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FBI: Bomb placed at MLK Day parade was ‘domestic terrorism’

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Device capable of inflicting ‘multiple casualties’

A bomb left in a backpack on the route of a Martin Luther King Day parade in Spokane, Washington, has been described as being in the “realm of domestic terrorism” by the FBI.

The bomb was found on bench Monday morning at the northeast corner of North Washington Street and West Main Avenue in the city’s downtown core. Spokane police were alerted to its presence before the parade — which was attended by some 1,000 people — got underway.

The parade was rerouted away from the site. A robot and a hazmat unit were used to defuse the device.

The FBI would not say how the bomb was made, or whether it was connected to a triggering device of any kind, but the bureau said the bomb was capable of inflicting “multiple casualties.”

“You could describe it as an improvised destructive device … or improvised explosive device,” FBI special agent Frank Harrill told NBC News.

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“Clearly, the timing and placement of a device — secreted in a backpack — with the Martin Luther King parade is not coincidental,” Harrill told the Spokesman-Review. “We are doing everything humanly possible to identify the individuals or individual who constructed and placed this device.”

Harrill added: “I think the link to the Martin Luther King celebration and march is inescapable. … At that point, it falls directly in the realm and sphere of domestic terrorism. Clearly, there was some political or social agenda here.”

Coming nine days after Rep. Gabrielle Giffords of Arizona was shot in the head in an act many said was politically motivated, the news of a bomb at an MLK Day parade will likely heighten concerns that US politics are treading dangerously close to violent waters.

The FBI has offered a $20,000 reward (PDF) for information leading to a suspect in the incident. The bureau also released photos of the backpack — a weather-beaten Swiss Army brand bag — as well as pictures of two items found inside, one a T-shirt marked with the words “Treasure Island Spring 2009” and another with the words “Stevens County Relay For Life, 2010.”

Agents hope the items may lead to a tip from the public. The FBI are asking members of the public to come forward if they saw an individual carrying such a backpack between 8 a.m. and 9:25 a.m. in downtown Spokane on Monday morning.

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Commentary

Why do conservatives hate Oberlin College so much?

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When I was an undergraduate at Oberlin in the mid-Aughts, there was a student in my class year who was obsessed with 19th-century British Royal Naval culture. Every Friday evening, he would host a sing-along in a dorm lounge, for which he would bring xeroxes of historical sea shanty lyrics and pass them around so that we could sing along, waving our glasses of “grog.” This was a semi-established event — he had distributed flyers around campus advertising the weekly British Royal Naval sea-shanty singalong and grog-drinking event, which would extend late into the night. Though he was not a resident of the dorm where it took place, he was welcomed into the lounge by its members, and became a fixture of sorts.Like many well-endowed liberal arts schools in rural areas, Oberlin College functions as a sort of de facto social welfare state, and is designed to encourage and cultivate one’s passions, even if they are not strictly academic. Thus, after writing up a proposal for the student-run activities board, the same student, the British Royal Navy culture guy, was able to plan, organize and execute a ticketed Royal Naval Ball, held in the atrium of the science center. The event featured 20 dishes of authentic British era-appropriate cuisine, cooked by student chefs, several courses of wine and port, and a violinist present to play period-specific music. The whole affair culminated with a traditional, British partner line dance — its sole inauthenticity the fact that we didn’t pay attention to our dance partners’ genders the way the Brits would have.
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World

Raptors victory: Feel-good multiculturalism masks the reality of anti-Black racism in Canada

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During what was probably one of the most exciting and gratifying moments of his professional life, moments after the Raptors’ NBA finals victory on Thursday, a California sheriff’s deputy stopped Raptors president, Masai Ujiri from walking onto the court for the Raptors’ trophy presentation The deputy carded him and asked him for his credentials.

Even though he is the president of the Toronto Raptors’ basketball team and even though it was his own team’s victory ceremony, as a Black executive, he was treated with suspicion, as if he was trespassing.

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2020 Election

Here are 5 reasons why 2020’s down-ballot races could reshape America’s future

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The political press always tends to focus mostly on the marquee race for the White House but that's especially true this cycle, as Donald Trump runs for a second term. He demands attention and his antics enrage his opponents and delight his supporters in equal measure.

But national reporters risk missing the big picture by centering so much of their reporting at the top when many of the most important political battles in 2020 will take place further down the ballot.

Trump is catnip for reporters and their editors, but the dearth of coverage of downballot races didn't begin with his election. As the news media in general faces structural changes—with print circulation declining and much of their work moving into digital spaces that are more difficult to monetize--publishers have cut back on reporters assigned to the state and local government beat. Nevertheless, Trump has arguably worsened the trend by getting so much airtime— one estimate suggested that over the past four years, Trump has taken up, on average, 15 percent of the entire daily news cycle on the three leading cable networks, nearly three times what Obama did.

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