Category Archives: current events

Fatal Stabbing of Black Student at University of Maryland Investigated as Possible Hate Crime

The FBI is helping to evaluate whether the fatal stabbing by a white student of a black student visiting the University of Maryland will be prosecuted as a hate crime, university police said Sunday.

Richard Wilbur Collins III was with two friends on the university’s campus in College Park when he was approached by a man and stabbed in the chest with a knife Saturday morning, University of Maryland Police Chief David Mitchell told reporters.

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Image: twitter

The 23-year-old had been commissioned as a lieutenant in the US Army two days before his death and had been set to graduate from Bowie State University (BSU) on Tuesday in a ceremony at Maryland, Mitchell said.

The University of Maryland student suspected of Collins’s killing was a member of a Facebook group named Alt Reich, Mitchell said.

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Court fines and fees: Another barrier to North Carolina’s ballot box

How much money do you have to pay before you cast your ballot on Election Day?

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Image: myfloridalaw.com

For most North Carolinians, the answer might seem obvious: none. As the cornerstone of our democracy, voting is supposed to be fair, accessible – and free. But for an increasing number of North Carolinians, the right to vote can cost anywhere from hundreds to thousands of dollars.

How is that possible? The answer is because North Carolina denies the right to vote to people who have felony convictions but cannot afford to pay their court costs, even if they have satisfied all other probation requirements.

Thanks to an ever-growing system of mandatory fines and fees, those caught up in the criminal justice system can be forced to pay anywhere from $40 to hundreds of dollars a month for the cost of their court administration, jail fees, probation, electronic monitoring, drug testing, even community service – and more. If they are unable to pay, they face a penalty fee for nonpayment, increasing their fees and lengthening their probation period.

These costs have increased substantially over time. In 1999, the base cost a person would pay for a superior court date was $106. Today the base cost is $198 with the potential to grow to more than $10,000 in serious cases as additional penalties snowball. Even if they have served all the terms of their sentence, even if they have had no probation violations, low-income people often remain on probation simply because they are low-income. And in far too many North Carolina courts, judges will not conduct hearings on a person’s inability to pay, as is required by law.

More from NC Policy Watch

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Will Sinclair Broadcast Group take on Fox News after buying Tribune Media in a $3.9-billion deal?

Sinnclair Broadcast Group Inc., the Baltimore-based company that has kept a low profile, will become a nationwide player with the planned acquisition of Tribune Media and its 42 TV stations, giving it a powerful platform to potentially launch a right-leaning programming service to rival Fox News.

The company, which already is the largest TV station group owner in the U.S. with 139 stations, has operated largely out of the media business fishbowl because it had no outlet in New York or Los Angeles.

Now, with the Tribune acquisition, Sinclair will have a footprint in most of the country’s major markets, spanning about a third of the nation’s households.

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Image : wgntv

Sinclair said Monday that it will acquire Tribune Media Co. for $3.9 billion plus the assumption of about $2.7 billion in debt. Tribune shareholders are to receive $35 in cash and 0.23 of a share of Sinclair common stock for each Tribune share; based on Tribune’s closing stock price Friday, that’s a total value of $43.50 a share.

WGN is Tribune’s flagship station, founded by the Chicago Tribune in 1948.

More from LA Times

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Wake up people! The Right is just getting started…North Carolina General Assembly…Rouge One

Image: NC Policy Watch

Conservatives are working to radically overhaul the American social contract

At the conclusion of the whirlwind 2011 session of the North Carolina General Assembly — a session in which new conservative majorities pushed through a raft of dramatic policy changes —many progressive North Carolinians surveyed the aftermath and found themselves actually breathing a sigh of relief. There was a widespread feeling that the fury of the storm had passed, that the Right had vented its collective spleen and that, having pushed through so much of its long-stymied policy agenda, conservative leaders would settle down to focus on governing the state.

The simple truth is that the Right was then and is now only just getting started. If you doubt this, take a gander at the outrageous list of destructive proposals debated in the General Assembly last week. On issue after issue – K-12 and higher education, taxes, voting rights, the environment, the safety net, church and state, immigration, guns, women’s rights, LGBTQ rights, the relationship between corporations and human beings – conservative politicians and advocacy groups that inform and fuel their efforts are pushing the envelope ever further to the right.

More from NC Policy Watch

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The new reality on health care: Some Republicans don’t want Obamacare repealed

WHERE THINGS STAND, HEALTH CARE EDITION — Republican efforts on health care can be summed up pretty simply: two steps forward, one step back. After reviving what seemed like a dead health care package, President Donald Trump’s White House and House Republicans’ efforts to try to pass a compromise package are once again on life support. Speaker Paul Ryan and House leaders decided to postpone a vote on the package to next week at the earliest, but it is unclear if they’ll be able to find enough votes. Republicans can lose roughly 22 votes. There are 15 House Republicans who solidly oppose the measure and another 20 that are leaning against voting for it. See Rachael Bade and John Bresnahan http://politi.co/2oS0pFY

IT’S ALSO IMPORTANT TO REMEMBER — Whatever the House does with Obamacare is only an opening salvo. Senate Republicans haven’t been engaged in the effort and they would make major changes to whatever the House passes.

More from Politico

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Don’t Fall for Trump’s Corporate Tax Giveaway

Trump wants to cut the corporate tax rate from 35 percent to 15 percent, in order to “make the United States more competitive.”

This is truly dumb, for 5 reasons:

1. The White House says the United States has one of the highest corporate tax rates in the world. Baloney. After corporate deductions and tax credits, the typical corporation pays an effective tax rate of 27.9 percent, only a tad higher than the average of 27.7 percent among advanced nations.

2. Trump’s corporate tax cut will bust the federal budget. According to the Congress’s own Joint Committee on Taxation, it will reduce federal revenue by $2 trillion over 10 years. This will either require huge cuts in programs for the poor, or additional tax revenues from the rest of us.

3. The White House says the tax cuts will create a jump in economic growth that will generate enough new revenue to wipe out any increase in the budget deficit. This is supply-side nonsense. The Congressional Research Service reviewed tax cuts since 1945 and found no evidence they generate economic growth. Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush both cut taxes, and both ended their presidencies with huge budget deficits. Bill Clinton raised taxes, and the economy created more jobs than it did under Bush or Reagan.

4. American corporations don’t need a tax cut. They’re already hugely competitive as measured by their profits – which are at near record highs.

5. The White House says corporations will use the extra profits they get from the tax cut to invest in more capacity and jobs. Rubbish. They’re now using a large portion of their profits to buy back their shares of stock and to buy other companies, in order to raise their stock prices. There’s no reason to suppose they’ll do any different with even more profits.

Don’t fall for Trump’s corporate tax giveaway. It will be a huge windfall for corporations and a huge burden on ordinary Americans.

By Robert Reich / RobertReich.org

Posted by The NON-Conformist

Suspended Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore Running For Sessions’ Former Senate Seat

Suspended Alabama Chief Justice and gay marriage opponent Roy Moore announced Wednesday he is running for U.S. Senate.

The fiery Republican jurist, who was suspended from the bench on accusations that he urged defiance of the landmark U.S. Supreme Court decision allowing gays and lesbians to marry, said he will seek the Senate seat previously held by U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions. He made the announcement in a news conference on the steps of the Alabama Capitol.

Moore told supporters he believes in the vision of President Donald Trump

“We can make America great again, we’ve got to make America good again,”Moore said.

He charged that families are being destroyed by divorce and the US Supreme Court has destroyed the institution of marriage.

More from TPM

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