch Coal are investing heavily in infrastructure like railways and new ports in the Pacific Northwest to ensure that this happens.
But one key difference between coal exports from the West and Appalachia is that the great majority of the coal in the Powder River Basin is owned by American taxpayers. Despite the accumulating evidence that coal mining has major environmental and health impacts, the U.S. Department of the Interior continues to offer major lease sales of our taxpayer-owned coal, knowing that much of could be bound for locations overseas.
Jessica is the Manager of Research and Outreach for the Public Lands Project at the Center for American Progress Action Fund.
A recent report from the Pew Charitable Trusts’ Safe Small-Dollar Loans Research Project showed that Americans who use payday loans pay an average of $520 per year in fees. As CNN Money noted, “Over the course of two weeks — when payday loans typically come due — fees averaged $15 per $100 borrowed, amounting to a 391% annual percentage rate. ”
These predatory loans suck borrowers into a vicious cycle known as “churning,” which is repeat borrowing by customers who manage to pay off their previous loan, but require another due to interest and fees. The poorest Americans are increasingly using payday loans to pay for basic necessities, including food and elctricity.
And some members of Congress want to make it even easier for these loans to proliferate by removing state regulations that protect consumers from some of the payday loan industry’s practices:
A bipartisan team of House lawmakers is pushing new legislation that would allow nonbank lenders, including those typically known as payday lenders, to choose to operate under a federal charter and avoid dealing with a patchwork of often conflicting state laws. [...]
The new federal charter would carry some specific rules, including prohibitions against loan periods shorter than one month ? longer than the two-week period of a traditional payday loan. Firms also couldn’t make loans they don’t believe the consumer can repay or hit consumers with fees for repaying early. But consumer advocates say none of these rules would prevent lenders from engaging in what they see as harmful lending practices such as charging triple-digit interest rates.
The legislation, for instance, would bar regulators from capping the interest rate or fees that nonbank lenders could charge for loans made under the federal charter, which would allow these lenders to evade state usury laws.
Big banks wanted very much the same thing during the debate over the Dodd-Frank financial reform law, asking for state consumer protection laws to be preempted by national regulations. Major banks, including Wells Fargo and Bank of America, finance billions of dollars worth of payday lending.
Payday lenders have been throwing an increasing amount of money at Congress in recent years. In this instance, lawmakers seem to be giving the industry exactly what it wants.
Such weapons were “unlawful for a person to manufacture, transfer, or possess” under section (a)(v)(i). Though there were several loopholes in the Violent Crime Control Act that allowed gun manufacturers to legally produce slightly modified AR-15s, a new version of the bill proposed in 2008 closed them. The 1994 Act contained a sunset provision that caused it to automatically expire 10 years after passage, and it was not renewed in 2004, meaning that there are no federal restrictions on the ownership of AR-15s and similar weapons. Both Congressman Ed Perlmutter (who represents Aurora, the site of the shooting) and President Obama proposed a new assault weapons ban during their campaigns.
Today, New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg called on the President and Governor Romney to address gun violence, saying “maybe it?s time that the two people who want to be President of the United States stand up and tell us what they are going to do about it, because this is obviously a problem across the country.”
The shooter gets the top slot, obviously. But this ...
Seriously, whoever wrote this, and their stupid celebrity boutique, can rot in hell.
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While a huge chunk of the country thought that light-hearted tribute from President Obama to the Rev. Al Green was kind of fun, we find out via Krugman that the ".01 percent" were not amused.
[...] Suzy Welch, former editor in chief of the Harvard Business Review, and wife of Jack Welch, former CEO of General Electric [...] suggested that Mr Obama?s personal style and choice of musical material define him as a member of a ?different America?. I would imagine this is why Mr Romney?s campaign included the snippet of Mr Obama singing ?Let?s Stay Together? at the Apollo Theater in Harlem. They hoped it would convey his otherness.He's so foreign and un-American! Just like Lay's potato chips and (as Krugman points out) Red Lobster. The elite's version of birtherism. "He listens to that music."
?It?s the difference between the songs that they?re singing,? Mrs Welch said. ?Mitt Romney didn?t exactly do a beautiful job on that song, but think about what he?s singing, OK? I mean it?s that patriotic song and he goes all the way through it. Then you?ve got the very cool Barack Obama singing Al Green. That is the two different Americas. Isn?t it??
They really aren't living in the same America, but I don't think they quite realize who is out of touch with the mainstream.
When an event like the mass shooting in Colorado happens, it's a fair bet that people on every side will take the opportunity to say, "See? This just reinforces what we've been telling you all along." But that's easier for some than others. I looked around some conservative web sites today to see what their reaction was, and much of it ran to this: Awful liberals are going to use this to push their anti-gun agenda, and they should be ashamed of themselves (see here or here). But is there really anything wrong with taking the events that occur in our country, even horrible ones, and making the connections to our policy and political choices? Isn't that what people who write about politics are supposed to do?
Obviously, making those connections can be done in ways that are crass and inappropriate. But so can a discussion about anything. You can say we should talk about something else out of respect for the victims and their families, but the idea that the families' grief might be lessened one iota if we refrained from discussing gun laws for a week or two is beyond ridiculous.
So here goes. This horrifying event demonstrates, as though we needed any demonstration, how removed from reality so many gun advocates are. When they push laws to allow gun owners to take their weapons anywhere and everywhere, they often paint a picture of a nation of skilled crime-stoppers, ready at a moment's notice to cut down that psychopath before he has a chance to draw his weapon. But this is an absurd fantasy. Colorado is a state with lots and lots of gun owners, and it has a concealed-carry law that allows you to get a permit without too much trouble. We don't know if anyone else in the theater had a gun on them, but even if they had, it probably wouldn't have mattered. Lots of gun owners imagine themselves to be some kind of Jack Bauer figure, who will see an event play out in slow motion while he calmly draws his weapon and delivers one perfectly aimed shot to save all the civilians. But that's not how things work in real life. A mass shooting like this one is chaos. Things don't happen in slow motion, and a few hours at the shooting range don't turn you into Jack Bauer.
I wish I could say "This would never have happened if we had passed Law X." But extremist Republicans and cowardly Democrats have guaranteed that our nation is and will continue for the foreseeable future to be awash in guns, about one for every man, woman, and child in the country. They're easy to get and easy to amass. And if you're angry or mentally ill or plenty of both, you won't have much trouble putting together the arsenal that will enable you to vent your rage in the most spectacular and destructive way imaginable.
Around 30,000 Americans are killed with guns every year (the figure includes murders, suicides, and accidental deaths). Our political system has, in its wisdom, decided that that's an acceptable price to pay for the "freedom" that isn't enjoyed by people in England or France or Japan, where this kind of mass shooting is unknown. When it happens here?as it did last year and the year before that, and as it will next year and the year after that?nobody should act surprised.
HONORING THE VICTIMS OF THE TRAGEDY IN AURORA, COLORADOA PROCLAMATION
- - - - - - -
BY THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
As a mark of respect for the victims of the senseless
acts of violence perpetrated on July 20, 2012, in Aurora, Colorado, by the authority vested in me
as President of the United States by the Constitution and the laws of the
United States of America, I hereby order that the flag of the
United States shall be flown at half-staff at the White House
and upon all public buildings and grounds, at all military posts
and naval stations, and on all naval vessels of the Federal
Government in the District of Columbia and throughout the
United States and its Territories and possessions until sunset, July 25, 2012. I also direct that
the flag shall be flown
at half-staff for the same length of time at all United States
embassies, legations, consular offices, and other facilities abroad, including all military
facilities and naval vessels and stations.
IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this twentieth day of July, in the year of our Lord
two thousand twelve, and of the Independence of the
United States of America the two hundred and thirty-seventh.