Top 5 Live-WURD Monday March 23
1. Four Florida police officers out after racist text messages
Three Florida police officers were fired and a fourth resigned after exchanging a series of racially offensive text messages and a video that portrayed President Barack Obama in a derogatory way, Fort Lauderdale police said.
Jason Holding, James Wells and Christopher Sousa were terminated after a five-month internal affairs investigation found sustained department misconduct, conduct unbecoming of a police officer and engaging in “conduct prejudicial to the good of the order of the police department.”
A fourth officer, Alex Alvarez, resigned but authorities said Friday that he would have been fired had he not done so.
2. Top-seeded Villanova upset by N.C. State
This was the year Villanova was supposed to wipe out the memories of past failures and make it to the second weekend of the NCAA tournament for the first time since its Final Four season of 2009.
The Wildcats had missed as a No. 2 seed twice – in 2010 and last season. Certainly their chances for advancing to the Sweet 16 would be better as a No. 1 seed.
But instead of moving on, the Wildcats are going home.
They suffered through one of their worst shooting games of the season Saturday night in a 71-68 upset loss to No. 8 seed North Carolina State in an NCAA East Regional third-round matchup at Consol Energy Center.
3. Can Ted Cruz go from obstructionist in chief to commander in chief?
Sen. Ted Cruz is expected to launch a presidential bid today, and he will face two key questions: what accomplishments he can point to from his brief tenure in the U.S. Senate — and whether he can run largely on his very active role in slowing the governing body to a legislative standstill.
Since winning election in 2012, the junior senator from Texas has developed a reputation as a key foe of the president’s and has earned attention for what he has stopped the Senate from doing rather than for proactive legislating. To be sure, in today’s deadlocked Congress — where very few bills ever make it to the president’s desk— Cruz is not alone in having a thin record of legislative accomplishment.
But only one bill sponsored by Cruz has become a U.S. law — and it was a narrowly targeted piece of legislation that came out of the Judiciary Committee, upon which he serves, to deny “admission to the United States to any representative to the United Nations who has been found to have been engaged in espionage activities or terrorist activity against the United States.”
4. Starbucks scales back ‘Race Together’ effort
Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz announced Sunday that his company’s recent push to encourage dialogue with customers on race by inviting employees to write “Race Together” on cups is ending.
“I know this hasn’t been easy for any of you — let me assure you that we didn’t expect universal praise,” Schultz wrote in a letter to staff. While some praised the effort as a bold foray into a culturally sensitive topic, critics railed against the campaign as insufficient and out of place. “We leaned in because we believed that starting this dialogue is what matters most.”
Schultz maintained that the larger “Race Together” campaign remains intact with plans to hire 10,000 young people between the ages of 16 and 24, who are neither in school nor employed, over the next three years. According to a Starbucks newsletter, there are nearly seven million of these so-called “opportunity youth” across the nation.
5. Arlene Ackerman still being blamed for School District problems
During five days of testimony in a federal civil rights case, jurors heard testimony about the fear of leaks that permeated Philadelphia School District headquarters when Arlene Ackerman was superintendent.
The campaign to plug the leaks intensified after The Inquirer published a Nov. 28, 2010, article reporting that Ackerman had steered a $7.5 million no-bid contract for surveillance cameras to a small minority firm that had not been approved for emergency work.
Francis X. Dougherty, the district’s former acting chief of operations, testified that the day after the article appeared, Ackerman summoned him and others to her office “and said then and there, she was going to find this leak and make an example – even if it meant hiring private investigators.”
Click here to read these stories on 900amWURD.
Solomon Jones is an Essence bestselling author and award-winning columnist. He is the creator and editor of Solomonjones.com and morning host on 900 am WURD radio. Click here to learn more about Solomon