Civil Rights

It cannot be business as usual

This past week was one of highs and lows for advocates of repealing “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” (DADT). Federal District Court Judge Virginia A. Phillips’ sweeping decision striking down the gay military ban and declaring it unconstitutional was a huge high, but one favorable decision by one lower court judge does not end a federal statute.


Obama administration may back marijuana prohibition, but that doesn’t mean that California voters have to do the same

The mainstream media was in a frenzy last week over statement’s issued by the Justice Department alleging that the office will “vigorously enforce” federal anti-marijuana laws in California, regardless of whether voters enact Proposition 19 this November.  Prop. 19, which will appear as a statewide ballot measure this November 2, seeks to legalize the adult possession of limited quantities of marijuana in private, and allow local governments to regulate its commercial production.


End 'Don’t ask, don’t tell' now

It has been another volatile week in the world of “Don’t ask, don’t tell.”

First, U.S. District Judge Virginia Phillips issued a sweeping injunction halting enforcement of the military's ban on openly lesbian, gay and bisexual service members. (Last month, she declared “Don’t ask, don’t tell” unconstitutional in a landmark decision.) On Thursday, the Justice Department swiftly and disappointingly said it would seek a stay of the injunction pending an appeal.


We must invest more in local agriculture to help the hungry

Food.  It’s a basic necessity for all of us. But tonight, almost a billion people around the world will go to bed hungry. For them, what’s for dinner becomes a question of life and death rather than recipes and key ingredients. In fact, more than 8,000 children die every day from hunger-related causes, even though there is plenty of food to feed all of us.


The AARP’s misleading drug study

The AARP is continuing to mislead seniors with another in its series of distorted studies. In the latest example, the seniors’ lobby examined a select group of popular pharmaceuticals and found that prices increased much faster than general inflation last year, rising 8.3 percent. AARP officials were quick to use the results to denounce the drug industry.


Repeal “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” now (Rep. Lynn Woolsey)

Most every day that Congress has been in session, I have taken to the floor to express my deep conviction that we must bring our troops home from, first, Iraq, and, now, Afghanistan.
This is a statement of my respect for our men and women in uniform – I don’t believe they should be made to sacrifice for a misguided and fundamentally immoral mission.
And this conviction also stems from my commitment – in fact, my oath – to do everything possible to protect America.


Immigration reform is a national issue, an LGBT issue, and it’s long overdue

Sen. Robert Menendez (D-N.J.) recently introduced the Comprehensive Immigration Reform Act of 2010. It includes the Uniting American Families Act, which allows citizens to sponsor their same-sex partners, and the DREAM Act, which would give young people who came to the U.S. as children a chance to achieve citizenship through completing two years of college or spending two years in the military.


Struggle of immigrants is a continuation of the civil rights movement (Rep. Luis V. Gutierrez)

Today, I want to talk about two important words: Hard Work.

I want to talk about the men and women who clear the dishes in restaurants.  The man who supports his family by working as a janitor.  The women bent over sewing machines making our clothes -- the women caring for America’s children – the families picking America’s fruit.

It’s hard work.


Congress must pass legislation to protect Jewish students from anti-semitic harassment

Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 requires that colleges and universities redress racial and ethnic discrimination, or risk losing their federal funding.  Thus, if African American or Hispanic students are harassed on campus, they can complain to the U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights (OCR), which is mandated to enforce Title VI and ensure that their schools fix the problem.  But Title VI does not clearly protect Jewish students, as we found out after the Zionist Organization of America filed a Title VI complaint with OCR on behalf of Jewish students at the University of California, Irvine (UCI).