Author: kstreet607

Politics! Politics! I love politics! Unapologetic Barack Obama enthusiast.

11 Stunning Images Highlight the Double Standard of Reactions to Riots Like Baltimore

Image Credit: Getty Images

Mic.com

The city of Baltimore, Maryland, has been besieged by riots Monday night — and police are on the scene ready to serve, protect and subdue.

This has become an evergreen narrative in the aftermath of reactions to state-sanctioned violence against black people. But that it persists sends a troubling message about how officials and, by extension, many of the people they serve regard rioting: specifically, when there’s white people involved versus mostly black people.

Usually, if a riot involves black people, it’s connected to intense episodes of where systemic racism is undoubtedly at work. These episodes include the 1992 Los Angeles riots after the Rodney King beating verdict, the riots in Oakland after the 2009 BART Police shooting of Oscar Grant, and the national outcry immediately following the 1968 assassination of Martin Luther King Jr. That outcry included the city of Baltimore, where blacks now represent roughly 2 out of 3 residents.

But when a mob of mostly white people take to the streets, vandalizing cars, storefronts and street signs in the process it usually means someone either won or lost a game.

As Mic‘s Zak Cheney-Rice noted in January, these rioters are usually called “revelers,” “celebrants” and “fans.” They’re not even called “rioters” in many cases. They’re not derided as “criminals,” “thugs,” “pigs” or even “violent.” Those descriptors, as events in Baltimore Monday night reveals yet again, are only reserved for black people. They’re the ones who need to be quelled by militarized police forces. They’re the ones who need to be off the streets, immediately. They’re diminishing the validity of their cause. Yet somehow, reckless behavior over a sports team, not a systemic matter of life and death, is viewed as a costly nuisance.

One can only wonder, with the current state of affairs — if the same tropes and police treatment deployed against black people were used when white people take to the streets, how would the general public have treated any of these following situations?

2014: San Francisco Giants win the World Series

Source: Noah Berger/AP

 

One report from Reuters called it “fans taking to the streets.” The San Francisco Chronicle’s headline noted “40 arrests, two shootings in Giants fan revelry.” Couches burned, buildings were hit with graffiti and businesses were vandalized. But neither story characterized the incident as a “riot.”

2011: Vancouver Canucks lose in the Stanley Cup finals

Source: Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

 

1999: Denver Broncos win the Super Bowl

Source: JONATHAN CASTNER/Getty Images

Property damage stemming from this riot was estimated at $160,000 according to the AP. But it still wasn’t called a riot. Instead, a spokesman for the city’s mayor called participants “hell-bent on causing trouble.”

More examples here…

 

Rand Paul Tries to Prove He’s Not a Racist By Making Jokes About Baltimore Protests

Government Shutdown Enters Second Week

Sen. Rand Paul – Attribution: none

PoliticusUSA

Rand Paul’s (R-KY) public relations tour is meant, in part, to assuage the narrative that he’s a racist. This narrative is based on things like Paul being against Civil Rights and his knowingly hiring a secessionist who cheered the assassination of President Lincoln. So he found himself joking on the radio Tuesday morning that his train went through Baltimore and he’s glad it didn’t stop.

Being a Republican, Paul knows he can fix erase the facts surrounding the narrative that he’s a racist with some sweet talk, without changing a thing about his policies. If he just tells black people he is not a racist, they will believe.

This explains why the Republican presidential candidate went on the Laura Ingraham show Tuesday and cracked wise about the protests in Baltimore and said it was not appropriate to discuss the “root cause” of the protests at this time, and then blamed the “lack of fathers and lack of moral code” for the protests (that’s Southern Republicans for “black people”, FYI):

Audio from Media Matters via TPM:

Paul said:

I don’t know if there is an answer from the federal government. It obviously. It’s a local problem primarily, but you have to have enough show of security, enough show of a police force to deter the kind of action. I think once it happens it sort of spirals out of control, and it’s depressing. It’s sad. It’s scary. I came through the train on Baltimore last night (sic). I’m glad the train didn’t stop. (laughter).

But the thing is, is that really, there are so many things that we can talk about that I think it’s something we talk about not in the immediate aftermath, but over time. You know, the breakdown of the family structure, the lack of fathers, the lack of sort of a moral code in society, and this isn’t just a racial thing.

It goes across racial boundaries, but we do have problems in our country and you see this and you that we’re close to the tipping point and closer to the tipping point than many think, so there are a lot of things that can be done, but there can be no excuse for the behavior.

Lest anyone get the idea that Paul is being a racist, he assured Ingraham, “This isn’t just a racial thing.”

OH. Just “lack of fathers” and “morals”, which is how Republicans describe African American families. Also known in GOP circles as “welfare moms”. Yes, plenty of conservatives have already blamed welfare for the riots, which makes no sense if they want to blame black people because there are more southern rural whites on welfare but whatever. We can’t keep running after facts in a Republican narrative or we’ll get motion sickness.

What Rand assures us is that we must not discuss the root cause of the protests, which is the entire purpose of protests, unless we were to blame the lack of fathers. In that case, we should talk away.

Thus we get to: It’s single moms’ faults that police are killing black men. This Paul feels is the appropriate discussion to have rather than discuss police violence against black people and inherent racial bias.

The Baltimore Sun reported Tuesday morning:

Fifteen police officers were injured in a clash with school-age children that began around 3 p.m., and two remain hospitalized, police Col. Darryl DeSousa said in a press conference Monday night. Earlier, police spokesman Capt. Eric Kowalczyk said one officer was unresponsive and others suffered broken bones.

The incident stemmed from a flier that circulated widely among city school students via social media about a “purge” to take place at 3 p.m., starting at Mondawmin Mall and ending downtown. Such memes have been known to circulate regularly among city school students, based on the film “The Purge,” about what would happen if all laws were suspended.

Kowalczyk called the demonstrators “lawless individuals with no regard for the safety of people that live in that community” and said they would be identified and arrested. Police said via Twitter many of the rioters were juveniles and urged parents to bring their children home.

Rand Paul is saying that these school children lack fathers and morals.

In truth, the violence erupting in Baltimore can’t be hung on the peaceful protesters of police injustice in the death of 25-year-old Freddie Gray. But it can be hung on anger. And while it is wrong and it is not productive, it is the inevitable result of relentless injustice. We are assured of this inevitability by Republicans, actually, who argue that they must have the rights to own any gun with no background check in case the government comes after them. They need the right to murder the government for liberty. That is the Republican argument against reasonable gun laws.

The real irony here is that the “everyone carry a gun with no background checks for liberty against big government!” crowd, the people who say this even after the slaughtering of innocents — statistically carried out by young, white men by the way — these people have an issue with protesters looting and getting violent as they protest what they see as government abuse via the police.

If the looters were all white and they were protesting the continuous murdering of white men by mostly black police, Republicans would deem the protesters to be warriors of liberty “for Christ” and claim martyrdom. Republicans have repeatedly justified breaking the law in order to fight things they don’t like, including affordable healthcare for all. They call this righteousness.

But when black people protest being murdered by the government, Republicans declare that they lack morality. Not the best way for Rand Paul to make the argument that he’s not a racist.

10 things you need to know today: April 28, 2015

Chip Somodevila/Getty Images

The Week

1.Maryland governor declares state of emergency after riots erupt in Baltimore
Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan (R) declared a state of emergency and sent the National Guard to Baltimore on Monday to quell rioting that broke out after the funeral of Freddie Gray, a 25-year-old black man who died last week after suffering a spinal cord injury in police custody. Fifteen police officers were injured, six seriously, as city police were overwhelmed by rioters hurling rocks and bottles. One officer said a looted mall looked “like a war zone.”

Source: The New York Times

2.Loretta Lynch sworn in as attorney general
Loretta Lynch was sworn in as U.S. attorney general on Monday, replacing Eric Holder after a long-delayed confirmation vote. Lynch is the 83rd person to serve in the post, and the first African-American woman. Lynch said her confirmation showed that “we can do anything.” She pledged fairness, saying, “We can restore trust and faith both in our laws and in those of us who enforce them.” Vice President Joe Biden swore in Lynch, whom President Obama nominated in November, saying it was “about time” she got the chance to get to work.

Source: The Washington Post

3.Nepal earthquake toll rises past 4,400
The death toll from Saturday’s 7.9-magnitude earthquake in Nepal rose above 4,400 on Monday. A United Nations spokesman said more than 1.4 million survivors were in need of food and other assistance. Foreign aid has begun arriving, but locals, still rattled by frequent aftershocks, expressed frustration over the speed of the response by their government. The director of neighboring India’s National Disaster Response Force said rescuing survivors and recovering the bodies of the dead could take weeks.

Source: CNN, Fox News

4.Apple beats expectations on surging iPhone sales
Tech giant Apple on Monday reported $58 billion in revenue and a $13.6 billion profit for the second quarter of the year, easily beating Wall Street’s projections. The staggering three-month profit was a 33 percent increase from the same quarter one year ago, when Apple netted $10.2 billion. Surging iPhone sales contributed to much of the growth. Apple sold 61.2 million smartphones for the quarter, far more than the 43.7 million iPhones it sold during the same period last year.

Source: The New York Times, Re/Code

5.Tsarnaev lawyers ask jurors to spare him the death penalty
Defense lawyers on Monday urged jurors to spare convicted Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev the death penalty, saying he was led into the terrorist plot by his late older brother, Tamerlan. The defense team painted the older Tsarnaev brother as the mastermind behind the deadly 2013 attack. Defense attorney David I. Bruck showed the jury of a photo of a Colorado super-max prison where Tsarnaev might wind up serving a life sentence. “He goes there and he’s forgotten… no martyrdom,” Bruck said.

Source: Los Angeles Times

6.Colorado movie-theater massacre trial opens
Colorado’s cinema massacre trial began on Monday, with prosecutors saying suspect James Holmes’ life was falling apart and he “tried to murder a theater full of people to make himself feel better.” Public defender Daniel King conceded that Holmes barged into a midnightshowing of the The Dark Knight Rises and opened fire, killing 12 people and wounding 70, but said he had no control over his actions because he was suffering from schizophrenia.

Source: Reuters

7.South Korean court increases ferry captain’s sentence to life in prison
A South Korean appeals court sentenced the captain of the capsized ferry Sewol to life in prison on Tuesday, increasing his sentence from 36 years after convicting him of “murder through willful negligence.” The ship tipped over a year ago, killing 300 people, most of them high school students. An inquiry found that the vessel was carrying twice the legal limit of cargo. A lower court in November had convicted the captain, Lee June-seok, of negligence and abandoning passengers, but acquitted him on murder charges.

Source: The Guardian, The New York Times

8.Teacher tackles student who allegedly fired shots at Washington school
A teacher at a Washington state high school tackled a student who fired a shot into the gym floor and another into the cafeteria ceiling on Monday. The 16-year-old suspect, a student at North Thurston High School, reportedly was armed with a revolver. Police said the teacher, Brady Olson, was “heroic,” but Olson said he just instinctively ran to the sound of the gunshot. “I reacted in a way that any other teacher would react,” he said.

Source: NBC News

9. Families of Bali Nine say final farewells as executions loom
Relatives said their final goodbyes on Tuesday to nine heroin smugglers scheduled to be executed in Indonesia at midnight. Jakarta rejected last-ditch calls for clemency for the so-called Bali Nine, eight foreigners and an Indonesian man. The alleged ringleaders — Myuran Sukumaran and Andrew Chan — are from Australia, and supporters in that country held vigils in several cities. Sukumaran’s sister, Brintha Sukumaran, begged Indonesian President Joko Widodo to call off the executions. “Please don’t take my brother from me,” she said.

Source: Reuters, The Sydney Morning Herald

10.Award-winning actress Jayne Meadows dies at 95
Emmy-nominated actress Jayne Meadows died Sunday of natural causes in California. She was 95. Meadows often teamed up with her husband, the late TV host Steve Allen. She also performed on Broadway and in movies, and was a regular panelist on I’ve Got a Secret. She also won the Susan B. Anthony Award for her one-woman show, Powerful Women in History. She also was the sister of the late Audrey Meadows, who starred as Alice Kramden on The Honeymooners.

Source: The Associated Press

Marco Rubio: ‘Ridiculous And Absurd’ To Believe Gays Have Constitutional Right To Marry

Christian Broadcasting Network

Right Wing Watch

While his campaign touts his outreach to gay Republicans, Florida Sen. Marco Rubio told David Brody of the Christian Broadcasting Network this weekend that anyone who believes that gay people have a constitutional right to marriage have a “ridiculous and absurd reading of the U.S. Constitution.”

“There is no federal constitutional right to same sex-marriage,” Rubio said, before criticizing gay rights advocates for supposedly trying to shut down debate over the issue.

Watch Video Here

It doesn’t exist. There is no federal constitutional right to same sex-marriage. There isn’t such a right. You would have to really have a ridiculous and absurd reading of the U.S. constitution to reach the conclusion that people have a right to marry someone of the same sex. There is no such constitutional right. Can a state decide to change their laws? Yes, but only through the political process, not through the court system and that’s what is happening now.

The advocates of same-sex marriage refuse to go to the legislatures because they can’t win that debate, they don’t want to have a debate in society. They want courts to impose it on people and they are not even satisfied with that. They have now gone further. They want to stigmatize, they want to ostracize anyone who disagrees with them as haters. It’s very simple. This is not a policy against anyone. I believe, as do a significant percentage of Americans, that the institution of marriage, an institution that existed before government, that has existed before laws, that institution should remain in our laws recognized as the union of one man and one woman.”

Brian Tashman

Bloods and Crips Team Up to Protest Baltimore’s Cops

Demonstrators confront police near Camden Yards during protest against the death in police custody of Freddie Gray in Baltimore April 25, 2015. At least 2,000 people protesting the unexplained death of Gray, 25, while in police custody marched through downtown Baltimore on Saturday, pausing at one point to confront officers in front of Camden Yards, home of the Orioles baseball team. REUTERS/Sait Serkan Gurbuz – RTX1AA0C

I’m unfamiliar with the county that’s about 25 miles from where I live.  On the other hand my daughters and grand-daughter have worked for the State and or county at some point in their 20 years here. Having worked in upper-level government and county agencies they know this city well including the alleged government corruption and blatant police misconduct.

The Daily Beast

Things are apparently so bad in Baltimore that even the city’s gang adversaries—along with the Nation of Islam—are joining forces.

Editor’s Note: Hours after this story published, the Baltimore Police Department issued a warning about a “credible threat” against law enforcement from gangs who they say have formed a partnership to “take out” officers. A police spokesman declined to say whether the threat is related to Freddie Gray’s death. 

Kstreet: What the police didn’t know when they announced the “credible threat” is that neighborhood leaders and clergy had called for the rival gangs to meet at a specified church to discuss peaceful options to the ongoing crisis.  The clergy involved informed news organizations that in fact, the the gangs were meeting when they spoke to the reporters.

Before protests over Freddie Gray’s death turned chaotic, an unlikely alliance was born in Baltimore on Saturday: Rivals from the Bloods and the Crips agreed to march side by side against police brutality.

The alleged gang members are pictured on social media crowding together with Nation of Islam activists, who told The Daily Beast they brokered the truce in honor of Gray, who died last week after sustaining spinal injuries while in police custody.

In one photo, a gang activist in a red sweatshirt crouches to fit into a group photo with rivals decked out in blue bandanas.

“I can say with honesty those brothers demonstrated they can be united for a common good,” said Carlos Muhammad, a minister at Nation of Islam’s Mosque No. 6. “At the rally, they made the call that they must be united on that day. It should be commended.”

The detente was only a small part of the demonstration drawing 1,200 people to Baltimore’s City Hall, but it raised eyebrows among activists. Are things so bad that even Baltimore’s gang adversaries are joining forces to combat law enforcement?

“We can unite and stop killing one another,” Muhammad told The Daily Beast, “and the Bloods and the Crips can help rebuild their community.”  (Emphasis are mine: KS)

DeRay McKesson, an organizer known for his work in Ferguson, also confirmed the street-crime ceasefire. He live-tweeted Saturday’s mostly peaceful demonstration, which later descended into clashes with police and smashed storefronts and cop cars, and alerted followers of a possible respite in gangland.

“The fight against police brutality has united people in many ways that we have not seen regularly, and that’s really powerful,” McKesson told The Daily Beast. “The reality is, police have been terrorizing black people as far back as we can remember. It will take all of us coming together to change a corrupt system.”

Still, it’s not the first time gangsters called a truce to focus on another foe. In August, the MadameNoire web publication reported on two former Bloods and Crips rivals in St. Louis—now protesting against police in Ferguson, Missouri—who held a sign in red and blue letters: “NO MORE CRIPS. NO MORE BLOODS. ONE PEOPLE. NO GANG ZONE.”

See also:

The Brutality of Police Culture in Baltimore

Christian ‘Soul Vultures’ Are Exploiting The Nepal Earthquake ‘For Christ’

 Addicting Info

After this weekend’s horrible earthquake in Nepal, most of the world was supportive of the victims. The death toll has now topped 4,000 people and the property damage is devastating for the survivors.

According to reports, in some villages, 70 percent of houses have been destroyed. People aren’t able to receive shipments of food and aid.

While people in Nepal are literally picking up the pieces of their lives, Christians in America are placing the blame on the people and on the fact that most of the country is not Christian.

One preacher called for none of the Hindu (he calls them Pagan) temples to be rebuilt:

This one is only slightly less destructive:

This one seems to actually believe that no Christian churches have been destroyed via earthquake.

Guff.com has several more similar tweets.

 

Even the Pope is telling the people of Nepal to convert: Suffering is a call to conversion: it reminds us of our frailty and vulnerability.

— Pope Francis (@Pontifex) March 24, 2015 Worse than people taking to social media to say ignorant and judgmental things are the Christians who are exploiting the tragedy for their financial gain. It’s too soon to know how many charities are doing that, but there are several that are rated very poorly and are giving a lot of money. While there are several missionary groups that actually help with various types of aid, there are others that are sending Bibles.World Mission wants its missionaries to donate so they can, “become a part of what God is doing at World Mission. As you do you will become responsible for the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ being heard by someone for the first time in their lives. How exciting!”

There’s even a Twitter hashtag, #SoulVultures, for which the Hindu Defense League is thankful: 

This Twitter user was the one that probably most perfectly summed it up, though:

During a disaster, prayer and bibles are not what people need. People need real, tangible help.

If you would like to help the victims of the earthquake, Charity Navigator has some tips:

This Is Why The Supreme Court Is Going To Rule In Favor Of Marriage Equality

Reuters

Addicting Info

With the Supreme Court set to hear arguments for and against making marriage equality the law of the land, there’s been a lot of analysis, most of it legal, all of it pointless:

Constitutional lawyers, however, are confident enough in the imminent future of nationwide marriage equality to insist that anything less would require an extraordinarily complex – even unprecedented – reading in stark contrast with the court’s recent history and occasionally overt political leanings.

Between the clever way the cases have been set up and the overwhelming pressure to answer to public demand, the end of state gay marriage bans is not just inevitable, court watchers say – the nine justices may be left with no other choice.

The idea here is that ruling against same-sex marriage would require the conservative justices (who else would it be?) to rule against state-sanctioned marriage in general and/or deny that the LGBT community is protected by the 14th Amendment.

But if John Roberts and the other right-wing lunatics on the SCOTUS want to rule against marriage equality while claiming it doesn’t affect gays or marriage, they will. This is the same court that handed down a ludicrously narrow ruling in order to give George W. Bush the presidency. This is the same five conservative “champions” of state’s rights that overruled the laws of Florida for the express purpose of stopping a perfectly legal and completely reasonable recount. Legal precedent means absolutely nothing to them. Logic and reality mean absolutely nothing to them. This is possibly the most partisan and politically motivated court in American history. (Emphasis are mine: KS)

And that is why the Supreme Court will vote to make marriage equality the law of the land.

That might seem counter-intuitive at first. Wouldn’t the conservatives on the bench support Republican legislative efforts to make bigotry and hatred into law? Sure, if they thought that would be in the best interest of the Republican Party. Had this case gone to the Court in 2004, they would have leapt at the chance to codify discrimination against the LGBT community with a smile on their faces and a song in their hearts.

But that was then and this is now.

As always, conservatives were on the wrong side of history. Right now, over 60 percent of the country supports gay rights. Staking your ground as the one who hates homosexuals the most, a necessary strategy for GOP primaries, is becoming a crippling blow in general elections. Just like the average American recoiled from open racism against blacks, they’re now recoiling from open anti-gay bigotry. Even Corporate America has decided that bigotry is bad for business as Indiana’s Republican governor, Mike Pence, found out when he tried to make it legal to discriminate against homosexuals.

Any and every Republican not in a blood-red gerrymandered district that openly espouses anti-gay views is putting himself at risk. Marriage equality has become a cudgel for liberals and Democrats to bash Republicans with. But at the same time, if Republicans drop the crusade against The Gay, their hate-filled base will destroy them. If the Supreme Court rules against marriage equality, Republicans MUST keep fighting that battle and it will cost them in the general elections.

If, on the other hand, the SCOTUS makes marriage equality and LGBT rights the law of the land, Republicans can drop the issue and blame the Court. It’s that simple. Scalia will put up the token stink about it and that will be it. Republicans will still make some noise for an election or two but they’ll quietly drop it in purple states because the issue is a loser.

It’s also worth noting that the Court will not strike down the subsidies for Obamacare for the exact same reason: It would be a disaster for Republicans. The fix to the bill would be simple but Republicans won’t be able to do it because their base would, again, flay them alive. Millions of people would lose their insurance and everyone would blame Republicans for not passing the simple fix. Rock, meet hard place. It would be an electoral disaster going into the 2016 election cycle. There is no chance of the conservatives on the Court handing such a potent weapon to Democrats.

Usually, we can rely on the conservative wing of the Supreme Court to against the best interests of the American public but in these two instances, they really don’t have a choice but to do what’s best for the country. Oh, how that must sting their egos.

10 things you need to know today: April 27, 2015

(AP Photo/Niranjan Shrestha)

The Week

1.Earthquake death toll rises above 3,700 in Nepal
The death toll from Nepal’s 7.8-magnitude earthquake has climbed to at least 3,726 people, a Nepalese police spokesman said Monday. Rescuers are trying to find survivors under the rubble in the capital city of Katmandu and remote mountain villages. Another 18 people died in anavalanche on Mount Everest, 61 people were killed in India, and 20 in Tibet. Authorities expect more victims to be found as search crews reach the remotest villages, some of which could be accessible only by helicopter due to landslides.

Source: CNN, USA Today

2.Baltimore mayor blames outsiders for protest violence ahead of Freddie Gray’s funeral
Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake on Sunday blamed outside agitators for violence that erupted a day earlier at peaceful protests over the death of Freddie Gray, a 25-year-old black man who suffered an unexplained spinal injury while in police custody. The number of arrests confirmed by police rose on Sunday from a dozen to 35 — 34 adults and one juvenile. Thousands of people, including three Obama administration officials, are expected to attend Gray’s funeral on Monday.

Source: Reuters, The Associated Press

3.Clinton Foundation concedes it “made mistakes” on disclosing donations
The head of the Clinton Foundation on Sunday acknowledged that the global charity “made mistakes” in how it disclosed and handled donations. Responding to recent criticism of the foundation that threatened its reputation and Hilary Clinton’s nascent presidential campaign, acting CEO Maura Pally said the foundation would commit to greater transparency and limit donations from foreign governments. Moreover, she acknowledged clerical errors in the organization’s tax forms, but insisted the overall revenue figures were correct.

Source: Bloomberg, Clinton Foundation

4.Former U.N. envoy says Yemen power-sharing deal was near before Saudi airstrikes
Yemen’s government and Houthi rebels were close to striking a power-sharing accord before a Saudi-led bombing campaign began, according to the former United Nations envoy who mediated the talks. The Iranian-backed rebels have since hardened their position on the composition of the executive body to lead the political transition, said the envoy, Jamal Benomar, who resigned last week. The Saudis resumed bombing on Sunday after announcing last week that they were shifting to focus on diplomacy.

Source: The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times

5.Australia lobbies for mercy as Indonesia schedules Bali Nine executions
Indonesia on Sunday gave 72-hour notice of the scheduled executions by firing squad of the so-called Bali Nine, a group of convicted drug traffickers that includes two Australian men, four Nigerian men, a Filipino woman, and one man each from Brazil, France, and Indonesia. Australian leaders on Monday continued to urge Indonesia to spare the prisoners’ lives. The news came as the lawyer for the Australians — Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran — said the judge who sentenced them had offered to spare them the death penalty in 2006 for a $133,000 bribe.

Source: The Associated Press, The Australian

6.George W. Bush criticizes Obama over Iran and terrorism
Former president George W. Bush delivered his harshest public criticism yet of President Obama’s foreign policies during a closed-door meeting of the Republican Jewish Coalition over the weekend. According to an attendee, Bush said Obama was losing the fight against the Islamic State, and being naive about Iran’s intentions as he pushes for a deal on curbing Tehran’s nuclear program. Bush also said his brother, former Florida governor Jeb Bush, could face trouble if he runs for president because Americans do not like political dynasties.

Source: Bloomberg

7.Islamist fighters capture Syrian army base
Islamist rebels captured a military base in Syria on Monday after a suicide bomber detonated a truck filled with explosives inside the compound. Al Qaeda’s Nusra Front posted videos on social media showing militants inside the base. Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s army had been using the facility to shell rebel-held towns in Idlib province, Assad’s ancestral home. The capture of the base and seizure of its seven tanks and other weapons put the rebel coalition a step closer to gaining control over most of the province.

Source: Reuters

8.Kazakhstan’s president heads to fifth term
Kazakhstan’s president, Nursultan Nazarbayev, appeared headed to a fifth straight term, with election officials saying Monday that he had won 97.7 percent of the vote in a Sunday election. Nazarbayev has led the Central Asian nation since the collapse of the Soviet Union. He has put together a political system with little tolerance for dissent, and assumed a title that translates as “father of the nation. The election was called in February as he sought a vote of confidence in the face of an economic slowdown.

Source: The New York Times

9. Colorado cinema-massacre trial set to start
The long-awaited trial of James Holmes for a deadly 2012 Colorado movie-theater massacre is scheduled to start with opening statements on Monday. Holmes has pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity. Prosecutors are seeking the death penalty for Holmes, a 27-year-old former neuroscience graduate student. Holmes is charged with barging into a crowded midnight screening of the Batman film The Dark Knight Rises, and opening fire with a pistol, a shotgun, and a semi-automatic rifle, killing 12 people and wounding 70.

Source: The Denver Post, Reuters

10.Cavaliers and Wizards advance with 4-0 sweeps in NBA playoffs
The Cleveland Cavaliers completed a four-game sweep against the Boston Celtics on Sunday, winning 101-93 to advance to the second round of the NBA playoffs. LeBron James led the Cavs with 27 points. The Washington Wizards also advanced on Sunday by beating the Toronto Raptors in 4-0 sweep, the first in the franchise’s history.  The wins came a day after the Golden State Warriors became the first team to qualify for the second round with a sweep of the New Orleans Pelicans.

Source: Cleveland.com, ESPN

Seen on the Internet 4-26-2015

Cathy Hiatt – (Tumblr)

I became more Cecily trash than usual this Saturday night. Her speech basically confirmed that she’s my fave SNL lady right now. I ADORE HER. Also, I have a new sidebar image from tonight because she looked flawless and dropped truth bombs everywhere. What a glorious night for my favorite person. ~ Cathy Hiatt

10 things you need to know today: April 26, 2015

Omar Havana / Getty Images

The Week

1.Death toll in Nepal earthquake climbs above 2,200
At least 2,263 people are dead and nearly 6,000 are injured afterSaturday’s catastrophic earthquake in Nepal. A powerful 7.8 magnitude quake and a series of violent aftershocks — one an estimated 6.7 magnitude rumbling on Sunday — rocked the mountain nation, destroying historic buildings and buckling infrastructure. Thousands of people squatted in the streets after the first seismic activity, either because the quake leveled their homes or because it made them too afraid to go back indoors. The earthquake also triggered a deadly avalanche on Mount Everest that killed at least 18 people while injuring or trapping dozens more.

Source: The New York Times, CNN

2.12 arrested during Freddie Gray protest in Baltimore
Baltimore police on Saturday arrested 12 people after a dwindling protest over the police custody death of Freddie Gray descended into violence. An estimated 2,000 people marched peaceably for hours before a small splinter group began hurling rocks and scuffling with police. Protesters also tangled with bystanders and police outside Camden Yards during a game between the Orioles and Red Sox, prompting the city to ask fans to remain inside the venue until authorities cleared the scene. “I am profoundly disappointed to see the violence in our city this evening,” Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake said.

Source: The Washington Post, Reuters

3.Russian hackers obtained some Obama emails
Russian hackers infiltrated a White House computer system last year and scooped up some of President Obama’s emails, according to The New York Times. Citing senior sources informed of the incident, the Timesreported the hackers accessed internal email archives and were able to see some messages the president sent and received. However, they did not hack the more tightly guarded servers for Obama’s Blackberry and other classified material, nor did they gain direct access to the president’s email account.

Source: The New York Times

4.NBC finds more Brian Williams embellishments
An internal review of NBC anchorman Brian Williams’ reporting has found several more alleged exaggerations, according to multiple reports.The New York Times on Friday reported NBC found a half-dozen such instances; CNN and The Washington Post later upped the tally to 10 and 11, respectively. In February, NBC suspended Williams as it launched an investigation following his apology for embellishing details of his wartime reporting from Iraq. When completed, the investigation is expected to form the basis of NBC’s decision to keep or cut ties with Williams.

Source: CNN, The New York Times

5.Obama ribs press, politicians at annual White House gala
President Obama came to the annual White House Correspondents’ Association dinner on Saturday with plenty of barbs about Washington lawmakers and the reporters who cover them. Noting that host Cecily Strong plays a CNN anchor on Saturday Night Live, Obama quipped that it was “surprising because usually the only people impersonating journalists are journalists on CNN.” And addressing Dick Cheney’s recent media tour in which the former vice president lambasted Obama, the president said the feeling was mutual. “He thinks I’m the worst president of his lifetime,” Obama said, “which is interesting because I think Dick Cheney is the worst president of my lifetime.”

Source: ABC

6.GOP presidential hopefuls court evangelicals in Iowa
Nine declared or potential Republican presidential candidates descended on Iowa on Saturday in hopes of wooing evangelical voters at the Iowa Faith and Freedom Coalition summit. Representing a range of experience and political positions, the presidential hopefuls tailored their messages to fit the religious tenor of the evening. “There is a liberal fascism that is going after Christian believers,” Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) warned.

Source: The Hill, The Des Moines Register

7.Fighting intensifies in Yemen despite call for ceasefire
A Saudi-led coalition upped its offensive against Yemen’s Shiite Houthi rebels on Sunday, bombing targets around the country including some sites in the capital Sanaa. The strikes came less than one week after Saudi Arabia announced an end to its monthlong combat operation. On Friday, the United Nations estimated that fighting in Yemen has killed 550 civilians in the past month.

Source: The Associated Press

8.Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder rumored to eye 2016 bid
Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder (R) is raising eyebrows about a potential White House bid after dining this weekend with GOP megadonor Sheldon Adelson while in Las Vegas for the Republican Jewish Coalition meeting. “It was my clear impression from my conversation with him that he is running,” former senator and current RJC board member Norm Coleman said. Earlier this month, The Associated Press reported the governor’s allies quietly established a fund allowing him to engage in potential proto-campaign activities.

Source: The Wall Street Journal

9. Golden State Warriors sweep into second round of NBA playoffs
The Golden State Warriors on Saturday completed a four-game sweep of the New Orleans Pelicans to advance to the second round of the NBA playoffs. Owners of the best record in basketball during the regular season, they are the first team to clear round one. On Sunday, the Washington Wizards, Cleveland Cavaliers, and Houston Rockets can cap their own sweeps and advance to join Golden State in the next round.

Source: Sports Illustrated

10.Judge rules Pink concert not tantamount to child abuse
A New Jersey judge has ruled that a mother who brought her daughter to a concert by the pop artist Pink is not guilty of poor parenting. The mother’s decision “did not subject the child to any unreasonable risk of harm, or compromise [her] health, safety or welfare,” Superior Court Judge Lawrence R. Jones wrote. The case arose after the mother’s ex-husband filed a complaint alleging child abuse for exposing his daughter to Pink’s ostensibly “sexually suggestive themes and dance performances” and “lyrical profanities.”

Source: NJ.com, Rolling Stone