Rep. Payton Jr., and D. T. Nutter Sr; The Rise -Men by Van Stone
Breaking up with an Abusive Partner is a nightmare on the rise for Black Men. Angry and bitter women who don't want to stop usually go after the kids as a tool to harm both the kids and the man after an
What will Tony Payton Jr., State Rep., Pennsylvania, Darryl T. Nutter Sr., Front Page News Journalist, Philadelphia, Teee Coston, TBM Organization Founder, New York, and Shelly C. Dugan, Esq., Domestic Abuse Project Inc., President, Delaware County do for women and men suffrage? They will do plenty if you are a victim of domestic violence, or you are in an urgent domestic violence situation. As of lately State Rep. Payton has been considering more ways that can get immediate assistance. And he has observed closely that there has been a rise of men who are survivors of domestic violence. Therefore, Rep. Payton is looking forward to supporting groups that have member programs working tirelessly all over the state of PA to help women and men survivors towards safety and freedom.
Rep. Payton has welcomed nonprofit organizations providing training, services, and resources for their own domestic violence programs in Pennsylvania State. Rep. Payton has also provided information for government, media, and the public. Recently, one such public worker advocating along with Rep Payton for more laws that ensure safety and justice for men survivors is Darryl, T. Nutter Sr. Nutter is pushing for everyone to understand that this can and does happen to anyone. It doesn't matter when it comes to witnessing . Nutter is hoping that your race, color, income level, female gender or male gender, or other variables do not stop those in authority from believing the victim. Because most are used to finding that men are the abusers of the domestic violence problem when men flee from abusive relationships looking for help usually they are ignored. Domestic violence is now almost every man’s nightmare too.
Many who are not interested in the rise of men fleeing physical violence at the hands of their female partners have never had a mother, aunt, sister, daughter or niece who has experienced domestic violence. Seeing another human being beat should make you care when you hear instances of one mate injuring another. And Nutter wants to work out a court reform component that is about providing specialized support to domestic violence agencies. I for one want court reform that is for conducting research to promote local-level change and publishing papers on critical issues of males surviving domestic abuse.
The Thoughts of Black Men founder Tee Coston has sent me a note about how in recently in Seattle, the Washington state Supreme Court ruled that employers cannot fire domestic violence victims who take time off work to protect themselves and their families. Coston says that more men are contacting his support group about troubles with women when they try to leave an or miss time from work going to court to protect their children from violent partners. The court noted in its opinion that many of the actions victims must undertake in order to protect themselves -legal proceedings, getting medical attention and finding a new place to live – often must be done during normal working hours. And Nutter is working hard to get this understanding out to employers because many employers feel that men don’t need medical attention when they break up from an abusive woman. Unfortunately father’s children haven beaten so badly by their mothers, that the children end up in the hospital.
But when this happens, Shelly C. Dugan, Esq., President of Domestic Abuse Project of ., (DAP) supports the employee who might have to take a few weeks leave in order to care for their children, go to court, obtain a protection order. And the dad and child may have to move into a battered man’s housing program.. Black men need more services that are free and confidential to help them cope with violent women in their lives.
Each year, DAP provides services to more than 5,000 residents of Delaware County. All services are free, including free representation in Protection from Abuse Hearings. DAP remains the sole provider of these services throughout the 49 townships and boroughs of Delaware County. Get help by calling the DAP Hotline: 24 hours a day.
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Friday, October 31, 2008
Rep. Payton Jr., and D. T. Nutter Sr; The Rise -Men by Van Stone
Posted by Front Page News at 9:52 PM
At the first and the 50th Halloween Parade at Coopertown
In their , Ms. Penn's class of 2nd graders pose with Joel Perlish who attended School 50 years ago... Front row: Spencer Hurst, Lindsay Brogan, Carson Atlas, Matthew Gray, Sarah McGoldrick, Patti Cippolone, Nicole Walheim, Mackenzie Proetto, Michael McGlensey, Erin Gallagher, Matthew Monteleone. Back row: Theresa Brown, Molly LaVoe, Michael McKeon, Ms. Penn (in 50's glasses and costume), Abbey Capobianchi, Jeremy Greifenstein
On desks: Joel Perlish
It was the 50th and Halloween Parade at Coopertown School since the school was opened in 1958. Ms. Karen Penn invited Joel Perlish, who was in the first graduation class at the school, and in that very first Halloween Parade at Coopertown to come visit.
Perlish also taught second and third grade for ten years at Coopertown in the 1970's before moving on to Manoa for the decade of the 1980's.
As far as can be determined Perlish is the only one to have been in that first Halloween Parade in 1958 and in the fiftieth.
Posted by Front Page News at 9:41 PM
The Red Sea!
The City of Philadelphia was a sea of ecstatic fans on Friday for the much-anticipated Phillies' victory parade, one of the biggest celebrations in Philadelphia's history.
The Phillies beat the Tampa Bay Rays on Wednesday night to win the World Series for the first time in 28 years.
For full story go to: http://www.kyw1060.com/
Posted by Front Page News at 9:39 PM
Fans roar as Phillies parade through city
|Throngs of fans cheer as the Philadelphia Phillies and members of the Phillies organization head south down Broad Street during a jubilant victory parade in downtown Philadelphia Friday, Oct. 31, 2008. Hundreds of thousands of spectators packed downtown for Friday's parade celebrating the Phillies' World Series victory against the Tampa Bay Rays.|
PHILADELPHIA (AP) -- Manager Charlie Manuel hoisted the World Series trophy Friday while players basked in a swarm of confetti, the Phanatic mascot danced and hundreds of thousands of Phillies fans roared in celebration of the city's first major sports championship in 25 years.
Left fielder Pat Burrell led the procession, riding a horse-drawn carriage and pumping his fists. Next came eight flatbed trucks filled with waving players and other members of the Phillies organization, including the furry green mascot.
Throngs in Phillies gear packed downtown sidewalks, making them almost impassable. Fans climbed trees, hung out of windows, watched from balconies, carried stepladders and stood on roofs to get a better view.
Center fielder Shane Victorino tossed soft pretzels to the crowd while shortstop Jimmy Rollins turned his hand-held video camera on the gathering.
World Series MVP Cole Hamels tried to fist bump a fan dressed like Philly's favorite fictional boxer, Rocky Balboa, but authorities intervened before they quite pulled it off.
The last time a Philadelphia team won a major title was in 1983, when the 76ers captured the NBA crown. The Phillies won their only other World Series in 1980. Current pitcher Jamie Moyer, who grew up in the Philadelphia suburbs, skipped school to attend it.
"This is unbelievable. I'm starting to understand what it's really all about here," Moyer told The Associated Press as he rode down Broad Street. "I was at the parade in 1980 and that was pretty exciting, but today tops it by far."
The mayor's office declined to give a crowd estimate, saying it would only be a guess.
Ben Anderson, a 25-year-old fan from Bear, Del., pleaded "Come back! Come back next year!" to the team as the players rolled by. Others chanted, "Bring back Pat," a reference to Burrell, who will be a free agent next season.
The Phillies then greeted tens of thousands of fans who had watched the parade on big screens at the city's baseball and football stadiums. The team first stopped at Lincoln Financial Field, where the Eagles play.
"This is the biggest parade I've ever been in," Manuel told the fans. "It's like Christmas came two months early."
The Phillies then headed to their home field of Citizens Bank Park, where a red "2008" banner was raised to celebrate their World Series championship. Manuel leaned into the microphone and giving his best Rocky impersonation: "Yo, man. We love you."
Hamels told the crowd he'd love to come back.
"One thing I can't wait to do is go down Broad Street for that parade again and again and again," Hamels said.
Second baseman Chase Utley approached the microphone and proclaimed, "World champions!" Then he repeated the phrase, with a profanity between "world" and "champions," drawing cheers for minutes. Later Friday, shirts and caps featuring Utley's phrase were offered for sale on the Internet.
Afterward, Utley said he hadn't planned to curse, which was aired live on TV and radio. "I was told I had to talk 10 minutes before I talked. Short and to the point," he said.
Police were unable to immediately say if there were any disturbances or arrests along the parade route, but fans seemed mostly well behaved. Some sprayed champagne as officers in slow-rolling, foam string-covered police cruisers high-fived parade-watchers.
Organizers couldn't have asked for better weather. The clear, sunny skies and 60-degree temperature contrasted with the miserable, frigid rain that forced an unprecedented suspension of Game 5 against the Tampa Bay Rays. The Phillies won the title on Wednesday in wintry cold.
Havertown resident Keith Goodman skipped work to bring his 7-year-old son to Citizens Bank Park.
"I don't know if we'll ever get this chance again," Goodman said. "He's been saying it's been seven long years. I say it's 25 long years."
Nick and Patricia Gavin of suburban Delaware County, who were children when they attended the 1980 parade, brought their own downtown on Friday. Jaclyn, 10, planned to dress as a Phillies ball girl for Halloween, but 8-year-old brother Nicholas was too excited about the World Series to think about trick-or-treating.
"This made me forget about Halloween," he said.
Officials stressed using public transit, but the Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority reported being overwhelmed by midmorning.
The agency ended up temporarily suspending commuter rail service into Philadelphia so that trains would be available for those leaving the parade. But with the stadium ceremony running more than an hour behind schedule, SEPTA said the crush of fans would run right into Friday evening rush hour.
Posted by Front Page News at 9:36 PM
Evidence of a recession piles higher with new data
|A trader works on the floor of New York Stock Exchange Thursday, Oct. 30, 2008.|
WASHINGTON (AP) -- Evidence of a recession piled ever higher Friday, with new figures showing Americans are spending less and gloomy about the economy, while the government signaled it won't buy stock in the financing arms of auto companies to prop them up. The Commerce Department reported consumer spending dropped a sharp 0.3 percent in September while their incomes, the fuel for future spending, managed only a small 0.2 percent gain.
That followed a report a day earlier that the U.S. economy shrank by 0.3 percent in the third quarter. The accepted definition of a recession is two straight quarters of a shrinking economy.
Closing out the worst October in 21 years but one of the best weeks ever, investors did some bargain shopping on Wall Street, snapping up stocks that have plunged in value. The Dow Jones industrial average gained nearly 145 points.
Meanwhile, the outgoing Bush administration sent signals to automakers and other industries hoping for government purchases of their stock that they probably won't qualify for the program.
Administration officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity because the program is still being put together, said it was unlikely the auto companies would be able to qualify for direct government purchases of stock in their auto-financing arms as part of the $250 billion stock purchase program.
They could still be eligible for government purchases of bad assets, such as auto loans, under a separate program that is expected to spend $100 billion initially. The government plans to buy stock in banks and lift bad assets on their books as part of the financial system bailout.
The wrangling over the broader rescue program continued, with Democrats stressing Congress wants the package to be used to pump new loans into the economy, not diverted to stockholders or executives or to buy other banks.
"I am deeply disappointed that a number of financial institutions are distorting the legislation that Congress passed," said House Financial Services Committee Chairman Barney Frank, D-Mass. He announced hearings on the rescue package Nov. 12 and 18.
The Treasury Department said it would extend a Nov. 15 deadline for banks that do not have publicly traded stock to apply for the government stock-purchasing plan - a plan that could extend to 6,000 banks.
The bank rescue is intended to shore up financial companies and get lending, the lifeblood of the economy, going again.
Meanwhile, Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke said in a speech that whatever system is constructed following the government takeover of mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac must have better safeguards to make sure it can work during times of stress.
Bernanke said the credit crisis had exposed serious deficiencies in areas beyond home loans.
"The boom in subprime mortgage lending was only part of a much broader credit boom characterized by underpricing of risk, excessive leverage and the creation of complex and opaque financial instruments that proved fragile under stress," Bernanke said.
As the nation learns more about what went wrong, the economy grows ever bleaker. The Commerce Department report that consumer spending fell by 0.3 percent in September followed two months in which spending was essentially flat.
A separate survey released Friday by the University of Michigan and Reuters showed consumer confidence in October fell to 57.6, the biggest one-month drop in the survey's history, which dates to 1978.
And economists expect Americans to cut back further. The nation's financial outlook is dimming just as the critical holiday shopping season looms, and stores are bracing for one of the worst on record.
David Wyss, chief economist at Standard & Poor's in New York, said he believed the recession could turn out to be the longest in the post World War II period.
"Things are still looking soft and the light at the end of the tunnel is a long way off," Wyss said.
In a separate report, the Labor Department said the wages and benefits of U.S. workers rose by a modest 0.7 percent in the third quarter, the same as in the first and second quarters.
The spending report showed that an inflation gauge tied to spending edged up just 0.1 percent in September. But prices over the past year are up by more than 4 percent, and inflation is outside the Fed's comfort zone.
Still, the central bank is expected to focus on fighting to keep the country out of a severe recession - not raising rates to fight inflation.
The Fed cut a key interest rate by a half-point on Wednesday to 1 percent, tying the lowest level in the past half-century. Analysts said if the economy remains weak, the Fed could well cut rates again at their last meeting of the year on Dec. 16.
Posted by Front Page News at 9:34 PM
Voter turnout expected to be highest in decades
|Early voters wait on line to cast their ballots at the County of Los Angeles Registrar-Recorder/County Clerk (RR/CC) headquarters in Norwalk, Calif. on Friday, Oct. 31, 2008.|
WASHINGTON (AP) -- Voter turnout will be the highest in decades, dwarfing recent presidential elections, experts predict. The only question dividing experts is how huge will it be. Will it be the largest since 1968, largest since 1960 or even, as one expert predicts, the largest in a century? Soaring early voting levels hint at a big turnout, but that could just be the same voters casting ballots earlier instead of more voters hitting the polls. Weather should generally be favorable, according to forecasts.
What early voting numbers mean and how much of the youth and Hispanic votes turn out are the big factors political scientists look at when trying to predict how many eligible Americans will vote.
Michael McDonald of George Mason University is so optimistic he's predicting the highest level in a century.
"We're going to definitely beat the turnout rate in 2004, the question is by how much," McDonald said. "We have a chance to beat the 1960 turnout rate."
"It's not just an election of a generation, it's an election of generations with an 's'," McDonald said Friday.
He's not alone. The dean of voting turnout predictions, Curtis Gans, director of the nonpartisan Committee for the Study of the American Electorate at American University, this week amped up his turnout forecast. Initially he said it would be around 2004 levels, but now he is looking at a turnout that would be the highest since 1960.
"It's driven by 90 percent of the American people thinking the country is on the wrong track," Gans said Friday. "The only question is how many Republicans are not going to show up."
MIT political scientist Adam Berinsky predicted the highest levels since 1968, which he said is still quite impressive given that the polls show this election is not that close and fewer people tend to vote when the race isn't tight.
The McCain campaign released a strategy memo earlier this week, saying "turnout is going to go through the roof," and predicted that more than 130 million people would vote. And Obama campaign manager David Plouffe on Friday said, "we think turnout is going to be higher than that" but wouldn't give a number. Four years ago, 122.3 million people voted for president.
Calculating turnout rates isn't uniform. McDonald bases his turnout calculations on eligible voters, not just those over 18 and he subtracts felons and foreigners and others. Other people have different calculations for eligible voters; some experts just use the percent of the voting age population, regardless of eligibility.
McDonald predicts 64 percent of the eligible voters will cast ballots. That's more than 2004's 60.1 percent and a hair above 1960's post World War II high of 63.8 percent. The high for the 20th Century, using McDonald's calculations, was 65.7 percent in 1908 when William Howard Taft defeated William Jennings Bryan.
Record heavy early voting - people lining up to vote early in Florida and elsewhere, Georgia getting more than twice the early votes it did in 2004 - is one key factor, McDonald said. Democrats are voting in person earlier than Republicans, he said.
Gans isn't swayed by the number of early voters, but their enthusiasm and willingness to brave long lines to vote early "indicates a very high motivation." And that along with increased voter registration made him up his forecast.
Other factors pushing forecasts up include high voting in the primaries, record donations by small contributors, and general interest in the race, McDonald said. Dan Schnur, head of the University of Southern California's Institute of Politics, points to record television ratings for nominating conventions that offered no suspense.
Indications are that turnout by African-Americans will increase by about 20 percent, said MIT and Harvard political science professor Stephen Ansolabehere.
The only bad weather forecast is rain in the Pacific Northwest and along a small stretch of Southeast coast; McDonald didn't think that would matter much.
The only dampening factors are the youth vote, which hasn't shown much in early voting, and as the race looks less close, some people may stay home, experts said.
Posted by Front Page News at 9:32 PM
Obama seeks landslide but McCain predicts upset
|Republican presidential candidate Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz. speaks to supporters at a rally in Columbus, Ohio Friday, Oct. 31, 2008.|
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) -- Despite John McCain's prediction of an upset, Barack Obama reached for a landslide Friday, invading his rival's home state with TV ads and building a lead in early voting in key battlegrounds as the presidential race headed into a hectic final weekend.
McCain charged that Obama, bidding to become the first black president, "began his campaign in the liberal left lane of politics and has never left it. He's more liberal than a senator who calls himself a socialist," he added in Hanoverton, Ohio, a reference to Sen. Bernie Sanders, an independent from Vermont.
Yet with the economy almost certainly in a recession and the country clamoring for change after eight years of Republican rule, even some of McCain's allies conceded the obvious. California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger said it would take a "major struggle for him to win" - although he quickly added the Arizona senator had come back before when he had been counted out.
Privately, McCain's aides said their man trailed Obama by 4 points nationwide in internal polling.
An Associated Press-Yahoo News poll of likely voters put the Democrat ahead, 51 to 43, with a margin of error of plus or minus 3 percentage points.
The same survey gave McCain reason to hope - one in seven voters, 14 percent of the total - said they were undecided or might yet change their minds.
While the race for the White House drew most of the attention, minority Republicans in Congress braced for the loss of more seats in both the House and Senate.
Some said fresh polling in North Carolina suggested that incumbent GOP Elizabeth Dole had fallen further behind since airing an ad that tried to tie Democratic rival Kay Hagan to atheists.
Four days before the election, Obama was expanding his reach, and drawing large crowds as he moved methodically from one state to another that voted Republican in 2004.
"What you started here in Iowa has swept the nation," he told several thousand on an unusually warm Halloween day in the Midwest. His victory in the state's Democratic caucuses on Jan. 3, set him on the path to the party's nomination, and now to a lead in the presidential polls in the campaign's final hours.
One senior adviser said the Illinois senator had been given the names of potential Cabinet and White House staff picks for review but had not had much time to consider them. The official spoke on condition of anonymity.
Obama could name a chief of staff as early as next week if he wins the election, in an effort to project a sense of urgency. Aides have contacted Rep. Rahm Emanuel of Illinois to consider a possible appointment to the post, but no job has been offered.
Aides announced he would air television commercials in McCain's home state of Arizona as well as in North Dakota and Georgia. He had run ads in the latter two states earlier in the campaign before suspending that effort.
The ad in McCain's state was a soft sell in a campaign that has had its share of attacks. This spot featured endorsements from former Secretary of State Colin Powell and Warren Buffett, the nation's best-known investor.
Even so, McCain's campaign manager, Rick Davis, dismissed it as a waste. "We encourage them to pick other states that we intend to win" to spend their money, he said.
Davis contended, "We are witnessing perhaps, I believe, one of the greatest comebacks since John McCain won the primary."
Privately, some Republicans expressed concerned about early voting trends, although the party had yet to unleash its final 72-hour program, designed to reach millions of voters deemed sympathetic to McCain and the Republicans.
Statistics showed Democrats ahead among pre-Election Day voters in Iowa, North Carolina, Florida, Colorado, New Mexico and Nevada. Bush won all six in 2004, and McCain needs to win most of them to claim the White House this year.
In Georgia, one of the states where Obama began advertising on Friday, official figures show 35 percent of the early votes have been cast by blacks, and lines have been longest in and around reliably Democratic Atlanta. In the 2004 election, blacks accounted for 24 percent of the state's ballots.
McCain was on the second day of a bus tour through battleground Ohio, a state that supported Bush and has voted with the winner in each presidential election for two decades.
"We're closing, my friends, and we're going to win in Ohio. We're a few points down but we're coming back and we're coming back strong," he said.
Later Friday, Schwarzenegger joined him at a rally in Columbus.
"John McCain has served his country longer in a POW camp than his opponent has in the United States Senate," Schwarzenegger said. "I only play an action hero in the movies. John McCain is a real action hero."
McCain hit the same theme in a new television ad that had the feel of a campaign-closing appeal.
In it, he pledged to fix the economy, cut government waste and safeguard the nation's security.
"I've served my country since I was 17 years old. And spent five years longing for her shores. I came home dedicated to a cause greater than my own," said the former Navy pilot who was shot down, held and tortured for more than five years as a Vietnam prisoner of war.
Posted by Front Page News at 9:30 PM
Thursday, October 30, 2008
Police official: Hudson nephew likely died in SUV
|Chicago Police gather evidence on the city's West Side, Wednesday, Oct. 29, 2008, near the site where 7-year-old Julian King, nephew of singer and Oscar winner Jennifer Hudson, was found shot to death in an SUV on Monday.|
CHICAGO (AP) -- Detectives believe the 7-year-old nephew of Jennifer Hudson was probably shot in the sport-utility vehicle where his body was later found, a police official said Thursday.
Officials think Julian King was alive when he left the house where his uncle and grandmother were killed last week, said the official, who was not authorized to discuss the case publicly and spoke on condition of anonymity.
The official would not elaborate on when detectives think the boy died.
Police spokeswoman Monique Bond said she could not comment about the official's statements.
The bodies of the singer and Oscar-winning actress' mother, 57-year-old Darnell Donerson, and brother, 29-year-old Jason Hudson, were found Oct. 24 inside their home on Chicago's South Side. Julian's body was discovered Monday in the SUV on the city's West Side. All three had been shot.
Nobody has been charged, but the estranged husband of Julian's mother remained in custody on a parole violation. Police have characterized 27-year-old William Balfour, a convicted felon, as a "person of interest," but the official said he was the only suspect in the slayings.
Balfour, who is Julian's stepfather, had refused to take a lie-detector test and has stopped cooperating with detectives, the official said Wednesday.
It was unclear whether Balfour had an attorney.
Police Superintendent Jody Weis said Thursday that a gun found a day earlier in a vacant lot around the corner from where the SUV had been parked was a .45-caliber weapon. It was sent to Illinois State Police for testing.
Weis said preliminary tests suggest the weapon used was a .45-caliber gun, but tests should determine whether the gun found in the lot was the one used. It will be compared with shell casings found at the Hudson home, he said.
Meanwhile, a funeral home announced Thursday that services for Hudson's mother, brother and nephew will be held Monday morning. The service at Apostolic Church of God on Chicago's South Side will be closed to the public.
Posted by Front Page News at 8:09 PM
Palin says Obama infomercial short on specifics
|Republican vice presidential candidate, Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, addresses a campaign rally in Erie, Pa. Thursday, Oct. 30, 2008.|
ERIE, Pa. (AP) -- Republican vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin said Thursday that Democrat Barack Obama offered few national security specifics in the infomercial he broadcast the night before, accusing him of trying to "soften the focus" in the campaign's final days.
"In times of economic worry and hardship - crisis that we're in right now - someone is attempting to put those concerns aside on Election Day - national security issues," Palin told about 6,000 people at a convention center rally.
The Alaska governor said Obama had "wrapped his closing message in a warm and fuzzy scripted infomercial intended to soften the focus in these closing days. He's hoping that your mind won't wander to the real challenges of national security, challenges that he isn't capable of meeting."
She said Republican presidential candidate John McCain is ready for that challenge.
Obama spent about $4 million on a half-hour campaign commercial broadcast Wednesday night on several network and national cable stations.
Palin also said congressional Democrats want sharp cuts in military spending, but that now is not the time to do that.
"We're fighting two wars ... They think it's the perfect time to radically reduce defense spending. What are they thinking?" Palin said.
Palin received a smattering of boos when she said she was glad to be in the home state of the World Series-champion Philadelphia Phillies. Northwestern Pennsylvania baseball fans favor the Cleveland Indians or Pittsburgh Pirates.
Former Gov. Tom Ridge introduced Palin but mostly spoke of McCain, calling his fellow Vietnam veteran a man of "great integrity and great character, two absolute necessities and character that we need in the president of the United States."
"Security and prosperity go hand in hand" and McCain and Palin would deliver, Ridge said.
Ridge recently told the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review that the presidential race in his state would have been different if McCain had chosen him as a running mate. Most polls show Obama leading McCain in Pennsylvania, which has 21 electoral votes.
"I think we'd be foolish not to admit it publicly," Ridge said, although he added that McCain had made a bold choice by selecting Palin.
Posted by Front Page News at 7:55 PM
Consumer cut in spending the most since 1980
|Traders work on the floor of New York Stock Exchange Thursday, Oct. 30, 2008.|
WASHINGTON (AP) -- Scared and out of money, Americans stopped buying everything from cars to corn flakes in the July-September quarter, ratcheting back spending by the largest amount in 28 years and jolting the national economy into what could be the most painful recession in decades.
With retailers bracing for a grim holiday buying season, the economy isn't just slowing; it's actually shrinking, the government confirmed Thursday. It reported that the nation's gross domestic product declined at an annual rate of 0.3 percent in the year's third quarter and consumers' disposable income took its biggest drop on record.
In simpler words, "The train went off the tracks," said Brian Bethune, economist at IHS global Insight.
Wall Street took comfort in the fact that it wasn't even worse. The Dow Jones industrials rose 190 points.
But economists say tougher times are still ahead. Believing consumers are cutting back even more right now, they predict a much larger economic decline - anywhere from a 1 to 2 percent rate - during the current October-December period. That would meet a classic definition of a recession - two straight quarters of shrinking GDP.
Not that there's any real doubt now.
Clobbered by pink slips, shrinking nest eggs and falling home values - consumers are holding ever tighter to their wallets. The new report said Americans' disposable income fell at an annual rate of 8.7 percent in the quarter, the largest in records dating back to 1947.
The dismal news came just days before the nation picks the next president. Whether Democrat Barack Obama or Republican John McCain wins the White House, he will inherit a deeply troubled economy and a record-high budget deficit that could cramp his spending plans.
Each side said the new figures supported its political case.
"The decline in GDP didn't happen by accident - it is a direct result of the Bush administration's trickle down, Wall Street first, Main Street last policies that John McCain has embraced for the last eight years," Obama said. He pledged to provide tax relief to middle class families and help people facing foreclosure.
Pointing to the economy's sad state, Doug Holtz-Eakin, senior policy adviser for the McCain campaign, shot back that "Barack Obama would accelerate this dangerous course." McCain said his tax cuts, free-trade policies and help to struggling homeowners would help turn things around.
More than in recent recessions, consumers - the lifeblood of the economy - are bearing the brunt of the country's housing, banking and other ailments. The third-quarter decline in their spending was the first in 17 years, and the 3.1 percent annualized cutback was staggering - the most since the spring of 1980 when the country was in the grip of what some call the worst downturn since the Great Depression.
Walloped by such a huge pullback, the economy toppled into negative territory.
The latest reading on GDP, which measures the value of all goods produced within the United States, showed a rapid turn from the 2.8 percent growth rate logged in the second quarter. The new figure was the worst since the 1.4 percent rate of decline in the third quarter of 2001, when the nation was suffering through its most recent recession.
Democrats on Capitol Hill are pushing for another economic stimulus package and are weighing whether to hold a lame duck session before the new president takes office.
Under attack from Democrats and Republicans alike, the White House defended giving billions of bailout dollars to banks that now are rewarding shareholders and executives - or even buying other banks - rather than making loans to consumers and businesses.
Ed Lazear, chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers, said the government is keeping close tabs on banks' use of the money, but he also said normal activities such as paying performance-related salaries or distributing dividends are allowed under the law Congress passed.
White House press secretary Dana Perino said that "not only rich people get dividend payments," which can form a significant portion of income for retirees and mutual funds.
A collapse of the housing market and locked-up lending have produced the worst financial crisis to hit the country in more than 70 years.
To cushion the fallout, the Fed slashed interest rates on Wednesday by half a percentage point to 1 percent, a level seen only once before in the last half century.
Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke has warned that the country's economic weakness could last for some time - even if the government's unprecedented $700 billion financial bailout package and other steps do succeed in getting financial and credit markets to operate more normally.
"As of now, most forecasts indicate that we will experience a serious recession, perhaps comparable to the recession of the early 1980s, but nothing like the Great Depression," said Simon Johnson, former chief economist to the International Monetary Fund and senior fellow at the Peterson Institute for International Economics. During the 1980-1982 recession, unemployment topped 10 percent.
Other analysts, including Mark Zandi, chief economist at Moody's Economy.com, predicts the downturn will be much more severe than the 2001 and 1990-1991 recessions but not as bad - in terms of unemployment or lost growth - as the 1980s one.
The unemployment rate, now at 6.1 percent, could hit 8 percent or higher next year.
The Labor Department said Thursday that new claims for unemployment benefits last week held steady at 479,000, an elevated figure that continued to point to troubles in the jobs market.
In the third quarter, consumers cut back on purchases of cars, furniture, household appliances, clothes and almost everything else.
Businesses cut back, too, trimming spending on equipment and software at a 5.5 percent pace, the most since the first quarter of 2002. And home builders slashed spending at a 19.1 percent pace, marking the 11th straight quarterly cutback.
Slower growth for U.S. exports - reflecting less demand from overseas buyers who are coping with their own economic problems - also factored into the weak GDP report. Exports grew at a 5.9 percent pace in the third quarter, less than half the second quarter's 12.3 percent rate.
Posted by Front Page News at 7:52 PM
Wednesday, October 29, 2008
Brrr-ball title: Series frozen by weather
|Philadelphia Phillies' Jayson Werth warms up at batting practice before they resume Game 5 of the baseball World Series against the Tampa Bay Rays in Philadelphia, Wednesday, Oct. 29, 2008.|
PHILADELPHIA (AP) -- Hey baseball fans, grab your ski caps, gloves, parkas and boots. It's time for the World Series!
Next year, the Series doesn't start until Oct. 28 and Game 7 would be Nov. 5.
If the resumption of Game 5 Wednesday night was any indication - 44 degrees at the start and forecast calling for temperatures to dip into the mid 30s - the 2009 season could end on a ch-ch-chilly note.
"I don't like the cold weather. I grew up in it but I'm not digging it at all," Rays manager Joe Maddon said. "It would better if the Eagles and the Bucs would take the field today. It would be much more appropriate."
With each additional week, the risk of cold or wet weather gets greater in the Northeast and Midwest.
"You typ` ically would expect the conditions to deteriorate as you go toward winter, but it does vary," National Weather Service meteorologist Valerie Meola said. "Some years are colder than others."
Next year's postseason has been pushed back because of the World Baseball Classic, delaying opening day until April 5. Teams would rather risk bad weather the first two weeks of the season than when playing for a title.
"It's better to start late March and not play so much into November," Mets general manager Omar Minaya said. "I don't think baseball wished to be playing into November."
No one in baseball's hierarchy wants to address shortening the regular season. And no one will even consider a warm-weather, fixed site for the World Series.
"I think each town should be rewarded, the fan base, the home-team fan base," Maddon said, used to the 72-degree, precipitation-free Trop. "I just think each ballpark is unique. Look at our place, we would be at a great disadvantage playing in a neutral spot."
Looking on the bright side, a November World Series could mean new marketing opportunities for enterprising owners - lined caps with ear flaps; parkas with team logos; special no-drop gloves.
"Sometimes it's real cold, the ball is kind of hard to grip and it's kind of slippery," Phillies manager Charlie Manuel said. "If you don't hit the ball on the fat part of the bat, you get a sting from it. It can be uncomfortable hitting in cold weather, but at the same time it can be uncomfortable throwing a ball, too."
Before Game 4 of the 1997 World Series, there was snow during batting practice in Cleveland. The game-time temperature was 38 degrees, more suitable for ski jumps than sliders. That was the coldest night at the Series in recent memory, and it was thought to be the first time snow fell at a Series game since the first two games of the all-Chicago matchup in 1906.
Last year, a snowstorm forced the Colorado Rockies off the field and into the batting cages at Coors Field for their last pre-World Series workout at home - on Oct. 21. Players chose to focus on the fickleness of the Denver weather rather than the cold.
But with three rounds of playoffs, cold is en vogue.
In 2001, there was a 38-degree wind chill for Game 3 at Yankee Stadium on Oct. 30 - the Series was pushed back a week that year because of 9/11 and didn't end until Nov. 4. In 2006, the game-time temperature was 44 degrees for Game 2 in Detroit and 43 degrees for Game 3 in St. Louis, according to the Elias Sports Bureau. Even in Atlanta, the wind chill was 34 for the 1999 opener.
"As an amateur meteorologist, let me assure you it rains in November and it rains in mid-October. You can get warmer weather as the fall goes on," commissioner Bud Selig said. "It's warming this weekend after the intense cold in the Midwest, which is now coming here. And if the World Series was played next week, we would have been better off."
Posted by Front Page News at 8:47 PM
McCain faults paper for not releasing Khalidi tape
|Republican presidential candidate Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz. makes a statement after participating in a National Security Roundtable at The University of Tampa in Tampa, Fla., Wednesday, Oct. 29, 2008.|
BOWLING GREEN, Ohio (AP) -- Republicans John McCain and Sarah Palin accused the Los Angeles Times on Wednesday of protecting Barack Obama by withholding a videotape of the Democrat attending a 2003 party for a Palestinian-American professor and critic of Israel.
The paper said it had written about the event in April and would not release the tape because of a promise made to the source who provided it.
McCain and Palin called Rashid Khalidi a former spokesman for the Palestine Liberation Organization, a characterization that Khalidi has denied in the past. Both candidates said guests at the party made critical comments about Israel.
Khalidi is a professor of Middle East Studies at Columbia University and a longtime friend of Obama's. Khalidi has publicly criticized Israel, but he and Obama have both said they hold very different opinions on Israeli issues.
McCain also has ties to Khalidi through a group that Khalidi helped found 15 years ago. The Center for Palestine Research and Studies received at least $448,000 from an organization that McCain chairs.
On Wednesday, McCain said 1960s radical Bill Ayers had attended the same party in 2003. McCain and Palin have criticized Obama for his ties to Ayers and questioned what the videotape of the party might show.
"Among other things, Israel was described there as the perpetrator of terrorism rather than the victim," Palin said at a rally in Ohio. "What we don't know is how Barack Obama responded to these slurs on a country that he professes to support."
In a story published in April, the Times said Obama spoke out at the event on the need for common ground on the Israel-Palestinian issue. Obama has said during the campaign that his commitment to Israel's security is "nonnegotiable."
"More than six months ago the Los Angeles Times published a detailed account of the events shown on the videotape," Jamie Gold, the newspaper's reader's representative, said in a statement. "The Times is not suppressing anything. Just the opposite - the L.A. Times brought the matter to light."
McCain and Palin cited the paper's position as evidence of media bias. The Times has endorsed Obama's candidacy.
"If there was a tape of John McCain in a neo-Nazi outfit, I think the treatment of the issue would be slightly different," McCain said in an interview with Hispanic radio stations.
Palin said the Times should win a Pulitzer Prize for "kowtowing."
"It must be nice for a candidate to have major news organizations looking out for their best interests like that. Politicians would love to have a pet newspaper of their very own," she said.
Obama campaign spokesman Tommy Vietor dismissed McCain and Palin's complaints as a "recycled, manufactured controversy" meant to distract voters.
"Barack Obama has been clear and consistent on his support for Israel, and has been clear that Rashid Khalidi is not an adviser to him or his campaign and that he does not share Khalidi's views," Vietor said.
Khalidi taught at the University of Chicago until 2003. Obama and his wife, Michelle, often socialized with Khalidi and his wife, Mona, and the Khalidis hosted a political fundraiser for Obama in 2000.
The Woods Fund charity gave money to the Arab-American Action Network, run by Mona Khalidi, while Obama served on the charity's board. Ayers also served on the board.
The Center for Palestine Research and Studies conducted regular public opinion surveys in the West Bank and Gaza with financial support from various foundations and from the International Republican Institute, an organization that promoting democracy around the world. McCain was the IRI chairman when it gave $448,873 to the research group in 1998, according to IRI's tax return.
Ayers was a founder of the radical group the Weather Underground, which set off bombs at the Capitol and the Pentagon in protest of the Vietnam War nearly 40 years ago. McCain has criticized Obama for having had a friendly relationship with Ayers, with whom Obama worked on two community organizations several years ago, and for downplaying their ties.
Obama has noted that he was a child when Ayers, now a university professor, was with the Weather Underground. The Democratic candidate has condemned Ayers' radical past and violent activities.
Posted by Front Page News at 8:45 PM
Analysis: Obama on his way toward election win
|Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., pauses for a moment while addressing supporters at a rally in Raleigh, N.C., Wednesday, Oct. 29, 2008.|
WASHINGTON (AP) -- Barack Obama has pulled ahead in enough states to win the 270 electoral votes he needs to gain the White House - and with states to spare - according to an Associated Press analysis that shows he is now moving beyond typical Democratic territory to challenge John McCain on historically GOP turf.
Even if McCain sweeps the six states that are too close to call, he still seemingly won't have enough votes to prevail, according to the analysis, which is based on polls, the candidates' TV spending patterns and interviews with Democratic and Republican strategists. McCain does have a path to victory but it's a steep climb: He needs a sudden shift in voter sentiment that gives him all six toss-up states plus one or two others that now lean toward Obama.
Obama has 23 states and the District of Columbia, offering 286 votes, in his column or leaning his way, while Republican McCain has 21 states with 163 votes. A half dozen offering 89 votes - Florida, Indiana, Missouri, North Carolina, Nevada and Ohio - remain up for grabs. President Bush won all six in 2004, and they are where the race is primarily being contested in the homestretch.
Though sounding confident, Obama is still campaigning hard. "Don't believe for a second this election is over," he tells backers. "We have to work like our future depends on it in this last week, because it does."
The underdog McCain is pressing supporters to fight on: "Nothing is inevitable here. We never give up. And we never quit."
Less than a week before Election Day, the AP analysis isn't meant to be predictive but rather provides a late snapshot of a race that's been volatile all year.
It's still possible McCain can pull off an upset. Some public and private polling shows the race tightening nationally. And, roughly one fourth of voters in a recent AP-GfK poll were undecided or said they still could change their minds. It's also still unclear how racial feelings will affect the results in voting that could give the country its first black president.
Last month, in a similar analysis, Obama had an edge over McCain but hadn't laid claim to enough states to cross the 270-vote threshold.
Since then, the economic crisis has reshaped the race, and the public's call for change has grown louder. Obama has strengthened his grip in the contest by using his significant financial advantage to lock up most states that Democrat John Kerry won four years ago, even as he makes inroads into traditionally GOP turf that McCain cannot afford to lose.
Obama now has several possible routes to victory, while McCain is scrambling to defend states where he shouldn't even have to campaign in the final days.
In new AP-GfK battleground polling, Obama has a solid lead in typically Republican Colorado, Nevada, Ohio and Virginia. He and McCain are even in two other usually GOP states: Florida and North Carolina. Obama also is comfortably ahead in New Hampshire and Pennsylvania. The series of polls showed Obama is winning among early voters, is favored on most issues, benefits from the country's sour mood and is widely viewed as the likely victor by voters in these states.
McCain's senior advisers acknowledge his steep hurdles and no-room-for-error strategy. However, they insist that internal polling shows the race getting closer. They hope the gains trickle down to competitive Bush-won states in the coming days and help the Arizona senator eke out a victory in Kerry-won Pennsylvania. McCain is keeping up his attacks against Obama as a tax-and-spend liberal; his strategists contend that's moving poll numbers.
"This campaign is functionally tied across the battleground states with our numbers improving sharply," said Bill McInturff, McCain's lead pollster in a strategy memo. "All signs say we are headed to an election that may easily be too close to call by next Tuesday."
Democrats privately acknowledge the race is narrowing, though they say they aren't concerned. Obama's top aides hope not just for a win but a sweeping victory that would reshapes the political landscape.
"Strategically we tried to have as wide of a map as possible," to have many routes to reaching the magic number of 270 on Election Day, David Plouffe, Obama's campaign manager, told reporters this week. "We think we've been able to create that dynamic and have a lot of competitive states in play."
Indeed, Obama has used his financial heft and organizational prowess, a remnant of the long Democratic primary that was fought out in every corner of the nation, to compete in states the party has ignored in previous elections because of their histories of voting Republican. McCain has lagged in both money and manpower.
As a result, the GOP's hold on states usually considered safe has shrunk, and the election's final week is being played out largely in states that Bush won and that are toss-ups in a political climate that greatly favors Democrats.
They include the traditional GOP bastions of Indiana and North Carolina, as well as perennial battlegrounds of Missouri and Nevada. Also on the list are the crown jewels of Florida and Ohio, which were crucial in deciding the last two presidential elections. McCain could sweep all six and still lose the White House.
Obama has every state that Kerry won four years ago seemingly in the bag or leaning his way, including Wisconsin, Minnesota, Michigan and New Hampshire - four states with 41 votes that McCain and his allies aggressively fought for before pulling back this month when they became out of reach. McCain still hopes to win one of Maine's electoral votes, which are allotted by congressional district.
Among Kerry's states from 2004, only Pennsylvania, which hasn't voted for a Republican since 1988, remains realistically in McCain's sights. Public polls show Obama leading by double-digits, though McCain aides say it's much closer. McCain hopes that working-class white voters who haven't fully warmed to Obama will vote Republican. Some aides say a Pennsylvania victory, with 21 votes, could be what allows McCain to win the White House, provided he can thwart Obama in Bush-held states.
Over the past month, Obama has strengthened his standing in four of those offering a combined 34 votes.
He has comfortable leads in Iowa and New Mexico polls. Long considered toss-ups, Colorado and Virginia have started tilting more toward Obama. McCain is still advertising heavily in the four and has visited all in recent days. His advisers say their polling shows the race tighter than it seems.
West Virginia and Montana both emerged as GOP trouble spots after Obama started advertising in them; the Republican National Committee was forced to go on the air this week to defend them.
Earlier in the year, Obama had put millions of dollars into Georgia and North Dakota only to pull out when McCain ended up maintaining an edge. But, as the race closes, there are indications Obama could win them, too. Obama also could pick up a single vote in Nebraska, which awards votes based on congressional districts.
There are even signs that the race in McCain's home state of Arizona - which would be a battleground if he didn't live there - is narrowing. Public polls show McCain with a single-digit lead, even though Obama hasn't targeted the state.
Posted by Front Page News at 8:43 PM
Obama promises rescue plan for middle class in ad
|In this image from video provided by the Obama Campaign, Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Barack Obama., speaks during a 30-minute infomercial to be broadcast on prime-time television Wednesday, Oct. 29, 2008.|
WASHINGTON (AP) -- In a campaign ad aired at a cost of millions, Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama promised a rescue plan for the middle class in tough times Wednesday night as he reached for victory in his 21-month quest for the presidency. "I will not be a perfect president," Obama said in the commercial. "But I can promise you this - I will always tell you what I think and where I stand."
Aides described the unusual ad as a final summation of Obama's campaign. They put the total cost at roughly $4 million, enough to show it simultaneously on CBS, NBC and Fox. It also was running on BET, Univision, MSNBC and TV One.
Across 30 minutes, the commercial blended views of Obama speaking in a setting that resembled the Oval Office, at the Democratic National Convention and elsewhere as well as scenes of Americans discussing their economic and health care troubles, and testimonials to the Democratic presidential candidate by politicians and business executives.
The ad showed his wife, Michelle, and his two daughters as well as past photos of his black father from Kenya and white mother from Kansas.
The campaign arranged to end the program with a live transmission of a campaign rally in Florida, one of several states where Obama is trying to capture traditionally Republican territory.
Without the money to match the commercial, Republican rival John McCain sniped at the man and the moment.
"He's got a few things he wants to sell you: He's offering government-run health care ... an energy plan guaranteed to work without drilling ... and an automatic wealth spreader that folds neatly and fits under any bed," McCain said during a campaign stop in Florida.
McCain also criticized Obama for having signed a pledge to accept federal funds for the fall campaign and then breaking his word.
By opting out of the public financing, Obama was free to raise unheard of millions for the final weeks of the race, and afford costly events such as the television commercial.
After months of campaigning, Obama offered no new proposals in the ad. Instead, he stressed his plan to offer tax cuts to the middle class, "restore the long-term health of our economy and our middle class."
Obama said the nation's neglected problems predate President Bush, but that the economic crisis that erupted a few weeks ago was a "final verdict on eight years of failed policies."
The video features footage shot by Davis Guggenheim, the director and executive producer of former Vice President Al Gore's global warming documentary "An Inconvenient Truth." Guggenheim also produced and directed the HBO series "Deadwood." In the commercial, his scenes play out against a soaring score.
"His campaign is calling this the phase where he will be making his closing argument," said Democratic media consultant Tad Devine, a senior adviser to John Kerry's 2004 presidential campaign. "This is a tremendous opportunity to make that argument and to make it at some length."
The ad was not appearing on ABC because by the time the network decided to offer the time slot to Obama, his campaign had already finalized the ad buy, according to people familiar with the discussions who requested anonymity because they were not authorized to comment publicly.
Earlier, taping an appearance on the Daily Show for later in the evening, Obama said he had to reassure one of his daughters that the commercial would not pre-empt all programming.
"I was describing this to Michelle and my daughters, and Malia, who's 10, said, 'Hold up a second. Are you saying that my programs are going to be interrupted?' I said, 'No, we didn't buy on Disney.' So she was relieved."
Posted by Front Page News at 8:41 PM
Tuesday, October 28, 2008
Whither the weather: Wacky World Series on hold
|Wind blows standing water on the pedestrian concourse in Citizens Bank Park in Philadelphia, Tuesday, Oct. 28, 2008. Game 5 of the baseball World Series between the Philadelphia Phillies and Tampa Bay Rays, which was suspended on Monday evening due to heavy rain, was postponed until Wednesday, Oct. 29.|
PHILADELPHIA (AP) -- Sooner or later, someone will win this World Series. Just not Tuesday night. Too wet. Besides, the baseball commissioner went home to Milwaukee. Maybe the Phillies and Rays can play ball Wednesday night. But snow showers are in the forecast. So just sit tight, folks, we'll get back to you when we can. Right now, bad weather is turning the Fall Classic into a Rainfall Classic.
Players and fans remained in limbo Tuesday, with Game 5 still suspended from the previous night. It was tied at 2 in the sixth inning when a steady downpour turned Citizens Bank Park into a quagmire, washing away the foul lines and turning home plate into a puddle.
The Phillies lead 3-1 in the best-of-seven matchup, meaning Philadelphia could be close to winning a championship the city desperately craves.
Or perhaps not.
"It's kind of like overtime in a sense, I guess," Tampa Bay manager Joe Maddon said. "Or sudden victory."
"It's just the way it is," he said. "There's no crying about it."
OK, no crying here. The manager who listens to Springsteen while filling out his lineup card was real calm - he'd already lost one game at 1:47 a.m., then saw this unexpected break force his Rays to relocate to a hotel 25 miles south in Wilmington, Del.
Too late for complaining, anyway. A Series studded with big boppers such as Ryan Howard and B.J. Upton was no longer whacky - it was downright wacky.
The teams are tentatively set to resume at 8:37 p.m. Wednesday.
Since the Phillies will come to bat in the bottom of the sixth, fans won't have to wait long for the seventh-inning stretch. They might not even have time to get a hot dog.
Hard to tell how many people will tune in even if - for once - a World Series wraps up before kids have to go to bed. The TV ratings for the first four games dipped by 25 percent from last year.
Tickets from Game 5 are good for the resumption, provided everyone can scramble back with their soggy stubs. The Phillies' ballpark holds nearly 46,000 people and surely logistics will prevent some of them from returning.
Then again, a $160 seat in the upper deck is suddenly more valuable for someone eager to see the Phillies try to win their first championship since 1980, and the city's first major sports title since the NBA's 76ers in 1983.
By Tuesday evening, over 50 tickets were available for resale on StubHub.com, spokeswoman Joellen Ferrer said. The prices ranged from $599 to $3,500.
Commissioner Bud Selig, who flew home for a day, was ready to return to Philly for as long as necessary.
"We'll stay here if we have to celebrate Thanksgiving here," he said in announcing the suspension.
If the Phillies win a battle of the bullpens when Game 5 resumes, they'll soon parade up Broad Street. If they lose, time to fly to Tampa Bay.
Delays in the World Series are rare. There has never been a rain-shortened game and this was the first suspension.
There were three straight washouts in 1962 with the Yankees and Giants, and a series of rainouts set up the classic 1975 game between Boston and Cincinnati that Carlton Fisk won with a home run off the foul pole. In 1989, an earthquake interrupted Oakland and San Francisco for a week.
While baseball purists deride Tampa Bay's Tropicana Field as an antiseptic dome that's ringed with crazy catwalks, at least wet weather isn't a factor.
Rain intruded in Game 3 Saturday night, with the first pitch pushed back to 10:06 p.m. - the latest start time in Series history - and the last pitch came shortly before 2 a.m.
Despite a shaky forecast, baseball tried to play Monday night. It was raining lightly at the start. Within a few innings, it was clear the showers weren't going to quit.
"You're not going to win against Mother Nature," Phillies pitcher Cole Hamels said.
Soon, every pitch and popup became an adventure as All-Stars were reduced to looking like Little Leaguers. The grounds crew kept putting down Diamond Dust to absorb the moisture, and it kept caking the infield.
With the wind chill dropping into the 30s, several players wore caps with ear flaps attached. Mud flaps would've been more appropriate.
"I was upset with some of the things that went on," Phillies manager Charlie Manuel said. "But I definitely was agreed with everything that happened, and I also agreed that the game definitely had to be stopped. The conditions were definitely unplayable."
Posted by Front Page News at 10:28 PM
Detroit's ex-Mayor Kilpatrick jailed for 4 months
|Former Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick listens during a ruling at his sentencing hearing in Detroit, Tuesday, Oct. 28, 2008. The four-month sentence is part of an agreement worked out with prosecutors when Kilpatrick, a Democrat, pleaded guilty to obstruction of justice on Sept. 4 for lying about an affair with his chief of staff. A separate but identical punishment for assaulting a sheriff's detective will run at the same time.|
DETROIT (AP) -- A judge sentenced former Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick to four months in jail Tuesday for a sex-and-text scandal, calling him "arrogant and defiant" and questioning the sincerity of a guilty plea that ended his career at City Hall. Kilpatrick declined to speak in court, but his lawyers urged the judge to look at his entire career, not just the crimes that threw local government into disarray for months.
The punishment was part of a plea agreement worked out last month. Wayne County Circuit Judge David Groner followed that deal but said Kilpatrick would not get time off for good behavior, potentially up to 20 days in this case.
"When someone gets 120 days in jail, they should get 120 days in jail," Groner said.
Kilpatrick was taken across the street to the county jail, where he will spend 23 hours a day in a private cell.
As he was being led away, he yelled out to supporters: "You all take it easy."
They responded: "Be strong, Mayor. We love you, Mayor. We got your back, Mayor."
Kilpatrick, a Democrat, admitted lying while testifying last year in a civil lawsuit filed by former police officers who accused him of illegally demoting or firing them.
He and chief of staff Christine Beatty, both 38, were accused of having an affair and denied it, but text messages obtained by a lawyer in the case - and later the Detroit Free Press - clearly contradicted them.
They used their city pagers to arrange trysts and share sexually explicit desires. A fresh batch of messages was released last week, revealing that Kilpatrick, married with three children, likely had other lovers.
The sentencing was Kilpatrick's first public forum since a speech to supporters after he pleaded guilty to obstruction of justice Sept. 4. In that address, he lashed out at Gov. Jennifer Granholm, who was holding hearings to remove him from office, and told Detroit, "You done set me up for a comeback."
The judge said he was shocked by the comments.
"That night the community expected to hear a message of humility, remorse and apology," Groner said. "Instead, we heard an arrogant and defiant man who accused the governor, among others, for his downfall."
Groner told Kilpatrick that he misled the City Council into settling the police officers' lawsuits for $8.4 million, "all in an attempt to protect your political career" by keeping a lid on steamy text messages.
"At a time when this city needed transparency, accountability and responsibility, you exhibited hubris and privilege at the expense of the city," the judge said.
Kilpatrick also was given a 120-day concurrent sentence for assaulting a sheriff's officer who was trying to deliver a subpoena in July.
Outside court, Kilpatrick's father, Bernard Kilpatrick, said his son was "railroaded." The former mayor's mother, U.S. Rep. Carolyn Cheeks Kilpatrick, D-Mich., was not in the courtroom.
A member of the defense team was more conciliatory.
"I don't think there are any winners, just the end of a chapter," lawyer Todd Flood told The Associated Press. "I think the mayor wanted this city to move on, and that's what we're doing."
Besides jail, Kilpatrick will be on probation for five years and must pay the city $1 million in restitution by the end of that period. He made a downpayment of $20,000 Tuesday. He also signed a revocation of his law license.
Groner's decision to not give Kilpatrick an opportunity for early release caused confusion at the sheriff's department.
Spokesman John Roach said Kilpatrick probably would qualify for release after 100 days under a Michigan law allowing time off for good behavior. Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy agreed, but then both backed off by evening.
Earlier, Worthy said "justice was served" in the Kilpatrick case. Beatty has turned down a plea deal and will go to trial in January.
The sexually explicit messages were first publicly disclosed last January by the Free Press. Beatty quickly resigned, but Kilpatrick hung on as mayor, even when prosecutors filed criminal charges against them in March.
Through spring and summer, Kilpatrick hired lawyers and image specialists and publicly ridiculed the case against him. Finally, he agreed to plead guilty and resign only after Granholm began the public hearing in September that could have led to his ouster.
Ken Cockrel Jr. was promoted to mayor from council president. A special election to fill the balance of Kilpatrick's term will be held in May after the field is trimmed to two candidates Feb. 24.
"This is a sad day for Detroit and for the Kilpatrick family," Cockrel said in a statement. "As a city, we now must put the past behind us and work together to meet our common challenges."
Posted by Front Page News at 10:25 PM
Authorities say skinhead plot wasn't fully formed
|This undated photo obtained from a MySpace webpage shows Daniel Cowart, 20 of Bells, Tenn. holding a weapon. Federal agents have broken up a plot to assassinate Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill. and shoot or decapitate 102 black people in a Tennessee murder spree, the ATF said Monday Oct. 27, 2008. In court records unsealed Monday, federal agents said they disrupted plans to rob a gun store and target a predominantly African-American high school by two neo-Nazi skinheads. The men, Daniel Cowart, 20, of Bells, Tenn., and Paul Schlesselman 18, of West Helena, Ark., are being held without bond.|
BELLS, Tenn. (AP) -- Two white supremacists charged with plotting to behead blacks across the country and assassinate Barack Obama while wearing white top hats and tuxes were likely too disorganized to carry out the plot, authorities said, and their planning was riddled with blunders.
Paul Schlesselman, 18, of Helena-West Helena, Ark., and Daniel Cowart, 20, of Bells are accused of dreaming up the plan. While authorities say they had guns capable of creating carnage, documents show they never got close to getting off the ground.
Among the blunders: They drew attention to themselves by etching swastikas on a car with sidewalk chalk, only knew each other for a month, couldn't even pull off a house robbery, and a friend ratted them out to authorities.
"Certainly these men have some frightening weapons and some very frightening plans," said Mark Potok, director of the Southern Poverty Law Center, who studies the white supremacy movement. "But with the part about wearing top hats ... it gets a bit hard to take them seriously."
Despite making sure the plot was stopped, authorities did not believe Cowart and Schlesselman had the means to carry out their threat to assassinate Obama, said a federal law enforcement official who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to discuss the case publicly.
Asked whether the two suspects had Obama's schedule or plans to kill him at a specific time or place, a second law enforcement official who also was not authorized to speak publicly said, "I don't think they had that level of detail."
The two met online about a month ago, introduced by a friend and bound by a mutual belief in white supremacy, according to an affidavit written by a Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives agent who interviewed them. Together, they chatted about how they could carry out such a terroristic spree, officials said. Schlesselman volunteered a sawed-off shotgun that would be "easier to manuever," and also took a gun from his father, according to an affidavit.
The plot referenced two numbers important to skinhead culture by aiming to take the lives of 88 people, and 14 of them would be beheaded. The number 14 refers to a 14-word phrase attributed to an imprisoned white supremacist: "We must secure the existence of our people and a future for white children" and to the eighth letter of the alphabet, H. Two "8"s or "H"s stand for "Heil Hitler."
But that may have been as detailed as it got. Last week, Cowart drove to pick up Schlesselman from his Arkansas home so the plot could begin, according to the affidavit. They decided to start with a house robbery, and asked a friend to drive them. But when they got to the driveway, they saw a dog and two vehicles, and got spooked.
Armed with ski masks and nylon rope they purchased at a Wal-Mart, they tried again the next day to get started. Authorities say they decided to fire on the windows of a church, then bragged about it to a friend. She told her mother, who alerted the local sheriff. Investigators were able to trace the shell casings to the pair, and took them into custody after spotting their car, decorated with chalk-drawn swastikas and racially motivated words, along with the numbers "88" and "14."
Schlesselman's family said Tuesday that it was unlikely he was seriously planning an attack, even though he expressed hatred for blacks. A high school dropout who was unsuccessful finding work, he often spent time on the computer, his 16-year-old sister, Kayla said. She said she often argued with him about his racial beliefs, and he would say things like "Obama would make the world suffer."
He hated his tiny Delta hometown of Helena-West Helena because it was predominantly black, she said.
"He just believes that he's the master race," she said. "He would just say things like 'white power' and 'Sieg Heil' and 'Heil Hitler.'"
His father, Mike, also doubted the plot was serious. "I think it's just a lot of talk. He would never do something like this," he said.
Cowart worked at a grocery store in Bells for about a year, according to Scotty Runions, 54, who supervised him. Runions said Cowart was preoccupied with computers and bagged groceries at the store until about May 2007, before moving to Texas.
"The guy I saw on TV last night was not the same person that I knew, and I saw him about a month ago," Runions said. "This is something he's created in the past month - that's not the young man that we know."
The Southern Poverty Law Center traced Cowart to the Supreme White Alliance, a skinhead hate group organized this spring that describes itself on its Web site as a "Club based on Racial beliefs. and for those of you who don't know what that means, we are in fact Racist's."
But the link doesn't appear strong, and the group apparently kicked him out earlier this year. A post on the alliance's Web site accused the law center of lying about the extent of its connection with Cowart, but acknowledged that "one of the two young men was in fact a probate earlier this year but was ousted."
The group's leader on Tuesday condemned the plot and denied that Cowart had been a part of his "club," but nevertheless said he was resigning as its president over negative publicity the case generated.
"We don't go out and start trouble. We are more like a social club. We just hang out," Steve Edwards of Central City, Ky., told The Associated Press.
Potok, the law center's intelligence director, said Cowart is shown in a photograph of an April alliance gathering to commemorate Hitler's birthday.
"The chances are excellent he was booted out when he was in the news in a way that didn't reflect wonderfully on them," Potok said.
Attorneys for Cowart and Schesselman haven't commented, but Schlesselman's sister said Tuesday she spoke with him after the charges were made public. "He said he's sorry about everything he's done," she said.
The plot was the third high-profile incident involving death threats against Obama in the last three months.
Raymond Hunter Geisel, 22, has pleaded not guilty to charges he threatened to assassinate Obama and President Bush. Authorities said Geisel kept an arsenal of weaponry and military gear and made the threats while attending a training class to become a bail bondsman.
A group of men who sparked fears of an assassination plot against Obama during the Democratic Party's presidential convention in Denver in August. Authorities said the men had guns and bulletproof vests and made racist threats against Obama, but were high on methamphetamine and posed no true danger.
Posted by Front Page News at 10:23 PM
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