Ian Millhiser

This Messed Up Case of Racism Won't Help Reinstate Your Faith in Mississippi

Cathryn Stout is a doctoral student at Saint Louis University researching a paper on how residents of Mississippi are working to combat negative stereotypes about their state. She may want to reconsider that paper topic, however, after her alleged encounter with three Mississippi police officers.

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Support For Marijuana Legalization Hits Historic High Of 58 Percent

Only two states, Colorado and Washington, allow the recreational use of marijuana, and marijuana remains illegal under federal law. Nevertheless, a new Gallup polls suggests that Washington and Colorado are at the forefront of a national trend. Fully 58 percent of Americans now support legalization:

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How Southern Slavery Turns White People Into Republicans 150 Years Later

White Southerners are one of the great outliers in American politics. President Obama polledsignificantly worse with white voters in the South than he did with whites in swing states. One survey of working class white voters found Obama only 4-8 points behind Romney in the majority of the country, while he polled 40 points behind Romney among Southern white working class voters. And a new study by political scientists Avidit Acharya, Matthew Blackwell and Maya Sen suggests that there may be a simple explanation for this divide — slavery.

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Creepy Christian Preacher Wanders Around Texas Town Armed With Assault Rifle to Protest Strictness of Texas Gun Laws

If you go shopping in Huntsville, Texas, you’re likely to run into a local preacher with an assault rifle slung across his back. Beginning last week, Pastor Terry Holcomb started posting videos of himselfwandering into local businesses with an AR-15 Bushmaster rifle — the same weapon used to kill 20 children and six adults in the Newtown, Connecticut school shooting.

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Sorry, Oklahoma - Federal Court Says State Cannot Write Anti-Islamic Bigotry Into Its Constitution

On Thursday, a federal court permanently struck down an amendment to Oklahoma’s constitution that would have banned the non-existent practice of Oklahoma courts replacing American law with Islamic law, among other things. The unconstitutional amendment provided that “[t]he courts shall not look to the legal precepts of other nations or cultures.Specifically, the courts shall not consider international law or Sharia law.” A federal appeals court previously upheld a temporary injunction blocking the Oklahoma amendment; Thursday’s decision holds that the injunction should be permanent.

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Cruel: Ohio Planned to Fight Dying Man's Last Wish All the Way to Court

John Arthur is dying. He is in the terminal stages of Lou Gehrig’s disease and has entered hospice care. Arthur is also gay, and in a 20 year relationship with a man named Jim Obergefell. Because the couple’s home state of Ohio will not allow them to marry, Arthur and Obergefell recently flew to Maryland together and were legally married on the tarmac — just weeks after the Supreme Court’s landmark marriage equality decision in United States v. Windsor. Arthur was unable to rise from his hospice bed.

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Breaking News: DOJ to Ask Court to Reinstate Voting Rights Act in Texas

Attorney General Eric Holder announced on Thursday the first step the Justice Department will take to restore the voting rights gutted by a Supreme Court decision neutering a key prong of the Voting Rights Act. In remarks prepared for the National Urban League’s annual conference, Holder announced that the Justice Department “will ask a federal court in Texas to subject the State of Texas to a preclearance regime similar to the one required by Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act” — effectively restoring the safeguards against voter suppression in Texas that were stripped by the five Republican justices’ decision in Shelby County v. Holder.

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Virginia GOP Nominee For Attorney General Would Force Women To Report Their Miscarriages To Police -- Or Face 1 Year in Jail

If a woman in Virginia has a miscarriage without a doctor present, they must report it within 24 hours to the police or risk going to jail for a full year. At least, that’s what would have happened if a bill introduced by Virginia state Sen. Mark Obenshain (R) had become law.

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Republican Congressman: 'Abortion on Demand' Causes School Shootings

The only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is overturning Roe v. Wade. Or, at least, that’s what freshman Rep. Kevin Cramer (R-ND) seemed to suggest in a speech earlier this month:

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Blatant GOP Voter Suppression: Ohio Republicans Try to Punish Colleges that Enable Students to Vote

In 1979, the Supreme Court affirmed a decision holding that state cannot place unique burdens on college student votes that do not apply to other members of the electorate. Nevertheless, Ohio Republicans now want to punish state universities that encourage students to cast a ballot. Under a budget amendment filed by Republicans in the Ohio House, state universities that provide documents enabling students to register to vote in their college town, rather than in the state where their parents reside, will be forbidden from charging those students out-of-state tuition. Thus, the amendment would effectively reduce the funding of state schools that assist their students in registering to vote.

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Justice Sandra Day O’Connor: Maybe Bush v. Gore Wasn't the Best Decision

Justice Sandra Day O’Connor, the conservative retired justice who provided the fifth vote to install George W. Bush as president, is now having second thoughts about that decision:

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Everything You Need to Know About the Marriage Equality Cases At The Supreme Court

Beginning this morning, the Supreme Court will hear two cases that could recognize the right of everyone, straight or gay, to marry the person they love. The first concerns California’s anti-gay Proposition 8, and could potentially extend the right to marry to same-sex couples in all fifty states. The second challenges the federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), and could end the federal government’s practice ofdenying equal benefits to couples who are legally married under state law. Here is everything you need to know to understand these cases:

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13 Most Offensive Things Antonin Scalia Has Said About Homosexuality

Tomorrow, the Supreme Court will hear the first of two cases which could end discrimination against same-sex couples and ensure that all Americans can marry the person they love. Whatever happens in those two cases, one thing is all but certain: Justice Antonin Scalia will vote to maintain marriage discrimination, and he will spend much of this week’s oral arguments making insulting comments about LGBT Americans. Here are some of the most offensive things Scalia compared to homosexuality in his past opinions:

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Why Scalia’s ‘Racial Entitlement’ Nonsense Is More Dangerous Than You Think

Justice Antonin Scalia quite deservedly came under fire yesterday for his claim that a key provision of the Voting Rights Act is a “perpetuation of racial entitlement.” If the justice were looking to confirm every suspicion that conservative opposition to the law that broke the back of Jim Crow voter exclusions is rooted in white racial resentment, he could hardly have picked a better way to do so.

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Armed Pro-Gun Protesters Occupy Oregon State Capitol

A few hundred pro-gun demonstrators rallied outside the Oregon state Capitol on Friday to protest efforts to enact gun safety laws. A handful of protesters also entered the Capitol building itself and brandished assault rifles and other guns in the Capitol rotunda:

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Grand Theft Election: How Republicans Plan to Steal the White House

President Barack Obama won a commanding victory in this November’s elections, defeating Republican candidate and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney by nearly 4 percentage points in the popular vote. In doing so, President Obama became the first president to twice win more than 51 percent of the popular vote since President Dwight D. Eisenhower did so in 1956.

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10 Awful Crimes That Get You Less Prison Time Than What Aaron Swartz Faced

On Friday, Internet pioneer and open information activist Aaron Swartz took his own life at the age of 26. At the time of his death, Swartz was under indictment for logging into JSTOR, a database of scholarly articles, and rapidly downloading those articles with the intent to make them public. If Swartz had lived to be convicted of the charges against him, he faced 50 years or more in a federal prison.

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Texas Church Offers Firearms Classes to Defend Against Imaginary Bands Of Mexicans

The Times of London reports that several American churches are now offering concealed firearms training in order to attract worshipers to their pews. One of these churches, Heights Baptist in San Angelo, Texas offers a particularly unusual reason why they are now training their parishioners to pack heat — in order to prevent worship services from being disrupted by armed Mexicans:

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School District Claims Student ‘Was Herself Responsible’ For Being Raped

Two teachers at Moraga middle school in northern California sexually abused Kristen Cunnane in the 1990s. One, former P.E. teacher Julie Correa, received an eight year sentence for committing multiple sex crimes against Cunnane. The other, former science teacher Daneil Witters, committed suicide after several students came forward with allegations against him in 1996.

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Right-Wing Billionaire's Newspaper Gives Readers False Voting Information

The Mount Pleasant Journal is one of several newspapers run by Trib Total Media, a media conglomerate owned by billionaire Richard Mellon Scaife. Scaife’s foundationdonated hundreds of millions of dollars to conservative organizations ranging from the American Enterprise Institution to the Federalist Society, and he currently serves as vice-chairman of the right-wing Heritage Foundation’s board of trustees.

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4 Terrible Outcomes of a Romney Supreme Court

In an interview with the Columbus Dispatch yesterday, GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney brushed off a suggestion that he would usher in a constitutional amendment overrulingRoe v. Wade, stating that “[t]hat’s not where America is now.” That does not mean, however, that Romney will not usher in massive changes to the Constitution if he is given the opportunity to name new Supreme Court justices. Here are just four ways that Romney’s appointees would vote to effectively rewrite the Constitution if given the chance to do so:

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BREAKING: Federal Appeals Court Upholds Decision Restoring Early Voting In Ohio

A unanimous panel of the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit affirmed a lower court’s decisionstriking down Ohio’s recent law limiting early voting. Although the panel divided on its reasoning, all three judges concluded that the law has serious constitutional deficiencies. Themajority opinion was written by Judge Eric Clay, a Clinton appointee, and Judge Joseph Hood, a George H.W. Bush appointee.

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