George Zimmerman was spotted at Florida gun manufacturing company Kel-Tec this week, according to TMZ. Apparently he’s in the market for a new shotgun. The fan photo above is with an employee inside the company’s assembly plant.
Former Secretary of State Colin Powell had choice words for North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory about the voter ID bill he recently signed, and on the governor’s own turf. At the 2013 NC CEO Forum in Raleigh, a gathering of over 400 corporate executives, Powell took the podium to deliver a keynote address, shortly after Gov. McCrory made remarks from the same stage, and attacked the voter ID law.
Powell’s comments, from John Frank at the News & Observer.
“I want to see policies that encourage every American to vote, not make it more difficult to vote,” said Powell, a Republican, at the CEO Forum in Raleigh.
“It immediately turns off a voting block the Republican Party needs,” Powell continued. “These kinds of actions do not build on the base. It just turns people away.”
“You can say what you like, but there is no voter fraud,” Powell said. “How can it be widespread and undetected?”
“What it really says to the minority voters is … ‘We really are sort-of punishing you.’”
Frank said Powell’s comments represent “the most high-profile criticism of the Republican-crafted law that requires voters to show photo identification at the polls.”
A couple of weeks ago, though, another former Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, also lambasted North Carolina’s voter ID law, which she said was “like the greatest hits of voter suppression,” when she spoke at the American Bar Association conference in San Francisco.
Lady Gaga’s leaked song “Burqa” is causing quite a bit of outrage.
“Critics are slamming Lady Gaga for appropriating, exoticizing, and sexualizing a garment that’s meant to maintain modesty,” said HuffPost Live host Dena Takruri*. In describing the song earlier this month, Jezebel said the track “sounds like what would happen if you took a series of ‘ethnic’ GarageBand samples and put them in a blender, and then took that blender to a torture dungeon run by Calvin Harris and rattled it around arrhythmically.” Some of the lyrics:
I’m not a wandering slave I am a woman of choice
My veil is protection for the gorgeousness of my face
Do you wanna see me naked, lover?
Do you wanna peak underneath the cover?
Enigma popstar is fun
She wear burqa for fashion
It’s not a statement as much as just a move of passion.
In a segment that aired on Thursday afternoon, Takruri spoke with Ilana Alazzeh, a Muslim activist based in Washington, DC; Eren Cervantes-Altamirano, a Muslim writer based in Canada; Hind Makki, a Chicago-based blogger at Patheos.com; and Keziah S. Ridgeway, a Philadelphia high school teacher. You can see their conversation in the video above.
*Post has been updated since publication to correct the spelling of Dena Takruri’s name.
Antoinette Tuff talked a gunman armed with an AK-47 and other weapons out of committing the next Sandy Hook massacre. How did she do that? With love.
Listen for yourself on this full 911 call, posted by CNN.
Just days before the 50th anniversary commemoration of the March on Washington, a Wednesday report released by the Economic Policy Institute (EPI) underscores the continued relevancy of the original 1963 gathering’s emphasis on economic justice.
The EPI data shows that wages for the overwhelming majority of Americans during the past decade remained virtually flat. In fact, according to the EPI, wage growth is down “regardless of occupation, gender race/ethnicity or education level.”
But what the Washington-based think tank points out about a fundamental disparity at the heart of the nation’s economy is even more shocking.
The EPI document shows that though American workers have produced more and generated more income for the overall economy in the last decade, they are benefiting relatively little from it.
In fact worker productivity—the output per worker—is up almost 25 percent but wages are up barely 2 percent or 10 times less. As Nobel Prize winning economist Joseph Stiglitz points out, Americans’ incomes are not increasing from the wealth that they produce because almost 90 percent of the gains in recent years went to the top 1 percent of income earners. The few are benefitting from the work of the many.
So if you haven’t felt the benefits of the economic boom from 2003-2007 or anytime since the recovery was proclaimed in 2010, the EPI report shows why. And set against the backdrop of the 1963 march’s call for basic economic fairness, it highlights just how much work remains.
Today, the Justice Department announced that they will use Section Two of the Voting Rights Act to sue Texas over a photo voter ID law that the federal government had once blocked under Section Five of the Voting Rights Act. It was blocked because both a Justice Department review and a federal district court hearing revealed that it would discriminate against hundreds of thousands of Latino-, Asian- and African-Americans in accessing their ballots. Texas immediately reinstated the voter ID law after the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Section Five in June.
But Attorney General Eric Holder said today that the Supreme Court’s decision doesn’t solve the racial discriminatory problems found when he first blocked it. The Justice Department is suing so that Texas doesn’t enforce the voter ID law, and is also seeking to bail Texas in to federal preclearance under Section Three of the Voting Rights Act.
“We will not allow the Supreme Court’s recent decision to be interpreted as open season for states to pursue measures that suppress voting rights,” said Holder today. “The Department will take action against jurisdictions that attempt to hinder access to the ballot box, no matter where it occurs. We will keep fighting aggressively to prevent voter disenfranchisement. We are determined to use all available authorities, including remaining sections of the Voting Rights Act, to guard against discrimination and, where appropriate, to ask federal courts to require preclearance of new voting changes. “
Just last month, Holder, who will be one of the speakers at the August 24 march commemorating the 1963 March on Washington, announced plans to sue Texas over its redistricting plans. A federal court found intentional discrimination against Latino- and African-Americans in those plans last year. The Justice Department officially filed that lawsuit today in addition to the voter ID suit. They are seeking Section Three “bail-in” in both cases. Which means if Holder is succesful, Texas will have to return to submitting any election changes to the federal government for review to ensure they won’t result in racial disenfranchisement.
“The Department of Justice will use all the tools it has available to ensure that each citizen can cast a ballot free from impermissible discrimination,” said Jocelyn Samuels, Acting Assistant Attorney General for the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division. “The right to the franchise is one of the most fundamental promises of American democracy.”
Huey P. Newton, co-founder of the Black Panther Party of Self Defense, was shot and killed in Oakland, Calif. on August 22, 1989. As a testament to his life’s work, here’s an early interview that Newton conducted from jail.
North Carolina native J. Cole recently sat down for an interview with BET and admitted he might not be as successful in hip-hop if he were dark-skinned:
You’ve talked about including dark-skinned women in your music videos versus all light-skinned women. The light-skinned, dark-skinned issue certainly affects women in hip hop; does it affect men in hip hop?
I can’t say it for sure but I just think we’re still in America. We’re still Black Americans. Those mental chains are still in us. That brainwashing that tells us that light skin is better, it’s subconsciously in us, whether we know it or not… still pursuing light skin women. There are some women out there that are like, “I don’t even like light skin men” and that’s fine. But Barack Obama would not be President if he were dark skin. You know what I mean? That’s just the truth. I might not be as successful as I am now if I was dark skin. I’m not saying that for sure, I’m still as talented as I am and Obama is still as smart as he is, but it’s just a sad truth… I don’t even know if this is going to translate well into text and people not hearing what I’m saying, but it’s a sad reality. So I can only naturally assume it’s probably easier for a light skin male rapper than it might be for a dark skin male rapper. It’s all subconscious s***, nobody’s aware — I think that s*** still subconsciously affects us.
Read the entire interview over at BET. It’s not the first time that Cole has spoken publicly about race. Back in a 2011 interview with XXL, the rapper talked about being biracial (his mother is white):
I can identify with White people, because I know my mother, her side of the family, who I love. I’ve had White friends. I know people from high school that I might not have hung out with outside of high school, but I think I got to know them pretty well, so I know they sense of humor. But at the end of the day, I never felt White. I don’t know what that feels like. I can identify. But never have I felt like I’m one of them. Not that I wanted to, or tried to, but it just was what it was. I identify more with what I look like, because that’s how I got treated. Not necessarily in a negative way. But when you get pulled over by the police, I can’t pull out my half-White card. Or if I just meet you on the street, you’re not gonna be like, This guy seems half-White.
This weekend’s 50th anniversary of the March on Washington is as good a time as ever to revisit the history of the Civil Rights Movement. If a group of a web developers have their way, accessing that history is about to get a lot easier with Freedom Lifted, a smartphone app that lets users map out their own self-guided tours of museums, monuments, cemeteries, and unmarked spots that were pivotal in the formation of the movement’s history.
“I believe the app can open up a new world for people who want to know more about history, but don’t have access to it or were turned off by it in school,” says Mia Henry, the project’s founder and owner-operator. “This is a way that history can really come alive for people.”
Henry has taken to crowdsourcing in an effort to raise $10,000 to develop the app.
She added: “By giving as little as $5, you will be part of a new endeavor to really give everyone access to their history in order to inform activism in the future.”
Kendrick Lamar may have spoken his success into existence when he anointed himself the king of hip-hop. A couple of weeks ago, his debut album “good kid, m.A.A.d city” was no.52 on the Billboard charts. But the rapper’s highly touted verse was released as part of Big Sean’s “Control”, the album shot up to no. 40. Even though Interscope presented Lamar with a platinum plaque back in June, the album officially went platinum last week, thanks in no small part to his battle rap.
Bradley Manning was sentenced to 35 years for sharing documents with WikiLeaks. The sentence was lower than the 60 years the US government argued for—and Manning will be eligible for parole in about 12 years.
There’s been a lot to learn from the trial. There’s also a lot to take away about Manning’s motivations from a statement released today. The statement seems at least partially rooted in a racial justice framework. It reads, in part:
Our nation has had similar dark moments for the virtues of democracy—the Trail of Tears, the Dred Scott decision, McCarthyism, the Japanese-American internment camps—to name a few. I am confident that many of our actions since 9/11 will one day be viewed in a similar light.
You can read the statement in its entirety over at Common Dreams.
Some may be confused about the spate of events happening over the next seven days, all sharing some version of the label “50th anniversay of the 1963 March on Washington.” We know that there is a massive march this Saturday through downtown Washington, D.C., that will feature civil rights activist and “Politics Nation” host Al Sharpton. But we also know that President Barack Obama is speaking at another event on Wednesday, Aug. 28, also honoring the 50th anniversary of the historic march. But which one is the official?
As it was explained to me by a spokesperson from the National Action Network, which is the lead convener for the Saturday event, “It’s like a birthday. You may have your birthday on a certain day and I may take you out to dinner on that day, but then someone else is having a party for you on another day.”
The event this Saturday, officially billed the “50th Anniversary March on Washington Realize the Dream March & Rally,” is the official march commemorating the 1963 massive demonstration that featured Martin Luther King, Jr.’s “I Have a Dream” speech. It is primarily coordinated by Sharpton’s National Action Network and Martin Luther King III. There are dozens of other partnering organizations involved, including the NAACP, NAACP Legal Defense Fund, National Urban League, SEIU, and the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund.
But it is one of a string of events over the next seven days that all fall under the The 50th Anniversary Coalition for Jobs, Justice and Freedom. The event held on August 28, which will close the seven-day commemoration, is the “Let Freedom Ring” bell-ringing ceremony to honor King. That event will feature an address from President Obama and speeches from former presidents Bill Clinton and Jimmy Carter.
Other conferences, symposiums and gatherings held throughout the week can be found at MLK Dream 50.
The 50th Anniversary Coalition hosting the full week of events includes the civil rights groups that organized the 1963 march: King’s Southern Christian Leadership Conference, the NAACP, the A. Philip Randolph Institute, National Urban League, and King’s family.
Other organizations in D.C. and around the nation are planning events that will honor the 1963 march, but there are some groups and websites that appear to have a dubious connection to the official events.
The website 50th Anniversary March on Washington is promoting the August 28 event, but doesn’t seem to have any actual ties to the 50th Anniversary Coalition. The website’s owner is a Rochester, N.Y., lawyer named Van White who heads the Center for the Study of Civil and Human Rights Laws. It has information about an August 27 conference on civil rights and an online store where you can buy books, buttons, calendars and t-shirts that have images from the 1963 march. It even has a Twitter accout and Facebook page.
But when I talked to media organizers of both the August 24 march and the August 28 event, no one knew who he was.
“I have never heard of him, I don’t know anything about him,” said Bunnie Jackson-Ransom, the press contact for the 50th Anniversary Coalition.
Media reps from the National Action Network said they didn’t know who he was either.
In a Washington Post article about this week’s events, White is attributed as an organizer of the August 28 event.
“I understand the symbolism of a march,” said White in the article. “But if it’s just a march, and you’re not doing anything to rectify the problems, what’s the march for?”
No one answered when I made multiple calls to White’s law office, and emails to him have not been returned.
More information on the Saturday, August 24 march can be found at the National Action Network’s website. The official Twitter and Facebook accounts of the 50th Anniversary Coalition can provide more information on this week’s full agenda.
Macklemore’s comments about white privilege are making their way around the Internet. In a recent interview with Rolling Stone, the Seattle-based rapper (legal name: Ben Haggerty) acknowleges that he wouldn’t have been successful if he weren’t white.
“If you’re going to be a white dude and do this shit, I think you have to take some level of accountability,” Haggerty says. “You have to acknowledge where the art came from, where it is today, how you’re benefiting from it. At the very least, just bringing up those points and acknowledging that, yes, I understand my privilege, I understand how it works for me in society, and how it works for me in 2013 with the success that The Heist has had.”
“We made a great album,” he continues, “but I do think we have benefited from being white and the media grabbing on to something. A song like ‘Thrift Shop’ was safe enough for the kids. It was like, ‘This is music that my mom likes and that I can like as a teenager,’ and even though I’m cussing my ass off in the song, the fact that I’m a white guy, parents feel safe. They let their six-year-olds listen to it. I mean it’s just…it’s different. And would that success have been the same if I would have been a black dude? I think the answer is no.”
This isn’t stuff he’s just thought about since he began making hit records. Back in 2009, the rapper released a song called “White Privilege.” You can listen to on YouTube.
Amid the Twtterversey over Kal Penn’s tweets about the NYPD’s Stop and Frisk policy, South Asian youth in New York City with the group Desi’s Up and Rising (DRUM) began a campaign to bring awareness to how the NYPD policy targets people of color, including South Asian youth. You can see the series of photomemes on the DRUM’s Facebook page.
We’re only a few weeks away from the official kickoff of the NFL season, and with Washington, DC’s football team defiantly holding on to its racist team name, stuff like the shirt below — featuring star quarterback Robert Griffin III and a caricature a Native man (aka the team’s mascot) — is sadly predictable.
D.C. Sports Blogger Ryan Kelly spotted this shirt for sale in a store on the boardwalk of Ocean City, Maryland.
M.I.A’s new album “Matangi” is slated for released on November 5, but she’s tired of waiting around for her label, Interscope, to get its act together. So she’s dropped some new music on her own.(Via Jezebel)
Police officers in Schenectady County, New York had their eye on Donald Andrews Jr., an African-American local businessman and owner of a small smoke shop in town. And apparently, cops were willing to go above and beyond to insure his arrest, including planting crack cocaine in clear view of the store’s multiple security cameras.
“[The officer] comes in, places the crack on the counter. Crack, which under federal sentencing guidelines, would get him 4 years in jail. Under New York State law would get him 2 to 7 years in jail,” attorney Kevin Luibrand said while narrating the video for an audience that was in stunned by what they saw.
Andrews was initially arrested but released after the other investigating officers saw the video evidence. The Schenectady Chapter of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference has taken up the matter.
And the cop caught on video planting the evidence? He’s on the run.