Home |   About Us  Submit a Legal Question to Unequal Justice News Find a Black Attorney | Submit a News Story |   Contact Us  
All News On Black Legal Issues
Select a News Category:
Legal & Civil Rights Issues  | Political News | Entertainment Legal Issues |knock off watches | Fake Watches | $89 Replica watches
Krissah Thompson Mar-26-2017 36 0
The first cocktail party at Barack Obama’s new office last month was certainly more casual than any he had hosted in recent years. The wine bore a random assortment of labels, as if assembled potluck-style. The self-serve appetizers were set out in the narrow hallway. The host, tieless, eschewed formal remarks, as a few dozen of his old administration officials — Joe Biden and former chief of staff Denis McDonough, as well as more junior ones — mingled in a minimalist wood-paneled suite that could be mistaken for a boutique law firm.

“It was a bit of a shock to the system,” said Peter Velz, who used to work in the White House communications office. “You’re bumping up right against the vice president as he’s getting cheese from the cheese plate.”

As the dinner hour drew near, the former president exited with a familiar excuse, Velz recalled: “He was joking if he doesn’t get back to Michelle, he’s going to be in trouble.”

So far, Obama is trying to approach his post-presidency in the same way as his cocktail-hosting duties — keeping things low-key, despite clamoring from Democrats for him to do more. “He is enjoying a lower profile where he can relax, reflect and enjoy his family and friends,” said his former senior adviser Valerie Jarrett.

But the unprecedented nature of this particular post-presidency means his respite could be brief. Even while taking some downtime in the South Pacific last week, Obama put out a statement urging Republicans not to unilaterally dismantle his signature health care law.

Not only are the Obamas still young and unusually popular for a post-White House couple, their decision to stay in Washington while their younger daughter finishes high school has combined with the compulsion of the new Trump administration to keep pulling them back into the spotlight.

President Trump has repeatedly invoked his predecessor to blame him for the “mess” he says he inherited: “jobs pouring out of the country,” “major problems” in the Middle East and North Korea. A post-election show of camaraderie has ended; the two have not spoken since Trump took office.

Trump dropped any remaining veneer of politeness this month with a series of tweets accusing Obama — without a shred of evidence — of illegally surveilling Trump Tower during the campaign. Obama was privately irritated at the allegation, which the director of the FBI and lawmakers from both parties dismissed as unfounded.

He has attempted to stay above the fray, watching from the sidelines as Republicans have pressed to unravel a slew of his initiatives — and emphasizing the need for a new generation of political leaders to step up in his place.

And yet, while other recent ex-presidents have devoted their retirement years to apolitical, do-gooder causes, Obama is gearing up to throw himself into the wonky and highly partisan issue of redistricting, with the goal of reversing the electoral declines Democrats have experienced nationally.

Both the continued interest in Obama and his desire to remain engaged in civic life place him in an unusual position for a former president. George W. Bush left office with low approval rates, retreating to Dallas to write a memoir and take up painting. Bill Clinton decamped for New York on a somewhat higher note politically but downshifted to a mission of building his family’s foundation and supporting his wife’s political career.

Can the Obamas put their heads down and build their ambitious presidential center while living only blocks from the White House? Or is it inevitable that he will get pulled back into the political swamp?

In February, Obama attended a Broadway performance of Arthur Miller’s “The Price” along with his older daughter, Malia, and Jarrett. They slipped into the theater after the lights went down and left before they came up, most of the audience unaware of his presence — until a New York Times reporter sitting in front of him tweeted about it. By the time Obama left, a crowd had gathered outside.

Paparazzi wait outside of the D.C. SoulCycle exercise studio that Michelle Obama frequents, though she clearly does not appear interested in being photographed.

“They are still decompressing from an extremely intense period. It actually started not just eight years ago but really since his 2004 convention speech — and it never let up,” said a former senior West Wing staffer. “It’s like 12 years of extremely intense stress, political activity, scrutiny, responsibility as a national leader, and for the first lady as the surrogate-in-chief. .?.?. That’s been a big load for the both of them.”

Taylor Lorenz Mar-17-2017 63 0
Rep. Tom Cole (R-Okla.) on Friday called for President Trump to apologize to former President Obama for accusing him of "wiretapping" Trump Tower without evidence.

"I see no indication that's true. It's not a charge that I would ever have ever made, and frankly unless he can produce some pretty compelling proof, then I think President Obama is owed an apology in that regard," Cole said.

"If he didn't do it, we shouldn't be reckless in accusations that he did."
Cole is the first GOP lawmaker to call for an apology, although other Republicans have questioned why Trump made the accusation without proof.

White House press secretary Sean Spicer on Thursday defended Trump, saying: "The president has already been very clear that he didn't mean specifically wiretapping. He had it in quotes. So I think to fall back on that is a false premise. That's not what he said. He was very clear when he talked about it yesterday."

Spicer said Trump stood by his claim, after the Senate Intelligence Committee earlier Thursday said it sees "no indication that Trump Tower was a subject of surveillance by any element of the United States government either before or after Election Day 2016."

Trump earlier this month wrote in a series of early Saturday morning tweets that "Obama had my 'wires tapped' in Trump Tower" during the campaign, calling his predecessor a "bad (or sick) guy!"
AP Mar-12-2017 125 0
Federal judges found more problems in Texas' voting rights laws, ruling that Republicans racially gerrymandered some congressional districts to weaken the growing electoral power of minorities, who former President Barack Obama set out to protect at the ballot box before leaving office.

The ruling late Friday by a three-judge panel in San Antonio gave Democrats hope of new, more favorably drawn maps that could turn over more seats in Congress in 2018. But the judges in their 2-1 decision didn't propose an immediate fix, and Texas could appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court.

Republicans hold two of three congressional districts ruled newly invalid and were found to have been partly drawn with discriminatory intent. The GOP-controlled Texas Legislature approved the maps in 2011, the same year then-Gov. Rick Perry signed a voter ID law that ranks among the toughest in the U.S. Courts have since weakened that law, too.

Judges noted the "strong racial tension and heated debate about Latinos, Spanish-speaking people, undocumented immigrants and sanctuary cities" that served as the backdrop in the Legislature to Texas adopting the maps and the voter ID law. Those tensions are flaring again over President Donald Trump's executive orders on immigration, and Republican Texas Gov. Greg Abbott is also demanding tough crackdowns on so-called sanctuary cities.

"The record indicates not just a hostility toward Democrat districts, but a hostility to minority districts, and a willingness to use race for partisan advantage," U.S. District Judges Xavier Rodriguez and Orlando Garcia wrote in their opinion.

Republican Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton did not immediately remark on the ruling.

An attorney for the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund welcomed Friday's ruling.

"The court's decision exposes the Texas Legislature's illegal effort to dilute the vote of Texas Latinos," said Nina Perales, the group's vice president of litigation and lead counsel in the case. "Moving forward, the ruling will help protect Latinos from manipulation of district lines in order to reduce their political clout."

Hispanics were found to have fueled Texas' dramatic growth in the 2010 census, the year before the maps were drawn, accounting for two out of every three new residents in the state. The findings of racially motivated mapmaking satisfied Democrats and minority rights groups, who are now pushing a separate federal court in Texas to determine that the voter ID law was also crafted with discriminatory intent.

Texas was forced ahead of the November election to weaken its voter ID law, which allows concealed handgun licenses but not college student IDs, after a federal appeals court found that the requirements particularly hampered minorities and the poor.

The Obama administration had brought the muscle of the U.S. Justice Department into Texas to help challenge both the maps and voter ID law. But barely a month after Trump took office, the federal government reversed course and announced it would no longer argue that Texas purposefully discriminated against minorities with its voter ID law.

It was not yet clear whether the Trump administration will also drop opposition to Texas' maps. But U.S. Circuit Judge Jerry Smith, in a blistering dissent, had strong words for Obama administration attorneys after they joined the case.

"It was obvious, from the start, that the DoJ attorneys viewed state officials and the legislative majority and their staffs as a bunch of backwoods hayseed bigots who bemoan the abolition of the poll tax and pine for the days of literacy tests and lynchings," Smith wrote. "And the DoJ lawyers saw themselves as an expeditionary landing party arriving here, just in time, to rescue the state from oppression, obviously presuming that plaintiffs' counsel were not up to the task."

The stakes in finding discriminatory intent are higher because it provides a window for opponents to argue that Texas should be forced to resume having changes to voting laws "pre-cleared" by the Justice Department or a federal court. A 2013 U.S. Supreme Court ruling did away with preclearance by striking down a key provision in the federal Voting Rights Act.

The congressional districts voided by the panel belong to Democrat Lloyd Doggett and Republicans Will Hurd and Blake Farenthold. Hurd's district, which runs from San Antonio to El Paso, has been a rare competitive swing district in Texas in recent years.
Feb-28-2017 101 0
President Trump signed an executive order to bolster historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs) on Tuesday. The order will do this by moving the moving the White House Initiative on Historically Black Colleges and Universities, which was previously part of the Department of Education, back to the White House.

The administration says this action will encourage strategic partnerships with other agencies and outside groups by giving it greater visibility. The United Negro College Fund had requested that Mr. Trump move the Initiative to the White House and be led by a person “who reports to a senior advisor to the president,” according to The Washington Post.

Dozens of HBCU leaders gathered at the White House on Monday where they briefly met Mr. Trump in the Oval Office before meeting with Vice President Mike Pence. The order is a signal that the Trump administration plans to make HBCUs a priority, boosting Trump’s “urban agenda,” a senior White House office told reporters in a briefing.

What to expect in President Trump's address to joint session of Congress
The White House Initiative on Historically Black Colleges and Universities was started by President Jimmy Carter, but the Trump administration says the office has “lost track because they didn’t have the full force of the White House behind it.”
AP Feb-25-2017 101 0
Democrats elected former Labor Secretary Tom Perez as their new national chairman on Saturday over a liberal Minnesota congressman after a divisive campaign that reflected the depths of the party's electoral failures as well as the energy from resistance to President Donald Trump.

Perez, the first Latino to hold the post, edged Rep. Keith Ellison on the second round of voting by Democratic National Committee members gathered in Atlanta.

A nod to his margin of 35 votes out of 435 cast, to say nothing of the lingering friction between old-guard Democratic brokers and outspoken liberal upstarts, Perez tapped Ellison to serve as deputy chair.

"We are all in this together," Perez said, calling on Democrats to fight "the worst president in the history of the United States." He added, "I am confident when we lead with our values and we lead with our actions, we succeed."

Perez had led on the first ballot among six candidates, but fell just short of the required majority.

Earlier Saturday, Perez told DNC members the party was facing a "crisis of confidence" and a "crisis of relevance."

"We need a chair who cannot only take the fight to Donald Trump but make sure that we talk about our positive message of inclusion and opportunity and talk to that big tent of the Democratic Party," Perez said.

Both top candidates had promised aggressive rebuilding efforts for state and local Democratic parties.

The chair campaign was uncharted territory as Democrats face a power deficit not seen in nine decades. Republicans control the White House, Congress and about two-thirds of U.S. statehouses. The GOP is one Senate confirmation fight away from a conservative majority on the Supreme Court.

With Democrats in agreement in their opposition to Trump, the race turned on who was able to convince enough DNC members to believe his promises of rebuilding party infrastructure that withered under President Barack Obama despite his personal electoral success.

Ellison told voting members he had signatures from 750,000 rank-and-file Democrats who support his chairmanship bid. He promised to "convert them from demonstration energy to electoral energy." He pledged to prioritize small donations to finance the party, while working to "organize this whole country."

Perez said he would "rebuild strong parties" and "organize, organize, organize" so Democratic nominees could win "from the school to the Senate in all the states."

Perez got into the race at Obama's urging, but he pushed back on the notion that represented the same "establishment" label that dogged Hillary Clinton's presidential campaign. Ellison had endorsements from Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, who challenged Clinton for the Democratic nomination, and also from Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer.

For their parts, Ellison and Perez had praised each other and promised unity regardless of the outcome.

The winner succeeds outgoing Chairwoman Donna Brazile, who led the party as interim chief in the fallout from disclosure that internal party communications were stolen by hackers and leaked during the 2016 presidential campaign.

U.S. intelligence officials have blamed Russian agents and said Moscow's intention was to help Trump win.

Brazile said Saturday the party has worked with cybersecurity experts to address vulnerabilities. She chided Trump for his mockery of DNC cybersecurity and his doubts that Russians are at fault.

"No, Donald Trump, you can't go to Staples and buy anti-Russian hacking software," she said, urging Congress to investigate whether Russians hacked the Republican National Committee.

No RNC emails were leaked during the 2016 campaign. Republican officials insist their party communications were not breached.

Brazile suggests that proves Russians wanted to help Trump.
Reena Flores Feb-16-2017 88 0
President Trump’s freewheeling press White House press conference Thursday -- in which he announced his new labor secretary pick -- also included an awkward exchange on race, after a reporter asked him about his policies to improve inner cities.

“You go to some of the inner city places and it’s so sad when you look at the crime,” the president said. He went on to describe how people “lock themselves into apartments petrified to even leave in the middle of the day” in urban areas for fear of crime in the cities.

Journalist April Ryan, who serves as the White House correspondent and Washington bureau chief for American Urban Radio Networks, followed up: “When you say the inner cities, are you going to include the CBC, Mr. President, in your conversations with your urban agenda?”
When Mr. Trump seemed unfamiliar with the “CBC” acronym, Ryan, who is black, clarified: “Are you going to include the Congressional Black Caucus -- “

The president interrupted: “Well I would. I’d tell you what -- do you want to set up the meeting?
“Do you want to set up the meeting?” the president pressed again. “Are they friends of yours?”
Ryan emphatically shook her head and said, “No, no, no, I’m just a reporter...I know some of them but --”

“No, get us -- set up the meeting,” he urged. “Let’s go, set up the meeting, I would love to meet with the black caucus - the Congressional Black caucus.”
The CBC tweeted at Mr. Trump after the news conference.

President Trump went on to say he had once had a scheduled meeting with Rep. Elijah Cummings of Maryland, who is a senior member of the Congressional Black Caucus.

“Every day I walked in and said I would like to meet with him, because I do want to solve the problem,” Mr. Trump said. “But he probably was told by [Senate Minority Leader Chuck] Schumer or somebody like that … he was probably told don’t meet with Trump. It’s bad politics.”  
“I was all set to have the meeting,” he said.

But Rep. Cummings, a Democrat, pushed back against the president’s claims in a short statement immediately after the news conference.

“I have no idea why President Trump would make up a story about me like he did today. Of course, Sen. Schumer never told me to skip a meeting with the President,” Cummings wrote Thursday. 
“I was actually looking forward to meeting with the President about the skyrocketing price of prescription drugs,” he said, adding that he looks “forward to meeting with [Mr. Trump] on this issue and others.
AP Feb-09-2017 180 0
A federal appeals court in San Francisco has refused to reinstate President Donald Trump's ban on travelers from seven predominantly Muslim nations.

The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on Thursday wouldn't block a lower-court ruling that suspended the ban and allowed previously barred travelers to enter the U.S. An appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court is possible.

U.S. District Judge James Robart in Seattle issued a temporary restraining order halting the ban last week after Washington state and Minnesota sued. The Justice Department appealed to the 9th Circuit.

Government lawyers argued that the ban was a "lawful exercise" of the president's authority and that the seven countries have raised terrorism concerns.

The states said Trump's executive order unconstitutionally blocked entry based on religion.

AP Feb-03-2017 142 0
The Republican-controlled Congress on Thursday scrapped Obama-era rules on the environment and guns, counting on a new ally in the White House to help reverse years of what the GOP calls excessive regulation.

The Senate gave final approval to a measure eliminating a rule to prevent coal mining debris from being dumped into nearby streams, while the House backed a separate resolution doing away with extended background checks for gun purchases by some Social Security recipients with mental disabilities.

The Senate's 54-45 vote sends the repeal of the stream protection rule to President Donald Trump, who is expected to sign it. The gun measure awaits Senate action.

Republicans and some Democrats say the coal-mining rule could eliminate thousands of coal-related jobs and ignores dozens of federal, state and local regulations already in place.

The Interior Department, which announced the rule in December, said that it would protect 6,000 miles of streams and 52,000 acres of forests, preventing coal mining debris from being dumped into nearby waters.

The vote was the first in a series of actions Republicans are expected to take in coming weeks to reverse years of what they call excessive regulation during President Barack Obama's tenure. Rules on fracking, federal contracting and other issues also are in the cross-hairs as the GOP moves to void a host of regulations finalized during Obama's last months in office.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., called the stream rule "an attack against coal miners and their families" and said it would have threatened coal jobs and caused major damage to communities in Kentucky and other coal-producing states.

"The legislation we passed today will help stop this disastrous rule and bring relief to coal miners and their families," McConnell said.

Democrats called the vote an attack on clean water and a clear win for big coal-mining companies and other polluters.

Sen. Maria Cantwell, D-Wash., said the stream rule had nothing to do with the decline of coal, which faces stiff competition from cheap natural gas.

"This rule was not in place" when coal production began declining in the past half-dozen years, Cantwell said.

In the House, the issue was an Obama rule extending background checks for disabled Social Security recipients mentally incapable of managing their own affairs. The House voted 235-180 to scuttle it.

Under the rule, the Social Security Administration had to provide information to the gun-buying background check system on recipients with a mental disorder so severe they cannot work and need someone to handle their benefits. The rule, also finalized in December, would have affected an estimated 75,000 beneficiaries.

"There is no evidence suggesting that those receiving disability benefits from the Social Security Administration are a threat to public safety," said Rep. Bob Goodlatte, R-Va., chairman of the House Judiciary Committee.

"Once an unelected bureaucrat unfairly adds these folks to the federal background check system, they are no longer able to exercise their Second Amendment right," he said.

After the 2012 school massacre in Newtown, Connecticut, Obama directed the Justice Department to provide guidance to agencies regarding information they are obligated to report to the background check system.

In Newtown, 20 children and six educators were shot to death when a gunman entered the Sandy Hook Elementary School on Dec. 14, 2012. The gunman had earlier killed his mother inside their home, and he used a gun and ammunition that she had purchased. His mental health problems have been extensively reported since the shooting.

Democrats said Republicans were doing the bidding of the National Rifle Association, which opposed the Social Security Administration's rule.

"These are not people just having a bad day," Rep. Mike Thompson, D-Calif., said. "These are not people simply suffering from depression or anxiety or agoraphobia. These are people with a severe mental illness who can't hold any kind of job or make any decisions about their affairs, so the law says very clearly they shouldn't have a firearm."

The NRA said overturning the regulation will protect a broad class of vulnerable citizens from government overreach. And the American Civil Liberties Union agreed, telling lawmakers that a disability should not constitute grounds for the automatic denial of any right or privilege, including gun ownership.

Republicans are employing a rarely used tool to roll back some of the rules issued in the final months of Obama's tenure. The Congressional Review Act provides a temporary window for a simple majority of both chambers to invalidate a rule. Trump would have to sign the disapproval measure for a regulation to be deemed invalid.

The law also prevents the executive branch from imposing substantially similar regulations in the future.

On the coal mining vote, Sen. Susan Collins of Maine was the sole Republican to oppose the repeal measure, which was supported by four Democrats: Joe Donnelly of Indiana, Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota, Joe Manchin of West Virginia and Claire McCaskill of Missouri. All four face re-election next year in states Trump won.

Daryl Washington Jan-31-2017 191 0
dan good Jan-16-2017 306 0
President-elect Donald Trump met with Martin Luther King III on Monday, as the country observed the holiday honoring King's father.

The two were seen shaking hands in the Trump Tower lobby following the early afternoon meeting, which addressed voter participation and poverty, King said.

Trump said "over and over" during the session that "he's going to represent Americans ... I think that we will continue to evaluate that," said King, who followed his father's footsteps in his work on human rights.

Trump had earlier been rumored to spend Martin Luther King Jr. Day visiting the Smithsonian Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington, D.C. — but the trip was called off due to unspecified "scheduling issues."

King answered questions from a handful of reporters after the meeting and briefly discussed the simmering feud between the President-elect and Rep. John Lewis (D-Ga.), who said that he didn't consider Trump a "legitimate president."

"In the heat of emotion, a lot of things get said on both sides," King said. "The goal is to bring America together, and Americans," he added. "We are a great nation, but we must become a greater nation."

"The goal is to bring America together, and Americans," he added. "We are a great nation, but we must become a greater nation."

William Wachtel – a lawyer who relaunched the Drum Major Institute, a think-tank and community action group, with King – also attended the meeting and later displayed a mock-up Social Security card featuring an image of Trump. The non-profit wants Trump to improve the government’s photo ID system to give more people the opportunity to vote.

The Rev. James A. Forbes and Scott Rechler were also present, the Washington Post reports.
Trump posted a message on Twitter honoring Martin Luther King Jr., the civil rights icon who was assassinated in 1968.

“Celebrate Martin Luther King Day and all of the many wonderful things that he stood for,” he wrote. “Honor him for being the great man that he was!”

Lewis and dozens of other lawmakers have said they plan to boycott Trump's inauguration after Trump wrote on Twitter that Lewis was "all talk" and that his district was in "horrible shape and falling apart."

Lewis worked alongside King and other civil rights activists during the 1960s, and was severely beaten during the "Bloody Sunday" marches from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama.

"Congressman Lewis started this," Spicer told NBC's "Today" on Monday. "To see somebody of John Lewis' stature and iconic nature who has worked so hard to enfranchise people and talk about people getting involved with our voting systems, and talking about the integrity of our voting systems, to then go out when the candidate of his choice didn't win and try to talk about the delegitimization of the election, is frankly, disappointing."
mary papenfuss Jan-15-2017 136 0
Donald Trump not only slammed Georgia Democratic Rep. John Lewis after the black congressman challenged the legitimacy of Trump’s coming presidency, but he also ripped Lewis’ Atlanta district as “crime infested” and in “horrible shape and falling apart.” Now Atlanta residents are furious.

“He needs to do a little more research before he opens his mouth,” local mom Monique Smith told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

If “Trump believes Georgia’s Fifth Congressional District is ‘falling apart,’ then he believes Atlanta is falling apart,” the newspaper noted, and that’s hardly the case. The economically and racially diverse district includes 750,000 people and encompasses most of the city along with some suburbs.

It’s unclear what Trump meant by “falling apart.” As for “crime infested,” Atlanta was ranked 14th in violent crime rates by the FBI in 2015. Kansas City, Missouri, ranked 8th, and Washington, D.C., ranked 12th. The 5th District includes impressive sections of wealthy areas like Buckhead, the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the Georgia Institute of Technology.

Trump’s knee-jerk perception of Lewis’ district is similar to views he expressed during his campaign when he characterized some black communities as crime-ridden hellholes worse than Afghanistan.

Trump appears to be less concerned about accuracy in his portrayal of the 5th District and more focused on devaluing a critic’s assessment of him by evoking a negative image of a blighted black community failed by its leadership.

Lewis’ furious constituents and others flooded Twitter after Trump’s comments with responses defending their congressman and their community under hashtags such as #defendthefifth and #notsad.

Houston Astros pitcher Collin McHugh of Atlanta tweeted: “As someone who lives in the 5th district, I don’t think #DJT has any idea what he’s talking about. And then doubling down by insulting the civil rights hero on #MLK wknd … wow #classy.”

Some people posted photos of high-rises, beautiful homes and children playing in a park. One Twitter user quipped that Atlanta should be relieved about Trump’s attitude — because it means he probably won’t be visiting.

Trump attacked Lewis and his district after the congressman said he wouldn’t be attending the inauguration. He said he believes Trump won the White House with the help of Russian hackers.


“I think it was a conspiracy on the part of the Russians and others to help him get elected,” he said in an interview Friday on NBC for Sunday’s “Meet The Press.” “That’s not right. That’s not fair. That’s not the open democratic process.”

Lewis added: “I don’t see this president-elect as a legitimate president.”

Lewis, an iconic civil rights leader who was once beaten so badly by a law enforcement officer in a protest that his skull was fractured, has represented the 5th District since 1987. The NAACP has called on Trump to apologize to him. Organization President Cornell William Brooks said in a Saturday tweet that Trump’s remarks “demeaned Americans” and the rights Lewis has fought for throughout his life.


Mallory Shelbourne Jan-14-2017 185 0
Rep. Mark Takano (D-Calif.) on Saturday said he will not attend Donald Trump's inauguration next week after the president-elect ripped Rep. John Lewis (D-Ga.).

"'All talk, no action.' I stand with @repjohnlewis and I will not be attending the inauguration," Takano wrote on Twitter.

Trump took to Twitter early Saturday to slam Lewis for saying he does not see Trump as "a legitimate president."

"Congressman John Lewis should spend more time on fixing and helping his district, which is in horrible shape and falling apart (not to mention crime infested) rather than falsely complaining about the election results. All talk, talk, talk - no action or results. Sad!" Trump wrote in several tweets.

The attack sparked heavy backlash from several Democratic lawmakers as well as Republican Sen. Ben Sasse (R-Neb.), who noted Lewis' prominent role in the Civil Rights Movement.

Lewis said Friday that while he believes in forgiveness, working with Trump would be "hard."

"I believe in forgiveness. I believe in trying to work with people. It will be hard. It's going to be very difficult. I don't see this president-elect as a legitimate president," Lewis told NBC News on Friday.
AP Jan-14-2017 151 0
House Republicans have shown no inclination to challenge President-elect Donald Trump on ethics matters. Instead, they are going after the federal ethics official who questioned Trump's potential conflicts of interest.

Democrats slammed the move, saying GOP lawmakers are trying to intimidate an independent watchdog for having the temerity to challenge Trump's business arrangements.

Rep. Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah, chairman of the House Oversight Committee, has summoned Walter Shaub Jr., the director of the Office of Government Ethics, to answer questions about his public comments on Trump.

This week, Shaub issued a scathing review of Trump's plan to turn over control of his business to his sons. Shaub said in a speech Wednesday that the only way Trump could avoid a conflict of interest as president would be to divest from his business and have his assets placed in a blind trust. "Stepping back from running his business is meaningless from a conflict of interest perspective," Shaub said of Trump.

Chaffetz sent Shaub a sternly worded letter late Thursday requesting that he sit for a transcribed interview. He said the interview would "help the committee understand how you perceive OGE's role, among other things."

"Your agency's mission is to provide clear ethics guidance, not engage in public relations," Chaffetz wrote.

In an interview, Chaffetz said Shaub is offering opinions on conflicts of interest without fully researching the circumstances. "What he's doing is highly unethical," Chaffetz said.

Chaffetz said his own letter was drafted before Shaub's speech. Chaffetz said he has been trying to meet with Shaub since the fall but that Shaub has declined his invitations. "All I wanted to do is try to get him to come in and talk to us," Chaffetz said.

Chaffetz' letter cited a series of tweets by Shaub in November. In the tweets, Shaub congratulated Trump for agreeing to divest from his business — an agreement that Trump never made.

The congressman's letter did not mention Shaub's speech.

In the speech, Shaub noted that members of Trump's Cabinet — some of them very wealthy, like Trump — are required to place their assets in a blind trust. Shaub said the president should be held to the same standard. "The plan the president-elect has announced doesn't meet the standards that the best of his nominees are meeting and that every president in the past four decades has met," Shaub said.

Shaub's criticism of Trump has been echoed by several government watchdog groups and both Republican and Democratic government ethics experts. They include Norman Eisen, a former chief ethics counselor for President Barack Obama, and Richard Painter, who served in the same role for President George W. Bush.

Congressional Democrats sharply criticized Chaffetz for summoning Shaub.

"The Oversight Committee has not held one hearing, conducted one interview, or obtained one document about President-elect Donald Trump's massive global entanglements, yet it is now apparently rushing to launch an investigation of the key government official for warning against the risks caused by President-elect Donald Trump's current plans," said Rep. Elijah Cummings of Maryland, then top Democrat on the committee.

Some Democrats see a coordinated effort by Republicans to undermine the office responsible for ethics reviews of Cabinet nominees and ensuring they will avoid conflicts of interests.

"Instead of honoring his committee's responsibility to hold the administration accountable, Chairman Chaffetz has appointed himself President-elect Trump's chief strongman and enforcer," said House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif.

A week ago, Shaub complained that Senate Republicans were moving ahead with confirmation hearings before Trump's choices had reached ethics agreements.

This week, Rep. Marsha Blackburn, R-Tenn., circulated an online petition that says, "It's time for the bureaucrats at the Office of Government Ethics to pick up the pace on vetting President-elect Trump's nominees for the cabinet."
Reuters Jan-07-2017 183 0
President Obama said on Friday that criticism from the left wing of his own Democratic Party helped feed into the unpopularity of Obamacare, his signature health care reform law.

Obama has been spending part of his last two weeks in office urging supporters to speak out against plans by Republicans - who will soon control both the White House and Congress - to dismantle the 2010 Affordable Care Act.

At a town hall event with Vox Media, Obama acknowledged the politics have been stacked against his reforms, mainly blaming Republicans who he said refused to help make legislative fixes to Obamacare, which provides subsidies for private insurance to lower-income Americans who do not have healthcare plans at work.

But Obama also said liberals like former Democratic presidential candidate Senator Bernie Sanders had contributed to the program's unpopularity.

During Sanders' campaign for the presidential nomination, he proposed replacing Obamacare with a government-run single-payer health insurance system based on Medicare, the government plan for elderly and disabled Americans.

"In the 'dissatisfied' column are a whole bunch of Bernie Sanders supporters who wanted a single-payer plan," Obama said in the interview.

"The problem is not that they think Obamacare is a failure. The problem is that they don't think it went far enough and that it left too many people still uncovered," Obama said.

Michael Briggs, a spokesman for Sanders, agreed that many people would rather the government "take on the private insurance industry and the pharmaceutical companies" and play a bigger role in providing healthcare.

"There are many millions of Americans, including many of Bernie's supporters, who don’t understand why we are the only major country on earth that does not provide healthcare as a right and they don’t understand why we pay more but get less for what we spend on healthcare," Briggs said.

Polling by the Kaiser Family Foundation last month showed 46% of Americans have an unfavorable opinion of Obamacare, while 43% have a favorable view. Americans are also split on whether the law should be repealed.

Trump and congressional Republicans have vowed to quickly repeal the law, but Obama and Democrats have argued they should reveal a replacement plan before dismantling the program.

More than 20 million previously uninsured Americans gained health coverage through Obamacare, according to the White House. Coverage was extended by expanding the Medicaid program for the poor and through online exchanges where consumers can receive income-based subsidies.
Jason Silverstein Jan-03-2017 131 0
Members of the NAACP started occupying the Mobile office of Alabama Sen. Jeff Sessions Tuesday, calling for him to turn down his controversial nomination to become the next U.S. Attorney General.

NAACP President Cornell William Brooks led several protesters into the office after noon, and said he'd be fine with leaving in handcuffs.

President-elect Donald Trump has tapped Sessions, 70, to be his Attorney General — a move that drew immediate rebukes for Sessions' history of opposing civil rights causes.

Sessions lost a nomination from President Ronald Reagan to become a federal judge after accusations that he had made racist remarks. Former colleagues said he called civil rights groups, including the NAACP, “un-American” and “communist inspired,” but said he was “okay” with the Ku Klux Klan until he learned that some members smoked marijuana.

Since then, he has earned a reputation as one of the staunchest conservatives in the Senate, and he has opposed Obamacare, the repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, and all three of President Obama’s Supreme Court nominees.

In a press conference before the protest, Birmingham NAACP leader Hezekiah Jackson said the black civil rights group "has chosen not to remain silent on this critical matter."

"We have found no evidence of (Sessions') ability, past or present, to be impartial and unbiased as the chief law enforcement officer of the United States of America, especially in the areas of civil rights, voting rights and equal protection under the law," Johnson said.

There were not any arrests in the first hour of the protest, Mobile Police Public Affairs Officer Charlette Solis told the Daily News. She was not sure how many protesters were in Sessions' office.
A representative in Sessions' Mobile refused to answer questions and referred to News to the senator's Washington, D.C. office. 
ap Dec-12-2016 160 0
Former U.S. Rep. Chaka Fattah was sentenced Monday to a 10-year prison term by a judge who said he was "astonished" that a veteran legislator would steal government and charity funds to pay his son's debts and buy a vacation home.

Fattah, a Democrat who was born into a family of black activists in west Philadelphia, spent two decades in Congress working on housing, education, gun control and other issues of concern to his mostly poor district. Fattah and his TV anchor wife meanwhile took in more than $500,000 a year.

Yet Fattah's finances grew increasingly dire after a failed 2007 run for mayor, when he faced new campaign spending limits that led him to take an illegal $1 million loan from a friend. The trouble escalated when the friend called in the debt.

As he awaited his sentence, Fattah told the judge he had mixed emotions: saddened to find himself in court but grateful for the work he was able to do over 37 years as a state and federal lawmaker.
"I've helped tens of millions of people," said Fattah, 60. "(That) has nothing to do with the fact that I've been found on the wrong side of these questions by a jury."

Fattah lost the spring primary days before trial and resigned his seat following his June conviction. The jury found he took the $1 million loan from the chairman of Sallie Mae, the student loan corporation. He returned $400,000 of it and repaid some of the rest with federal grant money he had steered to an education nonprofit run by former aides.

The nonprofit efforts — including a NASA-funded mobile science classroom emblazoned with Fattah's name that roamed Philadelphia during the mayoral campaign — helped promote Fattah's political career, prosecutors said. Fattah was also ordered Monday to repay $600,000 to Sallie Mae and NASA.

"For someone so interested in advancing education for the disadvantaged, you had the temerity to steal from the Educational Advancement Alliance, a nonprofit supported by government funds," U.S. District Judge Harvey Bartle said. "While you have done much good, you also engaged in grave and widespread criminal activity."

Four co-defendants who helped Fattah move government grants and other money between his campaign, the nonprofits and his consultants will be sentenced throughout the week.

Fattah used the money on campaign and personal expenses, the jury found. He put $23,000 in nonprofit funds toward his son's college loans and took an $18,000 bribe to try to help a friend become an ambassador. Fattah and his wife used that money for a down payment on a Poconos vacation home. They told authorities it covered the friend's purchase of a Porsche owned by Fattah's wife, but the Porsche never left their garage.

Fattah had insisted the Justice Department had been out to get him and his family for years. He plans to appeal the conviction.

"There are so many people in this courtroom and outside that owe their success — and also are able to serve the community so much better — as a result of the congressman's influence, support and inspiration," said Joseph Quinones, a one-time high school dropout who said that Fattah's encouragement led him to earn a master's degree from the University of Pennsylvania's Wharton School.

The congressman's son is serving a five-year prison term in an overlapping fraud case that went to trial last year. Chaka "Chip" Fattah Jr. was convicted of using fraudulently obtained business loans to fund his jet-set lifestyle.

The elder Fattah, who earned $174,000 as a congressman, is married to longtime Philadelphia news anchor Renee Chenault-Fattah. They have two school-age children. Chenault-Fattah spent 25 years with WCAU-TV before she resigned after the indictment named her a participant in the bribery scheme. She was never charged and has denied wrongdoing.

Fattah's co-defendants include former Philadelphia Deputy Mayor Herbert Vederman, of Palm Springs, Florida, who had sought the ambassadorship. Two political consultants pleaded guilty and testified at trial.

Prosecutors had asked for a 17- to 21-year sentence. The judge gave Fattah until Jan. 25 to report to prison.

Fattah entered Congress in 1995. Former state Rep. Dwight Evans, a fellow Democrat, now holds his seat.
Brooke Seipel Dec-12-2016 199 0
A West Virginia government employee who was removed from her position for a Facebook post referring to first lady Michelle Obama as an "ape in heels" will get her job back, according to recent reports.

Pamela Taylor, director of the Clay County Development Corp., was fired in early November after she said "It will be refreshing to have a classy, beautiful, dignified First Lady in the White House. I'm tired of seeing a Ape in heels."

The Clay County Development Corp. announced on Saturday that Taylor would be reinstated on Dec. 23.

The post also cost the local mayor her job. Former Clay Mayor Beverly Whaling resigned after commenting that Taylor's post "just made my day."

The post was a source of public outrage, with nearly 1,500 people demanding the resignations of both via a petition. The two have since made public apologies.
AP Nov-15-2016 183 0
Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) will introduce legislation on Tuesday to get rid of the Electoral College, after Hillary Clinton lost the presidential election despite leading in the popular vote.

"In my lifetime, I have seen two elections where the winner of the general election did not win the popular vote," Boxer said in a statement. "In 2012, Donald Trump tweeted, 'The electoral college is a disaster for a democracy. I couldn't agree more. One person, one vote!"

"She added that Clinton, whom she supported, is "on track to have received more votes than any other presidential candidate in history except Barack Obama."

The Electoral College is an outdated, undemocratic system that does not reflect our modern society, and it needs to change immediately," she said.

Clinton is currently leading Trump by nearly a million votes, according to a Cook Political Report tracker of the national popular vote,  but Trump won the Electoral College, leading the former secretary of State 290-232.

According to Pew, Clinton would be the fifth person to win the popular vote, but lose the election.
Boxer's legislation would amend the Constitution to abolish the Electoral College. Even if it is approved by Congress it would need to be approved by three-fourths of the states within seven years before it would take effect.

Trump called the Electoral College "genius" on Tuesday morning, despite past criticism.

The tweet comes after Trump said during a "60 Minutes" interview on Sunday that he still has issues with the Electoral College.

"I'm not going to change my mind just because I won," the president-elect said. "But I would rather see it where you went with simple votes. You know, you get 100 million votes and somebody else gets 90 million votes and you win."
Mark Hensch Nov-14-2016 258 0
Two Democratic members of the Electoral College have launched a campaign to keep President-elect Donald Trump from entering the White House, according to a new report.

Washington's Bret Chiafolo and Colorado's Michael Baca hope at least 37 of their GOP colleagues will abandon Trump and force the House into picking the next president instead, Politico said Monday.

Politico said the pair's so-called "Moral Electors" movement has already found one backer in Washington's Robert Satiacum.

"This is a longshot," Chiafolo told Politico in a phone interview Monday. "It's a hail Mary. However, I do see situations where - when we've already had two or three [Republican] electors state publicly they didn't want to vote for Trump. How many of them have real issue with Donald Trump in private?"
Politico said neither Baca nor Chiafolo is seeking the election of Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton.

Both vowed they would encourage GOP electors to write-in either Gov. John Kasich (R-Ohio) or 2012 Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney instead.

The House would choose from among the top-three vote getters should enough electors reject Trump's claim to the White House.

Politico noted the 538 members of the Electoral College are scheduled to gather in their various state capitals and formally vote for president Dec. 19.

Baca and Chiafolo are seeking 37 other electors to halt Trump due to the Republican's results in the Electoral College vote last week.

Trump claimed 290 electoral votes to Clinton's 228, and currently leads in Michigan, which awards another 16.
Michigan would boost Trump's total to 306 electoral votes if all electors there go his way, well past the 270 threshold required for the presidency.

Politico added it could find only one GOP elector on record considering a break with Trump, his party's nominee.

Texas's Art Sisneros, a Libertarian activist, on Monday said he remains "undecided" but state party leaders and fellow GOP electors are pressuring him to go with Trump.

Twenty-nine states have laws mandating their electors support the victor of their state's popular vote, though Politico acknowledged none has ever been challenged or enforced.

Clinton's loss to Trump remains controversial as the former secretary of State won the national popular vote by less than 1 point over him.
Paul Farhi Nov-01-2016 246 0
CNN chose an odd way to announce some news about itself on Monday: It waited until reporters called to disclose the fact that, yes, it had parted ways with one of its longtime commentators, Donna Brazile.

And it waited two weeks to do even that.

The cable network accepted Brazile’s resignation on Oct. 14 after it learned about her undisclosed role in back-channeling questions intended for a CNN-sponsored primary debate to Hillary Clinton’s campaign. According to Wikileaks, which posted hacked emails sent by Brazile to Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta, Brazile tipped the Clinton camp to at least two debate questions.

On Monday, a spokeswoman said in response to press calls that CNN was “extremely uncomfortable” with Brazile’s involvement in helping Clinton and had accepted her resignation — two weeks earlier. She didn’t explain why news about Brazile’s status at CNN was delayed for weeks.

On Tuesday, CNN President Jeff Zucker told staffers in an internal conference call that he found Brazile’s behavior “disgusting.” But that statement raised its own set of questions, such as: Why was it “disgusting” for a political operative employed by CNN to try to help a candidate she’s promoted on CNN?

A CNN spokeswoman reiterated on Tuesday that no one at the network gave Brazile the information she secretly sent to Podesta. People at the network said CNN didn’t disclose her resignation on Oct. 14 because it was hoping to avoid calling attention to it at the time.

What’s known to date is that the leaks of the debate questions did not appear to come from within the cable network.

Brazile appears to have gotten one advance question about the death penalty from Roland S. Martin of TV One, who was a co-moderator of a CNN-sponsored town hall debate on March 13 between Clinton and Democratic challenger Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont.

Martin, or people close to him, evidently sent the question to Brazile, who passed it on to Podesta and Clinton communications director Jennifer Palmieri. The question was later asked at the town hall.

The circumstances behind the second question are somewhat murkier. Brazile told Podesta on March 5 to expect a question from a resident of Flint, Mich., about the city’s water crisis, writing in an email, “One of the questions directed to HRC tomorrow is from a woman with a rash.”

At the Flint debate the next day, CNN moderator Anderson Cooper introduced Flint resident Lee-Anne Walters, who said the city’s water had poisoned her family. She asked what the candidates would do about the issue. (Walters told Fox News on Tuesday that she still has a rash from the tainted water.)

CNN sources say Brazile learned that such a question would be forthcoming from a woman she met at a CNN-sponsored volunteer event in Flint held before the debate. But people at CNN couldn’t explain how Brazile knew the woman she met had been picked to ask the question.
Brazile was unavailable for comment.

A high-ranking CNN executive said Zucker described Brazile’s behavior as “disgusting” on Tuesday because “she took proprietary CNN information – a specific question that might possibly be asked at the town hall .?.?. and gave it to one of the candidates in the town hall. Regardless of how she got the information, even though she didn’t get it from us, it was wrong.”

Brazile, who was vice chair of the Democratic National Committee at the time of the primary debates and is now interim chair, was an outspoken proponent of Clinton during her many CNN appearances. She also was a paid commentator for ABC News. (ABC said Tuesday that Brazile’s status remains unchanged; her contract with the network was suspended in July when she became interim DNC chair.)

Brazile’s dual roles point up the inherent conflict of interest in the networks’ employment of political figures as commentators, said Edward Wasserman, dean of the graduate school of journalism at the University of California at Berkeley.

“There’s a clear conflict of loyalties,” he said. “She behaved in a way that is thoroughly unprincipled for a journalist and as an employee of CNN because she’s giving away proprietary secrets. Her obligation to a Democratic campaign outweighed her obligation to CNN and to the audience of CNN.”
Several of the major networks employ political figures such as Brazile to provide analysis. Fox News has given prime slots to a long list of former, and potentially, future Republican presidential candidates such as Newt Gingrich, Rick Santorum, Mike Huckabee and Sarah Palin. CNN employs Paul Begala, a former aide to Bill Clinton, and — perhaps most controversially — Corey Lewandowski, Donald Trump’s former campaign manager, despite a non-disparagement agreement between Lewandowski and the campaign.

“We’ve seen what a generation ago would have been unthinkable become fairly accepted,” said Wasserman, a former newspaper editor. “Back when I started in journalism, the door only opened one way. You were a journalist or you were a politician. Now the door swings both ways. It’s highly problematic and confusing the audience.”
His solution: “If you’re going to put these people on the air, question them as sources, not as employees with a horse in another race.”
12345678910...
  

All Content ?2008-2013 Black Legal Issues  unless otherwise stated.