Allegra Kirkland

Allegra Kirkland is a New York-based reporter for Talking Points Memo. She previously worked on The Nation’s web team and as the associate managing editor for AlterNet. Follow her on Twitter @allegrakirkland.

Articles by

One of most inspiring political trends in the wake of the earth-shattering 2016 presidential election is the flood of grassroots energy channeled towards reforming the electoral system to make it better represent the U.S. population.

As TPM reported earlier this year, there have been a number of citizens-led efforts to reform gerrymandering and create fairer districts.

But, at the same time, states have seen several new efforts to pass voter ID laws, restricting access to the ballot.

We rounded up the key ones to keep an eye out for on Tuesday night.

Read More →

Gab, the favored social media network of America’s racists and anti-Semites, was back online Sunday and as full of hate speech as ever.

The site was dropped by hosting provider last weekend after the man accused of killing 11 people in a Pittsburgh synagogue was discovered to have an active account full of threatening, demeaning posts about Jews.

But Epik agreed to take over as the site’s host, as Gab announced in a triumphant Sunday tweet.

“Here is our press release to the media: You failed,” the tweet read. “We are back online. We grow stronger by the hour. Free speech lives at . This is only the beginning. May God have mercy on you for what you people have done this past week. Peace, love, and prayers.”

The site’s feeds quickly filled up with the kind of hateful posts that it has become known for, including posts blaming Jews for the attack on one of their own sites of worship.

“Hey Jews! We’re back on Gab now,” wrote Chris Cantwell, one of the white nationalists arrested for assault following last summer’s “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville, Virginia. “Pretty soon the average citizen is going to figure out that we wouldn’t be having these problems in your absence.”

Gab is run by pro-Trump, anti-political-correctness crusader Andrew Torba. Though Torba, the company’s CEO, insists his site exists simply to encourage “the free flow of information online,” his refusal to moderate content has allowed it to become a cesspool of hate speech.

Rob Monster, founder and CEO of Gab’s new host Epik, defended his decision to “welcome” Gab in a blog post, claiming that “de-platforming is digital censorship.”

Quoting Thomas Paine, Ben Franklin, and Uncle Ben from “Spider-Man,” Monster wrote that he felt confident that Torba will serve as a “responsible steward” of the site.

Read More →

The gunman who killed two women at a Tallahassee, Florida yoga studio on Friday before killing himself was a misogynist extremist with a record of arrests for groping women.

Scott Beierle posted a series of first-person videos on his YouTube account in 2014, calling women “whores” and threatening violence against women who sexually rejected him, as Buzzfeed News first reported.

Tallahassee Police identified the 40-year-old as the man who opened fire at the Hot Yoga Tallahassee studio, killing Nancy Van Vessem and Maura Binkley and injuring five others.

In one video uncovered by Buzzfeed, Beierle name-checked Elliot Rodger, who released a manifesto about his hatred for women before going on a shooting rampage in Santa Barbara, California in 2014. Rodger is lionized in the “incel” or “involuntarily celibate” community.

“I’d like to send a message now to the adolescent males… that are in the position, the situation, the disposition of Elliot Rodger, of not getting any, no love, no nothing,” Beierle said in the video. “This endless wasteland that breeds this longing and this frustration. That was me, certainly, as an adolescent,” he said.

Alek Minassian, who murdered 10 people and injured 15 others in Toronto earlier this year, referenced “the Supreme Gentleman Elliot Rodger” in a Facebook post shortly before his attack.

CBS News reported that Beierle had been arrested at least twice for groping women in public.

Read More →

Police have arrested a man suspected of scrawling anti-Semitic graffiti on the walls of Brooklyn synagogue and setting fires outside of local Jewish institutions, the Associated Press reported Friday.

James Polite, 26, was charged with criminal mischief as a hate crime and making graffiti, according to the AP.

The AP reported that Polite was taken to a psychiatric ward for observation.

The graphic graffiti, which read “Kill all Jews” and “Jews better be ready,” was discovered in the stairwells of Prospect Heights’ Union Temple on Thursday. A scheduled get-out-the-vote event hosted by “Broad City” star Ilana Glazer was canceled as a result.

The AP reported that Polite was also charged with setting fires outside of a yeshiva and Jewish banquet hall in south Williamsburg, which is home to a large concentration of New York City’s Hasidic population.

“Following in the wake of the Union Temple hate incident, antisemitism strikes again, this time in Williamsburg,” City Councilman Stephen Levin wrote on Twitter Friday. ‘Early this morning, the NYPD’s 90th Precinct received reports of fires at seven locations in South Williamsburg, all of them Hasidic shuls or yeshivas.”

These disturbing incidents come as the country is still reeling from last Saturday’s mass shooting at a Pittsburgh synagogue, which left 11 dead. It was the deadliest attack on Jewish people in American history.

Polite is a gay black man who came up in the city’s foster care system before a chance encounter with former City Council Speaker Christine Quinn landed him an internship at City Hall. He was the subject of a 2017 New York Times profile.

This post has been updated.

Read More →