Thursday, July 30, 2020

Alabama lawmaker who honored Klan leader says he’s surprised by criticism

Alabama Representative Will Dismukes, a Republican from Prattville, says he’s surprised by the response to his recent Facebook post that showed him giving the invocation at an annual birthday celebration for Nathan Bedford Forrest. Forrest was a leader in the Confederate Army and the first Grand Wizard of the Ku Klux Klan. The event was held this past weekend at Fort Dixie in Selma, Alabama the same day the late U.S. Rep. John Lewis was remembered for his vast civil rights contributions during a service at Brown Chapel A.M.E. Church. “To be 100 percent honest with you, when I made the post I wasn’t even thinking about that connection,” Representative Dismukes said. “You know, hey, that’s on me. That wasn’t even running through my mind. There were two things that weren’t running through my mind and that’s one, the passing of Representative John Lewis and the next is Nathan Bedford Forrest’s connection to the Ku Klux Klan.” Lawmakers on both sides of the aisle quickly condemned Dismukes for attending the event. (WSFA)


Man arrested for robbing church, selling loot for crack

The Hillsborough County, Florida Sheriff’s Office arrested a man after he reportedly stole a safe and a laptop from the ALTAR Church in Tampa. A 49-year-old man was arrested in an alley after allegedly trying to run away from deputies who showed up at his house. He sold the laptop for $100 worth of crack cocaine according to the Sheriff. He left the safe in a hotel parking lot. The manager of the hotel found the safe and turned it into police, according to reports. “This suspect went into the very place people consider a safe haven and took what didn’t belong to him,” said the Sheriff. “His actions are despicable, and I applaud our deputies for their quick work in identifying and arresting this suspect.” (NBC 2)


New Zealand claims world first in setting standards for government use of algorithms

New Zealand’s government says it is the first in the world to produce a set of standards for how public agencies should use the algorithms that increasingly drive decision-making by officials about every area of public life. The increasing application of algorithms by governments around the world, particularly when they are deployed to profile or generate decisions about citizens by law enforcement, immigration, welfare and health agencies has proved controversial in recent years. Critics claim that decision-making driven by lines of code can be inaccurate and discriminatory and that their use is often kept secret from the public. (The Guardian)


NFL to ‘amplify’ social justice efforts with ‘End Racism’ end zone message during home openers

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell is sending a message to fans opening weekend with “End Racism” and “It Takes All of Us” messages stenciled into end zones. The decision comes during a cultural climate in which various companies have shown support for Black Lives Matter protests and its activists’ allegations of systemic racism. The Washington Redskins, for example, will be known as Washington Football Team for at least the 2020 season as the franchise focuses on rebranding its image. Many players are expected to continue kneeling for the national anthem as they have since 2016, and “Lift Every Voice and Sing” will be played prior to Week One games. The song has been referred to as the “Black national anthem” at times by commentators. (Washington Times)


Texas doctor who went viral with unproven COVID-19 cure believes in ‘demon sperm’

The doctor in Houston, Texas who was part of a controversial viral video touting hydroxychloroquine as a “cure” for COVID-19 has said certain gynecological issues are caused by sexual encounters with demons in dreams, along with other dubious medical claims. She was part of a video showing a group of doctors making misleading and false claims about the coronavirus pandemic that was removed from Facebook and Twitter, but only after it garnered tens of millions of views and was retweeted by President Donald Trump. (CBS Austin)


40% of Arkansas teachers considered leaving job due to coronavirus

The Arkansas Education Association is educating teachers on the best ways to stay safe with exactly one month to go until kids head back into the classroom. The Arkansas Education Association surveyed more than 6,000 teachers in the state. Forty percent said they considered leaving the profession or retiring early out of health concerns for returning to the classroom. That survey revealed, 90% of respondents are concerned about student health issues related to teaching and learning in schools. 98% believe it will be very or somewhat difficult to implement social distancing or other safety measures in school buildings. In addition, more than 40% of educators said they are considering retiring early or leaving the profession as a result of the pandemic. (Arkansas Education Association)


Live grenade found in Goodwill donation bin

A live grenade was found in a Goodwill donation bin by an employee on Monday, July 27. West Bend, Wisconsin police officers arrived at the Goodwill and confirmed the device was a grenade. Officers assisted in safely evacuating the store and securing the surrounding area. The West Bend Police Department said they contacted the Milwaukee County Sheriff’s Department and requested assistance from their Explosive Ordnance Disposal Unit. Members of Milwaukee County Sheriff’s Department EOD Unit also responded and determined the grenade was a live device. According to officials, deputies assigned to the EOD Unit rendered the grenade safe, and transported it to safely dispose of it. (WDJT)


Colin Kaepernick, Dr. Anthony Fauci set to receive Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights Award for being ‘human rights defenders’

Former NFL player-turned-activist Colin Kaepernick and infectious disease expert Dr. Anthony Fauci are set to receive 2020’s Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights Ripple of Hope Award. Others expected to receive the annual award include Dan Schulman, president and CEO of PayPal, Dan Springer, CEO of DocuSign, and Dolores Huerta, founder and president of the Dolores Huerta Foundation and co-founder of United Farm Workers of America. The Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights organization issued a statement about the honors: “At a time when the courageous pursuit of equality and justice has become political and riddled with adversity, Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights stands with these modern-day human rights defenders in their inspirational fight for progress”. Previous winners of the Ripple of Hope Awards include former President Barack Obama, Archbishop Desmond Tutu, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, former vice president and presidential candidate Joe Biden, Democratic Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, and more. (Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights)


Suspect arrested after deputies seize over 300 packages of candy infused with THC

The Rogers County, Oklahoma Sheriff’s Office said a suspect has been arrested after deputies seized 22 pounds and 14 ounces of THC infused edibles with some in excess of 600 mg of THC. Deputies said there were a total of 333 packages, many of which have been fashioned after popular children’s candy and snacks. Deputies said they also found over five pounds of marijuana. The suspect was transporting the contraband from California to Philadelphia, deputies said. The suspect is facing charges for allegedly trafficking controlled and dangerous substance. (KTUL)


Indian schoolgirls discover asteroid moving toward Earth

Two Indian schoolgirls have discovered an asteroid which is slowly shifting its orbit and moving toward Earth. The two girls who are studying in 10th grade, were working on a school project when they discovered the asteroid, which they named HLV2514. The girls from the city of Surat in the western Indian state of Gujarat, were participating in a Space India and NASA project, which allows students to analyze images taken by a telescope positioned at the University of Hawaii. The Senior Educator and Astronomer at Space India said students across India were taught how to spot the celestial bodies using software which analyzes images collected by NASA’s PAN Star telescope. Students then searched for moving objects in the pictures. The asteroid is currently close to the orbit of Mars, but in 1 million years, it will change its orbit and move closer to Earth, although it will still be at a distance of more than 10 times the distance which exists between the Earth and the Moon. (CNN)


Police identify woman who allegedly refused to let Black worker bag her groceries, tried to drive over him

The police in Henrico, Virginia were called to a Publix Supermarket after a customer allegedly communicated to employees she refused to let a Black person bag her groceries. On top of that, employees say the customer then tried to run over the worker with her car. Employees say a customer notified staff she didn’t want the teenager who was about to bag her groceries to do it because he’s Black. The teen then went outside to collect shopping carts at approximately 12:30 p.m. That’s when an employee says the woman tried to run the teen over with her car. Police sources say they’re not sure whether the woman was a bad driver or if she did it on purpose but sources say officers have obtained surveillance video and are reviewing it. Employees believe it was intentional. The worker says managers called police and that one manager even shed a tear because of the entire ordeal. Sources said police have identified the woman accused. A Publix spokesperson says they will be providing counseling to those who were impacted by the incident. (WWBT)


Man cashes in more than $5,000 in change because of coin shortage

A man in Wisconsin whose friends and family have taken to calling him “the coin master,” after he exchanged more than $5,000 in change in an endeavor to address the national coin shortage brought on by the coronavirus. The man is a father of four children and began saving when his eldest son was born. He had been given a Green Bay Packers piggybank to commemorate his son’s birth, but it didn’t take long until he filled the container and needed to scope out more. Over the course of two decades he’d fill “any container” he could find with change, including ice cream containers, buckets and other tins. Still, he was surprised to learn that he’d accumulated $5,366.05. He kept the change in his basement and had not intended to touch it for a few more years. Yet when he learned about the national coin shortage, he felt compelled to help. He called North Shore Bank in Wauwatosa, Wisconsin to see if they could exchange the coins recently. They agreed to take the coins, so he was carried in three five-gallon buckets and other containers to the bank. The pandemic continues to affect the economy and coin circulation is no exception. As businesses close or implement cashless policies, there’s a dearth of change. Last month, the Federal Reserve established a U.S. Coin Task Force to “mitigate the effects of low coin inventories caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.” (NBC News)


Oregon governor announces ‘phased withdrawal’ of federal officers from Portland

After unrest and public outcry over clashes between protesters and law enforcement, there will be a “phased withdrawal” of federal officers from Portland, the Oregon governor announced yesterday. Acting Secretary of Homeland Security Chad Wolf said in a statement that a joint plan with the governor “includes a robust presence of Oregon State Police in downtown Portland.” The Department of Homeland Security will keep federal law enforcement personnel present in the city “until we are assured that the Hatfield Federal Courthouse and other federal properties will no longer be attacked and that the seat of justice in Portland will remain secure,” according to Wolf. (ABC News)



Thursday Stays Thirsty For:

  • Cheesecake Day
  • Chicken and Waffles Day
  • Chili Dog Day  (Last Thursday in July)
  • Father-in-Law Day
  • Friendship Day
  • Health Care Now!
  • Intern Day (Last Thursday in July)
  • Paperback Book Day
  • Share A Hug Day
  • Tisha B’Av
  • Whistleblower Day
  • World Day Against Trafficking in Persons

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