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Wednesday, May 10, 2017 • Vol. 44, No. 9 • www.HCCEgalitarian.com • @HCC_Egalitarian
Graduation speakers announced
In Today’s Issue
Mayor Turner, Houston Dynamo President Canetti slated to speak to graduates in Saturday ceremonies
Detention and day care? Senate gives preliminary approval to bill that would allow family immigrant detention centers to license as child care providers.
see Community, Page 4
‘Covenant’ brings the gore Next chapter in ‘Alien’ movie franchise picks up where ‘Prometheus’ left off ... xenomporphs and all!
see Culture, Page 8
BOS, WSH in pivotal Game 5 Celtics return home to take on Wizards in fifth game of their Eastern Conference semifinal series.
see Sports, Page 10
Egalitarian Staff Report
Carolyn Kaster/AP Photo In this Wednesday, May 3, 2017, photo, then-FBI Director James Comey testifies on Capitol Hill in Washington, before a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing. President Donald Trump abruptly fired Comey on May 9, ousting the nation’s top law enforcement official in the midst of an investigation into whether Trump’s campaign had ties to Russia’s election meddling.
FBI’s Comey abruptly axed in midst of probe Julie Pace & Eric Tucker Associated Press
WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump abruptly fired FBI Director James Comey Tuesday, dramatically ousting the nation’s top law enforcement official in the midst of an FBI investigation into whether Trump’s campaign had ties to Russia’s meddling in the election that sent him to the White House. In a letter to Comey, Trump said the firing was necessary to restore “public trust and confidence” in the FBI. Comey has come under intense scrutiny in recent months for his public comments on an investigation into Democrat Hillary Clinton’s email practices, including a pair of letters he sent to Congress on the matter in the closing days of last year’s campaign. Trump made no mention of Comey’s role in the Clinton investigation, which she has blamed in part for the election result. But in announcing the firing, the White House circulated a scathing memo, written by Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, criticizing Comey’s handling of the Clinton probe, including the director’s decision to hold a news conference announcing its findings and releasing “derogatory information” about Clinton. Since Attorney General Jeff Sessions recused himself from the bureau’s Trump-
Russia probe, Rosenstein, his deputy, has been in charge. This is only the second firing of an FBI director in history. President Bill Clinton dismissed William Sessions amid allegations of ethical lapses in 1993. Democrats slammed Trump’s action, comparing it to President Richard Nixon’s “Saturday Night Massacre” decision to fire the independent special prosecutor overseeing the Watergate investigation in 1973, which prompted the resignations of the Justice Department’s top two officials. “This is Nixonian,” Sen. Bob Casey, D-Pa., declared on Twitter. “Outrageous,” said Oregon Sen. Ron Wyden, calling for Comey to immediately be summoned to testify to Congress about the status of the Trump-Russia investigation. Rep. Adam Schiff of California, top Democrat on the House intelligence committee, said the White House was “brazenly interfering” in the probe. Republican Sen. John McCain of Arizona said Congress must form a special committee to investigate Russia’s interference in the election. Democrats expressed deep skepticism about the stated reasons for Tuesday’s firing, raising the prospect of a White House effort to stymie the investigations by see
Houston Community College announced its speakers for Saturday’s graduation ceremonies at NRG Stadium. Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner is slated to speak during the 9 a.m. session and Houston Dynamo President Chris Canetti is scheduled to speak during the 1 p.m. session. Turner, currently in his first term as mayor, was born and raised in the Acres Homes community in northwest Houston. Turner’s mother worked as a maid in the old Rice Hotel in Houston, and his father worked as a painter for Continental Ensco and cut yards with his sons on the weekends to make extra money. The Turners raised nine children in their modest twobedroom home in Turner Acres Homes. His father succumbed to cancer when he was 13 years old, forcing his mother to take over the household. He attended neighborhood public schools until forced integration came to Houston, and he was bused to Klein High School. Turner was later Canetti elected president of the student body and graduated as valedictorian. Turner graduated from the University of Houston and Harvard Law School before joining the law firm of Fulbright & Jaworski. He later founded the Houston law firm of Barnes & Turner in 1983. Turner was elected to the Texas House of Representatives in 1988 to serve the people of House District 139 in Northwest Houston. He served until his election as mayor, working on the House Appropriations Committee for 21 years and serving as Speaker Pro Tem for three terms. He was appointed to several Budget Conference
Comey Fired, Page 5
The Official Student Newspaper of the Houston Community College System
Grad Speakers, Page 3
Wednesday May 10, 2017
The Beautiful Struggle: Graduation Edition Jimmieka Mills
As this semester comes to a close and graduation is right at the door let us celebrate those who have made it through and struggled beautifully through the chaos of higher education. Before enrolling at HCC, Tony “Guitar” Copeland taught himself to play guitar, was a helicopter repairman in the United States military, and travelled the world with major musicians. After the urging of his manager, Tony came to HCC to pursue his degree in musical engineering. Although the degree will surely advance his career, Tony believes he will take away something much more meaningful. “HCC has made a tremendous impact on my life physically, emotionally and mentally because I can see the growth that I’ve made by being a Veteran as well as a student,” says Tony. Tony has been known around campus to take aspiring musicians and veterans under his wing and he hopes to leave a spirit of encouragement as he prepares to graduate and encounters his
next journey in life. “I’d like to be remembered at HCC as the person who had a dream, realized that time had changed in his field of study, went back to school to successfully update his skills and went on to help others to do the same.” Mona Colter-Mosley who will be graduating alongside her husband of six years which is bound to be a memorable experience for her family as her son is also an HCC student. Mona has held many titles since becoming a student at HCC from the Student Government President for Central and South campus, Treasurer for the United Student Council, and Special Events chair for the National Society for Leadership and Success but she says she would most like to be remembered as, “The little caboose who said and I quote ‘I think I can I think I can’ ... and she did!” When asked, what she would remember most about her time at HCC Mona said, “Student services Dr. Sneed for the fire that she puts under students to keep it moving in life and reach for the skies in life. Also, serving the students
Tony Copeland and faculty at the special events provided throughout the years.” Both Tony and Mona returned to college after already having experienced careers, success as well as setbacks but both take away tools that they feel will help them beyond HCC. “My experiences here at HCC have encouraged me to further my education,” says Mona, “I enrolled in Intercontinental University on line this past January and will graduate with a bachelor in Business Administration with a specialty in Management in August 2018.” “I feel that being a student at HCC will serve as an excellent
Mona Colter-Mosely platform from which to start the rest of my life to achieve true greatness while giving back by helping others,” says Tony. Tony hopes that his success will be a source of encouragement for others. “I feel excited about my accomplishments. Hopefully I will inspire others like me who desire to increase their knowledge to pursue their dreams and aspirations. Considering all of her accomplishments you would assume it would take some time for her to decide which she is
most proud of but for Mona the answer was simple, “I am most proud that I hung in there and didn’t give up!” Tony says, “I will remember how excited I felt about actually making the Dean’s list and actually winning the MESA talent contest being voted in by celebrity judges: Matthew Knowles, Barry Coffin (Springboard South Founder), Cora Dunham (Former “Prince” drummer and current drummer for Beyonce) and a rep. from Rap-A-Lot Records,” but Tony adds, “Considering all of my few accomplishments at HCC, I’d say I’m most proud of completing my studies and graduating.” Although Mona’s impact will always be felt on her campus and within the organizations she touched with her giving spirit she says she too has been impacted by being a member of the HCC community. “HCC has had a major impact on my life,” says Mona. “My entire life has changed for the better because of it. Higher education has broadened my complete thought pattern and strengthen me and raised my level of thinking to a new plateau.”
HCC POLICE BLOTTER (Incidents complied from HCC Crime Log available at http://bit.ly/2mhVOjj Offense: Driving While Intoxicated Incident occurred on: May 4 at 6:10 a.m. Location: Central-Midtown Campus, Fine Arts Center Parking Garage Description: Impaired adult male, non-student, crashed his vehicle into stationary barricades. Offense: Assault Incident occurred on: May 4 at 12:30 p.m. Location: Gulfton Campus, 5407 Gulfton Description: Early middle school adult student alleged an unknown adult male grabbed her by the arm and fled. Offense: Kidnapping Incident occurred on: May 2 around 10:15 a.m. Location: Central-Midtown Campus Description: Dual credit student reported she was abducted on Holman and quickly released unharmed. She stated she was walking down the sidewalk after being followed, that her wrists were bound with embroidery thread, and that her face was covered with a scarf. Offense: Failure to Stop and Give Information Incident occurred on: May 2 at 2-5:00 p.m. Location: Hayes Road Campus, 2811 Hayes Road Description: Student’s vehicle was struck during his class. Offense: Theft Incident occurred on: May 1 at
12:30-6:00 p.m. Location: Central-Midtown Campus, 3601 Fannin Building Description: Employee reported that her purse, its contents, and HCC tablet were stolen from her work. Offense: Burglary of Vehicle Incident occurred on: May 1 between 8:45-9:45am Location: Central - Midtown Campus, 3601 Fannin Building Description: Student’s vehicle was burglarized during her class. Offense: Criminal Trespass Incident occurred on: May 1 at 12:20 p.m. Location: Central-Midtown Campus, Learning Hub Description: Homeless adult male, nonstudent, returned to the library and was issued a criminal trespass warning. Offense: Burglary of Vehicle Incident occurred on: May 1 at 1-2:00 p.m. Location: Central-Midtown Campus, Parking Lot 15 Description: Employee’s vehicle was burglarized after he made a cash withdrawal at a local bank. Offense: Criminal Trespass Incident occurred on: May 1 at 9 p.m. Location: Northline Campus, 8001 Fulton Description: Homeless adult male, returned to campus after receiving a criminal trespass warning and threatened a student. Subject was arrested and charged with criminal
trespass and terroristic threat. Offense: Other Police Activity Reported on: April 29 at 11 p.m. Location: Central-Midtown Campus, San Jacinto Memorial Description: Adult male, non-student, crashed his vehicle and damaged HCC property. He was arrested for DWI and processed by Houston PD Offense: Criminal Trespass Incident occurred on: April 28 at 7:45am Location: Hayes Road Campus, 2811 Hayes Road Description: Homeless adult male, nonstudent, was found passed out in an elevator. He was issued a criminal trespass warning. Offense: Theft Incident occurred on: April 27 at 11am-1 p.m. Location: Central-Midtown Campus, Fine Arts Center Description: Student’s unattended backpack and contents were stolen during class. Offense: Failure to Stop and Give Information Reported on: April 27 at 8:50 p.m. Location: Katy Campus, 1550 Fox Lake Description: Student’s vehicle was struck while she was in class. Offense: Theft Incident occurred on: April 26 between noon-3:00 p.m. Location: Felix Fraga Campus Building Description: Contractor’s unat-
tended lawn equipment was stolen from his trailer. Offense: Disorderly Conduct Reported on: April 25 at 11:20 a.m. Location: Northeast Campus, Science & Technology Building Description: Student and instructor exchanged verbally abusive language. Referred to Dean of Students. Offense: Theft Reported on: April 25 at 1:30 p.m. Location: Coleman Campus, 1900 Galen Description: Employee’s purse and contents were stolen from her desk. Offense: Theft Reported on: April 25 at 12:45 p.m. Location: Katy Campus, 1550 Fox Lake Description: Student’s truck was stolen while he was in class. Offense: Failure to Stop and Give Information Reported on: April 24 at 2:15 p.m. Location: Stafford Campus Description: Student’s vehicle was struck and the other driver did not exchange information as required by law. Offense: Criminal Trespass Incident occurred on: April 24 at 6:30 p.m. Location: Northline Campus, 8001 Fulton Description: Adult male, nonstudent was escorted from campus and issued a warning after he was observed consuming alcohol.
Wednesday May 10, 2017
The Egalitarian www.HCCEgalitarian.com
Bill OKs rejecting certain parents Meredith Hoffman Associated Press
AUSTIN, Texas — Many state-funded Texas adoption agencies routinely deny nonChristian, gay, and unmarried applicants on religious grounds — and now they are backing legislation being considered Tuesday by the state House designed to protect them from potential lawsuits. The private organizations, which are paid by the state to place foster children with adoptive families, want to continue the practice and are seeking legal protections through Texas’ “Freedom to Serve Children Act,” which is up for consideration Tuesday in the GOP-controlled House. If it clears the House, the bill heads to the even more conservative Senate and then for an approval signature by Gov. Greg Abbott, who has not commented on the bill. The bill would be the nation’s second allowing state-funded adoption agencies to reject families on religious grounds. South Dakota passed similar legislation in March but it’s too soon to measure its practical effects. While the Texas proposal may not pass constitutional muster, that hasn’t stopped the state’s lawmakers before, who have in recent years approved a voter ID law and abortion restrictions that were overturned in court. Randy Daniels, vice-president of Child and Family Services for the Dallas-based Christian child welfare organization Buckner International, said religious agencies are terrified of lawsuits for turning away parents. “We want to make sure we can practice within the framework of our sincerely held religious beliefs,” said Daniels. Buckner only accepts Christian heterosexual couples who have been married for at least four years, in addition to some single individuals — which is more liberal than many other faith-based groups, which refuse single parents, said Daniels. “These are our requirements, and we’re clear, this is just who we are,” said Daniels. “We want to make sure that groups like Buckner continue to have a place at the table
Eric Gay/AP File Photo Texas Speaker of the House Joe Straus, R-San Antonio, stands before the opening of the 85th Texas Legislative session in the house chambers at the Texas State Capitol in Austin, Texas. State-funded adoption agencies backing Texas legislation that would sanction the rejection of prospective parents on religious grounds already routinely deny non-Christian, gay, and unmarried applicants because they are wary of their beliefs or lifestyle. But now they also want legal cover in case of potential lawsuits. because we bring solutions.” The state’s child welfare system is overburdened with about 3,800 children currently up for adoption. Private firms receive state funding to handle the “vast majority” of adoptions, said Patrick Crimmins, a Department of Family and Protective Services spokesman. Republican sponsors of Texas’ bill say it is designed to retain providers by shielding them from possible court fights. “We want to make reasonable accommodations so everyone can participate in the system,” said state Rep. James Frank of Wichita Falls. “Everyone is welcome. But you don’t have to think alike to participate.” Megan Lestino, vice-president of public policy for the National Adoption Council, said she knows of faith-based adoption agencies denying LGBT and other prospective parents around the country — which upsets families but does not violate the law unless the state fails to present other options.
“Equal protection requires that there’s another option for every family,” said Lestino. “And there typically is some option for every family.” Four states have passed legislation protecting private adoption agencies only, which Cooper said was seen by some to “codify” existing practices and fall within legal limits. South Dakota, and now Texas, seek to go further. Frank said his bill directs state child services to ensure that other outside adoption providers without religious objections are made available to help wouldbe adoptive parents who get turned away by any who do raise objections. But Rebecca Robertson, the American Civil Liberties Union of Texas’ legislative and policy director, said the state — whose only faith providers are Christian — is lacking in such options.She would not address the ACLU’s plan to fight the law if it passes, but said she is currently focused on “trying to keep a bad bill from passing.”
County to apeal ruling critical of bail system Juan A. Lozano Associated Press
HOUSTON—County officials said Tuesday that they will appeal a judge’s ruling that found the Houston-area’s bail system unconstitutional for people arrested for lesser offenses, despite pleas from several local religious leaders who had called on them to settle the case. Harris County commissioners voted to appeal last month’s ruling by U.S. District Judge Lee Rosenthal, who determined the county’s bail policy for misdemeanor defendants violates the due process and equal protection clauses of the U.S. Constitution. The ruling was part of a lawsuit accusing the county’s bail system of keeping misdemeanor defendants jailed only because they can’t afford to pay a bond. One of the plaintiffs in the lawsuit, which was similar to at least 11 others filed across
the country, is a single mother who was held for two days on a charge of driving without a license because she couldn’t afford the $2,500 bail. Before they voted, the commissioners heard from religious leaders in Houston’s Baptist, Catholic and Jewish communities who argued that the bail system weakens the criminal justice system by unfairly keeping poor defendants locked up. Samuel Karff, rabbi emeritus at Congregation Beth Israel in Houston, the oldest Jewish congregation in Texas, called on the commissioners to settle the lawsuit and “make right a sad and terrible injustice.” Joseph Fiorenza, the former archbishop of the Catholic Diocese of Galveston-Houston, told the commissioners: “God says he hears the cry of the poor. ... The way God hears the cries of the poor is through the hearts and wills of those capable of (giving) the poor access to bail
bonds.” In her ruling last month, Rosenthal wrote that the county’s policy of detaining indigent misdemeanor defendants before trial violates equal protection rights against wealth-based discrimination and due process protections against pretrial detention. Rosenthal, through a preliminary injunction, ordered the county to begin releasing by May 15 low risk indigent inmates who can’t afford to post cash bail on personal recognizance bonds while they await trial on misdemeanor offenses. Some defendants, such as those who have immigration detainers or have an outstanding warrant in another jurisdiction, wouldn’t be eligible for such bonds. Harris County Attorney Vince Ryan said he believes the county’s bail system is constitutional and that the lawsuit has slowed down changes that the county has been making to its criminal
justice system. “Do we have a fair system in place? We believe ... we have a fair system in place, which is being improved. But it does take some time to do some of those improvements,” Ryan said. Among the initiatives Harris County is working to implement is a new pretrial risk assessment tool that judges would use to make bail decisions. An algorithm helps identify if a person is at risk of committing a new crime or failing to return to court if released on bail. The system, set to be implemented in July, is intended to ensure low-risk defendants are diverted from the system as early as possible. “Harris County has made some significant changes over the years, but there’s still a very long way to go,” said Harris County Commissioner Rodney Ellis, who was the only commissioner who voted against appealing the judge’s ruling.
Grad Speakers, From Page 1 Committees to help balance the state’s budget and served on the Legislative Budget Board. Meanwhile, Canetti is in his 18th season in Major League Soccer and 24th overall in professional sports. He joined the Dynamo in May of 2006 as the team’s Chief Operating Officer and was promoted to President in November 2010. He oversees all aspects of the Dynamo organization. In 2008, he was honored with the league’s Doug Hamilton Executive of the Year award, Major League Soccer’s top executive honor. In 2010, he was named to Sports Business Journal’s prestigious Forty Under 40 list of influential sports executives. Canetti’s leadership has helped the Dynamo become one of the most successful clubs in MLS. He managed the development of BBVA Compass Stadium and the club’s relocation from Robertson Stadium. He worked alongside Dominic Kinnear on the technical side and been a part of six MLS playoff appearances, five conference finals, four MLS Cup Finals, and two MLS Cup titles. Canetti is also involved in a number of charitable efforts. He currently serves as the president for Dynamo Charities, the nonprofit arm of the Dynamo, and is on the board of directors for the East End Chamber of Commerce, Deacon’s Dugout, Central Houston, the Greater Houston Convention & Visitor’s Bureau, and the Houston Boys & Girls Clubs. He also participates in the Big Brothers & Big Sisters program at Rusk Elementary School. His most noted community work was in 2013 when he led the efforts to support Newtown, Connecticut, after the Sandy Hook Elementary School tragedy. Canetti organized “Soccer Night in Newtown” in which the North American soccer community united to host two special events in January and May to provide hope and healing for the town. Canetti has since remained active in the Newtown community supporting Newtown Kindness, an organization that promotes an initiative called the Charlotte Bacon Act of Kindness. He has also recently spearheaded efforts to support first responders by recognizing members of the Newtown and Boston Police Departments at Dynamo games after the tragedies in their communities. He also led an initiative to support the Houston Fire Department after they lost four members of their squad in a 2013 fire. Prior to joining the Dynamo, Canetti served as the Assistant General Manager for the New York Red Bulls. He joined the New York organization in 2000 when it was called the MetroStars. With the MetroStars, Canetti served various roles, including Vice President of Marketing and Public Relations.
Wednesday May 10, 2017
Texas votes to give immigration lockups child care licenses Meredith Hoffman Associated Press
AUSTIN, Texas — Texas lawmakers are advancing a proposal to license family immigrant detention centers as child care providers. The state Senate voted 2011 Tuesday to give preliminary approval to a bill that would allow Texas to license two family lockdowns, despite a past state court ruling that such facilities do not meet minimum requirements to care for kids. The measure would enable detention facilities to hold families for prolonged stays, which advocates say could physically and psychologically harm children. The bill needs a final Senate vote that could come as early as Wednesday before heading to the state House. Texas’ legislative session ends May 29, so time is running short. The private prison company GEO Group, which operates an 830-bed family facility south of San Antonio, lobbied Texas politicians to introduce the licensing bill, which could help its Karnes Residential Center remain open. That lockup,
which mainly holds women and children seeking asylum from Central America, earns GEO $55 million annually. A lobbyist from GEO was “where the legislation came from,” State Rep. John Raney, a Republican from Bryan, previously told the Associated Press. A GEO Group spokesman said the company “supports any effort to provide appropriate levels of government oversight” and that Karnes “provides highquality care in a safe, humane, family-friendly environment.” Senators opposed to the proposal Tuesday called it a “vendor bill” that could seriously harm children seeking asylum. “We’re doing something in favor of one company instead of in the interests of the children,” said Sen. Sylvia Garcia, a Democrat from Houston. “They’re not coming here for fun...They’re coming because they’ve been abused, neglected, and now to add insult to injury we’re putting them in baby jails.” Democratic Sen. Jose Menendez noted on the Senate floor that a slew of children’s and immigrant’s rights groups testified in opposition to the
Eric Gay/AP File Photo In this July 31, 2014, file photo shows a sand-covered play area sits in the middle of the Karnes County Residential Center in Karnes City, Texas. The state Senate voted 20-11 on Tuesday to approve a bill that would allow Texas to license two family lockdowns, despite a past state court ruling that such facilities do not meet minimum requirements to care for kids. The private prison company GEO Group, which operates an 830-bed family facility south of San Antonio, lobbied Texas politicians to introduce the licensing bill, which could help its Karnes Residential Center remain open. bill and that the only supporter was the private prison operator that stands to benefit. Sen. Jose Rodriguez, an El Paso Democrat, cited concerns about sexual assaults, lengthy wait times for medical care and children being held “in prison-like” conditions. But sponsor Bryan Hughes said the measure “is about keeping these folks safe and in place until their hearing.” Hughes, a Mineola Republican, said that the alternative is they can be released and end up “maybe in some other state” or “the feds can choose to separate parents from their children.” The Trump administration
pledged in April not to separate immigrant families arriving at the border, after Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly suggested he was considering doing so. But Karnes and Texas’ other family detention center — the 2,400-bed South Texas Residential Facility operated by the U.S.’s largest private prison company CoreCivic — are both operating far below capacity. That’s because the flow of women and children fleeing gangs and violence in Central America to seek asylum in the U.S. has slowed dramatically. Immigrant advocates attribute the drop to more frequent
turnarounds at the border by customs agents and immigrants’ fears of enforcement under the Trump administration. Karnes opened as a family detention center in 2014 and used to hold detainees for months, until a federal judge ruled that children held longer than 20 days must be housed in “non-secure” facilities with child care licenses. After the Texas Department of Family Protective Services granted Karnes a license, advocates sued. A state judge ruled last year that family detention centers did not qualify for licenses — prompting the Texas bill.
Experts: Convicting ex-officer in teen’s death will be tough Juan A. Lozano Associated Press
HOUSTON — Authorities who’ve charged a white suburban Dallas police officer with murder in a black teenager’s death face a tough task in getting a conviction as few of these cases go to trial and, when they do, juries remain reluctant to second guess an officer’s decision to use deadly force, legal experts said Saturday. Roy Oliver is free on bond after being charged Friday in the death of 15-year-old Jordan Edwards. Investigators say Oliver shot into a car of teenagers leaving an unruly party on April 29, killing Edwards. Oliver was fired by the Balch Springs Police Department three days after the shooting. Philip Stinson, a criminal justice professor at Bowling Green State University in Ohio, said data he’s collected since 2005 on police shootings shows officers rarely are charged in deadly shootings. It’s even rarer for an officer to be convicted, according to the data. From his research, Stinson estimates that fatal shootings by U.S. police officers who are on duty occur about 1,000 times a year. But since 2005, only 81 officers have been charged with murder or manslaughter resulting from an on-duty shooting, he said. Of these 81 cases, there have been 30 convictions, 31 cases with no conviction and 20 that are still pending. In recent years, many police shootings have been captured on video taken by
Parker County Sheriff’s Office via AP This photo provided by the Parker County Sheriff’s Office shows Roy Oliver. Oliver, a Texas police officer, faces a murder charge in the shooting of a teenager after being fired earlier in the week over the incident, authorities said Friday, May 5, 2017. Oliver fired a rifle at a car full of teenagers leaving a party April 29, killing 15-year-old Jordan Edwards. officers’ body cameras or witnesses’ cellphones. But Stinson said such evidence still doesn’t guarantee a conviction. He points to the 2015 shooting in South Carolina of black motorist Walter Scott by officer Michael Slager. A cellphone video captured Slager shooting Scott five times in the back as the unarmed 50-yearold man ran away during a traffic stop. In December a mistrial was declared in Slager’s murder trial after a jury couldn’t
reach a verdict. Slager pleaded guilty on Tuesday to a federal charge of violating Scott’s civil rights. “I’m not willing to say it’s jury nullification where the jury is just not going to convict in any scenario,” Stinson said. “But we are getting close to that, to the extent that even in what seem to be the strongest cases for a prosecutor, such as the Slager case, a jury is just very reluctant to convict the officer.”
Attorneys for Oliver didn’t immediately return calls or emails seeking comment on Saturday. Oliver’s mother, Linda, has told KXASTV her son is “a man of strong character.” Edwards’ family issued a statement late Friday saying Oliver’s arrest on the murder charge “brings hope that the justice system will bend against the overwhelming weight of our frustration.” A private funeral service for Edwards was held on Saturday. Balch Springs police had originally said the vehicle Edwards was a passenger in was reversing “in an aggressive manner” toward officers, who had responded to a complaint about underage drinking. But Police Chief Jonathan Haber later said video taken at the scene proved the vehicle was actually driving away. Oliver opened fire on the teenagers’ car with a rifle. The bullets shattered the front passenger-side window and fatally struck Edwards. The warrant issued on Friday for Oliver’s arrest was based on evidence that suggested Oliver “intended to cause serious bodily injury and commit an act clearly dangerous to human life that caused the death,” said the Dallas County Sheriff’s Department, which is investigating the shooting along with the Dallas County District Attorney’s Office. Records show that Oliver was briefly suspended in 2013 following a complaint about his conduct while serving as a witness in a drunken-driving case.
Wednesday May 10, 2017
FBI corrects Comey testimony Eric Tucker
Associated Press WASHINGTON —The FBI on Tuesday corrected the sworn testimony of Director James Comey, who last week told Congress that a top aide to Hillary Clinton had sent “hundreds and thousands” of emails to her husband’s laptop, including some with classified information. In fact, the FBI said in a two-page letter to the Senate Judiciary Committee, only “a small number” of the thousands of emails found on the laptop had been forwarded there while most had simply been backed up from electronic devices. Most of the email chains on the laptop containing classified information were not the result of forwarding, the FBI said. The apparent misstatements came during an hours-long hearing in which Comey was criticized for public comments during the election season, including his assertion during a July news conference at FBI headquarters that Clinton and her aides had been “extremely careless” in their handling of classified information. He spoke at length at that hearing about Huma Abedin, a top Clinton aide, as he defended his decision to alert Congress 11 days before the election about the discovery of thousands of emails on a laptop belonging to former
Mark Lennihan/AP File Photo Huma Abedin is seen in the Brooklyn borough of New York. A person familiar with the investigation into Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server says Abedin did not forward “hundreds and thousands” of emails to her husband’s laptop, as FBI Director James Comey testified to Congress. Rep. Anthony Weiner. The congressman, whose laptop was searched by the FBI as part of a sexting investigation, and Abedin separated last year. Comey said he felt compelled to tell Congress that agents would need to take the time to review those emails, especially since he had already testified that the FBI had closed its investigation into Clinton’s use of a private email server. He said Abedin had a “regular practice” of forwarding emails to
the laptop to be printed out for Clinton, saying at one point that “hundreds and thousands” had been forwarded, including some containing classified information. “My understanding is that his role would be to print them out as a matter of convenience,” Comey said. But in a letter Tuesday, the FBI said most of the emails found on the laptop “occurred as a result of backup electronic devices.” Ten email chains on the laptop were as a result of “backup activity,”
according to the FBI’s letter, and an additional two had been forwarded. The letter does not say how the misstatements occurred. Comey said the FBI had concluded that neither Weiner nor Abedin had committed a crime in their handling of email. With respect to Abedin, he said, “we didn’t have any indication that she had a sense that what she was doing was in violation of the law. Couldn’t prove any sort of criminal intent.”
U.S. hunts evidence of Haitian immigrant crimes Alicia A. Caldwell Associated Press
WASHINGTON — The Trump administration has begun hunting for evidence of crimes committed by Haitian immigrants as it decides whether to allow them to continue in a humanitarian program that has shielded tens of thousands from deportation since a devastating earthquake. The inquiries into any criminal histories of Haitian immigrants were made in internal U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services emails obtained by The Associated Press. They show the agency’s policy chief also wanted to know how many of the roughly 50,000 Haitians enrolled in the Temporary Protected Status program were taking advantage of public benefits, which they are not eligible to receive. The emails don’t make clear if Haitians’ misdeeds will be used to determine whether they can remain in the United States. The program is intended to help people from places beset by war or disasters and, normally, the decision to extend it depends on whether conditions in the immigrants’ home country have improved. But emails suggest Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly, who will make the decision, is looking at other criteria. Homeland Security spokesman David Lapan said Tuesday that criminal history and other information requested by policy chief Kathy Nuebel Kovarik won’t be used to make a final decision. Lapan said the questions were asked so that Kelly could have a fuller understanding of who is participating in the program. But Lapan’s explanation doesn’t seem to
Rodrigo And/AP File Photo People stand in the rubble of a collapsed building in the aftermath of a massive earthquake in Port-au-Prince. The Trump administration is hunting for evidence of crimes committed by Haitian immigrants as it decides whether to allow them to continue participating in a humanitarian program that has shielded tens of thousands from deportation since the 2010 earthquake. The Homeland Security Department has not made a final decision about Temporary Protected Status for Haiti and declined to comment on the pre-decisional process. The Obama administration included Haiti in the program shortly after the January 2010 earthquake that killed as many as 300,000 people and devastated schools, hospitals, homes and even entire neighborhoods. reflect the apparent importance placed on the questions by Kovarik, the Citizenship and Immigration Services head of policy and strategy, in repeated emails to her staff. “I do want to alert you ... the secretary is going to be sending a request to us to be more responsive,” Kovarik wrote on April 27. Addressing the inability of agency employees to gather the requested information about wrongdoing, she said: “I know some of it is
not captured, but we’ll have to figure out a way to squeeze more data out of our systems.” The request for criminal data for an entire ethnic community is unorthodox. The law doesn’t specify it should be a consideration for Temporary Protected Status, and the government has never said it would use criminal rates in deciding if a country’s citizens should be allowed to stay under this program.
Comey Fired, From Page 1 the FBI and congressional panels. Trump will now appoint Comey’s successor. The White House said the search for a replacement was beginning immediately. Comey’s deputy, Andrew McCabe, would presumably take over in the interim. Trump has ridiculed the investigations as a “hoax” and has denied that his campaign was involved in Russia’s meddling. In his letter to Comey, he asserted that the FBI director had informed him “on three separate occasions that I am not under investigation.” Tuesday’s stunning announcement came shortly after the FBI corrected aspects of Comey’s sworn testimony on Capitol Hill last week. Comey told lawmakers that Huma Abedin, a top aide to Hillary Clinton, had sent “hundreds and thousands” of emails to her husband’s laptop, including some with classified information. On Tuesday, the FBI told the Senate Judiciary Committee that only “a small number” of the thousands of emails found on the laptop had been forwarded there while most had simply been backed up from electronic devices. Most of the email chains on the laptop containing classified information were not the result of forwarding, the FBI said. Some lawmakers did welcome news of the dismissal. “Given the recent controversies surrounding the director, I believe a fresh start will serve the FBI and the nation well,” said Republican Lindsay Graham of South Carolina, chairman of a Senate Judiciary subcommittee investigating the Russian campaign interference. Comey, 56, was nominated by President Barack Obama for the FBI post in 2013 to a 10-year term, though that appointment does not ensure a director will serve the full term. Praised frequently by both parties for his independence and integrity, Comey has spent three decades in law enforcement. But his prominent role in the 2016 presidential campaign raised questions about his judgment and impartiality. Though the FBI did not recommend charges against Clinton for mishandling classified information, Comey was blisteringly critical of her decision to use a personal email account and private internet server during her four years as secretary of state. Comey strongly defended his decisions during the hearing last week. He said he was “mildly nauseous” at the thought of having swayed the election but also said he would do the same again. Clinton has partially blamed her loss on Comey’s disclosure to Congress less than two weeks before Election Day that the email investigation would be revisited. Comey later said the FBI, again, had found no reason to bring any charges.
6 Justice Dept. mulling harsher sentences Wednesday May 10, 2017
Sadie Gurman & Eric Tucker Associated Press
WASHINGTON — Justice Department officials have been weighing new guidance that would encourage prosecutors to charge suspects with the most serious offenses they can prove, a reversal of Obama-era policies that aimed to reduce the federal prison population and show more leniency to lower-level drug offenders. If embraced by Attorney General Jeff Sessions, this could result in an increased use of rigid mandatory minimum sentences that critics have called unnecessarily harsh. The guidance is taking shape in the form of a memo that ultimately will be shared with the nation’s federal prosecutors, but the timeframe for release is unclear. Drafts of the memo have been circulating for weeks and have undergone revisions, so the final language is not yet certain. A person involved in the discussions described one version to The Associated Press speaking only on condition of anonymity because the guidance has not been publicly announced. As outlined, that version would encourage prosecutors to charge people with the most serious, provable offenses — something more likely to trigger mandatory minimum sentences. Those rules limit a judge’s discretion and are typically dictated, for example, by the quantity of drugs involved in a crime. Such a policy shift has been expected since Sessions was appointed and is in keeping with his tough-on-crime public posture, resistance to proposals he sees as overly lenient and repeated statements about running a Justice Department that enforces laws as they’re written. In 2003, Attorney General John Ashcroft enacted a similar policy that directed
prosecutors to “pursue the most serious, readily provable offense in all federal prosecutions.” Department spokeswoman Sarah Isgur Flores told AP that Sessions has called for a review of all department policies “ to focus on keeping Americans safe and will be issuing further guidance and support to our prosecutors executing this priority — including an updated memorandum on charging for all criminal cases.” The new policy statement is likely to represent a major departure from a 2013 initiative known as “Smart on Crime,” in which then-Attorney General Eric Holder discouraged harsh sentences for low-level, nonviolent offenders, which advocates say contributed to a national rethinking of how America’s drug criminals should be prosecuted. Holder’s guidance was aimed at reducing costs of a crowded federal prison system, encouraging shorter sentences for drug offenders not seen as threat to public safety and preserving Justice Department resources for more serious and violent criminals. Though Holder did say that prosecutors ordinarily should charge the most serious offense, he instructed them to do an “individualized assessment” of the defendant’s conduct. And he outlined exceptions, for not pursuing mandatory minimum sentences, including if a defendant’s crime does not involve violence or if he doesn’t have a leadership role in a criminal organization. The Obama policy shift coincided with U.S. Sentencing Commission changes that made tens of thousands of federal drug prisoners eligible for early release, and an Obama administration clemency initiative that freed convicts deemed deserving of a second chance. Combined, those changes led to a steep decline
Frank Franklin II/AP File Photo Attorney General Jeff Sessions speaks in Central Islip, N.Y. Justice Department officials have been weighing new guidance that would encourage prosecutors to charge suspects with the most serious offenses they can prove, a departure from Obama-era policies that aimed to reduce the federal prison population and reshape the criminal justice system. in a federal prison population that now stands at just under 190,000, down from nearly 220,000 in 2013. Nearly half of those inmates are in custody for drug crimes, records show. Obama administration officials cited that decline and a drop in the overall number of drug prosecutions as evidence that policies were working as intended. They argued prosecutors were getting pickier about the cases they were bringing and were seeking mandatory minimum sentences less often. Efforts to overhaul the criminal justice system secured bipartisan support in recent years as Republicans embraced its cost-cutting potential while Democrats saw a chance to correct what they consider unduly harsh sentences. Still, some prosecutors felt constrained by the Holder directive and expressed concern that they’d lose plea bargaining leverage — and a key inducement for cooperation — without the
ability to more freely pursue years-long mandatory minimum punishments. Sessions himself has long signaled his opposition to the “Smart on Crime” policies, and has repeatedly warned that eliminating mandatory minimums weakens the ability of law enforcement to protect the public. In the Senate, he was among a group of GOP lawmakers last year who opposed legislation that would have allowed judges to reduce prison time for some drug offenders. He warned that the bill would release thousands of violent felons and endanger lives, at a time when crime in some large cities was rising. After becoming attorney general, he promised in March there would be new guidance on criminal charges. He also directed the nation’s federal prosecutors to intensify their focus on the worst violent offenders. “My vision of a smart way to do this is, let’s take that arrest,
lets hammer that criminal who’s distributing drugs that have been imported in our country,” Sessions said in a speech that month to law enforcement officials. Barry Pollack, president of the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, said the organization hoped the Justice Department would “agree that disproportionate resources should not be expended on nonviolent offenses committed by persons with limited to no criminal history and that drug addiction needs to be combated through treatment, not incarceration.” However, the National Association of Assistant United States Attorneys said Holder’s policies have hindered the work of narcotics prosecutors. “The result was that too frequently drug traffickers were not charged at all, or received much lighter sentences while avoiding cooperating with the government,” it said in statement.
U.S. watched Russia hack French systems during election Deb Riechmann Associated Press
Jacquelyn Martin/AP Photo U.S. Cyber Command and the National Security Agency Director Adm. Mike Rogers testifies on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, May 9, 2017, before the Senate Armed Services Committee. Rogers said the U.S. watched Russians penetrate France’s infrastructure and tipped French officials before the hacking became public during the country’s recent election.
WASHINGTON — The United States watched Russians hack France’s computer networks during the election and tipped off French officials before it became public, a U.S. cyber official told the Senate on Tuesday. France’s election campaign commission said Saturday that “a significant amount of data” — and some information that was likely fake — was leaked on social networks following a hacking attack on centrist Emmanuel Macron’s successful presidential campaign. France’s government cybersecurity agency
is investigating what a government official described as a “very serious” breach. The leak came 36 hours before the nation voted Sunday in a crucial presidential runoff between Macron and far-right candidate Marine Le Pen. The election commission said the leaked data apparently came from Macron’s “information systems and mail accounts from some of his campaign managers” — a data theft that mimicked Russian hacking of the Democratic National Committee in the 2016 U.S. presidential election. “We had become aware of Russian activity. We had talked to our French counterparts and gave
them a heads-ups — ‘Look, we’re watching the Russians. We’re seeing them penetrate some of your infrastructure. Here’s what we’ve seen. What can we do to try to assist?’” Adm. Mike Rogers told the Senate Armed Services Committee. France’s chief cybersecurity body, known by the French acronym ANSII, declined comment on Rogers’ testimony. Earlier Tuesday, ANSII released a statement saying that it had been assisting with the response to the hack since Friday and that the information technology fraud division of Paris’ police force had since been charged with investigating the breach.
Wednesday May 10, 2017
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Culture 8 Gut-busting horror returns in ‘Covenant’ The Egalitarian
Wednesday May 10, 2017
AP Film Writer Ah, the siren song of John Denver. Who among us can resist it? Certainly, not the crew of the Covenant, a vessel powered by a golden sail cruising through space with 2,000 “colonists” in hyper sleep and years to go until they reach their destination. But when a shock wave from a solar flare jostles the crew awake, they soon begin hearing a faint transmission of “Take Me Home, Country Roads” emanating from a curiously Earth-like planet. Such sonic waves would be expected if this was “Guardians of the Galaxy,” but this is the “Alien” universe — no place for sunny ‘70s singer-songwriters. When the antsy crew deviates from their carefully planned mission to seek the transmission’s source, we know it’s only a matter of time until cosmic crustaceans begin bursting forth from bodies. Take me home? You betcha. “Alien: Covenant” is, itself, a homecoming of sorts for a welltraveled franchise. Since Ridley Scott’s 1979 original — still the ultimate deep-space horror — “Alien” has passed through numerous directors (James Cameron, David Fincher, JeanPierre Jeunet) and a prequel reboot, Scott’s “Prometheus.” That film, more bloodless and brainy, sought to answer questions of origin with some pretty audacious backstory and — there’s just no easy way to say this — eyebrowless colossuses who created the universe. In Scott’s “Alien: Covenant,” taking place ten years after “Prometheus,” the so-called
Engineers are, thankfully, nowhere to be seen. Back instead are everyone’s favorite extraterrestrials, those aciddripping drama queens so fond of making a big entrance. Like some of the alien offspring, “Covenant” is a hybrid: part gory “Alien”-style scare-fest, part chilly “Prometheus” existentialism. It’s a tall order of thrills and theology that the ever gung-ho Scott, working from a script by John Logan and Dante Harper, comes close to pulling off. But while “Alien: Covenant” has an ace up its sleeve — Michael Fassbender times two — the sheer number of tricks “Alien: Covenant” pulls out, some of them lifted from the five earlier installments, adds to a general sense of deja vu, which is no doubt made worse by the many “Alien” rip-offs that now adorn our galaxy. Yet what was once a slithery straightforward monster movie in space has mutated into an impressively ambitious but overly ornate saga. “Alien: Covenant” has plenty to offer, but unfortunately requires ample study of “Prometheus.” The captain of the Covenant (James Franco, for a heartbeat) doesn’t survive the shock wave, leaving the uncertain Oram (Billy Crudup) to lead the crew that includes Daniels (Katherine Waterson, our more demure, less imposing Ripley), the imprudent pilot Tennessee (Danny McBride) and Walter (Fassbender), an upgraded model of David, the android the actor played in “Prometheus.” It’s Oram’s decision to detour for the John Denver-blasting planet, one that initially looks
Twentieth Century Fox/AP This image released by Twentieth Century Fox shows a scene from “Alien: Covenant.” smart. Once through the stormy atmosphere, they find a beautifully mountainous landscape complete with foggy lakes and fields of wheat. But there are ominous warnings, like an eerie silence because of the lack of any animals or birds. And who planted the wheat? When one of the crew members says he’s going to “take a leak,” he might as well be announcing his imminent death. When things go haywire, the crew freak out and make such poor, emotional decisions that you, as in prior “Alien” films, find yourself rooting for the creatures with bike-helmet skulls. They might not be pretty, but they’re not foolish. The “Alien” films have always been where our idealistic adventuring and world-
conquering hubris are brutally brought down to earth, even in the deep reaches of space. That’s why the insertion of an artificial intelligence has been fitting. The lone human(ish) presence on the planet turns out to be David, who has, ala “Apocalypse Now,” been living a godlike existence, lording over his creations. Not as intensely mechanical as his newer model, he has clearly developed some unusual glitches. He quotes Byron, with jealousy. Like a robot Brando, he sings “The Man Who Broke the Bank at Monte Carlo” while trimming his hair. He’s a kind of frustrated poet who yearns to create like the man who made him. The scenes between David and Walter have a strange, erotic energy. David, trying to unshackle
his fellow android from servitude, urges him to make music and teaches him how to play a recorder. “You have symphonies in you, brother!” he encourages. For Fassbender, an actor capable of precision and madness in equal measure, the dual parts are a feast. There are moments for Daniels and the Alien, too, as “Alien: Covenant” winds along. But by the film’s belabored end, the franchise has shed its host. This is no longer an “Alien” movie, it’s an android one. ———
“Alien: Covenant,” a 20th Century Fox release, is rated R by the Motion Picture Association of America for “sci-fi violence, bloody images, language and some sexuality/nudity.” Running time: 123 minutes. Two and a half stars out of four.
No dancing this time: Zac Brown returns to country roots Mark Kennedy
AP Entertainment Writer NEW YORK — If there’s any doubt about the style of music Zac Brown has made on his band’s new album, just look at the title. The burly, bearded country star named the album “Welcome Home” and the 10 tracks on it are as down-home country as a trusty pickup truck, a cold beer and pair of comfortable jeans. “This one was very personal and very much rooted to my life. That’s why it’s back down to the roots,” said Brown, who will release the album Friday. “I created this record to get back to the beginning of what inspired me as a songwriter.” The album’s direction will come as a relief to some Zac Brown Band fans bewildered by the singer’s recent dabbling in everything from grunge to electronica, a sonic wanderlust that included the birth of a side electronic project called Sir Rosevelt. “People will have a really hard time hating on this record,” said Brown. “I don’t know what our next project will be, but I think this is the sweet spot for this band.” The release of the album coincides with a U.S. tour that kicks off Friday in Georgia, the band’s home state. “Welcome Home” comes two years after
John Salangsang/Invision/AP The Zac Brown Band attends the 2016 iHeartRadio Country Festival in Austin, Texas. The band’s latest album, “Welcome Home,” will be released on May 12, 2017. the band’s chart-topping “Jekyll + Hyde,” which included a swing tune with Sara Bareilles and the head-banging anthem with Chris Cornell “Heavy Is the Head,” which marked the band’s first appearance of the Billboard mainstream rock airplay chart. The genre-bending nature of the album had its detractors, with many critics saying that, while gutsy, it suffered from an identity crisis. Brown isn’t apologetic,
saying country fans had at least eight songs on it in their comfort zone. “For some people it was offensive because of the range. But that’s OK. Certain people, they’re going to be critical of anything that you do — and that’s OK. “I don’t want to do what other people expect,” he added. “I want to make music that I feel moved to create and I want to create the music that’s what I like to listen
to. If I follow that, I’ll always be happy with what I’m making.” Other country acts have tested their fans’ loyalty include the pop-leaning Taylor Swift, the political-minded Dixie Chicks, and Garth Brooks, whose rock star Chris Gaines alter ego crashed and burned. But Brown bristles at being stuck in a musical box. “You make vanilla ice cream. They want vanilla ice cream: ‘What are these marshmallows and chocolate doing in here?’ What is this ‘Rocky Road’?’ What is that? That’s not vanilla ice cream!’” he said. “But I don’t feel like that’s the majority.” Don Cusic, a professor of music industry history at Belmont University, said country music fans demand loyalty and are unforgiving if acts step out of line. He said Brown can repair any damage — but must tread carefully. “In some ways, it’s a very jealous audience. The pop world is a much more fickle audience but the country audience is more loyal and more jealous. They want you to be ‘one of us,’” said Cusic. For the new album, Brown and cowriters Niko Moon and Ben Simonetti went back to basics, both literally and musically. Brown channeled his music heroes like James Taylor, Jim Croce, Dan Fogelberg and Gordon Lightfoot.
Wednesday May 10, 2017
The Egalitarian www.HCCEgalitarian.com
Remember Avatar’? Disney sure hopes so Mae Anderson
AP Technology Writer NEW YORK — You may not have thought much about the 2009 movie “Avatar” over the past eight years, but Disney sure has. The Magic Kingdom is wagering a reported half-billion dollars that you and zillions of other people will line up for new theme park attractions based on the movie’s bioluminescent world of Pandora. It’s a major gamble, even by Disney standards. While the movie smashed box-office records thanks to its dazzling 3-D effects and higher 3-D ticket prices, it’s also left little but a fading echo in pop-culture consciousness. There are no “Avatar” sequels, at least yet, and no spinoffs; memorable characters and catchphrases are also in short supply. “I’ve never seen anybody ever walking down street wearing an Avatar t-shirt,” says Martin Lewison, a theme park expert and business management professor at Farmingdale State College in New York. “There’s no real emotional connection with ‘Avatar’ among the public despite the movie being so popular.” CULTURAL PLUNDER But theme parks are big business, and Disney is counting on what its executives call “Avatar Land” — the official name is “Pandora - World of Avatar” — to help keep that engine humming. In the fiscal year that ended in October,
parks and resorts accounted for 31 percent of Disney’s nearly $56 billion in revenue, though only 21 percent of its nearly $16 billion in operating profit. Disney also wants to prove it can turn its newer cultural properties, which include “Star Wars” and the Marvel superhero franchise, into popular themepark attractions. In that, it’s basically playing catch-up with rival Universal Studios, which launched a hugely successful Harry Potter theme park in 2010. Now the big question is whether Disney can pull that off with Avatar Land, or if it’s just chasing unobtainium. (Yes, that’s an “Avatar” reference . See?) ODD PROPERTY James Cameron, the mercurial director famous for “Titanic” and several other blockbusters, has been promising “Avatar” sequels almost since the original premiered. One had been in development since 2010. Disney licensed the park rights in 2011, when a sequel didn’t seem that far off. Little did Disney know. In 2013, Cameron announced his intention to film three follow-on films simultaneously, for release starting in 2016. But the date was pushed back until 2017, then 2018. In March, Cameron said 2018 was “not happening .” In April, he announced the start of production on four sequels now scheduled to roll out from 2020 to 2025 . That’s left Disney to plunge ahead on its own with Avatar Land, which opens May 27 at Disney’s Animal Kingdom theme
John Raoux/AP Photo This file photo shows a Na’vi in a science lab while in the queue for the Avatar Flight of Passage ride at Pandora-World of Avatar land attraction in Disney’s Animal Kingdom theme park at Walt Disney World in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. You may not have thought much about the movie “Avatar” or its dazzling 3-D effects over the past eight years, but Disney sure has. And the Magic Kingdom is wagering a reported half-billion dollars that millions of people will line up for a new theme park based on the movie’s bioluminescent world of Pandora. (AP Photo/John Raoux, File) park in Florida. If all goes well, the park “will promote the films and the new films will of course circle back and promote the land,” Lewison says. But for the moment, Disney seems to be selling the opposite of such synergy. The company currently aims to wow parkgoers with attractions focused on the landscape and wildlife of Pandora, whether or not they remember the original movie. The primary rides showcase the world’s creatures and plant life rather than characters or events from “Avatar.” Joe Rohde, the park’s design and production leader, makes that disconnect explicit, describing the park as a way to visit part of Pandora that has nothing to do with the movie’s clash between Pandora’s blue Na’vi race and mineral-hungry human industrialists. Now, he says, “you’re free to have your
own adventure without worrying about what happened to somebody else some other time.” BEATING HARRY POTTER One big reason Disney has pushed ahead with Avatar Land — not to mention “Star Wars”themed attractions scheduled to open in 2019 — is the rising threat posed by Universal’s The Wizarding World of Harry Potter. In 2015, about 138 million people visited Walt Disney Attractions, up nearly 3 percent from the prior year. Universal Parks and Resorts saw less than a third as many visitors — 45 million — but that figure was up nearly 12 percent, according to the trade group Theme Entertainment Association . “What Harry Potter did was to become a big public success and financial one as well,” says John Gerner, managing director of theme park consulting firm Leisure
Business Advisors. “It really set a new bar for our industry.” Of course, Avatar is a very different brand than Harry Potter, which has launched nine feature films to date, including an entirely new series whose second installment is due next year — well before the first “Avatar” sequel. In that sense, the main event may really begin in 2019, when Disney is scheduled to open two new “Star Wars” parks at Disneyland in California and Walt Disney World in Florida. Universal Studios plans Nintendo-themed attractions at its parks in Florida and Japan beginning in 2020. “There’s a rule in the themepark industry right now, ‘Keep building, keep building up capital infrastructure,’” says Lewison. “That is driving attendance — everybody wants to go check out all the new stuff.”
Guy Ritchie reinvents ‘King Arthur’ to mixed results Lindsey Bahr AP Film Writer
Deep into Guy Ritchie’s “King Arthur: Legend of the Sword ,” a bad guy who we’ve never met before informs Arthur (Charlie Hunnam) and his mates that they’d better be at the castle before dark if they want to see “the boy” and “the girl” again. It’s one of those harmless, up the stakes clichés that’s all too common in action movies, but, in the flawed yet amusing “King Arthur,” it unwittingly left me baffled. “Which girl?” I wondered, sincerely doubting that this was the intended effect. At this point there are two options: The Mage (Astrid Berges-Frisbey), a strange animal-controlling sorceress who we recently saw with a knife at her throat, or Maggie (Annabelle Wallis) who over the course of the movie is so underdeveloped that at different points I’d thought she was Arthur’s presumed to be dead mother (who is in fact played by the just similar enough-looking Poppy Delevingne) or the evil King Vortigern’s (Jude Law) wife. (She’s neither.) It’s a strange thing for a movie that is this packed to the brim with
Warner Bros. Pictures via AP This image released by Warner Bros. Pictures shows Charlie Hunnam in a scene from, “King Arthur: Legend of the Sword.” dialogue and clever exposition to have managed to so insufficiently explain a supposed key player. The film is somehow both overwritten and underwritten. It’s a stretch to even deem it a King Arthur movie (marketing calls it an “iconoclastic take on the classic Excalibur myth,” while a producer says it’s “not your
father’s King Arthur.”) And yet, “King Arthur: Legend of the Sword,” is reasonably entertaining with its CGI-laden summer nonsense, stuffed with mystical beasts (including giant elephant-like creatures with wrecking ball tails), vulgar action and delicious scenery chewing from Law. It skates by on
Ritchie’s divisively kinetic filmmaking and the charisma of Hunnam’s reluctant hero. This Arthur was raised in a brothel after seeing his mother and father, King Uther (Eric Bana) killed in a coup. A speed-induced montage later and Arthur is a fully grown and martial arts trained man who is a street-wise protector of the brothel’s prostitutes. His Uncle Vortigern, who sold his soul to get the crown, rules Camelot. But Vortigern can’t access his full powers without the Excalibur sword, which, as you know, is stuck in a rock. This leads Vortigern’s soldiers to round up every man of Arthur’s age to find the remaining heir. Hunnam’s Arthur is a wise-cracking, sensitive brute, who neither seeks nor wants power of any kind. What he does want is never really explored beyond the fact that he cares about his friends and feels some sort of obligation to protect the weak. But he eventually gets on board with his birthright — partly to avenge his father’s death and partly because a group of outlaws, including The Mage, Bedivere (Djimon Hounsou) and Bill (Aidan Gillen), sort of make him do it. An Arthur for the millennial generation perhaps?
10 Sports Pivotal Game 5 awaits Celtics, Wizards The Egalitarian www.HCCEgalitarian.com
Wednesday May 10, 2017
Kyle Hightower AP Sports Writer
BOSTON — After four games, the Eastern Conference semifinal matchup between the Celtics and Wizards is exactly back where it began. Following back-to-back comeback wins by the East’s top seed in the first two games in Boston, Washington returned the favor with a pair of dominant wins on its home court. The series now shifts back to the Garden for a pivotal Game 5 matchup on Wednesday night. The winner of Game 5 in an NBA bestof-7 series tied at 2-2 has gone on to win the series 83% of the time (162-34), according to ESPN Stats & Info. While happy to return to friendlier confines, the Celtics say they aren’t feeling any added pressure despite being unable to recover from game-changing runs by the Wizards in Games 3 and 4. “That’s the playoffs for you,” Celtics point guard Isaiah Thomas said. “We said it before the playoffs started, you lose a couple and you might get swept. I mean, that’s what the world is gonna say. ‘You’re not good enough to be here,’ or you win a couple and everybody loves you.” Meanwhile, Washington may have found the anecdote to containing Boston’s leading scorer — making the game as physical as possible. Thomas has managed just 13 and 19 points, respectively, over the last two games, while being held to 22 field goal attempts. That comes after his 53-point night in Game 2’s overtime win. Despite having to win at least one game at the Garden over the next three games to
advance, Wizards point guard John Wall said their confidence is higher than it was at the start of the series. “We have a lot of confidence, understanding that we had a chance to win all four games,” said Wall, who is coming off a 27-point, 12-assist effort in Game 4. “Even though we only won two, and they won two at their place, we had an opportunity to win those games even though we didn’t shoot the ball well or we didn’t play great defense.” Here are some things to know about Wednesday night’s Game 5: ——— NEED TO KNOW: Wizards forward Kelly Oubre Jr. can expect to get a cold reception from Boston’s fans. Oubre returns to action after serving a one-game suspension for charging over Celtics center Kelly Olynyk in Game 3. Washington coach Scott Brooks was asked Tuesday about what advice he had for Oubre. “Bring some ear plugs,” he said after a long pause. “They’re definitely going to let him have it. But you just go out there and play, play hard.” KEEP AN EYE ON: Isaiah Thomas’ freethrow attempts. The All-Star said he felt the Wizards were able to get away with holding and grabbing him at times during a Game 4 loss in which he didn’t once visit the foul line. But he said he hadn’t been contacted by the league office about a fine for criticizing the officiating. “I felt like things should be called different. But I didn’t say that’s the reason why we lost,” Thomas said. “So I don’t feel like I should get anything.” INJURY UPDATE: Celtics guard Avery Bradley suffered a left hip-pointer in Game 4 after being slowed by a right hip-pointer
Nick Wass/AP Photo Boston Celtics guard Isaiah Thomas (4) dribbles against Washington Wizards center Marcin Gortat (13), of Poland, during the second half in Game 4 of a second-round NBA basketball playoff series, Sunday in Washington. in Game 2. But Stevens said he is set to go for Game 5. PRESSURE IS ON: The Wizards. Though Boston is the higher seed, the
Celtics will get all kinds of energy returning home, and Washington can set itself up with a closeout opportunity at home for Game 6 with a win.
North America set for 2026 World Cup decision Rob Harris
AP Global Soccer Writer MANAMA, Bahrain — An accelerated process to hand North America the 2026 World Cup is set to be approved by soccer leaders this week, with FIFA President Gianni Infantino hoping for a “bulletproof” process to avoid past voting scandals. The United States, Canada, and Mexico are seeking an unchallenged path to cohosting rights for the 2026 showpiece, if FIFA’s technical requirements are met by next year “It’s an interesting, original proposal and we will discuss it tomorrow at the council and present the recommendation to the congress,” Infantino told The Associated Press on Monday in Bahrain at the start of a week of FIFA meetings. There is expected to be no opposition to fast-tracking the plans at either the council or the congress, where FIFA’s entire 211-strong leadership has the final say. By avoiding a contest, the process should be resistant to the allegations of wrongdoing that have tainted World Cup votes in recent decades. Past bribery has been exposed, in part, by American prosecutors but the U.S.-led bid is the undisputed favorite for the
Carli Lloyd skips Man City game Rob Harris
AP Global Soccer Writer
Dieu Nalio Chery/AP Photo FIFA President Gianni Infantino gives a press conference at the National Palace in Port-au-Prince, Haiti. An accelerated process to hand North America the 2026 World Cup is set to be approved by soccer leaders this week, with FIFA President Gianni Infantino hoping for a “bulletproof” process to avoid past voting scandals. The United States, Canada, and Mexico are seeking an unchallenged path to co-hosting rights for the 2026 showpiece, if FIFA’s technical requirements are met by next year “It’s an interesting, original proposal and we will discuss it tomorrow at the council and present the recommendation to the congress,” Infantino told The Associated Press on Monday. 2026 World Cup. “We have seen in the past many questions marks around bidding processes,” Infantino said. “So we have to make sure we have to make sure this process is absolutely bulletproof.” Under plans announced last
month, the United States would stage 60 games, including every fixture from the quarterfinals, while Canada and Mexico would have 10 each. Despite plans to share the tournament, there is a possibility the U.S. emerges as the solo host — like in
1994 — if its neighbors are considered unsuitable by the FIFA Congress in June 2018. The motion being presented to the congress on Thursday states that the North Americans want the hosting rights if “one or more” of the countries “satisfies the technical bid requirements.”
MANAMA, Bahrain — Manchester City allowed FIFA Player of the Year Carli Lloyd to miss a domestic league match in England on Tuesday, breaking off from preparations for the FA Cup final, to fly to the Middle East to promote world soccer’s governing body. Lloyd is one of the “FIFA Legends” gathered by FIFA President Gianni Infantino at the governing body’s annual congress in Bahrain. The American forward is with City on a short-term loan from the Houston Dash for the Spring Series of the Women’s Super League. Lloyd skipped Tuesday’s game at Bristol City, which City won 3-0, to fly around seven hours to the Gulf. City said it gave Lloyd permission because the game was rescheduled due to the club’s Champions League progress. “At the time, we didn’t have anything planned and I got the OK to go, then they rescheduled and... I probably wouldn’t have played today anyway,” Lloyd told The Associated Press.
Wednesday May 10, 2017
Egal•i•tar•i•an (adjective) aiming for equal wealth, status, etc., for all people 3517 Austin; 303 Fine Arts Center; Houston TX 77004 Phone: 713.718.6016; Fax: 713.718.6601 Adviser: Fredrick Batiste
SPRING 2017 EGALITARIAN STAFF Editor-in-Chief............................................Jimmieka Mills News Editor................................................... Alyssa Foley Sports Editor..............................................John Cañamar Culture Editor.............................................. Erik Calderon Photo Editor............................................................... TBA Social Media Mgr....................................................... TBA Staff Writer............................................................ Zain Ali Staff Writer................................................... Fabian Brims Staff Writer.................................................... Ana Ramirez Staff Writer.......................................... Skarleth Velasquez Staff Writer................................................................. TBA Staff Photographer..................................................... TBA ——— The Egalitarian has been the official student newspaper of the Houston Community College System since September 1974. The Egalitarian is published bi-monthly, every other Wednesday except during holiday breaks. Print circulation is 8,000 copies per issue and distributed to selected HCC campuses in the Houston, Spring Branch, Alief, Katy, North Forest and Fort Bend areas. Comments and contributions are always welcome. Deadlines for contributions and advertisements are one week before the issue print date. The Egalitarian is written and edited by students of Houston Community College. This publication does not necessarily reflect the opinions, views, interests, attitudes and tastes of the Board of Trustees, HCC administration, faculty, staff or students. Opinions and editorial content of The Egalitarian that are unsigned do not necessarily reflect the opinions of The Egalitarian staff or adviser. The Egalitarian reserves the right to edit any submitted material for grammatical errors, offensive language, libelous materials and space constraints. It may also refuse any advertising that does not adhere to the HCC mission.
The Egalitarian staff consists of HCC students who must complete all tasks required to produce the newspaper, which serves all campuses of the HCC System. We want all students from all majors to contribute. However, we must follow our submissions policy in order to operate under our limitations of time, energy and staff. All staff and contributing writers must be currently enrolled students at Houston Community College. The Egalitarian interacts with contributing writers via e-mail and telephone. Visiting The Egalitarian will not help contributors get published, only quality work will. Publication priority is given to staff members and assigned articles, and verbal commitments for assignments will not be accepted or recognized. Press releases, story ideas, news tips and suggestions are always welcomed. Any student interested in joining The Egalitarian staff may request more detailed information regarding story length, topics, style, etc., by e-mailing The Egalitarian Faculty Adviser Fredrick Batiste at email@example.com.
The Egalitarian www.HCCEgalitarian.com
Wisconsin ID law proved insurmountable for many voters Christina A. Cassidy & Ivan Moreno Associated Press
MILWAUKEE — State Sen. Mary Lazich was adamant: The bill Republicans were about to push through the Wisconsin state Senate, requiring that voters present identification at the polls, would do no harm. “Not a single voter in this state will be disenfranchised by the ID law,” Lazich promised. Five years later, in the first presidential election held under the new law, Gladys Harris proved her wrong. By one estimate, 300,000 eligible voters in the state lacked valid photo IDs heading into the election; it is unknown how many people did not vote because they didn’t have proper identification. But it is not hard to find the Navy veteran whose out-of-state driver’s license did not suffice, or the dying woman whose license had expired, or the recent graduate whose student ID was deficient — or Harris, who at 66 made her way to her polling place despite chronic lung disease and a torn ligament in her knee. She had lost her driver’s license just before Election Day. Aware of the new law, she brought her Social Security and Medicare cards as well as a county-issued bus pass that displayed her photo. Not good enough. She was turned away. In the end, Wisconsin’s 10 Electoral College votes went to Republican Donald Trump, who defeated Democrat Hillary Clinton by roughly 22,000 votes. But the battle over voter ID laws continues. Under the Wisconsin law, voters must present a driver’s license, state ID, passport, military ID, naturalization papers or tribal ID to vote. A student ID is acceptable only if it has a signature and a twoyear expiration date. Those who do not have their ID can cast a provisional ballot that will be counted only if they return with the proper ID within a few days of the election. Supporters have long argued such restrictions are needed to prevent voter fraud, while critics have decried the laws as undermining democracy and leading to the disenfranchisement of elderly and minority voters such as Harris. Courts have also weighed in, upholding laws that are generally narrow in scope while striking down others considered too broad. A federal appeals court last year struck down a package of laws passed in North Carolina, including voter ID, saying they targeted black voters “with almost surgical precision.” The politicians and the lawyers may be at loggerheads, but to Harris, the injustice is beyond dispute. “They prevented us from voting,” she said, simply. ——— When Sean Reynolds went to his polling place at a local ice skating rink on Election Day, he showed his valid driver’s license. The problem? It wasn’t issued in Wisconsin. Reynolds, 30, was taken aback. He had moved to Madison in 2015 to find work after leaving the Navy and receiving his associate’s degree from a university in neighboring Illinois. After successfully registering to vote in Wisconsin using an online website, he thought all he needed to show at the polls was a current photo ID. After all, his Illinois ID was good enough to board a plane, open a checking account and purchase cold medicine. “Coming home and being denied the right to vote because I didn’t have a specific driver’s license is very frustrating,” said Reynolds, who served in both Iraq and Afghanistan providing support for special forces. “I was a little incredulous that they wouldn’t accept another state’s driver’s license. I
Carrie Antlfinger/AP Photo Gladys Harris of Milwaukee holds some of the forms of identification she brought with her to the polls in the 2016 presidential election. She was unable to vote because she had lost her driver’s license a few days before and thought one of the many other cards she had with her would work. She was given a provisional ballot but was unable to return with a proper ID in time. It was the first presidential election to be held under a new state law requiring a driver’s license, state ID, passport, military ID, naturalization papers or tribal ID to vote. didn’t understand why it was not a valid form of ID.” Reynolds said he had been working 50-hour weeks, receiving hourly pay, and could not afford to take time off from his job in security management to visit a local DMV and transfer his license from Illinois. A survey conducted by the Brennan Center in 2006 estimated that while as many as roughly 21 million voting-age U.S. citizens did not have a valid government-issued, photo identification, an additional 4.5 million had a valid ID but one that did not have their current name or address. Supporters of voter ID laws say that prohibiting out-of-state driver’s licenses reduces the possibility of voter fraud and individuals filling out multiple ballots. Research has shown that such voter fraud can happen, but it’s very rare. After casting a provisional ballot, Reynolds was told to return within three days with a Wisconsin driver’s license, but he couldn’t take the time off from work on such short notice. “I only had between Tuesday and Friday to get it done, and I just couldn’t accomplish it in that time frame,” he said. ——— When Alvin Mueller retired from his job as a maintenance worker, his wife Margie, 85, quit driving and let her license expire in 2010. The couple never had trouble voting in Plymouth, a small city about an hour’s drive north of Milwaukee where they’ve lived since they married 65 years ago. But they hit a snag during early voting in November because Margie Mueller couldn’t cast a ballot with her expired license. The staff at the city clerk’s office said if she wanted to vote, she would need to get a new ID at a DMV office about 15 miles away in Sheboygan, the county seat, Alvin Mueller recalls. That’s not unusual. The Brennan Center estimated that in the 10 states with voter ID laws in 2012, more than 10 million eligible voters lived more than 10 miles from a state ID-issuing office that is open more than two days a week.
Wednesday May 10, 2017
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Graduation speakers announced; Comey fired in midst of probe; and more!