South Carolina lawmakers agree to debate removal of Confederate flag

Written by From AP
and WiG reports
Tuesday, 23 June 2015 13:36

South Carolina lawmakers took their first step toward removing the Confederate battle flag from their Statehouse grounds June 23, as protesters outside demanded the flag come down in response to the hate-crime killings of nine people inside their historic black church.

The measure enabling lawmakers to debate the flag removal later this summer needed two-thirds approval. It passed the House by a vote of 103-10. The Senate later approved it with a voice vote.

The night Mother Emanuel opened its door to evil

Written by ALLEN G. BREED
Associated Press
Tuesday, 23 June 2015 04:43

When Angela Brown saw the Facebook post about a shooting at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church, her mind immediately leapt to her aunt. Whenever the doors to Emanuel were open to its flock, Ethel Lance was there. 

"This was her home," said her niece, standing in the shadow of its soaring spire, tears streaming down her face. 

Clinton calls for ‘common-sense’ gun control, decries racism

Written by LISA LERER,
Associated Press writer
Sunday, 21 June 2015 18:01

Issuing an emotional plea following the South Carolina church shooting, Hillary Rodham Clinton called for “common-sense” gun reforms and a national reckoning with the persistent problem of “institutional racism.”

Days after nine black church members were gunned down in Charleston, Clinton said the country must take steps to keep guns from criminals and the mentally ill.

Mitt Romney, the Republican nominee for president in 2012, called for the immediate removal of the Confederate battle flag from outside the South Carolina Statehouse, scrambling the 2016 GOP presidential contenders into staking a position on a contentious cultural issue.

Some still steered clear from the sensitive debate, even after the shooting deaths of nine people in a historic African-American church in Charleston further exposed the raw emotions about the flying the flag.

Republicans with presidential aspirations rushed on June 22 to embrace South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley's call to remove the Confederate flag from the grounds of the state Capitol.

They were eager to move past an issue that challenges the GOP's effort to win over the diverse coalition of voters it likely needs to win back the White House.

Politicians returning donations from white supremacist

Written by AP
and WiG reports
Monday, 22 June 2015 14:16

Republican presidential candidates, GOP lawmakers and the lone black Republican in the U.S. House are returning donations from the leader of a white supremacist group cited by Charleston church murder suspect Dylann Roof or giving the money to charity.

U.S. Rep. Mia Love of Utah, an African-American Republican woman who was elected to the House last year, said through a spokesman that she had returned $1,000 in donations from Earl Holt, leader of the Council of Conservative Citizens.

As same-sex marriage spreads, ranks of gay dads increase

Written by David Crary,
AP National writer
Sunday, 21 June 2015 07:28

Fatherhood has been exhilarating for Weston Clark, who put aside a teaching career to be a stay-at-home dad for a 4-year-old son and 17-month-old daughter adopted by him and his husband.

Yet Clark acknowledged some unease as he looks ahead to late August, when his son starts kindergarten in Salt Lake City.

World shocked at nation's enduring racism, gun violence

Written by The Associated Press Friday, 19 June 2015 10:05

China wasted little time returning such charges following the shooting at a historic black church in South Carolina that left nine people dead. Elsewhere, the attack renewed perceptions that Americans have too many guns and have yet to overcome racial tensions.

Monument to Mother Jones rededicated in Illinois

Written by The AP Tuesday, 23 June 2015 05:07

The monument to "the grandmother of all agitators" in Mount Olive, Illinois, has been rededicated.

Mary Harris "Mother" Jones requested burial among the rank-and-file workers in the Union Miners Cemetery when she died in 1930. 

Anti-gay outcry over storytime pushes North Carolina teacher to resign

Written by The Wisconsin Gazette Monday, 22 June 2015 09:54

After a third-grader tearfully recounted how another boy had called him "gay'' during gym class, teacher Omar Currie chose to raise the issue during story time by reading his students a fable about a prince who falls in love with another prince, ending with a happily-ever-after royal wedding.

That decision in April ignited a public outcry from some parents in the rural hamlet of Efland, North Carolina, resulting in Currie's resignation this week from a job he loved. The assistant principal who loaned Currie her copy of "King & King'' has also resigned, and outraged parents are pressuring administrators at the Orange County Schools to ban the book.

Delaware decriminalizes marijuana

Written by Randall Chase,
AP writer
Sunday, 21 June 2015 06:44

Delaware Gov. Jack Markell has signed legislation decriminalizing possession of small amounts of marijuana.

Markell signed the bill earlier this week, shortly after it passed the Democrat-controlled Senate on a straight party-line vote.

Gunman kills 9 at historic black church in Charleston, S.C.

Written by The AP Thursday, 18 June 2015 06:15

A white man opened fire during a prayer meeting inside a historic black church in downtown Charleston, South Carolina, killing nine people, including the pastor, in an assault authorities described as a hate crime.