Category: Breaking News Written by Huffington Post
Detroit Public Schools Emergency Financial Manager Roy Roberts believes it's still premature to talk about him stepping down as a result of last week's election -- or for the school board to be withdrawing from the EAA.
After Michigan voters repealed a law that allowed the state to appoint emergency managers to financially struggling municipalities and school districts, the Detroit Board of Education, reinstated to oversee DPS academics after Public Act 4's suspension, voted in a special meeting Tuesday to break ties between the district and the Educational Achievement Authority.
Before the election, Roberts sent a letter to Gov. Rick Snyder saying he was considering stepping down from the position. Steve Wasko, a spokesman for Roberts, told The Huffington Post the letter ought to be taken in its complete context.
"What Mr. Roberts said in the letter to Governor Snyder prior to the election specifically is he would wait to see what the outcome of the election is and then, in fact, immediately after the election he would reach out to the Board of Education," he said, "and based on those discussions he would make a determination and advise Governor Snyder within as soon a time as possible whether or not he could still be effective in the role."
Roberts has reached out twice to the board to arrange a meeting since the election, according to Wasko.
In regards to the board's recent vote to pull out of the EAA, he noted that the election results have yet to be certified and until that time the only decision of importance is Wayne County Circuit Judge Murphy's order defining the roles of the board and the emergency manager. Under that ruling Roberts is responsible for financial decisions and the board for academics.
"The board or either side would have to go into Judge Murphy's courtroom and seek additional orders in order to implement them," he said.
Although Wasko noted that he was not a spokesman for the EAA, he said it was still too early in the school year to make judgements about the district's academic success. He also affirmed Mr. Roberts' support from the new statewide district.
"Mr. Roberts feels strongly that the EAA is solidly based on a number of reform practices and new education models that he believes are so good they're not going to [just] be utilized by the EAA, [but] that other districts will want to use those," he said
Wasko also noted it would be disruptive to move the EAA's approximately 10,000 students from one district to another mid-school year, if DPS was to immediately withdraw.
Last Updated on Thursday, 15 November 2012 12:17
Category: Breaking News Written by Minehaha Forman
DETROIT—Mayor Dave Bing announced Thursday morning that the abandoned Fredrick Douglas Homes complex, formerly known as the Brewster-Douglas housing project, will be demolished.
The massive complex covers a large swath of land in a part of the city that is prime space for new development, Bing said. The demolition is expected to take place next summer, according to Bing.
“We’ve got 18 acres of contiguous property in a great part of Detroit. But it [the complex] has to come down first,” Bing told reporters outside of the vacant housing project located near Eastern Market, Brush Park, and Detroit’s Midtown district. “These buildings have been standing empty for years.”
Bing called the abandoned high-rises an “eyesore” and said he was open to suggestions on how to develop the space after demolition takes place adding that there are no plans in place for its future development. “It’s a white sheet of paper,” he said.
A $6.5 million grant from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development's Capital Fund Emergency Grant Program awarded to the Detroit Housing Commission will pay for the demolition.
The complex has a historical background as one of the first government subsidized housing projects in the city and has housed some of the city’s biggest legends in entertainment.
"The former Brewster-Douglass complex has a proud place in Detroit’s rich history, as the nation’s first federal housing project for African Americans; as the place where Joe Louis learned to box; and where Diana Ross, Mary Wilson and Florence Ballard formed the Supremes,” Mayor Bing said. “However, as a vacant site it became a major eyesore and a danger to the community. We welcome the chance to make it a productive residential and commercial area once again.”
In his state of the city address in March, Bing promised to begin demolition on the complex; one of the city’s largest abandoned housing projects, by the end of the year.
The Detroit Housing Commission owns the complex, which covers 18.5 acres of property. The Frederick Douglass Homes project includes four 12-story high-rise apartment buildings; two six-story mid-rise apartments and 75 town homes.
The U.S. Housing and Urban Development (HUD) took control of the Detroit Housing Commission in 2005. Earlier this year, HUD Assistant Secretary Sandra B. Henriquez announced a transition plan that outlines the steps for its return to local governance, including the appointment of an advisory committee by Mayor Bing.
Last Updated on Thursday, 15 November 2012 12:11
Category: Breaking News Written by Amber Bogins
Updated Tuesday, Nov. 13, 5:45 p.m. EST: The New York Times reports that Andreozzi & Associates, a law firm that said it represented the accuser, said in a statement that "he wants it to be known that his sexual relationship with Mr. Clash was an adult consensual relationship." The statement added, "He will have no further comment on the matter."
Kevin Clash, who has provided the voice of Sesame Street's Elmo for 28 years, has announced that he is taking a leave of absence after allegations surfaced that he had a relationship with a 16-year-old boy.
While he admits having a relationship with the alleged victim, he insists that it was consensual and took place after his accuser was 18 years old. From ABC News:
"I am a gay man. I have never been ashamed of this or tried to hide it, but felt it was a personal and private matter. I had a relationship with the accuser. It was between two consenting adults and I am deeply saddened that he is trying to characterize it as something other than what it was," Clash said in a statement issued to ABC News.
"I am taking a break from Sesame Workshop to deal with this false and defamatory allegation," he said.
The alleged underage relationship was brought to the attention of Sesame Workshop, the nonprofit organization that produces the beloved children's show, in June by the alleged victim, who was by then 23 years old.
Sesame Workshop said it took the allegation "very seriously" and took "immediate action," but after an investigation, which included interviews with Clash and his accuser, found the claims to be "unsubstantiated." He has not been charged with any crime.
Last Updated on Thursday, 15 November 2012 08:54
Category: Breaking News Written by Amber Bogins
The Root's contributing editor Demetria L. Lucas challenges the argument that President Obama was wrong to praise his daughters' looks on election night. More black dads should do so, she writes in a piece for Essence.
... [Blogger Alice Robb] wrote, "Obama's comments beg the question of why a girl's beauty should be source of pride for her father -- and why beauty should be a value lauded alongside strength and intelligence."
My first thought was "Really? No ... really?" But I rolled her argument around for a bit in my head to see if I could get where she is coming from, generally. Overall, there is too much importance placed on women's looks. Anytime a women gets promoted to a position of prominence, there's an inevitable critique of her appearance. For Surgeon General Dr. Regina M. Benjamin it was weight; for Hillary Clinton is was her clothes (pantsuits); and for First Lady Michelle Obama, it's been the size of her backside and, of all things, the tone of her arms. Young women who are navigating changing bodies hear this and it can make them even more sensitive about their appearance, making it a bigger deal to them than it should be. And that is indeed a problem.
But it doesn't apply here. In an effort to be politically correct (and likely feminist), Robb is going too far in the opposite direction. There is nothing wrong with any father calling his daughters beautiful -- more fathers should do so, especially Black fathers, so that young women won't go into the world seeking affirmation from strange men because they didn't get it at home.
At the heart of this issue, one Robb may not even realize, is that Black girls turn into Black women who don't get so many regular affirmations of their beauty in this world.
Last Updated on Thursday, 15 November 2012 08:45
Category: News Briefs Written by WWJ
DETROIT (WWJ) - An early morning fire on Detroit’s east side could have been far more tragic if not for the quick thinking of a family’s 15-year-old son.
The fire broke out early Thursday morning at a home at the corner of Kirby and McDougall streets.
DeMonte Palmer was fast asleep until about 4 a.m. when he was awakened by flames.
“I looked out the window and all I seen is fire surrounding the window and I just immediately ran to my mama’s room and just yelled ‘Wake up! Wake up!’ and they woke up immediately and then we just rushed out. We grabbed what we could, but we just rushed out. Now everything is gone, just perished in the fire,” Palmer told WWJ’s Ron Dewey.
A total of three homes, two which were vacant, were lost in the fire but everyone is safe, and Palmer’s family credits him for saving their lives.
Fire officials say they aren’t yet sure as to what started the fire, but an investigation is ongoing.
Last Updated on Thursday, 15 November 2012 08:44
Category: News Briefs Written by WWJ
LANSING (WWJ) - Should sex offenders have access to their own children? State Senator Hoon-Yung Hopgood of Taylor is pushing a bill that would block such access unless proof is offered that the child would not be at risk.
The Downriver Democrat would like to see the public get involved in the push to get this new child protection law on the books.
“Absolutely … create an awareness. I think the more people know about something, the more they can take action and maybe write their legislator and call for support for this,” Hopgood said.
Allen Park motherAmy Carnes, who has been fighting to keep her young child away from her ex-husband, said she supports the proposed bill.
“My ex-husband was arrested in August of 2008 for soliciting children on the Internet for sex, and he is the father of my 5-year-old daughter,” she told WWJ Newsradio 950′s Pat Sweeting. “Currently I am in custody disputes … He served prison time; he is now off of parole, and he is wanting to obtain visitation — supervised and unsupervised.
Carnes said she is amazed there are not specific laws already on the books to prevent this. She said she’s been fighting to try to terminate her ex-husband’s parental rights, but has been told that until he does something to harm his daughter, that won’t happen.
Hopgood said it’s not know exactly how many children are harmed when returned to the custody of a parent who is a convicted sex abuser.
Last Updated on Thursday, 15 November 2012 08:36
Category: Breaking News Written by Gadi Dechter
This election was a victory for the middle class. Here’s why.
“Middle-out” economics defeated supply-side economics Politicians have always paid lip service to the middle class, but voters in this election were offered a clear choice between a vision of economic growth that magically trickles down from the top and one driven by a strong middle class.
President Barack Obama’s campaign presented a sharp alternative to the supply-side dogma that has dominated Washington, D.C., since the late 1970s — and continues to hold conservatives in thrall. Supply-side thinking, embraced by 2012 Republican presidential nominee and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, holds that cutting taxes on the rich will unleash a torrent of investments that will spur economic growth.
Overwhelming evidence shows supply-side economics doesn’t work. So the president instead articulated a powerful new theory that combines a critique of rising inequality with emerging evidencethat a strong middle class is the key driver of economic growth—not just a happy byproduct of it.
“We don’t believe in an economy that grows from the top down,” President Obama has repeatedly said in recent months. “We believe in an economy that grows from the middle out.”
This is a position the Center for American Progress has long espoused and one that the White House embraced with full-throated enthusiasm, which voters have clearly responded to. Here’s atimeline depicting the evolution of Obama’s middle-out economics. Tax hikes for the wealthy defeated middle-class tax hikes Gov. Romney’s “revenue-neutral” plan to massively cut taxes for the rich would have inevitably meant higher taxes for households with incomes lower than $200,000, according to a now-legendary—and never refuted—study by the nonpartisan Tax Policy Center.
Requiring a still-struggling middle class to pay for tax giveaways to the rich is neither fair nor good economic policy. It’s unfair because the richest Americans are already historically undertaxedeven as the gap between rich and poor widens. It is bad policy because the way to make the economy grow for everyone is to strengthen the middle class, not to burden it with more than its fair share of taxes.
Instead, voters threw their support behind the president’s proposal to ask the wealthiest Americans to pay a little more as part of a deal to avoid the so-called fiscal cliff, while bringing the deficit under control in the long term. The 2012 election results give a clear mandate for this policy framework to guide Congress as it addresses tax reform in the coming months.
Main Street defeated Wall Street hubris
The 2010 Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act is the most sweeping reform of the U.S. financial sector since the days of President Franklin D. Roosevelt. It was also the bill most in danger during this election. According to his chief economic adviser, Gov. Romney was prepared to repeal Dodd-Frank and dismantle or weaken the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau created by the law.
This election is therefore a victory for Main Street taxpayers, who will retain the protection of the powerful consumer watchdog guarding against abusive practices that contributed to the financial crisis that caused the Great Recession in 2007. Dodd-Frank will also decrease the likelihood of future systemic failures and ensure that bank investors — not middle-class taxpayers — foot the bill when important financial institutions fail.
The financial sector is a crucial part of the U.S. economy but the government has an important role in ensuring financial markets are fair and stable. Voters in this election made clear that Congress consider the interests of Main Street as much as or more than those of Wall Street. Lawmakers should come together to strengthen, not weaken, financial regulatory reform.
A win for the middle class is a win for everyone
An electoral victory for the middle class should translate into middle-class-focused policies. Those policies will help more than just middle-class families.
To be sure, a government that recognizes the middle class as the key driver of economic growth is more likely to boost infrastructure, education, scientific discoveries, and other parts of the economy that nurture the broad middle class.
But policies that recognize the dangers of rising inequality will also help restore the American Dream of social and economic mobility for lower-income people.
As a stronger middle class consumes more goods and services, produces a more talented workforce, and incubates more innovative entrepreneurs, the beneficiaries will include businesses and the people who own and invest in them.
That’s why yesterday’s electoral triumph of the middle class is a policy victory for all Americans, regardless of party or income level.
Gadi Dechter is the managing director of economic policy at the Center for American Progress.
Last Updated on Thursday, 15 November 2012 08:31
Category: Breaking News Written by The Root
After his "blackface" quip, maybe he'll learn to make his critiques more constructive and less offensive.
(The Root) -- Professor Cornel West has struck again. The always outspoken Obama critic recently said in an interview with Democracy Now: "I think that it's morally obscene and spiritually profane to spend $6 billion on an election, $2 billion on a presidential election, and not have any serious discussion -- poverty; trade unions being pushed against the wall, dealing with stagnating and declining wages when profits are still up and the 1 percent are doing very well; no talk about drones dropping bombs on innocent people ... I mean, I'm glad there was not a right-wing takeover, but we end up with a Republican, a Rockefeller Republican in blackface, with Barack Obama, so that our struggle with regard to poverty intensifies."
Putting aside the substance in West's comments, since there are certainly valid and substantive policy critiques to be made of the Obama administration, it is completely unnecessary for him to attack the president in such a racialized and offensive manner. Any good points he made are lost.
This isn't the first time that the Princeton and Union Theological Seminary professor has attacked the president as a person instead of sticking to policy. West has previously called the president a "black mascot of Wall Street oligarchs and a black puppet of corporate plutocrats." West and his partner Tavis Smiley (they have a public-radio show together, Smiley & West), also an outspoken Obama critic, have failed, time and again, to keep their critiques focused on policy when commenting on the shortcomings of the Obama administration.
High-profile black intellectuals who dared to support the president in public are not immune from the wrath of West and Smiley, either. The Rev. Al Sharpton, Melissa Harris-Perry and Michael Eric Dyson are "for sale" for access to Obama, according to West. This an interesting choice of words, considering Smiley's history with corporate sponsors including Wells Fargo and Exxon Mobil.
Perhaps, with a second Obama win, West and Smiley feel their influence diminishing within the black community, which supported the re-election of President Obama with even higher turnout than in 2008 in key states, despite criticism. President Obama has been elected and re-elected, and the old guard of black political thought is becoming more and more marginalized as a result. No longer does a black politician need to be ordained by Smiley or grace the stage of his (now-canceled) State of the Black Union speech-a-thon to be considered a contender for high office.
There are legitimate critiques of the president and serious issues to tackle during his second term. The challenge for Obama critics is to point out areas that absolutely need to be addressed -- high black unemployment and, yes, poverty -- without attacking the president as a man. With pride continuing to cloud their critiques of President Obama, West and Smiley have failed to do this time and again. It seems that they are facing a future in the black-intellectual wilderness over the next four years.
Let's hope that during Obama's next term, we can all work together to push the president and his administration to make big changes (or at least use his bully pulpit to talk about big changes, since the balance of power in Congress is unchanged) that will benefit the lives of the millions who voted for him. Offering constructive criticism and applying public pressure that is intended to assist the president rather than undermine him is a much more effective strategy going forward. Maybe more high-profile black thinkers will take note.
Last Updated on Thursday, 15 November 2012 08:26
Category: News Briefs Written by WWJ
DETROIT (WWJ) - A Detroit police officer is expected to be OK after he was shot Wednesday afternoon on the city’s east side.
Detroit Police Commander Steve Dolunt said at about 2:40 p.m. Wednesday officers were trying to deliver an arrest warrant when the suspect got into his car and rammed a Detroit police vehicle.
A chase ensued, ending at East Grand Blvd. and Mack when the suspect stopped and ran through the Swanson Funeral Home. When he exited out the back door, that’s when police said shots were fired at the officer.
Police returned fire and struck the suspect, who was listed in critical condition at Detroit Receiving Hospital.
The officer, who was struck in the back, was wearing a bullet-poof vest. He sustained only minor injuries.
No names have been released.
Last Updated on Wednesday, 14 November 2012 17:05
Category: News Briefs Written by Huffington Post
Facebook Users Spend More Money And Have Lower Credit Scores: Study
We all know that Facebook is eating up our free time. But new research suggests that the social network may be making us fat and poor.
Facebook increases our self-esteem, which negatively impacts our decision-making skills and judgement, according to Andrew Stephen, associate professor at the University of Pittsburgh, and Keith Wilcox, associate professor at Columbia University. In turn, Facebook lowers our self-control and encourages negative behaviors like overspending and overeating.
The researchers found that more time spent on Facebook means higher credit card debt. Just five minutes of Facebook usage a day was proven to lower a user's self-control, according to the study, which was based on an Internet survey of 541 American Facebook users.
Facebook surpassed 1 billion users worldwide in early October and is expected to see that figure double by 2014, according to some estimates. The average American spends eight hours a month on Facebook mostly due to boredom, according to a recent study. In America, 71.2 percent of Internet users are on Facebook, according to the social network.
Despite Stephen and Wilcox's findings, the relationship between social networks and self-esteem is hotly contested. According to research published by Computers in Human Behavior, the 526 million people who log on to Facebook every day experience a self-esteem boost by using their profiles to construct how others see them. However, another study by a Ph.D. student in Stanford's psychology department found that Facebook leads users to feel dejected and worthless when comparing their lives to those of their friends online.
Regardless of how Facebook makes users feel, Stephen and Wilcox's study confirms previous research that has found that lower credit scores and credit card debt are strongly associated with poor self-control. In a 2001 survey, 40 percent of credit card holders blamed self-control problems on the widespread availability of credit cards, which increase our ability to overspend.
Nearly half of all Americans do not know what their credit score is, according to a survey of 2,200 people from CouponCabin.com. In September, the average American household had about $6,700 in credit card debt with U.S. credit card debt in 2011 totaling $46.7 billion.
Last Updated on Wednesday, 14 November 2012 16:46
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