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Atlanta's confederate monuments: how do ‘context markers’ help explain racism?

Atlanta's confederate monuments: how do ‘context markers’ help explain racism?Symbols dedicated to the south’s soldiers have come under debate for not mentioning their roots in racial segregationThe Peace monument in Piedmont Park in Atlanta depicts a Confederate soldier halted by an angel. It was defaced in 2017 after the protests in Charlottesville, Virginia. Photograph: David Goldman/Associated PressAtlanta’s monuments to its Confederate past cannot be taken down by law. But the city is now moving to provide much-needed historical context on the realities of slavery, the civil war and the era of Jim Crow segregation that followed.Homages to Atlanta’s history crop up in many cemeteries and parks. Little context accompanies those stone memorials with engraved plaques referring to “heroic efforts” and the south’s soldiers’ efforts to “unite” the country after the civil war. There is no mention of racism or slavery and segregation.But now, Atlanta is placing four new context markers near some of the statues and monuments that will offer a fuller and more honest accounting of the south’s history and its legacy of slavery and racism.One marker will go up near the 1935-constructed Peachtree Battle Avenue monument, a simple stone engraved memorial commemorating an 1864 civil war battle stressing peace between the north and south. The new additional panel next to it will point out flaws in the monument’s inscription by saying: “[It] describes the United States after the civil war as a perfected nation. This ignores the segregation and disenfranchisement of African Americans and others that still existed in 1935.”Another marker, at the Peace monument, built in 1911 in the midst of one of Atlanta’s most popular parks, is a large statue of a Confederate soldier halted by an angel. The original plaque explains how a Confederate-era city militia was on a peace mission to unite America after the civil war. The added marker explains how it excludes 200,000 African Americans who served in the US army.Both monuments stress unity between the north and south in the wake of the civil war, but neither plaque commemorating the Confederacy mentions the reason for the war: pro-slavery southern states advocated for secession, wanting to continue the enslavement of African Americans.Both were erected not during the civil war or shortly after, but during the era of Jim Crow laws, enforcing racial segregation.“There’s a lot of people don’t understand these monuments were not really put up right after the civil war,” Heidi Bierich, the director of the Innocence Project at the Southern Poverty Law Center, explained. “[Confederate monuments] were assertions of when white people were gaining more power under Jim Crow, or the Klan in the 1920s. So it was a big old, you know: ‘I reject civil rights, I reject black rights.’”Two other monuments in the Oakland cemetery – the Confederate obelisk and the Lion of the Confederacy – will also have markers to contextualize their continued placement on state-owned property. Both are some of the oldest Confederate symbols in the city, with the latter built in 1895 placing an enormous lion statue in the middle of a cemetery of thousands of unmarked Confederate graves. The Confederate obelisk, a looming stone pillar, is the tallest, most prominent focus of the Confederate part of the cemetery.Advocates for these new markers, like Bierich, say the new information panels are more truthful because now visitors won’t see a Confederate monument without having some other narrative.They are necessary because a local political struggle over the fate of the monuments ended with them being protected by law, even as some other southern communities took down their Confederate statues.However, Atlanta’s National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) president Richard Rose said the city shouldn’t have compromised on the monuments. “You can’t contextualize racism or compromise on racism,” he said, adding that these markers “establish that racism is valid”.In 2017, the city’s then mayor Kasim Reed formed a committee to review street names and city-owned monuments, just months after white nationalists rallied in Charlottesville in protest at the removal of a statue of Confederate general Robert E Lee. Some of those marching had carried white power symbols as a car smashed into anti-racism protesters, killing Heather Heyer.Though the debate around memorials to Confederate history has continued since the violent rallies in Virginia, the 2015 shooting by Dylann Roof at a black church in South Carolina ignited the debate after the gunman posted pictures with the Confederate flag. South Carolina removed the flag from its statehouse grounds, but kept its monuments.The committee advised that Confederate monuments in Georgia be moved to storage, but a recent law signed by Republican governor Brian Kemp makes it illegal to remove any monument on property owned by the state. The NAACP denounced the law, saying the monuments “glorify treason and a hateful history of black subjugation, reinforced through domestic terrorism”.Alabama, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee and Virginia, according to the SPLC, also have similar laws in place to protect Confederate monuments from removal.Of the seven states banning the removal of Confederate monuments, Atlanta is the only city within them to add context via plaques.Sheffield Hale, president and chief executive of the Atlanta History Center, said the markers – paid for in part by the center – help address the issue, but they are not a permanent solution.“I do think it gives [people] a starting point, which is sorely needed right now, in our society, as a way to deal with contentious issues. Let’s argue about the facts, let’s put them down on paper – or on a marker – and have a conversation about them,” he said.The final line to be added alongside the Peace monument is certain to do just that.“This monument should no longer stand as a memorial to white brotherhood; rather, it should be seen as an artifact representing a shared history in which millions of Americans were denied civil and human rights,” it says.But just miles from downtown Atlanta, the largest memorial of the Confederacy in the US still looms over the city with no context and a laser light show highlighting the state’s most visited attraction. That is Stone Mountain, where families picnic under the gaze of a gigantic carving of Confederate leaders.



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Gillibrand Says She Can Explain White Privilege to ‘White Women in the Suburbs’ Who Voted for Trump

Gillibrand Says She Can Explain White Privilege to ‘White Women in the Suburbs’ Who Voted for TrumpInstead of apologizing or avoiding her white privilege during Wednesday evening's Democratic presidential debate, Senator Kirsten Gillibrand said she wants to use it to "talk to those white women in the suburbs that voted for Trump.""I can talk to those white women in the suburbs that voted for Trump and explain to them what white privilege actually is," the New York senator said."When their son is walking down the street with a bag of M&Ms in his pocket, wearing a hoodie, his whiteness is what protects him from not being shot," she continued to applause from the audience. "When their child has a car that breaks down and he knocks on someone’s door for help and the door opens and the help is given, it’s his whiteness that protects him from being shot."Gillibrand explained that she wants to join in helping educate Americans about racism and white privilege instead of leaving it solely up to lawmakers of color such as senators Cory Booker and Kamala Harris."I don't believe that it's the responsibility of Cory and Kamala to be the only voice that takes on these issues of institutional racism," Gillibrand said. "I think as a white woman of privilege who is a U.S. senator running for president of the United States, it is also my responsibility to lift up those voices that aren’t being listened to."Gillibrand's remarks were in response to a question about what the Democratic candidates would do to heal race relations in America.Washington governor Jay Inslee remarked on the topic as well, acknowledging that he “has never been a black teenager pulled over in a white neighborhood.”"That is what white privilege in America is today," Gillibrand concluded.



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Trump struggles to explain why Obama’s jobs numbers were better than his

Trump struggles to explain why Obama’s jobs numbers were better than hisDonald Trump has repeatedly struggled to explain why the number of jobs created during his presidency compared unfavourably with the new employment figures under Barack Obama.Presented with a chart which depicted the unemployment rate from the peak of the recession, the president was asked to account for slower rate of job creation since he entered the White House.In the interview on NBC’s Meet the Press – after Mr Trump had claimed his economy was “great” – Chuck Todd said: “Your economy is great. I’m not saying it’s not great.“But this recovery started and in the 28 months that you’ve been president and the last 28 months of Obama’s presidency, he averaged more new jobs than your first 28.”Mr Trump initially responded by claiming that Mr Obama started with a “bad base”. He was then asked if his jobs numbers were merely a continuation of those under his predecessor.Mr Trump said: “Yeah, but Chuck, you have to understand, nobody was working. The whole place was a disaster. And I don’t – I’d never take that away.”Mr Trump continued to attempt to explain, he said “But it’s very easy — because when that turned around they pumped a tremendous amount of money into the economy.“He also had a Federal Reserve person who kept the interest rates low. I don’t. I don’t have that privilege.” Mr Todd retorted: “Sounds like you do now. Do you feel like you have sent the threat, your threat to demote him, do you think that’s had an impact?” The president dismissed suggestions he had threatened to demote Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell, which Mr Todd questioned, saying: “There’s been some talk that you might demote him to the number two slot.”Mr Trump responded: “Well, I’d be able to do that if I wanted but I haven’t suggested that.“No, no, I have the right to do that. But I haven’t said that. What he’s done is $ 50 billion a month in quantitative tightening. That’s ridiculous. What he’s done is he raised interest rates too fast.”Mr Todd then asked the president if he was concerned that the raised interest rates would harm his chances at re-election.“I think the economy’s so strong we’re going to pull through it,” Mr Trump said.“But I’m not happy with his actions. No, I don’t think he’s done a good job. I think this, if he didn’t raise rates Obama had very low rates. So Obama was playing with funny money. I wasn’t. I’m playing with the real stuff.“Obama had somebody that kept the rates very low. I had somebody that raised the rates very rapidly. Too much. He made a mistake.“That’s been proven. And yet my economy is phenomenal. We have now the best economy, maybe in the history of our country. One — just to finish off, when I took over, this country, the economy was ready to collapse. You take a look at the numbers. It was ready to collapse.”Mr Todd suggested the numbers indicated the economy was stronger than the president implied, saying: “I just showed you the numbers. It was not ready to collapse.”Mr Trump disagreed: “You showed me unemployment numbers. Excuse me. Take a look at your GDP, take a look at your jobs, take a look at your optimism.“Take a look at all of the charts. When I took over from election day on, I mean, you show me one chart which, where I did. Take a look at some of the optimism charts and everything else. It went from 57 to 92. Nobody’s ever seen anything that right after I won.”Mr Todd conceded that job optimism was at a higher rate after Mr Trump was elected, but still maintained that his jobs numbers were lower than those of his predecessors. Mr Trump replied: “Well, optimism is a big part of success in business.”



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Kirstjen Nielsen testimony: DHS Secretary could not explain difference between dog cages and detention areas for migrant children

Kirstjen Nielsen testimony: DHS Secretary could not explain difference between dog cages and detention areas for migrant childrenDepartment of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen struggled to answer questions from House Democrats about her role in implementing the Trump administration’s strict immigration policy and the subsequent family separation during her first hearing. At one point during Wednesday’s testimony, Ms Nielsen denied that migrant children separated from their families at the border were held in cages. “Sir, they are not cages, they are areas of the border facility that are carved out for the safety and protection of those who remain there while they’re being processed,” she responded during a tense exchange with House Homeland Security Committee Chair Bennie Thompson.



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Roger Stone Ordered to Explain Instagram Photo of Judge With Crosshairs Symbol

Roger Stone Ordered to Explain Instagram Photo of Judge With Crosshairs SymbolU.S. District Judge Amy Berman Jackson ordered Stone to explain at a Feb. 21 hearing in Washington why the post didn’t violate a limited gag order barring him from saying anything that might bias potential jurors in an upcoming trial. In a comment underneath it, Stone attacked what he called an “upcoming show trial” before an “Obama appointed judge,” and solicited donations for his legal defense fund. Read More: Who Framed Roger Stone?



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Moscow demands U.S. explain charges against Russian Trump Tower lawyer

Moscow demands U.S. explain charges against Russian Trump Tower lawyerRussia on Friday demanded an explanation from the United States about charges brought against a Russian lawyer who attended a June 2016 meeting at Trump Tower who was this week charged in a separate case. Natalia Veselnitskaya, who represented Russian defendants in a money laundering case settled in 2017, has been charged with obstructing justice in that case for submitting a declaration that she falsely represented came from the Russian government independently, U.S. prosecutors said on Tuesday. Speaking at a weekly news conference, Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said it had become a habit in the United States to open criminal against Russians based on vague claims.



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U.S. demands Russia explain American's detention on spying charges

U.S. demands Russia explain American's detention on spying chargesU.S. Ambassador to Russia Jon Huntsman visited the detained man, Paul Whelan, at a detention facility in Moscow and spoke by phone with his family, the State Department said. The United States had expressed concern through diplomatic channels over delayed access to Whelan, who was detained on Friday, a department spokesman said in a statement. Russia’s FSB state security service opened a criminal case against Whelan but it gave no details of his suspected espionage activities.



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U.S. demands Russia explain American's detention on spying charges

U.S. demands Russia explain American's detention on spying chargesU.S. Ambassador to Russia Jon Huntsman visited the detained man, Paul Whelan, at a detention facility in Moscow and spoke by phone with his family, the State Department said. The United States had expressed concern through diplomatic channels over delayed access to Whelan, who was detained on Friday, a department spokesman said in a statement. “We’ve made clear to the Russians our expectation that we will learn more about the charges, come to understand what it is he’s been accused of and if the detention is not appropriate, we will demand his immediate return,” Pompeo said in Brasilia, where he attended the inauguration of Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro on Tuesday.



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28 Honest Tweets That Explain What Married Life Is Actually Like

28 Honest Tweets That Explain What Married Life Is Actually LikeThe longer you've been married, the more you realize that many of the weird



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Harvard Scientists Say Aliens May Explain Bizarre Interstellar Object 'Oumuamua (But Probably Not)

Harvard Scientists Say Aliens May Explain Bizarre Interstellar Object 'Oumuamua (But Probably Not)Oddball space rock ‘Oumuamua, discovered over a year ago, is the first interstellar object to visit our solar system and is unlike any comet or asteroid observed before. Two astronomers with the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics (CfA) recently took a closer look at the cigar-shaped object’s unusual acceleration during its trip through our solar system, to figure out what may have caused the unexpected boost in the object’s motion. Such acceleration during orbit is characteristic of comets, because their icy bodies evaporate, expelling water vapor that propels the objects.



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