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Member since: Mon Apr 20, 2015, 05:44 PM
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New maps spark debate over majority-minority districts

DETROIT (AP) — Adam Hollier is a lieutenant in the Army Reserves, a paratrooper, Detroit native, a Democrat and a Black man. He is also a state senator who represents a majority-Black district that stretches across the northeastern edge of his economically battered and resilient hometown. That critical mass of Black voters, Hollier argues, ensures he has a chance to be elected and give voice to people who have long been ignored by the political system.

For Hollier’s 2nd Senate District, that means some of its Detroit neighborhoods would be grafted on to mostly white districts, and his own seat would stretch across Eight Mile Road, the infamous boundary between Detroit and its first-ring, majority white suburbs. Its Black voting-age population would drop to 42%.

Hollier, like other Black lawmakers, is furious, saying that move jeopardizes Black elected officials. “By and large, Black people vote for Black people and white people vote for white people,” Hollier said. “It’s just the reality. It’s got nothing to do with me. Draw maps that majority-Black communities can win.”

Increasing competition is one of the goals of Michigan’s commission, which voters created in 2018 after decades of partisan gerrymandering controlled by Republicans. The commission also is tasked with considering representation of minority communities and following the Voting Rights Act. “What we have done is taken those areas and divided them into multiple districts so that there’s actually more districts where minority voters will be able to elect their candidates of choice, which should actually have the effect of increasing the representation among the African American community,” Szetela said.


GoFundMe pulls page aimed at raising $5M bail for Waukesha Christmas parade suspect

I hope this James Norton who tried to start the GoFundMe for Darrell Brooks was just trying to be an agitator and wasn't really serious. False Flag ?

GoFundMe pulls page aimed at raising $5M bail for Waukesha Christmas parade suspect, as victim’s cancer diagnosis is revealed after her death

A medical examiner determined that one of the victims, Jane Kulich, was battling uterine cancer, but had not been diagnosed with the disease, CBS News reported.

During a court appearance on Tuesday, Brooks was ordered held on $5 million bail — sparking swift backlash given prosecutors previously admitted Brooks was only able to rip through the parade route after being sprung on an “inappropriately low” bond. At the time of the parade massacre, Brooks was out on $1,000 bail after he was arrested earlier this month for allegedly attempting to run over the mother of his child with his car.

According to screengrabs first shared by Law Enforcement Today, the bail also spawned a fundraising effort on Brooks’ behalf. Set up by a person going by the name, James Norton, the page insisted Brooks was a victim of a “racist” justice system and used hashtags including #RacismIsReal and #BLM.

“On November 21st, 2021 our dear friend Darrell Brooks was arrested for allegedly driving his car into a parade, as someone who knows Darrell personally I can tell you that he would NEVER do such a thing and I know he is innocent of what he was charged with,” Norton wrote, per the screengrabs.

“Clearly there is more to the story the media is not telling us and I am seeking to raise the bail so Darrell can be released and speak his truth to his side of the story in this tragic situation that sees another black man behind bars in a purely political and racist trial.”

A spokesperson for GoFundMe on Wednesday confirmed to FOX Business that the page has since been removed from the platform. The person attempting to raise money for Brooks has also been banned from using GoFundMe for future fundraisers.


District Attorney files charges against teens in racially motivated SEPTA attack


The District Attorney’s Office on Thursday charged four teen attackers with multiple crimes for what SEPTA Police claim was a racially motivated attack on the Broad Street Line, which was captured on video Wednesday.

SEPTA Police Chief Thomas Nestel III said Thursday authorities were able to identify the four suspects through the transit system’s network of 28,000 cameras, a slew of public tips, and a parent who reported their own child as someone involved in the incident.

Hours after the attack, the District Attorney’s Office charged each of the four teenagers, whose ages range from 13 to 16, with aggravated assault, ethnic intimidation, criminal conspiracy, simple assault, recklessly endangering another person and disorderly conduct, an office spokesperson said. One of the alleged attackers was also charged with robbery for trying to steal one of the victim’s Airpods.

Nestel previously said there was no sign that the victims provoked the attackers in any way. SEPTA police have been in touch with the suspects’ families, he said. According to the transit agency, the attack took place around 3:30 p.m. near the Erie Station on the Broad Street Line while the train was in transit. In a video, which was later posted on social media, a group of Black girls is seen yelling at a teenager, whom the Philadelphia School District said was a Central High School student.

Nestel said the suspects were yelling at a total of three teenagers, all Asian students from Central, when a fourth teen stepped in to defend her peers. The attackers turned their attention to the fourth teen, banging her head against the subway doors and continuing to hit her as she lay on the train floor.

More than half of Detroit public school students are considered chronically absent this school year

"More than half of Detroit public school students are considered chronically absent this school year from district schools.

The district's chronic absenteeism numbers have dropped a few percentage points from pandemic levels last year, when 59% of Detroit students were chronically absent. But 57% of students are still considered chronically absent, compared with 45% before the pandemic. A student is considered chronically absent in Michigan if they miss 10% or more days of school. "This continues to be, in my mind, our greatest challenge," Superintendent Nikolai Vitti said during a Nov. 9 school board meeting.

The slightly improved numbers this year were expected because the district has resumed in-person school after more than a year of conducting school virtually. But the high rate of chronically absent students is notable for the district, which once held the highest rate of chronically absent students of all big districts in the country.

Nearly 58% of students were chronically absent in the 2013-2014 school year. Under new leadership, the district worked to get more students in their seats more often, reaching a 45% chronic absenteeism rate before the pandemic hit.

Chronic absenteeism is a complex problem for school districts. Students often don't show up for reasons that aren't willful: Some struggle with getting a ride to school. Other, older students may unexpectedly have to watch young siblings.

"Chronic absenteeism, for us, has not been a new challenge because it is directly linked to poverty," Vitti told the Detroit Free Press in an interview in August. "The pandemic exacerbated what was already a challenging situation."


The inflation tax is not only real, it's massive

"If you are under the impression that the “inflation tax” is only an allusion to the shrinking impact inflation has on the purchasing power of your income and savings, you should continue reading.

Inflation is a real tax, just as real and at times nearly as important as the individual income tax. While inflation clearly does reduce the purchasing power of your earnings and fixed-income asset values, it also redistributes purchasing power from businesses and households to the federal government. And in today’s economy, with inflation running at 5.4 percent, the inflation tax is no small matter. The amount the government will collect from the inflation tax in 2021 exceeds $1.9 trillion.

Most people understand that inflation can redistribute income and wealth. For example, many probably are aware that unanticipated inflation benefits borrowers at the expense of creditors. When inflation is higher than expected, borrowers repay debt with future dollars that have less purchasing power."


White House walks back Biden comments on migrant families payments

"The White House on Thursday walked back President Biden's comments from the day before that the administration would not be paying migrants separated at the border during the last administration $450,000 each, clarifying that the government would be willing to settle out of court with those families.

"If it saves taxpayer dollars and puts the disastrous history of the previous administration’s use of zero tolerance and family separation behind us, the president is perfectly comfortable with the Department of Justice settling with the individuals and families who are currently in litigation with the United States government," White House principal deputy press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre told reporters.

Biden on Wednesday was asked about reports that his administration was contemplating a payment of roughly $450,000 per person for separated migrant parents and children. "That’s not gonna happen," he told reporters when asked about the reported plan.

Jean-Pierre on Thursday asserted Biden was reacting specifically to the $450,000 figure that was mentioned when he was asked about it. "As press accounts to date indicate, DOJ made clear to the plaintiffs that the reported figures are higher than anywhere that a settlement can land," she said.

Fox News correspondent Peter Doocy asked Biden on Wednesday if the payments could encourage migrants to flock to the U.S. "If you guys keep sending that garbage out, yeah," Biden said. "But it’s not true."

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) in a statement suggested Biden had not not briefed on the actions of his own DOJ, and it further argued the president would be turning his back on a core campaign promise to provide a measure of justice for those separated under the Trump policy. "


Canada says EV tax credits would cause 'serious' harm to auto industry

Washington — The Canadian government argued in a letter to congressional leadership Friday that "the protectionist elements" of proposed electric vehicle tax credits would damage the North American auto industry and aren't consistent with existing trade agreements.

Canadian Trade Minister Mary Ng told lawmakers and officials in the Biden administration that the two nations' auto supply chains are deeply integrated, and the proposed credits "would cause serious and irreparable harm" to both the Canadian and U.S. auto industry.

Canada's Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is accompanied by Mary Ng, Canada's Minister of Small Business, Export Promotion and International Trade, as they arrive for a meeting with Ethiopian women entrepreneurs, in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia Sunday, Feb. 9, 2020.
"If passed into law, these credits would have a major adverse impact on the future of EV and automotive production in Canada, resulting in the risk of severe economic harm and tens of thousands of job losses in one of Canada’s largest manufacturing sectors," Ng wrote in the letter obtained by The Detroit News. "U.S. companies and workers would not be isolated from these impacts."

Ng stressed the interconnected nature of the two auto economies: Every vehicle assembled in Canada contains around 50% U.S.-made parts, the two countries are the top importers of each others' auto exports, and the two countries agreed earlier this year to collaborate on sourcing critical minerals needed to make electric vehicle batteries. She also wrote that the proposed policies are inconsistent with trade obligations under the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement, and that a weaker Canadian automotive sector would negatively impact the Great Lakes region in particular.

"Canada and the United States share the common objectives of transitioning to green economies, combating climate change, and ensuring the vehicles, components and critical minerals of the future are produced here in North America," she wrote. "Canadian unions and labour standards are as robust as those in the United States. Therefore, it is imperative that Canadian assembly, including Canadian unionized assembly, is not discriminated against and is eligible for the maximum incentive available."


Unlawful Flint use of portable X-ray scanners began in 2019, not 2020

LANSING — A New York law firm may have used unregistered portable X-ray scanners on Flint residents for one year longer than state officials were told, records show.

A sworn affidavit from a Flint resident, along with emails showing when the Napoli Shkolnik law firm sought to lease the devices, suggest the use of scanners, which are tools in the scrap metal and mining industries but are not designed for use on human beings, began around September 2019. That is about 18 months before either of the two devices was registered with the state of Michigan, as required by law.

A representative of the law firm, whose name was redacted, told the state in March it had been using the devices for only about six months, since August or September of 2020, before registering them in February, according to a state summary of a phone call the Free Press obtained under Michigan's Freedom of Information Act.

Failing to register a radiation machine is a misdemeanor under the Public Health Code that can bring a $10,000 fine and up to 180 days in jail, with each day that a violation continues considered a separate violation. But the state brought no criminal or civil charges against the law firm, records show.

The scanners were applied to the tibias of thousands of Flint residents, including many children and at least one pregnant woman, to measure how much lead had accumulated in their bones. Lawyers and some medical experts have said radiation levels are low and use of the portable scanners is safe.

But the manufacturer of the scanners, Thermo Fisher Scientific, ultimately ordered Napoli Shkolnik to stop using them.

The company said in a May letter to the law firm that it had in rare cases authorized use of the scanners on humans for research purposes, but that had only happened under the supervision of an Institutional Review Board, which was not in place for the scans that took place in Flint.

In addition to revelations about the radiation doses involved, the MIOSHA records obtained by the Free Press show the law firm's scanning operation in Flint had no system for monitoring radiation exposures for scanner operators, no physician licensed in Michigan supervising operations, no mechanism to ensure the scanners would shut off after about three minutes to prevent possible overexposure, and no written notice to Flint residents of the radiation they would be exposed to and any related risks, Reynolds said in the motion filed by his California attorney, Jahmy Graham.


Detroit man charged in bomb hoax at Trump Las Vegas hotel

"A Detroit man has been charged in connection with a bomb hoax this week at the Trump International Hotel Las Vegas, an incident he said was meant as a message for the former president who had "messed up his life," police reported.

Records show Dandre Lundy, 44, was booked Tuesday in the Clark County Detention Center on multiple felony charges, including communicating a bomb threat and making threats or conveying false information concerning acts of terrorism.

According to an arrest report from the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department, Lundy allegedly left a suitcase and duffel bag near a concierge station at the Trump International Hotel around 12:40 p.m. Tuesday then said: "Everybody needs to leave the building there is a bomb in here."

The 44-year-old, who was wearing an American flag hat, waved to security cameras before leaving in the same pink taxi he arrived in, the filing said. Hotel security and employees evacuated the lobby and a restaurant. A bomb squad checked the suitcase and bag he left and found no explosive materials. Minutes later, Lundy called in a bomb threat to a worker, police wrote. The caller ID listed his name.

Detectives tracked Lundy to a nearby Motel 6.

"While being detained, without any provocation from detectives, Lundy made an excited utterance of 'Can I get my suitcase back from Trump? I told them it's a bomb, no one got hurt, so there's no crime,'" according to the police report

Lundy told investigators he had flown from Michigan the day before and planned to "send Trump a message that he is a 'beast'" by leaving a suitcase with a rock, a $1 bill, a Bible and handwritten “scriptures” supporting his claim.

The man said he “believed Trump had messed up his life for the last three years,” police said."


FBI raids Detroit's city hall and council members' homes in corruption probe

Detroit — FBI agents were executing search warrants at the homes of Detroit City Council members Janeé Ayers and Scott Benson and at the Coleman A. Young Municipal Center on Wednesday morning, the latest escalation of a federal corruption investigation that has already led to charges against Councilman André Spivey.

The exact focus of the investigation and what led investigators to mount the raids Wednesday were unclear. No criminal charges have been filed and search warrant documents remained sealed in court.

The raids Wednesday represent the largest federal investigation into City Hall corruption in the eight years since former Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick was convicted of racketeering conspiracy charges and sentenced to 28 years in federal prison. President Donald Trump commuted the sentence in January.

The searches come three weeks after Spivey was arraigned in federal court on one count of conspiracy to commit bribery over claims he accepted more than $35,000 to be "influenced and rewarded" for votes.

Since 2008, more than 100 politicians, union bosses, bureaucrats and police officers have been charged with corruption in Michigan's eastern district, including more than a dozen politicians and contractors in Macomb County.

"Clearly, there is a culture of corruption that doesn’t stop at the city line or the county line," said Erik Gordon, a professor at the University of Michigan's Ross Business School.

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