Civil Rights

The Inconvenient First Amendment

This is going to have more disclaimers than a pharmaceutical ad.

* I have known Dennis Kucinich and been on friendly terms with him since he was a city councilman in Cleveland.

* I have appeared occasionally on MSNBC.

* For a very long time I have been part of the MSM.

* I don't know why, but the term "MSM" sounds kind of kinky to me.

Distortions and Misrepresentations

I really wanted to move off of this racial tension storyline, but it is even more outrageous today than it was yesterday — those comments by Rep. Charles Rangel (D-N.Y.) are astonishing.

With all due respect to Rangel, chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee and a widely respected member of Congress of whom I am very fond, he owes apologies to BOTH Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama. Yesterday, as Obama was being the bigger boy and moving to tamp down the rhetoric on the race issue, Rangel went on television and got his facts disastrously wrong. He blamed Obama for starting the discussion (incorrect), saying that for Obama to "suggest that Dr. King could have signed that act is absolutely stupid." Also incorrect. But wait, he didn't stop there. "It's absolutely dumb to infer that Dr. King, alone, passed the legislation and signed it into law." Do I need to point out that this is also incorrect?

It is About Activism AND Political Power

Folks should read Joe Califano’s piece in today’s Washington Post to get some serious perspective on LBJ and Martin Luther King. His point: They worked together to achieve real change.

Folks should also read Robert Caro’s volume Master of the Senate about LBJ’s years as majority leader. It details his alliances with Hubert Humphrey and Northern liberals while bringing along Southern conservatives to pass civil rights legislation.

King and LBJ Were Civil Rights Partners

Two years ago, I had the honor of joining a congressional pilgrimage on civil rights, led by Rep. John Lewis (D-Ga.). It was an unforgettable experience.

We went to Montgomery, Birmingham and Selma, Ala. We visited all the battlegrounds of the civil rights movement. We prayed and sang in every church where Martin Luther King preached. We visited the Rosa Parks Museum. We marched across the Edmund C. Pettis Bridge in Selma. Everywhere we went, civil rights leaders taught us about the marches, the songs, the protests, the violence, and the ever-present dream.

FISA Balancing Act

Peter Fenn & Frank Donatelli look at why Congress failed to act on FISA before the session ended and what needs to be reconciled before a deal is reached.


Tucker Carlson Says Al Gore Is Like George Bush

It had to be the most preposterous segment in the history of cable television to witness Tucker Carlson say Al Gore and George Bush have much in common.

Granted, Tucker’s comments were sandwiched between the expressions of sneering contempt that he holds for Gore. Sadly, the guests on the show either lacked the intellectual firepower or minimal courage necessary to rebut this incredibly bizarre and laughable analysis from the host.


America is changing its mind about abortion and laws to regulate it. There has been a 14-point swing toward pro-choice since 2004 in the United States. Fourteen points! The Fox News poll shows that on April 21, 2004, Americans said they were pro-life over pro-choice by 47-44. But last week they said they were pro-choice over pro-life by 48-37. They have gone from three points more pro-life to 11 points more pro-choice. Why?

Illegal Immigration

As the Senate votes to proceed on the so-called DREAM Act — which will give undocumented immigrants a chance to attend college and, next week, may amend farm legislation to allow undocumented agricultural workers to win legal status — I wanted to use the history of this country as a backdrop for thinking about this debate.

To many Americans there is an easy comparison between the plight of illegal immigrants in this country today, including discrimination and lack of legal recognition, and the plight of black American sharecroppers in the South in the early 20th century. Both of these groups were essential to American businesses (and farm production) in that they provided a cheap, reliable, and relatively stable labor force.


Here's what I want to know about that legislation that would provide telecommunications companies retroactive immunity: Does that legal protection include not just illegal participation in government-intelligence gathering, but also their fraudulent promises, defective products and abusive service?