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What can Eric Holder do for Ferguson?

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U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder arrived in Ferguson, Missouri, on Wednesday with clear objectives: investigate the officer-involved shooting of Michael Brown, ensure that there were no federal civil rights laws violated and help ease tensions the city.

Holder met with residents, community leaders and the Brown family hoping to, in his words, exert "a calming influence" through dialogue and face-to-face meetings. (Video via KSHB)

But it's not every day the nation's top law enforcement official and legal adviser to the president comes to visit. And given the circumstances, many people seem to have a few ideas of their own about what Holder needs to be doing with his time.

"What they need to hear from this black man in this position ... is that they need to stay out of trouble with the law. They need to pull up their pants, finish school and take care of their kids." 

>> Special section: Social unrest in Ferguson, Missouri

That was Wall Street Journal editorial board member Jason Riley specifically addressing how Holder should deal with "looters and rioters" in Ferguson amid consecutive nights of chaos. 

A Salon writer suggests this is Holder's moment to address racial inequity on a larger scale: "It’s time to utter the three words that have inflicted more racial injustice against black men than any other three words in the English lexicon: prison industrial complex." 

There's lots of talk about Holder trying to calm racial tensions. A Cornell University law professor told NBC,"He'll be able to mediate between the law enforcement community, which obviously sees Holder as being the highest law enforcement official in the country, and the African-American community, which knows that Holder is one of the highest ranking African-American officials in the whole country. ... That's not an explicitly legal function. It's more of a socio-political function."

But what sort of tangible action can Holder take to really influence things in Ferguson? 

Politico writer says some of what Holder can do is already being done: he's ordered an investigation, he's ordered (another) autopsy and he can take action against the Ferguson PD if he finds that they've been "violating people’s rights." But the writer adds, beyond that, Holder's authority is limited. 

>> Read more trending stories

If Holder were to take over the investigation to prosecute officer Darren Wilson, a Christian Science Monitor writer says that would be a mistake. "Legal analysts stress that a state prosecutor has significantly more flexibility to tailor a charge to a particular crime. ... In contrast, federal law would require Holder’s prosecutors to prove significantly more. ... Prosecutors would have to prove that Wilson deliberately acted with evil intent to deprive the teenager of his rights."

And Holder does have more political leeway to talk about race than, say, President Obama. The president has been criticized in the past for speaking about race, such as when he made remarks following the shooting death of Trayvon Martin.  

But a Bloomberg correspondent says Holden can't seem biased, either. 

Peter Cook: "He has to walk a very fine line because he can't appear to take sides in this, just like the president. He has to appear that he hasn't conducted a rush to judgment."

Meanwhile, a grand jury examined evidence in the shooting death of Michael Brown Wednesday, but St. Louis County Prosecuting Attorney Robert McCulloch told reporters it could be as long as two months before we know if charges will be brought against Wilson. 

This video contains images from Getty Images.

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  • After hours of negotiations that featured personal intervention by President Donald Trump, Republican leaders in the Congress were forced to back off a planned vote on a GOP health care bill, unable to find enough votes approve it and send it on to the Senate for further work. While House leaders said votes were possible on Friday, there was no final agreement to vote on, as more conservative members of the House Freedom Caucus refused to get on board with a deal offered by the White House. “We have not gotten enough of our members to get to yes,” said Rep. Mark Meadows (R-NC), the chair of the Freedom Caucus. “I am still a no at this time,” Meadows told a crush of reporters. “I am desperately trying to get to yes.” Rep. Mark Meadows: “I am still a no at this time. I am desperately trying to get to yes” https://t.co/cQi0OGdJGY — CNN Politics (@CNNPolitics) March 23, 2017 Other Freedom Caucus members said very little as they exited a Congressional hearing room after a two hour meeting on the health bill, leaving Meadows to get out the message. “No comment,” said Rep. Ron DeSantis (R-FL). “Mark’s got everything,” referring to Meadows. “You know I’m not going express the substance of anything that we talked about in there,” said Rep. Trent Franks (R-AZ) said as reporters trailed him down the hall. Earlier at the White House, there had been optimism after a meeting between Freedom Caucus members and the President. Lengthy standing ovation from the Freedom Caucus when @POTUS walked into the Cabinet Room just now. Big momentum toward #RepealAndReplace. pic.twitter.com/N1FLGAVFMN — Cliff Sims (@CSims45) March 23, 2017 But, there was no deal.
  • Conservative Republicans opposed to the health care reform bill offered by their leadership have forced a delay in a vote on the measure, which was expected to happen Thursday. House GOP leadership announced they will push the vote back about 2:30 Central Time after a flurry of meetings between Republican members of the Freedom Caucus, moderates pushing the plan, and the White House. The delay is seen as a rebuke of the Trump administration, which has brought pressure to bear in an attempt to bring those more conservative members on board. Those Republicans opposed to the bill in its current form generally want deeper cuts in spending on the program. Some have called it “Obamacare Light,” and say it doesn’t offer enough substantial changes to current law. Those in favor of the bill argue it eliminates the mandate, and puts choice back in the hands of consumers. There’s no official announcement on when House Speaker Paul Ryan might try to reschedule a vote.
  • The CEO of a Connecticut-based marketing firm says job applicants must pass what he has dubbed the “snowflake test” before he will hire them.  In an interview with Stuart Varney on the Fox Business Network, Silent Partner Marketing CEO Kyle Reyes defined a snowflake as “somebody who is going to whine and complain and come to the table with nothing but an entitled attitude and an inability to back their perspective.” Some of the questions on the test include a job candidate’s position and beliefs on America, guns, and police. Reyes said he’s not worried about discrimination lawsuits because he believes the test is really just the same kind of personality assessment that companies do routinely in job interviews. He says roughly 60-percent of applicants have not passed his test. Click here to see the whole “Snowflake Test”.
  • A Tulsa parent is speaking out after she says her daughter had a birth control implant embedded into her arm during a trip from school. >> Read more trending news  Miracle Foster says her parental rights were violated. It all started when her 16-year-old daughter attended a Youth Services of Tulsa lecture about sex education at Langston Hughes Academy. After one of the sessions, the teen and other girls reportedly said they wanted to learn more, and the school arranged for Youth Services of Tulsa to pick them up and take them to a clinic. Rodney L. Clark, the school's principal, says he called Foster to get permission to allow her daughter to go on the trip before they left. Foster says that her daughter then received a three-year Norplant implant at the clinic without her parental consent. Representatives from Youth Services of Tulsa say they do not have to tell a parent about any contraceptives given to minors. Title X federal guidelines allows for teens as young as 12 to receive various forms of contraceptives without a parent's consent. They also said they merely inform and transport teens to the clinics of their choice. They are not involved in the conversations between the teens and the physicians at theses clinics. Foster told FOX23 that she feels that she and her daughter should have had the opportunity to discuss what's best for her.  Clark released a statement Wednesday:  'This was not a field trip. Youth Services of Tulsa does an annual in-service on Sex Education. They offer students an opportunity to contact them on their own for more information. The parent gave her child permission to leave the school. Under Title X once young people are at the clinic and are of reproductive age, they can make decisions on their own without parental consent. As you can understand this situation involves a minor and we do not release information about students. Nevertheless, the student was well within their rights of Title X which is a federal guideline that provides reduced cost family planning services to persons of all reproductive age.
  • President Donald Trump has used his traditional pipeline to the people to help gain support for his plan to abolish Obamacare. >> Read more trending news  Hours before the vote is set to begin, Trump posted a video that spells out what he says were lies given to the American people when the Affordable Care Act went into existence while not explaining what his proposed American Health Care Act, or AHCA, does. Trump also encourages people to call lawmakers to show their support of AHCA. NBC News reported that he does not have enough votes to pass the AHCA, but negotiations went into the night. The House is scheduled to vote on the plan Thursday.