Our Common Good
Asked whether Obama is Christian or Muslim, some 45 percent of Alabama Republican respondents picked Muslim; 14 percent correctly identified him as Christian. Another 41 percent said they were unsure. In Mississippi, a majority of Republicans, 52 percent, identified Obama as Muslim; 12 percent said he was Christian and 36 percent were undecided.

Poll: GOP Voters In Deep South Think Obama Is Muslim, Unsure On Interracial Marriage

(via tpmmedia)

And this is because their Republican leaders love leaving the question in the air instead of doing as McCain did and just shutting it down with fact.


Can hear the wingers at work griping about it tomorrow (live in Alabama)

A federal appeals court on Thursday blocked two more sections of Alabama’s tough new law targeting illegal immigration pending the outcome of lawsuits that seek to overturn the law entirely.


Oh, and if you’re pregnant and your fetus dies “of natural causes” in utero, you also have to undergo an ultrasound and listen to a verbal description. Classy! 

Civil rights groups are turning to a new potential ally in the fight against Alabama’s harsh immigration law: the state’s top automakers.

A federal judge accused two state Republicans, called by federal prosecutors in a massive Alabama corruption case, of cooperating with the feds because of their “ulterior motives rooted in naked political ambition and pure racial bias.”

State Sen. Scott Beason and former Rep. Benjamin Lewis, U.S. District Judge Myron Thompson wrote, “lack credibility for two reasons.”

First, their motive for cooperating with F.B.I. investigators was not to clean up corruption but to increase Republican political fortunes by reducing African-American voter turnout. Second, they lack credibility because the record establishes their purposeful, racist intent,” Thompson wrote.

Alabama farmers are facing a labor crisis because of the state’s new immigration law as both legal and undocumented migrant workers have fled the state since the strict new rules went into effect last month.

So far, piecemeal efforts to match the unemployed or work release inmates to farm jobs are not panning out, and farmers are asking state lawmakers to do something before the spring planting season.


This is a sick and ugly story. It is 2011 not 1911 and this conservative majority of white supremacists —- I don’t think you can look at their history and call that hyperbolic —- are doing it again. I guess it’s just in their DNA.

Update: The Justice Department is seeking to block the law in federal court.

Another American History Maker gone…

The Rev. Fred Shuttlesworth, a pioneer of the civil rights movement, died Wednesday in Birmingham, Ala. Shuttlesworth led Birmingham’s battle against segregation — a battle that focused the national spotlight on the violent resistance to equal rights in the South and forced change. He was 89.

As Birmingham goes, so goes the nation. That belief was the driving force behind Shuttlesworth’s crusade for equality.

"He was the soul and heart of the Birmingham movement," Georgia Rep. John Lewis said. It was Birmingham, he said, that brought the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

"Fred Shuttlesworth had the vision, the determination never to give up, never to give in," Lewis said. "He led an unbelievable children’s crusade. It was the children who faced dogs, fire hoses, police billy clubs that moved and shook the nation."


Historian Horace Huntley of the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute said Shuttlesworth personally challenged just about every segregated institution in the city — from schools and parks to buses, even the waiting room at the train station.

"They had a white section and a colored section. Fred and his wife bought tickets, and they sat in the white section," Huntley said. "That was revolutionary for Birmingham of the 1950s."

Alabama and Immigration

Hispanic students vanish from Alabama schools

There are no precise statewide numbers. But several districts with large immigrant enrollments — from small towns to large urban districts — reported a sudden exodus of children from Hispanic families, some of whom told officials they would leave the state to avoid trouble with the law, which requires schools to check students’ immigration status.

Source: USAToday

Obama administration appeals Alabama immigration law

U.S. District Judge Sharon Lovelace Blackburn earlier this week backed the law authorizing police to detain people suspected of being in the country illegally if they cannot produce proper documentation when stopped for any reason.

The judge also upheld a provision that permits the state to require public schools to determine the legal residency of children. Federal judges in other states have blocked similar state laws aimed at trying to stem illegal immigration.

The Justice Department filed an appeal with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit, based in Atlanta, and also asked Blackburn to put her ruling on hold pending that appeal.

The administration argued that the U.S. Constitution made immigration a federal matter that “cannot be subject to a patchwork of state measures. Alabama thus has no authority to regulate in the area of immigration.”

Source: Reuters

from the God Machine this week:

* A recent Fox News poll found a whopping 77% of Americans “personally believe prayers can literally help someone heal from an injury or illness.” The same poll found the percentage of Americans embracing creationism slipping slightly, from 50% to 45%, though creationists still outnumbered those who accept modern biology by more than a two-to-one margin.

* In southern Alabama, a city judge is allowing those convicted of minor offenses to “work off their sentences in jail and pay a fine; or go to church every Sunday for a year.” Though 56 local churches are participating, the program probably raises some constitutional concerns. (thanks to R.B. for the tip)

* And in Michigan, U.S. Senate candidate Peter Konetchy (R) is arguing the nation should cap the number of Muslims allowed to immigrate to the United States. In case this isn’t obvious, that’s crazy.

~ Steve Benen (via blissandzen)


On Sept. 15, 1963, four black girls were killed when a bomb went off during Sunday services at a Baptist church in Birmingham, Alabama, in the deadliest act of the civil rights era.
(via NYTimes)




On Sept. 15, 1963, four black girls were killed when a bomb went off during Sunday services at a Baptist church in Birmingham, Alabama, in the deadliest act of the civil rights era.

(via NYTimes)

Chief U.S. District Judge Sharon Lovelace Blackburn cited the need for more time to consider the legal challenges against the law in an injunction that blocks implementation of the law through September 29.

"In entering this order the court specifically notes that it is in no way addressing the merits of the motions," the judge wrote in her two-page order.

Federal judges have previously blocked key parts of other immigration laws passed in Georgia, Arizona, Utah and Indiana.

The Alabama law, widely seen as the toughest state measure on illegal immigration, requires police to detain people they suspect of being in the United States illegally if they cannot produce proper documentation when stopped for any reason.

The law also makes it a crime to knowingly transport or harbor an illegal immigrant, and requires public schools to determine, by reviewing birth certificates or sworn affidavits, the legal residency status of students upon enrollment.

…the Equal Justice Initiative (EJI), a nonprofit criminal-defense and civil rights law and advocacy firm, released yet another in a series of reports that clearly demonstrate that the criminal-justice system, especially in the South, is broken and dangerously on the brink of illegitimacy. 

The EJI’s latest report (pdf) focuses on a little-known practice, permitted in only three states: judicial override. Florida, Delaware and Alabama allow judges to overturn jury-sentencing verdicts in death penalty cases. There are no individuals on death row in Delaware as a result of judicial override, and no judge has imposed a capital punishment override in Florida in the last 12 years. But according to the EJI report, judicial override in Alabama is almost always exercised to impose the death penalty when a jury has recommended life in prison. In fact, although judges have the authority under Alabama law to override a jury’s sentence of death and to instead impose a life sentence, 92 percent of judicial overrides are used to order death. 

According to EJI estimates, there are 40 men on death row in Alabama who were placed there after a judge overrode a jury’s sentence of life in prison. Given that Alabama imposes few obstacles to the imposition of the death penalty by juries (a death sentence does not require a unanimous verdict in Alabama — the agreement of 10 of 12 jurors is sufficient), and that jurors opposed to capital punishment are excluded from serving on Alabama juries, judicial overrides to impose death are particularly alarming. But these judicial overrides have not provoked charges of “activist judging,” confirming that the charge of judicial activism has simply become right-wing shorthand to describe a judge whose independence gets in the way of the conservative agenda.


Yet another devastating revelation is the evidence that judges override juries to impose the death penalty more often in a judicial election year. If one plus one still equals two, this is among the most searing indictments of judicial elections (still used in 38 states). It suggests that in some instances, judges, feeling the pressure of upcoming election contests, may either consciously or unconsciously make decisions that will shore up their “tough on crime” bonafides.

Cordova, Alabama Mayor Jack Scott won’t allow FEMA trailers for citizens that had their houses destroyed by recent tornadoes because of 50 year old ban on single wide Mobile Homes. This despite the fact that….

“actually are a fair number of trailers in Cordova. The Cordova Police Department has relocated to one since their station was destroyed in the storm. The place that Cordovans go to pay their water bills ” you know, on all that water theyre not using because their houses were destroyed and theyre not allowed to hook up a trailer ” thats in a single-sectional trailer. There are some businesses, including banks, enjoying their new temporary housing scattered around downtown. And best of all ” and let me assure you that had I not been tempted to write this sack of shit up for anything stated above, I would have written this article for the following fact alone ” City Hall is currently being run out of the banned single-wide trailers.”