What To Do When You're Stopped By Police - The ACLU & Elon James White
Know Anyone Who Thinks Racial Profiling Is Exaggerated? Watch This, And Tell Me When Your Jaw Drops.
This video clearly demonstrates how racist America is as a country and how far we have to go to become a country that is civilized and actually values equal justice. We must not rest until this goal is achieved. I do not want my great grandchildren to live in a country like we have today. I wish for them to live in a country where differences of race and culture are not ignored but valued as a part of what makes America great.
Saturday, June 12, 2021
White parents claim calculation error after two Black students get high school's top honors: report | TheHill
White parents claim calculation error after two Black students get high school's top honors: report
People wonder why I hate the United States? Read this. I experienced this same sort of racism on Staten Island in NYC."A high school in Mississippi is facing accusations of racism for naming two white students co-valedictorian and co-salutatorian after the school had already announced a valedictorian and salutatorian, both of whom are Black.
"After West Point High School students Ikeria Washington and Layla Temple were named valedictorian and salutatorian, respectively, the white parents of two students met with the superintendent of West Point’s school district and raised complaints that the school had not properly calculated criteria to determine the two designations, according to a New York Times report.
After consulting the school's student handbook, West Point's school district's superintendent named the two white students as co-valedictorian and co-salutatorian several days later.
Burnell McDonald, the superintendent, told Mississippi Today that race did not play a role in the decision to name a second valedictorian and salutatorian, but instead attributed it to the high school guidance counselor not being given accurate information on how to calculate the designations.
However, in interviews with the New York Times, the families of Ikeria Washington and Layla Temple, expressed frustration and confusion with the outcome. The New York Times also reported that the families are considering suing.
A spokesperson for West Point's school district was not immediately available for comment.
According to the Times, the initial grade calculation was based on quality point average, which gives extra weight to grades from advanced placement courses. The second calculation was based on unweighted grade point average.
In the increasingly competitive nature of high schools, grades and class designations are only becoming more scrutinized by potential colleges and universities.
West Point is not the first school to raise questions around valedictorian designations this year. In May, a high school student in Alpine, Texas, argued that the school did not rank her grades correctly, claiming she did not rank third."
Friday, June 11, 2021
Independent Watchdog Launches Inquiry into Trump-Era Seizure of Lawmakers’ Data. The announcement from the Justice Department’s independent inspector general followed one by Senate Democrats, who announced that they would open their own investigation into the Trump Justice Department’s decision to go after records associated with Congress.
The Justice Department’s independent inspector general opened an inquiry on Friday into the Trump administration’s secret seizure of data from House Democrats and reporters as prosecutors sought to hunt down the sources of leaks of classified information.
In a statement, Michael E. Horowitz, the inspector general, announced he would review the department’s use of subpoenas and other legal maneuvers to secretly access communications records of Democratic lawmakers, aides, and at least one family member, which was first reported on Thursday by The New York Times.
Mr. Horowitz also said he will look at other recently disclosed actions to secretly seize data about reporters. The Biden Justice Department in recent weeks has disclosed that prosecutors during the Trump administration also sought and obtained phone records for journalists at The Washington Post, CNN, and The New York Times and then sought to stop the information from becoming public.
“The review will examine the department’s compliance with applicable D.O.J. policies and procedures, and whether any such uses, or the investigations, were based upon improper considerations,” Mr. Horowitz said.
Hours earlier, top Senate Democrats had also announced that they would open their own investigation into the Trump Justice Department’s decision to go after records associated with Congress. They demanded public testimony from former Attorney General William P. Barr and other Justice Department officials.
“This issue should not be partisan; under the Constitution, Congress is a coequal branch of government and must be protected from an overreaching executive, and we expect that our Republican colleagues will join us in getting to the bottom of this serious matter,” said Senator Chuck Schumer of New York, the majority leader, and Senator Richard J. Durbin of Illinois, the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee.
They called on Republicans to join them in demanding answers, but so far none have.
Mr. Horowitz’s announcement followed a referral by the deputy attorney general, Lisa O. Monaco, according to a senior Justice Department official; Attorney General Merrick B. Garland directed Ms. Monaco to take that step, the official said. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi also called for an inspector general investigation.
The two investigations came as Democrats and privacy advocates decried the seizures and aggressive investigative tactics as a gross abuse of power to target another branch of government. They said the pursuit of information on some of President Donald J. Trump’s most visible political adversaries in Congress smacked of dangerous politicization.
The Times reported that as it hunted for the source of leaks about Trump associates and Russia, the Justice Department had used grand jury subpoenas to compel Apple and one other service provider to hand over data tied to at least a dozen people associated with the House Intelligence Committee beginning in 2017 and 2018. The department then secured a gag order to keep it secret.
Though leak investigations are routine, current and former officials at the Justice Department and in Congress said seizing data on lawmakers is nearly unheard-of outside of corruption investigations. The Times also reported that after an initial round of scrutiny did not turn up evidence tying the intelligence committee to the leaks, Mr. Barr objected to closing out the inquiry and helped revive it.
Investigators gained access to the records of Representative Adam B. Schiff of California, the top Democrat on the committee and now its chairman; Representative Eric Swalwell of California; committee staff aides; and family members of lawmakers and aides, including one who was a minor.
“I hope every prosecutor who was involved in this is thrown out of the department,” Mr. Swalwell said in an interview on Friday. “It crosses the line of what we do in this country.”
Attorney General Merrick B. Garland laid out a detailed plan on Friday for protecting voting rights, announcing that the Justice Department would double enforcement staff on the issue, scrutinize new laws that seek to curb voter access and act if it sees a violation of federal law.
Mr. Garland announced his plan as Republican-led state legislatures push to enact new restrictive voting laws, and amid dwindling chances for sweeping federal voter protection laws introduced by Democrats.
“To meet the challenge of the current moment, we must rededicate the resources of the Department of Justice to a critical part of its original mission: enforcing federal law to protect the franchise for all eligible voters,” Mr. Garland said in an address at the department.
The Justice Department will also scrutinize current laws and practices to determine whether they discriminate against nonwhite voters, he said. It was not clear how many people work on voting rights enforcement, nor what the total would be after the department adds to the staffing levels.
In more than a dozen states, at least 22 new laws have been passed that make it more difficult to vote, according to the Brennan Center for Justice, a progressive public policy institute that is part of the New York University School of Law.
Mr. Garland also said that the department was monitoring the use of unorthodox postelection audits that could undermine faith in the nation’s ability to host free and fair elections, adding that some jurisdictions have used disinformation to justify such audits.
“Many of the justifications proffered in support of these postelection audits and restrictions on voting have relied on assertions of material vote fraud in the 2020 election that have been refuted by the law enforcement and intelligence agencies of both this administration and the previous one, as well as by every court — federal and state — that has considered them,” Mr. Garland said.
The department’s Civil Rights Division has sent a letter expressing concerns that one of those audits may have violated the Civil Rights Act, Mr. Garland said, in part because it could violate a provision in the act that bars voter intimidation. He did not specify which state, but in Arizona, a weekslong audit is widely seenas a partisan exercise to nurse grievances about Donald J. Trump’s election loss.
The Justice Department will publish guidance explaining the civil and criminal statutes that apply to postelection audits and guidance on early voting and voting by mail, and will work with other agencies to combat disinformation.
Democrats have sued over some new voting laws, but that litigation could take years to resolve and may have little power to stop those laws from affecting upcoming elections.
Two major federal election bills — the For the People Act and the John Lewis Voting Rights Act — are also the subject of fierce debate in Congress.
Earlier this week, Senator Joe Manchin III, Democrat of West Virginia, said that he would oppose the For the People Act, dashing hopes among progressives that the far-reaching bill intended to fight voter suppression would become law.
Mr. Garland has said that protecting the right to vote is one of his top priorities as attorney general, and his top lieutenants include high-profile voting rights advocates such as Vanita Gupta, the department’s No. 3 official, and Kristen Clarke, the head of the Civil Rights Division.
Ms. Clarke’s long career advocating on behalf of voting rights protections — including at the N.A.A.C.P. Legal Defense and Educational Fund, the New York attorney general’s office and the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law — will make her a key player in the Justice Department’s work to preserve voting access.
But that work is made more difficult by a 2013 Supreme Court decision that struck down pieces of the Voting Rights Act that forced states with legacies of racial discrimination to receive Justice Department approval before they could change their voting laws.”
Vaccination rates fall off, imperiling Biden’s July Fourth goal
"The ‘last mile’ of delivering coronavirus shots has become a marathon, with health officials showing up at stores, parks and factories to entice people who might not go to vaccination sites
Plummeting vaccination rates have turned what officials hoped would be the “last mile” of the coronavirus immunization campaign into a marathon, threatening President Biden’s goal of getting shots to at least 70 percent of adults by July 4.
The United States is averaging fewer than 1 million shots per day, a decline of more than two-thirds from the peak of 3.4 million in April, according to The Washington Post’s seven-day analysis, even though all adults and children over age 12 are now eligible.
Small armies of health workers and volunteers often outnumber the people showing up to get shots at clinics around the country, from a drive-through site in Chattanooga, Tenn., to a gymnasium in Provo, Utah, or a park in Raleigh, N.C.
The slowdown is national — with every state down at least two-thirds from its peak — and particularly felt across the South and Midwest. Twelve states, including Utah, Oklahoma, Montana, the Dakotas and West Virginia, have seen vaccinations fall below 15 daily shots per 10,000 residents; Alabama had just four people per 10,000 residents get vaccinated last week.
But the picture varies considerably across the country: Thirteen mostly East and West Coast states have already vaccinated 70 percent of adult residents, and an additional 15 states, plus D.C., are over 60 percent and will likely reach Biden’s goal.
The rest are lagging behind. Tennessee and five other states are at 50 percent or below and vaccinating at such low rates that meeting the president’s threshold is very unlikely.
The steep decline began in mid-April, coinciding with federal officials’ temporary suspension of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine while they probed rare blood-clotting reactions. That slowdown has continued, with only 2.4 million adults getting their first shot last week. Officials must get a first dose to 4.2 million adults per week to meet Biden’s goal of ensuring that 70 percent of adults are at least partially vaccinated by Independence Day.
Complicating the push: Health officials have already reached the “low-hanging fruit — those people who absolutely want to get vaccinated without you telling them anything,” Anthony S. Fauci, the government’s top infectious-diseases expert, said on a White House-organized call with community leaders on Friday. “You’re left with a group that you may need … trusted messengers who go out there and explain to them why it’s critical for themselves, for their family.”
Polls have found that about one-third of Americans have no immediate plans to get vaccinated, with some holdouts saying their skepticism has intensified over time and others arguing the issue is moot because the pandemic has receded in the United States. Public health experts say the nation needs widespread immunity to prevent a resurgence of cases later this year.
The slowdown has prompted a flurry of advertising, lotteries and promotions to win over holdouts, even as the list of incentives for people getting shots has ballooned almost to the point of parody. West Virginia officials are offering a chance to win rifles. Multiple businesses have promised treats such as free beer, doughnuts and marijuana. Residents of several states now compete for million-dollar cash prizes inspecial lotteries.
Recognizing the challenge — and the risk of missing the goal — Biden officials have mobilized thousands of organizations and volunteers.
“We need to bring the vaccines to where people are and answer the questions that people have,” Jeff Zients, the White House coronavirus coordinator, told reporters Thursday. “And we are confident that more and more people will get vaccinated, leading up to the Fourth of July.”
The White House last week announced a “month of action” with an array of initiatives, including a partnership with Black-owned barbershops and salons to raise awareness of the vaccines, a “Mayors Challenge” for 79 cities to compete on vaccination rates, and free child care for those getting the shots. It also lined up more than 2,000 events this weekend across every state, tapping community groups, advocacy organizations and celebrities such as singer Ciara, athlete Russell Wilson, and comedians Desus and Mero to trumpet pro-vaccination messages, a White House spokesperson said.
Beyond the political stakes, public health officials say achieving widespread immunity remains essential to protect still-unvaccinated Americans, who continue to contract the virus at elevated rates, even as total cases dwindle. Reaching that goal is also thought to be necessary to prevent a resurgence of the virus this winter or next year.
Jennifer Kates, who leads global health policy for the Kaiser Family Foundation, said she’s worried about lagging vaccination rates in some states, warning of broader risks to Americans if the virus takes hold among unvaccinated people and mutates into more contagious or lethal forms.
‘If we get 10, we’re ecstatic’
If Biden’s goal is met next month, it will be due to the sustained efforts of health officials in places like Chattanooga, where more than half of the county’s 370,000 residents remain unvaccinated.
The drive-through vaccination site here, set up by Hamilton County officials on the southern bank of the Tennessee River, is a serene place to fight a global pandemic: waterfront walking paths and gardens bursting with flowers — and perhaps most important, no waiting for the roughly 200 people who got coronavirus vaccines on a recent Wednesday.
But it’s also the only clinic still operated by the county, which administered as many as 16,000 doses per week across three sites in February but is down to just 1,500 shots per week now. Officials are opting instead for smaller, targeted pop-ups ― like temporary sites at Chattanooga’s weekend music festival and a popular Hispanic supermarket — that can reach community holdouts who wouldn’t make plans to visit a clinic.
“As the numbers have dwindled down, we’ve pivoted,” said Fernando Urrego, Hamilton County’s interim health officer. “We now know that we’re not going to be able to give out 1,000 vaccines in one day in these pockets. If we get 10, we’re ecstatic. If we get 15, it’s a good day. It’s still a lot of effort for low yield, but we’re okay with that.”
Officials in Utah County, south of Salt Lake City, are making similar trade-offs. Fewer than a third of people in this predominantly young and conservative-leaning community are fully vaccinated, among the lowest rates in the state. Yet health officials, who once maintained four vaccination locations, are cutting back to just a single large one: a gymnasium in a former high school in centrally located Provo, staffed by roughly three dozen health department workers and volunteers on a recent Wednesday. Instead, they’re increasingly relying on mobile units intended to target underserved communities.
“We can’t control the demand on the vaccine, so we can’t force 70 percent or even 50 percent of people to get the vaccine,” said Tyler Plewe, deputy director of the Utah County Health Department.
Mindy Gee, 43, of Pleasant Grove, said she was surprised there weren’t more people in the gymnasium lining up with her for a second shot. As she waited out her 15 minutes after receiving it, she said she knows many people who regard the vaccines with suspicion.
“In certain circles, it’s almost shameful to have gotten the vaccine,” she said. “It’s completely bonkers to me.”
Making the shots convenient
Health providers in Oklahoma, where 54 percent of adults have gotten one shot, also have seen demand slow to a trickle.
Greg Clyde, a bowtie-wearing independent pharmacist in Oklahoma City, said that when he began administering coronavirus vaccines in February, he was inundated by hundreds of phone calls requesting appointments — so much so that he invested in a new phone system. In all, he spent about $5,000 on new equipment, including a freezer and an extra refrigerator to store vaccine vials, and hired three new full- and part-time workers to help administer up to 280 shots per week, with almost 1,000 people on the waiting list.
But with so few customers now seeking vaccinations at his drugstore — no more than a dozen adults per week, Clyde said — he agreed to administer shots to nearly 100 employees of a major Oklahoma City-area automotive dealer last week.
Trying to win over holdouts, officials in a growing number of states have turned to text-message campaigns, public service announcements and other efforts.
In North Carolina — which has also given at least one shot to 54 percent of adults — officials announced the “Let’s Bring Summer Back” campaign, setting up dozens of sites to administer vaccines, including a health fair located outside state health department headquarters in Raleigh’s Dorothea Dix Park. On a recent Friday, people who stopped by the fair to get vaccinated could also get a free Frisbee, pick up complimentary vaccine-branded gear or buy an ice cream cone from one of the food trucks recruited for the occasion.
“My job is to make this convenient,” said North Carolina Health and Human Services Secretary Mandy Cohen, who oversaw the event decked out in a “I took my shot” T-shirt. The fair was one of about 50 vaccination sites within 10 miles, Cohen said. “I want people to be tripping over opportunities to get vaccinated.”
The drop-in event did lure some vaccine holdouts, who proffered a range of reasons for why they hadn’t gotten immunized. Chris Johnson, a 44-year-old construction worker with peripheral artery disease, said he’d worried about the risk of long-term effects from the new vaccines and wanted to see how others responded first. Jalen Preston, an 18-year-old high school student, had been looking for a site that administered the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine; his mother, Jamila Robinson, said she had been worried about her son receiving the Johnson & Johnson vaccine after seeing reports of the pause.
Javier Sharpe, a 21-year-old who balances a job with classes at nearby Wake Technical Community College, said he appreciated that he didn’t need an appointment.
“It was on the way to where I was going,” Sharpe said.
Officials in states that have already met Biden’s goal say they’ve also seen demand slow — albeit much further along in their race to immunize everyone.
“We are down to the last quarter-mile,” said Nirav Shah, director of the state Center for Disease Control and Prevention in Maine, where about 75 percent of adults have received at least one shot.
Shah said his team is also more focused on meeting small numbers of people inplaces like doctors’ offices and schools, rather than mass vaccination sites.
“The thresholds have changed,” he said. “I wanted 200 at each clinic two to three months ago. Now I will send a nurse or nurses if you have 10 people at your mosque or church.”
“We are not unfurling a ‘mission accomplished’ banner,” he added. “It’s still all systems go.”
Chris Moody reported from Chattanooga, Tenn.; Dan Diamond from Raleigh, N.C.; and Dan Keating from D.C. Andrew Becker in Utah County, Utah; Bobby Ross in Oklahoma City; and Frances Stead Sellers in D.C. also contributed to this report."