Category: Breaking News Written by SHAILA DEWAN, New York Times
The nation’s unemployment rate dropped below 8 percent in September to its lowest rate since President Obama took office, the Labor Department said Friday.
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While employers added only a modest 114,000 jobs last month, the jobless rate declined to 7.8 percent from 8.1 percent, even though more people entered the labor force.
Adding to the positive news, job gains were revised upward by 40,000 for July (to 181,000) and by 46,000 for August (to 142,000), which had been considered a disappointing month, casting a slightly rosier hue on the summer slowdown.
The private sector, which has been adding jobs since March 2010, grew by 104,000 workers in September. Governments, where cuts have been a drag on the recovery, added 10,000 jobs.
Manufacturing, one of the bright spots that Mr. Obama has showcased throughout the re-election campaign, fell 16,000 jobs after losing a revised 22,000 in August, and construction jobs grew by 5,000. The number of temporary jobs, usually considered a harbinger of future growth, fell 2,000.
Coming a month before the presidential election, the jobs report offered ammunition for both sides as the candidates vie to convince voters that each is better equipped to steer the economy.
Mr. Obama can point to the 24th straight month of job growth after a severe financial crisis and a drop below the stubborn 8 percent jobless rate that has dogged his presidency. Republicans can continue to criticize the slow pace of improvement.
Consumers and businesses, too, seem to have divergent views of the economic situation. Consumers have shown increasing confidence as stocks rise and home prices stabilize.
Business leaders have been hanging back, though, more focused on global economic slowing and domestic concerns. They say they are uncertain what the election will mean for the business climate and are waiting in part for a resolution of the so-called fiscal cliff, a host of tax increases and budget cuts that will be triggered at the end of the year if Congress fails to act.
Harry Kazazian, the chief executive officer of Exxel Outdoors, a maker of camping equipment in Alabama, said the election, the fiscal cliff and rapidly shifting regulations had put him in a cautious mood.
With sales on the rise, Exxel has restarted a capital investment plan that it put on hold three years ago, but is doing so slowly. “We’re moving forward, but we’re doing it in steps rather than being much more aggressive and putting ourselves out there,” Mr. Kazazian said. “I wouldn’t be surprised if things start turning the other way, meaning down.”
But at a Walmart in Atlanta, shoppers were loosening the reins a bit, buying what they described as small indulgences like scented candle oil and seasonal beer.
Linda Avery, 50, a food service manager, said her income had not changed but her daughter had moved out of the house, reducing her food and utility expenses.
Michael Peacock, 43, said that although his house was in foreclosure, his chosen field, online marketing, was improving to the point where he could even turn down some jobs that were outside his specialty.
“I can see people shopping,” Ms. Avery said, surveying the store. “You just feel like things are getting a little better.”
The polling firm Gallup pinpointed September’s rise in consumer confidence to the first day of the Democratic National Convention, and said it was almost entirely because of increased optimism among Democrats, while confidence among Republicans held steady at low levels. But Gallup could not say whether politics or improving economic conditions drove the change.
The discrepancy from their mood and the outlook of companies can be easily explained, economists said. “Businesses are much more forward looking,” said Ellen Zentner, the senior United States economist for Nomura Securities International.
Concerns over the fiscal cliff had begun showing up in business surveys in April, she said. “It’s been weighing on their investment and hiring decisions for quite some time.”
In a survey of 400 chief financial officers conducted this summer, Grant Thornton, a management consulting firm, found that many had shifted from neutrality to pessimism, with 45 percent of respondents saying they expected their work force to hold steady and 18 percent saying they expected it to shrink over the next six months. A large majority said they expected both health care costs and salaries to increase.
Stephen Chipman, the chief executive of Grant Thornton, said there appeared to be genuine growth in the technology, high-end manufacturing and energy sectors, while growth in health care was largely a result of consolidation and increased efficiency, and financial service hiring was largely driven by the need to comply with more regulations.
Before Mr. Obama took office, he pledged that his stimulus plan would keep unemployment from rising above 8 percent, based on projections that greatly underestimated the depth of the recession. Instead, unemployment has exceeded 8 percent since February 2009, peaking at 10 percent in October of that year.
There are now almost the same number of jobs as there were when Mr. Obama took office, but there are 426,000 more than when the economy stopped hemorrhaging jobs in February 2010. A mere 62,000 increase in the number of jobs would allow Mr. Obama to claim a net increase in jobs over his tenure.
This year, the economy has added an average of 146,000 jobs per month. Economists say that job growth of 100,000 to 175,000 a month is essentially neutral in terms of its effect on the election, while anything higher would favor the incumbent.
The government’s first estimate of September’s payrolls, while eagerly awaited, is less than precise and will be revised in coming months as more data is collected and verified. In an annual recalibration last month, the Bureau of Labor Statistics estimated that there were actually 400,000 more jobs added in the 12 months that ended in March than was previously thought. That benchmark will not be incorporated into the monthly jobs figures until early next year.
“The economy seems since the recovery began to have three gears,” said Patrick O’Keefe, a labor economist and director of economic research at J. H. Cohn, an accounting firm, “slow, idle and reverse. It’s stuck in slow. We don’t have a gear faster than slow.”
Last Updated on Friday, 05 October 2012 09:48
Category: Breaking News Written by Huffingtonpost
The recent suspension of Detroit Police Chief Ralph Godbee illustrates, once again, that Mayor Dave Bing's administration is no place to go looking for job security. The mayor's time in office has been a rocky ride, characterized by a high turnover rate for city officials.
"He's had more people resign, fired, quit than any other mayor that I know of," Councilman Kwame Kenyatta told the Associated Press Wednesday. "It either says he chooses the wrong people or doesn't know how to choose the right people."
Since he became mayor through a special election in May 2009, Bing pressured Godbee's predecessor Police Chief Warren Evans to resign following sex and reality TV scandals, canned Detroit's Department of Human Services Director Shenetta Coleman for an incident that involved using federal poverty relief funds to buy furniture and fired his corporate affairs officer Kirk Lewis only to later rehire him as his chief of staff. Bing has also gone through a slew of press secretaries and communications people.
Although this is by no means a definitive list during Bing's tenure he's also lost: Deputy Mayor Saul Green; Police Chief James Barren; fire commissioner James Mack Jr.; Chief Operating Officer Robert Buckler; Chief of Staff Shannon Holmes; Group Executives Al Fields and Sue Carnell; Coleman A. Young International Airport Director Delbert Brown; chief administrative officer Charles Beckham; Information Technology Director Sreenivas Cherukuri; Communications Chiefs Stephen Serkaian, Karen Dumas and Dan Lijana; Finance Director Tom Lijana; Deputy Director of Recreation Lee Stephenson; Director of Planning and Development Warren Palmer; and Director of Detroit Workforce Development Department Larry Hightower.
Last Updated on Friday, 05 October 2012 09:15
Category: News Briefs Written by WWJ
DETROIT (WWJ) - A three-week-old girl is dead after being mauled by a pit bull on Detroit’s west side.
Sgt. Eren Stephens said the incident happened inside of a home on Staheilin street, near Tireman and the Southfield Freeway, around 5:45 p.m. Thursday.
Investigators say the 24-year-old mother went inside of the home and placed her infant daughter, who was strapped in a car seat, on the floor. The mother walked away for a moment and when she returned, she saw the pit bull attacking her daughter.
The child was taken to Sinai-Grace Hospital for medical treatment, but died from the injuries.
Police say the mother told them she didn’t know the dog was loose in the home. Stephens said it’s too early to decide if charges will be filed in the case.
The dog was removed from the home Thursday night and taken to an animal control facility.
Neighbors expressed shock and sadness upon hearing of the girl’s death.
“This is ridiculous and you see it on the news every day about these dogs, okay, you see it every day. You see it’s about kids, okay, protect your kids. If you love them, you had them, you have to protect them,” said one neighbor.
This neighbor, Rosa Bell, didn’t know the family but was brought to tears over the baby’s tragic death.
“I’m very hurt on the inside. That could have been my grandbaby. I’m not understanding this, something needs to be done. Keep these dogs away, period,” said Bell.
Police say an investigation is ongoing.
Last Updated on Friday, 05 October 2012 09:02
Category: Breaking News Written by WWJ
DETROIT (WWJ) Fighting a proposal to turn Belle Isle into a state park, at least two Detroit council members started floating ideas Thursday for ways to fund improvements at the long-neglected waterfront park that has pitted city leaders against the state.
At a committee hearing to decide whether to forward the state’s lease proposal to the entire council, council members JoAnn Watson and Kwame Kenyatta said they think the park could be preserved as something solely owned by Detroit if a few money-raising ideas are pursued. The committee ruled there were too many unanswered questions about the lease to schedule it for a full council vote.
Instead, they talked about adding canoeing, horse riding, Go-Karts, ice skating and amusement park rides to generate revenue in lieu of leasing Belle Isle to the state. Governor Rick Snyder and Detroit Mayor Dave Bing are championing a plan to return Belle Isle to a regional treasure as a state park with a $10 entrance fee that keeps out the crime and neglect that have left many afraid to visit.
On the other side, Watson wants to dust off master plans for Belle Isle created in 1998 and 2005, but never implemented. The estimated cost was $250 million.
“The complete proposal, it has in it fund development strategies, it has a timetable, it has the long-term renovation needs of Belle Isle, and I believe it’s the ideal proposal to not only adopt, but begin to implement,” Watson said.
Councilman Kwame Kenyatta agrees, saying there are lots of ideas floating around and people ready to implement them.
“We’ve got a thrill zone, an RFP, you’ve got individuals who have been coming down here to talk about horses, you have a guy who had a Go-Kart racing business and he saw potential for Go-Karts on Belle Isle, you have ice skating out here, it could be a winter wonderland. It takes imagination, it takes vision,” Kenyatta said.
Last Updated on Friday, 05 October 2012 09:01
Category: Breaking News Written by Huffingtonpost
After years of etching their name into gospel music history, the Winans' family legacy has taken a slight detour with allegations surfacing that Michael Winans Jr. has been involved in a Ponzi scheme.
CBS Detroit reports that Michael Winans Jr. pleaded guilty on Wednesday to federal charges that he defrauded more than 1,000 investors out of $8 million in crude oil bonds over the course of 30 years.
According to a press statement obtained by the local news affiliate, Winans promoted the fraudulent investment operation as if the Winans Foundation Trust were investing in Saudi Arabian oil bonds.
“In reality, Winans converted some of the victim investors’ money to his own personal use while giving some of his later victims’ money to his earlier victims, and falsely represented to them that it was the return on their “investments” he had promised,” investigators said in a press release.
Michael Winans Jr. is the grandson of Delores "Mom" Winans and David "Pop" Winans Sr., and son of Michael Winans Sr., a member of The Winans quartet.
Winans is scheduled for sentencing in Detroit federal court on February 27, 2013, and faces the maximum penalty of 20 years in prison.
Last Updated on Thursday, 04 October 2012 17:48
Category: Breaking News Written by WWJ
DEARBORN — If you’re worried about cybertheft of your trade secrets and you don’t think your management is taking it seriously enough, Tom Winterhalter says he’ll be happy to “come in and scare your boss.”
Winterhalter, FBI cybercrime division supervisory special agent in Detroit, gave a sobering assessment of the cybercrime environment Thursday at Secureworld Expo Detroit.
“You are one click from compromising your network,” Winterhalter warned, saying that the FBI is working 200 data breach cases in its Detroit office alone.
Increasingly, he said, the traditional distinction between national security and criminal matters is blurring, as terrorists commit crimes sponsored by nation-states to finance their activities.
Winterhalter said the FBI’s Cyber Division has a new and sharper focus on cyber-intrusion, because it’s been relieved of investigating crimes like online child exploitation or online consumer scams — as the Internet becomes more a part of daily life, he said, those investigations have been moved to the FBI’s regular crime units.
As for intrusions, Winterhalter said, “Espionage used to be spy vs. spy. Now there’s a big shift to industrial control systems … The Cold War is not over. It has merely moved into a new arena, the global marketplace.”
He said that “seemingly innocent business relationships between foreign companies and U.S. industries” can result in the theft of trade secrets through everything from cyber-intrusion to recruitment of disgruntled employees.
The bad guys, he said, range from nation states to mercenaries for hire to rogue hackers to transnational criminal syndicates. The goodies at risk range from research results to product technology to negotiation strategy.
Businesses and institutions also face threats from “hacktivism” should they run afoul of Anonymous or other hacker groups.
What the FBI won’t do, Winterhalter said, is “take over your systems, repair your systems, share proprietary information with competitors, provide investigation related information to the media or shareholders, or tell you which one’s a great (security) appliance and which one sucks.”
Winterhalter also said the FBI is ready to train local law enforcement in cybercrime, and is “looking to work more with academia, especially public institutions,” to keep sensitive information safe.
Above all, Winterhalter urged those in attendance to take their security very seriously, and to report it to the FBI’s Internet crimes complaint center, www.ic3.gov. While victims must be identified as such when chages are filed against the information thief, Winterhalter pledged that there “will never be a leak of company insider information.”
Later speakers at Secure World, which drew nearly 700 attendees over its two days, reinforced Winterhalter’s message.
Shane Harsch, a senior solutions principal at RSA, told a luncheon keynote audience that today’s network security threat is “not a single attack, it’s a constant pounding at the gates.”
He said a study from the Traverse City-based Ponemon Institute found a 44 percent increase in network breach incidents from 2010 to 2011, along with an increase in sophistication of adversaries and more acute targeting of commercial sectors and government supply chain providers.
Social media also provide new vectors for intrusion, Harsch said.
Last Updated on Thursday, 04 October 2012 15:09
Category: News Briefs Written by WWJ
ROSEVILLE (WWJ) - A Roseville woman is in serious condition after she was run over by carjackers who had her two children in the vehicle.
Police say the 31-year-old mother was about to drive her children, ages 7 and 8, to school Thursday around 8:45 a.m. The kids were loaded in the car when the woman ran back into her home on Collingwood Street to grab an item she forgot.
As the woman exited her home, she observed two younger-looking black male suspects entering the front seating area of her Jeep Grand Cherokee, which had been parked and left running in home’s driveway, according to police.
The woman ran to her vehicle screaming in an attempt to stop the thieves from driving off with her children. Police say the two suspects fled from the driveway at a high rate of speed and in doing so, first struck the victim with the vehicle and then ran over her legs in their haste to escape.
The suspects fled from the scene to Marquette Street, were they lost control of the stolen vehicle and struck a telephone pole. The two suspects fled the vehicle and witnesses state they were immediately picked up by a dark-colored minivan or a small SUV driven by another unknown black male suspect. This vehicle then fled the area and all attempts to locate in the immediate vicinity failed.
The victim was transported to an area hospital with head and leg injuries and is currently listed in temporary serious condition. The two children were unhurt in the crash and are now in the care of family members.
Anyone who may have witness this event is urged to contact the Roseville Police at 586-447-4483.
Last Updated on Thursday, 04 October 2012 13:23
Category: Breaking News Written by Deadline Detroit
"A true friend stabs you in the front.” Oscar Wilde
There ex-mayor Kwame Kilpatrick sat in federal court this morning, bow tie and suit, leaning at first to the left, looking dour, as if someone was about to punch him in the stomach.
In front of him, was Emma Bell, his former chief fundraiser, betraying him, testifying for the government that she gave Kilpatrick more than $200,000 in kickbacks from donations to various funds including the Kilpatrick for Mayor Fund.
She once looked at him as a son. This morning, she could barely look at him. And at times she could barely talk, pausing when questioned by prosecutor Michael Bullotta.
"It's not easy for me to be here, sir," Bell said. She explained that she had a strong relationship with Kilpatrick and his family since the 1970s. They all attended the same church.
She testified that her first commission check for fundraising for Kilpatrick was for $100,000 in 2003. But she said Kilpatrick suggested he get a piece of her commission, so she eventually gave him a kickback for $40,000 or $50,000.
Her testimony is the most damaging to date. The government has alleged that she made about $900,000 in commissions from fundraising and gave Kilpatrick about $250,000 in kickbacks. The trial is in its second week. Kilpatrick faces multiple charges of bribery, extortion and income tax evasion.
She’s not doing it out of the goodness of serving justice. She’s pleaded guilty to income tax evasion and is expected to get a break on her sentence for helping the prosecution. Her plea agreement calls for a sentence of 18-24 months, but she could get 9 to 12 months with her cooperation. She must also pay $334,000 in back taxes as part of her agreement.
During a break, Bell walked past Kilpatrick and his attorney Jim Thomas. Thomas, according to Tresa Baldas of the Free Press, said something to Bell that appeared to be an attempt to comfort her. She replied: "Thank you sir."
Earlier in the morning, alternate juror number 5 had been excused. The judge did not explain why. Another juror was dismissed earlier this week. That means they are down to four alternates. There are 12 regular jurors.
During cross examination, Kilpatrick's attorney tried to suggest that Bell never gave Kilpatrick money because she needed it to pay for gambling, and that she was only saying she gave the mayor money to get a reduction in her pending sentence.
Thomas questioned whether she would actually have taken money out of her bra at the mayor's office. She said she did it discreetly and had no problem doing so.
Thomas again tried to suggest she gambled her money away. She said, not all, because she had to share it with Kilpatrick.
"That's what you say," Thomas said.
Last Updated on Thursday, 04 October 2012 12:50
Category: Breaking News Written by Huffington Post
Unless you're David Plouffe or another member of President Barack Obama's cheerleading squad, you're probably wouldn't argue that Obama won Wednesday night's debate. Indeed, instant polls from CNN and CBS showed Romney leading Obama by 42 to 22 percentage points, respectively, on the question of who won.
But can even a dominant win in a debate produce a victory in November? A few key numbers suggest that Romney supporters shouldn't expect too much as a result of last night's performance.
One of those numbers is 32. That's the percentage of undecided voters who told Washington Post and ABC News pollsters last week that they were "very interested" in the presidential debates. By contrast, 59 percent of definite Obama supporters and 53 percent of Romney supporters said they were "very interested."
As Scott Clement wrote for The Fix, "The poll’s finding underscores the challenge for Obama and Romney to sway a shrinking and elusive slice of the electorate with less than five weeks left in the contest. In addition to lacking clear support for Obama or Romney, on-the-fence voters are much less likely to say they are 'absolutely certain to vote' than those with firm opinions, even further limiting their potential impact on the election."
The narrowness and elusiveness of that slice of the electorate may explain why John Kerry's acclaimed performance in the 2004 presidential debates didn't lead to a Kerry presidency. Although Kerry gained about four points in the polls between the end of the Republican National Convention and the end of the debates, that only put him at 46 or 47 percentage points overall -- less than the 48 points that pollsters gave him at his peak in the days leading up to the convention.
In other words, it's reasonable to conclude that the debates helped Kerry earn back the votes of disaffected voters who'd previously supported him, but he didn’t appear to win over many new converts.
Romney's performance could have a similar effect on voters and donors who were losing faith in his candidacy, and that makes things much more difficult for Obama. But unless he wins the votes of either Obama's supporters or those hard-to-reach undecided voters, he'll have a hard time winning in November. Nate Cohn of The New Republic explained it this way:
To date, Romney hasn't exceeded 47 percent of the vote, and a return to that number would not give him the lead, at least without a decrease in Obama's support. Although it's possible that Romney could convince Obama supporters to join his cause, it would probably be the first instance of the debates breaking out of the prior contours of the race.
Last Updated on Thursday, 04 October 2012 12:27
Category: Breaking News Written by Huffington Post
"I'm not going to say I've done a poor job..."
That was Jim Lehrer's assessment of his performance as the moderator of the first presidential debate of the 2012 election. Sadly for him, many disagreed.
It was Lehrer's 12th time moderating, but he was largely unsuccessful in his attempts to corral the candidates. Both President Obama and Mitt Romney rolled right over him as, with increasing plaintiveness, he tried to get them to stop talking. "No, no, no," he said to Romney at one point. Romney didn't listen.
By the end of the debate, Obama and Romney had taken so much free time that Lehrer had to inform them that they would not get to one of the 15-minute segments he had intended to moderate.
The reviews on Twitter were scathing. Conservative columnist John Podhoretz called Lehrer possibly "the worst moderator in the history of moderation." Even the normally mild-mannered Al Roker took a shot at Lehrer.
"I hope Jim Lehrer gets the license plate of the truck that drove over him in this debate," he tweeted.
It wasn't long before Lehrer got his own parody Twitter feed, "Silent Jim Lehrer":
Silent Jim Lehrer
...just trying to get a word in... http://t.co/1SrXLrrF
October 4, 2012 4:11 am via web Reply Retweet Favorite
The reviews on television were little better.
"I personally do not know who won this debate," Rachel Maddow said on MSNBC. "I do believe that we saw this debate format die a very painful death on camera tonight ... the format and, I think, the moderator, honestly, with all due respect to Jim Lehrer."
Fox News' Chris Wallace said that Lehrer "seemed to lose control" of the proceedings.
Lehrer's questions, which all asked the candidates if they thought there were "differences" between their views on broad policy topics, also came in for criticism.
"Crazy that Lehrer thinks any of these answers will come in under 15 mins given how broad the questions are," MSNBC's Alex Wagner tweeted.
Lehrer did have his defenders. The Washington Post's Erik Wemple wrote that he had moderated an excellent debate:
He also gets points off among the commentariat for allowing himself to be steamrolled by the candidates. Okay, so the guy fails in a test of wills against two men who are putatively the most strong-willed people in the country.
Lerher’s real problem was that, for one night, he hads to play stand-in for the entire American media. And if there’s one thing the American public enjoys, it’s bashing the American media, no matter how it performs.
Last Updated on Thursday, 04 October 2012 12:11
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