September 20, 2012
“I’d like to offer my sincere thanks and gratitude to Rev. Jesse Jackson for his extraordinary efforts to free two Americans from harsh imprisonment in Gambia, allowing them to return home to the U.S. to be with their loved ones,” said U.S. representative, Karen Bass (D-Calif.) of the Reverend Jesse Jackson’s recent appeal to President Dr. Alhaji Yahya Jammeh of Gambia for the release of two American citizens.
“Rev. Jackson has a history of serving as an international diplomat in sensitive situations like this one, including the release of Navy Lieutenant Robert Goodman from Syria and 48 Cuban and Cuban-American prisoners from Cuba. His leadership has been invaluable in this situation and I commend his foresight to assure these American citizens are able to be in the safety of their homes with the people they love most.”
Amadou Scattred Janneh and Tamsir Jasseh were serving a life and 20 year sentences, respectively, for treason. Jackson was also instrumental in urging President Jammeh to extend indefinitely a moratorium on the death penalty and execution of 38 death row prisoners.
In August, nine prisoners on Gambia’s death row were executed by a firing squad prior to the exhaustion of their legal appeals, and in September President Jammeh announced that the remaining 37 death row inmates would be executed by the end of the month in order to send a message to Gambians that violent crimes would not be tolerated in the country. After outcry from the international community, Jackson began working with the Gambian government to discuss the reversal of this decision. This visit has been credited as the impetus for President Jammeh’s decision that further executions would be suspended indefinitely.
September 20, 2012
Attorney General Kamala D. Harris announced the arraignment of two men who were arrested in possession of 18 pounds of methamphetamine recently, as well as four handguns, three assault rifles and a .50 caliber sniper rifle. The individuals are believed to be associates of the La Familia cartel in Michoacan, Mexico.
“The fight against transnational gangs continues to be a priority for the California Department of Justice,” said Harris. “These arrests are another example of the hard work and dedication of our agents in the continued effort to stop the trafficking of guns, drugs and human beings throughout our state.”
Jesus Espinoza, 25, of San Diego and Jose Manuel Guizar-Gaytan, 25, of Mexico, were arraigned in Riverside County Superior Court on two felony counts each of possession of methamphetamine for sale and possession of methamphetamine with a loaded firearm and three felony counts each of possession of an assault weapon, possession of an assault rifle and possession of any .50 BMG (sniper) rifle. Both defendants pled not guilty, and bail was set at $500,000 for each.
The Riverside County District Attorney’s Office will prosecute the case because the defendants were arrested in the City of Moreno Valley. The investigation was conducted by the attorney general’s Inland Crackdown Allied Task Force (INCA).
On September 14, INCA agents received information about a home in Moreno Valley that contained methamphetamine and weapons. INCA agents, along with deputies from the Riverside County Sheriff's Department, contacted Espinoza and Guizar-Gaytan at the residence. INCA agents obtained a search warrant for the residence, two vehicles and a public storage locker associated with the location. As a result of the search warrant, agents seized approximately 18 pounds of methamphetamine with a street value of more than $832,000, four handguns, three assault rifles and a .50 caliber sniper rifle. Both men were arrested without incident and booked into the Riverside County Jail.
These arrests are the latest in a series of successful DOJ-led investigations targeting transnational gang crime across California. Earlier this month DOJ agents seized $1.1 million worth of methamphetamine from the Sinaloa Cartel. The Attorney General’s INCA Task Force is comprised of: the Beaumont Police Department, the California Department of Justice, the Calexico Police Department, the California Alcoholic Beverage Control, the California Highway Patrol, the Corona Police Department, the San Bernardino Police Department, the U.S. Homeland Security Investigations, the Riverside Police Department, the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department and the Murrieta Police Department.
September 06, 2012
Florida A&M University, still reeling from the hazing-related death of a marching band drum major 10 months ago, suspended its Torque Dance Team on Tuesday September 4 following allegations of an off-campus hazing incident.
Interim President Larry Robinson said the university received an anonymous report from a parent Tuesday afternoon about an alleged incident that occurred over the Labor Day weekend.
“The University takes very seriously any allegation of hazing and has moved quickly to shut the organization down pending the outcome of an investigation,” Robinson said in a news release. “We have zero tolerance for hazing. It’s deplorable and will not be tolerated. It is unconscionable that a student organization would participate in any hazing activity considering what has transpired in the past year.”
The campus police chief, dean of students and director of student activities were all notified of the allegations. Robinson said they’ve launched an investigation, but details about what may have happened weren’t released.
According to university records, the dance team had already been inactive since December 2011 because it didn’t have an adviser.
FAMU has cracked down on hazing since the death last November of drum major Robert Champion, who died after being beaten by fellow band members during a hazing ritual aboard a bus parked outside an Orlando hotel following a football game. The Marching 100 was later suspended, meaning the band won’t be playing at this season’s football games.
Twelve people face felony hazing charges, while two others face misdemeanor counts. They have pleaded not guilty.
Also following Champion’s death, FAMU suspended new membership intake for all clubs and organizations and implemented more strict procedures. That recruitment ban is set to be lifted this month.
September 06, 2012
By JULIE PACE
Michelle Obama rarely mentions Mitt Romney by name. But everything she says during this presidential campaign is meant to draw a contrast between her husband and his Republican challenger.
She implies that Romney, who had a privileged upbringing, can’t relate when she tells middle-class voters that President Barack Obama understands their economic struggles because he has struggled too. And she suggests Romney would have other priorities when she says her husband’s empathy will result in a second-term agenda focused squarely on middle-class economic security.
The first lady made her case to millions of Americans on Tuesday September 4, headlining the first night of the Democratic Party’s national convention, where two days later her husband accepted the party's presidential nomination for a second time. Her high-profile appearance underscores her key role in his re-election bid: chief defender of his character and leader in efforts to validate the direction he is taking the country.
“I am going to remind people about the values that drive my husband to do what he has done and what he is going to do for the next four years,” Mrs. Obama said of her speech during an interview with SiriusXM radio host Joe Madison.
The president said he planned to watch his wife’s speech from the White House with the couple's two daughters.
“I’m going to try to not let them see their daddy cry because when Michelle starts talking, I start getting all misty,” Obama said at rally in Norfolk, Va.
Once the reluctant political spouse, Mrs. Obama has embraced that mission to sell her husband anew throughout the summer while raising money for the campaign and speaking at rallies in battleground states.
These days her speeches are peppered with references to the president’s upbringing in Hawaii, where he was raised by a single mother and his grandparents. She talks about the student loans he took out to pay for college and the years it took to pay them back.
When Romney accused Obama of running a “campaign of hate,” the first lady delivered Obama’s strongest counterpoint — without mentioning the Republican candidate.
“We all know who my husband is, don’t we? And we all know what he stands for,” she said, standing alongside the president at a campaign rally in Iowa.
Key to Mrs. Obama’s campaign strategy is maintaining her own personal appeal.
Anita McBride, who served as first lady Laura Bush’s chief of staff, said that means staying away from the vitriol that has permeated the White House campaign.
“There are plenty of attack dogs in this campaign,” McBride said. “She doesn’t need to be one of them.”
In many ways, the first lady’s challenge Tuesday night was more difficult than it was when she spoke at the 2008 Democratic convention. Back then, her mission was to vouch for her husband’s personal qualities. This time around, she also has to persuade voters to stick with him amid high unemployment and sluggish economic growth.
Many Americans didn’t know Mrs. Obama and some viewed her suspiciously before the 2008 convention. Republicans had questioned her patriotism throughout the campaign because she told voters during the primary that “for the first time in my adult lifetime, I’m really proud of my country.”
Her convention speech sought to put those issues to rest. She declared “I love this country” and used personal stories about her marriage to assure voters they had nothing to fear about her and her husband's values.
Since moving into the White House, Mrs. Obama has focused on tackling childhood obesity and assisting military families. She's largely steered clear of her husband's political battles, at least in public.
But behind the scenes, she’s a sounding board for her husband on pressing policy matters. She also has increasingly promoted his health care overhaul after it was upheld by the Supreme Court.