Category: Breaking News Written by Examiner.com
President Obama came to Aurora, Colorado Sunday afternoon and visited some of the injured survivors of Friday morning’s massacre at a movie theater in Aurora. He visited one of the four hospitals still treating victims. He had extended private meetings with survivors and family members before making brief public remarks at the hospital. He skipped the public prayer vigil that began after his departure.
A crowd of over 10,000 gathered at Aurora City Hall for a prayer vigil to honor the victims and comfort the grieving families. Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper (D-CO) told the crowd that the President knew his presence at the vigil would “change everything” meaning it would politicize the solemn event, which was not political.
The Governor was at the hospital earlier and reported that the President met individually with each family, heard their stories, and shared tears and hugs. He said staff members repeatedly tried to “drag him [the President] out, but he refused to be dragged out,” Hickenlooper said to cheers.
It was moving to see such a large crowd that braved a rainstorm just before the event began come together to show their support for the families of the victims of the massacre early Friday morning. The speakers at the vigil repeated the theme set by the Governor that Aurora and Colorado will not be defined by the acts of an evil man, but rather, the community will be defined by the acts of heroism and compassion shown by the victims, other theater goers, and the first responders.
In his public remarks, President Obama said he was not there as President, but as a father and a husband. He shared the same sentiment that Aurora will not be defined by this tragic event. “ He heaped praise on the Police Chief and the first responders noting that the police responded in 90 seconds. He also praised the medical staff at area hospitals who he credited for saving many lives.
The President told one story of heroism that he learned from one young woman who was saved by her young friend who plugged her neck wound with her finger to stop the bleeding and carried her friend to an ambulence. "What will be remembered are the good people,” Obama said.
Early last Friday morning 70 innocent people were shot, while they watched a Bat Man movie premier in Aurora, Colorado. Twelve persons lost their life including a 6 year old girl; 58 were wounded; 11 remain in critical condition, some are paralyzed. The community and the nation are still in shock.
In the thirteen years since the Columbine massacre, which occurred 20 miles across town from Friday’s tragedy, there have been some 26 mass killings in the United States not counting 911. All involved guns. What does that say about our laws? What does it say about us as a society or us as a country?
Governor Hickenlooper was asked on Meet the Press whether this killing would lead to a move to enact stronger gun laws. Hickenlooper responded that the killer, whose name he refuses to mention, “rigged his apartment with over 30 bombs. If he could not have gotten the guns, he would have just used bombs,” the Governor speculated.
Mayor Bloomberg and others have been critical of Obama for not doing anything to enact stronger gun laws especially after Congresswoman Gifford was shot and nearly killed in Tucson in 2011.
It seems that most politicians have decided that gun rights are a “settled issue.” Most are saying that we must focus on the individual not the weapon. Unfortunately, that is a good slogan, but it will never be translated into policy.
Many of the things that could be done to focus on the individual like increasing access to mental health services cost money. Congress is cutting those programs not increasing them. They will be a thing of the past like the Edsel if the Ryan/Romney budget becomes law.
If the violence is going to stop, the culture of hatred, bigotry, and religious intolerance must be eliminated. Hatred has become acceptable political speech in America. This constant bombardment of hatred on the airwaves by politicians, talk show hosts, radio personalities, and others tends to trigger violent responses in persons who may be struggling with mood or mental disorders.
Until this country begins to reward civility not bashing, we can expect more killings. It is clear government in the Tea Party era will do nothing for mental health. It is up to individuals. Time will tell how many more of these tragedies will need to happen before America wakes up.
Last Updated on Monday, 23 July 2012 10:24
Category: Breaking News Written by Huffington Post
NCAA Hits Penn State With $60 Million Fine, Postseason Ban, Loss Of Scholarships And Wins
One day after the statue of Joe Paterno was removed from outside of Beaver Stadium on the Penn State campus, NCAA President Mark Emmert announced sanctions resulting from the football program's role in the sexual abuse scandal involving former defensive coach Jerry Sandusky. On Sunday, the NCAA announced its intention to implement "corrective and punitive measures" against Penn State.
On Monday, Emmert presided over a press conference in Indianapolis and revealed sanctions, including a hefty fine, a postseason ban, and loss of scholarships and previous wins.
"Football will never again be placed ahead of educating, nurturing and protecting young people," Emmert said during a press conference that lasted approximately 45 minutes.
Penn State Punishments:
$60 million fine, representing approximately one year of football revenues. These funds will go to child sex abuse awareness programs.
4-year bowl game ban.
Scholarship reduction, cap lasting four years.
Any entering, returning football student athlete can transfer immediately. Presuming academic requirements are met, these potential transfers can play immediately.
PSU vacates all wins from 1998-2011. The loss of 111 career wins drops Joe Paterno from atop the all-time wins list to 12th.
PSU begins a five-year probationary period, with the NCAA reserving the right to implement further punishments.
"For the next several years PSU can focus on rebuilding its athletic culture, not worrying about whether it's going to a bowl game," Emmert said as he explained the rationale for this set of sanctions.
The announcement of these punishments comes less than two weeks after former FBI director Louis Freeh released his 267-page scathing report indicating that Joe Paterno and three top Penn State officials "repeatedly concealed critical facts" about the child-sex abuse committed by Sandusky.
Although Emmert previously indicated that the NCAA's "Death Penalty" was on the table in this case, Penn State football will not be suspended. Speaking about the NCAA's decision not to impose the Death Penalty, as it did to SMU during the 1980s, Emmert said that the "suspension of the football program would bring significant unintended harm."
Last Updated on Monday, 23 July 2012 10:16
Category: Breaking News Written by wwj
DETROIT (AP) - Proposed cuts to Detroit municipal workers’ pay and benefits had not taken effect Friday, despite Mayor Dave Bing’s urgency in imposing the new contracts he said would help the struggling city save more than $100 million a year.
City workers have been expecting cuts as Bing’s office tries to slash a budget deficit topping $200 million. Under the new contract, salaries will be cut by 10 percent and employees must come up with 20 percent of their medical costs. Bonus vacation days and annual increases to retirement plans have been eliminated.
Bing said Wednesday that the “tough” but “necessary” cutbacks would be implemented immediately. But one union leader said they have yet to be put in play.
“They are not going to save money immediately,” said Ed McNeil, spokesman for the American Federation of State, County & Municipal Employees Council 25. “They haven’t even done an open enrollment. They can’t force people to stay in a health plan.”
Under a financial stability agreement brokered between Bing and the state Treasurer’s office – and with the blessing of state law – the first-term mayor allowed some contracts to expire June 30 and imposed the new, stricter terms without negotiating with city unions.
A spokeswoman for the mayor’s office says the process leading to the cuts began Tuesday, and that changes to benefits are expected to start in about 90 days. Wage reductions will begin in three to four weeks, Naomi Patton said.
McNeil said the average salary in his bargaining unit is about $26,000 and that workers will see about a $6,000 reduction in what they make each year.
“These people aren’t making any money,” he said, adding that some are still claiming overtime.
Detroit police officers met Wednesday to discuss the new contracts. AFSCME union leaders met internally.
“We have not brought them together yet,” McNeil said of the rank and file. “Right now, we’re still looking at some other things we are going to do.”
McNeil declined to detail those options.
It’s illegal in Michigan for public employees to go on strike, although the tactic has been discussed at previous meetings.
Last November, bus drivers held a half-day work stoppage over safety concerns. Drivers also walked off the job in May 2007 over similar safety issues. They were promised more police protection both times and returned to the road.
Garbage collection was stopped and bus service shut down for 19 days during a 1986 strike by 7,000 workers over pay and other issues. Trash accumulated at a daily rate of about 4,000 tons during the heat of July and early August. In 1978, unions representing 1,700 workers held a three-day strike that stranded tens of thousands of bus riders and left garbage piled on city streets and alleys.
Last Updated on Saturday, 21 July 2012 12:15
Category: Breaking News Written by wwj
LANSING (AP) – Federal data shows Michigan’s congressional incumbents are dominating their challengers in raising campaign cash, a nonpartisan group said this week.
An analysis by the Michigan Campaign Finance Network, a nonprofit organization that conducts research on money in state politics, shows members of Congress from the state have brought in $18.7 million of the $22.7 million raised by candidates running in the Aug. 7 primary.
The network is relying on second-quarter campaign finance reports – through June 30 – filed with the Federal Election Commission.
The top fundraisers among Michigan incumbents this election cycle are Ways and Means Committee Chairman Dave Camp of Midland, who has raised $3.5 million, and Commerce and Energy Chairman Fred Upton of St. Joseph, whose campaign has brought in $3.1 million.
One incumbent who is not enjoying a distinct fundraising advantage is freshman Republican Rep. Dan Benishek of Crystal Falls, who faces a potential general election rematch with former Democratic state Rep. Gary McDowell.
Benishek has raised $1.3 million, compared with $913,000 for McDowell, but McDowell leads in cash on hand, $686,000 to $614,000.
Benishek and McDowell are running in the 1st District, which encompasses much of northern Lower Michigan and all of the Upper Peninsula.
In southeastern Michigan’s 14th District, incumbents Gary Peters and Hansen Clarke are running against each other in the Democratic primary.
Peters, a two-term congressman from Oakland County’s Bloomfield Township, has raised $1.8 million and has $813,000 on hand. Meanwhile, Clarke, a freshman from Detroit, has raised $684,000 with $381,000 on hand. Southfield Mayor Brenda Lawrence also is running in the 14th District Democratic primary. She has raised $104,000, but has less than $17,000 on hand.
And in another Detroit-area district, the 11th, which is vacant due to Livonia Republican Thaddeus McCotter’s resignation, the lone GOP candidate on the ballot, teacher and tea party supporter Kerry Bentivolio, has raised $168,000 and has $94,000 in cash on hand. Republican Nancy Cassis, a former state senator, has launched a write-in campaign and is spending $200,000 of her own money to defeat Bentivolio. She has $237,000 on hand.
McCotter raised $7,000 in the second quarter and had $121,000 in his congressional campaign account.
Last Updated on Saturday, 21 July 2012 12:10
Category: Top News Written by Leland Stein III
The 2012 Olympic Games are so close I can taste them. Without a doubt gymnastics, swimming, diving and, of course the centerpiece track and field are the marquee events in the month- long international world sporting festival.
However, since covering my first Olympic Games as a journalist in 1996, I have seen the continued growth of basketball as a marquee event.
The late, great Hall of Fame coach John McLendon, told me that basketball would one day rival soccer as an international sporting event. With the inclusion of the NBA All-Stars in 1992, McLendon’s projection is almost a reality.
Outside the United States soccer is the biggest spectator sport in the world. One of its charms is that no matter the poverty level or environment of people, it only takes a ball to play the game. Basketball is the same in that kids only need a ball and anything with a hole in it.
Nowadays at the Olympic Games there is no harder ticket and more closely watched event than basketball, outside of track and field, of course.
So, when USA Basketball recently announced its 2012 men’s national team, the hype quickly grew to a feverish pitch. Mainly because a cavalcade of big men ended up hurt after the NBA season. Players like Dwight Howard, Andrew Bynum, Chris Bosh and LaMarcus Aldridge all are recovering from injuries.
Thus USA Basketball added 7’1” Tyson Chandler, 6’10” Blake Griffin and 6’10” Kevin Love to take up the slack in the middle. However, before Team USA could play its first exhibition game Griffin incurred a tear in his left knee that will require arthroscopic surgery. Unfortunately it is the same knee that made him miss his rookie season (2009-10) because of a stress fracture and broken kneecap. Rookie Anthony Davis was announced as his replacement.
Griffin’s injury affirmed the opinions of Mark Cuban and some other critics that the “Dream Team” concept is an unnecessary risk for NBA owners.
I say how stupid is that idea? Very! Changing the basketball selection process to under 23-year-olds is simply ludicrous.
This is against all the Olympics profess to be. There are athletes over 40 years of age who compete in equestrian, shooting and a number of other events. So why is the focus on basketball? There are track and field athletes that are in their mid-forties competing.
The Olympics have graduated to where they should be. The best athletes in the world should compete no matter the sport. In Eastern Europe it has always been that way. The top athletes have been sponsored by the government.
As managing director of the national team, Jerry Colangelo told me that the NBA has derived a number of benefits from USA Basketball.
“The best American players are respected around the world for their willingness to accept complementary roles on behalf of their country while playing for free,” Colangelo said.
“Those same players improve by competing for spots on the national team and training in each other’s company, as young players have learned firsthand from Kobe Bryant and other established stars to upgrade their daily work habits in pursuit of excellence.”
Bryant said NBA owners should want their stars to participate in USA Basketball practices and games, because the players would be at greater risk if they were left to play unsupervised pick-up games on their own throughout the summer.
Will this versatile team make up in skill what it lacks in size? Added to big men Chandler and Love are super athletes LeBron James, Carmelo Anthony, Kevin Durant, Kobe Bryant, Chris Paul, Deron Williams, Russell Westbrook, Andre Iguodala and James Harden. This collective produces the most athletic group ever.
Last Updated on Thursday, 19 July 2012 11:56
Category: Breaking News Written by Michigan Chronicle
Michigan Wins Federal Waiver from NCLB
Full impact on Michigan schools and students still unclear
The Obama administration has announced Michigan is one of the states that has won a waiver to the federal No Child Left Behind Act. This news means Michigan is now approved to implement a new statewide school accountability system that will have a profound impact on schools across the state.
However, it is still unclear what the full impact will be on our state’s students. Michigan has not released the final agreement approved by U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan. In the first round of waiver winners -- which were announced earlier this year by Duncan -- many states’ approved final waiver agreements were dramatically different from the proposals the states had submitted originally to the federal government.
“We are eager to take a close look at Michigan’s final agreement,” said Amber Arellano, executive director of The Education Trust-Midwest. “This is an important step for Michigan to take -- and it is the right step forward for our students. Now we need to examine the full implications for our schools, educators and families.”
The Michigan Legislature now has a huge role in ensuring that our public schools are accountable, rigorous and transparent. We urge lawmakers to:
• Approve a comprehensive teacher support and data system now being developed by the Michigan Council for Educator Effectiveness. This system will allow Michigan, for the first time, to determine what good teaching looks like and provide struggling teachers with the feedback and support they need to improve.
• Resist calls to water down the Michigan Merit Curriculum, which has raised the rigor of our high school instruction. The MMC benefits all Michigan students, whether they going to college or entering the workforce.
The consequences of the waiver are high. In Michigan’s original proposal -- made public this spring -- the state department of education proposed making changes that would have impacted:
• How well Michigan’s teachers are able to prepare students to meet new academic standards;
• The helpfulness and reliability of information the state will provide to parents, students and educators on how well their public schools are actually performing;
• The state’s ability to reliably and fairly evaluate educators’ impact on student learning; and
• The identification of schools as failing and in need of improvement, which often dictates eligibility for state and federal dollars and other intervention programs.
The Education Trust-Midwest was one of a several organizations that called on state leaders to improve the Michigan waiver application to make our state’s new accountability and public reporting system more accessible, transparent and useful to Michigan parents. Ed Trust-Midwest will be analyzing the final waiver agreement to report to Michiganders on what these new systems will look like as Michigan implements them.
“Leading states develop coherent school accountability and public reporting systems and use them for helping schools focus on attaining ambitious but realistic goals; setting expectations; sharing helpful information with parents, and setting common sense limits on chronically low-performing charter school operators’ expansion,” Arellano said.
“We’re hopeful that Michigan’s approved waiver agreement takes a similar approach,” Arellano added. “Accountability alone does not improve schools and student achievement, but it can be a lever for improvement when combined with other effective strategies such as capacity building and human capital improvements.”
For more information on this topic visit: www.edtrustmidwest.org
Last Updated on Friday, 20 July 2012 10:27
Category: Breaking News Written by Senator Bert Johnson
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Another Candidate’s Forum, Another Conyers No-Show
Voters Wonder: Where is the 47-year Congressional Veteran
Last night, the Inkster Block Club Coalition held a candidates forum for those running for Congress in Michigan’s new 13th Congressional District. Inkster is one of twelve cities in the district and is one that Rep. John Conyers has never represented before, though he is asking for their votes in this year’s Democratic primary election.
“I was pleased with the opportunity to share my vision for the new 13th District with the voters of Inkster,” State Senator Bert Johnson (D-Detroit) said. “I was eager to compare my plans and my record as a lawmaker with Mr. Conyers and I, like the informed voters in attendance, were disappointed that he refused to make himself available in a public forum.”
Inkster’s forum was the fifth held thus far for candidates running in the open seat. Johnson and Wayne-Westland School Board Vice President, John Goci, are the only candidates to attend all five forums. Conyers has not appeared in public once, despite the fact that more than half of the district is new to him.
“We all respect his status as a civil rights icon and admire the work he’s done in past decades,” Johnson said. “It is nonetheless disrespectful to take peoples’ votes for granted. He should be held accountable like all other elected officials are and I hope the media sees fit to question why he refuses to appear in public.”
Next Thursday, July 26th, the Detroit Chapter of the National Association of Black Journalists will hold a debate at the Wayne State University Law Auditorium.
“I expect Mr. Conyers to face the voters. I consider him an icon in the community, but with all his purported seniority, he should not hesitate to avail himself to the people he wishes to represent,” Johnson said. “If he cannot appear in a community forum to share his vision for the district, defend his record in Congress, and justify his candidacy for yet another term, how can we the people expect him to stand up to Republican U.S. House Speaker John Boehner or the hardliners in the Tea Party movement? The answer is: we can’t.”
Last Updated on Friday, 20 July 2012 11:29
Category: Breaking News Written by Huffington Post
The Detroit Port Authority wants a ferry up and running to and from Windsor by spring of 2013.
The authority told CBC News it already has a new boat terminal waiting to be used by the Renaissance Center, located across the Detroit River from Windsor's downtown core.
Deputy director Steven Olinek said there is even funding lined up from Washington to buy a ferry.
"I think the fact that we've got this endorsement in the form of committed monies is something that others have not had," he said. "We still face the challenges with regard to the clearance of passengers and we're trying to find a creative solution."
Gord Orr with Tourism Windsor Essex Pelee Island said the idea holds great promise.
"The potential of the bicycle tourism part of it is very exciting as we start to look at more trails and routes and see how we can increase more of that healthy lifestyle," Orr said.
As CBC News was first to report, Windsor West MP Brian Masse has lobbying on both sides of the border to get a ferry approved.
Last Updated on Friday, 20 July 2012 10:14
Category: Breaking News Written by Fox News.com
At least 12 people have been killed and up to 50 injured after a mass shooting at a showing of "The Dark Knight Rises" at a suburban Denver movie theater, police say.
The suspect, identified by federal law enforcement officials as James Holmes, 24, is in police custody. KUSA reports that Holmes kicked down an emergency door at the theater, threw in some type of a smoke bomb and began shooting when moviegoers started to run.
Witnesses say they heard a series of explosions and up to 20 gunshots after the scene grew chaotic. About 100 witnesses were taken to a local high school to be questioned by police.
Police, ambulances and emergency crews swarmed on the Aurora, Colo., theater after frantic 911 calls around 12:30 a.m. local time, officials said.
Holmes reportedly fired shots inside the theater and fled to the parking lot and was confronted by police already at the theater for crowd control.
Holmes wore a bulletproof vest, police said, and was carrying a rifle and two handguns. The handguns may have been placed in the theater before the shooting.
FBI spokesman Jason Pack said there's no indication in the investigation so far of any connection to terrorism.
President Obama said he is "shocked and saddened" by the mass shooting and urged the nation to "come together as one American family." He said his administration will do everything it can to support the people of Aurora, Colo. The White House says Obama, who was in Florida at the time of the shooting, was informed of the shooting by Homeland Security Advisor John Brennan.
"As we do when confronted by moments of darkness and challenge, we must now come together as one American family," Obama said in a statement. "All of us must have the people of Aurora in our thoughts and prayers as they confront the loss of family, friends, and neighbors."
James Wilburn was sitting in the second row of theater 9 after midnight when an emergency door opened and a man entered, the Denver Post reports.
"He was dressed in black," Wilburn told the newspaper. "Wearing a flack jacket and a gas mask."
The man was carrying a shotgun and had a rifle strapped to his back, Wilburn said. The gunman then dropped a canister, causing a noxious gas to spew out. He raised the shotgun and repeatedly fired toward the back of the theater.
Wilburn and three friends dove to the floor, hiding behind seats in front of them. The gunman was only five or six feet away, he said.
Once the shotgun was empty, the gunman calmly dropped it to the floor, took the rifle and went on firing. Wilburn heard roughly 30 shots, the Denver Post reports.
Meanwhile, 21-year-old Naya Thompson and her 22-year-old boyfriend Derrick Poage were running for their lives. Thompson said the gas spread and the gunman may have dropped two canisters.
"It was like a tear gas," Thompson told the newspaper. "I was coughing and choking and I couldn't breathe."
James Cameron, who was in an adjacent theater, said he heard commotion and screaming. People seated around him began coughing and having difficulty breathing.
"By the sound of it, it sounds like there could have been three or four guys shooting," he said.
Audra Mincey, a spokeswoman for the Swedish Medical Center, told Fox News there are two patients in critical condition.
Mincey said the hospital set up its incident command center and mobilized personnel.
Police Chief Dan Oates said there's no evidence of any other attackers. There was also no immediate word of any motive.
Holmes spoke of "possible explosives in his residence. We are dealing with that potential threat," Oates said.
Bejamin Fernandez, 30, told the Denver Post that he heard a series of explosions. He said that people ran from the theater and there were gunshots as police shouted "get down!"
Fernandez said he saw people falling, including one young girl.
Jordan told the paper that one girl was struck in cheek, others in stomach including a girl who looked to be around 9-years-old.
Jordan said it sounded like firecrackers until someone ran into Theater 8 yelling "they're shooting out here!"
Hayden Miller told KUSA-TV that he heard several shots.
"Like little explosions going on and shortly after that we heard people screaming," he told the station.
Hayden said at first he thought it was part of a louder movie next door. But then he saw "people hunched over leaving theater."
It was the worst mass shooting in the U.S. since the 2007 shooting on the Virginia Tech campus.
Some moviegoers said they thought the attack was part of the show. Then they saw a silhouette of a person in the smoke at the front of the theater, pointing a gun at the crowd.
"I told my friend, `We've got to get out of here,' but then he shot people trying to go out the exits," Jennifer Seeger told NBC's "Today." She the shooter made his way up the aisle, shooting as he went, saying nothing.
The youngest victim reported was a 6-year-old being treated at Children's Hospital Colorado, where a total of six victims were taken. Their condition wasn't known.
Two people in critical condition were rushed to nearby Swedish Medical Center, spokeswoman Nicole Williams said.
Aurora is on Denver's east side and is Colorado's third-largest city with 327,000 residents. It is home to a large Defense Department satellite intelligence operation at Buckley Air Force Base, as well as The Children's Hospital, the University of Colorado Hospital and a future Veterans Affairs hospital.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
Last Updated on Friday, 20 July 2012 10:02
Category: Top News Written by Steve Holsey
Part of the nature of show business is for performers to “look different.” That is what the public expects. Take clothing, for example. If people go to a concert — rock concerts generally excluded — they do not want to see the performers wearing things they just saw last weekend at JC Penney, Sears or wherever. Which is the main reason why entertainers seldom buy “off the rack.” But, as in so many other areas, some stars go overboard, to extremes by most people’s standards. The same applies to hair.
Some have proudly chosen styles that raised eyebrows and in some cases made people laugh. But being looked at and talked about is an essential ingredient in being successful in the world of entertainment. When asked if she minded some people staring at her in a downtown restaurant, singer/actress Melba Moore (who was “dressed down” at the time) said, “No! Why do you think I work so hard?”
This week we take a look at the strange, the fascinating, the disheartening and, yes, the humorous in celebrity hairstyles.
No one craves attention more than Erykah Badu, and she got plenty of it with this look.
Nina Simone was always Afrocentric — and completely unlike anyone else.
LADY GAGA. ’Nuff said!
LADY GAGA. ’Nuff said!
CHRIS BROWN, for a short while, had his hair dyed blond. (Not a bad look, actually.)
FANTASIA, season three “American Idol” winner, likes to experiment.
Last Updated on Friday, 20 July 2012 00:00
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