President Obama

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

Fifa head Sepp Blatter in 2013 (AP Photo/Sebastian Scheiner)


1.FIFA officials arrested on corruption charges
Swiss authorities arrested several six top soccer officials on Wednesdayso they could be sent to the U.S. to face corruption charges. Plain-clothed officers made the arrests in Zurich as officials were gathering for the annual meeting of FIFA, the sport’s global governing body. Investigators suspect FIFA officials of widespread corruption, including more than $150 million in bribes and kickbacks involving World Cup bids, and media deals dating back to the early 1990s. FIFA’s controversial president, Sepp Blatter, is not named in the indictment.

Source: The New York Times, USA Today

2.Cleveland accepts restrictions on police use of force
Cleveland has agreed to let an independent monitor oversee its police and to subject its officers to new restrictions on the use of force under a settlement with the Justice Department announced Tuesday. A federal investigation found a “pattern of unconstitutional policing and excessive use of force” by Cleveland police. The announcement came three days after 71 people were arrested protesting the acquittal of a white officer charged with manslaughter in the killing of two unarmed black suspects.

Source: The Washington Post

3.At least 19 confirmed dead after floods hit Texas and Oklahoma
The death toll from unprecedented rains and flooding in Texas and Oklahoma rose to at least 19 on Tuesday. Another 14 remain missing in Texas, including eight members of two families who were in a vacation home swept off by a “wall of water” on the Blanco River. Four died in Houston, which was already flooded when another foot of rain fell on Tuesday. Drivers in the city abandoned at least 2,500 vehicles to seek dry ground. Another 13 people were killed in northern Mexico by a tornado produced by the same storm system.

Source: NBC News, CNN

4.Rick Santorum to announce second bid for the White House
Former senator Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania is expected to formally announce Wednesday that he is joining the race for the 2016 Republican presidential nomination. Santorum was the runner-up behind nominee Mitt Romney in 2012, but he is polling at around 2 percent, far behind his likely rivals. A devout Catholic staunchly opposed to gay marriage and abortion, he even trailed among evangelical Christians in Iowa. “I’m really going to have an uphill battle ahead of me,” Santorum said in a fundraising email ahead of his announcement.

Source: The Washington Times

5.Appeals court rejects request to lift hold on Obama’s immigration plan
A federal appeals court on Tuesday denied a White House request to lift a ban on President Obama’s executive action on immigration. Obama’s plan, which he unveiled in November, would shield as many as five million immigrants from deportation — including people brought to the U.S. illegally as children. Twenty-six states sued to block the order, and a federal judge in Texas issued a preliminary injunction in February to keep the plan from being implemented until the lawsuit is settled.

Source: The Associated Press, Fox News

6.Nebraska governor vetoes bill to abolish capital punishment
Nebraska Gov. Pete Ricketts (R) on Tuesday vetoed a bipartisan bill to abolish the death penalty in the state. Ricketts said his action was “a matter of public safety” and giving prosecutors “the tools they need to put these dangerous hardened criminals behind bars.” Lawmakers scheduled aWednesday vote to override the veto. The bill would make Nebraska the first conservative state to scrap capital punishment. It passed with two votes more than needed to override a veto, but at least one “yes” vote has publicly changed his mind.

Source: The New York Times

7.Hackers access 100,000 taxpayers’ old IRS returns
Cyber thieves stole tax return information for more than 100,000 taxpayers this year, IRS Commissioner John Koskinen said on Tuesday. The criminals used the agency’s “Get Transcript” online service to download old tax returns. About half of their 200,000 attempts to get information were successful. The IRS is investigating. “We’re confident these are not amateurs,” Koskinen said. “These are actually organized crime syndicates that not only we but everyone in the financial industry are dealing with.”

Source: Reuters

8.Extreme heat kills 1,100 in southern India
A heatwave has killed more than 1,100 people in India, as temperatures rose above 120 degrees Fahrenheit. Authorities said Tuesday that most of the victims were elderly, homeless, or construction workers in the southern states of Andhra Pradesh and Telangana. The deadly heat reportedly has melted roads in the capital, New Delhi. Weather forecasters said the deadly temperatures, would continue through the week, with no relief until a monsoon hits the Indian mainland around May 31.

Source: Hindustan Times

9. Sanders launches bid for the presidency
Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) officially launched his campaign for the 2016 Democratic presidential nomination on Tuesday. Sanders promised to make fighting income inequality his priority as he appealed to the party’s progressive wing in a longshot attempt to beat frontrunner Hillary Clinton. He said there was “something profoundly wrong” when the nation’s richest 1 percent have so much while others struggle. “This type of rigged economy is not what America is supposed to be about,” he said.

Source: USA Today

10.Lebron James is headed back to the NBA Finals
The Cleveland Cavaliers routed the Atlanta Hawks on Tuesday night 118-88 on their way to another shot at the NBA Championship. It will be the second appearance for Cleveland in the league’s premier event, and the sixth for star Lebron James. In sweeping the Hawks in four games, Lebron became the first player in NBA history to average 30 points, 11 rebounds, and nine assists — a hair short of the a triple double — in a playoff series. The Cavaliers will next play the winner of the Golden State-Houston series on June 4 in the first game of the NBA Finals.

Source: ESPN

Harold Maass

10 things you need to know today: May 18, 2015

(AP Photo/Jerry Larson)


1.Nine killed in Texas biker-gang shootout
At least nine people were killed Sunday in a gunfight involving three rival motorcycle gangs at a Waco, Texas, restaurant. Police said all of the dead were members of criminal biker gangs. The gangs were holding a recruitment event at the Twin Peaks Restaurant. Police had been told there could be trouble, and warned the restaurant’s management not to allow the event to take place. Police confiscated about 100 weapons after the fight. Eighteen people were sent to hospitals, but no police officers or bystanders were wounded.

Source: USA Today

2.ISIS takes Iraqi provincial capital of Ramadi
Islamic State militants said Sunday that they had seized control of the western Iraq city of Ramadi, the capital of Anbar province. The loss of Ramadi, if confirmed, would be the biggest defeat for the Iraqi government since its security forces launched a major counteroffensive, aided by U.S.-led airstrikes, to end the militants’ advances last year. The Pentagon conceded that ISIS had gained momentum. U.S. officials said the overall campaign against ISIS was still strong, although losing Ramadi would give Islamist extremist fighters a “propaganda boost.”

Source: Reuters

3.Obama plans to limit police use of military equipment
President Obama will ban police use of some military equipment following complaints about the heavily armed police response to unrest in Ferguson, Missouri, the White House said Monday. Obama plans to use an executive order to prohibit police use of explosive-resistant vehicles with tracked wheels like those on tanks. He also will require tougher rules on justifying the use of other blast-resistant vehicles, riot shields, and some other equipment.

Source: Reuters

4.Amtrak reopens repaired track in Philadelphia
Amtrak is resuming service between New York City and Philadelphia on Monday for the first time since a deadly derailment last week. Eight passengers were killed and more than 200 injured in the crash, which occurred as the train entered a curve in Philadelphia at just over 100 mph, more than double the speed limit. Amtrak said the track had been repaired with “the utmost care.” Investigators said Sunday that they had found no evidence to support speculation that someone had shot at the train before the crash.

Source: The New York Times, The Washington Post

5.Saudi airstrikes resume after ceasefire with Yemeni rebels ends
A Saudi-led coalition resumed airstrikes against Iranian-backed Houthi rebels in Yemen after the end of a five-day humanitarian ceasefire, witnesses said Monday. The strikes hit rebel tanks and other targets in the port city of Aden shortly after the truce ended at 11 p.m. Sunday. Earlieron Sunday, Yemeni officials began talks on restoring peace, but the rebels did not participate. The Shiite Muslim Houthis refuse to consider restoring the country’s exiled president, one of the central goals of the discussions.

Source: The Associated Press

6.Cuomo proposes protections for nail salon workers
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) on Monday plans to introduce measures to punish nail salons that mistreat workers. Cuomo last week ordered health-regulation changes to protect workers after a New York Times investigation exposed exploitation of workers at nail salons. Many of the workers have experienced serious health problems linked to chemicals used in salons. New legislation, if passed, would give the state power to close unlicensed salons, and impose higher fines for violations.

Source: The New York Times

7.Kerry criticizes North Korea over “grizzly” executions
Secretary of State John Kerry slammed the government of North Korea on Monday over recent reports of “grotesque, grizzly, horrendous” public executions ordered by the communist government’s leader, Kim Jong Un. Kerry said Pyonyang was committing crimes that could be referred to the International Criminal Court. The remarks, which Kerry made while visiting South Korea, came following a recent report that North Korea’s defense minister had been publicly executed with an anti-aircraft gun for falling asleep in a meeting Kim was leading.

Source: The Washington Post

8.Marine dies in hard landing of Osprey aircraft in Hawaii
One Marine was killed and 21 others were injured on Sunday when a tilt-rotor MV-22 Osprey aircraft made a hard landing during a training mission at Bellows Air Force Station in Hawaii. The Osprey is a controversial aircraft that can take off and hover like a helicopter, and fly like an airplane. The military once came close to abandoning the Osprey over a history of mishaps. Two test crashes killed 23 Marines in 2000.

Source: The Associated Press

9. Kasich expected to join presidential race
Ohio Governor John Kasich is “virtually certain” to run for the Republican presidential nomination in 2016, according to ABC News. Kasich last month told CNN, “If I can win, I’m likely to run.” A second-term governor in an important swing state, Kasich has earned praise on the right for battling public unions and moving to slash state spending. He launched a political committee last month and scheduled swings through the early primary states of South Carolina and New Hampshire.

Source: ABC News

10.Mad Men final episode airs
The beloved AMC Network drama Mad Men ended Sunday with the final episode of its seventh season. Creator Matthew Weiner’s period drama traced the lives of Madison Avenue ad executives — most notably the dashing and mysterious Don Draper — through the 1960s. The show’s story lines touched on landmark historical events of the transformative decade, including John F. Kennedy’s assassination and Vietnam war protests. Tim Goodman at The Hollywood Reporter called the finale a “masterful achievement” that even diehard fans will appreciate.

Source: The Hollywood Reporter

10 things you need to know today: May 14, 2015

AP Photo/Patrick Semansky


1.Amtrak train entered curve at 106 mph before derailing
The Amtrak train that derailed in Philadelphia, killing at least seven people, was traveling at 106 mph — more than twice the speed limit — as it approached the curve where the accident occurred, the National Transportation Safety Board said Wednesday. “That’s just insanity,” Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter said. More than 200 people were injured, several of them critically. Investigators said a high-tech train-control system due to be installed this year could have prevented the crash.

Source: USA Today, The Philadelphia Inquirer

2.House votes to end phone-record surveillance program
The House voted Wednesday to end the National Security Agency’s bulk collection of Americans’ telephone data. The bill — the USA Freedom Act — passed 338-88. It would require U.S. intelligence agencies to get a court to find a reasonable suspicion of a link to international terrorism to get permission to access the data. The vote set up a possible showdown the Senate, where several Republican leaders want to renew the existing bulk data collection program when it expires on June 1.

Source: Reuters

3.Seventy-two die in Philippine factory fire
The death toll from a fire at a sandal factory in Manila reached 72 on Thursday. The blaze broke out on Wednesday when sparks from welding work on the Kentex Manufacturing Corporation’s front gate ignited chemicals used to make the company’s rubber flip-flops and sandals. The fire spread quickly. Some survivors jumped from the second floor. Many others were trapped inside by metal bars covering windows. There were 200 to 300 people inside when the fire started.

Source: BBC News, The New York Times

4.Senate deal revives fast-track trade bill
Senate leaders have agreed on a deal to revive a proposal to give President Obama fast-track authority as he tries to strike a trade agreement with 11 Pacific rim nations. Democrats demanding more protections for American workers blocked the bill earlier in the week. The Senate will hold votesThursday on two related bills demanded by Democrats, then move on to a vote on the measure to speed approval of foreign trade agreements. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) called the compromise “sensible.”

Source: Bloomberg

5.Vatican recognizes Palestinian state in legal document
The Vatican said Wednesday that it would recognize the “state of Palestine” in a new treaty. The document, which is expected to be signed soon, is believed to mark the first time the Holy See has formally recognized Palestinian statehood, although it has referred to Palestine as a state since November 2012. Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas is scheduled to visit Pope Francis on Saturday. Israel said it was “disappointed,” and that the move would “not advance the peace process.”

Source: The New York Times

6.Fourteen, including one American, killed in Kabul attack
At least 14 people, including nine foreigners, were killed Wednesdaywhen suspected Taliban gunmen stormed a hotel in Afghanistan’s capital, Kabul. One of the dead reportedly was an American. Two were Indians. Kabul Police Chief Abdul Rahman Rahimi said early Thursday that another five people were wounded in the attack. Fifty-four people who had been trapped inside were rescued by police and special forces after a five-hour siege. Taliban attacks have increased since the Islamist extremist group launched a spring offensive last month.

Source: Time

7.Lawyers make closing arguments ahead of Boston Marathon bombing sentencing
The defense and prosecution gave their closing arguments Wednesday in the sentencing phase of Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev’s trial. A simple majority on the jury can sentence Tsarnaev to life in prison with no chance of parole. A vote for the death penalty has to be unanimous. Prosecutors say Tsarnaev deserves to die for his role in the April 2013 attack killed, which killed three people and injured more than 260. Defense lawyers say his older brother, Tamerlan, dragged him into the plot.

Source: ABC News

8.Iraq says No. 2 ISIS leader killed in coalition airstrike
The No. 2 leader of the Islamic State, Abu Alaa al-Afri, has been killed in a U.S.-led coalition airstrike near the town of Tal Afar in northern Iraq, the Iraqi Defense Ministry said Wednesday. The Pentagon said it could not independently confirm the report, although it said the coalition carried out airstrikes against ISIS near Tal Afar on Tuesday and Wednesday. Iraq said al-Afri and several other ISIS leaders had been meeting in a mosque, but U.S. officials denied any mosque had been targeted.

Source: CNN, The New York Times

9. Fifth person arrested in connection with deaths of two Mississippi officers
A fifth person has been arrested in connection with a weekend shooting that left two Hattiesburg, Mississippi, police officers dead. Abram Wade “Pete” Franklin was charged with obstruction of justice after being questioned by Mississippi Bureau of Investigation agents. Authorities did not immediately say what led to the charge. The other suspects remain in jail. One — Marvin Banks, 29 — faces two capital murder charges for the killings of officers Benjamin Deen and Liquori Tate.

Source: CBS News

10.Watchdog says Secret Service were probably alcohol-impaired in March incident
Homeland Security Inspector General John Roth said in a report releasedWednesday that two senior Secret Service agents were “more likely than not” impaired by alcohol when they drove a government vehicle through a secure area where agents were investing a suspicious package at the White House in March. The men — Marc Connolly, the deputy in charge of the Presidential Protection Division, and George Ogilvie — denied being drunk. Connolly retired ahead of the report’s release. Ogilvie is on administrative leave.

Source: The Associated Press

10 things you need to know today: May 13, 2015

AP Photo/ Joseph Kaczmarek


1.Six die in Philadelphia Amtrak derailment
At least six people were killed Tuesday night when an Amtrak train derailed in Philadelphia. Dozens more were injured, at least six of them critically. The impact ripped passenger cars apart and mangled the engine. “It’s an absolute disastrous mess,” Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter said. “I’ve never seen anything so devastating.” The train was en route from Washington, D.C., to New York, carrying 238 passengers and five crew members.

Source: The Washington Post, CNN

2.Democrats block debate on fast-track trade bill
Senate Democrats on Tuesday blocked consideration of a bill that would give President Obama authority to fast-track a major trade agreement with Asia. The Senate voted 52-45 to begin debate, falling short of the 60 votes needed to break the Democrats’ filibuster. Democrats who oppose the bill want provisions added to protect American workers. Obama says he needs the fast-track authority to get trading partners to make concessions without fearing Congress will block the deal.

Source: The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal

3.Death toll rises from Nepal quake
The death toll from the latest earthquake in Nepal rose to more than 50 in Nepal and India on Tuesday. The 7.3-magnitude temblor was the strongest aftershock yet since the 7.8-magnitude quake that struck on April 25, killing more than 8,000 people. A U.S. Marine helicopter that was already in the Himalayan nation conducting humanitarian and disaster relief missions went missing on Tuesday about 45 miles east of the capital of Kathmandu with six American Marines and two Nepali soldiers on board.

Source: The Washington Post

4.Virginia dean sues Rolling Stone over rape article
University of Virginia associate dean Nicole Eramo on Tuesday filed a lawsuit against Rolling Stone magazine over a now-discredited article about an alleged gang rape at a fraternity house. Eramo accused the magazine and the writer, Sabrina Rubin Erdely, of defaming her by portraying her as the “chief villain.” The article made Eramo’s response to the alleged crime appear inadequate. The lawsuit asks for $7.5 million and calls the story a “monumental hoax.” A Columbia University review found the story “deeply flawed,” and Rolling Stone retracted it.

Source: Los Angeles Times

5.No charges against Wisconsin officer who killed unarmed teen
The Madison, Wisconsin, police officer who killed an unarmed biracial teenager will not face criminal charges, Dane County District Attorney Ismael Ozanne announced Tuesday. “I conclude that this tragic and unfortunate death was the result of a lawful use of deadly police force,” Ozanne said. In March, officer Matt Kenny fatally shot 19-year-old Tony Robinson after responding to a disturbance call. The shooting set off peaceful protests similar to those in other cities over deaths of unarmed black men at the hands of police.

Source: The Guardian

6.Humanitarian truce begins in Yemen after last-minute airstrikes and shelling
A five-day humanitarian truce started in Yemen on Tuesday. In the hours before the cease-fire, Saudi-led airstrikes hit military targets in the rebel-held capital of Sanaa, and in the port city of Aden. Iranian-backed Houthi rebels shelled areas along the border with Saudi Arabia. Iran sent a cargo ship to Yemen, prompting the U.S. to warn against “provocative actions.” The truce appeared to be holding on Wednesday despite reports of violations on both sides.

Source: Reuters

7.Navy plans policies to improve quality of life, including more maternity leave
Navy Secretary Ray Mabus is expected on Wednesday to announce policy changes intended to improve quality of life and careers for sailors and Marines. The changes will include doubling paid maternity leave to 12 weeks, easing body fat restrictions, increasing career flexibility, updating the co-location policy for dual military couples, and bolstering recruitment of women to 25 percent, up from 18 percent for the Navy and 5 percent for the Marines.

Source: Navy Times

8.North Korean military chief reportedly executed for falling asleep
North Korea has executed its own defense chief on treason charges, South Korean media reported on Wednesday. The military leader, Hyon Yong Chol, reportedly was accused of showing disrespect to North Korean leader Kim Jong Un by dozing off at a military event and failing to carry out unspecified instructions. He was allegedly executed by firing squad in front of hundreds of people at a Pyongyang military school. Kim has reportedly ordered the executions of at least 15 high-ranking officials this year.

Source: Reuters, The Washington Post

9. Gunmen kill 43 minority Ismaili Muslims in Pakistan
Gunmen on motorcycles killed at least 43 people on a bus in Karachi, Pakistan, early Wednesday. The passengers were members of the Ismaili sect of Shiite Islam making a daily commute from an Ismaili residential complex to other parts of the southern port city. At least six people took part in the attack, some of them boarding the bus and opening fire. All of the gunmen escaped, police said. Sunni extremists in a Taliban splinter group called Jundullah claimed responsibility for the killings.

Source: The New York Times

10.Raul Castro says Cuba ready to exchange ambassadors with U.S.
Cuban President Raul Castro said Tuesday that his country was ready to exchange diplomats with the U.S. as soon as it was removed from Washington’s list of state terrorism sponsors. President Obama announced last month that he intended to remove the communist Caribbean island nation from the list. The formal move is expected this month under Obama’s push to resume normal relations with the former Cold War rival. “This sort of unjust accusation is about to be lifted,” Castro said, “and we’ll be able to name ambassadors.”

Source: The Associated Press

Does Obama’s New York trip offer a glimpse into his post-White House life?

President Obama will be headed to Lehman College in New York to launch the My Brother’s Keeper Alliance, a new nonprofit that could keep him busy when he leaves the White House. (Susan Walsh/Associated Press)


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.

Greg Jaffe

Survey Finds A Solid Majority Of Young Voters Want Democrats To Keep The White House

hillary-clinton-obama | attribution: none


A survey from the Harvard University Institute of Politics contained good news for Democrats. The younger voters that were a key part of President Obama’s victories solidly want to keep a Democrat in the White House.

The survey found that Obama coalition is going to keep their support with Democrats in 2016:

Overall, young Americans prefer that a Democrat (55%) win the White House over a Republican (40%) in the 2016 race for president, a view held within the younger (18-24 year-olds – 53%: Democrat; 41%: Republican) and older (25-29 year-olds – 57%: Democrat; 39%: Republican) segments of the age-group. ‎This view is stronger among young African-Americans (87%: Democrat; 8%: Republican) and young Hispanics (68%: Democrat; 27%: Republican). A majority of young whites, however, prefer Republican White House control after 2016 (53%: Republican; 41%: Democrat).


Among 18-to 29- year-olds, President Obama’s job performance has improved seven percentage points over the past six months (50%: Mar. 2015; 43%: Oct. 2014). The president’s job approval also increased across all major subgroups, including among young Hispanics – rising sixteen ‎percentage points over the same time period (65%: Mar 2015; 49%: Oct. 2014). The president’s approval ratings on handling the economy (47%: Mar. 2015; 36%: Oct. 2014), health care (43%: Mar. 2015; 37%: Oct. 2014) and race relations (50%: Mar. 2015; 47%: Oct. 2014) all also increased since October. Tracking with the president, job approval of Democrats in Congress improved five percentage points (40%: Mar. 2015; 35%: Oct. 2014) since the fall, while approval of Republicans in Congress remained at 23% for the third straight IOP poll.

It is no surprise that Hillary Clinton is running away with the Democratic nomination. Younger voters support Hillary Clinton over Elizabeth Warren 47%-11%. Clinton leads Bernie Sanders 47%-1%. No Republican candidate was able to break 10% support with younger Republicans. Ben Carson (10%), Rand Paul (8%), Jeb Bush (7%), Mike Huckabee (7%), and Scott Walker (5%) were the top five Republicans.

Many Republicans had embraced the hopeful delusion that young voters would be up for grabs without President Obama on the ballot, but it looks like the Obama coalition is holding strong and ready to support Hillary Clinton in 2016. What Republicans refuse to admit is that it is their policies that are pushing younger voters away. Republicans are wrong on immigration, same-sex marriage, women’s issues, climate change, the war on drugs, income inequality.

These are issues that matter to voters regardless of age, but on social issues, Republicans are completely out of step with younger voters. The Republican fantasy that the Obama coalition would crumble in 2016 is getting a stiff dose of reality. The 2016 election cycle is beginning with Democrats being powered by many of the demographic groups that powered President Obama to victory in 2008 and 2012.

‘Just Call Them N*ggers!’ – Black Guest Destroys CNN Host’s Racist Attitude To Baltimore Protesters (VIDEO)

Addicting Info

Burnett, who is white, begins with a strategy long employed by ‘not racists':”Look, a black person said it, so I can.”

She states that both Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake and President Obama had referred to the “bad actors” as “thugs.”

You can see a flicker of recognition in Stokes’ eyes as the words land on him. This is the look that we people of color get when someone tries this tired old trick on us for the hundredth time in our lives and we’re just done with the niceties. It’s the look of a black man who is dog tired of seeing racism wrapped up in a neat bow and handed to him with a smile.

Why shouldn’t we call them thugs? Well, for one reason, they’re our kids, he points out. Burnett can’t process this. Cue mock exasperation, as Burnett says:

“But how does that justify what they did? I mean, that’s a sense of right and wrong. They know it’s wrong to steal and burn down a CVS and an old person’s home. I mean, come on.”

That’s it for Stokes. He cuts through the subtext in a way that we all really need to start doing as a matter of course, and destroys the argument altogether.

“Come on?” he retorts. “So calling them thugs — just call them n*ggers. Just call them n*ggers.”

“When you say ‘come on,’ come on what?” he added. “You wouldn’t call your a child a thug if they did something which was not what you’d expect them to do.”

Burnett is visibly taken aback by Stokes’ intervention and scrambles for a suitable response:

“I would hope I would call my son a thug if he ever did such a thing,” she shoots back, missing the point entirely.

You can watch the the clip below:

The problem with the term “thugs” is that it has begun to be used only to describe black young men. It is a code word for “n*gger.” It is a term denoting race and class, it is the new word to capture the Scary Black Man. And once someone is a thug, well, who cares what happens to them? This was spelled out brilliantly by Derrick Clifton over at Mic last year when Ferguson was the epicenter of thuggery in America (according to the white media):

There’s even  a clear implication that young black murder victims somehow deserved to die because they’re so-called thugs. It’s the logic that belies the online fundraisers for Officer Darren Wilson, with some supportive whites praising him for killing a kid that would’ve “eventually become a problem anyway.”

And it was all because of they way they looked, spoke or dressed — in other words, the color of their skin combined with the clothes they wore. The label even extends to Latino males, many of whom end up enduring similar public scrutiny, should they end up being crime victims or identified as alleged perpetrators, regardless of whether they actually participate in gangs.

And in TIME last year, John McWhorter wrote a piece entitled ‘Let’s not make Thug the new N word’, in which he also railed against the growing trend to use thug to denote poor, black men. He writes:

Whites do not perceive blacks the same way they do whites. As such, thug has quietly been recruited as the salty but suitable way of saying, “There one of them goes again.”

It is time that this veiled method of attributing uniquely scary or aggressive behavior to one racial group is called out wherever it occurs. White people riot all the time. It seldom gets coverage, they are not called ‘thugs,’ and it is never associated with their whiteness. It is right Carl Stokes blew up, and expect to see more of the same until this racist trope is done with.

Featured image via YouTube

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

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:, Rolling Stone

Russian Hackers Read Obama’s Unclassified Emails, Officials Say

Emails that President Obama sent and received were breached last year, senior officials said. Credit Zach Gibson/The New York Times

The New York Times

WASHINGTON — Some of President Obama’s email correspondence was swept up by Russian hackers last year in a breach of the White House’s unclassified computer system that was far more intrusive and worrisome than has been publicly acknowledged, according to senior American officials briefed on the investigation.

The hackers, who also got deeply into the State Department’s unclassified system, do not appear to have penetrated closely guarded servers that control the message traffic from Mr. Obama’s BlackBerry, which he or an aide carries constantly.

But they obtained access to the email archives of people inside the White House, and perhaps some outside, with whom Mr. Obama regularly communicated. From those accounts, they reached emails that the president had sent and received, according to officials briefed on the investigation.

White House officials said that no classified networks had been compromised, and that the hackers had collected no classified information. Many senior officials have two computers in their offices, one operating on a highly secure classified network and another connected to the outside world for unclassified communications.

But officials have conceded that the unclassified system routinely contains much information that is considered highly sensitive: schedules, email exchanges with ambassadors and diplomats, discussions of pending personnel moves and legislation, and, inevitably, some debate about policy.

Officials did not disclose the number of Mr. Obama’s emails that were harvested by hackers, nor the sensitivity of their content. The president’s email account itself does not appear to have been hacked. Aides say that most of Mr. Obama’s classified briefings — such as the morning Presidential Daily Brief — are delivered orally or on paper (sometimes supplemented by an iPad system connected to classified networks) and that they are usually confined to the Oval Office or the Situation Room.

Still, the fact that Mr. Obama’s communications were among those hit by the hackers — who are presumed to be linked to the Russian government, if not working for it — has been one of the most closely held findings of the inquiry. Senior White House officials have known for months about the depth of the intrusion.

“This has been one of the most sophisticated actors we’ve seen,” said one senior American official briefed on the investigation.

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