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Former MLB Star Tony Fernández, Shortstop Who Made 5 All-Star Teams, Dies at 57

16 February, by Associated Press[ —]
(TORONTO) — Tony Fernández, a stylish shortstop who made five All-Star teams during his 17 seasons in the major leagues and helped the Toronto Blue Jays win the 1993 World Series, died Sunday after complications from a kidney disease. He was 57.

Fernández was taken off a life support system in the afternoon with his family present at a hospital in Weston, Florida, said Imrad Hallim, the director and co-founder of the Tony Fernández Foundation. Fernández had been in a medically induced coma and had waited years for a new kidneys.

Fernández won four straight Gold Gloves with the Blue Jays in the 1980s and holds club records for career hits and games played. A clutch hitter in five trips to the postseason, he had four separate stints with Toronto and played for six other teams.

One of those was the New York Yankees, who replaced him at shortstop with a 21-year-old Derek Jeter in 1996. Fernández was slated to slide over to second base and stick around as insurance, but he broke his right elbow (for the second time in his career) lunging for a ball late in spring training and missed the entire season.

Jeter, of course, went on to win AL Rookie of the Year and the first of his five World Series titles. Fernández, who had been set to help ease Jeter’s transition, was given a World Series ring by the Yankees that season.

The next year, Fernández caught on at second with the Cleveland Indians and was instrumental in their 1997 American League pennant. He batted .357 in the AL Championship Series against Baltimore and homered in the 11th inning at Camden Yards to give Cleveland a 1-0 victory in the clinching Game 6 –his only postseason home run.

Fernández then hit .471 with four RBIs in the World Series against the Florida Marlins. His two-run single in the third inning of Game 7 put the Indians ahead 2-0, but the Marlins tied it in the bottom of the ninth and won 3-2 in 11 innings to take the championship.

In 43 career postseason games, Fernández batted .327 with 23 RBIs and a .787 OPS. He went 7 for 21 (.333) with nine RBIs in the 1993 World Series, helping the Blue Jays beat Philadelphia in six games for their second consecutive title.

A wiry switch-hitter with speed, Fernández made his major league debut with the Blue Jays at age 21 in September 1983. He also played for the San Diego Padres, New York Mets, Cincinnati Reds and Milwaukee Brewers in a career that lasted through 2001.

He was a .288 hitter with 94 homers and 844 RBIs in 2,158 big league games. He remains the last Yankees player to hit for the cycle in a home game, accomplishing the feat in 1995.

Fernández finished with 2,276 hits, 1,057 runs, 414 doubles, 92 triples, 246 stolen bases and a .746 OPS. He struck out only 784 times in 8,793 plate appearances — never more than 74 times in a season.

Especially early in his career, the rail-thin Fernández was a breathtaking defender at shortstop. Silky smooth in the field, he had a familiar way of slinging the ball almost underhand from his hip, causing his throws to arc their way to first base before landing softly in a teammate’s mitt.

He was part of a memorable blockbuster trade in December 1990 that sent Fernández and slugger Fred McGriff from Toronto to San Diego for Hall of Fame second baseman Roberto Alomar and outfielder Joe Carter, who hit the game-ending home run that won the 1993 World Series for the Blue Jays.

Fernández was traded to the Mets after the 1992 season and then back to Toronto in June 1993. He spent 1995 as the primary shortstop for a Yankees team that gave the franchise its first playoff berth in 14 years.

He signed back on with the Blue Jays for 1998 and made his final All-Star team at age 37 with them in 1999. Playing third base, he set career bests by batting .328 with 75 RBIs and an .877 OPS. His 41 doubles equaled a career high.

Fernández played the next year in Japan, then split his last big league season between Milwaukee and Toronto. He finished up where he started, hitting .305 over 48 games for the Blue Jays in 2001.

Fernández is Toronto’s career leader in hits (1,583), triples (72) and games played (1,450). He was inducted into the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame in 2008.

He was born in San Pedro de Macoris in the Dominican Republic, a cradle of shortstops and home to dozens of major leaguers who followed such as Sammy Sosa, Alfonso Soriano and Robinson Canó.

After he retired from baseball, Fernández became an ordained minister and the Tony Fernández Foundation was established to assist underprivileged and troubled children.


Black College Swimmer Files Lawsuit Against Illinois Police Who He Claims Held Him at Gunpoint

16 February, by Tara Law[ —]

A black Illinois college student has filed a lawsuit against police officers who he alleges held him at gunpoint while traveling with his high school swim team.

The lawsuit claims one officer held a gun to the young swimmer’s head and warned that he would “blow [his] f-cking head off” if he dared to move, according to a lawsuit filed by the student’s attorneys, who include lawyers from the American Civil Liberties Union’s Roger Baldwin Foundation.

Last February, Eastern Illinois University student Jaylan Butler was driving back home with his team from a conference championship swim meet in South Dakota, when the bus pulled over near an Interstate Highway 80 rest stop in East Moline, Ill. As some of the swimmers got off to stretch their legs, a coach suggested that Butler take a picture with a sign that said “Buckle Up. It’s the Law” to post on the team’s social media, the complaint said.

Butler, who the ACLU of Illinois said in a press release, was the only black student on the team, posed with the sign and snapped a smiling selfie. But as he turned back to the bus, several police cars pulled up to him, their lights blazing according to the release.

Butler dropped to his knees, put his hands him and let his phone fall to the ground, according to the complaint. He later told the ACLU that this is what his father had taught him to do.

The lawsuit alleges the officers drew their guns, got out of their cars and pointed their firearms at Butler, shouting, “Get down!” and “Don’t f-cking move! Stay right there!”

The officers forced Butler to lay down on the snowy ground, and officers held him there as Hampton Police Officer Ethan Bush handcuffed him, according to the complaint.

An officer held a gun to Butler’s forehead and declared “If you keep moving, I’m going to blow your fucking head off,” the complaint said.

The lawsuit claims a swim coach approached the officers and told them that Butler was a member of the swim team, and Butler himself attempted to tell the officer that he was with the team. One of the officers informed the dispatcher that the incident was a false alarm, and the officers allowed Butler to sit up. The Dispatch / Rock Island Argus reported that Butler was wearing a university jacket, and that the bus also displayed the University’s name.

However, an officer told Butler that he was being arrested for resisting arrest, and the officers didn’t remove the handcuffs or tell him he was free to go. The officers then brought Butler over to a squad car, searched him and put him in the back seat of the car, the lawsuit said. The police arrested Butler a few minutes later.

The complaint accused officers from the Hampton Police Department, the East Moline Police Department and the Rock Island County in Illinois of multiple counts of misconduct, including false arrest and for detaining him without a warrant. It alleges that the officers violated the student’s rights under the U.S. Constitution’s Fourth Amendment, which bars unreasonable search and seizures.

The lawsuit also said that the officers had violated the law by failing to document the search or giving Butler a receipt for the incident. Two officers were identified in the lawsuit only as “John Does” because the defendants did not give Butler their names, badge numbers or other identification, according to the lawsuit.

On Wednesday, Rock Island County Sheriff Gerry Bustos released a statement acknowledging that his office had been served with the lawsuit. However, he wrote the he is confident that allegations against two deputies named in the complaint— Jack Asquini and an officer identified as Pena, are “without merit.” The Dispatch-Argus reported that Pena’s first name as Jason.

For Butler, the incident was traumatic, according to the lawsuit. Butler said that he feels “scared and anxious” when he sees police officers now, according to the ACLU of Illinois.

“I was scared and depressed. I remember sitting in class the next day, looking at the bruises on my wrists and replaying the events of that night,” Butler said, according to the ACLU of Illinois statement.


At Least 44 Americans Have Tested Positive for COVID-19 on Quarantined Cruise Ship in Japan

16 February, by Sanya Mansoor[ —]

At least 44 Americans who were on a now-quarantined cruise ship in Japan have tested positive for COVID-19, according to Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases at the National Institutes of Health.

Fauci confirmed the number of Americans infected with the disease to TIME and noted that the count was still “in flux” and likely to be “more than that.”

Fauci said in an interview that aired Sunday with CBS News’ Face the Nation that 40 Americans who were traveling on the Diamond Princess “have gotten infected” and are “going to be in hospitals in Japan” as evacuation plans to get Americans on the vessel back home are underway.

“People who have symptoms will not be able to get on the evacuation plane,” Fauci said in the Face the Nation interview. “Others are going to be evacuated starting imminently to Air Force bases in the United States.” He added that anyone who develops symptoms on the plane will be segregated on the flight.

U.S. evacuees will still be subjected to a 14-day quarantine once they are in the U.S. because “the degree of transmissibility on that cruise ship is essentially akin to being in a hot spot,” Fauci explained on Face the Nation.

About 380 Americans are on the cruise ship and Japanese authorities said about 300 of them are preparing to leave, the Associated Press reported.

There are now a total of at least 355 coronavirus cases that have been diagnosed on the ship, according to the AP. The Diamond Princess has been stuck in the Yokohama harbor since Feb. 3, after the cruise company learned a passenger from Hong Kong had tested positive for the new coronavirus after disembarking last month.

Some public health experts worried that the quarantine procedures were not preventing the spread of disease within the ship and may have even posed a risk of spread. Those on board the ship have spoken about the eerie quiet on board as passengers are largely confined to their cabins.

The CDC has so far confirmed 15 COVID-19 cases in the U.S. across California, Washington, Arizona, Illinois, Massachusetts, Wisconsin and Texas.

Fauci said in an interview that aired Sunday with CBS News’ Face the Nation that 40 Americans who were traveling on the Diamond Princess “have gotten infected” and are “going to be in hospitals in Japan” as evacuation plans to get Americans on the vessel back home are underway. The Washington Post reports that Fauci told them 44 Americans who were traveling on the ship had tested positive for the disease.

“People who have symptoms will not be able to get on the evacuation plane,” Fauci said in the Face the Nation interview. “Others are going to be evacuated starting imminently to Air Force bases in the United States.” He added that anyone who develops symptoms on the plane will be segregated on the flight.

U.S. evacuees will still be subjected to a 14-day quarantine once they are in the U.S. because “the degree of transmissibility on that cruise ship is essentially akin to being in a hot spot,” Fauci explained on Face the Nation.

About 380 Americans are on the cruise ship and Japanese authorities said about 300 of them are preparing to leave, the Associated Press reported.

There are now a total of at least 355 coronavirus cases that have been diagnosed on the ship, according to the AP. The Diamond Princess has been stuck in the Yokohama harbor since Feb. 3, after the cruise company learned a passenger from Hong Kong had tested positive for the new coronavirus after disembarking last month.

Some public health experts worried that the quarantine procedures were not preventing the spread of disease within the ship and may have even posed a risk of spread. Those on board the ship have spoken about the eerie quiet on board as passengers are largely confined to their cabins.

The CDC has so far confirmed 15 COVID-19 cases in the U.S. across California, Washington, Arizona, Illinois, Massachusetts, Wisconsin and Texas.


President Trump Embraces NASCAR and Fans on Visit to Daytona 500

16 February, by KEVIN FREKING / AP[ —]

(DAYTONA BEACH, Fla.) — President Donald Trump gave an election-year embrace to NASCAR and its fans Sunday when he became the second President ever to attend the Daytona 500.

Given the honor of commanding drivers to start their engines, Trump made a grand entrance before the start of the race. He gave thousands of fans a flyover of Air Force One and then rode onto the track in the presidential motorcade as the audience roared with delight. The motorcade took roughly a quarter lap before pulling aside in an infield staging area.

President George W. Bush also appeared at the race during his reelection year.

Trump’s reelection campaign planned to run an ad during the Fox broadcast of the race and fly an aerial banner near the speedway. About 100,000 people were expected to attend this year’s race and millions more will watch on television. About 9 million people took in last year’s race on television.

Trump tweeted Sunday morning: “Getting ready to go to the Daytona 500. Will be GREAT!”

After his scheduled return Sunday evening to Washington, Trump will embark later this coming week on Western state swing that will take him to rallies planned in Phoenix, Las Vegas and Colorado Springs, Colorado.

The trip is another demonstration of Trump’s willingness to campaign not just in conservative strongholds but in states that lean Democratic, particularly Colorado, where Republican Sen. Cory Gardner faces a tough reelection battle. Arizona is expected to be a key swing state in the presidential election with its growing population of Hispanic voters.


Sandra the Orangutan, Granted Legal Personhood by Judge in Argentina, Celebrates 34th Birthday

16 February, by Associated Press[ —]

(WAUCHULA, Fla.) — A orangutan named Sandra, who was granted legal personhood by a judge in Argentina and later found a new home in Florida, celebrated her 34th birthday on Valentine’s Day with a special new primate friend.

Patti Ragan, director of the Center for Great Apes in Wauchula, Florida, says Sandra “has adjusted beautifully to her life at the sanctuary” and has befriended Jethro, a 31-year-old male orangutan.

Prior to coming to Florida, Sandra had lived alone in a Buenos Aires zoo. Sandra was a bit shy when she arrived at the Florida center, which is home to 22 orangutans.

“Sandra appeared most interested in Jethro, and our caregivers felt he was a perfect choice because of his close age, calm demeanor, and gentle nature,” Ragan said in a news release. “Sandra still observes and follows Jethro from a distance while they are in the process of getting to know and trust each other. But they are living harmoniously in the same habitat spaces as they continue to gain confidence in their relationship.”

Judge Elena Liberatori’s landmark ruling in 2015 declared that Sandra is legally not an animal, but a non-human person, and thus entitled to some legal rights enjoyed by people, and better living conditions.

“With that ruling I wanted to tell society something new, that animals are sentient beings and that the first right they have is our obligation to respect them,” she told The Associated Press.

But without a clear alternative, Sandra remained at the antiquated zoo, which closed in 2016, until leaving for the U.S. in late September. She was in quarantine for a month at the Sedgwick County Zoo in Kansas before arriving in Florida.

On Friday, Sandra celebrated her birthday, complete with pink signs and wrapped packages. Jethro, who was once in the entertainment business, attended the party.

Ragan said that Sandra and Jethro will “sit in the vicinity of each other,” but not close enough to touch. Sandra weighs 129 pounds, and Jethro, 260.

“Sandra does like to watch Jethro eat,” Ragan said. “Some adult male orangutans will advance an introduction forcefully, but Jethro has been patient and calm giving Sandra more confidence in his presence.”


Parasite Director Bong Joon-ho Greeted by Applause Upon Returning to South Korea

https://time.com/5779940/parasite-best-picture-oscars/play episode download
16 February, by Associated Press[ —]

(INCHEON, South Korea) — Director Bong Joon-ho smiled and waved at a waiting crowd on Sunday as he arrived home in South Korea, his first trip back since he won four Oscars for his movie Parasite, including the award for Best Picture.

The crowd clapped and cheered as Bong walked out of the arrivals gate at Incheon International Airport.

“It’s been a long journey in the United States and I’m pleased that it got wrapped up nicely,” Bong said, speaking in Korean. “Now, I am happy that I can quietly return to creating, which is my main occupation.”

South Korea Oscars
APPeople take photos of South Korean director Bong Joon-ho upon his arrival at the Incheon International Airport in Incheon, South Korea, Sunday, Feb. 16, 2020.

He also joked that he would wash his hands to join the movement to defeat a new virus that has sickened tens of thousands, mostly in China.

“I’ll diligently wash my hands from now on and participate in this movement to defeat coronavirus,” he said. As of Sunday, South Korea had 29 confirmed cases of the new virus, which the World Health Organization has named COVID-19, referring to its origin late last year and the coronavirus that causes it.

“Parasite” was the first non-English-language film to win Best Picture in the 92-year history of the Academy Awards, and is the first South Korean movie to ever win an Oscar, stunning moviemakers and fans around the world.

Bong plans to hold a news conference with the staff and cast of “Parasite” on Wednesday in Seoul.


If William Barr Truly Believed in Rule of Law, He Would Resign

16 February, by Joyce White Vance[ —]

“Nothing could be more destructive of our system of government, of the rule of law, or Department of Justice as an institution, than any toleration of political interference with the enforcement of the law.” Those were William Barr’s words at both his 1991 and 2019 confirmation hearings, the words of someone who claimed to respect the Justice Department and its mission.

Barr’s commitment at his most recent confirmation hearing, reaffirming that an Attorney General must prevent political influence from corrupting the course of justice in criminal cases, was important to legitimate his candidacy to lead the department, given the concerns that arose after his nomination. But he has proven himself unable or unwilling to live up to that commitment.

Since he joined the Administration just over a year ago, Barr has operated in a manner that has raised serious questions about whether he is working to benefit the President or the people. He misrepresented the conclusions of the Mueller report. On his watch, DOJ tried to protect the President from legitimate constitutional oversight by withholding the Ukraine whistleblower complaint from Congress. DOJ then summarily declined to open an investigation into the Ukraine complaint and defended Trump’s position that executive branch emails related to Ukraine did not have to be turned over to a media organization that sought unredacted versions, using the same privilege arguments Trump asserted to withhold them from Congress. Although the Department has responded to past questions about Barr’s personal involvement by saying he was aware but did not participate in decision-making, we know from his takeover of Roger Stone’s sentencing that he is fully capable of usurping a case when he does not like how it is being handled. He has also assigned a handpicked U.S. Attorney appointed by Trump to review matters the President has shown interest in.

In the sentencing of Trump friend and former campaign advisor Roger Stone, convicted on multiple charges related to obstruction of justice, career prosecutors at the Justice Department recommended a sentence of seven to nine years, the federal guideline range for Stone’s conduct. Trump tweeted in support of Stone and condemned the suggested sentence. Subsequently, DOJ filed a watered-down sentencing recommendation and the prosecutors handling the case resigned from further work on the case, and one of them, from the Department itself. On Thursday, in the wake of this debacle, Barr gave an interview in which he said the President should “stop tweeting” and that Trump’s tweets made it “impossible” to do his job as the head of federal law enforcement. He claimed Trump had never asked him to intervene in a criminal case but was concerned that the tweets damaged the department’s appearance of independence from the White House.

We’ll know whether Barr means it from how, if at all, he reacts to the President’s Friday-morning tweet. Trump responded to Barr’s interview by tweeting: “’The President has never asked me to do anything in a criminal case.’ A.G. Barr This doesn’t mean that I do not have, as President, the legal right to do so, I do, but I have so far chosen not to!”

This tweet will be a permanent stain on the Justice Department if Barr permits it to stand unrefuted. The President has plainly stated that he does not believe DOJ’s criminal work should be free from improper political interference. He believes his powers are so broad that he can direct, control or otherwise influence criminal cases if he chooses to do so. This President believes executive power puts him above the law, that he can use the Justice Department to help his friends and to punish people he has decided are his enemies. But that is not how our constitutional system works. Our system of government requires impartial justice, untainted by politics or the desires of powerful people.

So if Barr in fact disagrees with Trump’s claim that a President can intervene in criminal prosecutions, including and especially those of his own close friends and associates, he must say so. Silence in the face of so egregious a claim signals agreement. Allowing such an assertion to go unchallenged undermines the credibility of the Justice Department and our system of justice itself. If the President refuses to correct his tweet and insists that DOJ must submit its prosecutions to his control whenever he chooses to intervene, the Attorney General’s only response can be to resign. There is no way to avoid further damage to DOJ, the rule of law and the country if Trump’s view stands.

No one knows the best path forward through the havoc Trump has wreaked on our democratic institutions. Impeachment failed. Some have called for another one, but there is no reason to believe a second try would have a different outcome in the Republican-dominated Senate. People are voicing concerns about the integrity of the upcoming election.

This is a dangerous time and we should not pretend that it’s anything else. But it is no time to give up. The republic feels fragile in this moment, yet our country’s legacy of resilience should give us reason for hope and courage to forge ahead. This is the time for each of us to fulfill our greatest responsibility as Americans, what Justice Louis Brandeis called the most important public office in the land, that of private citizen, in whatever way we can. We must insist on congressional oversight, must register and vote in record numbers, must make it clear that voter suppression and election interference cannot be allowed.

In this time of uncertainty and doubt, the Attorney General too must fulfill the duties of his office and the oath he took. He must make good on what he told the Senate when he was confirmed, that political interference in the enforcement of criminal law cannot be tolerated. Those are just words until the moment comes to stand up for them. If Barr truly believes in the rule of law, this is his moment. He can resign to show the country the President is not above the law, but in the more than 48 hours since Trump’s tweet, we’ve heard nothing from Barr. No Attorney General who respects the rule of law and the men and women who serve in the department would sit idly by and acquiesce while a President abuses it.


Abraham Lincoln Healed a Divided Nation. We Should Heed His Words Today.

16 February, by Edward Achorn[ —]

Abraham Lincoln repeatedly tops polls as our greatest and most revered president. But few people thought so on March 4, 1865, when he took the oath of office for the second time.

On that day, America was still mired in the terrible war that the Republicans had been determined to wage. The refusal of Southern states to accept his election in 1860—and Lincoln’s stubborn insistence that they do so, lest the American system of representative government fall apart—had cost some 750,000 lives by early 1865. Those who think the ferocity of today’s partisanship is unprecedented would find the record of history sobering.

Lincoln had survived reelection in November 1864, but in early 1865, even as the North steadily dismantled the South’s ability to fight, Lincoln was getting it from all sides.

Many liberal Republicans found Lincoln weak and vacillating, too prone to calibrate his actions to the faltering pace of public opinion. They feared that this tendency would work against punishing the South’s establishment and risk not extending full civil rights to African-Americans, which they saw as the ultimate purpose of the war.

Frederick Douglass was among those who believed Lincoln had moved too slowly against slavery. “When there was any shadow of a hope that a man of a more decided anti-slavery conviction and policy could be elected, I was not for Mr. Lincoln,” Douglass wrote.

Northern Democrats, meanwhile, argued that Lincoln had done permanent damage to the nation and its Constitution with what they saw as his incompetent management of a disastrously prolonged war, his jailing of newspaper editors and other enemies of the administration, his arming of former slaves , and his massive expansion of the powers of the federal government.

Many from both parties, and the South, found Lincoln’s smutty frontier jokes and cackling enjoyment of lowbrow humor grotesquely unpresidential—never mind his uncombable hair and tendency to throw one leg over an arm of his chair.

In the capital of the Confederacy, the Richmond Daily Dispatch found it appalling that the people of the supposedly civilized North had reelected “a vulgar tyrant . . . whose career has been one of unlimited and unmitigated disaster; whose personal qualities are those of a low buffoon, and whose most noteworthy conversation is a medley of profane jests and obscene anecdotes—a creature who has squandered the lives of millions without remorse and without even the decency of pretending to feel for their misfortunes; who still cries for blood and for money in the pursuit of his atrocious designs.”

Healing a nation consumed by such hatred was a task as monumental as destroying the South’s resistance to Republican majority rule.

How Lincoln went about it is fascinating. He used his second inaugural address in a manner that would seem entirely alien to other politicians, including many today.

Lincoln did not try to elevate his popularity by boasting of his success in breaking the South. Nor did he denounce his enemies—even in the slaveholding states—as his moral inferiors. In sharp contrast to typical politicians, he did not insult his political opponents or accuse them of despicable, deplorable, cruel, and unpatriotic motives. He even eschewed the opportunity to wave the flag.

Rather, in a five-minute speech of about 700 words, short enough to run in a single column of a newspaper, he argued that all Americans—North and South—shared culpability for the unimaginable horrors the nation had endured. This war of unexpected duration and ferocity, he posited, may have been God’s judgment on all of America for the evil of slavery.

In overwhelmingly Christian America, North and South prayed to the same God, and both sides tended to interpret the results of the war’s ebb and flow as evidence of God’s will. Southerners had difficulty understanding how God could support the North’s “cruel, unjust and wicked war of invasion” of states that merely wished to form their own nation. In the North, such preachers as Henry Ward Beecher denounced “the ambitious, educated, plotting leaders of the South” and promised that God would punish them severely for shedding an “ocean of blood.”

Lincoln was almost alone in seeing the war’s suffering as a verdict on both sides. Perhaps it might be deemed an act of God’s justice, he argued, even if all the wealth piled up by 250 years of “unrequited toil” by the enslaved should be sunk into the war, and even if “every drop of blood drawn with the lash, shall be paid by another drawn with the sword.”

Lincoln’s most resonant line was his plea to Americans to finish the war and seek a lasting peace, “With malice toward none, with charity for all.” His refusal to condemn the South alone gave that phrase great resonance, particularly after his assassination, when he became a hallowed martyr to the cause of healing the nation.

Few politicians today seem to be following his example. Lincoln, with his rare ability to step outside of the emotions that we all feel when we are attacked, believed that harsh words and acts of revenge rarely pay off; that we are all flawed human beings, all bringing our own motives and complicated understanding of the world to politics.

But, without attacking others, he managed to implant in that great speech an interpretation of the war that has endured—that, for all its evils and horrors, the Civil War was ultimately an act of justice because it destroyed the curse of slavery.

Frederick Douglass, who had long argued that the war’s meaning was defeating slavery, stood in the mud outside the Capitol, listening to Lincoln deliver his speech. That night, despite being forcibly removed by guards because he was a black man, Douglass managed to get into the White House to shake Lincoln’s hand at a public reception.

“Here comes my friend Douglass,” Lincoln said, and he urged his former political foe to tell him what he thought of the speech.

“Mr. Lincoln, that was a sacred effort,” Douglass said.


3 People Shot at Georgia Restaurant Owned by Real Housewives of Atlanta Star Kandi Burruss

16 February, by Associated Press[ —]

(EAST POINT, Ga.) — Three people were shot and wounded on Valentine’s Day at a restaurant just outside Atlanta that’s owned by singer and Real Housewives of Atlanta star Kandi Burruss.

A man entered the Old Lady Gang restaurant on Friday night and targeted another man, East Point police Capt. Allyn Glover told news outlets. Police say two bystanders were also shot, and all three shooting victims suffered non-life-threatening injuries.

The shooter wasn’t in custody, Glover said.

The names and ages of the people injured weren’t immediately released.

Serving Southern cuisine, Old Lady Gang is owned by Burruss and her husband, Todd Tucker, and named after Burruss’ mother and two aunts, according to the restaurant’s website. The first restaurant opened in Atlanta in 2016, and the East Point location — situated in a large shopping complex about 5 miles (8 kilometers) west of Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport — followed in 2018. There’s also an outpost at the Atlanta Hawks’ home, State Farm Arena.

“My family and I are truly saddened by the unfortunate events that occurred at Old Lady Gang,” Burruss wrote on Instagram. “As African-American business owners, it has been our goal to invest in our community by bringing jobs, quality dining, and a positive experience to the greater Atlanta area; we hope that you know and understand that the acts of violence that occurred yesterday evening do not, in any way, serve as a reflection of OLG or its values.”

Burruss has been a cast member on the Real Housewives of Atlanta since its second season in 2009 and met Tucker, a former line producer, on the show. She’s appeared on other shows, including the 2019 iteration of “Big Brother: Celebrity Edition.” She became famous in the 1990s as a member of the R&B group Xscape and co-wrote TLC’s hit “No Scrubs.”


Over 1,100 Former Justice Department Officials Call for Attorney General Barr’s Resignation

16 February, by Sanya Mansoor[ —]

More than 1,100 former Justice Department officials have called for the resignation of Attorney General William Barr in an open letter published Sunday.

It comes after Justice Department leadership said it would lower the amount of prison time it would seek for Trump ally Roger Stone, reversing the initial sentencing recommendation brought by DOJ prosecutors. This prompted the four DOJ lawyers who prosecuted Stone to quit the case.

The open letter, signed by former DOJ employees who served under Democratic and Republican presidencies, accuses Barr of “doing the President’s personal bidding” and calls for his resignation.

“It is unheard of for the Department’s top leaders to overrule line prosecutors, who are following established policies, in order to give preferential treatment to a close associate of the President, as Attorney General Barr did in the Stone case,” the letter states. “Those actions, and the damage they have done to the Department of Justice’s reputation for integrity and the rule of law, require Mr. Barr to resign.”

It also notes, “because we have little expectation (that Barr will resign), it falls to the Department’s career officials to take appropriate action to uphold their oaths of office and defend nonpartisan, apolitical justice.”

The letter points to the Department of Justice’s rules for its lawyers, noting that the Department’s legal decisions “must be impartial and insulated from political influence.”

“And yet, President Trump and Attorney General Barr have openly and repeatedly flouted this fundamental principle,” the letter states.

The four DOJ lawyers who resigned from the case had recommended an original sentence of up to nine years for Stone. President Donald Trump tweeted that the recommendation was “horrible and very unfair” and, within hours, DOJ leadership intervened and instead recommended three to four years. Trump had congratulated Barr for “taking charge” of the Stone case, raising questions and criticism about the attorney general’s independence from the President.

Justice Department spokeswoman Kerri Kupec told the Daily Beast on Tuesday that the decision to override the sentencing recommendations was made Monday night, before Trump’s tweet.

Barr previously told ABC News on Thursday that he will not “be bullied or influenced by anybody” and that the President’s tweets “make it impossible for me to do my job.”

“I’m going to do what I think is right,” Barr said. “I cannot do my job here at the department with a constant background commentary that undercuts me.”

The Justice Department did not immediately respond to a request to comment from TIME.

The letter commends the four prosecutors who withdrew from the Stone case. “We call on every DOJ employee to follow their heroic example,” it states, advising staff to report any future abuses to the Inspector General, the Office of Professional Responsibility and Congress.

The list of former DOJ officials who signed off on the letter is being maintained and updated by nonprofit Protect Democracy.











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