In brief: Arizona immigration emails reveal racism
PHOENIX – Opponents of Arizona’s hardline immigration enforcement law contend that emails sent, received and forwarded by a former legislator who championed the law support allegations it was racially motivated.
Dozens of emails are cited in a new legal effort by the American Civil Liberties Union and other civil rights groups to block police from enforcing the Arizona law’s so-called “show me your papers” provision recently upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court.
The groups said the emails and other material reveal that ex-Sen. Russell Pearce and other supporters of the law known as SB1070 embraced discriminatory views and bent the truth about immigration-related matters, setting the stage for enactment of a law that the groups contend will lead to racial profiling if enforced.
Russell is the architect of Arizona’s immigration law.
Bush will not attend GOP convention
WASHINGTON – Former President George W. Bush is skipping the Republican National Convention next month in Tampa, Fla., where presumptive GOP nominee Mitt Romney will officially become the party’s standard-bearer.
“President Bush was grateful for the invitation,” his spokesman, Freddy Ford, said Friday in an email. He added that the 43rd president “is confident that Mitt Romney will be a great president. But he’s still enjoying his time off the political stage and respectfully declined the invitation to go to Tampa.”
Bush’s presence at the convention could undercut Romney’s argument that he knows better than President Barack Obama when it comes to improving the wobbly economy. A CBS News/New York Times poll this month found more voters say Bush deserves the bulk of the blame for the nation’s economic downturn than think Obama bears a lot of the responsibility. Almost two-thirds of voters think Romney’s economic policies would mirror Bush’s at least somewhat.
Bush was deeply unpopular when he left office in 2009 amid the nation’s worst financial crisis since the Great Depression. He has largely stayed out of politics since returning to Texas with his wife, Laura.
In a recent interview with the Hoover Institution’s Peter Robinson, Bush left little doubt that he prefers to observe the often-messy process.
Actor can take counseling courses
LOS ANGELES – Fred Willard will be allowed to enroll in counseling courses to resolve a lewd conduct arrest that cost the actor a television job.
The Los Angeles City Attorney’s Office determined Friday that Willard’s case was eligible for a diversion program that will keep him from being formally charged with lewd conduct if he completes the required courses, said spokesman Frank Mateljan.
Willard, best-known as the announcer in the film “Best in Show,” was arrested Wednesday night on suspicion of committing a lewd act. He was taken into custody by police doing a routine check at a Hollywood adult theater.
Hours later he was fired as the narrator of “Market Warriors,” a show produced by Boston public television station WGBH.
The actor will pay $380 for the diversion program, which is run by a private vendor and may include sessions on decision-making and sex-related crimes. Mateljan said the program will determine which components Willard has to complete. The decision was first reported by the Los Angeles Times.
Mateljan said the case against Willard is viable, and the actor could still be charged if he does not complete the diversion program.
Phone and email messages left for Willard’s attorney, Paul Takakjian, were not immediately returned. The actor said in a video posted Thursday by celebrity website TMZ that it was a misunderstanding and denied wrongdoing.
Willard, 72, was nominated four times for Emmys for guest roles on TV’s “Modern Family” and “Everybody Loves Raymond.” In Pixar’s 2008 hit “WALL-E,” he voiced the character of Shelby Forthright, the CEO of a ubiquitous big-box chain called Buy’n’Large.
In addition to “Best in Show,” Willard has also appeared in other Christopher Guest mockumentary films, including “This is Spinal Tap” and “Waiting for Guffman.”