17 YEARS OLD, SHOT 16 TIMES… Cop Charged With Murder…Protesters Clash With Police… ‘A Public Lynching’…
He still has almost two years left in office, but the outlines of President Obama’s post-White House life might be starting to take shape.
On Monday, the president will speak at the New York City launch of the My Brother’s Keeper Alliance, a nonprofit that is spinning off a White House initiative that his administration began in 2014. The trip to Lehman College in the Bronx is the latest in a series of hints from the White House about the president’s future plans. Last week, word leaked that Obama’s presidential library is headed for the South Side of Chicago. In recent months there have been signs that his elder daughter, Malia, is looking at colleges in New York City.
The president and first lady still have a while to figure out where they will settle post-presidency; although in the past, they’ve suggested that they may stay in Washington long enough to let their daughter Sasha graduate from Sidwell Friends School.
Regardless of where they land, the My Brother’s Keeper Alliance seems certain to play a large part in Obama’s post-White House life. The program began as a public-private partnership designed to help men of color who are struggling to finish high school or develop the skills to find jobs. The effort sprang, in part, from the frustration that followed the 2012 shooting death of Trayvon Martin. Since then, lethal interactions between police and black men and boys in Ferguson, Mo., New York, Cleveland and North Charleston have sparked demonstrations, outrage and riots.
The latest riots in Baltimore, following the death of Freddie Gray at the hands of police, prompted the president to call last week for some collective“soul searching” on the part of the country.
“If we really want to solve the problem, if our society really wanted to solve the problem, we could,” Obama said. “It’s just it would require everybody saying, ‘This is important, this is significant,’ and that we don’t just pay attention to these communities when a CVS burns and we don’t just pay attention when a young man gets shot or has his spine snapped.”
The My Brother’s Keeper Alliance is one element of the president’s long-term solution to the problem’s faced by minority youth and urban communities struggling with poverty and a lack of jobs. The program has attracted $300 million in funding for an effort that the president has said will continue long after he has left the White House. The alliance is similar in its broad outlines to the Clinton Global Initiative, started by former president Bill Clinton in 2005, in that it serve as a magnet for corporate and individual donations.
The alliance will focus on everything from preparations for preschool to job-training and employment programs. “Persistent gaps in employment, educational outcomes and career skills remain, barring too many youth from realizing their full potential and creating harmful social and economic costs to our nation,” wrote Broderick Johnson, the chairman of the White House’s My Brother’s Keeper Task Force.
According the White House, closing the gap between young men of color and their peers could boost the U.S. gross domestic product by as much as $2.1 trillion.
Upstate New York or Long Island may be their preference. Residing in the city is an option as well…
How bad is Chicago right now? Depends on where you look (the shootings kind of suck, as does the weather) but apparently it’s losing its allure enough that the Obamas may not move back after they leave the White House.
BuzzFeed reports that the Obamas are considering a move to New York after Barack’s term ends, thanks to “messy Chicago politics and a personal craving for a new beginning when they leave the White House for the last time as residents. The first family fears the Chicago they left is not one they want to return to, and a source close to the family said the long-shot New York library bid has emerged as a serious alternative.”
This may be partly due to the non-popularity of Obama’s former Chief of Staff and current Chicago mayor Rahm Emanuel, who Obama heavily assisted during his election and famously has low poll numbers (though those numbers are quickly rising thanks to his re-election campaign). Or maybe they don’t like the blizzards.
But why would they move somewhere that has equal amounts of bad weather? For one, suggests BuzzFeed, they may be seriously considering Columbia University’s bid for the Obama Presidential Library (he completed his undergraduate degree there, after all). They could also be considering the sad inevitable path of…becoming pundits:
Another New York Congressman, Long Island Republican Peter King, suggested New York would offer Obama a better environment for staying relevant, should he want to.
“New York is the media capital of the world. I think that’s what he wants and you don’t get that anywhere else,” said King, who added that he’d “heard second and third hand” that Obama is seriously considering New York. “I can certainly understand why.”
Let’s hope that’s not the reason, guys.
This article is a couple of days old but the message from this kid is universal and timeless within the African American community. I can see why President Obama replied to the author of this very brief but poignant letter to Santa.
It literally broke my heart…
Bryant’s letter was sent out to Chicago residents by the nonprofit DirectEffect Charities, in an effort to grant Christmas wishes of children living in the inner city, the Chicago Sun-Times reported this week.
But the charity’s CEO Michelle DiGiacomo was “floored” by Bryant’s note and plucked it out for a special delivery, she told the Sun-Times. She contacted her congressman, Rep. Michael Quigley (D-IL), who managed to pass the letter along to the White House.
“Someone bigger than Santa needed to see this letter. I thought the president of the United States needed to see it,” DiGiacomo told the paper.
Here’s Bryant’s letter:
Dear Santa:I would like to ask you sum[thing] but first imma tell you about me. I’m a black African American. I stand 5’10 I’m in 7th grade. My favorite subject is math. I have 2 siblings living with me and I’m the only boy on my Mom’s side of my family. But anyway all I ask for is for safety. I just wanna be safe.
On Saturday, the teenager received this letter from President Obama:
I want to offer you a few words of encouragement this holiday season.Each day, I strive to ensure communities like yours are safe places to dream, discover, and grow. Please know your security is a priority for me in everything I do as President. If you dare to be bold and creative, work hard every day, and care for others, I’m confident you can achieve anything you imagine.
I wish you and your family the very best for the coming year, and I will be rooting for you.
The Chicago charity also gave Bryant a Wii game console and a new computer — but as he told the Sun-Times, a letter from Barack Obama was the standout item.
“I’m excited the president of the United States wrote to me, and I can’t wait to show it off,” Bryant told the paper.
Watch Malik open and read the letter from the President, via the Chicago Sun-Times:
Surely this is just a tip in the iceberg but nothing will come of it, just as nothing came of the 2000 and 2004 election “shenanigans”…
Chicago election judges received misleading and factually incorrect robocalls before the midterm, causing close to 2,000 of them to not show up on Election Day. As a criminal investigation gets underway, the Chicago Sun-Times has tied the calls to two Republican activists while the Republican Party has denied involvement and distanced itself from the party members who it claims acted alone.
An unknown number of election judges received one or more automated phone calls that informed them about an additional required training session or told them they needed to vote a certain way in order to keep their position. As a result, polling places across the city were understaffed and lines reached seven hours in some precincts. A smaller number of voters were turned away from certain locations.
The city was forced to dispatch standby election judges when some polling places had just one or no election judges present at 6 a.m. when polls were scheduled to open. At the time, the Chicago Board of Elections said it didn’t know who made the calls or why they were sent out. The Cook County State’s Attorney has launched a criminal investigation and Mayor Rahm Emanuel called for hearings on the robocalls.
“There’s nothing more important than the integrity of the democratic electoral process,” Emanuel said when he and the City Council passed a resolution calling for hearings. “Somebody called with the intent to create confusion.”
While the city hasn’t revealed any additional information, the Sun Times reported that one of the callers identified himself as Jim Parrilli, a Republican committeeman for the 19th Ward who was defeated in his run for a seat on the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District. In one call, he identified himself as the Cook County Election Judge Coordinator and told the election judges that voting is required and “part of being a Republican judge means supporting our Republican ticket.”
Another call was made by Sharon Maroni, coordinator for the Chicago election judge program. Sources told the Sun-Times that Parrilli and Maroni were working together, but neither have been accused of any wrongdoing.
Cook County Republican Chairman Aaron Del Mar told the Sun-Times the party was not involved in the robocalls or the fraudulent activities. “Anything they did, they acted alone,” he said.
The state’s attorney’s office told ThinkProgress that an investigation is ongoing, but declined to comment on any details. Chicago Board of Elections spokesman Jim Allen also said he is not commenting on the pending investigation.
Two election judges also told CBS Chicago that they were removed from their positions as committeemen with the Republican Party because they questioned the validity of the phone calls and whether election judges should be pressured to vote for a particular party.
Other issues including confusion over a new state program allowing same day registration at some polling places also contributed to the long lines that drove voters away. Lower turnout in Chicago favored Republican governor Bruce Rauner, who ended the night with a nearly five-point lead over incumbent Governor Pat Quinn.
Ukrainian rebels recover Flight 17’s black boxes, Israel ups its offensive in Gaza, and more.
1. Ukrainian rebels recover downed plane’s black boxes
Pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine collected the flight recorders from downed Malaysia Airlines Flight 17. A separatist spokesman, Alexander Borodai, said Sunday the rebels would turn the recorders over to international aviation experts. Armed militiamen also reportedly seized the remains of nearly 200 victims from the crash and loaded them on to refrigerated train cars bound for a rebel-held city, prompting complaints from Western leaders that the rebels were hampering recovery and investigative efforts. [Associated Press, The New York Times]
2. Gaza death toll climbs above 400
Israeli forces ramped up their offensive in Gaza Sunday, moving armored vehicles into densely-populated areas and killing more than 50 while injuring around 200 more. It was the most intense fighting in the now two-week-long campaign aimed at crippling Hamas. An estimated 400 Palestinians have now died in the conflict, some 75 percent of whom were civilians, according to the United Nations. [Los Angeles Times, BBC]
3. 22 shot in 12 hours in Chicago
A spate of shootings from Friday night into Saturday morning left one dead and more than 20 others injured in Chicago. Eleven-year-old Shamiya Adams was killed during a sleepover at her best friend’s house when a stray bullet flew through the wall and struck her in the head. [Chicago Tribune]
4. R.J. Reynolds hit with $23 billion verdict
A Florida jury on Friday awarded a widowed woman a record $23 billion in her lawsuit against tobacco giant R.J. Reynolds. It was the single biggest legal payout in a wrongful death case in Florida history. The plaintiff, Cynthia Robinson, sued in 2008 claiming that the cigarette company hid the dangers of smoking and was thus culpable for her husband’s death, in 1996, at 36 years of age. [USA Today, Reuters]
5. Russia bans 13 in retaliation for sanctions
Moscow announced Saturday it was banning 13 Americans from entering the country in response to the new U.S. sanctions, announced last week, against Russian companies. Those barred from entry include Rep. James P. Moran (D-Va.) as well as several military officials linked to the Guantanamo Bay and Abu Ghraib prisons scandals. [The New York Times, The Washington Post]
6. Vikings suspend coach over anti-gay remarks
The Minnesota Vikings have suspended special teams coordinator Mike Priefer three games after an internal investigation determined he’d made homophobic remarks while on the clock. The investigation came after former punter Chris Kluwe — who is an outspoken LGBT advocate, and who claimed the team fired him for that advocacy — alleged Priefer taunted him with anti-gay remarks during practices. Kluwe has said he plans to sue the team if they do not make the full report on the investigation public. [Minneapolis Star Tribune, ESPN]
7. Actor James Garner dead at 86
Legendary actor James Garner, best known for his role on the 1950s Western show The Maverick,passed away Saturday night at his home in Los Angeles. He was 86 years old. Police said Garner died of natural causes. [BBC]
8. Massive wildfire spreads in Washington
Spurred on by extreme winds and dry weather, a sprawling wildfire in Washington state continued to grow over the weekend. Dubbed the Carlton Complex fire, the disaster had spread to cover more than 330 square miles as of Saturday, up from 260 square miles one day prior. The fire already destroyed about 100 homes late last week. [Associated Press]
9. Rory McIlroy chases history at British Open
The final round of the British Open tees of Sunday with Rory McIlroy sitting comfortably in the lead. After three rounds, McIlroy finished at 16 under par, giving him a six-shot lead over Rickie Fowler. If he holds on to win, McIlroy will join Tiger Woods and Jack Nicklaus as the only golfers ever to win three majors by age 25. [ESPN]
10. Moon landing celebrates 45th anniversary
Forty-five years ago today, Apollo 11 safely deposited the first humans on the surface of the moon. Though Neil Armstrong’s iconic remark about taking a “small step” on to the lunar surface may be a slight misquote, the statement and the landing itself remain defining, historic moments for the U.S. space program. [NBC]
Apparently, Chicago politics are pretty rough and when it’s a Republican battle the rule of the day is “no holds barred”…
An Illinois Republican Party chairman apologized Wednesday after unleashing a racially charged attack on a black female congressional candidate.
In an email sent to Doug Ibendahl, a Chicago attorney who runs the independent website Republican News Watch, Montgomery County Republican Party chairman Jim Allen had harsh words for former Miss America and GOP congressional candidate Erika Harold, who announced earlier this month that she would mount a primary challenge against Rep. Rodney Davis (R-Ill.) next year.
“Rodney Davis will win and the love child of the D.N.C. will be back in Shitcago by May of 2014 working for some law firm that needs to meet their quota for minority hires,” Allen, a Davis supporter, wrote in the Tuesday email. “The little queen touts her abstinence and she won the crown because she got bullied in school,,,boohoo..kids are cruel, life sucks and you move on.. Now, miss queen is being used like a street walker and her pimps are the DEMOCRAT PARTY and RINO REPUBLICANS.”
Allen later walked back his remarks.
“My comments are very inappropriate and wrong, and I apologize to Miss Harold and her campaign and her supporters,” he told the State Journal-Register.
Davis’ camp also sought to distance itself from Allen’s tirade, calling the message “wrong.”
“Mr. Allen’s comments are misguided and wrong and certainly do not reflect the views of Congressman Davis or his campaign,” Davis spokesman Andrew Flach said in a statement. “Our hope is that supporters for all of the candidates conduct themselves in a positive manner and focus on the issues facing our country as the campaign moves forward.”
Looks like it might be a very long trial…
George Zimmerman’s trial is here. And though we’re all anticipating the outcome, we have to tackle first things first.
Jury selection. And that daunting process of choosing six jurors and four alternates is proving difficult, hilarious, sad, and LONG.
Let me break it down for you:
Circuit Judge Debra S. Nelson ordered the clerk of counts to summon a total of 500 potential jurors. Between 100 and 200 of those showed up the first day, and 100 more will show up each day as needed until the panel is seated. Each potential juror will be given a lengthy questionnaire to fill out. Nelson and lawyers will review them and then question the jurors individually.
And the questioning, if you haven’t been keeping up, is too interesting to miss. Here are a few things that were said that made us go HMMM????
Juror B-29: A lady from Chicago says she doesn’t watch news…she prefers Bad Girls Club.
Damn, so do we! We were just embarrassed to say…
Juror B-12: How did this woman react to her court summons? “Oh my goodness, I might be on Zimmerman!”
It’s not a show…so….
Juror B-51: Her family doesn’t have time to discuss Trayvon and Zimmerman. Why? Because they talk more about their “family dysfunction” than the news.
Yes…family dysfunction is REAL.
Juror B-37: When the state attorney asked her to describe Trayvon, she referred to him as a “boy of color.” Ummm…
Can we just retire “color” and all of its derivatives?
Juror B-37: Oh. She also only uses the internet to find recipes. Oh, and information on her 10+ pets.
You mean you don’t check GlobalGrind? Duh! Somebody is missing out!
Juror B-35: One of the two black jurors so far watches Fox News and Sean Hannity. He also doesn’t believe that the killing was racially motivated. He also called civil rights leaders who focused on racial aspect of the case “so-called.”
The defense’s dream guy…
Juror B-86: What she remembers about Trayvon? Her sons making fun of the “Skittles” that he was holding when he was shot.
Juror B-86: Thought she heard that Trayvon was expelled from school. That struck a chord because she’s “big on school discipline.” And so, she wasn’t so sure she could get over that detail in the case…
And last but not least…AGAIN…
Juror B-86: If Trayvon wasn’t “expelled” from school, he might be alive today.
WOW WOW WOW WOW!
Someone honestly needs to organize a picket against Westboro Baptist Church and their insidious hatred. They are idiotic publicity hounds that have no real agenda except getting their name in a couple of news cycles on a regular basis…
As fans mourn the passing of celebrated film critic Roger Ebert, Westboro Baptist Church is once again putting the “fun” in “funeral.” According to the Hollywood Reporter, the vehemently anti-gay Westboro Baptist Church sent out a press release yesterday announcing their plans to picket Ebert’s funeral because, “God hates f@g-enablers.”
Apparently the folks at Westboro didn’t like it when Ebert tweeted a link to Jeff Chu’s Salon article, “My Day At Westboro Baptist: ‘Yes Jesus hates you,‘ back on March 25th while he was still alive:
Just another day at Westboro Baptist. dld.bz/cs74b
— Roger Ebert (@ebertchicago) March 25, 2013
Chu is a gay Christian writer, and the author of “Does Jesus Really Love Me?: A Gay Christian’s Pilgrimage in Search of God in America.” Ebert’s tweet read: “Just another day at Westboro Baptist.http://dld.bz/cs74b.” The Topeka, KS-based Westboro Baptist Church is known for hating gays (theirWeb site URL says God hates them, too) and for protesting at the funerals of thousands of gay advocates, public figures, members of the military, and others with the misfortune to run afoul of them. According to their Web site, they have disrespected the dead at 50,197 funerals so far.
Ebert was a beloved American journalist, film critic, and writer who had been living with cancer of the thyroid glands since 2002, and passed away at age 70 on April 4th, 2013. He and his dearly departed colleague, Gene Siskel, pioneered movie reviews for the modern age starting in 1986 with the thumbs up/thumbs down format of their long-running At The Movies television series. His funeral was held this morning, April 8th, at Holy Names Cathedral in Chicago, IL. Since the folks at Westboro are equal opportunity haters, their press release refers to this Catholic church as “PREISTS [sic] RAPE BOYS,” and further twist the knife of their contempt by misspelling the word “priests.” Either that, or they’re just no good at spelling.
The Chicago Tribune reported that people started lining up early on this cold, rainy morning to pay their respects. First in line was a 27-year-old admirer and film critic for Hollywood-Chicago — aptly named Matt Fagerholm — who said:
He was inspirational, both in terms of his depth of knowledge about film and his wisdom about life. He was always a joy to talk to, always so funny. I’m inspired by his life force, by his ability to keep going.
The Chicago Tribune also reported that as the funeral procession solemnly marched up the main aisle of Holy Name Cathedral, the choir sang, ”God has smiled on me, he has set me free.” If the folks from Westboro Baptist Church could hear the lyrics as they shivered outside in the freezing rain, they surely would have been gnashing their teeth. Well wishers are invited to send donations to the Ebert Foundation, c/o Northern Trust at 50 S. LaSalle Street, Chicago, IL 60603. In addition, a memorial tribute will be held tonight at the Chicago Theater (for more information, click here).
According to Jeff McMahon from Forbes magazine, Ebert was America’s “greatest movie reviewer,”
Not because he cared about movies, not because he told us what to think about movies, but because he told us just enough to care and to think for ourselves.
The full text from Westboro’s hateful press release reads as follows:
GOD HATES F-G ENABLER ROGER EBERT!
LORD WILLING, WBC TO PICKET IN LAWFUL PROXIMITY TO THE FUNERAL OF F-G ENABLER ROGER EBERT AT “PREISTS RAPE BOYS” HOLY NAME CATHEDRAL (730 N. STATE STREET, CHICAGO, IL), MONDAY, APRIL 8, FROM 9:15-10:00 AM
For 22 years Westboro has warned the people of Topeka, Kansas & America that the policies of sin of this land have brought the wrath of God upon you, your houses, your city, your state, & your nation. American entertainment industry publicity leech Roger Ebert took to Twitterverse to mock the faithful servants of God at Westboro Baptist Church, just days before he received the horrifying summons: “Thou fool, this night thy soul shall be required of thee: [now] whose shall [that silly vanity called a Pulitzer Prize] be, which thou has provided?” (Luke 12:20) This fool sold his soul for some fame & fortune, forgetting that God has made a simple declaration regarding His people: “Touch not mine anointed, and do my prophets no harm.” (Psalms 105:15). Now the famed critic is in a new jurisdiction, where he can see the blessings poured out on God’s humble servants in heaven, from his seat of eternal torment & sorrow in Hell! It’s too late for the fool Roger Ebert! WBC will continue to bind those who still live in Doomed america to God’s eternal laws & Word, so you, like Roger, are without excuse!
Nostalgia Critic: posted a video remembrance about why Ebert’s so great.
Some people just don’t know when to go home after the party is over. Joe Walsh is one of them…
Making good on his threat promise that he’s not going away, ex-Congressman Joe Walsh reared his head Friday morning to blast the first lady for traveling to her hometown of Chicago to attend slain 15-year-old Hadiya Pendleton’s funeral.
In a series of tweets first reported by DNAinfo Chicago, Walsh ripped Michelle Obama’s attendance at the funeral of the teen-aged inaugural performer as “political.”
“Heartbroken” Michelle Obama attending funeral of Hadiya Pendleton. I guess the other 553 murder victims didn’t break her heart. (1/2)
— Joe Walsh (@WalshFreedom) February 8, 2013
Most of the 553 Chicago murder victims in 2012 & 2013 were young black males. Is she attending this funeral to make a political point? (2/2)
— Joe Walsh (@WalshFreedom) February 8, 2013
After the King College Prep student was shot by a still at-large perp while standing under a park canopy to escape the rain, a petition was started urging President Obama to attend the teen’s funeral.
Thursday, a White House official said Michelle Obama would attend the funeral, along with senior adviser Valerie Jarrett and U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan. Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn will also attend the funeral.
“As a mother and Chicagoan, the first lady was heartbroken to learn of the tragic lossof Hadiya Pendleton due to senseless gun violence,” Kristina Schake, Michelle Obama communications director, told the Tribune Thursday.
According to WGN, a Friday visitation for Pendleton will be held at Calahan Funeral Home, 7030 S. Halsted St., from 2 p.m. to 9 p.m. The wake and funeral follow on Saturday beginning at 9 a.m. at the Greater Harvest Baptist Church at 5141 S. State St.
Walsh’s criticism of the first lady attending the Pendleton service is not the first time the Tea Party favorite has lashed out on the topic of Chicago violence following a headline-grabbing tragedy. Last spring, after the death of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin inspired Walsh’s then-congressional colleague Bobby Rush to don a hoodie on the House floor, Walsh said he hoped Rush would “be as outraged with all of the black on black crime going on in the city of Chicago weekend after weekend” as he was with Martin’s death.