Columnist Cleared of Spousal Assault Charge
Monday, September 30, 2013
Reactions Differ on "Obamacare," "Affordable Care Act"
CNN Names Diversity V.P.; N.Y. Times Won't Fill Post
N.Y. Times Finds Child Firearm Deaths Underreported
Columnist Notes Deaths by Police Tasers
Even the Blind Can See That Race Matters
A longtime Dallas Morning News columnist who was reassigned to reporting duties nearly two years ago after an altercation with his wife is waiting to see whether he will regain his column after a judge dismissed the assault charge. His wife declined to testify against him.
"My No. 1 concern always was the restoration of my family and, secondarily, the dismissal of a case that should never have been filed," James Ragland, who had been reassigned from his Metro column to reporting on a nearby county, told Journal-isms Monday by email. "Justice was slow, but it finally arrived.
"I am evaluating my options, how I want to move forward and what I want my future career to look like. Resuming a column may well be a part of that equation. But, as you know, I serve at the pleasure of the management of this newspaper, to which I have never uttered, and will never issue, any demands or unreasonable requests. My mind, my heart and my faith don't operate that way."
Editor Bob Mong said he was "very happy for James and his family that this case has been resolved," according to the newspaper. Mong told Journal-isms by email on Monday, "The managing editor has been on assignment in England. Returns Tuesday. We'll have [James'] next assignment teed up very soon."
Ragland, a Morning News columnist since 2000, was arrested in November 2011 after an altercation with his wife, Shannon Morley-Ragland, according to police documents.
The Morning News' Ed Timms reported the judge's decision on Sept. 24. " 'The state of Texas is unable to procure the presence and testimony of Shannon Morley-Ragland, the complaining witness in this case,' according to the state's motion to dismiss the case," Timms wrote. " 'The state has not had contact with the complaining witness, and at this time there is no probability that the witness will become available for trial in the foreseeable future.'
"County Criminal Court Judge Elizabeth Frizell granted the motion.
"Prosecutors filed a document with the court on Friday disclosing any evidence that might have been favorable to Ragland at trial, which they are required to do by law. According to the document, Ragland's wife informed prosecutors in April 2012 that he 'did not grab the phone from her hands, did not push her down, did not throw the phone at her and that she was not scared of the defendant' as she'd stated in the original police report.
"Tammy Kemp, who heads the family violence unit for the Dallas County district attorney’s office, said Morley-Ragland 'just did not want to come to court.'
" 'She did not want to go forward and testify,' Kemp said. That, Kemp said, is not uncommon in such cases."
"What's in a name? When it comes to the debate over health care, apparently a lot," Steve Liesman reported Thursday for CNBC.
"In CNBC's third-quarter All-America Economic Survey, we asked half of the 812 poll respondents if they support Obamacare and the other half if they support the Affordable Care Act.
"First thing: 30 percent of the public don't know what ACA is, vs. only 12 percent when we asked about Obamacare. More on that later.
"Now for the difference: 29 percent of the public supports Obamacare compared with 22 percent who support ACA. Forty-six percent oppose Obamacare and 37 percent oppose ACA. So putting Obama in the name raises the positives and the negatives. Gender and partisanship are responsible for the differences. Men, independents and Republicans are more negative on Obamacare than ACA. Young people, Democrats, nonwhites and women are more positive on Obamacare. . . ."
In a Pew Research survey last month of 1,506 people conducted with USA Today, "A stunning 91 percent of the black Americans who responded said they approved of Obamacare while only 29 percent of whites did."
- Charles M. Blow, New York Times: The Captain Ahabs of the House
- Michael H. Cottman, BlackAmericaWeb.com: ANALYSIS: Obamacare: It's Cheaper Than Your Cell Phone Bill
- Stanley Crouch, Daily News, New York: Cheap tickets to the Cruz carnival
- Jarvis DeBerry, NOLA.com | the Times-Picayune: 'Green Eggs and Ham' has been read better
- Liz Hester, Talking Biz News: Looking at coverage of the new health care law
- Kwame Holman, "PBS NewsHour": California Reaches Out to Educate Latino Community on New Insurance Exchange
- Earl Ofari Hutchinson, syndicated: Obamacare Is a Triumph for African-Americans
- Don Lemon, BlackAmericaWeb.com: Obama, the Angry Black President?…Not a Good Look
- Pew Research Center: Anger at Government Most Pronounced among Conservative Republicans
- Tracie Powell, All Digitocracy: Viral Video Channels ABC Hit 'Scandal' to Help Navigate New Healthcare Law
- Mary Sanchez, Kansas City Star: Ted Cruz's bladder-busting blather can't void Obamacare
- Mark Trahant, indianz.com: Federal shutdown poses risk in Indian Country
- DeWayne Wickham, USA Today: How Democrats need to counteract GOP (Sept. 23)
- DeWayne Wickham, USA Today: Cruz gambit a one-act play?
CNN Worldwide Monday named producer Geraldine Moriba as vice president of diversity and inclusion, defying those who predicted last week that the resignation of the chair and vice chair of CNN's Diversity Council doomed the panel. Moriba was also named to chair the council.
At the New York Times Co., however, spokeswoman Eileen Murphy told Journal-isms, Desiree Dancy, who resigned last week as chief diversity officer and vice president for corporate human resources, will not be replaced.
"However, diversity remains a very strong priority at The Times where we have an ongoing diversity council and the support and commitment of senior management," Murphy said by email. "Given the current size and shape of our company, a diversity council makes more sense at this time."
Desiree Dancy won't be replaced. (video)
Dancy told Journal-isms last week, "The Times has reduced its business units and has refocused its operation to a smaller, and more singularly directed company," changing the nature of her job.
The CNN announcement countered what has been perceived as a shrinking commitment to diversity by news organizations. The American Society of News Editors and the Magazine Publishers of America eliminated their diversity positions, for example, although NPR has a vice president for diversity and inclusion in Keith Woods and the Gannett Co., a vice president/talent acquisition and diversity in Virgil L. Smith.
Some diversity officers say they cut a wide swath. At the Asian American Journalists Association's August convention in New York, Craig Robinson, executive vice president and chief diversity officer of NBCUniversal, and Crystal Johns, director of talent development and diversity for CBS News, described vigorous diversity work at their companies.
When appointments are considered, "If I don't see anybody who's diverse on that slate, it gets pushed back," Johns said then.
The CNN announcement said, "Moriba is an Emmy-award winning producer, who led CNN's 'In America' documentary team in the creation of 11 documentaries in two years. These award-winning and groundbreaking specials focused on communities which had previously been underserved by the media. She also conceived and launched the successful 'In America blog.' In its first six months, it crossed the 15 million page view threshold and earned unprecedented engagement success, making it one of the most popular CNN.com blogs.
"Moriba came to CNN in 2010 after 16 years at NBC News, where she served as senior producer for Broadcast Standards, monitoring news reports on all NBC platforms. She also produced award winning long form and breaking news stories. And she was the co-chair for NBC News' Diversity Council developing diversity programs to support leadership development and diverse content across NBC News programming. . . ."
A CNN spokeswoman said last week that Johnita P. Due, the council's longtime chair, was stepping down and that Maria Ebrahimji, its vice chair, was leaving the network.
The change at the council, coupled with criticism of CNN's diversity record since Jeff Zucker became CNN president last year, led to a report that Zucker had disbanded the group.
Monday's announcement said Due, who also serves as assistant general counsel for CNN, will continue to advise Moriba and the council.
"The .45-caliber pistol that killed Lucas Heagren, 3, on Memorial Day last year at his Ohio home had been temporarily hidden under the couch by his father," Michael Luo and Mike McIntire reported for Sunday's print edition of the New York Times. "But Lucas found it and shot himself through the right eye. 'It’s bad,' his mother told the 911 dispatcher. 'It’s really bad.”
"A few days later in Georgia, Cassie Culpepper, 11, was riding in the back of a pickup with her 12-year-old brother and two other children. Her brother started playing with a pistol his father had lent him to scare coyotes. Believing he had removed all the bullets, he pointed the pistol at his sister and squeezed the trigger. It fired, and blood poured from Cassie’s mouth.
"Just a few weeks earlier, in Houston, a group of youths found a Glock pistol in an apartment closet while searching for snack money. A 15-year-old boy was handling the gun when it went off. Alex Whitfield, who had just turned 11, was struck. A relative found the bullet in his ashes from the funeral home.
"Cases like these are among the most gut-wrenching of gun deaths. Children shot accidentally — usually by other children — are collateral casualties of the accessibility of guns in America, their deaths all the more devastating for being eminently preventable."
They also wrote, "A New York Times review of hundreds of child firearm deaths found that accidental shootings occurred roughly twice as often as the records indicate, because of idiosyncrasies in how such deaths are classified by the authorities. The killings of Lucas, Cassie and Alex, for instance, were not recorded as accidents. Nor were more than half of the 259 accidental firearm deaths of children under age 15 identified by The Times in eight states where records were available. . . ."
"Three years ago, more than 450 small white crosses were placed on a vacant lot next to New Mount Calvary Baptist Church in the far south Fort Worth community of Highland Hills," Bob Ray Sanders wrote for Sunday's print edition of the Star-Telegram in Fort Worth, Texas.
"The sign placed in front of the display at 5800 Oak Grove Road proclaims the site as the 'Taser/Torture/Death National Memorial.' It goes on to say that it is in memory of Michael Jacobs Jr., who was 'tortured alive for 54 seconds with a 50,000 volt Taser gun. His blood cries out from the grave for justice.'
"Jacobs was a 24-year-old mental patient who died in April 2009 after being shot with a 'stun gun,' officially called a conducted electrical weapon (CEW) and most commonly referred to as a Taser, the name of the leading manufacturer of CEWs."
Sanders also wrote, "Tasers are being used by more than 16,000 law enforcement agencies in more than 40 countries, and most are not thinking of giving them up. Many police officials insist the weapons help save lives, as they are used when an officer otherwise would have to deploy a gun.
"But as the number of deaths rise, along with the number of lawsuits against stun gun manufacturers, some police departments are beginning to re-examine their use of CEWs. . . ."
- Mary C. Curtis, Washington Post: Is fear of a black man justified?
- Fannie Flono, Charlotte (N.C.) Observer: Police and the killings of unarmed civilians (Sept. 19)
- Jamilah Lemieux, Ebony: Jonathan Ferrell: Supposed to Die? (Sept. 16)
- Courtland Milloy, Washington Post: Navy Yard shooting underscores how mental illness can be misdiagnosed among black men
- Phillip Morris, Plain Dealer, Cleveland: Knocking on heaven's door in the wrong neighborhood sends a man to the morgue (Sept. 18)
- Clarence Page, Chicago Tribune: Growing numb to mass violence
- Keith Reed, Ebony: 'I Don't Trust the Police Because I Can't' (Sept. 18)
- Barry Saunders, News & Observer, Raleigh, N.C.: Searching for answers in lethal Charlotte confrontation (Sept. 18)
- Terrie Williams and Dawn M. Porter, the Grio: Aaron Alexis was someone's son (Sept. 19)
Kat Chow of NPR's Code Switch race-relations team came up with a race-related story few have written: How the blind perceive race.
"Law professor Osagie Obasogie walked into a movie theater to see 'Ray,' a biopic about the musician Ray Charles, and walked out with a question that would drive eight years worth of research," Chow's story began.
" 'I was really struck by how Ray Charles had this really interesting understanding of race throughout his life even though he was blind throughout his early childhood,' says Obasogie, who teaches at the University of California, Hastings College of the Law. 'I just wanted to learn more about how blind people understood race. I never had thought about it.'
"Obasogie started by interviewing 110 individuals who were blind since birth. His full research on the topic will be published in a book, Blinded by Sight: Seeing Race In The Eyes Of The Blind, that hits shelves in November.
"The professor mentioned that some of the individuals he interviewed took offense at the notion that sighted people would think blind people are unaware of race. And that not being aware of race somehow made blind people morally superior."
Among the law professor's conclusions:
"Obasogie hopes that his research will debunk the notion of color blindness as applied to race. That is, the belief that race isn't a social or political issue, rather, it is something we see and is merely skin-deep.
" 'The idea of color blindness as a metaphor plays upon a certain assumption on what race is and how it plays out in the blind community,' Obasogie said. 'So it's a metaphor that suggests that those who are blind or can't see race necessarily, kind of live in this racial utopia where they don't have to deal with this messy world of race because of their blindness.'
"This racial utopia, Obasogie argues, doesn't exist."
In addition, "Obasogie also mentions a participant he calls Keith, a blind black man who said race is a major factor in his dating life. When meeting other blind people, Keith said they'd find a reason to touch his hair . . . . Obasogie emphasizes 'blind people are not uniquely preoccupied with race. Rather, the findings simply draw attention to the fact that race affects everyone's lives and that blind people are not exempt simply because they cannot see. Seeing and experiencing race is a social rather than merely visual phenomenon.' "
- Jerry Large, Seattle Times: Race exhibit could bring us closer
- "Jesse Jackson says now that Colombia President Juan Manuel Santos has rejected an unconditional offer from rebels to turn over a captured former U.S. Marine to the civil rights leader, it is now up to the United States government to pressure Santos to allow the transfer," George E. Curry reported Monday for the National Newspaper Publishers Association. Although others covered Jackson's weekend visit once he arrived in Cuba, Curry told Journal-isms he was the only reporter accompanying Jackson there.
- The Unity: Journalists for Diversity coalition may be on the ropes, but the concept of joint conventions might be budding in another field. "As many as 4,200 U.S. scientists, the majority of them Latinos and Native Americans, will be in San Antonio this week for a conference of the Society for the Advancement of Hispanics/Chicanos & Native Americans in Science," Elaine Ayala reported Sunday for the San Antonio Express-News. Their theme is "Strengthening the Nation through Diversity, Innovation & Leadership in STEM." STEM stands for the science, technology, engineering and mathematics subject areas. In 2011, the National Society of Black Physicists and the National Society of Hispanic Physicists met jointly. In 2010, the Society for the Advancement of Chicanos and Native Americans in Science and the Society of Mexican American Engineers & Scientists held concurrent national conferences.
- "Intrepid Brazilian reporter Claudia Trevisan dealt with the authorities in North Korea. She dealt with state security while pursuing stories in China," Paul Bass reported Sunday for the New Haven (Conn.) Independent. "None of that compared to dealing with cops on Yale campus when she came here to report a story — and ended up in handcuffs, then incarcerated in the police station pokey. . . ."
- "Telemundo Nueva York today announced that Colombian journalist Gloria Echeverry has been named news anchor for Noticiero Telemundo Nueva York, effective 30 September. In her new role, Echeverry will co-anchor the 6pm and 11pm ET weekday newscasts along with renowned journalist Jorge Ramos," Gabriel Miramar-Garcia reported Friday for rapidtvnews.com.
- "Members of Ka Joog, a Minneapolis based Somali youth advocacy group, met with and expressed condolences to Jean Kamau, Kenyan ambassador to the U.S., during a meeting in Washington, D.C. that took place two days after the terrorist attack inside a mall in Nairobi. The group won an award last year from the FBI and the White House for its work with Twin Cities youths," the Pioneer Press of St. Paul, Minn., noted under a photo of the group. Columnist Ruben Rosario wrote, "We don't hear enough during these times about folks like [Mohamed] Farah and groups like Ka Joog working below the radar to dampen the fear-mongering and put things in perspective. . . ."
- "Police have arrested two people in connection with a robbery of a KRON 4 television news crew Friday night that resulted in a shooting," CBS News reported Sunday. "It is the latest in a series of brazen robberies of TV news crews in the San Francisco bay area. San Francisco residents Armani McFarland, 19, and John Woods, 19, were arrested in connection with the incident, which occurred around 8 p.m. in the Bayview District, police told CBS station KPIX. . . ."
- "BET and TV One, the two largest black-focused cable television channels, are looking for interns for the Fall 2013 season. Internships are available in career categories including media, communications, graphic design, marketing, public relations, and more," Target Market News reported on Sept. 21. "The BET Networks Internship program provides paid internships for both undergraduate and graduate college students at five different BETN locations. . . . " The TV One internship is for academic credit only, a spokeswoman told Journal-isms.
- "A federal district court judge agreed with a magistrate judge Monday that documentary filmmakers will not have to hand over outtakes from their film 'The Central Park Five,' " Cindy Gierhart reported Friday for the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press. "The fact that one filmmaker had researched the subject matter for a college thesis did not mean the documentary several years later was lacking journalistic intent, said Judge Deborah A. Batts of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York. . . ."
- "JET magazine is proud to announce a new collaboration with VH1 host, Delaina Dixon," the magazine said Monday. "Dixon is a panelist on VH1's new morning program, The Gossip Table and the Editor-in-Chief of the DivaGalsDaily blog. She and her team of celebrity and entertainment writers are serving as regular contributors to JETMag.com, providing the recently revamped site with a regular dose of gossip, red carpet coverage and industry news via 'Divalicious Dish.' . . ."
- On the Speakeasy page of the Wall Street Journal site, cultural critic Ishmael Reed took issue Sunday with the introduction of Marcus Garvey's Universal Negro Improvement Association into the story line of HBO's "Boardwalk Empire." "Garvey is an official National Hero of Jamaica. It is a disgrace that HBO connects his UNIA in any form with murder and heroin dealing. In my view, it's an example of what happens when the writing staffs of Hollywood and television are decades behind in terms of diversity," Reed wrote. "There are plenty of black historians who could serve as consultants in case they continue to exploit the Garvey story. . . ."
- "A gathering of about 50 members of the Washington, DC area Ethiopian community along with several friends of Ethiopia held a candlelight vigil in Upper Senate Park adjacent to the Capitol Building this evening in observance of two years having passed since the imprisonment in Ethiopia of Ethiopian journalist and blogger Eskinder Nega," George Newcomb reported Friday for FestivalDC.com. "The vigil also served as a voice for other imprisoned journalists in Ethiopia. . . ."
- In Ethiopia, "An estimated 80,000 people took part in a street demonstration against Ethiopia's anti-terrorism law on 29 September in response to a call from Unity for Democratic Justice, an opposition group that spent more than three months rallying support for the protest. . . ." Reporters Without Borders reported on Tuesday. It also said, "According to the organizers, the demonstration's aim was not only to condemn the law but also to demand the release of opposition members and journalists who have been jailed under it. . . ."
- Lester Holt marked 10 years Sunday as co-anchor of NBC-TV's "Weekend Today." "That's remarkable in a media game that these days tends to be very fluid," David Hinckley wrote in the Daily News of New York. " 'You can stay with a company for 10 years,' says Holt. 'But 10 years in the same job? No way.' . . ."
- In a survey distributed randomly to a pool of 100 Washington, D.C., residents "from all ages, groups, races and education levels," 63 percent said that they would approve if TV broadcasters stopped using the name Redskins, the Indian Country Today Media Network reported Monday.
- The byline of Milton Coleman, who retired this year as senior editor at the Washington Post after having worked at the Post since 1976, showed up this week in a surprising place: the Washington Afro-American. Coleman's "Special to the Afro" appeared over an obituary of the Rev. Dr. A. Knighton Stanley, the longest-serving pastor of Peoples Congregational United Church of Christ, one of Washington's most historic black congregations. Coleman is not identified as such, but he is a member of the church and wrote the obituary at the request of the family.
- People's Daily, the largest newspaper in China, organized a conference that brought African journalists to Beijing, Shaanxi and Shanghai for a program that explored the theme of Chinese Dream and African Dream, the Heritage newspaper in Monrovia, Liberia, reported on Monday.
- The Sudanese Journalists Network called Sunday for work to resume, "saying their strike against the censorship was very successful and followed by the majority of journalists in the country," the Sudan Tribune reported. "The unofficial union, which is a pro-democratic group of independent journalists, called on Saturday to start a strike over the security crackdown on local newspapers covering demonstrations against government austerity measures. . . ."
Richard Prince's Journal-isms originates from Washington and is published Monday, Wednesday and Friday. It began in print before most of us knew what the Internet was, and it would like to be referred to as a "column." For newcomers: The words in blue (on most computers) are links leading to more information. The Web site BugMeNot.com provides passwords and user names to some registration-only news sites, but use may be illegal in some states. Any views expressed in the column are those of the person or organization quoted and not those of any other entity.
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@JamilSmith The distorted #media depiction of African American men & boys has real life consequences, again. #mediadiversity #Tremaine