Missouri

Police killings of unarmed blacks top story of 2014, poll shows

Grand jury decisions in Ferguson and in New York City have inflamed racial tensions across the US. Above, a demonstrator was arrested during a protest last month in NYC.

JOHN MINCHILLO/AP/FILE Grand jury decisions in Ferguson and in New York City have inflamed racial tensions across the US. Above, a demonstrator was arrested during a protest last month in NYC | JOHN MINCHILLO/AP/FILE

The Boston Globe

NEW YORK — The police killings of unarmed blacks in Ferguson, Missouri, and elsewhere — and the investigations and tumultuous protests they inspired — was the top news story of 2014, according to The Associated Press’ annual poll of U.S. editors and news directors.

In a year crowded with dramatic and often wrenching news developments around the world, the No. 2 story was the devastating outbreak of Ebola in West Africa, followed by the conflict in Iraq and Syria fueled by the brutal actions of Islamic State militants.

Among the 85 voters casting ballots, first-place votes were spread among 15 different stories. The Ferguson entry received 22 first-place votes, Ebola 11 and the Islamic State story 12.

The voting was conducted before the announcement that the United States and Cuba were re-establishing diplomatic relations and Sony Pictures’ decision to withdraw its film ‘‘The Interview’’ in the wake of computer hacking and threats.

Last year’s top story was the glitch-plagued rollout of President Barack Obama’s health care overhaul, followed by the Boston Marathon bombing. The continuing saga of ‘‘Obamacare’’ made this year’s Top 10 as well, coming in fifth.

The first AP top-stories poll was conducted in 1936, when editors chose the abdication of Britain’s King Edward VIII.

Here are 2014’s top 10 stories, in order:

POLICE KILLINGS: Some witnesses said 18-year-old Michael Brown had his hands up in surrender, others said he was making a charge. But there was no dispute he was unarmed and shot dead by a white police officer in Ferguson. In New York City, another unarmed black, Eric Garner, was killed after a white officer put him in a chokehold during an arrest for unauthorized cigarette sales. After grand juries opted not to indict the officers, protests erupted across the country, punctuated by chants of ‘‘Hands up, don’t shoot’’ and ‘‘I can’t breathe.’’ In both cases, federal officials launched investigations.

EBOLA OUTBREAK: The first wave of Ebola deaths, early in the year, attracted little notice. By March, the World Health Organization was monitoring the outbreak. By midsummer, it was the worst Ebola epidemic on record, with a death toll now approaching 7,000, mostly in Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea. A Liberian man with the disease died at a Dallas hospital, followed by a few other cases involving U.S. health workers, sparking worries about the readiness of the U.S. health system.

ISLAMIC STATE: Militant fighters from the Islamic State group startled the world with rapid, brutal seizures of territory in Iraq and Syria. The U.S. and its allies responded with air strikes, hoping that Iraqi and Kurdish forces on the ground could retake captured areas. Revulsion toward Islamic State intensified as it broadcast videos of its beheadings of several Western hostages.

US ELECTIONS: For months, political oddsmakers sought to calculate if Republicans had a chance to gain control of the U.S. Senate. It turned out there was no suspense — the GOP won 54 of the Senate’s 100 seats, expanded its already strong majority in the House of Representatives, and gained at the state level, where Republicans now hold 31 governorships.

OBAMACARE: Millions more Americans signed up to be covered under President Obama’s health care initiative, but controversy about ‘‘Obamacare’’ raged on. Criticism from Republicans in Congress was relentless, many GOP-governed states balked at participation, and opinion polls suggested most Americans remained skeptical about the program.

MALAYSIA AIRLINES MYSTERY: En route from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing, Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 disappeared on March 8 with 239 people on board. In the weeks that followed, aircraft, ships and searchers from two-dozen countries mobilized to look in vain for the wreckage on the Indian Ocean floor. To date, there’s no consensus as to why the plane vanished.

IMMIGRATION: Frustrated by an impasse in Congress, President Obama took executive actions in November to curb deportations for many immigrants residing in the U.S. illegally. GOP leaders in the House and Senate pledged efforts to block the president’s moves. Prospects for reform legislation were dimmed earlier in the year by the influx of unaccompanied Central American minors arriving at the U.S. border, causing shelter overloads and case backlogs.

TURMOIL IN UKRAINE: A sometimes bloody revolt that toppled President Viktor Yanukovych in February triggered a chain of events that continued to roil Ukraine as the year drew to a close. Russia, worried that Ukraine would tilt increasingly toward the West, annexed the Crimean peninsula in March and backed an armed separatist insurgency in coal-rich eastern regions of Ukraine. The U.S. and its allies responded with sanctions against Russia.

GAY MARRIAGE: Due to a wave of federal court rulings, 19 more U.S. states began allowing same-sex marriages, raising the total to 35 states encompassing about 64 percent of the population. Given that one U.S. court of appeals bucked the trend by upholding state bans on gay marriage, there was widespread expectation that the U.S. Supreme Court will take up the issue and make a national ruling.

VA SCANDAL: The Department of Veterans Affairs became embroiled in a nationwide scandal over allegations of misconduct and cover-ups. Several senior officials were fired or forced to resign, including VA Secretary Eric Shinseki. At the heart of the scandal was the VA hospital in Phoenix; allegations surfaced that 40 veterans died while awaiting treatment there.

10 things you need to know today: November 26, 2014

Protesters gathered in New York City's Times Square on Tuesday night. 

Protesters gathered in New York City’s Times Square on Tuesday night. |Andrew Burton/Getty Images

The Week

Ferguson protests spread across America, Hong Kong police arrest pro-democracy leaders, and more

1. Ferguson protests spread across the U.S.
Mostly peaceful protests spread from Ferguson, Missouri, across the country on Tuesday following the announcement that a grand jury had decided not to charge Darren Wilson, a white police officer, with the August killing of Michael Brown, an unarmed black teenager. Americans, calling the case a symbol of racial injustice, held at least 170 separate demonstrations, blocking bridges and highways. Protesters filled New York City’s Times Square, holding their hands up and chanting, “Don’t shoot.” [CNN]

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2. Hong Kong protest leaders arrested
Hong Kong police cleared barricades from the main pro-democracy protest camp and arrested key student leaders on Wednesday. It was the second day of a crackdown on the demonstrators’ three protest zones that has threatened the future of the two-month-old movement. Among the dozens arrested on Wednesday were protest leaders Joshua Wong, 18, head of the Scholarism group, and Lester Shum of the Hong Kong Federation of Students. “After the clearance operation we don’t have a leader,” said protester Ken Lee, 19. [The Associated Press]

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3. Judges rule Arkansas and Mississippi gay marriage bans unconstitutional
Federal judges on Tuesday struck down gay marriage bans in Mississippi and Arkansas. Judges Kristine Baker in Little Rock, and Carlton Reeves in Jackson, Mississippi, ruled that the bans — both approved a decade ago — violated same-sex couples’ right to the equal protection under the law guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution. The decisions, coming in two conservative Southern states, marked the latest in a series of court victories for gay-marriage advocates, but both judges put their rulings on hold pending expected appeals. [Reuters]

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4. Winter storm hits the East Coast as Thanksgiving travel rush begins
A powerful winter storm began dumping rain from northern Florida to Maryland early Wednesday, and was forecast to disrupt Thanksgiving travel as it pushed up the East Coast. The nor’easter could bring up to a foot of snow to some parts of the Northeast, with the heaviest snowfall expected from the Poconos to Maine. Weather Channel lead meteorologist Kevin Roth said the storm would be “nothing too much out of the ordinary” normally, but it could create chaos at airports and on highways since it’s hitting on one of the busiest travel days of the year. [NBC News]

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5. New EPA rules aim to reduce ozone pollution
The Obama administration is expected to release controversial regulations on ozone emissions on Wednesday. The sweeping new Environmental Protection Agency rules would lower the allowable threshold for the pollutant, which causes smog and has been linked to asthma, heart disease, and premature death, coming from power plants and factories. Environmentalists and public health advocates applauded the move. Republicans and industry officials said the rules would hurt the economy without benefiting public health. [The New York Times]

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6. German politicians set a quota to get more women on corporate boards
Germany’s three-party ruling coalition agreed late Tuesday to require that 30 percent of all positions on corporate boards go to women. The quota will take effect in 2016, and it will apply to at least 108 listed German companies. The accord was initially negotiated last year but Chancellor Angela Merkel’s conservative Christian Democrats balked at formally establishing legal quotas. Women currently hold seven percent of board seats at the 30 biggest companies in Germany’s DAX blue-chip index. [Deutsche Welle]

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7. Female suicide bombers kill more than 40 in Nigeria
Two teenage girls wearing belts laden with explosives blew themselves up in a Nigerian market on Tuesday, killing more than 40 others. The suicide bombings were the latest deadly attacks on civilians in a region in northern Nigeria that has been terrorized by Islamist militants. A day earlier, insurgents disguised as traders indiscriminately gunned down people at another market, and a day before that, another group of militants killed 48 fish traders near Lake Chad. [Los Angeles Times]

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8. Health workers killed by gunmen in Pakistan
Three Pakistani women polio workers and their driver were shot and killed on Wednesday. Teams vaccinating children have been targeted frequently by Taliban militants who sometimes claim the health workers are Western spies. This was the deadliest such attack in two years. The victims were shot by two men on a motorcycle as they were on their way to meet a police escort. Polio cases have spiked to a 15-year high of 265 in Pakistan as unvaccinated children fleeing fighting near the Afghan border spread out across the country. [Reuters]

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9. Cosby biographer apologizes for excluding rape allegations
Author Mark Whitaker apologized this week for not addressing sexual assault allegations against Bill Cosby in his recently published biography of the comedian, Cosby: His Life and Times. New York Times media critic David Carr wrote a column this week scolding journalists, including himself, for not being more aggressive in looking into the allegations — which Cosby’s lawyer has refuted. After the column came out, Whitaker, a former journalist, tweeted that he should have dealt with the rape allegations: “If true the stories are shocking and horrible.” [The Washington Post, The New York Times]

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10. Astronauts test 3D printer in space
NASA’s 3D printer on the International Space Station this week successfully produced the first object ever printed in orbit — a faceplate for the printer itself with the logos of NASA and Made in Space, the company that made the printer. Next astronauts will print parts and tools that will be tested back on Earth to see how they stack up against objects made by an identical printer on the ground. The idea is to manufacture parts and tools in space to save time and make the space station more self-sufficient. [CNET]

10 things you need to know today: November 6, 2014

The midterms were...

The midterms were… (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

The Week

Republicans lay out their legislative agenda, Obama assesses the damage, and more

1. Republicans lay out their legislative agenda
A day after retaking the Senate and adding to their majority in the House, the GOP leadership is letting Americans in on their plan for the next two years. Chief among their priorities is balancing the budget, approving the Keystone XL pipeline, and revising or repealing the Affordable Care Act. Republican lawmakers are also expected to use their new-found control of the Senate to work towards large-scale revisions to the tax code. [The New York Times]

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2. Obama assesses the midterms
President Obama on Wednesday assessed his party’s resounding defeat in the midterm elections, saying the clear message from voters was that Washington needs to scrap the dysfunction and finally “get stuff done.” Obama said he would work with Republicans on issues where there is broad bipartisan agreement, and take executive action when he is compelled to act alone. “Congress will pass some bills I cannot sign,” he said. “I’m pretty sure I’ll take some actions Congress won’t like.” [Time]

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3. Judge overturns Missouri’s same-sex marriage ban
St. Louis Circuit Judge Rex Burlison struck down Missouri’s ban on gay marriage. In June, St. Louis officials handed out four marriage licenses to same-sex couples in violation of the state’s 10-year-old constitutional amendment that prohibits gay marriage. The move was designed to set up a show down in the courts over the ban in the hopes of overturning it. Missouri’s attorney general, Chris Koster, announced that he would not appeal the ruling because he wanted Missouri’s future to “be one of inclusion, not exclusion.” [CBS]

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4. Russia snubs 2016 nuclear arms summit
Russian officials have decided to skip a 2016 nuclear security summit being held in Chicago, according to the U.S. State Department. Russia will instead attend a symposium hosted by the United Nation’s International Atomic Energy Agency. The move comes at a time when the relationship between Washington and Moscow has been severely strained thanks to the crisis in Ukraine. In March, both Russia and the United State attended the last nuclear summit, which took place in The Hague. [Reuters]

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5. Deadly attack in Jerusalem fuels tension
Two people were killed in Jerusalem when a driver rammed into a line of commuters waiting for a train. The authorities killed the assailant but not before he got out of his car and assaulted a group of bystanders with a metal bar. The attack was the latest deadly incident in a city that has seen mounting tension over the past few months. [Time]

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6. Kerry pushes for deal with Iranians over their nuclear program
Secretary of State John Kerry said that he is hoping to finalize a deal with Iran over its nuclear capacity before a Nov. 24 deadline for negotiations. “I want to get this done,” said Kerry, who added that Iran has a right to enrich uranium for peaceful purposes. The U.S. and five other countries have been in talks with Iran for months to convince the rogue nation to scale back its nuclear program in exchange for lifting sanctions. [The Washington Post]

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7. Spanish nurse who contracted Ebola is released from hospital
Teresa Romero Ramos, the first person to contract Ebola outside of West Africa, left the hospital after a month of treatment. The Spanish nurse was still weak, but called her recovery a “miracle” from God. Doctors said Ramos is no longer contagious and that they learned several lessons about treating Ebola patients from her case. [CNN]

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8. Tesla beats third quarter expectations
Tesla, the manufacturer behind the all-electric Model S car, reported a modest, third-quarter profit of $3 million. The company delivered a record-setting 7,785 sedans, which boosted its sales to $932 million. Analysts had expected the company to report lower revenues. [Forbes]

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9. Van Gogh painting sells for $61.8 million
Vincent van Gogh’s “Still Life, Vase with Daisies and Poppies” fetched $61.8 million at auction — almost $12 million more than its estimated value. The painting, which van Gogh created at his doctor’s house just a few months before his death, was purchased by a private collector from Asia. The still life was one of the few canvases van Gogh was able to sell before he passed away in 1890. [BBC]

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10. Public outcry prompts Starbucks to bring back Eggnog Latte
Starbucks is bringing back its seasonal — and apparently very popular — Eggnog Latte after an outpouring on social media. The company had decided to take it off the menu to streamline its offerings but decided that was the wrong move. “We made a mistake,” says spokeswoman Linda Mills. “We are very sorry.” [USA Today]

The Slow-Motion Tragedy Of Ferguson

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AP Photo / Charles Rex Arbogast

H/t: DB

TPM Cafe – Opinion

That’s because the local response to Brown’s death depends upon the country’s ability — and its choice — to keep paying attention. This isn’t an abstract theory. The national conversation aboutpolice behavior in Ferguson has already made a difference on the ground in that community. But there’s no reason to assume that that marginal progress will last — especially if the country stops looking.

What happens when the news cameras start to leave?

I don’t know. Those cameras extended my eyes and ears into Ferguson. They were my window into the prominent insanity of a place where, for a moment, the many layered systems of American racial injustice were on display and being challenged.

So I asked my friend (we attended Bowdoin College together) Deray Mckesson, who’s intimately involved in the protests, about the dynamic. He said, “With Ferguson, people either choose to enter, choose, or discredit the narrative. What Ferguson does is it’s so real … people either go in or they go out.”

For a time, Americans watched because the police’s response to the protests made the injustice difficult to ignore. Whatever Americans might have first thought about Brown’s death, the local police’s violent response to protests against police brutality clarified issues somewhat. Their attacks sparked widespread condemnation. But as the tear gas subsided and things calmed a bit, the focus went back to murkier national conversations about race, youth, culture, and violence.

On-camera police violence gets quick, comprehensive attention. But slow-developing reports on the details of Mike Brown’s death provoke uncomfortable questions. That is, once the debate over Ferguson settled into a conversation about the day of Brown’s death, longstanding privileges and prejudices come into play. Deray asked, “What does it mean when a tragedy makes you make a personal commitment about things you believed and believe? You have to enter with your personhood clearly on display.”

That is, the events of that day have a way of revealing the contrasts between how white Americans experience their citizenship as opposed to African-Americans. I think this is why the coverage of Ferguson has shifted. It’s why the lull between the first electric days of protest and the coming grand jury announcement have been filled with awkward discussions of Michael Brown’s alleged character. There’s been a steady feed of “big” reveals along these lines: Brown may have used marijuana on the day of his death, he appears to have been an enthusiastic hip hop fan, etc. Why are these coming up after his death? Because some are determined to find extenuating circumstances to justify Brown’s death, to make the white officer who shot him into the victim. There’s a highly racialized Manicheanism behind this: if we can convince ourselves that Brown was a sufficiently bad guy, with a sufficiently bad soul, perhaps we don’t have to treat his death as a tragedy after all. And so much of the coverage has turned away from the protests, from the wheels of American justice — and toward converting Brown from a slain victim into a dangerous public enemy.

I’m not trying to advance a unified theory of media attention, nor am I prepared to explain a full account of America’s willing blindness to systemic racial injustices. Rather, I’m suggesting that Ferguson is uniquely worth your attention and mine.

How much caring is enough? That depends on your view of the tragedy in Ferguson. I have come to see the protests less as a reaction to the particular moment of violence and more as a broader response to the American public safety and judicial systems’ inability to live up to their own basic functions. Unlike almost every other tragedy this year, Brown’s death is a perjury of core American public promises.

Consider that it isn’t an accident of history that African-American urban poverty is so often highly concentrated. Sometimes this is as obvious as the famous Chicago method: build a highway or some other meaningful barrier between different racial communities, and then put most of the best resources on the white side. Sometimes it’s more pernicious. Sometimes it’s the steady brutality of allocating our best educational resources according to the vagaries of our real estate market.

Which is a roundabout way of saying that Ferguson highlights the deepest sin at the core of the American wager: we are a powerful nation committed to high ideals that we have never extended to African-Americans. Or, to put it another way, the violence that ended Mike Brown’s life is emblematic of deeper things: 1) ultimately conscious community choices that 2) are at odds with what it means to be a citizen of the United States.

The world carries too much injustice in a moment for any of us to bear for a lifetime. We cannot focus on all of the injustices at all of the moments, as this would break us. It would bury us.

And yet. Here is an autopsy of a young man, shot twice times in his head at close range. A young man who may or may not have fallen a bit more or less short of perfection in that moment and earlier in his life. A young man who in death became more than himself, who became a symbol and a reminder of all the other young African-American men who have been ground up by police violence in their country. As rumors suggest that Officer Darren Wilson may not be indicted for the shooting, now is the time for Americans to pay attention.

As we talked, Deray paused, and — in a quick aside — said it all.

“Ferguson is about asking: what are the fights we won’t walk away from?”

Conor P. Williams, PhD is a Senior Researcher in New America’s Early Education Initiative. Follow him on Twitter @conorpwilliams. Follow him on Facebook.

Department Of Justice Orders Ferguson Police To Stop Wearing ‘I Am Darren Wilson’ Bracelets

State Troopers watching a protest in Ferguson, MO. | CREDIT: AP/CHARLIE RIEDEL

Think Progress

A Department of Justice letter sent to the Police Chief Tom Jackson of Ferguson, Missouri on Friday instructed all officers to stop wearing “I Am Darren Wilson” bracelets. Another letter issued on Tuesday ordered members of the police department to wear readable name plates, after officers were seen wearing unidentifiable tags or none at all.

Protests have not stopped in Ferguson since officer Darren Wilson shot and killed 18-year-old Michael Brown, who was unarmed, in August. And in response to civil unrest, which gained steam again after Brown’s memorial was burned to the ground on Tuesday, and the use of the slogan “I Am Mike Brown,” officers were photographed wearing the bracelets supporting the officer who killed him.

The DOJ letter sent to Jackson explained that the bracelets contributed to an “us versus them” mentality and “upset and agitated” others.

In a separate letter, the DOJ also said that officers must stop violating name tag protocol by obscuring or altogether not wearing their name tags. The practice, DOJ said, “conveys a message to community members that, through anonymity, officers may seek to act with impunity.”

Ferguson police previously drew national attention for the militarization of officers, which made the town look like a war scene and resulted in the arrest and attempted censorship of journalists on the ground. And clashes between police and protestors haven’t stopped.

Although Jackson gave Brown’s parents a video apology and joined protesters in the streets this week, Darren Wilson still hasn’t been charged, raising questions about the justice system and politics in the town. Ferguson has a history of racial tension, and research shows that justice is hard to come by for victims of police brutality. For example, a Supreme Court ruling gives police legal deference to determine “reasonable” force. But protestors say civil unrest will continue until the officer is held accountable.

Bogus Photo Does Not Show Ferguson Cop Darren Wilson’s Injuries; It’s Not Even Him

darren wilson

H/t:Ted

The Huffington Post

Unarmed teen Michael Brown was fatally shot by officer Darren Wilson in Ferguson, Missouri, on Aug. 9, but the circumstances leading up to his death remain unclear. Though Ferguson police have said that Wilson’s face was injured in an altercationwith Brown moments before the shooting, Wilson has yet to come forward and speak publicly.

On Tuesday, Chicago firefighter Kevin O’Grady shared a Facebook photo he claimed showed a injured Wilson in the hospital after the incident. As it turned out, the man pictured is not Darren Wilson, but that didn’t stop the image from going viral.

The man in the photo is actually motocross rider Jim McNeil, who died in a crash while practicing at the Texas Motor Speedway in 2011. The photo above was taken in2006 after a motor accident at a friend’s house.

For the record, this is what the real Wilson looks like:

darrenwilson

Despite the fact that these two men share barely a passing resemblance to one another, the bogus image posted by Kevin O’Grady had racked up nearly 50,000 shares by Thursday evening and had been circulated on Twitter and parts of the blogosphere. Some who re-shared the image seemed to take it as proof that Brown had attacked Wilson, thereby justifying the six shots that Wilson fired into Brown’s body.

This isn’t even the first photo misidentification to come out of the Ferguson incident.

In August, Kansas City Police Department Officer Marc Catron posted an image on Facebook of a young man he claimed was Michael Brown. The man in the picture was pointing a gun at the camera and biting down on a wad off cash. Catron’s caption for the image read, “I’m sure young Michael Brown is innocent and just misunderstood. I’m sure he is a pillar of the Ferguson community.”

That image ended up being of Joda Cain, a young Oregon man who is currently facing charges for killing his great-grandmother.

h/t Gawker

Officer Who Pushed Don Lemon Relieved of Duty After Racist Rant Emerges

 

No words…

Mediaite

The same St. Louis police officer who was seen on CNN earlier this week pushing Don Lemon back during a live broadcast from Ferguson, Missouri, has been relieved of his duty after video emerged of an hour-long speech he delivered railing against African-Americans, the LGBT community and President Barack Obama. CNN reported the news about Officer Dan Page, who made the controversial remarks at an Oath Keepers meeting just months ago.

“It’s wide-ranging inflammatory remarks about a lot of people, about women, about gay people,” Lemon reported. “He talks about the president of the United States. He speaks out against affirmative action, women in the military and on and on.”

In the video, Page discusses the “four sodomites on the Supreme Court,” talks about our “undocumented president” from Kenya, and much more.

“What do you say after that?” Lemon said after CNN aired clips of Page’s speech. “There’s much more of that. at least an hour’s worth of him ranting about different people, different situations.”

During Lemon’s live report on Monday from Ferguson, Page confronted the host, physically pushing him away from CNN’s camera. “Now you see why people are so upset here,” Lemon said at the time.

Watch video below, via CNN:

 

The FULL rant by Officer Dan Page can be found here

 

UPDATE – 08/22/14 – 7:40 p.m.: The Police Chief has apologized. You can watch his remarks HERE.

 

 

Time And Businessweek’s Ferguson Covers Are Stunning For More Than One Reason

The Ferguson story might be too much overload for some folks and that’s understandable.  However, the following is stunning because three major magazines’ cover stories are about the small Missouri town.

The common theme around all three magazines below is “Hands up…don’t shoot!”

The Huffington Post

time

 

Olson also happened to take the picture that graces the equally powerful cover of Businessweek.

PHOTO:

businessweek

 

New Yorker Cover Makes Powerful Statement About What’s Happening In Ferguson

The latest cover of The New Yorker is a bold statement about recent events in Ferguson, Missouri, a city roiled by the shooting of unarmed black teenager Michael Brown.

The image, which is on the front of the magazine’s Sept. 1 issue, shows people holding up their hands under the glow of headlights from a police vehicle.

new yorker

So apparently it’s a huge nationwide story that warrants a great deal of attention from many news outlets.

10 things you need to know today: August 19, 2014

At least 31 protesters were arrested in Ferguson, Missouri, last night.

At least 31 protesters were arrested in Ferguson, Missouri, last night. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)

The Week

Obama sends Holder to Ferguson, civilians die fleeing fighting in Ukraine, and more

1. Obama sends Holder to Ferguson
Protesters and police clashed again Monday night in Ferguson, Missouri, despite the arrival ofNational Guard troops. Police came under “heavy gunfire,” said Captain Ron Johnson, who blamed “a tiny minority of law-breakers” for the violence. Two civilians were shot, though not by police, and 31 were arrested. President Obama announced Monday that he was sending Attorney General Eric Holder to Ferguson on Wednesday to talk with investigators about the fatal police shooting of unarmed black teenager Michael Brown. Holder also will speak with community leaders in a bid to restore peace after 10 days of unrest. [NBC News, The Washington Post]

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2. Civilians killed fleeing heavy fighting in eastern Ukraine
Dozens of Ukrainian civilians were killed Monday when their convoy of buses was hit with rockets and mortar fire as they tried to escape heavy fighting around the besieged rebel-stronghold of Luhansk. The Ukrainian government said some of the victims, who included children, were burned alive in the vehicles. The government blamed pro-Russian separatists. Rebels said soldiers fired the deadly barrage. [USA Today]

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3. Gaza truce extended by another 24 hours
Israel and Hamas agreed Monday to extend their cease-fire by another day to allow peace talks to continue in Egypt. Israel is calling for disarmament of Palestinian militants in Gaza. Hamas, the Islamist Palestinian faction that controls the devastated seaside enclave, is demanding a freer flow of goods into Gaza, reconstruction of a destroyed airport, and other concessions as part of a long-term peace. [Reuters]

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4. Obama says Iraqis have taken back dam from insurgents
President Obama, back from his Martha’s Vineyard vacation for two days of White House crisis meetings, confirmed Monday that U.S. airstrikes had helped Kurdish and Iraqi forces retake the strategically important Mosul Dam from ISIS fighters. Obama said the victory proved that Iraqis could turn back the Sunni extremists, and just in time. “If that dam was breached,” Obama said, “it could have proven catastrophic.” [The New York Times]

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5. Former Senator Jeffords dies at 80
Former Vermont Senator James Jeffords, who single-handedly gave Democrats control of the evenly divided Senate in 2001 by defecting from the GOP, died Monday at a military retirement home. He was 80. Jeffords left the Republican Party and became an independent, but caucused with the Democrats, depriving then-president George W. Bush of a majority and helping Democrats block much of Bush’s agenda. [Reuters]

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6. Robbers take $335,000 from Saudi prince in Paris ambush
Eight gunmen robbed the motorcade of a Saudi Arabian prince in a commando-style ambush in Paris. The royal, whom police declined to identify, was traveling from the Four Seasons Hotel George V — where a “Premiere Room” goes for nearly $2,200 a night — to Le Bourget Airport, which is used by many private jets. The thieves reportedly got away with a suitcase filled with about $335,000. [The New York Times]

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7. WHO urges West African nations to check departing travelers for Ebola
The World Health Organization on Monday urged West African nations affected by Ebola to start screening all people leaving from international airports, sea ports, and major land border crossings. Authorities in Liberia, Sierra Leone, and Guinea said they were already checking departing travelers for signs of Ebola infection. WHO, the United Nations’ health agency, has been criticized for not responding faster to the outbreak. [The Associated Press]

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8. Pope gives U.S. airstrikes in Iraq cautious approval
Pope Francis on Monday gave tentative approval to U.S. airstrikes that have helped Kurdish and Iraqi forces make gains against ISIS fighters. The pontiff said it was morally legitimate to use force to stop an aggressor, but that no nation should make that call on its own. Pope Francis also said he was considering traveling to Iraq soon to show support for Iraqis, particularly the country’s Christians. [The Boston Globe]

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9. Poachers kill 100,000 African elephants in three years
Ivory poachers have killed 100,000 elephants — out of a total of 472,000 to 690,000 — in just three years, according to a study published Tuesday in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. If the pace continues, the animals could be extinct in 100 years, the researchers estimate. “We are shredding the fabric of elephant society,” lead author George Wittemyer of Colorado State University said. [National Geographic, BBC News]

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10. Ballmer promises Clippers fans NBA titles
Former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer, the new owner of the Los Angeles Clippers, introduced himself to thousands of fans on Monday, and promised to lead the team to its first NBA title. A 26-year season ticket holder named Michael Marks said it was a relief to have someone with Ballmer’s energy — and wealth — replace former owner Donald Sterling. “He’s going to be like the Steinbrenner of basketball for us,” Marks said. [Los Angeles Times]

All hell breaking loose in Ferguson … again

Police action in Ferguson, Missouri, during protests of the killing of Michael Brown | MSNBC

Daily Kos

All hell is breaking loose in Ferguson, Missouri, again, one week after Michael Brown, an unarmed 18-year old was gunned down by police. It is one hour into the curfew that was imposed earlier today and police are launching what appears to be tear gas or smoke bombs into what is reported to have been a peaceful crowd of demonstrators.

Updates as they become available.

Some says smoke, others say tear gas deployed in #Ferguson.
@politicoroger

Public relations officer confirms to me that was tear gas, not smoke bombs as some had suggested #Ferguson
@ryanjreilly

Note that CNN is dutifully reporting that it was smoke bombs. (Never mind the police seen wearing gas masks.)

CNN is reporting that people are being arrested and put into vans.

At this hour, things appearing to be calming down. But what’s important to remember here:

The police would rather dress in military gear, deploy trucks, use tear gas/smoke, and intimidate people than arrest the cop. #Ferguson
@MekkaDonMusic

MSNBC’s Goldie Taylor reports that she’s received photographs showing both smoke and tear gas canisters. Meanwhile, police are still denying tear gas was used. You make the call.

And …

Police said they fired smoke and tear gas canisters into a crowd of defiant protesters who gathered in a St. Louis suburb early Sunday where a black teen had been shot by a white police officer while walking down the street. […]Highway Patrol Spokesman Lt. John Hotz initially said police only used smoke, but later told The Associated Press that they also fired tear gas canisters.

Of course most of America went to bed tonight thinking, “Well, it was just smoke …”