Posts Tagged civil liberties

You didn’t miss it…Fred T. Korematsu Day officially is on Wednesday, Jan 30

Korematsu, who passed away in 2010, would have been 94 on Jan. 30.  And the state of Hawaii is set to celebrate his birthday  in style as the 3rd state to honor Korematsu with an official day.

Karen Korematsu called it her life mission to have every state proclaim an FTK day commemorating freedom, diversity and civil liberties until it’s recognized nationally.

I saw Karen on Sunday at the San Francisco celebration for her father. It was special because it brought together a diverse group of Asian American heroes.

It was like an Asian American Hall of Fame for Civil Rights. Three years after the intial FTK Day, the Korematsu Institute wisely chose to spread the love.

Read my post on the Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund blog.

 

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Wake of the week: Lowe’s “Muslim Interruptus,” NDAA, and a farewell to Christopher Hitchens

My amok column on Lowe’s and its ad pullout, which I call an example of “Muslim Interruptus,” is up on

www.aaldef.org/blog

Frankly, the issue is worth making a big deal about, though its a basic capitalistic right to pull out whenever you feel like it. Barring contracts, free markets are free, right?

Taking that tack  just means you have to be ready for the political firestorm, and the potential loss in dollars. Though right now, Lowe’s seems to be positioning itself well to be the hardware store of choice for bigots, racists, and haters. Where do I get the supplies I need for the next cross-burning, hate-graffiti spree, or anti-diversity celebration requiring mild incendiary devices? 

I bet at Lowe’s, it’s service with a smile.

www.aaldef.org

The Lowe’s issue was a nice distraction from the The National Defense Authorization Bill, which passed this week with only minor changes that doesn’t really wipe out all the civil liberties concerns.

Maybe the payroll tax issue was used as a smokescreen to further distract attention.

Doesn’t anyone care the law would enable government to detain indefinitely anyone with suspected terrorisist ties, specifically to Al Qaeda, but given loopholes,  likely to include any terrorist organization the government wants to link you to.

The bigger deal is if it’s in the law and “codified.”  That’s the thing that makes all the gatekeepers sleep well  at night, because now they can pretty use this as a starting point for more extreme actions, and feel totally justified. They can lock you up, and now they can throw away the key. Before they had to at least remember there was a key.

Seems like with the NDAA, the American people lose a  whole lot more than Al Qaeda does.

And I thought the Iraq war ended this week.

When it did, I had no feeling. The war destroyed a presidency, our economy, and a sense of what our democracy’s all about. 

Maybe that’s why people aren’t up in arms about the NDAA.

But then there’s another distraction this week… at least for me.

CHRISTOPHER HITCHENS

I was privileged to have Hitchens as a guest on my AM radio show in Washington, DC back in the ’90s. He was intelligent, brash, and provocative. The kind of guest that made radio fun and automatic. He’d call in and I could picture him with the tie undone,  ready with a snarky comment at my prompting.  I know he could seem like a pompous ass at times. But he could turn on the charm when his brilliance failed. And fortunately, or unfortunately,  it rarely did.  And he knew it.

When I moved on from D.C., we  never spoke again. But in recent years because of his writing, I knew he was sick and knew it was all coming to an end. But it doesn’t make it any less shocking when the news arrives via e-alert as it did last night, how the bad boy was quieted once and for all. I preferred the New York Times lead line to the Post’s. You can describe him as a great acerbic writer, but the Times put it in context by mentioning him in the same breath as Thomas Paine and George Orwell.

In the opinion ranks, those two are the Babe Ruth and Ty Cobb. They’re not in heaven, but in the great Hall of Peruasive Essayists, somewhere in the equivalent of Cooperstown or Canton, a place where most of us who toil as columnists and bloggers hope to be laid to rest when we no longer have a pulse to register our opinion any longer. 

Hitchens knew the next stop is not a weekly column for a publication in the after life.

That’s the finality of this final deadline for Hitchens. Spirituality? Religion? Death bed conversion? Are you kidding.

So here’s where I just flat out say I hope he was wrong. 

I hope in the end, his belief system was turned upside down, and that faith turned out be fact.

That would have been a ripe opportunity for Hitchens. Because now he would know,or not know,the answer for real. 

 It would have made the utmost tragedy and shame his inability to share the truth with us all, one last time.

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