The man simply known as “The Greatest” has died. Muhammad Ali inspired millions with his dominance in the ring and his humanitarian efforts outside of it.
He was born Cassius Marcellus Clay Jr. in west Louisville in January 1942. During which time World War II was taking its toll on the world economy and morale. In Louisville, segregation was law. For a young African-American man, obstacles were plenty and opportunities were few.
Clay first stepped into a boxing ring at the age of 12. He took up boxing and showed considerable promise, spending much of his time training in Smoketown.
In 1960, at age 18, Clay won gold at the Rome Olympics. But his return to Louisville was marked with more obstacles. Clay was refused service at a local diner, and rumors circulated that, out of anger, the best amateur boxer in the world tossed his gold medal into the Ohio River.
Later in 1960, Clay took that racial adversity and won his first professional boxing title at Freedom Hall.
Clay called on that inner strength again in 1964 while fighting for the heavyweight championship of the world.
“If Sonny Liston beats me, I’ll kiss his feet in the rain, tell him he’s the greatest and catch the next jet out. That’s what I think about Sonny Liston.”
Ali won, surprising everyone but himself.
One day after his heavyweight win, Clay joined the Nation of Islam and changed his name to Muhammad Ali.
“I would like you to call me by my name now … Muhammad. Muhammad Ali.”
Soon after, Ali was forced to fight an opponent that didn’t wear boxing gloves. In 1967, the war in Vietnam had escalated. For religious reasons, Ali refused the draft three times.
“My intention is to box and win a clean fight. But the war, the intention is to kill.. kill.. kill.”
He was arrested, convicted and banned from boxing. Three years later, the United States Supreme Court reversed Ali’s conviction, allowing him back in the ring.
“I’m gonna float like a butterfly, sting like a bee. His hands can’t hit what his eyes can’t see.”
Ali rumbled in the jungle, thrilled in Manilla and quickly regained his heavyweight title — the first to accomplish such a feat after a three year absence. It was yet another obstacle overcome by Ali.
He retired in 1981 with 56 wins and 37 knockouts. He is the greatest.
Ali dedicated his life to helping others.
He once said, “Service to others is the rent you pay for your room here on earth.” It’s a sentiment Ali lived by.
Long before he retired from boxing, and consistently since, Ali’s athleticism took a back seat to his humanitarianism.
“I think he was probably one of the first athletes to do humanitarian work. If you think about his first professional fight, he gave his money to Kosair Children’s Hospital, so that began the long journey of humanitarianism,” Greg Roberts, with the Muhammad Ali Center, said.
In the 1960s and 1970s, Ali held exhibition fights to benefit hospitalized veterans and used proceeds from fights to send aid to drought-stricken nations in Africa.
During the first Gulf War, Ali traveled to the Middle East, of his own accord, to seek the release of 15 hostages. The hostages were freed as a result of his intervention.
In Louisville, he made numerous anonymous tuition grants to local colleges.
That means many of the people who received the grants never knew their education had been paid for by Ali.
He even traveled to Afghanistan on behalf of the United Nations as a messenger of peace.
“When you talk about the legacy of Muhammad Ali, there are so many things, so many lessons, that this man understood innately, that were just part of the fabric and core of his being. It serves as a blueprint or a road map for children, for adults and for so many of us,” Ali’s wife, Lonnie Ali, said.
The Muhammad Ali Center
The Muhammad Ali Center opened in November 2005, but it’s only partially a tribute to Ali himself.
“How do you inspire children once Muhammad is gone? What’s going to keep this alive so they can take these lessons that maybe this individual has, and pass this on to children and others to inspire them to be the greatest they can be? That’s why (the Ali Center) is here, it’s not as much a tribute (as a) possibility,” Lonnie Ali said. “Anything is possible; don’t give me excuses, don’t offer excuses, don’t find excuses, stop making excuses — just get out there and do it.”
Local leaders and athletes honored Muhammad Ali at a ceremony in Louisville in February 2000. They spoke of Ali’s achievements, calling the former boxing champ a hero for encouraging so many other people to purse their dreams.
“He’s a treasure to the city and the state, but he’s also a treasure to the world and we’ve been given the privilege to protect Muhammad’s legacy,” Roberts said.
Muhammad Ali Honors
Muhammad Ali was considered one of the most recognized sports figures in the world.
He received numerous awards over the years for his work inside and outside of the ring.
Ali was inducted into Kentucky’s Athletic Hall of Fame, and in 1999 he was honored with a special Athlete of the Century Award.
In 2005, Ali received the presidential Medal of Freedom; in 2009, he received the NAACP President’s Award; and Sports Illustrated named Ali the ‘Sportsman of the Century.’
Ali’s story isn’t about being the greatest, it’s about finding the greatness within.
Amber Guyger Guilty of Murdering Black Neighbor Botham Jean in His Own Home
A former police officer who argued she had a right to use lethal force when she killed an innocent man after mistakenly entering his apartment has been convicted of murder.
Amber Guyger faces a lengthy prison sentence after a jury found her guilty of the murder of Botham Jean in Dallas on 6 September last year – a verdict Jean family attorneys hailed as a significant moment in the battle to hold police accountable.
Guyger is white. Jean was black.
Standing in a packed hallway outside the courtroom in Dallas, attorney Lee Merritt told reporters the ruling was “a huge victory not only for the family of Botham Jean, but as his mother, Allison, told us a moment ago, this is a victory for black people in America”.
He said: “It is a signal that the tide is going to change here, [that] police officers are going to be held accountable for their actions.”
Merritt said the community should not have had to wait “on pins and needles” for the conviction of someone who killed a man who was “completely non-aggressive, sitting at home eating a bowl of ice cream and someone barged into his home and shot him to death.”
He added: “This should have been automatic, anticipated, expected, but it is extremely rare. From this day forward we are pushing so that it’s not rare.”
The jury began deliberating on Monday afternoon and reached a verdict on Tuesday morning, with sentencing to follow. Guyger pleaded not guilty. In Texas, murder usually carries a sentence of five to 99 years in prison but judge Tammy Kemp had allowed the jury to consider convicting the lesser charge of manslaughter.
Jurors, however, decided that Guyger had committed murder.
Ben Crump, a lawyer for the Jean family, told NBC local news, said: “Thank God, finally America saw the humanity of an unarmed black man who was killed in an unjustifiable way and they returned a verdict that is befitting the criminal, cowardly act of this woman, killing Botham Jean in his own apartment.”
Crump added in a press conference: “This is a precedent now that will go forth across America for equal justice for everybody.”
He said the incident underscores the need for better police training and that the verdict was for “so many unarmed black and brown human beings all across America” who died in interactions with police.
Jean, a 26-year-old accountant, had settled down on his couch to watch television and eat some vanilla ice cream when Guyger entered his home. She claimed she mistakenly believed it was hers and thought he was an intruder.
Kemp controversially allowed the jury to consider whether Guyger’s conduct could be justified under Texas’s so-called “castle doctrine”. Expanded in 2007, it is comparable to “stand your ground” laws in other states and allows a civilian to use deadly force if he or she “reasonably believes … [it] is immediately necessary” in certain circumstances, such as during a burglary.
Though Jean was on his own property and Guyger the intruder, seemingly inverting the intent of the law, her attorneys argued she made a “mistake of fact” when she went to the wrong home, making her subsequent conduct reasonable. They said she was tired after a long day and many other residents had found themselves at the wrong unit in the past because signage was unclear and floors looked similar.
“She made a series of horrible mistakes,” Toby Shook, one of her attorneys, said. “The law recognises that mistakes can be made.”
Prosecutors said it was “absurd” to believe the 31-year-old’s “commando-style” behaviour was reasonable, especially given her training as a police officer and status as a more than four-year veteran of the department.
They noted that Guyger failed to retreat and call for back-up, questioned the veracity of her claim to have given Jean verbal commands before firing, and pointed out that after calling 911 she appeared to provide only limited medical assistance as Jean, who was from St Lucia, lay dying from a chest wound.
Rather than feeling tired, prosecutors alleged, she was distracted because she had been “sexting” a colleague. Jean had a bright red mat in front of his door that ought to have been impossible to miss.
Guyger – who was fired by Dallas police – wept while testifying.
“I was scared this person inside my apartment was going to kill me,” she said. “I ask God for forgiveness and I hate myself every single day. I feel like a piece of crap.”
In closing statements, Jason Fine, a prosecutor, called most of her testimony “garbage”. Fine said Jean did not act in a threatening manner, but started to stand up “like a normal reasonable person who has somebody busting into his home, and before he can even get up he is shot dead in his own home.
“Killing this man was unnecessary and unreasonable from start to finish.”
Special security measures were put in place during the trial. Jean’s death sparked protests and demands for justice from activists who cited it as one of a long line of racially charged shootings by a police department that lacks accountability. Though she was off duty, Guyger was still in uniform and used her service weapon when she encountered Jean.
Critics of the department have also claimed Guyger was given preferential treatment. It emerged during the trial that the head of the Dallas Police Association told another officer to shut off an audio-visual recording system inside a patrol car so that he could have a private conversation with Guyger soon after the shooting.
She still faces a civil lawsuit brought by Jean’s family.
Man Dies After Contracting Vibrio from Eating Oysters at North Carolina Coast
A man is dead after contracting a harmful bacteria from eating oysters on the North Carolina coast, according to family friends.
They say David Argay contracted vibrio in Wilmington, but died Thursday at the hospital.
Argay is from Cary, North Carolina.
Vibrio is a bacteria that lives in saltwater. There are 200 recognized species of marine vibrios but only a few can cause significant problems.
According to the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services, vibrio infections are associated with eating raw or under-cooked shellfish such as oysters, clams, shrimp and scallops.
The health department did not release details about when exactly Argay ate the oysters or which restaurant served them to him.
Health officials said these types of infections can be prevented by thoroughly cooking seafood or shellfish especially oysters and not exposing open wounds to seawater.
Most infections occur from May through October when water temperatures are warmer.
The CDC reports vibrio causes an estimated 80,000 illnesses and 100 deaths a year in the United States.
Nancy Pelosi Announces Formal Impeachment Inquiry of President Trump
Faced with new allegations against President Trump and administration stonewalling, Democrats have ended months of caution.
Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced on Tuesday that the House would begin a formal impeachment inquiry of President Trump, opening a fresh chapter of confrontation in response to startling allegations that the president sought to enlist a foreign power for his own political gain.
“The actions taken to date by the president have seriously violated the Constitution,” she said after emerging from a meeting of House Democrats in the basement of the Capitol. Mr. Trump, she said, “must be held accountable. No one is above the law.”
The announcement was a stunning development that unfolded after months of caution by House Democrats, who have been divided over using the ultimate remedy to address what they have called flagrant misconduct by the president.
In this case, with an avalanche of Democrats — including many who had resisted the move — now demanding it, Ms. Pelosi said that Mr. Trump’s reported actions, and his administration’s refusal to share details about the matter with Congress, have left the House no alternative outside of impeachment. The inquiry has the potential to reshape Mr. Trump’s presidency and to cleave an already divided nation only a year before he plans to stand for re-election.
At issue are allegations that Mr. Trump pressured the president of Ukraine to open a corruption investigation of former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr., a leading contender for the Democratic presidential nomination, and his son. The conversation is said to be part of a whistle-blower complaint that the Trump administration has withheld from Congress.
Mr. Trump said on Tuesday that he would authorize the release of a transcript of the conversation, practically daring Democrats to try to find an impeachable offense in a conversation that he has called “perfect.” But Democrats, after months of holding back, demanded the full whistle-blower complaint, even as they pushed toward an expansive impeachment inquiry that could encompass unrelated charges.
“The actions of the Trump presidency revealed dishonorable facts of the president’s betrayal of his oath of office, betrayal of our national security, and betrayal of the integrity of our elections,” Ms. Pelosi said.
In a meeting on Tuesday afternoon, Ms. Pelosi told senior Democrats that the chairmen of the six committees that have been investigating Mr. Trump for various issues would put together their best cases on potentially impeachable offenses by the president and send them to the Judiciary Committee, according to two officials familiar with the conversation. That could potentially lay the groundwork for articles of impeachment based on the findings.
The decision to begin a formal impeachment inquiry does not necessarily mean that the House will ultimately vote to charge Mr. Trump with high crimes and misdemeanors — much less that the Republican-controlled Senate will vote to remove him. But Ms. Pelosi and her leadership would not initiate the process unless they were prepared to reach that outcome.
Ms. Pelosi met privately on Tuesday with the leaders of the six key committees involved in investigations of Mr. Trump, and later huddled with the full Democratic caucus. Her announcement came amid a groundswell in favor of impeachment among Democrats that has intensified since late last week, with lawmakers from every corner of her caucus lining up in favor of using the House’s unique power to charge Mr. Trump if the allegations are proved true, or if his administration continues to stonewall attempts by Congress to investigate them.
More than two-thirds of House Democrats and one Independent have said they now support impeachment proceedings.
The House Judiciary Committee has been conducting its own impeachment investigation focused on the findings of the special counsel, Robert S. Mueller III, as well as allegations that Mr. Trump may be illegally profiting from spending by state and foreign governments and other matters. But that inquiry has never gotten the imprimatur of a full House vote or the full rhetorical backing of the speaker, as Democrats remained divided about the wisdom and political implications of impeaching a president without broader public support.
Now, after the revelation of a conversations between Mr. Trump and President Volodymyr Zelensky of Ukraine in which Mr. Trump pressed the foreign leader to investigate the Bidens, a cascading flood of Democrats has come out in favor of a formal impeachment proceeding.
The shift in outlook among Democratic lawmakers has been rapid, and could yet still turn away from impeachment if exculpatory evidence comes to light. The developments that have turned the tide began less that two weeks ago, when Representative Adam B. Schiff of California, the Intelligence Committee chairman, first revealed the existence of a secret whistle-blower complaint that the intelligence community’s internal watchdog had deemed “urgent” and credible but that the Trump administration had refused to share with Congress.
Democrats have given Joseph Maguire, the acting director of national intelligence, until Thursday to turn over the whistle-blower complaint or risk reprisal. And they have threatened to subpoena the Trump administration for a copy of the transcript of the president’s call with Mr. Zelensky and other relevant documents after Thursday if they are not shared voluntarily.
There were also indications the whistle-blower might not wait around for the complaint to be disclosed. Democrats said on Tuesday that a lawyer for the whistle-blower had informed the committee his client wanted to speak with the House and Senate Intelligence panels, and had requested directions from the office of the director of national intelligence on how to do so.
Tune in as I speak live from the U.S. Capitol. https://t.co/j6UMq4TC5u
— Nancy Pelosi (@SpeakerPelosi) September 24, 2019
Though it has attracted much less fanfare, the Senate Intelligence Committee intends to meet privately with the inspector general and Mr. Maguire later this week to discuss the whistle-blower complaint.
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