A teenager from Saratoga, California took home one of the top prizes at the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair late last week after showing off her invention, which can fully charge a cell phone in 30 seconds or less. Eesha Khare was given the Intel Foundation Young Scientist Award and a $50,000 prize for being runner-up in the competition, which was won by a 19-year-old who unveiled a new spin on self-driving car technology. Khare’s battery technology requires a new component to be installed inside the phone battery itself, and Intel notes that it also has potential applications for car batteries.
5 reasons Syria’s war suddenly looks more dangerous
By Tim Lister, CNN updated 5:44 AM EDT, Fri May 10, 2013
CNN) – While the world’s attention was focused on Boston and North Korea, the conflict in Syria entered a new phase — one that threatens to embroil its neighbors in a chaotic way and pose complex challenges to the Obama administration.
What began as a protest movement long ago became an uprising that metastasized into a war, a vicious whirlpool dragging a whole region toward it.
Many analysts believe the United States can do little to influence — let alone control — the situation. And it could make things worse. Fawaz Gerges of the London School of Economics argues against the United States “plunging into the killing fields of Syria … because it would complicate and exacerbate an already dangerous conflict.”
Others contend that if the United States remains on the sidelines, regional actors will fight each other to “inherit” Syria, and hostile states such as Iran and North Korea will take note of American hesitancy. They say inaction has given free rein to more extreme forces.
And in the wake of the strikes against Damascus, apparently by Israeli planes, critics argue that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad is now more vulnerable than ever and U.S. intervention could help finish him off.
Republican Sen. John McCain has revived calls for a no-fly zone. And introducing legislation to arm the Syrian rebels in the U.S. Senate on Monday, Democratic Sen. Robert Menendez said: “There will be no greater strategic setback to Iran than to have the Assad regime collapse, and cause a disruption to the terror pipeline between Tehran and Hezbollah in Lebanon.”
But more than two years since the revolt against al-Assad began, regional analysts say Syria is in danger of becoming the next Somalia, which collapsed into fiefdoms 20 years ago and has been stalked by anarchy, terrorism and hunger ever since. Except Syria would be worse. Its religious and ethnic fault lines extend across borders in every direction; Somalia’s anarchy was largely self-contained. Somalia never had chemical weapons, nor the missiles and modern armor that make Syria one of the most crowded arsenals in the world.
And unlike Syria, Somalia was never central to a titanic struggle between different branches of Islam: Sunni and Shia.
Given that background, here are five reasons Syria’s war suddenly looks more dangerous.
1: Israel and Hezbollah’s proxy war
For two years, Israel has looked on with growing anxiety as brutal repression in Syria has become de facto civil war. Now a high-octane game of regional poker is under way. The Israelis have not admitted carrying out the devastating strikes of last week, but U.S. officials tell CNN they have no doubt Israel was responsible.
Why would Israel suddenly become an active participant? While much has been said about President Barack Obama’s “red line” — that the use of chemical weapons in Syria would make him reassess U.S. involvement — the Israelis have a different threshold: the transfer of advanced missiles to al-Assad’s ally, the Shiite Lebanese militia Hezbollah.
Their main worry, U.S. officials say, was the possible transfer of Iranian-made Fateh-110 missiles, whose accuracy would pose a new threat to Israel. A consignment of these ballistic missiles had recently arrived at Damascus’ airport. Similarly, the second Israeli strike before dawn Sunday was on a “research facility” near Damascus where weapons destined for Hezbollah were kept.
According to Jane’s Intelligence, Iran’s Defense Ministry reported the test firing of an upgraded Fateh-110 last year, and the Iranian Aerospace Industries Organization claimed it had a range in excess of 180 miles (300 kilometers.)
Israel’s motive was not to degrade the Syrian military. It was about sending al-Assad a message (copied to Iran and Hezbollah): “If you try to raise the regional stakes by passing a new generation of short-range ballistic missiles to Hezbollah, the response will be swift and severe.”
Gerges, author of “Obama and the Middle East,” told CNN that we are seeing “an open-ended war by proxy. … On the one hand you have Israel, regional powers and the Western states; on the other hand you have Iran, Hezbollah and Syria.”
Is Syrian war escalating to wider conflict?
Middle East analyst Juan Cole agrees, writing on his blog: “It is not that the Israelis and Hezbollah are in any direct conflict, but they are gradually both becoming more active in Syria on opposite sides. It is an open question how long this process can continue before the conflict does become direct.”
One miscalculation could provoke a wider escalation.
The stakes for Hezbollah are enormous. For nearly 30 years, it has been sustained by Iranian and Syrian support. If Syria becomes a Sunni-dominated state, Hezbollah’s “rear-base” vanishes, and suddenly it looks more vulnerable to its archenemy Israel, one of whose strategic goals is to counter the growing missile threat from the north.
Military analysts believe Hezbollah has an arsenal of some 50,000 missiles and rockets, supported by a sophisticated, hardened infrastructure that would be even harder to uproot than during its last conflict with Israel in 2006. Little wonder that Israel has deployed two of its Iron Dome missile-defense batteries in its northern cities.
Will the Syrians retaliate for the strikes, which they describe as a declaration of war by Israel? To do so would divert resources from the regime’s battle for survival. Not to do so would convey an image of weakness in the face of the “Zionist enemy.”
Al-Assad has a history of not retaliating against Israel, most notably when the Israelis took out what was purported to be a Syrian nuclear installation in 2007. According to Cliff Kupchan with the Eurasia Group, Israel has calculated that “Bashar al-Assad is incapable of fighting on two fronts, that Iran will keep its powder dry for a possible future conflict over its nuclear program, and that Hezbollah will not attempt significant retribution without approval from its sponsors.”
But one risk to Israel is that in weakening the Assad regime, it may strengthen some of the best organized and most potent rebel factions: jihadist groups such as the al-Nusra Front, which has already declared its affiliation with al Qaeda in Iraq.
2: More than ever, it’s sectarian
In the early days of the Syrian uprising, people who were anti- and pro-regime shared one common dread: that Syria would descend, Bosnia-style, into sectarian horror. Now, in the fight to prevail, that has become a reality.
Moderates have been sidelined, and despite efforts to revitalize the opposition’s political leadership in exile there is still no umbilical cord between the government-in-waiting and the fighters inside Syria.
The Free Syrian Army coexists with a strong Sunni jihadi element, while the regime is mobilizing “irregular” Alawite militia and Hezbollah fighters.
Syria’s (largely Sunni) rebels say hundreds if not thousands of (Shia) Hezbollah fighters are now fighting for the Assad regime. Hezbollah’s secretary-general, Hassan Nasrallah, said last week that his party would not stand by and watch the Assad government fall. Regional analysts believe there is a very real risk that along the poorly marked Syrian-Lebanese border, Sunni jihadists will come up against Hezbollah units, setting off a vicious war-within-a-war.
The Syrian opposition sees Iran and Hezbollah everywhere. The head of the UK-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, Rami Abdel-Rahman told the newspaper Asharq al-Awsat that “Iranian and Hezbollah officers are running the operations room in the battle for Homs and are controlling the army operations in the city.”
He warned of “massacres against the Sunni community living in the besieged areas if the army captures these areas.”
Such massacres were reported in the past week in the coastal Sunni enclaves in Baniyas and al-Bayda. The State Department said over the weekend that “regime and shabiha forces reportedly destroyed the area with mortar fire, then stormed the town and executed entire families, including women and children.”
3: Al-Assad goes for broke?
After being on the defensive for months, the Syrian regime has recently launched a series of brutal counterattacks against areas controlled by rebel factions, seeking to restore precious lines of communication and reconnect Damascus with other parts of the country. In so doing, it appears Assad has relied even more on the shabiha — loyalists with an existential stake in the regime’s survival.
As veteran Middle East watcher Anthony H. Cordesman of the Center for Strategic and International Studies has put it: “The Assad regime seems ready to escalate in any way it can to either preserve power or effectively divide the country.”
Among the areas where this counteroffensive has been most intense is Daraya, south of the capital, which has been reduced to ruins on the principle that “if we can’t control it nor shall you.” To the east of Damascus, regime forces have encircled rebels in the Gouta region, relieving the immediate threat to Damascus airport, which is at one end of the critical air bridge between Syria and Iran.
As critical as these areas around Damascus is the town of Qusayr between Homs and the Lebanese border, once home to 50,000 people. Videos uploaded in recent days show the regime pouring artillery fire into the town and conducting airstrikes from above; whole blocks have been demolished. Claims emerged Wednesday from opposition sources of new massacres around the town.
Qusayr sits astride one route to the Syrian coast and another to the Lebanese border. For the rebels, holding Qusayr is important because it’s another way of strangling the regime’s ability to sustain itself, and it complicates Hezbollah’s access to Syria.
The signs are that al-Assad is investing heavily in trying to break the rebels’ hold in key parts of south and central Syria, reversing the gains they had made in a series of hard-won victories last year.
Short of forceful foreign intervention, some military analysts argue for tying al-Assad’s hands behind his back by providing the rebels with more anti-armor and anti-aircraft missiles and a communications infrastructure. More ambitiously, some say the international community should enforce what might be called a “no-move” zone, selectively picking off regime forces from the air or with missiles.
In essence, that’s what NATO’s mission in Libya became. But it would take considerable airpower and the use of facilities across the region to gain control of the Syrian sky. The chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff, Gen. Martin Dempsey, said at the end of April: “The U.S. military has the capability to defeat that system (of Syrian air defenses), but it would be a greater challenge, and would take longer and require more resources” than in Libya.
4: Chemical Weapons
For much of last year, Obama’s “red line” seemed a largely hypothetical one. But as al-Assad’s situation grows more desperate and control of chemical weapons stocks more difficult to guarantee, there are indications that some chemical agents have been used in limited quantities in places like Daraya. The questions are: how much, of what and by whom?
The announcement by a senior U.N. official Monday that rebels may have used sarin gas during an operation near Aleppo in March means this red line is even more difficult to discern. The U.N. commission subsequently said it “has not reached conclusive findings as to the use of chemical weapons in Syria by any parties to the conflict.”
Establishing “custody” and the systematic use of such weapons is very difficult in the absence of monitors on the ground.
A U.S. State Department official on Monday would say only: “We take any reports of use of chemical weapons very seriously and we are trying to get as many facts as possible to understand what is happening.”
But understanding and countering the threat are miles apart. The Pentagon estimated last year it might take 70,000 troops to secure or destroy Syria’s massive stockpiles — and the situation on the ground has deteriorated since then.
In Cordesman’s view, “Any U.S. forces that tried to deal with the chemical weapons in Syria through ground raids would present the problem of getting them in, having them fight their way to an objective, taking the time to destroy chemical stocks, and then safely leaving.”
5: Players and Puppets: Iraq, Turkey, Lebanon and Jordan
Syria is surrounded by neighbors with a stake in influencing the outcome of its civil war. Most — and other more distant states such as Qatar and Saudi Arabia — are backing their own factions as well as supporting the “government-in-waiting.” Now more than ever they feel the force of that whirlpool.
Iraq’s beleaguered Sunni minority is more and more in confrontation with a Shia-dominated government in Baghdad allied to Iran. The Sunni tribes of Anbar and Ramadi have historical connections with their brethren across the border and would welcome a Sunni-dominated government in Syria as a valuable counterbalance to a hostile government at home.
For more than a year, there have been persistent reports of weapons crossing the border to help the Syrian resistance and evidence of co-operation between Syrian and Iraqi jihadists. Resupply convoys headed through Iraq to the Syrian regime have been ambushed in recent months.
In the view of Ian Bremmer, president of the Eurasia Group, “Iraq is teetering back towards civil war, with direct implications for the investment climate across the country, and deepening geopolitical conflict between Iran and the Sunni monarchies” of the Gulf.
Turkey is also growing alarmed at the prospect of a more “Balkanized” Syria. It already has 322,000 refugees on its soil, according to latest figures from the UNHCR, the U.N. refugee agency, with another 100,000 clamoring to cross.
Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan has upped his rhetoric in recent days, criticizing the Israeli strikes but reserving his most passionate denunciation for the Assad regime.
“You, Bashar Assad, will pay for this. You will pay heavily, very heavily for showing courage you can’t show to others, to babies with pacifiers in their mouths,” he told an audience over the weekend.
But Erdogan is struggling to turn indignation into influence. As the International Crisis Group noted in March: Turkey “now has an uncontrollable, fractured, radicalized no-man’s-land on its doorstep.”
The Jordanians know how that feels. They are trying to cope with 450,000 Syrian refugees — equivalent to some 7% of the Jordanian population — growing restless and desperate in makeshift camps. The number in Lebanon has shot up to 455,000, according to the United Nations. In all, the Syrian conflict has generated an extra half million refugees in just two months.
Lebanon — whose sectarian equation mirrors that in Syria — cannot help but be dragged into the war next door. Several Salafist sheikhs in Lebanon have declared jihad against the Syrian regime in response to Hezbollah’s growing involvement. One of them, Sheikh Ahmed Assir, called on Sunnis in the city of Sidon to form brigades to help the resistance in Qusayr. And rocket fire, apparently from the Free Syrian Army, has landed in Shiite areas around the Lebanese town of Hermel.
A land of bad options
Some critics of the Obama administration say there is a moral imperative to intervene in Syria in the face of slaughter (at least 70,000 Syrians have died so far.) In the Washington Post, former Obama adviser Anne Marie Slaughter has recalled the “shameful” failure to confront genocide in Rwanda.
But Cordesman writes: “Syria has become the land of bad options. The Obama administration has reason to hesitate in intervening.”
And Joshua Landis, who runs the blog Syria Comment and is director of the Center for Middle East Studies at the University of Oklahoma, warns that even “a humanitarian intervention will become a nation-building project, as was the case in Iraq.”
With the number of internally displaced now put at 4.25 million people, that would be a huge project.
The dream among diplomats a year ago was that a moderate opposition could be brought together with some regime elements to ease al-Assad from power. As the Syrian war threatens to become a regional one, the United States and Russia are dusting off that option, calling for an international conference within weeks that would be attended by both the government and the opposition.
“The alternative is that Syria heads closer to the abyss, if not over the abyss and into chaos,” said U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry.
By now, it’s an old story: one-half of a high-profile and long-married couple — usually the man, truth be told — admits to having an affair. Sometimes, the couple’s marriage can withstand the infidelity; other times, the breach of trust is too deep, and a split ensues.
David and Holly Petraeus don’t fit the mold, say, of Arnold Schwarzenegger and Maria Shriver, since Holly Petraeus has not been nearly as prominent as her military-hero-turned-CIA-chief husband of 38 years. And we don’t know, yet, whether their marriage will survive.
But what we do know is that while questions of infidelity grab the most headlines, having an extramarital affair is not what’s behind the breakup of most long-term relationships.
The AARP Sex, Romance and Relationships Survey on the sexuality of people 45 and older found that extramarital affairs happen for only a relatively small number of couples. So while infidelity is certainly the precipitating factor in some marriages failing, it’s not the reason in most cases.
Why do so many long-married couples decide to split? How can people be so happy for so long, only to then have the marriage turn sour in what are supposed to be their “golden years” together?
In most cases, the reasons are far less dramatic. Some relationships have been in decline for decades and finally lose all their juice. A marriage doesn’t usually just blow up. It’s more like a balloon that has been seeping air for a long time. After a while, it’s totally deflated.
Another possibility is that a couple’s issues intensify. Most problems are manageable, but then something sends them into hyperdrive. It could be a change in jobs, health, children’s lives, personal ambitions or any number of other triggers. Whatever balance had been achieved is undermined, and with it the ability to handle the issue and still have a decent marriage.
Of course, we’ve all heard the familiar phrase, “We grew apart.” But just because it’s a cliché doesn’t mean it’s not a common cause of divorce or separation among long-time married couples. A typical scenario is where a husband and wife live increasingly different lives: He gets more andmore into his work, she gets more and more into her children, her adult children, her grandchildren. Or she gets ambitious and he wants to relax, cut down, travel, and play golf.
Obama: Republican Outreach Will Continue Even If Democrats ‘Think I’m A Sap’
By JOSH LEDERMAN 04/24/13 10:44 PM ET EDT
DALLAS — A day before sharing the stage with his Republican predecessor, President Barack Obama raised money for Democrats at a supporter’s sprawling home in Texas.
Even as he sought to build up his party on Wednesday, Obama hinted at a more bipartisan tone set to envelop Dallas on Thursday, when the Obamas attend the dedication ceremony for former President George W. Bush’s presidential library. He vigorously defended the Republican whose record as president he derided in both of his presidential campaigns.
“One of the things I will insist upon is that whatever our political differences, President Bush loves this country and loves his people, and shares that same concern, and is concerned about all people in America,” Obama said. “Not just some. Not just those who voted Republican.”
Riffing on immigration, education, gay rights and women’s issues, Obama likened the Democratic Party’s values to those displayed by Americans who rushed to help strangers in the aftermath of the Boston Marathon bombings and the fertilizer plant explosion last week in West, Texas.
“The Democratic Party, at its best, tries to give expression to that,” Obama said.
He lamented that the sense of national unity and communal obligation that often follows such tragedies evaporates so quickly. “Wouldn’t it be something if we could somehow capture and sustain that spirit beyond tragedy?” he said.
Obama and first lady Michelle Obama arrived in Dallas on Wednesday, greeting supporters who gathered to welcome him to this heavily Republican state before headlining a fundraiser for the Democratic National Committee, still millions in debt from fueling Obama’s re-election victory in November.
About 60 donors paid between $10,000 to $32,000 per ticket, said a Democratic official who spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss party finances. Hosting the event was Naomi Aberly, a major Obama fundraiser and prominent supporter of Planned Parenthood who credited Obama for working to protect women’s reproductive rights. Former Dallas Mayor Ron Kirk, who was Obama’s first-term U.S trade representative, also attended.
“Occasionally I may make some of you angry, because I am going to reach out to Republicans. I am going to keep on doing it, even if some of you guys think I’m a sap,” Obama said. “But what I also believe in is that when Democrats have the opportunity to set the agenda and we don’t have a country where just a few are doing really, really well, we have a country where everybody has a chance to do well.”
Obama has made a point on recent trips outside Washington of raising money for his party, following through on a commitment to mount a concerted effort to help Democratic candidates in 2014. With a divided Congress still standing in the way of much of the time, Obama hopes that victory for Democratic candidates next year will shore up prospects for realizing his second-term agenda during his last two years in office.
“Unfortunately, right now, Washington – how do I put this charitably?” Obama said. “It’s not as functional as it should be. It could do better.”
Before returning to Washington on Thursday, Obama will also travel to Baylor University in Waco, Texas, for a memorial service for victims of the fertilizer plant explosion last week in the nearby town of West. The blast left 14 people dead and hundreds more injured.
Speaking on HuffPostLive, Martin–who was recently let go by CNN–said that he had come to the network with every intention of getting his own show. He added that it was never made clear to him why that wasn’t happening, but that he suspected race had something to do with it.
“You have largely white male executives who are not necessarily enamored with the idea of having strong, confident minorities who say, ‘I can do this,’” he said. “We deliver, but we never get the big piece, the larger salary, to be able to get from here to there.”
Martin said that he hosted highly-rated specials for CNN, so he didn’t understand why he wasn’t rewarded.
“If it’s a ratings game, and we won, how is it I never got a show?” he said.
Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell pictured speaking to the press in front of a statue of George Washington at
the Capitol Tuesday, Feb. 5, 2013 in Richmond, Va. McDonnell called for a yes vote on his transportation
bill. The House approved the legislation.(AP Photo/Steve Helber)
RICHMOND, Va. — Virginia law will require all voters to have photo IDs beginning next year.
Gov. Bob McDonnell signed a bill Tuesday that his fellow Republicans said was a safeguard against voter fraud. Democrats bitterly denounced the legislation as a Jim Crow-era tactic to suppress the votes of the elderly, minorities and the underprivileged.
The legislation provides for a free valid ID with the bearer’s photo to any registered voter who lacks one.
Along with signing the legislation, McDonnell issued an executive order directing the State Board of Elections to start a public education program to tell voters about the new requirement before the 2014 congressional and U.S. Senate elections.
“Fareed Zakaria GPS,” Sundays at 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. ET on CNN
February 6th, 2013 11:12 AM ET
Fareed speaks with former U.S. Vice President Al Gore about democracy in the United States and why he thinks the campaign finance system needs an overhaul.
You feel as though a combination of special interests and money have essentially completely corrupted democracy in America.
Functionally corrupted it, yes. You know, we’re told that corporations are people, that money is speech and that might makes right. And we know all of [these] things are contrary to what the United States of America is all about. But because our elected representatives now have to spend most of their time begging rich people to give them money, begging corporations and special interests to give them money, they spend more time worry about the effect of their actions, votes and speeches on these big donors, some of them anonymous, than the time they should be spending thinking about how to serve the interests of the publics they represent.
And you were in the Senate. So when you are raising all that money, when – it’s gotten much worse since you were there – those people are expecting certain lines and regulatory codes, lines in the tax code, correct? They’re not paying $50,000 to have breakfast with a congressman because of his personality.
No, not at all. Some of them still do that, I’m sure. But the request for a quid pro quo has become routinely far more brazen than was the case in the past. Fundraisers are often scheduled by special interests according to the legislative calendar when particular bills come up. The same conversations involve legislation and fundraising. Now there are exceptions. There are many honorable men and women. Don’t get me wrong. But there are good people trapped in a very bad system now.
You’d be for comprehensive campaign financial reform?
Absolutely. It’s difficult to accomplish, but when I ran for president – both times I ran for president – my platform included 100 percent public financing for all federal elections. That’s a tough thing to accomplish. But we have got to get big money and anonymous donors and special interest out of the catbird seat. They are now driving the political system. The Congress now finds it virtually impossible to pass any kind of reform unless they first get permission from the special interests who are most involved with the issue involved and who finance their campaign. And that’s pitiful.
Before the killings, Lana smashed his computer hard drive, making his online trail and habits nearly impossible to disseminate, but police have reportedly cracked some of the criminal’s cyber fofresnsics finding thousands of dollars worth of violent video games.
As The ENQUIRER first reported Lanza played the games for hours on end including the militaristic one-person-shooter ‘Call of Duty” series.
The troubled Lanza also learned how to fire guns during numerous sessions with mother Nancy Lanza, a survivalist, at a shooting range, where the two reportedly “bonded”.
Now, investigating detectives are probing whether Lanza was actually following a shot-for-shot scenario from one of those video games as he fired rounds from his mother’s Bushmaster assault rifle in two classrooms at Sandy Hook Elementary School on December 14.
The four weapons, including a Glock 10-mm handgun, a Sig Sauer 9-mm handgun and a Bushmaster AR-15 assault rifle, used in the mass shooting at the elementary school all belonged to Nancy Lanza who was reportedly diagnosed with M.S. and was in the process of downsizing when Adam, who allegedly had Asperger’s, exploded.
Hadiya Pendleton Shooting Death:
Chicago Teen’s Slaying Strikes A
Posted: 01/30/2013 6:35 pm EST Huffington Post
News of the tragic shooting death of a 15-year-old girl in Chicago reached as far as a Senate hearing on gun control laws and prompted a response from the White House on Wednesday.
Hadiya Pendleton, an honors student, volleyball player and majorette who performed for President Barack Obama during his inauguration activities at the nation’s capitol last week, was gunned down around 2:30 p.m. Tuesday while standing in a park near the school where she was a sophomore in high school.
Hadiya had reportedly been taking shelter from the rain with a group of some 12 other teenagers when a man approached the crowd and opened fire, striking the girl in the back. She died at a nearby hospital less than an hour later, CBS News reports.
Police say Hadiya was not the intended target of the shooting. They have no suspects in her murder as of Wednesday afternoon.
“A lot has been said about the city of Chicago and I want to say a few words too,” Durbin said. “Our biggest problem in Chicago, according to Superintendent McCarthy who came to Chicago from New York, is we are awash in guns. The confiscation of guns per capita in Chicago is six times the number of New York City. We have guns everywhere and some believe the solution to this is more guns. I disagree.”
“This guy, whoever he was, the gunman, man, you took the light of my life,” Pendelton said Wednesday, according to the Tribune. “Just look at yourself and just know that you took a bright person, an innocent person, a non-violent person.”
“She is what is best in our city. A child going to school, who takes a final exam, who had just been to the inaugural,” the mayor said, according to CBS Chicago. “If anybody has any information, you are not a snitch. You’re a citizen.”
Former New Orleans mayor indicted on federal corruption charges
By Michael Martinez, CNN updated 2:58 PM EST, Fri January 18, 2013
(CNN) – Former New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin, who captured the drama of Hurricane Katrina in 2005 with an “SOS” call to the nation, was indicted Friday on 21 federal corruption charges, including bribery, money laundering, fraud and filing false tax returns.
Nagin allegedly defrauded the city through “a bribery and kickback scheme” in which he received checks, cash, wire transfers, personal services and free travel from businessmen seeking favorable treatment, the 25-page federal indictment said.
Among the conspiracy charges is an accusation that Nagin awarded “no bid” work to a city contractor who provided “concealed and direct campaign monies” to Nagin, the indictment says.
In 2005, as Katrina became the single most catastrophic natural disaster in U.S. history, Nagin took center stage on behalf of victims when he excoriated the slow pace of federal and state relief efforts, even using profanities.
Nagin, who is black, urged the reconstruction of a “chocolate New Orleans,” adding “You can’t have New Orleans no other way.” He later apologized, saying everyone was welcome to the city.
The hurricane slammed the Gulf coast in 2005 and killed 1,833 people, directly or indirectly, in five states. Damages totaled $108 billion, according to the Federal Emergency Management Agency.
No African-American NFL head coaches hired in 2013
By Gregg Rosenthal Around The League Editor Published: Jan. 17, 2013 at 10:08 p.m.
The NFL head-coaching carousel stopped spinning Thursday night with Bruce Arians’ hiring by theArizona Cardinals. The selection is great news for an NFL lifer like Arians, but it might bring home a troubling statistic for African-American coaches around the league.
None of the eight new NFL head coaches is African-American. The number of African-American head coaches in the NFL will drop from five to three in 2012 after Lovie Smith and Romeo Crennel lost their jobs.
The trend is similar in NFL front offices. Five general manager positions have been filled, all by white men. The New York Jets‘ GM job, which still is open, is expected to go to John Idzik. It’s unclear who will become the Cleveland Browns‘ next GM.
USA Today’s Mike Garafolo said he “took the pulse” of minority head coaches and executives Thursday night. “Furious” was a good way to describe their reaction, he wrote on Twitter.
Discussions of race always are heated in this country, but there’s no denying football is a predominantly African-American sport that has taken a step back in hiring minorities as head coaches and in the front office. Michael Silver of Yahoo! Sports recently wrote two excellent pieces on the issue, pointing out that Baltimore Ravens offensive coordinator Jim Caldwell is the only African-American offensive play-caller in the league. (And Caldwell just got that position in December.)
“This is a legitimate topic of discussion among the rank-and-file and, especially, among African-American coaches and front-office executives who are frustrated with the current state of affairs,” Silver wrote.
This is a dilemma without easy solutions, but it’s a topic not far from the minds of NFL players, coaches and others around the league. A common response by fans, that we live in a post-racial world, is laughable. The NFL’s Rooney Rule, to its credit, recognizes otherwise. Perhaps more needs to be done.
In the blink of St. Nick’s eye, tablets went from nice-to-have to must-have gadgets this year. They’re the way everyone from kids to seniors wants to watch TV shows, check email, play games and browse the Internet.
As you’ve no doubt already discovered, shopping for apps is a daunting experience.
Although the Google Play store has improved a lot — and keeps getting better — it can still be an adventure to search for and find the best apps.
The iTunes App Store is much better organized, but the sheer number of apps is overwhelming — more than 275,000 optimized for the full-size iPad and iPad mini.
That’s why I compiled this list of my favorite iOS and Android tablet apps. They’ll get you and your gadget off to a roaring start in 2013.
Netflix (Free; iOS, Android): Netflix is a great service if you love movies. You just pay a monthly subscription fee, and you can watch all the movies you want. It also includes the ability to stream movies over the Web.
This app lets you watch Netflix movies anywhere. It also allows you to manage your Netflix Instant queue.
HeyTell (Free; iOS, Android): This fun app is a throwback to the days when you used walkie-talkies as a kid.
Instead of placing a traditional call, HeyTell allows you to record a quick voice message. It is sent over Wi-Fi or cellular data so you don’t even need a tablet with a voice plan.
Evernote (Free; iOS Android): When you need to step it up from your tablet’s basic built-in note-taking app, look no further than Evernote.
What sets Evernote apart from similar apps is that it synchronizes your notes to your password-protected Evernote account. So, you can access the notes from any Web browser. You can take photo notes and voice notes in addition to basic text notes. You can even type long notes on your computer and access them from your tablet.
Skype (Free; iOS, Android): You probably know that Skype is a great way to save money on voice calling. You can call PC to PC for free and even video chat.
Skype isn’t just for computers, though. You can also use it on your gadgets. Make voice and video calls over Wi-Fi or cellular. Again, it’s free to call other Skype users.
Google Earth (Free; iOS, Android): Google Earth is one of my favorite programs. It lets you explore the world through satellite and ground-level photos. You can see historic landmarks or plan trips.
Now you can get the same amazing experience on your mobile gadget with the Google Earth app. It lets you access the same satellite photos and landmarks. On some gadgets, you can even get 3-D buildings for cities.
Weather Channel App ($4 iOS; Free Android): The weather affects nearly everything you do. Don’t let it take you by surprise. Now you can get detailed forecasts at a glance with this app.
You’ll also get video clips and severe weather and pollen alerts. All the weather information you need will be literally at your fingertips.
Kindle App (Free; iOS, Android): The Kindle app turns whatever tablet you own into an Amazon e-reader.
Among the handy features: You’ll never lose your place, even when switching among devices. It even transfers annotations and highlighting. You can also take advantage of free book samples.
Lookout Mobile Security (Free; iOS, Android): Hackers don’t just write viruses for computers anymore. Now, they write them for tablets. You need strong security to keep your information safe.
This app provides antivirus and anti-phishing. You can upgrade to a premium version that includes remote locating, wiping, app scanning and more!
Instant Heart Rate ($1 iOS; $3 Android): When you’re exercising, getting an accurate heart rate is important. You don’t want to do too little work and waste your time. On the other hand, overdoing it can cause health problems.
Forget checking your pulse manually. Just pull out your mobile gadget with the Instant Heart Rate app. Press your finger to the camera lens and you’ll have your heart rate in just a moment. It can also track recovery time, trend lines and more.
Epicurious (Free; iOS, Android): It’s always good to make a list before going grocery shopping. But you don’t always get around to it, and you find yourself in the store unsure of what you need. The Epicurious Recipe app can help.
It gives you access to more than 28,000 recipes so you can find exactly the meals you want to make. Then, it details all the ingredients and translates that into shopping list for you. You’ll never again get home only to find you’re short an essential ingredient.
Kim Komando hosts the nation’s largest talk radio show about consumer electronics, computers and the Internet. Hear it locally at 94.3 WSC News Radio noon-3 p.m. Sundays. For more information, go to www.komando.com.
Analysis: US irked by Google chief’s NKorea plans
WASHINGTON (AP) — Google chief Eric Schmidt’s plan to visitNorth Korea has put the Obama administration in the awkward position of opposing a champion of Internet freedom who’s decided to engage with one of the most intensely censored countries.
The administration is wary for a reason. It fears that Schmidt’s trip could give a boost to North Korea’s young leader, Kim Jong Un, just when Washington is trying to pressure him.
It was only last month when North Korea launched a long-range rocket in violation of U.N. Security Council resolutions. While the U.S. and its allies are seeking harsher penalties against the reclusive communist government. That effort is proving difficult because of a resistance from China, a permanent member of the council. Beijing probably worries that its troublesome ally could respond to any new punishment by conducting a nuclear test.
U.S. officials are also concerned that the high-profile visit could confuse American allies in Asia and suggest a shift in U.S. policy as the administration prepares to install a new secretary of state to succeed Hillary Rodham Clinton. Obama has nominated Massachusetts Sen. John Kerry, the Democratic presidential candidate in 2004.
An imminent change of government in South Korea, a close U.S. friend, is raising questions about whether the two countries can remain in lockstep in their dealings with the North. Newly elected leader Park Geun-hye is expected to seek a more conciliatory approach toward North Korea after she takes up the presidency in February.
This helps to explain why the State Department, which has been a vigorous advocate of social media freedoms around the world, particularly last year during the Arab Spring, made clear it was displeased by the planned “private, humanitarian” visit by Schmidt and former New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson. Their trip is expected this month.
“We don’t think the timing of the visit is helpful and they are well aware of our views,” State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said Thursday.
Richardson, a seasoned envoy and a former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, said Friday that the State Department should not be nervous. In interviews with CBS and CNN, Richardson said they had been planning to visit in December but postponed the trip at the department’s request because of the presidential election that month in South Korea.
Richardson said he would raise with North Korea the matter of an American detained last month on suspicion of committing unspecified “hostile” acts against the state; the charge could draw a sentence of 10 years of hard labor. He’ll also try to meet with the detainee.
He also said he was concerned about North Korea’s nuclear proliferation and this was a “very important juncture” to talk and try to move the North Koreans in the “right direction.”
Schmidt, Richardson said, was traveling as a private citizen. But the trip raises questions about whether Google has plans for North Korea.
Schmidt, the company’s executive chairman, is a staunch advocate of global Internet access and the power of connectivity in lifting people out of poverty and political oppression. There are few countries where the obstacles are as stark. North Koreans need government permission to interact with foreigners — in person, by phone or by email. Only a tiny portion of the elite class is connected to the Internet.
U.S. law restricts American companies’ dealings with North Korea, which is subject to tough penalties because of its nuclear and missile programs. Imports of North Korean goods are prohibited, but travel to North Korea, exports of U.S. goods and investment in the country are allowed, subject to some restrictions, such as on exports of luxury goods.
Richardson has been to North Korea at least a half-dozen times since 1994, including two trips to negotiate the release of detained Americans. His last visit was in 2010.
The detainee, Kenneth Bae, is the fifth American held in North Korea in the past four years. That includes two U.S. journalists who were freed in 2009 after former President Bill Clinton traveled to Pyongyang and met with then-leader Kim Jong Il. Richardson said it was doubtful he and Schmidt would meet with Kim Jong Un, but he expected to talk with officials from the foreign affairs and economic ministries and the military.
North Korea could show good will by freeing Bae. But detainees risk becoming bargaining chips for the North in its tumultuous relationship with Washington. The U.S. retains nearly 30,000 troops in South Korea, a legacy of the 1950-53 Korean War, which ended with a truce, not a peace treaty.
Kim Jong Un’s elevation to leadership after his father’s death a year ago offered some hope of better relations. But after agreeing last February to an offer of U.S. food aid in exchange for nuclear concessions, North Korea derailed the deal weeks later when it attempted to launch a satellite atop a rocket that the U.S. believes was a test of ballistic missile capabilities.
Relations were set back further by the latest launch, this time successful, which the North again insisted was for a purely peaceful space program.
In the past year, Kim has made at least stylistic changes that hint at more openness, leading some commentators to call for a fresh outreach by U.S. diplomats. That’s something that the nominee for secretary of state, Kerry, might support. But there’s still little sign of substantive reform.
EDITOR’S NOTE — Matthew Pennington covers U.S.-Asian affairs for The Associated Press.
An AP News Analysis
8 Signs You’re a Control Freak
By Shelley Prevost | Inc – Thu, Dec 27, 2012 10:07 PM ESTControl freaks rarely know that they are one. They believe that they are helping people with their “constructive criticism” or taking over a project because “no one else will do it right.” They don’t see their controlling behaviors as symptoms of what’s really going on–their own anxiety has run amuck. Irrational thoughts abound in our high stress world: If I don’t get this contract, I’ll get fired. If I’m not home by 6:00, I’m a terrible parent. If I don’t get that raise, I suck at my job. All of these thoughts might be true, but probably not. Rather than tackle our own irrational thinking and massage it into more realistic thinking, we attempt to control the situation, usually by trying to control other people. Want to know if you’re a control freak? Here are eight signs for your self-diagnosing pleasure.
You believe that if someone would change one or two things about themselves, you’d be happier. So you try to “help them” change this behavior by pointing it out, usually over and over.
You micromanage others to make them fit your (often unrealistic) expectations. You don’t believe in imperfection and you don’t think anyone else should either.
You judge others’ behavior as right or wrong and passive-aggressively withhold attention until they fall in line with your expectations. Sitting in silent judgment is a master form of control.
You offer “constructive criticism” as a veiled attempt to advance your own agenda.
You change who you are or what you believe so that someone will accept you. Instead of just being yourself, you attempt to incept others by managing their impression of you.
You present worst-case scenarios in an attempt to influence someone away from certain behaviors and toward others. This is also called fear mongering.
You have a hard time with ambiguity and being OK with not knowing something.
You intervene on behalf of people by trying to explain or dismiss their behaviors to others
You believe that if you can change another person’s undesirable behavior, then you will be happier or more fulfilled. You make someone else responsible for how you feel. The thing is, you are only responsible for you. The road to better relationships always starts with you. Rather than attempt to control everyone else, work on becoming a better version of yourself. Here are a few ideas:
Be vulnerable with people.
Never compromise your self-respect by altering your core beliefs.
Be realistic about your expectations of others.
Quit the passive-aggressive nonsense–be direct.
Accept that a large portion of life is laced with unknowns.
Embrace confrontation–it really is sometimes the only thing you can do.
Take responsibility for your own happiness.
If you work on your own improvement instead of trying to control others, healthier relationships at work, as well as everywhere else, will then come to you as a result.
Red Meat And Other Things That Shorten Your Life…
Posted on: December 19th, 2012 by Thamar Houliston
Eating red meat every day is linked to a loss of at least 30 minutes off of your life! Find out what else is zapping your life expectancy here…We know that overindulging in our favourite foods isn’t good for our health, but researchers propose a new way of quantifying just how harmful those treats can be.Now that we’re in the midst of the holiday season, kilojoule-laden foods seem to be ubiquitous – sugary treats, sweet candies and juicy hams dripping with honey. But in the holiday issue of the BMJ, researchers report that making a habit of overindulging in rich fare can take years off your life. In fact, the scientists calculated exactly how much our favourite foods can shorten our lifespan; eating red meat every day, for example, is linked to a loss of at least 30 minutes off of your life! Dr David Spiegelhalter, a statistician at the University of Cambridge and author of the study, says that it’s not the occasional indulgence but consistent overeating of certain foods that can impact your longevity. But for most people, weighing the immediate gratification of eating a steak sizzling on a plate in front of you against a far-off loss of a year or two of your life in your 70s or 80s, almost always ends with people favouring the steak. So he decided to frame daily diet choices in the more immediate terms of adding or losing hours to your day. Calculating that the average lifespans about 80 years, he divided that time up for adults 35 and older into nearly a million half hours, and assigned each 30 minute period to be one microlife. Each microlife is about one millionth of life expectancy after age 35. He then assessed how unhealthy eating habits would impact a person’s total microlives. Smoking, for example, eats up approximately 10 microlives for every 20 cigarettes smoked – or about 15 fewer minutes of life expectancy per cigarette. “Smoking 20 cigarettes a day (10 microlives) is as if you are rushing towards your death at 29 hours a day instead of 24,” he says. Averaged over a lifetime, the following habits are linked to the loss of one microlife: smoking two cigarettes, eating a burger, being roughly four kilograms overweight, chugging a second or third alcoholic beverage, and watching two hours of television. On The Positive Side… Behaviours that can add half hours of life expectancy include: drinking 2-3 cups of coffee or taking statins, cholesterol-lowering drugs (one microlife), eating fruits and vegetables (four microlives), and working out 20 minutes per day (two microlives). On a demographic level, gender can also afford some advantage; just being a woman is associated with gaining four microlives a day, while male gender is roughly equivalent to smoking eight cigarettes every day (not clear why, but possibly due to the fact that women may tend to eat healthier overall than men). Living in Sweden as opposed to being a resident of Russia is associated with a gain of 21 microlives daily for men (a trend that may be attributed to the higher rate of alcohol consumption and lower rates of physical activity in Russia). And while it may be obvious that people are living longer now than they were a century ago, framing that argument in microlives reveals a gain of 21 microlives for men living in 2010 compared to 1910 (15 a day). So far, says Spiegelhalter, the tallies for additional microlives and those for lost microlives are not interchangeable; a microlife lost to drinking an extra beer, for example, isn’t gained back by exercising for 20 minutes. The idea is to engage in as many additive behaviours as possible to ensure they outpace the microlives you lose. Of course, microlives can only be a gross measure of how lifestyle can impact longevity, and Spiegelhalter acknowledges that people’s bodies respond differently to harmful or beneficial behaviours. But overall, the Cambridge statistician argues that simpler ways to remind people that every choice they make in their daily lives can affect their longevity may help them to adopt healthier habits more readily. “One does not need a study to conclude that people do not generally like the idea of getting older faster,” Spiegelhalter wrote. Read more:
Arizona plan would arm principals
(CNN) — Arizona’s attorney general proposed arming one principal or employee at each school to defend against attacks such as the recent Connecticut school massacre. “The ideal solution would be to have an armed police officer in each school,” Attorney General Tom Horne said in a news release Wednesday. But budget cuts have limited the number of Arizona schools with “school resource officers” on campus, he said. The “next best solution,” Horne said, “is to have one person in the school trained to handle firearms, to handle emergency situations, and possessing a firearm in a secure location.” A shooter, armed with a semiautomatic rifle and two other guns, on December 14 killed 26 people — including six faculty members and 20 young students — at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown. Horne compared the plan to the FAA’s program adopted after the September 11, 2001, attacks to arm airline pilots. A school would be invited to send the principal “or another designee” to “training in the use of firearms and how to handle emergencies such as that which occurred in Newtown,” Horne’s release said. Horne’s office would oversee the free training with help from sheriffs, he said. “The designated individual (no more than one per school) would then be authorized to keep a firearm locked in a secure place, and would have adequate communication to be alerted to an emergency in any part of the school,” the release said. Newspaper publishes names, addresses of gun permit holdersSeveral Arizona sheriffs have joined in to support the proposal, Horne said. Legislation to allow it will be introduced by the Republican leader in the state House, he said. “This proposal presents a golden mean between two extremes,” Horne said. “One extreme is to allow all teachers to bring guns to school, which could create more dangers than it prevents. The other extreme is to do nothing, which everyone will regret if a preventable incident like Newtown would occur in the future.”
Jesse Hill Jr. Dead: Civil Rights Leader And Atlanta Businessman Dies At 86
By PHILLIP LUCAS 12/17/12 10:12 PM ET EST
ATLANTA — Jesse Hill Jr., a civil rights leader and businessman who later became the first black president of the Atlanta Chamber of Commerce, died Monday. He was 86. Hill had a close relationship with Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and helped make sure his legacy would be remembered, according to Steve Klein, a spokesman for the King Center, where Hill served as chairman of the board of directors from 1979 to 1995. “He was very instrumental in developing the growth of the King Center and really a giant in Atlanta civic affairs,” Klein said. “I don’t think you could think of a major civic project in Atlanta for the last 20 or 30 years that he wasn’t involved in.” Hill was born in St. Louis. He graduated from Lincoln University in Jefferson City, Mo., with a degree in mathematics and physics, and earned a master’s in actuarial science from the University of Michigan. He joined the Atlanta Life Insurance Company in 1949 and eventually became the company’s president and CEO. He retired in 1990. Hill was named the head of the Atlanta Chamber of Commerce – now called the Metro Atlanta Chamber, in 1978. Hill participated in several economic trade missions to Europe on behalf of the chamber and accompanied President Jimmy Carter on a trade mission to Nigeria. In 1960, Hill helped create the Atlanta Inquirer, the city’s first newspaper for the African-American community. He served as publisher until 1985. Inquirer Deputy Editor David Stokes said Hill’s wife contacted the paper with news of his death Monday. It wasn’t immediately clear how he died. “He helped, along with some of the preachers in the heyday of the civil rights movement, to raise money for bond when civil rights workers were incarcerated,” Stokes said. Hill was also a board member on the Southern Christian Leadership Conference.
“Jesse Hill represented leadership from the corporate community, which gave financial support and authenticity to the movement for social change,” Dr. Bernard LaFayette, the group’s chairman, said in a statement. “His wealth of corporate contacts convinced business and political leaders that we were going to jail for the right reasons.” Hill also worked in voter registration initiatives and helped desegregate Atlanta Public Schools, and the University System of Georgia. Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed said Hill was an essential figure in bridging the divide between the business community and the African-American community. “Atlanta would not be what it is today without Jesse Hill Jr.’s extraordinary contributions,” the mayor said in a statement.
Last Friday afternoon I received a call from Jay Leno asking if I would appear as a guest on The Tonight Showto try to help make some sense of the national tragedy that had happened earlier that day at an elementary school in Newtown, Conn. The facts were still coming in as I rushed across town to the studios of NBC, but we knew by airtime that this would go down as one of the worst tragedies in the history of the nation; a tragedy that took the lives of so many precious and priceless children. Searching for what to say to a national television audience, I did what I always do when I don’t have the words for the occasion; I said a prayer and then I went to my library to consult with Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. I wanted to re-read what King had to say when he gave the eulogy for the four little girls killed in the 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, Ala., on Sept. 15, 1963. Though the circumstances were clearly quite different, I wanted to read once more what Dr. King had to say to a nation struggling with the needless loss of innocent young life. That moment had galvanized the Civil Rights movement and I wondered whether or not this horrific tragedy in Connecticut might represent the same in our time — the moment where we finally decide to substitute courage for caution. As the funerals for these precious children commence today, listen to King then:
This afternoon we gather in the quiet of this sanctuary to pay our last tribute of respect to these beautiful children of God. They entered the stage of history just a few years ago, and in the brief years that they were privileged to act on this mortal stage, they played their parts exceedingly well. Now the curtain falls; they move through the exit; the drama of their earthly life comes to a close. They are now committed back to that eternity from which they came. These children — unoffending; innocent and beautiful — were the victims of one of the most heinous crimes ever perpetrated against humanity. Yet they died nobly. They are the martyred heroines of a holy crusade for freedom and human dignity. So they have something to say to us in their death. Their death says to us that we must work passionately and unrelentingly to make the American dream a reality.”
The lost lives at Sandy Hook Elementary School have something to say to the entire nation, but especially to black America. We will have blood on our hands if we miss this moment to protect the lives of poor, inner-city youth who more than most are subject to random acts of violence and death. Black youth and teensaccounted for 45 percent of all child and teen gun deaths in 2008 and 2009 but only make up 15 percent of the child population. The leading cause of death among black teens ages 15 to 19 in 2008 and 2009 was gun homicide. President Obama has finally signaled that he may now be serious about getting guns off our streets. Are we ready to stop the worship and do the work that’s required to help him take on the forces of obstructionism on sensible gun control measures? Are we? If the president meant what he said at the vigil Sunday night in Newtown, then it’s time to be the wind at his back and take him up on his request to “make him do it.” He’s going to need every bit of support he can muster to take on the gun lobby. Black folks represent the president’s most loyal constituency andhappen to be the group that stands to gain the most by standing up to the people who don’t seem to think there is any room for a civil conversation between repeal of the Second Amendment and sensible gun control laws. It’s time for every black person in America, especially black elected officials, pastors, community leaders, national leaders, radio hosts, television hosts, bloggers, tweeters, columnists — anyone and everyone with a platform — to do exactly what we did when Trayvon was shot and killed. Speak on it. If you ever said anything about Trayvon, you are called upon in this moment to honor his life and the lives of black youth yet unborn by pushing the president and holding him accountable on this critical life and death issue. Right now. If we don’t, we will all have blood on our hands next time.
Comfort is good but you can’t forget about romance. You can still remember that first encounter. Maybe you met at the library, workplace or at a friend’s house. You stayed up talking late into the night, and then for weeks afterward, anxiously awaited the next phone call, text or e-mail. Then as your relationship bloomed into marriage, it seemed that your wedding day happiness would be eternal. For some of us it is, but preserving that bliss doesn’t come naturally. Passionate relationships take work — and the energy that you put in is often what you get in return.
According to Sam Yagan, who runs an online dating Web site, “romantic relationships, have three stages: the initial attraction (lust), the romance (falling in love), and the attachment (where both partners become comfortable with each other). The comfort is a good thing, but problems arise when couples reach this phase and forget about the first two” [source: Kormly]. Even when life’s distractions, like work and kids, wrestle for center stage, your love must always be the first priority. Making time for each other, even when it seems inconvenient, is crucial to dating your spouse.
10: Create Alone Time Every Day
Even when life’s distractions take over much of your time, penciling in an hour or so every day keeps a relationship fresh and vibrant — and it’s easier than you think. Workout with your spouse each morning. If you both like running, plan your jog at the same time. Hit the gym together or take a yoga class. Bonding over a good sweat does wonders for your love. If you’re a parent, put the kids to bed at a reasonable hour. Kids need sleep and, in most cases, young children should be in bed between 7 p.m. and 8 p.m. Very young children need 14 hours of sleep per night [source: Kids Health]. If your kids are staying up until 10 p.m. each night, time alone quickly dissipates and, on top of that, cranky kids create strain on a marriage. Block out a few hours between 8 p.m. and your bedtime to hang out with your spouse. Additionally, parents shouldn’t feel guilty about calling the babysitter. Babysitters provide that much needed escape from parenthood, even if only for a few hours.
9: Plan a Distraction-free Getaway
Sometimes getting away is all your relationship really needs. When conversations about work, bills and the kids take over your alone time, consider a getaway. Escaping all the hustle and bustle of everyday life rekindles the flame. Plan a weekend trip with your spouse in mind. If your partner likes hiking, plan a long weekend hike into the mountains and culminate your journey at a secluded cabin. Choose a quaint town that neither of you has ever visited before and rent a room at a local inn for the night. Find a bed and breakfastby the ocean and spend the day relaxing on the beach. Make certain the getaway takes your spouse’s interests into account. No matter where you’re headed on your excursion, make sure that your partner is your only diversion. A distraction-free retreat is a must; that means no laptop and no Blackberry.
8: Keep the Surprises Coming
Think back to the days when you first met. You weren’t sure when he or she would call so you anxiously awaited the next conversation. It’s this unpredictability that keeps us wanting more. While we can’t turn back time to the days when we weren’t so well acquainted, we can create surprises in our everyday interactions. Start by communicating with your spouse even when no communication is necessary. Send a text just to tell him you love him and miss him. Better yet, write a letter. Letters show that you’re putting in extra effort. Your love letter doesn’t have to be reminiscent of Romeo and Juliet, just a simple note that shows you care. Send flowers on a random Tuesday. Make your mate’s favorite meal on a weeknight. Pick up a nice bottle of wine and cheers for no reason at all. Go out to lunchduring a busy work week. Surprises like these keep your partner feeling as desired as he did when you were first dating.
7: Make Your Spouse Your First Priority
With time, even the strongest couples can begin taking each other for granted. After all, your spouse is the person you trust the most. But venturing down this road can lead to a lot of heartbreak. Your partner needs assurance that she is always your most important priority. Relationships firmly rooted in this principle remain exciting well into old age. Always be aware of what’s going on in your partner’s world. Avoid getting so caught up in your own responsibilities that you forget about the other person you’re sharing a bed with each night. Go the extra mile as if you’re in the courting days, opening doors and pulling out chairs for your loved one. When you’re making decisions, ask yourself if your decision benefits your partner as well. Think back to when you first knew you were in loveand how you would do anything for each other.
6: Adapt to Each Other
Couples that adapt to each other stay together. You can’t be the same person you were when you first met, but as long as you grow together and not apart, it doesn’t matter. As we age, we establish new friends, interests, habitsand ideas, and as long as at least some of those changes are aligned with your spouse, that’s a good thing. Ensure that you’re both headed down the same road. If your partner wants to change careers, support him. If she goes through hard times, be her shoulder to cry on. Growing together is much easier when you’re around each other enough to notice changes. When couple time diminishes that’s when relationships fork and you both head in different directions.
5: Let Irritating Habits Go
With time, some of your spouse’s less appealing habits become irritating. But nobody likes to be criticized constantly and it’s best to save criticism for points that have an impact on your relationship in a real way. Leaving dirty socks out and chewing with your mouth open aren’t cause for a fight. Pick and choose your battles. Just as you wouldn’t have told your love that you hated the way she laughed when you first met, don’t condemn her cackle today. It sets a negative climate and puts her on the defensive for no reason. It’s not about being fake or lyingto your spouse, it’s about choosing which habits need changing and then finding the best way to broach the subject. Find a kinder way of conveying that his ripped jeans aren’t appropriate for an upcoming dinner party.
4: Keep the Passion Alive
Passion marks the first stage of a relationship. It’s that first attraction, the first kiss and the first time you made love. But strong relationships preserve the passion even when hairs gray and skin wrinkles. Just as you make your partner a priority, make passion a priority. Plan a spicy date night by making a meal filled with natural aphrodisiacs. Include oysters as an appetizer followed by barbecued salmon, honey and chocolate truffles for dessert. Oysters, honey and chocolate are all aphrodisiacs connected with sensuality. Hippocrates prescribed honey for sexual vigor. Casanova understood the sexual influence of chocolate. And oysters are the most celebrated aphrodisiac of them all. Couple and marriage retreats can also reignite the fire. These retreats can include intimacycoaching, relationship counseling and massage therapy. Such retreats can remind you why you fell in love with one another in the first place.
3: Look Your Best
Aging is a part of life, but at the same time, taking care of yourself makes you more appealing to your significant other. While you may not look like you did when you first met, that doesn’t mean you should let yourself go. A healthy sense of self makes for a healthy relationship. Wake up at the same time each morning, eat a balanced diet, exercise each day and stay as active as you can. The healthier lifestyle that you both have, the better you’ll feel and the better you’ll feel about each other. Don’t let huge sweatpants, sneakers and a ponytail be your attire at home. Wear decent clothing, brush your hair, shave and add a spritz of perfume or cologne even when it’s just the two of you. Dress up for date night even if you’re just cooking dinner at the house.
2: Spur Stimulating Conversation
Even after years with your spouse, you can still maintain novelty with good conversation. Most importantly, don’t let life’s responsibilities constantly be the subject of your discussions. Unless your spouse’s job fascinates you to no end, skip the work talk. Even though you dearly love your kids, don’t make them the center of conversation all the time. Find a subject that you’re both interested in and gab on. If you both love traveling, plan your next adventure. If you love politics, your partner may provide a fascinating opinion. Become well-versed on your mate’s hobbies and interests. Ask questions and listenwholeheartedly to the answers. Listening is an important aspect of conversation because conversations should always involve both parties. Just by pretending that you don’t know everything about your spouse, you can often learn more than you ever expected. Inquire about high school, parents, siblings or life goals. You never know what you’ll learn.
1: Find a New Mutual Hobby Together
New experiences keep marriages dynamic. Cultivate new conversations, passions and mutual interests by choosing a new hobby together. If you’re both into sports, consider golf, tennis, squash, running or walking. Consider surf lessons, tai chi or cooking classes. Just choose an activity that you both enjoy and will have fun learning about together. If you love eating out, explore new restaurants once a week without the kids. Make it extra special by dressing up, getting your spouse flowers or choosing a special bottle of champagne. While choosing a movie that you’ll both enjoy once in a while is a good option, television isn’t a worthwhile hobby. When we’re watching mindless television we’re often zoned out rather than engaged in meaningful time together. By continually putting energy into your relationship, you’ll see the benefits on down the line in the form of a deeper, kinder love.
Susan J. Demas: Rick Snyder endorses hypocrisy, not democracy, on Right to Work
“Unions are about dignity … about giving you a life worth living where you don’t have to worry about where your next meal is coming,” is how Democratic consultant Joe DiSano put it on the radio Friday morning.
What the GOP is calling “Freedom to Work” also flouts the basic tenet of conservatism: personal responsibility. It gives the green light to union members not to pay dues for services they receive, like help with grievances against their boss or collective bargaining to win them higher pay and benefits. Getting something for nothing isn’t freedom. That sounds like the welfare queens Republicans are always going on about.
If business groups didn’t pay dues, could they still get all the benefits of joining the Michigan Chamber of Commerce, which helped careen RTW through the Legislature? Yeah, didn’t think so.
But it’s not just what our self-proclaimed “One Tough Nerd” and Republicans decided to do on RTW that’s deeply troubling. It’s how they did it.
The speed in which Republicans jammed through the most controversial issue in Michigan was stunning. Indeed, it caught most of the national and even state media off-guard.
Snyder’s press conference was at 11 a.m. Thursday. Before 3:15 p.m., RTW bills had been taken up on the House and Senate floors — which means the public never had a time to hear about the legislation and give testimony during the committee process, as they can on the budget, tax bills or virtually any other issue.
But the attempt to shut people out of the process took an even more literal turn. Around 12:30 p.m., the state police locked the Capitol down after eight people rushed the Senate chamber (tough nerds, apparently, need lots of police protection). Reporters, myself included, were even barred from being able to report on what your elected leaders were doing.
It took a court order to open the Capitol up by 4 p.m. so people could enjoy their freedom to assemble (it took me calling in favors to gain entry before then so I could practice my own rights under the First Amendment).
Before 5 p.m., RTW passed the House. Before 8 p.m., the bills passed the Senate.On Tuesday, all the House has to do is give its OK to the Senate bills and they’ll shoot to Snyder’s desk.
Allow me to state the obvious: This is not government transparency and accountability.
And please don’t tell me that spouting some half-baked talking points during a press conference on Indiana’s questionable prosperity after passing RTW this year constitutes Snyder’s vaunted ideal of a data-driven discussion.
If that’s what the Nerd on High really wanted, he would have insisted on public hearings, where the data could have flowed like fine wine, as could public discourse.
Why didn’t Republicans do that? They would have lost the debate, and Snyder knows it. The more people learn about RTW, the more they hate it, internal GOP polling showed. And they could have run out of time during lame duck to ram the bills through. Given the close vote in the House (58-52), RTW would have struggled next term when Republicans will shed five seats.
Something should be said about that eloquent gesture, by the way. Johnson read a piece on the Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters, the first black union in the American Federation of Labor (AFL). How fitting that he would draw attention to a big reason why there even is a black middle class in Michigan. How sad that probably none of those on the GOP side were even listening.
All this means that Snyder’s raison d’etre for being governor is in shambles. His rapid descent into partisan hackery was nicely underscored by this February 2012 Associated Press story, ”Snyder questions approach of other GOP Governors
“I think it’s unfortunate that they’ve gotten to that, I don’t want to see that happen,” Snyder said of the high-profile fights and protests in neighboring states like Indiana, Ohio and Wisconsin. “If you want to draw it as a contrast, you look at now that they’ve had those things happen, do they have a productive environment to solve problems? Not necessarily. They’re still overcoming the divisiveness, the hard feelings from all of that.”
Now I’m sure Ricky and Republicans will be whining a lot in the months and years to come about how Democrats aren’t playing fair, whether it’s voting “no” on all bills, filing recalls against Republicans or going for a constitutional amendment.
Sorry, boys (and the very few girls on your side). You didn’t just give up the moral high ground. You obliterated it on Thursday by choosing a government process one would expect in the Soviet Union of old, not the modern-day USA.
Expecting moderate responses to radical actions is usually unwise.
Susan J. Demas is a political analyst for Michigan Information & Research Service (MIRS). She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter here.
WASHINGTON — A group of 97 House Republicans sent a letter to President Barack Obama on Monday, saying that U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice misled the nation about the attack on the U.S. consulate in Libya, making her unfit to be a candidate to succeed Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton. The letter, organized by South Carolina freshman Jeff Duncan, said Rice’s “misleading statements” about the attack that led to the deaths of Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans “caused irreparable damage to her credibility both at home and around the world.” It was the latest GOP effort to single out Rice for the mixed signals sent out by the administration in the immediate aftermath of the September attack in Benghazi. Republican Sens. John McCain and Lindsey Graham have led criticism in the Senate, saying Rice is unqualified and untrustworthy and promising to block her nomination if Obama picks her to take over the State Department after Clinton steps down. Obama responded last week at a news conference, saying McCain and Graham should “go after me” if they want to criticize administration actions. He said Rice had nothing to do with the Benghazi affair and “to besmirch her reputation is outrageous.” On Friday a dozen Democratic female members of the House also came to Rice’s defense, saying the criticisms of her smacked of sexism and racism. Rice became a target when she went on the Sunday talk shows five days after the attack on the Benghazi diplomatic mission on Sept. 11 and said that, from the best information she had at the time, the attack was a spontaneous reaction to an anti-Muslim video and not a premeditated attack. That assessment later proved to be incorrect. Rice, the House Republicans said in their letter, “is widely viewed as having either willfully or incompetently misled the American public in the Benghazi matter.” As a result, they said, “we believe that making her the face of U.S. foreign policy in your second term would greatly undermine your desire to improve U.S. relations with the world and continue to build trust with the American people.” Clinton has not formally announced when she is leaving her post and Obama has not said who might succeed her, although Rice has often been named as a leading candidate. Senior-level positions must be confirmed by the Senate.
PBS talk show host, PRI radio host Posted: 11/14/2012 3:09 pm This past Sunday on Meet the Press,the presidential historian Doris Kearns Goodwin said the following, “Latinos, women and young people — that is the new governing coalition.” OUCH. To be sure, there are Black folk in each of those categories. But since President Obama’s victory on Election Day, I have been troubled by the paltry attention paid to the record turnout amongst African Americans to make Mr. Obama only the fourth Democrat in a century to be reelected to a second term. I know Doris Kearns Goodwin, so I don’t think she intended to suggest that Black votes don’t matter. But there is this creepy sense that in the midst of this historic moment in Black history, Black Americans are being pushed off stage. And while Black Americans are being pushed off the stage, there is a growing debate on the internet and in the mainstream media about whether and how Black folk should push President Obama now that “he has nothing to lose.” There’s a whole lot of pushing going on. This is real simple for me. With all due respect to the formidable coalition of Latinos, women, and young voters, Barack Obama would not be sitting in the Oval Office right now had Black folk stayed home in their “house slippers.” African Americans are his most loyal constituency and everybody in the Obama reelection campaign and in the Obama White House knows it. The president owes Black folk. BIG time. The poet Gwendolyn Brooks had this wonderful refrain, “the last of the loud.” Respectfully, somebody has to remind the president day in and day out of the debt he owes Black America. After four years of being sidelined and silenced, it’s time to get loud. We have to be willing to engage even if we are “the last of the loud.” Our Latino brothers and sisters immediately (as in the day after the election) jumped on a national media conference call to make it clear that they saved the president in some key battleground states. I ain’t mad at ‘em. That’s exactly what they should have done. Black folk taught the disenfranchised masses how to make demands in the name of unarmed truth and unconditional love. Ready for the hard truth? At the moment, our Latino brothers and sisters are better examples of the Black prophetic tradition than are Black folk. Word now comes that many Black notables will join together at a national symposium later this week to discuss the state of Black America and the road ahead. We will see if Black leaders are finally ready to turn up the volume. If we aren’t, well, we’re just going to get drowned out over the next four years. There is a line of folk wrapped around the White House who intend to collect on the Obama promissory note they’ve been holding since 2008. Where are African Americans in that line? Are African Americans even in the line? We celebrate this electoral victory today, but what about tomorrow? How tragic would it be at the end of eight years to be confronted by economic data which suggests (as the data does now) that in the Obama era Black folk lost ground in every single leading economic indicator category? I shudder at the very thought. So should you. Are we going to be the last of the loud, or just the last?
Mega church pastor beaten to death with electric guitar
by man who rammed car into church
By Peter RuggPUBLISHED:18:31 EST, 29 October 2012| UPDATED:04:04 EST, 30 October 2012 A North Texas congregation is reeling after an attacker rammed a car into a church wall, chased the pastor, and beat him to death with an electric guitar. Police told reporters they didn’t know why the unidentified suspect attacked Rev. Danny Kirk Sr., founding pastor of the Greater Sweethome MIssionary Baptist Church. In a harrowing 911 call an unidentified church secretary said that some staff tried to fight him off but that Kirk was in desperate need of an ambulance. The unidentified assailant apparently drove his car into the church wall on purpose shortly before noon. He then began to attack Kirk in the parking lot before chasing him into the church, according to Forest Hill Police Chief Dan Dennis. When police arrived they found the suspect striking Kirk with an electric guitar they believe was already in the church. When police arrived they had to use a Taser to subdue the man, handcuffed him, and locked him in their patrol car. Sadly it was too late for Kirk who had already died.
A maintenance worker who tried to help Kirk was also injured and taken to an area hospital but his condition is unknown. The assailant himself was found unresponsive shortly after being taken into custody and was pronounced dead at a local hospital. Dennis told reporters police did not yet know if the suspect knew Kirk, attended the church, or what his motives were for attacking the pastor. For hours after the shocking attack hundreds gathered outside the church, gathering around the crime-scene tape wrapped around a small statue of Jesus near the wrecked car. Many mourned Kirk as a dedicated minister with a cheerful personality who knew the names of each of his hundreds of church members. ‘He really was concerned about our souls,’ recalled Montoya McNeil, a member for eight years. ‘You looked forward to being here… I’m not asking God why, because I know where he is, but we won’t get those big bear hugs and those great sermons anymore.’ Kirk started the congregation years ago in a strip mall before growing the ranks so large he needed to build a red-brick church. He was also an unofficial volunteer chaplain who occasionally counseled members of the local high school football team. ‘Our hearts are heavy right now,’ said Reginald Wilson, an associate minister at the church.
High Court Weighs New Look at Voting Rights Law
Jay Reeves and Mark Sherman Associated Press
Washington October 28, 2012 (AP)
Three years ago, the Supreme Court warned there could be constitutional problems with a landmark civil rights law that has opened voting booths to millions of African-Americans. Now, opponents of a key part of the Voting Rights Act are asking the high court to finish off that provision. The basic question is whether state and local governments that once boasted of their racial discrimination still can be forced in the 21st century to get federal permission before making changes in the way they hold elections. Some of the governments covered — most of them are in the South — argue they have turned away from racial discrimination over the years. But Congress and lower courts that have looked at recent challenges to the law concluded that a history of discrimination and more recent efforts to harm minority voters justify continuing federal oversight. The Supreme Court could say as early as Monday whether it will consider ending the Voting Rights Act’s advance approval requirement that has been held up as a crown jewel of the civil rights era. The justices sidestepped this very issue in a case from Texas in 2009. In an opinion joined by eight justices, Chief Justice John Roberts wrote then that the issue of advance approval “is a difficult constitutional question we do not answer today.” Since then, Congress has not addressed potential problems identified by the court. Meanwhile, the law’s opponents sensed its vulnerability and filed several new lawsuits. The advance approval, or preclearance requirement, was adopted in the Voting Rights Act in 1965 to give federal officials a potent tool to defeat persistent efforts to keep blacks from voting. The provision was a huge success, and Congress periodically has renewed it over the years. The most recent occasion was in 2006, when a Republican-led Congress overwhelmingly approved and President George W. Bush signed a 25-year extension. The requirement currently applies to the states of Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, South Carolina, Texas and Virginia. It also covers certain counties in California, Florida, New York, North Carolina and South Dakota, and some local jurisdictions in Michigan and New Hampshire. Coverage has been triggered by past discrimination not only against blacks, but also against American Indians, Asian-Americans, Alaskan Natives and Hispanics. Before these locations can change their voting rules, they must get approval either from the U.S. Justice Department’s civil rights division or from the federal district court in Washington that the new rules won’t discriminate. Congress compiled a 15,000-page record and documented hundreds of instances of apparent voting discrimination in the states covered by the law dating to 1982, the last time it had been extended. Among the incidents in the congressional record: —In 1998, Webster County, Ga., tried to reduce the black population in several school board districts after citizens elected a majority-black school board for the first time. —In 2001, Kilmichael, Miss., canceled an election when a large number of African-American candidates sought local office following 2000 census results that showed blacks had become the majority in the city. In 2004, Waller County, Texas, sought to limit early voting near a historically black college and threatened to prosecute students for illegal voting after two black students said they would run for office. But in 2009, Roberts indicated the court was troubled about the ongoing need for a law in the face of dramatically improved conditions, including increased minority voter registration and turnout rates. Roberts attributed part of the change to the law itself. “Past success alone, however, is not adequate justification to retain the preclearance requirements,” he said. He also raised concern that the formula by which states are covered relies on data that is now 40 years old. By some measures, states covered by the law were outperforming some that were not. Jurisdictions required to obtain preclearance were chosen based on whether they had a test restricting the opportunity to register or vote and whether they had a voter registration or turnout rate below 50 percent. In the federal court of appeals in the District of Columbia, Circuit Judge Stephen Williams objected that the law specifies that these criteria are measured by what happened in elections several decades ago. But writing for a majority that upheld preclearance, Circuit Judge David Tatel said the question is not whether old data is being used, but whether it helps identify jurisdictions with the worst discrimination problems. “If it does, then even though the formula rests on decades-old factors, the statute is rational,” Tatel said. Shelby County, Ala., a well-to-do, mostly white bedroom community near Birmingham, adopted Roberts’ arguments in its effort to have the voting rights provision declared unconstitutional, but lost in the lower courts. The county’s appeal is among those being weighed by the high court. Yet just a few years earlier, a city of nearly 12,000 people in Shelby County defied the voting rights law and prompted the intervention of the Bush Justice Department. Ernest Montgomery became the only black member of the five-person Calera City Council in 2004, winning in a district that was almost 71 percent black. The city redrew its district lines in 2006 after new subdivisions and retail developments sprang up in the area Montgomery represented, and the change left Montgomery’s District 2 with a population that was only 23 percent black. Running against a white opponent in the now mostly white district, Montgomery narrowly lost a re-election bid in 2008. The Justice Department invalidated the election result because the city had failed to obtain advance approval of the new districts. A lifelong resident of Calera and a church deacon, the 56-year-old Montgomery said he doesn’t know whether discrimination was involved in the redistricting decision six years ago. But, he said, discrimination still exists and the law is still needed. “I think things have gotten a lot more leveled out, but we’re not to the point we need,” he said.
Poll: Slim US majority has prejudice against blacks
By Jennifer Agiesta
A new Associated Press poll finds that, four years after the US elected its first black president, racial attitudes have not improved. A slight majority of Americans now express prejudice towards blacks.
WASHINGTON — Racial attitudes have not improved in the four years since the United States elected its first black president, an Associated Press poll finds, as a slight majority of Americans now express prejudice toward blacks whether they recognize those feelings or not. Those views could cost President Barack Obama votes as he tries for re-election, the survey found, though the effects are mitigated by some Americans’ more favorable views of blacks. Racial prejudice has increased slightly since 2008 whether those feelings were measured using questions that explicitly asked respondents about racist attitudes, or through an experimental test that measured implicit views toward race without asking questions about that topic directly. In all, 51 percent of Americans now express explicit anti-black attitudes, compared with 48 percent in a similar 2008 survey. When measured by an implicit racial attitudes test, the number of Americans with anti-black sentiments jumped to 56 percent, up from 49 percent during the last presidential election. In both tests, the share of Americans expressing pro-black attitudes fell. “As much as we’d hope the impact of race would decline over time … it appears the impact of anti-black sentiment on voting is about the same as it was four years ago,” said Jon Krosnick, a Stanford University professor who worked with AP to develop the survey. Most Americans expressed anti-Hispanic sentiments, too. In an AP survey done in 2011, 52 percent of non-Hispanic whites expressed anti-Hispanic attitudes. That figure rose to 57 percent in the implicit test. The survey on Hispanics had no past data for comparison. The AP surveys were conducted with researchers from Stanford University, the University of Michigan and NORC at the University of Chicago. Experts on race said they were not surprised by the findings. “We have this false idea that there is uniformity in progress and that things change in one big step. That is not the way history has worked,” said Jelani Cobb, professor of history and director of the Institute for African-American Studies at the University of Connecticut. “When we’ve seen progress, we’ve also seen backlash.” Obama himself has tread cautiously on the subject of race, but many African-Americans have talked openly about perceived antagonism toward them since Obama took office. As evidence, they point to events involving police brutality or cite bumper stickers, cartoons and protest posters that mock the president as a lion or a monkey, or lynch him in effigy. “Part of it is growing polarization within American society,” said Fredrick Harris, director of the Institute for Research in African-American Studies at Columbia University. “The last Democrat in the White House said we had to have a national discussion about race. There’s been total silence around issues of race with this president. But, as you see, whether there is silence, or an elevation of the discussion of race, you still have polarization. It will take more generations, I suspect, before we eliminate these deep feelings.” Overall, the survey found that by virtue of racial prejudice, Obama could lose 5 percentage points off his share of the popular vote in his Nov. 6 contest against Republican challenger Mitt Romney. However, Obama also stands to benefit from a 3 percentage point gain due to pro-black sentiment, researchers said. Overall, that means an estimated net loss of 2 percentage points due to anti-black attitudes. The poll finds that racial prejudice is not limited to one group of partisans. Although Republicans were more likely than Democrats to express racial prejudice in the questions measuring explicit racism (79 percent among Republicans compared with 32 percent among Democrats), the implicit test found little difference between the two parties. That test showed a majority of both Democrats and Republicans held anti-black feelings (55 percent of Democrats and 64 percent of Republicans), as did about half of political independents (49 percent). Obama faced a similar situation in 2008, the survey then found. The Associated Press developed the surveys to measure sensitive racial views in several ways and repeated those studies several times between 2008 and 2012. The explicit racism measures asked respondents whether they agreed or disagreed with a series of statements about black and Hispanic people. In addition, the surveys asked how well respondents thought certain words, such as “friendly,” ”hardworking,” ”violent” and “lazy,” described blacks, whites and Hispanics. The same respondents were also administered a survey designed to measure implicit racism, in which a photo of a black, Hispanic or white male flashed on the screen before a neutral image of a Chinese character. The respondents were then asked to rate their feelings toward the Chinese character. Previous research has shown that people transfer their feelings about the photo onto the character, allowing researchers to measure racist feelings even if a respondent does not acknowledge them. Results from those questions were analyzed with poll takers’ ages, partisan beliefs, views on Obama and Romney and other factors, which allowed researchers to predict the likelihood that people would vote for either Obama or Romney. Those models were then used to estimate the net impact of each factor on the candidates’ support. All the surveys were conducted online. Other research has shown that poll takers are more likely to share unpopular attitudes when they are filling out a survey using a computer rather than speaking with an interviewer. Respondents were randomly selected from a nationally representative panel maintained by GfK Custom Research. Overall results from each survey have a margin of sampling error of approximately plus or minus 4 percentage points. The most recent poll, measuring anti-black views, was conducted Aug. 30 to Sept. 11. Andra Gillespie, an Emory University political scientist who studies race-neutrality among black politicians, contrasted the situation to that faced by the first black mayors elected in major U.S. cities, the closest parallel to Obama’s first-black situation. Those mayors, she said, typically won about 20 percent of the white vote in their first races, but when seeking re-election they enjoyed greater white support presumably because “the whites who stayed in the cities … became more comfortable with a black executive.” “President Obama’s election clearly didn’t change those who appear to be sort of hard-wired folks with racial resentment,” she said. Negative racial attitudes can manifest in policy, noted Alan Jenkins, an assistant solicitor general during the Clinton administration and now executive director of the Opportunity Agenda think tank. “That has very real circumstances in the way people are treated by police, the way kids are treated by teachers, the way home seekers are treated by landlords and real estate agents,” Jenkins said. Hakeem Jeffries, a New York state assemblyman and candidate for a congressional seat being vacated by a fellow black Democrat, called it troubling that more progress on racial attitudes had not been made. Jeffries has fought a New York City police program of “stop and frisk” that has affected mostly blacks and Latinos but which supporters contend is not racially focused. “I do remain cautiously optimistic that the future of America bends toward the side of increased racial tolerance,” Jeffries said. “We’ve come a long way, but clearly these results demonstrate there’s a long way to go.” (AP News Survey Specialist Dennis Junius contributed to this report.)
Legendary boxing trainer Steward dies
Emanuel Steward, the owner of the legendary Kronk Gym and a standout trainer for boxers including Thomas Hearns, Evander Holyfield and Oscar De La Hoya, died Thursday. He was 68.
Victoria Kirton, Steward’s executive assistant, said Steward died Thursday at a Chicago hospital. She did not disclose the cause of death. Steward trained, helped train or manage some of the greatest fighters of the past 40 years out of the Kronk, a dingy, overheated basement gym that produced world champions like Hearns, Sugar Ray Leonard and Lennox Lewis. Steward was born in West Virginia and moved at the age of 12 to Detroit. In 1963, an 18-year old Steward, fighting as a bantamweight, won the national Golden Gloves tournament. According to a biography on his website, rather than go forward as a professional he went to work for the Detroit Edison Co. and in 1971 accepted a part-time position as head coach of the boxing program at the Kronk Recreation Center. A dynasty was born. The Kronk’s first professional champion was Hilmer Kenty, a lightweight from Columbus, Ohio, who started training there in 1978 and won the WBA title two years later. It was Hearns who really put Kronk – and Steward – on the map. The Hitman was the first man to win titles in four divisions – he won five overall – and topped his 155-8 amateur record by going 61-5-1 with 48 knockouts as a pro. ”He brought the very, very best out of me,” Hearns once said of Steward. The gym for years was seen as a way to keep kids out of trouble and off the streets in southwestern Detroit. In 2006, Detroit shut down the recreation center that houses the gym because of a major budget shortfall. The gym was allowed to remain open, but it put Steward in a difficult financial situation and he rented space at a gym in Dearborn so his young fighters could train. Steward, who was inducted into the International Boxing Hall of Fame, also worked closely with Lewis during his title run, and current heavyweight champion Wladimir Klitschko as recently as July. Klitschko has trained recently without Steward for his fight against Mariusz Wach next month in Germany ”His spirit is always here,” Klitschko said. ”I can hear his voice in sparring while doing things, whispering in my ear. As the famous saying goes, ‘The show must go on,’ and that’s exactly the case.” Steward also worked since 2001 as a boxing analyst for HBO. ”Manny was a respected colleague who taught us so much not only about the sweet science but also about friendship and loyalty,” HBO Sports President Ken Hershman said. ”His energy, enthusiasm and bright smile were a constant presence. Ten bells do not seem enough to mourn his passing.”
TV host campaigns for Ark. medical marijuana plan
By ANDREW DeMILLO | Associated Press – 2 hours 28 minutes ago LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) — Talk show host Montel Williams on Thursday accused opponents of an Arkansas ballot measure that would legalize medical marijuana of resorting to “racist” imagery with a television ad featuring an African-American actor portraying a drug dealer. Williams, an outspoken supporter of medical marijuana, appeared Thursday at the state Capitol alongside members of Arkansans for Compassionate Care, which is campaigning for Arkansas’ legalization measure on the Nov. 6 ballot. He criticized an ad aired by a conservative group opposing the proposal. “Offensive is really an understatement. It’s the most egregiously racist, false statement you’ve ever seen in your life,” Williams told a crowd gathered in front of the state Capitol steps. “They’ve people sitting in a picture holding guns, talking about medical marijuana, and of course they happen to be of different colors to make sure you’re as irritated and angry as you can be.” The Arkansas measure would allow patients with qualifying conditions to buy marijuana from nonprofit dispensaries with a doctor’s recommendation. If approved, Arkansas would become the first Southern state to legalize medical marijuana. The Family Council Action Committee said it paid about $1,000 for airtime to run a 30-second spot opposing the measure. The committee is part of the Coalition to Preserve Arkansas Values, which unsuccessfully sued to try and get the medical marijuana proposal off the ballot. The ad at one point shows a black actor sitting at a table with guns and filling bags with marijuana. “The grass-growers and dope dealers would be in charge,” the narrator says in the ad. “Arkansas doesn’t need a state filled with stoned-out zombies, or the criminal activities that come from legalizing controlled substances.” Williams, who lives in New York, suffers from multiple sclerosis. He says he uses medical marijuana to treat symptoms of his condition, but said he did not bring any with him to Arkansas out of a fear that someone would call for his arrest. Williams called the ad misleading, saying that there are no dispensaries that allow guns inside them. “It’s a way to see if they can scare people into thinking this is something different than it is,” he told reporters. Jerry Cox, the head of the Family Council Action Committee and a member of the coalition, denied that the ad was aimed at stoking any kind of racial animus and defended the spot as accurate. Cox noted that the ad also features white actors portraying marijuana users. “Sure, he wanted to seize on that, but that’s not the message we’re sending,” Cox said. “We’re sending a message that this harmful act is going to affect every family in this state if it passes.” Under the proposal, qualifying health conditions would include cancer, glaucoma, HIV, AIDS and Alzheimer’s disease. The proposal also would allow qualifying patients or a designated caregiver to grow marijuana if the patient lives more than five miles from a dispensary. Past efforts to put medical marijuana on the ballot in Arkansas have faltered, though voters in two cities in the state have approved referendums that encourage police to regard arrests for small amounts of marijuana as a low priority. The proposal faces opposition from law enforcement groups and the state’s top elected officials. Gov. Mike Beebe, a Democrat, has said he’s opposed to the measure and is worried about the additional cost to the state. Seventeen states and the District of Columbia have legalized it in some fashion. Massachusetts voters are also expected to vote on the issue this fall. Williams said he thinks having the proposal on the ballot in a state like Arkansas gives voters who haven’t thought much about medical marijuana to take a closer look at the idea. “I don’t think the southern states are any different. We’re just afraid to talk about it,” Williams said. “We have people who control our thought processes by shaming us into believing that there’s some moral reason you shouldn’t be compassionate.” Chris Kell, campaign strategist for Arkansans for Compassionate Care, said the group did not pay Williams to speak on behalf of the measure and the group hoped he would return to campaign for the measure before the November election. Andrew DeMillo can be reached at www.twitter.com/ademillo
It’s no secret that guys can take for-ev-er to drop the L-word. But just because he hasn’t said “I love you” yet doesn’t mean he isn’t head over heels for you. We got real men to spill on the signs a guy is crazy about you. 1. You Catch Him Staring at You Men always ogle the objects they desire – it’s the reason you’re always busting us cleavage-peeping. So consider: With all that eye candy out there, if it’s you he’s staring at, his affection runs deep. There’s the secret stare (you’ll have to catch him in the act). “Watching my girlfriend at a party allows me a private moment when I can pinch myself and wonder how I deserve this amazing person in my life – a perspective I can’t get when she’s right there in front of me,” says Patrick, 30. 2. He Gazes in Your Eyes Another I-love-you look is the steady gaze. Guys are guarded when it comes to showing emotion. If they lock eyes for a full-tilt, unabashed stare, they’re lowering their shield to let you in. “I’d never hold that sort of eye contact with anyone else, but an intense gaze with my girlfriend reflects how comforted and captivated I am by her,” says Chip, 29. 3. He Buys Food You Like Discovering that his kitchen is loaded with biscotti, lemon-lime seltzer, and other feminine edibles (that would only pass his lips at gunpoint) shows you’re lingering on his mind in the most unexpected, unromantic places – like the produce aisle on a solo shopping trip. “One day I checked out my shopping cart and saw all the bags of baby carrots and bottles of diet soda meant for my girlfriend,” says Patrick. “It struck me that it had become second nature for me to consider what would make her happy, and that’s when I knew I was in love.” Related: 7 Signs You’re Ready to Get Married4. He Keeps Your Stuff Out at His Place He’s gone public with your place in his pad. You see, men like to maintain at least the image of being detached for as long as possible. So leaving unmistakable evidence in our home that there’s a woman present in our life is a bright red flag that you’re The One. 5. He Talks About the Future Telling you he plans to relocate out West one day may seem like a neon warning. However, it might also be his wily way of letting you know that he wants you in his future. “Every time I tell my girlfriend where I see ‘me’ down the road, I’m really trying to gauge whether she sees herself there with me,” says Jon, 26. How do you know when a guy’s just bragging about his game plan and when he’s quietly declaring his love? It’s all in the way he talks. If he tells you he wants to move to Tahiti, be a beach bum, and ogle the local girls, no dice. If he mentions that he sees himself eventually settling in San Francisco, then immediately asks if you could ever envision living there, he’s emitting serious long-term relationship rays. 6. He Wears the Sweater You Gave Him Trusting you behind the wheel of his wardrobe is something no man does readily. Not that guys are really all that picky about their appearance, it’s just that we pride ourselves on being, well, ourselves. “Blame it on the inflated male ego, but to permit any tampering with our identity, even if it’s for the better, is considered a sign of weakness,” explains Seth, 29. Consequentially, every time a guy does don some item he obviously didn’t pick out for himself, he’s showing that he’s letting you take control and do a little remodeling. Related: The Most Iconic Mini Skirt Moments of ALL TIME7. He Stands Right Next to You in Public Where he stands when you’re out together says a lot about where you stand in his life. Consider this key truth: Guys are hard-wired to check out women. That’s why when a man’s still uncertain about his feelings, he’ll either trail several feet behind you or get out in front and lead the path – two safety positions that keep his wandering eyes hidden. Sidling up shoulder-to-shoulder is his way of showing his commitment by keeping his eyes right where you can see them. Plus, sticking close puts him in range of being touched in public by you, and that limits his ability to go after a sexy chick he may spy. “Being side-by-side puts my girlfriend within lips’ reach, making it easy for her to whisper in my ear or lean in for a surprise quick kiss,” says Ryan, 27. “It’s my way of telling other women that I’m taken.” 8. He’s Okay With You Answering His PhoneMen never know what potentially image-damaging force might be lurking on their phone – from ex-girlfriends looking for a last hurrah to an overly inquisitive mom. If we let you answer that jingling time bomb, it means there’s absolutely nothing about us we want to keep concealed from you. “Men aren’t big on sharing. So when a guy lets you grab the phone – possibly making you privy to personal information you could use to blackmail him for the rest of his life – it means he’s planning on staying with you for a very long time,” says Rich, 29.
‘Rich Dad, Poor Dad’ Author Files for Chapter 7 Bankruptcy
Robert Kiyosaki, author of the bestselling “Rich Dad, Poor Dad” series, has filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy protection after losing a nearly $24 million court judgment to The Learning Annex. The New York Post reports. As one of Kiyosaki’s earliest backers, The Learning Annex was responsible for arranging the speaking engagements and platform that led to his massive success. But apparently the fame went to his head because according to court papers obtained by the Post, Kiyosaki, who published his first “Rich Dad” book in 1994, never paid the Annex its rightful share. Said founder and chairman Bill Zanker: “Oprah believed in him, and Will Smith believed in him, but he didn’t keep his promise to us.” Kiyosaki’s Rich Global company was ordered by a U.S. judge in April to cough up $23,687,957.21, which in turn led him to file for corporate bankruptcy on Aug. 20. Despite the blow to the personal finance guru’s reputation, Kiyosaki probably won’t feel the pinch in his wallet. Forbes pegs his net worth around a cool $80 million, and Kiyosaki, who’s written 11 books, operates as many as ten other companies. Rich Global was said to be worth a few million when it went under. Rich Dad, Poor Dad became an overnight sensation when Kiyosaki made the rounds on feel-good daytime TV like “Oprah” and aired his speaking programs on PBS. Cash-strapped consumers identified with his inspirational story of learning how to manage money from a father who struck it big and another other died penniless and alone. However, not everyone bought into the schtick. As Helaine Olen wrote in Forbes Thursday, the guru’s “tips ran the gamut from ridiculous to illegal and downright hurtful and included advocating for insider trading, arguing for the purchase of multiple real estate properties with little or no money down and telling followers they could purchase stocks on margin via unfunded brokerage accounts.”
China’s Mo Yan wins Nobel for “hallucinatory realism”
STOCKHOLM (Reuters) - Chinese writer Mo Yan won the 2012Nobel prize for literature on Thursday for works which combine “hallucinatory realism” with folk tales, history and contemporary life in China.
Mo, who was once so destitute he ate tree bark and weeds to survive, is the first Chinese national to win the $1.2 millionliterature prize, awarded by the Swedish Academy.
He said the award made him “overjoyed and terrified”.
Some of his books have been banned as “provocative and vulgar” by Chinese authorities but he has also been criticized as being too close to the Communist Party.
While users of a popular Chinese microblogging site offered their congratulations, dissident artist Ai Weiwei said he disagreed with giving the award to a writer with the “taint of government” about him.
Mo, 57, who grew up in the town of Gaomi in Shandong province in the northeast of the country and whose parents were farmers, sets his works mainly in the land of his birth.
Mo Yan is a pen name which means “Don’t Speak”. His real name is Guan Moye and he was forced to drop out of primary school and herd cattle during China’s Cultural Revolution.
Speaking to the state-run China News Service, Mo said he was happy to have won.
“But I do not think that my winning can be seen as representing anything. I think that China has many outstanding authors, and their great works should also be recognized by the world.
“Next, I’m going to put most of my efforts into creating my new works. I will keep working hard, and I thank everyone. As to whether I go to Sweden to receive the prize, I will wait for word from the organizers about arrangements.”
“AT HOME WITH HIS DAD”
Peter Englund, head of the Swedish Academy, said Mo was “at home with his dad” when he was told of the award.
“He said he was overjoyed and terrified,” Englund told Swedish television, adding:
“He has such a damn unique way of writing. If you read half a page of Mo Yan you immediately recognize it as him.”
The award citation said Mo used a mixture of fantasy and reality, historical and social perspectives to create a world which was reminiscent of the writings of William Faulkner and Gabriel Garcia Marquez. At the same time, he found a “departure point in old Chinese literature and in oral tradition”, the Academy said. Englund said Mo offers “a unique insight into a unique world in a quite unique manner.”
His style is “a fountain of words and stories and stories within stories, then stories within the stories within the stories and so on. He’s mesmerizing,” Englund told Reuters television.
Mo is best known in the West for “Red Sorghum“, which portrayed the hardships endured by farmers in the early years of communist rule. His titles also include “Big Breasts and Wide Hips” and “The Republic of Wine”. The last Chinese-born winner was Gao Xingjian in 2000, although he was living in France by that time and had taken French citizenship. His Nobel was not celebrated by the Chinese government.
CHINA HAS “WAITED TOO LONG”
Communist Party mouthpiece the People’s Daily praised the win in a commentary on its website (www.people.com.cn). “This is the first Chinese writer who has won the Nobel Prize for Literature. Chinese writers have waited too long, the Chinese people have waited too long,” it wrote.
Mo, a vice chairman of the government-backed Chinese Writers’ Association, said he had nothing to say about Liu Xiabao, the jailed dissident who won the Nobel Peace Prize in 2010 and whose name has been banned from public discussion in China.
“His winning won’t be of any help for Liu Xiaobo, unless Mo Yan expresses his concern for him,” said Ai Weiwei.
“But Mo Yan has stated in the past that he has nothing to say about Liu Xiaobo. I think the Nobel organizers have removed themselves from reality by awarding this prize. I really don’t understand it.”
Beijing-based writer Mo Zhixu said Mo Yan, who once copied out by hand a speech by Chairman Mao Zedong for a commemorative book, “doesn’t have any independent personality.”
Yu Shicun, a Beijing-based essayist and literary critic, said Mo Yan was a puzzling choice for the prize.
“I don’t think this makes sense,” said Yu in a telephone interview. “His works are from the 1980s, when he was influenced by Latin American literature. I don’t think he’s created his own things. We don’t see him as an innovator in Chinese literature.”
The literature prize is the fourth of this year’s crop of prizes, which were established in the will of Swedish dynamite inventor Alfred Nobel and awarded for the first time in 1901.
The writer, who was in the People’s Liberation Army before progressing to academia, was one of the favorites to win the award this year, according to British bookmaker Ladbrokes, along with Japanese author Haruki Murakami.
The Academy has been charged in the past with being too Euro-centric, although the United States once again misses out with its last literature prize winner, Toni Morrison, recognized back in 1993.
(Reporting by Johan Ahlander, Simon Johnson, Anna Ringstrom and Ben Blanchard; Additonal Reporting by Sui-Lee Wee in Beijing; Writing by Giles Elgood, editing by Peter Millership)
By STEPHANIE CONDON /
CBS NEWS/ October 10, 2012, 6:00 AM
Supreme Court takes up affirmative action
Affirmative action is rarely discussed on the campaign trail, but it nevertheless is a matter of heated debate in Washington this year. The Supreme Court today will hear an hour of arguments in the case of Fisher v. University of Texas at Austin, which asks the court to rule on whether the university’s consideration of race in admissions is constitutional. Abigail Fisher, a 22-year-old white woman who was rejected from UT Austin in 2008, has filed suit against the school, arguing its consideration of race doesn’t meet standards previously set by the high court. If the court rules against the university, it could potentially change the way schools across the nation talk about race. The response to Fisher’s case proves that while affirmative action has been a matter of debate for decades, it remains a potent one. Dozens of individuals and organizations have given their input to the Supreme Court through amicus briefs – 17 briefs filed to support Fisher and 73 in support of the university. Republican Rep. Allen West, Ronald Reagan’s attorney general Ed Meese and the libertarian Cato Institute all signed onto briefs backing Fisher. On the other side, the court is hearing from the likes of Democratic Senate leaders Harry Reid and Chuck Schumer, Teach for America and the American Psychological Association. Dozens of organizations in favor of the school’s system plan on holding a rally outside of the Supreme Court today. The Supreme Court set a precedent for the use of affirmative action in college admissions in 2003, when in Grutter v. Bollinger it rejected the use of racial quotas but said that schools could consider race as part of a “holistic” review of a student’s application. In 2003, however, Justice Sandra Day O’Connor was the swing vote in favor of the “holistic” approach. This year, the court’s balance is tipped towards conservatives. In the arguments submitted to the court, Fisher’s lawyers argue that UT Austin’s admissions process fails to meet the standards set by Grutter. If the Supreme Court concludes that the university’s system does meet the standards set by Grutter, then Fisher’s lawyers argue that the precedent should be clarified or overruled. CUNY School of Law Prof. Ruthann Robson, who has followedFisher at the Constitutional Law Prof Blog, told CBSNews.com that overruling Grutter would be a drastic move, politically speaking. By picking apart UT Austin’s system, however, the court “could eviscerate Grutter without overruling it,” she said. If the court gave a critical ruling against UT Austin’s system — which already strives to consider race as a part of the “holistic” picture — other schools would be hard pressed to defend their own consideration of race. Abigail Fisher wants college admissions to be “completely race neutral and race blind,” Robson explained. The University of Texas argues that a diverse student body is an indispensable part of training future leaders with “invaluable educational benefits.” It argues that its admissions process meets the standards the court set in Grutter and other cases.
”Race is only one modest factor among many others weighed; it is considered only in an individualized and contextual way… andadmissions officers do not know an applicant’s race when they decide [who] to admit in UT’s process,” the university’s court brief reads. “It is undisputed that UT has not established any race-based target; race is not assigned any automatic value; and the racial or ethnic composition of admits is not monitored during the admissions cycle.” Fisher, meanwhile, argues in her brief that UT Austin’s attempts at racial diversity aren’t focused on building a rich learning environment, but are “purely representational” — in other words, the school is focused on achieving demographics that mirror state demographics. Additionally, her lawyers argue the school goes too far by striving for classroom diversity in addition to diversity among the entire student body. Classroom diversity can only be achieved, they argue, if race is a “dominant” factor in admissions.Even so, Fisher’s lawyers argue affirmative action has had a “negligible” impact on the school.Most students — 70 to 80 percent of those in-state students admitted — are accepted to UT Austin through the “Top 10 percent” law, which grants automatic admission to the top students in every Texas high school. Race isn’t considered in the “Top 10″ program. In 2008, just 216 accepted students accepted outside of the “Top 10″ program were black or Hispanic — and many of those students would have been admitted without consideration of race, Fisher’s lawyers note. As for Fisher, she did not qualify for the program.While she didn’t get into her school of choice, Fisher did graduate from Louisiana State University and now works as a financial analyst in Austin, the New York Times reports.It’s possible, Robson told CBSNews.com, that the court may decide to simply let lower court rulings in favor of the university stand. Robson said that there are legitimate questions about whether the case even deserves to be heard by the Supreme Court but that the court may have been influenced by the views of Fifth Circuit Court Judge Edith Jones. An influential conservative, Jones argued that Fisher’s case deserved consideration.It’s also possible the court could end up with a split decision, four to four. That’s because Justice Elena Kagan has recused herself from the case, likely because of the high-level federal role she held while the case was moving through lower courts.If the court splits, it would let the university system stand without setting any kind of precedent. The implications of that outcome would depend on what the written opinions say, but interested parties would also have to consider Kagan’s role in future cases.
Paul Ryan: 30 Percent ‘Want Welfare State,’ 70 Percent ‘Want The American Dream’!
WASHINGTON — Mitt Romney and his running mate, Paul Ryan, share a similarly dim view of a very large portion of Americans, according to previously unreported remarks by Ryan. Both believe that many of their fellow citizens are dependent on government and have no motivation to improve their lives — but they disagree over the precise number. Romney’s estimate, famously, is 47 percent. For Ryan, it’s 30 percent. “Seventy percent of Americans want the American dream. They believe in the American idea. Only 30 percent want the welfare state,” Ryan said. “Before too long, we could become a society where the net majority of Americans are takers, not makers.” (It’s not definitively clear whether Ryan said “the welfare state” or “their welfare state.” HuffPost originally transcribed it as “their welfare state.” Regardless, the comment was made in reference to people on government assistance.) Ryan’s comments were delivered as part of his keynote address at The American Spectator’s 2011 Robert L. Bartley Gala Dinner, which the magazine posted online. A reader tipped HuffPost to Ryan’s speech, given in November — six months before Romney’s videotaped remarks. “There are 47 percent of the people who will vote for the president no matter what,” Romney said at a fundraiser in May, first reported by The Huffington Post. ”All right — there are 47 percent who are with him, who are dependent upon government, who believe that, that they are victims, who believe that government has the responsibility to care for them. Who believe that they are entitled to health care, to food, to housing.” Romney’s remark, which he called “inelegant,” but hasn’t retracted, has won him widespread condemnation. Conservative fans of Ryan, meanwhile, have worried that Romney’s poor candidacy might reflect negatively on Ryan. But there is only 17 percentage points of distance between Ryan and Romney’s assessment of the American people. One difference between the two, at least, is that Ryan said he believes that half the people who get more from the government than they pay in would prefer not to be in that situation.
”Today, 70 percent of Americans get more benefits from the federal government in dollar value than they pay back in taxes,” Ryan said. “So you could argue that we’re already past that [moral] tipping point. The good news is survey after survey, poll after poll, still shows that we are a center-right 70-30 country. Seventy percent of Americans want the American dream. They believe in the American idea. Only 30 percent want their welfare state. What that tells us is at least half of those people who are currently in that category are there not of their wish or their will.”The other half, by implication, are there because they want to be. For Romney, there’s nothing that can be done about those types of people. “My job is not to worry about those people,” Romney said in the full clip of the fundraiser, obtained by Mother Jones. . “I’ll never convince them they should take personal responsibility and care for their lives.”
Remembering Black Wall Street: The True Story
“Mass graves hold the secrets of American race massacre”New York - INVESTIGATORS are searching for the graves of up to 400 black Americans in an attempt to end the 78-year cover-up of one of the worst acts of mass slaughter in the country’s history. Dr Clyde Snow, the world’s leading authority in forensic anthropology, is preparing to spend the coming months in his home state of Oklahoma, identifying the remains of hundreds of men, women and children believed buried in communal graves. The dead are the long-missing casualties of the Tulsa race riot in 1921, a little-known chapter in American history which, if substantiated, would eclipse even the 1995 Oklahoma bombing as the country’s worst civilian atrocity…Read More
Washington city government now 100 percent wind powered, buys
enough to power 90K homes
By Associated Press, Published: September 24
WASHINGTON — Washington schools, firehouses, police stations and city offices are now 100 percent wind powered.District officials announced the new agreement Monday at a renewable energy conference. Sam Brooks, the head of Washington’s Energy and Sustainability Division, says the district buys about $52 million of electricity each year. That’s enough to power about 90,000 homes.
The district has been buying cleaner wind power for about half of its electricity needs since 2009. Brooks says the district lowered the amount it pays for wind power in the new contract. While wind power is more expensive, the total should be less than $100,000 more than the previous contract.
Brooks says the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency also recognized the district on Monday as one of two winners of its Green Power Community Challenge.
Mobile Will Grab TV Advertising’s Crown
Editor’s note:Matt Cohler is a General Partner at Benchmark Capital. He’s responsible for identifying investment opportunities inInternet-related companies in addition to working closely with companies across the firm’s portfolio. You can follow him on Twitter here. The global advertising market is big. Half a trillion dollars big in 2012. In the tech world we tend to think of the Internet when somebody mentions advertising. But even now the Internet isn’t the biggest advertising market in the world. The biggest advertising market in the world is television. Even now, TV ad spend is more than twice as big as Internet ad spend and represents close to half of all ad spend in the world across all media. How can this be, even in a world of DVRs and even after the web has had 20 years to work its interactive, data-rich, efficiency-enabling, creative-destruction magic on the market? First of all, people spend a lot of time watching TV. In America, the only thing people spend more time doing is sleeping and working. This massive time spend is important to marketers not only for sheer quantity of inventory, but also for the society-wide reach and broad social context it provides. This is something that brand advertisers in particular — roughly half the total market, and the half that’s struggled most with the web — care a lot about. Second, watching TV is a focused, immersive experience. There’s really only one thing happening on the screen at a time and the only distraction available is changing the program to a different version of the same thing (awful picture-in-picture and interactive menu interfaces not withstanding). TV beats the web on time spent and on focus of attention (or “frequency, reach and engagement” in marketer-speak). But you know what TV doesn’t beat? Mobile. People are going to spend more time staring at mobile screens than television screens (and certainly more time than staring at computer screens, especially when you exclude work applications). Your smartphone is with you pretty much all the time. Smartphones are also inherently social devices, which explains the deep emotional connection people feel to them. The society-wide reach and social context that mobile smartphones will provide advertisers leaves other media in the dust. Using a mobile device is also a focused, immersive experience. Like watching TV, the screen focuses the user’s attention on one thing at a time and “changing the channel” is even less distracting than with a television. If these are really the dimensions that matter, why are mobile ad rates so low? This is simply an issue of time and of product and market development. The market is still illiquid and sub-scale, and great ad products haven’t had time to develop. I don’t know what the new mobile ad products will look like yet, and they won’t be one-size-fits-all. But to be great they’ll need to act like “content” in the context of an app and will need to be interactive and “push-button remote control” simple. One of the reasons Benchmark led the Series A in Instagram was the belief that this was exactly the sort of app which would eventually enable a phenomenal advertising environment. And while I won’t share the specifics, even now the trends are looking very encouraging across the companies my partners and I are involved with. By the way, know what the second biggest advertising market is after television? Still not the Internet! Nope, it’s print media (newspapers and magazines). Just like TV, print media have a lot more in common with mobile devices (especially tablets) than they do with the web. This year, mobile will account for little more than 1 percent of the half trillion dollars spent by advertisers across the world. As mobile ad products and the mobile ad market develop and grow, that’s going to change. A lot.
It’s Become Tragically Clear That Facebook Chased The Wrong Business For Years
Nicholas Carlson | Sep. 25, 2012, 11:13 AM Facebook has always sold ads the old-fashioned way, disguised as something new. Now, as Facebook has begun selling ads in a different, much more lucrative way that others have been doing for years, it feels like Facebook’s tactic has put the company years behind schedule. How Facebook has sold ads for most of its history: Advertisers tick off a bunch of boxes on the type of people they’d like to reach and then Facebook shows their ads to these people. That’s the “old-fashioned way,” because that’s basically how advertisers have been buying TV ads for decades. Advertisers have a group of people to whom they would like to market their products, and they look for the TV shows that have that audience. In other words, they look for inventory that is targeted to an audience based on data a publisher provides about its audience. For the past five years or so, Facebook has sought to improve on this old-fashioned model by giving advertisers more detail about the type of people they can market to. Instead of just knowing where those people are located, their gender, and their age, Facebook can tell advertisers where the people viewing ad inventory work, their marital status, and what their “interests” are. All this extra data was supposed to be a gold mine for Facebook, and Facebook built up a huge ad sales apparatus to sell ads targeted with it. Eventually, Facebook’s ad business grew to annual revenues of just under $5 billion per year. That sounds pretty big but … It turns out this whole tactic may have been a big waste of everyone’s time. That’s because in recent weeks, Facebook has begun selling ads in a new way that makes its massive inventory much more valuable—three times more valuable, according to one company buying the inventory and reselling it. This new method is called re-targeting. It has been used by ad-sellers outside of Facebook for years now. Facebook, however, only began selling re-targeted ads this summer, when it opened something called the Facebook Exchange, better known as FBX in the industry. FBX is what it sounds like: an exchange. Facebook has selected a dozen or so companies that will buy Facebook ad inventory and sell it to marketers using re-targeting. How re-targeting works: You visit Warby Parker, the online glasses seller. You look at a pair of glasses you might like to buy. You decide not to buy them right then. You leave the Warby Parker website. Later, on other Websites you see ads with the pair of glasses you liked. You see those ads because when you visited warbyparker.com, your browser downloaded a tiny piece of software, called a “cookie,” that told the ad servers on sites using re-targeting that you had previously gone to warbyparker and looked at a certain pair of glasses. Ads that are “re-targeted” in this way are clicked on a lot, and it’s pretty obvious why. Unlike most ads in banners on the Internet, re-targeted ads are ones that you may actually want to see because they are based on your demonstrated interest in a product. Because they are clicked on so much—and because those clicks so often lead to sales, re-targeted ads are valuable, and publishers are able to charge advertisers steeper rates for them. That’s good new for Facebook. How good? Zach Coelius, CEO of Triggit, one of the ad-reselling companies Facebook has invited onto FBX, says that return on investment for advertisers buying through FBX is so good, that if all of Facebook’s ad inventory were sold with re-targeting, instead of user data targeting, Facebook would be able to charge 3X the price it charges for ads right now. What’s truly remarkable is that inventory sold through FBX re-targeting uses ZERO Facebook profile data, and yet it is much more valuable. This has to make you shake your head about Facebook’s strategy for the past few years, and we’ll get to that in a second. Coelius has a stake in seeing FBX do well, and having business news outlets write stories about how Triggit is getting great ROI for its clients. So you have to take his claims with a grain of salt. That said, his claims make intuitive sense. The most valuable inventory for re-targeting until now has been Yahoo Mail, because:
It has huge scale.
It’s engaging enough that you’d only want to click on an ad to leave if you really wanted to leave.
The people who use it tend to leave it open as a tab in their browser all day.
In all three ways, Facebook.com is very similar to Yahoo Mail. So, when Coelius says that 18 months from now, most of Facebook’s ad inventory will be sold through re-targeting, and that rates will have gone up by a couple multiples, we find him to be credible enough. On a basic level, of course ads targeted to me based on my demonstrated commercial intent will be more valuable than ads based on what I put in my Facebook profile. OK, I “like” the British Open golf tournament, and that probably means aspirational brands could do well to market to me, but that seems like a lot of guesswork compared with showing me an ad for a pair of glasses I almost bought two days ago. Because it knows what marketers drooling-ly call “intent,” re-targeting feels a lot closer to search than Facebook’s profile data targeting does, and Google has shown us how great an online ad business can be when it is built around intent and massive scale. The frustrating thing for Facebook shareholders, especially the ones who bought in on the IPO, has to be this: Facebook may be new to re-targeting, but re-targeting isn’t all that new. As noted above, Yahoo has been doing it, and doing it well for years. It’s ironic—and a little tragic—that Facebook spent so much time chasing a “new and improved” form of advertising, when an existing online tool works so well. The good news is that re-targeting should be a growth engine for Facebook, which desperately needs one, even if we don’t think (ahem!) FBX meaningfully boosted Facebook revenues in Q3.
“He’s my hero,” Denzel Washington says of Clint
Enid, Alvarez, New York Daily Ne/Enid, Alvarez, New York Daily Ne
Denzel Washington supported Barack Obama’s presidential run in 2008, but he isn’t committed to either side for the upcoming election yet.
WASHINGTON — Clint Eastwood has taken a lot of barbs over his empty chair routine at the Republican National Convention, but Denzel Washington still holds the film legend in high regard.
“I have the utmost respect for him as an actor and as a director,” Washington said. “He’s my hero.”
Although Washington supported Obama in 2008, he graciously declined to address an empty chair or do any “Eastwooding,” as it’s come to be known on the Internet. He calls himself an independent and said in this election he isn’t committing to either side. “I listen to both sides of the argument and try to make an assessment,” he said.
Pakistan official offers $100,000 reward for killing of
maker of anti-Prophet Muhammad film
By NBC News and news services
A Pakistani government minister on Saturday announced a $100,000 bounty for the killing of the person who produced an online film that denigrates the Prophet Muhammad. Federal Minister for Railways Ghulam Ahmed Bilour also asked the Taliban and al-Qaida to extend support to the would-be killer. Speaking at a press conference at the Peshawar Press Club, the federal minister said whoever is responsible for blasphemy deserves death. “The American who produced the sacrilegious film in the U.S. is also liable to death and we will shower dollars on the one who killed the blasphemer. If members of the banned militant organizations kill the maker of the blasphemous movie, they will also be rewarded,” Bilour announced.
He called for legislation to have the anti-blasphemy law at the global level so that no one could hurt the religious emotions of the Muslims in the name of the freedom of expression.
He said the situation would remain tense until anti-blasphemy law was enacted at the world level. Bilour condemned the work of the filmmaker, saying it distressed the Muslims across the world. However, he also condemned the violence during the protests on Friday, which was declared a national holiday in honor of Muhammad, saying it could defame Muslims and their religion. Bilour said the government had already announced that the police and other law-enforcers would give protesters the opportunity to peacefully condemn the filmmaker and would not crack down on them with batons. Many Muslims denouncing anti-Islam film decry violent protests, too At least 15 people were killed and shops and businesses were damaged on Friday during Muslim protests in Pakistan. The film in question, produced in the U.S. and posted on the Internet under several titles including “Innocence of Muslims,” portrays the prophet as a fraud, womanizer and child molester. The U.S. Embassy in Pakistan has run television spots, one featuring Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, saying the government had nothing to do with the film. Pakistan had declared Friday a “Day of Love” for the Prophet and Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf said an attack on Islam’s founder was “an attack on the whole 1.5 billion Muslims.” Watch World News videos on NBCNews.com Dozens of people, including the U.S. ambassador to Libya, have been killed this month in violence linked to the film, which also has renewed debate over freedom of expression in the U.S. and in Europe. Protests continued in the Muslim world on Saturday. Scores of people were injured in clashes in Bangladesh’s capital between police and hundreds of demonstrators. In Pakistan, more than 1,500 people, including women and children, rallied in the capital. Thousands of people also protested Saturday in Nigeria’s largest city, Kano. The crowd marched from a mosque to the palace of the Emir of Kano, the region’s top spiritual leader for Muslims. About 200 students in Srinagar, the main city in Indian-controlled Kashmir, chanted “Down with America” and “Long live Islam” in a peaceful protest. Some carried a placard that read, “There is no God but Allah and Muhammad is his messenger.” NBC’s Mushtaq Yusufzai in Pakistan and The Associated Press and Reuters contributed to this story.
Feds accuse North Carolina sheriff’s office of racial
By Gustavo Valdes and Thom Patterson, CNN
updated 11:18 AM EDT, Thu September 20, 2012
(CNN) — North Carolina pastor Otoniel Recinos has been offering an unusual warning these days to members of his church: Don’t drive in nearby Alamance County. It’s not safe, he warns them, because of the sheriff’s department. A two-year Justice Department investigation backs up what Recinos and other Latinos in the region say they’ve known for a long time: Traffic stops by Alamance County sheriff’s deputies are sometimes part of a “pattern of racial profiling” aimed at searching for illegal immigrants, according to a statement this week byThomas E. Perez, the assistant U.S. attorney general for the civil rights division. Sheriff Terry S. Johnson has used offensive language when talking to Spanish speakers, the statement said, describing them as “Taco eaters.” Deputies were between four to 10 times more likely to stop Latino drivers for traffic violations than non-Latinos, the Justice Department said. Many of the stops took place at traffic checkpoints organized by deputies near Hispanic communities. Latinos were arrested for violations, while others got only warnings or citations, the department said. The Justice Department also said Hispanics who were jailed after their arrests were discriminated against because they were targeted for immigration status checks. Read the Justice Department letter of findings on this case (PDF) The pattern “violates the Constitution and federal laws,” triggering ripple effects that result in “distrust between the police and the community,” Perez’s statement said. It also “inhibits the reporting of crime and cooperation in criminal investigations.” The sheriff vehemently denies the allegations. “I don’t know where they got their information from,” Johnson said when contacted by phone, “but it’s completely false.” Johnson said his attorney had advised him not to comment on the case. Related story: No papers, no fear, say protesters After Sunday services at his Pentecostal Church of Jesus Christ, Power of God in Chapel Hill, Recinos, a 55-year-old pastor, gathers for refreshments and fellowship with his flock of about 50 people — who are mostly Latino. “I tell them not to go there unless it’s an emergency,” said Recinos, who came to the United States from his native El Salvador 22 years ago. Recinos’ home is about 30 miles away from Chapel Hill in the Alamance County town of Burlington. After living there for nine years, the irony of telling his followers not to visit his own county isn’t lost on him. “That’s hard, you know,” he said. “But you have to tell the people what you have to.” The situation is complicated by an agreement between federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement authorities and the county sheriff’s office. The agreement gave deputies additional powers aimed at identifying and arresting illegal immigrants for possible deportation to their home countries. The Justice accusations have prompted ICE to sever that partnership, said ICE spokeswoman Barbara Gonzalez. The agreements, called 287(g) programs, have long troubled local immigration reform advocates. “We applaud the feds for conducting the investigation and its findings,” said Viridiana Martinez of the local advocacy group NC Dream Team. “But there are still six other counties in the state that participate in the 287(g) program, which is at the bottom of this problem.” The programs have been a flash point in other states where immigration has become an issue. In Maricopa, Arizona, the sheriff’s department saw its agreement with federal law enforcement revoked after the Justice Department also accused local authorities of discriminatory police practices. ICE also has terminated agreements with five other Arizona law agencies, including the Phoenix Police Department. Collaboration under 287(g) continues in 64 communities in 24 states. ICE also has information-sharing capabilities in more than 3,000 local agencies in all 50 states through a different program known as Secure Communities. Related story: Romney vows ‘reasonable’ immigration solution Arizona’s politically charged immigration law was partially upheld this month when a federal judge OK’d its so-called “show me your papers” provision. The section allows authorities, while enforcing other laws, to question the immigration status of people who may be in the United States illegally. The Supreme Court in June tossed out most other controversial aspects of the tough new law. Related story: What’s next in Arizona immigration battle? The Alamance County Sheriff ‘s Office shouldn’t shoulder all the blame, said Martinez, the local activist. “It’s also the fault of the Obama administration for empowering these agencies to operate as immigration agencies,” she said. To “cut the problem at the root,” she recommends ending all federal programs with local law enforcement that “give them the power of federal agents.” The racial makeup of North Carolina is shifting, Martinez said, and “a lot of white folks in the South are resistant to change.” In the past decades, North Carolina’s Hispanic population has skyrocketed. Hispanics in Alamance County have increased by nearly 500 between 2000 and 2010, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. Census statistics also show that the number of Hispanic residents statewide grew by 943% between 1990 and 2010. North Carolina ranks 11th in overall Hispanic population, according to the bureau. But Martinez said Latinos who were first drawn by industry jobs in the region are now fleeing because the “environment for immigrants in that county is horrible.” “We know of people who have packed up after years and years of living there.” “A lot of the Latino people are here to work,” she said. “They’re not harming anyone — but the last thing they want is to be arrested after they get pulled over.” In the wake of the federal accusations against the county sheriff’s office, the Justice Department said that it “will seek to obtain a court enforceable, comprehensive, written agreement remedying the violations.” Meanwhile, Recinos said he worries about his friends, family and his church members who look to him for guidance. He said his followers worry about being able to trust community law enforcement officers who are supposed to protect them. He said all he can do is tell them what may seem obvious in the wake of the Justice Department accusations. “Be careful.” Journalist Diego Barahona contributed to this report.
‘Innocence of Muslims’ actress sues YouTube, filmmaker
Sept. 19, 2012, 9:29 PM EST
By Danielle Paquette TheWrap “Innocence of Muslims” actress Cindy Lee Garcia, who appeared in the amateur film that triggered deadly riots across Africa and the Middle East, has filed a lawsuit against YouTube and the film’s producer, claiming emotional distress, invasion of privacy, false light, fraud and slander, among other charges. After the “Innocence of Muslims” trailer garnered millions of hits on YouTube, Garcia claims she lost her job, received death threats and is no longer trusted to babysit her grandchildren, according to the complaint she filed to the Los Angeles County Superior Court on Wednesday and obtained by TheWrap. Bing: ‘Muslims’ actress receiving death threatsGarcia also claimed the film’s producer Nakoula Bassely Nakoula (also known as Sam Bacile) told her that the fledgling project was a “historical Arabian Desert adventure film” — not an anti-Muslim statement — after she responded to his casting call. The original script was called “Desert Warriors,” she alleges, and the Muslim prophet Mohammed was never mentioned on the set. When Garcia asked Google, which owns YouTube, to remove the viral, defamatory video, the YouTube team refused, according to the complaint. TheWrap has reached out to Google, who has not yet confirmed the allegations in the lawsuit. In addition to an injunction ordering the permanent removal of “Innocence” from YouTube, Garcia is seeking exemplary and punitive damages for “willful, wanton, malicious, and oppressive” acts.
Americans don’t know that $22 are given in subsidies
for fossil and nuclear energy for every one dollar given
Clinton to Solar Companies: “You Just Can’t Be Deterred”
ORLANDO — At Solar Power International 2012, Former President Bill Clinton offered words of encouragement and admiration for solar companies in America and around the globe.
Addressing the crowd whom he acknowledged are “people who represent what I believe in,” the former president said that “creative cooperation” is the only way for industry to make big accomplishments at home and abroad. “There is not a single successful example on earth of a country that is succeeding who doesn’t have shared cooperation,” he said. According to the Solar Electric Power Association’s Julia Hamm, who introduced Clinton, he had always wanted to speak at Solar Power International but his schedule and the show schedule were simply never aligned. This year, however, to the delight of show organizers SEPA and SEIA, he showed up in Orlando at precisely 4pm on Wednesday to address a packed auditorium. In his speech, Mr. Clinton acknowledged that he was “preaching to the saved” but emphasized the dire need for the solar industry to set the record straight regarding the economic and environmental benefits that solar power and other renewables are already providing to various parts of the globe. He said that most Americans don’t know that Germany has netted 300,000 jobs in solar energy even accounting for the draw that the feed-in tariff has had on its economy. He said that most Americans don’t know how much public-private cooperation is already happening. Clinton also said that most people don’t really know what happened to Solyndra, explaining that in his view, it was simply a failed start-up that couldn’t get to scale before it ran out of money. “I think a mistake was made by not having the industry as a whole offer a credible explanation [for Solyndra],” he later told Rhone Resch during a question and answer session. “People will accept the fact that DOE made a mistake,” he said. He also pointed out that most Americans don’t know that $22 are given in subsidies for fossil and nuclear energy for every one dollar given to renewables. “These are things people need to know,” he said. Speaking for more than an hour, Clinton touched on some of key projects he has spearheaded through the Clinton Global Initiative such as using solar power in Haiti to power schools and hospitals. He said that he had learned on a recent trip to Costa Rica, that the country is already mostly powered by clean energy (hydropower) and has plans to tap geothermal and solar energy in the near future. Clean energy is not just a race between China and U.S., he said, but rather it’s about people who are thinking about the future. “You represent the future,” he told the audience, stating that in his view people working in the solar industry are lucky that they get to get up every day, look in the mirror and say ‘I’m going to make something good happen today.’ The solar industry is in the “future business” according to the former president, reminding the audience that the industry must do everything it can with what it already has in front of it. “It is a great mistake to worry about what will happen next year,” he said. “Good and bad things happen over a long period of time and just when you least expect it, you reach a tipping point,” he said. “You are going to win this battle, the question is when and where and how,” he said. http://www.renewableenergyworld.com/
New Novel of Harlem Renaissance Is Found
By FELICIA R. LEE Published: September 14, 2012 A Columbia graduate student and his adviser have authenticated the student’s discovery of an unknown manuscript of a 1941 novel by Claude McKay, a leading Harlem Renaissance writer and author of the first novel by a black American to become a best seller. The manuscript, “Amiable With Big Teeth: A Novel of the Love Affair Between the Communists and the Poor Black Sheep of Harlem,” was discovered in a previously untouched university archive and offers an unusual window on the ideas and events (like Mussolini’s invasion of Ethiopia) that animated Harlem on the cusp of World War II. The two scholars have received permission from the McKay estate to publish the novel, a satire set in 1936, with an introduction about how it was found and its provenance verified. McKay, a Jamaican-born writer and political activist who died in 1948, at 58 (though some biographies say 57), influenced a generation of black writers, including Langston Hughes. His work includes the 1919 protest poem “If We Must Die,” (quoted by Winston Churchill) and “Harlem Shadows,” a 1922 poetry collection that some critics say ushered in the Harlem Renaissance. He also wrote the 1928 best-selling novel “Home to Harlem.” But his last published fiction during his lifetime was the 1933 novel “Banana Bottom.” “This is a major discovery,” said Henry Louis Gates Jr., the Harvard University scholar, who was one of three experts called upon to examine the novel and supporting research. “It dramatically expands the canon of novels written by Harlem Renaissance writers and, obviously, novels by Claude McKay. “More important, because it was written in the second half of the Harlem Renaissance, it shows that the renaissance continued to be vibrant and creative and turned its focus to international issues — in this case the tensions between Communists, on the one hand, and black nationalists, on the other, for the hearts and minds of black Americans,” said Mr. Gates, the director of the W. E. B. Du Bois Institute for African and African American Research at Harvard. This literary detective story began in the summer of 2009, when Jean-Christophe Cloutier, a doctoral candidate in English and comparative literature, was working as an intern in the Rare Book and Manuscript Library at Columbia. He was going through more than 50 boxes of materials belonging to Samuel Roth, a kind of literary pariah who died in 1974 and is best known for being the appellant in a famous obscenity case in the 1950s. Mr. Roth is also known for publishing work without permission, including excerpts from James Joyce’s “Ulysses” and editions of “Lady Chatterley’s Lover,” by D. H. Lawrence. Mr. Roth attended Columbia, and his family donated his collection to the university. No one knew of a connection between Mr. Roth and McKay, Mr. Cloutier said, as he came upon the roughly 300-page double-spaced manuscript, bound between cardboardlike covers bearing the novel’s title and McKay’s name. He also found two letters from McKay to Mr. Roth about possibly ghostwriting a novel to be called “Descent Into Harlem,” about an Italian immigrant who settles in Harlem. “Amiable” is a different story, though, rife with political intrigue, romance, seedy nightclubs and scenes of black intellectual and artistic life in Harlem during the Great Depression. Mr. Cloutier quickly took his discovery to Brent Hayes Edwards, his dissertation adviser and an expert in black literature. Mr. Edwards, a professor of English and comparative literature at Columbia, knew that McKay had published three novels during his lifetime (including “Banjo,” in 1929.) A novella, “Harlem Glory: A Fragment Of Aframerican Life,” was published posthumously). But he and Mr. Cloutier immediately found in “Amiable” themes that recurred across McKay’s work, like Communism and labor strikes in Harlem, and characters, like the real-life labor leader Sufi Abdul Hamid. The term “Aframerican,” which McKay used to refer to black people in the Western Hemisphere, also appeared in “Amiable.” Mr. Cloutier and Mr. Edwards gathered additional evidence by rummaging through archives at libraries around the country, including at Yale, Indiana University, Emory University and the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, part of the New York Public Library (which manages the McKay estate). They ended up amassing a mountain of archival and circumstantial evidence pointing to McKay’s authorship. But it was the extensive correspondence between McKay and his friend Max Eastman, the writer, political activist and avid supporter of the Harlem Renaissance, that ultimately convinced them that “Amiable” was indeed McKay’s, they said. “The irrefutable archival evidence we have is when Eastman directly quotes from the novel,” Mr. Cloutier said. “McKay sent him pages, all from the summer of 1941 and a bit later.” (They also found letters referring to a contract between McKay and E. P. Dutton to write the novel.) The authentication of the novel is “scholarly gold,” said William J. Maxwell, the editor of “Complete Poems: Claude McKay.” Its mocking portraits of Communists show McKay’s decisive break with Communism and his effort to turn his political evolution into art, said Mr. Maxwell, a professor of English and African-American Studies at Washington University in St. Louis. Moreover, while the flowering of arts known as the Harlem Renaissance obsessively documented black life in the 1920s, he said, far less is known about the period of the 1930s, focused on in “Amiable.” Many scholars believe that the Harlem Renaissance’s creative energy had pretty much run out by the late 1930s. But Mr. Edwards said he believed that “Amiable” would eventually be recognized “as the key political novel of the black intellectual life in New York in the late 1930s.” McKay represents the Communists as amiable with big teeth, he said, but they end up being a “wolf in sheep’s clothing.” “I cannot think of another novel that gives us such a rich and multilayered portrayal of black life,” Mr. Edwards continued. “There are scenes with artists in salons, in nightclubs, in queer nightclubs. It has almost a documentary aspect.”
Pennsylvania Voter ID Law Hangs In The Balance As Voters Try To
Opponents of Pennsylvania’s voter ID law seemed to have gained a powerful new ally on Tuesday: CNBC’s Jim Cramer. The indefatigable stock market advice program host tweeted, “I have a problem. My dad, a vet, won’t be allowed to vote in Pa. because he does not drive, he is elderly, and can’t prove his citizenship.” But within hours, Cramer had the problem solved and said he never meant for the law to be a “political issue.” “PennDot read my Tweet and came directly to the rescue of Pop and did so in a terrific way so he can vote.. Thank you Penndot!” he wrote on Twitter. Cramer declined The Huffington Post’s request for an interview though a representative. But others without an ID or such stature may find the road to the voting booth more difficult. Community organizations, civil rights groups and individuals around the state have described a situation that may imperil the ability of voters to participate in the Nov. 6 election unless the state’s Supreme Court, which begins hearings on the new voter ID law Thursday, strikes it down. The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) says that the agency is prepared to issue IDs to people who need them, but that they have not been overwhelmed by demand. Nevertheless, some 759,000 voters may lack proper government-issued ID, according to state figures. “We have taken people to the DMV and they have stood in line for three, three-and-a-half hours,” said Rev. Richard Freeman, pastor of the Resurrection Baptist Church in Braddock, Pa., just outside Pittsburgh. “We have had people in line when DMV staff came out and said, ‘Sorry we’re closing for the day. Come back tomorrow.’” Freeman is also the president of the Pennsylvania Interfaith Impact Network, a coalition of 48 churches. Over the last four months, the group and others have helped transport people to get the ID needed to vote. But many of the people who do not have state-issued ID are those who work hourly wage jobs where it is difficult to “disappear for three hours,” he said. PennDot is issuing non-license state IDs, as usual, at a cost of $13. But after voting rights groups pointed out that this cost and supporting document costs can be prohibitive, the state and PennDot also agreed to issue what are known as “IDs of last resort.” These IDs are technically free of charge, but in many cases also require people to first obtain various supporting documents. “Even with the free option it is almost as if you have got to know to how speak and use a special coded language,” Freeman said. “If you do not request it just the right way, we have seen DMV staff in some offices say ‘okay, that will be $13.’” Individuals who have never been issued a state identification or driver’s license must provide their birth certificate, marriage license or other documents that they may not have on hand. The cost of obtaining a birth certificate in Pennsylvania can vary, but generally costs about $25, Freeman said. “As a person who is financially secure, it is true that when you start talking those numbers, $25 is not going to make me flinch, but for persons making $7.25 an hour, that’s tantamount to [nearly] four hours of work. Think about that for a moment.” PennDOT said issuing the new IDs — more than 7,500 thus far — has been running smoothly. “It hasn’t had a real impact on day-to-day operations,” spokeswoman Jan McKnight said, adding that less than one percent of business involves voter IDs, “except in Philadelphia,” where the number is two percent. Doris Clark, a 68-year-old retired factory worker who lives in the Germantown section of Philadelphia, said she found the process of getting an ID difficult. A life of hard work has left her with two hip and two knee replacements — and a rich sense of humor. The latter came in handy in August when Clark decided to replace her lost photo ID and social security card after hearing about the new voter ID law. First, Clark went to the Social Security Administration, where she spent $13 to file paperwork for a replacement card. When she went to a PennDOT office several weeks later, workers told her the Social Security card in progress paperwork she had was too old and she would instead need to provide an actual card and birth certificate. But Clark lost her birth certificate, marriage license and most of her other belongings in a 1977 fire. So, she had to pay almost $75 to replace those documents, go back and forth between Social Security, a vital records office, and visit PennDOT twice more. As a widow, she ran into particular difficulty because the last names on her social security card and birth certificate did not match. “Finally that last time when I was there and there was a line of people out the door and they told me that I wasn’t going to be able to get an ID I just said, loudly, ‘Fine, I guess I’m not gonna’ to vote,’” she said. “That’s when some people snapped to attention.” An employee then issued her one of the state’s free IDs for voting. Pennsylvania’s voter ID law passed in March after the Republicans took over the governor’s house and the state legislature. At the time, proponents argued that it would ensure the integrity of the electoral process. The law requires voters to show a Pennsylvania driver’s license, passport, military ID, government ID, student or licensed care center photo ID with an expiration date. The ACLU, along with the Advancement Project, the Public Interest Law Center of Philadelphia and Arnold & Porter LLP filed suit over the law. In a stipulation agreement, the state admitted that there was no credible evidence of voter fraud and that it wasn’t likely before the 2012 elections. The law could have implications for the 2012 presidential race. Pennsylvania GOP House leader Mike Turzai was quoted in June saying the voter ID law would “allow Governor Romney to win the state of Pennsylvania.” But Romney and his allies have stopped advertising in the state, which has voted for a Democrat for president in every election since 1988. For Clark, a block captain who gets voters to the polls every election year, the law is an affront to anyone who believes in the importance of democracy. “Listen, I may not have much, but I have a PhD in common sense,” she said. “And I’m determined, so I was going to get my ID. But what about the person who don’t have the time, doesn’t have the money or can’t take the run-around? What about them?”
Judge upholds ‘papers’ provision in Arizona
By the CNN Wire Staff
updated 1:05 PM EDT, Thu September 6, 2012
(CNN) — A federal judge on Wednesday denied a request to block the “show me your papers” provision in Arizona’s immigration law, bringing officials one step closer to enforcing one of the most controversial parts of the 2010 measure. Opponents had argued that new evidence of racial discrimination showed that the judge should block the provision, which allows local law enforcement, when performing other state law enforcement functions, to check on the immigration status of those people they stop for another reason. But U.S. District Judge Susan R. Bolton ruled that the court could not block the provision based on the possibility of racial profiling. She cited the U.S. Supreme Court’s June decision that upheld that part of the law. “Without a set of as-applied facts, the Supreme Court has held that it would be speculative to decide as a matter of law that (the provision) will be enforced in an unconstitutional manner,” she wrote. Bolton was the same judge who originally blocked the provision in a July 2010 ruling that was praised by immigrant advocates and decried by those who supported the measure. The Supreme Court reversed her ruling on that part of the law nearly two years later. Undocumented immigrants face arrest as they proclaim, ‘No papers, no fear’ In a separate order Wednesday, Bolton indicated that her original injunction — the last judicial roadblock stopping authorities from enforcing the “show me your papers” provision — could be lifted within days. Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer praised Wednesday’s ruling. “I applaud the federal court for siding with the U.S. Supreme Court in refusing to block the most critical section of this law,” she said in a statement. The American Civil Liberties Union, which had asked Bolton to block the provision, said it was prepared to continue challenging the law by documenting racial profiling throughout the state. “Once this ‘show me your papers’ provision goes into effect, racial profiling will become rampant statewide…and we intend to ramp up our reporting and litigation efforts to seek justice on behalf of the victims of police abuse,” Alessandra Soler, executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Arizona, said in a statement. But Brewer denied that accusation Wednesday. “As I have said consistently, it is not enough that this law be enforced. It must be enforced efficiently, effectively and in harmony with the Constitution and civil rights. I have no doubt Arizona’s law enforcement officers are up for the task ahead,” she said. Bolton’s ruling Wednesday blocked another part of Arizona’s immigration law, which created a state statute criminalizing the harboring and transport of illegal immigrants. That provision, she ruled, conflicts with federal law.