LISTEN: Bishop E.W. Jackson says President Obama has ‘unleashed hell on this country’; Criminals ‘radically transformed’ in Houston’s Darrington Prison (BCNN1, 10/19/2016)

1. According to CNET, speaking on the racial strife in the United States, which has become dramatically worse under President Barack Obama, Bishop E.W. Jackson said we are “worse off” because Obama “has unleashed Hell on this country,” and “he’s demonic.” Bishop Jackson, president of STAND (Staying True To America’s National Destiny) and the great-grandson of slaves who lived in Orange County, Virginia, made his remarks at an Oct. 5 Vote Your Values event in Lancaster, Penn., sponsored by the American Pastors Network. During his talk, Bishop Jackson, who graduated with honors from the University of Massachusetts and earned his J.D. from Harvard Law School, said, “My great-grandparents, April and Elijah Jackson, in Orange County, Virginia, were born into slavery, set free after the Civil War – they could not have known that their great-grandson would be a candidate for lieutenant governor of Virginia, and win the Republican nomination.” Jackson was the GOP nominee for lieutenant governor of Virginia in 2013.

2. According to CBN News, Darrington Prison, located about 30 miles outside Houston, Texas, houses some of the most violent offenders in the nation. Yet, behind the walls of the maximum security prison, hard-core criminals are being transformed into messengers of hope. It’s all because of a program offered by Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. “It’s designed for undergraduate students to receive a Bible college degree to prepare them for pastoral ministry,” seminary Dean Denny Autrey said. The idea for the seminary came from Dan Patrick, the state’s lieutenant governor, and state Sen. John Whitemire, after a visit to Louisiana’s notorious Angola prison. Angola has a similar Bible program that has helped change the prison’s long culture of violence. “Angola was the bloodiest prison in America,” Autrey told CBN News. “Since the Bible college has come there, they’ve reduced their crime inside the prison by 72 percent, so the idea basically is to change the culture by changing the heart with the message of the gospel.”

3. According to CNS News, the new Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of African American History and Culture’s tagline is “powerful moments in African American history, culture, and community.” However, the museum – with a $540 million price tag funded 50 percent by U.S. taxpayers and with a collection of more than 36,000 artifacts and 100,000 people represented – doesn’t include many prominent blacks, including Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas and Edward Brooke, a Republican who became the first African American to be elected to the U.S. Senate by popular vote in 1966. After touring the new museum and exploring the website, which contains information on all the exhibitions in it, asked the Smithsonian why Thomas, Brooke and eight other prominent men and women are not included in the museum. Linda St. Thomas, chief spokesperson for the Smithsonian, replied: “There are many compelling personal stories about African Americans who have become successful in various fields, and, obviously, Associate Justice Thomas is one of them,” St. Thomas said in an email. “However, we cannot tell every story in our inaugural exhibitions. “We will continue to collect and interpret the breadth of the African American experience,” St. Thomas said.

4. According to Chicago Tribune, former Chicago Alderman Sandi Jackson completed her one-year prison term on Tuesday, Bureau of Prisons records show. She and her spouse, former U.S. Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr., were convicted in 2013 after he took about $750,000 from his campaign treasury to pay for vacations, luxury goods, celebrity memorabilia and other items. She failed to report much of the income on the couple’s tax returns over many years. Once a Democratic power couple, the two resigned their offices before entering guilty pleas in federal court in the nation’s capital. In the months ahead, both Jacksons will be on parole, or what technically is called supervised release.

5. According to Daily Signal, an active community member and a cultural liaison in his hometown of St. Paul, Minnesota, it was only natural for Rashad Turner to take on a leadership position with Black Lives Matter. So when the opportunity came to organize a local chapter, he took it. But even Turner will admit that some of the tactics he employed while heading Black Lives Matter St. Paul were controversial. His chapter caused disruption, blocked trains, and almost shut down a marathon. His actions fueled resentment among police, with some accusing him of inciting violence. The tipping point occurred in August, when outside the Minnesota State Fair, Turner and his St. Paul Black Lives Matter chapter were caught on video chanting, “pigs in a blanket, fry ‘em like bacon,” referring to police. The video caused a national controversy, and at the time, Turner defended it. Today, looking back, Turner expressed a sense of regret. “I stand by every human being’s right to free speech,” Turner said, “but of course there are times when we all wish things had been said differently.”

6. According to Reuters, National Basketball Association star Derrick Rose was cleared by a federal court jury on Wednesday of accusations in a $21.5 million civil lawsuit that he and two friends drugged and gang-raped his former girlfriend in 2013. The predominantly white jury of six women and two men deliberated for about three hours before unanimously rejecting the allegations against the 28-year-old, three-time NBA All-Star guard and his two co-defendants, all of whom are black. “The system worked,” Rose’s lawyer, Mark Baute, told reporters outside the courthouse, adding that “media reporting in this case was biased against a black man.” He did not elaborate.

7. According to USA Today, the first lady kicked off the Obamas’ final state dinner decked in gold. Michelle Obama donned a stunning rose gold off-the-shoulder Atelier Versace gown to welcome Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi and his wife, Agnese Landini, Tuesday night. The Italian state dinner included a helping hand from celebrity chef Mario Batali. Batali pitched in with the White House kitchen crew to prepare a menu that included sweet potato ravioli with browned butter and sage, warm butternut squash salad, beef pinwheels and broccoli rabe. Celebrity guests included Giorgio Armani, Mario Andretti, Rachael Ray, Jerry Seinfeld, Frank Ocean, John Turturro and Chance the Rapper. Gwen Stefani was expected to perform after the meal.