links for 2010-05-20

  • "Gift Trapence, executive director of the Centre for the Development of People, was at the court house Thursday and told reporters: 'How can they get 14 years simply for loving one another? Even if they are jailed for 20 years you can't change their sexuality.'''
  • "'I think it's interesting how many people want to fight the results, rather than conclude, 'Hey, maybe it is a good idea to teach our kids when they are really young that we shouldn't judge people by the way they look,' FrustratedMI wrote."
  • "But the second narrative, as articulated by far too many in the past two weeks, while it praises those local efforts, does so specifically by attempting to contrast the good and decent people of Nashville with the presumably undesirable and indecent folks in certain unnamed but easily identifiable other places, who have in recent years experienced massive flooding. In other words, the black and poor of New Orleans, inundated when the levees protecting their city gave way to flood waters generated in the wake of Hurricane Katrina. And so we have been subjected to claims by Nashville columnist David Climer (of the local daily, The Tennessean), that the reason the flooding here didn't receive enough media attention was because in order to get headlines, you have to 'start looting.' But, as Climer made sure to point out, in his May 9 essay, 'We're better than that. Our city never lost control.' Got that? We are good. They are bad. Praise us. Screw them."
  • "This is usually the no-knock scenario: You're asleep, in your apartment or home, and it's past midnight when suddenly there is a loud crashing noise and flashes of smoke and light and people are breaking down your door with guns drawn and your response is of panic and confusion. You're pretty sure you're about to die, so, naturally, you put up a fight. But as it turns out, it's the police executing a "No-Knock" warrant with a flash grenade. But, ahem, how would you know that if it's past midnight, you're asleep and it just sounds like armed killers are trying to break into your house? How would you know this, especially, if you live in a high crime area where actual criminals DO break into people's houses and accost them?
    "No matter the scenario, this is a sad situation and why 'no-knock' warrants should be illegal."
  • "Even more, as a clinician, I was impressed by Elena Kagan's substantial expansion of the clinical teaching program at Harvard. From environmental law to educational advocacy, Kagan poured resources into Harvard's clinical offerings. Due to this expansion, thousands of indigent and under-represented citizens received quality legal services that they otherwise would not have been able to afford. For me, this represented a tangible commitment to the principle norm that animates our legal system: "equal justice under law."
  • "Beyond the issue of diversity of faculty, I can personally attest to Dean Kagan's support of diversity in the student body. The numbers that she has been responsible for are just outstanding. Since Elena Kagan became dean, the number of African American students admitted, particularly black males (given the national decline in African American males in colleges and universities), is simply astonishing. From 2003 until she ended her deanship in 2009, the number of African American students has been at an all time high. Her first year, 10% of the students were African American and the total minority student body was 29%. That percentage has increased in each category over the years. As a result, 31% of the entering class at Harvard Law School over the last 9 years is a record and a sign of her commitment."
  • "For much of Israel's short history, it has enjoyed intimate diplomatic and cultural ties to the U.S. In addition to both being democracies and sharing a similar agenda in the Middle East, Israel and the U.S. boast the two largest Jewish populations in the world. But could the support for Israel among American Jews be slipping? Most American Jews are liberal, for reasons we explored here. Some liberal U.S. Jews, including Jon Stewart, are distancing themselves from what the New York Times calls "a state whose government is now dominated by nationalist and ultrareligious politicians." In the New York Review of Books, Peter Beinart–a prominent, liberal, Jewish pundit who has long supported Israel–says that American Jewish support for Israel is dropping rapidly and could, he says, disappear among the liberals who dominate the group."
  • "Ms. Norton says she cannot find any government programs to help her strengthen the “thin bootstraps” she intends to pull herself up by. Because of the Wal-Mart job, she has been ineligible for unemployment benefits, and she says she made too much money to qualify for food stamps or Medicaid last year.

    “If you’re not a minority, or not handicapped, or not a young parent, or not a veteran, or not in some other certain category, your hope of finding help and any hope of finding work out there is basically nil,” Ms. Norton says. “I know. I’ve looked.”"