Huffpost Politics

HUFFPOST HILL - America's Race Problem Still A Problem

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Our tenacious reporter Ryan Reilly was arrested covering the events in Ferguson -- we were shocked by both the gross miscarriage of justice and that weed had absolutely nothing to do with a HuffPost reporter’s detention. Nate Silver tried to relate to the unrest with a story that ended with him eating a burrito that was 91.6 percent scrumptious... the anecdote was 1.54 percent relevant. And John Lewis effectively called the powers that be in Ferguson racist, though Fox News said the protesters are forgetting the lessons of MLK’s legacy. In the interest of impartiality we’ll let you decide who’s right. This is HUFFPOST HILL for Thursday, August 14th. 2014:

OBAMA: 'NO EXCUSE' FOR EXCESSIVE POLICE FORCE - Not all the beers and summit-ready tables in the world can photo-op the president's way out of this one. Jen Bendery: "President Barack Obama on Thursday urged calm amid violence in Ferguson, Missouri, where a militarized police force has been firing rubber bullets and spraying tear gas at residents peacefully protesting the murder of Michael Brown, an unarmed black teenager shot to death Aug. 9 by a police officer. 'There is never an excuse for violence against police or for those who would use this tragedy as a cover for vandalism and looting,' Obama said in brief remarks from Martha's Vineyard, where he's been on vacation this week. 'There's also no excuse for police to use excessive force against peaceful protests or to throw protesters in jail for lawfully exercising their First Amendment rights.' The president acknowledged that people around the country have been 'deeply disturbed' by the images coming out of Ferguson this week as police have clashed with protesters. He urged everyone to take a step back and let local and federal authorities carry out their investigations of Brown's death. The Justice Department and the FBI are both conducting independent investigations. 'Now is the time for healing, now is the time for peace and calm on the streets of Ferguson,' he said. Obama said he spoke to Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon (D) earlier Thursday and expressed his concerns about the violence taking place. He noted that Nixon is on his way to Ferguson." [HuffPost]

GOV NIXON: HIGHWAY PATROL WILL TAKE OVER SECURITY IN FERGUSON - AP: "The Missouri State Highway Patrol will take over the supervision of security in the St. Louis suburb that's been the scene of violent protests since a police officer fatally shot an unarmed black teenager, the governor announced Wednesday. Gov. Jay Nixon said security will be overseen by Capt. Ron Johnson of the Highway Patrol. Johnson, who is black, said he grew up in the community and 'it means a lot to me personally that we break this cycle of violence.' 'Ferguson will not be defined as a community that was torn apart by violence but will be known as a community that pulled together to overcome it,' Nixon said at a news conference." [AP]

HUFFPOST'S RYAN REILLY ARRESTED - "The Huffington Post's Ryan J. Reilly and the Washington Post's Wesley Lowery were arrested Wednesday evening while covering the protests in Ferguson, Missouri after the death of unarmed black teenager Michael Brown, who was shot by a police officer last week. The journalists were released unharmed, but their detentions highlighted the town's ramped up police presence, which has left numerous residents injured by rubber bullets, pepper spray and tear gas during protests held every night after Brown's death. SWAT officers roughed up the reporters inside a McDonald's, where both journalists were working. Reilly snapped a photo, prompting cops to request his identification. 'The officer in question, who I repeatedly later asked for his name, grabbed my things and shoved them into my bag,' said Reilly, who appeared on MSNBC's 'All In with Chris Hayes' shortly after his release to recount the arrest. 'He used his finger to put a pressure point on my neck.'...Reilly said it will be difficult to hold the officer "accountable for his actions," as the officer did not respond to Reilly's repeated requests for his name or other identification. He said he can't be '100 percent sure' whether the officer was aware that he's a reporter, "but that really shouldn't matter in this equation.' Reilly believes he was arrested because he declined to present the officer his identification when asked for it, he said." [HuffPost]

Our statement: "We are relieved Ryan Reilly and Wesley Lowery are safe, but we are disturbed by their arrest and assault. Ryan was working on his laptop in a McDonald's near the protests in Ferguson, MO, when police barged in, armed with high-powered weapons, and began clearing the restaurant. Ryan photographed the intrusion, and police demanded his ID in response. Ryan, as is his right, declined to provide it. He proceeded to pack up his belongings, but was subsequently arrested for not packing up fast enough. Both Ryan and Wesley were assaulted. Compared to some others who have come into contact with the police department, they came out relatively unscathed, but that in no way excuses the false arrest or the militant aggression toward these journalists. Ryan, who has reported multiple times from Guantanamo Bay, said that the police resembled soldiers more than officers, and treated those inside the McDonald's as 'enemy combatants.'"." [HuffPost]

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JOHN LEWIS URGES PRESIDENT TO 'DECLARE MARTIAL LAW' IN FERGUSON - Alex Lazar: "Civil rights icon Rep. John Lewis (D-Ga.) called on President Barack Obama to declare martial law in Ferguson, Missouri, where police and protesters have clashed after a police officer shot and killed unarmed black teenager Michael Brown on Saturday. 'It is very sad and unbelievable. It's unreal to see what the police is doing there,' Lewis said in a Thursday interview with MSNBC's Andrea Mitchell. 'First of all, Ferguson, Missouri, is part of the United States of America. People have a right to protest. They have a right to dissent. They have a right to march in an orderly, peaceful, nonviolent fashion. And the press has a right to cover it.' Lewis, whose skull was fractured by police during the 1965 march over the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, Alabama, told Mitchell that the situation in Ferguson reminds him of "the '40s, the '50s, the '60s," pointing to the dearth of black officers on the St. Louis suburb's police force. 'So my own feeling, right now, is that President Obama should use the authority of his office to declare martial law. Federalize the Missouri National Guard to protect people as they protest,' Lewis said. 'And people should come together. Reasonable elected officials, community leaders and address what is happening there.'" [HuffPost]

Rand Paul really capitalizing on the libertarian sentiment stirred up by Ferguson: "Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) added his voice to the chorus of politicians condemning police conduct in Ferguson, Missouri, following Saturday's fatal shooting of unarmed black teenager Michael Brown. In an op-ed on Time.com, the libertarian-minded senator attributed the 'militarization of law enforcement' to an 'expansion of government power,' making the tie-in to his advocacy for smaller government. Paul also wrote that it is 'impossible for African-Americans not to feel like their government is particularly targeting them," turning to how 'racial disparities' distort the criminal justice system." [HuffPost]

Loveable guy: "Ferguson Police Chief Thomas Jackson had few answers for reporters who wanted to know why officers dressed in full riot gear were throwing tear gas and firing rubber bullets during largely peaceful protests against the killing of Michael Brown. He also appeared to have little sympathy for individuals who were caught up in the melee, essentially saying it was their own fault for being out. 'If individuals are in a crowd that's attacking the police, they need to get out of that crowd,' Jackson said during a Thursday afternoon press conference. 'We can't individually go in and say, 'Excuse me sir, are you peacefully protesting? Are you throwing rocks? Are you throwing a Molotov cocktail?' It's a crowd. If the crowd is getting violent and you don't want to be violent, get out of the crowd.'" [HuffPost's Amanda Terkel]

STEVE KING USES PHRASE 'CONTINENTAL ORIGINS' - Has anyone called up Mo Brooks or Louie Gohmert to get their thoughts on this Ferguson situation yet? "Speaking on conservative network Newsmax TV on Wednesday, King disagreed that racial profiling played a role in the fatal shooting of unarmed black teenager Michael Brown or the targeting of those protesting his death because, King claims, everyone protesting the situation is black. "This idea of no racial profiling ... I've seen the video. It looks to me like you don't need to bother with that particular factor because they all appear to be of a single origin, I should say, a continental origin might be the way to phrase that," he said." [HuffPost's Alex Lazar]

CABLE NEWS BECOMING SLIGHTLY LESS WHITE - Amanda Terkel and Grim: "Network and cable news have long been a bastion of whitedom, with white hosts and commentators. As the industry began to diversify, black guests were typically brought in to discuss topics traditionally associated with the African-American community: police brutality, voting rights, gun violence and President Barack Obama's appeal to minority voters...HuffPost...asked Media Matters, which monitors print and television news for conservative bias and other trends, to track CNN, Fox News and MSNBC over a two-week period, from June 29 to July 12. Fox News had no all-black segments. That left MSNBC and CNN. MSNBC had the advantage since it has more shows where an all-African-American segment is possible, with regular hosts Melissa Harris-Perry, Tamron Hall, Al Sharpton and Joy Reid as well as fill-in hosts Michael Eric Dyson, T.J. Holmes, Kristen Welker, Jonathan Capehart and Craig Melvin. The network had 46 segments in that period that featured an African-American host talking exclusively to African-American guests. CNN had 14 such segments, with hosts Victor Blackwell, Don Lemon, Rene Marsh, Michaela Pereira and Fredricka Whitfield. Yet, the majority of topics with all-black panels are still on issues that are traditionally tied to the African-American community: gun violence in Chicago, police brutality, the Essence Music Festival, voter ID laws and diversity in entertainment media, as a few examples. MSNBC had 27 segments on such topics out of the 46 segments it had with all-black panels. CNN, however, did only four of its 14 on similar topics, with the remainder having a broader focus." [HuffPost]

Speaking of white people: "David Gregory will leave NBC News after stepping down as moderator of 'Meet the Press,' he announced Thursday....As previously reported, NBC News has selected chief White House correspondent and political director Chuck Todd to take over for Gregory. Todd's promotion is expected to be announced as early as Thursday evening." [Politico]

@SpeakerBoehner: In honor of #SharkWeek, here are 8 #shark GIFs that Senate Democrats should pay attention to: http://j.mp/1sYSfsY

Fox News is KILLING IT this week... and by "killing it" we mean "deeply alienating African-Americans, women and the mentally ill: "In covering the Ferguson, Mo. protests against the police killing of Michael Brown, Fox & Friends decided to ignore the problems with a heavily-armed police force marching against civilians and criticize the protesters instead. 'Forgetting MLK's Message,' read the chyron during a Thursday morning interview with Martin Luther King Jr.'s niece, Alveda King. According to her, the problem is that Al Sharpton has riled up a bunch of 'rioting' protesters -- no mention of the fact that police have been equipped with armored vehicles, wooden bullets, riot gear, and a huge supply of tear gas." [Gawker]

BECAUSE YOU'VE READ THIS FAR - Here's a mayor that's a dog.

NO JUSTICE, NO PEACE, NATE SILVER EDITION - TPM: "After a pair of journalists were arrested Wednesday in Ferguson, Mo., Nate Silver was inspired to recount his own brush with the law. But in the cold light of Thursday, the data journalist realized that wasn't such a great idea. In an eight-part series of tweets on Wednesday night, Silver recalled his arrest, which apparently occurred a couple years ago as he returned home from picking up his dinner. The details of the arrest, he admitted, were fuzzy, but here's the gist: Silver was handcuffed and sent to jail by some cops after he refused to leave the area near his home, but then he apologized after being locked up for an hour and the officers suddenly turned 'super chill.' They even allowed him to eat his burrito in the cell and then gave him a ride home." [TPM]

COMFORT FOOD

- Tom Hanks (yes, THAT Tom Hanks) released a typewriter app.

- The creators of World of Warcraft are making Robin Williams a character in their online realm.

- Meet the dictator of beer bottles.

- Arachnophobes need not click this link of hi-res photos of spider fangs

- A NSFW reading of "50 Shades of Gray" by a group of gay guys.

- Celebrities are getting into the Ice Bucket Challenge.

TWITTERAMA

‏@ProfJeffJarvis: Still processing the events from last night on @NateSilver538's timeline, about his arrest w burrito. This happened in America.

@ClickHole: Police Or Army: Who Wore It Better? http://bit.ly/Yacatq

@igorbobic: John McCain To Host New Guest.

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