2013 US OPEN
TIGER STRUGGLES IN OPENING ROUND OF US OPEN AT MERION, PAGE 5
2014 ACURA MDX: TOP NOTCH AND A CUT ABOVE, BACK PAGE
The Austin Times
Volume:16 Issue 26
YOUR MULTICULTURAL NEWS SOURCE
Immigration debate continues De la Cruz returns for an encore
Kanye West compares himself to Steve Jobs, Jesus, and Jordan pg 4
APD plans to keep ROT Rally safe pg 2
Mississippi aims to curb teen pregnancy with new law, pg 3
Miami evens the Finals with win in SA, pg 5
Friday. June 14. 2013
Sebastien De la Cruz sings the U.S. National Anthem before Game 4 of the NBA Finals basketball series between the San Antonio Spurs and the Miami Heat, Thursday, June 13, 2013, in San Antonio. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip) (ATWS) - In less than 48 hours, Sebastien De La Cruz has become a household name. The 11year-old Mexican-American boy’s singing of the national anthem in his mariachi outfit caused a stir during game 3 of the NBA finals in his San Antonio hometown Tuesday. On Thursday night, the Spurs decided to bring back “El Charro de oro” for an encore performance. Even though he was the subject of racist comments on Twitter, the San Antonio native was again wearing a mariachi outfit, according to Carlos Manzanillo, corporate communications manager at San Antonio Spurs. Manzanillo had no comment on why the Spurs decided to bring back Sebastien. Sebastien was introduced by San Antonio Mayor Julian Castro, who stressed how proud he was by his talent and composure over the past few days. Castro said Spurs coach Gregg Popovich expressed disdain for the “idiots” who posted the bigoted comments and described Sebastien as a “class act”and “way more mature than most his age.” “To be invited back to sing the national anthem is just amazing because now I know the San Antonio Spurs like how I sing,” Sebastien
said. “It makes me feel like I’m doing something legendary.” Castro posted a response to the controversy on his Facebook page. “I’m proud of our young San Antonio superstar Sebastien de la Cruz for a spectacular rendition of our national anthem at last night’s Spurs game. Sebastian, don’t let a few negative voices get you down. You are a true talent and you represent the best of our nation’s future!” According to an interview with The Augusta Chronicle newspaper in Georgia, Fire Chief Chris James said the firefighter “will be counseled for sure.” Facebook commenter Gabriel Gemenez said that she had mixed feelings about Sebastien’s performance because of his attire. Those who were offended probably wouldn’t have lashed out had he worn “slacks or khakis and button-down shirt/polo” instead of his mariachi outfit, Gemenez said. Although the U.S. has no true background and is made up of different ethnicities, she said, his mariachi outfit only represented Mexico and one should have a “little taste when you’re singing the national anthem.” But it seems the support for Sebastien outweighed the criticism.
Earlier this year, Kentucky Republican Sen. Rand Paul warned lawmakers not to trip over loaded phrases like “pathway to citizenship” and “amnesty” to describe the effort to overhaul immigration. Doing so, Paul said, would polarize the debate over reform—and he was right. Not surprisingly, opponents of the immigration bill regularly refer to it as an offer of amnesty to immigrants living in the U.S. illegally, while proponents throw around the loosely defined term “pathway to citizenship” to see who is for it and, so, on their “side.” Now that there’s actually an immigration bill making its way through the Senate and a similar version coming in the House, lawmakers on both sides of the aisle who support the effort are pushing back against opponents who use the A-word to frame the bill. On Wednesday, Wisconsin Republican Rep. Paul Ryan, who has supported forms of immigration reform since he was a House staffer in the 1990s, declared that he would “debate anybody” who calls the current bipartisan effort “amnesty.” “Earned legalization is not amnesty,” Ryan said during a forum on immigration sponsored by the National Association of Manufacturers. “I will debate anybody who tries to suggest that these ideas that are moving through Congress are amnesty. They’re not. Amnesty is wiping the slate clean and not paying any penalty for having done something wrong.” Ryan pointed to provisions baked into the Senate bill from the beginning that require those in the United States to pay a fine, back taxes, undergo background checks and enter a years-long probationary period before earning citizenship, a process that can take up to 15 years. “That,” Ryan said, “is not amnesty.” During the forum, Paul also said he was confident a bill offering unauthorized immigrants a path to citizenship could pass the Republican-majority House. He added, however, that instead of passing the comprehensive bill as one package like in the Senate, the House may need to break it into different parts to secure passage.
Freeing minds and opening doors to higher education in Austin BY JENNIFER HERBER SPECIAL TO THE AUSTIN TIMES
HEALTH New diet craze: 5 days feast 2 days famine, pg 7 Air pollution can trigger heart arrhythmias, pg 7
OPINIONS The Morning After Pill saga continues, pg.8 Should Blacks discuss absent fathers in private or public, pg.8
Tasha McMillion recently graduated from The Free Minds Project, a program offering free courses in humanities to adults who have faced barriers to higher education. A proud single mother of a son named Miles, McMillion started college years ago, but found herself unable to finish due to various circumstances. “Free Minds has not only provided me an opportunity to get back on the college track I started years ago but it has also created a rebirth within my mind-spirit, opened my eyes to the world around me, and brought me back to my artistic self,” she said. McMillion, who works at the City of Austin in Human Resources, loves to teach and do presentations, sing, dance and write. Free Minds inspired her to start up classes again at Austin Community College (ACC) and she plans to graduate with a Creative Writing Degree in December 2014. The only program of its kind in Texas, the Free Minds Project is currently accepting applications for its 2013-14 class. Free Minds is team-taught by faculty from The University of Texas at Austin and ACC. Classes are held two evening a week in Central Austin for two semesters. Tuition, books, child care, and other support services are provided without charge. Students who complete the program earn six credit hours from ACC. “Because of its focus on the humanities, the Free Minds Project isn’t a typical college transition program,” says project director Vivé Griffith. “The program focuses on analytical thinking and oral and written communication skills and gives students the chance to see the world from a new
Free Minds graduating class of 2013 perspective. Students are motivated to community. In the graduation program, go back to school, but they also gain the she wrote: “…I’ve learned to participate in confidence to pursue promotions at their my community and to help others whenever jobs and to become more involved in their possible. I’ve learned to be gracious and to children’s education.” step back so others can be heard. Simply Free Minds 2013 graduate Angelique said, I’ve learned to FREE MY MIND.” Martin said that the program helped change To learn more or apply online, visit the Free her life. Martin is a 45-year-old mother of Minds website at www.freemindsaustin.org three and Chicago native. Now working at or call the Free Minds office at (512) 232Goodwill Industries of Central Texas, she 6093 to request a paper application. The was once incarcerated. Martin struggled to application deadline is July 5. find work, but said she always wanted to learn. She was referred to Free Minds Applicants need to have: by her Goodwill case manager and has used the class as springboard to continue her education. She plans to • A high school diploma or GED pursue a degree in social work. • Not yet have a college degree and not have been “Education can help you get enrolled in college in the past two years everything you want in life, education • Have demonstrated financial need can open doors,” she said. • Be ready to commit to attending class regularly Martin also said Free Minds gave her something else – a sense of
Friday. June 14. 2013
FEMA denies aid for fertilizer plant blast Police have new plan to keep ROT Rally safe
(ATWS) - The Federal Emergency Management Agency is refusing to provide additional money to help rebuild the small Texas town where a deadly fertilizer plant explosion leveled numerous homes and a school, and killed 15 people. According to a letter obtained by The Associated Press, FEMA said it reviewed the state’s appeal to help but decided that the explosion “is not of the severity and magnitude that warrants a major disaster declaration.” FEMA already has provided millions of dollars in aid to the town of West and its residents, but the decision prevents them from getting some of the widespread assistance typically available to victims of tornadoes, hurricanes and other natural disasters. The decision likely means less money to pay for public repairs to roads, sewer lines, pipes and a school that was destroyed. The blast killed 10 first responders and brought national attention to the agricultural community. President Barack Obama traveled to the area to attend a memorial service for the first responders and others who died trying to help. As of Wednesday, FEMA said the agency and the U.S. Small Business Administration had approved more than $7 million in aid and low-interest loans to West residents impacted by the blast. FEMA also is paying 75 percent of the costs of debris removal and will reimburse the state and the municipality for the initial emergency response. FEMA denied the “major disaster declaration” both for public assistance — which would give money to the city to help rebuild — and for further individual aid, which would provide for crisis counseling and other services. “I’m not sure what their definition of a major disaster is, but I know what I see over there and it’s pretty bleak,” West Mayor Tommy Muska said. It’s not unusual for FEMA to turn down that level of assistance for emergencies not stemming from natural disasters. In 2010, for example, officials denied a request for millions in aid after a gas pipeline explosion that consumed a Northern California neighborhood. Some funds would be available in West through insurance pay outs and because it believes the state or the municipality has the resources to cover the costs, among other
things, agency spokesman Dan Watson said in a statement. Individuals can still receive rental assistance and some funds for rebuilding, and the state can appeal for more public assistance but some programs for individuals will not be made available, he said. But Muska said the rural community of 2,800 people cannot cover the costs of the repairs, and doesn’t believe that the state will provide enough money on its own. He estimated the cost of those repairs at about $57 million, including $40 million to rebuild schools that were destroyed or damaged when the West Fertilizer Co. blew up in April. “We don’t have the money to go out and borrow the money. We don’t have the means to pay that note back,” Muska said. “There’s got to be some public assistance.” The letter, dated June 10, is addressed to Texas Gov. Rick Perry and signed by FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate. Perry noted in a statement that Obama attended a memorial service in April for the victims of the West blast and “stood in front of a grieving community and told them they would not be forgotten.” “He said his administration would stand with them, ready to help,” Perry said. “We anticipate the president will hold true to his word and help us work with FEMA to ensure much-needed assistance reaches the community of West.” The West Fertilizer Co. blew up after the plant caught fire. The cause of the fire remains unclear — and a criminal investigation is still open — but investigators say the heat of the fire destabilized tons of a potentially explosive fertilizer stored at the plant, leading to the massive blast that leveled chunks of the town. The incident highlighted how loosely regulated some chemicals are, including the ammonium nitrate that blew up, and has some critics saying the government needs to tighten its oversight of such plants. The blast emitted a wave of energy so strong it registered as a small earthquake, knocked down people blocks away, blew out windows, left a massive 93-foot crater and curved walls of homes and buildings. Marty Crawford, superintendent of West schools, said officials had requested the FEMA aid to help pay for structural damage. An intermediate school near the plant was destroyed, as were parts of the high school and middle school. The district expects to get tens of millions of dollars in insurance money to help pay for the repairs, but needs the FEMA funds to get the job done, he said. Crawford believes the state could continue to push FEMA to reverse its decision, though it appears the chance of getting federal assistance is low. “Now we’re not out of appeals, but in baseball terms, we’re probably facing a twostrike count and fouling a bunch of pitches off,” Crawford said in a phone interview. “As long as you’ve got another strike to fight with, we can hold onto hope.”
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AUSTIN -- One of the biggest parties of the year will start ramping up at the Travis County Expo Center Friday. About 50,000 bikers are expected to attend the Republic of Texas (ROT) Rally over the weekend. On Friday night the rally will shut down 20 blocks in downtown Austin for a huge party on Congress Avenue. The event has benefits for not only motorcycle buffs, area businesses also see an advantage. Restaurants will see an increase in customers and so will area bike shops. Those extra profits help sustain the stores through the winter when less people ride. However, all of those people in one place have provided a challenge for police in the past. In 2012, officers say there were 175 accidents. Five people died, and three of those victims were on motorcycles. Earlier this week, police unveiled their new plan to help keep everyone out on the roads safe during the ROT rally. They’re calling it “Arrive Alive.” “We found the rally is the perfect time for us to get out and about express a lot of safety concerns in terms of motorcycle safety. We’d like folks to look both ways, share the road, drive responsibly,” Lieutenant Robert Richman with the Austin Police Department said The campaign will combine the efforts of 40 Central Texas law enforcement agencies. Officers will look for things like speeding, driving while intoxicated, reckless driving, and riders who are following too closely. Friday night’s big parade leaves from the Travis County Expo Center at 7:45 p.m.
Friday. June 14. 2013
Mississippi aims to curb teen pregnancy
Health insurance coverage may be unaffordable for low wage workers
teen pregnancy in Mississippi. Unfortunately, part of this epidemic is driven by sexual offenders who prey on young girls. This measure provides law enforcement with another tool to help identify these men and bring them to justice.” Mississippi is the first state to pass such a law, said the bill’s author, Republican state Representative Andy Gipson. The state will pay for the costs of the collection and testing of cord blood, Gipson said, adding that testing will be conducted as needed as part of criminal proceedings. An estimate of those costs was not yet available. Bryant also championed a 2012 state law requiring doctors to preserve fetal tissue in abortions involving girls under 14 if they suspect the pregnancy resulted from a sex crime against a minor. The latest measure puts Mississippi in uncharted territory and opens it to legal challenges, according to Matt Steffey, a constitutional law professor at Mississippi College School of Law. “The argument is that the DNA is abandoned or about to be abandoned as medical waste, and a person doesn’t have constitutional privacy over trash,” he said. “But I think people are understandably nervous about the government collecting and permanently storing information from their DNA.” Steffey said the law puts doctors in the awkward position of acting as law enforcement officers. The state medical association successfully pushed for a penalty exemption for doctors who do not comply in good faith. “Physicians would rather the Board of Medical Licensure supervise and regulate the practice of medicine instead of having government intrusion between doctors and patients,” said Thomas E. Joiner, immediate past president of the Mississippi State Medical Association. Penick said the state would be better off pursuing proven teen pregnancy prevention methods, such as comprehensive sex education and access to confidential health services. Mississippi requires public schools to teach sex education, but the instruction is limited to either an abstinence-only or abstinence-plus curriculum, which critics say is not comprehensive enough.
But do the math from the worker’s side: For an employee making $21,000 a year, 9.5 percent of their income could mean premiums as high as $1,995 and the insurance would still be considered affordable. Even a premium of $1,000 — close to the current average for employee-only coverage — could be unaffordable for someone stretching earnings in the low $20,000’s. With such a small income, “there is just not any left over for health insurance,” said Shannon Demaree, head of actuarial services for the Lockton Benefit Group. “What the government is requiring employers to do isn’t really something their low-paid employees want.” Based in Kansas City, Mo., Lockton is an insurance broker and benefits consultant that caters to many medium-sized businesses affected by the health care law. Actuaries like Demaree specialize in cost estimates. Another thing to keep in mind: premiums wouldn’t be the only expense for employees. For a basic plan, they could also face an annual deductible amounting to $3,000 or so, before insurance starts paying. “If you make $20,000, are you really going to buy that?” asked Tracy Watts, health care reform leader at Mercer, a major benefits consulting firm. And low-wage workers making more than about $15,900 won’t be eligible for the law’s Medicaid expansion, shutting down another possibility for getting covered. It’s not exactly the picture the administration has painted. The president portrays his health care law as economic relief for struggling workers. “Let’s make sure that everybody who is out there working hard and doing the right thing, that they’re not going to go bankrupt because they get sick, that they’re going to have health care they can count on,” Obama said in a Chicago appearance last summer during the presidential campaign. “And we got that done.” White House senior communications advisor Tara McGuinness downplayed concerns. “There has been a lot of conjecture about what people might do or could do, but this hasn’t actually happened yet,” she said. “The gap between sky-is-falling predictions about the health law and what is happening is very wide.” The administration believes “most businesses want to do right by their employees and will continue to use tax breaks to provide quality coverage to their workers,” she added. Health insurance is tax deductible for employers, and the health law provides additional tax breaks to help small businesses.
BY EMILY LE COZ JACKSON, Mississippi (Reuters) Mississippi will require doctors to collect umbilical cord blood from babies born to some young mothers, under a new law intended to identify statutory rapists and reduce the state’s rate of teenage pregnancy, the highest in the country. The measure, which takes effect on July 1 and is the first of its kind in the country, targets certain mothers who were 16 or younger at the time of conception. Under the law, doctors and midwives will be expected to retrieve umbilical cord blood in cases where the father is 21 or older or when the baby’s paternity is in question. Samples will be stored at the state medical examiner’s office for testing in the event that police believe the girl was the victim of statutory rape. But they will not automatically be entered into the state’s criminal DNA database. Supporters of the law say it offers an important new tool to prevent older men from having sex with younger girls. Critics argue, however, that it violates privacy and will do little to deter teen pregnancy. “We think it’s a very invasive law to a woman who is already in a vulnerable situation,” said Carol Penick, executive director of the Women’s Fund of Mississippi, a nonprofit organization dedicated to women’s rights. Mississippi leads the nation in teen livebirth rates with 55 out of 1,000 babies born to young women between the ages of 15 and 19, according to 2010 data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The national average was 34.2 live births per 1,000 population and the lowest was 15.7, in New Hampshire, the CDC reported. Governor Phil Bryant said, “As governor, I am serious about confronting and reducing
BY RICARDO ALONZO It’s called the Affordable Care Act, but President Barack Obama’s health care law may turn out to be unaffordable for many low-wage workers, including employees at big chain restaurants, retail stores and hotels. That might seem strange since the law requires medium-sized and large employers to offer “affordable” coverage or face fines. But what’s reasonable? Because of a wrinkle in the law, companies can meet their legal obligations by offering policies that would be too expensive for many low-wage workers. For the employee, it’s like a mirage — attractive but out of reach. The company can get off the hook, say corporate consultants and policy experts, but the employee could still face a federal requirement to get health insurance. Many are expected to remain uninsured, possibly risking fines. That’s due to another provision: the law says workers with an offer of “affordable” workplace coverage aren’t entitled to new tax credits for private insurance, which could be a better deal for those on the lower rungs of the middle class. Some supporters of the law are disappointed. It smacks of today’s Catch-22 insurance rules. “Some people may not gain the benefit of affordable employer coverage,” acknowledged Ron Pollack, president of Families USA, a liberal advocacy group leading efforts to get uninsured people signed up for coverage next year. “It is an imperfection in the new law,” Pollack added. “The new law is a big step in the right direction, but it is not perfect, and it will require future improvements.” Andy Stern, former president of the Service Employees International Union, the 2-millionmember service-sector labor union, called the provision “an avoidance opportunity” for big business. SEIU provided grass-roots support during Obama’s long struggle to push the bill through Congress. The law is complicated, but essentially companies with 50 or more full-time workers are required to offer coverage that meets certain basic standards and costs no more than 9.5 percent of an employee’s income. Failure to do so means fines for the employer.
Arts & Entertainment
Friday. June 14. 2013
Steven Speilberg predicts you’ll pay more or less depending on the movie An abandoning of the current single-price system in favor of a variable-price model. Big blockbusters that are dependent on big screens will demand a premium price and stay in theaters longer, while more modestly budgeted movies or films with niche appeal will cost less to see.
CEO says Jackson was a forceful businessman Kanye says he’s the Steve Jobs of Culture The head of AEG Live LLC told jurors Wednesday that he knew Michael Jackson as a sophisticated, forceful businessman and not the druggedup performer who’s been described throughout an ongoing civil trial filed over the singer’s untimely death. Jackson was a far more complex figure than has been portrayed during the trial of a case filed by the singer’s mother against AEG Live over her son’s death, said Randy Philips, the company’s president and CEO. Phillips said based on meetings he had with Jackson in 2008 and early 2009, he found Jackson to be a “sophisticated man who had control of his life.” The portrait of Jackson that’s been presented to the jury during the sevenweek trial has been inaccurate, Phillips said. Jackson was described by both sides in opening statements as struggling with prescription drug addiction throughout his life. Phillips said he disagreed with the descriptions of Jackson “because he’s been presented as drug-addled 5-year-old. That was not the man I dealt with. The man I dealt with was forceful. Kind, but determined. He was a force.” Jurors have been presented with conflicting accounts of Jackson, even from Philips. They will have to weigh the different portrayals when they decide who is liable for the singer’s June 2009 death. Katherine Jackson’s lawyers contend AEG failed to properly investigate the doctor convicted of causing her son’s death, pushing her son too hard to perform and missed warning signs of his health. AEG, however, contends Michael Jackson hid his addiction to the powerful anesthetic propofol and that the company could not have foreseen that the singer’s doctor was giving him the drug as a sleep aid. Millions and possibly billions of dollars are at stake in the negligent hiring trial. Phillips said he didn’t see signs that Jackson was struggling with prescription drugs when he met with the entertainer to discuss options for his “This Is It” comeback concerts scheduled for London’s O2 Arena in 2009. Phillips has also told jurors that Michael Jackson never told him he was
having trouble sleeping. The executive has described the superstar as difficult to work with, often changing managers and ideas about what he wanted creatively. In testimony later on Wednesday, he described having to coax Jackson to a London press conference in March 2009 to announce his concerts. The singer was a couple of hours late, appeared hung over and was concerned no one would want to see him perform. “He is an emotionally paralyzed mess riddled with self-loathing and doubt now that it is show time,” Phillips wrote his boss that day. He testified that he just wanted to get through the event and forget it ever happened. The six-man, six-woman jury has been shown numerous emails throughout the trial in which high-level tour workers expressed concerns about the singer’s health, his weight, and whether he was ready for the shows. Many of the concerns were voiced by tour director Kenny Ortega, who Phillips at one point told not to attempt to serve as an amateur doctor or psychiatrist. Phillips acknowledged earlier this week that statements he wrote to Ortega about Michael Jackson’s physician, Conrad Murray, were untrue. Among those statements were Phillips’ assertions that AEG Live had checked out Murray, and that the deeply indebted physician didn’t need the job. Murray was convicted in 2011 of involuntary manslaughter for giving Michael Jackson a lethal dose of propofol. Murray is not a defendant in the civil case, although AEG Live lawyers said early they intend to call the former cardiologist as a witness.
BY CRAIG ROSEN Kanye West has spoken. In an extensive interview with The New York Times’ Jon Caramanica — just days before his sixth solo album, “Yeezus,” drops — Kanye has sat down and given us the lowdown on what’s going on inside his head. As usual, the 36-year-old gifted rapper/producer speaks highly of Kanye, comparing himself at different points in the interview to Michael Jordan, Walt Disney, Howard Hughes, Anna Wintour, David Stern and Steve Jobs. The latter reference is perhaps the most insane nonsense to ever emerge from West’s mouth. “I think what Kanye West is going to mean is something similar to what Steve Jobs means,” he says. “I am undoubtedly, you know, Steve of Internet, downtown, fashion, culture. Period. By a long jump. I honestly feel that because Steve has passed, you know, it’s like when Biggie passed and Jay-Z was allowed to become Jay-Z.” And just in case you’re wondering, Kanye still has no regrets for the instincts that led him to go onstage and bum-rush Taylor Swift’s acceptance speech at the 2009 MTV Video Music Awards. In his famous rant, he complained that Swift unjustly won the Best Female Video award. He argued that Beyoncé deserved the honor because her clip for “Single Ladies (Put a Ring on it)”
“was one of the best videos of all time.” Kanye believes the incident made him a better person. “It’s only led me to complete awesomeness at all times,” he says. “It’s only led me to awesome truth and awesomeness. Beauty, truth, awesomeness. That’s all it is.” Furthermore, Kanye adds that any of his past apologies to Swift were not sincere. He said, “I have, as a human being, fallen to peer pressure.” Kanye also talks a bit about his girlfriend, Kim Kardashian, when Caramanica mentions a scene from “Keeping up With the Kardashians” in which he encourages Kim to get rid of her entire wardrobe before buying her all new clothes. “That was from a place of love,” West says. “It’s hard when people read things in a lot of different ways. You know, the amount of backlash I got from it is when I decided to not be on the show anymore. And it’s not that I have an issue with the show…Because I just see like, an amazing person that I’m in love with that I want to help.” Yet, West also wants to keep his impending fatherhood private, adding, “I just don’t want to talk to America about my family. Like, this is my baby. This isn’t America’s baby.” Seems like Kanye wants the spotlight on his own terms. It’ll be interesting to see how that plays out in the wacky world of the Kardashians.
Tunisia rapper gets two years prison for police song A Tunisian court convicted on Thursday a rap artist for insulting police with a song calling them dogs and sentenced him to two years in prison, his lawyer said. The verdict comes as Tunisia’s justice system is under increasing scrutiny after a series of controversial decisions, including sentencing women’s rights activists to four months in prison for demonstrating topless while releasing suspects in last year’s attack on the U.S. Embassy. Lawyer Ghazi Mrabet described the sentence as overly severe and said he would appeal the verdict against his client Alaa Yacoub, 24, known by his rapper name Weld El 15, or “Son of 15.” Yacoub’s song “Boulicia Kleb,” or “the police are dogs,” was released on YouTube. He was originally tried and convicted in absentia for inciting violence against officials and insulting police back in March. He turned himself in and was retried, but given the same two-year sentence. His supporters were outraged by the verdict and struggled with police outside the courtroom. Four people, including a journalist, another rapper and two friends of the artist were arrested, according to Mrabet. Yacoub’s case is remarkably similar to that of Moroccan rapper Mouad Belghouat, who last year served a year in prison for insulting police with his song “Dogs of the State.” Tunisia under former President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali was a police state in which security forces were widely reviled. Tunisians overthrew the government in January 2011 in an uprising that sparked off pro-democracy movements around the region. Police are still widely mistrusted even under a new elected government.
Friday. June 14. 2013
Willis McGahee’s decision to skip offseason workouts isn’t what cost the veteran running back his job with the Denver Broncos. His absence, however, did allow the organization to see ample promise in rookie Montee Ball and abundant progress from second-year speedster Ronnie Hillman.
Kidd introduced as Big 3 help Heat even NBA Finals with Spurs new Nets’ head coach
Less than two weeks after ending his long, All-Star career, Jason Kidd acknowledged he has ‘’a lot to learn about coaching’’ Thursday as he took the Brooklyn Nets job despite having no experience leading a team from the bench. Now a point guard who was all about assists in his 19 years on the court will be looking for a little help. ‘’Nervous,’’ the 40-year-old Kidd said when asked how he felt. ‘’I’m a rookie. I go from being one of the oldest players in the league to now a rookie coach. I’m very excited about this challenge. We have a special opportunity to achieve a championship-caliber team.’’ Kidd retired earlier this month after one season with the New York Knicks, and the Nets decided to hire him to replace P.J. Carlesimo - a move that comes with some obvious risks since Kidd has never been a head coach. ‘’Jason Kidd embodied everything that we were looking for,’’ Nets general manager Billy King said. ‘’One thing people always thought about Jason is he was somebody who always worked hard and that’s a sort of thing I think will translate into coaching. Does he have a learning curve? Yes. I think if you know Jason, he doesn’t take something and want to be good at it, he wants to be great.’’ Kidd is rejoining a franchise he led to consecutive NBA Finals appearances in 2002-03 when they played in New Jersey. He spent 6 1/2 seasons with the Nets, averaging 14.6 points, 9.1 assists and 7.2 rebounds, and is their career leader in numerous statistical categories. He is second on the NBA’s career list in assists and steals, won an NBA title with Dallas and has two Olympic gold medals.
Terms of the deal that made Kidd the 18th coach in franchise history were not disclosed. ‘’This is a great challenge, so I’m looking very forward to this,’’ Kidd said. ‘’Yes, I have a lot to learn about coaching, but when I played I felt I was an extension of the coach.’’ Carlesimo wasn’t retained after leading the Nets into the playoffs, where they lost to the Chicago Bulls in the first round. He went 35-19 after replacing Avery Johnson, who was fired in December. Kidd said he was also contacted by Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban to offer him the opportunity to rejoin that franchise and learn the business operations. But he interviewed with the Nets on Monday and they chose him as their coach after talking with Indiana Pacers assistant Brian Shaw. ‘’In my meeting with him he talked about our team,’’ King said of his discussion with Kidd. ‘’He knew the personnel. When I talked about how he would use them in certain ways, how he would defense, how he would operate offensively, he said, ‘What I want to do, I want to get uptempo, I want to get the ball moving.’’’ Kidd, who has a close friendship with Nets point guard Deron Williams, said his message to players will be simple: ‘’Understand you’ve got to play hard, you’ve got to play defense and we’re going to grow together. That’s what’s going to make it special.’’ He also credited Golden State coach Mark Jackson’s success in his first year as coach of the Warriors for possibly playing a role in Brooklyn’s decision to hire him. ‘’He did give guys the opportunity, maybe crack the door open for guys who were playing to be able to go into coaching because of the success that he’s had,’’ Kidd said. ‘’There are guys that are examples out there that have done it. Hopefully I can carry the torch and have the same success.’’ Kidd also has a court date next month on Long Island stemming from a drunken-driving arrest last year. He has pleaded not guilty to misdemeanor DWI
A sluggish, painful start for Tiger Woods T i g e r Woods said his left wrist was fine. It’s his game that was hurting him Thursday in the U.S. Open. Woods finished only 10 holes in the rain-delayed first round at Merion, spending far too much time trying to gouge out of the thick rough with a wedge. On at least four occasions, he was either flexing or shaking his left hand after the forceful shots. He was 2-over par when play was suspended because of darkness, leaving him about a 4-foot par putt on the 11th hole when he returns at 7:15 a.m. Friday. It was probably a good time for Woods to stop. He pulled his tee shot with an iron well left of the 11th fairway, and only the thick grass kept it from going into the creek. He took another powerful hack out of the rough to clear the winding creek that fronts the green, and then played a flop shot from the rough to 4 feet. When a USGA official mentioned that his wrist appeared to be a problem, Woods replied, ‘’It’s fine.’’ With a better forecast the rest of the week,
Woods will play 25 full holes on Friday and try to make up ground on the leaders. Phil Mickelson completed his round of 67, while Luke Donald was at 4-under and approaching the difficult, five-hole finish. ‘’I’ve got a lot of holes to play tomorrow,’’ Woods said. ‘’And hopefully, I can play a little better than I did today.’’ Woods has gone five years without winning a major, though his four PGA Tour wins in eight starts indicates that his game is in good shape. As he’s done in other majors, Woods began with poor tee shot that found the rough on the gentle, opening hole at Merion. He grimaced after digging into the gnarly rough to hack out to the fairway and started with a bogey. The key to Merion is to hang on for the opening six holes, take advantage of the short stretch of holes in the middle, and try not to give back shots at the end. After that six-hole start, Woods had one par, two birdies and three bogeys. Two of the bogeys came from poor chip shots from just off the green at No. 3 and No. 5. What saved him was a 50-foot birdie putt on the sixth hole. But he failed to convert birdie chances on the seventh, eighth and 10th holes - all of them under 400 yards - and he three-putted the 237-yard ninth hole from about 65 feet to drop another shot. ‘’It’s going to be a fast night,’’ Woods said as he left the course.
Miami Heat owner Micky Arison had a message as he walked to the winning locker room. ‘’The death of the Big Three was overrated,’’ he said. Sure was. LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh, his three prized players, are just fine. So are the Heat’s championship hopes. Riding big performances from their three All-Stars, the Heat tied the NBA Finals with a 109-93 victory over the San Antonio Spurs on Thursday night in Game 4. ‘’It was on our shoulders,’’ James said. ‘’We had to figure out how to win the game for us and play at the highest level. When all three of us are clicking we’re very tough to beat.’’ James had 33 points and 11 rebounds after failing to break 20 points in any of the first three games of the series, and Wade scored 32 points, 11 more than his previous high this postseason. Bosh matched his playoff high with 20 points and grabbed 13 rebounds, he and Wade supplying the baskets that finally put the Spurs away for good midway through the fourth quarter. Three players, 85 points. Just the way the Heat envisioned it when they signed James and Bosh to play with Wade in 2010. ‘’When Bosh, Wade and James score the way they did tonight and shoot it the way they did tonight, a team is going to have a difficult time if you help them like we did,’’ Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said. ‘’When those guys are playing like that, you better be playing a perfect game.’’ The Spurs weren’t, committing 19 turnovers that led to 23 points. And just like they have for the last five months, the Heat bounced back from a loss with a victory. They are 12-0 after defeats since Jan. 10, outscoring opponents by an average of nearly 20 points in the previous 11 victories. Tim Duncan scored 20 points for the Spurs, who have one more game here on Sunday. They fell to 10-3 at home all-time in the finals, failing to back up their 113-77 victory in Game 3 that was the third-most lopsided score in the history of the championship series. James insisted he would be better after shooting 7 of 21 from the field with no free throws in that game, saying he was the star and it was his job to lead his team. He was 15 of 25 on Thursday. But while James - and millions of critics worldwide - wanted to pile all the pressure on the league’s MVP, it was Wade on Wednesday who said it was the Heat’s three All-Stars who had to lead them together, or there would be no championship. He was right. And now those championship hopes are right back on track. ‘’It was all about myself, Chris and LeBron coming out and leading this team to a victory,’’ Wade said. ‘’The thing we talked about is we all have to make an impact in this game, somehow, some way.’’ Wade shot 14 of 25, adding six steals, six rebounds and four assists in a performance that James compared to when Wade was MVP of the 2006 finals. Tony Parker had 15 points and nine assists for the Spurs, who made a finals-record 16 3-p inters on Tuesday but got up only 16 attempts in this one. Gary Neal scored 13 points and Danny Green had 10, solid nights but nothing like when they combined for 13 3-pointers two nights earlier. ‘’They play very aggressive defense,’’ Parker said. ‘’They gamble and they take a lot of chances, and tonight it worked.’’ The Heat guaranteed they will get at least one more game on their home floor. Game 6 will be Tuesday night, where they could have a chance to celebrate a second straight championship. The revelry in south Florida was marred Thursday by an accident in which the deck behind a popular sports bar collapsed during the game, spilling patrons into Biscayne Bay. Miami Dade Fire Chief David Downey said 24 people were transported to area hospitals, and that two people were in serious condition.
Friday. June 14. 2013
Crime doubts persist in Brazil ahead of upcoming world sporting events
BY JEENY BARCHFIELD Not even a day after his arrival in Rio de Janeiro and just hours after attending the Brazil-England soccer friendly at the city’s legendary Maracana stadium, a sports columnist for the Daily Mail newspaper was held up at knifepoint as he strolled along Copacabana Beach. Adrian Durham darted into oncoming traffic to get away, and in the end the wouldbe mugger didn’t make off with anything. But the June 2 incident, which Durham described in a recent column, has served as a warning for the tens of thousands of foreign visitors expected to flood into Brazil for this week’s Confederations Cup soccer tournament. It’s only the first of a series of high-profile events Rio’s is gearing up to host, among them a papal visit in July, next year’s World Cup and the 2016 Olympics. Security has long been a major problem in Brazil, where heavily armed drug lords control swaths of territory that are off-limits to law enforcement and where petty crime often turns fatal. As part of its Olympic bid, Brazil’s government pledged to curb the violence, and major strides have been made in recent years, particularly in Rio, where the police are now present in more than 200 hillside “favela” slums. But the country still has an alarmingly high murder rate, and knife- and gun-point muggings, carjackings and armed robberies continue to be facts of daily life. Rio alone has seen a spate of recent incidents, including the March gang rape of an American student aboard a public transit van and the shooting last Saturday of a Brazilian engineer who, because of faulty signs, took a wrong turn and drove into an unpacified favela. Brazilian officials have brought in drones, thermal cameras and thousands of troops to patrol the six stadiums hosting Confederations Cup events. But experts say visitors like Durham will be immediately vulnerable once
they venture away from secured areas, and in fact, may run even a greater risk than usual, with many police having been called off their regular street duties to patrol the stadiums’ environs. “Street lighting and police presence need to be stepped up dramatically before the World Cup — and then the Olympics — come here,” Durham wrote in his column. “Attitudes need to change — locals clearly just accept that crime happens and have no desire to tackle it.” Brazil’s epidemic of everyday violence makes ensuring security at the upcoming megaevents doubly complicated: Not only must officials plan for threats such as terrorism that overshadow any event of global scale, they also have to keep a lid on day-to-day violence, which some observers predict could reach a fever pitch with the influx of an estimated 60,000 foreign tourists. Officials said they’ve already deployed the most extensive security apparatus ever in Brazil for the Confederations Cup, a two-week tournament that’s regarded as a dry run for next year’s World Cup. “We are strongly concerned with ensuring safety and security to all our athletes, tourists, heads of state and delegations,” Sports Minister
Aldo Rebelo told reporters on a conference call earlier this week. “Special attention is given to this matter particularly in light of prior tragedies” like the slaying of Israeli athletes at the 1972 Munich Olympics and the Boston Marathon bombings in April. Some 45,000 personnel will be deployed in the tournament’s six host cities, according to
SESGE, the government agency created in 2011 to coordinate security at the mega-events. That means a hodgepodge of Brazilian law enforcement agencies, from federal and state police officers to municipal guards to highway patrol, will be patrolling key sites such as airports and stadium surroundings. Inside the venues, world soccer’s governing body, FIFA, will rely on private guards. According to SESGE, one guard will be assigned for every 50 spectators at the matches, which kick off on Saturday when Brazil plays Japan in the tournament’s opening game in the capital, Brasilia. In addition to 3,500 military police officers, the security detail at Saturday’s match will also include a battalion of riot police with two armored vehicles, a canine unit of sniffer dogs trained to detect drugs and explosives as well as eight sharpshooters, said Fabio Pizetta, the head of Brazilia’s riot police division. The crackdown will also make use of the latest technology, with stadium fly-overs by Air Force fighter jets and helicopters kitted out with surveillance equipment including high-resolution, night-vision and thermal cameras, SESGE has said. Nearby buses will receive the surveillance images and help coordinate any police response. The police have also been purchasing unmanned drones, which they may deploy during Pope Francis’ July 2228 visit to Rio, as well as during the World Cup, media reports have suggested. In total, the government is expected to invest around $550 million in public security for the Confederations Cup and the World Cup, according to SESGE. Despite the investment, security experts’ assessments of the Brazilian strategy remain
mixed. Joe Biundini, who heads the FAM International Group security firm, said he didn’t anticipate any issues inside the stadiums but was worried about the potential terror threat posed by Brazil’s porous, 15,700 kilometer-long land border. Although Brazil has never before been the target of an international terror attack, he said, the Boston Marathon bombings showed big sporting events are vulnerable. “The borders aren’t as secure as they could be. Right now, the door to Brazil is wide open,” said Biundini, a Brazilian-born former U.S. Marine whose company has studied security risks in the Confederations Cup. Biundini added that the terror threat could come from the notoriously crime ridden triborder region where Brazil, Argentina and Paraguay meet. “There’s real potential there for the smuggling of weapons of mass destruction” through the area, he said. With public security forces concentrated around the stadiums, public transit hubs and other outlying areas could become more vulnerable to potential attacks, as well as to petty criminals, Biundini said. Authorities have promised to beef up personnel at airports by more than 75 percent during the Confederations Cup, but ground has yet to be broken on many planned renovations aimed at making the host cities’ cramped, outdated airports safer and more comfortable. “I think the plan they have in place is good on paper, but whether it actually works will depend on communication” between at least 12 different government agencies with roles in the security detail, Biundini said. “They’ll certainly make lots of mistakes (during the Confederations Cup) but hopefully they’ll learn from them for the World Cup.”
Friday. June 14. 2013
In a first of its kind ruling on human genes, a unanimous U.S. Supreme Court on Thursday decided that synthetically produced genetic material can be patented but naturally occurring DNA extracted from the human body cannot.
Health & Fitness
New diet craze: Five days feast, two days famine AIDS drugs halve HIV risk for
BY CONSTANCE WATSON Forget abandoning carbohydrates or detoxing. The new dieting craze sweeping Britain and taking off in the United States lets people eat whatever they like - but only five days a week. “The Fast Diet”, also known as the 5:2 diet, is the brainchild of TV medical journalist Michael Mosley and journalist Mimi Spencer and allows people to eat what they want for five days but only eat 600 calories a day on the other two. Their book, “The Fast Diet”, has topped bestselling book lists in Britain and the United States this year and been reprinted more than a dozen times. Mosley said the diet is based on work by British and U.S. scientists who found intermittent fasting helped people lose more fat, increase insulin sensitivity and cut cholesterol which should mean reduced risk of heart disease and diabetes. He tried this eating regime for a BBC television science programme called “Eat, Fast, Live Longer” last August
after finding out his cholesterol level was too high and his blood sugar in the diabetic range. He was stunned by the results. “I started doing intermittent fasting a year ago, lost 8 kgs (18 pounds) of fat over 3 months and my blood results went back to normal,” Mosley said. Mosley said he had been amazed at the way the diet had taken off with a list of websites set up by followers of the 5:2 diet or variations of the eating regime to share their experiences. Following the success of “The Fast Diet”, Spencer joined forces with dietitian Sarah Schenker to bring out “The Fast Diet Recipe Book” in April which has topped amazon.co.uk’s food and drink list with 150 recipes containing under 300 calories. Eating a 600 calorie daily diet - about a quarter of a normal healthy adult’s intake - could consist of two eggs for breakfast, grilled chicken and lettuce for lunch, and fish with rice noodles for dinner with nothing to drink but water, black coffee or tea. Mosley put the diet’s success down to the fact it is psychologically attractive and leads to steady drop in weight with an average weekly loss of 1 pound (0.46kg) for women and slightly more for men. “The problem with standard diets is that you feel like you are constantly having to exercise restraint and that means you are thinking about food
all the time, which becomes selfdefeating,” said Mosley. “On this regime you are only really on a diet two days a week. It is also extremely flexible and simple.” Britain’s National Health Service (NHS) initially expressed doubts about the diet and its long-term effects, saying side effects could include sleeping difficulties, bad breath, irritability, anxiety, and daytime sleepiness. But as the popularity of the 5:2 diet has grown and become one of the most searched diets on the Internet, the NHS has started to look again at the diet and its effects. On its website last month the NHS said the British Dietetic Association (BDA) reviewed a 2011 study by researchers at the UK’s University Hospital of South Manchester that suggested intermittent fasting could help lower the risk of certain obesityrelated cancers such as breast cancer. “The increasing popularity of the 5:2 diet should lead to further research of this kind,” the BDA said in a statement. Schenker, a sports and media dietitian who works with football clubs and food companies, said it was a shame that the NHS had criticized the eating regime that had proved such a success with so many people. “We are in the midst of an obesity crisis and you need to balance up which is worse - intermittent fasting of staying obese?” Schenker said.
Air pollution can trigger heart arrhythmias For people with existing heart problems, exposure to high levels of air pollution can trigger the irregular heartbeats that may lead to a stroke or heart attack, according to a new study. Past research has linked air pollution to ventricular fibrillation, electrical confusion in the lower chambers of the heart which can cause sudden death. The new study also finds an association with atrial fibrillation (AF), erratic quivering in the heart’s upper chambers and the most common type of irregular heartbeat. “As in all epidemiological studies we do not prove causation, but rather an association,” said lead author Dr. Mark Link, a cardiologist at Tufts Medical Center in Boston. His study included people with so-called implantable cardioverter defibrillators (ICDs), which record when the heart’s electrical activity is abnormal and deliver shocks to try to right the rhythm. Link and his colleagues analyzed data from the ICDs
of 176 heart patients and compared it to air quality data collected in the region. Over about two years, 49 of those people had a total of 328 AF episodes. The researchers found that the level of air pollution, including soot-like particles, on a given day was directly tied to heart rhythm problems. With every 6 microgram per cubic meter increase in fine particulate pollution, for example, people were 26 percent more likely to have an AF episode in the next two hours, the study team reported in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology. That extra risk is greater than the 1 percent increased risk of death from heart attack and the 18 percent increased risk of stroke seen with each 10 microgram per cubic meter rise in pollution in other studies, Link noted. The daily average particulate pollution level in Massachusetts, where the study took place, was 8.4 micrograms per cubic meter, well below the upper limit of 35 set by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
intravenous drugs users in study (ATWS) - A daily dose of powerful anti-HIV medicine helped cut the risk of infection with the AIDS virus by 49 percent in intravenous drug users in a Bangkok study that showed for the first time such a preventive step can work in this high-risk population. “This is a significant step forward for HIV prevention,” said Dr. Jonathan Mermin, director of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which helped conduct the clinical trial along with the Thailand Ministry of Health. The study, published on Wednesday in the journal Lancet, looked at the treatment approach known as pre-exposure prophylaxis, or PrEP, in which HIV treatments are given to uninfected people who are at high-risk for HIV infection. The drug used in the study was Gilead’s older and relatively cheap generic HIV drug tenofovir. The study was launched in 2005. Prior studies of this approach showed it cut infection rates by 44 percent in men who have sex with men, by 62 percent in heterosexual men and women and by 75 percent in couples in which one partner is infected with HIV and the other is not. The new results showed that it also protects intravenous drug users. “We now know that PrEP can work for all populations at increased risk for HIV,” Mermin said in a statement. Based on the results, the CDC plans to recommend that U.S. doctors who wish to prescribe this treatment for their patients follow the same interim guidelines issued last year to prevent sexual transmission among other high-risk individuals. Intravenous use of drugs like heroin accounts for about 8 percent of all new HIV infections in the United States and about 10 percent of new HIV infections worldwide. In some regions, such as Eastern Europe and Central Asia, injection drug abuse accounts for about 80 percent of all new infections. The new findings involved more than 2,400 intravenous drug users in Bangkok who were not infected with the human immunodeficiency virus, which causes AIDS, and were being treated at the city’s drug treatment clinics. Half took tenofovir and half took a placebo. All participants were given HIV prevention counseling, risk-reduction strategies such as condoms and methadone treatment, and monthly HIV testing. At the end of the study, there were 17 HIV infections among people taking the HIV medication, compared with 33 infections among those not taking the drugs, the researchers found. The researchers also looked to see what factors influenced infection rates among those taking the HIV medication. They found that people who took their medication at least 71 percent of the time had a 74 percent lower risk of becoming infected with HIV. Although it was not clear how the preventive drug treatment worked - by stopping infections caused by sharing dirty needles or by unprotected sex among drug users - the study produced a reduction in infection rates, said Dr. Salim Abdook Karim of the University of KwaZulu-Natal in Durban, South Africa and of Columbia University in New York. “The introduction of PrEP for HIV prevention in injecting drug users should be considered as an additional component to accompany other proven prevention strategies like needle exchange programs, methadone programs, promotion of safer sex and injecting practices, condoms, and HIV counseling and testing,” Karim wrote in a commentary accompanying the study in the Lancet.
Opinions & Editorials Polarized Washington ignores long-term issues at their peril BY CYNTHIA TUCKER Scandalfest continues. Official Washington is still flitting from one minor controversy to another, with the news media breathlessly reporting the latest leaked email or unsubstantiated accusation. Clearly, the chattering classes have declared the jobs crisis ended and the economic recovery complete. While the Obama administration hasn’t popped open champagne bottles to celebrate, the air of silliness that hangs over the Beltway is a reminder that the worst is over. After all, the stock market is soaring. Consumer confidence is climbing. The latest national unemployment number is down to 7.5 percent, the lowest level since December 2007, when the economy started its steep descent. Indeed, the sustained economic uptick may have a direct tie-in to Washington’s current obsession with less consequential matters: The economy is strong enough to have persuaded Republicans to stop blasting President Barack Obama over joblessness, so they’ve had to find other issues with which to batter him. Here’s an update from outside the Beltway Bubble: The jobs crisis is not over. Average Americans are still struggling through an ugly economic transformation -- a structural change decades in the making that jumped into overdrive with the Great Recession. Millions of Americans of working age remain unemployed, while others patch together two or three part-time jobs to keep food on the table. Still others have found full-time jobs but at far less pay than they used to earn. A recent Quinnipiac poll provides a clear look into the minds of voters, who have little interest in the imbroglios of the moment. Rightly, 44 percent believe the revelations about the Internal Revenue Service, which singled out conservative organizations for unfair screening, as most important among the current controversies. Only 24 percent cited the deaths of four Americans at a diplomatic outpost in Benghazi, despite the GOP’s obsession with it. Far fewer, just 14 percent, listed the Justice Department’s scrutiny of reporters.
But here’s the news you may have missed: An overwhelming 73 percent said that boosting the economy and creating jobs is more important than any of the other three issues. If politicians were as poll-obsessed as they are rumored to be, they’d at least pretend to be devoting most of their time to helping middle-class Americans get back into stable jobs with good pay. The jobs crisis has been decades in the making, an economic restructuring fueled by globalization and technology. Think about it: Those Bangladeshi textile workers killed in an April building collapse were doing work once done in the United States. No matter how many affluent Americans protest the conditions and boycott the designers who contributed to the disaster, those jobs are not coming back to these shores. Manufacturers will continue to pursue cheap labor. As a result, the jobs that once guaranteed good wages and stable futures to generations of Americans without college degrees have all but disappeared. That transformation, which started in the 1970s, has contributed to the wage gap, the ever-widening rift between the haves and have-nots. The average American worker has been losing economic ground for decades. Politicians ignore that growing gap at their peril. The notion of an America where everybody has an equal shot has always been more myth than reality, but there was once a time when it was not so difficult for young adults to imagine a more prosperous future than their parents had. That is no longer a likely scenario. That’s a very difficult problem to solve, which helps explain why politicians don’t like to discuss it. It calls for a multigenerational response, the sort of bipartisan approach that is usually reserved for battles against foreign enemies. But Washington is stuck in a period of deepening polarization, incapable, it seems, of even agreeing on the causes of our economic woes. Democrats, at least, have a language for discussing widening income inequality. Republicans haven’t yet come to terms with its existence. So the sorry spectacle continues.
Friday. June 14. 2013
The Morning After Pill saga continues BY SUSAN ESTRICH If you’re having trouble following all of the twists and turns in the saga relating to the availability of what is commonly referred to as the “morning-after pill,” you’re not alone. First some basic facts: The emergency contraceptive must be taken within five days of unprotected sex, and contrary to claims of certain anti-abortion activists, it prevents fertilization in the first instance (rather than causing a miscarriage). There are two versions: the original two-pill version and a more recent one-pill version. It’s been nearly a decade since the lawsuit that has been winding its way through the courts (and onto the front pages) was filed. At that time, the only version was two pills, which is why (as best as I can tell) the latest decision from the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit ordering the government to lift all age restrictions on purchases until it decides the merits of a pending appeal applies only to the two-pill version. The appeal is from a decision by a federal district judge holding that all versions of the pill should be made available to all ages over the counter. The Obama administration sought to “stay” the judge’s decision (meaning it should not be allowed to go into effect) and has argued that access should be limited to girls over 15, overruling a recommendation from the FDA that would have lifted all restrictions (like the judge’s decision). Then, last month (if you’re still with me), the FDA announced that one of the one-pill brands should be made available to girls over 15, provided they show identification. The appeals court rule doesn’t apply to that version. What is really going on here? According to the respected federal judge who decided this case, it is simple: politics. Judge Edward R. Korman has not minced words, criticizing the “bad faith, politically motivated decision of (Health and Human Services) Secretary Sebelius, who lacks any medical or scientific expertise.” True? I think so. The argument against the morning-after pill is that it will encourage young people to have sex. I find it hard to believe that 12- and 13-year-olds are deciding
whether to have sex based on the availability of emergency contraception. If only such decisions were made in the kind of rational, logical way that would involve a weighing of such factors. Seriously. As for the danger of the drug, most scientists seem to believe acetaminophen carries more risk — not to mention pregnancy. Most studies find that it’s largely adults who use the morning-after pill, not teens. But requiring a government-issued ID to prove age may limit access to the pill for those of any age, and keeping it locked up behind the counter will make it more burdensome or embarrassing for those who need it to ask for it. I used to be embarrassed buying sanitary napkins at that age. Asking a pharmacist for the morning-after pill? Why make it any more difficult? Do we really want these girls to get pregnant? No one, including the president, likes the idea of children having sex. Back in December of 2011 (when, perhaps not coincidentally, the president was in the middle of a reelection campaign), he endorsed Sebelius’ decision, saying that as a father, it made him very uncomfortable to think of young girls having access to the morning-after pill without a prescription. Of course it does. But the prescription is hardly the reason. Children should not be having sex. Can’t we all agree on that? But even more fundamentally, children should not be having children. One thing is for sure: The risks to an 11-year-old that come with an unwanted pregnancy — in terms of both her physical and mental health — are far greater than the risk associated with taking one or two pills to prevent fertilization. If we have a safe and effective way to prevent that, why wouldn’t we allow it?
The Austin Times WEEKLY HOROSCOPE ARIES (Mar. 21- April 20) You can expect to have problems with your mate if you’ve been spending too much time away from home. You may want to try your hand at a little creative writing. Don’t let your boss get the better of you. In-laws or relatives may oppose your personal intentions. TAURUS (Apr. 21- may 21) Uncertainty regarding your mate may emerge; reevaluate what you see in each other. this week is not the day to try to comer people by giving them ultimatums. You can get ahead if you play your cards right. You may be confused regarding your love life. GEMINI (May 22-June 21) Make sure that you take time to remember those you love. You can make extra cash if you act on a hunch. Go out with friends who are positive and supportive. It might be best to keep your ideas to yourself this week. CANCER (June 22-July 22) Try to spend some time on your own. You should visit a friend or relative who hasn’t been well. Don’t hold back; go with the flow and take a bit of a chance. You might be overly emotional when dealing with your partner. LEO (July 23-Aug 22) Relationships will be emotional this week. However, you may not attract the kind of interest you had in mind. Sudden changes will occur through communications with friends or in-laws. Do things with your children and avoid situations that make you feel as if you’ve neglected the ones you love. VIRGO (Aug. 23 -Sept. 23) Expect problems with settlements that you are trying to resolve. Don’t push your luck with your boss. Relationships will become stronger. Your childlike quality may get you into big trouble this week if you neglect your responsibilities.
LIBRA (Sept. 24 -Oct. 23) Some of your new friends may not be that trustworthy. Problems with your partner are apparent. Your energy will be high; however, if not channeled suitably, temper tantrums may erupt. Don’t reveal anything about your personal life that could be used adversely. SCORPIO (Oct. 24 - Nov. 22) Join a club to work off that excess energy; but consider ways of doing that without spending the money. Do something together and you’ll be surprised how sweet a deal you can make. You may be upset if someone has borrowed something that belongs to you. Talk to an older, established individual about your present situation. SAGITTARIUS (Nov. 23 -Dec. 21) Don’t overload your plate. Deception and confusion regarding your status in society is likely. Refrain from arguing with your mate. Make changes regarding your status in society. CAPRICORN (Dec 22 - Jan. 20) Organize your day well if you wish to accomplish all you set out to do. Hide your cards and learn to say no. Romance will develop if you get involved in social events that deal with children. You must take care of health problems that have been lingering. AQUARIUS (Jan. 21 -Feb. 19) You’re not your usual self this week. You will be emotional when dealing with coworkers or employers. Unexpected visitors will be a welcome surprise. Don’t let others saddle you with guilt that isn’t warranted. PISCES (Feb. 20-Mar. 20) Secret intrigues could get you into trouble. You have worked hard and the payback is now. Overindulgence may be a problem. Loved ones may be annoyed if they feel restricted. This is the week to make it happpen.
Friday. June 14. 2013
Should Blacks discuss the issue of Tips for right-wingers on the IRS scandal absent fathers in private or public? BY ANN COULTER
BY NANA EKUA BREW-HAMMOND The conversation, Jones believes, should be focused on understanding how the current family welfare system, perhaps unwittingly, pits mothers against fathers, to the detriment of society as a whole—and how to fix it. He illustrates his point by example, using a fictitious couple: “Keshia and Raheem.” “Keshia’s poor. Raheem’s poor. They come from families or origins that are poor. They meet one another. They’re attracted to one another. And Keshia gets pregnant.” Whatever judgments one may have about Keshia’s pregnancy, “from a public policy standpoint, you wanna make sure that Keshia has a healthy birth.” The problem is, Jones points out, current public policy in most states does not take the holistic view that Keshia’s healthy birth is also connected to Raheem’s ability to be a supportive partner. “We are going to give Keshia public benefits and give her access to workforce training support post-pregnancy,” Jones says. “However, we don’t do anything with Raheem who’s also poor, other than to say ‘Raheem, you’ve got this [child support] bill.’” By doing this, “States are unintentionally complicit in helping to create a wedge between this poor couple at a time when they have an opportunity to say, ‘Let’s come up with a coordinated way in which we can work with the two of you as a couple,’ assuming you are in a romantic relationship—according to the Fragile Families Child Well-Being Study, 82 percent of these couples are.” The Center for Urban Families’ mission is to equip poor fathers and families with the tools they need to achieve economic stability, acting to plug the holes in the state’s response to low-income couples like Keshia and Raheem. CFUF’s Workforce Development Program prepares young men and women for the work environment, and partners with local employers to help place them in jobs. Jones has also worked to make politicians and legislators aware of the issue. He has
served on Bill Clinton’s taskforce on Welfare Reform, collaborated with former First Lady Laura Bush on her Helping America’s Youth initiative, and served both Senator Obama and President Obama’s administrations to advance the mission of responsible fatherhood. For Jones, the CFUF’s civic mission is personal. He says his parents’ divorce when he was nine is one of the reasons he got caught up in a cycle of drug abuse and incarceration. As he describes it, he had lost “the two-parent buffer.” He says he did his first jail stint at 14, and was in and out of the justice system for the next 17 years. “Once the relationship severed, my mom and I moved to the other side of town.” Describing his then-new reality, Jones remembers, “I [had] more time on my hands than I have ever had in my life.” “During that journey,” Jones says, “I also had a son out of wedlock.” He and his son’s mother were essentially Raheem and Keshia. “No one ever attempted to help the two of us.” Being sentenced to a one-year drug treatment program led to his awakening. “That allowed me to think about, you know, the selfishness of my behavior and begin to think about what I wanted to do next.” He began working in human services, first landing a job assisting mentally retarded adults, before taking a position at Baltimore City Health Department in the Division of Maternal and Child Health. This was where he found his calling. Realizing the city’s maternal and child health support system shut fathers out of the process, he ultimately designed a fatherhood program that would be the precursor to CFUF. “I had to be challenged to step up to the plate and to be a good dad,” admits Jones who now has three children, and he says having Obama in particular confront the issue is critical. Citing a recent visit the President made to the Center, Jones says the participants of his programs were visibly shaken.
Instead of showing endless loops of IRS employees wasting taxpayer dollars linedancing -- Breaking news: Government employees waste millions of your dollars every single day! -- I think it would be more useful for the public to hear a few crucial facts about the exploding scandal at the Internal Revenue Service. At Tuesday’s congressional hearings on the IRS, witnesses provided shocking details about the agency’s abuse of conservative groups. The IRS leaked the donor list of The National Organization for Marriage to their political opponents, the pro-gay-marriage Human Rights Campaign. This is not idle speculation: The documents had an internal IRS stamp on them. The list of names was then published on a number of liberal websites and NOM’s donors were harassed. The IRS demanded that all members of the Coalition for Life of Iowa swear under penalty of perjury that they wouldn’t pray, picket or protest outside of Planned Parenthood. They were also asked to provide details of their prayer meetings. Rep. Jim McDermott, D-Wash. -- who was ordered by the D.C. Circuit Court to pay more than $1 million to John Boehner in 2008 for the sleazy maneuver of publishing an illegally taped private conversation -- blamed the conservative groups themselves. “Each of your groups was highly political,” he lectured them, noting that they wouldn’t have been asked any questions if they hadn’t requested tax-exempt status. Even a fair-minded person -- not to be confused with Jim McDermott -- might hear about the IRS’ harassment of groups with “tea party,” “patriot” or “liberty” in their names and think: “How do we know the IRS wasn’t equally hard on left-wing groups?” What might be more helpful than clips of IRS staff line-dancing would be for reporters, say at Fox News, to mention a few examples of the wildly partisan left-wing groups that the IRS has certified as tax-exempt. Among the many left-wing groups with taxexempt status are: -- ACORN (now renamed as other organizations, but all still tax-exempt), “community organizers” who engage in profanity-laced protests at private homes, dump garbage in front of public buildings and disrupt bankers’ dinners in order to get more people on welfare in order to destroy the capitalist system and incite revolution; -- Occupy Wall Street, which -- in its first month alone -- was responsible for more than a dozen sexual assaults; at least half a dozen deaths by overdose, suicide or murder; and millions of dollars in property damage; -- Media Matters for America, a media “watchdog” group that has never noticed one iota of pro-Obama bias in the media; -- The Ford Foundation, which has never found a criminal law that isn’t “racist.” These groups are regarded by the IRS as nonpartisan community groups, merely educational, while dozens of patriotic, constitutional, Christian or tea party groups
are still waiting for their tax exemptions. That’s to say nothing of Planned Parenthood, PBS and innumerable other Democratic frontgroups that not only have tax exemptions, but get direct funding from the government. By contrast, the conservative groups being raked over the coals by the IRS actually were nonpartisan. The tea party forced sitting Republican senators off the ticket in Alaska and Indiana, and toppled “establishment” Republicans in Utah, Delaware, Nevada, Florida and Texas. Far from being a secretly pro-Republican group, the tea party has been a nightmare for Republicans. Show me one instance where the Center for American Progress was more of a problem for Democrats than Republicans. First of all, the NAACP doesn’t exactly have a sterling record of rectitude when it comes to organization funds. In the 1990s, the NAACP used tax-exempt contributions to pay hundreds of thousands of dollars of hush money to the mistress of then-executive director Benjamin F. Chavis Jr. -- as detailed in enraged columns by Carl Rowan at the time. Find a tea party organization that’s done that, and we’ll understand the IRS conducting a three-year proctology exam on the group. Second, the Bush-era audit of the NAACP was prompted by a blindingly partisan speech given by NAACP chairman Julian Bond at an organization meeting in Philadelphia in July 2004. Bond attacked a slew of elected Republicans by name, denouncing the entire party as one whose “idea of equal rights is the American flag and Confederate swastika flying side by side.” That’s what we call “black-letter law” on improper activity for a tax-exempt organization. As a 501(c)(3) group, the NAACP is prohibited from supporting or opposing any candidate for elective office. The NAACP responded to the IRS’ letter by screaming from the rooftops that it was political payback. Consequently, Bush’s IRS commissioner requested that Treasury’s inspector general investigate the IRS’ taxexempt unit for political bias. The IG’s report found no politics in the NAACP audit and -to the contrary -- that more “pro-Republican” groups (18) than “pro-Democratic” groups (12) had been audited. Nonetheless, the NAACP simply refused to cooperate with the IRS. There was nothing the Bush administration could do. No Republican was going to allow the NAACP’s tax-exempt status to be revoked on its watch. Two years later, the IRS simply issued a letter clearing the group. Today, the NAACP openly engages in partisan activity, such as a current weekslong protest of Republican legislators in North Carolina. Finally, a tip to the Democrats trying to defend the IRS: As a devoted true-crime TV viewer, I can tell you that when you’re caught red-handed, it’s never a good defense to say, “Why would I be so stupid to kill my wife right after taking out a huge life insurance policy on her?” You were that stupid and you got caught.
Friday. June 14. 2013
2014 Acura MDX - Top Notch, A Cut Above The 2014 Acura MDX has, for more than a decade, been one of the top utility-vehicle choices for those who are sensible and practical yet value driving enjoyment. MDX buyers don’t want to be hit hard by the reliability issues or depreciation that have affected some rival models; and they don’t need a lot of off-road ability, or the appearance that they’re ready to head out to the Rubicon. Premium-brand, three-row crossovers like the 2014 Acura MDX can make impressive, high-class alternatives to minivans for large families, and it seems that the new 2014 MDX takes a step in that direction as well. With jiggered second- and third-row seats, a new fully flat-folding second row, a lower passenger floor, and a lower cargo floor, the 2014 model takes a package that’s about the same size and makes it more useful inside. While the current identity (and future) of Acura’s sedans like the RLX, TL, TSX, and ILX feels as nebulous as that next corner in the pouring rain, the MDX is clearer and more focused than ever. Design-wise, there are no big surprises. The 2014 MDX takes to a shape that’s a little more sport-wagon influenced, perhaps, and mates that with interiors that are a little warmer. The sleeker profile, more curvaceous sheetmetal, and some new, precise front-end details serve to give it a leaner look overall. Our editors are split on whether Acura’s ‘beak’ front end works, but we think that it’s much more flattering on the brand’s utility vehicles—and this new MDX—than on its sedans. Crisp mattechrome details and ‘jewel-eye’ LED headlamps altogether gives
this model a streamlined, elegant look. Inside, Acura has paid much more attention to properly coordinated materials and trims, and it shows. The 2014 MDX is powered by a 290-horsepower version of Acura’s always-excellent 3.5-liter V-6 engine—now fed with direct injection and kosher with the full suite of Honda’s so-called Earth Dreams technologies. The so-called SuperHandling All-Wheel Drive (SH-AWD) system that’s available in the MDX (yes, front-wheel drive is now standard, if that’s all
you need) provides more all-weather traction, and even a little more cornering control in some situations, and it can vary frontwheel torque distribution from 90 percent down to 30 percent (70 percent to the rear)—or up to a hundred percent to either the left or right wheels. New amplitude-reactive dampers reduce the damping force for high-frequency inputs—jittery pavement surfaces, for example—while hydraulic sub-frame mount bushings help seal out road vibration. Acura claims that the new approach improves ride comfort with no trade-off to handling. It’s now one of the roomiest three-row crossovers inside, unless you’re willing to step up to a vehicle that’s potentially too big to park. Front seats are about as supportive yet plush as you’d expect in a luxury crossover, and you can now slide the second row back and forth about size inches, and Acura has even installed a little lighted button beside the second-row outboard seats, for third-row access. A press enables a neat, cleverly-designed spring-loaded process (yes, fewer motors to short out, less weight and complication). Flatter-folding seats, better storage solutions, and a great center-console arrangement with a slide-out tray all contribute to an impression that this is a vehicle that doesn’t waste your space—or your time. The 2014 MDX is also very, very quiet inside. An active cancellation system inside the cabin helps, as well as an active engine mount system that helps quell low frequency
vibrations from the powertrain. Full-on acoustic glass is used for the windshield and front windows, while thicker, noiseinsulating glass is used elsewhere; and Acura has added a load of insulation elsewhere, while looking at cabin air leakage to help seal out residual noise. An all-new structure aids that refinement, but also more importantly it should result in top-tier safety ratings. Additional advanced-technology safety features include Lane Departure Warning (LDW), Forward Collision Warning (FCW). a Wide View Camera, and a Blind Spot Information system. A driver’s knee bag rounds out an already complete safety set, and there’s also Lane Keeping Assist (LKAS), which will provide a gentle, proactive nudge to the steering to help you stay in your intended lane. The 2014 Acura MDX is offered in four different grades: base MDX, Tech, Tech Entertainment, and Advance Entertainment. Each of those four models can be specified with front-wheel drive or all-wheel drive. At the top of the line, the Advance Entertainment gets Lane Keeping Assist, front and rear parking sensors, keyfob-integrated remote engine start, adaptive cruise control with a low-speed follow feature, collision mitigation braking, the wide-screen rear entertainment system with HDMI, the top 12-speaker ELS audio system, roof rails, and Milano premium perforated leather upholstery with ventilated front seats.