Nury Martinez Resigns & A Rocket Explodes
October 13, 2022
Things Better Left Unsaid
Los Angeles City Councilwoman Nury Martinez has resigned, just days after audio recordings of her making racist remarks about multiple groups leaked online. Her list of targets include Black people, Oaxacans, Jewish people, and Armenians. The leaked conversations, originally recorded in October 2021, also involved fellow Councilmembers Gil Cedillo and Kevin de León.
We know what you’re really here for, so let’s dive into what was said. The first leak included Martinez calling Councilmember Mike Bonin a “little b**ch,” before referring to his young Black son as “parece changuito” (“like a monkey”). She also called Oaxacan immigrants in Koreatown “short little dark people.” The recording was topped off by her saying “F*** that guy.… He’s with the Blacks,” about Los Angeles County District Attorney George Gascón.
In a deeper dive into the leaks, The Los Angeles Times also found “crude remarks” by Martinez about her Jewish and Armenian colleagues. In one segment, she’s heard saying that the “judíos” (Jews) “cut their deal with South L.A.” She stated that Richard Katz, a member of L.A.’s redistricting commission, was “gonna screw everybody else” with his redistricting plans. Of Armenian Assemblymember Adrin Nazarian and Councilmember Paul Krekorian, she said, “They want to assure, they want to be reassured that they have, not an Armenian district in the Valley, because that doesn’t exist, but they want as many Armenians in that district as possible to be able to play.”
Though the conversations also involved Cedillo and de León, Martinez took much of the PR hit as the city council’s president. She stepped down as president on Monday before fully resigning from the council late Wednesday following protests outside L.A. City Hall. “It is with a broken heart that I resign my seat for Council District 6, the community I grew up in and my home,” she said in a statement. (NPR, LAT, $)
Some Good News
- Artist turns Shetland ruin into Halloween ‘haunted house’ (BBC)
- FDA authorizes updated Covid-19 booster shots for children as young as 5 (CNN)
You Can’t Sit With Us, You Human Rights Abuser
- Venezuela lost its seat on the United Nations Council of Human Rights on Tuesday, a move celebrated by activists and human rights defenders. The council describes itself as “an inter-governmental body within the United Nations system made up of 47 States responsible for the promotion and protection of all human rights around the globe.” The South American country failed to be reelected to its seat due to its spotty human rights record over the past few years.
- The country competed with Chile and Costa Rica for two council seats allocated to Latin American countries. Chile won a seat with 144 votes and Costa Rica joined them with 134. Venezuela ended up in third place with 88 votes. “This result comes thanks to the diplomatic efforts and the denunciation of human rights abuse in Venezuela. Victims and NGOs have worked constantly to obtain this result,” said the representative of Venezuela’s political opposition at the U.N.
- The Venezuelan government has yet to comment on the vote. According to Venezuelan human rights organization Provea, government extra-judicial executions declined 50% between 2020 and 2021, but still accounted for 1,502 deaths in the country last year. (CNN)
I’m Dreaming Of A Counteroffensive Christmas
- Good news for Ukrainian troops this week – you get to fight through the winter to recapture territory claimed by Russia! In a statement Wednesday, U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin declared that Ukraine will most likely continue to fight the Russian invasion throughout the cold season before also announcing that the U.S. would be sending the country new air defenses and defense funding following the latest round of Russian missile strikes. Winters in Ukraine average around -4.8°С to 2°C, or roughly 23.4°F to 35.6°F for our American readers.
- “I expect that Ukraine will continue to do everything it can throughout the winter, to regain its territory and to be effective on the battlefield, and we’re going to do everything we can to make sure that they have what’s required to be effective,” Austin said at a press conference held at NATO headquarters. Another U.S. defense official chimed in on the matter, asking, “But what about those Russian forces? What kind of support are they going to have through the winter? Right now, the Russians are isolated and alone.” Poor guys.
- The statements came two days after Russian missile strikes hit a number of “targets with no military purpose,” according to Austin. The attacks killed 19 and injured over 100, also causing infrastructural damage across the country. (Reuters)
Additional World News
- UK businessman charged with ‘helping Russian oligarch evade sanctions’ (BBC)
- Baltic nations long warned about Russia. Now, maybe the West is listening. (WaPo, $)
- Myanmar court extends Aung San Suu Kyi’s prison sentence to 26 years (CNN)
- Biden believes Putin won’t use nuclear weapons on Ukraine (ABC)
- A Dissident Escapes Xi Jinping’s China and a Life ‘Made Up of Lies’ (WSJ, $)
- Actress Priyanka Chopra’s Iran stand ‘selective outrage’ (Al Jazeera)
- Bank of England’s warning pension help to end worries investors (BBC)
“Laughter and tears are both responses to frustration and exhaustion. I myself prefer to laugh, since there is less cleaning up to do afterward.” – Kurt Vonnegut
Hale To The Chief
- On Wednesday, President Biden traveled to Colorado to designate a new national monument – his first such action as president. Camp Hale served as winter training grounds for the Army during World War II and now provides critical habitat for wildlife including elk, deer, lynxes, and migratory songbirds.
- The Camp Hale-Continental Divide National Monument will encompass more than 53,800 acres and will also include the Tenmile Range, a mountain range with stunning views popular among hikers and rock climbers. The move helps to deliver a win to Senator Michael Bennet ahead of the midterm elections as well. (WaPo, $)
Ah Yes, The Classic “Consensual” Police Stop
- Two comedians have filed a lawsuit against Clayton County’s police department in Georgia and the district attorney’s office for violating their constitutional rights during two incidents that both occurred at the Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport. Eric André and Clayton English, in April 2021 and October 2020, respectively, were both stopped by officers on a jetbridge and asked if they were carrying illegal drugs.
- The comedians are arguing that the Clayton County Police Department’s practice of officers stopping passengers on jet bridges, questioning them, and searching their bags in an effort to combat drug trafficking is unconstitutional. The stops are called “consensual,” but the lawsuit says passengers are coerced into cooperating and that Black passengers in particular are targeted.
- André, who says he was the only Black person he saw on the jet bridge, denied having drugs, and though the officers eventually let him get on the plane after continuing to question his innocence, André said the incident “was demoralizing, dehumanizing, racist and traumatic.” English said his story is nearly identical, though André’s bag was ultimately not searched, and English’s was. (WaPo, $)
Additional USA News
- Tommy Tuberville made $25m off Black men. God forbid they get anything back (Guardian)
- McConnell says GOP will “stick with” Walker in wake of abortion scandal (Axios)
- Barnes bets on abortion to boost flagging polls (Politico)
- Hunter Biden: President addresses possible criminal charges against son and says he’s ‘proud’ of son’s fight against drug addiction (CNN)
- New ads attack Mehmet Oz for animal abuse (Politico)
- Navy SEAL candidate died of bacterial pneumonia in hours after Hell Week training, Navy investigation finds (CNN)
- Purported Trump supporter who claimed Antifa burned down his camper admits to staged attack, DOJ says (CNN)
Ready, Set, Blow (Up)!
- For the first time in two decades, Japan has failed a rocket launch. On Wednesday, the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency’s (JAXA) Epsilon-6 rocket was issued a self-destruct command just seven minutes into its flight after the agency discovered that it was not in the right position to orbit the Earth.
- The unmanned rocket and its payload of satellites blew up before reaching orbit, with the debris believed to have landed in the sea east of the Philippines. “We deeply apologize for our failure to live up to the expectations,” said JAXA President Hiroshi Yamakawa in a statement to the press. “We ordered the rocket’s destruction because if we cannot send it into the orbit that we planned, we don’t know where it will go,” said project leader Yasuhiro Funo.
- The Epsilon-6 rocket was carrying eight payloads, including commercial satellites which were supposed to pave the way for JAXA’s entry into the private satellite sector. The launch was also supposed to mark the final iteration of the Epsilon-6 before the agency began development on the Epsilon-S, which is planned to launch later this year. (Al Jazeera)
- Warner Bros TV Layoffs: Studio Cuts 26% Of Workforce, Unscripted & Animation Divisions Merge Functions (Deadline)
- Smashing success: NASA asteroid strike results in big nudge (AP)
- Court win for man fired for not keeping webcam on (BBC)
- Gas Drilling Is Disrupting Animal Migration (Wired)
- Lake Mead water crisis is exposing volcanic rock from eruptions 12 million years ago (CNN)
- The Supreme Court meets Andy Warhol, Prince and a case that could threaten creativity (NPR)
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