National Public Radio falls unskeptically for a Southern Poverty Law Center report claiming that the number of "hate groups" in America is higher than ever. Never mind that what really constitutes a threat from hate groups is not how many of them there are but how many people are actively participating in them and how many acts of criminal violence they commit. I could not find a listing by name of the groups on the Southern Poverty Law Center Web site, and the "report" the NPR Web site links to has a distinct political tilt:
Mainstream politicians have promoted many of the ideas and conspiracy theories important to these groups. Last April, for example, Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer signed S.B. 1070, the harshest state anti-immigrant law in the country, setting off a flood of proposals for similar laws. State legislators also have offered proposals that would roll back birthright citizenship, bar judges from considering Islamic law in state courtrooms, institute an alternative currency, and even allow a state to disregard federal laws and regulations.
It doesn't seem to have occurred to the Southern Poverty Law Center that there might be times when it'd be appropriate for a state to disregard federal laws and regulations — for example, a Northern state such as Vermont or Wisconsin refusing to comply with the fugitive slave act's requirement that local law enforcement officials arrest and return fugitive slaves. As for alternative currencies, as Seth Lipsky notes in his commentary on the Constitution's article 1, Section 10, "Though a state cannot issue paper money, mint gold or silver coins, or require that tobacco or any other commodity be accepted as legal tender, it is permitted under the Constitution to declare that gold and silver coins are legal tender."
The report says the assailant of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords "appeared to be severely mentally ill, but he also seemed to have absorbed certain ideas from the radical right, including the notion that the federal government is evil."