Wednesday, Sept. 27, 2023 |
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offer solace, denounce racism
in Atlanta visit
ATLANTA — President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris offered solace to Asian Americans and denounced the scourge of racism at times hidden “in plain sight” as they visited Atlanta on Friday, just days after a white gunman killed eight people, most of them Asian American women.
Addressing the nation after a roughly 80-minute meeting with Asian American state legislators and other leaders, Biden said it was “heart-wrenching” to listen to their stories of the fear among Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders amid what he called a “skyrocketing spike” of harassment and violence against them.
“We have to change our hearts,” he said. “Hate can have no safe harbor in America.”
Biden called on all Americans to stand up to bigotry when they see it, adding: “Our silence is complicity. We cannot be complicit.”
“They’ve been attacked, blamed, scapegoated and harassed; they’ve been verbally assaulted, physically assaulted, killed,” Biden said of Asian Americans during the coronavirus pandemic.
‘An all-hands moment’: GOP rallies behind
On an invitation-only call last week, Sen. Ted Cruz huddled with Republican state lawmakers to call them to battle on the issue of voting rights.
Democrats are trying to expand voting rights to “illegal aliens” and “child molesters,” he claimed, and Republicans must do all they can to stop them. If they push through far-reaching election legislation now before the Senate, the GOP won’t win elections again for generations, he said.
Asked if there was room to compromise, Cruz was blunt: “No.”
“H.R. 1’s only objective is to ensure that Democrats can never again lose another election, that they will win and maintain control of the House of Representatives and the Senate and of the state legislatures for the next century,” Cruz told the group organized by the American Legislative Exchange Council, a corporate-backed, conservative group that provides model legislation to state legislators.
Cruz’s statements, recorded by a person on the call and obtained by The Associated Press, capture the building intensity behind Republicans’ nationwide campaign to restrict access to the ballot. From statehouses to Washington, the fight over who can vote and how — often cast as “voting integrity” — has galvanized a Republican Party in search of unifying mission in the post-Trump era. For a powerful network of conservatives, voting restrictions are now viewed as a political life-or-death debate, and the fight has all-but eclipsed traditional Republican issues like abortion, gun rights and tax cuts as an organizing tool.
Judge won’t move trial in Floyd’s death; 13th
MINNEAPOLIS — A judge said Friday he won’t delay or move the trial of a former Minneapolis police officer charged in George Floyd’s death over concerns that a $27 million settlement for Floyd’s family could taint the jury pool, but he’ll allow limited evidence from a 2019 arrest.
Jury selection in the trial of Derek Chauvin will stretch into a third week after attorneys seated just one additional juror Friday. The 13th juror picked is a woman who said she’d seen only clips of the video of Floyd’s arrest and needs to learn more about what happened beforehand.
Hennepin County Judge Pete Cahill said court would resume Monday to pick two more jurors — for a total of 15, one more than expected. Asked about the apparent discrepancy, a court spokesman cited a November order from Cahill that had said up to 16 jurors — 12 to deliberate and four alternates — would be seated.
Seven jurors had been picked last week when the Minneapolis City Council announced it had unanimously approved the massive payout to settle a civil rights lawsuit over Floyd’s death. Chauvin’s attorney, Eric Nelson, subsequently sought to halt or move the trial, saying the settlement timing was deeply disturbing and jeopardized Chauvin’s chance for a fair trial. Chauvin is charged with murder and manslaughter.
But Cahill, who called the timing “unfortunate,” said he believed a delay would do nothing to stem the problem of pretrial publicity, and that there’s no place in Minnesota untouched by that publicity.
Georgia church ‘distraught,’ disowns suspect, says he betrayed faith
The church attended by the white man charged with killing eight people at three Atlanta-area massage businesses, most of them women of Asian descent, condemned the shootings Friday and said they run contrary to the gospel and the church’s teachings.
Crabapple First Baptist Church in Milton, Georgia, also announced in a statement that it plans to remove the 21-year-old from its membership because it “can no longer affirm that he is truly a regenerate believer in Jesus Christ.”
Previously the church had only issued a brief statement expressing condolences, without mentioning Long. It also shut down its social media accounts and made its website private.
On Friday it said those measures were taken to protect the safety of its congregants.
Congregants were “distraught” when they learned the alleged shooter was a member of the community, the statement said. His family has belonged to the church for many years.
From wire sources
Brazil security law being turned on president’s critics
SAO PAULO — Protesters against Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro defied police in the capital Friday, a day after the latest round of arrests of the leader’s critics under a dictatorship-era national security law.
Four demonstrators were detained Thursday after calling Bolsonaro “genocidal” for his handling of the coronavirus pandemic and displaying a cartoon depicting the president as a Nazi. But on Friday, police quietly watched an hour-long protest against Bolsonaro staged by about 40 people.
The national security law, which dates from 1983, near the end of the country’s military dictatorship, states it is a crime to harm the heads of the three branches of government or expose them to danger. That vague definition has recently been used to detain or investigate Bolsonaro critics.
Geography teacher Katia Garcia said she showed up in front of the president’s office Friday because the arrests had inspired her.
“They were jailed because the description ‘genocidal’ suits our president very well,” Garcia said, wearing a face mask and face shield. “He has contributed to our health care system collapsing, for the lack of vaccines. Police can’t silence us.”
New York Times: Current aide accuses Cuomo of sex harassment
ALBANY, N.Y. — A woman who currently works in the office of New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo says he looked down her shirt and made suggestive remarks to her and another aide, according to a newspaper report published Friday.
Alyssa McGrath told The New York Times that Cuomo called her beautiful in Italian, referred to her and her female colleague as “mingle mamas,” asked why she wasn’t wearing a wedding ring and inquired about her divorce.
“He has a way of making you feel very comfortable around him, almost like you’re his friend,” Ms. McGrath told the newspaper. “But then you walk away from the encounter or conversation, in your head going, ‘I can’t believe I just had that interaction with the governor of New York.’”
McGrath is the first current aide to come forward publicly to join mounting allegations of sexual misconduct against Cuomo. His behavior with women is the subject of an investigation overseen by the state’s attorney general and a separate impeachment investigation by the New York Assembly, the state’s lower legislative chamber.
McGrath told The New York Times that her female colleague was the same woman the governor is accused of groping in the Executive Mansion, an allegation that was revealed in a report last week in the Times Union of Albany.
Trump’s Mar-a-Lago partially closed due to COVID outbreak
WASHINGTON — Former President Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago club in Palm Beach, Florida, has been partially closed after staff members tested positive for the coronavirus.
That’s according to several people, including one familiar with club operations, who said Mar-a-Lago had “partially closed” a section of the club and quarantined some of its workers “out of an abundance of caution.” The person spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the situation by name.
An email sent to members said that service had been temporarily suspended in the club’s dining room and at its beach club because some staff members had recently tested positive. It said the club had undertaken “all appropriate response measures,” including sanitizing affected areas,” and that banquet and event services remain open.
“The health and safety of our members and staff is our highest priority,” it read.
The Florida Department of Health did not immediately respond to a phone call and email.
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