Search Amazon Here

Local
Search


 

Monday
Apr132015

Rubio Throws Hat in Ring, Begins Attack on Clinton

Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Florida, pulled no punches Monday evening when he hammered home his message against 2016 presidential candidate rival Democrat Hillary Clinton, when he declared in his formal announcement of his 2016 presidential bid that "yesterday is over, and we are never going back."

"Yesterday is over, and we are never going back. We Americans are proud of our history, but our country has always been about the future. Before us now is the opportunity to author the greatest chapter yet in the amazing story of America. We can't do that by going back to the leaders and ideas of the past. We must change the decisions we are making by changing the people who are making them," Rubio said in excerpts from a 12-minute speech provided by his campaign Monday according to the Sun-Sentinel.

"I am more confident than ever that despite our troubles, we have it within our power to make our time another American Century," he said in explaining why he is seeking to become president instead of a second term in the U.S. Senate.

Rubio, 43, who was elected to the Senate in 2010 with strong support from the Tea Party, painted the 2016 presidential election as a choice between generations. He became only the third Republican to throw his hat in the ring for president joining Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, and Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., in what is expected to be a crowded Republican field.

Full Story Here

Monday
Apr132015

Stun Guns Could Offer Police "False Sense of Control"

The officer who shot an unarmed black man during a South Carolina traffic stop says he fired in self-defense after a struggle over his stun gun.

Officer Michael Slager was charged with murder and fired after a video challenged his version. But the case points to a paradox in policing: Stun guns were meant to help police avoid using lethal force, but sometimes they become part of the problem.

The Associated Press found a half-dozen other fatal police shootings of black men involving stun guns recently.

The maker of Taser says its stun guns are "safe, effective and accountable." But a policing expert tells AP that stun guns can give officers a false sense of control, and civil rights advocates say police need to focus instead on de-escalating violent situations.

Monday
Apr132015

11 Ga. Educators Convicted of Cheating, Beg Judge for Mercy

Ten senior Atlanta educators convicted in one of the country’s worst known school cheating scandals begged for mercy on Monday as the judge prepared to sentence them.

Character witnesses ranging from family members to retired military officers pleaded with Judge Jerry Baxter to be lenient, and described their loved ones as good people obsessed with helping deprived schoolchildren do better.

The teachers and administrators, convicted earlier this month of charges ranging from racketeering to lying to investigators, have reportedly been offered a sentencing deal.

Although racketeering carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in Georgia state prison, the defendants have reportedly been offered punishments ranging from short stints behind bars to incarceration on weekends only, and fines.

The educators stood trial for their part in a widespread and complex labyrinth of tampering with national test scores, in which 44 of Atlanta’s 100 public schools were accused by state investigators of some level of cheating.

During their trial, the jury heard how teachers told pupils the answers to test questions and ignored pupils when they queried this practice, in a pattern of misconduct going back 10 years.

Education chiefs wanted to secure extra federal money for their deprived schools by hitting improvement targets, the court heard. High achievement also brought cash bonuses for senior staff – but failing to make continual progress could lead to being fired in the highly pressured system.

In court on Monday, Dana Evans, 48, a former elementary school principal convicted of racketeering, asked the judge to grant her probation and said she had already been punished by being fired.

“I am broke now. I have no retirement, all of it is gone,” she said.

Baxter told Evans that he had “considered her a wonderful educator” and her case was “the biggest tragedy”.

Family members said Evans refused to move to an easier school and her dedication to her pupils, who were largely from poverty-stricken African American neighbourhoods, was “so intense” that her marriage almost failed.

And Kenneth Dollar, a retired US air force colonel, told Baxter that he had “never questioned the professionalism or integrity” of another defendant, Sharon Davis-Williams.

Full Story Here

Monday
Apr132015

Meals on Wheels Volunteer Luncheon Tuesday

Meals on Wheels-Anderson hosts an annual luncheon to honor the more than 450 volunteers who give of their time to help the program at 12:30 p.m. Tuesday at the Anderson Civic Center. The Lila Albergotti Award will be given to the Volunteer of the Year, and the Corporate Caring Award will be given to a business that supports Meals on Wheels through volunteering and donations.

Katrina Spigner, writer, speaker and certified personal coach, will serve as keynote speaker for the event. Spigner is the author of three books and focuses on helping individuals lead an authentic and fulfilling life.

For More Info: April Cameron, 864-221-8445, april@acmow.org

Monday
Apr132015

Six Leaders Honored by S.C. United Way

The United Way Association of South Carolina recognized 6 legislators for their commitment to the common good at a reception in Columbia. Recipients of the 2015 South Carolina Common Good Awards were: 

Senator Larry Martin – Award for VolunteerismPictured in the photo are: Sharon Rodgers, President of United Way of Aiken County, Senator William “Billy” O’Dell; Tim Ervolina, President of United Way Association of South Carolina.

Senator William O’Dell – Award for Financial Stability

Senator Harvey Peeler - Award for Education

Senator Nikki Setzler - Award for Education

The Honorable B.R. Skelton - Award for Health

Senator Tom Young – Live United Award

The reception took place at SOCO, the Columbia Cowork. The South Carolina Common Good Awards were established in 2014 to honor public servants for their advancement of the common good in United Way’s focus areas of education, health, financial stability and volunteerism.

United Way of Anderson County is proud to note that Senator William “Billy” O’Dell was one of the award recipients. “Having a Senator in our county that recognizes the struggle of families that “need a hand up not a hand out” is very important in the work that United Way is doing in the area of financial stability” stated Carol Burdette, President and Chief Professional Officer of United Way of Anderson County.  “Hats Off to Senator O’Dell for his continuous work for all the people of Anderson County.”

Carol Burdette, Julie Barton, Chair of the United Way of Anderson County Public Policy Committee, and Dayle Stewart, VP of Community and Government Relations for United Way of Anderson County were in attendance to congratulate the Senator on his recognition. 

Monday
Apr132015

Ex-Rep. Bob Inglis Wins Courage Award for Climate Stance

Former U.S. Rep. Bob Inglis has been named the 2015 recipient of the John F. Kennedy Profile in Courage Award for bucking party politics and reversing his stance on climate change.

The John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum in Boston announced Monday that Inglis will receive the award for political courage during a May 3 ceremony.

The South Carolina Republican, as a member of the House Science Committee who served as ranking member of the Energy and Environment Subcommittee, initially opposed efforts to address climate change.

But through interactions with scientists and through discussions with his own children, Inglis changed his views and began advocating for a carbon tax to reduce dependence on fossil fuels. The change drew criticism from fellow Republicans and he lost his 2010 re-election bid.

Monday
Apr132015

Haley Omits Spouse Income from Ethics Disclosure Reports

In her 2014 state-of-the-state speech, Gov. Nikki Haley was clear about requiring politicians to reveal their sources of private income in their annual income-disclosure reports.

“We know that we are one of just four states that don’t require income disclosures, and we know we can’t wait until we are the very last to fix the problem,” she said.

But since becoming governor in 2011, Haley, a Republican, hasn’t listed the public salary of her husband, Michael Haley, who works for the S.C. National Guard, in her annual income-disclosure reports filed with the State Ethics Commission, including her latest report filed on March 30, a review by The Nerve found.

Nor is she required to do so, under a loophole in the state ethics law.

And yet Haley, as required by state law, reported her 2014 income as governor – $106,078 – as well as 356 gifts given to her last year totaling nearly $45,000, and 34 separate travel reimbursements from private sources totaling about $38,000, her latest income-disclosure report shows.

Haley in 2013 was fined $3,500 and received a “public warning” from the State Ethics Commission related to a reduced list of campaign-reporting violations after more than a year of secret dealings between her staff and the commission, as The Nerve reported then.

Neither the governor nor her husband responded to direct phone messages last week from The Nerveseeking comment on why his public income isn't included in her income-disclosure reports. Chaney Adams, Gov. Haley’s spokeswoman, didn’t respond to written questions from The Nerve.

State ethics law (Section 8-13-1120 (A) (2) of the S.C. Code of Laws) requires elected officials and certain other public officials and government workers to list in their annual income-disclosure reports – called “statements of economic interests” – the “source, type, and amount or value of income, not to include tax refunds, of substantial monetary value received from a governmental entity by the filer or a member of the filer's immediate family during the reporting period.”

Reporting the sources of income allows the public to monitor whether officials are engaging in potential conflicts of interest.

But under the state Ethics Act, “governmental entity” doesn’t include federal agencies, Herb Hayden, the Ethics Commission’s executive director, told The Nerve in a written response last week.

Full Story Here

Monday
Apr132015

Rivals Say They're Ready for Candidate Clinton

Rivals were chomping at the bit even before former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton formally announced her presidential bid Sunday afternoon, releasing statements and videos and hawking swag attacking the Democratic front-runner.

“We’re ready for Hillary,” said Republican hopeful Sen. Ted Cruz in a video. “Hillary Clinton represents the failed policies of the past.”

On Sunday morning, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush released a video saying the nation “must to do better than the Obama-Clinton foreign policy.”

Former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina, the only other woman eyeing the White House, said in a video statement that Clinton “doesn’t have a track record of leadership or trustworthiness. She’s not the woman for the White House.”

MORE: Hillary Clinton’s Main Obstacle: Her Own Inevitability

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker tweeted that Americans want leaders from outside Washington, and tied Clinton to President Obama’s foreign policy, while former Texas Gov. Rick Perry tweeted that “America can’t afford another [four] years of the Obama-Clinton agenda.”

Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul, one of the GOP’s most intense Clinton critics, devoted a section of his presidential campaign web store to items mocking Clinton, including a Clinton hard drive—a reference to her deleted emails from her time at the State Department.

“I know Hillary Clinton. I served with Hillary Clinton. Hillary Clinton does not have the right vision to lead America,” said former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum in a statement.

MORE: Liberal Groups Respond to Hillary Clinton Campaign Launch

South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham also had harsh words. “The middle class is getting screwed by the administration’s domestic agenda & I believe it would be more of the same with Clinton,” he tweeted.

Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley, who is expected to launch a Democratic challenge to Clinton from the left next month, addressed Clinton’s impending announcement Friday before an event in Iowa.

“Democrats expect a robust conversation about the issues we face as a nation and the challenges we face and the solutions to our problems,” he told reporters. “And they believe that that conversation needs to take place in something as important as a presidential primary. It would be an extreme poverty indeed if there were only one person willing to compete for our party’s nomination.”

Monday
Apr132015

Some States May Ignore Iran Deal, Keep Sanctions

As the United States and Iran come closer to a historic nuclear deal, many U.S. states are likely to stick with their own sanctions on Iran that could complicate any warming of relations between the long-time foes.

In a little known aspect of Iran's international isolation, around two dozen states have enacted measures punishing companies operating in certain sectors of its economy, directing public pension funds with billions of dollars in assets to divest from the firms and sometimes barring them from public contracts.

In more than half those states, the restrictions expire only if Iran is no longer designated to be supporting terrorism or if all U.S. federal sanctions against Iran are lifted - unlikely outcomes even in the case of a final nuclear accord. Two states, Kansas and Mississippi, are even considering new sanctions targeting the country.

The prospect of unwavering sanctions at the state level, or new ones, just as the federal government reaches a landmark agreement with Iran risks widening a divide between states and the federal government on a crucial foreign policy issue.

Though U.S. states have often coordinated their measures with federal sanctions on Iran, their divestment actions sometimes take a tougher line on foreign firms with Iran links than is the case under federal policy.

Full Story Here

Monday
Apr132015

"Clear" Director Calls for End to Scientology Tax-Free Status

Documentary filmmaker Alex Gibney has written a comment piece for the Los Angeles Times criticising Scientology’s tax-exempt status.

Gibney, who recently made the controversial HBO documentary Going Clear:Scientology and the Prison of Belief, has called for the organisation’s definition as a religion to be revoked, so that it becomes liable for taxation.

While he does believe that Scientology can be defined as a religion, he claims it fails to act in the way that a religion should, in order to be exempt from paying taxes. One of his key arguments concerns “private interests”, as a religion should not in any way serve the needs of just one individual.

“Regarding ‘private interests’, it seems clear that Scientology is ruled by only one man, David Miscavige,” he writes. “Further, powerful celebrities within the church, particularly Tom Cruise, receive private benefits through the exploitation of low-wage labour (clergy members belonging to the Sea Organisation make roughly 40 cents an hour) and other use of church assets for his personal gain.”

Gibney also talks of the many illegal activities that the church has been accused of, again threatening its status as a religion with the US government.

“Numerous lawsuits, my film, other media accounts and an abandoned FBI investigation have turned up allegations of false imprisonment, human trafficking, wiretaps, assault, harassment and invasion of privacy,” he writes. “And the church doctrine of ‘disconnection’, in which members are forced to ‘disconnect’ from anyone critical of the church, seems cruelly at odds with any reasonable definition of ‘life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness’.”

Since making Going Clear, Gibney has found himself targeted by the church, with Scientologists highly critical of the film, Gibney himself and those featured in it. “The ex-Scientologists who testify in Going Clear have been on the receiving end of surveillance and a smear campaign on the Scientology website Freedommag.org,” he writes. “In one of the attack videos, titled Crocodile Liar, a bull’s-eye frames a picture of Sara Goldberg, a grandmother who left the church in 2013. Rather than engage in informed debate, the videos accuse the critical ex-members of various misdeeds, including theft and perjury, without mentioning that some appear to have been committed on behalf of the church.”

Full Story Here

Monday
Apr132015

Report: Most Believe Bible Inspired, with Some Symbolism

More Americans see the Bible as the infallible and inspired word of God with some symbolism, which should not be taken literally, according to the American Bible Society's State of the Bible 2015 report.

The report, which was produced by Barna Group for the American Bible Society in New York, examines issues such as: perceptions of the Bible; its penetration; Bible engagement; Bible literacy; moral decline and social impact; and level of giving to nonprofit organizations.

According to the report, in a nationwide telephone and online survey of American adults, some five different descriptions of the Bible were presented and "more adults believe it to be inspired (with some symbolism) than literal."

"A plurality, one-third, says the Bible is the inspired word of God and has no errors, though some verses are meant to be symbolic (33 percent)," notes the report, which highlights that it is a statistically significant increase over 2014 when only 30 percent of respondents held this view of the Bible.

Full Story Here

Monday
Apr132015

Segregated Neighbors Could Raise Heart Attack Risk

African Americans who live in segregated neighborhoods are more likely to develop cardiovascular disease that people who live in integrated ones, new research shows.

The opposite is true for white people who reside in predominantly white neighborhoods. There is no association in either direction for people of Hispanic descent.

Neighborhood characteristics, social environment, and various individual factors had no bearing on the findings, which can be largely explained by differences in neighborhood poverty, researchers say.

“Our results suggest the processes that lead to segregation vary across racial and ethnic groups,” says Kiarri Kershaw, assistant professor of preventive medicine-epidemiology at Northwestern University. “As such, so do the consequences of segregation on health.”

Researchers used data from the Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis (MESA), examining CVD in adults aged 45 to 84 that were recruited from six sites across the United States. The study included 1,595 black participants, 2,345 white participants, and 1,289 Hispanic participants. None had CVD at baseline.

Follow-up about 10 years after recruitment revealed that every increase in neighborhood segregation measurement was associated with a 12 percent higher risk of developing CVD among black participants.

Though exclusionary housing practices have been outlawed in the United States for more than 50 years, residential segregation remains widespread, the authors write in the paper, that is published in the journal Circulation.

Full Story Here

Sunday
Apr122015

S.C. State CFO Working on Payment Plan for School's Bills

South Carolina State University's new chief financial officer is trying to work out payment plans on some of the school's biggest bills.

The Times and Democrat of Orangeburg reports that (http://bit.ly/1NuWMQh) Ed Patrick told trustees at a Thursday meeting that he is working on ideas to help the school pay off $23.5 million of debt.

Patrick says he is writing suggested terms to the state to pay off a $6 million loan that comes due in full on June 30. Patrick says he hopes to create a payment plan to spread the debt out over a number of years.

The state has put off decision on whether to extend the loan.

Patrick says he is also working on payment plans with food vendor Sodexo and maintenance provider DTZ.

Information from: The Times & Democrat, http://www.timesanddemocrat.com