- Created on 17 June 2013
Henry Louis Gates Jr., Harvard University scholar and editor-in-chief of The Root, writes about the origin of Juneteenth and why 42 states and the District of Columbia are celebrating it this year.
- Created on 15 June 2013
In a desperate attempt to avoid bankruptcy, Detroit’s Emergency Financial Manager, Kevyn Orr, announced the financially ailing city’s plan to immediately stop paying down its nearly $18.5 billion in long-term debt.
“Detroit’s road to recovery begins today,” Orr told a room full of nearly 150 of the city’s creditors. “Financial mismanagement, a shrinking population, a dwindling tax base and other factors over the last 45 years have brought Detroit to the brink of financial and operational ruin.”
Orr, a bankruptcy attorney hired by Michigan to assist with the Motor City’s finical woes, said creditors could expect to be paid less than 10 cents on the dollar. “Our plan is bold because aggressive action is required to get Detroit back on its feet and improve the quality of life for the people who call Detroit home,” said Orr.
Reuters reports that Orr’s drastic plan has already been put into effect, with the city skipping out on a $34 million payment due yesterday, a move Orr said will allow the city to conserve cash needed to provide services to residents.
Another strategy sure to rile a few feathers is Orr’s recommendation to cut current and retired city worker’s pensions. Orr stated that he does not believe Michigan’s constitution protects vested retirement benefits from a city that cannot afford them, a move likely to bring about lawsuits from city retirees.
The proposed plan also includes major cuts on healthcare, city worker pensions, investing $1.25 billion to restoring city services and city government, upgrading the city’s public lighting and information technology and handing over the city’s water and sewage department to an independent company.
Despite the proposed cuts, however, Orr still believes there’s a 50-50 chance Detroit will go bankrupt, which would make it the first major city to do so in American history.
- Created on 14 June 2013
THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE. Check back soon for further information. AP’s earlier story is below.
The six jurors and four alternates who eventually will decide whether George Zimmerman committed murder when he fatally shot 17-year-old Trayvon Martin will have limited contact with the outside world during the two weeks to a month it will take to hold the trial.
Circuit Judge Debra Nelson said for the first time Thursday that jurors picked for Zimmerman’s second-degree murder trial will be sequestered. They will have limited contact with their families, they will spend the night at a hotel and their actions will be monitored by court security outside the courtroom during the duration of the trial. Prosecutors and defense attorneys resume their fifth day of jury selection Friday.
“You would not be able to participate in day-to-day routine activities,” defense attorney Don West told one potential juror.
Some potential jurors have been wary of the prospect of being cut off from the world during the trial.
Jury candidate K-80, a middle-aged White woman, described sequestration Thursday as “my biggest fear.” Jurors are only referred to by their jury numbers in court to protect their identities.
Juror E-81, a middle-aged White woman, said when she saw the word “sequester” on the questionnaire in the jury room, “the walls caved in.”
“I want to sleep in my own bed,” she said. The potential juror also worried about her safety if picked, saying “I’m going to walk out of here with a bulls-eye on me.”
The jury candidate appeared to already have made up her mind about the case, decreasing her chances of being picked. Her impression was that Martin’s prior use of marijuana and an image of a gun found on his cell phone were indications that “he was going down the wrong path.” She also said she believed Zimmerman was just “looking after his neighborhood.”
“I believe every American has a right to defend himself,” said Juror E-81. “I think the more people armed, the better.”
Potential juror B-67, a Hispanic female in her 40s, was allowed to leave courtroom without being questioned by defense attorneys after she said being sequestered would be a hardship with her family and school commitments.
Zimmerman, a 29-year-old former neighborhood watch volunteer, is pleading not guilty to second-degree murder, claiming he shot an unarmed Martin in self-defense. A 44-day delay in Zimmerman’s arrest led to protests around the nation. They questioned whether the Sanford Police Department was investigating the case seriously since Martin was a Black teen from the Miami area. Zimmerman identifies himself as Hispanic.
Attorneys need to find six jurors and four alternates. In Florida, 12 jurors are required only for criminal trials involving capital cases, when the death penalty is being considered.
- Created on 14 June 2013
What in the world is going on with fast food establishments these days? The kinds of folks that are being hired at these restaurants are certainly making riveting subjects of viral videos. Only a few weeks ago, news broke out about the Taco Bell employee who was caught licking a stack of shells. The latest fast-food grossfest depicts an unidentified Wendy’s worker chugging down soft serve ice cream with his mouth under the machine’s dispenser. The picture was posted Wednesday on the Reddit, a social media site. How will big brand chains be able to do damage control once these types of damaging images hit social media?
According to Laura Ries, a brand consultant who spoke with USA Today, “Fast-food companies will never be able to totally prevent this kind of thing. The majority of their workers are young adults armed with cellphones and getting paid minimum wage. It is the nature of the beast.”
Meanwhile, regarding the latest episode of unsanitary noshing, according to Wendy’s, the unnamed employee depicted sucking on frosty has been canned. Bob Bertini, a spokesperson for the popular burger chain, told the New York Daily News, “We don’t know the exact date the photo was taken, but we believe in it was in May,” Bertini wrote in an e-mail. “The incident was totally inappropriate, and we’re taking it very seriously.”
As for the Taco-Bell-shell-licking episode, the employee who pulled the Taco Bell stunt also got put out to pasture and the company swears that the slobbery shells were ONLY used for training purposes.
Senior Vice President of Public Affairs & Communications for theNational Restaurant Association (NRA) Sue Hensley spoke to NewsOne about these fast food incidents, and she contends that these negative food fiascos are few and far between, “In an industry that serves 130 million people every day, this type of occurrence is very rare, and something that individual restaurant companies handle swiftly internally.
“In many instances, the food items aren’t served to customers. Unfortunately, a moment of bad judgment by an individual can be shared in an instant on social media, giving a wildly mischaracterized image of the millions of hard-working, professional individuals working in the restaurant industry.”
- Created on 14 June 2013