From the beginning of its first trailer, Justin Simien's Dear White People takes its satirical target head-on. "Dear white people: the minimum requirement of black friends needed to not seem racist has just been raised to two. Sorry, but your weed man Tyrone does not count," says a college radio DJ played by Tessa Thompson. "Dear white people: please stop touching my hair. Does this look like a petting zoo to you?"
Thompson's fiery broadcast sparks a campus-wide debate between black students and white students alike over the state of modern American race relations — and the issues are much thornier and more complex than most are eager to acknowledge.
Fortunately, Dear White People seems primed to kick-start a similar cultural discussion. It was a major hit with critics when it premiered at the Sundance Film Festival earlier this year, and the rest of America will get the chance to check it out when it hits theaters on October 17. --Scott Meslow
In March, City of Miami Police Lt. Javier Ortiz was stripped of his gun, temporarily suspended, and forced to do desk work after a county judge granted a restraining order against him by a woman he'd harassed on Facebook. Over the last few years, Ortiz had also posted racially inflammatory content on social media, allegedly written improper police reports, and received several use-of-force lawsuits.
Although Ortiz is the head of Miami's police union, he has been accused of racism by the the city's oldest black police organization, the Miami Community Police Benevolent Association, and he is deeply unpopular even within the union he helms. A quick Google search on "Javier Ortiz Miami" yields almost exclusively bad press, which is a point of contention for officers who have anonymously complained to local media about the reputation Ortiz creates for the Miami Police Department.
Miami police chief Rodolfo Llanes, who technically retired in 2016 but still collects both a salary and pension, did not respond to a message from the Miami New Times asking about Ortiz's promotion. Kelly O'Meara Morales
This Trump Golf club claimed it's given $5 million to charity. NPR can only track down $800,000 of it.
The Trump National Golf Club Los Angeles used to claim it had contributed $5 million to charity. Then NPR started asking questions.
Just a few months ago, a philanthropy page on the Southern California club's website listed about 200 nonprofit groups, saying it had given them a total of about $5 million. Now, that page has been stripped of all those claims.
The redaction came soon after NPR started questioning the club's charitable giving. So far, NPR has only been able account for $800,000 of the supposed $5 million in donations, and 17 of the listed charities had no record of contributions from the club at all.
A producer from NPR's Embedded podcast discussed the team's findings on Wednesday's Morning Edition program:
The Embedded team cross-referenced the list on the golf club's website with a publicly-available list the Trump campaign put out detailing donations it had made over the years. Several organizations on the website weren't on the campaign's list, and upon calling these organizations, NPR found they had no record of Trump National donations on the books.
Starting Wednesday, Kohl's department stores in 10 locations across Los Angeles and Chicago will sell Amazon smart home products. The brick-and-mortar stores will also accept returns for Amazon online purchases.
Kohl's and Amazon have been working on this retail partnership since the spring. “I really do think it's an example of two companies that can leverage each other's strengths,” said Michelle Gass, Kohl's chief merchandising and customer officer.
More than 70 Kohl's locations will eventually accept Amazon returns, which will be handled by Kohl's employees, but the kiosks selling Amazon products within the department stores will be operated by Amazon. Kohl's joins Sears and Best Buy as prominent retailers who have entered into some type of partnership with Amazon.
Although Kohl's rejected speculation that it may get purchased by Amazon, the retailer's stock rallied 7.7 percent from announcement of their partnership until the end of September. Some traders are reportedly wagering on a stock price increase resulting from the company's potential sale. Amazon recently purchased the grocery chain Whole Foods and now sells Amazon smart home products in the high-end supermarkets. Kelly O'Meara Morales
There were probably important things said at the Senate Judiciary Committee's hearing with Attorney General Jeff Sessions on Wednesday, but the highlight was almost certainly a sheepish Sen. Ben Sasse (R-Neb.) apologizing for spilling his Dr Pepper on Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas):
— Pat Ward (@WardDPatrick) October 18, 2017
"Sorry to have added to the drama and distracted you for a minute," Sasse told Sessions. "I was paying enough attention there that I dumped a Dr Pepper on Sen. Cruz." Suuuure.
There is unfortunately not yet any footage of Cruz actually getting showered in soda (we will post an immediate update if one becomes available), but there are plenty of jokes:
Sasse just said he dumped a Dr Pepper on Ted Cruz.
He just became the 2020 frontrunner.
— Heath Mayo (@HeathMayo) October 18, 2017
We are all @bensasse taking the opportunity to “accidentally” spill Dr. Pepper all over Ted Cruz at the Sessions hearing.
— All Hallow’s Monkey (@VitruvianMonkey) October 18, 2017
Ben Sasse spilling Dr. Pepper on Ted Cruz might be the most exciting thing about this hearing so far
— John Haltiwanger (@jchaltiwanger) October 18, 2017
Cruz promptly retaliated — by cutting off Sasse's supply. Jeva Lange
— Ted Cruz (@tedcruz) October 18, 2017
On Monday, the FBI released a document containing 50 redacted pages that indicated that former FBI Director James Comey had decided not to charge Hillary Clinton with any crime related to her email server before even interviewing her.
In late August, Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) and Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) announced that they had received partial transcripts showing that Comey had drafted a statement rejecting criminal charges for Clinton months before she was even interviewed in the FBI probe, and President Trump took Monday's reveal as validation of Grassley and Graham's claim. Early Wednesday morning, Trump tweeted, “Wow, FBI confirms reports that James Comey drafted letter exonerating Crooked Hillary Clinton long before investigation was complete."
In May, Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein wrote a letter to Trump recommending he fire Comey, in which he criticized the former director's July 2016 press conference rejecting charges for Clinton. "We do not hold press conferences to release derogatory information about the subject of a declined criminal investigation," Rosenstein wrote.
On Wednesday morning, Trump seemed decidedly less concerned about Comey's release of "derogatory information" about Clinton. He tweeted: "As it turns out, James Comey lied and leaked and totally protected Hillary Clinton. He was the best thing that ever happened to her!" Kelly O'Meara Morales
We're 10 months into the Trump administration, and the president hasn't let up on his crusade against "fake news." Perhaps more surprising, however, is that nearly half of American voters seem to share his sentiments.
A new Politico/Morning Consult poll shows that 46 percent of voters believe the media makes up stories about the president. Only 37 percent think the media doesn't make up stories, and 17 percent remain undecided.
Republicans and Trump supporters are especially likely to believe in "fake news," the poll found. Of those who strongly approve of Trump's job performance, 85 percent think the media fabricates stories about Trump, and 76 percent of Republicans feel the same way. The poll also addressed Trump's relationships with congressional Republicans, finding that most Republicans think Trump is better aligned with the American people than their representatives are.
The Democratic National Committee will consider a resolution that calls on independent Sens. Bernie Sanders (Vt.) and Angus King (Maine) to run as members of the Democratic Party in 2018.
Although the resolution, sponsored by California DNC member Bob Mulholland, "recognizes the important contributions of the independent senators from Maine and Vermont to causes at the heart of the Democratic Party's mission," it calls for "candidates and voters who share common goals and beliefs to register or affiliate with the Democratic Party in 2017, 2018, and beyond.”
In July of 2017, Morning Consult released its rankings of "America's Most and Least Popular Senators." Both Sanders and King ranked in the country's top 10. In the same rankings, more than half of the country's senators have negative net approval ratings in their respective states. HuffPost's most recent poll charts show the Democratic Party has a 49.7 percent unfavorable rating, and just a 38.1 percent favorable rating. Kelly O'Meara Morales