Kamala Harris, California’s Attorney General, Leaps to Forefront of Senate Race

Posted in Articles, Media Archive, Politics/Public Policy, United States on 2015-03-30 17:52Z by Steven

Kamala Harris, California’s Attorney General, Leaps to Forefront of Senate Race

The New York Times
2015-03-27

Adam Nagourney, Los Angeles Bureau Chief

CASTAIC, Calif. — When Kamala D. Harris, a Democrat, was the newly elected district attorney of San Francisco in 2004, she walked into a firestorm after deciding not to pursue the death penalty for a man accused in the killing of a police officer — drawing attacks from law enforcement leaders and even Senator Dianne Feinstein, one of the most respected Democrats in the state.

Six years later, when Ms. Harris ran for state attorney general, national Republicans poured more than $1 million into the race, trying to defeat her with charged advertisements invoking the death penalty case. Ms. Harris barely defeated her Republican opponent, the district attorney of Los Angeles.

But now, at age 50 and after winning a second term, Ms. Harris has suddenly established herself as the dominant candidate in the race to replace Senator Barbara Boxer, a Democrat who announced in January that she would retire next year. With a speed and efficiency that startled many in her party, Ms. Harris has appeared, at least for now, to dispatch what most people had expected would be a sprawling generational battle with powerful ethnic overtones, given that Latinos now make up nearly 40 percent of California’s population…

She herself would be a pioneering figure, if elected — simultaneously the first black and the first South Asian senator from California

Read the entire article here.

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Trevor Noah to Succeed Jon Stewart on ‘The Daily Show’

Posted in Articles, Arts, Media Archive, United States on 2015-03-30 15:12Z by Steven

Trevor Noah to Succeed Jon Stewart on ‘The Daily Show’

The New York Times
2015-03-30

Dave Itzkoff, Culture Reporter

In December, Trevor Noah, a 31-year-old comedian, made his debut as an on-air contributor on “The Daily Show With Jon Stewart,” offering his outsider’s perspective, as a biracial South African, on the United States.

“I never thought I’d be more afraid of police in America than in South Africa,” he said with a smile. “It kind of makes me a little nostalgic for the old days, back home.”

Now, after only three appearances on that Comedy Central show, Mr. Noah has gotten a huge and unexpected promotion. On Monday, Comedy Central will announce that Mr. Noah has been chosen as the new host of “The Daily Show,” succeeding Mr. Stewart after he steps down later this year.

Read the entire article here.

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Alabama Shakes’s Soul-Stirring, Shape-Shifting New Sound

Posted in Articles, Arts, Media Archive, United States on 2015-03-19 20:45Z by Steven

Alabama Shakes’s Soul-Stirring, Shape-Shifting New Sound

The New York Times Magazine
2015-03-18

Joe Rhodes

With its highly anticipated second album, this band of small-town misfits finally has a ticket out — not that they would ever leave.

In the upstairs dressing room at the Georgia Theater in Athens, Ga., in January, Alabama Shakes was getting restless. The band was about to perform songs from its second album, “Sound & Color,” for the first time, and the room was full of distractions. Friends and relatives had driven over from Alabama: cousins and uncles, wives and girlfriends, crying babies and unrestrained toddlers. Sippy cups and spilled Cheerios were scattered everywhere.

Off to one side, Brittany Howard, the 26-year-old lead singer, stared into the middle distance, listening to the new tracks on her headphones, concentrating on the sections that had given her trouble in rehearsal. She got the last touch-ups on her makeup and hair, a sort of Mohawk-bouffant cropped close on the sides, her bouncy curls left free to run wild on the top, and slipped into her show boots: ankle-high burgundy suede.

As the band made its way toward the stairwell that connected the dressing room to the stage, the backup gospel singers, a first-time luxury, followed close behind. The procession moved slowly down the six flights of steel and concrete, which formed a sort of vertical echo chamber. The singers ran scales as they descended, and invited Howard to join them, to take advantage of the acoustics and the last few remaining seconds to prep her vocal cords.

“I don’t really know how to warm up,” she said, laughing. Maybe she was joking. Maybe not. Then, as if to punctuate the point, she let loose a guttural roar that reverberated up and down the stairwell. She laughed again just before she walked through the door to the stage, where a thousand fans screamed at the first glimpse of her. Then she turned around and shouted the University of Alabama rally cry back to the musicians assembled in the stairwell, at the top of her lungs: “ROLLLLLL TIDE!”

Alabama Shakes’s rapid ascent has been largely fueled by Howard’s singular stage presence. When she first steps in front of a crowd, there are moments when she seems like the awkward adolescent she used to be, all too aware of her size, her looks and her lumbering gait. But when she hits that first big unrestrained note — her face contorted as if possessed — or a thundering chord on her Gibson, stomping and quaking, preaching and confessing, her jaw jutting out like an angry, pouting child’s, everything changes. It becomes impossible to look anywhere else. She can sound by turns ferocious or angelic, sometimes in the same song. When she sings about heartbreak, it feels as if, right there at that moment, she is consumed by it…

Read the entire article here.

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Hate Takes the Bus

Posted in Articles, Media Archive, Social Science, United States on 2015-03-12 15:36Z by Steven

Hate Takes the Bus

The New York Times
2015-03-11

Charles M. Blow

A University of Oklahoma Fraternity’s Chant and the Rigidity of Racism

This week, when video was posted showing members of the University of Oklahoma’s chapter of Sigma Alpha Epsilon gleefully engaged in a racist chant on a bus, some people were shocked. Others, like me, were not.

This was just video confirmation of a racism that envelops us like a fog, often just as evanescent and immeasurable.

Some people seemed surprised because these were millennials, and college students to boot. Both because of generational easing and educational enlightenment, weren’t these sorts of things supposed to be vestiges of the past?

After all, as the Pew Research Center put it last year, “Millennials are the most racially diverse generation in American history,” with “some 43 percent of millennial adults” being nonwhite.

A 2010 Pew report found that “almost all millennials accept interracial dating and marriage.” An MTV poll of millennials found that “84 percent say their family taught them that everyone should be treated the same, no matter what their race,” and that 89 percent “do believe that everyone should be treated the same no matter their race.”

But these numbers can be deceiving. They don’t herald an age of egalitarianism as we might think…

Read the entire article here.

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Don’t Starve the Census

Posted in Articles, Census/Demographics, Media Archive, Politics/Public Policy, United States on 2015-03-11 16:48Z by Steven

Don’t Starve the Census

The New York Times
2015-03-10

The Editorial Board

Some Republicans in Congress are calling for cuts to the Census Bureau’s budget that would impair the agency’s already strained ability to gather basic data.

An accurate census is essential to determining the correct number of representatives from each state, the effectiveness of voting laws and the allotment of federal aid to states. In fact, information from the census and other surveys by the bureau is crucial to anyone — policy makers and businesspeople, researchers and citizens — who wants to understand the United States, assess where it is headed and influence its course on the basis of hard data.

The White House has requested a slim $1.5 billion for the bureau for fiscal year 2016. Much of that would be for the 2020 census, the planning of which is already behind schedule because of previous budget cuts. Next year is critical for the testing of data-gathering technology; Congress’s failure to provide timely financing to try out hand-held computers before the 2010 census forced a last-minute reversion to paper forms, which proved costlier than an orderly roll out of the computers would have been…

Read the entire article here.

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Obama, at Selma Memorial, Says, ‘We Know the March Is Not Over Yet’

Posted in Articles, Barack Obama, History, Law, Media Archive, Politics/Public Policy, United States on 2015-03-08 00:44Z by Steven

Obama, at Selma Memorial, Says, ‘We Know the March Is Not Over Yet’

The New York Times
2015-03-07

Peter Baker, Chief White House Correspondent

Richard Fausset


Doug Mills/The New York Times

SELMA, Ala. — As a new generation struggles over race and power in America, President Obama and a host of political figures from both parties came here on Saturday, to the site of one of the most searing days of the civil rights era, to reflect on how far the country has come and how far it still has to go.

Fifty years after peaceful protesters trying to cross a bridge were beaten by police officers with billy clubs, shocking the nation and leading to passage of the landmark Voting Rights Act of 1965, the nation’s first African-American president led a bipartisan, multiracial testimonial to the pioneers whose courage helped pave the way for his own election to the highest office of the land.

But coming just days after Mr. Obama’s Justice Department excoriated the police department of Ferguson, Mo., as a hotbed of racist oppression, even as it cleared a white officer in the killing of an unarmed black teenager, the anniversary seemed more than a commemoration of long-ago events on a black-and-white newsreel. Instead, it provided a moment to measure the country’s far narrower, and yet stubbornly persistent, divide in black-and-white reality…

Read the entire article here. Read President Obama’s transcript here.

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Urging Persistence on Racial Gains, Obama Recalls Sacrifice in Selma

Posted in Articles, Barack Obama, Law, Media Archive, Politics/Public Policy, United States, Videos on 2015-03-07 21:22Z by Steven

Urging Persistence on Racial Gains, Obama Recalls Sacrifice in Selma

The New York Times
2015-03-06

Peter Baker, Chief White House Correspondent

Julie Hirschfeld Davis, White House Correspondent

COLUMBIA, S.C. — For the nation’s first African-American president, it was a week of two documents that told the story of a country still grappling with its own history.

The first was a draft speech that President Obama was marking up with his distinctive left-hand scrawl to deliver in Selma, Ala., on Saturday to celebrate a half-century of civil rights gains. The second was a report he received accusing the police in Ferguson, Mo., of systematically discriminating against African-Americans.

More than once, Mr. Obama has credited the courage of protesters in Selma who were confronted by club-wielding state troopers 50 years ago for clearing the way for his own barrier-breaking election as president. But the path from Selma to the Oval Office has also led to Ferguson and back to Selma, a path littered with hope and progress and disappointment and setback…

Read the entire article here.

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Man Shot Dead by Police After Scuffle in Wisconsin

Posted in Articles, Law, Media Archive, United States, Videos on 2015-03-07 20:47Z by Steven

Man Shot Dead by Police After Scuffle in Wisconsin

The New York Times
2015-03-07

Ashley Southall

A 19-year-old Wisconsin man was shot and killed Friday by a police officer during a scuffle inside an apartment in Madison, police officials said. The shooting prompted protests that continued on Saturday and led officials to call for restraint while the shooting is investigated.

The shooting occurred Friday evening after the police received calls for a man who had committed battery and was jumping in and out of traffic, Michael C. Koval, the Madison chief of police, said. A police officer followed the man to an apartment and forced his way in after hearing a disturbance inside, the chief said. The man then assaulted the officer, who shot the man, according to Chief Koval, who spoke at a news conference in Madison Friday evening.

The officer immediately began rendering first aid, but the man died at a hospital, Chief Koval said. The authorities did not immediately release his name, but his mother identified him as Tony Robinson, an African-American who graduated from high school in 2014.

“My son has never been a violent person,” Andrea Irwin, who identified herself as Mr. Robinson’s mother, told WKOW, a Madison television station. “And to die in such a violent, violent way, it baffles me.”…

Read the entire article here.

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Gordon Fox Pleads Guilty in Rhode Island Corruption Case

Posted in Articles, Gay & Lesbian, Law, Media Archive, Politics/Public Policy, United States on 2015-03-07 02:38Z by Steven

Gordon Fox Pleads Guilty in Rhode Island Corruption Case

The New York Times
2015-03-03

Richard Pérez-Peña

The climb took decades, but the fall was swift. Less than a year removed from his reign as speaker of the Rhode Island House, Gordon D. Fox pleaded guilty on Tuesday to taking bribes, wire fraud and filing a false tax return.

Mr. Fox, 53, took $52,500 in bribes to help a bar and restaurant get a liquor license and illegally diverted $108,000 in campaign funds to pay for personal expenses. He made the admissions in Federal District Court in Providence as part of a plea agreement that calls for a three-year prison sentence — though a judge will ultimately decide the penalty — and will almost certainly cost him his law license.

Outside the courthouse, when asked by reporters whether he felt remorse, Mr. Fox said, “Absolutely, absolutely, without question.”…

…Mr. Fox, a Democrat, was the first openly gay person and the first mixed-race person to lead either of the state’s legislative chambers, and he led the drive to legalize same-sex marriage in 2013.

He grew up as one of six children in a blue-collar family, with a black mother and a white father, and he liked to recall how he had worked in an ice cream shop to help pay his way through law school. He became a lawyer and part owner of a nightclub, and in 1992 he was elected to the House. He became the majority leader in 2002 and the speaker in 2010…

Read the entire article here.

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The Next Great Migration

Posted in Articles, Europe, Media Archive, United States on 2015-03-06 02:01Z by Steven

The Next Great Migration

The New York Times
2015-03-01

Thomas Chatterton Williams

PARIS — AT dinner last summer with my brother-in-law, a grandson of Jews who fled Algeria for France, the conversation turned to the rash of anti-Semitic incidents plaguing the country. At such times, the question inevitably arises in the minds of many Jews: “Where could we go?” He mentioned Tel Aviv, London and New York, but the location mattered less than the reassurance that departure remained an option. He’s not alone in this thinking: 7,000 French Jews emigrated in 2014.

Over the past year, as I watched with outrage at the dizzying spate of unpunished extrajudicial police killings of black men and women across America, I’ve wondered why more black Americans don’t think similarly. Why shouldn’t more of us weigh expatriation, even if only temporary, as a viable means of securing those lofty yet elusive ideals of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness?

Blacks leaving America in search of equality is not new. The practice dates from at least antebellum Louisiana, when free mulattoes in New Orleans sent their children to France to live in accordance with their means and not their color. It continued after World War II, when a number of black G.I.s, artists and jazzmen shared Richard Wright’s sentiment that there is “more freedom in one square block of Paris than there is in the entire United States of America.”…

Read the entire article here.

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