Are There Things We Don’t Know About Rachel Dolezal?

Sam Seder

Sam Seder discusses the fact that Rachel Dolezal – an “African-American impersonator” – had a life – including an interracial marriage and upbringing – that people generally don’t know about.

According to The Seattle Times, the Spokane NAACP chapter president reportedly resigned from that position on June 15th, and she was fired from her job as a freelance newspaper columnist. She is being investigated by the city Ethics Commission over whether she lied about her race on her application when she landed an appointment to Spokane’s police-oversight board.

It’s unclear whether her contract as a part-time Africana Studies instructor at Eastern Washington University will be renewed.  Dolezal’s career as a civil-rights activist in the Pacific Northwest crumbled in the past weeks since her parents told the media that she doesn’t have any black ancestry, according to the Seattle Times.

The Spokane chapter of the NAACP is asking police to continue the investigation into hate mail sent to Dolezal. The civil-rights organization had received threatening letters and packages in its post office box starting in February, writes USA Today.

The Seattle Times wrote that Dolezal said that she started identifying as black around age 5, when she drew self-portraits with a brown crayon, and she “takes exception” to the contention she tried to deceive people.

She said on NBC’s “Today” that some of the discussion about her has been “viciously inhumane.”

Asked by Matt Lauer if she is “an African-American woman,” Dolezal said: “I identify as black.”  The furor has touched off national debate over racial identity and divided the NAACP itself.

However, the NAACP has said leadership jobs don’t require a person to be black.  Were whites involved with the formation of the NAACP?

According to the Glendale (California) News-Press:

“The NAACP was founded Feb. 12, 1909, on Lincoln’s birthday. It is the oldest, largest and most recognized grass-roots civil rights organization, with more than half a million members around the world, partly formed in response to the continuing horrific practice of lynching, and the 1908 race riot in Springfield, Ill.

“Appalled at the violence committed against blacks, a group of 60 white liberals, including Mary White Ovington and Oswald Garrison Villard, both descendants of abolitionists, along with William English Walling and Dr. Henry Moscowitz, called seven blacks to a meeting to discuss racial justice. Among the seven blacks were W. E. B. Du Bois, Ida B. Wells, Mary McLeod Bethune and Mary Church Terrell.”

(Updated article),0,1651690.story

Rachel Maddow – Are The News Gods Testing Your Capacity For Outrage?


Ever have a day when it seems there isn’t much new going on in the news? Then – BAM – MSNBC or another group weeds out six stories that show a lot is going on.  Here, MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow shows recent news stories that are pushing the “outrage-o-meter” over the line.  (Video from May 21st, 2015.)

The stories include:

A Colorado law requires the family of an Aurora mass-shooting victim to pay $220,000 in legal fees to the ammunition maker they tried to sue. The ammunition from that company was used in the shooting that killed their daughter.

OSHA levied penalty of $99,000 last week over six months after a toxic gas leak killed four workers at DuPont’s chemical plant in La Porte, Texas.  OSHA stated that those who died “would be alive today had their employer…taken steps to protect them.” DuPont, however, is a $60 Billion company, according to Maddow.

It came as something of a shock recently when detectives showed up at the Capitol building in Montpelier, Vermont, during work hours and apprehended Vermont State Senator Norman McAllister, writes Vox.  The shock compounded as the charges against him became known: the longtime lawmaker was allegedly running a grisly sexual extortion racket from his dairy farm in Franklin County, in the far northwestern corner of the state. So far, he’s been accused of sexually assaulting two women who were previously employees.

Kansas lawmakers are threatening to cut off all funding for the judicial branch of state government if the Kansas Supreme Court strikes down a law enacted last year on how chief judges in the district courts are selected. House and Senate budget negotiators agreed to the language in a bill that would fund the judicial branch for the next two years, according to Lawrence-Journal World.

(And other stories as well…)

MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow Looks At Bill O’Reilly’s Statesments About Lee Harvey Oswald Associate’s Suicide

Hien Lun

According to Media Matters, Bill O’Reilly has repeatedly claimed in his books and on Fox News that while he was reporting for a Dallas television station in 1977, he was directly outside the home at the moment that George de Mohrenschildt — an associate of Lee Harvey Oswald — shot himself in Florida.

Rachel Maddow of MSNBC took on O’Reilly recently, and she ran a clip of him on “Fox & Friends” repeating the story from 1977.

Maddow played audio tapes released by CNN last week of phone calls made by O’Reilly from 1977.   The recording was recently released by CNN on Reliable Sources with Brian Stelter.

On the tapes, O’Reilly can be heard asking the congressional reporter Gaeton Fonzi about the details of the suicide, and adding that he is not yet in Florida — a claim that is at odds with O’Reilly’s statements that he was near the home where de Mohrenschildt killed himself, states Media Matters.

Did Governor Chris Christie Cut A Deal With Exxon?


There is a controversy out of New Jersey which continues to get more interesting by the day, according to MSNBC.  Years ago, after decades of misuse, Exxon had damaged more than 1,500 acres of wetlands in northern New Jersey.

The state of New Jersey filed an $8.9 billion lawsuit about a decade ago.  The case progressed in the state’s favor — Exxon’s culpability was finally effectively decided.  The only remaining question was how much the oil giant would pay in damages.

Last week, however, New Jersey settled the case.

Why?  After seeking $8.9 billion — $2.6 billion for environmental restoration and $6.3 billion for compensatory damages — the state agreed to accept just $250 million. That’s roughly 3% of the original amount.  Most of that total would go towards closing the governor’s budget shortfall, rather than environmental repair.

New Jersey State Senator Raymond Lesniak (D) said to MSNBC, “We want to find out who engineered this. Was it the attorney general’s office? Was it [the state’s Department of Environmental Protection] or was it maybe someone in the governor’s office?”

The New York Times seeks to answer that question as well:

“For more than a decade, the New Jersey attorney general’s office conducted a hard-fought legal battle to hold Exxon Mobil Corporation responsible for decades of environmental contamination in northern New Jersey.

“But when the news came that the state had reached a deal to settle its $8.9 billion claim for about $250 million, the driving force behind the settlement was not the attorney general’s office — it was Gov. Chris Christie’s chief counsel, Christopher S. Porrino, two people familiar with the negotiations said.”

Christie’s chief counsel “inserted himself into the case, elbowed aside the attorney general and career employees who had developed and prosecuted the litigation, and cut the deal favorable to Exxon,” according to Bradley Campbell, the commissioner of New Jersey’s Department of Environmental Protection.