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NOW IN RACIAL JUSTICE

Meet the Black Army Vet Who’s Going the Distance At the Paralympics

The 2012 Paralympic Games Opening Ceremony will take place Wednesday evening in London. The 11-day event will see 4,280 athletes from 165 countries competing in more than 20 sports

Team USA features 20 military veterans and active duty service members, including some wounded at war in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Visit NBCNews.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

Among them is U.S. Army 82nd Airborne paratrooper Centra “Ce-Ce” Mazyck, who was paralyzed when her parachute got tangled with another in 2003. Doctors said she’d never walk again but Maczyk refused to listen. And she has proved them wrong.

“I wasn’t hearing it. In my heart, in my soul, I knew I could walk,” Mazyck told NBC News. “To this day, I am walking.”

Watch her video to the right.

The International Paralympic Committee will live stream more than 780 hours of events. NBC will also broadcast a 90-minute special from 2-3:30 p.m. ET on September 16.


See the Smiles and Smirks of Mitt Romney’s Latino Supporters at RNC

See the Smiles and Smirks of Mitt Romney's Latino Supporters at RNC

Here’s the real caption for the image above: A woman holds a sign that reads ‘Hispanics for Mitt’ during the Republican National Convention at the Tampa Bay Times Forum on August 28, 2012 in Tampa, Florida. Tuesday was the first full session of the RNC after the start was delayed due to Tropical Storm Isaac.

But there is so much side eye in this picture that it’s just asking for a caption of my own: A Latina Republican from Texas dragged her husband, mother and mother in law to the National Republican Convention on Tuesday.

You got something better? Leave your caption below because we’re having a CAPTION CONTEST!

You can vote your favorite caption up or down in our comments section. (And please, keep it classy and respectful.)

RNC Attendee Throws Food at Black Woman, ‘This is How We Feed Animals!’

At 8:35pm EST Monday night journalist David Shuster tweeted he had just seen a Republican National Convention (RNC) attendee throw nuts at a black CNN camera woman while yelling “this is how we feed animals.”

Shuster’s tweet went viral and in a matter of hours was re-tweeted more than 6,000 times, ultimately leading to CNN releasing an official statement confirming the incident.

Talking Points Memo’s Kyle Leighton explains he “generally confirmed” the tweet with a CNN official but the cable news network’s written response does not mention the employees gender or race.

CNN’s written statement to Talking Points Memo:

“CNN can confirm there was an incident directed at an employee inside the Tampa Bay Times Forum earlier this afternoon. CNN worked with convention officials to address this matter and will have no further comment.”

GOP convention spokesman Kyle Downey told Politico, “Two attendees tonight exhibited deplorable behavior. Their conduct was inexcusable and unacceptable. This kind of behavior will not be tolerated.”

It is not clear whether the alleged racist nut thrower was a delegate or someone attending the convention in some other capacity.

What’s clear is the incident won’t make it any easier for Mitt Romney to get black voters behind him.

A recent NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll found that 0 percent of black voters surveyed support Romney.

And let’s not even mention Voter ID laws championed by GOP leaders that studies show will make it harder (if not impossible) for black voters to get inside polling booths. Or the voter vigilante efforts.

TAGS: CNN GOP hotmess RNC

Undocumented Immigrants in New Orleans Fear Isaac and Deportation

In 2005, after Hurricane Katrina, New Orleans saw a surge of new undocumented immigrants in the city that were drawn by the high paying construction jobs. Many of them have stayed and are now caught between a rock and a hard place: they stay and face Hurricane Isaac or leave and possibly face deportation.

Univision’s “Primer Impacto” reporter Ricardo Arambarri is currently in New Orleans and has been tweeting and uploading short video reports in English for the past two days. In the video above, he visits a local New Orleans church that has offered shelter to the city’s undocumented residents.

Since Katrina, the Latino population of New Orleans has risen from 15,000, or 3.3 percent of the pre-storm population, to 50,000, 15.2 percent of the current population, according to the New Orleans Economic Development office.

A 2006 study by Tulane University and the University of California, Berkeley, found that almost half of the reconstruction workforce in New Orleans is Latino, and 54 percent of that group is undocumented, meaning 25 percent of all workers are undocumented Latinos.

(h/t Univision News)

Baratunde Thurston’s Official RNC ‘Negro Count’: 67 [Video]

An estimated 50,000 people are expected to visit the Tampa Bay area during the Republican National Convention and comedian and author Baratunde Thurston is out there taking his own count of how many black people are at the RNC.

“I’ve been counting the number of black people here ever since I landed and I’ve been doing as inclusive as possible with my count, I don’t know if you’re a reporter, or a delegate or someone Mitt Romney paid to be here so I just want to give the GOP the benefit of the doubt as much as possible,” Thurston told Democracy Now on Monday.

A recent poll by NBC and the Wall Street Journal found zero percent of African-American voters support Mitt Romney, compared to 94 percent supporting President Obama. Former GOP presidential candidate Herman Cain says that’s because most black republicans are closeted.

Speaking of Cain… make sure you watch the Democracy Now! clip all the way to the end to see what Thurston thinks about the former GOP presidential candidate.

Voter Intimidation Fears Grow With ‘Poll Watcher’ Network

Brentin Mock, a New Orleans-based journalist and reporting fellow with Voting Rights Watch 2012, a partnership between Colorlines.com and The Nation magazine, was a guest on Democracy Now on August 28th, 2012. His latest article is called, “How the Right’s Building a ‘Poll Watcher’ Network for November.”

Jan Brewer Says Obama is Race-Baiting Latinos

Jan Brewer Says Obama is Race-Baiting Latinos

Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer tells Politico.com President Barack Obama is “absolutely” race-baiting and pandering for the Latino vote.

“He panders to them,” Brewer said, referring to Hispanic voters. “Look what he’s done: He hasn’t secured my borders.”

Herman Cain’s RNC ‘ABC’s’ — American Black Conservatives

Herman Cain's RNC 'ABC's' -- American Black Conservatives

Despite not being part of the formal convention program, former GOP presidential candidate Herman Cain is making the rounds and making himself available for interviews at the Republican National Convention. And in every interview he reminds folks that even though there are only a few black delegates on the convention floor, “there are plenty of of black conservatives in the Republican Party.”

“I happen to believe that the party has more traction with black voters than meets the eye,” Cain told ABC News.

“It takes a lot of time and personal commitment to try and become a delegate with either the Republican Party or the Democrat Party. It takes a lot of time and a lot of resources. And so as a result, you don’t see as many black Americans,” Cain went on to tell ABC.

Cain also told “Nightline” anchor Terry Moran it was the Democrats, not the Republicans, who had belittled the concerns of black voters and were playing into the country’s fears about race.

“The Democrats are the ones that are making white people feel anxious about the race card in America. The Democrats are desperate. And when they’re desperate, they go back to their old playbook. Class warfare. The race card,” Cain told Moran.

Cain also made an appearance on FOX News touting the same line, black conservative voters exist. This time however, he said many of them were closeted.

“[Black voters] are closet conservatives, but the polls aren’t going to pick it up,” Cain said on Fox News. “You may have heard about The Wall Street Journal poll that said zero African-Americans are going to vote for Mitt Romney. Well, I’m not a zero.”

Cain was referring to the Wall Street Journal/NBC poll released last week that showed, Obama continues to lead Romney among key parts of his political base, including African Americans (94 percent to 0 percent.)

We’re One Natural Disaster Away From Another Recession

We're One Natural Disaster Away From Another Recession

Tropical Storm Isaac’s impact on the Republican National Committee underscores the vulnerability of our fragile economy to outside events. With a paltry 1.5 percecnt economic growth, we’re possibly one natural disaster away from sliding back into an official recession.

The nation’s immediate thoughts and concerns are focused on those directly impacted by these events. As Hurricane Katrina remains seared into Americans’ hearts and minds, images of a cyclone swirling across the Gulf of Mexico is particularly sobering. Doubly so because we know that black and brown communities—disproportionately effected by natural disasters—still have yet to recover fully. The demographics of New Orleans may have been altered forever by Katrina.

But hurricanes and all natural disasters are national economic events. Even relatively weak storms can do a lot of damage. An estimate by economist Peter Morici puts Hurricane Irene’s damage, which impacted 25 percent of the US economy last year, at $30 billion. Irene wreaked the most havoc as a Tropical Storm and not a hurricane. The monster storm Katrina did close to $200 billion in damage and shaved almost a full point off national economic growth in 2005. A hurricane of that magnitude could easily send our 2012 economy reeling.

Disasters in the Gulf of Mexico have another critical economic impact, beyond the first wave of destruction. They drive up the price of oil.

One out of every 4 barrels of petroleum produced in the US come from the gulf. 4 out of 10 barrels of oil refined in the country are produced in that region. Disruption of production and processing increases the price of gas at the pump, and puts additional downward pressure on the economy. Bloomberg estimates that every one cent increase on a gallon of gas removes $1 billion in spending power from consumers. Hurricane Katrina caused waiting lines to form at gas stations across the country.

The bottom line is that storms pack a wallop for local communities effected by them and for the nation as a whole. Washington’s inability to get its act together and get our economy back on track leaves us all exposed. The events in Tampa and across the south this week highlight the point in a way that cannot not be ignored.

Anti-Obama Documentary ‘2016: Obama’s America’ Breaks Box Office Records, #1 Conservative Doc Ever

It’s time you hear about the documentary “2016: Obama’s America” because it’s breaking records. The anti-Obama documentary is now the #1 all-time biggest-grossing conservative political documentary and comes in as number 8 on the list of highest grossing political documentaries of all time.

The brave Philly.com film reviewer Steven Rea describes what’s in the film:

Preaching to the choir, and quoting from the choir - D’Souza’s interviewees include conservative think-tankers, commentators and academics - the film asks the question “If Obama wins a second term, where will we be in 2016?,” then posits some disturbing answers. Disturbing, but dubious.

D’Souza, stars in, narrates, and conducts the interviews (some via cellphone) in 2016, which expands on the controversial premise of his book, The Roots of Obama’s Rage, and a 2010 Forbes article, “How Obama Thinks.” Basically, D’Souza - who opens with a genial checklist of similarities between himself and the president (age, mixed-race heritage, Ivy League education) - suggests that Obama is running the country based on the radical geopolitical tenets laid down by his Kenyan father in the 1960s, a father Obama hardly knew.

Deadline’s Nikki Finke reports on the weekend box office:

“The shocker among all the films was Rocky Mountain Pictures’ political documentary 2016 Obama’s America which opened July 13th in very limited release and expanded into theaters across America this weekend. It wound up in 4th place Friday and 8th place for the weekend. That’s stunning because it was playing in 2/3 fewer theaters across North American than the other wider release films. Due to its hot pre-sales, the pic proved frontloaded which explains why its ranking started out #1 and then fell steeply by end of Sunday. But the doc’s new cume of $9.0M makes it the #1 all-time biggest-grossing conservative political documentary, besting Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed’s $7.7M.”

The documentary became the number one all-time biggest-grossing conservative political documentary. It’s also the 6th all-time biggest political documentary behind documentaries from Michael Moore and Al Gore.

Box Office Mojo has the figures: boxoffice-anti-obama-doc.png

Utah’s Athletic Director Goes on YouTube to Ask if Native Logo is Offensive

Utah's Athletic Director Goes on YouTube to Ask if Native Logo is Offensive

The University of Utah’s athletic department posted a video on YouTube starring athletic director Dr. Chris Hill asking members of the community for feedback on what are “some of the things that may be offensive and upsetting in a religious and sacred way to many of our Indian friends.” The University of Utah’s team is named after the Ute Indian Tribe and their logo includes an image of a drum and feathers.

“The reality of it is that we are the Utes, we do have our logo but I need some help from you,” Hill says in the video.

“I’m urging you to work with me in terms of things that may be offensive—headsets, face painting, tomahawks and et cetera—so that we can make sure our logo and the people we work with are proud of our program and that we can be successful,” Hill goes to say. (Presumably, Hill meant headdresses not headsets.)

Indian Country points out that up until 1972, the the Utah Utes were actually the Utah Redskins.

As stated on the team’s official site, “the University of Utah officially adopted the nickname Utes for its athletic teams in 1972. The school uses the nickname with permission of the Ute Tribal Council.

At the time this story was published the video had close to 2,000 views and 7 comments.

“If we want to keep [the logo], we need to listen to Dr. Hill (no relation, incidentally) and be respectful of Native American imagery. There is no need to wear headdresses—wear Utah hats,” wrote one commenter.

Another commenter provided more context on headdresses:

“First nations weren’t allowed to practice ceremony until 1978 ( Indian religious freedom act) and well feathers are part of the ceremonial tools used in ceremony’s . As long as there is no mascot and the selling of headress [sic] I’m okay with it because mascots portraying traditional leaders or elders that are wearing headdress is deem abusive and offensive. For instance one does not simply receive a headdress just because, but thru great respects to the receiver of the headdress.

The total number of undergraduate students at the University of Utah in the Fall 2011 semester was 24,29, according to UofU’s office of Budget and Institutional Analysis. Only 148 students—less than 1% of the student body—were American Indians or Alaska Natives.

Just a thought, but perhaps Dr. Hill’s next video could ask for feedback on how to get more American Indian students at the University of Utah.

GOP to America: ‘We Built It.’ But Who’s the We?

GOP to America: 'We Built It.' But Who's the We?

Though the actual Republican National Convention is delayed due to Tropical Storm Issac, the RNC economic message machine is at full tilt. Today’s official theme at the forlorn Tampa gathering is “We Built It.” The GOP doesn’t specify who the “we” are or what the “it” is exactly.

With zero percent support amongst blacks for the Republican ticket, African Americans have apparently concluded that the “we” is not them. The 44-point gap amongst Latinos and the 33-point gap amongst youth would seem to suggest that these groups believe the same.

That’s because on jobs—the number one issue important to black and brown America, young people, and the country as a whole—Mitt Romney is largely silent.

The centerpiece of the Romney economic plan is tax cuts for the wealthy, along with less regulation for companies. The GOP believes that giving millionaires an extra $265,000 a year, in addition to allowing businesses to pollute more and violate worker protections, will magically return the economy around. Oddly, Romney has said that his first action on the economy—“day one, job one”—is it to repeal Obamacare.

Gov. Bobby Jindal Calls for Coastal Parishes to Voluntarily Evacuate

Gov. Bobby Jindal Calls for Coastal Parishes to Voluntarily Evacuate

On Monday, Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal called for residents in coastal parishes prone to flooding to voluntarily evacuate. The announcement came as tropical Storm Isaac continues west-northwestward over the eastern Gulf of Mexico and poses a significant storm surge threat to the northern Gulf coast.

Tropical storm Issac is expected to hit Louisiana as a strong category 1 hurricane with 75-90mph winds late Monday or early morning Tuesday.

Gov. Scott (R) also pulled out of convention activities due to the storm.

RNC Cancels First Day As Florida Gov. Declares State of Emergency

RNC Cancels First Day As Florida Gov. Declares State of Emergency

Republican National Convention Chairman Reince Priebus announced Saturday that the Tampa Bay area convention scheduled to start Monday will be postponed until Tuesday due to the expected arrival of Hurricane Isaac.

“Due to the severe weather reports for the Tampa Bay area, the Republican National Convention will convene on Monday August 27th and immediately recess until Tuesday afternoon, August 28th,” RNC Chairman Reince Priebus said in a statement. “After consulting with Governor Scott, NOAA and local emergency management officials, we are optimistic that we will begin an exciting, robust convention that will nominate the Romney-Ryan ticket.”

“Our first priority is ensuring the safety of delegates, alternates, guests, members of the media attending the Republican National Convention, and citizens of the Tampa Bay area. RNC Convention officials and the Romney campaign are working closely with state, local and federal officials, as well as the Secret Service, to monitor Tropical Storm Isaac and preserve Florida’s emergency management resources,” Priebus went on to say. “Officials have predicted participants may encounter severe transportation difficulties due to sustained wind and rain. “

In related news, Romney has a message for New Orleans as Issac is expected to hit landfall Monday, on the seventh anniversary of Hurricane Katrina. New Orleans.

”Our thoughts are with the people that are in the storm’s path and hope that they’re spared any major destruction,”’ Romney told an AP reporter.

When that same reporter asked whether he was considering canceling the convention, Romney replied: ”We’ve got a great convention ahead.”

Hurricane Could Hit New Orleans on 7th Anniversary of Katrina

Hurricane Could Hit New Orleans on 7th Anniversary of Katrina

The National Weather Service is forecasting Tropical Storm Issac will hit the New Orleans area as a Category 1 hurricane exactly seven years to the day after Katrina.

The Times-Picayune has more details: Tropical Storm Isaac’s forecast path shifted slightly west, but remains draped across the New Orleans area in the National Hurricane Center’s 4 a.m. forecast. But forecasters now say Isaac is likely to grow only to strong Category 1 strength, with top winds of 90 mph, when its center crosses the mouth of the Mississippi River at about 2 p.m. Wednesday.

Tropical Storm Isaac pushed over Cuba on Saturday after going across Haiti’s southern peninsula, where it caused flooding and at least 19 deaths.

Brentin Mock Talks Voter Suppression on MSNBC’s ‘PoliticsNation with Al Sharpton’

Colorlines.com Investigative Reporter Brentin Mock appeared on MSNBC’s “PoliticsNation with Al Sharpton” as a part of Voting Rights Watch 2012, in partnership with the Nation. Sharpton discussed Brentin’s latest article, “How the Right’s Building a ‘Poll Watcher’ Network for November” on True the Vote’s rapidly growing influence in right-wing political circles.

Brentin: “Poll watching is not illegal. But we also know that ‘watching’ and ‘monitoring’ are not race-neutral verbs, especially with our country’s racial history. George Zimmerman was merely ‘watching’ and ‘monitoring’ the neighborhood, and following Trayvon Martin before that ended tragically… We can see how this kind of ‘watching’ and ‘monitoring’ can lead to completely unnecessary and completely avoidable confrontations.”

For more discussion see the live online chat hosted this week with Colorlines.com reporters Brentin Mock and Aura Bogado, along with Nation reporter Ari Berman.

First Look: Oprah’s Balance Beam Routine with Gabby Douglas!

First Look: Oprah's Balance Beam Routine with Gabby Douglas!

Oprah Winfrey recently took a trip to Des Moines, Iowa to interview Olympic gold medal gymnast Gabby Douglas for her show “Oprah’s Next Chapter” that will air this Sunday.

Watch the clip above as Douglas teaches Oprah a thing or two on the balance beam.

In the interview Douglas also opens up for the first time about being bullied in her hometown.

Oprah’s interview with Douglas will air Sunday, August 26, at 8:30/7:30c.

Federal Departments Will Research Children and Immigration Enforcement

On Monday I spoke about my Shattered Families investigation on a panel at the Center for American Progress. The panel aired live on C-Span 2 and can be viewed here.

I joined a several others on the panel, including Ajay Chaudry, (prepare for the longest title ever) Deputy Assistant Secretary for Human Services Programs in the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation. Chaudy announced that HHS recently issued a call for proposals for a national research project on the implications of immigration enforcement on children. The project will include analysis of children in foster care with deported parents and call for proposals cites the Shattered Families investigation.

Before Shattered Families was released, there was no data on the number of children in foster care with detained and deported parents. That’s largely because no government agency collects the data. The call for proposals is a small step toward changing that, though once the research grant is awarded, researchers will have more than a year to complete it, so we’re not likely to have any new information any time soon.

Monday’s panel also included Joanna Dreby, a sociologist who just completed a paper on the impacts of immigration enforcement on children and Miriam Yeung, director of the National Asian Pacific American Women’s Forum.

Black Hills Sacred Site Auction Cancelled

Black Hills Sacred Site Auction Cancelled

The auction scheduled for August 25, 2012, for the acreage known as Pe’Sla to the Oceti Sakowin (Great Sioux Nation), has been cancelled, according to Brock Auction, Co., Inc. The sacred land been taken off the auction block, but the property is still publicly listed and the owner’s intent is not clear.

The owners are not commenting as to why the auction has been cancelled, according to the press relase.

“They are not giving us any reason whatsoever. My wife called the auction company and they would not offer any reason,” said Chase Iron Eyes, an attorney and founding writer of the Last Real Indians that has been working in the defense of Pe’ Sla, to IndianCountryToday.

“Nobody knows what to think, so we don’t know if this is good or bad. We just know it has been pulled off the auction block,” Iron Eyes said. “It’s good because there is no pressure of the auction - but it is bad because they are private sellers, they can sell to anyone they want to.

Alfred Walking Bull, communications specialist of the Rosebud Sioux Tribe, tells Indian Country today he’s optimistic but also very cautious

“Right now we are all holding our breath. It is more of a sigh of relief because this puts an end to the auction, which is good, but on the other hand we are still very cautious because this could also mean there is a private sale going on. We are waiting until we get more information. The owners or the auction company has not given a comment.”

The announcement came as a petition on Avaaz.org reached close to 40k signatures urging the owners not to sell the land.

The petition also points to an IndieGoGo fundraiser in hopes of raising $1 million to help the Sioux Nation buy as much of land as possible.

George Zimmerman Judge Lets Trayvon Martin Murder Suspect Travel to Meet Lawyers

Last month, Circuit Judge Kenneth Lester agreed to let George Zimmerman out of the Seminole County Jail, provided he post $1 million in bail, wear a satellite tracking device, check in with law enforcement several times a week and stay within the county’s confines.

But on Friday morning Lester granted Zimmerman permission to leave the county and travel to neighboring Orange County to meet with lawyers.

The judge also denied the state’s request to allow Zimmerman’s medical records to become public.

Orlando Sentinel has more details on the medical records request:

Lester ruled in favor of Zimmerman, at least partially, on another matter today: He won’t allow the defendant’s medical records to become public.

He said he would review them in private then later listen to lawyers argue about them in a closed court session.

O’Mara had asked the judge to quash a state subpoena for Zimmerman’s medical records from an Altamonte Springs doctor’s office.

O’Mara described the subpoena as overly broad, seeking irrelevant information and a breach of his client’s privacy even if they disclose only a “hang nail, a bunion.”

Assistant State Attorney Bernie de la Rionda argued in court paperwork that he needs to know more about injuries Zimmerman says he suffered the night he shot and killed Trayvon, who was walking through Zimmerman’s Sanford neighborhood and whom Zimmerman described to police as suspicious.

In related news, George Zimmerman’s Facebook page was shut down by his attorney, Mark O’Mara.

*An earlier version of this story incorrectly stated the judge allowed Zimmerman to travel outside the state.

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