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AMAZIAN OF THE WEEK! The Asian Pacific American Legal Center And The Asian American Justice Center

May 17th, 2010 | 2 comments | Posted by Jen

Name: The Asian Pacific American Legal Center (APALC) and the Asian American Justice Center (AAJC)

Location: Los Angeles and D.C., respectively

Purpose: Civil rights groups

Known for: Joining the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund (MALDEF), and the National Assn. for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) in filing a lawsuit against Arizona’s SB 1070 Monday. The suit contends that the law will lead to racial profiling and is in violation of the 1st, 4th, and 14th Amendments. One of the plaintiffs this coalition is representing is 70 year-old Jim Shee, a U.S.-born citizen of Spanish and Chinese descent, who has already been stopped twice by Arizona law enforcement officials and asked to produce his papers, even before the law’s taken effect.

In light of AZ Governor Brewer accusing President Obama of “(dividing) people along racial lines for his personal political convenience” by opposing SB 1070, it’s telling that the exact opposite is happening. Because this law isn’t just a threat to a certain race, it’s a threat to the Constitution, our civil liberties, and the things that actually hold our society together. ACLU attorney Lucas Guttentag put it best when he described SB 1070 this way:

“This is the most extreme and dangerous of all the state and local laws purporting to deal with immigration issues. This law is shameful, un-American.

[LA Times: Civil rights groups sue to stop Arizona's immigration law]
[The Asian Pacific American Legal Center]
[The Asian American Justice Center]

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DISGRASIAN OF THE WEAK! The Philadelphia Inquirer’s Brian Tierney and Harold Jackson

May 15th, 2009 | 0 comments | Posted by Jen

In response to the public outcry this week over the hiring of Torture Memos author John Yoo as a monthly columnist for the Philadelphia Inquirer, both the paper’s publisher, Brian Tierney, and its editorial page editor, Harold Jackson, issued defenses of Yoo’s hiring that were, well, indefensible.

The NY Times reported:

“What I liked about John Yoo is he’s a Philadelphian,” Mr. Tierney said. “He went to Episcopal Academy, where I went to school. He’s a very, very bright guy. He’s on the faculty at Berkeley, one of the most liberal universities in the country.”

To critics of the hiring, he said, “The most important speech to defend is the speech you hate.”

And sure, we can all agree that free speech = GOOD, even when we don’t agree with said speech’s content. Unless, of course, you’re John Yoo. In a 2001 memo, Yoo actually suggested that free speech and free press were maybe not all that, in the words of Tierney, “important” and worth “defending.”

First Amendment speech and press rights may also be subordinated to the overriding need to wage war successfully,” Yoo wrote, in a memo entitled, “Authority for Use of Military Force to Combat Terrorist Activity Within the United States.

Oh. The. Irony.

The Inquirer‘s editorial page editor, Harold Jackson, was less chummy in his own Yoo-pologia, but he wasn’t any more convincing.

For NPR.org, he wrote:

Adding more conservative commentaries to our mix doesn’t mean we have become right-wing in our editorial positions. It means we aren’t afraid to let people hear what the other side has to say.

We think most of our readers aren’t afraid either.

Our editorial board strives to take distinct positions on every topic we write about. But we also want to make sure our pages present alternative points of view.

That’s the reason we run Yoo.“

Ahh! “Hearing…the other side” and “alternative points of view” also = GOOD (and now let us embrace and sing Kumbaya together), however…

Legally justifying torture is not simply “other” and “alternative,” it’s madness. It goes against reason, logic, ethics, and humanity. And, for the record, we should be afraid of that. We should be very afraid.

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