Friday, May 30, 2008

Texas town's immigrant-renting rule is struck down

Thursday May 29, 8:38 am ET
By Anabelle Garay, Associated Press Writer

Federal judge strikes down Dallas suburb's ban on renting homes to illegal immigrants

FARMERS BRANCH, Texas (AP) -- A Dallas suburb's ban on apartment rentals to illegal immigrants, an ordinance passed by city leaders and later endorsed in a vote by its residents, is unconstitutional, a federal judge found Wednesday.

Only the federal government can regulate immigration, U.S. District Judge Sam A. Lindsay concluded in his decision.

The city didn't defer to the federal government on the matter, violating the supremacy clause of the U.S. Constitution, which allows for the federal government to pre-empt local laws, Lindsay said.

Bill Brewer, who represented apartment complex operators who opposed the rule, declared victory.

"It's a good day, not just for my clients," Brewer said. "It's a good day for people who are thinking clearly about what is the proper role of municipal governments in the immigration debate."

Representatives for the city said they had anticipated the outcome. The city has no plans to appeal the ruling because it has already stopped pursuing the ordinance and replaced it with another tactic.

"We're disappointed but not particularly surprised," Michael Jung, one of the city's attorneys, said.

The Farmers Branch council passed the ordinance last year. It would have barred apartment rentals to illegal immigrants and required landlords to verify legal status. The rule would have exempted minors and senior citizens from having to prove their immigration status or citizenship.

Families made up of both citizens and undocumented members would have been allowed to renew an apartment lease if they met three conditions: they were already tenants, the head of household or spouse was living legally in the United States, and the family included only the spouse, their minor children or parents.

Residents heavily endorsed the rule a year ago in the nation's first public vote on a local measure to combat illegal immigration.

A group of apartment complex operators, residents and advocates sued Farmers Branch. They alleged the rule was so poorly drafted that it could allow exclusion of legal immigrants and citizens from renting, was difficult to abide by because it didn't provide clear guidance for apartment managers and owners, and improperly tried to turn property managers into policing agents.

Lindsay then blocked Farmers Branch from enforcing the ordinance, a temporary injunction now made permanent by his decision Wednesday.

The rule failed to provide clear guidance that immigration documents were acceptable for proof and didn't explain what was meant by "eligible immigration status," the judge wrote.

The city's attempts to salvage the ordinance faltered because they would have required the court to draft laws, he said. That function is outside the court's duties.

Farmers Branch has given up requiring landlords to verify immigration status and instead plans to implement a rule that would require prospective tenants to get a rental license from the city, which would then ask the federal government for the applicant's legal status before approving it.

Around the country, about 100 cities or counties have now considered, passed or rejected similar laws, but Farmers Branch was the first in immigrant-heavy Texas, according to the Puerto Rican Legal Defense and Education Fund, which tracks the data.

Source: Yahoo

Monday, May 26, 2008

Immigration debate wasn't colorblind

Ruben Navarrette

SAN DIEGO -- The winners write the history. And now that border restrictionists have won the battle to scuttle immigration reform, the history that many are desperate to write is that the debate was colorblind.

Really. The restrictionists and those pundits who have taken up their cause claim that race and ethnicity aren't even part of the discussion and that those who oppose giving illegal immigrants a shot at legal status would feel the same way if the immigrants were coming from Canada instead of Mexico. They say their concerns are limited to border security and the rule of law, and have nothing to do with nativism or xenophobia. And they reject any suggestion that the debate was hostile to Hispanics.

This is the fable being spun by CNN's Lou Dobbs, a commentator labeled by New York Times columnist David Leonhardt as "the heir to the nativist tradition that has long used fiction and conspiracy theories as a weapon against the Irish, the Italians, the Chinese, the Jews and, now, the Mexicans." In recent days, Dobbs has argued that the Senate compromise died because Americans of all colors dispassionately concluded that it was bad for the country. Racism played no role, he insists.

Most Hispanics feel differently. I've seen three surveys, including one by the Pew Hispanic Center, where majorities of Hispanics say that the immigration debate has led to an increase in anti-immigrant sentiment. And, as I travel the country speaking to Hispanic groups, one thing I hear is that "anti-immigrant" rapidly morphed into "anti-Hispanic" and specifically "anti-Mexican."

I get evidence of that every day in my e-mail. Just last week, after I defended the prosecution of two Border Patrol agents, a reader called me a "dirty Latino" who needs to get "back to Mexico." Another writer called me an "anchor baby" -- the term used by nativists to describe the children of illegal immigrants born in the United States. Never mind that I was born in the United States and my parents were born in the United States. What I see here is racism.

That's also the view of the National Council of La Raza, which recently wrapped up its annual conference in Miami Beach. Speakers included Democratic presidential candidates Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama. Clinton said the immigration debate has become "venomous." Obama, quoting from a 1968 telegram that the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. sent to farm worker leader Cesar Chavez, said that Hispanics and African-Americans were "brothers in the fight for equality" and decried the "racism" that crept into the immigration debate.

For some reason, Dobbs took those remarks personally. He responded by poking at Clinton and Obama on his show, insisting that they were insulting the American people.

And he really went ballistic when NCLR Vice President Cecilia Munoz said that much of the immigration debate was driven by a "discomfort with Latinos" and the Senate had caved into "what was largely a wave of hate."

That prompted Dobbs to blast the NCLR as a "socio-ethnic centric group."

I'd quibble with Munoz. I don't think it was just hate that drove the immigration debate, although according to the Southern Poverty Law Center, hate crimes against Latinos and immigrants are on the rise while hate groups use the immigration issue as a recruitment tool. Just last week, the SPLC filed a lawsuit against the Imperial Klans of America -- an offshoot of the Ku Klux Klan -- and five Klansmen, claiming that two members were recruiting for the group at a county fair in Kentucky when they beat up and kicked a 16-year-old Hispanic boy and called him a racial epithet. The boy, who suffered cracked ribs and other injuries, is a U.S. citizen of Panamanian descent.

But this isn't really about hate as much as it is fear and ignorance. And ironically, one of the things fueling it is people like Dobbs.

"America has a long history of men like Lou Dobbs," Morris Dees, co-founder of the SPLC, said during a recent conference call with journalists. "Men like Sen. Joseph McCarthy who prey on the public fears. Often, they're xenophobic demagogues."

The people who buy into this demagoguery say the country is being colonized. That harkens back to what Benjamin Franklin said in the 1700s about German immigrants making up "a colony of aliens."

A lot of what Franklin said about the Germans was rank bigotry. The same goes for what other generations of Americans would later say about Italians, Irish, Jews and other immigrants -- even if they came legally.

What poison. Thank goodness we got that out of our system.

Source: IndyStar

Texas man says cyanide was enough 'to kill a city'

By Johnny Johnson
Staff Writer
MUSKOGEE — A Texas man, who made his initial appearance in federal court Wednesday, had bragged earlier of trying to sell 100 pounds of cyanide briquettes and said he had enough of the deadly chemical to kill a city, court documents show.

He wanted to trade it for a pound of methamphetamine, the documents said.

The deal to sell the cyanide to an unknown buyer in Oklahoma City ultimately "fell through,” according to the affidavit, but the FBI worked with an informant to set up a sting operation to continue the investigation. The investigation culminated Monday when Jeffrey Don Detrixhe of Higgins, Texas, was arrested in southeast Oklahoma where he was planning to attend a funeral in the Holly Creek area north of Idabel. Earlier in the day, federal agents had raided his house in Texas and taken possession of a container of material suspected to be sodium cyanide.

Detrixhe, who has lived in Woodward and Shattuck and has strong family ties to Oklahoma, was arrested on a complaint of possession or transfer of a chemical weapon.

On Wednesday, he appeared in federal court in Muskogee where he was turned over to U.S. marshals to face possible charges in the Northern District of Texas. Federal prosecutors in Texas have 30 days to present the case to a grand jury.

Federal authorities first learned of Detrixhe's possible possession of cyanide in November from an inmate at the Potter County jail in Texas, who apparently was a friend of Detrixhe, according to an affidavit signed by FBI agent John Whitworth.

In late March, FBI agents asked the informant to tell Detrixhe that someone in the Aryan Brotherhood, a white supremacist organization, wanted to purchase the cyanide to use it against people.

In a taped conversation with the FBI informant, Detrixhe reportedly tells the informant "there's only one use of cyanide that I know of,” and that he had enough of it to "kill a city ... euthanize a whole village,” according to the affidavit.

Detrixhe goes on to explain that the briquettes look like small charcoal briquettes but are white. They can be activated with hydrochloric acid to make cyanide gas, he said, which was the principal genocidal agent used by Nazis in World War II.

‘Blood money'
In a later recorded conversation contained in the affidavit, Detrixhe apparently agrees to sell the briquettes to the fictional buyer for $10,000, a thermal imager and a fully-automatic AK-47 assault rifle. Detrixhe was told that the cyanide was going to California, which agents claimed Detrixhe said "was a good place for it.”

Detrixhe also said he did not want to know how the buyer would ultimately use the cyanide because he would "probably see it on CNN,” and that he knew the money he would get was "blood money.” Detrixhe also asked the informant if he thought Detrixhe would go to hell for selling the cyanide, the affidavit said.

After purchasing a sample of the cyanide for $450, FBI forensics tests determined the material was a 77-gram sample of sodium cyanide, a "rapidly acting, potentially deadly chemical” that prevents the body from processing oxygen.

Contributing: The Associated Press

Source: NewsOK

SHOCKING!: Fox News Jokes About Killing Obama

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Illustration of Obama in rifle crosshairs draws fire

'Roswell Beacon' distributed to 65,000 north Fulton readers

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Published on: 05/21/08

A Roswell newspaper is defending a controversial cover illustration that placed Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama in a rifle's cross hairs.

An influential liberal blog featured a post Tuesday on the provocative cover art, triggering a flood of complaints to the Roswell Beacon, a nascent free weekly distributed to about 65,000 north Fulton residents. The article was published May 15th.

A diarist named "spiralstairs" wrote on Daily Kos, "The article itself is not offensive, but the cover is beyond the pale. As indicated by the article, there are some serious racists in the area, and Obama's candidacy has brought out the worst in a lot of people. The last thing we need is a newspaper to suggest assassination with an incendiary cover such as this."

Readers — Kos receives more than 1.3 million visits a day, according to — were encouraged to contact the newspaper and its advertisers. By day's end, Holiday Inn announced it would no longer do business with the Beacon, though the paper's publisher, John Fredericks, said editorial decisions would not be influenced by "liberal blogger thuggery."

"Good, bad or ugly, we tell the truth," he said.

Fredericks and senior editor Tim Altork said there was little internal debate over the appropriateness of the imagery, though they were aware it was likely to create a stir.

"We knew we were on the provocative edge," Altork said. "But it's a very fair piece, a smart piece."

The article was pitched and reported by veteran freelance journalist Alan Sverdlik, who said he was curious how law enforcement agencies were handling the increased number of threats lodged against Obama by white supremacist groups, some of whom are based around north Fulton. Sverdlik said Tuesday he had not seen the cover and had no input in its development.

The Beacon's publisher said the art "projected the story," one which he believes serves a valuable public interest: "We're hoping federal law enforcement takes notice."

So far, however, the content inside has been obscured by the furor over its illustration.

"Their slogan is 'responsibly provocative,'" wrote Miami teacher Rian Fike. "This is irresponsibly inflammatory."

And poorly timed, though The Beacon can't be held accountable on that front. The article's publication coincided with an ill-advised quip by former Republican presidential candidate Mike Huckabee after a loud noise interrupted his speech to the National Rifle Association.

"That was Barack Obama," Huckabee said. "He just tripped off a chair. He's getting ready to speak and somebody aimed a gun at him and he — he dove for the floor."

The former Arkansas governor apologized for the comment, though it reminded many of concerns that Obama's race might tempt more would-be assassins.

"That was a bad break for us," Altork said.

At the same time, just a few miles away west of Roswell, a Cobb County saloonkeeper was exalting in his own Obama-related controversy, peddling T-shirts featuring a cartoon monkey endorsing the likely Democratic nominee.

"He (the bar owner) was making a statement," Altork said. "We were reporting what others were saying. This was not a publicity stunt."

Source: AJC

White Supremacist Pleads Guilty To Murder Charges

Tampa Bay Online
updated 5:10 p.m. CT, Fri., May. 23, 2008

By THOMAS W. KRAUSE of The Tampa Tribune

TAMPA -- A 29-year-old man pleaded guilty to two federal charges of murder in racketeering, relating to the 1998 death of two homeless men, U.S. Attorney's Office officials announced today.

Charles Marovskis, formerly of Tampa, is the second man who has pleaded guilty in the case. Kenneth Hoover, 35, pleaded guilty to the same charges on March 7, 2007.

Both defendants face up to life in prison.

Hoover and Marovskis were members of Tampa Blood and Honour, a white supremacy group that planned to participate in a race war and to kill people they thought to be inferior, federal prosecutors have said.

On Sept. 12, 1998, an unidentified homeless man was attacked by skinheads under an Interstate 275 overpass at Bird Street, but he escaped, court records state.

The next day, Alfred Williams and Richard Arseneau were killed. The body of Williams, 62, was found under a Lee Roy Selmon Expressway overpass. He was beaten and stabbed in the eye with a tire iron.

Arseneau, 44, was found in woods near Interstate 275 and Fletcher Avenue. He was killed by a small ax, court documents state.

Hoover, Marovskis and other members of the group participated in the two murders, according to a written statement from the U.S. Attorney's Office.

Federal prosecutors are joined in the investigation by the FBI, Tampa police, Hillsborough County sheriff's office and Hillsborough County State Attorney's Office.

Source: MSNBC

Right-Wing Media Using Immigration Debate to Mainstream Hate

By Ali Gharib, AlterNet. Posted May 23, 2008.

By poisoning the public discourse with disinformation, right-wing talkers improve their ratings while leaving us far from fixing a broken system.

In 2008, immigration may be what gay marriage was to the 2004 election: a divisive issue used not to present an actual policy or platform, but rather to galvanize a voting bloc.

Fear-mongering on the issue of immigration comes from a bevy of sources -- from white supremacist groups to CNN.

"Illegal immigrants are attacking our culture and our way of life," Glenn Beck told his audience on his "CNN Headline News" in the manner typical for his prime time-show -- Beck discussed the "scourge" of undocumented workers on more than a quarter of his 2007 programs.

In a report released Wednesday, the watchdog group Media Matters documented and dispelled a pattern of myths propagated by cable news shows and their anchors that fuel anti-immigrant racism and have sparked an increase in hate crimes against Latinos.

"The language of today's hosts, like Lou Dobbs, Bill O'Reilly and Glenn Beck, is divisive and inflammatory, and often misleading," said Rep. Joe Baca, D-Calif., the head of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, at a Capitol Hill news conference announcing the release of the report. "It only creates fear, hatred and negative stereotyping of immigrants."

Dobbs, the host of CNN's prime-time show "Lou Dobbs Tonight," is the ringleader of the cable news anti-immigration fear mongers -- featuring often-distorted stories about immigration on 70 percent of his programs in 2007.

Frank Sharry, founder of the immigration reform group America's Voice, said, "Lou Dobbs' show is marketed as 'a time for answers,' when we know it should be marketed as 'a time for anger.'"

Janet MurguĂ­a, the president of the Hispanic advocacy group National Council of La Raza, said the distorted rants of the anti-immigration news anchors can't be simply dismissed as an exercise in free speech. "Hateful words have hateful consequences," she said.

Sen. Bob Menendez, D-N.J., noted that the period of increased anti-immigrant vitriol on cable news has correlated with a period that's seen an unprecedented increase in hate crimes against Latinos, according to the FBI.

Dobbs, Beck and O'Reilly often build upon several themes of what they claim undocumented workers, often referred to simply as "illegals," do to the country. The Media Matters report, "Fear and Loathing in Prime Time: Immigration Myths and Cable News," systematically dismantles many of the harshest talking points.

One of the most common myths is that undocumented workers drain government resources while the same workers pay nothing into the system. But as Media Matters notes, "even documented immigrants are ineligible for most forms of public assistance for the first five years they reside in the United States or until they attain citizenship," let alone undocumented ones.

Rep. Luis Gutierrez, D-Ill., used humor to skewer the idea that undocumented workers don't pay taxes by wondering aloud if there was some secret line at retail outlets where undocumented workers bought their goods without paying sales tax (sales taxes represent the largest share of taxes paid by all low-income workers). Moreover, the Media Matters report points out that most undocumented workers use false social security numbers to get jobs and, through paycheck deductions, pay taxes that they will never be able to draw benefits from.

In fact, undocumented workers pay a plethora of other taxes, too -- even by paying rent, they contribute to property taxes.

But the patently false drain on the economy and social services are the least of the worries of the anti-immigrant crusaders: They also focus on the myriad of ways that undocumented workers threaten Americans with bodily harm.

One of the most common claims, discussed during 94, 66 and 29 episodes of Dobbs', O'Reilly's and Beck's shows, respectively, is that illegal immigrants are more prone to crime, endangering the very security of Americans.

Noting that no academic or government study on immigration and crime differentiates between illegal and legal immigrants, the Media Matters report says, "The evidence strongly suggests that immigrants in general are less likely to commit comes" than the native population.

As they're wont to do, the cable news anchors have their own statistics that show otherwise. However, their statistics are twisted or misrepresented, as with their claim that a vastly disproportional number of U.S. federal prisoners are non-U.S. born -- about a quarter of the total.

That number is skewed, as federal prisons only comprise one-tenth of the total prison population, and immigration violations are federal offenses. The actual share of non-citizen prisoners is 5.9 percent overall; the foreign-born population of the United States is about 12 percent of the total, which means that foreign-born people are significantly less likely to be behind bars.

Furthermore, the anchors often repeat the same stories about undocumented workers committing crimes over and over again, giving the impression that many crimes are being perpetrated.

Media Matters documents that O'Reilly dedicated segments on 13 separate programs to a single case of an undocumented worker who was responsible for two drunken-driving fatalities in Virginia, "brush(ing) aside arguments that such cases are unrepresentative."

Another common myth of the potential harm that illegal immigrants pose to American life and limb is that undocumented immigrants are conduits for bringing diseases to U.S. shores.

"Twelve million immigrants who come across the border, many of them have diseases, and they're not checked!" exclaimed right-wing pundit Pat Buchanan as a guest on O'Reilly's Fox News Channel program. It's not an uncommon point.

The Media Matters report said Dobbs has brought up the notion of undocumented workers increasing U.S. cases of leprosy 10 times since 2005. But the figure cited by Dobbs' expert, 7,000 new cases of leprosy in the past three years, actually referred to an aggregate number for the past 30 years.

According to the Department of Health and Human Services' National Hansen's Disease Program, there have been fewer than 400 new cases of leprosy in the period discussed by Dobbs and his expert.

But Dobbs refused to back down from his claim, telling CBS News' Lesley Stahl, "If we reported it, it's a fact." The participants in Wednesday's news conference feared that Dobbs and the other anchors' viewers would have the same response.

Even some members of Congress mistake the myths of cable news for facts, said Rep. Hilda Solis, D-Calif. And the fiery rhetoric continues to draw new viewers and increase the revenue-generating ratings of the programs.

The news media, said Paul Waldman of Media Matters, "has a responsibility to the public. Their responsibility does not end with their bottom line. If they're going to call themselves a news station, then they have a responsibility to the truth."

"It is the networks that bear the ultimate responsibility," he said.

In the democratic system where an independent media is intended to be a sacrosanct way of informing citizens and arming them for political choices, the prime-time cable news shows in question have debased the debate over immigration into the worst kind of dishonest fear-mongering.

Sharry warns that while presumptive Republican presidential nominee Sen. John McCain has relatively moderate views on immigration, his down-ballot Republican ticket-mates are going to run on an anti-immigration platform "like never before," painting the issue as an urgent matter of national security.

"We all want to figure out a solution that protects our borders, our economy and our American values," said Menendez on Wednesday. "But if we are going to have a productive, civil debate about it, we are going to have to come to the table with facts, not misinformation; with respect for one another, not hate."

Source: Alternet

Racism charges fly at commissioners' meeting

By Gerald Witt
Staff Writer
Saturday, May. 24, 2008 3:00 am

GREENSBORO — A comment that Guilford County commissioner Billy Yow called a running joke was labeled racist by Commissioner Carolyn Coleman.

Yow's remark Thursday came as Chairman Kirk Perkins recognized commissioners who attended a special legislative session earlier in the day at N.C. A&T. Perkins didn't call the names of all commissioners who went.

"We were there, too," Commissioner Melvin "Skip" Alston said over Perkins.

"Y'all all look alike," Yow said, grinning as he interrupted the chairman.

Perkins kept talking about the session. Coleman interrupted moments later.

"I want to make it clear, that, for him to make a statement like that, 'All of us look alike,' that's not funny," Coleman said.

The exchange capped a meeting marked with more interruptions among the commissioners than has been seen in several months.

Yow has waded into race-related issues before as a commissioner. In 2003 he compared the NAACP to the Taliban and white supremacist groups, comments that were later labeled racist by local NAACP leaders. That led to a vaguely written agreement that said the NAACP shouldn't be involved in county commissioner squabbles, but no apology from Yow.

Coleman is a national figure in the NAACP and worked in the civil rights movement in the Southeast.

After the meeting, which ended about a minute after Yow's comment, commissioners Coleman, Alston and Bruce Davis spoke about what Yow said.

They agreed that Yow's comment was inappropriate. Coleman was the most outspoken. She said she didn't feel it was appropriate for a member of one race to say that members from another all look the same.

Read more here: News Record

Saturday, May 17, 2008

South Texas town abolishes 1931 anti-Hispanic segregation law

EDCOUCH, Texas — A South Texas town has abolished an anti-Hispanic segregation law more than seven decades after it was enacted.

The Board of Aldermen unanimously voted Monday to abolish an ordinance that banned "Spanish or Mexican" residents who were not servants or maids from occupying "any building on the American side or portion" of the once-divided town of Edcouch.

"We should have gotten rid of it a long time ago," said Alderman Rojelio Garica.

When the rule was enacted on Dec. 9, 1931, a virtual line was drawn through the center of the city.

The ordinance prescribed a fine of up to $100 for violators.

"It was discriminatory," Mayor Jose Guzman said. "At the time, our city leaders didn't believe in equal rights."

Now, the town is majority Hispanic and the segregation line no longer exists.

The 2000 Census found more than 97 percent of Edcouch's population was Latino.

Source: NYDailyNews

Carson teens accused of racial graffiti

Two Carson City teenagers appeared in Juvenile Court on Tuesday to answer allegations they were responsible for graffiti throughout Carson Valley that advocated white supremacy and violence to Hispanics.

Matthew Cole Martin, 18, admitted defacing various locations, causing more than $5,000 damage.
Anthony Nicholson, 15, denied the petition charging him with the same offense.

“I tagged racial slurs on various walls and buildings,” Martin told District Judge Dave Gamble.
Martin admitted painting swastikas, “white power,” obscenities, racial slurs and pictures of Hispanics being hanged.

Gamble ordered him to repeat the obscenities in court.

“You painted it in the dark, you can say it out loud,” Gamble said.

Martin explained that “14-88” espoused the philosophy of David Lane, an American white supremacist leader who died last year in prison where he was serving a 190-year sentence.
Martin said he was admitting the offense “to get it over with.”

“Wrong answer,” Gamble said. “You have been given a huge break by not being charged as an adult.”

Prosecutor Justina Caviglia said Martin was charged as a juvenile because the offense occurred in March while he was 17.

“He sure is acting like an adult — an adult racist pig,” Gamble said.
Martin said he was living at home with his parents and elderly grandmother.
Gamble set disposition for May 27.

“Bring your toothbrush,” he told Martin. “You better give me a really good reason for this. You did this in the dark. Doesn’t that tell you about your character? You’re not brave enough to do it in the daytime.”

The suspect could be placed on formal probation and confined to youth detention facilities at Elko or China Spring in Carson Valley.

He also faces a fine and one-year suspension or delay of his driver’s license.
Nicholson denied the allegation.

According to reports, the graffiti was discovered March 12-13 at several locations.

Deputies found graffiti on the north wall of the Carson Valley Museum and Cultural Center, the Old Gym Playhouse in front of Carson Valley Middle School, a shed behind One-way Autocare, facing Courthouse Alley, the Heritage Park pavilion floor, the Active 20-30 Clubhouse and a residence in the 1300 block of Toler Lane.

The same graffiti tag was found in Lampe Park and a residence in the 1400 block of Douglas Avenue.

Four areas were sprayed with black paint at Lampe Park with similar markings.
Vandalism was discovered at the east and west pavilion bridge abutments, the field 5 bridge abutment and the field 4 scoreboard.

Three homes on Mica Drive in Indian Hills also were defaced.
The graffiti included a swastika, references to skinheads, neo-Nazis and Hitler youth as well as obscenities and anti-Hispanic slurs.

Source: RecordCourier

Paramedics Suspended For Racial Slur Over Radio

Department Spokesman: 1 Suspension Is 'Unprecedented'
CHICAGO (STNG) ― Two Chicago Fire Department paramedics were suspended after their conversation -- in which one of the two used a racial epithet -- was beamed over a communications radio, fire officials confirmed Tuesday.

The incident happened Jan. 9 when the two were having a discussion and one used profane language. Apparently unaware their radio microphone was on, the conversation went over one of the radio dispatch channels, and a high-ranking fire official heard it.

Both paramedics were put on leave within two hours and an internal affairs investigation was launched.

A paramedic, described only as a man who used the racist language, received a "long suspension," said Fire Media Affairs Director Larry Langford.

He said an agreement with the union prevents him from saying much more about the disciplinary case, but characterized the suspension's length as "unprecedented."

The second paramedic, also a man, received a shorter suspension. The paramedics, assigned to an ambulance that serves O'Hare Airport, have already been disciplined and have returned to work.

In 1999, Fire Commissioner Edward Altman and his son, Edward Altman Jr., were forced to resign after a video showed firefighters using racial slurs.

Source: CBS2Chicago

Vandal paints racial slur

BELLINGHAM — Police are investigating a possible hate crime after a man found a racial slur spraypainted on his vehicle on the 2300 block of Yew Street Thursday afternoon.

Anthony Hite, who is black, found the racial slur on his vehicle just after 12:30 p.m., Bellingham Police Sgt. Mark Stokes said. Hite, 49, told police he had no idea who could have left the graffiti.

The vandalism occurred sometime between 1:30 p.m. Wednesday and 12:30 p.m. Thursday. Police have no suspects. Hite could not be reached for comment Thursday.

Source: BellinghamHerald

Tennessee judge reprimanded for treatment of illegal immigrants

NASHVILLE — A Dickson County juvenile court judge who was censured last year for drunken conduct has been reprimanded again, this time for bias directed at illegal immigrants.

The Tennessee Court of the Judiciary issued a letter of reprimand against Judge A. Andrew Jackson today after investigating a complaint.

According to the letter, Jackson consistently determined that immigrant juveniles who had illegal or questionable legal status in the United States were ‘‘dependent and neglected.’’ When he was told this was inappropriate, he found them to be unruly and jailed them.

The Court of the Judiciary said the public censure is the toughest discipline short of seeking to remove a judge from office.

Jackson was not in his office this afternoon for comment.

The judge was censured last May for drinking too much at a judicial conference and using a racial slur.

Source: JacksonSun

Students protest alleged remarks

Sun Valley teacher denies making fun of Latinos

A crowd of Sun Valley High students gathered outside the school Friday to protest what they say were derogatory comments by a teacher about Latinos.

Principal Ken Roess said he heard Thursday that some students were upset about "questionable comments." He declined to give details because he said staff members are investigating.

Freshman Gaby Aguilar said she organized the protest after a friend told her that math teacher and track coach Gerald Sheppard made fun of the way her friend speaks English and said Hispanics should go back where they came from. The student in question could not be reached.

Sheppard, who was away from school at a track meet Friday, denied making the comments. "I'm really just appalled," he said. "Anybody that knows me knows that I would never make a comment like that. I treat every one of these kids the same."

Gaby, 14, whose family is from Mexico, said she encounters similar remarks on campus from white students who make fun of Latino students for speaking Spanish.

"They need to get up to date and realize the world is changing," she said.

About 185 of Sun Valley's 1,500 students are Hispanic.

Some 300 teenagers met on the terrace at 11:50 a.m. outside the school's cafeteria, 20 miles southeast of Charlotte. Administrators said they worried that many of the kids were missing class.

Gaby said she encouraged Latino classmates to wear shirts that represent Spanish-speaking countries.

"It's to make a point," she said. "We're proud of where we come from."

Kids on Friday wore the bright blues, reds and yellows of Colombia's flag, the star and stripes of Puerto Rico and the red, white and green of Mexico.

Faculty asked them to return to class.

Seven young men stood side by side across the street yelling slogans of support and several obscenities in Spanish. It's not clear whether they were students.

The crowd on campus stood for about 45 minutes before sheriff's patrol cars arrived and administrators coaxed kids back in the building. No one was arrested and deputies didn't approach students.

"I feel the need for solidarity," said Assistant Principal Theresa Benson. "But it needs to be in an organized fashion."

Principal Roess said it's uncertain whether anyone will be disciplined.

"Our desire is that every student feels safe and comfortable at our school," he said. "It saddens me that the campus has been disturbed by one event.

"We celebrate diversity at Sun Valley."
Shawn Cetrone: 704-289-6576

Source: Charlotte

Inmate Threatens Federal Judge At Sentencing

DENVER (CBS4) ― A violent white supremacist inmate -- who had planned to stab a congressman visiting a prison -- threatened to have the judge killed at his sentencing Friday.

Inmate Jay Gregory told Chief U.S. District Judge Edward Nottingham "I hunger for revenge" and regrets he "will not be able to piss on your grave next to (murdered KOA talk show host) Alan Berg."

Berg was assassinated in his Congress Park driveway in 1984 by a White nationalist group called The Order.

Nottingham said Gregory, a member of the Aryan Brotherhood had admitted his goal is "to cause an uprising against the government."

The judge sentenced Gregory, 51, to 20 more years in prison, consecutive to two other 20-year prison terms he is serving for bank robberies in Utah and Montana.

A jury in February convicted him of throwing hot floor wax stripper on a guard at the high-security U.S. Penitentiary and seriously injuring him.

The prosecutor, Assistant U.S. Attorney Judith Smith, said in court filing that Gregory admitted his goal was to then kill the guard by stabbing him.

She said he admitted his original plan was to throw hot oven cleaner on former Congressman Joel Hefley and other persons visiting the prison, and then use a broken broom handle to stab as many of them as he could.

Gregory, in the statement he read to the judge, said he regrets he was unable to carry out the plan because he was quarantined due to a outbreak of chickenpox at the time of the visit.

He called himself "a man with nothing to lose."

Gregory derided what he characterized as a lack of justice at his trial and told Nottingham, "Your concept of justice has soiled and defiled us all. You will be held accountable and retribution will be swift."

The inmate said he will arrange for someone else "to carry out what I am unable to do. I will inflict a wound on you and on the nation."

The judge did not respond directly to Gregory's harangue, but in pronouncing the sentence, Nottingham said, "There appears to be no sentence that will deter the defendant."

The inmate said he renounced his U.S. citizenship in the 1970s "and swore allegiance to the Aryan Nation." He said he did that because the government had become corrupt and had turned against white people.

"I am and still willing to break the laws of a corrupt government. It seems you no longer can be white and an American."

Chief Deputy U.S. Marshal Ken Deal took the unusual step of personally attending Friday's sentencing as part of extra security in the courtroom. He said, "We have a level of security that would address any issue that may arise."

Source: CBS4Denver

House fails to override veto on anti-immigration bill

May 13th, 2008 @ 12:40pm
by Associated Press

The Arizona House rejected an effort Tuesday to override Gov. Janet Napolitano's veto of a bill requiring that city and county police agencies have programs to confront federal immigration violations.

The effort fell 10 votes short of what was needed to send the override proposal to the Senate.

The bill vetoed three weeks ago by the Democratic governor would have given police agencies three options to meet its requirements. The agencies could have given federal immigration training to their officers, put federal agents in units within their departments or set up relationships with federal authorities to confront the problem.

Napolitano's objection was that the costs of the federal immigration training would be picked up by the state if no federal funds were available for it, saying the state would have been forced to swallow about $100 million in costs.

Republican Rep. Russell Pearce of Mesa said he took the unusual step of seeking the veto override because he figured he had enough support, given that the House had approved the bill on a 56-0 vote in March.

``They were all willing to vote for it the first time,'' said Pearce, whose veto override attempt failed on a 30-25 vote. Forty votes were needed.

Democratic Rep. Ben Miranda of Phoenix, who voted for the original bill but against the override attempt, said some lawmakers who supported the proposed requirement have since re-examined the issue and concluded it would dilute the resources police have to fulfill their traditional role of protecting their communities.

``We all took a closer look at the legislation. It creates a lot more problems than it would solve,'' Miranda said.

Pearce, an advocate for tougher local immigration enforcement, is seeking to put proposals on the November ballot that would prohibit agencies from restricting the enforcement of federal immigration laws and withhold state funding for departments that refuse to end such policies.

The proposal, which is awaiting a final vote in the House, also would expand a state trespassing law to make it illegal for an undocumented immigrant to enter Arizona.

Source: KTAR

Quantifying hate: Predictable trend seen across U.S.

Is Oklahoma a haven for hate? Has the highly publicized movement to control illegal immigration spawned a climate that welcomes, even coddles extremist groups, providing opportunities to push their agendas?

Oklahoma long has been a "hotspot" for extremist activism, according to a national watchdog, and the latest data on the rise of such groups throughout the U.S. and in Oklahoma continue to be worrisome.

The Southern Poverty Law Center, which tracks trends in hate movements, has found that the number of documented hate groups operating in the U.S. has grown 48 percent since 2000, up to 888 last year.

The increase is attributed to illegal immigration issues and is most notable in three border states: California, Arizona and Texas.

What's more, the 888 total for the most part does not include an estimated 300 anti-immigration groups classified by SPLC as "nativist extremist," formed in the last three years to harass and intimidate immigrants.

Oklahoma has seen a rise, too, from only five so-called hate groups in 2000 to 13 last year. That figure is down slightly from the 14 counted
in Oklahoma in 2005, and the 16 detected in 2006.

Mark Potok, a Tulsa native who is director of the SPLC Intelligence Project, said the center attempts to ensure the hate groups it documents are true organizations, even if small. "We make an effort not to list a man, his dog and his computer," said Potok.

Extremist groups documented as active in Oklahoma in 2007 included;

* Six Ku Klux Klan groups, five of which are associated with the largest national group, the Brotherhood of Klans, and one associated with the much smaller Bayou Knights; the Klan groups operated out of Atoka, Cement, Coalgate, Hinton, Moyers and Shawnee (the Bayou chapter);

* Four neo-Nazi groups: the once-influential but now struggling Aryan Nations, based in Bixby; the National Socialist Movement, the nation's largest neo-Nazi organization, with chapters in Oklahoma City and Tulsa; and the American National Socialist Workers Party, based in Tulsa.

* The League of the South, a neo-Confederate, neo-secessionist group based in Bixby;

* An Eastern Oklahoma multi-media outlet that provides, among other offerings, Christian Identity literature;

* The European-American Unity and Rights Organization, a white nationalist group based in Tulsa.

The Klan seems to have a secure foothold in Oklahoma. Nationally, there are 29 Brotherhood of Klans chapters in operation; five of them are in Oklahoma. Missouri and Kansas have no Klan chapters, while Texas has 20.

While the total membership of such groups is "tiny relative to the rest of society, these groups really do have an outsized influence," said Potok.

"In particular, they have played a really vile role in the immigration debate. A lot of the false, defamatory propaganda we hear in this debate first originated in hate groups," he said.

"Illegal immigration," Potok added, "has become almost the sole focus of these groups -- you don't hear them talking about gays or blacks any more. It's all brown people."

The oft-repeated story that Mexico intends to invade and reconquer the Southwest United States originated in hate groups, "and now you hear it propounded on Lou Dobbs on CNN, and even politicians are talking about it."

Hate groups also were the source of the myth about the alleged secret plan to merge the U.S., Canada and Mexico, as well as other wild and false assertions: that a third of all U.S. prison cells are filled by illegal aliens; that illegals murder 12 Americans a day.

Such misinformation entering the broader debate ongoing throughout the U.S. tends to skew positions and poison the atmosphere, making rational, informed debate difficult if not impossible.

Membership in Oklahoma hate groups waxes and wanes, as elsewhere, but the state has a long history of virulent extremism. "The reality is that some parts of Oklahoma have a real history of radical-right activism that goes back decades," said Potok.

Oklahoma, in fact, is one of three national "hotspots" of such activism. Eastern Oklahoma, Southwest Missouri and Northwest Arkansas form one of the hotspots; sections of western North Carolina and South Carolina another; and the third finds home in the Idaho panhandle and parts of Washington and Oregon.

A historical analysis of the rise and fall of hate groups shows that immigration is usually behind the trend. "Really, the worst outbreaks of intolerance in this country have been driven by immigration," said Potok. The Klan reached its highest membership levels ever, claiming millions of members, in the 1920s. "That growth was driven almost entirely by Catholic immigration. This was the 'No-Irish-Need-Apply' period, when people were literally burning convents."

One of the many ironic and false messages fueled by hate groups is that Latinos are more crime-prone than Americans, noted Potok. FBI statistics gathered from the states show hate crimes against Latinos rose 35 percent from 2003 to 2006. California, which has one of the most efficient reporting systems, put the rise at 54 percent during that time frame.

"Studies show that immigrants are substantially less criminal than Americans; they become more criminal over three generations," said Potok. "In other words, the more American you become, the more criminal you become."

Source: Tulsaworld

Hate crimes rise against Hispanics and the disabled

Analysts see link to economy, anger about immigration

Hate crimes against Hispanic and disabled victims rose dramatically in Tennessee last year, leaving advocates for both groups concerned about the trend.

A recent Tennessee Bureau of Investigation report shows hate crimes rose 28 percent overall between 2006 and 2007, but those against Hispanics more than doubled and those against the disabled grew from 1 to 30.

Those who study social conflict say stress over the economy is a contributing force, along with an increase in the Hispanic population and related anger about immigration.

"Since 2003, there's been a marked increase in hate crime directed at Hispanics," said Mark Potok, director of the Birmingham, Ala.-based Southern Poverty Law Center's Intelligence Project. "But the disabled? … That's just bizarre. What sort of madness and anger is that?"

Advocates for the disabled in Middle Tennessee say they weren't aware of the increase or of any effort to encourage the disabled to report crime that might explain it. There was also only one hate crime against that group reported in 2005.

Most of last year's incidents were thefts, forgeries and burglaries victimizing mentally disabled persons. Donna DeStefano, assistant director of the Tennessee Disability Coalition, said the problem is likely economic, with criminals using one of society's most vulnerable groups for money.
House, car are targets

Nationally, hate crimes against disabled victims rose incrementally, while hate crimes against Hispanics grew 20 percent, from 2002 and 2006, the most recent five-year period with data available.

In July 2007, Rudolpho Hernandez emerged from his Nashville home to find a set of sliding glass doors bathed in egg and his car spray-painted with an ethnic slur. He called Metro police and pressed charges. A few days later, his house was egged again and his car's battery was stolen.

Both incidents were declared hate crimes, criminal acts motivated by a victim's race, ethnicity or national origin, religion, gender, sexuality or disability. In Tennessee and 32 other states, when prosecutors can prove that a form of bias played a motivating role in a crime, perpetrators face additional punishment for their crime.

"We take the reports and classify them the best way that we can….," said Detective James Lambert, who oversees hate crime investigations and data for the Metro Nashville police. "Of course, the FBI guidance tells us to take the victim's perception of the crime and any evidence into account."
Crimes go unreported

For many people, the term "immigrant" or "illegal alien" has become synonymous with a Hispanic person, said Catalina Nieto, a spokeswoman for the Tennessee Immigrant and Refugee Rights Coalition.

Nieto suspects that much of the hate crimes against Hispanic victims goes unreported because of immigrants' concern about the consequences of contact with police.

"I think, in a way, for us it's no surprise, given the way in general how there is a lot of hateful and dehumanizing rhetoric that's used to describe immigrants," she said.

Historically, hate crime has grown most intense in the United States during periods of economic distress and when the social order is in the process of being upset, said Steven Tepper, a Vanderbilt University sociologist who specializes in social conflict.

"As much as I would like to describe the situation differently, hate crime is not something I see improving as the economy worsens," Tepper said.

Contact Janell Ross at 726-5982 or

Source: Tennessean

Texans sue Bush administration over Mexico border fence

Elana Schor in Washington and agencies
Friday May 16 2008

A group of Texas mayors and businessmen sued the Bush administration today over its planned fence along the Mexico border, saying they were forced to give up their property rights.

The Texas Border Coalition, as the group is known, accuses the US department of homeland security (DHS) of swindling landowners out of their property rights using threats of legal action and $100 cash payments.

"We shouldn't be building walls," Pat Ahumada, mayor of the border town of Brownsville, said. "We should be building alliances with Mexico. The wall is not the solution."

Lawyers for the border group are aiming to force a second look at some land purchases and a stay in construction of the 670-mile border fence, about half of which is already completed.

The fence has already drawn court challenges from two leading US environmental groups, the Defenders of Wildlife and the Sierra Club. Homeland security officials waived more than 30 conservation laws in their rush to complete construction of the fence, aimed at deterring illegal immigration, before Bush leaves office.

A DHS spokeswoman said the administration has "nearly bent over backward" in dealings with 600 landowners in the four states that border Mexico: Texas, California, Arizona and New Mexico.

The border group echoed questions that Democrats have raised about Texas oil magnate Ray Hunt, whose land the fence is scheduled to bypass. Hunt recently gave $35m to help his friend George Bush build a presidential library at a Texas university.

The Democratic Congress has vowed to take up the border fence this year, although the political volatility of immigration reform could derail any meaningful action during this presidential election year.

About half of the planned border fence will be made of reinforced concrete, with vehicle barriers comprising the rest of its length. The Berlin wall, by contrast, was 96 miles long, while the security fence on the border between Israel and Palestine will measure about 430 miles when completed.

Source: Guardian