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I hope everyone has seen this wonderful video of New Jersey governor Chris Christie defending his appointment of Sohail Mohammed to the Superior Court of Passiac County.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m thrilled to see someone like Christie speaking out about this bullshit Sharia hysteria. And I think Sohail Hohammed sounds like a perfectly lovely judge and I’m sure he will be a great benefit to the legal community in the state of New Jersey.
But there is something in the reporting of this case that freaks me out, and it is this: everyone, Christie included, keeps reminding us that the Muslims Mohammed defended after 9/11 weren’t terrorists. They were the wrongly arrested ones who were proved innocent and it was totes all a big mistake, guys. Jeffrey Goldberg put it this way:
Sohail Mohammed represented, while in private practice, Muslims who had been detained by the FBI after the Sept. 11 attacks. None of the men was ever charged with anything related to terrorism.
Here’s the thing for me: I don’t give a highly colored damn whether they were guilty or innocent because everyone gets a defense lawyer in this country. EVERYONE. Even the guilty ones. I don’t care if Sohail Mohammed represented and defended terrorists, because he is a lawyer and that is his job, and they had a right to his services. Timothy McVeigh got a defense lawyer. Jeffrey Dahmer got a defense lawyer. And what is more, they had a constitutional right to a defense lawyer, and they had the right to demand that that lawyer do his very best to defend them. As a prominent litigator in the great state of New Jersey I expect Sohail Mohammed to defend his clients well, and to bring all his expertise to the defense of any person, guilty or innocent, that he is asked to represent. Everyone gets a defense lawyer, in order to ensure that no one is ever convicted without the prosecution fully and completely proving their case beyond a reasonable doubt, even in cases that seem open and shut. It is better for Casey Antony to go free than for us to corrupt the presumption of innocence and the burden of proof in order to convict her.
I am really uncomfortable with the underlying assumption that this is all ok because the people he defended weren’t terrorists after all. Note that the Goldberg quote “while in private practice” serves to neatly remind everyone that he wasn’t defending them on behalf of the government. It was something he did in his private practice which is his business and not official at all.
Basically what this is saying to me is that Sohail Mohammed would have been considered unfit for this appointment if those men he defended actually had been terrorists. And that is WRONG. This sets a seriously scary precedent, as far as I can see. If the media has gotten so out of control that defending a guilty party can jeopardize a public servant’s career to this degree, then I think we have a serious problem. Because you know what will happen? No lawyer will risk themselves to defend accused terrorists and you know what will happen then? Terrorists won’t get fair trials. And that actually WILL destroy America, more effectively than any bomb.
I can’t really add a whole lot to this. I think Reich pretty much summed it all up. Gold star for being excellent and articulate and explanatory and stuff. Rock on Reich.
So basically, we’re fucked.
And now for some gratuitous space porn. I said I was awarding him a star and here
it is they are. Alnitak, Alnilam, and Mintaka, otherwise known as Orion’s Belt. Go here to read more (seriously, do it, it’s really interesting. Nerd out)
I’ll just let this speak for itself:
Go check out We Say Gay, a site set up by Tennessee students to oppose SB0049.
“Tennessee is trying to pass bill SB0049. The “Don’t Say Gay” bill would prohibit speaking about homosexuality at middle schools and elementary schools, while talking about heterosexuality would be fine (‘(2) Notwithstanding any other law to the contrary, no public elementary or middle school shall provide any instruction or material that discusses sexual orientation other than heterosexuality.’) Kids at my nephew’s high school are protesting it. The bill goes to vote tomorrow.”
Head over to We Say Gay to support these students- both the ones targeted by the bill and the ones who are so valiantly fighting against it on behalf of their fellow students. This is wonderful and it’s so great to see young kids with their priorities in order.
Please sign the petition, subscribe to the blog, plug it any way you can. This is wonderful and gives me some hope that maybe the world isn’t totally screwed. If kids like this still exist then maybe there’s hope for us after all.
These kids earn a whole pile of gold stars.
I have never watched The Jersey Shore. I have no desire to watch The Jersey Shore. I could care less about The Jersey Shore. I do, however, have a profound desire to Oscar Wilde-ify everything I come across in life, which may explain why my vocabulary inexplicably expands the moment I get even the slightest bit inebriated. You remember the penguin joke incident of 2006, I’m sure. Hence my utter delight at finding these videos from Playbill: transcripts from The Jersey Shore preformed in the style of Oscar Wilde, by the cast of the current Broadway production of The Importance of Being Earnest.
The lads of Broadway’s The Importance of Being Earnest — namely Santino Fontana and David Furr — have created a video series exclusively for Playbill, asking the question: What if Oscar Wilde’s famed comedy-of-manners characters talked trash instead of epigrams?
Fontana (as Algernon Moncrieff) and Furr (as John Worthing) swiped real lines from the reality series “Jersey Shore” — MTV’s thick slice of Italian-American stereotype mixed with twentysomething testosterone, booze and pasta — and dressed up in their Victorian best to deliver the lines.
“Jersey Shore Gone Wilde,” a five-part video series, launched April 18 on Playbill.com. It was shot in the lobby of the American Airlines Theatre, where the acclaimed and extended Brian Bedford-directed revival of the classic plays. A new chapter launches daily through April 22.
From the Playbill write-up, here.
Update: Ahahaha, I found a working link for the fifth part!
MacGuffin, who is nearly sick with laughter. Never has the phrase ROFLMAO been used so literally.
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It is refreshing to see someone on the right speak out against their party, especially on social issues. In fact it’s so rare these days that I feel like people on the right who do speak up deserve a gold star. I’m happy to report that today I have two candidates. Well, one and a half. Aside from the actual substance of current GOP/TEA politics, I have to say that one of the things that pisses me off most profoundly about the right is their attitude to the party line, which seems to be less a line than a razor wire which will violently decapitate you, should you cross it. Or maybe a cliff. They do seem more and more like unholy crosses between Wile E Coyote and a particularly obedient lemming, desperately running over a cliff and not quite aware that the ground under them is gone and had been for quite some time. [Update: I don't know why it is that the left gains legitimacy by questioning itself and earns points for hearing every view and being flexible and, (fine I'll say it), humoring the extreme opposition, while such mental agility would be suicidal for a right winger. Why is that?]
Alan Simpson, however, gets a gold star today for taking a stand against the anti-abortion nut jobs and homophobes that seem to be speaking for his party. And the especially nice thing is that he is taking an explicitly moral/ideological stand, rather than hiding behind the law. It would have been easy for him shelter behind the current legislation (abortion is legal, remember?) and simply argue to uphold the law. But Simpson is actually going out on a limb and declaring that this anti-woman crap is wrong. Which is awesome. Of course, the fact that we’ve gotten to the point that this seems like going out on a limb is depressing as hell. But be that as it may, Simpson earns a solid gold Death Star for this interview.
SIMPSON: Who the hell is for abortion? I don’t know anybody running around with a sign that says, “Have an abortion! They’re wonderful!” They’re hideous, but they’re a deeply intimate and personal decision, and I don’t think men legislators should even vote on the issue.
Then you’ve got homosexuality, you’ve got Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell. We have homophobes on our party. That’s disgusting to me. We’re all human beings. We’re all God’s children. Now if they’re going to get off on that stuff—Santorum has said some cruel things—cruel, cruel things—about homosexuals. Ask him about it; see if he attributes the cruelness of his remarks years ago. Foul.
Now if that’s the kind of guys that are going to be on my ticket, you know, it makes you sort out hard what Reagan said, you know, “Stick with your folks.”But, I’m not sticking with people who are homophobic, anti-women, moral values—while you’re diddling your secretary while you’re giving a speech on moral values? Come on, get off of it.
Fun fact of the day: you know who else crossed the party line? Barry Goldwater, famously spoke out against homophobia, especially with regard to the military. And the dangers of the religious right. Yeah. Him. The father of the modern conservative movement. (Or at least he was, before Reagan got in there) Here are a couple of my favorite quotes from one of his Washington Post articles
Everyone knows that gays have served honorably in the military since at least the time of Julius Caesar. They’ll still be serving long after we’re all dead and buried. That should not surprise anyone.
Some in congress think I’m wrong. They say we absolutely must continue to discriminate, or all hell will break loose. Who knows, they say, perhaps our soldiers may even take up arms against each other.
Well, that’s just stupid.
The conservative movement, to which I subscribe, has as one of its basic tenets the belief that government should stay out of people’s private lives. Government governs best when it governs least – and stays out of the impossible task of legislating morality. But legislating someone’s version of morality is exactly what we do by perpetuating discrimination against gays.
Of course, his most famous quote on the subject was this:
You don’t have to be straight to be in the military; you just have to be able to shoot straight.
FYI, Barry Goldwater was also pro-choice. And every year Planned Parenthood gives the Barry Goldwater Award “to an outstanding public official who has supported Planned Parenthood and reproductive health issues”. So, conservatives, put that in your pipe and smoke it.
I just don’t know what happened to this country Puffin.
Yours, from somewhere between anger and regret