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To remain silent, simply speak

In a 5-4 decision in the case of Berghuis v. Thompkins, the Supreme Court has ruled that suspects must explicitly assert their right to remain silent under the 1966 Miranda v. Arizona decision. [more inside]
posted by 0xFCAF on Jun 1, 2010 - 156 comments

knock knock no knock

On the heels of the highly publicized Missouri raid that ended in the death of a corgi (previously), a seven year-old girl has been killed in a no-knock raid in Detroit. According to one of Radley Balko's commenters, the family may have been targeted because they shared a two-family duplex with the target of the raid.
posted by lalex on May 17, 2010 - 183 comments

We don't have that in our country

Cul-de-sac is a new independent film (trailer, briefly NSFW) by London-based directors Ramin Goudarzi Nejad & Mahshad Torkan. It tells the story of Kiana Firouz, a filmmaker, actress, and lesbian activist who fled Iran after authorities learned of her attempt to make an underground documentary about the lives of Iranian gays and lesbians. According to this interview, Firouz didn't write the film, but plays herself. Earlier this month, her asylum petition was allegedly denied. The denial shouldn't have been surprising according to statistics in a report (pdf) by the UK Lesbian and Gay Immigration Group, which states that the refusal rate for lesbians and gay men is as high as 98-99%. Although the Home Office claims it takes the sexual orientation of asylum seekers into consideration, laws which permit deportation of gay and lesbian asylum seekers have recently been challenged in the supreme court.
posted by treepour on May 13, 2010 - 10 comments

Abortion Not OK in OK

Provoking pro-choice advocates, Oklahoma passed two highly restrictive abortion laws on Tuesday. One (rtf file) requires doctors to show women an ultrasound of their fetus and point out its physical characteristics — even if the patient was impregnated through rape or incest. The second (rtf file) stipulates that doctors cannot be sued if they decide to lie to an expectant mother regarding her baby's birth defects. A third requires clinics to post signs telling patients they cannot be forced to have an abortion. The first law prompted an immediate lawsuit from Tulsa's only abortion clinic. [more inside]
posted by zarq on Apr 30, 2010 - 169 comments

10 Rules for Dealing with Police

1. Always be calm and cool. 2. You have the right to remain silent. 3. You have the right to refuse searches... 10 Rules for Dealing with Police. [more inside]
posted by alms on Apr 21, 2010 - 119 comments

Farewell to a Civil Rights icon.

Dr. Benjamin Hooks, Whose Moral Leadership Bridged Populations, Dies at 85. Dr. Hooks was the first African-American judge in the South since Reconstruction, the first African-American appointed to the board of the FCC, and executive director of the NAACP from 1977 to 1992. [more inside]
posted by JeffK on Apr 15, 2010 - 12 comments

Encyclopedia Dramatica vs. the Commonwealth of Australia

In January, Google Australia agreed to take down links to the Encyclopedia Dramatica. The Australian Human Rights Commission has now written to the owner of the ED threatening legal action. [more inside]
posted by Fiasco da Gama on Mar 16, 2010 - 120 comments

Orphans and Street no more

Changes to Orphan Works copyright legislation in the US began to crumble in 2008 when the NPPA and a grassroots initiative finally gained momentum. Still, the ASMP has a FAQ outlining their position on the 2008 Orphan Works bill stating that it is inevitable legislation and they should take advantage of a favourable congress to retain as positive a position for photographers as possible.

It seems that new laws are close to coming into effect in the UK government seemingly nationalising orphan works and in a separate action (same article) banning non-consentual photography making street photography essentially impossible. [via]

Previously
posted by michswiss on Feb 25, 2010 - 18 comments

When The Saints Go Marching In

A white kid adopted by a Japanese-American couple, he grew up hearing stories of his grandmother raising his dad in an internment camp while his grandfather fought in Italy, and didn't eat a baked potato until he was eight. He went to UC Berkeley. He's vocal in his support for marriage equality. Scott Fujita is a linebacker for the New Orleans Saints.
posted by rtha on Feb 7, 2010 - 57 comments

Bringing Perry v. Schwarzenegger to the public in spite of the US Supreme Court

In its January 13, 2010 ruling, the U.S. Supreme Court blocked the public broadcast of Perry v. Schwarzenegger, a U.S. District Court case challenging the constitutional validity of California's Proposition 8, despite the ruling of Judge Vaughn Walker. Working directly from court transcripts and first-hand accounts from bloggers who have been present at the trial, marriagetrial.com is re-enacting the trial, to provide a "non-biased, objective presentation" of the case for public benefit.
posted by Blazecock Pileon on Feb 3, 2010 - 37 comments

When transphobia interferes with quality healthcare

"Melissa" (name changed for privacy) is a transwoman who was badly injured in a car accident and is in hospital in critical condition. While in treatment, some of the medical staff and her family decided that since she still had a "male" body, to make things "less confusing", they will erase 4 years of her female identity by referring to her as a man and taking her off her hormone therapy. (Warning: possible triggers) As little light puts it:
And if she woke up as from a deep sleep, she’d wake up into a world where her best friend was dead, where her body had been forcibly edited back to its pre-transition state and given a few more years of the influence of testosterone to boot, where her memory and self were hazy and confusing and nobody was calling her by the right name and pronouns, they were in fact pretending four years of her life, the four years she finally got to be honest and true to herself, those had never happened, and shh, she’s just confused, shhhh, calm down, let’s work on fixing your memory some more.
[more inside]
posted by divabat on Jan 13, 2010 - 147 comments

The Lawless Netherworlds of Gay Relationships

Queer female webzine Autostraddle, who interviewed media celebrity Tila Tequila shortly before the death of her fiancée, socialite Casey Johnson, uses the aftermath to discuss the complications of not having legal rights as a gay couple when the relationship becomes dysfunctional:
We don’t look at those crazy-ass toxic relationships that were so intense they carved a hole in your heart and you knew, no matter how deep the emotional connection, that at any minute your loved one could get up, walk out the door, and never speak to you again, and that it wouldn’t matter if you’d paid their bills or built a life around their demands. There is nothing tying you together besides your feelings. And that’s really frightening.

posted by divabat on Jan 9, 2010 - 51 comments

Refendum 71 is certified

Today, the State of Washington becomes the first state in the history of the United States to pass a law supporting the equality of same-sex partners by popular vote. [more inside]
posted by Blazecock Pileon on Dec 3, 2009 - 73 comments

Now you gonna be Gandalf the Red!

'This is not a joke, this is not a scam, this is not available on TV. I will write a check TODAY for $10,000, and viola! Terminator off your hands.'

With the rights to the Terminator franchise up for sale, Joss Whedon makes a bid.
posted by shakespeherian on Nov 2, 2009 - 142 comments

US Military Cuts And A Step Towards Equality

Yesterday, US President Obama signed a $680bn military policy bill, which cuts military spending, including $2bn in funding for new F-22 fighter jets. However, the bill also contained the first major piece of federal gay rights legislation, and fulfilled an Obama campaign promise: acts of violence against gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people have now been added to the list of federal hate crimes.
posted by zarq on Oct 29, 2009 - 219 comments

Sandra Burt gets some Satisfaction.

"It's ridiculous. What's the world coming to when Big Brother wants to charge you for singing a wee tune?", Sandra Burt said. So, Big Brother thought about it a bit, and decided, well, maybe she's right.
posted by flapjax at midnite on Oct 21, 2009 - 34 comments

There are known unknowns

"My answer is, I don't know. I don't know." US District Court Judge Vaughn Walker asked Prop 8 supporters to define the nature and extent of damage done by same-sex couples to the institution of marriage, and being unable to get any definitive answer, denied the request from supporters of Prop 8 to throw out Perry v. Schwarzenegger and ordered the case to trial in January 2010.
posted by Blazecock Pileon on Oct 15, 2009 - 94 comments

With Glowing Hearts

The British Columbia Civil Liberties Association has filed suit against the City of Vancouver over a recently enacted 2010 Olympic bylaw which the BCCLA claims limits free speech and is in violation of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. [more inside]
posted by futureproof on Oct 7, 2009 - 57 comments

Separate and Expensive

Being a same-sex, taxpaying couple is more expensive, overall, than being a straight, taxpaying couple, for the same services and benefits, when available.
posted by Blazecock Pileon on Oct 2, 2009 - 62 comments

Prop 8 : CA :: Ref 71 : WA

On May 18, 2009, the Governor of Washington state signed into law SB 5688, granting near-equal legal standing to state registered domestic partners, meaning mainly (but not exclusively) same-sex couples. This new law, nicknamed the "everything but marriage" law was to go into effect at the end of July. Due to efforts made by some conservative groups, the measure will now be up for a public vote on the November 3, 2009 ballot in the form of Referendum 71. [more inside]
posted by hippybear on Sep 1, 2009 - 195 comments

maine ways

Maine Ways (SLYT)
posted by lalex on Aug 27, 2009 - 40 comments

"Natural communities and ecosystems possess inalienable and fundamental rights to exist, flourish and naturally evolve..."

Sued by the forest: Should nature be able to take you to court?
posted by homunculus on Jul 19, 2009 - 37 comments

Indian High Court Says Ban on Gay Sex Unconstitutional

New Delhi legalizes homosexuality. In a landmark ruling, the Delhi High Court has for the first time in India declared the British-era law against homosexual sex unconstitutional. Is this India's Stonewall?
posted by Azaadistani on Jul 2, 2009 - 22 comments

Spare Change

Tomorrow, Obama will extend federal employee benefits to same-sex partners. But is it too little, too late to mend the growing rift between Obama and gay rights advocates, especially after last week's controversial DOMA brief (discussed previously)?
posted by gerryblog on Jun 16, 2009 - 173 comments

Dear Mr. President

Dear Mr. President: ... I realized that although I and other LGBT leaders have introduced ourselves to you as policy makers, we clearly have not been heard, and seen, as what we also are: human beings whose lives, loves, and families are equal to yours. I know this because this brief would not have seen the light of day if someone in your administration who truly recognized our humanity and equality had weighed in with you. [more inside]
posted by Joe Beese on Jun 15, 2009 - 157 comments

Don't Ask, Don't Tell

A Gay Soldier's Husband — In the backdrop of the conservative activist Supreme Court's recent decision against hearing a challenge to the US military's "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy, one gay American relates the difficulties he faces having a partner on active duty in Iraq. In Iraq itself, death squads continue to murder gay and lesbian Iraqis, while American occupying forces look the other way.
posted by Blazecock Pileon on Jun 10, 2009 - 73 comments

In Washington State, echoes of Proposition 8

In September of 2004, a Superior Court in Washington state ruled the state's 1998 "Defense of Marriage" act unconstitutional, a ruling which would have allowed the state to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples. In 2006, the state Supreme Court issued in an opinion in Andersen v. King County overturning the lower court's ruling, noting "that our decision [pdf] is not based on an independent determination of what we believe the law should be." The legislature, in response, created the state-registered domestic partnership in 2007, expanding many (but not all) marriage-related rights to same-sex couples. Last month, a new law expanded the partnership to cover the remaining rights, creating an "all-but-marriage" partnership.

This year, the Washington Values Alliance has filed Referendum 71, which would put this expansion to a ballot vote. The referendum will need 120,000 signatures to make it to the ballot. WhoSigned.org intends to make these signatures searchable. Predictably, this is creating some controversy. [more inside]
posted by 0xFCAF on Jun 2, 2009 - 114 comments

Beneath the burqa

Shuttlecock burqas to fetish wear. Some snapshots of Pakistan's struggles with its sexual identities. [more inside]
posted by tavegyl on May 14, 2009 - 10 comments

Disability and Employment in Argentina

Disability and Employment in Argentina: The Right to Be Exploited?
posted by aniola on Apr 11, 2009 - 7 comments

Apologies from a racist

Elwin Wilson burned crosses. He threw jack handles at kids. He hung black dolls in nooses. He threw eggs at men. He beat people up at bus stations - people who would one day become United States Congressmen. He lay in wait for the Freedom Riders in Rock Hill, SC ( more Freedom Rides video 1, 2). And now Elwin Wilson is apologizing for what he did.
posted by Addlepated on Apr 5, 2009 - 247 comments

“…If you stand up straight, people can’t ride your back. And that’s what we did. We stood up straight.”

When Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated April 4, 1968, he was helping sanitation workers in Memphis form a union. In 1967, SCLC initiated the Poor People's Campaign to unify the African-American civil rights movement with working people's movements more generally. In MLK's words, "It must not be just black people, it must be all poor people. We must include American Indians, Puerto Ricans, Mexicans, and even poor whites." [more inside]
posted by univac on Apr 4, 2009 - 20 comments

China criticizes US on human rights

China hits back at US criticism on human rights After the US needles China with human rights criticism, China responds with Human Rights Record of United States in 2008. From its preface: "As in previous years, the [United States'] reports are full of accusations of the human rights situation in more than 190 countries and regions, including China, but mention nothing of the widespread human rights abuses on its own territory."
posted by shetterly on Feb 28, 2009 - 76 comments

This week's cover of The Nation features Obama with more than 60 civil rights icons.

When Obama takes the oath of office, he won't be standing alone. This week's cover of The Nation features a portrait of an Obama inauguration presided over by Thurgood Marshall and attended by more than 60 civil rights icons. [more inside]
posted by harperpitt on Jan 15, 2009 - 43 comments

IMPASSE

Bram Schouw's short IMPASSE [more inside]
posted by pwedza on Dec 11, 2008 - 8 comments

Universal Declaration of Human Rights 60th Anniversary

Sixty years ago on December 10, fifty eight nations created the UN Declaration of Human Rights. [more inside]
posted by Fiasco da Gama on Dec 9, 2008 - 20 comments

The Right to Sleep

Crimes of Necessity On Oct. 14 2008 the B.C. Supreme Court handed down a landmark decision declaring that, due to the lack of adequate homeless shelters, it was unconstitutional for the City of Victoria to prevent homeless individuals from erecting temporary structures for protection from the elements. The ruling culminates a multi-year campaign by David Arthur Johnston to establish the "right to sleep". As the decision is based on an interpretation of Canada's Charter of Rights and Freedoms, the ruling applies to every municipality in Canada. In the wake of the decision, Victoria City Council passed a resolution which stipulates that such shelters must be removed by 7:00 each morning. [more inside]
posted by dinsdale on Oct 26, 2008 - 100 comments

James Powderly's story of his Beijing detention

An American in Beijing's Detention Facilities (via kottke) [more inside]
posted by kliuless on Sep 3, 2008 - 69 comments

Who owns your ink?

Can you copyright a tattoo? Yes, you can. But there's more to it. The idea raises a lot of questions and concerns—for the artists, the inked-skin owners, and certain parties seeking to represent or showcase the work. Shortly after Marisa Kakoulas wrote The Tattoo Copyright Controversy guest article, featured at BMEZINE.com, she encountered a small legal battle of her own. [more inside]
posted by iamkimiam on Jul 28, 2008 - 32 comments

A New World Is At Hand

These are the documents that started it all. The Charters of Freedom. As the USA celebrates another Independence Day, the National Archives presents the historical development of the Declaration, the Constitution, and the Bill of Rights, and their impact upon the nation and the world.
posted by netbros on Jul 4, 2008 - 56 comments

The political-economy perspective on women's rights

Women's rights: What's in it for men? - "Women in rich countries largely enjoy gender equality while those in poor countries suffer substantial discrimination. This column proposes an explanation for the relationship between economic development and female empowerment that emphasises changes in the incentives males face rather than shifts in moral sentiment. Technological change that raises demand for human capital may give men a stake in women's rights." [more inside]
posted by kliuless on Jun 29, 2008 - 29 comments

Don't talk to the police

Most Americans are aware of their Miranda rights, the most important of which may be the right to remain silent. Apparently, many people don't take advantage of that right. Professor James Duane makes some compelling arguments why you should, and Officer George Bruch agrees. Of course, if you choose to ignore their advice and have something to hide, you will be going up against pros in interrogation. Good luck.
posted by procrastination on Jun 25, 2008 - 56 comments

Autistic Student Kicked Out of Class

5-Year-Old Autistic Student Voted Out of Kindergarten, Survivor-Style. (Link to interview with a representative of the school district).
posted by The Gooch on May 31, 2008 - 72 comments

The Countertraffickers

William Finnegan reports on rescuing the victims of the global sex trade. You can also listen to Finnegan talking about the research for the article. (New Yorker)
posted by fourcheesemac on May 1, 2008 - 11 comments

The Rapture is Not an Exit Strategy

“People like you are not holding up the Constitution ..." Or so said Major Freddy Welborn, Specialist Jeremy Hall's commanding officer in Tikrit. "Last month, Specialist Hall and the Military Religious Freedom Foundation, an advocacy group, filed suit in federal court in Kansas, alleging that Specialist Hall’s right to be free from state endorsement of religion under the First Amendment had been violated and that he had faced retaliation for his views. In November, he was sent home early from Iraq because of threats from fellow soldiers." (NY Times)
posted by fourcheesemac on Apr 26, 2008 - 123 comments

Out of Africa

Blogs of women from Africa. That is all.
posted by hadjiboy on Apr 17, 2008 - 25 comments

SCOTUS Hears Oral Arguments On Case Determining Whether American Citizens Have the Right to Carry Hanguns under the Second Amendment

Oral arguments were heard today in District of Columbia v. Heller, the first occasion in almost 70 years for the Supreme Court to decide the question, "Just what does the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution mean?"
posted by Law Talkin' Guy on Mar 18, 2008 - 104 comments

Umm, sorry about the genocide

A Nation Apologizes. (Sydney Morning Herald.) Prime Minister Kevin Rudd's apology to the Stolen Generations of Aboriginal children. Here the history told from an Aboriginal perspective in Archie Roach's great song "Took The Children Away." (Youtube) (song lyrics).
posted by fourcheesemac on Feb 12, 2008 - 77 comments

Pretty Good Pornography

A Magistrate Judge in the U.S. District Court in Vermont has ruled that a man allegedly caught with child pornography on his laptop need not reveal his PGP password (yes, authorities shut down the laptop and now can't get at the alleged porn) pursuant to the Fifth Amendment's protections against self incrimination. The decision is here[PDF]. A decent write-up (from CNET of all places) is here. This appears to be the first decision ever to directly address this issue, and many commentators had thought it would come out differently. The major question is whether revealing one's PGP key is "testimonial" or not. According to the Supreme Court, giving up fingerprints or blood samples isn't, nor is standing for a lineup, nor is handing over the key to a safe, but if it's combination safe, well maybe that's different. Never let it be said that your Fifth Amendment rights are easy.
posted by The Bellman on Dec 15, 2007 - 57 comments

Access Denied

In the same spirit as the Open Net Initiative and Committee to Protect Bloggers that both track global internet filtering, Sami ben Gharbia's Access Denied Map tries to track the blocking of sites like Blogger, Flickr, YouTube and others by governments, as well as efforts by activists to keep them accessible or to challenge their blockage.
posted by Blazecock Pileon on Nov 19, 2007 - 5 comments

Bleed for Public Safety.

Bleed for Public Safety.
posted by Tacos Are Pretty Great on Nov 12, 2007 - 54 comments

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