Thursday News: Trump's America

SECOND HANGMAN'S NOOSE LEFT IN AFRICAN-AMERICAN MUSEUM AT SMITHSONIAN: Tourists found a noose Wednesday on the floor of the National Museum of African American History and Culture, the second left at a Smithsonian site in less than a week, officials said. The gallery containing an exhibit on segregation was closed for about three hours while U.S. Park Police investigated the incident in the nation's capital, Smithsonian officials said. "The noose has long represented a deplorable act of cowardice and depravity — a symbol of extreme violence for African Americans, ..." Bunch said. "This was a horrible act, but a stark reminder of why our work is so important." Another noose had been found Friday on the grounds of the Hirshhorn Museum, which features contemporary art and culture.

KATHY GRIFFIN LOSES GIG WITH CNN OVER TRUMP BEHEADING PICTURE: Kathy Griffin continues to drown in backlash over a gruesome photo shoot that enraged President Donald Trump, drew widespread bipartisan criticism and has now cost Griffin her longtime New Year's Eve co-host job with CNN. Griffin's firing by CNN came hours after she apologized for the shocking picture in which she was seen holding a prop of Trump's bloody, severed head. In a video posted on social media, Griffin said she crossed the line and that the image was too disturbing. "I sincerely apologize. I am just now seeing the reaction of these images," the 56-year-old comedian and reality TV star said of the picture.

CONCEALED-CARRY WITHOUT A PERMIT APPROVED BY COMMITTEE, WILL GET FLOOR VOTE: A House committee voted Wednesday in favor of a bill that would eliminate North Carolina's requirement that people obtain a permit to carry a concealed weapon. House Bill 746 creates "parity" for people who are allowed to carry guns openly but suddenly find themselves on the wrong side of the law if they put on a jacket and cover up their holstered sidearms simply because they lack a concealed carry permit, said sponsor Rep. Chris Millis, R-Pender. Guns purchased through a licensed dealer would still require a federal background check, but those checks aren't required for purchases from non-licensed sellers at gun shows or for private sales. Gun control advocates say the concealed carry permit offers extra backup for those sales and ensures that gun owners have basic safety training.

ANTI-LGBT POSTERS PLASTERED ON WALLS OF ALAMANCE COUNTY HIGH SCHOOL: Posters equating LGBT rights to sin sparked outrage Tuesday at Eastern Alamance High School. “Supporting LGBT ‘rights’ is supporting sin Remember what happened to Sodom and Gomorrah, This is the price for sin,” the posters said. Jeremy Clevenger, a sophomore at Eastern who is openly gay and a member of the school’s Students United club, saw a photo of the poster Tuesday morning on Snapchat and went to Assistant Principal J. Ako Barnes to report it. “I told him, ‘This is not OK. It’s ridiculous. It’s really unnecessary,’ and he told me it’s freedom of speech, so I asked him if we were allowed to go home, type up our own opinion and post it up without permission. … He said, ‘You need permission, and it can’t hurt or threaten anybody,’” Clevenger said.

WAKE COUNTY HIGH SCHOOL STUDENTS HANG BLACK TEDDY BEAR FROM NOOSE TARGETING NEW PRINCIPAL: School officials said four students were responsible for a teddy bear found hanged by a rope from the roof of Wakefield High School next to a sign that said “Make Wakefield Tripp Again #SmartLunch.” The bear and sign were discovered Tuesday morning and were seen by many staff members and students before they were removed, Principal Malik Bazzell said. Parents and students claim the act references the former principal, Tripp Crayton, who was replaced by Bazzell in 2015. Many parents, who did not want to be identified over concerns of how it may affect their children at school, were upset about the incident and said they believe it was racially motivated.