Newswire : Now is the time to repair, not repeal, the Affordable Care Act

Alabama Arise

Arise Citizens’ Policy Project executive director Kimble Forrister issued the following statement Tuesday in response to the collapse of U.S. Senate efforts to “repeal and replace” the Affordable Care Act:

“The defeat of the Senate’s awful health care bill was a victory for Alabama families. This cruel plan would have gutted Medicaid, which provides essential health coverage for children, seniors, and people with disabilities in every corner of our state, to pay for huge tax cuts for rich people and big corporations. It would have hammered rural hospitals and nursing homes while sending insurance costs soaring for many older Alabamians. And it would have sent us back to the bad old days of limiting benefits and discriminating against folks with pre-existing conditions.

“Powerful advocacy from everyday people across Alabama and across the country stopped the bad Senate bill in its tracks. We urge senators to stop trying to repeal the Affordable Care Act and start trying to make it work better for everyone. Our lawmakers should work together in an open, thoughtful, bipartisan way to strengthen the ACA, reduce insurance costs and extend quality, affordable health care to all Americans.”

Arise Citizens’ Policy Project is a nonprofit, nonpartisan coalition of congregations, organizations and individuals promoting public policies to improve the lives of low-income Alabamians.

ANSA endorses Attorney Doug Jones, Birmingham, in the Democratic Primary for U. S. Senate on August 15

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Candidate Doug Jones with Greene County Commissioner Michael Williams (Dist. 5) at the ANSA screening

 

After a screening meeting with seven candidates for the position of U. S. Senator from Alabama, the Alabama New South Alliance unanimously endorsed Attorney Doug Jones of Birmingham for this position, in the statewide Democratic Primary set for August 15, 2017.
This is a special election, prescribed by Governor Kay Ivey to fill the U. S. Senate seat that was vacated by Jefferson Beauregard Sessions when he was selected to be U. S. Attorney General Luther Strange was appointed by Governor Robert Bentley to occupy this seat until the special election. Strange is running for the position in the Republican primary against several challengers including former Supreme Court Chief Justice Roy Moore, congressman Mo Brooks, and eight others.
“It was the unanimous consensus of our ANSA Screening Committee to endorse Doug Jones for this U. S. Senate position, in the Democratic Primary, in the Special Election on August 15, 2017. He met all of the criteria that we set up to measure candidates and he gave strong answers to a wide array of questions raised by our committee,” said Sharon Calhoun, Co-Chair of ANSA.
Doug Jones was the former U. S. Attorney for North Alabama, based in Birmingham from 1997 to 2002. He was appointed by President Clinton and confirmed by a Republican controlled Senate.

Jones is best known for the successful prosecution of those responsible for killing four young girls in the 1963 Sixteenth Street Baptist Church bombing.
In 2002, Jones was the lead prosecutor in the case that won murder convictions against Thomas Blanton and Bobby Frank Cherry for the bombing of the Sixteenth Street Baptist Church that killed four girls. The convictions came nearly 40 years after the 1963 bombing.
Jones also worked on the indictment of Birmingham abortion clinic bomber Eric Robert Rudolph, whose 1998 attack killed an off-duty police officer and severely injured a clinic nurse. Rudolph, who also placed a bomb at the Atlanta Olympics, was captured and convicted after Jones left office.
Jones has worked in private practice in Birmingham for the past 15 years and represented various clients including former Jefferson County Commissioner Chris McNair and others in various cases.
Jones said in his interview that Alabama officials spend too little time focused on the real concerns of the people — jobs, health care and education — and instead have “played on our fears and exploited our divisions for their own self interests.”
“We need leaders who people can talk to, reason with, and trust even if they don’t agree on every political position. We need leaders who people can talk to, reason with, and trust even if they don’t agree on every political position.”
Jones indicated that his work on the Birmingham church bombing cases had gained him a national following and reputation which would help in fundraising and support for his Senate race.
He told the ANSA Screening Committee, “ I want to work to use this Senate race to reinvigorate the Democratic Party in Alabama. This will be a transformational race and hopefully it will open the doors for the 2018 state races for Governor and Legislature.”
Seven candidates appeared before the ANSA Screening Committee on Saturday. They included six Democrats and one Republican. The Democrats in addition to Doug Jones were: Michael Hansen, Rev. Will Boyd, Jason E. Fisher, Vann Caldwell, and Brian McGee. The Republican was James Baretta.
“We want to encourage these candidates to stay active in the political process. We could only endorse one for this special election – but we will need many Democratic candidates in the 2018 election. We encourage these candidates to remain active with ANSC and ANSA and prepare for future elections,” said Gus Townes, ANSA Co-Chair.
For more information on the ANSA endorsement contact: Ms. Shelley Fearson – 334/262-0932

Newswire: With few riches left to plunder, Angola’s old guard moves on

Angola construction site

Chinese construction site in Lubango, Angola

Jun 26, 2017 (GIN) – Africa’s oil giants are tightening their belts as the sale price of “King Oil”, buffeted by cheaper fracked gas, solar and other renewables, hits new lows.
The promises of prosperity have faded in Ghana, Uganda, and Nigeria, among other oil producers.
Perhaps the saddest scenario can be found in Angola – whose capital Luanda was not long ago rated among the most expensive cities in the world, along with Zurich, London, Hong Kong, Sydney, Singapore and Tokyo. Yet 94% of the population in rural areas is categorized as poor.
“The oil boom offered a golden opportunity for self-enrichment,” observed Norimitsu Onishi of the New York Times. Under President José Eduardo dos Santos, his inner circle of family and allies amassed extraordinary wealth.
Isabel dos Santos, the president’s eldest daughter, became Africa’s first female billionaire, according to Forbes Magazine, which estimates her wealth at $3.3 billion.
Now, with lowered hopes for an oil recovery, Mr. dos Santos prepares to step down after 38 years in power. Meanwhile, the country’s building boom and the wealth of its ruling class are coming under greater scrutiny and in some cases prosecution for abusive excesses.
Last April, Brazilian construction giant Odebrecht SA was ordered to pay $2.6 billion in fines in a massive criminal corruption case that included bribing Angolan officials to approve building projects. The case was heard in a Brooklyn federal court.
A study by Angola’s Center for Studies and Scientific Research at the Catholic University, found that $28 billion from government budgets for the period 2002 to 2015 was unaccounted for. Up to 35 percent of the money spent on road construction alone has vanished, according to the center’s investigation.
During the same period, Angolan companies and individuals invested $189 billion overseas in often opaque transactions, the center found.
Former prime minister and ex-secretary general of the ruling party, Lopo do Nascimento, compared government spending to “opening a window and throwing out money.”
Currently, elections are scheduled for August, but the hand-picked candidate for presidency has run into trouble of his own. A Portuguese judge has ruled that Vice President Manuel Vicente must be prosecuted for corruption and money laundering, including bribing a magistrate when he headed the state-run oil company Sonangol.

Two of his legal and financial representatives in Portugal have also been charged

Newswire: Black girls are viewed as less innocent than white girls starting at age 5

Study the “adultification” of black girls leads to harsher disciplinary treatment, researchers found.

By Taryn Finley

Young Black Girl

A new report found that adults view young Black girls as less innocent and more adult-like than white girls starting as young as 5 years old.
“Girlhood Interrupted: The Erasure of Black Girls’ Childhood,” released on Tuesday by Georgetown Law’s Center on Poverty and Inequality, shows that society’s perception of Black girls leads to their “adultification.” The report shows that adults believe that Black girls seem older than white girls of the same age, and think that Black girls need less nurturing, protection, support and comfort than white girls. It also found that people assume black girls are more independent, know more about adult topics and know more about sex than young white girls.
The report — which built on information from a 2014 study by Phillip Goff that found that black boys are more likely to be viewed as older and suspected of crimes starting at age 10 —is the first of its kind to focus on girls. Researchers surveyed 325 adults from racial and ethnic backgrounds in a ratio that mirrors the country’s population. Many of the adults surveyed had a high school diploma or higher. They found the biggest differences in the ways adults view children in the age brackets 5-9 and 10-14. These differences continued to a lesser degree in the 15-19 age bracket.
Rebecca Epstein, lead author and executive director for the center, and Jamilia J. Blake, co-author and an associate professor at Texas A&M University, broke down the relationship adultification has on the ways Black girls are disciplined during a press conference call Tuesday.
“One reason this might be occurring is because Black girls are being held to the same stereotypes we have of black women,” Blake said. “Black women have historically and currently been seen as being aggressive, loud, defiant and oversexualized. And I believe, along with many other researchers, that the stereotypes of Black women are being mapped on to Black girls.”
Researchers found that adult perceptions have a “casual connection” to why Black girls are disciplined more harshly than their peers in school and beyond. Black girls are five times more likely to be suspended as white girls and twice as likely to be suspended as white boys, according to research used in this study.
And though they make up less than 16 percent of the female school population, Black girls account for 28 percent of referrals to law enforcement and 37 percent of arrests. Black girls are also almost three times more likely than white girls to be referred to the juvenile justice system and 20 percent more likely to be charged with a crime.
“The consequences of entering the juvenile justice system can’t be ignored,” Epstein said. “As we know, it can change the course of a girl’s life. But despite these startling statistics, there’s precious little research about why this different treatment happens; why are black girls subjected to more discipline and greater contact with the juvenile justice system? And at the center, we wanted to look at those possible root causes.”
Take trip with everything Glad I’ll be in Maryland two I’ll be home store-bought and tear During their research, Epstein recalled talking to a young black girl who said her teacher told her, “You’re just like an angry Black woman.”
“There’s kind of this social stereotype and of course there’s something about being resilient, being independent, but when this stereotype is put on girls at a very young age, it really robs them, whether they realize it or not, of this kind of naiveté of being a child,” she said.
The authors said they hope that researchers and teachers examine the “causal connection between adultification and harsh treatment,” and that policymakers make concerted efforts to counteract this bias. Epstein said Georgetown Law’s Center on Poverty and Inequality will being doing its part by creating an initiative on gender justice and opportunity later in the year. In all future related efforts, Epstein said it’s essential to center those affected the most.
“In all of this work, voices of black girls themselves should be front and center to the work,” she said. “We encourage black girls to raise their voices about this issue and, of course, for adults to listen to them. All Black girls are entitled to and deserve equal treatment, including equal access to the protections that are appropriate for children.”

Eutaw City Council opens bids on surplus vehicles and property

Sheila Smith presenting a check for police car video systems to Police Chief Derick Coleman and Mayor Raymond Steele.

At its regular meeting on May 9, 2017, the Eutaw City Council opened bids on surplus vehicles and property that had been advertised for sale.
City Attorney Ken Aycock opened and read the bids at the meeting. The City Council approved a motion to sell the property to the highest bidder. All items save one, lot number 8 for a 2000 Ford Crown Victoria, were sold. The City realized approximately $6,000 from this sale, which can used toward the acquisition of new property.
The City Council meeting also included a motion by Council members LaTasha Johnson and LaJeffrey Carpenter to add four items to the agenda, which were discussed in a working session but were not included on the agenda distributed by Mayor Steele.

Most of these items dealt with financial matters.
Mayor Raymond Steele protested the addition of these items to the agenda.” You don’t respect me or my judgment. I have not had time to study these items before they are added ton the agenda,” said Steele. The Council members pointed out that Steele had not attended the working meeting and they wanted these items handled.
The items included, changing the check signers on the City Operating Accounts, making personnel policies and time sheets for employees available for review by Council members, placing funds from the bingo operations in a separate account from other funds for use for capital improvements required in the city, and fixing the roof and other aspects of the repair of the National Guard Armory in stages. These items were approved as a package.
In reviewing the bills and claims for the month of April, Council members asked many questions concerning the presentation of the accounting reports, the lack of a formal budget to measure expenditures against and spending of funds from the bingo account for general expenses instead of capital improvements. The Council agreed to have a working session on finances on May 16 to get a better handle on the city’s finances. Councilman Joe L. Powell moved that the Council pay the bills that were presented but not accept the financial report as presented until it is improved.
The Council approved the Municipal Water Participation and Procedures (MWPP) report for the past year and forwarded it on the Alabama Department of Environmental Management.
Mayor Steele reported that the contractors were pouring the footings for the new water tower behind City Hall. “The tower should be complete in 9 to 12 months,“ said Steele.
Councilwoman Sheila H. Smith raised the question of whether all of the inoperable fire hydrants in Eutaw would be replaced by the USDA Rural Development Program Loan and Grant program. Mayor Steele said he was meeting with the project engineers and would bring up that question with them. He also said 1500 new self-reporting water meters would also be installed as part of the project.
Councilwomen Smith also asked about the procedure for using city land at the old swimming pool site on Highway 11 for vendors interested in participating in the Antique Alley program and sale. The Mayor said the vendors should make application with the City Clerk similar to use of the park and National Guard Armory.
LaJeffrey Carpenter raised issues on ditches and streets in his district that needed clearing as well as work needed at the entrance to the M&M Subdivision to make it more visible in relation to traffic on Highway 43.
At the end of the meeting Sheila Smith presented City Police Chief Derick Coleman a check for $1,871.75 from the Tommy Summerville Police Foundation for purchase of car video systems for each Eutaw police vehicle. These funds were generated for the Foundation from bingo operations at the new Palace facility.

NNPA exclusive: Bill Cosby finally breaks his silence

By Stacy M. Brown (NNPA Newswire Contributor)

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 Bill Cosby

Bill Cosby is blind. It’s been more than two years since the embattled, television and film legend, who was once known as “America’s Dad,” has spoken out publicly. During a recent interview with the NNPA Newswire, Cosby revealed that he’s lost his sight.
Waking one morning about two years ago, he nervously called out to Camille, his wife. “I can’t see,” he said. Doctors later confirmed the worst: that there was nothing that could be done to repair his vision.
“When he would perform, we’d draw a wide straight yellow line from backstage to the chair on the stage and he’d rehearse the walk, hours before the show,” said Andrew Wyatt of the Purpose PR firm, a public relations agency in Birmingham, Ala. Wyatt has worked with Cosby for years.
Wyatt said that his star client has decided that it’s time to talk. Together, Wyatt and Cosby said they grew comfortable that the NNPA Newswire would be more interested in “facts over sensationalism.”
Cosby has shunned most media inquiries, since allegations of sexual misconduct surfaced in late 2014; some of those accusations dated back almost fifty years. In 2015, According to CNN, Cosby was charged with three counts of felony aggravated assault in a case involving Andrea Constand, a former Temple University employee.
Earlier this year, CNN reported that Cosby’s, “criminal sexual assault trial will stay in Montgomery County Court in Pennsylvania, but the jurors will come from another Pennsylvania county.” In February, a federal judge dismissed a defamation lawsuit filed against Cosby by accuser Katherine McKee, according to USA Today.
“This marks the third defamation lawsuit against Cosby that was either withdrawn or dismissed recently, prompting some Cosby crowing,” USA Today reported. “However, another defamation case against him, filed by six accusers, is still pending in the same federal court in Massachusetts.”
While the beleaguered superstar declined to address any of his legal cases, his youngest daughter, Evin felt compelled to speak out. In a statement, which can be read in its entirety on BlackPressUSA.com, Evin, 40, questioned the veracity of the allegations against her father.
“The harsh and hurtful accusations…that supposedly happened 40 or 50 years ago, before I was born, in another lifetime, and that have been carelessly repeated as truth without allowing my dad to defend himself and without requiring proof, has punished not just my dad but every one of us,” Evin said.
Devin T. Robinson X, an actor and renowned poet who’s been featured on MTV, NBC, CBS and BET, said that Bill Cosby represents the finest example of someone being found guilty in the court of public opinion without ever facing trial. “Punishing people before they’re convicted in court only seems accurate when it serves a media narrative that doesn’t hurt a specific demographic,” Robinson said.
Dr. E. Faye Williams, the president and CEO of the National Congress of Black Women, Inc., agreed. “If the President of the United States can go on working in the White House after he has bragged about doing gross, sexually-explicit and abusive things to women, without their permission, then justice requires that Bill Cosby should not be punished, unless he is convicted of crimes,” said Williams.
Perhaps, the closest Cosby came to addressing his ongoing legal battles during the interview was when he opined about the true history of America. “The history about African-Americans is a history of the United States; but the true histories, not the propaganda that is standard in our nation’s history books,” Cosby said. “The great writer, James Baldwin, said, ‘If you lie about me, then you lie about yourself.’ The revolution is in the home. There is something about someone saying, ‘I didn’t know that,’ that could cause a change in that person’s thinking.”
Cosby said he thinks about his illustrious career that, at least for now, has been placed on hold because of the court cases. Few have achieved the legendary status enjoyed by Cosby. His career has spanned more than six decades and includes a host of best-selling comedy albums and books, gold and platinum records, and five Grammy Awards.
With his role in “I-Spy” in the 1960s, Cosby became the first African-American co-star in a dramatic series, breaking TV’s color barrier and winning three Emmy Awards.
After starring opposite Academy Award winner Sidney Poitier in the 1970s trilogy, “Uptown Saturday Night,” “Let’s Do It Again,” and “A Piece of the Action,” Cosby’s star soared even higher in the 1980s when he single-handedly revived the family sitcom and, some argue, saved NBC with “The Cosby Show.”
“Darn right,” he said, when asked if he missed performing. “I miss it all and I hope that day will come. I have some routines and storytelling that I am working on. Cosby continued: “I think about walking out on stage somewhere in the United States of America and sitting down in a chair and giving the performance that will be the beginning of the next chapter of my career.”

President Trump could spend more on traveling in one year than Obama did during his entire time in office

BY CHRIS SOMMERFELDT, NEW YORK DAILY NEWS

If he keeps up his current pace, President Trump will apparently spend more taxpayer money on traveling in one year than former President Barack Obama did throughout his eight years in office.
Trump’s frequent trips to his private Florida club, Mar-a-Lago, have already cost taxpayers more than $20 million since he took office on Jan. 20, according to estimations based on a 2016 Government Accountability Office report.
The revelation, first reported by CNN on Monday, stands in sharp contrast to Trump’s pledge to slash federal funding — and in even sharper contrast to his repeated criticisms of his predecessor’s travels.

“The habitual vacationer, @BarackObama, is now in Hawaii,” he tweeted on Dec. 27, 2011. “This vacation is costing taxpayers $4 million +++ while there is 20% unemployment.”
Obama spent a little less than $97 million on travels throughout his two presidential terms, according to a December 2016 report compiled by the conservative-leaning Judicial Watch group. Those figures include both official White House trips and personal travels, such as family vacations.

While it’s complex to calculate Trump’s exact travel costs so far, an estimate can be determined by comparing the cost of a four-day Florida trip Obama took in 2013 to Trump’s frequent Mar-a-Lago visits. Obama’s trip, which was similar in length and nature to Trump’s Florida visits, cost taxpayers $3.6 million.
As of Monday, Trump has spent a total of 21 days at Mar-a-Lago since becoming President. Based on the expense figure from Obama’s 2013 trip, Trump’s total travel costs therefore amount to roughly $21.6 million so far.

If he keeps up that pace for another nine months, Trump will easily surpass Obama’s $97 million mark.
Meanwhile, Trump’s federal budget proposes to slash spending by $54 billion. The cuts would severely impact the Environmental Protection Agency, the State Department and the Department of Housing and Urban Development. The budget also proposes to completely eliminate federal funding for the National Endowments for the Arts and Humanities.

Even though he harshly blasted Obama for occasionally playing golf while in office, Trump has on several occasions been spotted on the links during his mini-vacations to Florida. “Can you believe that, with all of the problems and difficulties facing the U.S., President Obama spent the day playing golf,” Trump tweeted on Oct. 13, 2014.