Archive for July, 2009
Posted by Greg on July 30, 2009
Posted by Greg on July 27, 2009
Great piece in Reason.
The conversation we ought to be having in response to the July 16 incident and its heated aftermath isn’t about race, it’s about police arrest powers, and the right to criticize armed agents of the government.
By any account of what happened—Gates’, Crowleys’, or some version in between—Gates should never have been arrested. “Contempt of cop,” as it’s sometimes called, isn’t a crime. Or at least it shouldn’t be. It may be impolite, but mouthing off to police is protected speech, all the more so if your anger and insults are related to a perceived violation of your rights. The “disorderly conduct” charge for which Gates was arrested was intended to prevent riots, not to prevent cops from enduring insults. Crowley is owed an apology for being portrayed as a racist, but he ought to be disciplined for making a wrongful arrest.
He won’t be, of course. And that’s ultimately the scandal that will endure long after the political furor dies down. The power to forcibly detain a citizen is an extraordinary one. It’s taken far too lightly, and is too often abused. And that abuse certainly occurs against black people, but not only against black people. American cops seem to have increasingly little tolerance for people who talk back, even merely to inquire about their rights.
Posted by Greg on July 25, 2009
Posted by Greg on July 24, 2009
Posted by Greg on July 21, 2009
Imagine that. Children who aren’t taught about safe sex have unsafe sex. Who’d have guessed that might happen.
Teenage pregnancies and syphilis have risen sharply among a generation of American school girls who were urged to avoid sex before marriage under George Bush’s evangelically-driven education policy, according to a new report by the US’s major public health body.
In a report that will surprise few of Bush’s critics on the issue, the Centres for Disease Control says years of falling rates of teenage pregnancies and sexually transmitted disease infections under previous administrations were reversed or stalled in the Bush years. According to the CDC, birth rates among teenagers aged 15 or older had been in decline since 1991 but are up sharply in more than half of American states since 2005. The study also revealed that the number of teenage females with syphilis has risen by nearly half after a significant decrease while a two-decade fall in the gonorrhea infection rate is being reversed. The number of Aids cases in adolescent boys has nearly doubled.
The CDC says that southern states, where there is often the greatest emphasis on abstinence and religion, tend to have the highest rates of teenage pregnancy and STDs.
Hat tip to John Cole who observes, “At least the southern states get to lead the nation in something.”
Posted by Greg on July 20, 2009
Posted by Greg on July 17, 2009
Click here to send Andrew to Antarctica. Register and vote!
Posted by Greg on July 10, 2009
Posted by Greg on July 10, 2009
Musings from Sean, at Hiding in the Backwaters:
The White House on Obama’s promise to lift the ban on needle exchange programs:
We have not removed the ban in our budget proposal because we want to work with Congress and the American public to build support for this change.”
And from America Blog:
- The candidate promised to lift the ban.
- The White House Web site reaffirmed the president’s commitment to lifting the ban.
- The White House Web site no longer reaffirms his commitment to lifting the ban.
- The president now refuses to lift the ban.
- The president actually affirmatively makes things worse by administratively supporting defending the ban.
- The spokesman reiterates the president’s support for lifting the ban, some day, once Congress gets around to it.
Posted by Greg on July 8, 2009
Tim F at Balloon Juice nails it on why the Obama approach to fixing the civil rights abuses of the war formerly called against terror is so troublesome.
The President’s oath of office obligates him to fully respect the Constitution of the United States (or at least make a believable show of doing so, which most Presidents treat as the same thing). Disrespecting that oath represents a fundamental and often criminal failure by the President to carry out his duties.
George Bush left the next administration with a clever Sophie’s Choice in that the only way to stop pissing all over the U.S. Constitution is to upset the mother of all apple carts. Necessary steps would include, at a minimum, releasing the prisoners whom we can’t prosecute because we tortured them and then prosecuting the torturers.
Obama doesn’t like upsetting apple carts.
That nail the problem with Obama’s approach on a lot of things. He doesn’t like upsetting apple carts. But sometimes doing the right thing is disruptive.
Posted by Greg on July 8, 2009
Maddow calls out Palin’s latest stunt.
Posted by Greg on July 1, 2009
from Sean at Hiding In the Backwaters
When I first heard about the raid on the Rainbow lounge I knew something was fishy. However, these comments from the Ft. Worth chief of police are unreal.
You’re touched and advanced in certain ways by people inside the bar, that’s offensive. I’m happy with the restraint used when they were contacted like that.”
OK. For starters, you call putting a man in a hospital with a brain injury “restraint?” Are you kidding me?
I’m not buying this “he groped me” bullshit. No one in his right mind is going to grope a cop checking IDs at a bar. So, either the cops are lying through their teeth or the guy was so completely inebriated he wasn’t in his right mind. Let’s assume just for a moment the latter was the case. How does that give anyone—much less cops who should be held to a higher standard as professionals—the right to assault the perpetrator?
This kind of behavior is indefensible. Period. The fact that some folk are still peddling the supposition that the unwelcome advances of a gay man are somehow worse than the unwelcome advances of a straight man and thus justify any retaliatory response not only shows where we have come from, but also how far we still have to go.