If you had the ability to shoot plasma from your hands, would you need a concealed weapons permit? It's a silly question, we know. Of course you would—and the state would be obligated to grant you one, provided you had no serious criminal history and the plasma-blasting was something you could control.
At least, that's the legal conclusion drawn by James Daily of Stanford University's Hoover Institution, and Ryan Davidson, an insurance lawyer from Fort Wayne, Indiana. Daily and Davidson are the founders of Law and the Multiverse, the first blawg to seriously consider such questions as: Would mutants be protected by the Americans for Disabilities Act? Is Batman a state actor? And what's the best place for a super-villain to build his super-secret hideaway? (Answers: yes, yes, and outer space). Law and the Multiverse is where DC Comics meets DC v. Heller, and habeas corpus meets levicorpus.
Mother Jones spoke with the dynamic duo recently about the Affordable Care Act, Citizens United, and the zombie apocalypse.
Well, that didn't take long. Just one week after calling the birther conspiracy theory "nonsense," probable GOP presidential candidate Mike Huckabee raised concerns of his own about the president's upbringing, in an interview with a conservative New York talk show host. In an appearance Monday on the Steve Malzberg show, the Fox News personality and former Arkansas governor appeared to sympathize with his host's questions about President Obama's citizenship, and then floated a theory of his own: Obama was raised in Kenya. Per Media Matters:
"I would love to know more. What I know is troubling enough. And one thing that I do know is his having grown up in Kenya, his view of the Brits, for example, very different than the average American."
But don't worry, he's not a birther:
"The only reason I'm not as confident that there's something about the birth certificate, Steve, is because I know the Clintons [inaudible] and believe me, they have lots of investigators out on him, and I'm convinced if there was anything that they could have found on that, they would have found it, and I promise they would have used it."
Huckabee went on to explain how Obama's Kenyan upbringing imbued him with an anti-British worldview radically different than most Americans. (You know, like the guys who wrote this anti-British screed.) Media Matters has the full audio here.
Just to be clear: Obama was not raised in Kenya. So what exactly does he think the President is hiding? I contacted Huckabee through his PAC for a response; we'll let you know if we hear back.
Huckabee's assertion about Obama's childhood haunts is decidely fringey, but his comments about the President's attitude toward the British should sound familiar. He's parroting the argument made in Forbes last fall by Dinesh D'Souza: that Obama's decision-making is informed by a distinct "Kenyan, anti-colonialist" worldview. The piece earned praise from one of Huckabee's likely primary challengers, Newt Gingrich, who announced the formation a presidential exploratory committee this week.
Update:Huckabee spokesman Hogan Gidley tells Ben Smith "The governor meant to say the President grew up in Indonesia." But it's worth noting Huckabee did more than just misidentify Obama's childhood residence; he misidentified everything about Obama's childhood. As Huckabee explained: "[Obama's] perspective...growing up in Kenya with a Kenyan father and grandfather, their view of the Mau Mau Revolution in Kenya is very different than ours because he probably grew up hearing that the British were a bunch of imperialists who persecuted his grandfather." Whether it was Kenya or Indonesia, Obama didn't grow up with his Kenyan father or his Kenyan grandfather. Huckabee's not a birther, but he's either playing fast and loose with the facts or he doesn't really know them.
Last week, legislators in Tennessee introduced a radical bill that would make "material support" for Islamic law punishable by 15 years in prison. The proposal marks a dramatic new step in the conservative campaign against Muslim-Americans. If passed, critics say even seemingly benign activities like re-painting the exterior of a mosque or bringing food to a potluck could be classified as a felony.
The Tennessee bill, SB 1028, didn't come out of nowhere. Though it's the first of its kind, the bill is part of a wave of related measures that would ban state courts from enforcing Shariah law. (A court might refer to Shariah law in child custody or prisoner rights cases.) Since early 2010, such legislation has been considered in at least 15 states. And while fears of an impending caliphate are myriad on the far-right, the surge of legislation across the country is largely due to the work of one man: David Yerushalmi, an Arizona-based white supremacist who has previously called for a "war against Islam" and tried to criminalize adherence to the Muslim faith.
Photo: Office of Rep. Leo BermanHere's Texas state rep. Leo Berman explaining to Reeve Hamilton why he suspects the President of the United States was not born in the United States:
"I'm just a person who wants to see fact," he said.
Though the Obama campaign produced a certificate of live birth from Hawaii, Mr. Berman was not swayed. "The latest rumor I hear, and I don't know if this is true or not," he said, "is that he's used about 25 different Social Security numbers."
Mr. Berman said he got his information from e-mail and online video clips. "YouTubes are infallible," he said.
Emphasis mine. Anyways, as a test of Berman's universal theory of YouTubes infallibity, I present this 100-percent-true documentary about how Denver International Airport is actually a New World Order death camp. No, really it's true; I saw it on YouTube:
New Hampshire heard arguments from citizens about a bill to ban gay marriage. Concerned citizen Howard Kaufman took to the floor of the state house to float the second-wackiest conspiracy theory of the week: Gay marriage is a secret gateway to Islamic law.
The wackiest conspiracy of the week? That belongs Avi Lipkin, an American-born Israeli who revealed (scoop!) that President Obama is pushing for amnesty for undocumented residents as part of a secret plot to flood the nation with 100 million Muslims. As MoJo's David Cornexplains, the plan is to "turn this country into an Islamic nation by the end of his second term." And the United Nations is in on it!
At a town hall meeting in Pompano Beach, Rep. Allen West(R-Fla.) was asked by the director of CAIR's South Florida chapter why he thinks Islam is so horrible. West, who's been floated as a vice presidential candidate, responded: "I've been on the battlefield, my friend. Don't try to blow sunshine up my butt and tell me it's warm and fuzzy." Which is gross.
West appeared on Fox and Friends to explain what he meant on Wednesday, and, after first labeling Muslims "an enemy,"warned that he would not tolerate being portrayed as an "enemy of Islam." Because seriously, where did anyone get that idea?
Tennessee has already banned Islamic law. But just in case they missed something the first time around, Volunteer State lawmakers are going to try to do it again. A proposed bill before the state legislature would make "material support" for Islamic law punishable by 15 years in prison. Per the bill, "The knowing adherence to sharia and to foreign sharia authorities is prima facie evidence of an act in support of the overthrow of the United States government." Among the ways you can show adherence to Sharia: getting married, not robbing banks.