Category: News Briefs Written by WWJ
DETROIT (WWJ) - It’s Veteran’s Day and a World War II vet and one of the Tuskegee Airmen, the first African American pilots in the US military, says he’s relaxing this veterans day.
At 90, Lieutenant Colonel Alexander Jefferson has just returned from speaking to high schoolers in Portland Oregon.
“It was exhilarating, actually exhilarating, to let the young people know that freedom ain’t free, somebody’s got to pay the bill,” said Lt. Col. Jefferson.
Jefferson still fits into his WWII bomber jacket and remembers flying missions in France.
He flew escort for bombing missions and says there was discrimination against him and other African American pilots.
“We were discriminated against, they had to build a separate airfield in Alabama to train us to fly, we could not be integrated with the rest of the men. It was segregation and discrimination from the very beginning,” he said.
“I was treated as an officer and a gentleman in the POW camp because of the Geneva Convention,” he said. “I literally sat the war out, because officers that were in the camp did not have to work,” he said. “Enlisted men went to separate camps and you could make them work.”
Jefferson, who turns 91 this week, was shot down during World War II and spend nine months at a Prisoner of War (POW) camp, but says he doesn’t think of himself as a hero.
Last Updated on Monday, 12 November 2012 09:00
Category: Breaking News Written by David Sands
A backer of a Detroit ballot proposal decriminalizing marijuana says that the decision of voters to pass the measure Tuesday didn't come as a shock to him.
"This election result is no surprise," Tim Beck of the Coalition for a Safer Detroit, which put Proposal M on the ballot, told The Huffington Post in an email. "The City of Detroit did not spend two years in court and thousands of dollars in legal fees to keep this off the ballot because, they thought the measure would be rejected by the voters."
The ballot measure amends a 1984 Detroit city ordinance to exempt adults over the age of 21 from being prosecuted for the possession of less than an ounce of marijuana on private property. It will take effect once the results of the election are formally certified, according to Beck. A spokeswoman from the Detroit Department of Elections said certification will take place Nov. 20, two weeks after the election.
Detroit City Council wouldn't consider the issue when it was brought before them in 2010, on the grounds that the measure conflicted with state law. Following the advice of the city's Law Department, the Detroit Election Commission later voted 3-0 to block the referendum. It became the subject of a lengthy court battle before finally being certified for Tuesday's ballot.
In a prior interview Beck told The Huffington Post he supported the measure not just due to a concern for personal freedom, but also because he felt it would encourage the city's police department to rethink their priorities.
"The city of Detroit is in some very, very deep financial problems. It is on the verge of bankruptcy. The police force is stretched as thin as it's ever going to get," he said. "We've got to get out of the business of dealing with victimless crime and refocus our scarce resources on crimes that have actual consequences to other people."
It's still unclear how Detroit police will enforce the revised city code on marijuana, because state and federal laws criminalizing the substance still remain on the books.
Detroit City Council Member James Tate told The Huffington Post in a pre-election interview that he didn't think the proposal would have any immediate effect on local policing.
"We can talk the ifs, possibles, maybes, but the reality is in fact that marijuana is a federal crime," he said. "Depending on how the voters cast their ballots, it may send a message either one way or the other, but right now by law we still have to follow the what's federally mandated."
Detroit wasn't the only Michigan city to pass laws decriminalizing marijuana this election season. Voters in Flint, Grand Rapids, and Ypsilanti approved related measures, while Kalamazoo passed a proposal to establish medical marijuana dispensaries, the AP reports.
Last Updated on Monday, 12 November 2012 08:52
Category: Breaking News Written by CNN
(CNN) -- Get ready: The 2016 campaign for the White House is getting under way.
Among those attending next week's Republican Governors Association meeting in Las Vegas are the group's chairman, Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell, as well as popular Republicans such as New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker and Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal.
While the RGA's annual confabs are all about policy and politics, 2016 is sure to come up because all four governors are thought to be contenders for the party's next presidential nomination.
Even though the 2012 election is barely in the rear view mirror, speculation over the next race for the White House is getting started. With President Barack Obama winning a second term on Tuesday, an incumbent will not run in 2016, meaning both parties may have competitive nomination battles.
Biden: 'You'll vote for me in 2016'
Biden hints he may be on future ballots Marco Rubio introduces Romney at RNC Christie defends his RNC speech
The two names grabbing the most attention in the hunt for the next Democratic nomination are Vice President Joe Biden and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
As he was leaving a Delaware voting booth on Election Day, Biden was asked whether it was the last time he'd cast a ballot for himself.
"No, I don't think so," he replied, smiling.
Last month, he dropped a mention of a possible '16 bid. While on a phone call with a voter in Florida, the vice president discussed health care and insurance, making his case for the president's health care reform law.
"And after it's all over, when your insurance rates go down, then you'll vote for me in 2016," he said.
Biden, who will be 73 on Election Day 2016, made unsuccessful bids for the nomination in 1988 and 2008.
As for Hillary Clinton, it doesn't matter how many times the soon-to-be-former secretary of state says she won't run for president again, there's always speculation that she may change her mind between now and the next presidential cycle.
When asked by Marie Claire magazine last month if she would make another bid for the White House, she said, "No, I'm not."
Hillary Clinton repeats 'no' for 2016
"I have been on this high wire of national and international politics and leadership for 20 years," Clinton said. "It has been an absolutely extraordinary personal honor and experience. But I really want to just have my own time back. I want to just be my own person. I'm looking forward to that."
But until she makes a Shermanesque statement, speculation will continue.
"The truth is, everyone else is frozen until Hillary decides what she wants to do," a Democratic strategist, who asked to remain anonymous, told CNN.
In addition to Biden and Clinton, there are some other possibilities.
Former New York Gov. Mario Cuomo did not run for the Democratic nomination in 1992, which went to Bill Clinton, but will his son, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, go where his father did not? Cuomo is up for re-election in 2014.
Also possibly considering the White House is term-limited Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley, the current chairman of the Democratic Governors Association.
Other governors who might be considering runs are Deval Patrick of Massachusetts and outgoing Montana Gov. Brian Schweitzer.
And then there's the U.S. Senate, where all 100 members may imagine themselves as president. Sens. Mark Warner of Virginia, Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota, Kirsten Gillibrand of New York, and even Sen.-elect Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts could be on any list of potential presidential candidates.
The Democratic strategist has some advice for potential candidates: "Everyone who wants to run for president in the Democratic Party should beat a path to Jim Messina's door. Then camp out in Iowa."
Messina was Obama's campaign manager, and Iowa, of course, traditionally kicks off the presidential primary and caucus calendar.
As for the Republicans, Christie is at the top of any potential list. But before any run for the White House, the New Jersey governor next year faces what may be a tough re-election campaign in a blue state.
McDonnell, who is term-limited at the end of this year and who was considered a possible running mate for Mitt Romney, may want to make a bid for the top spot.
Walker is a hero to many conservatives, thanks to his battles against public sector workers in Wisconsin. After surviving a recall election this year, Walker is up for re-election in 2014.
Jindal, who's very popular among fiscal as well as social conservatives, is also entertaining thoughts of running for president, and Texas Gov. Rick Perry, who has to decide about running for re-election in 2014, may also take a second shot at the GOP nomination.
Romney's running mate, Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin, returns to his leadership role in the House. Will Ryan, a favorite of fiscal conservatives and many tea party activists, make a run for the top spot in the next presidential cycle?
This week's election proved that the GOP has a problem with Latino voters. Will freshman Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida, a GOP rock star who's urging his party to address this problem, make a run for the White House? If he doesn't, maybe his mentor, two-term former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, who has strong relations with the Hispanic community, could make a bid.
Rubio, by the way, will be in Iowa in a week and a half to headline an event for the state's Republican governor.
Rubio isn't the only Republican senator whose name comes up. Add John Thune of South Dakota to the list. And will freshman Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky follow in his father's footsteps and run for president?
Rand Paul talks 2016 prospects
The GOP is famous for awarding the nomination to the candidate who came in second in the previous primary cycle, like with Romney this time. If that's the case, then watch former Sen. Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania. He gave Romney a run for his money, he's from an electoral-vote-rich state that the Republicans think they can reclaim, he's got a working-class background, and he's beloved by social conservatives.
Add in two more names from the 2008 cycle: Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, who performed much better than expected in the GOP primaries, and former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, who was her party's vice presidential nominee that year. Huckabee is still popular, thanks to his radio programs and weekly show on Fox News Channel, and Palin still commands a loyal conservative following.
"There is a vacuum of leadership right now in the Republican Party. Whoever steps up right now to point the party toward its future will help the party and advance their own fortunes politically," says Republican strategist and CNN contributor Alex Castellanos.
But Castellanos, who was a senior media adviser to Romney's 2008 White House bid, says don't look to the past.
"The next Republican nominee will be tasked with taking the party into the future. It won't be the old retreads. It won't be Santorum, Huckabee or Palin. We need a new Republican from the ranks of GOP governors, senators, or even Jeb Bush and (former Secretary of State) Condi Rice who still represent the GOP's future."
So what do these possible 2016 wannabes do as the very early preseason begins?
If they don't have leadership PACs already, they form them, make speeches, campaign for fellow party members in the 2013 and 2014 races, write books and do cable news interviews, as they build up allies and support in the states that vote early in the primary and caucus calendar.
"This isn't a phase where people decide to run for president, it's when they start to do things that leave that door open," says a different Democratic strategist, who predicts that "there will be a wide open field on both sides next time around."
Last Updated on Friday, 09 November 2012 13:51
Category: Breaking News Written by Carol Cain, WWJ
Things are incredibly different in Oakland County Executive L. Brooks Patterson’s world these days.
A near death experience can do that to a person — as the 73-year-old political powerhouse can attest.
Patterson was a passenger in a car heading back to his Pontiac office with his driver James Cram after a Republican candidates’ forum when their car was hit by another at an intersection on August 10.
Patterson and Cram sustained serious injuries. Cram remains hospitalized.
“I feel lucky to be to be alive,” Patterson said from an easy chair in his living room during taping of “Michigan Matters.” “I had compound fractures of both wrists, an ankle, knee, femur, ribs, fractured my hip.”
He underwent numerous surgeries to repair broken bones.
He lay unconscious for 18 days. Doctors told his family he has less than a three percent chance of surviving.
His family kept vigil at his hospital bed. So, too, his work family that includes Kelly Sleva, Gerald Poisson, Phil Bertolini, Mike Zehnder and others.
He’s defied the odds and is continuing his recovery.
His daily routine today starts with hours of intense and painful rehab he knows he has to endure to get better.
Since August he’s lost about 40 pounds ,at which he can chuckle as there is some irony. In recent years, Patterson has made an annual pilgrimage to Pritikin Center in Florida to get healthy and lose a few pounds.
This year, losing weight is the last thing he need worry about.
Instead, he’s trying to keep up with a regimen of drinking three supercharged calorie infused vitamin shakes to give him nutrients and calories to also help heal his bones.
He came home from the hospital two weeks ago, telling doctors at the rehab facility that the “hospital room was simply getting smaller and smaller” and he was checking out.
Patterson, who needs a wheelchair, also has help at home for things he isn’t able to do yet like getting out of his easy chair to walk across the living room to get a book from the bookshelf.
He made an appearance at his office last week and held an emotionally charged press conference and meeting with department heads with daughter, Mary Warner, by his side.
On Tuesday night, Patterson made his first political appearance at the Oakland County GOP Victory event, arriving by wheelchair and surprising the audience when he made it on stage and was able to stand on his own.
“It took a tremendous amount to do that,” he said.
As Patterson continues his recovery, he hopes to walk with a cane in a month or two and eventually on his own.
With the holidays around the corner, Patterson’s grateful for a lot of things like being given a second chance at life.
“We had a Thanksgiving tradition in our family where we shared stories why each person was thankful,” Patterson said.
“We stopped it five years ago (after his beloved 28-year-old son, Brooksie, died in a snowmobile accident).There was an empty chair. It didn’t seem appropriate.”
“I think we’re going to start that back up this holiday,” he added
Last Updated on Friday, 09 November 2012 13:12
Category: News Briefs Written by WWJ
DETROIT (WWJ) - Last year, thousands of Detroit Lions fans signed a petition to keep Canadian rock band Nickelback out of their arena and away from the Thanksgiving halftime show — albeit to no avail. That’s definitely something they won’t have to do this year.
The so-called son of Detroit, Kid Rock, is scheduled to perform during halftime of the Lions’ 73rd Thanksgiving Day Classic vs. the Houston Texans on Nov. 22.
Detroit Lions Team President Tom Lewand made the announcement live on the Stoney and Bill Show on 97.1 The Ticket Friday morning.
The special halftime event will feature a live performance of Kid Rock’s new song “Detroit, Michigan,” the feature track from his new album “Rebel Soul,” which is slated for release on Nov. 19. The song pays homage to several of the Motor City’s music greats, including Aretha Franklin, Marvin Gaye, Bob Seger and Eminem — in addition to icons like Henry Ford and Rosa Parks.
Click here to listen to “Detroit, Michigan”
“The song is unbelievable, it’s just a great anthem for our city and our region. To put him on a national stage in our stadium at halftime is just great way to celebrate our city, to celebrate his new album, and to celebrate the great relationship that he has with our team, with our city, with our community and I think it will be a great celebration of the tradition,” Lewand said.
This will be the second time in three years that Kid Rock is playing the Thanksgiving halftime show.
Kick-off for the Lions vs. Texans game is scheduled for 12:30 p.m.
Last Updated on Friday, 09 November 2012 12:54
Category: News Briefs Written by WWJ
DETROIT (WWJ) – A Detroit family can thank a fast-acting neighbor for saving their lives Friday morning during a house fire.
WWJ’s Mike Campbell reports the fire happened during the early morning hours on Hampshire Street, near I-94 and Harper area on the city’s east side.
Al Baze said he woke up around 5 a.m. to neighborhood children banging on his door, saying their house was on fire and their mother and grandmother were trapped inside.
“You can’t be prepared for this, I’ll tell you that. It was just something else. It was scary,” he said.
Baze quickly sprang into action and rushed to the house across the street. He said the smoke was so thick, he couldn’t see his hands in front of his face.
Crawling around on the floor and using his hands as his eyes, Baze got past the couch and end tables before he ran into the children’s mother. She guided Baze to the hospital bed her mother was in.
“You just do what you’ve got to do. I had to get her off that bed, I had to get her out of that house. It was taking so long to get her out of there and that was my main concern, because that smoke was so thick, I had to run out of the house like 15 times just to get air and go back in and feel my way to her,” Baze said.
Eventually, Baze was able to free the grandmother and remove her from the house. He had to go back into the house, however, because the children’s mother passed out while trying to help Baze save her mother.
“The lights were all out and the smoke was very thick. So, she passed out in the house so I had to go back in and grab the mom and pull her out,” Baze said.
Everybody was able to make it out of the house, which was left standing although the inside is heavily damaged.
The mother, grandmother and four kids — ages three to 16 — were transported to a local hospital as a precaution, but are expected to be okay.
While the fire appears to have started in the basement, officials say the cause of the fire is still under investigation.
Last Updated on Friday, 09 November 2012 12:13
Category: Breaking News Written by Paul A. Eisenstein, thedetroitbureau
Chrysler is recalling over 919,000 Jeep Grand Cherokee and Jeep Liberty SUVs worldwide due to a potential defect that can cause their airbags to unexpectedly inflate while the vehicles are being driven.
A total of 775,000 older versions of the two Jeep models will be impacted in the U.S., along with 49,000 sold in Canada, 22,000 in Mexico and the rest distributed to other global markets. While the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration says the problem has not led to any accidents there have been a number of minor injuries caused by the inadvertent airbag deployments.
The latest recall adds to the growing tally of safety actions related to airbag safety defects. Ford, Honda and Hyundai are among the list of other makers who have been affected in recent years.
NHTSA reports that the Jeep problem involves Grand Cherokees produced in the 2002 through 2004 model-years, and Liberty SUVs produced in 2002 and 2003. According to the safety agency, the problem has been linked to a defective part in the computer used to control the airbags.
Under normal circumstances, airbags rely on a network of sensors that indicate when and where a collision has occurred – and on more recent models, sensors also detect the severity of a crash and where occupants are sitting in the vehicle. The Jeeps involved in the recall may see their front or side-impact airbags inflate even if they aren’t involved in a collision. Pre-tensioning seatbelts may also be triggered.
A Chrysler spokesman noted that the problem has occurred in less than three-hundreths of a percent of the Jeep Liberty and Grand Cherokee models on the road.
Nonetheless, after completing a year-long investigation, NHTSA determined the problem occurred 215 times, causing 81 minor injuries – but while the inadvertent airbag deployments have not been linked to any crashes, the safety agency warns that drivers could be startled into losing control of their vehicles.
Chrysler says it plans to notify owners by January and repairs will be made to the electrical system at no charge to consumers.
Automotive manufacturers have seen a number of airbag issues pop up in recent years forcing them to recall large numbers of vehicles. In July, Hyundai recalled 220,000 Sonata sedans and Santa Fe SUVs from the 2007 to 2009 model-years because sensors designed to protect small children in an airbag deployment might not work. The maker also recalled nearly 23,000 late-model Sonatas for a separate airbag problem.
Ford announced the recall of 154,000 Fiesta models due to airbag problems last month, and the maker previously called back 1.5 million vehicles – including 1.2 million F-Series pickups – due to unexpected airbag deployments.
Honda, meanwhile, has recalled over 2.5 million vehicles sold through the Honda and Acura brands because they could deploy with too much force, sending deadly shrapnel into the passenger compartment. The problem was linked to at least two deaths.
Separately, federal law enforcement officials and safety regulators have teamed up to crack down on scam artists selling counterfeit replacement airbags that could fail to deploy or inflate improperly.
Last Updated on Friday, 09 November 2012 11:49
Category: Breaking News Written by Ugonna Okpalaoka , thegrio
President Barack Obama wiped away tears as he thanked supporters the day after elections for all their hard work in the past year.
The president made a surprise visit to his Chicago campaign office Wednesday to show appreciation to campaign staffers and volunteers.
In a five-minute video released by his campaign yesterday, the president shares the story of how he moved to Chicago at 25 years old, knowing he wanted to make a difference but not knowing where or how to start. It was as a community organizer for several south side churches that Obama learned about “the grit and resilience of ordinary people.”
He said he also learned how to work with others for a common purpose and how to deal with disappointment when it happened.
“I grew up,” Obama told the crowd. “I became a man during that process.”
He praised the campaigners for all they’ve accomplished, comparing his story to theirs.
“You’re smarter and you’re better organized. You’re more effective and I’m absolutely confident that all of you are going to do amazing things in your lives,” he said.
But it’s when he recounted election night that the president became emotional. He said that he knew regardless of the results, that his work had “come full circle.”
“What you guys have done means that the work that I’m doing is important,” he said tearfully. “And I’m really proud of that. I’m really proud of all of you.”
The audience applauded loudly as the president paused to wipe his eyes, and as he finished his speech, he reminded the group that their journey was only beginning.
“You’re just starting and whatever good we do over the next four years will pale in comparison to what you guys end up accomplishing for years and years to come.”
Last Updated on Friday, 09 November 2012 11:17
Category: Breaking News Written by WWJ
DETROIT (CBS Detroit) The pundits’ verdict is unanimous: Calvin Johnson hasn’t played his best this season.
What’s not unanimous is a verdict on whether he suffered a concussion this season. Johnson alluded to the idea he had suffered a concussion in late September in a helmet-to-helmet collision with Vikings linebacker Chad Greenway. At the time, he said in an interview on 97.1 The Ticket, ” …You get concussed, you gotta keep on playing. You can’t get afraid to go across the middle any more than you were at the beginning.”
The Lions quickly rejected the notion he had suffered a concussion, saying he had passed every test.
But again this week, Johnson alluded to the idea he’s recovering from a concussion — and more.
“I actually have some nerve damage that was kind of messing on my grip a little bit, not to blame it on that, but I think a concussion could have maybe something to do with some of that damage I had going on,” he said Thursday.
Johnson managed to play an impressive game Sunday in the team’s 31-14 win at Jacksonville last Sunday despite a knee injury suffered the week before, catching seven passes for 129 yards.
Megatron said he’s doing everything he can to work around his injury — or injuries.
“I’m doing a lot of stuff in the weight room just to strengthen the muscles around it, to get it so that it’s firing correctly and be as best as I can be on Sunday,” he said.
The Lions take on Minnesota this weekend on the cusp of what many Detroiters consider a double national holiday — the Lions game on Thanksgiving.
Will Johnson be ready?
“I mean, really, what would be better … it’s just maintaining it, you know, by not running around, trying to maintain it, at the same time I’m trying to strengthen it and get my rehab on at the same time,” he said.
In a separate interview, coach Jim Schwartz said Johnson has found a way to be effective despite his injuries, saying, “He’s had a bunch of different things come up this year, particularly his knees, but goes out and affects the game the way he does. It’s no different than Adrian Peterson coming off an ACL and still finding a way to be effective, great players can do that.”
Last Updated on Friday, 09 November 2012 09:00
Category: Breaking News Written by Joy-Ann Reid , The grio
In the days before Tuesday’s election, two organizations released reports filled with dire warnings about the potential impact of voter ID and other laws, ostensibly aimed at preventing voter fraud, but which voter rights advocates believe were really intended to reduce minority participation at the polls.
A Center for Social Inclusion report entitled “Citizens Denied: The Impact of Photo ID Laws on Senior Citizens of Color,” “Citizens Denied: The Impact of Photo ID Laws on Senior Citizens of Color,” warned that nearly half of black voters over age 65 and one in three Latino senior voters would have a more difficult time registering and voting on Election Day due to photo ID laws passed in some 33 states.
The reason: historical factors like Jim Crow exclusion made it less likely that these voters would currently possess a state-issued ID, or in some cases, a copy of their birth certificate. The study pointed to the potential disenfranchisement of some 140,000 black and Latino seniors nationwide.
A second report by the group IMPACT warned of reduced voting access and opportunity for African-Americans in Pennsylvania, Virginia and Florida, where restrictive ID laws and in the case of Florida, the halving of the early voting period by the Republican-controlled legislature and governor presented potential hurdles for up to 367,000 black voters in Florida, and 115,000 in Pennsylvania.
“In Florida, African-American voter growth rates rose at almost twice the rate of their White counterparts between the 2000 and the 2004 presidential election, i.e. 34 percent to 19 percent, compared to 2004 to 2008, which was twenty times that of their white counterparts, i.e. 21 percent to 1 percent, respectively,” a press release from IMPACT stated. “Most importantly, there is no clear method to determine the large potential impact on states’ introduction and enactment of voter ID laws. Therefore, IMPACT recommends that states continue to make voting easy, fair, and accessible.”
And while the potentially disenfranchising effect of voter ID laws remains problematic (in Ohio, potentially thousands of voters were actually turned away, or forced to vote on less-often counted provisional ballots, as a result of a voter purge that swept up eligible voters in the state), the actual reduction of black voter participation in 2012 never materialized.
Exit polls show the minority share of the electorate increased to 28 percent in 2012, versus 26 percent in 2008 — one of the underlying assumptions the Obama campaign took into the election, but which polls, notably Gallup, missed. And overall African-American participation remained steady, at 13 percent of the electorate, compared to 2008. And accelerated black and Hispanic turnout delivered the margin of victory to President Obama.
Florida’s reduced early voting period actually galvanized black churches, who took full advantage of the one remaining Sunday to conduct a two-day “souls to the polls” marathon. And even as Election Day turned into a late Election Night, and with the race in Ohio, and thus for the 270 votes needed to win the presidency, called by 11 p.m., black voters remained in line in Miami-Dade and Broward, two heavily Democratic counties in Florida, where black voters broke turnout records, even compared to 2008.
Last Updated on Friday, 09 November 2012 09:00
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