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Take A Quiet Moment To Watch This

One of the victims of last night's devastating church shooting in Charleston was the congregation's pastor, state Sen. Clementa C. Pinckney. He was 41 years old and had served in the state legislature for nearly 20 years. I didn't know him, but the reactions rolling in begin to give you a sense of the esteem in which he was held. Below is video of a wonderful talk he gave a couple of years ago at his church -- Mother Emanuel -- about its history and role in the African American community.

Standing near where he would later die, Pinckney said in his stentorian voice, "Where you are is a very special place in Charleston ..."

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Latest from Charleston

1:05 AM: A press conference is underway in Charleston. Latest reports say nine are dead in the church shooting, at least one injured.

1:10 AM: Police say the bomb threat is now over.

1:12 AM: Reverend Clementa Pinckney, the pastor at the Emanuel AME Church, as well as a state senator, was killed in tonight's shooting, along with eight others.

1:32 AM: The most pressing and on-going part of this story is that the alleged gunman is still at large.

9 Dead

Charleston Mayor Joseph P. Riley has confirmed to the AP that nine are dead at the Emanuel AME Church.

What We Know So Far

I want to back up for a moment and put together what we know as of now about this mass shooting in Charlestown, along with the context which can be lost in the rat-tat-tat of on-going updates.

At about 9 PM this evening a 21-year-old white man, slender and clean shaven, entered the oldest black congregation south of Baltimore and opened fire on parishioners, shooting nine people. Police have now said there were "multiple" fatalities but have released no more details.

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BREAKING: Mass Shooting at Historic Black Church in Charleston

Police have a manhunt underway for a 21-year-old white man who allegedly entered the historic Emanuel AME Church and opened fire on parishioners. There are apparently multiple gunshot victims but no confirmed word on the number of victims or the severity of injuries. The church is an historic black church which traces its history back to 1816.

Late Update: The Post and Courier cites "unconfirmed reports" of eight people shot with "serious injuries."

Late Update 11:59 PM: The Post and Courier is now reporting more definitively nine people shot with an unspecified number of fatalities.

Late Update 12:09 AM: Charlestown authorities have now confirmed "multiple" fatalities.

Late Update: 12:16 AM: There was apparently a bomb threat soon after tonight's shooting, complicating the manhunt and investigation and also leading police to evacuate the area ... Note: >> No connection is certain but the mastermind behind one of the most storied attempted slave revolts in Southern history, Denmark Vesey, was one of the founders of this church. And Tuesday was the anniversary of the date of the planned insurrection ... Here is the history of the church from its website.

Interrogating the Phony History of the US-Israel Alliance

As is so often the case, JJ Goldberg of The Forward provides clarifying correctives to the Oren oped and the storm it's generated. First he mentions something that occurred to me as well. The Journal subtly but dramatically changed the meaning of Oren's attack with its headline. Oren said Obama "abandon[ed] the two core principles of Israel's alliance with America." The Journal glosses that as "How Obama Abandoned Israel." Big difference.

But what are these two principles Oren claims Obama abandoned? The so-called policy of "no daylight" - no public disagreements between Israel and the US on core security issues and "no surprises", which is what it sounds like, both sides brief the other side before taking actions. Don't catch the other party off guard.

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