NEWS STAND: Why Does Obama Apologize, Mortgage Rates Dip, LA's Killing Fields, and more..
Our unique spin on today's headlines
Our unique spin on today's headlines
Self-Sabotage: Obama claims responsibility for oil crisis http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20100527/ap_on_bi_ge/us_obama_15
We’ll have two eggs, coffee and a side of self-sabotage please. Clearly President Barack Obama is not reading the Root.com. We’re not sure why he’s coming out now to claim responsibility for the BP Oil disaster – you know the one that dwarfs the amount of damage done by the Exxon Valdez oil spill. So what if Palin said that he was slow to respond because of his ties to big oil? Coming from someone whose party receives 76% of all political contributions from oil companies, who cares? Why let BP off of the hook and accept responsibility for the most devastating U.S. oil spill in history? You work for the United States of America, not BP. Your “strong” words would be more believable had the response to the spill by the government been stronger and faster, sooner. It wasn’t. Deal with it, but not at the expense of your international reputation. In the words of James Carville, who was actually responding to President Obama’s hands-off approach to the oil spill, it’s political stupidity.
A Silver Lining: Mortgage rates hit lowest point this year
Pump your breaks. This doesn’t mean that we can all go out and get mortgages all willy-nilly like last time and drive the economy into the ground. It simply means that mortgage rates have fallen to the lowest level of the year because investors have pumped money into U.S. government securities. According to Freddie Mac, the average rate on a 30-year fixed rate mortgage dropped to 4.78 percent this week from 4.84 percent a week earlier. What this actually means is that the time to try and refinance those mortgages with obscene interest rates is now. Applications to refinance are at its highest level since October 2009. Perhaps there is a silver lining to this dark cloud called the mortgage crisis.
All that Glitters Isn’t Gold: Jobless claims drop
At face value this seems like a wonderful thing. However, unless it correlates to number of jobs or people newly employed, it doesn’t make that much of a difference. The number of newly laid off workers filing claims for unemployment benefits dropped last week but the level still remained higher than expected, indicating only modest improvements in the job market. Applications for unemployment benefits fell by 14,000 to 460,000, but analysts were expecting them to fall further. Below 425,000 is what is needed for sustainable job creation. Jobless rates are holding steady, which threatens economic recovery because folks are still not spending money. We took economics in college, but we still don’t understand how you’re supposed to spend money when you don’t have a job or unemployment benefits?
Toxic Environments: Madagascar bird declared extinct
A moment of silence please. Alien fish species and nylon nets have forced the extinction of a water bird in Madagascar. The fragile bird, known as the Alaotra Grebe, was finally declared extinct 25 years after the last confirmed sighting, according to Bird Life International. Many folks thought that Madagascar was only a movie. It’s an African island nation with beautiful, living, breathing people and animals. The Alaotra Grebe is officially extinct because of man’s continuous abuse of the environment. Just wondering when protecting the environment and all of its inhabitants will become a priority? Wishing that Van Jones was still a part of the government right about now.
Twist of Fate: Crime Rates Down For Third Year, Despite Economic Woes
In our best Sophia voice, played brilliantly by Lady O in the film The Color Purple, there is a God. For the first time, crime in the United States dropped dramatically in 2009, despite the recession. This drop challenges a historical trend linking rising crime rates to recessions. The FBI stated that crimes against property and violent offenses each declined about 5 percent, referencing reports from 13,000 law enforcement agencies throughout the country. It was the third straight year of declines, and this year's drops were even steeper than those of 2007 and 2008, despite the recession. Robberies, murder, aggravated assault and forcible rape, the four measured categories of violent crime also declined. Experts are citing access to technology by police officers as one of the mitigating factors. We’re hoping that these statistics apply to our communities.
La La Land or Gangland? Homicide Report: 16 killings last week in L.A. County, four domestic-violence related
It looks like hope springs eternal and Los Angeles did not get the memo on declining crime rates, particularly as it relates to violent crime. Los Angeles County coroner's officials reported 16 killings between May 17 and this week, bringing the year-to-date total to 276, according to data collected for the Los Angeles Times' Homicide Report database. Even though homicide rates are lower throughout the country, Los Angeles County is bucking the trend. To add insult to injury, at least four homicides are believed to have involved violence against a spouse or partner. Los Angeles has the distinct pleasure of joining Detroit, Chicago, Washington, DC and Atlanta with mass killings over short periods of time this year. That clearly douses our hope that the decline in violent crime reported throughout the country applies to our communities. Guess not.
Better Never than Late: University of Texas weighs renaming dorm named after KKK leader
From our better never than late file, the University of Texas is considering renaming a dorm named after Stewart Simkings, a KKK leader who taught law at UT for 30 years. Simkins Residence Hall is the last all-male dormitory at the University of Texas. Simkins who died in 1929 organized the Ku Klux Klan in Florida after the Civil War along with his brother, Eldred, who later became a member of the UT System Board of Regents. Fifty-five years later, UT is considering changing the name of the dorm carrying his name. While living, Simkins admitted to assaulting a black man, participating in a train robbery to block an arms shipment to a black militia and sowing fear in Florida's "black belt" as a masked night rider. Wow, a stand-up guy. We think engaging in illegal terrorist behavior should prevent one from becoming a law professor and having a dorm named after him. If UTchanges the name of this dorm, will other colleges and universities follow suit?
50 Cent: Rap Heavyweight loses extreme weight for film role http://www.billboard.com/news/50-cent-loses-50-pounds-for-movie-role-1004094132.story
Rap heavyweight 50 Cent (government name Curtis Jackson) has lost 50 pounds for a film role. The man known for his fabulous abs and buff body is literally a shell of his former self for his starring role in the Mario Van Peebles-directed Things Fall Apart. 50 also penned the film and dropped 54 pounds to play a college football player battling cancer. He achieved his severe look by going on a liquid diet and spending three-hour stints on the treadmill. He went from 214 pounds to a sickly 160 pounds, reports US Weekly. Not since Adrian Brody in The Piano and Christian Bale in The Machinist, has an actor lost this amount of weight. We’re not trying to be haters, but his body of work does not reflect the acting chops that usually accompany this type of physical transformation. Get Rich or Die Tryin’ and Righteous Kill? Not exactly Oscar worthy. Maybe he thinks we’ll focus more on the transformation and less on the acting. It worked for Charlize Theron in Monster, so why not 50 in this film.
Weasel Alert: CA Court Rejects Conrad Murray’s Child Support Deal
Does this dude accept responsibility for anything? The “doctor” who allegedly gave Michael Jackson a lethal dose of propofol lost a bid in a California court to resolve a child support issue that threatens his Nevada medical license. We’re still in shock that this dude has a medical license. To add insult to injury, pun intended, a Santa Clara County Superior Court commissioner rejected a bid by attorneys for Dr. Murray to obtain a court order relieving Murray of an obligation to pay about $16,000 in back child support to the mother of his 12-year-old son. Let’s get this straight. Dude wants to be absolved from $16,000 in child support so that he can continue practicing medicine. In our best Ed Lover voice, “C’mon Son!” But, but, but wait it gets worse (In our best Das EFX voice). A hearing is set June 25 before a family court hearing officer in Las Vegas, ironically, the day of MJ’s death. We cannot make this stuff up.
To Sir with Love: Raymond V. Haysbert, Sr., minority business pioneer and mentor dies
Raymond V. Haysbert Sr., a Baltimore business legend, minority business pioneer, and former Greater Baltimore Committee board member, has died at age 90. Born in Cincinnati in 1920, Haysbert's career included service in the Army Air Corps during World War II as member of the all-black 332nd Fighter Group - the Tuskegee Airmen. He earned a degree in mathematics from Wilberforce University and earned a degree in accounting and business administration from Central State University in Ohio. For 44 years, Haysbert was the CEO of Parks Sausages, one of the largest minority-owned businesses in the country. More recently, Haysbert was the CEO of Forum Caterers. He was well-known as a tireless advocate for minority business development and mentored dozens of minority entrepreneurs, helping them launch and expand their businesses. This type of leadership and consciousness will surely be missed. He is survived by his wife and four children.