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  Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Democrats Accused Of Using Hate Crime Bill To Protect Pedophiles (VIDEO) The new, new thing in criticizing Hate Crimes legislation is to <a href="";>pretend that the Democrats have gone and given a whole bunch of special considerations or legal protections to pedophiles. That's the case that Representative Peter King made to a suppliant Sean Hannity yesterday:

HANNITY: We're running out of time. Is it safe to say that Democrats were willing to protect pedophiles but not offer the same protection to servicemen and women? Is that an accurate statement?

KING: Sean, it is a matter of congressional record. Absolutely true -- beyond any doubt whatsoever. The recorded votes are there to prove just what you've said. They -- and on top of that, [Rep.] Alcee Hastings [D] from Florida, that spoke on the rules debate, and he read a list of about 30 different paraphilias -- proclivities, I call them -- including pedophiles, necrophilia, and a number of things that I wouldn't say on this program or any other. And he said I think all philias whatsoever should be protected by this law. That means every perversion that you can imagine would be special protected status under the Democrats' bill that passed off the -- floor of the House of Representatives.
<br /> <a href="";>Watch the video here.

OK, in the first place, Representative King needs to get his head examined, brusquely, by some sort of pneumatic hammer. <a href="";>Ryan Grim made note of Alcee Hastings' little bit of Congressional theater, which was done to demonstrate that "every perversion that you can imagine" WOULD NOT BE PROTECTED BY THE HATE CRIMES ACT.

<embed src=""; type="application/x-shockwave-flash" allowfullscreen="true" width="365" height="340">

But more to the point, this has nothing to do with pedophiles receiving special legal benefits. This has to do with King's attempt to assert an equivalency between homosexuality and "perversion." Really, this is entirely ancillary to the issue of hate crime legislation itself.

Let's take a look at the relevant Congressional testimony:

KING: This amendment goes to the end of the bill, and it simply says, since we have apparently waived the reading of it, which I do -- it's very short -- it says, "The term sexual orientation as used in this act or any amendments to this act does not include pedophilia." And we've gone through in this debate significant discussion about what sexual orientation means and does not mean. And yet I have not heard from the proponents of this bill into the record a definition of sexual orientation.

I would like to have defined sexual orientation precisely. I recognize, Mr. Chairman, it's unlikely that we will get that done in this committee given the reticence on the part of the majority party to consider any of the changes that we've offered here -- I think in a fashion that is determined to bring this bill out of this committee. And I'm frustrated that we're not able to add better definitions to the ambiguous terms to lock people up in penitentiaries if this bill becomes law.

And, so, this amendment that I have addresses the issue of pedophiles. And under the term "sexual orientation," if it includes those types of proclivities, particularly the one that is most egregious of all -- and that is victimizing children for the sake of sexual activity with them -- the pedophiles should not be protected under this legislation if we're able to adopt this language that's in my amendment. So, my amendment does not specifically define sexual orientation, although I've tried to do that.

But what it does do is say it doesn't include pedophiles, because I think the intent of this committee is clearly that we don't want to provide a, let's just say, special-protected status, for pedophiles. There are others that I would put in that list as well, but this is the one that stands out to me. It should be beyond question that this committee should be able to take a look at this amendment and conclude that whatever we might think about proclivities, pedophiles is not one that should be included. And, so, that's what my -- I'd yield.

See, to Peter King, "sexual orientation" lacks a legal definition, and so, barring specificity, how can anyone be sure that we're not accidentally cutting in pedophiles or necrophiles -- or corpophiles like Peter King! -- in on some sweet, sweet, hate crime protection. The only problem here is that sexual orientation has heretofore been given a legal definition, and, appropriately, it's a very narrow one, enunciated with crystal clarity by Congresswoman Tammy Baldwin, moments later:

KING: And so I would urge adoption of my amendment that defines clearly that whatever sexual orientation is, it is not, and does not include pedophiles. And with that, Mr. Chairman, I'd urge adoption of my amendment, and I would yield back the balance of my time.

BALDWIN: Thank you Mr. Chairman. I move to strike the last word in opposition to this amendment, that, well -- the gentleman claims that we have not pinned down the definition for sexual orientation. And, indeed, in our earlier session, yet today, I drew his attention to the fact that there is a definition with regard to the Hate Crimes Statistics Act. During the break, I searched to just confirm that what I had articulated earlier today was indeed the definition and it is: "Sexual orientation is means consensual homosexuality or heterosexuality." That is the definition.

Now, as you've noted earlier, there's only one term defined in this legislation, and that's gender identity on page 14. And the reason for that is that that definition exists nowhere else in federal law. This is the first time it's occurring in federal law. But in every other case, gender disability, sexual orientation, race, national origin, color, and -- I'm missing one. The architecture of the hate crime statutes in the United States is those definitions do not lay within that architecture. They exist elsewhere in federal law, and we rely on them. So there is a clear, concise definition of sexual orientation.

Baldwin goes on to note:

Your amendment is unnecessary and, I would add, inflammatory in terms of insinuations, I would say. But given the definition of sexual orientation meaning "consensual homosexuality or heterosexuality," it is absolutely clear that that could not include pedophilia.

So there you have it! Either Peter King is making nimrod-hash out of a serious issue because the vagaries of Congressional testimony are just obtuse enough to fool a clown like Sean Hannity, or Peter King just doesn't understand plain English. Either way, no hate crimes protections have been extended to pedophiles, and the insinuation that pedophilia and homosexuality are somehow linked remains a quaint notion, <a href="";>unsupported by scientific research, the end.

[Would you like to <a href="";>follow me on Twitter? Because why not? Also, please send tips to <a href="";> -- learn more about our media monitoring project <a href="";>here.]

Read more: Alcee Hastings, Hate Crimes, Hate Crimes Bill, Peter King, Hate Crimes Bill Vote, Pedophilia, Politics News, Video, Hate Crimes Vote, Sean Hannity, Bigotry, Politics News

- The Huffington Post News Team [Huffpolitics on The Huffington Post]
4:54:27 PM    comment []

Majority Of Americans Want Pot Legalized: Zogby Poll A majority of Americans, in a poll released Wednesday, say it "makes sense to tax and regulate" marijuana. The Zogby poll, commissioned by the conservative-leaning O'Leary Report, surveyed 3,937 voters and found 52 percent in favor of legalization. Only 37 percent opposed.

A previous ABC News/Washington Post poll found 46 percent in support. In California, a Field Poll found 56 percent backing legalization.

Responding to the poll at a press conference Tuesday, California Gov. <a href="";>Arnold Schwarzenegger called for an open debate on legalization.

Voters were asked: "Scarce law enforcement and prison resources, a desire to neutralize drug cartels and the need for new sources of revenue have resurrected the topic of legalizing marijuana. Proponents say it makes sense to tax and regulate the drug while opponents say that legalization would lead marijuana users to use other illegal drugs. Would you favor or oppose the government's effort to legalize marijuana?"

Ryan Grim is the author of the forthcoming book <a href="";>This Is Your Country On Drugs: The Secret History of Getting High in America

Get HuffPost Politics On <a href="";>Facebook and <a href="";>Twitter!

Read more: Marijuana, Public Opinion, Marijuana Legalization, Zogby Poll, Opinion Polling, Politics News

- The Huffington Post News Team [Huffpolitics on The Huffington Post]
4:39:31 PM    comment []

The Need to Hold the GOP Accountable. [Congressional Republicans voted almost unanimously against every major piece of legislation that Obama proposed to address short- and long-term national problems. It was, as some observed, like watching the arsonist who set the fire throwing rocks at the firefighters who tried to put out the blaze. Which brings us to the central role of George W. Bush's younger brother Jeb at a Saturday event in Arlington, Virginia.... [OpEdNews - OpEdNews.Com Progressive, Tough Liberal News and Opinion]
11:06:42 AM    comment []

Serious Lapase in Judgement Indeed. [Here's a bit of change we didn't bargain for: DOJ: Torture Memos Just "Serious Lapses of Judgement" New York Times - An internal Justice Department inquiry has concluded that Bush administration lawyers committed serious lapses of judgment in writing secret memorandums authorizing brutal interrogations but that they should not be prosecuted, according to government officials briefed on its findings. (Full Story) [OpEdNews - OpEdNews.Com Progressive, Tough Liberal News and Opinion]
9:55:12 AM    comment []

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