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February 6, 2014 | By Timothy M. Phelps
On a straight party-line vote Thursday, the Senate Judiciary Committee approved civil rights lawyer Debo Adegbile's nomination to head the Justice Department's Civil Rights Division. Adegbile, a longtime voting-rights specialist for the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, had drawn opposition, in particular from Philadelphia officials, because of his representation of Mumia Abu-Jamal, a convicted cop-killer there. The Fraternal Order of Police called the nomination “a thumb in the eye of our nation's law enforcement officers.” Other law enforcement groups, the police officer's widow and, most recently, Philadelphia Dist.
February 6, 2014 | By The Times editorial board
Debo Adegbile, President Obama's nominee to head the Justice Department's Civil Rights Division, is an experienced litigator and specialist in civil rights law. In a rational world, he would receive unanimous confirmation. But as the Senate Judiciary Committee prepares to vote on his nomination, Adegbile faces opposition from conservatives who don't like his legal philosophy and a law enforcement group that won't forgive him for participating in the appeal of a man convicted of killing a police officer.
February 6, 2014 | By Lalita Clozel
WASHINGTON - A former Salvadoran general accused of overseeing the torture and killing of thousands of civilians during a 12-year civil war appealed a U.S. deportation order Thursday on the grounds that his nation's anti-communist campaign was backed and funded by the American government. An attorney for Carlos Eugenio Vides Casanova, who was El Salvador's defense minister and leader of the National Guard in the 1980s, repeatedly cited the U.S. support for his country's right-wing government during its war against leftist guerrillas.
February 6, 2014 | By David Horsey
The severe drought in California and much of the West is a reminder that civilized life is a paper-thin veneer that overlays the deep upheavals of nature. Humans carry on blithely, holding fast to the illusion that the natural world can be tamed and exploited with no unavoidable consequences. Then we get slammed by a hurricane, a flood, a tornado, a wildfire, a drought or a freezing polar vortex that lets us know how wrong we are.  Yet, after each disaster, we forget again -- which is the reason so few of us give any sustained attention to the climate change peril.
January 27, 2014 | By Claudia Luther, This article has been corrected, as indicated below.
Pete Seeger was a teenager in the 1930s when he heard an Appalachian balladeer perform on an old-fashioned, five-string banjo and fell in love with the instrument, the timeless melodies and, most of all, the words. "Compared to the trivialities of most popular songs," he said later, "the words of these songs had all the meat of human life in them.... They seemed frank, straightforward, honest. " In time, Seeger would arm himself with a banjo, a guitar and the transformative power of music to battle injustice in America and become the folk legend behind numbers such as "We Shall Overcome," "Where Have All the Flowers Gone" and "Turn!
January 27, 2014 | By Michael Hiltzik
A raft of recent court rulings yields encouraging, if preliminary and scattered, signs that the judiciary is getting fed up with efforts to narrow voting rights and other civil liberties and to undermine the Affordable Care Act. Some of these rulings come from judges with unassailable conservative credentials.  Here's a brief rundown.   -- Judges in Missouri and Washington, D.C., rejected attacks on the Affordable Care Act . In Missouri, Judge Ortrie D. Smith last week suspended parts of a Missouri law aimed at interfering with federal "navigators" -- people empowered under the ACA to help potential insurance customers find the best individual policies for themselves and to sign up for coverage.
January 25, 2014
Shulamit Aloni Israeli champion of civil rights Shulamit Aloni, an Israeli legislator who championed civil rights and was fiercely critical of Israel's treatment of Palestinians, died Friday at her home in a Tel Aviv suburb. Meretz, the party she helped found and led, announced her death in a statement but did not reveal the cause. She was widely reported to be 85, but her son Nimrod told the New York Times that she was 86 and born in Tel Aviv in 1927. Aloni fought in the 1948 war that led to Israel's creation; and after winning a seat in Israel's parliament, the Knesset, in 1965, she served for 28 years and held a number of cabinet posts.
January 23, 2014 | By Daniel Rothberg
Newly elected Virginia Atty. Gen. Mark R. Herring abruptly reversed the state's position on gay marriage Thursday, declaring a voter-approved ban unconstitutional and announcing that his office would no longer defend it. Though the state will continue to enforce the existing law pending court challenges, Herring - a Democrat who narrowly won election in November - said his office would join sides with two gay couples have sued to overturn the...
January 13, 2014 | By Patrick J. McDonnell
BEIRUT - Diplomats on Monday pushed for a limited cease-fire in Syria, a prisoner exchange and better access for aid efforts before a peace conference scheduled to begin next week in Switzerland. At a news conference in Paris, U.S. Secretary of State John F. Kerry said that he and his Russian counterpart, Sergei Lavrov, had discussed measures to "set the stage for success. " One potential area for a cessation of hostilities, Kerry said, was the embattled northern city of Aleppo, divided for 18 months between government and opposition forces and also the site of recent rebel infighting.
January 7, 2014 | By Tina Susman
NEW YORK - Before WikiLeaks, before Edward Snowden, and before the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks turned most government offices into fortresses, there were eight people with suitcases who broke into an FBI office housed in a suburban apartment building. They knew the building superintendent would be preoccupied that night. Like millions of Americans on March 8, 1971, he was next to his radio, transfixed by the "Fight of the Century" between heavyweight champion Joe Frazier and challenger Muhammad Ali. They stuffed the luggage full of documents, which within days were slipped into large envelopes headed for the desks of journalists, politicians and activists.
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