Alabama Immigration Law Put On Hold By Federal Judge

Alabama's new immigration law - easily the toughest anti-immigrant/Hispanic law in the US - has been temporarily blocked by a federal judge. Sharon Blackburn, a US District Judge in Birmingham, has delayed enforcement of the new legislation till September to determine its constitutionality. This is great news for those of us who oppose this ridiculous, inhumane law which quite literally threatens to make criminals out of almost anyone who interacts with Hispanics without first putting on an Immigration Inquisition hat and demanding (not necessarily with a Gestapo tone or while wearing a monocle) "Vhere are your Papers!!" - or so it seems. As per Brian Lyman of The Montgomery Advertiser: "The law, signed by Gov. Robert Bentley on June 9,...

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Obama’s New Deportation Policy Is A Hot-Button Issue

There are currently more than 300,000 people in the United States undergoing deportation cases, and, as you may have heard, President Obama recently enacted a policy to change our country's deportation practices. Each of these 300,000 is going to face review on a case-by-case basis; the new policy assures that only those undocumented immigrants who are considered "harmful" will be considered for deportation. What it essentially means is that precious government efforts will no longer be siphoned off on this non-critical and gargantuan litigation money-pit going after hard-working people who obey the law. As per the Sacramento Bee: "Individuals brought to the U.S. as children, undocumented spouses of U.S. military personnel and immigrants who have no criminal record" [full article]...

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Remembering Katrina

Six years ago today, Hurricane Katrina struck New Orleans and the entire Gulf South region.  In the years since it's become customary to share our Katrina stories with each other.  It is something that binds us all in a very profound way.  "Where did you go for Katrina?" is a common form of small talk for many Louisianians. So it's important to remember those lost on August 29th, 2005, and in the days that followed (Because after all, the true damage wasn't done on the day the storm hit, but the next day when the storm surge overwhelmed the levees and Lake Pontchartrain flooded the city.).  To remember that period in time that has, in a way, defined us all....

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Google’s Gmail Practices Open Up Questions About Privacy

Google is far and away the biggest web company in the world, and its Gmail service has lately come under intense scrutiny for its privacy practices. A recent YouTube video mocking Gmail became a viral sensation; clearly, people are unhappy with Google's policies: "Gmail Man" shows a mail man going through the mail he carries. This seems outrageous and absurd, as people in the video repeatedly point out. But it is what Google regularly does to your e-mail - it scans messages sent from non-Gmail accounts to Gmail inboxes, scans for keywords, and then sells that information to advertisers. This is unsettling on many levels, and it's made to look all the more absurd when put into context in the...

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Transparency In Food Safety

The Louisiana Department of Health & Hospitals recently launched a website focused on cleanliness and sanitation in our food industry. "Eat Safe Louisiana" is its tag, and as John Pope wrote today in The Times-Picayune in his write-up of the new site: "Instead of evaluating the products on the plate, the website lets diners know about the cleanliness of the environments in which these dishes are created - the conditions of the sinks and garbage receptacles, for instance, as well as the temperature of the dishwashers and freezers, the status of the plumbing and employee compliance with hand-washing regulations." (read the complete article here) The principal goal of the site is to provide consumers with information to which they would...

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Public Opinion Of Congress At Historic Low

We're all aware of the recent talks about the debt ceiling in this country and how polarizing these talks have become. What's surprising is that somehow Americans have come together to reach an overwhelming consensus: We're unhappy with Congress. A recent New York Times/CBS poll revealed that 82% of Americans disapprove of the job Congress has done. This is the highest percentage in the history of the poll, which dates back to 1977. As originally reported by the New York Times: "More than four out of five people surveyed said that the recent debt-ceiling debate was more about gaining political advantage than about doing what is best for the country." (read the rest of the original article here) These are...

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‘Hot Coffee’ Raises Important Questions About Justice

Our office recently viewed Hot Coffee, a great HBO documentary that questions many things we've come to assume about our civil justice system. Nearly everybody has heard of the McDonald's "Coffee Case", but what's amazing is how few people are aware of the facts of this case.  Hot Coffee begins by shedding light on the case and its aftermath.  The case has been the source of joking and outrage, mocked as the epitome of an overly litigious culture.  Popular opinion has it that Stella Liebeck, the plaintiff in the case, spilled some McDonald's coffee on herself while driving and subsequently "hit the jackpot" by suing McDonald's and winning several million dollars.  This opinion is nowhere near the truth, as the...

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