Oct 31, 2012

Before ‘50 Shades of Grey’ had white suburban women going crazy, Zane was heating up the pages with some of the best erotica you ever want to read.

Now Zane is getting the Hollywood treatment as one of her best-selling books, Addicted, heads to the big screen.
Shadow and Act is confirming that Boris Kodjoe and Tasha Smith will be starring in the film.  It was originally thought that Nia Long would star as the lead character, Zoe Reynard, but that part has reportedly gone to Sharon Leal.
Here’s a synopsis of the film:
For Zoe Reynard, finding the pleasure she wants, the way she wants it, is not worth the risk of losing everything she has: marriage to the man she has loved since childhood, a thriving company, three wonderful children. But Zoe feels helpless in the grip of an overpowering addiction...to sex. Finding a compassionate woman therapist to help her, Zoe finally summons the courage to tell her torrid story, a tale of guilt and desire as shocking as it is compelling. From the sensitive artist with whom she spends stolen hours on rumpled sheets to the rough and violent man who draws her toward destruction, Zoe is a woman desperately searching for fulfillment -- and something darker, deeper, and perhaps deadly. As her life spins out of control and her sexual escapades carry her toward a dangerous choice, Zoe is racing against time to uncover the source of her "fatal attraction" -- as chilling secrets tumble forth from the recesses of a woman's mind, and perilous temptations lead toward a climax that can threaten her sanity, her marriage... and her life.

I’ve read a few of Zane’s books and I can honestly say I think ‘Addicted’ is her best work.  I looked forward to seeing the film which is currently shooting.  Famed video director, Billie Woodruff, is directing the film.

(THR) -- Roger Enrico has resigned as chairman of DreamWorks Animation and is being replaced by board member Mellody Hobson, the company announced Thursday.

Oct 30, 2012

FOREST HILL, Texas (AP) — A North Texas pastor was killed Monday by an attacker who rammed a car into a church wall, chased the pastor and beat him with an electric guitar, police said.

Police in Forest Hill, a suburb of Fort Worth, did not say why the unidentified suspect attacked the Rev. Danny Kirk Sr., the founding pastor of Greater Sweethome Missionary Baptist Church.

The suspect, who police used a Taser to subdue, also died a short time after being taken into custody.

Forest Hill Police Chief Dan Dennis said the suspect drove his car into a church wall before noon Monday, apparently on purpose. The suspect got out of the car and began to attack the pastor in the parking lot before chasing him into the church, Dennis said. The church secretary hid and called 911, Dennis said.

Police arrived to find the suspect assaulting Kirk with an electric guitar that they believe was already inside the church, Dennis said. An officer used a Taser on the suspect, handcuffed him and put him in the back of a patrol car.

By then, Kirk had died, Dennis said. A maintenance worker who tried to help Kirk was injured and taken to an area hospital. His condition was unknown.

Dennis said the suspect was found unresponsive shortly after being detained and was pronounced dead at a local hospital.

Dennis said he didn't know if the suspect knew Kirk, attended the church or why he might have attacked the pastor.

Hours after the incident, hundreds of people remained outside the church, where crime-scene tape was wrapped around a small statue of Jesus near the wrecked car. Some hugged each other and cried, while others recalled Kirk as a dedicated minister who also had a bubbly personality and knew the all names of the several-hundred church members.

"He really was concerned about our souls," Montoya McNeil, a member for eight years, said as she wiped away tears. "You looked forward to being here. ... I'm not asking God why, because I know where he (Kirk) is, but we won't get those big bear hugs and those great sermons anymore."

According to former Forest Hill mayor James Gosey, Kirk started the church years ago in a strip mall before building the red-brick church.

Kirk was also an unofficial volunteer chaplain who occasionally counseled members of a local high school football team, Fort Worth school district spokesman Clint Bond said.

"Our hearts are heavy right now," said Reginald Wilson, an associate minister at the church.

WSAV - For decades, 108-year-old Joanna Jenkins of Beaufort, South Carolina has watched elections come and go.

Now she is using her right to vote for the first time.

"She's just excited, she wants to vote this year, we were looking at the election, and as the debates were going on she decided she wants to vote all of a sudden. She just wants to vote, she wants to vote and is excited to vote," said her cousin, Shirley Lee.

Because she can't read or write, and does not have a state issued ID, her family didn't think she'd be eligible to vote, but thanks to help from their family doctor and the Beaufort County Board of Elections, she's registered as an absentee voter.

Elections officials say her case is extremely unusual.

"It's incredible, she grew up in a time when Jim Crowe laws were fully in effect, and minority voter suppression was the norm, and to vote was a fight not a right and she is a great example to others that it's never too late to vote and you should always exercise your right," said Director of Elections Scott Marshall.

"She was telling everybody, everyone that came by to visit, she was just telling everybody, I'm gonna vote! I'm gonna vote! So this year, she's gonna do it," said Lee.

For Joanna, there's no better time than now to start her voting record...and who gets her vote?

"Obama!!" she said with a smile.

Visit NBCNews.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

Oct 29, 2012

MSNBC host, Melissa Harris-Perry, did a very brave thing when she got personal and shared her own experienced when it related to sexual assault.

Harris-Perry shared her story to address Richard Mourdock's, the republican senate candidate from Indiana, absurb comment about it being God's plan when a woman gets pregnant from rape.

Read her letter below:

Dear Mr. Mourdock,

Sometimes I still flinch when I’m touched a certain way, even if it’s the loving embrace of my husband. I can’t stand to watch TV shows where rape is the central plot line. Even some seasons of the year are harder for me. Those of us who are sexual assault survivors call these triggers. We spend our lives — the lives we lead after the attack — avoiding and managing these triggers.

A congressional debate shouldn’t have to come with a trigger warning. But apparently, Richard, yours should. Because in Tuesday’s debate for Indiana’s U.S. Senate seat, you said this Tuesday night during a debate in New Albany, Indiana.

“I believe that life begins at conception…The only exception I have, to have an abortion, is in that case of the life of the mother. I’ve struggled with it myself for a long time, but I came to realize that life is that gift from God. And even when life begins in that horrible situation of rape, that it is something that God intended to happen.”
Rape and sexual assault are complicated experiences for survivors. Some of us fight, kick, scream, and resist at every moment. Some of us eventually give in to save our own lives or to manage the horror. Some of us know that what is happening is rape, others of us just know it is wrong, but don’t have the words to describe why. Some of us push the memories down and try to forget, others of us battle openly with the nightmares and scars every day. There is no one right way to survive. There is no one right way to feel.

As we heal, we learn not to judge ourselves or to judge our fellow survivors, because we learn that judgment can wound as deeply as assault. If a woman finds herself pregnant after a rape, we do not judge the choices she makes.

I am descended from American slaves. I have foremothers who found themselves pregnant with children whose birth increased the wealth of the very man who enslaved and raped them. Somehow, through the angst and misery of that experience some of those women found a way to love and embrace the children they bore from rape. So I do not doubt the compassion or judge the choice of a survivor who carries a rape pregnancy to term.

But the whole point is choice. Consent. You see, Mr. Mourdock, the violation of rape is more than physical. Rapists strip women of our right to choose, of our right to say no, of our right to control what is happening to our bodies. Most assailants tell us it is our fault. They tell us to be silent. Sometimes they even tell us it’s God’s will. That is the core violation of rape– it takes away choice.

Richard, you believe it is fine to ignore a women’s right to choose because of your interpretation of divinity. Sound familiar?

Let me explain something to you. When we survive sexual assault, we are the gift. When we survive, when we go on to love, to work, to speak out, to have fun, to laugh, to dance, to cry, to live, when we do that, we defeat our attackers. For a moment, they strip us of our choices. As we heal, we take our choices back. We are the gift to ourselves, our families, our communities, and our nation when we survive.

Now let me say this very clearly to you Mr Mourdock, and to all of your shameless endorsers: we did not survive an attack on our consent just to turn around and give up our right to choose to you. Not without a fight.

Are you sure you want to have that fight?



Visit NBCNews.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

(ThinkProgress) --- A major cable provider is offering a notorious anti-Obama movie to all its subscribers for free. The company, Armstrong Cable, operates in six states including Pennsylvania and the critical swing state of Ohio. The move comes just days after the Armstrong’s Chairman of the Board donated tens of thousands of dollars to the Romney campaign and the Republican National Committee.

The film, “2016: Obama’s America,” has been widely panned by fact checkers. Written and narrated by conservative author Dinesh D’Souza, it claims Obama’s “worldview…was largely shaped by the anti-colonalist, anti-white and anti-Christian politics of Obama’s supposedly radical Kenyan father,” who was largely absent from his life. The point of the movie, according to a review in the Washington Post, is to convince viewers “that Obama hates America.” It was panned as “fear-mongering of the worst kind.”

Armstrong recently started offering the movie for free, on demand, to all of its subscribers.

An Armstrong executive confirmed to the Pittsburgh City Paper that “this is the first time the cable provider has offered such a deal for a recently released feature film.” Armstrong claims it will offer a free recently released film each month to encourage use of its premium on-demand offerings. But the company acknowledges no other recent releases are currently available without charge.

On September 21, just days before the promotion began, Armstrong Chairman Of The Board Jay Sedwick gave the maximum $5,000 to Mitt Romney’s campaign and an additional $25,000 to the Republican National Committee.

Armstrong cable is available in over 50 cities and towns in 10 Ohio counties. Analysts believe the outcome in Ohio may determine the outcome of the election. Most current polls in the state are within the margin of error.

WASHINGTON (AP) — Racial attitudes have not improved in the four years since the United States elected its first black president, an Associated Press poll finds, as a slight majority of Americans now express prejudice toward blacks whether they recognize those feelings or not.

Those views could cost President Barack Obama votes as he tries for re-election, the survey found, though the effects are mitigated by some people’s more favorable views of blacks.

Racial prejudice has increased slightly since 2008 whether those feelings were measured using questions that explicitly asked respondents about racist attitudes, or through an experimental test that measured implicit views toward race without asking questions about that topic directly.

In all, 51 percent of Americans now express explicit anti-black attitudes, compared with 48 percent in a similar 2008 survey. When measured by an implicit racial attitudes test, the number of Americans with anti-black sentiments jumped to 56 percent, up from 49 percent during the last presidential election. In both tests, the share of Americans expressing pro-black attitudes fell.

“As much as we’d hope the impact of race would decline over time … it appears the impact of anti-black sentiment on voting is about the same as it was four years ago,” said Jon Krosnick, a Stanford University professor who worked with AP to develop the survey.

Most Americans expressed anti-Hispanic sentiments, too. In an AP survey done in 2011, 52 percent of non-Hispanic whites expressed anti-Hispanic attitudes. That figure rose to 57 percent in the implicit test. The survey on Hispanics had no past data for comparison.

The AP surveys were conducted with researchers from Stanford University, the University of Michigan and NORC at the University of Chicago.

Experts on race said they were not surprised by the findings.

“We have this false idea that there is uniformity in progress and that things change in one big step. That is not the way history has worked,” said Jelani Cobb, professor of history and director of the Institute for African-American Studies at the University of Connecticut. “When we’ve seen progress, we’ve also seen backlash.”
Obama has tread cautiously on the subject of race, but many African-Americans have talked openly about perceived antagonism toward them since Obama took office. As evidence, they point to events involving police brutality or cite bumper stickers, cartoons and protest posters that mock the president as a lion or a monkey, or lynch him in effigy.

“Part of it is growing polarization within American society,” said Fredrick Harris, director of the Institute for Research in African-American Studies at Columbia University. “The last Democrat in the White House said we had to have a national discussion about race. There’s been total silence around issues of race with this president. But, as you see, whether there is silence, or an elevation of the discussion of race, you still have polarization. It will take more generations, I suspect, before we eliminate these deep feelings.”

Overall, the survey found that by virtue of racial prejudice, Obama could lose 5 percentage points off his share of the popular vote in his Nov. 6 contest against Republican challenger Mitt Romney. But Obama also stands to benefit from a 3 percentage point gain due to pro-black sentiment, researchers said. Overall, that means an estimated net loss of 2 percentage points due to anti-black attitudes.

The poll finds that racial prejudice is not limited to one group of partisans. Although Republicans were more likely than Democrats to express racial prejudice in the questions measuring explicit racism (79 percent among Republicans compared with 32 percent among Democrats), the implicit test found little difference between the two parties. That test showed a majority of both Democrats and Republicans held anti-black feelings (55 percent of Democrats and 64 percent of Republicans), as did about half of political independents (49 percent).

Obama faced a similar situation in 2008, the survey then found.

The AP developed the surveys to measure sensitive racial views in several ways and repeated those studies several times between 2008 and 2012.

The explicit racism measures asked respondents whether they agreed or disagreed with a series of statements about black and Hispanic people. In addition, the surveys asked how well respondents thought certain words, such as “friendly,” “hardworking,” “violent” and “lazy,” described blacks, whites and Hispanics.

The same respondents were also administered a survey designed to measure implicit racism, in which a photo of a black, Hispanic or white male flashed on the screen before a neutral image of a Chinese character. The respondents were then asked to rate their feelings toward the Chinese character. Previous research has shown that people transfer their feelings about the photo onto the character, allowing researchers to measure racist feelings even if a respondent does not acknowledge them.

Results from those questions were analyzed with poll takers’ ages, partisan beliefs, views on Obama and Romney and other factors, which allowed researchers to predict the likelihood that people would vote for either Obama or Romney. Those models were then used to estimate the net impact of each factor on the candidates’ support.

All the surveys were conducted online. Other research has shown that poll takers are more likely to share unpopular attitudes when they are filling out a survey using a computer rather than speaking with an interviewer. Respondents were randomly selected from a nationally representative panel maintained by GfK Custom Research.

Overall results from each survey have a margin of sampling error of approximately plus or minus 4 percentage points. The most recent poll, measuring anti-black views, was conducted Aug. 30 to Sept. 11.
Andra Gillespie, an Emory University political scientist who studies race-neutrality among black politicians, contrasted the situation to that faced by the first black mayors elected in major U.S. cities, the closest parallel to Obama’s first-black situation. Those mayors, she said, typically won about 20 percent of the white vote in their first races, but when seeking reelection they enjoyed greater white support presumably because “the whites who stayed in the cities … became more comfortable with a black executive.”

“President Obama’s election clearly didn’t change those who appear to be sort of hard-wired folks with racial resentment,” she said.

Negative racial attitudes can manifest in policy, noted Alan Jenkins, an assistant solicitor general during the Clinton administration and now executive director of the Opportunity Agenda think tank.

“That has very real circumstances in the way people are treated by police, the way kids are treated by teachers, the way home seekers are treated by landlords and real estate agents,” Jenkins said.

Hakeem Jeffries, a New York state assemblyman and candidate for a congressional seat being vacated by a fellow black Democrat, called it troubling that more progress on racial attitudes had not been made. Jeffries has fought a New York City police program of “stop and frisk” that has affected mostly blacks and Latinos but which supporters contend is not racially focused.

“I do remain cautiously optimistic that the future of America bends toward the side of increased racial tolerance,” Jeffries said. “We’ve come a long way, but clearly these results demonstrate there’s a long way to go.”

Floyd Palmer (L) and Greg McDowell (r)
 The Rev. Creflo Dollar on Sunday sought to pay all the bills for the family of the church employee shot and killed at his World Changers Church International on Wednesday.

“In my book, he’s a hero,” Dollar said of Greg McDowell, who was gunned down while leading morning prayer service at the church. “If those bullets hadn’t been trained on him, there would’ve been more people that would’ve died,” Dollar told the congregation.

Police have charged former church employee Floyd Palmer in McDowel’s death. Investigators say Palmer, 52, calmly walked into morning prayer service Wednesday and fired six shots at McDowell, killing the 39-year-old husband and father.

Dollar challenged church members to give as they left the College Park church, to make online donations and to give to a special fund the church has set up at a bank.

“The goal is $234,000,” Dollar said, telling the congregation he wanted to raise that amount by the end of the day Sunday. “We want to completely eradicate all debts in their lives … house, cars, everything. Let’s now show the world the power of a megachurch.”

Members told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution they expected Dollar’s response to the tragedy.

“It didn’t surprise me at all,” Juliet Hilton said. “He did tell us on Wednesday (night) that he was going to take up an extra offering.”

“He has a love for people,” Debbie Taylor said.

Mike Howard said Dollar’s actions, and the acquiescence of the church members was just part of belonging to the church.

“The McDowells are family,” Howard said. “We take care of each other here.”

Marcia Danielson said the gesture reflects Bible scripture that directs each church to take care of its members when the need arises.

“If it were me, I would’ve wanted that for my family,” she said. “That’s an incredible burden lifted.”

Indeed, Dollar highlighted such burdens when he asked the church to help McDowell’s family.

“It’s enough to have somebody torn away from you,” he said. “And at the same time have to be worried about all of the debts.”

Blue barrels were stationed near each of the exits and church-goers dropped cash and envelopes filled with checks and money as they departed.

It was unclear early Sunday afternoon, how much the church raised, but donations continue to be accepted.

Contributions can be made through the World Changers online, under the Gregory McDowell Family Fund.
An account has been established at Regions Bank for donations in the name of the McDowell Family, Dollar said.

Services for McDowell will be 11 a.m. Tuesday at the church at 2500 Burdett Road.

(AJC) --- Gwinnett County authorities are seeking information to help explain the accidental death of Atlanta R&B singer Natina Reed of the female group Blaque, who was struck and killed late Friday while standing in a roadway just north of Lilburn.

Gwinnett County police would like to speak to “anyone who might have information about anything that could help us determine why she was there, anything to help us understand how this came together,” said police spokesman Sgt. Rich Long.

“As of right now, it does not appear that the driver has any fault in this event,” said Long, who added that it was the driver who contacted police about the accident. The driver, who was not immediately identified, was not expected to be charged, the spokesman said.

Long corrected earlier reports on MTV.com and Vibe.com and in multiple Twitter postings that the death was caused by a hit-and-run driver. Reed, a 32-year-old protégé of the late TLC singer Lisa “Left Eye” Lopes, would have celebrated her 33rd birthday Sunday.

Long said police received a call around 10:30 p.m. Friday that a woman had been struck by a red Honda Accord on Lawrenceville Highway (U.S. 29) near Hamilton Road, just north of Lilburn.

Long said investigators were still trying to determine why Reed was in the roadway and whether she was crossing or walking alongside it. The spokesman said CPR was performed at the scene and Reed was taken to Gwinnett Medical Center, where she was pronounced dead at 10:59 p.m.

Long said other than the driver and a passenger in the car, there did not appear to be any additional witnesses. The spokesman said more information would be released as facts become available.

“It’s kind of a dark lit area,” said Long. “There is not really anything in that area that’s open at that time of night, that would be any kind of a draw to a person up there,” he said.

Reed’s fellow Blaque members reacted to her death in tweets Saturday. Shamari Fears-DeVoe tweeted, “My world as I know it has forever changed. Until we meet again, may you find comfort in the arms of an angel. I love you Natina.”

Brandi Williams, another member, tweeted, “Last night the world was changed forever, life will never be the same….she was my sister.” The group also has included singer Erica Pullins.

Later in a joint statement, Fears-DeVoe and Williams said Blaque had reunited and was in the process of working on a new album and a reality show.

“Natina continuously embodied the pioneering spirit of Blaque and her undeniable creativity touched the hearts of fans everywhere. Natina was a mother, sister, accomplished songwriter, artist and friend,” the statement said.

Multiple messages were posted on Twitter expressing condolences, including those from Def Jam co-founder Russell Simmons and V103 personality Egypt Sherrod.

Billboard named Blaque as the 4th Best New Artist in 1999. Lopes signed Blaque, whose hits included “808” and “Bring It All to Me”, to her Left Eye Productions label. Lopes was killed in 2002 in a car crash in La Ceiba, Honduras.

Reed also starred in the 2000 cheerleading movie “Bring It On” with Williams and Shamari-DeVoe. The New York City native is survived by a 10-year-old son, Tren Brown, from a relationship with rapper Kurupt.

Oct 28, 2012

Not only does Iyanla Fix My Life have the potential to breathe life into the Oprah Winfrey Network (OWN), but perhaps it will encourage more black folks into therapy.  I think society as a whole no longer thinks that counseling and therapy are taboo.  Also, I think black people are warming up to the idea.  But there may still be some hesitancy.  I can't blame anyone for being skeptical and hesitant.  Historically, mental health professionals have not done right by their patients.  I was astounded by the historical lack of ethics in the mental health profession.  White patients were not treated well and black people were treated even worse.  Believe me when I say the skepticism and hesitancy is justified.

However ethical progress has been made and more and more getting help is encouraged.  Mental health services are often covered now in health insurance plans.  Mental health is being redefined.  The term no longer exclusively pertains to psychiatric and psychological disorders.  The threat of being institutionalized has diminished greatly.  Employers are investing in and offering EAP (Employee Assistance Programs).  We have learned the importance of being mentally and emotionally healthy.  While I have not looked into hard data, I suspect that, like other metrics, there is a disparity among blacks and other races when it comes to seeking mental health services.  But now Iyanla provides a friendly and familiar association with counseling and therapy.  Personally I am not an Iyanla enthusiast.  I am just not a big fan of her approach.  Of all the therapists, psychologists, life coaches on the Oprah Show, my favorite was Dr. Robin Smith.  She was just more relatable to me.  But if Iyanla works for others, I am all for it.  And if her image and technique gives us more courage to talk to someone, then I am on the bandwagon.

So many of us have deep pain that could be relieved significantly just by talking to an independent objective third party.  Ain't nothing like it.  My first experience as a client/patient was during my grad program.  I had to have the experience of being the client in order to build my skill set as a counselor.  It was a rather eye opening experience.  Even after having that experience, I never fully envisioned that I would ever seek out and pay a professional counselor or therapist.  Then one day I was just so full that I had to relieve the pressure and I remembered that I could go talk to someone.  The idea of paying someone to listen to me was unsettling and pathetic but my ego was just going to have to suffer for the moment.  And sure enough I felt better. It was money well spent. I've been back to a counselor a few times.  I know sometimes we think that Jesus, friends, our mothers, and our journals are enough, but sometimes they mean well but fall short.  Sometimes they cannot be objective and many times we may stir up things in them that they are not ready for.  Then we are stuck or matters have been made worse.  Recently I discovered that a couple of my really good friends has been through counseling.  That is precisely why they are good friends. They have worked and continue to work on their own issues and that enables them to have meaningful relationships.  I would like to see that more widespread in our community.  And if the Iyanla-Oprah partnership is the catalyst for this change in the black community, then I am hopeful that we will be healed and will realize our potential particularly in the area of having great relationships. 

Oct 25, 2012

Yesterday, Donald Trump made a bigger ass (if that's possible) of himself when he offered to give $5 million to the President's favorite charity if he agreed to release his college records.

Yes, you read that correctly.  Donald Trump is actually claiming to have five million dollars in the bank.

Never one to miss a moment (I'm not counitng that first debate; I have a case of Romnesia on that) the President addressed the feud on 'The Tonight Show with Jay Leno'.

When Leno asked the president what the deal is between himself and the television personality, Pres. Obama cracked a joke, saying the discord dates back to when he and Mr. Trump were growing up in Kenya.

"We had constant run-ins on the soccer field," Mr. Obama joked. "He wasn't very good and resented it. When we finally moved to America I thought it would be over."

I know I'm hella late with this video, but every time I watch it it just makes me laugh. The President did the damn thing when it defined Romnesia and gave the symptoms to it. It was classic Obama.

FAIRFAX, Va. (AP) — President Barack Obama has a diagnosis for what he considers rival Mitt Romney’s shifting positions: Call it a case of “Romnesia.”

Making a direct gender-pitch in hotly contested Virginia, Obama tells a college crowd that when it comes to issues important to women’s health and jobs, Romney has conveniently overlooked his past stands.

“He’s forgetting what his own positions are — and he’s betting that you will too,” Obama told an audience of 9,000 at George Mason University. “I mean he’s changing up so much and backtracking and sidestepping. We’ve got to name this condition that he’s going through. I think it’s calledRomnesia.”
Obama, a broad grin on his face, borrowed heavily from the style of comedian Jeff Foxworthy, known for his “you might be a redneck” standup routines.

“If you say you’ll protect a woman’s right to choose, but you stand up at a primary debate and said that you’d be ‘delighted’ to sign a law outlawing that right to choose in all cases, man, you’ve definitely got Romnesia,” he said.

Riffing as if he was still delivering one liners at Thursday night’s Catholic charity dinner in New York, Obama said he had good news for anyone who suffers from Romnesia. “Obamacare covers pre-existing conditions,” he bellowed. “We can fix you up. We’ve got a cure! We can make you well, Virginia.”

Obama renewed his criticism of Romney’s economic plan, quoting a line in a New York Times column by economist Paul Krugman. “There’s no jobs plan. There’s just a snow job on the American people.”
Obama added, “If he offered you that deal when he was in corporate finance, you wouldn’t give him a dime.” So why, Obama asked, would voters cast their ballots for him.

Obama’s message was aimed at suburban women who form a formidable voting bloc in northern Virginia. The president raised once more Romney’s comment during the second debate that he received “binders full of women” when he sought to diversify his cabinet as Massachusetts governor. “You don’t want somebody who needs to ask for binders full of women. You don’t want that guy,” Obama said.

Full Transcript

But now that we’re 18 days out from the election, Mr. “Severely Conservative” wants you to think he was “severely kidding” about everything he’s said over the last year. He told folks he was “the ideal candidate” for the Tea Party, now suddenly he’s saying, “what, who, me?” He’s forgetting what his own positions are, and he’s betting that you will too.

I mean he’s changing up so much – backtracking and sidestepping. We’ve gotta name this condition that he’s going through.. I think it’s called “Romnesia.” That’s what it’s called. I think that’s what he’s going through.

Now, I’m not a medical doctor but I do want to go over some of the symptoms with you because I want to make sure nobody else catches it.

If you say you’re for equal pay for equal work, but you keep refusing to say whether or not you’d sign a bill that protects equal pay for equal work – you might have Romnesia.

If you say women should have access to contraceptive care, but you support legislation that would let your employer deny you contraceptive care – you might have a case of Romnesia.

If you say you’ll protect a woman’s right to choose, but you stand up at a primary debate and said that you’d be “delighted” to sign a law outlawing that right to choose in all cases – man, you’ve definitely got Romnesia.

Now, this extends to other issues. If you say earlier in the year I’m going to give a tax cut to the top 1 percent and then in a debate you say, I don’t know anything about giving tax cuts to rich folks – you need to get a thermometer, take your temperature, because you’ve probably got Romnesia.

If you say that you’re a champion of the coal industry when while you were Governor you stood in front of a coal plant and said, this plant will kill you – that’s some Romnesia.

So – I think you’re beginning to be able to identify these symptoms. And if you come down with a case of Romnesia, and you can’t seem to remember the policies that are still on your website, or the promises you’ve made over the six years you’ve been running for President, here’s the good news: Obamacare covers pre-existing conditions.

We can fix you up. We’ve got a cure. We can make you well, Virginia. This is a curable disease.

Women, men, all of you. These are family issues. These are economic issues. I want my daughters to have the same opportunities as anybody’s sons. I believe America does better, the economy grows more, we create more when everybody participates, when everyone’s getting a fair shot, everybody’s getting a fair shake, everybody’s playing by the same rules, everybody’s doing their fair share. That’s why I’m asking you for another term as President of the United States. I need you to help me finish the job.

(CNN) — Tagg Romney, Mitt Romney's oldest son, apologized to President Barack Obama Monday for saying he wanted to "take a swing" at him during contentious presidential debates

Obama and Tagg Romney were seen speaking on the stage after Monday's final presidential debate, held at Lynn University in Boca Raton, Florida. Two Obama aides said the conversation included an apology for the remark, made last week during a radio interview.

Asked in that interview what it's like "to hear the President of the United States call your dad a liar," Tagg Romney joked about his fantasy response.

"Jump out of your seat and you want to rush down to the debate stage and take a swing at him," he said. "But you know you can't do that because, well, first because there's a lot of Secret Service between you and him, but also because that's the nature of the process. You know they're going to try to do anything they can do to make my dad into something he's not."

"We signed up for it, we've got to kind of sit there and take our punches, and send them the other way," he continued.

One of Tagg Romney's brothers, Josh, downplayed the comments in an interview on ABC's "The View."
"That brother has slugged me a couple of times," Josh Romney said. "I'm sure President Obama has nothing to worry about."

Asked about the original comments on Thursday, Romney campaign spokeswoman Amanda Henneberg said Tagg Romney was "joking about how frustrating this process can be for family."

Oct 24, 2012

NEW ALBANY, Ind. — Indiana Republican Senate candidate Richard Mourdock said Tuesday when a woman becomes pregnant during a rape, "that's something God intended."

Mourdock, who's been locked in one of the country's most watched Senate races, was asked during the final minutes of a debate with Democratic challenger Rep. Joe Donnelly whether abortion should be allowed in cases of rape or incest.

"I struggled with it myself for a long time, but I came to realize that life is that gift from God. And, I think, even when life begins in that horrible situation of rape, that it is something that God intended to happen," Mourdock said.

Mourdock became the second GOP Senate candidate to find himself on the defensive over comments about rape and pregnancy. Missouri Senate candidate Rep. Todd Akin said during a television interview in August that women's bodies have ways of preventing pregnancy in cases of what he called "legitimate rape." Since his comment, Akin has repeatedly apologized but has refused to leave his race despite calls to do so by leaders of his own party, from GOP presidential hopeful Mitt Romney on down.

It was not immediately clear what effect Mourdock's comments might have during the final two weeks before the Nov. 6 election. But they could prove problematic. Romney distanced himself from Mourdock on Tuesday night — a day after a television ad featuring the former Massachusetts governor supporting the GOP Senate candidate began airing in Indiana.

"Gov. Romney disagrees with Richard Mourdock's comments, and they do not reflect his views," Romney spokeswoman Andrea Saul said in an email to The Associated Press. Romney aides would not say whether the ad would be pulled and if the Republican presidential nominee would continue to support Mourdock's Senate bid.

Other Republicans did not immediately weigh in. Indiana Republican Party spokesman Pete Seat referred comment to the Mourdock campaign. A spokesman for the National Republican Senatorial Committee did not immediately return a request for comment Tuesday night.

National Democrats quickly picked up on Mourdock's statement and used it as an opportunity to paint him as an extreme candidate, calling him a tea party "zealot." DNC Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz described Mourdock's comments as "outrageous and demeaning to woman" and called on Romney to take his pro-Mourdock ad off the air.

Later Tuesday after the debate, Mourdock further explained he did not believe God intended the rape, but that God is the only one who can create life.

"Are you trying to suggest somehow that God preordained rape, no I don't think that," said Mourdock. "Anyone who would suggest that is just sick and twisted. No, that's not even close to what I said."

In response, Donnelly said after the debate in southern Indiana that he doesn't believe "my God, or any God, would intend that to happen."

Along with Romney's ad, top Republicans have been flocking to Indiana as part of an effort to break open the high-stakes race for the Senate seat, currently held by veteran GOP Sen. Richard Lugar who was defeated by Mourdock in the May primary. Republicans need to gain three seats, or four if President Barack Obama wins re-election, and seats that were predicted to remain or turn Republican have grown uncertain.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell came to Indianapolis for a fundraiser Monday, and Arizona Sen. John McCain and South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham campaigned for Mourdock last week. New Hampshire Sen. Kelly Ayotte is due in the state Wednesday.

Romney's coattails carry special significance in deeply conservative Indiana, where Mourdock has underperformed Romney by 12 points in most public polls. Karl Rove's Crossroads GPS also has bought another $1 million of airtime in Indiana, making his group the biggest player in Indiana's Senate race. A message left for Crossroads GPS spokesman Nate Hodson was not immediately returned.
Copyright The Associated Press
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — Official-looking but bogus letters telling mostly Republican voters that their citizenship is in question are turning up in Florida, where GOP officials have led efforts to purge noncitizens from registration rolls.

The phony letters have been reported in 23 counties so far in an apparent attempt to intimidate voters, Department of State spokesman Chris Cate said Tuesday.

Republican Gov. Rick Scott, who pushed for the purge of noncitizens, said Florida has "zero tolerance" for voter intimidation.

"Anytime anybody's trying to prevent somebody from voting that's a serious issue," Scott said. "We'll get to the bottom of it. We'll turn over any violations of law to law enforcement. I expect law enforcement to prosecute those individuals."

Florida Department of Law Enforcement spokeswoman Gretl Plessinger said the agency was monitoring the situation and opened an investigation late Tuesday.

The letters purport to come from various Florida county supervisors of elections but all were postmarked from Seattle.

They tell voters that information received from the state Division of Elections indicates their citizenship is in question and that they'll be removed from the rolls unless they can prove their citizenship within 15 days.
The letters also warn in bold type that noncitizens who cast ballots "may be subject to arrest, imprisonment, and/or other criminal sanctions."

Secretary of State Kenneth Detzner sent a message Monday to all 67 supervisors of elections urging them to report the discovery of such letters to his assistant general counsel. Detzner also noted that voter intimidation is a felony punishable by up to five years in prison and a $5,000 fine.

Cate said officials hope the bogus letters are not retaliation for the noncitizen purge.

"It would be really disappointing if someone tried to use a successful program to commit voter fraud," he said.

The purge has been criticized for inaccurately identifying voters as noncitizens. The state originally sought to remove 2,600 voters but later revised the list to only 198 names.

The effort also has drawn court challenges. Two federal judges have ruled the purge could continue, but the Atlanta-based 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals has said it won't resolve the issue until after the Nov. 6 election.

The Florida Republican Party, meanwhile, sent a fundraising letter urging those who support the purge to contribute to the GOP.
Copyright The Associated Press
WINNSBORO — In the aftermath of a horrific incident in which a 20-year-old Winnsboro woman was severely burned, nearly 130 residents of the tight-knit community attended a candlelight vigil Tuesday night to offer prayers and support to Sharmeka Moffitt and her family.

The vigil took place hours after investigators said Moffitt lied to police when she claimed three unidentified assailants in white hoodies set her on fire.

The attackers also were alleged to have written “KKK” and the N-word on her car in a paste-like substance. Investigators said it was Moffitt who set herself on fire after writing the words on her Buick LaCrosse.

Moffitt’s DNA, as well as her fingerprints, were found on a charcoal lighter fluid container, as well as a lighter, investigators said.

Franklin Parish Sheriff Kevin Cobb said various theories of what happened to Moffitt began floating around as soon as Sunday, but law enforcement chose to wait before jumping to conclusions.

“This has been a very disturbing case for all involved,” Cobb said. “All of the evidence indicates this was a self-inflicted situation.”

Moffitt suffered burns to 60 percent of her body and remains in critical condition at LSU Hospital in Shreveport. She has third-degree burns on her arms and other areas.

Moffitt’s family released a statement late Tuesday thanking law enforcement for their thorough work and apologizing for her actions.

“Our family is devastated to learn the circumstances surrounding our daughter’s injuries,” the statement said. “While this was not the resolution we had expected, it is a resolution, and we appreciate the thorough investigation by the local and state police, as well as federal agencies.

“We are sincerely sorry for any problems this may have caused and wish to express our appreciation for the outpouring of love, prayers and support we have received from friends, acquaintances, church organizations and government officials.”

Whether Moffitt will face criminal charges is in the hands of the Franklin Parish District Attorney’s office.

Alice Prescott, Moffitt’s former teacher at Baskin School in Winnsboro, said she was shocked to learn her former student had set herself on fire.

“I never saw this coming,” Prescott said.

Rene Johnston, a Winnsboro resident, said regardless of the situation, the community has a way of wrapping itself around families. Johnston said she learned that for herself several years ago when she lost her teenage son to leukemia.

“I know what this parish is all about,” she said. “We’re a family, and that’s what this parish is for.”

Residents say although the community is close, Moffitt’s story did increase racial tensions. Winnsboro resident Ta’niqua Smith said racial issues were not a problem for her before Moffitt’s incident, but she, like many, became worried as news spread.

“People were scared to go to school,” Smith said. “I was scared to be home by myself. I had thought all of this was over.”

Smith said her fears were alleviated as more information came to light.

Bishop Justin L. Connors, district vice president of the Louisiana NAACP, said the organization continues to stand behind Moffitt as she has not had the opportunity to speak out on the latest developments.

“We stand on the side of this victim because we are in limbo,” Connors said.

While Winnsboro residents continue to look for reasons behind Moffitt’s actions, Winnsboro Police Chief Lester Thomas said the incident is a tragedy for everyone.

“We hurt for the victim,” Thomas said. “That could have been my child. That’s someone’s daughter, sister and friend, and we need to keep the Moffitt family in our prayers.”
NEW YORK (AP) — MTV says it will air a live 30-minute interview with President Barack Obama across its various networks and platforms on Friday at 5 p.m. Eastern time and on tape delay at 5 p.m. Pacific time.

Viewers are being invited to submit questions for the president on MTV's Facebook page. MTV News correspondent Sway Calloway will interview Obama at the White House, while Andrew Jenks will be reporting from a Washington-area college campus.

MTV hopes many questions will focus on issues important to young voters, such as jobs and the cost of college.

The interview will air on five different networks, MTV.com and its mobile platform.

Spokeswoman Janice Gatti says the network has reached out to Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney for a similar special, but hasn't gotten a response.

Oct 23, 2012

President Obama dubbed his opponent's policies best as the 1980s when it comes to foreign policy; the 1950s when it comes to social policy and the 1920s when it comes to economic policy.  To me that does not scream conservative as his opponent would have you believe.  It screams REACTIONARY, a term that best describes the policy and platform of the GOP.  Reactionary is a term that somehow was embedded into my conscience after learning about the political spectrum chart from my U.S. History class taught by Mr. Steele at West Side High School in Gary, Indiana.  Reactionary is the extreme right of the spectrum where people want to go back to how things used to be.  Going backwards is precisely the message of the entire GOP.  They are not trying to maintain the status quo which is conservatism.  They are not just resistant to change.  They simply cannot cope with the fact that the world is not as they imagined it.  I have to agree that the United States of America has something that is the envy of the world.  We indeed have our faults, but for our country to be as young as it is, to only house 6% of the world's population and be robust as we are economically and militarily says something.  But it is not unique to us anymore.  We have become a model that other major countries, now our competitors, have studied and are now outpacing us.  It's like a top athlete thinking he will never be de-throned.  And we all know that it is bound to happen...the top dog will meet its match.  The arrogance causes the complacency and a sense of entitlement and before you know it, the competition has an opening.  We see this happen all the time in sports, in business, and in relationships.  I do not know why the GOP thinks we are invincible and that no one will dare tango with the USA.

The 2012 election is some much more than the black man getting a second term in the White House. The 2012 election is much more than the presidency.  The 2012 election is beyond pivotal.  The 2012 election is critical.  Every election is important and has historical implications.  However, the outcome of the 2012 election can either put us on a path to the future or a path to the past.  I am not just echoing rhetoric of the Obama campaign because I am an avid supporter.  I wholeheartedly believe that the President and the Democrats have a better grasp on how the world has changed, is changing and how we have to embrace that change or get left behind.  They are not whining and pining for yesteryear because they cannot cope with change.  They are figuring out how to get a grip on the change and and get ahead of the change. 

Diversity, technology, and climate change are the three major pillars of all that we are facing domestically and globally.  The world is more than just white Christian men.  We have access to information and people like never before and the changes in the environment are causing us to rethink how we operate on a daily basis.  I could go on and on but I will not.  All I know is that a victory for the Democrats at all levels of government will render Citizens United pointless, voter suppression efforts futile and reactionary politics/policy unacceptable.   

First let me start this post by thinking everyone that joined me on Facebook to live blog the debate.  It's always so much fun because of you all and I really thank you.

Last night I was all in my emotions because I think it really hit me that there was a white man and a black man debating for the presidency and the Black Man was the President.  A black man is President y'all.  It's been almost four years and it's still amazing to me.

Well getting back to the debate, there isn't a sane person on Earth who can say that Mitt Romney won the debate with a straight face.  President Obama was in his element and it showed out the gate.  Commander in Chief was exactly what he was last night.

The President also got in a lot of zingers last night., but there was one in particular that stood out to everyone.  It was the comment he made in referring to 'horses and bayonets.'  It was brilliant.

Here's what he said:

"You mention the Navy, for example, and that we have fewer ships than we did in 1916. Well governor, we also have fewer horses and bayonets," Obama said during the final presidential debate. "We have these things called aircraft carriers and planes land on them. We have these ships that go underwater, nuclear submarines."

"It's not a game of battleship where we're counting ships, it's 'What are our capabilities?'" he said.

Side Note:
Am I the only one that heard Mitt Romney say he would get to a balanced budget in 8-10 years but yet he expected President Obama to do it in less than 4 years?

NEW ORLEANS A 20-year-old black woman said she was set on fire by three men who wrote the initials KKK and a racial slur on her car in northeastern Louisiana, police said Monday.

Officers found Sharmeka Moffitt with burns on more than half of her body when they responded to her emergency call Sunday night, said Louisiana State Police spokeswoman Lt. Julie Lewis.

The FBI is investigating the attack as a possible hate crime, but no arrests had been made as of late Monday, Lewis said. She said Moffitt was in critical condition at a hospital and that some of her injuries were third-degree burns.

Moffitt told police the men doused her in a flammable liquid and set her on fire at a park in Winnsboro, a town in Franklin Parish. Lewis said she extinguished the fire using water from a spigot before a police officer arrived.

Officers found the letters KKK - an apparent reference to the white supremacist Ku Klux Klan - and a racial slur smeared in a paste-like substance on the hood of her car, Lewis said.

On the emergency call, Moffitt described her attackers as three men wearing white hoods or hats, Lewis said. She later told a Winnsboro Police officer who responded to the call that the men were wearing white hoodies. She was unable to say what race her attackers were. The officer found no suspects or vehicles at Civitan Park where the attack allegedly happened, and the park has no surveillance cameras, Lewis said. She said the state crime lab was analyzing several pieces of evidence.

Franklin Sheriff Kevin Cobb called it "a horrific event" and said authorities would "follow the facts and seek justice."

Otis Chisley, the president of the local branch of the NAACP, a civil rights group, said he had been in touch with Moffitt's distraught family. He said he was waiting for more facts to come to light before drawing any conclusions about what happened and that "everyone wants to move with caution."

Regardless of the investigation's outcome, though, Chisley said, racism and KKK activity remain a fact of life in the state.

"It's prevalent throughout Louisiana," he said. "It's hidden but it exists."

© 2012 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Oct 22, 2012

(Wash Post) --- Despite an Oct. 2 ruling by a Pennsylvania judge putting the state’s new voter ID law on hold, a series of misleading ads and announcements is sowing confusion and fear among residents with just two weeks until Election Day, civil rights and union leaders contend.

Commonwealth Court Judge Robert Simpson ruled that election officials can still ask voters for photo identification but cannot require it. Simpson called the photo ID requirement reasonable and non-discriminatory but said there was not enough time before the Nov. 6 election to ensure that voters who lacked it were not disenfranchised by the change in the law.

That critical detail in Simpson’s opinion — that photo ID is not required in this election — has been lost in much of the $5 million advertising campaign by the Pennsylvania Department of State, voters rights advocates charge. On buses, an ad displays a photo ID with “SHOW IT” in big block lettering. In smaller type, it says photo ID is not mandatory. Moreover, state officials acknowledge that it was not until Tuesday, a full two weeks after the court opinion, that the last of the pre-decision billboards announcing photo ID as a requirement came down.

Confusion was compounded when PECO, the Philadelphia power company, sent a newsletter to 840,000 customers in its October billing with an announcement that voters must have a valid photo ID. A company spokesman said that the bills started going out a couple of days before the court decision and that an updated announcement is on its Web site. He said the information will be corrected in the November billing, which will be mailed Oct. 28.

Irwin Aronson, an attorney for the AFL-CIO’s Lawyers Coordinating Committee, a group of 2,000 volunteer labor attorneys working on elections rights issues in key states, said that the act of poll workers asking for photo ID could suppress the vote in some communities.

“We’re very concerned,” he said, adding that poll workers, who are not required by the state to undergo training, may not be fully versed on the court decision, which could slow lines and ultimately discourage people from voting.

Late Friday, the Advancement Project, a civil rights organization, filed a petition asking Simpson to order Pennsylvania officials to cease advertising and distributing information about the photo ID requirement.

Click here to read the entire story.

Click here to watch the revised Pa. Voter ID Commercial.

Click here to watch the original Pa. Voter Id Commercial.

Every now and then I get tired and need to be reminded as to why I continue to run this blog as well as do all the other things I continue to do for our community.  Working a full-time job as a supervisor as well as running this blog and trying to complete a novel are very daunting tasks, but when I read stories like that of George Stinney Jr. I’m reminded as to why I continue to fight for my community.

For you who do not know, George Stinney Jr., at the age of 14, was the youngest American to be executed in the 20th century after he was accused of murdering two white girls.  I repeat, he was only 14 years old and of course this was during the time when white folks didn’t put on any pretense when it came to killing black folks.

Every time I look at that picture of Stinney, I cry.  The innocence on his face shoots a pain to my heart that I can’t describe.  Hell, I’m crying while I write this so forgive me if some of this is a little incoherent.  It’s something so heartbreaking about the injustice that has taken and continues to take place in this country.  How can people expect Black Folks to get over stuff like this when this stuff is never acknowledged?  You’ll never see the story of George Stinney Jr. in any school’s history book.

Yesterday (October 21) would have been Stinney’s 83rd birthday which makes him exactly two years older than my grandfather.  George Stinney could have easily been my grandfather.

My grandfather was run out of his hometown because of a lynch mob.  That’s how close he came to being ‘Strange Fruit.’

That history is what makes me continue to fight the good fight.  I honor George Stinney Jr. and the countless men and women that came before him.  We have to do better.

Click here to read more about George Stinney Jr.

NEW YORK (AP) — A woman who was eight months pregnant was found stabbed to death Saturday in her apartment, the day before her wedding, police said.

Vindalee Smith, 38, was found on the floor of her apartment in the East Flatbush section of Brooklyn with a gaping wound in her neck. It wasn't clear how long she'd been dead before the body was discovered by her landlord. Her unborn child did not survive.

There was no sign of forced entry, and no weapon was recovered, police said. Investigators are looking for a possible suspect. They interviewed her friends and family, and spoke to her fiance.

"I can't even begin to imagine who would want to do that," her friend, Sybil Samuel, told local newspapers. "It would be the devil, to kill a woman with a child in her stomach. They killed two people."

Smith was a mother of four, friends said. A baby shower had been planned for Saturday evening, followed by a small wedding Sunday. Friends told reporters that Smith had met her fiance about a year ago.

Smith was a devout Seventh-Day Adventist and attended New Dimension Church, where she was supposed to get married. Congregation members were concerned when she didn't show up for morning service.

"She was always on time— always the first person at church," Tyler Harrigan told the Daily News of New York. "When the news came to the church, the whole church broke down. We started to bawl. All the children were crying."

A crowd of mourners gathered outside Smith's home, praying and weeping, and singing hymns. The church pastor Rev. Ferron Francis told the Daily News that Smith had once feuded with a former neighbor who threatened to kill her, but it was months ago and the trouble had stopped when she moved to the new apartment.

Calls made by The Associated Press to the church were not immediately returned.

Some friends said that Smith once worked for a home health care agency, but may have been recently unemployed.

An autopsy was scheduled for Sunday.

Oct 19, 2012

Season 2 of SCANDAL is definitely suspenseful and leaving viewers on edge with all of the salacious predicaments going on in the nation's capital.  The talented writers are definitely holding to their theme of nothing is as it seems.  Kerry Washington is holding it down as the powerful and influential Olivia Pope.  But you know what?  I am not crazy about her personal scandal.  I am really over it.  Other than it being another scandal, what's the point of it?  Is it just more drama?  As my cousin pointed out, its what makes the show "hot."  Yeah ok...I can appreciate them not making her a stone and allowing her character to show her conflicting emotions.  However, it is hard to watch her character pine over a man that she cannot and will not have.   How long will we have to endure that?  I imagine that storyline will get old really quick; it has already gotten old with me.  If their relationship is made known, is that the demise of Olivia Pope?  How will that affect the longevity of the show because the big secret is out?  All of the other scandals are very interesting and carry the show.  But since the scandal of Olivia and the president is already a part of the show, if it were removed or resolved, would the show be just as scandalous.  If we want to get all deep with the racial implications, I could go there but I would rather not.

In any case, I just wanted to air out my thoughts on it.  After watching the latest episode, I just recognized that I wasn't really feelin' that particular scandal and I hope that her character can still hold an audience without it.

(AJC) --- Morehouse College says it will furlough faculty and staff and make other budget cuts because of a drop in enrollment.

The Atlanta college is teaching 2,360 students — about 125 fewer than projected, Interim Provost Willis Sheftall said Thursday. He attributed the drop to the sluggish economy and changes to a federal loan program that has led to enrollment declines at historically black colleges around the country.

Normally about 8 percent of Morehouse students who pay a deposit to attend don’t enroll, but it doubled to 16 percent this year, in part because of the new loan rules.

“This is a challenge, no question about that,” Sheftall said. “But it is not a crisis.”

Colleges across the country have reported an increase in loan denials after the U.S. Department of Education tightened standards for the Parent Loan for Undergraduate Students. Prospective borrowers can’t have any defaults, foreclosures, bankruptcies, tax liens or wage garnishments within the past five years.

The department has said the tighter regulations protect taxpayer money and prevent people from accumulating debt they can’t afford.

Unlike other federal loans there is no cap for this program and parents can borrow enough money to pay the full cost for their children to attend college. Nearly 1 million families borrowed more than $10 billion last year.

Locally, Clark Atlanta University and Spelman College also say enrollment dropped in part because of the new rules.

Loan denials at Clark Atlanta increased from 25 percent last year to more than 65 percent this year, President Carlton Brown said in a statement.

The university’s enrollment dropped by 443 students to 3,400 this fall. As a result the school has cut travel and other spending, and all requests to fill positions will be vetted through the Enrollment Crisis Committee, Brown wrote.

“We will, where possible, pursue contractual reductions,” he said.

Spelman’s fall enrollment dropped by a dozen students to 2,074 this fall. That’s above the school’s 2,050 target and the college doesn’t expect to adjust its budget. Spelman provided additional scholarships to students who were denied the federal loan.

Morehouse plans to increase fundraising efforts so it can offer more scholarships and grants to students whose families are denied a PLUS loan, Sheftall said.

To cut spending the college plans “no more than five furlough days,” he said. Most faculty and managers will take their days during spring break while other staff spread their days throughout the budget year, he said.

During the spring semester Morehouse will reduce the number of part-time faculty, which Sheftall said could increase the number of students in some classes and give students fewer course sections to choose from.

PORTLAND, Oregon —Local Boy Scout leaders, police officials, prosecutors and mayors helped hush up numerous child sex abuse allegations against scoutmasters and other volunteers, according to details in a trove of nearly 15,000 pages of so-called “perversion files” compiled by the Scouts from 1959 to the mid-1980s.

Portland attorney Kelly Clark released the files on Thursday.

The Associated Press obtained copies of the files weeks in advance and conducted an extensive review of them.

The files document allegations of sex abuse by Scouting volunteers across the country. The Scouts have been collecting the documents since the early 1900s, and continue to do so.

At the news conference, Clark blasted the Boy Scouts for their continuing legal battles to try to keep the full trove of files secret.

“You do not keep secrets hidden about dangers to children,” said Clark, who in 2010 won a landmark lawsuit against the Boy Scouts on behalf of a plaintiff who was molested by an assistant scoutmaster in the 1980s.

Clark’s colleague, Paul Mones, said the files in the Portland case represent “the pain and anguish of thousands of Scouts” who were abused by Scout leaders.

The two attorneys were releasing all 14,500 documents used in the Portland case at their website: kellyclarkattorney.com .

Clark has been in possession of the files since he represented a Portland man who was abused by his assistant scoutmaster in the 1980s. That lawsuit culminated in a jury finding in his client’s favor in 2010. It was a landmark case, and the Scouts were ordered to pay $20 million.

Files on 1,200 suspected abusers were used in evidence in that case. The Scouts launched a legal battle to keep the documents confidential, but the Oregon Supreme Court ruled in June they could be released to the public with the redaction of victims’ names.

Many of the files released Thursday have been written about before, but this is the first time the earliest ones have been put in the public domain.

The files show that on many occasions the files succeeded in keeping pedophiles out of Scouting leadership positions — the reason they were collected in the first place.

But the files also document some troubling patterns.

For example, a number of alleged pedophiles were able to continue in Scouting because of decisions by local Scout leaders and sometimes pressure from community leaders. In multiple cases, judges, pastors, county attorneys and others intervened to keep the name of Scouting out of the courts or off the front page.

Click here to read the original LA Times article that initially broke this story.

Faizon Love tells TMZ ... Katt Williams PULLED A GUN ON HIM during a heated argument outside a Hollywood nightclub Tuesday night ... shortly before Katt was cuffed by cops and taken to the station.

Love tells us ... he was parking his car near Supperclub, when he saw Katt ... and they got into it over a $50,000 debt Katt allegedly owes him.

Love says, "Once the argument escalated, Katt went to his car to go get his gun to pull it out on me.”

“Fortunately, one of my homeboys who was there took the gun out of Katt's hands."

Faizon continues, "Come to find out the gun he pulled out on me was not even loaded. My homeboy gave it back to him ... then we went in the club.”

Minutes later, Williams was arrested for a possible gun violation ... but Love insists he is NOT the person who called the cops.

“I am just extremely upset that his punk ass would pull a gun out on me and even play with me like that," Love says ... adding, "He better chill his ass out."

Katt was released from custody that night. After being released, Williams told us he did nothing wrong. 

As for Faizon's allegations -- we reached out to Katt ... so far no response.

Oct 18, 2012

PITTSBURGH (WTAE) — A 26-year-old man has been arrested and charged with trying to extort $15,000 from retired Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Hines Ward in an attempt to have his “silence” paid for.

According to the district attorney’s office, a personal assistant to Ward received a text message from a number belonging to Josh Van Auker on Oct. 17.

In the text, Van Auker indicated that if he did not receive the money, he would either sell or release materials alleging Ward paid women for sex, according to the criminal complaint.

Ward’s assistant told detectives that Van Auker believed his girlfriend had been in a relationship with Ward, and when he found out about it, threatened to expose the former Steeler unless he received the money, according to the complaint.

The assistant said Van Auker told him, "It’s called buying silence, brother,” according to the complaint.

One day later, on Oct. 18, the assistant met Van Auker on Broad Street in Sewickley and gave him $15,000 that was provided by police, according to the complaint.

Van Auker then handed the assistant an envelope containing the materials that would allegedly expose Ward, according to the complaint.

Detectives with the district attorney’s office arrested Van Auker after the exchange and charged him with two counts of attempted extortion.

Van Auker was awaiting arraignment in night court on Thursday evening.

A representative for Ward, who retired in March after 14 seasons with the Steelers, said they are also investigating the incident and would not be commenting at this time.