Category: Breaking News Written by Minehaha Forman
While Mich. Governor Rick Snyder on Tuesday rejected legislation that would have allowed concealed pistols in schools, he approved two other gun-related bills.
Snyder signed House Bill 5225 and Senate Bill 984, designed to “streamline” the gun purchasing process and eliminate restrictions on interstate rifle and shotgun transactions to states contiguous to Michigan.
Under HB 5225, sponsored by State Rep. Paul Opsommer, R-Dewitt,
the process of purchasing a handgun is streamlined, allowing a person to obtain a permit to purchase at any law enforcement agency formerly restricted to one’s local police or sheriff’s department.
The bill also extends the time of a gun purchase permit from by 20 days and eliminates the purchase permit requirement for handguns sold through federally licensed firearms dealers.
The second bill, SB 984, allows Michigan residents to buy guns in any state that conforms to the Federal Gun Control Act, not just those states bordering to Michigan.
Snyder said his decision to veto HB 59, the concealed handgun bill,
was due to the bill's failure to let public spaces such as schools, day care centers and hospitals opt out of the new concealed carry provisions.
Under the current version of HB 59, only private institutions can opt out of concealed weapons provisions.
Snyder said he wouldn’t sign the bill until it was altered to address these issues and restrict open carry in such spaces, which currently is legal in Michigan.
"While we must vigilantly protect the rights of law-abiding firearm owners, we also must ensure the right of designated public entities to exercise their best discretion in matters of safety and security," Snyder said in a statement. "These public venues need clear legal authority to ban firearms on their premises if they see fit to do so."
The Governor said more thoughtful gun legislation was only a part of addressing the problem if violence in schools.
He called for a “thoughtful review” of efforts to address mental health issues including partnerships between state health agencies aimed to “identify gaps” in mental health services.
"This type of violence often leaves society with more questions than answers," Snyder said of the Sandy Hook massacre that shook the nation last week. "The reasons for such appalling acts usually are numerous and complex.”
Last Updated on Wednesday, 19 December 2012 13:00
Category: Breaking News Written by Minehaha Forman
Detroit’s Southwest community got another boost Tuesday when Ford Motor Company’s charitable arm presented the City of Detroit and local nonprofits with a $10 million check for neighborhood programs.
Mayor Dave Bing said the donation lines up with his Detroit Works Project which focuses resources on what Bing calls “brighter”, more populated areas of the city such as Southwest Detroit.
The $10 million program, titled Operation Brighter Future – Detroit, will help fund nonprofits and city service initiatives including job-training programs, youth summer camp opportunities and a Gleaners food bank.
Much of the funds will go towards programming in the new Ford Resource and Engagement Center located in the formerly vacant Mexicantown Mercado near the Canadian border. The new resource center is the focus of the “Brighter Future” program. Ford estimates the donation will provide funding to implement community-based programs for at least four years.
Hector Hernandez, director of the nonprofit Southwest Housing Solutions, said the program helps restore the Mercado’s original purpose to serve as a community resource.
The Mercado building, originally intended to be a community space for community activities, and marketing opportunities, has not seen any program development since it was built more than four years ago.
“This is very exciting news for the city and our residents,” Bing said. “This building, known as the Mexicantown Mercado, has sat empty for several years.”
Ford’s Chief Operating Officer Mark Fields said he sees the donation as an investment in Detroit’s comeback.
“This center is going to be a hub of entrepreneurship, workforce training, capacity-building, arts, and culture,” Fields said. “We are excited to contribute this $10 million investment toward services that will empower families and strengthen the community.”
Ford also on Tuesday announced the donation of two vehicle chassis to add to the city’s ambulance fleet.
In addition to the new resource center, the top automaker is “adopting” the city-run Patton Recreation Center, located near the Mexicantown Mercado to help fund programs the city can’t afford.
“It’s part of our DNA as a company,” Fields said of the donation. “We know the importance of forming strong communities wherever our employees live or work.”
Last Updated on Wednesday, 19 December 2012 12:08
Category: Breaking News Written by Michael Scherer, timemagazine
Twenty-seven years after driving from New York City to Chicago in a $2,000 Honda Civic for a job that probably wouldn’t amount to much, Barack Obama, in better shape but with grayer hair, stood in the presidential suite on the top floor of the Fairmont Millennium Park hotel as flat screens announced his re-election as President of the United States. The networks called Ohio earlier than predicted, so his aides had to hightail it down the hall to join his family and friends. They encountered a room of high fives and fist pumps, hugs and relief.
The final days of any campaign can alter the psyches of even the most experienced political pros. At some point, there is nothing to do but wait. Members of Obama’s team responded in the only rational way available to them — by acting irrationally. They turned neckties into magic charms and facial hair into a talisman and compulsively repeated past behaviors so as not to jinx what seemed to be working. In Boca Raton, Fla., before the last debate, they dispatched advance staff to find a greasy-spoon diner because they had eaten at a similar joint before the second debate, on New York’s Long Island. They sent senior strategist David Axelrod a photograph of the tie he had to find to wear on election night: the same one he wore in 2008. Several staffers on Air Force One stopped shaving, like big-league hitters in the playoffs. Even the President succumbed, playing basketball on Election Day at the same court he played on before winning in 2008.
Last Updated on Wednesday, 19 December 2012 09:33
Category: Breaking News Written by Jeff Gilbert, WWJ
DETROIT –(WWJ) A quick stroll through the construction site that Cobo Center has become shows that change is coming to the North American International Auto Show.
Even as the exhibits are taking shape, you can see that many have been updated, and some have been moved.
Show Vice Chair Bob Shuman says Toyota has decided to move into the new space, that was taken up by suppliers and non auto companies last year.
“They promised to really do some things to draw people in there,” he said. “They are going to give it a try this year.”
Among the other big changes, Cadillac has moved away from the other GM brands. Its new stand will be located near the German luxury brands, which Cadillac now sees as its main competitors. Cadillac will show the new ELR extended range electric car at the January show.
Nissan, which dropped out of this show a few years ago, is now planning a new, more elaborate display.
With car sales on the rise, show organizers say car companies no longer feel like holding back.
“Like our auto manufacturer partners, we continue to look for ways to improve our product, and our customer service,” said Jim Seavitt, NAIAS 2013 chairman. “And, as we present the industry’s finest on the world stage, it’s our goal to exceed the needs of media and manufacturers, alike. We take our leadership position very seriously, and work year-round to maintain that distinction.”
Cobo Center is still in the midst of an expansion and upgrade. While the transformation of the former Cobo Arena into a ballroom-type space won’t be finished for another year, the new Riverfront Atrium is expected to be done in time for time for the 2013 show. It will be used as a gathering place, and will have a temporary stage put up for opening ceremonies, and the presentation of the North American Car and Truck of the Year.
After the difficult years of 2008 and 2009, Vice Chair Bob Shuman says the North American International Auto Show has returned to prominence among the major shows.
“One German manufacturer had said, they had studied 18 of the international shows, and we were number one—by far—in terms of bang for the buck.”
Last Updated on Wednesday, 19 December 2012 09:15
Category: Breaking News Written by The Grio
Obama administration officials have approached American Express chief executive Kenneth Chenault about joining the administration in either a Cabinet post or as a White House adviser, according to Bloomberg News.
Bloomberg said among the potential jobs are Secretary of Commerce or Treasury Secretary, although White House Chief of Staff Jack Lew is the heavy favorite for the latter. Chenault, who has run American Express since 2001, has served on Obama’s jobs council and frequently consulted by the president and his team on economic issues.
The floating of his name of his name is not surprising, as White House officials are aware of concerns from Democrats about a lack of women or minorities in top posts in his second term after the withdrawal of United Nations Ambassador Susan Rice from consideration as a potential Secretary of State.
The candidates considered mostly likely for White House Chief of Staff (Obama Deputy National Security Adviser Denis McDonough and former Biden Chief of Staff Ron Klain) Defense Secretary (ex-senator Chuck Hagel) Secretary of State (John Kerry) and Treasury Secretary (Lew) are all white males.
The Commerce Secretary has generally had a limited role in policy-making, so it’s unlikely Chenault would leave his American Express for the post.
A White House job would likely be more appealing for him and offer greater access to Obama.
Last Updated on Wednesday, 19 December 2012 09:13
Category: Breaking News Written by Michael Arceneaux, NewsOne
In theory, I should be happy that a Black man is going to the Senate. Even if it is a tiny, tiny sprinkle of color, it is undoubtedly needed in the sea of Whiteness that makes up the U.S. Senate. Enter South Carolina’s Rep. Tim Scott (pictured) who was recently appointed to replace Jim DeMint as one of the state’s two representatives. Scott will be the first Black Republican senator since Ed Brooke (R-MA, 1967-1979), and yet, I’ve been happier to hear the voice of a belligerent bill collector for my private student loans than I was to read about this guy getting a bump in title.
As you’ll soon begin to hear more frequently, the 47-year-old Senate appointee has an interesting, even admirable background. Raised by a single Mother, as reported by the New York Times, “[Scott was] a lost child who struggled with school and with life until a Chick-fil-A franchise owner took him on as a protégé and schooled him in conservative principles.”
Unfortunately, therein lies much of the problem with Scott joining the Senate.
Traditional conservative values are an acquired taste (that tends to leave me feeling sour), but those who harbor them aren’t automatically political bad apples. Likewise, conservative Blacks aren’t necessarily “sell outs” or “Oreos” or whatever term you can think of to argue they are less than.
The same cannot be said of Scott’s ilk, though.
As a member of the Tea Party, Scott represents a bastardization conservatism. He is a part of the fringe element of the Republican Party that partially built its clout on exploiting racist sentiments. Not to mention, if Scott exhibits any of the behavior he displayed in Congress, he’ll be nothing more than another nuisance getting in the way of actual work being done in Washington.
Here a few examples:
A year ago, when talks over the debt ceiling were deadlocked and the country was on the brink of defaulting, President Barack Obama asserted “that the debt ceiling itself was an unconstitutional infringement on the 14th Amendment.”
Scott responded by entertaining the notion of impeaching Obama.
Two months after entering Congress, Scott would propose a bill that would kick entire families off of food stamps if even a single member went on strike. But in 2010, Scott said, “My hope is I will take that experience and help people bring out the best that they can be. Coming from a single-parent household and almost flunking out of high school.” Meanwhile, South Carolina’s Black poverty rate stands at 38 percent.
As a South Carolina state representative, Scott backed a proposal to cut the state’s entire HIV/AIDS budget, even though South Carolina ranks in the top-third of reported AIDS cases. Who he defended instead were the oil companies, helping them to keep $50 billion in subsidies. When asked if this seemed fair, Scott retorted, “Fair is a relative word.”
When asked about his South Carolina congressional colleague, Rep. Trey Gowdy said in an interview last week, “There is not a kinder, more humble, sweet-spirited person. That is somewhat antithetical to what you’d expect at this level of politics.”
Yes, the anti-poor, anti-gay, anti-diseased, pro-big-oil politician sounds like quite the sweet soul.
Black people are not a monolithic, but when you don’t look out for your own, it’s clear that you are in a position to help make it worse for other Blacks. Tim Scott may be on his way to becoming the first Black Republican senator of South Carolina, but his policies aren’t at all different from the out-of-touch, older White man he’s replacing.
It’s history, but whoopity damn doo.
Last Updated on Tuesday, 18 December 2012 12:00
Category: Breaking News Written by Holly Yan, Greg Botelho and Susan Candiotti, CNN
(CNN) -- Across this devastated town, students returned to schools Tuesday, marking the beginning of a new reality.
With their sense of normalcy shattered following last week's massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary, students at other schools are seeing more police and counselors on hand. And teachers who face a new, tremendous burden.
Classes will discuss the tragedy in an age appropriate manner, the teachers' union said.
But the young children of Sandy Hook aren't going back to school yet.
Their school is a crime scene, the site where 20 kids and six faculty members were slaughtered.
It's not clear when they'll resume classes. But when they do it'll be at a different school in neighboring Monroe, Connecticut.
Meanwhile, at least two more victims -- 6-year-olds -- will be buried Tuesday.
More details about the gunman who turned their schoolday into carnage are slowly emerging. And under the cloud of national mourning, a renewed debate about gun control is heating up.
A former director of security for Newtown Public Schools shed new light Monday night on the gunman, Adam Lanza.
Richard Novia said Lanza had Asperger's syndrome, based on documents as well as conversations with Lanza's mother, who was killed shortly before the Sandy Hook massacre.
Novia said as part of his job, which he left in 2008, he would be informed of students who might pose problems to themselves or others.
He also said he received "intake information" -- which he said "is common for any students troubled or impaired or with disabilities." The idea was to keep track of and help students who may need it.
However, Novia said he never thought Lanza was a threat and certainly never thought he was capable of such violence.
After shooting, cops take no-tolerance approach to copycat threats
Russ Hanoman, a friend of Lanza's mother, previously told CNN that Lanza had Asperger's syndrome and that he was "very withdrawn emotionally."
But CNN has not been able to independently confirm whether Lanza was diagnosed with autism or Asperger's syndrome, a higher-functioning form of autism. Both are developmental disorders, not mental illnesses.
Many experts say neither Asperger's nor autism can be blamed for the rampage.
"There is absolutely no evidence or any reliable research that suggests a linkage between autism and planned violence," the Autism Society said in a statement. "To imply or suggest that some linkage exists is wrong and is harmful to more than 1.5 million law-abiding, nonviolent and wonderful individuals who live with autism each day."
Dr. Max Wiznitzer, a pediatric neurologist and autism expert at Rainbow Babies and Children's Hospital in Cleveland, also said the gunman's actions can't be linked with autism spectrum disorders.
"Aggression and violence in the ASD population is reactive, not preplanned and deliberate," he said.
For example, sometimes children with autism will get violent because they are sick or frustrated and unable to communicate how they feel.
Meanwhile, authorities are investigating the remnants of the shooter's smashed computer, trying to find e-mails he may have sent and websites he may have visited in hopes of understanding what he was thinking, a law enforcement official said.
What happened in Newtown should never happen again, advocates on both sides of the gun control debate agree. But they're at staunch odds about how to turn words into reality.
The grassroots group Newtown United is sending a delegation to Washington on Tuesday to meet with the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence as well as families from July's movie theater massacre in Aurora, Colorado.
The new group, which formed out of Newtown on Sunday, aims to create meaningful dialogue -- both locally and beyond -- about what may have led to the tragedy.
Two national polls conducted shortly after the Newtown shootings suggest more Americans want stricter gun control.
In a Washington Post/ABC News poll, 54% of adults favor stricter gun control laws in the country, while 43% oppose.
And a new CBS News poll indicates 57% of Americans back stricter gun laws, the highest percentage in a decade; 30% think gun laws should be kept as they are.
However, less than half of the respondents in the CBS poll -- 42% -- think stricter gun laws would have helped prevent the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary.
Sen. Joe Manchin, a conservative Democrat from West Virginia and a "proud gun owner," said he's now committed to "dialogue that would bring a total change" after the massacre in Newtown.
"Who would have ever thought, in America or anywhere in the world, that children would be slaughtered," he asked. "It's changed me."
The debate is playing out not just in Newtown and Washington, but across the United States.
John Licata told CNN's iReport there needs to be better vetting before people buy guns, and assault weapons should be banned -- something Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-California, says she'll propose once the new Congress convenes in January.
But some say the shooting illustrates the need for more armed guards -- and possibly armed teachers -- in schools.
Texas Gov. Rick Perry said if school districts decide arming teachers is the best way to keep schools safe, so be it.
If Texas residents are duly background-checked, trained and have a concealed handgun license, "you should be able to carry your handgun anywhere in the state," Perry said, according to CNN affiliate WFAA.
Gun owner Jameson Riley of Colorado said recent mass shootings have made him consider getting a concealed weapon permit.
"I have a 2-year-old daughter, and she is the light of my life," Riley said. "And I would like to protect her."
Out of respect for the Newtown victims and their families, Dick's Sporting Goods has removed all guns from its store closest to Newtown, the company said.
Dick's, one of the largest sporting goods retailers in the world, also has suspended the sale of some semi-automatic rifles nationwide, the company said.
It was unclear how long the Dick's will keep its suspension of "modern sporting rifles."
Two very premature funerals
While adults and children try to move on, two more 6-year-olds from Sandy Hook will be laid to rest Tuesday.
Jessica Rekos was obsessed with horses -- horse books, horse movies, drawing horses and writing stories about them. She was eagerly anticipating a pair of cowgirl boots for Christmas.
As her relatives grieve, they are also "trying to help her brother Travis understand why he can't play with his best friend," her family said.
Charlotte Bacon was a bundle of energy under her distinctive red curls. She also loved school and dresses, her grandmother told CNN affiliate WCCO in Minnesota.
The series of funerals will carry on for days. Some residents in this emotionally drained community plan to attend multiple funerals this week.
Last Updated on Tuesday, 18 December 2012 10:33
Category: Breaking News Written by Ron Dicker, The Huffington Post
McDonald's is pushing its franchise owners to open their stores on Christmas, and the fast-food chain won't be paying workers holiday overtime at company-owned stores, AdvertisingAge reports.
The trade publication obtained an internal memo from McDonald's Chief Operations Officer Jim Johannesen urging franchisees to "ensure your restaurants are open throughout the holidays. Our largest holiday opportunity as a system is Christmas Day."
Workers at the company-owned restaurants volunteer for burger-flipping duty that day and do not receive holiday pay, a spokeswoman confirmed to AdAge. Franchisees can make their own decisions about overtime pay.
The Huffington Post asked McDonald's for comment on the memo and AdAge's story Monday. Spokeswoman Danya Proud wrote in an email, "The story is based on leaked information obtained through unauthorized means. As such we are not in a position to confirm or deny the speculation."
In October, McDonald's suffered its first monthly sales decline in nine years, prompting the Wall Street Journal to ask, "Is the golden era over for the Golden Arches?"
But Reuters reported the fast-food chain bounced back in November, in part by emphasizing its lower-priced options. AdAge said that gain was also due to McDonald's exhorting more stores to stay open on Thanksgiving.
One former franchisee told the outlet that the strategy represented a shift in corporate culture -- four or five years ago, he said, opening on Christmas simply wasn't expected.
Last Updated on Tuesday, 18 December 2012 10:11
Category: Breaking News Written by WWJ
DETROIT (WWJ) - A former Detroit cop has pleaded guilty to forging time sheets to get $30,000 for hours she didn’t work.
Kim Mosby-Colbert, 52, was charged with defrauding a program receiving federal funding — a crime that carries up to 10 years in prison and/or a $250,000 fine.
Per a deal with prosecutors, Mosby-Colbert will serve up to 6 months in prison and will pay just under $30,000 in restitution.
“We hope that prosecutions like this one will let public servants know that they will be held accountable for their conduct, and will deter them from stealing public funds to which they are not entitled,” said U.S. Attorney Barbara McQuade, in a statement.
Added FBI Special Agent in Charge Foley stated, “The falsifying of records for the purpose of stealing money from tax payers is a criminal abuse of public trust. The FBI led Detroit Area Public Corruption Task Force is committed to ensuring citizens have honest government.”
A sentencing hearing is set for March 19 at 2 p.m.
Last Updated on Tuesday, 18 December 2012 09:24
Category: Breaking News Written by The Huffington Post
WASHINGTON -- President Barack Obama, with his latest fiscal cliff offer, proposes extending the Bush tax cuts for everyone earning less than $400,000 a year, and paying for it by increasing taxes on the middle class and cutting Social Security and Medicare.
Obama's offer would allow the payroll tax holiday to expire, meaning middle class workers will see smaller paychecks in 2013. Economists have warned that the recovery is too fragile to risk a broad tax hike on workers. It would also gradually reduce Social Security, pension and Medicare benefits seniors are due to receive, taking a small bite up front, but building up to much larger cuts over time.
Obama's concession to Republicans is opposed by a majority of Americans, according to a HuffPost/YouGov poll. Fifty-two percent of survey respondents said the payroll tax cut should be extended to avoid raising taxes on the middle class, while 22 percent said that it should be allowed to expire to help pay down the debt. Extending the payroll tax cut received bipartisan support: 64 percent of Democrats and 57 percent of Republicans in the survey said they supported the extension.
MoveOn.org, the largest online progressive organization in Washington, reacted angrily Monday night to reports that Obama was softening. The group's quick reaction to a possible deal that has yet to be announced publicly shows there will be fierce opposition to cuts that hit Social Security, Medicare or Medicaid beneficiaries.
One top GOP aide predicted a deal, within the next day, that House Republicans would have no choice but to accept. A second said that many details still needed to be filled in, and that the president was dug in at $1.2 trillion in revenue, more than Republicans wanted.
Obama, according to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.), had previously told fiscal cliff negotiators that "Social Security is not going to be part of this." That turned out to be a false assertion, given Monday's offer to target the elderly. The proposed Social Security reform is known as "chained CPI" and is an alternate measure of inflation that accounts for the way consumers react to higher prices by switching to similar products that are less costly. Or, as the Bureau of Labor Statistics put it, "If the price of pork increases while the price of beef does not, consumers might shift away from pork to beef."
The chained CPI proposal is unpopular across the political spectrum. Fifty-six percent of Republicans, along with 67 percent of Democrats and 46 percent of independents, said they thought the proposal was a bad idea. Older Americans were most likely to oppose the measure, with 77 percent of those age 65 and older saying that the proposal was a bad idea. Adults under 30 were the least likely to have an opinion: 50 percent said they weren't sure whether the proposal was a good or bad idea, while 21 percent said it was a good idea and 29 percent said it was a bad idea.
Justin Ruben, head of MoveOn.org, said in a statement that the group's members agree. "MoveOn members overwhelmingly oppose cuts to Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid benefits, and they've made clear that they would see any fiscal agreement that cuts such benefits as a betrayal that sells out working and middle class families -- whether the cuts come via a chained CPI, increased Medicare eligibility age, or in some other form," Ruben said.
Ruben said that his organization would encourage Democrats to block such a bargain. "If such a deal were proposed by the president and speaker, MoveOn members would expect every Senate and House Democrat to do everything in their power to block it," Ruben said. "Senate Majority Leader Reid would play a crucial role, as MoveOn members would count on him and other senators to remain true to their repeated promises to keep Social Security benefits off the table."
Reid has indeed been adamant. "I have made it very clear, I have told anyone that will listen -- including everyone in the White House, including the president -- that I am not going to be part of having Social Security as part of these talks relating to this deficit," Reid told reporters earlier.
Alex Lawson, executive director of Social Security Works, which opposes cuts to the program, said the chained CPI is painful policy. "Almost every elected official just spent an entire election season saying they wouldn't cut the benefits of those 55 and older. The truth is the chained CPI hits everyone's benefits on day one," he said. "It hits the oldest of the old and disabled veterans the hardest. If it wasn't being bandied about as being 'on the table,' I would guess that it was created as an office joke to see who could create the most noxious and offensive policy possible."
Boehner included the chained CPI in his counteroffer to Obama earlier, which also called for broader reform of social insurance programs. In 2011, Boehner and Obama reportedly agreed to a "Grand Bargain" that included the chained CPI, but the deal fell apart.
Last Updated on Tuesday, 18 December 2012 09:35
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