"I’m not buying. Past experience leaves the taste that a few people — never ourselves — will make out the first day, but that it’s not likely to appreciate a lot in the near future or maybe even the long future." — STEVE WOZNIAK, Apple co-founder
"I wouldn’t be buying Google stock, and I don’t know anyone who would." — JERRY KAPLAN, entrepreneur
"You can’t hide the fact that (Google) is slowing down. There was a year of hyper-growth, and then it rolled over." — ANDY KESSLER, Wall Street analyst
"I think Google isn’t doing what it needs to do to help the country. For a while I thought it was an absurdist play titled ‘Waiting for Google.’ Everyone was sitting around thinking it was going to save the industry, but it’s not." — MOSES MA, investment executive
"My sanity test was to ask, ‘What are the chances in the next 18 months Google’s stock price will be half of what it was on the day it went on sale? I think there are three chances in four that will be true." — MITCHELL KAPOR, head of the Open Source Application Foundation.
Since the Aug. 9 shooting death of Michael Brown, the nation and the world have witnessed the unrest that has gripped Ferguson, Mo. At the core of these demonstrations is a demand for answers about the circumstances of this young man’s death and a broader concern about the state of our criminal justice system.
At a time when so much may seem uncertain, the people of Ferguson can have confidence that the Justice Department intends to learn — in a fair and thorough manner — exactly what happened.
Today, I will be in Ferguson to be briefed on the federal civil rights investigation that I have closely monitored since I launched it more than one week ago. I will meet personally with community leaders, FBI investigators and federal prosecutors from the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division and the U.S. Attorney’s Office to receive detailed briefings on the status of this case.
The full resources of the Department of Justice have been committed to the investigation into Michael Brown’s death. This inquiry will take time to complete, but we have already taken significant steps. Approximately 40 FBI agents and some of the Civil Rights Division’s most experienced prosecutors have been deployed to lead this process, with the assistance of the United States Attorney in St. Louis. Hundreds of people have already been interviewed in connection with this matter. On Monday, at my direction, a team of federal medical examiners conducted an independent autopsy.
We understand the need for an independent investigation, and we hope that the independence and thoroughness of our investigation will bring some measure of calm to the tensions in Ferguson. In order to begin the healing process, however, we must first see an end to the acts of violence in the streets of Ferguson. Although these acts have been committed by a very small minority — and, in many cases, by individuals from outside Ferguson — they seriously undermine, rather than advance, the cause of justice. And they interrupt the deeper conversation that the legitimate demonstrators are trying to advance.
The Justice Department will defend the right of protesters to peacefully demonstrate and for the media to cover a story that must be told. But violence cannot be condoned. I urge the citizens of Ferguson who have been peacefully exercising their First Amendment rights to join with law enforcement in condemning the actions of looters, vandals and others seeking to inflame tensions and sow discord.
Law enforcement has a role to play in reducing tensions, as well. As the brother of a retired law enforcement officer, I know firsthand that our men and women in uniform perform their duties in the face of tremendous threats and significant personal risk. They put their lives on the line every day, and they often have to make split-second decisions.
At the same time, good law enforcement requires forging bonds of trust between the police and the public. This trust is all-important, but it is also fragile. It requires that force be used in appropriate ways. Enforcement priorities and arrest patterns must not lead to disparate treatment under the law, even if such treatment is unintended. And police forces should reflect the diversity of the communities they serve.
Over the years, we have made significant progress in ensuring that this is the case. But progress is not an endpoint; it is a measure of effort and of commitment. Constructive dialogue should continue — but it must also be converted into concrete action. And it is painfully clear, in cities and circumstances across our great nation, that more progress, more dialogue, and more action is needed.
This is my pledge to the people of Ferguson: Our investigation into this matter will be full, it will be fair, and it will be independent. And beyond the investigation itself, we will work with the police, civil rights leaders, and members of the public to ensure that this tragedy can give rise to new understanding — and robust action — aimed at bridging persistent gaps between law enforcement officials and the communities we serve. Long after the events of Aug. 9 have receded from the headlines, the Justice Department will continue to stand with this community.
You are getting reax to Ferguson from Republican Paul Ryan and acting like he isn’t using his airtime to hector African- Americans about getting themselves out of poverty and spouting the usual conservative “pull yourselves up by your own bootstraps” propaganda instead of offering real solutions to very real problems.
Stop letting him campaign on the backs of the disenfranchised, for fuck’s sake.
Islamic State militants released a video on Tuesday purporting to show the beheading of American journalist James Wright Foley, who has been missing since he was kidnapped in northwest Syria on November 22, 2012. Foley was abducted by unknown gunmen outside a cafe in Binesh, along with his translator, who was later released.
Another captive is shown at the end of the video. He is identified as Steven Sotloff, an American journalist who has been missing since August 2013.
"We know that many of you are looking for confirmation or answers," said a message posted on the Free James Foley Facebook page. "Please be patient until we all have more information, and keep the Foleys in your thoughts and prayers."
The video has not yet been independently verified. The video and images were released on Twitter by user @mujahid4life. The account has since been suspended.
"We have seen a video that purports to be the murder of US citizen James Foley by ISIL," Caitlin Hayden, a spokesperson for the White House National Security Council, said in a statement. "The intelligence community is working as quickly as possible to determine its authenticity. If genuine, we are appalled by the brutal murder of an innocent American journalist and we express our deepest condolences to his family and friends. We will provide more information when it is available."
A freelancer known for his work covering conflict in Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria, and Libya, Foley had contributed work to GlobalPost, Agence France-Presse, and various other outlets. In 2011, he was kidnapped and held by pro-Qaddafi forces in Libya before being released after 45 days.
"Captivity is the state most violently opposite his nature," his friend Clare Morgana Gillis, a journalist who had been kidnapped with him in Libya in 2011, wrote in a piece last year for Syria Deeply. "But when we were detained in Tripoli, Jim automatically turned his energies to keeping up our strength and hope."
In this city of about 21,000, West Florissant is a major thoroughfare and is lined with nail and hair salons, a few restaurants and an array of retailers. It is common to see commercial jetliners fly overhead as they arrive or depart from the nearby Lambert-St. Louis International Airport.
But for more than a week, the road has been a battleground nearly every night.
On Sunday night, police officers in riot gear marched through smoke-filled streets. As midnight approached, the roadway was filled with debris: spent canisters of tear gas, wooden and rubber bullets, gray cinder blocks and shattered bottles.
But by the time the lunch hours arrived on Monday, the street was largely swept clean, sometimes by volunteers clutching black trash bags.
It was not so simple for Dellena Jones, who runs a hair salon where the door frame was free of glass on Monday. The night before, demonstrators had tossed concrete slabs into the business as Ms. Jones’s two children prepared for what had been scheduled as the first day of school.
As Ms. Jones waited for a wooden board to place over her door, she fretted about what might become of her business as customers have chosen to stay away.
“I had a full week that went down to really nothing,” she said. “They’re too scared to come.”
As she spoke, a man walked by and shouted, “You need a gun in there, lady!” If the unrest continues, Ms. Jones said she may have to meet customers elsewhere.
“I may have to go for a minute and work somewhere else,” she said. “But I’m paying rent here, so I will have to pay somewhere else to work, which is not fair.”
President Obama said Monday that Iraqi special forces and Kurdish fighters, backed by American war planes, had retaken a strategically critical dam near Mosul, the latest in what he described as a string of positive steps in halting the march of Islamic extremists across the country.
“This operation demonstrates that Iraqi and Kurdish forces are capable of working together to take the fight” to the extremists, Mr. Obama said in remarks at the White House. “If that dam was breached, it could have proven catastrophic.”
Still, Mr. Obama said, “This is going to take time; there are going to be many challenges ahead.” He said that the American military campaign would continue for the foreseeable future.
The president interrupted a family vacation in Martha’s Vineyard, Mass., to meet with his national security team on the crisis in Iraq. After receiving an update on the military operation and political developments there, he emerged to deliver a cautiously optimistic status report.
Mr. Obama said that recapturing the dam, along with breaking the siege on Mount Sinjar and the departure of Prime Minister Nuri Kamal al-Maliki had generated a sense of momentum.
“This peaceful transition of power will mark a major milestone in Iraq’s political development,” Mr. Obama said, “but as we’re all aware, the work is not done.”
“I want to be clear: police not coming in at this point — even with the looting — was a good thing,” remarked French. ”It would’ve gotten very violent.”
Before the evening ended, French chronicled reports of journalists being threatened by some of the protestors; talk of looting a nearby Walmart (which didn’t happen); and finally, a(n apparent) resident who arrived on scene to help restore order… with a "shiny silver handgun."
"Quick note," French Tweeted, "My out-of-town followers should know that in the State of Missouri it is legal to drive around with your handgun."
French ends with this lament: “I was exhausted. A lot of us exchanged handshakes and hugs. Then I hopped in my car and drove home, saddened by the lost #PeaceInFerguson.”
A grand jury indicted Gov. Rick Perry on two counts Friday, accusing him of abusing his veto power by threatening to withhold funding from the Travis County’s public corruption unit if the district attorney did not resign following her drunken driving arrest.
The Travis County grand jury, led by special prosecutor Mike McCrum, indicted Perry on one count of abuse of official capacity, a first-degree felony, and coercion of a public servant, a third-degree felony.
The punishment range for the first count is 5 to 99 years in prison and on the second count, 2 to 10 years in prison, McCrum said.
"I’m ready to go forward," McCrum said. Asked about the effect on Perry carrying out his duties or eyeing higher office, McCrum said, "I took into account we’re talking about the governor of a state… When it gets down to it, the law is the law."
McCrum said he will meet with Perry’s lawyer and the judge to set up a time for Perry to come before a court to be arraigned and be given notice of the charges against him. The date has not been set.
Calls to Perry’s office and his lawyer were not immediately returned Friday evening.
Mary Anne Wiley, general counsel for the governor’s office, Gov. Rick Perry, issued a brief statement: “The veto in question was made in accordance with the veto authority afforded to every governor under the Texas Constitution. We will continue to aggressively defend the governor’s lawful and constitutional action, and believe we will ultimately prevail.”
Grand jurors for months have been looking into whether Perry violated the law last year when he said he’d kill funding for the Travis County district attorney’s public corruption division unless District Attorney Rosemary Lehmberg resigned after a messy drunken-driving arrest.
Perry carried through on the veto threat when Lehmberg stayed on the job.
Austin watchdog group Texans for Public Justice filed a complaint with prosecutors last year over Perry’s threat. The group, which tracks money in politics, contended that with the threat, Perry violated laws against coercion of a public servant, abuse of official capacity, official oppression and, potentially, bribery.
Craig McDonald, director of Texans for Public Justice, said the legal system worked.
"The grand jury decided his bullying was actually lawbreaking, just as we thought it was," McDonald said. "These were exactly the acts we believed were illegal, so the grand jury believed our complaint had merit — and now the legal system can work. The governor will have to defend his actions in court."
Chief Jackson says that the original police stop of Michael Brown “had nothing to do with” the robbery at QuikTrip and adds that the officer “did not know” that Brown was a suspect in said robbery, but rather that Brown was stopped because he was “blocking traffic” on the street where he was ultimately shot to death.
When asked why the video of the store robbery was released at the same time information on Brown was — as if to imply there was a connection between the robbery and the police stop — Chief Jackson says that wasn’t the case: he says the video was released because “the media asked for it.”
The character assassination of Michael Brown, laid bare.
Ferguson, MO police chief THOMAS JACKSON, explaining why he delayed the release of store surveillance video purportedly showing the involvement of Michael Brown in a “strongarm” robbery; Jackson said he finally “had to” honor FOIA requests from the media to release the video.
The Ferguson Police Department, releasing the police officer’s name and putting out a “packet” of stuff basically saying without saying that Michael Brown is a “strongarm” robbery suspect, declining to give details and instead allowing their version of “facts” to simmer, to stew for a while in the court of public opinion so by the time they actually hold a press conference to produce evidence, the public — they hope — will have made up their minds that Michael Brown was a criminal and not a guy shot to death by a police officer as he held his hands in the air, as if to surrender.
Shot despite surrendering. THAT is what the Ferguson Police Department wants you and everyone else in America to forget.
For four nights in a row, they streamed onto West Florissant Avenue wearing camouflage, black helmets and vests with “POLICE” stamped on the back. They carried objects that doubled as warnings: assault rifles and ammunition, slender black nightsticks and gas masks.
They were not just one police force but many, hailing from communities throughout north St. Louis County and loosely coordinated by the county police.
Their adversaries were a ragtag group of mostly unarmed neighborhood residents, hundreds of African-Americans whose pent-up fury at the police had sent them pouring onto streets and sidewalks in Ferguson, demanding justice for Michael Brown, the 18-year-old who was fatally shot by a police officer on Saturday.
When the protesters refused to retreat from the streets, threw firebombs or walked too close to a police officer, the response was swift and unrelenting: tear gas and rubber bullets.
To the rest of the world, the images of explosions, billowing tear gas and armored vehicles made this city look as if it belonged in a chaos-stricken corner of Eastern Europe, not the heart of the American Midwest. As a result, a broad call came from across the political spectrum for America’s police forces to be demilitarized, and Gov. Jay Nixon installed a new overall commander in Ferguson.
“At a time when we must seek to rebuild trust between law enforcement and the local community,” Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. said, “I am deeply concerned that the deployment of military equipment and vehicles sends a conflicting message.”
Senator Claire McCaskill, Democrat of Missouri, and Senator Rand Paul, Republican of Kentucky, voiced similar sentiments.
But such opposition amounts to a sharp change in tone in Washington, where the federal government has spent more than a decade paying for body armor, mine-resistant trucks and other military gear, all while putting few restrictions on its use. Grant programs that, in the name of fighting terrorism, paid for some of the equipment being used in Ferguson have been consistently popular since the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. If there has been any debate at all, it was over which departments deserved the most money.
Department of Homeland Security grant money paid for the $360,000 Bearcat armored truck on patrol in Ferguson, said Nick Gragnani, executive director of St. Louis Area Regional Response System, which administers such grants for the St. Louis area.
Since 2003, the group has spent $9.4 million on equipment for the police in St. Louis County. That includes $3.6 million for two helicopters, plus the Bearcat, other vehicles and night vision equipment. Most of the body armor worn by officers responding to the Ferguson protests was paid for with federal money, Mr. Gragnani said.
“The focus is terrorism, but it’s allowed to do a crossover for other types of responses,” he said. “It’s for any type of civil unrest. We went by the grant guidance. There was no restriction put on that by the federal government.”
“There is a certain level of emotion that must be expressed in order for us to get to a higher plane… I don’t care how respectful (the protests are) … or if the media wants to keep showing pictures… this is a free country. …Ultimately in the horrific facts that started this particular activity, we must make sure that justice prevails. Without fear or favor, we must make sure that we find the truth.”—Missouri governor JAY NIXON, addressing a community meeting in Ferguson, MO.
St. Louis Alderman Antonio French emerged Thursday morning from a night in jail after his arrest at the Ferguson protests to say that the police officers’ “heavy-handed” approach on the streets is making the situation worse.
French said police dragged him from his car Wednesday night but gave him no documentation that says why he was arrested. He was released about 7 a.m. today without having to post any bail.
No police spokesman was available to explain why French was arrested.
French said he should never have been locked up, nor should the dozen or so others at the jail overnight.
"Inside that jail is nothing but peacekeepers," he said. "They rounded up the wrong people … reverends, young people organizing the peace effort."
Police arrested about a dozen people Wednesday night, including French and Washington Post reporter Wesley Lowery and Huffington Post reporter Ryan Reilly.
Police used tear gas and sonic cannons to disperse the crowds. Today, Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon is scheduled to visit Ferguson in the wake of the growing protests.
As he walked out of the Ferguson Jail this morning, French wore his signature oxford button-down shirt — slightly wrinkled from sleeping in it on a jail cot, and with a burnt orange color on the shoulder from where a fellow inmate had wiped his eyes from the burning tear gas.
French talked with reporters about his experience. He said he was near the burned-out QuikTrip at about 9 p.m. Wednesday when police in riot gear ordered protesters to disperse. Several hundred people were there.
"Police had just given a final warning to disperse and released smoke bombs, people scattered and ran," French said. "Police started to move forward with riot gear and tear gas started to come."
"I moved away when it looked like they were throwing what I thought was tear gas … it turned out to be smoke bombs," French added. "I realized the best place (to be was in my) car with the windows rolled up. That’s where I was."
He said he was recording what was happening.
When a reporter asked French today how he went from being in his car to being arrested, he said: “They open your door and drag you out.”
"They just rounded up anybody they could see," he said.
“The death of Michael Brown is heartbreaking, and Michelle and I send our deepest condolences to his family and his community at this very difficult time. As Attorney General Holder has indicated, the Department of Justice is investigating the situation along with local officials, and they will continue to direct resources to the case as needed. I know the events of the past few days have prompted strong passions, but as details unfold, I urge everyone in Ferguson, Missouri, and across the country, to remember this young man through reflection and understanding. We should comfort each other and talk with one another in a way that heals, not in a way that wounds. Along with our prayers, that’s what Michael and his family, and our broader American community, deserve.”—PRESIDENT OBAMA
There were at least two versions of the encounter that led to a police officer fatally shooting an unarmed Ferguson teenager on Saturday: one from a young man named Dorian Johnson who told reporters he had been walking with the victim, Michael Brown, and the second from St. Louis County Police Chief Jon Belmar.
The versions agree on some basic facts: The officer approached the teens, who were walking in the street, there was an altercation in or near the car, and the officer fired several shots at the unarmed Brown, who was then several yards away, killing him.
In Johnson’s version, the officer reached out of the car to grab Brown by the throat. In Belmar’s version, which cited his department’s investigation, Brown reached into the car to attack the officer, and struggled to grab his weapon.
“I do those because it’s like the real version of Good Morning, Vietnam, meeting people and seeing what I can do to help. They’re the best audiences I’ve ever had. The most powerful experience is visiting the wounded in hospitals. A friend of mine’s doing a program in San Francisco at a veterans’ hospital, getting them to do improv comedy as therapy. And it’s really helping. Comedy can be a cathartic way to deal with personal trauma.”—Asked why he performed on USO tours, the late ROBIN WILLIAMS, in a September, 2013 interview with Parade magazine.
President Obama on Thursday announced that he had authorized targeted American airstrikes against Islamic militants in Iraq, scrambling to avert the fall of the Kurdish capital, Erbil, and returning the United States to a significant battlefield role in Iraq for the first time since the last American soldier left the country at the end of 2011.
Speaking at the White House on Thursday night, Mr. Obama also said that American military aircraft had dropped food and water to tens of thousands of Iraqis trapped on a barren mountain range in northwestern Iraq, having fled the militants from the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, who threaten them with what Mr. Obama called “genocide.”
“Earlier this week, one Iraqi cried that there is no one coming to help,” Mr. Obama said in a televised statement delivered from the State Dining Room. “Well, today America is coming to help.”
The president insisted the twin military operations did not amount to a full-scale re-engagement in Iraq. But the relentless advance of the militants, whom he described as “barbaric,” has put them within a 30-minute drive of Erbil, raising an immediate danger for the American diplomats, military advisers and other citizens who are based there.
“As commander in chief, I will not allow the United States to be dragged into another war in Iraq,” said Mr. Obama, who defined himself during his run for the presidency in large part around his opposition to the war in Iraq.
While Mr. Obama has authorized airstrikes, there had not yet been any as of late Thursday. But a senior administration official said after the speech that as conditions in Iraq deteriorated in recent days, the United States had worked with Iraqi security forces and Kurdish fighters to coordinate the response to ISIS advances. The official said the cooperation had included airstrikes by Iraqi forces against ISIS targets in the north.
Kurdish and Iraqi officials said that airstrikes were carried out Thursday night on two towns in northern Iraq seized by ISIS — Gwer and Mahmour, near Erbil. The New York Times on its website Thursday quoted Kurdish and Iraqi officials as saying that the strikes were carried out by American planes.
“I wanted justice. You know, looking at him to know that justice needs to be served. You did cold-blood murder. That was murder. That was no accident. That was not self-defense. He did murder.”—
MONICA McBRIDE, mother of 19-year-old Renisha McBride, shot to death by Theodore Wafer while she stood on the front porch of Wafer’s home in Dearborn Heights, MI last year. Wafer, who fired shotgun into McBride’s chest, claimed self-defense in a case likened to the slaying of Trayvon Martin; he faces up to life in prison during his sentencing later this month.