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Murphy Raises Gun Control – and his Profile – at Convention


By Ana Radelat

PHILADELPHIA — He started his speech with a standing ovation from members of the Connecticut delegation and ended it bringing the entire convention floor to its feet.

Sen. Chris Murphy’s’ impassioned, prime time speech on gun control Wednesday helped the Democratic Party showcase its commitment on the issue and helped raise a profile that has been elevated since he led a filibuster on the Senate floor to press GOP leaders to hold votes on gun legislation.

“Enough of children dying in classrooms. Enough of nightly bloodshed on our city streets. Enough of our police officers being outgunned, ambushed, and cut down in the line of duty.

“Enough,” Murphy said.

The crowd joined him in chanting “Enough.”

Murphy told the delegates, and the nation, about the horrors of the day Adam Lanza killed 20 first graders and six adults at Sandy Hook Elementary School in December of 2012.

“I am furious – furious – that in three years since Sandy Hook, three years of almost daily bloodshed in our cities, the Republican Congress has done absolutely nothing to prevent the next massacre,” he said. “It stokes inside me a sense of outrage I’ve never felt before. And that’s what drove me to stand on the floor of the United States Senate for 15 hours to demand change.”

Murphy spent 15 hours on the Senate floor talking about gun violence, joined by about 40 Democratic senators who told stories of gun violence in their states – and families.

Murphy’s speech was watched by Jackie and Mark Barden, whose son Daniel was slain in the Sandy Hook massacre. Jackie Barden called Murphy’s address “very moving” and “powerful.”

Sen. Chris Murphy addresses the convention.

Mark Pazniokas / CTMirror.org

Sen. Chris Murphy addresses the convention.

The Bardens were in Philadelphia Wednesday for the screening of the documentary “Newtown” on the day Democrats chose to address the issue of gun violence head-on.

Murphy, who was nervous about using a teleprompter to give his speech, said Hillary Clinton shared “that same sense of outrage” that Congress fails to approve gun control legislation that would broaden FBI background checks of gun buyers and bar those on a federal terror watch list from purchasing guns.

“Hillary Clinton didn’t have to make fighting gun violence a centerpiece of her campaign. I’m sure people told her it wasn’t worth the political risk. But she held firm. She stood up to the NRA and pledged to take Washington back from the gun lobby,” Murphy said.

Murphy also took a hard swipe at Donald Trump.

“When he sees gun violence devastating our communities, he sees opportunity. Another opportunity to convince Americans that they should fear one another. Another opportunity to do the bidding of the gun lobby,” Murphy said.

Connecticut delegates rose to their feet and booed when Murphy said Trump “said that by the end of his first day in office, he’ll mandate that every school in America allow guns in their classrooms.”

Delegate Mike Cacace said Murphy gave a “passionate display of the intensity he feels about the issue.”

Murphy who represented Newtown in the U.S. House of Representatives before he was elected to the Senate in 2012, spend the week here talking about gun violence on a number of networks, including Fox, ABC and NBC.

Ronald Schurin, professor of political science at the University of Connecticut, said Murphy “is more positioned to get media attention that any other freshman in the Senate this year,” because of his attention-grabbing filibuster.

Murphy’s speech at the convention wasn’t nearly as powerful as the political springboard that was Barack Obama’s keynote address at the 2004 Democratic National Convention, Schurin said, “but certainly it raised his visibility.”

Erica Smegielski, the daughter of slain Sandy Hook Elementary School principal Dawn Hochsprung, followed Murphy on the DNC stage with another powerful address.

But before she spoke, a video entitled “My Mother” was shown in which Erica describes the devastating experience of finding out about her mother’s murder.

She recalls receiving the phone call, rushing to the elementary school, and waiting for answers — experiences common to too many American families.

Smegielski began her speech saying she did not want to be there Wednesday night.
“I should be home with my mother as we nominate the first woman president of the United States,” she said.

She praised Clinton’s commitment to toughening federal gun control laws, and slammed Trump “for not standing with American families.”

“What we need is a mother who is willing to do what’s right,” Smegielski said.

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Gov. Dannel Malloy and Sandy Hook Advocate to Speak at the Democratic National Convention


Connecticut Gov. Dannel Malloy speaks during the first day of the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia (J. Scott Applewhite/AP)
Connecticut Gov. Dannel Malloy speaks during the first day of the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia (J. Scott Applewhite/AP).

Gov. Dannel P. Malloy is Chairman of the Democratic Governors Association and co-chair of the Democratic Convention’s platform Committee. On Tuesday’s WBUR 90.9 radio show, Malloy advocated for Hilary Clinton, saying she should be elected president because she has the guts to take on the National Rifle Association.

Other notable Connecticut residents on tonight’s list of speakers is  Erica Smegielski, the daughter of Sandy Hook Elementary School principal Dawn Hochsprung. Hochsprung was a victim of the 2012 massacre in Newtown, Connecticut.

The Sandy Hook shooting is used to fuel the gun control debate since December 2012.

After the shooting, Connecticut passed one of the strongest gun control laws in the nation.

Malloy has one of the lowest poll numbers among the nation’s governors. He said governors had to make hard choices, after he raised taxes on the rich.

He rebuffed the idea that Hilary will face a backlash from corporate America because of the Democrats move to tax the rich.

Listen:

Dannel Malloy, governor of Connecticut, chairman of the Democratic Governors Association, and co-chair of the Democratic Convention’s platform committee. He spoke at the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia last night. He tweets @govmalloyoffice.

 

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Judge Orders Anti-Obama Filmmaker D’Souza to Seek Mental Health Treatment


President Barack Obama is serious about how he handles those who think they should slander him and his legacy without punishment.

One filmmaker is feeling his wrath after his quest to demystify Obama, the first black president.

On Monday, a Manhattan judge ordered Dinesh D’ Souza to continue his community service and get psychological counseling.

Obama’s staff will have some explaining to do about this approach to journalists/artists before  he ends his second term.

To be fair,  D’Souza’s critique of Obama is sometimes ridiculous. But it’s worth parsing.

Obama is a 1.9 immigrant. And many immigrants are looking to him to confront the rising racism and xenophobia during his tenure at the White House.  The hate is palpable. And it is affecting thier bottomline.

Perhaps D’Souza should bone up on United States history before he critiques the black president and the black experience in America . I think that’s where there’s a gap in his education and why the judge had a difficult time in his logic about the first black president.

According to Newsweek, D’Souza was sentenced to eight months in a work-release center, five years of probation, a $30,000 fine and community service after pleading guilty to campaign finance violations in May 2014.

The conservative critic had arranged “straw donors” to contribute $10,000 to the failed 2012 U.S. Senate campaign of his college friend Wendy Long.

Psychiatrists found no signs of depression, but U.S. District Judge Richard M. Berman overruled their findings and ordered D’Souza see a new psychological counselor weekly.

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Newtown Officials to Unveil New School


By Rose Mendes, Staff Writer

NEWTOWN — Newtown residents will honor those who died in the December 2012 mass school shooting with a memorial and will build a new school to replace the old.

That’s why First Selectman E. Patricia Llodra and Dr. Joseph V. Erardi, Jr., Superintendent of Newtown Schools on Friday will unveil its new Sandy Hook Elementary School built to honor the memory of the 20 children killed on Dec. 14, 2012.

The town’s legislative council decided to have a memorial and construction of  a new school on the same property where the elementary school stood. That building was demolished at the end of 2013.

The 86,800-square-foot school will welcome prekindergarten to fourth grade this fall, and the $50 million cost was covered by the state

Almost four winters ago, Adam Lanza opened fire on 26 people, including 20 elementary school children, killed his mother and then himself.

In a previous article in Newsweek, one resident said the property was “a constant reminder of the evil that resided there.”

Now, residents said, it’s time to move on.

“We are very grateful to the taxpayers of Connecticut for giving our town the funding to build this school,” said First Selectman Llodra. “Our goal was to create a place of community and learning, a place that would honor those we lost and allow those who were left behind the chance to move forward. I

Dr. Erardi states that “Sandy Hook will have a quiet, respectful, and appropriate opening” when teachers and students begin the new school year this fall.

 

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Gov. Malloy, Health Chief Announce Zika Detection Protocol


NEW HAVEN — Gov. Dannel Malloy joined the state’s public health chief and a local scientist Thursday in announcing the state will launch a system that will potentially detect new Zika cases as part of its prevention efforts.

State Department of Public Health Commissioner Dr. Raul Pino said Thursday the state has tested 472 people for Zika, confirming 31 cases, three of whom are pregnant women. The disease is especially concerning to pregnant women, as infection during pregnancy could lead to birth defects. Results are pending for several other female patients, Pino said. No child in Connecticut has been born with a birth defect related to a possible infection, Pino added.

“The Department of Public Health has decided to establish a sentinel system in the southern part of the state,” Pino said. “We are basically coordinating with community health centers, hospitals and emergency rooms.”

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Latino Center Receives Bikes for BiCi Co


HARTFORD — The University of Connecticut recently donated 30 bikes to the Center for Latino Progress  for its BiCi Co. program.

UConn officials said the bikes had previously been abandoned by students at the Storrs campus during the Spring semester and will now be refurbished in classes and workshops, and ultimately given to Hartford teens through various programs to include, Summer Youth Employment activities, Earn-a-Bike, Bikes for Jobs Access, BIKE LIFE – Hartford!, and DIY projects for BiCi Co. members.

All of these programs put more bicycles into our community, encouraging healthy and sustainable transportation and increased mobility, officials said.

This is UConn’s second time donating bicycles to The Center and supporting Hartford’s youth.

BiCi Co. includes bicycle safety classes, teaches marketable skills, reinforces it through repetition, and provides members of the community with a cheap and reliable form of transportation.

To learn more about this impactful youth development program, to volunteer, or to donate, please visit www.ctprf.org or call (860) 247-3227.

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Dallas is the Fated Fruit of the Existing Order


By Nick Ford  | @nickfnord  | Support this author on Patreon.

On July 7th, 2016 a gunman named Micah Johnson  fired on police officers using a sniper rifle during a peaceful protest in Dallas, Texas, killing five officers. The protest was centered around the recent acts of police brutality involving Alton Sterling  in Louisiana and Philando Castile  in Minnesota.

An earlier version of a CNN article had this astonishing quote from an officer who downplayed Johnson’s explicitly stated motives, despite admitting Johnson was lucid at the time, “We can’t get into the head of a person that would do something like this. We negotiated with this person that seemed lucid during the negotiation. He wanted to kill officers, and he expressed killing white people, he expressed killing white officers, he expressed anger for Black Lives Matter. None of that makes sense,”

Notably the police were able to end this conflict by the use of a robot carrying a c4 explosive. CNN reports that it was a, “1-pound C4 plastic explosive plus “Det” cord”. This was not military grade equipment but rather similar to the, “…small explosive charges that they use for breaches…”.

Criticism for this maneuver came from all sides including Rick Nelson, a fellow at the Center for Strategic and International Studies and a former counterterrorism official on the National Security Council remarking that (http://www.nytimes.com/2016/07/09/science/dallas-bomb-robot.html) , “The further we remove the officer from the use of force and the consequences that come with it, the easier it becomes to use that tactic,” “It’s what we have done with drones in warfare. … In warfare, your object is to kill … Law enforcement has a different mission.”

But given how many people police have killed in 2015 and 2016, is this really true?

In 2015 police fatally shot nearly 1,000 people (armed and unarmed), according to the Washington Post. More recently, multiple writers from the Washington Post reported that fatal shootings were up in the first six months of 2016  from last year. Those numbers were 465 to 491 with the Post also reporting that blacks are shot 2.5 times more than whites.

One of the heartening things is that these fatal encounters  are increasingly being recorded which has led to more prosecutions of police, more public protest and more education about white supremacy in this society. After all, this society was built on white supremacy and given the current discriminatory regime of law enforcement, interpretation and sentencing, it seems to continue.

And while more prosecution could be seen as a good thing, it’s still unlikely to strike at the root of these issues. Local courts and the police in those same locales are on friendly terms and other reformist ideas such as body cameras and mandatory reporting either seem to be ignored or conveniently worked around.

On the other hand, violence isn’t going to be how this fight for justice will be won either and it’s unlikely that Johnson’s moves will do anything but incite further violence on future protesters. But then it isn’t as if police would have committed no violence against protesters in the future had this shooter not enacted violence.

One thing is for sure, the more cops kill, the more they are going to be killed.

That isn’t a statement of personal preference or a statement to incite violence but rather a recognition of JFK’s quote that when you make peaceful revolution impossible, you make violent revolution inevitable.

Or, as the anarchist Voltairine de Cleyre put it in Our Present Attitude, which was a response to the assassination of President McKinley,” Now, in times like these, wild outbursts of desperation must be expected. It is not the business of Anarchists to preach wild and foolish acts, – acts of violence. For, truly, Anarchism has nothing in common with violence, and can never come about save through the conquest of men’s minds. But when some desperate and life-denied victim of the present system does strike back at it, by violence, it is not our business to heap infamies upon his name, but to explain him as we explain others, whether our enemies or our friends, as the fated fruit of the existing “order.”

Under a police state, the desperate act desperately and the more police kill, the truer they’ll discover this is.

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These Are the Black Folks Skipping Out on the RNC This Year


WASHINGTON — A look at the many, many black GOP no-shows for the Republican National Convention.

The Republican National Convention may be noteworthy this year for one glaring reason: Who isn’t coming. In the case of African-American Republicans, the list is long. They are joined by a list of former GOP nominees for president who will not attend, which includes past GOP nominees for president Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) and Mitt Romney. While the number of African Americans in attendance at the GOP convention was already low, the 2016 convention may have the lowest in terms of big names.

The list of convention speakers reveals few African Americans. Of the 63 speakers listed by the Republican National Committee so far, only three are African American: the Rev. Darrell Scott, Dr. Ben Carson and Milwaukee Sheriff David Clarke. The U.S. Senate’s only African-American Republican, Sen. Tim Scott (R-S.C.), who spent the last week speaking on the Senate floor on race and policing, isn’t on the list. Whether he will be in Cleveland at all is unclear.

The reason for so many Republican National Convention no-shows is easy to identify: Donald Trump. Many of Trump’s fellow Republicans don’t want to be branded to the controversial presumptive GOP nominee with only 110 days left till Nov. 8.  From calling for a ban on members of a religious group, to violence at his rallies, negative statements about women and talk of “building a wall” as his approach to immigration, many elected officials and others are not running toward the brand of Trump and his views.

A torrent of rumors popped up that Cleveland-based boxing promoter Don King and former heavyweight champion Mike Tyson would be speaking in Cleveland. During a speech in Cincinnati July 6, Trump announced King would be speaking. But just like so much of what the New York real estate mogul has said, the claim evaporated. It turns out that King isn’t on the list of speakers. Trump stated that his convention would be filled with celebrities and have a “big show” feel. So far, none of the African-American stars rumored are scheduled to appear.

Maryland Lt. Gov. Boyd Rutherford, an African American, isn’t coming to Cleveland. Instead, he’ll be at the Baltimore Maryland Crabfest with Gov. Larry Hogan, who isn’t going to the GOP convention either.  Former Secretary of State Condi Rice is expected to stay home, too—even after a “Draft Condi” group attempted to inject her name into the race, first to run an independent race against Trump, then to be Trump’s vice presidential nominee.

On June 25, Rep. Mia Love (R-Utah), clearly a young rising star in the party, announced she would not be attending the convention. Love told the local press in Utah, “I don’t see the upsides to it,” and “I don’t see how it benefits the state,” as she spoke on why she would be a no-show.

Rep. Love will give up her place as a convention delegate and instead travel to Israel. This move is a far cry from the 2012 Republican convention in Tampa, Fla., when she enjoyed a prime-time speaking slot. Love is in what is expected to be a close race with her 2014 challenger, Democrat Doug Owens.

Rep. Love’s predicament is the same as the U.S. House’s other African-American Republican, Rep. Will Hurd (R-Texas). Both are expected to have a difficult time winning re-election after only one House term. Hurd was elected by only 2,422 votes in 2014, and Love won by only 4,225 votes. Both are facing challengers who are attempting to tie them to Donald Trump even though neither will be in Cleveland for the Republican convention.

Yet another reason to be no-shows.

Lauren Victoria Burke is a Washington, D.C.-based political reporter who writes the Crew of 42 blog. She appears regularly on NewsOne Now with Roland Martin on TV One. Follow her on Twitter. This was first published on The Root.

Sen. Tim Scott (R-S.C.), speaking to the media in Washington, D.C., May 10, 2016, is one of a number of African-American Republicans who are skipping the GOP convention this year. Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Sen. Tim Scott (R-S.C.), speaking to the media in Washington, D.C., May 10, 2016, is one of a number of African-American Republicans who are skipping the GOP convention this year.
Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg via Getty Images

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Gov. Dan Malloy Talks Gun Safety in Iowa


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Gov. Dannel Malloy is one of eight Democratic governors in Iowa for the next National Governors Association.

Malloy led a discussion in Des Moines this morning — organized by Hillary Clinton’s campaign — to discuss gun safety. He called assault-style guns like the one used to shoot Dallas police last week “weapons of mass destruction.”

“That’s what they are. They killed 49 people in a very short period of time and injured 53 others in Orlando. They killed 20 children in Newtown at Sandy Hook School,” Malloy said. “They’ve done it time and time and time again.”

Connecticut lawmakers passed new state gun laws after that December 2012 mass shooting at the school. Only 10 rounds of ammunition are allowed in a magazine, armor-piercing bullets are banned and more than 100 guns were added to Connecticut’s list of banned assault-style weapons.

“Not solely because we did those things, but in part because we did those things, our violent crime rate is dropping at a rate 2.5 times the national average,” Malloy said. “…This year alone assaults and homicides with the use of a gun are down about 40 percent.”

Malloy said those stats are “proof common sense legislation does make us safer.” And Malloy argued there’s no issue that shows a clearer distinction between Clinton and Donald Trump than how each would deal with gun safety legislation as president.

Lindsay Jancek, the Republican National Committee’s Iowa communications director, says Republicans have proposed “common sense solutions” that protect Second Amendment rights.

“It’s ironic that Gov. Malloy would come to Iowa to advocate for policies when residents in his home state oppose his own efforts,” she says. “In 2014, nearly 40 percent of Connecticut residents did not support the state’s tighter gun control laws and last year, state media found resident’s owned nearly 52,000 assault rifles.”

Connecticut residents who legally owned assault-style weapons before the ban went into effect two decades ago were allowed to get permits for those guns.

Additionaly reporting by  radioiowa.com.

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D.C. Catholic Church to Host World Youth Day


WASHINGTON, D.C. — The Catholic Church in Washington will partner with Poland to host World Youth Day on July 30.

The Archdiocese of Washington has partnered with Washington-area Catholic entities and the regional archdioceses to host a state-side celebration of World Youth Day at Catholic University at 620 Michigan Avenue, N.E.

Young adults from across the region have been invited to gather in Washington, D.C. for “Kraków in the Capital.”

The day-long event in Washington will have opportunities for participants to come together and pray, and also hear talks from bishops and national speakers. Further, an exhibit hall will provide an opportunity for participants to learn more about religious vocations and local and national Catholic organizations.

To provide a taste of the cultural experience that is occurring abroad, the festival will include Polish dance, music and food.

Beginning at 7:30 p.m., there will be candlelight Stations of the Cross, presided over by Cardinal Donald Wuerl, archbishop of Washington. Participants at the festival will do a small pilgrimage as they process from outside of the Saint John Paul II National Shrine, down Harewood Road and to the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception, led by a life size cross and the relics of Saint John Paul II.

Once they arrive at the National Shrine, Cardinal Wuerl will celebrate a vigil Mass, beginning at 8:30 p.m.

After the Mass, a late-night outdoor concert is planned on the Catholic University campus. Overnight camping for pilgrims will be available on the property of the Dominican House of Studies, across the street from the Catholic University campus.

For more information, please visit: http://wyddc.org.

 

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