News in Brief: NPR Executives Resign Over Flaps, and More

NPR Executives Resign Over Flaps

After a series of gaffes, both NPR President and CEO Vivian Schiller and NPR Foundation President Ron Schiller (no relation) resigned Wednesday morning, Talking Points Memo reports. Ron Schiller, who planned to depart in May for the Aspen Institute, was also relieved of his forthcoming duties at Aspen, Talking Points Memo adds. The resignation of both Schillers “proved an uncomfortable and unexpected crisis for NPR, which was already under heavy fire from Republicans in Congress who are pushing legislation to cut funding to the public broadcaster.”

Illinois Governor Bans Death Penalty, Commutes Death Sentences of 15

Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn “signed a historic ban on the death penalty in Illinois and commuted the sentences of 15 death row inmates to life without parole,” The Chicago Tribune reports. Writes Quinn in his signing statement: “Since our experience has shown that there is no way to design a perfect death penalty system, free from the numerous flaws that can lead to wrongful convictions or discriminatory treatment, I have concluded that the proper course of action is to abolish it. With our broken system, we cannot ensure justice is achieved in every case.”

Islamophobe Peter King’s Greatest Contradiction: Support of the IRA

US House Rep. Peter T. King (R-New York) may be holding hearings before the House Homeland Security Committee on Wednesday concerning “the radicalization of American Muslims,” which he views as a threat akin to terrorism, but in the past, he actually supported a terrorist organization: The Irish Republican Army, or the IRA, reports The New York Times. The chair of the House Committee on Homeland Security has long been a loud voice against terrorism, and, in his mind, there is a clear connection between terrorism and radical Islam. But when asked about “comparisons between the terrorism of the I.R.A. and that of Al Qaeda and its affiliates, Mr. King said: ‘I understand why people who are misinformed might see a parallel. The fact is, the I.R.A. never attacked the United States. And my loyalty is to the United States.'”

Republicans Leave Hearing Unchanged Over Climate Change’s Human Impact

Despite testimony from five esteemed academics, House Republicans on the Energy and Commerce Committee’s subcommittee on energy and power left unchanged about their doubts over human impact on climate change, The New York Times reports. Democrats on the subcommittee, led by Rep. Jay Inslee (D-Washington) called for a hearing on the subject to delay the passage of the Energy Tax Prevention Act of 2011, which “would overturn the E.P.A.’s [Environmental Protection Agency’s] finding that carbon dioxide and other heat-trapping gases pose a threat to public health and the environment and would bar the agency from writing any regulations to control them.” Inslee, the House’s leading advocate of carbon emission reduction, called out Republican representatives for their doubts, saying: “If Copernicus, Galileo, Newton and Einstein were testifying today,” Mr. Inslee said, “the Republicans would not accept their views until all the Arctic ice has melted and hell has frozen over, whichever comes first.”

Former American Apparel Employee Accuses CEO of Harassment

A former employee of American Apparel “accused the company’s chairman and chief executive, Dov Charney, in a lawsuit of holding her captive and forcing her to perform sexual acts,” The Los Angeles Times reports. In the suit, Irene Morales accuses Charney of “sexual harassment, retaliation, gender discrimination and creating a hostile workplace” and seeks $250 million in damages. Charney has been accused of sexual harassment before, though charges have never been substantiated in court.