April 21, 2016

WASHINGTON (AP) House Republicans sidestepped the divisive fight over displays of the Confederate battle flag at the U.S. Capitol with plans to put up state coins instead.

Rep. Candice Miller, R-Mich., who heads the House Administration Committee, announced Thursday that reproductions of commemorative quarters depicting the 50 states, District of Columbia and the territories will line the wall between the Capitol and the Rayburn House Office Building.

''A print of each state's commemorative coin will be tastefully displayed for this highly trafficked area, as each quarter serves as a reminder of the ideals, landmarks and people from each state, as well as this nation's great motto, `out of many, one,''' Miller said in a statement.

The walls previously displayed state flags, and Mississippi's includes an image of the Confederate battle flag. Democrats complained last year that the flag celebrates a murderous, racist past in the nation's history. The Republican-controlled House was forced to scrap a vote on permitting the Confederate flag at Park Service-run cemeteries in a fierce fight over the issue.

Last July, South Carolina removed the confederate flag from statehouse grounds after 54 years, a move that came weeks after nine people at an historic black church in Charleston had been shot and killed.

The Confederate battle emblem has been on the Mississippi flag since 1894, and voters chose to keep the design in 2001. Since the Charleston slayings, several Mississippi cities, counties and colleges have stopped flying the banner.

Rep. Bennie G. Thompson, D-Miss., welcomed the decision, saying the ''symbols of hatred and bigotry'' will no longer be displayed in the esteemed halls of the U.S. House.

''I can only hope that this understanding will somehow reach the hearts and minds of the elected officials in the state of Mississippi, and they will follow suit and rid our state of this ultimate vestige of slavery and bigotry,'' Thompson said.

Miller said that given the ''controversy surrounding confederate imagery, I decided to install a new display.''

The chairwoman said lawmakers could display their state flag alongside the American flag outside individual offices.


Democratic Rep. Mike Honda is lashing out at former Boston Red Sox pitcher Curt Schilling for his comments on Facebook about transgender people.

ESPN on Wednesday fired Schilling, a baseball analyst on the network, for his comments, saying his conduct was unacceptable. Honda said in a statement Thursday that Schilling's social media posting was personal and directed at the California lawmaker and his transgender grandchild.

''Apparently, posting hateful and derisive memes was not enough for Mr. Schilling, who through his Twitter account went on to call me `a coward' for standing with my grandchild and the transgender community,'' Honda said.

Honda spent time as a young child in a Japanese-American internment camp during World War II and alluded to this in his statement.

''Mr. Schilling, having a bloody sock is nothing compared to being put in a prison camp for three years by my own country just because of my ancestry,'' Honda said. ''... I've dedicated my life to fighting for the expansion of civil rights for all and protecting the diversity that makes our country so rich, while you got rich playing a sports game.''

Honda was referring to Game Six of the 2004 American League championship when Schilling pitched against the Yankees despite an ankle injury, evident by blood on his sock.

After the ESPN decision, Schilling did not immediately respond to a text message sent to the telephone number he had when he pitched for the Red Sox.

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