Adam Serwer

Fallout.

A lesson on Islamic Law for Newt Gingrich . Latino GOP gubernatorial candidate in Nevada is cool with SB 1070 cuz his kids "look white." I'm sure this won't mess them up at all. Vincent Gray cares about process. Not clear what else he cares about. This is the most tone deaf I've ever heard the president sound.

Glenn Beck And Surveillance.

OK, Glenn Beck is being his usual paranoid self here, but he has a point : Let's say my company, Mercury, where we have internet records for all of our business. We also have all of our emails and everything else. Let's just say that the government decides that I'm a threat to the United States and that there's some sort of, you know, well, Glenn Beck has been communicating with a gentleman in Canada. And this gentleman in Canada has ties to a terrorist organization. Remember, they get to define a terrorist organization. Here, let me use a better one. An NRA member uses their gun to shoot something. The United States government decides that they're going to make the NRA a terrorist organization. Don't think they wouldn't do it. They make the NRA a terrorist organization. Now, anybody who has contributed to the NRA could be, in theory, scooped up and held indefinitely without a trial or a warrant. We already have that one going. They're already arguing for these things right now. It's...

Graham Targets Birthright Citizenship.

Sen. Lindsey Graham abandoned the immigration plan he helped write in favor of the climate bill he also helped write and later abandoned. But that doesn't mean he's not interested in working on immigration issues; it's just that his priority now is repealing the 14th Amendment that grants citizenship to everyone born on American soil: “I may introduce a constitutional amendment that changes the rules if you have a child here,” Graham said during an interview with Fox News’ Greta Van Susteren . “Birthright citizenship I think is a mistake, that we should change our Constitution and say if you come here illegally and you have a child, that child's automatically not a citizen.” Asked how intent Graham is on introducing the amendment, the South Carolina Republican responded: “I got to.” “People come here to have babies,” he said. “They come here to drop a child. It's called "drop and leave." To have a child in America, they cross the border, they go to the emergency room, have a child,...

FOX's Black Viewership: 1.38%.

Are you surprised ? The New York Times ’ Brian Stelter tweeted that, according to Nielsen Media Research, Fox News has averaged just 29,000 black viewers in primetime so far this television season (9/09-7/10). That represents just 1.38% of its 2.102 million total viewer audience. CNN and MSNBC, meanwhile, both have far more black viewers, both in absolute terms and as a proportion of their overall audiences. The most charitable interpretation of this is that FOX is an extremely partisan network, and black people tend to be the Democratic Party's most loyal constituency. The less charitable interpretation is that black people don't want to watch a network where the only time they see people who look like them on the screen is when FOX is discussing racist , election-stealing idiots who can't wait to start a race war so they can get back at white people . Maybe black people don't want to watch a network where people are surprised at their ability to eat at a public restaurant without...

Administration Wants To Expand Reach Of National Security Letters.

Civil libertarians have been trying to add more restrictions to the FBI's National Security Letters since their use exploded after the attacks of September 11th. NSLs, which allow the government to obtain private records from commercial and financial institutions without a warrant as long as they deem them "relevant" to an investigation -- with a gag order that stops companies from mentioning they've received them for good measure. Internal Justice Department reports have found NSLs are subject to widespread abuse. Last year, Sen. Russ Feingold along with some Democrats in the House tried to rein in NSLs by requiring that the FBI show the information is somehow relevant to terrorism or espionage, but they were stymied by members of their own party. Today, The Washington Post reports that the Obama administration wants Congress to expand the type of data that can be gained through the use of National Security Letters: The administration wants to add just four words -- "electronic...

Fallout.

WookieeLeaks. Mark Halperin says what few dare to say -- "In many quarters of the old media, there is concern about not appearing liberally biased, so stories emanating from the right are given more weight and less scrutiny." It ain't all about the filibuster . There's gonna be a new Avatar animated series. Please don't let M. Night Shymalan direct the adaptation.

Civil Libertarians Win A Few.

For once, it's a happy day for civil libertarians. In Arizona, Judge Susan R. Bolton blocked many of the offending parts of Arizona's SB 1070 immigration law from going into effect today, including Section 2B, Section 3, and Section 5. The Fair Sentencing Act, which lowers the crack/powder cocaine disparity from 100:1 to 18:1, effectively making the law one-fifth as racist as it used to be, passed the House and is headed to the president's desk. That's coming on the heels of the Senate blocking the Democratic remedy to the Citizen's United decision, the DISCLOSE Act, which -- though it may surprise conservatives -- the ACLU opposed. On SB 1070 Section 2B is the Section that directs law-enforcement officers to demand someone's immigration status if there is "reasonable suspicion" that the person is in the country illegally. This is what liberals have derisively referred to as the "papers please" section of the law. Even though it was later updated to prohibit racial profiling, in...

Christian Accomplices To Creeping Sharia.

I'll have more on Newt Gingrich's mainstreaming of Islamophobia later, but for now I want to point out one example of mangled context that Matt Duss left out of his thorough response : Last month, police in Dearborn, Mich., which has a large Muslim population, arrested Christian missionaries for handing out copies of the Gospel of St. John on charges of “disturbing the peace.” They were doing so on a public street outside an Arab festival in a way that is completely permissible by law, but, of course, forbidden by sharia’s rules on proselytizing. This is a clear case of freedom of speech and the exercise of religious freedom being sacrificed in deference to sharia’s intolerance against the preaching of religions other than Islam. So now Dearborn cops are enforcing Sharia? Sounds frightening. Except ... it wasn't Muslims who called the police: Police said they received a complaint from a Christian volunteer working at the festival June 18 who said members of Acts 17 Apologetics were...

Louis C.K. On White Privilege.

Louis C.K. on white privilege and time travel: It’s not so much that what he says about white people “paying for this” someday is true; it’s that that fear animates a larger part of American racial politics. The time traveling thing, however, is completely accurate -- you don’t want to know what happens when you accidentally set the flux capacitor to 1860.

The Bagram Loophole.

Lyle Denniston reports that attorneys for three non-Afghan detainees at Bagram who were captured in third countries and are looking to assert habeas rights in U.S. courts are filing a new suit. Despite the fact that the Boumediene case grants habeas rights to detainees held at Guantanamo Bay, a few months ago, the D.C. Circuit ruled that because Bagram was located in an ongoing theater of war and is not located on a place of "de-facto U.S. sovereignty" like the naval base at Guantanamo Bay, Boumediene didn't apply. There was a third condition, though -- the fact that it wasn't clear that the government deliberately transferred those detainees to Bagram to avoid the watchful eye of the courts. As I reported at the time, the D.C. Circuit Court hinted in their ruling that had that been the case, they would have to reconsider their decision. They didn't say that would automatically grant non-Afghan detainees captured outside Afghanistan habeas rights if transferred to Bagram, but they did...

Fallout.

Newt Gingrich helps outline the Mosque Exclusion Zone. Mahmoud Ahmadinejad vs. Paul the " clairvoyant " octopus. If you can't trust a man with charity money you can't trust him with your vote . Abigail Thernstrom vs. Andy McCarthy on the NBPP Case.

Wikileaks Revelations.

I thought I had hedged more in my original post on the Wikileaks Afghanistan documents about there being nothing new in them yet -- but I hadn't. So let me eat my words and point out that several people are finding interesting stuff in there, including Spencer Ackerman , who reports on Turkish Militants attacking American troops in 2007: At Forward Operating Base Bermel in the eastern part of Paktika Province, soldiers reported being scoped out and progressively fired upon with rockets and small arms fire by Turkish militants from the spring to the fall of 2007, the documents show. Troops at the remote outpost responded with artillery and airstrikes, even calling in Predator and Reaper drones to go after the militants. Reports of communications intercepts indicate that the Turkish fighters were supported by the al-Qaeda-aligned Haqqani network and may have operated out of militant safe havens in Pakistan. Before people jump to the idea that this supports the "Turkey turning away from...

The New Islamophobia.

There's been some shock over this statement from Tennessee’s lieutenant governor, Ron Ramsey , who is currently running for the GOP nomination in the governor's race: You could even argue whether being a Muslim is actually a religion or is it a nationality, way of life or cult, whatever you want to call it. If you're surprised by this remark, it's because you're not reading what they're reading. The right-wing media is full of sentiments like this, bigoted remarks you simply could not say about any other religion without serious social consequences. Just take this yesterday, from Andy McCarthy : The Ground Zero mosque project is not about religious tolerance. We permit thousands of mosques in our country, and Islam is not a religion. Islam is an ideology that has some spiritual elements, but strives for authoritarian control of every aspect of human life -- social, political, and economic. McCarthy then links to a screed purporting to link Imam Faisal Rauf , whose organization is...

Big Government? The Galactic Republic?

Jesse Walker : Although the Jedis did assist the Rebel Alliance in overthrowing a tyrannical emperor, it's clear that the Knights were originally set up to enforce the Galactic Senate's big government agenda. Dan Drezner responds : I must say, I find Jesse's lack of faith disturbing. Based on the Star Wars films, we know very little about the Galactic Senate's pre-Phantom Menace agenda, but we do know that Chancellor Valorum is a pretty weak leader. We also know Palpatine's designs. Upon becoming chancellor, he vows to put down the separatists, raises a Grand Army of the Republic, stays in power well beyond the expected number of years/terms, and finally reorganizes the Republic into the First Galactic Empire. That's as big of a big government agenda as you're going to get. In sticking to a small government/good big government/bad dichotomy, Drezner and Walker are missing the fact that the real problem with the Galactic Republic was the type of government. Sure, it's fair to say that...

Defining Lynching Down, Ctd.

Jeffery Lord is desperate to keep embarrassing both himself and The American Spectator : Random House Webster's College Dictionary defines lynching as: "to put to death, esp. hanging by mob action and without legal authority." I have read the Court's decision. Three people are not a "mob." A mob is defined as a "large crowd." So there was no "mob action" because there was no mob. Second, the Supreme Court specifically said the Sheriff and his deputy and a local policeman acted "under color of law." Which means they had legal authority. So to say that Bobby Hall was lynched is, factually, according to the Supreme Court and, if you prefer, Webster's, not true. No mob. Therefore no "mob action." And the three had "legal authority." So my new friend Radley "Boo" Balko over at Reason pounced ... and got it wrong instantly. The 1922 Dyer anti-lynching bill explicitly defines mob as "an assemblage composed of three or more persons," so the three police officers who beat Robert Hall to death...

Pages