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Obama Stalls on Immigration, Same-Sex Marriage Cases, RiRi at Fashion Week

Obama Stalls on Immigration, Same-Sex Marriage Cases, RiRi at Fashion Week

Here’s what I’m reading up on this morning:

  • A federal appeals court will hear cases about same-sex marriage in three states that will likely affect many others.
  • Salesforce.com announces a $100 million venture capital fund. 
  • RiRi debuts Alexander Wang for H&M during Fashion Week. 
  • Serena Williams wins her 18th Grand Slam title. 
  • Children in three states suffer from an unidentified respiratory illness. 
TAGS: Morning Rush

Obama Moving on Immigration ‘Fairly Soon’

Obama Moving on Immigration 'Fairly Soon'

President Obama is once again hinting that he’ll move forward on some kind of executive action on immigration before the end of summer.

Just a week ago, the president suggested he wouldn’t take action to provide relief for some of the estimated 11 million undocumented immigrants living in the United States before November’s election. But it’s possible Obama’s changed his mind yet again.

Speaking to reporters in Wales at the conclusion of the NATO summit, Obama said he’s busy dealing with several crises—but that he’ll start reviewing suggestions from Attorney General Eric Holder and Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson on immigration on his flight back to the States. In a now familiar sentiment, Obama also took the opportunity to once again deride Republican lawmakers for not taking action on a comprehensive immigration reform bill:

That has damaged the economy, it has held America back, it is a mistake. And in the absence of congressional action, I intend to take action to make sure that we’re putting more resources on the border, that we’re upgrading how we process these cases, and that we find a way to encourage legal immigration and give people some path so that they can start paying taxes and pay a fine and learn English and be able to not look over their shoulder but be legal, since they’ve been living here for quite some time.

Although Obama said that he’d be “making an announcement soon,” he has yet to set a date. 

How To Do Activism Now: Grace Lee Boggs and Rosa Clemente

How To Do Activism Now: Grace Lee Boggs and Rosa Clemente

Lifelong activists Grace Lee Boggs, 99, and Rosa Clemente, 42, came together on MSNBC’s Reid Report for an intergenerational discussion on how they became activists—and what sustains them today. In Clemente I hear echoes of Ta-Nehisi Coates’ recent essay on the value of “true education.” She also offers an accessible entry point for folks searching for ways to contribute, now: 

Activism can happen with 5,000 people or it can happen when you’re walking home and you see police putting three black kids against the wall. Are you gonna keep walking home? Or are you gonna stand there? Are you gonna watch? Are you gonna at least be a witness to what’s happening?

Boggs, a living memorial to many of the 20th century’s defining chapters, believes she is witnessing a second American revolution as powerful as the first.

Watch these two women, one Asian-American and the other Afro-Latina, above on Reid Report. How did you become an activist?

Back to School: New York City Teachers Welcome Kids with NYPD Shirts

Back to School: New York City Teachers Welcome Kids with NYPD Shirts

Despite warnings from their union, some New York City teachers this week wore NYPD shirts back to school “as a show of support for cops in the wake of the Eric Garner death and union-backed rally for Al Sharpton,” the New York Post reports. At the heart of the ensuing conflict are teachers’ union and department of education rules regarding dress code as well as public perception of the teachers’ actions by parents and children. “Certain T-shirt messages may appear to be supportive, but individuals (parents, students) may see a different meaning in that message,” an e-mail sent by a union official and obtained by the Post says.

One Facebook image shows teachers from Staten Island, the borough in which video shows the death of Eric Garner at the hands of police officers, posing in gray NYPD T-shirts. Another photo, the Post reports, shows “white T’s bearing a heart-shaped image of a handshake and the words, “New York’s Brightest Supports New York’s Finest.”“

“Most notably,” the Post reports, teachers at IS 72 also defied the union’s warning. IS 72 is named after Rocco Laurie, a white 23-year-old police officer slain in 1972 along with his partner, a black officer and fellow Vietnam veteran, Gregory Foster, 22, by members of the Black Liberation Army. Their deaths are still honored today.

Read more and see images at The New York Post.

NATO Approves Troops, Ebola Patient Transferred to Nebraska, 65 Ton Dino

NATO Approves Troops, Ebola Patient Transferred to Nebraska, 65 Ton Dino

Here’s what I’m reading up on this morning:

  • Virginia former first couple, Bob and Maureen McDonnell are found guilty of corruption. 
  • This video is part of the way Jay wished Bey a happy birthday. 
TAGS: Morning Rush

7 Fast Food Worker Strikes—And Arrests—Hit Cities Near You

7 Fast Food Worker Strikes--And Arrests--Hit Cities Near You

Fast food workers are showing resolve. Today’s strikes and protests in more than 100 cities are seeing arrests as workers stage sit-ins in front of McDonald’s, Burger King and other fast food restaurants and refuse to move. The addition of civil disobedience to the two-year-old fight for a $15-an-hour minimum wage is new and a follow-through on an idea discussed at a first-ever workers convention this July. Also new: an invitation to home care workers to join their fight for a higher minimum wage and the right to unionize without retaliation. Below, some of what’s happening in cities around the country from Nevada to Minneapolis to San Diego. And check this USAToday map for a status update on the states responding to minimum wage increase demands.

Chicago

New York City

Houston

Cleveland

Durham, North Carolina

Richmond, Virginia

Charleston, South Carolina

Oklahoma Cop Held on Rape Charges Also Accused of Wrongful Death

Oklahoma Cop Held on Rape Charges Also Accused of Wrongful Death

Daniel Holtzclaw, the 27-year-old Oklahoma City police officer charged with sexually assaulting eight black women, is also a defendant in a wrongful death suit filed earlier this year.

According to court documents, on the evening of May 1, 2013, Clifton Armstrong, a 39-year-old black man who suffered from paranoia and schizophrenia, called 911 for medical assistance. Holtzclaw, along with three fellow officers, arrived to his home. When given the option, Armstrong declined to enter a squad car in order to be taken to the hospital because he only wanted to travel in his grandmother’s vehicle. The officers then proceeded to hogtie Armstrong into submission using belts. He was declared dead shortly afterward, as alleged in a lawsuit filed by Armstrong’s mother, Velencia Maiden:

Upon information and belief, in attempting to subdue Mr Armstrong, the officers used force to restrain and subdue him, by placing him in handcuffs, and using belts to restrain his leg movement, which is famously referred to as the “maximum restraint hobble system” with malicious intent and without justification, pursuant to Oklahoma City Police Department’s policy, practice or custom, I reckless disregard for the welfare of Clifton Armstrong.

As a result of this altercation, Mr Armstrong collapsed, and paramedics where summoned who transported Mr Armstrong to the emergency room at the Baptist Hospital where Armstrong was pronounced dead.

Court documents indicate that the police department opened an internal investigation into the incident and exonerated all four officers involved: Jeffery Dutton, Gregory Franklin, Mohammed Tabaia and Daniel Holtzclaw. 

Oklahoma’s medical examiner ruled Armstrong’s death an accident, citing “excited delirium syndrome.” Many medical practitioners don’t recognize excited delirium syndrome as a legitimate medical condition—and civil rights groups point to the fact it is often used to justify excessive force. Armstrong was also under the influence of methamphetamines at the time of his death. The medical examiner’s report did add that his physical altercation with the police was an aggravating factor that caused his death.

Maiden’s lawsuit seeks damages totaling $75,000 for her son’s wrongful death, as well as pain and suffering, medical expenses, funeral expenses and more costs related to Armstrong’s death at the hands of Oklahoma cops.

In an unrelated case, Daniel Holtzclaw is currently charged with 16 felony sex crime counts: burglary, stalking, two counts of rape, four counts of indecent exposure, four counts of sexual battery, four counts of forcible oral sodomy—all allegedly committed against black women. Prosecutors say Holtzclaw threatened his victims with arrest or physical punishment in order to get away with sexual assault.

But Daniel Holtzclaw has his supporters. His sister, Jenny Holtzclaw, set up a GofundMe.com page that raised more than $7,000 for her brother before it was abruptly shut down by the online fundraising service. A “Justice for Daniel Holtzclaw” Facebook page, meanwhile, has garnered more than 600 likes. Holtzclaw’s bond, originally set at $5 million, has been lowered to $500,000, and he’s expected to leave jail to live with his father, Eric—who’s a lieutenant in a nearby police department—while he prepares for trial.

Angela Davis: There Is No ‘I’ In Movement

Angela Davis: There Is No 'I' In Movement

“Even as Nelson Mandela always insisted that his accomplishments were collective—also achieved by the men and women who were his comrades—the media attempted to sanctify him as a heroic individual.” Guarding against the overwhelming “depiction of history as the work of heroic individuals,” says Angela Davis in a new interview, is part of the work. 

Read more in The Nation’s special racial justice issue.

DOJ to Investigate Ferguson, Tough Words at NATO Summit, Tesla Plant to Open in Nevada

DOJ to Investigate Ferguson, Tough Words at NATO Summit, Tesla Plant to Open in Nevada

Here’s what I’m reading up on this morning: 

TAGS: Morning Rush

Theodore Wafer Apologizes, is Sentenced to 17-32 Years for Renisha McBride’s Murder

Theodore Wafer Apologizes, is Sentenced to 17-32 Years for Renisha McBride's Murder

The man who shot and killed 19-year-old Renisha McBride has been sentenced to a minimum of 17 years in prison. 55-year-old Theodore Wafer was convicted of second-degree murder nearly a month ago. Facing a long sentence before Judge Dana M. Hathaway, Wafer read the following statement:

To the parents, family and friends of Renisha McBride, I apologize from the bottom of my heart. I am truly sorry for your loss. I can only hope and pray that somehow, you can forgive me. My family and friends also grieve. From my fear, I caused the loss of a life that was too young to leave this world. And for that, I’ll carry that guilt and sorrow forever. I only wish that I could take this horrible tragedy back. And I ask the court and your honor for mercy.

After his statement, Judge Hathaway sentenced Wafer to 15-30 years for the murder charge, along with an additional two consecutive years for a gun-related charge. That means Wafer will serve a minimum of 17 years.  

10 Incredible Plays from the WNBA’s Shoni Shimmel

10 Incredible Plays from the WNBA's Shoni Shimmel

Shoni Schimmel, the 22-year-old Atlanta Dream guard—who’s from the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation in Oregon, and was coached in high school by her mom, Cecilee Moses—made some incredible plays her rookie season. Ten of them are highlighted in this WNBA in this video.  

New York Bank Accused of Not Lending to African-Americans

New York Bank Accused of Not Lending to African-Americans

Buffalo, New York ranks as one of the most segregated metropolitan areas in the country. Yesterday New York’s attorney general accused Evans National Bank of making it worse through redlining, or denying the predominantly African-American section of east Buffalo access to mortgage credit. The charge comes as African-American and Hispanic communities nationwide, which were disproportionately sold high interest mortgage loans pre-2008, now face a credit drought. Banks are not lending at all. And so the pendulum appears to have swung from one extreme to the next with the same outcome: significant systemic hurdles are still preventing many people of color from building wealth for their families and communities.

The New York suit dates the existence of Evans’ redlining to 2009. Evans Bank is a regional lender whose business in the Buffalo area dates back to the 1920s. As outlined in The New York Times, similar redlining suits have been filed since the recession against banks in Providence and Los Angeles. The L.A. suit is particularly interesting, as it accuses JP Morgan of both reverse redlining—steering people of color to predatory loans—and traditional redlining.

José Couldn’t Get A Job—Not Until He Became Joe [VIDEO]

José Couldn't Get A Job--Not Until He Became Joe [VIDEO]

Months of sending out job applications yielded no replies until one day José Zamora decided to change his name to Joe. He changed nothing else in his resume. People judge all the time, Zamora says in the minute-long video from BuzzFeed—and they may not even be aware of it.

(h/t HuffPo)

Another IS Beheading Video, DNA Exonerates Black Brothers, TBS Cancels CeeLo’s Show

Another IS Beheading Video, DNA Exonerates Black Brothers, TBS Cancels CeeLo's Show

Here’s what I’m reading up on this morning:

TAGS: Morning Rush

Images of Darren Wilson Surface Online

Images of Darren Wilson Surface Online

So far, the only recent image we’ve seen of Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson has been one obtained through social media by Yahoo! News, which illustrates Wilson getting a certificate for good police work. When given the opportunity, the Ferguson Police Department didn’t issue an image of their officer who shot and killed Michael Brown more than three weeks ago. Instead, it provided reporters with still images from surveillance video of Brown at a convenience store close to where he was killed.

Media have reported that images of Wilson are hard, if not impossible, to come by. The Washington Post and the St. Louis Post Dispatch have speculated that Wilson deleted any social media accounts that he may have had. If that’s the case, the Ferguson police department’s decision to wait nearly an entire week before releasing Wilson’s name may have helped him remove his online presence. It’s unclear what internal protocols may have been in place, but Ferguson’s police department hasn’t been forthcoming with details about Wilson or the shooting itself

Colorlines has obtained several photos of someone who appears to be Darren Wilson. One, found on Facebook, features Wilson out of uniform. Colorlines has also confirmed that there are several others: two from a professional photographer who photographed Wilson’s wedding, as well as several other photos, likely taken by an amateur, also at his wedding in 2011. 

What’s Different About Fast Food Worker Strikes This Thursday?

What's Different About Fast Food Worker Strikes This Thursday?

This Thursday marks another day of planned walkouts by fast food workers. This time they’re ratcheting up the stakes by adding sit-ins and inviting home care workers to join protests expected to take place in more than 100 cities. Organizers hope sit-ins will increase pressure on the restaurant industry and invoke the legacy of the Civil Rights movement for their cause. And in an attempt to broaden the low-wage labor fight into a movement, Service Employees International Union (SEIU) is inviting the nation’s two million home care aides to join this week’s protests, too. SEIU has bankrolled the fast food worker drive to unionize and raise the minimum wage to $15 since the first round of protests in November 2012.

(h/t The New York Times)

Donation Pages for Officer Darren Wilson Suddenly Closed This Weekend

Donation Pages for Officer Darren Wilson Suddenly Closed This Weekend

Donation pages raising more than $400,000 for Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson were suddenly shut down without explanation this weekend, the LA Times reports. Wilson is the officer who shot and killed unarmed 18-year-old Michael Brown on the afternoon of August 9th. Neither owners of the two fundraising efforts with similar names have explained why both GoFundMe pages appear to have shut down around similar times on Saturday. They had inspired controversy some weeks ago for defending Wilson, drawing racist remarks and lack of accountability. The page “Support Officer Darren Wilson,” which has so far raised more than $230,000 is run by an anonymous organizer.

“Support Officer Wilson,” run by a St. Louis police charity, Shield of Hope, has so far brought in slightly less than $200,000. One of the organization’s three named officers is a Democrat and member of the Missouri House of Representatives Jeffrey Roorda. This January, Roorda sponsored a bill that would keep officers’ names secret if involved in a police shooting unless they were criminally charged. The bill “went nowhere,” according to the LA Times.

A GoFundMe set up by lawyer Benjamin Crump for Michael Brown’s family has so far raised more than $300,000.

U.S. Airstrike in Somalia, Israeli Land Grab, Cantor Takes Wall Street Job

U.S. Airstrike in Somalia, Israeli Land Grab, Cantor Takes Wall Street Job

Here’s what I’m reading up on this morning:

  • Are you an iOS developer wondering why your app was rejected? Apple lists the reasons for about half the time apps are turned down. 
TAGS: Morning Rush

Students to Boycott Newark Public Schools

Students to Boycott Newark Public Schools

When Newark public school students return to class this Thursday, some children will be missing their first day. A local parents’ group announced last week that some 600 parents have pledged to keep their children out of classes to protest the district’s sweeping new reform plan, One Newark. Campaign leaders have described the boycott as move of desperation for a community that has felt steamrolled by the high-powered reform agenda and the state control that has governed their schools for two decades.

One Newark has been billed as a massive overhaul of the struggling school system. Under the plan, which was approved last December, the district will close, phase out or reformulate roughly one-third of its schools. Students will no longer be assigned to their neighborhood schools. Instead, a complex algorithm will match families with schools of their choice across the district.

The plan, which focuses elementary and middle schools,has had a rough rollout over the past couple of weeks. Parents who were invited to register their children for school have waited in line for hours, CBS reported. New Jersey’s News 12 found a family with five children who were assigned to five different schools.

“The superintendent announced this plan as an opportunity of choice, but what it’s turning out to be is an opportunity of chance,” says Sharon Smith, a co-founder of Parents United for Local School Education (PULSE). “At some point parents don’t have a chance to get into their schools of choice, or even into a school at all.”

The boycott is only the latest battle in a long-running feud that pits teachers’ unions and progressive education advocates aga

Obama Suggests He Won’t Provide Immigration Relief Before Election

Obama Suggests He Won't Provide Immigration Relief Before Election

Deportation relief for the estimated 11 million undocumented immigrants living in the U.S. may not come before November’s midterm election.

President Obama made clear in June that, because Congress hadn’t moved forward on legislation, he’d take major action himself on immigration by the end of the summer:

If Congress will not do their job, at least we can do ours.  I expect their recommendations before the end of summer and I intend to adopt those recommendations without further delay.

When Obama made his remarks on immigration reform in the Rose Garden in late June, he also provided more resources to secure the border—but many have been waiting patiently for some kind of deal that would allow undocumented immigrants some kind of administrative status change, even temporarily. The president’s comments claiming he’d take action on immigration by the end of the summer have also been backed by insiders and senior advisors. Some groups were already preparing undocumented immigrants for what Obama was expected to do in the next couple of weeks. 

But now, it seems, he’s changed his mind. Obama told reporters on Thursday that his timeline on immigration action may change. According to the New York Times, Obama’s calculation has everything to do with key Senate races:

Under pressure from nervous Democratic Senate candidates in tight races, President Obama is rethinking the timing of his pledge to act on his own to reshape the nation’s immigration system by summer’s end, and could instead delay some or all of his most controversial proposals until after the midterm elections in November, according to people familiar with White House deliberations.

And, according to the Los Angeles Times, immigration enforcement could, in fact, increase before the election:

Under that plan, the president would first announce measures aimed at tightening enforcement of current law, then put off until the end of the year a decision on a more sweeping program that could temporarily shield millions of immigrants from deportation.

Obama’s administration has already deported more than two million people—more than have been deported under any other president.  

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