Saturday, August 23, 2008

What Drew Obama to Biden?

My wonderful co-bloggers at TMV already have several posts giving their takes on how the Biden choice will affect the presidential race (Tony Campbell thinks its an awful choice; Jazz Shaw thinks the GOP will love it; Dorain de Wind and Robert Stein love it; and Shaun Mullen shouts out for his home-state boy).

As for me, on the political side I'm decidedly meh. I've been persuaded that it was unreasonable of me to expect Biden to vote against the credit card industry on the bankruptcy bill, him being from Delaware and all, so that's my big sticking point out of the way. There are some folks I would have preferred (Sebelius, Clark before Obama unwisely threw him overboard, Levin) but also some folks significantly more worrisome (Bayh, Kaine, Webb). So, meh. Biden is, in a lot of ways, a gamble. He can be unbelievably witty and an excellent debater, but those same qualities make him gaffe prone.The question is whether he'll be on his game this primary season. Cross your fingers.

But anyways. I'm more interested in what drew Obama to Biden in the first place, less as a question of politics and more what he would bring to a prospective Obama administration. Personally, I think this post by Moira Whelon offers a clue:
But what has impressed me most, for years, [about Biden] is his staff. He knows how to pick ‘em, and that’s no small thing. Brilliant people come and go in DC, but rarely do they also have the ability to pick quality staff the way Biden does. His folks always are among the brightest from a policy standpoint, but also possess a sophisticated political acumen. It’s a rare but valuable combination. I’ve had the privilege of working for, and with, many of these folks, and count them among my friends. I’ve always gotten the sense that their boss respected them for their abilities and listened to their ideas rather then them simply having to implement his. They were encouraged to push hard and dig deep on issues. They were challenged by Biden, but in a good way. The Boss reads, talks to experts, and asks questions. He challenges his staff and calls them to the carpet. Why? Because the most important thing is to get the answer right and to be honest about the challenges we face.

As a result of having a staff that is so good, Biden is almost never behind the curve of policy developments. He’s proactive, not reactive.That’s a huge strategic advantage, and as a result, becoming a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee is a badge of validation among foreign policy folks. Further than that, you’ll hear from many foreign policy experts how closely they work with Biden. They’re not making it up. Biden counts on a broad range of people to get the job done right. Many, many people feel they have influence on his approach and as a result when the final product is announced, they feel invested, but the view is all Biden, and usually better. Biden collects the best. Simple as that.

If there is one thing we know about Obama, it's that he respects expertise. One of the earliest elements about Obama that put him on folks radar screen (besides his oratorical gifts) was the top-notch crew of advisers and staffers he was putting together. Joe Biden's eye for policy talent, and his willingness surround himself with them, is something that I believe Obama respects and admires. Indeed, I think it is in large part how he envisions his administration in response to the catastrophe of the last eight years. Unlike Obama and Biden, President Bush has distinguished himself by being overtly hostile to the opinion of experts. Obama, I feel, subscribes to the belief that the way to get the best results is to surround yourself with the best people, listen to their counsel, and then make a decision knowing as much information as possible. Biden fits into that framework to a T.

A lot has been made over Biden's long Washington pedigree as a disabling point against him serving with Obama. I'm not buying it. Obama isn't rallying against experience for its own sake, nor does he represent the revenge of the younger generation against the follies of age. Obama's fundamental argument is that it's not about the pedigree, it's about the results. It's about getting it right. Biden -- nobody will deny this -- comes equipped with the knowledge to help get it right.

I understand the instinct to analyze Biden from a solely political lens. You have to win an election before you can make policy, after all. But while politics is all well and good, when it distracts us from whether or not somebody in office will make the nation better, I think it's a sign we're taking our eyes off the ball. I think the Biden pick was an example of Obama making a politically riskier pick (in terms of what effect Biden would have on the campaign trail) in exchange for superior policy decisionmaker. Is that not something that's worth considering when we cast our ballots?

Friday, August 22, 2008

How To Legally Immigrate to the United States

In one easy to navigate flow chart!

Fun fact: unskilled immigrants have virtually no chance of being approved, even though America needs unskilled labor! But they should "wait their turn" anyway. Fair is fair.

Sending a Message

HHS Secretary Mike Leavitt, justifying conscience exemptions for doctors (and nurses and volunteers and trainees) who don't want to

Civil Rights Roundup: 8/22/08

Your daily dose of civil rights and related news

Ward Connerly's petition to ban affirmative action in Arizona has been thrown out, after election officials found that he fell far short in obtaining the number of valid signatures required to put the measure to a vote.

A federal judge stayed the execution of a Texas inmate, ruling that the state grossly erred in refusing to determine whether he was mentally competent to be put to death.

Washington Post: "Civil Rights Panel Faulted on Hiring Choice." The "choice" was to hire voter suppression artist Hans Von Spakovsky (as I wrote yesterday: "The technical term for this is 'sick %&@$ing joke").

ICE is scrapping its self-deportation program. Finally.

The ACLU is suing to overturn Alabama regulations which only allow ex-felons to be re-enfranchised if they can pay off all accumulated court costs, fines, restitution, and other costs associated with their sentence.

A group of Maine men have agreed to stay away from local Native Americans they are accused of harassing.

EMILY's List has released some interesting polling data on the opinions of women voters.

The Mayor of Phoenix blasted Congress for not mending "incoherent" immigration policies, which don't keep illegal immigrants out, don't give them true opportunity, and certainly don't stem the rising tide of hate and prejudice directed against Latinos of all backgrounds.

The Florida Parole Commission will remain all-White after a failed effort to add a Black voice to the board.

The HHS Department is issuing regulations which could dramatically restrict women's contraceptive access under the guise of "conscience protections" for doctors.

And finally, for an abbreviated Friday round-up, it's the 50th anniversary of Ben's Chili Bowl! And actually, given Ben's role as a gathering point for Black leaders during the civil rights movement, it's actually related to this roundup. Not to mention its delicious (some friends and I went there for dinner this week).

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Another Look

Spencer Ackerman takes a fresh look at the New Republic/Scott Thomas Beauchamp controversy. When I read Franklin Foer's fact-check of the story, I remarked that it did not appear to me that the story needed to be retracted at all -- and certainly, nobody had done anything to justify the vitriol that had been heaped upon both writer and magazine by radical right-wing bloggers. Ackerman's piece only verifies that instinct, and it is well worth the read.

Rush Limbaugh: Still Classy

Who is stunned to hear this?
"It's -- you know, it's just -- it's just we can't hit the girl. I don't care how far feminism's saying, you can't hit the girl, and you can't -- you can't criticize the little black man-child. You just can't do it, 'cause it's just not right, It's not fair. He's such a victim."

The "little black man-child." Mmm-hmm.

Via Feministing. And remember, Limbaugh is the top guy CNN cites for why John McCain can't pick a pro-choice running mate. He's got influence, people -- not just with his listeners, but with the GOP establishment.

Legacy of Slavery

I think folks might have the wrong idea about what the "legacy of slavery" (or Jim Crow or discrimination) is. As far as I can tell, at least in the popular White imagination it seems to be some genetic contribution to the Black psyche which haunts them and holds them back from pursuing the opportunities America has made available today. There is a smidgen to that definition -- in that it is psychologically salient to know that your ancestors were treated by this regime as subhuman animals who could kidnapped, sold, beaten, and even killed at will. This doesn't even actually rely on being a descendant of slaves: it works very similarly when you consider that "had I been there, I'd have been enslaved too" (Jews can relate to this same phenomenon -- we know what would have happened to us in the Holocaust or in a Russian pogrom, even if none of our immediate ancestors were survivors of Nazi or Czarist or Soviet tyranny). But I think that there is a lot more to the legacy of slavery that doesn't fit into that at all.

First, racist policies have by and large prevented Blacks from accumulating wealth across generations. Not only is this inherently disadvantaging compared to their peers, but it may develop habits of saving, spending, and consumption which may be beneficial survival skills in a Jim Crows style society, but may not be optimal now.

But the even bigger element which I think is missed is how slavery and Jim Crow helped create a network of social understandings regarding the place, value, and characteristics of Black people which are still operative today. This gets dropped from the conversation because it has to do with how contemporary Whites relate to Blacks and Black history -- which of course we (say we) don't do, because we (say we) are color-blind. But insofar as the image of the Black in the White imagination is an image in part defined by subjugation and inferiority, that legacy is still very much an important part of the Black experience (and again, it really isn't dependent on whether one is the descendant of slaves).

All of which is good reason to study the subject more -- a position which is admittedly easy for me to take given how moronic the arguments trotted out by the opposition are.

Not Funny....

Once again, CNN goes off and carries John McCain's water:
The remark comes days after McCain faced criticism from Obama over a weekend remark at Pastor Rick Warren's faith forum, where the Arizona senator joked that someone would need to earn $5 million a year in the United States to be defined as rich. McCain did not "joke" that $5 million is the threshold for rich in America. He said it. It might have been a gaffe, he might have walked it back or changed his mind later, but it wasn't a joke. That implies a degree of intentionality that McCain clearly did not possess when he said it. It was a slip-up, but it wasn't a joke.

The Best and the Worst

The article from Ha'aretz manages to highlight both the best and the worst elements of Israeli society.

Shooting the foot of a bound prisoner at close range with a rubber bullet? Thuggish brutality.

Charging the soldier with the wrist-slap of "conduct unbecoming"? Outrageous.

Human rights groups able to sue in Israeli courts and get an injunction with an order to show cause? Rule of law.

Every country has its brutes. Israel is no different. And every country has people who want to protect those brutes. Israel, again, is no different. But not every country has a truly independent judiciary that can check those abuses. And in this respect, Israel is quite different.

Caution: Product May Disappoint

The box on my just-purchased Subway "fresh baked" apple pie warns: "Caution: Filling may be hot".

I suppose it might be, but in this case, no, it's not. In fact, it's rather ice cold and a little bit nauseating. Tragic, given that apple pie should by all rights be an automatic route to deliciousness.

Civil Rights Roundup: 08/21/08

Your daily dose of civil rights and related news

Americans of all stripes mourn the death of Rep. Stephanie Tubbs Jones (D-OH). After graduating from Case Western University (thanks to a scholarship she attributed to affirmative action efforts), Jones went on to become the first Black woman to represent Ohio in Congress.

Supporters and opponents of an initiative to ban affirmative action in Nebraska are squabbling over the ballot language.

Meanwhile, the University of Nebraska is reporting great strides in hiring a diverse faculty.

Texas is set to execute a man who didn't kill anybody -- only the 8th time since the death penalty was reinstated that a man will be put to death as an accomplice to murder.

The Justice Department is looking into whether Princeton discriminates against Asian-American applicants through its affirmative action program.

The Hampton Roads, Virginia, city council is examining switching from a at-large to a ward-based system as a way to increase social, economic, and racial diversity on the board.

Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal (R) will not renew an anti-discrimination order put out by his predecessor, Gov. Kathleen Blanco (D). It's expiration leaves gay and lsbian state workers and contractors unprotected from discrimination.

Illinois civil rights activists are suing, alleging that the state's funding mechanism grossly short-changes minority school districts and gives their children an unequal education.

George E. Curry writes in the Chicago Defender about the continuing need for HBCU's. These institutions generate a disproportionate tally of Black college graduates and -- perhaps more importantly -- are willing to take chances on low to mid-range students and get them on the path to success.

Ann Friedman tries to calm the panic about how this generation of women are not sufficiently feminist.

Shenandoah Valley schools are hosting events to highlight the benefits of diversity after the racially charged murder of a Latino resident.

Corporations celebrate supplier diversity in Battle Creek, Michigan.

A federal appeals court ruled that a Tennessee school district did not violate the constitution when it banned students from wearing the Confederate flag, citing the possibility of enflaming racial tensions.

The Oklahoman: "For Oklahoma college students, diversity is a daily lesson".

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

The Other Jackboot Drops

I'm enjoying watching The Olympics, but the way that the television coverage has been such a pro-China love-fest is really sickening to me. There has been virtually no talk about the way in which China has utterly squashed dissent and protests during the games after promising to open up (and the networks have cooperated with China's heavy-handed efforts to put only its best face forward, most notably with the computer-enhanced opening ceremonies). Fortunately, the print media has been considerably better, and today the New York Times has the story of two elderly Chinese women who have been sentenced to "re-education" after their unsuccessful efforts to get a protest permit.

This is after China (a) designated protest locations at isolated, out-of-the-way locations, and (b) refused to approve any of the 77 applications it got for protests. So now we can add (c) arresting people for attempting to file the application and sentencing them to potential hard labor. The Times also documents various other charming anti-protest strategies, such as "disappearing" folks trying to apply, or simply refusing to distribute the permit forms at all.

When I watch sporting competitions, nothing raises my blood pressure than unfair play. From the underage gymnasts to the replacement of China's singer with someone "cuter" to the media-assist on the opening ceremonies to the broken promises of liberalization, there has been a cloud of dishonesty to these entire games. So next time you see the picture of the gorgeous Bird's Nest or the spectacular Beijing skyline, remember that there is an undercurrent to the whole proceedings, and it's called authoritarianism.

The Anti-Ledbetter

Marcia McCormick of Workplace Prof Blogs comments on a case recently handed down by the 9th circuit that she says has "echoes of Ledbetter." The case, Zolotarev v. City of San Francisco, involves a suit against San Francisco for allegedly giving preferential treatment in hiring Asian and Filipino-American workers. The ruling was not one on the merits of the claim, but rather whether the suit was time-barred. The city argued that the time limit should begin once the workers became aware of the injury (in other words, once they had been informed they would not be fired). The plaintiffs, by contrast, said that the clock shouldn't start until they became aware (or reasonably should have been aware) of the legal violation -- that is, when they became aware that the city might be giving preference to Asians or Filipinos -- which came significantly after they heard about the actual hiring decision. The Court agreed with the city, and tossed the suit.

The opinion itself, however, only alludes to Ledbetter once in passing. And based on my reading of Ledbetter, I actually think that this case runs in the precise opposite direction -- with the sole linking factor that it puts a barrier in front of plaintiffs in employment discrimination suits (more specifically, in both it sets a stricter time limit for filing suits).

Recall that Ledbetter, which was also a case about statute of limitations, also basically was a fight between two competing starting points for the statute of limitations clock. Ledbetter thought that since each reduced pay check was a separate harm, the statute of limitations should restart anew each payday. Goodyear (Ledbetter's employer), by contrast, argued that the point of departure is the original discriminatory instinct which resulted in Ledbetter being paid less. The Court agreed with Goodyear.

So, if I'm reading the case right, Ledbetter stands for the proposition that its not the injury (less pay) but the "thought" (the discriminatory instinct, the legal violation) that counts. However, Zolotarev is saying exactly the opposite -- starting the clock at the injury (not getting hired) no matter when the workers could have reasonably known about the act of discrimination. These are opposing standards -- it just happens to be that in Ledbetter adopting the legal violation guideline gives us a stricter formula, while in Zolotarev adopting injury guideline does.

As far as I'm concerned, since both a material injury and a discriminatory reason are necessary for a plaintiff to prevail in these sort of suits, the clock shouldn't start until the plaintiff has reasonable knowledge of both. But what do I know?

Civil Rights Roundup: 08/20/08

Your daily dose of civil rights and related news

The cellmate of a immigrant who died in US custody described the incredible pain he was in -- and how detention center staffers laughed and said he was faking.

A study finds that minority students are far more likely to be paddled in school.

A noose was found at a Chicago police station, triggering an investigation.

A Las Vegas Review Journal columnist apparently got smoked by his readers when he made the simple factual observation that the ACLU is often at the fore-front defending religious liberty.

The son of illegal immigrants is now a gold medalist in wrestling for the United States Olympic squad. So, who wants to call him an "anchor baby" now?

A transgender women (and former special forces officer) is suing after the Library of Congress withdraw a job offer after finding out she was transitioning from man to woman. I was at the hearing on transgender discrimination where she testified, and she got screwed over badly.

A new museum exhibit helps illustrate how the concept of race has evolved in America over the years.

A former border patrol agent has plead guilty to violating the civil rights of several undocumented immigrants (specifically, pistol-whipping them).

A Yonkers cop has been indicted on civil rights charges stemming from an excessive force complaint.

The State (South Carolina's flagship paper): Outreach to minority contractors and subcontractors is not a technicality.

A majority of New Jersey voters now say they are in favor of same-sex marriages.

USA Today: racial diversity is leading to political diversity in our nation's board rooms.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Where's the Kennedy Hate?

I've never had any major problems with Justice Anthony Kennedy myself, though it seems that others do. Consequently, Brooks Holland finds it odd that Kennedy didn't make either John McCain or Barack Obama's list of current justices they would not have appointed.

I do not find it that odd, personally (Justice Alito's omission from Obama's list is more glaring). Obama stated his opposition to Roberts, Scalia, and Thomas, while McCain rattled off Stevens, Ginsburg, Breyer, and Souter. In other words (again, with Alito as the exception), the respective right and left flanks of the Supreme Court. Politically, they couldn't go express discontent any further towards the center, because it would make them look radical: "Obama/McCain is so extreme on the judiciary, he wants judges even more liberal/conservative than Tony Kennedy, who actually voted to uphold Roe v. Wade/most abortion restrictions."

The only way either could have put ol' Tony on their list would be by himself, as an example of a judge who is too ad hoc or not principled or predictable enough. That would have been a gutsy move, and I'm not sure how it would have played out, but listing a straight left-to-right or right-to-left line of Justices ending in Kennedy would have been an unmitigated disaster for whoever tried to attempt it.

Bloggers in Motion

Big moves in the blogosphere were announced today. Kevin Drum announced that he will be leaving his perch at the Washington Monthly to take up a new position blogging at Mother Jones. He will be replaced by Steve Benen, who will leave behind his former domain of The Carpetbagger Report, and Hilzoy of Obsidian Wings, who will be cross-posting at both sites.

So get ready to update your bookmarks!

Under Their Skin

I'm somewhat of a zealot when it comes to attacking the use of the term "Judeo-Christian", which I think inaccurately lumps together two very different religious traditions. Sometimes my critique is thus on the general usage, and other times it's about particularly inane applications.

John McCain, apparently, likes to use "Judeo-Christian" a lot. And if the Boston Globe's coverage is at all reliable, his usage would seem to fall definitively in the latter category -- warning a New Hampshire crowd that Iranians "sure don't share our Judeo-Christian values."

Yes, let's undercut eight years of trying to persuade Muslims that this isn't a Holy War. As the Globe reports, McCain continually uses "Judeo-Christian" as a synonym for "freedom" or the American way, a conflation which is (a) wrong, (b) excluding of millions of Americans, and (c) obviously won't play well in the Muslim world. If Muslims believe that our quest to "stand up for freedom" is literally a desire to impose our own religious tenets on them, well, let's just say it makes our job a wee bit tougher.

Meanwhile, returning to my general critical stance, the Globe hedges a little bit in the middle of its piece when it says that "The term Judeo-Christian has a benign history," continuing to claim that "It was popularized by liberal groups in the 1920s and 1930s to forestall anti-Semitism."

Now, I'm not sure that's accurate (I seem to recall that the term was actually originated by mocking anti-Semites, but I could be wrong and/or it could have been appropriated later by liberal groups), but that's besides the point. The point is that "Judeo-Christian" is not benign. It represents, if anything, the bad sort of liberalism which conditions equality on uniformity -- in this case, replacing a unique Jewish heritage with insinuations that Judaism is just a sub-species of Christianity. I'm willing to grant that the non-Jewish speakers who promoted "Judeo-Christian" may have had their hearts in the right place, and I'm willing to grant that Jewish speakers who did the same may have seen that strategy is the best available in the face of anti-Semitic oppression. But it remains true that it is a term adopted under duress, and ultimately is not an accurate expression of the history, experience, or interests of the Jewish community. In that way, it is the furthest thing from benign.

Civil Rights Roundup: 08/19/08

Your daily dose of civil rights and related news

The highest court in California has ruled that doctors cannot refuse to treat gay and lesbian patients due to religious objections.

The federal government is starting to push to make sure apartments are handicapped accessible.

A vandalism spree in Staten Island is not being characterized as a hate crime, despite concerns by nervous Latino residents that they were targeted by ethnic hatred.

The number of juveniles being held in adult jails is falling, but there is still some work to be done.

San Francisco's immigrant advisory committee is trying to promote programs aimed at rehabilitating and reintegrating young immigrant felons.

Two witnesses have come forward to contradict a police officer's claim that he was under threat when he shot an unarmed man in Prince George's County. The witnesses say the officer beat the man with a baton prior to shooting him in the torso.

Virginia's efforts to buy more products from small, women, and minority-owned businesses is 1/3 working: the numbers are up for small businesses, but mostly those owned by White men.

An African American church in Fairfax has been defaced with a racial slur.

After spotting anti-Semitic graffiti on a synagogue, a local man stopped his car to paint over the offending material. He refused to be photographed or give his name.

Voting machine problems likely won't be fixed by the November election.

Pro-affirmative action forces are suing to try and keep Ward Connerly's anti-AA proposal off the Arizona ballot.

A New Jersey appeals court has ruled that a gay employee can proceed with a hostile environment harassment suit against his boss after she allegedly called him a "stupid fag." The case is Kwiatkowski v. Merrill Lynch.

Monday, August 18, 2008

The Quota Dodge

So one of the predominant misconceptions out there today about affirmative action is that it's a quota system. This is false, as I have gently reminded CNN, but it still seems to hold a lot of sway over the electorate when debating plans to abolish equal opportunity programs like affirmative action.

But now, civil rights groups fighting to defend affirmative action are test-running a new plan that seeks to neutralize the misconceptions on quotas. Basically, in response to a Ward Connerly backed initiative to ban affirmative action outright, they are attempting to place on the ballot a counter-measure of their own which would prohibit quota or point-based systems (what were outlawed in Bakke and Gratz, respectively), but would otherwise maintain the ability of the state to use affirmative action as upheld by the Supreme Court in cases like Grutter.

Connerly's people are ticked off, saying that it "was created just to confuse and deceive voters." On the one hand, they sort of have a point -- voters may not understand the difference between the two initiatives, and could vote for both on the misunderstanding that both would bar affirmative action (which would set off one hell of a court battle). On the other hand, the whole thing wouldn't be a problem if anti-affirmative action forces weren't aggressively pedelling the lie that racial quotas are still part of modern affirmative action, so my sympathy for their claims of deception is limited. Moreover the counter-initiative does apparently tell voters that it will uphold legal affirmative action programs, which makes it much clearer.

Most importantly, the counter-initiative helps give Colorado voters a genuine choice as to just what they want to exclude from their state. Do they just dislike quota systems, or do they also want to eliminate counseling programs for freshman college women, mentoring for at-risk minority youth, outreach programs to Latino youngsters, and other race and gender-conscious plans which enjoy much broader support? With the knowledge that all sides oppose racial quotas, the debate can proceed in a far more honest and fair manner than what we've heard thus far. And that's worth celebrating.

See also a certain brilliant and sexy blogger.

Manhood and M3

Ta-Nehisi Coates has a great post up (boy is that ever redundant) on the long simmering discontent many young Blacks have felt for the Jesse Jackson model of civil rights advocacy. He notes that many Whites have been surprised to see this view coming out of the Black community. And I think he gets at the reason why (albeit obliquely). The center-to-right critique of Jesse Jackson is that it is "whiny"; that it is too demanding of Whites and not focused enough on what Blacks can do for themselves. And wouldn't you know it, but the main Black alternative to that style of politics makes that very same pitch: it also indicts Black leaders whose focus on appealing to Whites is emasculating and, as Coates puts it, "another form of shuffling."

The problem is the folks making that claim are people like Louis Farrakhan. Which explains the popularity of the Million Man March -- but it also explains why White people couldn't really process it as a true alternative to Jackson. Simply put, White people couldn't handle the fact that they wanted African-Americans to become Black Muslims. So they just told themselves that the Million Man March was another instance of Black whiny pleading, missing the point entirely, and carried on as if nothing had happened.

Hang 'em High

I read this piece by a former Guantanamo inmate who we beat, tortured, and abused. And then I want all the higher-ups in the Bush administration who authorized that treatment to be executed for their thuggish brutality and desire to make America into a lawless, authoritarian hellhole. And all the folks who sought to rationalize or defend his treatment should have to face an even worse fate.

They should have to live with themselves.

Civil Rights Roundup: 08/18/08

Your daily dose of civil rights and related news

I'm not sure I agree with this reading of Frederick Douglass' career, but the comparison to Obama is interesting nonetheless.

Virginia's new project to use DNA evidence to help exonerate falsely convicted prisoners continues.

The business community is throwing everything it has against the Ledbetter Fair Pay act.

The Kosher plant that was targeted in the Postville raid is having trouble getting itself back up and running.

How can we make it easier for our men and women in uniform to vote while overseas?

ACORN is looking to register Houston's poorest residents as voters.

An CAR native who came to the US legally for military training may be deported back to Africa, where he will likely face execution for being a deserter.

As we get ready to go back to school (or at least some of us do), the AP has a set of interesting educational stats to look at.

An author is suing PETA for their campaign which attempts to analogize animal suffering to slavery. PETA is a tremendously obnoxious organization, but I can't believe this suit has any merit.

The other LCCR (Lawyer's Committee for Civil Rights Under Law) is setting up a South Carolina hot line to which voters can report in election day problems, such as glitchy machines or intimidation.

Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-CT), who voted against Samuel Alito's nomination to the Supreme Court on the grounds that he was insufficiently committed to safeguarding equal opportunity, now thinks that vote was a mistake.

A growing number of students Florida and nationwide are receiving food stamps.