The Justice Department and the US Attorney's Office for the Northern District of Georgia have launched a joint investigation into the treatment of gay and transgender inmates in Georgia prisons. The DOJ confirmed to the Georgia Voice that this is the first time it has opened an investigation focused on LGBT prisoners.
The probe follows the high-profile case of Ashley Diamond, a transgender woman who, as Mother Jones reported last year, sued employees in Georgia's correctional department for allegedly denying her medical treatment and failing to protect her from sexual assault while she was detained. She was released from prison last August, and the lawsuit was settled in February.
"All prisoners in Georgia institutions are entitled to serve their time safely, especially if physical harm or abuse occurs because of a prisoner's sexual orientation or gender identity," John Horn, US attorney for the Northern District of Georgia, told the Georgia Voice.
The DOJ recently released new national guidelines to help protect transgender inmates, who face high rates of sexual assault.
Donald Trump's campaign manager, Corey Lewandowski, will not be prosecuted for a battery charge in connection to former Breitbart reporter Michelle Fields, Florida prosecutors announced on Thursday.
"Although the facts support the allegation that Lewandowski did grab Miss Fields’ arm against her will, there is sufficient evidence to presume his innocence," Florida state attorney Dave Aronberg said in a press conference.
The decision not to pursue the battery charge should come as a major relief to Trump, who has been under fire for defending Lewandowski despite mounting evidence he forcibly grabbed Fields by the arm as she tried to approach the presidential candidate at a March 8 campaign event. Since the incident, both Lewandowski and Trump repeatedly denied Fields' accusation and attempted to discredit her as an "attention seeker" and "delusional."
But weeks later, surveillance footage that appeared to corroborate Fields' claims was released, prompting Jupiter, Florida, police to charge Lewandowski with simple battery. Even then, Trump continued to insist his campaign manager was innocent.
Wow, Corey Lewandowski, my campaign manager and a very decent man, was just charged with assaulting a reporter. Look at tapes-nothing there!
The CNN town hall with Ted Cruz and his family on Wednesday night began with host Anderson Cooper talking to the candidate about the usual political subjects, including his thoughts about GOP front-runner Donald Trumps' vocal opposition to the current system of gathering delegates in advance of the Republican National Convention. Cruz said Trump is acting like a "union boss thug" by threatening delegates and noted that he's only complaining about the process because recently he has lost several key primaries. "In the last three weeks there have been 11 elections in four states. And we have beaten Donald in all of 11 of them," Cruz said. "He's unhappy about that."
When Heidi Cruz joined her husband on stage and audience members came to the mic, the questions moved from the political to the personal: What was their first date? (A dinner when the two were working on the Bush campaign in 2000.) What did she think was his "most annoying" quality? (His iPhone.) Cruz also told the audience that he loves movies but his wife isn't interested in them, and that, after The Princess Bride, his favorite movies are The Godfather series, including The GodfatherPart III.
But the real highlight of the evening came when Cruz's two young daughters, dressed in identical yellow dresses, were asked whom they would first want to invite to visit the White House. Caroline, whose eighth birthday is on Thursday, and five-year-old Catherine, were shy about naming their favorite pop star, but their mother, Heidi, answered for them: "The girls would love to have their first guest be Taylor Swift," she said.
The girls may not have had much to say on the Cruz versus Trump delegate fight, but they weighed in on a different kind of "Bad Blood" (#sorrynotsorry). The whole family exchange was pretty adorable.
Donald Trump is counting on a hometown boost in Tuesday's New York primary showdown against Ted Cruz. The Texas senator has taken heat from prominent Republicans there, such as Rep. Peter King and ex-Mayor Rudy Giuliani, for his comments about "New York values" and his campaign positions. ("Any New Yorker who even thinks of voting for Ted Cruz should have their head examined," King told an interviewer last week.) When Cruz visited the Bronx, he was heckled repeatedly.
But perhaps no candidate has done more to offend the sensibilities of New Yorkers over the years than Trump, a tabloid fixture who was once sued by the Department of Justice for housing discrimination in Brooklyn and Queens and who spent $85,000 on advertisements demanding the state "bring back the death penalty" after the arrest of the (wrongfully convicted) Central Park Five.
Trump sought to use his influence in the city on more pedestrian matters, too. In a 1985 letter, Trump complained to then-Mayor Ed Koch about the blight of hot-dog vendors leaving ketchup and mustard stains on his sidewalk.
While I usually agree with your decisions and philosophy (except as they concern me), I cannot understand how you can allow once one of the truly great streets of America, Fifth Avenue, to be overrun by peddlars [sic] and food vendors. They have created such a blight that shoppers and visitors alike are appalled to see the decline of this historic avenue. Having ketchup and mustard splattered all over the sidewalk by vendors who "couldn't care less" is disgraceful. I only wish I had their political muscle—they really need it in order to keep this outrage going.
I know that you must have your reasons and also know that you won't change your mind, but it is a shame. As the filthy food carts come in, the Guccis, Jourdans, et cetera will leave, and with them both prestige and taxes will be lost to the City forever.
After signing off, he added one last shot. "P.S. The new 'act' on Fifth Avenue is the humongous vegetable stand which operates at Fifth Avenue and 57th Street," Trump wrote. "It does wonders for increasing the value of real estate on Bond Street in London and the Champs Elysses [sic] in Paris."
The correspondence with Koch was included in the personal papers of former New York Times executive editor A.M. Rosenthal at the New York Public Library.
Trump's beef with street vendors was not a one-time thing. In The Art of the Deal, his best-selling memoir, he lamented the "peddlers" who were "degrading" Fifth Avenue. "I learned a lesson from Walter Hoving," he wrote, referring to another New York developer. "I now employ some very large security people who make absolutely sure that the street in front of Trump Tower is kept clean, pristine, and free of peddlers."
Update: This was a really longstanding beef. The New York Daily Newsreported that Trump also complained about the Fifth Avenue food vendors in 2004 to then-Mayor Michael Bloomberg. Evidently the problem wasn't fixed.
In 1963, President John F. Kennedy signed the Equal Pay Act, a law meant to close the wage gap between working men and women. But more than 50 years later, women on average earn just 79 cents for every dollar paid to men. And according to a new report by the National Partnership for Women and Families that was released before National Equal Pay Day on Tuesday, the persistent wage gap means women lose a combined $500 billion every year.
"It is unacceptable that the wage gap has persisted, punishing the country's women and families for decades," wrote Debra L. Ness, president of the National Partnership, in a press release. "At a time when women's wages are so critical to the economic well-being of families, the country is counting on lawmakers to work together to advance strong, fair and family friendly workplace policies that would promote equal pay."
The National Partnership used Census Bureau data to analyze the wages of workers in every state and Washington, DC, and broke down the numbers by state and congressional district, as well as by demographic information. Louisiana has the biggest pay gap (women there are paid 65 cents for every dollar), and DC, with just a 10 cent difference, has the smallest.
The gender pay gap is even larger for women of color. African American women are paid 60 cents for every dollar paid to white men, and Latin American women make even less, at 55 cents for every dollar. All in all, the pay gap amounts to more than $10,800 in lost wages for the average woman each year.
That's costly for families, many of which rely on mothers as the sole or primary breadwinner. According to the National Partnership, mothers are the heads of households in nearly 40 percent of families. Yet the wage gap for mothers is even larger than for women overall: Women with children are paid 71 cents for every dollar paid to fathers, and single mothers make only 58 cents for every dollar to fathers.
Wage inequality got national attention in March when five high-profile players on the women's national soccer team filed a complaint with the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commissionaccusing the US Soccer Federation of gender-based wage discrimination. The players—who last year brought in their third World Cup gold medal and are projected to rake in $18 million in revenue next year—say they are paid four times less than their male counterparts.
"Simply put, we're sick of being treated like second-class citizens," wrote Carli Lloyd, who scored a record-breaking hat trick in the final World Cup game against Japan last year, in a New York Timesop-ed on her decision to file the complaint. "It wears on you after a while. And we are done with it."
Prospective voters in Kansas were given different instructions for how and when to register to vote depending on whether they received the English- or Spanish-language voter guide issued by the Kansas secretary of state's office.
The English-language version correctly informed voters that they could register up to 21 days before an election. But the Spanish-language version told voters that they had only 15 days to register, according to the Kansas City Star. Passports were listed as a valid proof of citizenship in the English version; in the Spanish version, they were not.
Craig McCullah, who oversees publications in the secretary of state's office, apologized in the Star for the "administrative error" and said he was "diligently working to fix" the issue. He said the online versions were corrected within a day and the physical versions were sent to a translating service to eliminate discrepancies.
It's unclear exactly when the errors were introduced or whether the erroneous voter guides had an effect on registration for the state's presidential caucuses on March 5.
The botched voter guides, first flagged by a Democratic consultant in Daily Kos, have sparked the latest in a series of controversies over strict voter registration policies in Kansas under Secretary of State Kris Kobach.
A former Justice Department counsel in the George W. Bush administration and law professor at the University of Missouri at Kansas City, Kobach was known for helping craft anti-immigration laws in Arizona, Alabama, and Georgia and for pushing the idea of self-deportation. Since becoming secretary of state in 2010, he has restricted access to the polls in Kansas and pursued criminal prosecutions for alleged instances of voter fraud, despite its rare occurrence. In 2013, even as the Supreme Court struck down a law requiring proof of citizenship for federal elections in Arizona, the state established a two-tier voter system that required Kansas residents to provide proof of citizenship to vote in state and local elections.
Kansas is one of several Republican-controlled states that imposed tighter voter restrictions after the 2010 midterm election. Those policies have prompted legal challenges from civil rights advocates, who argue that such restrictions affect young, minority, Democratic-leaning voters. In January, a Kansas district court judge, Franklin Theis, struck down the state's two-tier system, noting that Kobach, as secretary of state, "is not empowered to determine or declare the method of registration or create a method of 'partial registration' only." Kobach plans to appeal the ruling.
In February, the American Civil Liberties Union again challenged the state's voting policies, claiming the proof of citizenship requirement would keep at least 30,000 people, or 14 percent of Kansans who tried to register, off the voter rolls. The lawsuit is also seeking to prevent the state from tossing out more than 350,000 registration applications that are considered incomplete because prospective voters did not provide proof of citizenship.
More than 400 people protesting the role of big money in politics outside the U.S. Capitol were arrested on Monday. The non-violent demonstration, which was organized by the advocacy group Democracy Spring and involved members of over 100 individual groups, was the first of similar rallies planned for this week.
According to police, protesters on Monday were arrested for "unlawful demonstration activity" and charged with "crowding, obstructing, and incommoding."
At least two people are dead following a shooting at Texas' Lackland Air Force Base on Friday morning that is being investigated as an apparent murder-suicide. Authorities say the shooting occurred at around 8:40 a.m. local time.
Sen. Bernie Sanders has accepted an invitation to speak at the Vatican for a conference on social justice next week. The April 15 event, which will be hosted by the Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences, is scheduled to cover a number of the Democratic presidential hopeful's signature campaign issues, including income inequality and the environment.
Sanders' appearance at Vatican City will come just days before the New York primary on April 19.
"I am delighted to have been invited by the Vatican to a meeting on restoring social justice and environmental sustainability to the world economy," Sanders announced in a statement on Friday.
"Pope Francis has made clear that we must overcome 'the globalization of indifference' in order to reduce economic inequalities, stop financial corruption, and protect the natural environment. That is our challenge in the United States and in the world."
Bill Clinton was interrupted by a group of Black Lives Matter activists as he gave a speech on behalf of his wife, Democratic presidential front-runner Hillary Clinton, in Philadelphia on Thursday. The exchange quickly turned combative.
As the organizers criticized Hillary Clinton's involvement in the infamous 1994 crime bill, her husband initially responded by claiming he welcomed protesters. Then he turned more confrontational, shouting poverty statistics to defend the trends that emerged from the policies he helped enact, such as harsher criminal sentencing and the gutting of welfare programs.
"I love—look, at every campaign rally, I welcome the protesters," the former president said. "I had a guy in South Carolina interrupt me, and the crowd started booing him, and I said, 'No, let's be quiet and listen to him,' and let him say the same thing twice. I said, 'May I answer?' and he just kept screaming."
Clinton pleaded with the audience to "tell the whole story."
"I talked to a lot of African American groups, they thought black lives mattered," he said, referring to his crime bill. "They said to take this bill, because our kids are being shot in the street by gangs. We have 13-year-old kids planning their own funerals. She"—he pointed to a protester in the crowd—"don't want to hear any of that. You know what else she doesn't want to hear? Because of that bill, we had a 25-year low in crime, a 33[-year] low in the murder rate, and listen to this, because of that and the background check law, we had a 46-year low in the deaths of people by gun violence. And who you think those lives were? That mattered. Whose lives were saved?"
Clinton's remarks come almost a year after he renounced the very same crime bill, implying that he knew at the time that some of the sentencing provisions were too harsh, but that that concern was trumped by his desire to pass the overall bill. Clinton appeared to take the opposite stance on Thursday, asserting that the policies of his administration were worth it because of how many black lives were allegedly saved.
Amid chants of "HRC, HRC" from Hillary Clinton supporters in the crowd, Bill Clinton continued to shout statistics in an attempt to show the Philadelphia organizers that their anger was misplaced. Throughout his remarks, he repeatedly referred to some of the female protesters as "girls."
"I don't know how you would characterize the gang leaders who got 13-year-old kids hopped up on crack and sent them out onto the street to murder other African American children," Clinton said. "You are defending the people who killed the lives you say matter. Tell the truth."