“A white police officer in North Charleston, S.C., was charged with murder on Tuesday after a video surfaced showing him shooting and killing an apparently unarmed black man in the back while he ran away,” the New York Times reports.
“I hate to mention it because of what happened afterwards, but (he should be saying) the kinds of stuff Bill Cosby used to say.”
— Rudy Giuliani, quoted by the New York Daily News, saying President Obama should tell African-Americans they need “to focus more on education, be better parents and avoid lives of crime.”
President Obama spoke at a ceremony marking the 50th anniversary of the events of “Bloody Sunday” when over 600 non-violent protesters were attacked by Alabama state troopers as they marched for voting rights. It’s definitely worth watching or reading.
It is a rare honor in this life to follow one of your heroes. And John Lewis is one of my heroes.
Now, I have to imagine that when a younger John Lewis woke up that morning fifty years ago and made his way to Brown Chapel, heroics were not on his mind. A day like this was not on his mind. Young folks with bedrolls and backpacks were milling about. Veterans of the movement trained newcomers in the tactics of non-violence; the right way to protect yourself when attacked. A doctor described what tear gas does to the body, while marchers scribbled down instructions for contacting their loved ones. The air was thick with doubt, anticipation, and fear. They comforted themselves with the final verse of the final hymn they sung:
No matter what may be the test, God will take care of you;
Lean, weary one, upon His breast, God will take care of you.
Then, his knapsack stocked with an apple, a toothbrush, a book on government – all you need for a night behind bars – John Lewis led them out of the church on a mission to change America.
“Scores of U.S. lawmakers are converging on tiny Selma, Alabama, for a large commemoration of a civil rights anniversary. But their ranks don’t include a single member of House Republican leadership — a point that isn’t lost on congressional black leaders,” Politico reports.
“None of the top leaders — House Speaker John Boehner, Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy or Majority Whip Steve Scalise, who was once thought likely to attend to atone for reports that he once spoke before a white supremacist group — will be in Selma for the three-day event that commemorates the 1965 march and the violence that protesters faced at the hands of white police officers. A number of rank-and-file Republicans have been aggressively lobbying their colleagues to attend, and several black lawmakers concurred.”
“I reject bigotry of all forms.”
— House Majoriy Whip Steve Scalise (R-LA), quoted by The Hill, trying to mend fences with the black community since it became known he spoke to a group in 2002 that was founded by a former Ku Klux Klan member.
“I would think, as we approach the 50th anniversary of Selma, that Republicans should be more sensitive about what they’re doing to this woman.”
— Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL), quoted by Bloomberg, on the stalled nomination of Loretta Lynch as Attorney General.
“During racially tense moments that have beset the nation recently, many Americans have longed for President Obama to display some of the passion and soaring rhetoric that made the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., who would have turned 86 last week, a civil rights legend,” the Washington Post reports.
“But the messages of restraint Obama has given in response to outcry over police violence are the same ones he has been dispensing for 20 to 30 years, echoes of thoughts he has had ever since he was a young community organizer in Chicago. His central tenets: Don’t give in to anger and violence; work to improve, not destroy, the legal system; and accept that change will come and things are getting better, albeit more slowly than many would like.”
“Though Obama’s views have evolved on issues such as gay marriage and national security during his six years in office, his views on race have remained remarkably consistent, and recent events appear to have affirmed rather than altered those views.”
“Six years before he spoke to a white supremacist group, House Majority Whip Steve Scalise (R-LA) voted as a state lawmaker against a resolution apologizing for slavery,” The Hill reports.
A 1996 article from the New Orleans Times-Picayune says that Scalise later backed a watered-down version that expressed “regret” for slavery. But the article identifies him as one of two lawmakers who tried to kill the original resolution, which apologized to African Americans for the state’s role “in the establishment and maintenance of the institution of slavery.”
Duke said that “politicians, both Democrats and Republicans, have attended everything from conferences he’s organized to his children’s birthday parties. To say nothing of Republicans, Duke estimates that he has met with Democratic lawmakers a good 50 times. He threatened to release a list with names of Republicans and Democrats who’ve been tied to him in one way or another.”
Said Duke: “If Scalise is going to be crucified — if Republicans want to throw Steve Scalise to the woods, then a lot of them better be looking over their shoulders.”
New Orleans Advocate reporter Stephanie Grace: “This is what I remember about the first time I met Steve Scalise nearly 20 years ago: He told me he was like David Duke without the baggage.”
“The baggage, of course, was Duke’s past, his racist and anti-Semitic views and his former role as a KKK grand wizard. Scalise disavowed Duke then, as he did once again this week… But the other part of the sentence, the part about their similarity, was the rub. Scalise may have been naïve about how to express himself to a newcomer, but he was already a savvy politician who knew that, even though Duke had lost the governor’s race a few years earlier, Duke voters were still around. And those Duke voters also were potential Scalise voters.”
Norm Ornstein: “Democrats find their support among whites—especially working-class whites—slipping, and that is not just an artifact of differential turnout in midterm contests. Especially in the South, white voters are moving steadily more toward voting for and identifying with the Republican Party, while nonwhites, even with a small uptick in some states for GOP votes for Senate and gubernatorial candidates, are heavily Democratic. Those divisions could change, of course, but right now it is possible to see a future where the GOP is clearly and distinctly a white party, while Democrats are clearly a majority-minority party.”
Former RNC Chairman Michael Steele criticized grand jury decisions to not indict white police officers in the deaths of black men in New York and Ferguson, MO, The Hill reports.
Said Steele: “They tell us, at least, a prosecutor can indict a ham sandwich. Well clearly a black man’s life is not worth a ham sandwich when you put these stories together. And that is the frustration.”
“It’s a horrible thing that he was killed, but he could have avoided that if he’d behaved like something other than a thug.”
— Mike Huckabee, in an interview with Newsmax, on Michael Brown, the teenager shot and killed by a policeman in Ferguson, MO.
Incoming Nevada Speaker Ira Hansen (R) told the Las Vegas Review Journal that his comments made as a newspaper columnist and talk radio host almost 20 years ago — including referring to blacks as “simple minded darkies” — were “taken out of context,” and were meant to be “purposely provocative in various political, cultural and religious views.”
The Reno News and Review dug up the past writings of Nevada Assembly speaker-designate Ira Hansen (R) which would make him “one of the most controversial speakers in Nevada history.”
“While members of the GOP caucus talked about a united front, they selected as speaker a legislator who is one of the most contentious public officials in the state. Hansen doesn’t like blacks, gays, Israel, many Republicans, and most Nevadans—he once wrote that newcomers to the state, who constitute four of every five Nevadans, should accept Nevada as it is or leave.”
Here are a couple choice quotes:
On race: “The relationship of Negroes and Democrats is truly a master-slave relationship, with the benevolent master knowing what’s best for his simple minded darkies. For American blacks, being denied choice and forced to attend the failing and inferior government school system is a form of involuntary servitude. Let’s call it what it truly is—educational slavery.”
On women: “Today, when Army men look at women in the ranks with ’longing in their eyes’ it very well may constitute ’sexual harassment.’ The truth is, women do not belong in the Army or Navy or Marine Corps, except in certain limited fields.”
Rick Hasen: “Recognizing this major overlap of race and party in the South is key to understanding Wednesday’s Supreme Court case involving a constitutional challenge to Alabama’s legislative redistricting. No one disputes that the Alabama legislature packed black voters into a few legislative districts, thus strengthening Republican control in the majority of districts throughout the rest of the state. But whether or not that action is constitutional depends a great deal on whether the court views this as a case about race (in which case Alabama may have acted unconstitutionally) or one about party (in which case Alabama’s actions are constitutional, if unsavory politics as usual).”
“I’ll be very, very honest with you: The South has not always been the friendliest place for African Americans. It’s been a difficult time for the president to present himself in a very positive light as a leader.”
— Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-LA), in an interview with NBC News.
Wisconsin Attorney General nominee Brad Schimel (R) said he would have reluctantly defended a ban on interracial marriage had he been attorney general in the 1950s, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports.
Said Schumel: “It might be distasteful to me …but I’ve got to stay consistent with that — as the state’s lawyer, it’s not my job to pick and choose.”
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