Lawmaker chastised for wearing hoodie in House

Posted March 28, 2012, at 8:37 p.m.

WASHINGTON — Rep. Bobby Rush donned a hoodie during a speech on the House floor Wednesday deploring the killing of Florida teenager Trayvon Martin, receiving a reprimand for violating rules on wearing hats in the House chamber.

The Illinois Democrat spoke out against racial profiling and, as he removed his suit coat and pulled the hood on the sweatshirt he was wearing underneath over his head, saying “just because someone wears a hoodie does not make them a hoodlum.”

Rush was interrupted by the presiding officer, Mississippi Republican Gregg Harper, who reminded him that the wearing of hats was not allowed and “members need to remove their hoods or leave the floor.”

On Tuesday the 17-year-old Martin’s parents spoke on Capitol Hill at a Democratic-sponsored panel on racial profiling.

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Rush founded the Illinois chapter of the Black Panthers in 1968 and served six months in prison for illegal possession of weapons when he was in his 20s. He went on to get a political science degree from Chicago’s Roosevelt University, won a seat on Chicago’s city council in 1983 and was elected to Congress from Chicago’s South Side in 1992. In 2000 he defeated Barack Obama, then a state senator, in a primary battle for Rush’s seat.

Rush lost a son to a shooting in 1999 and has been a strong advocate for victims of gun violence.

Heart attack victims cut risk with 2 drinks, Harvard study says

Men who have two drinks a day after surviving a first heart attack have a lower risk of death from heart disease than nondrinkers, Harvard researchers said, adding to evidence that moderate alcohol use may be healthy.

Men who survived a heart attack and who drank two alcoholic drinks a day had a 42 percent lower risk of death from cardiovascular disease and 14 percent lower risk of death from any cause during the study compared with nondrinkers, according to a study led by Jennifer Pai, an assistant professor of medicine at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School. The study followed 1,818 men for as many as 20 years from the time of their first heart attack.

The results, published Wednesday in the European Heart Journal, add to other studies that have observed the positive effects of moderate drinking. People who have one drink or fewer each day are 14 percent to 25 percent less likely to develop heart disease compared with those who don’t imbibe, Canadian researchers said last year. Until now, data on whether it can also help heart attack survivors have been limited and conflicting, according to Pai.

Jet Blue pilot suspended, charged after meltdown

NEW YORK — Federal authorities on Wednesday charged a Jet Blue pilot whose midair meltdown on a New York-to-Las Vegas flight forced his co-pilot to lock him out of the cockpit and make an emergency landing while passengers restrained the distraught captain.

The pilot, Clayton Osbon, was charged with interfering with a flight crew by the U.S. attorney in Amarillo, Texas, where the plane made its emergency landing, The Associated Press and Amarillo.com reported.

Osbon’s rant began when the flight was more than three hours into its journey. Witnesses, several of whom recorded video of the incident, said the pilot became enraged after he was locked out of the cockpit by his co-pilot, who had become worried by the captain’s erratic behavior. A passenger on the jet who was an off-duty pilot entered the cockpit and helped land the plane as several passengers used their belts and plastic handcuffs to hold down Osbon. Osbon was taken off the jet in Amarillo and hospitalized.

Jet Blue said the FBI was investigating the incident, which it said appeared to be more the result of a medical issue than security-related.

Afghanistan shows little progress in treatment of women, group says

KABUL, Afghanistan — A leading human rights group on Wednesday denounced the longstanding Afghan practice of jailing rape victims and girls or women who flee forced marriages, and called on the government to begin making a much more meaningful effort to enforce laws aimed at protecting women’s rights.

The report by the New York-based group Human Rights Watch comes amid rising fears that the plight of Afghan women will worsen as the NATO force winds down its military role and the United States and the Afghan government seek to draw the Taliban and other insurgent groups into peace negotiations.

About 400 Afghan women are imprisoned for “moral crimes” including running away from home or having sex outside marriage, provisions often used to prosecute victims of sexual assault or women who defy their families and try to marry someone of their own choosing. While the number of such cases resulting in jail terms has dropped in recent years, Human Rights Watch called for those now serving sentences to be released.

Interviews conducted by the group with dozens of jailed women solicited wrenching tales of abusive marriages, being forced to wed in order to pay off family debts, or victims being accused of wrongdoing by judges and prosecutors when they tried to report attacks against them. Police also routinely return women who try to escape domestic abuse to their families, sometimes prompting even worse punishments.

UN chief urges Syria to stem continuing violence

BEIRUT — Activists reported continuing violence in Syria on Wednesday, with heavy fighting in the central province of Hama, as U.N. chief Ban Ki-moon urged the government to implement proposed measures to end the conflict.

Intense clashes broke out as Syrian troops tried to subdue a rebel-held town near the city of Hama, according to Rami Abdulrahman of the London-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights. Four civilians, five soldiers and five armed opponents of the government were killed, Abdulrahman said, as army tanks directed heavy artillery fire at the town of Qalaat al-Madiq.

The Local Coordination Committees activist group also reported clashes near the cities of Daraa, in the south, and Homs in the north, reporting 20 deaths in total in the course of the day, though Abdulrahman set the figure at 17, with seven civilians, five armed rebels and five soldiers killed. The numbers were not possible to verify independently because of the restrictions Syria imposes on journalists’ access.

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