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Clippers sign Doc Rivers to 5-year extension

August 28, 2014

 

Associated Press

  

Doc Rivers is staying with the Los Angeles Clippers for another five years.

 

In Steve Ballmer’s first big move since taking over as... Read more...

Emergency room visits down due to Obamacare

August 28, 2014

 

City News Service

 

The pace of growth in Los Angeles County emergency room visits slowed in the early months of Obamacare, according to state records cited recently. During... Read more...

Celebrities join public TV anti-dropout effort

August 28, 2014

 

Tony Bennett and Edward James Olmos are among the celebrities joining a public media effort to boost school graduation rates.

 

The Corporation for Public Broadcasting and... Read more...

Source: BET suspends producer after Blue Ivy joke

August 28, 2014

 

Associated Press

  

NEW YORK (AP) — BET has suspended a producer after a joke about Beyoncé and Jay Z’s daughter that aired Monday on the network's music video countdown... Read more...

California to appeal ruling tossing death penalty

August 28, 2014

By PAUL ELIAS 

Associated Press

  

California’s attorney general says she will appeal a federal court ruling that called the state’s death penalty unconstitutional.

 

The... Read more...

August 22, 2013

By AMY TAXIN

Associated Press

 

A government program to screen immigrants for national security concerns has blacklisted some Muslims and put their U.S. citizenship applications on hold for years, civil liberties advocates said Wednesday.

The American Civil Liberties Union of Southern California said in a report that the previously undisclosed program instructs federal immigration officers to find ways to deny applications that have been deemed a national security concern. For example, they flag discrepancies in a petition or claim they didn't receive sufficient information from the immigrant.

The criteria used by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services to blacklist immigrants are overly broad and include traveling through regions where there is terrorist activity, the report said. The criteria disproportionately target Muslim immigrants, who often wait years to get a response on their citizenship applications and in some cases are denied, advocates said.

The ACLU learned about the program through records requests after detecting a pattern in cases of Muslim immigrants whose applications to become American citizens had languished.

“It is essentially creating this secret criteria for obtaining naturalization and immigration benefits that has never been disclosed to the public and Congress hasn’t approved,” said Jennie Pasquarella, an ACLU staff attorney and the author of the report.

“I feel like ultimately this is just about politics. They don’t want to be seen as having granted citizenship to somebody who’s going to be the next Boston bomber,” she said.

It was not immediately clear how many immigrants have been re­viewed under the program, which began in 2008 and is formally known as the Controlled Application Review and Resolution Program.

Christopher Bentley, a spokesman for Citizenship and Immigration Services, said the agency routinely checks the background of immigrants applying for benefits and prioritizes the country’s safety and the integrity of the immigration system.

“We are vigilant in executing these responsibilities, and will not sacrifice national security or public safety in the interest of expediting the review of benefit applications,” Bentley said in a statement.

Under the program, immigration officers determine whether a case poses a national security concern and confer with the appropriate law enforcement agency that has information about the immigrant. Officers then conduct additional research and put many cases on hold for long periods of time. Most applications are eventually denied, as the program states that officers are not allowed to approve such cases without additional review, the report said.

Ahmad Muhanna, a 53-year-old Palestinian engineer, said he and his wife applied to become Americans as soon as they were eligible six years ago. They waited nearly four years for a response and were rejected because immigration officers said they failed to note on their application form an association with a Muslim charity to which they had donated money that U.S. authorities later declared a terrorist organization, he said.

Muhanna said the couple has appealed, but the wait has taken its toll. The couple, who lives in a Dallas suburb, missed their eldest daughter’s engagement in Gaza because they feared traveling abroad might jeopardize their green cards. And they haven’t been able to vote, something they’ve wanted to do for some time.

“You can’t just assume every Muslim is a guilty person, and every Muslim is a terrorist,” said Muhanna, adding that he agreed to be interviewed by the FBI with a lawyer present and has lived in the same house, with the same phone number for 15 years, making him easily traceable. “I have chosen this country to be my home and I want to be a citizen.”

Parent Category: ROOT
Category: News

August 22, 2013

By FREDERIC J. FROMMER

Associated Press

 

A divided federal appeals court has ruled that government employees involved in sensitive but noncritical national security work aren’t entitled to a key civil service protection available to other government workers.

The 7-3 ruling Tuesday by the U.S. Court of Appeals in Washington said the Merit Systems Protection Board can’t review dismissals and demotions of government employees who hold sensitive national security positions that aren’t deemed critical — even if their jobs don’t require access to classified information.

Critics said the decision would significantly erode civil service protections for federal workers.

In a case involving Defense Department employees, the merit systems board said a 1988 Supreme Court ruling limiting board review of national security cases applied only if classified information was involved. But the appeals court ruled that the Supreme Court decision was broader.

“Its principles instead require that courts refrain from second-guessing DOD national security determinations concerning eligibility of an individual to occupy a sensitive position, which may not necessarily involve access to classified information,” wrote Judge Evan Wallach.

“Courts have long recognized that sensitive but unclassified material can be vital to national security,” he wrote.

Wallach added that it was “naive” to say that employees without direct access to classified information can’t affect national security.

In a dissent, Judge Timothy Dyk said the majority opinion will deny merit systems board review for “hundreds of thousands of federal employees — a number that is likely to increase as more positions are designated as noncritical sensitive.”

Tom Devine, legal director of the Government Accountability Project, a whistle-blower advocacy group, said that the court had “created a loophole to remove the civil service rule of law from virtually the entire federal workforce.”

The American Federation of Government Employees said it would likely seek review by the Supreme Court.

“Due process rights are the very foundation of our civil service system,” said the group’s president, David Cox Sr. “That system itself has been undermined by the court today, if this ruling is allowed to stand.”

Carolyn Lerner, head of the federal Office of Special Counsel, which investigates retaliation against government whistle-blowers, said the ruling poses a significant threat to whistle-blower protections for hundreds of thousands of federal employees in sensitive positions.

Lt. Col. Cathy Wilkinson, a Defense Department spokeswoman for personnel and readiness, said the agency was reviewing the decision.

Parent Category: ROOT
Category: News

August 22, 2013

By Charlene Muhammad

LAWT Contributing Writer

 

On August 17, Sybrina Fulton, mother of slain Florida teen Trayvon Martin, and family attorney Benjamin Crump, led a community conversation on racial profiling at Steele Indian School Park’s Memorial Hall.

Attorney Charlene Tarver of the Tarver Law Group and Fatimah Halim, a community organizer, coordinated the program, which examined the systemic impact of racial bias and profiling on communities of color.  The day’s highlights were a Q&A with Fulton, Crump, and Tarver, moderated by Halim, and a private reception hosted at a residence in Scottsdale.

The discussion is just one of many town hall meetings, rallies, or protests still occurring across the country since a Sanford, Florida jury of five White and one Hispanic women found George Zimmerman, not guilty of second degree murder charges on July 13.

Fulton said she feels the prosecutors did the best job they could and that everything rested in the jury’s hands.  “They couldn’t understand or maybe they didn’t have the understanding of Trayvon’s point of view, which is very sad because they can’t take away certain facts:  that he was unarmed, that he was a minor, that he was not committing any crime,” Fulton said.

“They have to live with some things, which is going to cause them problems with sleeping at night,” she added, as the audience exploded into applause.

Fulton and Crump also came to raise awareness about the Trayvon Martin Foundation and the Trayvon Martin Amendment, which would change Stand Your Ground Laws to prohibit people from profiling, following, and killing someone, and then claim they were standing their ground, Ms. Fulton explained to a host of concerned residents, lawyers, educators, activists, artists, politicians, and community and religious leaders. 

Fulton shared that the ordeal has thrust her — a regular woman, with a regular income and a regular life — into a spotlight she nor her family have asked for and that no family would want.  But, she will continue to fight because the Stand Your Ground law must be reversed, she said. 

Her attorney said the people’s continued engagement in the Justice for Trayvon Martin movement is multi-layered and phenomenal, and the program reminded him of how the case impacted him early on. 

“Everybody has a ‘Trayvon moment’ and the moment for me was when his father called me and the lawyers on the phone, trying to get me to represent them and I said you don’t need me because he killed him on the street. He was unarmed.  Of course they’re going to arrest him,” Crump told this writer in a private interview.

“We really believed and that was the thing that was most heartbreaking because you allowed yourself to believe. You knew about the Oscar Grants. You knew about the the Emmett Tills, the Medgar Evers, but you wanted to believe.  You thought in a post-racial society, with a Black president, with this evidence they’ve got to arrest him,” Crump continued.

Tarver urged the audience to get involved. “As lawyers, as business owners, as professionals, I think it is incumbent on us to begin to create a voice for Stand Your Ground and I think as long as we remain afraid to address it, it will never be dealt with,” Tarver stated.

A morning panel, moderated by Lasana Hotep, an educator and researcher, explored the criminal justice system and racial profiling’s impact on youth.  Presenters included Judge Penny Willrich of the Phoenix School of Law, Alex Munoz, founder of Films By Youth, Rampage, a multi-platinum rap artist, and Ja’han Jones, a student activist.

“African American males are constantly subjected to powerlessness and that brings into question our personalities, the kind of people who we are.  The acquittal of George Zimmerman brings into question America’s value of Black life,” Jones said.  As a result, he’s spent the last few months trying to reconcile the value his mom assigns to him and the value America assigns to him.  “There’s a formidable gap between worthless and priceless,” Jones added.

Munoz highlighted the role of arts on incarcerated youth.  Most of the men he works with are Black or Latino he said, and filmmaking is just one of many tools society can use to empower them in a world that’s already determined their worth as zero, he offered. 

An afternoon panel comprised of Crump, Dr. Ray Winbush of Morgan State University, Attorney Daniel Ortega of the Ortega Law Firm, and Tarver, highlighted the law and human rights through a historical lens.

There’s always been a restriction on the plain, old locomotion of Black men,  and that is a 400 year old mentality, Dr. Winbush noted.  He denounced society’s historical line that if Black males and females fight back against injustices, they are wrong.  “Black men and boys when attacked do have a right to fight back,” he said, encouraging the audience to broaden their understanding of the criminal justice system, racial profiling, and their legal rights.

“Injustice anywhere is injustice everywhere and if we allow one group to be subject to injustice, it applies to all,” Ortega said.  He advocates a restructuring of police culture.  “The only way we’re going to do it is if all of us fight together and challenge it together,” he continued.

Student Minister Charles Muhammad of Muhammad Mosque No. 32  thought the program was much needed.  “It was very inspiring to see Sybrina Fulton at the event and that actually capped the event with her spirit and her strength.  Even though she’s mourning the death of her son, she’s inspiring people and letting them know it could happen to any one of us, especially youth,” he stated.

Parent Category: ROOT
Category: News

August 22, 2013

 

LAWT News Service

 

President Barack Obama has participated in a special program along with Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel, Rep. Charles Rangel (D-NY) and other senior government officials that honored Korean War Veterans and commemorated the 60th Anniversary of the Signing of the Armistice that ended three years of fighting on the Korean Peninsula following North Korea’s invasion of the Republic of Korea in June 1950. President Obama provided keynote remarks at the event, held at the Korean War Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C.

“The Republic of Korea today has one of the world’s strongest economies and is a staunch U.S. ally due to those service members who made the ultimate sacrifice and the service and sacrifice made by our Korean War Veterans,” said Colonel David J. Clark, Director of the Department of Defense (DoD) 60th Anniversary of the Korean War Commemoration Committee. “What people need to understand is that the Korean War was a ‘Forgotten Victory’ and marked the end of Communist aggression in Northeast Asia.”

Of particular significance to the African American community is the fact that the Korean War was the first war in which America fought with a military force that was officially integrated, as authorized by the President of the United States. President Harry Truman signed an Executive Order that ended segregation in the U.S. Armed Forces in 1948; it took effect in 1950 while the Korean War was raging. That meant African American and white soldiers fought Communist forces, side-by-side, in horrible conditions and on challenging terrain.

Of the 600,000 African Ameri­cans who served in the Armed Forces during the Korean War, it’s estimated that more than 5,000 died in combat. During his remarks on July 27, President Obama made special note of these facts. He also alluded to the fact that the first government entity to be officially integrated was the U.S. Military and that the results of that action benefited the nation tremendously, once the Korean War had concluded.

The program on July 27th paid tribute to all Korean War Veterans and commemorated the signing of the Armistice. In addition, United Nations Allies that provided combat troops, medical teams, and other support were also recognized.

Also in attendance were veterans and survivors from the first victorious battle during that war, won in July 1950 by the 24th Infantry Regiment, the nation’s oldest African American combat unit. In addition, members of the 231st Transportation Truck Battalion, another African American unit, attended the ceremonies. The 231st was the only Maryland National Guard unit ordered to active duty to support the Korean War.  

The Department of Defense 60th Anniversary of the Korean War Commemoration Committee, authorized in the 2011 Defense Authorization Bill, is dedicated to thanking and honoring all the Veterans of the Korean War, their families and especially those who lost loved ones in that war. Through 2013, the Committee will honor the service and sacrifice of Korean War Veterans, commemorate the key events of the war, and educate Americans of all ages about the historical significance of the Korean War.

For more information, visit our website at www.koreanwar60.com Keep connected with the Department of Defense 60th Anniversary of the Korean War Commemoration Committee via Facebook and Twitter, through videos at YouTube or with photos on Flickr.

Parent Category: ROOT
Category: News

News

Electric vehicle charging stations now available at county facilities for public visitors

Electric vehicle charging stations now available at county facilities for public visitors

August 28, 2014   LAWT News Service   Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors Chairman Don Knabe announced the installation and launch of electric...

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Community

County invites residents to community meetings to discuss community development and housing funds; Five community meetings are scheduled from September 9 through September 23, 2014; Public can also submit written comments through October 23, 2014

County invites residents to community meetings to discuss community development and housing funds; Five community meetings are scheduled from September 9 through September 23, 2014; Public can also submit written comments through October 23, 2014

August 28, 2014   LAWT News Service   The Community Development Commission of the County of Los Angeles (CDC) invites residents to a series of five...

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Sports News

Age no opponent for some of NFL’s veteran stars

Age no opponent for some of NFL’s veteran stars

August 21, 2014   Associated Press      There’s something stunning happening on Michael Vick’s head.   You can’t see them from far away,...

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Arts & Culture

Hip Hop Corner: The Godfather of Hip Hop

Hip Hop Corner: The Godfather of Hip Hop

August 28, 2014   By Jineea Butler  NNPA Columnist      Hip Hop has always had a fetish with gangster movies and characters. We often see artists...

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Market Update

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