Politics

07.28.13

Fringe Factor: Most Young Immigrants Are Drug Mules

Most DREAMers arrived with marijuana on their backs, North Carolinians will soon be able to bring guns to the bar, and an Alabama meeting kicks off with a prayer against gay marriage. This week’s highlights from the political fringe.

Iowa: Most Young Immigrants Are Drug Mules

How do you tell a valedictorian from a drug mule? Look at their calves. At least that’s how Rep. Steve King (R-IA) justifies making the claim that “for every one who’s a valedictorian, there’s another 100 out there that weigh 130 pounds and they’ve got calves the size of cantaloupes because they’re hauling 75 pounds of marijuana across the desert.” King was speaking, of course, about young illegal immigrants who would be eligible for legal status under President Obama’s DREAM Act, and just in case anyone thought he wasn’t serious, King defended his comments a few days later. “It’s not something that I’m making up,” he insisted during an interview with Radio Iowa. “This is real. We have people that are mules, that are drug mules, that are hauling drugs across the border, and you can tell by their physical characteristics what they’ve been doing for months.” He added, “There are valedictorians in this group, and my heart goes out to them, but not to the point where I’d sacrifice the rule of law and legalize a lot of bad elements in the process.”

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North Carolina: Grab Your Gun and Go to the Bar

North Carolina’s summer of extremism continues with the approval of a new bill expanding the list of places concealed-carry permit holders can bring their concealed weapons—into bars, playgrounds, and public recreation areas. According to the bill, which will likely receive Gov. Pat McCrory’s seal of approval any day now, a concealed-carry permit makes it OK to keep guns in a car parked on school property. But hey, it could be worse. North Carolina may be opening itself up to more potential school and bar shootings, but at least the really over-the-top provision forgoing background checks for handgun permits was scrapped before the bill was approved.

Texas: Minority Rights Are Just Like Animal Rights

Louie Gohmert, everyone’s favorite wacky member of Congress from Texas, made this lovely comparison during a House Judiciary Committee hearing this week in response to an amendment Tennessee’s Steve Cohen had presented to the Sunshine for Regulatory Decrees and Settlements Act. Cohen was attempting to ensure that, under the bill, third parties cannot insert themselves in regulatory action involving protecting people from race, sex, or nationality-based discrimination. Gohmert thought Cohen’s concerns were kind of silly and proceeded to make it known. “There is nobody in this chamber who is more appreciative than I am for the gentleman from Tennessee and my friend from Michigan standing up for the rights of race, religion, national religion of the Delta smelt, the snail darter, various lizards, the lesser prairie chicken, the greater sage grouts, and so many other insects who would want someone standing for their religion, their race, their national origin, and I think that’s wonderful,” Gohmert said. The amendment failed, and New York Rep. Jerry Nadler called out Gohmert for belittling Cohen’s efforts. “This is not a snail darter’s amendment; this is not an environmental amendment,” he said. “It is a civil-rights amendment, and we are talking about the civil rights of people—the civil rights of people that have been violated egregiously for generations in this country.”

Alabama: Pray the Gay Away

The Supreme Court has yet to determine whether praying at government meetings is constitutional, but that doesn’t mean everyone at the Alabama Public Service Commission was comfortable with the introductory prayer at last week’s meeting. Of course, this wasn’t just any old “God is great, God is good, let us thank him for our food,” this was a prayer against abortion and gay marriage. Baptist preacher John Delwin Jordan, who was called upon by Public Service Commission president Twinkle Andress Cavanaugh to testify on behalf of the local Tea Party, led attendees in a four-minute prayer that concluded with, “We’ve taken you out of our schools; we’ve taken you out of our prayers; we’ve murdered your children; we’ve said it’s OK to have same-sex marriage, God. We have sinned.” Granted, Jordan did ask for those who “believe in the power of prayer” to hold up their hands before he launched into his sermon, though if the vote wasn’t unanimous, that surely didn’t stop him.