Adam Serwer

Fallout.

Lindsey Lohan cites the Cato Institute's work on U.S. sentencing policy. Jury shake-ups in the trial of Oscar Grant 's killer. A rights group for gay and lesbian service members is concerned that participating in the study the Department of Defense says it must perform before ending "don't ask, don't tell" could lead to discharges. Judges with shares in oil companies should be a reminder of how important it is that the courts be a level playing field for people who don't have deep pockets. Out of these 10 superhero movie suggestions , I think Birds of Prey has the most potential. A Luke Cage movie is actually already in the works starring Tyrese Gibson and directed by John Singleton . I didn't make that up .

Sharia Is Everywhere.

Stephanie Mercimer tries to parse Andy McCarthy 's latest attack on Elena Kagan, which is titled: Hmmm ... Is it just me or does this sound familiar ? I just can't quite ... Oh. It's almost as though when McCarthy finds someone he doesn't like, he finds a way to draw a connection between them and Sharia. McCarthy's column is mostly a rehashing of Frank Gaffney 's conclusion that the Islamic Finance Project at Harvard Law is a stalking horse for implementing Taliban-style law in the U.S. Islamic Finance is a growing sector of the global financial system; it's basically a way for Muslims to participate in the finance industry while observing religious prohibitions against certain kinds of financial practices. It's a perfectly reputable field of study for a law school to offer, especially if you're interested in working for a company that is based or does business in the Muslim world. Despite some early interest from Sen. Jeff Sessions , Republican senators at some point realized that...

Dept. Of "Irrefutable Evidence."

I think my favorite conservative reaction to the New Black Panther Party case so far has come from John Hinderaker at Powerline, who decries " Eric Holder 's racist enforcement policies." It is rather comical that the same media outlets who enthusiastically propagated the false claim that the Bush administration had politicized DOJ studiously avert their eyes when confronted with irrefutable evidence of the real thing. Irrefutable evidence! Like say, a long internal Justice Department report that concluded that former Civil Rights Division head Bradley Schlozman "violated civil service laws and made false statements about his activities to Congress," or the one that found Bush-era Justice Department appointees Monica Goodling , Kyle Sampson , and Jan Williams "inappropriately considered political and ideological affiliations" in making hiring and assignment decisions? I mean, I suppose internal DoJ reports aren't as "irrefutable" as unsubstantiated claims of racism made by former...

Reverse Racism.

The term "reverse racism" has always bothered me, but until recently I never realized why. I suppose there are some people in academia who still think that "black people can't be racist," because black people don't have the political or social power to implement their prejudice as policy, but these people are obviously a minority. As I've been thinking about the New Black Panther Party voter-intimidation case, and reading through the conservative complaints, it occurred to me why so many people use the term "reverse racism" rather than "racism" to refer to racial prejudice expressed by blacks toward whites. It's because "reverse racism" offers a clear distinction between racial prejudice against nonwhites, which doesn't matter, and racial prejudice against whites, which does. I'm sure I'm not the first person to figure this out, but I just thought it was worth mentioning.

Elena Kagan Gets A Vital Endorsement.

In 1989, Elena Kagan filed an amicus brief arguing that 2 Live Crew's album, As Nasty As They Wanna Be , which had been banned by a federal judge because of its sexual content, wasn't obscene in part because no one could possibly be aroused by it. " Nasty does not physically excite anyone who hears it," Kagan wrote , "much less arouse a shameful and morbid sexual response." A higher court ultimately overturned the ban. Recently, 2 Live Crew Frontman Luther Campbell gave Kagan his endorsement : She is not going to let any person or group tell her what is right or wrong. Kagan will judge each case based on the law of the land. She has demonstrated she can protect the Constitution by doing the fine work she did to protect 2 Live Crew's freedom of speech. How many Republican votes is this worth? All of them?

Limbaugh's "Payback."

Rush Limbaugh , arguing that the Obama administration is prolonging the recession as "payback" against white people: He said somebody else said, 'This is payback,' meaning, 'All right, look. We don't care if it's the New Black Panthers or whoever it is. Black people in this country have never, ever had a fair shake. This is payback. O.J. Simpson was payback. How does it feel?' That word 'payback' is not mine, [but] it is exactly how I think Obama looks at the country: It's payback time. ... There's no question that payback is what this administration is all about, presiding over the decline of the United States of America, and doing so happily." Limbaugh defenders would bristle at the notion that this sort of comment implies racism on Limbaugh's part, but let's set aside the term for a moment. Limbaugh's world is filled with angry black people, who despite already having everything handed to them, spend their time looking for "payback" against whites in the form of violence or coerced...

The Obama Administration's First Successful Military Commission.

Guantanamo Bay detainee Ibrahim Ahmed Mahmoud al-Qosi , Osama bin Laden 's former chef, has given the Obama administration its first conviction by military commission, pleading guilty to providing material support for terrorism. As Spencer Ackerman reports , al-Qosi wasn't the most fearsome character: But the former al-Qaeda chef wasn’t exactly cooking up anthrax in his kitchen. “During questioning under oath, al Qosi admitted that while he provided logistical support,” a Defense Department announcement of the plea reads. “He knew al Qaeda engaged in acts of terrorism. He admitted that he knew that al-Qaeda was and is recognized around the world as an international terrorist organization.” It’s another example of the Obama administration going after the right targets at Guantanamo Bay. The government’s charging documents in al-Qosi’s military commission do not ever accuse him of discharging a weapon in anger. He drove bin Laden around in Sudan and Afghanistan; he provided unspecified...

Fallout.

More on "acting white" from Jamelle Bouie . The revamped military commissions secure their first conviction, against Osama bin Laden 's cook. Another reason to like the Fake AP Style Book more. Mitt Romney 's efforts to show he has a grasp on foreign affairs continue to fail. But at least he knows what he's doing on health care right? Former Bush -era Voting Section Chief John Tanner , who resigned after making racially charged remarks regarding voter ID laws, writes something sensible about voter ID laws. Amanda Hess on sexism and The Daily Show . I'm pretty shocked that Germany lost today, but they're a young team -- they've probably got a World Cup or two in their future.

Rick Lazio Tries To Make Ground Zero Islamic Center A Campaign Issue.

New York Republican gubernatorial candidate Rick Lazio is now demanding that his Democratic opponent, Andrew Cuomo , investigate the Cordoba Initiative, the organization headed by Imam Faisal Abdul Rauf that is building an Islamic Center near Ground Zero: "We're asking the attorney general to exert his authority to investigate the sources of these donations ... to determine whether it is compliant, and whether the Cordoba Initiative ... is in fact a legitimate charity. And in fact, whether the sources of income are legitimate or if they pose a security risk to the people of New York and the people of America," Lazio said. This is ostensibly because Rauf, during a recent radio show appearance, refused to call Hamas a terrorist organization, saying , "I am a peace builder. I will not allow anybody to put me in a position where I am seen by any party in the world as an adversary or as an enemy." This is the only evidence Lazio has in suggesting that Rauf is connected to terrorism. I...

Why Wasn't Civil Rights Part Of The Justice Department's Challenge To Arizona?

As I noted earlier this morning, the Justice Department has challenged Arizona's draconian immigration law on the grounds that it infringes on the federal government's authority to enforce immigration laws, not on the basis of civil rights. I noted that, given the circumstances, this might be a smart political choice. A coalition of civil-rights groups filed a challenge months ago contending that the law didn't merely preempt the federal government's authority but that it would lead to racial discrimination. But there are at least two practical legal reasons for the DoJ to avoid the civil-rights route as well, according to Cristina Rodriguez , a law professor at New York University School of Law. The first is that the DoJ is challenging the law before it has been enforced, which means they'd have to prove that there is no way the law could be enforced in a nondiscriminatory fashion, and they'd have to do it without any real-world examples. "[DoJ lawyers] would have to prove that it...

Things You Can Say About Muslims.

Well this seems like a rather anti-Semitic editorial from the Washington Times : Judaism's meager contribution to human technological advancement is no accident. In his new book "The Closing of the Jewish Mind," former Voice of America director Robert Reilly describes the brief flourishing of intellectualism in Jewish Spain 1,000 years ago before it was brutally suppressed by religious extremists. They imposed a continuing Jewish orthodoxy that is hostile to rational thought and to the scientific method. ... The small number of discoveries credited to that part of the world since the Middle Ages came principally from conquered peoples. Oh wait, my bad. The Times wasn't talking about Jews; they were talking about Islam and Muslims in reaction to the head of NASA visiting the Middle East in order to foster "technological outreach," so this kind of open bigotry is somehow completely acceptable. On its face, the argument is ridiculous -- even accepting the premise that Islamic cultures...

Lethal Injection or Firing Squad?

Mariana Cotlear takes issue with James McWilliams ' claim that a McDonald's Big Mac is healthier than a Chipotle burrito: This is real food. This is food that doesn’t make you feel sick after eating it. This is food that actually fills you up and doesn’t produce a sugar spike which will make you crave more in a few hours. I don’t think there’s any way you can say the same for the BigMac. [...] And yet: This may get me into trouble, but if you are going to over eat, I’d rather you have one thousand calories of real food than one thousand calories of processed food. So in the end, I’d say that Chipotle is still offering us a better choice than McDonalds. Not to diminish the importance of accuracy, but setting aside the sustainable-food argument, I ultimately feel like this is like picking a more comfortable method of execution. No one expecting to lose weight or stay healthy should be eating either at Chipotle or McDonald's. And while Cotlear is right that you can find ways to eat at...

New Black Panther Party Primer.

After months of trying, conservative complaints about the New Black Panther Party voter-suppression case have finally begun to trickle into the mainstream press. Between the recession and the oil spill, chances are you may be a little behind on the subject, so I've put together a primer that includes reporting from me and others who have been following the fight over the Civil Rights Division since the end of the Bush administration. The story is complicated, and most of the mainstream media reporters are just parachuting in. From yesterday, here's my post on the relationship between conservative activist J. Christian Adams and the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights, and a reminder of the racially hostile atmosphere inside the Civil Rights Division during the Bush era. Dave Weigel 's piece on how the NBPP case became a cause in the conservative media. Weigel also got a memorable quote from former Civil Rights Commission member Mary Frances Berry , whom the head of the Voting Rights...

The Justice Department Goes Race Neutral in Arizona Challenge.

Race continues to play a role in the immigration debate, but with its challenge yesterday, the Justice Department made it clear it's one they'd rather avoid. Despite public statements from the president himself and Attorney General Eric Holder expressing concerns that the law could lead to racial profiling, the federal challenge to Arizona's draconian immigration law is drawn along strict constitutional grounds -- that the law itself infringes on the federal government's constitutional role in enforcing immigration laws. Calling the law "misguided," President Barack Obama told an Iowa audience in April that the law "undermines basic notions of fairness that we cherish as Americans," adding that he had "instructed members of my administration to closely monitor the situation and examine the civil rights and other implications of this legislation." Holder, meanwhile, told ABC News in May that while the law wasn't "racist in its motivation," it could still lead to racial profiling. Those...

Fallout.

Bibi liked Obama 's Cairo speech. Abigail Thernstrom , a Republican appointee to the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights, thinks the New Black Panther Party case is a waste of time. Like Mike Konczal , I would trade a bankruptcy exception for guns in exchange for cramdown. Then again, who cares about being homeless when you've got guns? Illinois creates a Torture Inquiry and Relief Commission. Jamelle Bouie joins TAP . Bioshock was a great game. The movie will likely suck. Uruguay put up a heroic, if futile, fight against the Netherlands, didn't they? Hard to see Germany vs. Spain tomorrow ending in anything other than a German victory. UPDATE: Frequent Ta-Nehisi Coates commenter Cynic, whom I've sparred with before while guesting at TNC's place, offered an insightful take on my post on Godwin's Law last week.

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