Category: Top News Written by Michigan Chronicle
"DC-NABJ Chapter Members Only
August Meeting with Special Guest, Former Detroit Mayor
Kwame M. Kilpatrick"
WHO Detroit Chapter National Association of Black Journalists
WHAT DC-NABJ Monthly Membership Meeting
Guest Speaker: Detroit’s Former Mayor, Kwame Kilpatrick
WHERE Hotel St. Regis
3071 West Grand Boulevard
Detroit, MI 48202
WHEN Date: Thursday, August 16, 2012
6 p.m. – 8 p.m.
CONTACT Vickie Thomas, President, DC-NABJ & WWJ News Radio AM 950 (CBS)
WWJ News Radio 950 will stream the event live. You can click here to listen to the event beginning at 6:30 p.m. on Thursday, August 16, 2012.
Only paid members will be allowed in the room. No television cameras will admitted. No video-taping of any kind will be permitted.
DC-NABJ is committed to:
• Increasing black employment in the media.
• Increasing the number of blacks in management positions.
• Providing continued professional development and training for black journalists.
• Sensitizing the media to the importance of fairness in coverage and in the workplace.
• Strengthening ties among black journalists.
• Honoring excellence and outstanding achievement by black journalists.
• Expanding job opportunities for black journalists and assisting in recruiting activities.
Last Updated on Wednesday, 15 August 2012 13:47
Category: Breaking News Written by Michigan Chronicle
Gov. Rick Snyder has announced the appointment of Darrell Burks, of Franklin, to the Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan board of directors.
The 35-member board is the governing body of Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan.
Burks recently retired following a nearly 35-year career with PricewaterhouseCoopers. With the firm, he specialized in business risk and internal control matters, and delivered a wide range of audit and related business advisory services to clients in the corporate, government, nonprofit and education sectors. He is a member of the Detroit Financial Advisory board.
Burks will serve a two-year term that expires Feb. 18, 2014. His appointment is subject to the advice and consent of the Senate.
Last Updated on Wednesday, 15 August 2012 12:43
Category: Breaking News Written by Bankole Thompson, Chronicle Senior Editor
What is Romney saying to women, students, seniors, people of color?
Let’s get right to the point. The truth is this nation is quickly becoming more diverse. The last census report showed that whether some like it or not, we have to embrace a multicultural reality that is settling in sooner than we would have thought.
That this nation is anchored on the sacred idea that “we hold these truths to be self-evident that all men are created equal” underscores how government has always been important in the lives of its people.
Whether it was in establishing the Civil Rights Act, which allowed for women to gain considerable access in the marketplace today, or the Voting Rights Act, which sought to remove deliberate impediments for communities that have historically not been part of the section of the Declaration of Independence that guarantees “the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness,” government has always been a tenet in the life of this democratic experience called the United States of America.
So much for the right-wing double-talk of getting government out of our lives.
As such, in the current political atmosphere, women, students, seniors, the poor and the middle class are looking for a leader in the Republican Party who would appeal to them, acknowledge their essence, rather than reaching out to the demands of right wing ideologues who are unwilling to acknowledge the hurricane-like arrival of diversity and all its ramifications.
Romney, abandoning the deep historical legacy of his father, George Romney, former Michigan governor who marched with Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in Detroit during the freedom rallies, decided to select the extreme right wing Republican leader of Congress to be his running mate, Congressman Paul Ryan.
The policies of Ryan do not even equate with those of former president George W. Bush whose ideas are moderate when compared to Ryan’s.
Romney had an opportunity to break away from the broken Congress which Ryan has been a key part of and to put forth a credible vice presidential candidate, one in whom independents as well as Democrats could find common ground with.
He missed an opportunity as an outsider to present a change ticket.
Instead, he chose a man who in many ways has been an obstructionist in Congress, an individual who is favored by the extreme right yet his popularity doesn’t appeal to the rest of the nation. A small segment in the Republican Party should not be the reflection of so many moderates in the party who now may be looking elsewhere.
The Ryan selectiion doesn’t do anything for Romney in the key swing states, including Florida where $96 billion is spent annually in Medicaid for seniors, because Ryan wants to convert this program into a voucher system.
This pick is bold and one that is viewed as brilliant in the eyes of the ultraconservative movement, but it is not a wise choice.
Do you have to go this far to win an election?
I’m forced to ask, what does the national Republican Party stand for in 2012?
That Romney would pick someone who, like him, has no national security or foreign policy experience for a party that has always touted national security as their mantra is mindboggling.
The biggest irony is that both men used a battleship as the backdrop of their ticket announcement on Saturday when neither has served in the military.
What message is Mitt Romney sending to women by selecting a vice presidential candidate who is opposed to a woman’s right to choose even in cases of rape and incest?
What message is the Republican Party sending to students across this country with a choice like Ryan who has proposed to cut back student aid and voted against the College Student Act Relief?
What message is the Republican Party sending to our seniors who have to decide between paying their rent and paying their prescription bills with a choice like Ryan who has proposed converting Medicare into a voucher program and privatize Social Security?
Even his fellow conservative and former House Speaker Newt Gingrich called Ryan’s proposal on Medicare and Social Security “right wing social engineering.”
What message is the Republican Party sending to the middle class and the poor in this nation at a time when their fate lies in this election, with a choice like Ryan who proposed a tax overhaul in 2010 that would make a millionaire like Romney pay less than 1 percent of taxes as opposed to the current 13 percent he’s paid?
I could not believe Romney would choose a candidate who gives him no geographical advantage or demographic advantage. He chose a candidate with no crossover appeal. The only advantage this choice gives him is a White male, just like Romney, who will rally ultra conservatives.
And it looks really bad in an era of multicultural and gender consciousness for two White males to run on a presidential ticket in 2012.
Romney has not shaken up the race with the Ryan selection. What he’s done is further defined the race against President Barack Obama.
In choosing Ryan, Romney is making the same mistake that Sen. John McCain made in 2008 by selecting former Alaska governor Sarah Palin who became the subject of the race instead of the head of the ticket, McCain.
Now, the election is quickly becoming more about Paul Ryan’s extreme right wing budget proposal and views instead of Mitt Romney’s vision for America.
And just like Sarah Palin defined McCain’s campaign in 2008 to the detriment of the veteran senator, Paul Ryan is already defining Romney’s campaign.
Because right wing Republicans have always been suspect of Romney’s true conservative credentials, one is forced to ask, was the Ryan candidacy forced upon him as was believed to be the case with McCain and Palin?
Bankole Thompson is editor of the Michigan Chronicle and author of a six-part book series on the Obama presidency. His book “Obama and Black Loyalty,” published in 2010, follows his recent book, “Obama and Christian Loyalty” with a foreward by Bob Weiner, former White House spokesman. A recognized authority on the Obama presidency who has had sit-down interviews with Obama, Thompson is a political news analyst at WDET-101.9FM (NPR affiliate) and a member of the weekly “Obama Watch” Sunday evening roundtable on WLIB-1190AM New York and simulcast in New Jersey and Connecticut.
Last Updated on Wednesday, 15 August 2012 12:32
Category: Breaking News Written by Huffington Post
WASHINGTON — The Republican-run House on Monday asked a federal court to enforce a subpoena against Attorney General Eric Holder, demanding that he produce records on a bungled gun-tracking operation known as Operation Fast and Furious.
The lawsuit asked the court to reject a claim by President Barack Obama asserting executive privilege, a legal position designed to protect certain internal administration communications from disclosure.
The failure of Holder and House Republicans to work out a deal on the documents led to votes in June that held the attorney general in civil and criminal contempt of Congress. The civil contempt resolution led to Monday's lawsuit.
Holder refused requests by the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee to hand over – without preconditions – documents that could explain why the Justice Department initially denied in February 2011 that a risky tactic was used to allow firearms to "walk" from Arizona to Mexico.
Federal agents lost track of many of the guns. The operation identified more than 2,000 illicitly purchased weapons, and some 1,400 of them have yet to be recovered.
The department failed to acknowledge its incorrect statement for 10 months.
"Portentously, the (Justice) Department from the outset actively resisted cooperating fully with the committee's investigation," the lawsuit said.
"Among other things, the department initially declined to produce documents; later produced only very limited numbers of documents in piecemeal fashion; refused to make available to the committee certain witnesses; and limited the committee's questioning of other witnesses who were made available," it said.
The Justice Department previously said that it would not bring criminal charges against its boss. Democrats have labeled the civil and criminal contempt citations a political stunt.
In response to the lawsuit, Justice Department spokeswoman Tracy Schmaler said, "We were always willing to work with the committee. Instead the House and the committee have said they prefer to litigate."
Numerous lawmakers said this was the first time a Cabinet official had been held in contempt.
The lawsuit asked that:
_The executive privilege claim by Obama be declared invalid.
_Holder's objection to the House records subpoena be rejected.
_The attorney general produce all records related to the Justice Department's incorrect assertion in early 2011 that gun-walking did not take place.
The administration's position reciting the words "executive privilege" rests entirely on a common law privilege known as the "deliberative process privilege" and "is legally baseless," says the lawsuit.
Historically, there are two main types of executive privilege. One privilege, for "presidential communications," only covers the president and the work of top aides preparing advice for the president.
�The other, known as "deliberative process privilege," covers a much wider category of administration officials, even if they weren't working on something for the president specifically.� Presidents are required to have a stronger argument to justify keeping secrets under this broader authority, which can involve documents they never saw or were even intended to see.
A federal appeals court has ruled that this broader privilege is easier for Congress to overcome and it "disappears altogether when there is any reason to believe government misconduct has occurred."
The lawsuit said the documents "would enable the committee (and the American people) to understand how and why the department provided false information to Congress and otherwise obstructed the committee's concededly legitimate investigation."
It challenged the executive privilege claim on several legal grounds, contending it was asserted indirectly by the deputy attorney general in a letter to Congress, and that the documents do not involve any advice to the president. The department's actions do not involve core constitutional functions of the president, the suit said.
The suit contended the administration's position, if accepted, "would cripple congressional oversight of executive branch agencies...."
In past cases, courts have been reluctant to settle disputes between the executive and legislative branches of government.
Given recent experience, the Republican-controlled committee's lawsuit could result in a compromise or an appeal by the losing side.
In 2008, a federal judge rejected the George W. Bush administration's position that senior presidential advisers could not be forced to testify to the House Judiciary Committee. The decision was regarded as vindication of Congress's investigative powers.
But the ruling also said that Congress' authority to compel testimony from executive branch officials was not unlimited. The Bush administration appealed, but after Barack Obama became president in 2009, the newly elected Congress and the administration reached a settlement. Some of the documents at issue in the case were provided to the House and former White House counsel Harriet Miers testified.
The battle over congressional subpoenas for documents and testimony arose when Congress looked into whether political motives and White House involvement had prompted the dismissal of U.S. attorneys.
Gun-walking long has been barred by Justice Department policy, but federal agents in Arizona experimented with it in three investigations during the George W. Bush administration before Operation Fast and Furious. The agents in Arizona lost track of several hundred weapons in the three earlier operations.
Last Updated on Tuesday, 14 August 2012 09:53
Category: Breaking News Written by Huffington Post
WASHINGTON -- The Obama administration on Monday threw its support behind the University of Texas' use of race as a standard in its admissions policies, asking the Supreme Court not to interfere with the consideration of racial preferences in college admissions.
The Justice Department, in a court brief co-signed by several other government agencies, told the high court that a diverse college population was in the university's – and the government's – best interests. "The armed services and numerous federal agencies have concluded that well-qualified and diverse graduates are crucial to the fulfillment of their missions," Solicitor General Donald B. Verrilli said.
The court brief was cosigned by lawyers from the departments of Defense, Education, Commerce, Labor and Health and Human Services.
The Supreme Court's ruling on the University of Texas' admission program will be its first ruling on affirmative action in higher education since 2003. Arguments will be October 10.
Abigail Fisher, a white student who was not admitted to the school in 2008, filed a lawsuit challenged the policy as violation of her civil and constitutional rights.
Texas admits most of its students because they rank among the top 10 percent in their high school classes. Fisher's grades did not put her in that category. For other students, Texas officials say that race is considered among many factors, including academic record, personal essays, leadership potential, extracurricular activities, and honors and awards. The school says race is not used to set quotas, which the high court has previously rejected.
"Race is not considered on its own, and it is never determinative of an applicant's admission by itself," Verrilli said. "Rather, race is one of a number of contextual factors that provide a more complete understanding of the applicant's record and experiences. That is a far cry from impermissible racial balancing."
The Texas policy has been upheld by federal appeals courts, which said it was allowed under the high court's decision in Grutter vs. Bollinger in 2003 that upheld racial considerations in university admissions at the University of Michigan Law School. But Fisher appealed to the current Supreme Court, which is considered to be more conservative than the one that ruled in 2003 and more likely to jettison that decision or at least limit when colleges may take account of race in admissions.
Before adopting race as part of its admission policy, Texas' student body was 21 percent African-American and Hispanic. By 2007, the year before Fisher filed her lawsuit, African-Americans and Hispanics accounted for more than a quarter of the entering freshman class.
"Race is considered not on its own, but as a piece of information that provides valuable context in understanding an applicant's achievements and his likely contributions to the university," Verrilli said. "That individualized consideration is designed to work in conjunction with the Top 10 plan to enable the university to construct a class that is diverse in all ways valued by the institution."
The case is Fisher v. University of Texas at Austin, 11-345.
Last Updated on Tuesday, 14 August 2012 09:48
Category: Breaking News Written by wwj.com
DETROIT (WWJ) - Tuesday will be a key day for former Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick as he attends a hearing regarding a conflict of interest in his federal corruption trial.
Talking to WWJ Newsradio 950′s Vickie Thomas, Detroit political consultant Adolf Mongo said although the government has lost five of its most recent high-profile cases, Kilpatrick has made his share of enemies in the city.
“We’re suffering from the effects of the Kwame hurricane,” Mongo said. “There’s a lot of collateral damage out here in the cy of Detroit.”
Also set for this week, Kilpatrick will speak before the Detroit chapter of the National Association of Black Journalists Thursday at the Hotel St. Regis.
According to Mongo, that could be a big mistake.
“I understand why he’s speaking, but at this point I really would be concentrating on defense,” Mongo said. “He should’ve spoke out a long time ago when all this stuff first hit the fan. Unfortunately, he let the media shape how this whole scandal has been going.”
When scheduling Tuesday’s hearing, federal Judge Nancy Edmunds did not disclose what the potential conflict might be. Kilpatrick and his longtime attorney, James Thomas, also declined to explain.
A 38-count indictment alleges corruption regarding city contracts totaling at least $100 million, involving racketeering conspiracy, extortion, fraud, bribery and tax evasion.
Kilpatrick, his father Bernard Kilpatrick, pal Bobby Ferguson and ex-Detroit water boss Victor Mercado are all defendants.
The charges carry penalties ranging from three to 30 years in prison.
Last Updated on Tuesday, 14 August 2012 09:39
Category: Breaking News Written by Huffington Post
CHICAGO — Democrats pounced on Mitt Romney's selection of Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan as his running mate Saturday, saying the pick showed a commitment to "budget-busting tax cuts" for the wealthy and greater burdens on the middle class and seniors.
President Barack Obama's campaign team said Romney's choice made clear that the former Massachusetts governor would be forced to adhere to the principles laid out in the House Republican budget – authored by Ryan – which they said would undermine entitlement programs crucial to middle-class families and seniors. Democrats said privately that the choice of Ryan could help Obama in states with large numbers of elderly voters, such as Florida, Pennsylvania and Ohio.
Obama met with top advisers Saturday at his campaign headquarters shortly after arriving in Chicago for a series of birthday-themed fundraisers scheduled for Sunday. Obama spent about two and a half hours at the headquarters.
The president did not publicly comment on Ryan's selection and aides described the headquarters stop as a typical weekly meeting.
Obama's campaign manager, Jim Messina, said in a statement that Romney had "chosen a leader of the House Republicans who shares his commitment to the flawed theory that new budget-busting tax cuts for the wealthy, while placing greater burdens on the middle class and seniors, will somehow deliver a stronger economy."
Previewing the campaign's line of attack, Messina called Ryan the "architect of the radical Republican House budget" and said it would "end Medicare as we know it by turning it into a voucher system, shifting thousands of dollars in health care costs to seniors." Ryan was chief author of a House-backed budget plan that would curb overall entitlement spending and convert Medicare into a voucher-like system in which future seniors would receive subsidies to purchase health insurance on the open market.
Less than two hours after Romney introduced Ryan as his running mate, the Obama campaign released a 90-second Web video showing footage of the men appearing together. The ad calls Ryan the "mastermind behind the extreme GOP budget plan" and includes an audio clip of Romney saying earlier this year that it would be "marvelous" if the Senate were to adopt the Ryan budget. The ad ends with this tagline: "Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan: Back to the failed top-down policies that crashed our economy."
In an e-mail to supporters touting the video, David Axelrod, adviser to Obama's campaign, said it is the campaign's job to make sure voters get the facts about Ryan's record in the coming days.
"On so many issues, Paul Ryan, like Mitt Romney, has taken extreme positions that are out of touch with the values most American share," Axelrod wrote.
Democratic National Committee Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz of Florida said Ryan had laid the groundwork in Congress for Romney's budget plan, which she said gives tax cuts to millionaires while punishing middle-class families. She said Romney and Ryan would repeat mistakes of former President George W. Bush.
"A Romney-Ryan ticket is sure to take us back and repeat the same catastrophic mistakes that got us into the mess we found ourselves in in the first place," Wasserman Schultz said in a statement.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, who has blasted Romney for failing to release additional years of his tax returns, said in a statement that by picking Ryan, Romney "has doubled down on his commitment to gut Social Security and end Medicare as we know it."
Romney's choice "demonstrates that catering to the tea party and the far-right is more important to him that standing up for the middle class," said Reid, D-Nev.
Obama had no public events planned in Chicago on Saturday but was expected to raise $3.5 million to $4 million at a series of fundraisers Sunday connected to his recent 51st birthday, including and event at his South Side home. The president was then taking a three-day swing through Iowa, the state that launched his presidential bid in 2008.
Last Updated on Monday, 13 August 2012 09:35
Category: Breaking News Written by News One
Detroit School Board And Detroit Public Schools Battle For Control After EM Law Suspended
The recent suspension of PA 4, Michigan's emergency manager law, has left confusion in its place.
While a referendum on the law is forthcoming, the Detroit and Highland Park School Boards wrestle for power and control with the state and its appointees.
According to the Detroit News, the Detroit Board of Education planned to meet Thursday evening to discuss the possibility of removing 15 schools from the new state-run Education Achievement Authority, though a district spokesman said revoking Public Act 4 would not affect the EAA.
This action comes after a recent ruling that suspended PA 4 until November, when voters will have the opportunity to vote to repeal the law. The school board in Detroit, which had been defunct, will regain some power under previous legislation. Detroit's Emergency Manager, Roy Roberts, is limited in his administrative and financial powers under an older law, PA 72, in his new role as the emergency financial manager of DPS.
The Detroit Free Press reports that Roberts and the state are reciprocating through legal action Roberts' attorneys filed a motion to take away the school board's decision-making power, and Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette told the paper he would sue the district to remove seven of 11 school board members because of declining enrollment.
Over in Highland Park, school board secretary Robert Davis sent a letter to the district's EM-turned-EFM Joyce Parker this week requesting she step down, the News reports. Parker is currently looking at a plan to partially privatize the district. Davis, who sued the state to remove emergency managers from Highland Park and DPS, was recently indicted on charges of stealing from his district.
Last Updated on Monday, 13 August 2012 08:53
Category: Breaking News Written by Huffington Post
REPORT: Miami Dolphins Release Chad ‘Ochocinco’ Johnson
The recent domestic violence allegations against Chad ‘Ochocinco’ Johnson, 34,for assaulting his new wife, Evelyn Lozada, have reportedly proven too much for the Miami Dolphins. According to CBSSports.com, he was released today from the team.
CBS Sports reports:
The Miami Dolphins have released Chad Johnson. This is not a shock. In any way.
In the end, several sources within the organization told CBSSports.com, the team simply did not believe Johnson’s story that his alleged head butt of his wife was accidental.
“His story wasn’t believable to almost anyone in the organization,” said a source.
A source also said that when Johnson joined the Dolphins he was warned explicitly by the team not to create any distractions, and, if he did, the repercussions would be swift.
Last Updated on Monday, 13 August 2012 08:54
Category: Top News Written by Steve Holsey
With all of the excitement building — combined with the media hype and the film company publicity blitz — it seemed only right to go back to where it all began.
The original “Sparkle,” a Warner Bros. film directed by Sam O’Steen, was released in 1976 and became a favorite, particularly in the African-American community where it has maintained a consistent level of popularity. And not only did En Vogue do a remake of “Giving Him Something He Can Feel” in 1992, they also re-created the movie performance in their video.
Remakes of movies can be tricky, but in this case it was a logical venture, and certainly one that meant a lot to the late Whitney Houston.
“Sparkle” was also important in that it moved several young Black actors and actresses to the next level of their careers, including Detroit’s own Lonette McKee, Philip Michael Thomas, Irene Cara and Dorian Harewood.
Thomas co-starred with Don Johnson on the immensely popular and trendsetting “Miami Vice” from 1984 to 1989.
Cara appeared in several films and had huge hits with her recordings of “Flashdance...What a Feeling” and “Fame.”
McKee was a favorite in movies such as “The Cottton Club,” “Jungle Fever” and “Malcolm X.”
Harewood was more television oriented, including “Roots: The Next Generation,” “Matlock” and “Iron Man.”
“Sparkle” was said to be “inspired by the Supremes” but in actually had very little in common with the story of the famed trio from the Motor City. Comparing “Dreamgirls” with the Supremes would be much more logical.
Another thing that made “Sparkle” so successful and durable was the great songs (and production) provided by Curtis Mayfield, including “Giving Him Something He Can Feel,” “Look Into Your Heart,” “Hooked on Your Love” and “Jump.”
Strangely, there was never a soundtrack album. Instead, an album by Aretha Franklin was released titled “Sparkle: Music From the Warner Bros. Motion Picture.” It was a huge hit and among Franklin’s best work.
The cast was not happy about this turn of events although, truth be told, none of the singers in the movie could come close to matching the power of Franklin’s voice and performances. Still, their gripe was understandable.
The cast also included Dwan Smith, Mary Alice and Tony King.
“Sparkle” takes place in Harlem, New York, in the late 1950s and early 1960s. It follows the meteoric rise of the three Williams sisters and the problems that end up tearing the group apart, from outside sources and from within. (I thought “Sister & the Sisters” was a rather silly sounding name.)
Much of the drama of the film is due to “Sister” (McKee) who hooks up with a seedy character named Satin and ends up drug addicted which ultimately leads to her death. Once the group has disbanded, “Sparkle” (Cara), despite some travails, goes on to have a successful solo career, reaching a peak as opening act for Ray Charles at Carnegie Hall.
“Sparkle” is an enjoyable film, although I felt it was racist for the film’s makers to have made sure that the evil, drug dealing Satin (a name close to “Satan”?) was played by a very dark-skinned actor. (“Dark” is evil, right?)
The new “Sparkle,” with Jordin Sparks, Whitney Houston, Carmen Ejogo, Mike Epps, Tika Simpter and Michael Beach in its cast, is set for Aug. 17 release
Last Updated on Saturday, 11 August 2012 00:00
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