NAACP

10 things you need to know today: January 8, 2015

"Je suis Charlie."

“Je suis Charlie.” | (Marc Piasecki/Getty Images)

The Week

French police hunt for Charlie Hebdo killers, “Je suis Charlie” posts go viral, and more

1. Manhunt continues for two suspects in Charlie Hebdo terrorist attack
French Prime Minister Manuel Valls said Thursday that police had arrested and interrogated several people overnight in connection to the murder of 12 people at the editorial offices of the satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo in Paris. One of the three suspects — 18-year-old Hamid Mourai — turned himself in. Police launched a manhunt for the other two — brothers Said Kouachi, 34, and Sherif Kouachi, 32. Charlie Hebdo was targeted for publishing cartoons depicting Islam’s Prophet Muhammad, investigators said. [The New York Times, Los Angeles Times]

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2. “Je suis Charlie” demonstrations go viral
Thousands of people joined demonstrations across France in support of press freedom and the satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo. Online, social media users around the world replaced their profile pictures with the declaration “Je Suis Charlie,” or “I Am Charlie,” in support. In Paris, theapparently unconnected fatal shooting of a policewoman intensified emotions around the terror attack. [Euronews]

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3. Dollar rises to an 11-year high
The dollar hit an 11-year high against rival currencies on Thursday as investors bet that the U.S. economy would be stronger than rivals around the world in 2015. The rally came after a confident statement from the Federal Reserve raised hopes that the U.S. central bank would raise interest rates for the first time in nearly a decade this summer as the economy improves. The Fed’s moves come as the European Central Bank is expected to take bolder stimulus measures following the news that euro zone prices are falling. [The Wall Street Journal]

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4. AirAsia says families of crash victims will receive $124,000 in compensation
AirAsia say it will pay $124,000 in compensation to families of passengers who died in the crash of the airline’s Flight 8501, which went down in the Java Sea on Dec. 28 on the way from Indonesia to Singapore. There were 162 people on board, and none survived. Search divers reportedly have found the plane’s tail section, but have yet to locate its flight recorders, which could reveal what caused the crash. The plane had hit violent weather, and the pilots requested permission to climb higher shortly before the crash. [CNN]

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5. FBI hunting person of interest in NAACP blast
The FBI is searching for a person of interest in connection with a small explosion at a building that houses the NAACP office in Colorado Springs. Nobody was injured in the Monday incident. The homemade device damaged the sidewalk beside the building, but did not ignite a canister of gasoline placed next to it. The Denver chapter of the NAACP said the blast appeared to be a “cowardly” hate crime. “This is proof that racism is still alive,” the civil rights group said in a statement. [CBS News, Los Angeles Times]

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6. Judge strikes down California’s ban on foie gras
A California judge on Wednesday struck down the state’s ban on foie gras, saying the restriction illegally trampled on the federal government’s regulatory authority. The ruling will allow California restaurants to serve the delicacy, made with fatty liver from force-fed ducks and geese, for the first time in two years. “It goes on the menu tonight,” said Ken Frank, chef and owner of La Toque in Napa. Lawmakers approved the ban in 2004 on the grounds that the process was inhumane, but the measure didn’t take effect until eight years later. [San Francisco Chronicle]

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7. UVA reinstates fraternity social functions
The University of Virginia has reinstated Greek social life, after shutting down fraternities on Nov. 21 following a Rolling Stone article on an alleged gang rape at a fraternity house. The article has been partially discredited since then, but the school is imposing new rules after reexamining the Greek system. Fraternities will no longer be allowed to serve pre-mixed drinks, they will have to provide security at the doors, and they will have to have at least three “sober brothers” at all functions, with keys to all rooms. [CNN]

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8. Kirby Delauter apologizes for widely mocked swipe at press freedom
Frederick County, Maryland, council member Kirby Delauter (R) apologized Wednesday for threatening to sue a local newspaper for using his name in print stories without his permission. The bluster made Delauter the butt of two days of non-stop jokes on blogs and social media. The newspaper he threatened, The Frederick News-Post, responded to the threat with an editorial using Delauter’s names dozens of times. “I’m not afraid to admit when I’m wrong,” Kirby Delauter said. [The Washington Post]

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9. Robert Downey Jr. leads the pack of winners at People’s Choice Awards
Robert Downey Jr. won big at the People’s Choice Awards on Wednesday night, taking home the trophies for Favorite Dramatic Movie Actor and Favorite Movie Actor for his work in The Judge andIron Man. “This is perfect for me because I love people, I’m crazy about movies, and I prefer people who love my movies,” Downey said. Other big winners were sitcom The Big Bang Theory, which won multiple honors, and comedy legend Betty White, 93, who won for Favorite TV Icon. [The Associated Press]

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10. FSU’s Jameis Winston says he will enter NFL draft
Florida State’s star quarterback, Heisman Trophy-winner Jameis Winston, has decided to skip his last two years of college eligibility and go pro in the 2015 NFL draft. “I reached this very difficult decision after careful consideration and long thought, realizing how difficult it would be to say goodbye to my family at Florida State,” Winston wrote in a statement released by The Legacy Agency on ESPN Wednesday. Winston, who fought a rape charge while in school, is expected to be among the first players drafted. [USA Today]

FBI Searching for Suspect in Terrorist Bombing Outside NAACP Office

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AP Photo | Christian Murdock

TPM News

(AP) — Authorities are looking for a man who may have information about a homemade explosive that someone set off near the Colorado Springs chapter of the NAACP.

The blast happened Tuesday outside a barber shop that’s next door to the group’s office, which is about an hour south of Denver. There were no injuries and only minor damage, police said.

An improvised explosive device was detonated against the building, but it was too soon to know whether the nation’s oldest civil rights organization was the target, FBI spokeswoman Amy Sanders said. The agency sent members of its Joint Terrorism Task Force to help investigate.

Sanders said investigators were looking for a balding white man in his 40s who may be driving a dirty pickup truck. It could have an open tailgate or a missing or covered license plate.

Investigators Tuesday were examining a red gasoline canister with a yellow nozzle that had been placed next to the explosive device but did not ignite. They also checked pieces of duct tape and metal lying 40 to 50 feet away from the explosion site.

Residents living nearby said they heard a single, loud “boom” but saw no fire. One neighbor, Gregory Alan Johnson, said he was unaware of prior problems near the NAACP’s office. The organization shares the building with the barber shop, whose customers are predominantly black.

Chapter President Henry Allen Jr. told The Colorado Springs Gazette the blast was strong enough to knock items off the walls. He said he was hesitant to call the explosion a hate crime without more information but said the organization will move on.

“This won’t deter us from doing the job we want to do in the community,” Allen said.

The organization’s national office issued a statement saying it was looking forward to a full and thorough investigation.

10 things you need to know today: May 2, 2014

A pro-Russia militant mans the barricades in Slovyansk, Ukraine. 

A pro-Russia militant mans the barricades in Slovyansk, Ukraine. (AP Photo/ Alexander Zemlianichenko)

The Week

Reports of rape in the military skyrocket, Ukraine fighting intensifies, and more

1. Military rape reports skyrocket
Reports of rape in the military shot up by 50 percent last year, according to a Pentagon study released Thursday. Administration officials said the increase showed that victims have felt more comfortable coming forward since the start of a push to address the problem. Critics said there was no way to know whether the positive spin was justified, because the study did not include an estimate of how many rapes went unreported. [The New York Times]

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2. Ukraine launches assault on rebel-held city
Fighting intensified in Ukraine on Friday, as government forces launched a large-scale offensive to regain control of the city of Slovyansk from pro-Russia separatists. The military overran roadblocks surrounding the city but forced stiff resistance. Rebels shot down at least two military helicopters. A spokesman for Russian President Vladimir Putin said the assault “effectively destroyed the last hope” for a diplomatic resolution of the crisis. [The Globe and Mail]

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3. NAACP leader resigns over awards to Clippers owner Donald Sterling
The president of the Los Angeles NAACP, Leon Jenkins, resigned Thursday under criticism for his plan to give disgraced Los Angeles Clippers Donald Sterling an award for promoting civil rights. The L.A. NAACP also gave Sterling an award in 2009, the year he paid $2.73 million to settle complaints he had refused to rent apartments to Latinos and blacks. The NBA this week banned Sterling for life because of racist remarks attributed to him. [Los Angeles Times]

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4. Fifty-five colleges face federal rape investigations
Federal officials are investigating 55 colleges for their handling of campus rapes, the Education Department announced Thursday. The list included schools in 27 states and the District of Columbia. Education Department officials said the list was made public to encourage transparency about the issue of sexual assaults on campus and to “foster better public awareness of civil rights.” [CNN]

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5. Parents call for the Nigerian government to save kidnapped schoolgirls
Hundreds of Nigerians demonstrated Thursday to demand that their government do more to free more than 200 high-school girls abducted by Islamist militants more than two weeks ago. Some of the girls have reportedly been forced to marry their captors, members of Boko Haram. The insurgents have also been blamed for recent bomb attacks, including one that killed at least 15 people Friday in a neighborhood near Nigeria’s presidential palace. [The IndependentThe Wall Street Journal]

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6. Oklahoma prisons director urges a suspension of executions in the state
The director of Oklahoma’s prisons on Thursday called for the suspension of all executions in the state until a review of its capital punishment policies. The move came as Oklahoma faced intense scrutiny and criticism over this week’s botched execution of Clayton Lockett, who died of a heart attack after a vein burst as he was administered the first part of an experimental three-drug lethal injection. [Los Angeles Times]

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7. Forecasters expect an uptick in the April jobs report
Economists expect the Labor Department’s April employment report on Friday to show a rise in the number of jobs added to U.S. payrolls. The average forecast in a survey by Action Economics put the month’s job gains at 210,000, up from an average monthly gain of 176,000 in the first three months of the year. Economists also predicted the report would show a decline in the unemployment rate to 6.6 percent from 6.7 percent in March. [USA Today]

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8. Florida House approves medical marijuana bill
The Florida House of Representatives surprised skeptics on Thursday and voted 111-7 to approve a bill seeking to legalize medical marijuana. The Senate is expected to pass the measure on Friday and send it to Gov. Rick Scott (R), who surprised supporters by saying he would sign it. The bill lists specific conditions that would be eligible for treatment with marijuana, including epileptic seizures and Lou Gehrig’s disease. [The Miami Herald]

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9. De Blasio proposes transforming old phone booths into internet hotspots
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said Thursday that the city was looking for a way to turn old pay phone booths into free Wi-Fi hotspots. His predecessor, Michael Bloomberg, tried a similar pilot project, but it fizzled. The contracts of three companies that control 84 percent of the city’s phone kiosks expire next year. “For years, the question was, ‘What to do with pay phones?'” de Blasio said, “and now we have an answer.” [NYC.gov]

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10. Universities attempt to ban the graduation selfie
This graduation season, two universities are trying to thwart the nation’s selfie craze. The University of South Florida and Bryant University in Smithfield, Rhode Island, have told students not to take self-portraits with their smartphones while collecting their diplomas. Students, however, said the order might backfire. “It put the idea in my head,” said USF student Anthony Sanchez. “I wouldn’t have thought of it until they said don’t do it.” [The Associated Press]

Glenn Beck: NAACP Is A ‘Joke’, White People Were Lynched And Other Topics Of His Latest Rant

Let’s be clear here, Glenn Beck wants to replace his  former Fox News colleagues as the most outrageous commentator in the media.  His brand of manufactured outrage sells and believe me he’s selling and his audience is buying: his books, lectures, rallies and so on.   Having said that, what blows my mind is that millions of people listen to this clown and believes every word he utters.  To that, I say: Yikes!

The Huffington Post

Although President Obama condemned the Internal Revenue Service for singling out conservative groups in the months leading up to the 2012 election, former NAACP Chairman Julian Bond called the organization’s actions “completely legitimate.” And it was that sentiment that set conservative radio host Glenn Beck off, calling the entire organization a “joke” and an “affront” to what former black civil rights leaders stood for.

“They are a joke, and an affront to everything that Martin Luther King and anybody who ever… Booker T. Washington, Frederick Douglass, you are an affront to their memory,” Beck said.

While discussing the IRS scandal, Beck hurled insults at the Obama administration and the NAACP, saying the White House was concentrating on revenge and that the century-old African-American organization was illegitimate.

Beck went on to try to drive his point home with an even stranger defense, asserting that 20 percent of lynchings performed by the Ku Klux Klan were of white people–a point he apparently “hates to keep bringing up.” He then went on to compare those white people who were lynched to members of the Tea Party.

“You know what, I contend the white people that were lynched are exactly the kind of people that would be in the Tea Party today,” he said.

Beck’s sentiments have us scratching our heads a bit, but then again what else is new? From calling the president a girl, to saying African American is not a race we can’t say we’re all that surprised by his latest rant.

 

Tweet of the Day

Ta-Nehisi Coates referencing Sen. Rand Paul’s lecture and Q&A at Howard University.

Michael Tomasky on Mitt Romney the Race Baiter at the NAACP

Mitt Romney

Michael Tomasky holds nothing back in the following article…

The Daily Beast – Michael Tomasky

Until yesterday, I thought of Mitt Romney as a spineless, disingenuous, and supercilious but more or less decently intentioned person who at least wasn’t the race-mongering pyromaniac that some other Republican candidates of my lifetime have been. Then he gave his speech to the NAACP, and now I think of him as a spineless, disingenuous, supercilious, race-mongering pyromaniac who is very poorly intentioned indeed, and woe to us if this man sets foot in the White House as anything but a tourist.

But he wasn’t a race-baiter until yesterday. That speech wasn’t to the NAACP. It was to Rush Limbaugh. It was to Tea Party Nation. It was to Fox News. Oh, he said some nice things. And sure, let’s give him one point for going there at all. But listen: You don’t go into the NAACP and use the word “Obamacare” and think that you’re not going to hear some boos. It’s a heavily loaded word, and Romney and his people know very well that liberals and the president’s supporters consider it an insult. He and his team had to know those boos were coming, and Romney acknowledged as much a few hours later in an interview with . . . guess which channel (hint: it’s the one whose web site often has to close articles about race to commenters because of the blatant racism). Romney and team obviously concluded that a little shower of boos was perfectly fine because the story “Romney Booed at NAACP” would jazz up their (very white) base.

Blame the media for making such a big deal of it? Come on. When a candidate’s staffers are preparing a speech, they know very well exactly what line the press is going to lead with. Speeches are written with precisely that intent (or if they’re not, someone is sleeping on the job). The mention, for the record, was couched, with appropriate plausible deniability, in the middle of a list of five things he’d do to get the economy humming again. (Speech text here.) Point three concerned reducing government spending and bring down the debt: “To do this, I will eliminate expensive non-essential programs like Obamacare, and I will work to reform and save Medicare and Social Security, in part by means-testing their benefits.”

Continue reading here…

Romney responds to NAACP booing: ‘If they want more stuff from the government tell them to go vote for the other guy’

The consensus among the talking heads on MSNBC and elsewhere about Mitt Romney’s speech at the NAACP Conference on Wednesday is that he said what he said intentionally to get the crowd to boo at him.

Many politicians and news pundits were reluctant to say that Romney’s remarks to intentionally solicited the boos, but his response at a fundraiser later that night seemed to confirm their suspicions…

The Rachel Maddow Show

Mitt Romney had this remarkable message for the members of the NAACP who booed him when he told them he’d repeal the Affordable Care Act:

Remind them of this: If they want more stuff from government, tell them to go vote for the other guy—more free stuff. But don’t forget, nothing is really free.

Rachel Maddow reported on Romney’s remarks tonight, which he made at a fundraiser in Hamilton, Montana.

Romney has been accused of hoping to get booed during his speech at the NAACP in order to drum up right-wing support, and as Maddow pointed out, these latest comments lend support to that theory.

“It seemed like Mitt Romney wanted to get booed at the NAACP this morning,” Maddow said. “He wanted to wear that around his neck like a badge of courage. It looks like he is not wasting any time in doing so.”

And later on The Last Word, Goldie Taylor of The Grio had a more visceral response to Romney’s comments.

“That tells me all I need to know now about Mitt Romney, who at first I believed is just disconnected,” Taylor said. “Now I know his problem is much bigger than that.”

BREAKING: NAACP Endorses Marriage Equality

“The times, they are a changing…” Bob Dylan – 1964

Think Progress

The board of the NAACP, the “nation’s oldest and largest civil rights organization,” endorsed marriage equality at a meeting this afternoon. The move comes 10 days after President Obamaannounced his support of same-sex marriage.

The NAACP’s move comes as attitudes about gays and lesbians in the African American community are changing rapidly. A recent poll found that 54% of African Americans supported President Obama’s recent decision.

Maxim Thorne, formerly of the NAACP, broke the news over Twitter:

The NAACP Board of Directors has just endorsed marriage equality unequivocally. Only two opposed! An historic moment.

Since Obama’s announcement, numerous influential political figures — including Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid and House Assistant Minority Leader James Clyburn — have joined him in supporting marriage equality.

UPDATE:

The NAACP confirms their decision with the New York Times: “We have and will oppose efforts to codify discrimination into law.”

Tuesday Morning Blog Round Up

Santorum Condemns Bombing

Obama Says He’s Confident Health Care Law Will Stand

Wisconsin Planned Parenthood Bombing Latest

The New Yorker’s Tribute to Trayvon Martin

Santorum making it up as he fails along

Karl Rove says Super PAC disclosure rules are like ‘segregationists’, ..

Partisan rulings could put Supreme Court on trial in 2012

NAACP on the bottom line: ‘There is a separation between civil law and religious doctrine’

Woman Fired for Not Handing Over Facebook Password to Employer

Before Trayvon Martin’s hoodie: A history of controversial fashion

 

The GOP’s Racial Politics

The Progress Report

From the subtle to the sickening, this Republican primary season has seen a normalizing of racist and racially-coded language. It was not so long ago that the chairman of the Republican National Committee apologized for his party’s history of “trying to benefit politically from racial polarization,” and told the NAACP, “I am here today as the Republican Chairman to tell you we were wrong.” Such leadership cannot be found now.

Newt Gingrich may be the new master of race politics with his efforts to label Barack Obama the “food-stamp president” and his generous offer to lecture African-Americans at the NAACP on why they should demand paychecks instead of food stamps. We know that Mr. Gingrich’s claims of being a “historian” for Freddie and Fannie are a strain, but would it be that hard for him to check the history of NAACP’s leadership on developing and demanding groundbreaking job creation policies? (Or to note that more food stamp recipients are white than any other race or ethnicity?) But why would a historian let facts get in the way of historical racial prejudice?

ThinkProgress’ Jeff Spross has compiled a recent history of the GOP’s dehumanizing and divisive language that threatens to plague the primary process for weeks to come. Watch it: