Sean Toon, a white McKinney resident who has been vocal about defending his decision to call 911 on a group of predominantly African American school children having an end-of-year party, became the butt of a Twitter joke Monday evening.
Toon, who also defends the actions of McKinney police Cpl. Eric Casebolt, who is seen in a video of the incident barrel rolling onto scene and attacking a 15-year-old, bikini clad girl, has been all over the news. He has been posting himself at the scene holding signs supporting the officers. He has been quoted in articles about the racially-charged incident, saying things like this to USA Today:
“Watching 30 seconds or seven minutes of a clip, it doesn’t tell the whole story. I think he did what he thought he had to do to control the situation.”
Reflecting that white residents called police because many of the party goers were African American, Twitter erupted Monday evening with the hashtag #SeanToon911, a round up of black people doing exemplary or mundane things, only to have Sean Toon call 911 because of the fact they are black. Here are some examples of the funnier tweets.
McKinney, Texas police Cpl. Eric Casebolt resigned from his position on Tuesday, amid increasing calls for his ouster from the department, WFAA-TV reported.
City Attorney Jane Bishkin confirmed his resignation on Tuesday evening.
Casebolt, who was named the department’s “Officer of the Year” in 2008, was suspended after video surfaced late last week of him tackling 15-year-old Dajerria Becton and pulling his gun out against two other black teenagers while responding to a dispute involving a local pool party.
As the footage spread online, local civic groups called for his firing, while the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) demanded a full investigation of his actions.
Casebolt’s departure came a night after hundreds of demonstrators attended a rallycalling for him to be fired.
State policies designed to thwart the implementation of the Affordable Care Act have translated into fewer people getting connected with health care, suggests a new study from Harvard University researchers. Specifically, in the states where lawmakers have worked to undermine the law, poor residents are more likely to be unaware about how they could benefit from Obamacare.
The study, published this week in the Health Affairs journal, examined three red states with historically high rates of uninsurance: Kentucky, Arkansas, and Texas. Lawmakers in those states have all taken varying approaches to Obamacare implementation.
Kentucky is one of the only Southern states that wholeheartedly embraced the law. Lawmakers there agreed to expand Medicaid, created a successful state marketplace, and supported volunteer outreach efforts to teach people about how to enroll in coverage. Arkansas, meanwhile, agreed to compromise on a nontraditional Medicaid expansion and a joint federal-state marketplace, while enacting some limits on outreach efforts. Texas took the most stringent approach, refusing to expand Medicaid or set up a state marketplace while passing tough restrictions on Obamacare volunteers.
According to the Harvard researchers, those state policy decisions “appeared to have had major impacts on enrollment experiences among low-income adults.” Application and enrollment rates — as well as reports of general satisfaction with the enrollment process — were highest in Kentucky, lower in Arkansas, and lowest in Texas. And in each state, at least half of low-income residents had heard nothing about the law’s coverage expansion.
The study found that low-income Americans’ success in signing up for Obamacare had a lot to do with whether they had adequate help navigating the enrollment process, which was plagued with technological glitches when Obamacare’s marketplaces first launched. The participants who received enrollment assistance from so-called “navigators,” the volunteers tasked with helping uninsured people sign up for new plans, were nearly 10 percentage points more likely to successfully get connected with coverage under the law.
But not every state has provided that assistance. Over the past several years, placing restrictions on navigators has emerged as one of the most popular state-level tactics to undermine Obamacare. In at least 17 states across the country, GOP lawmakers have enacted legislative barriers that make it harder for navigators to do their jobs. When these state laws first started emerging in 2013, consumer advocates warned they would translate into fewer people receiving the proper education about the brand-new health care reform law — ultimately suppressing enrollment among the population that could benefit from Obamacare the most.
Two years later, the new study provides some evidence that this situation is unfolding exactly as predicted.
“Navigators and application assistance programs appear to be a valuable approach to improving the effectiveness of the coverage expansion, and states enacting restrictions on these programs are likely harming their low-income residents’ ability to obtain coverage,” the Harvard researchersconclude.
“It’s definitely been an uphill battle,” Mimi Garcia, the Texas director for Enroll America, a group aligned with the White House that has focused on helping Americans sign up for Obamacare, told Kaiser Health News this week. She pointed out that, even if navigators are able to get around the state-imposed restrictions that stifle their volunteer efforts, they still have to contend withmisconceptions about the law stemming from the state lawmakers who bash Obamacare.
Anti-Obamacare politicians have rarely been candid about the fact that, on a practical level, their opposition to the law translates into fewer people getting access to health care. But, when it comes to state-level restrictions on education and enrollment campaigns, there certainly appears to be a correlation. Previous studies have found that patients are less likely to get accurate information about Obamacare in states where the governor opposes the law.
“The prospect that millions of Americans will soon gain affordable health coverage is so threatening to Obamacare opponents that they are now persisting in unprecedented obstruction of the law,” Ron Pollack, the president of Families USA, an organization that supports the Affordable Care Act, told the Washington Post back in 2013. And that effort has been pretty successful.
Fox host Megyn Kelly said Monday evening that the 14-year-old black girl who was thrown around and sat on by a police officer in McKinney, Texas, was “no saint.” Kelly’s comment was one in a series aimed at justifying police conduct outside the neighborhood pool party.
Video of the incident, which spread over the weekend, shows McKinney police Cpl. Eric Casebolt manhandling the bikini-clad teenage girl, pulling her by her hair and slamming her face into the ground before sitting on her back. He is also seen yelling profanity at other black teenagers, telling them to sit on the grass or leave the area, even pulling out a gun and chasing two boys with it in hand.
1. Attack The Victim
Police officer Cpl. Eric Casebolt wrestles a teenage girl to the ground.
CREDIT: SCREENSHOT/FOX NEWS
News coverage on Fox in the days since the video surfaced has repeatedly attempted to justify Casebolt’s actions and distract from accusations of racial profiling by shifting the blame to the young teenagers involved.
Neighborhood resident and witness Sean said on the Kelly File that the officer had to match the aggression of an already chaotic situation to “calm the crowd down.” Sean declined to disclose his last name out of concern for his safety. Others on the show echoed his statement that the officer was forced to act the way he did because of the rowdy environment. “They were just doing the right thing when these kids were fleeing,” an anonymous witness said.
Radio host Richard Fowler, who was also on the show, noted that the kids were “fleeing” because the era of police brutality and racial profiling rightfully scared them into running away. Kelly interrupts and responds “The girl was no saint, either. He had told her to leave, and she continued to linger.” A panelist on Hannity said, “You can get yourself out of these situations if you just comply.”
Other accounts, however, say the crowd was already dispersing and the situation was calming down by the time the officers arrived. According to Brandon Brooks, the teenage boy who filmed the viral video, a fight between two middle-aged white women and a young black woman occurred a few minutes before the police reached the pool, leading many people to disperse. Sean admitted that the white adults were not handcuffed and that he saw Casebolt only chase after black people near the pool.
2. Glorify The Officer
Casebolt pulls a black teenager to the ground.
CREDIT: SCREENSHOT/FOX NEWS
Fox hosts have chosen to highlight Casebolt’s “good track record,” informing viewers of his 10-year veteran status and patrolman of the year award.
On Fox’s The Five, co-host Tom Shillue claimed the video wasn’t shocking to him all. “I’m looking at the video and thinking, ‘OK, the cops are breaking up a party, these guys are great.’” Shillue and others have been quick to defend the officer’s actions and discuss possible reasons for his conduct. Sean said on the Kelly File that Casebolt ran out of handcuffs, so he had to sit on the girl to wait for officers to bring more to him. “I think if he would have had handcuffs on him, he would’ve been able to cuff this girl, and it wouldn’t have gone this far.” None of the witnesses brought onto the Kelly File said racial profiling was a factor in the officer’s handling of the situation.
What they do not mention in their discussion of Casebolt’s track record is that he’s been sued for racial profiling before. In 2008, a black man arrested by Casebolt filed a lawsuit accusing him and other officers of harassment, sexual assault, racial profiling, and failure to render aid. The lawsuit was later dismissed because charges on the man were still pending. 3. Find ‘Witnesses’ To Reinforce The Narrative
Fox hosts have emphasized the importance of context in understanding the video, but they can’t seem to agree on the reason the pool party escalated to such violence. Witnesses on and off Fox shows have given different explanations. On Fox, guests said the kids were smoking weed, fighting amongst themselves, and generally being rowdy and inappropriate. The party host, however, said in a newer YouTube video that white adults at the pool made racist comments towards them. Host Tatiana said the verbal abuse escalated to a physical altercation between the adults and teenagers at the pool. This information was not shared on Fox.
“Let me be clear,” said resident Benet Embry, “the community I live in is not a racist community.”
An excerpt from Embry’s Facebook post following the incident.
CREDIT: SCREENSHOT/FOX NEWS
Embry, who is African-American, continued to talk about the incident, calling it a pool party that had simply gotten out of control. Guests on the show like former LAPD detective Mark Furman, resident and witness Sean, and an anonymous female witness defended Casebolt’s actions and the neighborhood residents in their decision to call and support the police. Witness stories told on Fox reiterate the narrative that the teenage girl’s unwillingness to obey the officer led him to use force on her.
“This is a great community,” Embry said. “Nobody’s walking around with hooded sheets and burning crosses. Just a normal, average, everyday suburb in America.”
Regardless of their actual feelings, politicians tend to praise their colleagues in public as a matter of decorum, especially those in the same political party.
That’s why it was so surprising when former Sen. Tom Coburn (R-OK), who served 10 years in the Senate and 6 years in the House of Representatives before retiring in January 2015, offered up candidly negative comments about the 2016 Republican presidential field.
In an interview with conservative commentator Andrew Wilkow last week, Coburn trashed nearly every GOPer running for president, calling them “not ready for primetime,” lacking “integrity,” not “capable,” and saying he wouldn’t support one of them even if he won the nomination. Wilkow acknowledged the impact of Coburn’s words, noting that “once you retire, you can speak your mind in a way that might be different than if you were still sitting in the Senate.”
Listen to the interview, with the relevant portion beginning at 5:43:
Here are Coburn’s individual takes on the Republican presidential candidates (emphases added):
Rand Paul: “Scares me to death on international foreign policy. Know him well, very smart. Think he was totally wrong on NSA. Didn’t speak truthfully about what was actually the facts. Would not vote for him for president.”
Marco Rubio: “Of all that are out there right now, probably my favorite.”
Scott Walker: “Not ready for primetime, in my opinion. You look at what happened in Wisconsin in terms of him beating the recall and everything else, he didn’t do that. The Republicans around the country did it for him. They pulled him out of the fire. I just don’t think he’s quite ready for primetime, in my opinion.”
Ben Carson: “I have a personal bone to pick with him on integrity that I witnessed. He made a commitment at the Prayer Breakfast not to attack the president. The speech was nothing but an attack on the president. The people who organized the Prayer Breakfast asked him not to do that. He said he would not, and then he went out and did it.”
George Pataki: “Probably smart enough, but would never encounter the votes. Nor does he have the conservative fiscal credentials or other credentials he would need to have a coalition behind him, in my opinion.”
Rick Perry: “Good guy. I don’t think he’s capable at that level.”
Lindsey Graham: “Love him, but he’s right in the middle, so I don’t see how he builds a coalition. I think his effort is try to talk about foreign policy and that’s what he ought to stick to.”
Carly Fiorina: “Smart lady. I helped her in her Senate campaign of which she was ultimately unsuccessful, but it’s because she could never get into good debates. Smart, savvy, experienced. Knows the issues that I’ve been talking about. Presents well. Doesn’t have a voting record. They’ll trash her bigtime because of her Hewlett-Packard experience.”
Ted Cruz: “Not ready for primetime.”
Mike Huckabee: “Possibility. Good guy, well-rounded. Could fit in the middle and could attract votes from both sides.”
Rick Santorum: “Love him as a man. I think he feels called to try to do this. I don’t think it’s within his reach.”
Chris Christie: “Don’t know. I haven’t followed him well. I saw his tollgate problems. I like the fact that he answers questions correctly, which very few candidates do. I like the fact that he’ll take a risk and give you an answer that’s not politically popular.”
Jeb Bush: “I don’t think America will elect another Bush president. I talk to a lot of liberals all the time. They still loathe George Bush. And so you shut out 47 percent of the electorate with that nomination. So you only get to lose three or four percent. I just don’t think it’s a possibility.”
Coburn has also called out his own party for its relentless quest to defund Obamacare, saying it took them “away from the larger picture.” He also dismissed 2013 legislation designed to defund health care reform as “dishonest” and “hype.” Said Coburn, “It’s a terribly dangerous and not successful strategy.”
Still, lest he come off as a milquetoast conservative, Coburn is still the same man who warned of “rampant lesbianism” in Oklahoma schools, said that breaching the debt ceiling wouldn’t result in a default, believed doctors who perform abortions should be executed, and thought the Second Amendment should allow people to buy bazookas.