Insight News

Feb 14th


The frivolous attacks on Obama and Common

If you thought nothing could be more frivolous than conservatives questioning whether the President was born in the United States, think again.  The recent criticism of Obama’s decisions to worship Easter Sunday at Shiloh Baptist Church in Washington, D.C. and invite poet/rapper Common to participate in a White House celebration of poetry illustrates how far his critics will stoop to manufacture a controversy.

Fox News was hysterical over the Obamas’ decision to worship at the predominantly Black church founded in the 1800s by former slaves.  Sean Hannity, co-host of Fox News’ Hannity & Colmes, aired a clip from the speech Rev. Wallace Smith, the pastor of Shiloh, had given at Eastern University, in Davids, Pa.

Freedom Riders — A living legacy

“Boarding that Greyhound bus to travel through the heart of the Deep South, I felt good. I felt happy. I felt liberated. I was like a soldier in a nonviolent army. I was ready.”

Today, Congressman John Lewis is serving his twelfth term representing Georgia in the U.S. House of Representatives. But in May 1961 he was a twenty-one-year-old student leader from American Baptist College in Nashville who volunteered to join the interracial group traveling through the South by bus to test the recent Supreme Court decision banning segregation in interstate travel. As a result, he was attacked by angry mobs for entering “Whites-only” waiting rooms, left unconscious on a bus station floor in Montgomery, Alabama after being hit in the head with a wooden Coca-Cola crate, arrested in Jackson, Mississippi for trespassing and disturbing the peace, and sentenced to time at Mississippi’s notorious Parchment State Prison Farm.

Show me your passbook

I am glad that President Barack Obama has a sense of humor about the birthers.   I don’t, and I am disgusted that Donald Trump, lacking in both sense and scruples, was able to push the President to releasing his “long form” birth certificate.  Now that the birth certificate has been released, perhaps, we can get back to some of the business of government, except for the fact that those who want to embrace their racism and believe that President Obama was not born here, did not star at Harvard (despite his position on the competitive Law Review), did not “deserve” his election (which did not depend on hanging chads”), will continue to promulgate their nonsense.

Opinion: Pending legislative finance bills’ impact on children

The Minnesota legislature appears to be on the road to dismantling the tools that have been helping children overcome poverty in Ramsey County.  Children in Ramsey County, including Saint Paul and suburban Ramsey County, are likely to suffer irreparable harm if the finance bills passed by both houses of the Minnesota legislature and now in conference committee are allowed to become law.  The House and Senate proposals that purport to address Minnesota’s budget crisis do not, in fact, solve the budget crisis and, would leave children and families spending years to catch up from the inevitable backward slide. 

Spoiling the Arab Spring

Two big events last week contributed to distracting public attention from the ongoing Arab revolution: the revolution that has inspired so many people around the world, and also here in the US.

First, last Friday the British launched their 24/7 live fairytale royal wedding. Friday, a day of choice of the Arab revolutionaries to deliver their message to their dictators after Friday prayer gathering, when millions of Arabs began their march to topple dictators at Tahrir Square and other Arab streets.

Pakistan's sovereignty and the killing of Osama Bin Laden

"This article, first published as an ASIL Insight, is reprinted with permission from the American Society of International Law,”

On May 2, 2011, U.S. forces entered Pakistan—without the Pakistani government’s consent—to capture or kill Osama Bin Laden.  In the wake of the successful U.S. military operation, the Pakistan Government objected to the “unauthorized unilateral action” by the United States and cautioned that the event “shall not serve as a future precedent for any state.” Former President Musharraf complained that the operation violated Pakistan’s sovereignty. The episode implicates a host of important legal and political issues.  This Insight focuses on one of them: when may one state use force in another state’s territory in self-defense against members of a non-state armed group, and what constraint does the principle of sovereignty impose on that action?

Judge Patricia Martin: Family matters

The Honorable Patricia Martin, who serves as the Presiding Judge of the Child Protection Division of the Circuit Court of Cook County, Illinois, is the president-elect of the National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges. In this key role she is devoted to helping change children’s lives. She previously chaired the Supreme Court of Illinois Judicial Conference Study Committee on Juvenile Justice, and spent a decade as an assistant Cook County Public Defender. With her wealth of experience, Judge Martin is a wise observer of what works best in the court system for children and families. As National Child Abuse Prevention Month comes to a close, here are some critical lessons she shared with the Children’s Defense Fund’s Black Community Crusade for Children.
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