Earlier today, Obama gave a speech about the Trayvon Martin murder trial, in which Obama compared himself to the slain teen, saying he “could have been” Trayvon 35 years ago.
Although conservatives are claiming that Obama was race baiting, the following statistics about the unequal treatment of blacks and whites by the U.S. justice system should give even conservatives a pause.
As the following Frontline chart shows, when the Stand Your Ground Defense is used, it is far more likely that juries will find the killing justifiable if it is a white person killing a black person than if it is a black person killing a white person.
It’s clear that U.S. justice system is failing to give black people the same treatment that it gives white people.
Although I didn’t like how some of the media tried to inflame racial tensions in their coverage of the case, race should not be ignored when thinking about the outcome. Personally, I think if George Zimmerman were a black man who killed an unarmed white boy just because he “looked suspicious” and because the white boy supposedly hit Zimmerman (after Zimmerman stalked Martin at night!), this would have been a different verdict. And evidence suggests I would be right.
Pope Benedict XVI’s Resignation and Possible Prosecution for Abetting Child Rape and Obstruction of Justice
Pope Benedict XVI made history today by becoming the first pope to resign in almost 600 years. Ratzinger gave “advanced age” as the reason that he will resign effective February 28th.
What I am curious about is whether anyone will pursue a legal case against Ratzinger for obstructing justice and abetting child rape. Once he is no longer head of state, he loses his immunity and can be tried for crimes related to the orders that he gave bishops to keep sexual abuse allegations against clerics secret from the police for at least 10 years after the alleged victim turned 18.
In a letter, Ratzinger threatened excommunication for anyone who reported sexual abuse allegations to the proper authorities. The amazing thing about that letter was that nothing was said about excommunicating the priests who raped children!
What do you think? Should Ratzinger be held responsible for his role in obstructing justice?
The Stench He Leaves Behind Andrew Sullivan.
Iowa State Representative Tom Shaw Introduces Bill that Classifies a Zygote as a “Person” and Would Make Anyone Who Gets or Performs an Abortion, or Undergoes In Vitro Fertilisation, a Murderer
Republicans just can’t stop attacking reproductive rights and rape victims, even though they are constantly losing elections because of it. On Wednesday, Iowa state Representative Tom Shaw introduced a bill that would classify a zygote as a person and a zygote’s destruction as murder. This means that all women who get abortions, including those who would die if they gave birth or who became pregnant because of rape, and all doctors who perform abortions, could go to jail for murder. It also means that anyone who tries to concieve a child through in vitro fertilisation or any scientist who conducts embryonic stem cell research to try to save lives could also be charged with murder.
Pictured below is a zygote (a fertilized egg). It has no brain, so it has no thoughts, feelings, or consciousness, yet this representative thinks it should be considered a human being. The idea would be laughable if it didn’t carry such serious consequences.
What are Shaw’s justifications for such an extreme measure? He argues that defining a zygote as a person “just simplifies everything.” How can a bill that would criminalize abortion, in vitro fertilisation, and embryonic stem cell research be considered a simple answer to the debate surrounding the beginning of human life?
Representative Shaw’s contact information can be found here. Why not call him and tell him what you think of this bill?
Congratulations, Iowa Womyn! You May Already Be a Murderer! Wonkette.
Republicans commonly argue that American workers suffer with an influx of undocumented immigrants because immigrants take jobs away from low-income U.S. citizens. Although this is a popular theory, most economists and experts find there is little evidence to support this claim.
What is certain, however, is that immigrants positively impact the US economy by causing American wages to increase. This, along with the folowing reasons, is why giving illegal immigrants a path to citizenship will help the economy and the average US worker.
Immigrants lift American wages by creating successful businesses and innovations at a higher rate than native born US citizens:
From Ezra Klein
With these successful businesses come greater job opportunities for U.S. citizens. This is especially true of Silicon Valley tech start-ups, half of which have a foreign-born founder. In the year 2000 in Silicon Valley, companies started by Chinese and Indian immigrants created nearly 73,000 jobs and generated more than 19.5 billion dollars in sales.
Giving Talented Entrepenuers a Chance to Stay in the Country Will Generate More Jobs and Stop Silicon Valley’s “Brain Drain:” Although talented foreign-born businesspeople can get temporary visas, many have trouble obtaining permanent legal status. When they are forced to leave the country, they take jobs with them. Because so many foreign born engineers and entrepenuers have found it difficult to obtain permanent legal status, the tech industry has been lobbying Congress for immigration reform for years.
Immigrants Can Help the US Economy by Replacing Workers That Will Be Lost from Baby Boomers Retiring and the Birthrate Declining: Republicans are notorious for worrying about the declining birthrate in the United States and with good reason. Less workers will negatively impact the economy. However, many Republicans seem unwilling to embrace the easiest way to address the declining number of US citizens: Give illegal immigrants a pathway to citizenship.
Worried about the economy? Then pass immigration reform Ezra Klein
Another week in America, another horrific shooting. This time, no one was killed, but one fourteen year old boy was shot at Price Middle School in Atlanta, GA when a student opened fire at the school. The 14 year old boy’s injuries are not life-threatening and he is recovering in the hospital. The shooter is in police custody.
At what point is the United States going to get serious about stopping these shootings? Passing Obama’s proposed gun control reforms would be a good start. I think the US government should also consider implementing Australia’s gun buyback program in the US.
I don’t have as much time to blog today, but I’ll see you guys tomorrow when I blog about how Obama’s immigration reform proposals will help the economy and why Australia’s gun buyback program should be tried in the US. Have a safe night.
Obama Has Never Been Soft on Illegal Immigration: More Deportations, More Border Agents, and Less Illegal Immigration Under His Watch
Although there is bipartisan support for Obama’s new immigration reform proposal, it is inevitable that Obama’s opponents will try to paint him as soft on illegal immigration. So let’s clear this up now: Obama has never been soft on illegal immigration. During his time as president, there has been an increase in deportations, border agents, and spending on immigration enforcement. There has also been a decline in illegal immigration.
This tends to be underreported because Liberals aren’t very comfortable with this record and Conservatives want to paint Democrats as soft on illegal immigration.
Here are the facts:
Deportations Hit a Record High Under Obama:
The Obama Administration has deported more undocumented residents than all of his predecessors. In 2012, Obama deported nearly 410,000 people, which is a record number for the U.S. government.
There Has Been an Increase in Border Patrol Agents and Immigration Enforcement Spending Under Obama:
Obama has more than doubled the number of border agents since the middle of the Bush years. A report from the Migration Policy Institute found that Obama spent more than $18 billion on immigration enforcement, which is more than the administration spend on all other federal law enforcement agencies combined in the fiscal year 2012. Doris Meissner, one of the report’s coauthors, argued that:
Immigration enforcement can be seen as the federal government’s highest criminal law enforcement priority, judged on the basis of budget allocations, enforcement actions and case volumes
Because of these efforts, and because of the U.S. economy, illegal immigration has likely declined during Obama’s presidency. Let’s keep this in mind when his critics start to argue that he has not done enough to secure the borders.
Obama’s New Immigration Reform Proposal Will Provide a Path to Citizenship for Law-Abiding Undocumented Immigrants
In Las Vegas today, President Obama announced that “the time is now” for immigration reform that will provide a path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants living in the United States who abide by the law, pay their taxes, and learn English. You can watch his speech here.
A group of eight Senators also released a framework for immigration reform on Monday and Obama’s reform proposal is similar except that the “Gang of Eight”‘s proposal requires that certain metrics be met on border security before green cards can be distributed.
I strongly agree with Obama that this country needs immigration reform that will provide a path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants. Since there are currently an estimated 11 million undocumented residents in the United States, deporting them all is simply not feasible. Last year, the US government deported more people than ever and they were only capable of deporting 409,849 illegal immigrants.
There are also strong economic and moral reasons for immigration reform that I plan to get into when I have more time. I hope that these reforms become reality and that legislation will not be held up by Republicans who are upset by progressive elements of Obama’s immigration reform proposal, like his proposal to give homosexual couples the same treatment as heterosexual couples under immigration law.
So what do you guys think of Obama’s immigration reform proposal?