My column in today's New York Times eXaminer is one you've already seen; it's pre-produced below. Just thought I'd let you know. The NYTX is featuring my stuff on the front page. You can contribute to NYTX here.
What Frank Bruni lacks in style he makes up for in substance. In his column today, he writes about a college acquaintance whose life took an enlightened turn when he began acquainting himself with the big wide world. Read to the end.
Former Miami Police Chief John F. Timoney, in a New York Times op-ed, writes that he and other Florida police chiefs urged the state legislature not to pass the Stand Your Ground law. "As Florida police chiefs predicted in 2005, the law has been used to justify killings ranging from drug dealers’ turf battles to road rage incidents. Homicides categorized as justifiable have nearly tripled since the law went into effect. Back in 2005, the National Rifle Association identified about two dozen states as fertile ground for the passage of laws just like this one.... Today, at least 20 other states have followed suit."
Jeff Gerstein of Politico on how the legal challenges to the Affordable Care Act went mainstream (CW: I'd make that wingnut-stream, but I fully acknowledge the Court has a majority winger faction).
Nell Painter, in a New York Times op-ed, tells the story of Carrie Buck, whose "sterilization was deemed necessary [by the Supreme Court in 1927] to halt the propagation of 'the shiftless, ignorant and worthless class of anti-social whites of the South.'” Painter writes that it is curious that Charles Murray, the author of Coming Apart: The State of White America, 1960-2010, thinks that white people suddenly went into moral decline in the 1960s, since in his earlier (and even more absurd) book The Bell Curve (which he co-authored) mentions Buck in a footnote.
In the Philadelphia Inquirer, Michael Smerconish analyzes the publicly-released 911 tapes in the Trayvon Martin case. Bottom line: "If a voice analysis shows [the person crying 'help'] to be Zimmerman, that will suggest he was justified in using deadly force, that he was crying for help and restraining himself before drawing his gun. If, however, it is Martin crying out for help, Zimmerman's ability to cloak himself in "stand your ground" will evaporate, and that identification will appropriately lead to his arrest." ...
... CW: This Daily Mail story on the Trayvon Williams case is probably the most disjointed "report" I ever read, but the photos are excellent.
Steve Benen has revived his "This Week in God" feature, highlighting a Pew Research poll that found "The number of people who say there has been too much religious talk by political leaders stands at an all-time high since the Pew Research Center began asking the question more than a decade ago. And most Americans continue to say that churches and other houses of worship should keep out of politics." Also, today's "Reason Rally" in Washington, D.C.
Right Wing World
Jurrasic Pork at Brilliant at Breakfast comments on Rick Santorum's creepy ad (see yesterday's Commentariat). I'm glad somebody besides me finds the ad abominable.
Is the president suggesting if it had been a white who had been shot, that would be OK because it wouldn't look like him? That's just nonsense. I mean dividing this country up, it is a tragedy this young man was shot. -- Newt Gingrich, on President Obama's remarks about Trayvon Martin (see video in the News Ledes under the March 23 Commentariat)
What the president of the United States should do is try to bring people together, not use these types of horrible and tragic individual cases to try to drive a wedge in America. -- Rick Santorum
Those two comments are really irresponsible. I would consider them reprehensible. I think those comments were really hard to stomach, really, and I guess trying to appeal to people's worst instincts. -- David Plouffe
Professed Religious Fanatic/Cafeteria Catholic. Lisa Miller of the Washington Post: Rick "Santorum observes the teachings of his church selectively." He has voted against or expressed opinions against the Roman Catholic Church's teachings on the death penalty, torture, threatening Iran with bombing, immigration. "'We do well among people who take their faith seriously,' Santorum told Fox News last week. That’s true only if what Santorum means by 'faith' is a set of politically motivated conservative beliefs, which don’t have very much to do with religion at all."
I have occasionally linked to stories about Art Pope (like this long profile by Jane Mayer for the New Yorker comes to mind). Pope is a North Carolina multimillionaire winger who made his money selling slave-made crap to poor people in discount stores where the clerks make minimum wage and now spends his filthy lucre very efffectively funding right-wing causes & candidates. While Pope stays behind the scenes, Pam Spalding of Pam's House Blend offer this insight into the kind of classy operation he runs -- in this case, advocating for an anti-gay marriage amendment in North Carolina.
AP: "A French judge filed preliminary murder and terrorism charges Sunday against ... Abdelkader Merah on Sunday, whose younger brother Mohamed claimed responsibility for the attacks."
AP: "The United States has paid $50,000 in compensation for each Afghan killed in the shooting spree attributed to a U.S. soldier in southern Afghanistan, an Afghan official and a community elder said Sunday. The families of the dead received the money Saturday at the governor’s office, said Kandahar provincial council member Agha Lalai. Each wounded person received $11,000, Lalai said. Community elder Jan Agha confirmed the same figures."
Reuters: "U.S. President Barack Obama on Sunday urged China to use its influence to stop North Korea's "bad behavior" in a nuclear standoff with the West and hinted at tougher sanctions if the reclusive state goes ahead with a rocket launch next month."
New York Times: "Squinting through binoculars from a forward observation post here, President Obama peered into North Korea on Sunday, getting a firsthand look at the secretive nuclear nation that has been a source of recurring angst for his administration." Guardian story here.
Guardian: "Hundreds of Occupy Wall Street demonstrators marched to protest against police violence and demand the resignation of New York City police commissioner Ray Kelly on Saturday afternoon. Protesters marched from the movement's original base of operations, Zuccotti Park, in lower Manhattan to Union Square, where occupiers and police have been facing off for the past week." New York Times story here.
Reuters: "Rallies are being held in cities across the country this weekend to protest the failure of police to arrest a Florida neighborhood watch volunteer for shooting to death an unarmed black teenager. Protesters, some dressed in 'hoodie' hooded sweatshirts like the kind 17-year-old Trayvon Martin wore at the time of his death, gathered for events in Columbia, South Carolina, Washington, D.C. and Chicago Saturday."
Reuters: "James Murdoch has severed all ties with News Corp's British newspaper business, which is at the centre of multiple investigations over phone and computer hacking and bribery, according to regulatory filings."