An investigation by the Department of Justice has found that the Ferguson police department engaged in a years-long pattern of racial discrimination against members of the black community, who of regularly had their constitutional rights violated. The numbers from the new report are staggering. From The New York Times: “Over the past two years, African-Americans—who make up about two-thirds of the city’s population—accounted for 85 percent of traffic stops, 90 percent of citations, 93 percent of arrests and 88 percent of cases in which the police used force. Black motorists were twice as likely as whites to be searched but were less likely to be found in possession of contraband.”
The investigation has uncovered a pattern of discriminatory practices from police officers including making traffic stops without justification, the regular use of excessive physical force and even racist statements and “jokes” found in email conversations between officers. One such email said President Obama would not be president for long because "what black man holds a steady job for four years."
The federal inquiry into the police department kicked off following the shooting of unarmed teen Michael Brown this summer. The officer who killed Brown was not indicted. The shooting sparked weeks of confrontations between protestors—and some rioters—and police. If city officials do not seek a settlement with the DOJ following the release of the report, they could face a lawsuit ... Discuss
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told Congress in a speech today that the U.S. should abandon a proposed deal with Iran because it could help the country possess nuclear weapons in the near future. The U.S. is part of a coalition of nations negotiating an agreement with Iran for the country to temporarily stop pursuing nuclear technology. The U.S. and several other nations are offering relief from economic sanctions if Iran complies. In his speech, Netanyahu said, "We've been told that no deal is better than a bad deal. Well this is a bad deal, a very bad deal." He claimed that the agreement “will all but guarantee that Iran will get those nuclear weapons, lots of them." Specifically, he warned, "Iran could get to the bomb by keeping the deal because all the restrictions would basically expire in about a decade.”
His speech was extremely controversial in Washington, because it was done at the invitation of Republican lawmakers, not the Democratic White House. House minority leader Nancy Pelosi refused to clap during several standing ovations and issued a blistering statement following the speech, calling it an "insult to the intelligence of the United States." Netanyahu thanked the U.S. for their support, and added, “I deeply regret that some perceive my being here as political.” Throughout the speech, he underscored why he believed Iran remains an enemy of the U.S. and Israel, in hopes of preventing the proposed deal from moving forward. President Obama refused to meet Netanyahu out of concern that it would interfere with a coming meeting with officials from Iran. White House aids said that Obama did not plan on watching today’s speech on television ... Discuss
The New York Times is reporting that during her time as Secretary of State, presumable 2016 presidential contender and tween idol Hillary Clinton used her personal email exclusively, potentially violating government laws. If that's true, Clinton spent four years without the ".gov" email address she should have had as Head of State Department—an email address that would archive all of her communications. Her personal email address has no such archival guarantees
How bad is it? Well, it's drawing some pretty public condemnation from both sides of the aisle. "It is very difficult to conceive of a scenario—short of nuclear winter—where an agency would be justified in allowing its cabinet-level head officer to solely use a private email communications channel for the conduct of government business," said the National Archives' former Director of Litigation, Jason R. Baron.
A Clinton spokesperson said Clinton followed the "letter and spirit of the rules" ... Discuss
In addition to being a star NHL defenseman, Jordan Leopold is first and foremost a family man. But, after getting traded to a team far from his wife and kids this fall (the Blue Jackets), life on the road was taking its toll. His 11-year-old daughter Jordyn wrote an amazing letter to the local team, the Minnesota Wild (which her mother posted online), asking for a trade: “My dad is very lonely without his family. We are living in Minnesota right now and I am lost without my dad and so is my mom, my 2 sisters, and my brother … It has been since November and we can not take it anymore … Please, please, please ask the jackets if you guys can get him!”
Sure enough, Leopold was soon traded. The team’s GM’s explained, “The deal was done already when we saw it, almost simultaneously I guess, but that’s a touching letter … That’s what we had talked about the whole time, we knew that his family was in Minnesota. There is a human side, believe it or not, to our business. I think that it’s great that he can go home, join his family.” Jordyn, you the real MVP ... Discuss
American Media has posted this new discussion between future Late Show host Stephen Colbert and America Magazine editor and author, Jesuit priest Fr. James Martin. Colbert—who is known for being vocal about his Catholic faith—talks about his favorite Bible verses, God’s command not to worry, lent, his favorite hymns and demonstrates some truly epic praise dance moves ... Discuss
Officials in Georgia have postponed the execution of inmate Kelly Renee Gissendaner, which was scheduled for last night. In 1997, Gissendaner was convicted of helping to plan the murder of her husband. A Department of Corrections spokeswoman told reporters that the drugs to be used in the lethal injection appeared cloudy, and that the postponement was a precaution. In recent months, several lethal injections around the country have been botched because of issues with the controversial drug cocktails being used.
The case of Gissendaner has drawn widespread outcry from many Christian leaders and opponents of the death penalty, who say that she has become a new person in prison. Since her conviction nearly 20 years ago, Gissendaner has become a devoted Christian, helping other inmates behind bars. So far, nearly 78,000 people have signed this petition, urging prison officials to stop the execution. From the petition: “While incarcerated, she has been a pastoral presence to many, teaching, preaching, and living a life of purpose. Kelly is a living testament to the possibility of change and the power of hope. She is an extraordinary example of the rehabilitation that the corrections system aims to produce.” So far, officials have not announced when the execution would be rescheduled for ... Discuss