Thursday, April 28, 2011
Oklahoma State Rep. Sally Kern (R) says that she's seen "a lot of people of color who didn't study hard because they said the government would take care of them."
The remarks came during a debate on an amendment to the state's constitution that would eliminate Affirmative Action in the state government. It was proposed by State Rep. Leslie Osborn (R), who said: "This proposed constitutional amendment makes clear that all men are created equal and should be treated as such by their government. If voters approve this constitutional amendment, state government will not be allowed to discriminate against Oklahoma citizens based on race or gender - period."
Kern voted for the amendment, arguing that minorities earn less because they don't work as hard. "We have a high percentage of blacks in prison, and that's tragic," Kern said, "but are they in prison just because they are black or because they don't want to study as hard in school?
"I've taught school," she added, "and I saw a lot of people of color who didn't study hard because they said the government would take care of them."
Kern also noted, as the Tulsa World reports, that women don't earn as much money as men because "they tend to spend more time at home with their families."
The proposed amendment passed by a vote of 59-14 Wednesday, after having passed the state Senate. It will get on the ballot in November of 2012.
Kern has a long history of bringing controversy to the Oklahoma House. She has introduced a bill to ban Sharia law in the state, and another that would allow teachers to question evolution. Kern also claimed that "gays are infiltrating city councils" and gay people are "the biggest threat our nation has, even more so than terrorism or Islam, which I think is a big threat."
Kern did not immediately return TPM's request for comment.
Huffington Post article: Republican leader jokes about flooding poor Black majority town. From the hometown of conservative radio king Rush Limbaugh. Cape Girardeau, Missouri State Representative and Speaker of The Missouri House makes a insensitive joke about nearby town Cairo, Illinois being overwhelmed by a potential flooding crisis.
Due to high rains, waters at the confluence of the Mississippi and Ohio Rivers are running dangerously high, and the mayor of Cairo, Illinois, located at the confluence, has asked residents to evacuate the town.
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is considering a plan to destroy a levee, which would lower the floodwaters by a few feet and help protect Cairo. But the state of Missouri has vigorously objected to the plan, because it would badly damage around 130,000 acres of farmland, the Wall Street Journal reported.
Missouri's Republican House Speaker Steve Tilley was asked by reporters about the dilemma. "Would you rather have Missouri farmland flooded or Cairo underwater?" Tilley is asked.
Without hesitation, he replies, "Cairo. I’ve been there. Trust me. Cairo.”
As another reporter prepares to ask another question, Tilley goes on. “Have you been to Cairo? OK, then you know what I’m saying then.”
Cairo, Illinois (pronounced KAY-roh) was at the turn of the 20th century a bustling trade center. The 2,800-person town is now largely abandoned, two-thirds African-American, and deeply impoverished: nearly 50 percent of children under the age of 18 in Cairo live below the poverty level.
Many criticized the Speaker for what they described as insensitivity in the remarks. The Capitol Fax, which posted the video of Tilley's remarks, also has a press release from Illinois State Senator Gary Forby:
During a time when people are being asked to evacuate their homes and leave behind their belongings, it absolutely blows my mind that that type of dialogue is being thrown around by the Missouri Speaker. Not only is it in poor taste, but it absolutely disgusting that Speaker Tilley would joke about putting the lives of Cairo residents at risk by choosing farmland over a community.The St. Louis Beacon notes that the Speaker has since issued an apology:
"I was asked a question about blowing up a dam in Missouri and the negative consequences that happened to Missouri," Tilley said. "As the speaker of the House, (I believe) my first responsibility is to Missourians. And in my effort to defend them, I went on to say some pretty insensitive and inappropriate remarks about Cairo."Watch the remarks by Speaker Tilley:
Illinois State Senator Gary Forby (D) is speaking out after a YouTube video was released of Missouri Speaker of the House Steven Tilley (R) saying he would rather see Cairo underwater than Mississippi County, Missouri.
In the video taken by Freelance Reporter Jason Rosenbaum, Tilley, from Perryville, was asked about the plan to intentionally break a levee in Mississippi County.
"I've heard of that," Tilley said Wednesday. "I haven't had an opportunity to visit with the local people and figure out what their, clearly I mean when you start blowing up a levee and you're going to flood thousands of acres of farmland, that's a pretty significant decision and you know, I'd like to take a look at what the alternatives are before I say whether I agree with it or disagree with it."
"Would you rather have Missouri farmland flooded or Cairo underwater?" someone asked Tilley off camera.
"Cairo," Tilley replied. "I've been there, trust me, Cairo."
"Have you been to Cairo?" Tilley asked. "Ok, you know what I'm saying then."
"This is no laughing matter," Senator Forby (D-Benton) said in a released statement. "During a time when people are being asked to evacuate their homes and leave behind their belongings, it absolutely blows my mind that this type of talk is being thrown around by the Missouri Speaker. He should be ashamed of himself."
Tilley apologized for Thursday in another YouTube interview posted by Freelance Reporter Jason Rosenbaum.
"I was asked a question about blowing up a dam in Missouri and the negative consequences that happened to Missouri," Tilley said. "As the Speaker of the House my first responsibility is Missourians and in my effort to defend them I went on to say I think some pretty insensitive and inappropriate remarks about Cairo. I want to apologize for them and I think politicians that say something stupid or say something incorrect should admit that they say something dumb. And so first, if anyone that I offended in Cairo I apologize. I certainly wish no ill will to Cairo. I will continue to fight for the citizens of southeast Missouri and the farmers and the residents there, but it shouldn't have led to any kind of inappropriate comments about Cairo. For that I regret it."
Wednesday, April 27, 2011
Mumia Abu-Jamal, one of the world’s best known political prisoners, is feared by the powers that be for his revolutionary journalism – he was minister of information for the Philadelphia Black Panther Party at the age of 15 and in more recent years his commentaries have been broadcast by NPR (National Public Radio) and the Pacifica radio network and published widely, including by the Bay View – and for his millions of supporters around the world.
April 26 – The United States Court of Appeals for the 3rd Circuit has unanimously declared that Mumia Abu-Jamal’s death sentence is unconstitutional. In today’s decision, the Court of Appeals reaffirmed its 2008 finding that Mr. Abu-Jamal’s sentencing jury was misled about the process for considering evidence supporting a life sentence.
The court found that, in violation of the United States Supreme Court’s 1988 decision in Mills v. Maryland, the jury was improperly led to believe that that it could only consider unanimously agreed upon evidence favoring a life verdict. This mistake rendered Mr. Abu-Jamal’s death sentence fundamentally unfair. The NAACP Legal Defense & Educational Fund, Inc. (LDF), and Professor Judy Ritter of Widener Law School represent Mr. Abu-Jamal in this appeal of his 1982 conviction and death sentence for the murder of a police officer in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.