Thirteen-year-old sensation Mo’ne Davis, who plays for Philadelphia’s Taney Dragons, has become the first Little Leaguer to grace the national cover of Sports Illustrated. The 5-foot-4 inch, 111-pound eighth grader is not only taking the Little League World Series by storm, but also she has captured the nation’s attention.
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.”
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."”
Cowards who murder, supposedly in the name of religion.
John Oliver’s take on Ferguson from Last Week Tonight.
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.””
– The New York Times, "Stores Are Boarded Up But Open For Business in Ferguson"
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.””
– The New York Times, "Obama Confirms Iraqi Dam Is Retaken From Militants"
An autopsy of Michael Brown, conducted by a former New York City medical examiner, shows that Brown was shot six times — including twice in the head — and likely not at close range. The autopsy results came as another night of violence engulfed Ferguson, with protestors clashing with police; Missouri governor Jay Nixon has called in the National Guard to help restore order. (Autopsy results via the New York Times)
Meanwhile, at the Little League World Series in Williamsport, PA, Mo’ne Davis — one of only two girls in the tournament — struck out eight batters in a two-hit shutout, leading Philadelphia over Nashville, 4-0. Mo’ne, who has thrown as fast as 70mph, threw all of 70 pitches in her complete game. Which should mean anyone who still says “You throw like a girl!” can shut the fuck up now. (Photo: Gene Puskar / AP via the New York Daily News)