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Michael Brown’s Family Calls for Calm as Ferguson Grand Jury Nears Decision

The Confirmation Files:

Police form a line opposite of protesters in front of the police station on Nov. 19, 2014.

Huy Mach—St. Louis Post-Dispatch/Polaris

Posted by Libergirl

Originally posted on TIME:

The family of the unarmed black teenager whose shooting death at the hands of a white police officer sparked violent protests in Ferguson, Mo., earlier this year appealed for calm Friday as a grand jury nears its decision on whether or not to charge the officer.

“They do not advocate any violence, any looting, any rioting,” Anthony Gray, an attorney for Michael Brown’s family, said during a news conference. The family called on Ferguson residents to keep their protests peaceful regardless of whether or not the grand jury charges Officer Darren Wilson in Brown’s death

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Ferguson has been on edge ahead of the grand jury’s decision, which is expected to come in a matter of days if not sooner, with sporadic protests breaking out and isolated arrests.

Brown’s family members aren’t the only ones calling for calm as the St. Louis County grand jury deliberates. Missouri Gov. Jay…

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THE DEATH OF BILL COSBY’S LEGACY

"Bill cosby 1969" by William Morris AgencyUploaded by We hope at en.wikipedia - eBay itemphoto front photo backTransferred from en.wikipedia by SreeBot. Licensed under Public domain via Wikimedia Commons - http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Bill_cosby_1969.JPG#mediaviewer/File:Bill_cosby_1969.JPG

“Bill cosby 1969″ by William Morris Agency Uploaded by We hope at en.wikipedia – eBay item photo front photo back Transferred from en.wikipedia by SreeBot. Licensed under Public domain via Wikimedia Commons

It’s been a slow death for the legend of Bill Cosby. As allegations of sexual assault — decades-old claims that are now being treated with appropriate gravity — envelop the 77-year-old Cosby, it’s easy to forget it’s been nearly 20 years since the Autumn Jackson trial showed us that America’s Dad might have been a lot more like a deadbeat than you realized. That was before social media, so her attempt to extort money from Cosby so she wouldn’t tell the world about his affair with her mother (and her claim that he was her father) vanished from mainstream memory.

Anyone who pretends to be incapable of believing he could do anything wrong is lying. Even if he wasn’t Jackson’s father, Cosby must’ve noticed the smoke from the fire that had been set to his pristine image. But the only person striking a match in public was a woman who seemed unhinged, and that was enough for many to ignore something few wished to consider: the possibility that Bill Cosby was a fraud.

It’s a lot harder to ignore 15 women, though, even if we don’t know very much about whether or not Cosby is a sexual predator. Sexual assault is a crime that few women claim falsely, but few isn’t none, and a certain presumption of innocence is responsible, even if it isn’t required. But the breadth and sheer volume of these allegations make it difficult to afford Cosby the benefit of the doubt for any reason other than obligation. Some of those women may be lying, but the likelihood that they all – 15 women and counting – are is asymptotically approaching zero. That small chance is enough to keep him out of jail, but not enough for reasonable people to dismiss.

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Posted by The NON-Conformist

Keystone XL: Mary Landrieu’s final indignity

Image: AP Photo/Bill Haber

Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-La.) has participated in a keg stand. She has run this desperate ad. She lost an energy committee chairmanship that she often touted, when the GOP took the Senate on Nov. 4. She has clashed — in front of reporters — with a leader of her party. That same party basically abandoned her in her runoff campaign for a fourth term.

But on Tuesday, she suffered the biggest indignity of her 2014 campaign, and possibly of her political career.

Landrieu, reduced to a relatively pointless gambit to demonstrate her clout in Washington, failed to secure the 60 votes required to move forward with the construction of the Keystone XL pipeline. She came up one vote shy.

This was basically Landrieu’s final play. With no party funding for her campaign, she has been drubbed on the airwaves — as in, exponentially so. And even before that, few gave her much hope in her runoff with Rep. Bill Cassidy (R-La.).

More from the Washington Post

Posted by Libergirl

Amid Criticism, Texas Fails to OK New Textbooks

MerryLynn Gerstenschlager

Image: Associated Press

 

The Texas Board of Education couldn’t muster the votes late Tuesday to grant preliminary approval for new history and social studies textbooks for classrooms across the nation’s second-largest state, failing to act amid stinging criticism of the proposed books from both the right and left.

Academics and some liberal-leaning activists have complained for months that many of the books up for adoption overstate the influence of religion on early American democracy, including exaggerating biblical figure Moses’ importance to the founding fathers. But conservative groups worry that many of the same books promote pro-Islam values.

The Republican-controlled board tried to pass nearly all of the 100 books and lesson software it was considering, but that failed 5-4 with four abstentions. One member wasn’t present.

“The abstentions have it,” joked Thomas Ratliff, a Mount Pleasant Republican.

That sets up a potentially tense final vote Friday, when the board will have to approve the books or miss the deadline to get them to the state’s 5 million-plus public school students by September 2015. Texas is such a vast textbook market that much of what is produced here can end up influencing materials used in other states.

MerryLynn Gerstenschlager, vice president of the influential conservative group Texas Eagle Forum, said books should describe the “forced wealth distribution” imposed by the United Nations via misleading propaganda about climate change. Retired school teacher Anthony Bruner warned that they would indoctrinate students with communist tenants.

More from ABC News via AP

Posted by Libergirl

Fence jumper probe finds problems at Secret Service

 

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Image: Win McNamee, Getty Images

 

A federal review of how a fence jumper managed to elude the Secret Service and enter the White House found inadequate training, staffing shortages and problems with communications at the agency in charge of protecting the president.

A summary of the Department of Homeland Security’s investigation released Thursday night revealed new details about the Sept. 19 events in which an Army veteran climbed the exterior fence, raced across the lawn and entered an unlocked door on the north front of the White House.

The intruder, Omar Gonzalez, got over the White House’s protective fence at a point where an ornamental spike, or trident, was missing, the report said. An officer who tried to raise an alarm about the jumper was unaware his radio warnings were not received by uniformed officers.

The report said some officers were unable to see the intrusion because of construction on the White House grounds. Other errors included an assumption by officers on duty that an intruder could not make it through thick barrier bushes and that the exterior White House door would be locked. It was unlocked.

More from USA Today

Posted by Libergirl

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