As the nation awaits a decision from a grand jury Ferguson, Mo. about whether they will charge a police officer for shooting and killing black teenager Michael Brown, the new leader of the Congressional Black Caucus has already publicly stated that anything but indictment will not represent justice.
The comments (audio) came as Congressman G.K. Butterfield, a North Carolina Democrat, assumed the chairmanship of the CBC last week. He expressed his concern in an interview with WUNC in Chapel Hill, a NPR affiliate, when asked about the problem of civil unrest in “places like Ferguson” and what he thought his role was in “moving conversations forward” with regard to race relations.
“I would certainly hope that the grand jury in Ferguson, Missouri will find that there is sufficient evidence to conclude that a crime probably was committed,” Butterfield responded. “To lay out that crime, and to let a jury of … Read More ➡
Last week the unions upped the ante. The president of the national American Federation of Government Employees, J. David Cox, and his chief of staff Bryan DeWyngaert, were two of 20 labor organizers and other protesters who were arrested last Monday for failing to leave the N.C. Legislative Building when instructed to do so. In addition, AFL-CIO president Richard Trumka called attention to the Tar Heel state demonstrations.
“North Carolina has quickly become a shining example of a people-driven movement and a microcosm of what’s to come,” Trumka said. “When the labor movement and the entire community band together to stand up for what is right, everyone wins. … Read More ➡
Following last week’s attention-getting demonstration at McDonald’s Corp.’s shareholder meeting in Oak Brook, Ill., Rev. William Barber returned Tuesday to his weekly routine of leading stomps and rants at the North Carolina General Assembly.
The supersized president of the NC chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People relaunched his so-called “Moral Mondays” on May 19, which coincided with the return of legislators to the state capital for a few weeks. Sizes of the crowds he is able to bring to Raleigh vary, but with the aid of the local spectacle-loving media, Barber can always count on overestimates of head counts and exaggerations of his effectiveness.
He started these harangues last year when Republicans assumed full control of the governorship, state House and state Senate for the first time since Reconstruction. The protests started with minimal participation, but thanks to (unjustified) journalistic attention, they grew because … Read More ➡
Rep. Luis Gutierrez (D-IL) admitted to the FBI that he accepted free upgrades on a town home he purchased from convicted Chicago influence-peddler Tony Rezko, according to the Chicago Sun-Times. The congressman has previously been the subject of a federal investigation for engaging in real estate deals with a developer named Calvin Boender.
During a 2008 interview with the FBI, Gutierrez reportedly said that he asked Rezko for upgrades on the town house before purchasing it. The congressman claimed that the price of the home had risen by $35,000 since he had first considered buying it, and Rezko agreed to give him an additional bathroom and a higher quality carpet to make up for the increase in cost.
Gutierrez’s claims to the FBI contradicted previous statements that he made to the Sun-Times in 2006.
“I walked in with my wife — as any other consumer could have — and … Read More ➡
Bill Lann Lee, a former U.S. Assistant Attorney General who served during the Clinton administration, is deeply involved with a group that donated thousands of dollars for the legal defense of convicted terrorist lawyer Lynne Stewart.
Lee, who was Bill Clinton’s top civil rights officer from 1997-2000, is a donor to, and serves on the advisory board of, the Impact Fund. The Berkeley-based foundation directed a $5,000 grant to the Lynne Stewart Defense Committee in 2006.
The grant came as Stewart was appealing her February 2005 conviction on five felonies, including providing material support for terrorism and obstruction of justice. A jury found she had passed messages from her client, “Blind Sheikh” Omar Abdel Rahman – the man convicted in 1993 of plotting to blow up the United Nations, … Read More ➡
Josef Stalin’s bust remains at the National D-Day Memorial in Bedford, Virginia despite mounting criticism. A chorus of voices is asking what Stalin had to do with D-Day, and why a mass murderer is being honored at all.
The National D-Day Memorial officially opened in June 2001. Congress authorized the small town of Bedford as the site of the memorial because it proportionally suffered the severest D-Day losses. Nineteen soldiers from Bedford’s town of about 3,200 died on D-Day.
On June 2 of this year, Stalin joined the existing busts of President Franklin D. Roosevelt, President Harry S. Truman and British Prime Minister Winston Churchill. The weekend after Stalin’s bust was installed, the memorial commemorated the 66th anniversary of D-Day. Critics immediately asserted that the bust disrespects the others honored at the memorial as well as the victims and the their families of the Soviet Union dictator.
Could the headline-making arrest last July of Harvard African-American Studies Professor Henry Louis Gates by a white Cambridge, Massachusetts police officer be justified? While the official civil-rights narrative continues to cast Gates as a victim, the facts, as National Legal and Policy Center reported in detail at the time, appear to vindicate Police Sergeant James Crowley. Now a new report by a Boston University-affiliated journalism think tank is providing even more fuel for the latter view. The study, which examined arrests for disorderly conduct in Cambridge over several years, concludes that local police have not engaged in a pattern of racial profiling. One hopes that President Obama, who played no small role in this affair, will give it a close read.
A recap is in order. On the afternoon of July 16, 2009, Henry Louis Gates, fresh from a research trip to China, found the front door of his home … Read More ➡
Rep. Charles Rangel (D-NY) used campaign cash to repay the costs of his corporate-sponsored Caribbean trips after being asked to pay for the trips himself by the House Ethics Commitee, according to Federal Election Commission (FEC) records. Rangel has also continued to pay legal fees connected to his ethics problems from his campaign funds.
After being publically admonished by the House Ethics Committee for accepting travel gifts from corporations, the congressman spent $3,480 from his campaign on Caribbean “travel refunds,” according to his April FEC campaign report.
Records also show that Rangel spent nearly $57,860 in attorney fees from January to March. The congressman has been consistently mired in legal problems since it was first revealed that he occupied three rent-stabilized apartments in a luxury building in New York City. In the months that followed, the NLPC helped expose Rangel’s corporate sponsored trips taken in 2007 and 2008, as well as … Read More ➡
The Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now, better known by the acronym ACORN, exists only in shell form, having formally disbanded on April 1. Yet whatever name(s) the radical nonprofit organizing network and its countless affiliates currently go under, the issue of its right to receive federal funds is anything but a dead letter. A court ruling several days ago ensures as much. On Wednesday, April 21, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit temporarily reinstated a congressional ban on further public funding of the scandal-ridden group. The three-judge panel in Manhattan effectively overturned a lower court order barring enforcement of the cutoff, concluding that full arguments must be heard first. And they will be this summer.
National Legal and Policy Center on many occasions has skewered ACORN and its hundreds of state and local chapters for internal mismanagement and flagrant lawbreaking in the service of its … Read More ➡