U.S. Politics

Danger of ‘driving while black’ in Ferguson confirmed with new study

A protester sits in her car waiting to see what happens during another night of demonstrating in Ferguson, Missouri on Aug. 11, 2015. Photo by Lucas Jackson for Reuters.
A protester sits in her car waiting to see what happens during another night of demonstrating in Ferguson, Missouri on Aug. 11, 2015. Photo by Lucas Jackson for Reuters.


August 14, 2015

A year after Michael Brown’s death brought attention to the dangers faced by African-Americans, including the perils of “driving while black,” in Ferguson, Missouri, and other St. Louis County cities, a new report claims that racially motivated traffic enforcement is endemic to many of the area’s small municipalities.

In fact, “many St. Louis municipalities are demonstrably worse than Ferguson,” says the report from ArchCity defenders, a St. Louis County legal aid organization.

A St. Louis County grand jury and the U.S. Department of Justice decided not to indict Darren Wilson, the former Ferguson Police Department officer who fatally shot Brown, but the DOJ released a report criticizing Ferguson’s cops and courts for their traffic ticketing practices, which were said to disproportionately target African-Americans. (Months before the DOJ report, ArchCity defenders released a traffic ticket analysis that had roughly the same findings.)

The municipalities that responded to Newsweek’s requests for comment denied the report’s assertions, maintaining that the claims of bias are untrue and that the stop data is presented out of context.

ArchCity and other advocates want the Missouri Supreme Court to consolidate all the local municipalities’ courts into a “full-time, professional regional court system,” believing that this “would not only lessen the incentive to use racially discriminatory fines and fees as a revenue stream, but would also make it easier for poor and Black people to navigate the legal system in St. Louis County and make it easier for organizers and legal watchdogs to monitor compliance.”

The legal aid organization estimates a consolidated court system would cost some $6 million to $8 million, whereas the municipalities’ separate court systems cost a total of $15.8 million in 2013.

The Ferguson Commission, established by Missouri governor to figure out what legal reforms need to take place in St. Louis County, recently recommended that the courts be consolidated, according to Thomas Harvey, executive director ArchCity Defenders.

“The Ferguson Commission, of their 28 signature recommendations to the governor, to address reforms in St. Louis County—municipal court consolidation is the No. 1 item on that list,” Harvey says.

In the report, ArchCity analyzed six municipalities to make its case. “These six municipalities demonstrate that Ferguson is not an anomaly,” the report says. “In all six municipalities analyzed, traffic stops of Black motorists are significantly more likely to lead to searches and arrests than stops of White motorists; what’s more, many of these rates are comparatively worse than those with respect to Ferguson.”

The paper adds: “Like in Ferguson, racial profiling is intimately connected to a lack of oversight and an overreliance on court fines and fees. Rather than meting out justice, these municipal courts are perceived as punitive revenue centers with discriminatory intent.”

Below is a full copy of the report:

It’s Not Just Ferguson-Consolidate the Municipal Courts

U.S. Politics

David Frum: ‘Republicans Lied To by a ‘Conservative Entertainment Complex’

Every now and then Newsweek columnist David Frum comes out of his own political bubble, seeks truth and finds it…




On Friday, author and former Bush speechwriter David Frum joined the Morning Joe panel, where he shared his blunt assessment of the current GOP.

When asked who can lead the Republican party now, Frum responded that he believes the Republican party is “a party of followership:”

The problem with the Republican leaders is that they’re cowards, not that they’re fundamentally mistaken. The real locus of the problem is the Republican activist base and the Republican donor base. They went apocalyptic over the past four years, and that was exploited by a lot of people in the conservative world. I won’t soon forget the lupine smile that played over the head of one major conservative institution when he told me that our donors think the apocalypse has arrived, that Republicans have been fleeced and exploited and lied to by a conservative entertainment complex.

Host Joe Scarborough asked him to repeat this slowly.

When asked to name names, Frum would say only to check in his book and that there are, really, “too many to name.” Right now, he continued, the leaders in the party have no space to operate.

As for Romney, whom Frum thought would have made an excellent president, he was “twisted into pretzels” only to find that “the people who put the cement shoes on his feet are now blaming him for sinking.”

Watch, courtesy of MSNBC:


Marco Rubio · Mitt Romney Campaign

John Avlon says Romney lying about vetting Rubio for VP

John Avlon and Rubio screenshot

The Raw Story

CNN contributor and Newsweek columnist John Avlon on Tuesday accused Mitt Romney of lying about vetting Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) to be his running mate.

Sources close to the Romney campaign told ABC News on Monday that Rubio was not being vetted, suggesting Romney had no interested in picking him as his vice presidential candidate. But on Tuesday, Romney declared that Rubio was “being thoroughly vetted as part of our process.”

“He was trying to clean up a political mess,” Avlon said. “Because someone told the truth and it was an unnecessary insult and it was causing real problems for the campaign. This is political.”

“So you think he really isn’t vetting Rubio?” CNN’s Erin Burnett asked.

“Rule number one: Everybody lies,” Avlon responded. “This is that going down.”

He noted the news was leaked on the day Rubio’s book was released, calling it “an intentional shot” at the Florida senator.

Watch video, courtesy of CNN, below:

Fox News Lies

Jerry Springer calls out Fox News’s perpetual Obama bashing

I didn’t know Jerry Springer was still around…

The Raw Story

Appearing on the Fox News morning show Fox & Friends on Wednesday, former Cincinnati Mayor Jerry Springer, notorious for his low-brow talk show, criticized host Gretchen Carlson for pretending to be fair when it comes to matters of presidential politics.

Speaking about the recent Newsweek cover story by blogger Andrew Sullivan, Springer complemented the author and agreed with its overall message. “He’s saying that the critics are dumb — obviously that’s a headline to grab your attention — but it’s not really that the people are dumb, it’s that they’re missing a point of how he’s been successful in a very difficult time.”

“He saved our financial system when it was just about to go under, people had lost almost half of their life savings in pension funds and things like that, so clearly that. He saved the auto industry. He got Osama bin Laden. The economy is now growing, we’ve added in the private sector 2.6 million jobs in the last two years. I mean, the fact of the matter is, he’s doing very well, and it is a little disingenuous — here we are at Fox, complaining that, gee, Newsweek may be a little partisan.”

See video here (at bottom of article)…

Fox News Distortions

Andrew Sullivan vs. Fox News’ Megyn Kelly

I saw the video of Kelly and two others discussing the Newsweek article by Andrew Sullivan.  I wondered where Mr.  Sullivan was so that there would be a “somewhat” Fair and Balanced discussion about the Newsweek cover story in question.

How can Fox News call themselves Fair and Balanced and continue discussing  people on the left’s actions yet rarely have them on air to defend their position?

The Dish – Andrew Sullivan

Fox News is now waging war on the essay. I’m not surprised. Megyn Kelly has declared that I am “not a real journalist.” She has also just said that I have written that Trig is not Sarah Palin’s child. As longtime readers well know, I took great pains never to state that and merely to ask Palin, given her insane story about the birth of her child, to provide some evidence for it, which she said she would but never did. The Beast has asked for a correction. Real journalists do not tell untruths on air without correcting them.

What I want to know is why they cannot invite the author of an essay to debate it, rather than two random individuals (including Rich “Starbursts” Lowry) to discuss. Surely that’s only fair – unless, of course, I am on a blacklist.

So this is an open challenge to Fox News. If you want to trash my work, have me on to defend it. Any time, Megyn. Any time. What are you afraid of?

Apart from the truth, that is.

Here’s Megyn Kelly:


U.S. Politics

Bill O’Reilly: ‘I Have More Power Than Anybody Other Than The President’

So, I must ask, what’s Bill O’Reilly smoking these days?  Or is it just that his massive ego has hit critical mass and has manifested itself into this?  I predict a rapid downward spiral after this…

The Huffington Post

Bill O’Reilly made a rather bold declaration during a recent interview with Newsweek.

The Fox News host was promoting his new book (a historical thriller about the Lincoln assassination), and he clearly had the presidency on his mind, because he told interviewer Peter Boyer that he was almost as powerful as the holder of that office.

“I have more power than anybody other than the president, in the sense that I can get things changed, quickly,” he said. “I don’t have to go through the legislative process; I don’t have to do any of that. I can just bring it to the people, and say, look, this has gotta be dealt with.”

O’Reilly has a history of making grand statements about his reach. Who can forget, for instance, his prediction that his Super Bowl interview with President Obama would be the most watched in “the history of mankind” ? Or his attempt to draft himself as the key negotiator in the debt ceiling crisis?

There a bunch of good nuggets in the Newsweek profile. For instance, O’Reilly says he “likes” Obama personally, and that he warned Glenn Beck not to turn into “Elmer Gantry” when the two went on tour together. But that “power” statement stands out. (Interestingly, it’s a bit of a step back from a statement O’Reilly made in 2010, where he said definitively that he had “more power doing what I’m doing” than he would as president.)

It’s certainly true that, as the nation’s leading cable news host by some length, O’Reilly has a very large reach and influence. And the relative power of a television host versus, say, the Speaker of the House could be arguable, in a sort of sociological sense. Nevertheless, we are throwing the question open to you, the reader. Do you agree with O’Reilly’s statement?

Related articles

Michele Bachmann · Newsweek

Newsweek’s Michele Bachmann Cover Raises Eyebrows

Huffington Post

Newsweek’s latest issue features a Michele Bachmann cover that’s sure to stir up controversy.

The cover shows Bachmann standing against a stark blue background, looking directly into the camera with a wide-eyed expression. The headline advertising the magazine’s story reads, “THE QUEEN OF RAGE.”

“Rage” is a word that doesn’t appear in Newsweek’s actual profile of Bachmann, though author Lois Romano does criticize what she calls the “radical” nature of the Tea Party that Bachmann champions.

Conservative websites are already crying foul over the cover, with some saying it makes Bachmann look “crazy” and one blogger asking, “Can anyone really say with a straight face that the mainstream media is not totally biased against conservatives?”

It’s not the first time Newsweek has faced conservative backlash for a cover. In June, the magazine portrayed Mitt Romney as one of the stars of the Broadway show “The Book of Mormon.” And, of course, it drew widespread criticism for itsinfamous Sarah Palin cover in 2009.

See the Bachmann cover below, and tell us whether you think it crosses a line.

Mario Piperni · Newsweek

Newsweek Asks Americans “How Dumb Are We?”

The dumbing down of America…real or imagined?

Mario Piperni

How bad are Americans when it comes to knowledge of their own history and system of government?  Well, going by a recent Newsweek poll, it’s not pretty.

They’re the sort of scores that drive high-school history teachers to drink. When NEWSWEEK recently asked 1,000 U.S. citizens to take America’s official citizenship test, 29 percent couldn’t name the vice president. Seventy-three percent couldn’t correctly say why we fought the Cold War. Forty-four percent were unable to define the Bill of Rights. And 6 percent couldn’t even circle Independence Day on a calendar.

And when it comes to international affairs, Americans fall far behind Europeans in depth of knowledge. No surprise there.  Unlike real news organizations like the BBC and CBC, American television news rarely reports on anything of international significance unless a 1000 or more locals (or at least 2 Americans) have died in an act of nature or unless the U.S. is waging a war in that country.  Seriously, if one got all their news from Fox, they’d be hard-pressed to name a country in the world other than the United States, Iraq and Afghanistan.  OK, and Japan.  The same can be said of MSNBC, CNN and the major networks. 

In the 17th century, Galileo did his best to enlighten the masses by informing them that Earth was not the center of the universe. If he was around today, he’d be trying to tell Americans that the U.S. is not the center of the universe. I have no doubt that he’d be treated no differently now for his heretic beliefs than he was by the Catholic Church 400 years ago. Getting the truth out is always a difficult matter when up against a lifetime of ignorance.    Continue reading…

Hillary Clinton · James Carvelle

Carville: If Hillary Gave Obama One Of Her Balls, ‘He’d Have Two’

OMG! Just…OMG!

Hey! In retrospect, Carville may have a point there.


Via Tribune reporter Mike Memoli on Twitter comes a colorful line from Democratic strategist James Carville:

“If Hillary gave up one of her balls and gave it to Obama, he’d have two.”

Carville presumably made the quip at a Christian Science Monitor breakfast where he was speaking this morning. But he’s actually made a similar point before.

Speaking to Newsweek back during the 2008 campaign, in an article about Obama’s relative political toughness compared to Clinton, Carville said: “If she gave him one of her cojones, they’d both have two.”

(Politico also wrote about Memoli’s tweet.)

GOP House Majority · GOP Hubris · GOP Leadership Quagmire · GOP Lies · Media · Media Hype

Beware the GOP Coronation

Clockwise from top left: Michelle Bachmann, Rand Paul, Carly Fiorina, Marco Rubio, Sharron Angle, Joe Miller, Meg Whitman and Rick Perry (Photos: Getty Images)

As Walter Cronkite would say at the end of his CBS Evening News program…“and so it goes…”

The Daily Beast

Republicans will win big, and the press coverage will be glowing. But don’t forget: At the 100-days mark in his presidency, Obama walked on water. Howard Kurtz on the media’s mood swings.

Less than two years after taking office on a wave of hope, Barack Obama is on the verge of being slapped down by the electorate.

The president is so battered, politically speaking, that some members of his own party are sprinting away from him while Republicans whack him like a piñata.

It wasn’t supposed to be this way. The media assured us that the guy was headed for greatness. The nation’s journalists watched him in action, and in the last days of April 2009, delivered their collective verdict.

MSNBC’s Howard Fineman said Obama was “born” to live “calmly and confidently on a global stage with the hottest lights and biggest audience…. He doesn’t seem needy, aloof or afraid. We used to call that ‘cool.’ ”

Carl Cannon, writing at Politics Daily, said this: “He is as velvety smooth as a cold glass of Guinness, this new president of ours… not to mention the good looks of a Kennedy, the even keel of a Roosevelt, the understated swagger of an Eisenhower.”  Continue reading…