Category: Breaking News Written by Radley Balko, Huffingtonpost
Our broken criminal justice system wasn't discussed in the first two 2012 debates, and it's unlikely it will be addressed in the two that remain. In fact, crime hasn't been a factor in any presidential campaign since 1988, when Vice President George H. W. Bush and political strategist Lee Atwater -- along with assists from Al Gore and CNN anchor Bernard Shaw -- hit Michael Dukakis over the head with them. Since then, the only way either major party nominee has talked about crime has been to promise he'll be tougher on it than his opponent.
Even during Supreme Court hearings, the topic only comes up when partisans promise a nominee will crack down on those technicalities crime hawks (mistakenly) believe have turned prison gates into revolving doors. When the Senate was considering Sonia Sotomayor, for example, Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) complemented her judicial history by noting she had "ruled for the government in 83% of immigration cases, in 92% of criminal cases." Former prosecutor Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) then praised Sotomayor for those occasions in which she had excused police officers who had violated the Fourth Amendment. Vice President Joe Biden told a gathering of law enforcement organizations that Sotomayor "has got your back," an incredibly inappropriate thing to say (even for Biden). Imagine the uproar if the vice president had said the same thing to the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, or the American Civil Liberties Union.
When crime has been an issue in presidential politics -- most notably in 1968, 1980, 1984, and 1988 -- it's been when crime was on the rise. When crime is falling (as it has been for nearly 20 years), the voting public isn't particularly concerned about whether old laws passed when crime was higher have gone too far. So, neither are the candidates. The result is a ratchet effect on the Bill of Rights.
But those laws have had consequences. For all the talk about "the one percent" over the last eighteen months, the economist David Henderson recently looked at the other one percent. That is, the bottom one percent. Henderson writes:
It turns out that about two-thirds of the people in the bottom 1 percent are in U.S. prisons. And of these people, a few hundred thousand are there for victimless crimes. Letting them out would help them and save us taxpayer money. That's a win-win ...
We have a higher percent of our people in prison than any other country in the world and the percent of our population in prison has, shockingly, more than doubled since 1980 ...
We may question the wisdom of using such drugs as marijuana and cocaine, but the people who use them should be free to make their own decisions. They might make bad decisions, but should people go to prison for making bad decisions that hurt no one but, perhaps, themselves?
Former offenders struggle when they leave prison. Sociologists Bruce Western and Devah Prager have conducted experiments in which they've sent trained testers to apply for job openings. Some were told to check the box on applications indicating that they had a criminal record. The applicants were dressed similarly, and had identical levels of experience. The results? White applicants with a criminal record were half as likely to get callbacks as applicants without a record. Blacks with a criminal record were two-thirds less likely. Former offenders earn 40 percent less than someone with a similar background and experience, but no record. And they're far less likely to increase their income over time.
An arrest without a conviction can be devastating, too. A check in the "Have you ever been arrested?" box is a handy way for an employer to winnow down a stack of job applications. Why take the risk? In New York City, half a million people are stopped and questioned by police each year without probable cause. In some communities, nine in ten residents have been stopped. Aggressive stop-and-frisk policies have lead to thousands of arrests of people who have done nothing wrong, or have been tricked by police into committing a misdemeanor.
According to Western's research, as of 2008 about 2.6 million children had a parent in prison or jail, and by age 17, a quarter of black children will have father who has done time. Children of incarcerated parents are more likely to be depressed, get into trouble at school, and drop out of school entirely.
The collateral damage then spirals outward into neighborhoods and communities, where it's corroding the very institutions law-and-order politicians use to enforce the laws in the first place. In many communities where police use confidential informants or employ an aggressive stop-and-frisk policy, residents no longer call the police to report crimes, and are reluctant to cooperate with them when asked. Western writes:
Part of the power of punishment as a deterrent to crime is the shame and stigma of a criminal record. Where incarceration has become commonplace ... the righteousness of the police is no longer assumed and a prison record is not distinctive. The authority of the criminal justice system has been turned upside down, and the institutions charged with maintaining safety become objects of suspicion ...
We may care little about the job prospects of ex-cons. We may not even care much about their children or neighborhoods. But if the social costs of imprisonment grow without limit along with the prison population, mass incarceration becomes a self-defeating strategy for crime control.
There are other problems. The onset of DNA testing has revealed that our criminal justice system is more flawed and prone to error than most of the country probably suspected. The gaps in the system that produced the wrongful convictions uncovered by DNA testing are undoubtedly at work in other cases as well.
Other issues we won't hear about in this election: The common perception that prison rape is part of the punishment that comes with a felony conviction. The disturbing amount of prosecutorial misconduct within the Department of Justice--and the lack of accountability for the prosecutors who cheat.
There's an important debate to be had about privatizing prisons, and whether it's wise to have a government-created industry with a bottom line dependent on keeping as many people locked up for as long as possible. There's the vastly under-reported national scandal of corrupt crime labs and corrupted forensic evidence. The latest incident involves a crime lab technician in Massachusetts who may have faked thousands of drug tests.
We're in a 30-year trend toward police militarization, a phenomenon that has been driven by federal incentives. And we're expanding the use of solitary confinement (even for children).
Politicians are risk-averse creatures of habit. For decades they've been trained to mutter the same soundbites about crime. Polls show America's opinions on many of these issues are shifting, but few people actually vote on them. And the people most affected when the crime policy pendulum swings too far toward government power aren't large enough in number or stature to force a debate.
These aren't commercial-ready, culture warring, fundraising issues like something some candidate said about rape, funding for Big Bird, or whether or not Clint Eastwood is losing his mind. They're difficult, important, and -- especially for the communities they affect most -- they're immensely consequential. But until there's a penalty at the polls for looking the other way, most candidates will avoid the political risks that come with tackling them.
Last Updated on Monday, 15 October 2012 13:41
Category: Breaking News Written by 24/7 Wall St.
Once again, Coca-Cola was ranked the most valuable brand in the world, according to Interbrand, one of the nation's top global brands experts. Apple, to the surprise of none, was very close behind. Considering the consumer electronics company's growth, it will easily eclipse the long-time number one brand by next year.
While some of the biggest brands — including Amazon.com (NASDAQ: AMZN), Samsung and Oracle (NASDAQ: ORCL) – have grown their value by more than 20% since last year's report, others have fallen precipitously. Goldman Sachs, still one of the world's most valuable financial brands, lost 16% of its brand's worth. BlackBerry lost nearly 40% of its brand's value. Based on the Interbrand report, 24/7 Wall St. reviewed Goldman, BlackBerry and eight other brands that lost the most value compared to last year.
Several industries have grown substantially in the past year. Auto companies, still recovering from the recession, saw major gains in their brand value since the last report. Nine of the 11 large European, Japanese and American automakers on 100 most valuable brands list grew in value last year, up a combined 12%.
Together, technology firms measured by Interbrand, led by Apple's stunning 129% brand value growth, have grown by nearly 27% to more than $320 billion in total value. However, the performance of brands within the technology sector has been much more mixed than the auto industry. While Apple and Samsung are among the most improved brands compared to last year, the sector also has some that are the worst-performing — and that is not a coincidence. As Apple and Samsung have redefined the mobile phone market, brands like BlackBerry and Nokia are being left behind.
Brands are successful when they are able to redefine a market, Interbrand CEO, New York, Josh Feldmeth told 24/7 Wall St. He gives the example of Apple, which took the mobile phone market and turned it into an ecosystem in which consumers buy games, listen to music and browse the Internet on a single device.
When comparing the brands that are doing well to the brands that are struggling, Feldmeth said, the brands that have done well have been able to predict what people want in a market. "Strong brands anticipate needs and transform desires," Feldmeth said.
Some sectors are struggling across the board, arguably none more so than financial services. In Interbrand's 2008 report, the combined brand value of the financial services industry was more than to $130 billion. As of the 2012, brand value had fallen to just over $91 billion. The damage to banks is partially a result of negative press generated from the recession, but also in part because they are performing poorly as a business. Feldmeth explained that a large part of Interbrand's valuation comes from the performance of the company, and that has affected the Citigroup, J.P Morgan and some of the other large banks. "If you can't make money with a brand, it's not really valuable," Feldmeth said.
24/7 Wall St. reviewed Interbrand's Top 100 Global Brands 2012 report, which measures the period of July 1, 2011, to June 30, 2012. Included in the valuation of each brand were the strength of the brand, the financial success of the branded products or services and the extent to which the brand plays a role in that company's success. 24/7 Wall St. also obtained the financials of each brand's parent company, including market share and company revenue.
These are the brands that lost the most value over the past year.
> Pct. brand value decline: 9%
> Brand value: $7.6 billion (49th)
> Parent company: Dell Inc. (NASDAQ: DELL)
> 1-yr. change in revenue: -2.36%
> Industry: Technology
Dell's brand has consistently lost value over the past four years as the company has moved away from PC sales towards IT services, a strategy Hewlett-Packard Co. (NYSE: HPQ) also has attempted with limited success. For 2012, Interbrand values Dell's brand at $7.6 billion, the lowest it has been in the past 11 years. Although it remains one of the world's largest PC makers, this year's second-quarter PC shipments declined by 11.5% from a year before. The company also has struggled to create a viable smartphone, and it stopped selling the devices in the United States in March. Despite recent problems, Dell's last annual report indicated that in fiscal 2012 "enterprise solutions and services business, a bellwether for execution of [the company's] strategy, grew 6% to $18.6 billion, and was nearly 30% of revenue and almost half of gross margin dollars."
9. Thomson Reuters
> Pct. brand value decline: 11%
> Brand value: $8.4 billion (44th)
> Parent company: Thomson Reuters Corp. (NYSE: TRI)
> 1-yr. change in revenue: 1.5%
> Industry: Business services
While Thomson Reuters used to be the dominant player in the financial terminal market, competitor Bloomberg has gained market share in recent years and has become the terminal to have on Wall St. Burton-Taylor International Consulting managing partner Douglas Taylor told Canadian Business in February that Bloomberg's market share has finally caught up with Thomson Reuter's, with each holding about a third. "It's perceived as the Mercedes product," Taylor said of the Bloomberg terminal. "If you have a Bloomberg, you have the ultimate terminal." The struggle to fend off challenges from Bloomberg and others led the Thomson family, the company's controlling shareholders, to remove Tom Glocer as CEO in December. But despite the company allowing the competition to gain on it, Interbrand notes that Thomson Reuters continues to lead its respective market in other key areas, such as legal research databases for law firms and the Checkpoint database for tax and accounting professionals.
> Pct. brand value decline: 11% (tied for 9th)
> Brand value: $17.3 billion (21st)
> Parent company: Honda Motor Company Ltd. (NYSE: HMC)
> 1-yr. change in revenue: 4.6%
> Industry: Automotive
The brand valuation of the worldwide automotive industry has begun to recover after a major dip during the recession, rising from a total of about $128 billion in 2010 to over $160 billion in 2012. The value of all of the top car brands measured by Interbrand increased since the 2011 report, except for Honda and Kia. Honda's brand value in 2012 of $17.3 billion — which is $13 billion less than its Japanese rival Toyota Motor Corp.'s (NYSE: TM) brand — is the lowest since 2006. Some events that have impacted the company were beyond its control, including the Japanese earthquake, which affected its manufacturing, and floods in Thailand that hurt some of its suppliers. The carmaker, though, is responsible to some of the damage to its brand. Honda has issued multiple major recalls in recent years, including one for more than 570,000 Honda-branded vehicles earlier this week.
> Pct. brand value decline: 12%
> Brand value: $5.6 billion (67th)
> Parent company: Viacom Inc. (NASDAQ: VIAB)
> 1-yr. change in revenue: 9.7%
> Industry: Media
Does the M really belong in MTV anymore? Interbrand notes that MTV continues to steer further away from its musical roots and continues to experiment into low-cost content, leading to an "identity crisis." The agency added, "MTV would do well to push the boundaries and recapture some of its lost edge — the very thing that made it a household name more than 30 years ago." Even some of its staple programming is hitting turbulence. Jersey Shore, which became the most popular show in the history of MTV, started declining in the ratings in the beginning in 2011. The show will now come to an end following Season 6, which will premiere Oct. 4. Meanwhile, the ratings for the MTV Movie Awards in June were down 29% from a year ago.
> Pct. brand value decline: 12% (tied for 7th)
> Brand value: $7.6 billion (50th)
> Parent company: Citigroup Inc. (NYSE: C)
> 1-yr. change in revenue: -5.2%
> Industry: Financial services
After five years of consecutive decline, Citi's brand value in 2012 is less than one-third of its all-time high of $23.4 billion. By comparison, the brand value of J.P. Morgan Chase & Co. (NYSE: JPM) , another money center bank, has risen in two of the past three years. During the last several years, multiple lawsuits have been brought against Citi for its role in the U.S. subprime mortgage crisis. A $45 billion bailout from the U.S. Treasury in 2008 and a failed Federal Reserve "stress test" — a test that evaluates a bank's ability to survive a stock or housing market crash — have also hurt the bank's reputation. To help revitalize its brand, the bank secured an Olympic sponsorship and launched a major advertising campaign to highlight its major historical financial innovations. However, Interbrand's Josh Feldmeth told 24/7 Wall St. he did not believe Citi had a marketing problem, but that "evaluating banks on fundamentals is very much in play" in Citi's brand decline.
> Pct. brand value decline: 13%
> Brand value: $3.9 billion (97th)
> Parent company: Yahoo Inc. (NASDAQ: YHOO)
> 1-yr. change in revenue: -10.6%
> Industry: Internet service
In the past year, news stories about Yahoo! have centered around the firing of its foul-mouthed chief executive and the dismissal of her replacement due to discrepancies in his resume. Although the company looks to have finally found a CEO who can last long-term in Marissa Mayer, a change in Yahoo!'s fortunes will not come easily. Over the past several years the company has increasingly lost its share of the display ad market to Google Inc. (NASDAQ: GOOG) and Facebook Inc. (NASDAQ: FB). EMarketer now predicts that Yahoo! will have 9.3% of the web's display ad revenue in 2012, below Google's 15.4% and Facebook's 14.4%. In 2011, Yahoo!'s share of display ad revenue was 11%, down from 14% in 2010, when it brought in more display ad revenue than any other web property. Nevertheless, Mayer is looking to make Yahoo! into a more mobile company, where it can begin to gain back revenue through smartphones and tablets.
4. Moët & Chandon
> Pct. brand value decline: 13% (tied for 5th)
> Brand value: $3.8 billion (98th)
> Parent company: LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton
> 1-yr. change in revenue: 22.4%
> Industry: Alcohol
Part of French luxury conglomerate LVMH, Moët & Chandon's brand value declined by more than $500 million in the past year. The brand lost value despite opening a boutique hotel in St. Tropez and launching celebrity-hosted tours worldwide. In order to help restore brand value, Moët & Chandon has signed a sponsorship contract with the America's Cup, one of the most well-known sailing races worldwide. Interbrand's Josh Feldmeth told 24/7 Wall St. that, "It's not that the Moët & Chandon brand is any weaker, it's that rituals are changing" as economic growth comes from parts of the world that do not yet associate champagne with celebration. The brand also remained the best-selling champagne in the United States last year, with sales volume rising 1.3% to reach 410,000 cases according to Shanken News Daily, a wine, spirits and beer industry news service.
> Pct. brand value decline: 16%
> Brand value: $21.0 billion (19th)
> Parent company: Nokia Corp. (NYSE: NOK)
> 1-yr. change in revenue: -20.5%
> Industry: Electronics
Nokia has had a rough year. After Nokia lost market share for several years, Samsung finally overtook it as the largest manufacturer of mobile devices in the first quarter of 2012. The company's stock price has been cut by more than half in the past year, and the company announced in June that it was cutting 10,000 jobs to preserve cash. Now the Finnish company is staking its hopes on the Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT) Windows' mobile operating system. In September, the company previewed its Lumia 920 smartphone to investors, but they were not impressed. "The challenge is that the world is working on the 4th, 5th and 6th editions of their devices, while Nokia is still trying to move from Chapter 1," RBC analyst Mark Sue told Reuters following Nokia's presentation to investors. "It still has quite a bit to catch up." But even Nokia's catchup efforts were hurt in April when early buyers of the Nokia Lumia 900 had problems connecting to the web.
2. Goldman Sachs
> Pct. brand value decline: 16% (tied for 3rd)
> Brand value: $7.6 billion (48th)
> Parent company: Goldman Sachs Group Inc. (NYSE: GS)
> 1-yr. change in revenue: -23.2%
> Industry: Financial services
Goldman Sach's brand has taken a major hit since the financial crisis because of its involvement in the sale of complex collateralized debt obligations and in the Greek debt crisis. The company's practices returned to the spotlight this March when an executive director in the firm's London office resigned in a scathing op-ed piece published The New York Times. Smith said, "The interests of the client continue to be sidelined in the way the firm operates and thinks about making money," and he noted that managing directors would often refer to clients over email as "muppets." Revenue in the first half of 2012 was at its lowest level since 2005 due primarily to weak trading volume. The company responded by cutting pay by 14% during the first six months compared to the previous year and reducing its headcount.
> Pct. brand value decline: 39%
> Brand value: $3.9 billion (93rd)
> Parent company: Research in Motion Ltd. (NASDAQ: RIMM)
> 1-yr. change in revenue: -25.2%
> Industry: Electronics
The BlackBerry, built by Research In Motion, used to dominate the smartphone market, with loyal users often joking about their addiction to their "crackberry." Yet blunders such as a BlackBerry outage in late 2011, the failure of its Playbook tablet and the stiff competition from Apple Inc.'s (NASDAQ: AAPL) iPhone and Google's Android devices have led to a rapid decline of BlackBerry's brand value. BlackBerry's share of the smartphone operating platform market dropped from 21.7% in July 2011 to 9.5% just a year later, according to comScore. Meanwhile, Apple's market share went from 27% to 33.4% in that time, while Google's share went from 41.8% to 52.2%. The parent company has seen its stock decline nearly 90% in the past three years. RIM announced in June that it would cut approximately 5,000 jobs out of about 16,500 employees, or around 30% of its workforce. RIM is pinning its hopes on the BlackBerry 10, which will likely come out in early 2013.
Last Updated on Monday, 15 October 2012 13:40
Category: Breaking News Written by Nine News World
The vehicle first unveiled in 2006 is scheduled to go on sale in the US by the end of this year for about $US40,000 each, the Associated Press reported. A standard all terrain vehicle costs between $US4400 and $US10,000 in the US.
Michigan-based Gibbs Sports Amphibians Inc hopes to sell the Quadski worldwide by 2014.
The vehicle is a jet ski with four wheels that travels on both land and sea. It is powered by a four-cylinder BMW-supplied engine and can drive up to 72km/h on land.
The Quadski features a lightweight, fibreglass hull and front wheels that rise mechanically when the vehicle hits the water.
One of his amphibious vehicles is featured on the cover of a biography about Mr Gibbs written by Paul Goldsmith released earlier this year.
Mr Gibbs is one of New Zealand's wealthiest men and the book tells how he regarded the purchase of Telecom New Zealand from the government in 1990 as the deal of a lifetime.
The one-time died-in-the-wool socialist became a free-market advocate and dealmaker in the 1980s.
His private company also developed the Aquada, an amphibious car which debuted in 2003 and goes 160km/h on land and 48km/h in the water.
Virgin Group CEO Richard Branson used an Aquada in 2004 when he set an amphibious vehicle speed record crossing the English Channel, but the vehicle never made it into mainstream use over safety concerns.
Mr Gibbs has also built the Humdinga, a heavy model 6.6 metres long, intended for military use.
His company plans to develop the Phibian, a 9-metre long version.
He owns Gibbs Farm, a sculpture park in Northland.
Last Updated on Monday, 15 October 2012 13:32
Category: Breaking News Written by Huffington Post
Obama Edge In Battleground States
WASHINGTON -- A new national poll showing President Barack Obama with a slight edge over Republican nominee Mitt Romney may give Democrats some cheer Monday morning, but its results largely confirm what other surveys have reported over the last week: Voter preferences are very close nationwide, with Obama retaining a narrow but persistent edge in key electoral vote battleground states.
The latest Washington Post/ABC News survey shows Obama leading Romney among likely voters by a 49 to 46 percent margin that ABC said fell "within the survey's margin of error" and the Post described as a "virtual dead heat."
The new result was also essentially unchanged from a 49 to 47 percent Obama edge on the last Post/ABC survey. Other national polls released over the last week have reported either a dead-even race or have given Romney a slight edge. These include the Gallup Daily tracking, which as of Sunday showed Romney with a 2-point advantage (49 to 47 percent).
The Gallup Poll, like Post/ABC, uses live interviewers and calls samples of both landline and mobile telephone numbers. Other recent surveys yielded a similar range of results although the others used either automated telephone or newer internet-based methods.
The Post added the caution, however, that "Democrats outnumber Republicans by nine percentage points among likely voters" on their latest survey, a more favorable margin than the "three-, six- and five-percentage-point edges for Democrats" among likely voters on their last three polls. While noting that "partisan identification fluctuates from poll to poll" due to both random sampling error and shifts in "basic orientations," they warned that had their latest poll shown a partisan balance like the three previous surveys, "the presidential contest would now be neck and neck nationally."
On other questions, despite the partisan shift, the Post/ABC survey yielded evidence of growing enthusiasm for Romney, particularly among Republicans. The percentage of Romney supporters who said they are "very enthusiastic" about their candidate grew 10 percentage points (from 52 to 62 percent) since the first debate. Twice as many voters said their impression of Romney had gotten better (35 percent) rather than worse (14 percent) as a result of the debate, and the positive reaction was strongest among Romney supporters (70 percent improvement).
The HuffPost Pollster tracking model currently gives Obama a very slight advantage in the national popular vote, less than 1 percentage point as of this writing.
The model is not a simple average, but instead combines both national and statewide surveys to estimate the current polling snapshot and attempts to control for the persistent differences among pollsters known as "house effects."
The tracking model's national popular vote estimate takes into account polling data compiled at the state level, where surveys reported over the past week continue to give Obama very slim leads in the most crucial battleground states. Obama holds narrow but statistically meaningful leads of 2 percentage points or better, as of this writing, in Wisconsin, Ohio, New Hampshire and Nevada, along with the other states where he leads by wider margins -- enough to net 281 electoral votes, 11 more than the 270 needed to win. The model also shows Obama leading by just over 1 percentage point in Colorado, which would bring his electoral vote total to 290.
Although the national vote estimate has been slightly narrower over the past week and has tipped slightly to Romney at times, Obama has maintained an advantage in these crucial battleground states.
The Obama battleground edge may be due to a heavier volume of television advertising aired in those states. An analysis by George Washington University political scientist John Sides shows the number of ads run by the Democrats has slightly outpaced those run by the Republicans since the party conventions, although The Huffington Post reported last week that spending by Romney and his allies has increased greatly in recent weeks.
The Post/ABC poll indicates another area of tactical advantage for the Democrats: In swing states, voters were more likely to say they had been personally contacted, "by phone in person or online asking for your support," by the Obama campaign (37 percent), than they were to say that had been personally contacted by the Romney campaign (27 percent).
As the ABC News analysis points out, support for both candidates has remained relatively constant with neither candidate exceeding 50 percent, which suggests a "get out the vote election," in which motivation and turnout may decide the winner.
Last Updated on Monday, 15 October 2012 12:16
Category: News Briefs Written by WWJ
DETROIT (WWJ) – Shuttered Detroit firehouses have become the latest targets for scrap metal thieves.
At least a half-dozen fire stations across the city from Southwest Detroit to the near east side of the city — including engine and ladder companies 33, 46 and 49 — are now closed. Executive Fire Commissioner Don Austin says thieves are breaking into the closed buildings and stripping them of what can be sold for scrap.
“That’s where the water heaters, the plumbing, electrical oftentimes is taken out of the building,” Austin said.
“We have stainless steel kitchen sinks; I mean I don’t really want to put the inventory what’s in there, cause I’m not trying to encourage people to come in those buildings, but we’re working with Detroit Police Department, General Services to get them boarded up and to get patrols by those stations that are vacated.”
Fire Department officials want to keep as much of the buildings intact, so they can resell them. They also want to help keep the property values up in the neighborhoods where the fire stations are located.
Last Updated on Monday, 15 October 2012 10:05
Category: News Briefs Written by AJ Williams, Chronicle Web Editor
Two officers of the Detroit Police Department were injured while on patrol. According to Detroit Police Sgt. Erin Stephens, a forty-seven year old woman with a suspended license drove through a stop sign on Lansdowne Street and hit the officer’s vehicle on Moross.
The officers were admitted to the hospital and are listed to be in temporary serious condition after last night’s accident. The victim and police officers names have not yet been released. The woman driving the other vehicle was arrested and may face other charges.
Last Updated on Monday, 15 October 2012 12:37
Category: Breaking News Written by Andrea L. Zopp, Huffington Post
Election Day is one month away. In August, I began a three-part series on why you must vote. Last month's column talked about the critical issues like access to healthcare impacted by the individuals we elect into office. This month it's personal. It's about us and how black voter apathy is simply wrong in light of our history and the current attacks across the country on our right to vote.
Let's start with our history. Prior to the Voting Rights Act of 1965, African Americans across the country, but particularly in the South, were systematically prevented from exercising their right to vote. Methods both "legal" and illegal were used to prevent Blacks from having a say in the political system that governed their lives. African Americans who attempted to vote were faced with bullying, ridicule, prohibitive fees, violence and in some instances death. My own grandfather who lived in Mississippi was told that in order to vote he had to recite the Bill of Rights to the Constitution from memory.
The Voting Rights Act of 1965 made all the previously "legal" methods used to bar Black voters from the polls illegal and gave us the power of the federal government to force our way into the voting booth. The bill led to African Americans becoming a political force; led to Black elected officials and judges and, ultimately, to the country's first Black President. African Americans came out in force behind then candidate Obama in 2008 and played a critical role in sending him to the White House. And now today, as the first Black President seeks re-election we are seeing a new assault on the voting rights of African Americans, led by people elected in the wake of high Black voter apathy during the mid-term elections of 2010.
History repeats itself. We entered this election season with voter ID and other types of voter suppression laws in 17 states that could deprive an estimated 700,000 young people of color the right to vote, according to a new study by the University of Chicago. Another study shows that 25 percent of Blacks lack the ID being required in some areas compared to 16 percent of Hispanics and 9 percent of Whites. A Texas judge struck down a law that would have required voters to show a photo at the polls, calling it racially discriminatory. This week, a judge in Pennsylvania is expected to rule on whether voters in that key swing state could easily obtain state-issued ID cards in time for Election Day. Across the country, but particularly in critical swing states like Florida, Virginia and Ohio, efforts are underway to limit the Black vote.
Our history and the current attack on voter rights ought to tell us something. If Black votes mean nothing, if African Americans have no political power, no ability to influence or effect government, why are people so intent on preventing us from voting?
If you want to see a powerfully persuasive video on why you must vote, I encourage you to go to YouTube and search for "Occupy the Vote - The 2012 National Urban League Interns." These young people definitely get it. The Black community has more to lose than it could ever hope to gain by boycotting this election. During the Civil Rights Movement, boycotts were used as leverage. I assure you that not voting isn't going to give you a leg up on anything. As you participate less and less in the process, you might find the country moving away from the things that matter to you.
It's your community. It's your economic security. It's your child's education. It's your heritage to fight for the right to vote. This is personal. It's been less than 50 years since the Voting Rights Act outlawed discriminatory voting practices following decades of protest, humiliation, injury and bloodshed. And here we are, still fighting.
My grandfather, a United States citizen, was never allowed to vote; something he regretted his entire life. Unfortunately, he was not alone. Millions of African Americans also never got that chance. The intent of voter suppression laws is as transparent today as it was when my grandfather was denied the right to vote. Our history and our present are bright beacons reminding us of the power of our vote. How can we side with those who would hold us back and waste it? The National Urban League is fighting back through its Occupy the Vote initiative, encouraging people to register and making sure voters have the proper identification. In Illinois, the Chicago Urban League is doing its part by registering voters at our headquarters at 4510 S. Michigan Avenue Monday through Saturday through October 9. Election Day is on Tuesday, November 6. I encourage you to honor our history and fully participate in our democracy. This time and every time, it's personal.
Last Updated on Monday, 15 October 2012 09:30
Category: Breaking News Written by Jarrett Bell, UsaToday
PHILADELPHIA – Now didn't this look familiar. It was crunch time at Lincoln Financial Field, and the Detroit Lions had the audacity to not blink with their season essentially on the line.
A must-win game in Week 6?
Maybe so. The difference between being 2-3 rather than 1-4 as they head into next Monday night's game at the NFC North-leading Chicago Bears is enormous.
It's debatable exactly how the Lions processed the memo about this.
Jason Hanson has been around the NFL for 21 years, yet the Lions kicker concedes that he was numb-nervous as he lined up a 45-yard field goal in overtime because he knew the stakes included the season.
Cliff Avril, who got the overtime vibe flowing with a first-down speed rush that ended in a sack of Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Michael Vick, says he thought about the stakes before the game. In the heat of the moment, the defensive end didn't get bogged down with such details. He let it flow.
Either way, the urgency really kicked in after Vick and Jeremy Maclin exploited some major busted coverage in the Lions' secondary late in the fourth quarter. The result was a 70-yard touchdown romp that gave the Eagles a 23-13 lead.
This really looked like the backbreaker on a day when the Lions offense seemed stuck in neutral and, for three quarters, Matthew Stafford looked like some ordinary Joe.
Stafford's passer rating, entering the fourth quarter: 28.1.
Another set of numbers after Maclin's TD: 5:18.
That's what was left on the clock. Time to put up or shut up.
The Lions did it again, rallying for the 26-23 victory that sparked memories of, well, last season, when they made the playoffs on the heels of a series of dramatic comeback wins.
"The crazy thing is, we almost expect it," defensive end Kyle Vanden Bosch said in the noisy visitor's locker room. "If it's close in the fourth quarter, we know we can pull it out."
Stafford entered Week 6 with more fourth-quarter passing yards this season than any NFL quarterback. Including the drama from last year, when the Lions became the first team in NFL history to come back to win after trailing by 20 points on consecutive weeks, he had led the team to eight victories after it trailed in the fourth quarter or in overtime.
Make that nine.
Two plays in particular stand out from the quick, 80-yard march that cut Philadelphia's margin to three points. First, there was Stafford scrambling right and buying time while tight end Tony Scheffler worked free along the sideline. So free, past Brandon Hughes. Stafford heaved it for a 57-yard completion to the 12.
If that throw was like hitting the broad side of a barn, Stafford showed his versatility with a tight spiral for a 17-yard touchdown to Nate Burleson in the short left corner of the end zone. That throw came on third-and-15, and it has added value when considering that Detroit started 0-for-8 on third downs Sunday.
Even more striking was that Stafford threw it, amid pressure, off his back foot.
He was in his zone at the right time.
After that score, the Lions held the Eagles to three-and-out.
Then, on the final drive of regulation, the hold-your-breath moment came from Calvin Johnson, the all-pro receiver who lived up to his "Megatron" moniker with six catches for 135 yards. Johnson's 16-yard sideline catch was so uncanny -- he stretched, tapped his toes and hung onto the ball while crashing out of bounds -- that two officials missed the call and ruled it incomplete.
A replay reversal confirmed the catch that moved the Lions into field goal range. Hanson sent the game to overtime with a 19-yard field goal with three seconds left.
"This group's got no quit," Stafford said. "I don't care what the record is, what the score is, how much time's left. These guys in that locker room, they fight until the end."
That spirit wasn't enough in recent weeks, as Detroit brought a three-game losing streak to the Linc. Although the Lions were one of just three NFL teams to enter Week 6 with a top-10 offense and top-10 defense based on yardage rankings, the offense had a tough time producing touchdowns.
Before Sunday, the offense had generated just nine touchdowns.
Another problem was special teams. The losses against Minnesota and Tennessee gave Detroit the dubious distinction of being the first team to allow kickoff- and punt-return scores in consecutive weeks.
Add the inconsistency in the running game, a defensive line that has been under fire for underachieving, the undermanned secondary…
No wonder Lions coach Jim Schwartz beamed late Sunday as he talked about it being a team victory.
He was so right. Running back Mikel Leshoure (15 rushes, 70 yards) helped set up the game-tying field goal at the end of regulation with some power runs. A secondary bolstered by the return of playmaking safety Louis Delmas snagged the defense's first two interceptions of the season, adding to Vick's turnover woes. The O-line didn't allow a sack.
And the D-line that was criticized by an unnamed NFL general manager in a Pro Football Weekly story this week, made quite the statement. Vick's last pass in regulation was swatted down by Ndamukong Suh. In overtime, Avril's sack was followed by a joint effort from Vanden Bosch and Nick Fairley, who dumped Vick for a 14-yard loss.
"You could feel us," Schwartz said. "I think it was a big step for us as a team. We were playing team football today, and there was a lot of spirit and guys picking each other up. I think that's a good sign of things to come for this team."
The Lions took over at midfield for the only possession they would need in overtime after another three-and-our by the Eagles, who head to the bye week at 3-3.
Fittingly, it was left up to the longest-tenured Lion, Hanson -- who has spent all 21 of his NFL seasons in Detroit -- to win it.
For all of his experience and with his sterling track record, you'd think Hanson would downplay the significance of his kick.
Hardly. He knew better.
"It was a must-win," he said. "Playing 20-plus years in the league, you go out there and you know that it is more than a kick for that game. I was nervous because we needed it. We needed it bad. We fought our way back. We had been close a couple of times this year and we hadn't come through. We needed it for that reason, and we needed it to get our season back on track, and we've done that."
Last Updated on Monday, 15 October 2012 09:26
Category: Breaking News Written by Yahoo News
Photo: Reuters/Reuters - Detroit Tigers catcher Gerald Laird (L) celebrates with third baseman Miguel Cabrera as pitcher Justin Verlander (C) walks past them after the Tigers defeated the New York Yankees in Game 2 of their MLB ALCS playoff baseball series in New York, October 14, 2012. REUTERS/Mike Segar
NEW YORK (Reuters) - The Detroit Tigers beat the New York Yankees 3-0 on Sunday to seize a commanding 2-0 lead in the best-of-seven American League Championship Series (ALCS).
Detroit starter Anibal Sanchez combined with reliever Phil Coke on a four-hit shutout, while a lack of support spoiled a fine outing by New York starter Hiroki Kuroda, who was perfect through five innings.
Quintin Berry scored the first run of the game on a ground out by Delmon Young after leading off the seventh inning with a double that hopped over the wall in center.
Detroit added two more runs in the eighth on RBI singles by Avisail Garcia and Miguel Cabrera, both following a disputed call at second base that would have ended the inning and led to the ejection of Yankee manager Joe Girardi for arguing.
The victory gave the Tigers a sweep of the first two games played at Yankee Stadium. The ALCS shifts to Detroit on Tuesday, with Tigers ace Justin Verlander up against Phil Hughes.
Last Updated on Monday, 15 October 2012 09:21
Category: Breaking News Written by WWJ
DETROIT (WWJ) – Strong overnight winds left about 18,000 DTE customers without power Monday morning. As of 8:45 a.m. Monday, there were still 13,000 homes and businesses still in the dark. The outages are scattered throughout metro Detroit and surrounding communities.
According to DTE Energy, approximately 7,500 homes and businesses were knocked off the grid in Wayne County, and there were about 3,000 outages each in Oakland, Macomb and Washtenaw counties,
The areas without service include downriver, northern Oakland County, near Willow Run Airport, and the Grosse Pointes.
DTE expects to have everyone’s power restored by late Monday.
Last Updated on Monday, 15 October 2012 09:14
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