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Archive: October 2009

October 7, 2009

Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio: Immigration Enforcer or Cultural Bully?


Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio, who has attracted admirers, critics, and the media for his hard anti-illegal immigration stance in Maricopa County, said Tuesday that federal officials had taken away his authority to conduct street patrols looking for undocumented immigrants.

As documented in a NOW on PBS report, The Department of Homeland Security had created a program, authorized by law in 1996, that allowed local and state police forces to make immigration arrests. On Tuesday, Arpaio called Homeland Security officials "liars" and vowed to continue his campaign using state laws.

Continue reading "Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio: Immigration Enforcer or Cultural Bully?" »

Rape Kit Backlog: New Hope for Victims?


The Los Angeles Police Department has cut its backlog of rape kits -- untested DNA evidence from rapes and sexual assaults -- following increased media attention and pressure from victims’ rights groups.

In a NOW investigation earlier this year, Senior Correspondent Maria Hinojosa reported that thousands of rape and sexual-assault evidence kits had never been analyzed by the LAPD.

This week, The Los Angeles Times reported that the LAPD has cut the number of untested evidence kits by half to 3,157.

Continue reading "Rape Kit Backlog: New Hope for Victims? " »

October 9, 2009

Gay Marriage Poll: Still Plenty to Argue About


A majority of Americans (53%) oppose legalizing gay marriage, according to a new poll released Friday by the Pew Research Center.

At the same time, some 57% of those polled support civil unions -- legal agreements that give same-sex couples many of the same rights as married couples -- for gay and lesbian couples.

As President Obama prepares to speak at Saturday night's annual banquet of the Human Rights Campaign, the nation's largest lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender political action organization in the United States, it's clear that the issue of gay marriage is still as important as it is contentious for many Americans.

NOW on PBS invited San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom and Maggie Gallagher, president of the National Organization for Marriage to debate gay marriage in our interactive "Issue Clash." So far, most people who came to the debate think Newsom won, and many added their own arguments. What do you think?

October 14, 2009

Is Saudi Terrorist Rehabilitation Key to Closing Gitmo?


The Obama Administration believes that Saudi Arabia is the ideal place to send dozens of Yeminis being held at the Guantanamo Bay prison camp, according to a Washington Post article.

Obama’s promise to close the prison by January is being hampered in part by the fate of 97 Yemini detainees – viewed as among the most radical – who remain there.

U.S. officials have been applying pressure on Saudi Arabia to take the prisoners into their terrorist rehabilitation program, as Yemen is not viewed as a secure enough to repatriate the prisoners. But Saudi officials, in fear of becoming a greater al-Qaeda target, are not keen to take on the prisoners, according to The Post. They also say the Yeminis are not right for the program because it relies on close family ties.

The controversial Saudi program attempts to rehabilitate terrorists and integrate them back into everyday life through a combination of religious, psychological and social programs. NOW traveled to Saudi Arabia earlier this year for an inside look at the controversial program.

Continue reading "Is Saudi Terrorist Rehabilitation Key to Closing Gitmo?" »

October 17, 2009

Iran-Based Reporter Maziar Bahari Released

An Iran-based Newsweek journalist who was arrested last summer during the country's disputed presidential election has been freed, according to Newsweek.

Maziar Bahari, 42, is an Iranian-Canadian reporter and filmmaker who was interviewed by NOW Senior Correspondent Maria Hinojosa three years ago about the tensions -- and the similarities -- between Tehran and Washington.

Continue reading "Iran-Based Reporter Maziar Bahari Released" »

October 20, 2009

Maurice Sendak on "Where the Wild Things Are"

sendak2.jpgMaurice Sendak's "Where the Wild Things Are" touched millions of men, women, and children well before Spike Jonze, who directed the hit film based on Sendak's book, was even born. In an insightful 2004 interview with Bill Moyers for NOW, Sendak reveals some early childhood memories and surprisingly dark influences behind his work.

Continue reading "Maurice Sendak on "Where the Wild Things Are"" »

October 28, 2009

Gays Gain Protection from Hate Crimes: Insight from Judy Shepard

President Obama has signed into law a measure that extends federal protections to people who are victims of violent crime because of their sex or sexual orientation.

The new law gives such victims the same federal safeguards already provided to victims of crime as a result of their race, color, religion or national origin.

For over a decade, Judy Shepard -- whose 21-year-old son Matthew was tied to a fence, tortured, and left to die in an anti-gay hate crime in 1998 -- has campaigned for the bill, partially named after Matthew.

In reaction to the news, Shepard, president of the Matthew Shepard Foundation Board said: “We are incredibly grateful to Congress and the president for taking this step forward on behalf of hate crime victims and their families, especially given the continuing attacks on people simply for living their lives openly and honestly.”

NOW’s Senior Correspondent Maria Hinojosa spoke to Shepard in 2007 about the importance of passing the Matthew Shepard Act.

"There's no such thing as an innocent bystander," Shepard tells Hinojosa. "We fear for ourselves when we see someone else being attacked, but where is our moral compass if we allow that to happen?"

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