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‘Go Back Where You Came From’: White Texas A&M Students Taunt Black High School Visitors

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Teens from Dallas Were Asked About Confederate Flag Earrings, Called ‘N Word’ Racial Slur During Tour of Campus

In yet another bitter reminder that racism is alive and well on college campuses in the South, white students at Texas A&M University reportedly taunted and harassed a group of black high school juniors who were touring the campus in College Station on Tuesday. 

The incident began when a white woman approached two of the visitors from Uplift Hampton Preparatory in Dallas — a charter school that helps economically disadvantaged students get into college — and asked what they thought of her Confederate flag earrings, according to an account from Democratic state Sen. Royce West, whose district includes the high school. 

Then, white male and female students from Texas A&M began taunting the group of 60 visitors from Uplift Preparatory, telling them to “go back where you came from” and “using the most well-known racial slur that’s directed toward African Americans,” West said. 

Texas A&M officials who were escorting the visitors witnessed the incident and called campus police. An officer who responded initially said the A&M students were merely exercising their First Amendment rights, but police eventually took a report. 

“It’s 2016 and within months of other race-related events that have taken place on college campuses in Oklahoma, Missouri and elsewhere nationally,” Sen. West said in a statement, adding that the incidents have all been triggered by “a climate of racially tinged conflict and other acts of intolerance.” 

“These discussions related to the Confederate flag began last summer following the massacre of innocent worshippers at a Charleston, South Carolina church. Yet there are those who still defend Confederate symbols and ideologies,” West wrote. “I expect a response that is swift and similar to those taken at the University of Oklahoma. The students responsible for these reprehensible actions should be strongly disciplined, if not expelled.” 

In a letter to the Texas A&M community, school President Michael Young said he was “outraged and tremendously disappointed” by the incident, adding that it will be investigated “to the fullest extent possible and appropriate action will be taken.” Young also said Texas A&M administrators and students later met with the visitors from Uplift Prep to assure them they are welcomed and respected by “the vast majority” of people at the university. 

“While the actions of a few certainly do not represent our institution as a whole, it is the responsibility of all of us to stop any incidents that could be considered hateful or biased — based on race, religion, gender, sexual orientation, disability or any other factor,” Young wrote.

In an example of the systemic racism that still exists, some have pushed back, trying to claim it didn’t happen, despite witnesses, or that it shouldn’t be addressed.

Uplift Hampton Prep CEO Yasmin Bhatia said the school will continue to send tour groups to Texas A&M, according to The Texas Tribune. Many Uplift students are the first in their families to have an opportunity to attend college, and campus tours are their first encounters with universities. 

“We are proud of our scholars for the grace and composure with which they responded to the college students who chose to engage in a disrespectful and unacceptable manner,” Bhatia said.

In its 2016 college rankings, The Princeton Review ranked Texas A&M University fourth in the nation for “Most Conservative Students,” 14th for “Most Religious Students,” and 13th for “LGBTQ-Unfriendly.” 

The Texas A&M student body is just 3 percent black, the lowest percentage among 15 public and private universities in the state, according to the National Center for Education statistics.

 

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RELIGIOUS EXTREMISM

Barr to Be Honored for ‘Christlike Behavior’ Today With Award From Right Wing Catholic Group With Strong Ties to Trump

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Attorney General Bill Barr will be honored for his “Christlike behavior” at Wednesday’s National Catholic Prayer Breakfast, according to Roman Catholic Sister, author, and anti-death penalty activist Sister Helen Prejean.

The National Catholic Prayer Breakfast says Barr will be presented with its Christifideles Laici Award during today’s 16th annual prayer event.

“In Honor and Gratitude for Fidelity to the Church, Exemplary Selfless and Steadfast Service in the Lord’s Vineyard,” are the words inscribed on the award.

The event is being sponsored by several groups, including Alliance Defending Freedom, which appears on the Southern Poverty Law Center’s list of anti-LGBTQ hate groups.

President Donald Trump is expected to address the group today during its virtual ceremony.

Among the National Catholic Prayer Breakfast’s founders are Pat Cipollone, President Trump’s White House Counsel; former Republican Senator Rick Santorum; and Joseph Cella, President Trump’s Ambassador to Fiji, and a former Trump transition team member who co-founded the right wing activist group Catholic Vote.

Another founder of the National Catholic Prayer Breakfast is Austin Ruse, the president of the anti-LGBTQ hate group Center for Family and Human Rights (C-FAM).

Perhaps the most notable founder of the National Catholic Prayer Breakfast is the group’s president, conservative judicial activist Leonard Leo.

Leo also serves as co-chairman of the Federalist Society, the far right group responsible for promoting the illegitimate belief that the U.S. Constitution should be interpreted by judges according to how the nation’s founders thought.

President Trump, for the first time in history, has effectively farmed out the approval process for federal court judges and even Supreme Court justices he nominates, to the Federalist Society.

The award to Barr is being condemned by notable Catholics, including Sister Prejean, and Father James Martin, a Jesuit priest and editor-at-large at America magazine.

 

 

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POLITICIZING A PANDEMIC

Trump Calls on FDA to Fast-Track Coronavirus Vaccine Approvals

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President Donald Trump on Wednesday publicly called on the Food and Drug Administration to fast-track approvals of coronavirus vaccines after a fourth American drug company’s COVID-19 vaccine entered the final clinical trials stage. The call came just one day after the U.S. saw its 200,000 coronavirus death.

Big news,” Trump tweeted. “Numerous great companies are seeing fantastic results. @FDA must move quickly!”

Trump then retweeted other tweets praising the Johnson & Johnson drug trial.

Many see Trump’s actions as inappropriate pressure on what is supposed to be an independent, non-partisan federal agency, and some see them as dangerous.

A Washington Post reporter noted the FDA on Tuesday said it was raising the bar on coronavirus vaccine approvals.

But Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar on Monday issued a draconian order hamstringing the FDA and requiring all moves to be approved by him.

Here’s former Obama Under Secretary of State Richard Stengel, issuing a warning:

 

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VLADIMIR SAYS HI

GOP Senator’s Hyped Report on Biden and Ukraine Is a Dud With ‘Minimal, if Any, Evidence’: Reporter

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Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI) has been hyping up a report that purportedly implicates Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden in corrupt activities in Ukraine.

But according to Politico’s Kyle Cheney, Johnson’s report is not going to be nearly as explosive as Republicans hoped, and he describes it as “an 87-page rehash of previously known allegations (with minimal, if any, evidence), news articles and impeachment testimony.”

In fact, the report leads off with impeachment testimony from State Department official George Kent, who said it was “awkward” to have Biden working on Ukraine-related issues while he was serving as vice president even as his son, Hunter Biden, had taken a job on the board of a Ukrainian energy company.

However, Kent also testified that Biden’s work in Ukraine was part of official American foreign policy and was not about serving his personal interests.

Additionally, Cheney reports that “ten of the interim report’s 87 pages are dedicated to countering Democratic attacks and pushing back on reporting that [Johnson was] fueling narratives that dovetailed with a Russian disinformation effort.”

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