Tag Archives: ethnicity

On the Table, 7/11

Some of these items I’ve been meaning to share for months and am just cleaning out my favorites folders.  Sorry for their belatedness.

According to a 2011 report from the U.N’s Food and Agriculture Organization, “32 percent of world fish stocks are estimated to be overexploited, depleted or recovering and need to be urgently rebuilt.”

With conscious consumers starting to take note, Kristofor Lofgren, owner of the Portland restaurant Bamboo Sushi, says his strategy is to overwhelm them with proof that his seafood is actually harvested properly, because, frankly, sushi often isn’t. And even when it’s not from an illegal vessel or an overfished area, there’s still massive waste: As much as half of all fish caught never even make it to the table…. [Read on]

Read more: Looking for sustainable sushi in your neighborhood?  Use these sites to score some earth-friendly sushi.

  • Fish2Fork.com which rates restaurants that serve fish for quality and their sustainability efforts.
  • The Green Restaurant Association at DineGreen.com which is a national non-profit organization that provides a convenient and cost-effective way for restaurants, manufacturers, distributors, and consumers to become more environmentally responsible.

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The well-documented “other-race effect” finds that people are less likely to remember a face from a racial group different from their own. Northwestern University researchers set out to determine what causes this rift in perception and memory by using electroencephalogram (EEG) recordings, which measure brain activity, while participants viewed photos of various faces.

The researchers found that brain activity increases in the very first 200 to 250 milliseconds when seeing both same-race and other-race faces…. [Read on]

Read more:

  • Time“They All Look the Same: How Racism Works Neurologically,” by John Cloud on a similar study out of the University of Glasgow which notes that humans are “remarkably skilled at facial recognition: we can differentiate family members and friends from strangers in far less than a second.”
  • Check out The Hapa Project – a book and museum exhibit organized by artist Kip Fulbeck which explores the intersections of race, ethnicity, and identity.  When asked, “What are you?” how people of mixed race answer?  It’s pretty neat.

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  • And your clip for this “On the Table” is of two fabulous female comedians – Tina Fey and Ellen DeGeneres:

It’s kind of glitchy.  AND some of the good stuff is in the second half, which is here!  And part 3 is here!

Read more:

  • Check out Tina Fey’s new memoir Bossypants about her life so far as a mother and female comedy writer.
  • Ms. Magazine‘s Natalie Wilson provides some commentary of the interview here.  For example, Wilson states: “While Fey focuses on feminist issues relating to sexism in the workplace and in politics, DeGeneres is more of a comedic lesbian activist. While she has noted she doesn’t wish to be an activist or spokesperson for the LGBTQ community, she often publicly denounces heteronormativity and uses her show as a platform to promote LGBTQ rights….” [Read on]

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A look inside America’s poorest county

So the story is pretty interesting, but head over to the comments and you’ll be AMAZED to see all the classist, racist commentary – over 4000 comments.  People don’t want to admit that poverty is a race, ethnicity, and gender issue as well…
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Where nothing is harder to find than a job: A look inside the poorest county in America – AP

Nomaan Merchant, Associated Press, On Sunday February 13, 2011, 8:54 pm EST

ZIEBACH COUNTY, S.D. (AP) — In the barren grasslands of Ziebach County, there’s almost nothing harder to find in winter than a job. This is America’s poorest county, where more than 60 percent of people live at or below the poverty line.

At a time when the weak economy is squeezing communities across the nation, recently released census figures show that nowhere are the numbers as bad as here — a county with 2,500 residents, most of them Cheyenne River Sioux Indians living on a reservation.

In the coldest months of the year, when seasonal construction work disappears and the South Dakota prairie freezes, unemployment among the Sioux can hit 90 percent.

Poverty has loomed over this land for generations. Repeated attempts to create jobs have run into stubborn obstacles: the isolated location, the area’s crumbling infrastructure, a poorly trained population and a tribe that struggles to work with businesses or attract investors.

Now the tribe — joined by a few entrepreneurs, a development group and a nonprofit — is renewing efforts to create jobs and encourage a downtrodden population to start its own businesses.

“Many, many people make these grand generalizations about our communities and poverty and ‘Why don’t people just do something, and how come they can’t?'” said Eileen Briggs, executive director of Tribal Ventures, a development group started by the tribe. “It’s much more complicated than that.”

The Cheyenne River Indian Reservation, created in 1889, consists almost entirely of agricultural land in Ziebach and neighboring Dewey County. It has no casino and no oil reserves or available natural resources.

Most towns in Ziebach County are just clusters of homes between cattle ranches. Families live in dilapidated houses or run-down trailers. Multicolored patches of siding show where repairs were made as cheaply as possible.

Families fortunate enough to have leases to tribal land can make money by raising cattle. Opportunities are scarce for almost everyone else.

The few people who have jobs usually have to drive up to 80 miles to tribal headquarters. The nearest major population centers are Rapid City and Bismarck, each a trip of 150 miles or more.

Basic services can be vulnerable. The tribe’s primary health clinic doesn’t have a CT scanner or a maternity ward. An ice storm last year knocked out power and water in places for weeks. And in winter, the gravel roads that connect much of the reservation can become impassable with snow and ice.

Nearly six decades after the reservation was created, the federal government began building a dam on the Missouri River, but the project caused flooding that washed away more than 100,000 acres of Indian land. After the flooding, the small town of Eagle Butte became home to the tribal headquarters and the center of the reservation’s economy.

“There are things that have happened to us over many, many generations that you just can’t fix in three or four years,” said Kevin Keckler, the tribe’s chairman. “We were put here by the government, and we had a little piece of land and basically told to succeed here.”

But prosperity never came. The county has been at or near the top of the poverty rankings for at least a decade. In 2009, the census defined poverty as a single person making less than $11,000 a year or a family of four making less than $22,000 a year.

Eagle Butte has few businesses and the handful that do exist struggle to stay afloat. The town has just one major grocery store, the Lakota Thrifty Mart, which is owned by the tribe. There’s also a Dairy Queen, a Taco John’s and a handful of small cafes. There’s no bowling alley, no movie theatre.

But a few entrepreneurs are trying to break the cycle of failure, with mixed results.

Stephanie Davidson and her husband, Gerald, started a plumbing-and-heating business in 2000 with a single pickup truck. Eventually, D&D Plumbing started to grow, and they hired several employees.

But the reservation economy, which was never strong, has been hit hard by the economic slump. Many customers don’t have the money to pay for work upfront, and the Davidsons have struggled to get contracts in new construction, such as a nearly $85 million federal hospital being built to replace the aging clinic.

They’ve laid off employees and filled empty space in their building by adding a bait shop and then a deli. Nothing has worked.

“People think you’re a pillar of the community because you have a business, and that part of it is good,” Stephanie Davidson said. “We don’t feel that way right now because we’re having such a tough time.”

Nicky White Eyes, who owns a flower shop on Main Street, says there are days when she doesn’t sell a single flower. Most of her business comes from families who get help from the tribe to buy flowers for a relative’s funeral.

“We’re getting by with nothing extra,” said White Eyes, who said she hasn’t taken any salary in the months since she quit another job to run the shop full-time. “But no, I have too much heart in it to let it go quite yet.”

The nonprofit Four Bands Community Fund has invested in both businesses and people in Eagle Butte. The group teaches residents basic financial skills — how to open a checking account, how to save money on a budget and how to develop credit.

“You have the most complicated little world here,” said Tanya Fiddler, Four Bands’ executive director.

Without a viable private sector, federal money permeates every part of life here. The federal government pays for the Bureau of Indian Affairs, the Bureau of Indian Education and the Indian Health Service, three of the reservation’s largest employers. Businesses rely on the federal money that comes into the reservation.

Federal stimulus dollars are paying for the new hospital, which will create about 150 permanent jobs when it opens this year. Other federal contracts bring sporadic jobs, too.

One tribal success story is Lakota Technologies, which has attracted call-center and data-processing work and trained hundreds of young people since it started more than a decade ago. The company now employs a handful of tribal members on a State Department sub-contract, even though most of its cubicles remain empty.

But other businesses owned by the tribe have run into trouble. Last year, a buffalo-meat processing company was sued by a rancher in federal court. The lawsuit accused the company, Pte Hca Ka Inc., of not delivering on contracts. A federal judge ruled against Pte Hca Ka for $1.1 million when it did not respond to the lawsuit.

Keckler, the newly elected tribal chairman and a former business owner, has pledged to try to fix the problems. He said previous officials have rejected overtures from outside investors because they feared the loss of tribal control or the risk of losing their positions.

“It’s difficult for us to get people to come here and have faith in us as a government,” he said. “We just had a new election, and there was discussion about, ‘Oh, people want to give away things.’ Those are kind of the issues that we have.”

Still, there are small reasons to hope.

Later this year, the tribe will start to receive payments from a $290 million settlement with Congress related to the farmland that was lost to the Missouri River flooding. The tribe will receive annual interest on the settlement money starting this fall. This year’s payment could be as much as $75 million, according to one tribal estimate. A Department of Treasury spokeswoman says the final amount hasn’t been determined yet.

That money can be used for infrastructure improvements, economic development and education.

Raymond Uses The Knife, a rancher and tribal councilman, wants the reservation to be “accessible for other companies to come in and invest their money right here.”

“We have to attract business. Regardless of how much money we have, we can’t set up our own businesses,” he said. “We also have to realize that we’re all not experts.”

Meanwhile, groups like Tribal Ventures and Four Bands continue to look for ways to bring in jobs and help those who are fighting the decades-old obstacles here.

“You can have all the heart you want, but you have to have actual cash and resources,” said Briggs, of Tribal Ventures. “All those things play a part in our being able to basically use our greatest asset, which is our people.”

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Happy Valentine’s Day!

While I love flowers (all ones, not just roses), I worry about all the gas and pesticides that go into making and sending them from Mexico to my door.

And I’ve never been one to straight up and eat a box of chocolates.  I like one piece of dark chocolate.  That is all.

And stuffed animals?  What am I 8?

Might I suggest you make your own edible body paints?

Oh yes.

At Budget101.com you can get a couple of different recipes that literally help you make some from scratch.

But instead of reading the directions I got the bright idea that I would buy vanilla pudding mix (which I found out later was bright yellow) and mix in various colorful fruits (because food dye is kind of bad for you).

I made a purple one out of blueberries, a yellow one with pineapple, a blandish yellowish pinkish one with strawberries, and a baby poop green one with a super food drink and a lime.

Now that I’ve done all this hard work, I’m going to give you some sound advice: the whiter the original thing, the better your colors.  Obvious right?

So, use marshmallow cream, or whipped cream, white frosting,white cake mix…all of which you can make yourself if you really want.  Then, those food dyes or fruit juices you add will really make them pop.

You can also make it together in your birthday suit and be sure to shower together afterward because you gonna be dirty!

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Now, on to the news:

Sara Haskins on online dating for all the single ladies!  Also see her hilarious video on how giving diamonds has become an imperative in heterosexual relationships.

Vodpod videos no longer available.

 

Ms. Magazine offers several suggestions to make your Valentine’s Day more feminist, but this one is my favorite – become politically active!

How about joining a political campaign in honor of Valentine’s Day?  Saint Valentine was arrested for marrying couples against the wishes of Emperor Claudius II, so what better way to honor the day than to continue fighting for the right to marry?

Celebrate Freedom to Marry Week, which concludes on Valentine’s Day, by adding your voice to those supporting the freedom to marry or by asking Congress to repeal the Defense of Marriage Act. You can also join or organize a marriage license counter action on Valentine’s Day to protest Prop. 8.

Be part of a global movement to end violence against women and girls by attending a V-Day event–”The ‘V’ stands for Victory, Valentine and Vagina.”

 

You can even buy something from the V Day store if you really want. And yes, even men can support V Day too.

 

You can always send a Planned Parenthood Valentine’s Day e-card to your special someone. February 14 is also National Condom Day, so take part by being safe and using one.

 

And finally, didn’t think I could touch on race, gender, class, or ethnicity in a Valentine’s post?  Think again.

Lisa Wade from Sociological Images recently posted an assort of old Indian-themed Valentines, all which enforce stereotypes of natives as war-like, men as powerful, and women as passive.  All from Native Appropriations and the Vintage Valentine Museum.

 

“I’d never squaw’k if you’d be my Valentine” (1950s or ’60s)

 

 

“I want to be the CHIEF” (1940s or ’50s)

“I’m hunting for you, Valentine” (1941)

 

 

 

 

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Club 907 Dancers Freed! : Ms Magazine Blog

Club 907 Dancers Freed! : Ms Magazine Blog.

All of the 80-plus women who were arrested during the November raid of Club 907 in downtown Los Angeles have been released. Club 907 is a “hostess club” where patrons pay for women’s companionship (e.g., dancing, delivering drinks). Officers from the L.A. police department (LAPD) raided the club on suspicion of prostitution on November 5, but ended up arresting 78 (of 81) dancers on documentation charges. Although some of the women are still facing immigration court proceedings, this is a major victory for the Coalition for Humane Immigration Rights in Los Angeles (CHIRLA) and the Raids Response Network of the American Immigration Lawyers Association.

The Club 907 raid generated a flurry of criticism. According to the LAPD, the action was initiated because police witnessed illicit sexual activity at the club during a routine inspection. But CHIRLA and others claimed that it constituted an immigration raid in violation of S.B. 40, which prohibits the LAPD from initiating “police action with the objective of discovering the alien status of a person.” The vast majority of those arrested were handed over to Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). Others expressed concern that the working conditions may have constituted indentured servitude or human trafficking, and that the LAPD arrested the victims of, and witnesses to, criminal activities at the club.

Speaking of the women’s release, Xiomara Corpeño, CHIRLA’s organizing director, said:

This is a great day for the almost 80 women who have worked so hard to have their pending immigration cases reconsidered.  These women were detained by the LAPD for a crime they were never charged with but ended up nonetheless spending almost two months behind bars. A great injustice was done unto these immigrant workers who are not criminals but working moms and clearly victims of exploitation by their employer. Six out of 10 women were moms and their children missed them deeply during Christmas and New Year’s.

The raid on Club 907 generated more than 50 national news stories. The success in this case is a testament to the effectiveness of tireless legal advocacy and intensive media attention in holding public officials accountable.

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Washington Post – An education doesn’t grow on trees

I recently read Kevin Sieff’s article from The Washington Post about how two daughters of migrant workers struggle to keep good grades in school.  What a thought-provoking story about the nexus of undocumented workers, legal migrant workers, welfare, and education, and how our struggles for defining American citizenship affect children.

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A Feminist Halloween

About a month ago I ventured into the local Halloween store for some costume ideas, but just ended up pissed off.  There are literally no packaged costume ideas for women that aren’t sexualized.  And what’s strange is that they’ve made things like soldiers, prison escapees, or soccer referees sexy.

Costumes for women can do any of the following:

a) transform women into a sexualized non-human, like the bumblebee below (it’s a bug – how is this sexy?).  A classic example would be the Playboy bunny costume.

Just because you show cleavage or wear high-heels doesn’t make it a cool costume.  Human peacock, case in point.

b) sexualize women in stereotypically female careers like maids, nurses, and librarians.

These costumes are generally part of the service industry where women have to be submissive to their bosses or customers.  Face it – French maids and naughty nurses are outdated.  But an emerging costume is the female flight attendant.

What’s sad is that female flight attendants in the fifties and sixties really were objectified like this.

Both men and women like these costumes because they both reinforce traditional gender roles of women as passive and submissive, while challenging them with a strong sex-positive angle.

c) show women “playing with gender” by dressing up in a stereotypically hypermasculine occupation.

Ok, naughty cop, naughty pilot – we’ve seen it.  But these costumes portraying stereotypically male career paths are definitely getting creative.

Sexy Vader

Sexy matador (and no, in Spain women can't run with the bulls nor spear them)

Sexy football player (let's all belittle and sexualize women's athletic ability)

Sexy secret service man (would you have even known? probably not)

And sexy Ghostbuster. So strange.

This is undoubtedly the most popular choice because both men and women like women “playing” strong and domineering.  Note the use of “play” as a woman that actually dressed as a normal police officer or prison escapee probably wouldn’t be considered all that cool and definitely not sexy.

d) have women dressing up as little girls, dressing up as women. This is by far the scariest group of Halloween costumes.

Let's all remember that Cindy Brady was 9 years old during the show.

And Pebbles was an infant.

Like the recent GQ cover with Glee, these costumes make dumb, weak, desperate, and infantile sexy.

and e) sexualizing non-white women – women who are made sexually submissive and hypersexual every other day of the year in American culture.

One positive?  I couldn’t find a sexy African tribeswoman.  Thank god.

And oh, the sexualization of non-whites and gender essentialism in children’s costumes – oy!

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Here are a few fun feminist Halloween costumes in no particular order – stay safe and have fun!

1) “Sexy Nurse”

I read a comment on another blog by a woman who’s an actual nurse planning to go out in scrubs and sneakers with a large name tag reading “Sexy Nurse”

2) Member of the Rockford Peaches

A great suggestion by Gender Focus: honor the history of the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League by dressing up as one of the members of the 1943 Rockford Peaches, as profiled in the movie A League of Their Own.

3) Any feminist film/television character or American icon

Courtesy of Bitch: Veronica Mars, Carmen Sandiego, Thelma and Louisa, Ellen Ripley from Alien, Rosie the Riveter, Wonder Woman, and Peggy Hill

4) A Real Feminist!

Angela Davis, Dolores Huerta, a Guerilla Girl, Hillary Clinton, or my favorite

Gloria Steinem undercover as a Playboy bunny

5) An Anti-Palin Mama Grizzly

6) Pro-Choice Paraphernalia

Suggested by NARAL Pro Choice

 

Sperm - making gender-neutral costumes fun!

7) A breast cancer marathon walker for the gold!

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Race and Ethnicity: Art and Census Statistics

I recently saw this on Racialicious.  Eric Fischer posted an album on Flickr which translates 2000 Census data into art with each color defining a different race or ethnicity.  Red is White, Blue is Black, Green is Asian, Orange is Hispanic, Gray is Other, and each dot is 25 people. Click on any of the pictures to take you to the original sites.

Questions for pondering: How do we make since of this data?  How can we be racially color-blind?  Where do the lines of institutional racial discrimination and auto-segregation meet?  How can we meet the monetary needs of racial or ethnic groups as racial lines become more blurred?

Fischer's map of New York City:

Compare that to Fischer's map of Atlanta (my hometown):

This concept was taken from Bill Rankin’s map of Chicago’s racial and ethnic divides.

Rankin’s map of Chicago:

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ZERE ees a reason ze villain alvays speaks like zees.

I’ve always had a theory that America’s film villains reflect our country’s changing axis of evil.  In the 1920s and 30s it was sexual women (we continue to have issues with those), in the 1930s and 40s it was Germans, then commies and Russians…. Fast track to the 80s and we’ve got a rise in Eastern Asian and Middle Eastern villains.  Now it’s Muslims or home-grown terrorists.  And there’s always been the fear of the black burglar or rapist.  Let’s not even get into WHY we have these stereotypes.  (ahem, media sensationalism, ahem)

I’ve even read an article about how the upsurge in Zombie attack films reflected the fatalistic and apocalyptic character of 1970s Americans.  You can’t get deny it – our films relay our fears.  And our villains’ thick accents give away our xenophobic discomfort.  Or so we thought?

This is a fascinating article about a social psychology study proving  a) we do distrust people with accents  and  b) we still marginalize these non-native speakers even after learning of our xenophobia.

With the most sensational, xenophobic media at our fingertips, and some crazy racist and xenophobic conservatives claiming Obama isn’t American and that ethnic studies programs should be banned – this will only continue to get worse.  Especially for my accented job-searching friends.  Sorry guys.

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A Failure to Communicate

By PAMELA PAUL, The New York Times

THE GIST Many Americans are wary of people who speak with foreign accents.

THE SOURCE “Why Don’t We Believe Non-Native Speakers? The Influence of Accent On Credibility,” The Journal of Experimental Social Psychology.

ZERE ees a reason ze villain alvays speaks like zees. But it may not be the reason you think. A new study says distrust of those who speak with a foreign accent goes beyond common xenophobia. Apparently, when we don’t understand what someone’s saying, we lose confidence in the speaker altogether.

According to recent research, words and pictures that we can process easily — ones that we don’t have to work to decipher — tend to be perceived as not only more pleasant, clearer and less risky, but also more truthful.

Most data on the subject pertains to the written word. So, for example, if a statement is written in a clear, easy-to-read font, people are more likely to find it true than were it to appear fuzzy, as in a wet newspaper. Likewise, if a statement rhymes (“Woes unite foes”) people are more likely to believe it than if it doesn’t (“Woes unite enemies”).

Could this simplicity-sincerity effect apply to speech as well? “We both have an accent, so we’re interested in questions about how having an accent impacts you,” Boaz Keysar, a psychology professor at the University of Chicago and an author of the study, explained. He and Shiri Lev-Ari, a postdoctoral researcher and the lead author, were born in Israel.

The trick is figuring out whether a person’s distrust of non-native speakers stems from prejudice or incomprehension. To tease these factors apart, the researchers designed two experiments. First, they asked a group of 35 people to judge the truthfulness of trivial statements, like “Ants don’t sleep” and “A giraffe can go without water longer than a camel can,” recited by people with various accents — Turkish, Polish, Korean, Italian and Austrian-German — as well as native English speakers. In all cases, the subjects were told that the speakers were merely reciting statements provided by the experimenter and were not the source of the material. Yet even when speakers were “only the messenger,” listeners distrusted non-native speakers more than they did native English speakers.

The researchers then told the subjects up front that difficulty in understanding leads people to distrust non-native speakers. Would knowing about an accent’s effects erase the effects? Not entirely. While people were capable of adjusting their impressions of people who spoke with mild accents, they still distrusted statements from those with heavier accents. “Even awareness was unable to overcome the effect on credibility,” Dr. Boaz said.

These findings won’t likely assuage an already nervous job applicant who speaks with an accent. “In today’s globalized world, interactions between native and non-native speakers are rampant,” Dr. Lev-Ari said. Businesspeople, newscasters and witnesses often appeal to our capacity for trust, she said, “but we’re judging non-native speakers as less credible than they really are.”

One thing you can believe, though it may offer little consolation: The giraffe is, in fact, able to go longer without drinking water than the camel.

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You aren’t responsible for Quran burners. Don’t hold Muslims responsible for 9/11.

Couldn’t have said it better myself.  I hope you find this essay thought-provoking and informative during this day of remembrance.  Let’s hope we can finally learn from 9/11  and work toward resolution and peace.

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William Saletan for Slate, link to article here.  Embedded links from original article.

Two days ago, hundreds of Afghans gathered in Kabul to denounce the United States for burning the Quran. They torched American flags, chanted “Death to America,” and carried signs calling for the death of President Obama. Some of them hurled rocks at U.S. troops. A student in the crowd said of the planned Quran burning: “We know this is not just the decision of a church. It is the decision of the president and the entire United States.”

He’s wrong, of course. The Quran burning is the brainchild of a Florida minister and his tiny fundamentalist church. It has been condemned by the White House, the State Department, the commanding U.S. general in Afghanistan, Christian organizations, and countless Americans. But when clerics in Egypt denounce the incendiary plan, we feel the heat. When thousands of Muslims rally against it in Indonesia, they do so outside our embassy. When an imam in Kabul threatens retaliation, he casts a shadow on all of us: “If they decide to burn the holy Quran, I will announce jihad against these Christians and infidels.”

This is how it feels to be judged by the sins of others who destroy in the name of your faith. You’re no more responsible for 30 Christian extremists in Florida than Muslims are for the 19 hijackers of 9/11. Yet most of us, when polled, say that no Muslim house of worship should be built near the site of the 9/11 attacks. In saying this, we implicitly hold all Muslims accountable for the crime of those 19 people.

Now you know how it feels to be judged that way. It’s inaccurate, and it’s wrong.

Of course the two situations are different. The hijackers killed 3,000 people; the Quran burners would destroy only their own property. The hijackers were organized by a global terrorist network; the Quran burners are acting alone. But the Quran burners claim to speak for Christianity, just as the hijackers claimed to speak for Islam. And the Quran burners have many open supporters on Facebook in addition to others who are quietly cheering them on.

You, your country, and your faith are being held accountable for the deeds of these people. A widely viewed YouTube video combines “International Burn-the-Quran Day” shirts proclaiming “ISLAM IS OF THE DEVIL” (marketed by the same Florida church), satirical cartoons about the Prophet Mohammed, European criticism of Islamic veils, and myths about U.S. troops flushing a Quran down a toilet. The video says these “attacks on Muslims,” including U.S. invasions of Muslim countries, expose the “hatred of the disbelievers.” It calls on Muslims to “rise up and do something.”

The video also features a sign at a rally: “No More Mosques.” Our indiscriminate, collective-responsibility campaign against mosques is being used in an indiscriminate, collective-responsibility campaign against us and our troops.

A pastor who preaches at a nearby Florida church is aghast at the global outrage the Quran-burning minister has provoked. “He represents only 30 people in this town,” the pastor tells the New York Times. “It needs to get out somehow to the rest of the world that this isn’t the face of Christianity.”

It will, Reverend. Right after it gets out to the rest of the world that we don’t think the 9/11 hijackers are the face of Islam.

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Feds Sue Arizona Sheriff In Civil Rights Probe – NPR

Reposted from NPR.  Link here.

John Moore/Getty Images Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio stands in front of his county jail in Phoenix on July 29, the day Arizona's immigration enforcement law SB 1070 went into effect.

The U.S. Justice Department’s civil rights unit sued Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio on Thursday for refusing to turn over records in a civil rights investigation.

The lawsuit says the Maricopa County lawman’s office acted in an “unprecedented” way by refusing to hand over documents that could show whether Arpaio’s tough-on-crime traffic sweeps violated the civil rights of Hispanics who were pulled over and whether he mistreated prisoners in his custody.

Federal authorities say they can’t move forward with their investigation until they get arrest records and other information.

Arpaio, who gained national attention for making inmates work on chain gangs, live in tent cities and wear pink clothes, says the Justice Department case is politically motivated. His attorney calls the federal demands wildly overbroad.

The government has been trying since March 2009 to get officials to comply with its probe of alleged discrimination, unconstitutional searches and seizures, and having English-only policies in his jails that discriminate against people with limited English skills. Arpaio had been given until Aug. 17 to hand over documents it first asked for 15 months ago.

Amid a push for stricter immigration laws, some predict greater division in communities.

The lawsuit marks the latest clash between the Obama administration and the state of Arizona. The Justice Department sued to block a new anti-immigrant law in the state this summer, and the civil rights unit also sued the Maricopa community college system for allegedly discriminating against people who aren’t U.S. citizens.

“The actions of the sheriff’s office are unprecedented,” said Thomas Perez, assistant attorney general for the department’s civil rights division. “It is unfortunate that the department was forced to resort to litigation to gain access to public documents and facilities.”

The lawsuit was filed in U.S. District Court in Phoenix and names Arpaio, the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office and the county.

Arizona’s new law — most of which a federal judge has put on hold — mirrors many of the policies Arpaio has put into place in the greater Phoenix area, where he set up a hot line for the public to report immigration violations, conducts crime and immigration sweeps in heavily Latino neighborhoods, and frequently raids workplaces for people in the U.S. illegally.

Arpaio believes the inquiry is focused on his immigration sweeps, patrols where deputies flood an area of a city — in some cases heavily Latino areas — to seek out traffic violators and arrest other offenders.

Critics say his deputies pull people over for minor traffic infractions because of the color of their skin so they can ask them for their proof of citizenship.

Arpaio denies allegations of racial profiling, saying people are stopped if deputies have probable cause to believe they’ve committed crimes and that it’s only afterward that deputies find many of them are illegal immigrants.

The sheriff’s office has said half of the 1,032 people arrested in the sweeps have been illegal immigrants.

Last year, the federal government stripped Arpaio of his special power to enforce federal immigration law. The sheriff continued his sweeps through the enforcement of state immigration laws.

Last year, the nearly $113 million that the county received from the federal government accounted for about 5 percent of the county’s $2 billion budget. Arpaio’s office said it receives $3 million to $4 million each year in federal funds.

In a separate investigation, a federal grand jury in Phoenix is examining allegations that Arpaio has abused his powers with actions such as intimidating county workers by showing up at their homes at nights and on weekends.

NPR’s Carrie Johnson contributed to this report, which contains material from The Associated Press

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