Recent blog posts
- Knon 89.3, Lambda Weekly 2016.06.26 with Sheriff Lupe Valdez, Lerone, Patti and David Taffet
- Knon 89.3, Lambda Weekly 2016.06.19 with editor Monica Roberts, Lerone and David Taffet
- Knon 89.3, Lambda Weekly 2016.06.12 with Linus Spiller, Patti and Lerone
- Knon 89.3, Lambda Weekly 2016.06.05 with Patti, Lerone & David Taffet
- Knon 89.3, Lambda Weekly 2016.05.29 with Wesley Davidson, Lerone & David Taffet Lambda Weekly
- Texas Blues Radio Living Blues radio poll report, JUne 1, 2016
- Knon 89.3, Lambda Weekly 2016.05.22 with Jay Narey, Lerone, Patt & David Taffet Lambda Weekly
- Knon 89.3, Lambda Weekly 2016.05.15 with Leslie McMurray and Katie Sprinkle, Lerone, Patt & David Ta Lambda Weekly
- Knon 89.3, Lambda Weekly 2016.05.08 with Erin Moore, Patt & David Taffet
- Knon 89.3, Lambda Weekly 2016.05.01 with Candy Marcum, Patti, Lerone & David Taffet Lambda Weekly
Kalief Browder, who spent three years in jail in New York without ever being convicted of a crime, took his own life nearly one year ago, on June 6, 2015. In 2010, when Kalief was just 16, he was sent to Rikers Island on suspicion of stealing a backpack. He spent the next nearly three years imprisoned at Rikers, even though he was never tried or convicted. For nearly 800 days of that time, he was held in solitary confinement. A new piece in The New Yorker details how Kalief actually learned how to commit suicide at Rikers, after seeing another prisoner attempt to take his own life. The piece also details how, before taking his own life, Kalief recounted prison guards goading him on during suicide attempts, saying, "If you don’t jump, we’re going to go in there anyway, so you might as well go ahead and jump, go ahead and jump." We speak with reporter and author Jennifer Gonnerman, who first recounted Kalief Browder’s story in 2014 in her article for The New Yorker, "Before the Law: A boy was accused of taking a backpack. The courts took the next three years of his life." In her latest piece, Gonnerman details Browder’s experiences with suicide attempts at Rikers. "His description of Rikers and his time on Rikers was almost as if it were a school for suicide," Gonnerman says.
Former U.S. Army Reserve Chaplain Captain Chris Antal reads his resignation letter to President Obama. "I resign because I refuse to support U.S. armed drone policy," Antal wrote. "The Executive Branch continues to claim the right to kill anyone, anywhere on earth, at any time, for secret reasons, based on secret evidence, in a secret process, undertaken by unidentified officials. I refuse to support this policy of unaccountable killing."
An unlikely voice has emerged challenging the drone warfare program: former U.S. Army Reserve Chaplain Captain Chris Antal, who spent time based in Afghanistan. In April, he wrote an open letter to President Obama detailing his reasons for leaving the U.S. Army Reserves, citing his opposition to the administration’s use of drone strikes, its policy on nuclear proliferation, and what he calls the executive branch’s claim of "extraconstitutional authority and impunity for international law."
- California: Scuffles Break Out After Trump Rally in San Jose
- House Speaker Paul Ryan Endorses Donald Trump
- Report: Trump Held Private Meeting with GOP Strategist Karl Rove
- Trump: Judge's Mexican Heritage Represents "Conflict of Interest"
- Clinton Attacks Trump: "This Is Not Someone Who Should Ever Have the Nuclear Codes"
- Sanders Criticizes Clinton's Stance on Fossil Fuels
- Sanders: DNC Rejected Nurses' Union Leader for Platform Committee
- German Parliament Recognizes 1915 Armenian Genocide
- Texas: Fort Hood Flooding Kills 5 Soldiers; 4 Missing
- Flooding Closes Louvre Museum in Paris, Kills 6 in Germany
- Brazil: Suspended President Dilma Rousseff Addresses Women's March
- ACLU Sues Alabama over Law Treating Abortion Clinics Like Sex Offenders
- UCLA Suspect Killed Ex-Wife in Minnesota Before Shooting Professor
- NYC: Hundreds of Macy's Workers Rally to Demand Fair Contract
- Tests Show Prince Died from Opioid Overdose
- Longtime Prisoner Mohaman Koti Dies at 89, 2 Months After Release
A leader of the independence movement in Western Sahara died Tuesday. Mohamed Abdelaziz was the leader and co-founder of the Sahrawi people’s Polisario Front movement, which has demanded independence ever since Morocco took over most of Western Sahara in 1975. He was 68. A 16-year-long insurgency led by the indigenous Polisario Front ended with a U.N.-brokered truce in 1991. The resolution promised a referendum on independence, which has yet to take place. Morocco is only willing to grant limited autonomy to the disputed region. Eighty-four countries as well as the African Union recognize Western Sahara as an independent nation. In March, Morocco expelled U.N. staffers from Western Sahara after Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon referred to Morocco’s rule over the region as "occupation" during a visit to refugee camps in the Algerian town of Tindouf, located in southwestern Algeria. The expulsion of the 84 U.N. staffers has put at risk the ceasefire between Morocco and the Polisario Front. We speak to Sidi Omar, ambassador-at-large of the Polisario Front, and University of San Francisco professor Stephen Zunes.
Black Lives Matter Activist Convicted of "Felony Lynching": "It's More Than Ironic, It's Disgusting"
In Pasadena, California, Black Lives Matter organizer Jasmine Richards is facing four years in state prison after she was convicted of a rarely used statute in California law originally known as "felony lynching." Under California’s penal code, "felony lynching" was defined as attempting to take a person out of police custody. Jasmine was arrested and charged with felony lynching last September, after police accused her of trying to de-arrest someone during a peace march at La Pintoresca Park in Pasadena on August 29, 2015. The arrest and jailing of a young black female activist on charges of felony lynching sparked a firestorm of controversy. Historically, the crime of lynching refers to when a white lynch mob takes a black person out of the custody of the police for the purpose of extrajudicially hanging them. In fact, the law’s name was so controversial that less than two months before Jasmine was arrested, California Governor Jerry Brown signed into law legislation removing the word "lynching" from the penal code. We speak with Richards’ lawyer, Nana Gyamfi, and Black Lives Matter organizer Melina Abdullah. "Her conviction is not only about punishing Jasmine Richards, but also is the lynching," Abdullah says. "So it’s really disgusting and ironic that she’s charged and convicted with felony lynching, when the real lynching that’s carried out is done in the same way it was carried out in the late 19th, early 20th century, where it’s supposed to punish those who dare to rise up against a system."
Federal prosecutors in Minnesota announced Wednesday that no charges will be filed against the two police officers involved in the shooting death last fall of Jamar Clark, an unarmed 24-year-old African American. Clark was shot in the head after a scuffle with officers who responded to a report of an assault. However, multiple witnesses say Clark was shot while handcuffed. Clark’s death sparked a series of protests in Minneapolis, including a weeks-long occupation outside the 4th Police Precinct and a protest during which white supremacists opened fire on a group of Black Lives Matter activists. We speak with Lena K. Gardner, co-founder and organizer of the Minneapolis chapter of Black Lives Matter. "There’s a very specific interpretation of events that happened in order to protect the officers," Gardner says. "I believe that the system is set up to protect officers, to ensure that their version of events is given more credibility."
Presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump is facing scrutiny this week after questions emerged over what happened to millions of dollars he allegedly raised for veterans at a fundraiser in January. Trump held the fundraiser on January 28 after he refused to take part in a debate organized by Fox News. At the time, Trump claimed he had raised over $6 million, but a recent Washington Post investigation revealed that only about half of the money was actually paid out to veterans groups. Soon after the Post article was published, Trump began cutting more checks. More than a dozen veterans’ groups reported receiving money from Trump over the past week. On Tuesday, Trump held a press conference to defend his actions, and lambasted the press. Outside the press conference, members of the group Vets Vs. Hate protested. We speak to one of them, Iraq War veteran Julio Torres.
- Regulators to Unveil New Rules on Payday Lenders
- North Korea Faces New U.S. Sanctions; State Media Praises Trump
- RNC's Hispanic Media Relations Head Resigns in Latest Sign of Opposition to Trump
- PGA Relocates Golf Tournament from Trump's Course to Mexico
- Syria: Besieged Town of Darayya Sees 1st Aid Convoy Since 2012
- Texas: Brazos River Hits Record Level Amid Deadly Floods
- California: 2 Dead in Murder-Suicide on UCLA Campus
- Regional Diplomats Oppose Action Against Venezuela at OAS
- Minnesota: Officers in Killing of Jamar Clark Will Not Face Federal Charges
- Kenneth Starr Resigns as Baylor University Chancellor Amid Sexual Assault Scandal
- New York: Farmworkers Complete 200-Mile March to State Capital
In early August, more than 10,000 athletes across the world will convene in Rio de Janeiro’s Olympic City for one of the most widely watched sporting events of the year. This comes as Brazil is battling an economic recession, a massive Zika outbreak and its worst political crisis in over two decades. Protesters have vowed to flood the streets during the Olympics, using the global spotlight to highlight a raft of domestic grievances including threats to social services, police violence, forced displacement and the recent ouster of democratically elected President Dilma Rousseff. We speak to Dave Zirin, author of the book "Brazil’s Dance with the Devil: The World Cup, the Olympics, and the Fight for Democracy," and Jules Boykoff, author of "Power Games: A Political History of the Olympics."
The Organization of American States has announced it will hold an emergency meeting to discuss whether to suspend Venezuela for violating the OAS Charter. OAS Secretary General Luis Almagro said Tuesday that Venezuela had suffered "grave alterations of democratic order." But supporters of Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro have criticized the OAS for targeting Venezuela, not Brazil, where democratically elected President Dilma Rousseff was recently removed from power in what many have described as a coup. To talk more about the situation in Venezuela and the actions of the OAS, we speak to Venezuela’s ambassador to the OAS, Bernardo Álvarez.
Up to 1,000 refugees are feared to have drowned in recent days while trying to cross the Mediterranean Sea. The United Nations say this marks one of the highest weekly death tolls since the migrant crisis began in 2014. UNICEF says many of the victims were youth fleeing war and violence in their home countries. The majority of the refugees were from Eritrea, Nigeria, Somalia and South Sudan. Under a European Union plan enacted in April, all refugees arriving in Greece are deported back to Turkey, forcing people to attempt the more dangerous route between Libya and Italy. On Monday, a photo of a German volunteer from the group Sea-Watch holding the body of a drowned child became the latest symbol of the migration crisis. We speak with Ruben Neugebauer, crew member and spokesperson for Sea-Watch, a German volunteer group that was formed to help migrants stranded at sea.
- Trump Attacks "Sleazy" Media over Reports on Donations to Veterans
- Veterans Protest Trump's Rhetoric in NYC
- GOP-Led Senate Committee Seeks to Slash Military Housing Benefits
- Trump University Documents Reveal Aggressive Sale Tactics
- U.N. Says Up to 1,000 Refugees Feared Drowned in Recent Days
- Iraq: "Catastrophe Unfolding" for Civilians Amid Fallujah Fighting
- Overlooking Brazil, Organization of American States Targets Venezuela
- California Gov. Jerry Brown Endorses Clinton as "Only Path" to Beat Trump
- Report: Gitmo Tribunal Judge "Conspired" with Prosecution to Destroy Evidence
- Oklahoma: Volunteer Deputy Sentenced to 4 Years for Killing Unarmed African American
- Western Sahara Independence Leader Mohamed Abdelaziz Dies
- Vermont: Transgender Man Beaten to Death
- U.S. Death Rate Rises for the 1st Time in a Decade
Meet the Bernie Sanders Supporter Who Debated Bill Clinton for 30 Minutes at a New Mexico Restaurant
We end the show today in Santa Fe, New Mexico, where what was supposed to be a routine campaign stop for former President Bill Clinton turned into a 30-minute debate with a Bernie Sanders supporter. Clinton was campaigning for his wife, Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, when he stopped at a Santa Fe restaurant last week. There he met 24-year-old Josh Brody, who questioned Clinton about his presidential record on issues including welfare reform, Wall Street and government spending. For more, we go to Santa Fe, where we are joined by Josh Brody, a graduate of The New School.
As the Democratic National Convention approaches, some Democrats are considering pressuring DNC Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz to step down. Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders has long accused Wasserman Schultz of being biased toward Hillary Clinton. Wasserman Schultz has also quietly repealed ethics rules implemented in 2008 by President Obama preventing federal lobbyists from donating to the DNC. The opposition from Capitol Hill Democrats comes as Wasserman Schultz is also in a tight race against progressive challenger Tim Canova for her own congressional seat in Florida. In an unusual move, Sanders has backed Canova. For more, we’re joined by Lee Fang, investigative reporter for The Intercept.
The California primary is just over one week away, and Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders are in a dead heat. Hillary Clinton has changed this week’s campaign schedule to add more California stops in order to try to reverse Sanders’ growing momentum. Yet multiple issues have continued to dog Clinton’s campaign, including the question of her connection to Goldman Sachs. The Wall Street giant paid Clinton $675,000 in 2013 to give three speeches. And now new questions are being raised about the ties between Goldman Sachs and Hillary’s son-in-law, Marc Mezvinsky. Mezvinsky worked at Goldman for eight years and then formed a hedge fund in part with help from Goldman CEO Lloyd Blankfein. For more, we’re joined by Intercept investigative reporter Lee Fang. His recent piece is headlined "Hillary Clinton Won’t Say How Much Goldman Sachs CEO Invested with Her Son-in-Law."
As the former U.S.-backed dictator of Chad, Hissène Habré, is convicted of crimes against humanity and sentenced to life in prison, we examine Habré’s close role with the United States. Hissène Habré is a former U.S. ally who has been described as "Africa’s Pinochet." He came to power with the help of the Reagan administration in 1982. The U.S. provided Habré with millions of dollars in annual military aid and trained his secret police, known as the DDS. For more, we speak with Reed Brody, counsel and spokesperson for Human Rights Watch. He has worked with victims of Hissène Habré’s regime since 1999 and played a critical role in bringing Habré to trial.
The former U.S.-backed dictator of Chad, Hissène Habré, has been convicted of crimes against humanity and sentenced to life in prison. Habré is accused of killing as many as 40,000 people during his eight years in power in the 1980s. At the landmark trial in Senegal, Habré was convicted of rape, sexual slavery and ordering killings during his reign of terror. Habré was tried in a special African Union-backed court established after a two-decade-long campaign led by his victims. This is the first time the leader of one African country has been prosecuted in another African country’s domestic court system for human rights abuses. We go to Dakar, Senegal, to speak with Reed Brody, counsel and spokesperson for Human Rights Watch. He has worked with victims of Hissène Habré’s regime since 1999 and played a critical role in bringing Habré to trial.
- More Than 700 Refugees Drown in Mediterranean in Three Days
- Chad: Ex-Dictator Hissène Habré Convicted of Crimes Against Humanity
- Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton in Dead Heat in California
- Donald Trump Backs Out of Proposed Debate with Bernie Sanders
- Trump Ordered to Release Internal Trump University Documents
- Argentina: Ex-Dictator & Ex-Officers Convicted for Role in Operation Condor
- Brazil: 2nd Minister in Interim Gov't Steps Down over Leaked Recordings
- Philippines: Journalist Alex Balcoba Murdered in Manila
- Egypt: Head of Journalists Union Facing Trial Amid Media Crackdown
- Iraq: 20 Killed in Baghdad; Fighting Between ISIL and Iraqi Forces in Fallujah
- French Railway Workers Set to Join Growing Strikes over Labor Reforms
- Eric Holder Says Edward Snowden Performed "Public Service"
- Verizon Workers Declare Victory After 7-Week Strike
The world lost a legal giant earlier this month with the death of Michael Ratner at the age of 72. For over four decades, the trailblazing attorney defended and spoke up for victims of human rights abuses across the world. He sued presidents and dictators. In 2002, Ratner and the Center for Constitutional Rights brought the first case against the George W. Bush administration for the indefinite detention of prisoners at Guantánamo. The Supreme Court eventually sided with the center in a landmark 2008 decision when it struck down the law that stripped Guantánamo prisoners of their habeas corpus rights. Today, in this Memorial Day special, we hear Michael Ratner in his words.