Friday, October 29, 2010

Lawrence Taylor Shows Up in Court to Face Rape Charge

by Dr. Boyce Watkins, Syracuse UniversityScholarship in Action 

Lawrence Taylor took his first steps into a courthouse yesterday to deal with allegations of sexual assault. Taylor is being accused of third-degree rape and soliciting a prostitute after he allegedly had sex with a girl under the age of 17. Taylor, who is now 51-years old, is accused of paying $300 to have sex with the girl, who was a 16-year old runaway.
Taylor's attorney, Arthur Aidala, says that his client didn't have sex with anyone and that he didn't rape anyone. He also said that he was not likely going to take a plea on the third degree rape charge. A plea on that charge would mean a mandatory 10-year probation, which Aidala says is "ridiculous."

Click to read.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Pastors Ask Bishop Eddie Long to take an HIV Test

Two pastors, Reuben Armstrong and Prophet H. Walker, have teamed up to plan a rally against Bishop Eddie Long. Both pastors are asking that Long resign from his church, and Armstrong has even gone as far as asking that Pastor Long take an HIV test.
Armstrong is a radio show host and Walker is the pastor of the True Light Pentecostal Church in Spartanburg, South Carolina. The two plan to rally this weekend in Atlanta. The event is set to take place on October 31 at the state capitol.
Armstrong is the author of the book, "Snakes in the Pulpit," in which he discusses fictional pastors who sleep with men. He now claims publicly that members of the New Birth Missionary Baptist Church came to him years ago to discuss Eddie Long's sexual behavior. According to Armstrong, they claimed that Long was sleeping with young men in the church. I am not sure why he's publicly requesting that Eddie Long undergo an HI

Monday, October 25, 2010

NCAA Wants to Fine Players for Benefits

NCAA Wants to Fine Players Who Get Extra Benefits

12:45 AMOct 26

Source: BV on Sports

The NCAA is working with various groups to find ways to keep college athletes from receiving benefits from sports agents. Most recently, there have been proposals put forth that would fine players for violating the rules. The penalties may even ... Read More

ATR: Six Months to Go Until Largest Tax Hikes in History

From Ryan Ellis on Wednesday, July 7, 2010 5:27 PM

In just six months, the largest tax hikes in the history of America will take effect. They will hit families and small businesses in three great waves on January 1, 2011:

(N.B. This version of the document contains even more tax hikes than the original version did)

First Wave: Expiration of 2001 and 2003 Tax Relief

In 2001 and 2003, the GOP Congress enacted several tax cuts for investors, small business owners, and families. These will all expire on January 1, 2011:

Personal income tax rates will rise. The top income tax rate will rise from 35 to 39.6 percent (this is also the rate at which two-thirds of small business profits are taxed). The lowest rate will rise from 10 to 15 percent. All the rates in between will also rise. Itemized deductions and personal exemptions will again phase out, which has the same mathematical effect as higher marginal tax rates. The full list of marginal rate hikes is below:

- The 10% bracket rises to an expanded 15%
- The 25% bracket rises to 28%
- The 28% bracket rises to 31%
- The 33% bracket rises to 36%
- The 35% bracket rises to 39.6%

Higher taxes on marriage and family. The “marriage penalty” (narrower tax brackets for married couples) will return from the first dollar of income. The child tax credit will be cut in half from $1000 to $500 per child. The standard deduction will no longer be doubled for married couples relative to the single level. The dependent care and adoption tax credits will be cut.

The return of the Death Tax. This year, there is no death tax. For those dying on or after January 1 2011, there is a 55 percent top death tax rate on estates over $1 million. A person leaving behind two homes and a retirement account could easily pass along a death tax bill to their loved ones.

Higher tax rates on savers and investors. The capital gains tax will rise from 15 percent this year to 20 percent in 2011. The dividends tax will rise from 15 percent this year to 39.6 percent in 2011. These rates will rise another 3.8 percent in 2013.

Second Wave: Obamacare

There are over twenty new or higher taxes in Obamacare. Several will first go into effect on January 1, 2011. They include:

The Tanning Tax. This went into effect on July 1st of this year. It imposes a new, 10% excise tax on getting a tan at a tanning salon. There is no exemption for tanners making less than $250,000 per year.

The “Medicine Cabinet Tax” Thanks to Obamacare, Americans will no longer be able to use health savings account (HSA), flexible spending account (FSA), or health reimbursement (HRA) pre-tax dollars to purchase non-prescription, over-the-counter medicines (except insulin).

The HSA Withdrawal Tax Hike. This provision of Obamacare increases the additional tax on non-medical early withdrawals from an HSA from 10 to 20 percent, disadvantaging them relative to IRAs and other tax-advantaged accounts, which remain at 10 percent.

Brand Name Drug Tax. Starting next year, there will be a multi-billion dollar tax assessment imposed on name-brand drug manufacturers. This tax, like all excise taxes, will raise the price of medicine, hurting everyone.

Economic Substance Doctrine. The IRS is now empowered to disallow perfectly-legal tax deductions and maneuvers merely because it judges that the deduction or action lacks “economic substance.” This is obviously an arbitrary empowerment of IRS agents.

Employer Reporting of Health Insurance Costs on a W-2. This will start for W-2s in the 2011 tax year. While not a tax increase in itself, it makes it very easy for Congress to tax employer-provided healthcare benefits later.

Third Wave: The Alternative Minimum Tax and Employer Tax Hikes

When Americans prepare to file their tax returns in January of 2011, they’ll be in for a nasty surprise—the AMT won’t be held harmless, and many tax relief provisions will have expired. These major items include:

The AMT will ensnare over 28 million families, up from 4 million last year. According to the left-leaning Tax Policy Center, Congress’ failure to index the AMT will lead to an explosion of AMT taxpaying families—rising from 4 million last year to 28.5 million. These families will have to calculate their tax burdens twice, and pay taxes at the higher level. The AMT was created in 1969 to ensnare a handful of taxpayers.

Small business expensing will be slashed and 50% expensing will disappear. Small businesses can normally expense (rather than slowly-deduct, or “depreciate”) equipment purchases up to $250,000. This will be cut all the way down to $25,000. Larger businesses can expense half of their purchases of equipment. In January of 2011, all of it will have to be “depreciated.”

Taxes will be raised on all types of businesses. There are literally scores of tax hikes on business that will take place. The biggest is the loss of the “research and experimentation tax credit,” but there are many, many others. Combining high marginal tax rates with the loss of this tax relief will cost jobs.

Tax Benefits for Education and Teaching Reduced. The deduction for tuition and fees will not be available. Tax credits for education will be limited. Teachers will no longer be able to deduct classroom expenses. Coverdell Education Savings Accounts will be cut. Employer-provided educational assistance is curtailed. The student loan interest deduction will be disallowed for hundreds of thousands of families.

Charitable Contributions from IRAs no longer allowed. Under current law, a retired person with an IRA can contribute up to $100,000 per year directly to a charity from their IRA. This contribution also counts toward an annual “required minimum distribution.” This ability will no longer be there.

Read more:

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Racism is a Black Occupational Hazard

by Dr. Boyce Watkins, Syracuse UniversityScholarship in Action 

Most of us know Hanes Brands as the company that has Michael Jordan peddling underwear. The company is also responsible for other leading brands such as Champion sports apparel and Playtex, among others.

The company is now in the middle of controversy after an African American employee, Yunusa Kenchi, filed suit for discrimination. An embarrassing email has allegedly surfaced in which Kenchi was referenced using the n-word. The employee has taken the case public, and Hanes has yet to respond.


Click to read.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Free Speech in the USA: Does it Exist for High Profile Black Government (and/or Semi-Government) Employees any More?

By Syreeta L. McNeal, CPA, JD

"Lord mercy Jesus, what is going on?" (Tribute to Cadillac Kimberly in her vlog on Bishop Eddie Long.) Is it just me or are a majority of our high profile black employees not allowed to exercise their first amendment right to free speech when they express their opinions in a public forum while they are employed by the government (e.g. Shirley Sherrod) or their employer receives government contributions (e.g. Juan Williams)? Why are the USDA and NPR so quick to terminate these employees, without allowing them the opportunity to explain their side of the story, when they express a different opinion that they should be able to exercise? I've listed the relevant law and videos for you to decide. I would love to hear your feedback on this matter.

I. Law

U.S. Constitution, Amendment I states "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances."

U.S. Constitution, Amendment XIV, Section 1 states "All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside. No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of laws."

II. Juan Williams firing from NPR (see video)

III. Shirley Sherrod firing from USDA (see video)

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Detroit News: Worthy proposes jail for parents who skip kids' school conferences

Prosecutor wants to punish those who skip kids' school conferences

Christine MacDonald / The Detroit News

Detroit — Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy is pushing for a law that calls for jail time for parents who skip parent-teacher conferences, a plan some call inspired and others consider the nanny state run amok.

Worthy pitched her plan Tuesday to the Detroit City Council and is shopping it to the Wayne County Commission and state Legislature. Drawing a link between parental involvement and youth crime, Worthy wants a sponsor to guide the idea to law. From The Detroit News:

Her plan would require parents to attend at least one conference per year or face three days in jail. Parents of those excelling in school would be exempt, as would those whose health issues make travel difficult and those "actively engaged" with teachers through e-mail, phone calls or letters.

"We have to find any means necessary to get parents involved," Worthy told the council. "We have to start talking about prevention.

From The Detroit News:

"Is this a good proposition? I would like to hear your thoughts." Syreeta L. McNeal, CPA, JD

Boston Herald: BC Law student asks for money back

"In all honestly, this is not a bad financial deal if you look at it in a cost-benefit analysis for the law degree." Syreeta L. McNeal, CPA, JD

By Jessica Heslam
Wednesday, October 20, 2010

A third-year Boston College Law School student facing dismal job prospects and a mountain of student loan debt has offered the prestigious Hub institution a unique deal: Keep the degree ... and give me back my tuition!

In an open letter to BC Law’s Interim Dean George Brown posted on EagleiOnline— an online student-run newspaper at BC’s law school — the anonymous dissatisfied customer said soon-to-be grads are about to enter “one of the worst job markets in the history of our profession” and an “overwhelming majority” of them can’t find jobs.

“We are discouraged, scared, and in many cases, feeling rather hopeless about our chances of ever getting to practice law,” the student wrote.

To continue reading, follow the link below:

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

TI Loses His Deal with Axe Body Spray

by Dr. Boyce Watkins, Syracuse UniversityScholarship in Action 

TMZ is reporting that the rapper T.I., who was recently sent back to prison, is going to be cut from his endorsement deal with Axe Body Spray. A representative for Axe stated that, "We will no longer feature T.I. in our promotional campaign."
It's no surprise that T.I. lost his deal with Axe. He is probably in the midst of having several film and recording projects derailed, and won't be a usable commodity for quite some time. While it might seem that a man of such tremendous talent would be able to easily recapture his spot at the top of the world, we can't make that assumption so quickly.
As I mentioned in the article about Kanye West yesterday, corporations are not into risk-taking. By proving himself to be an unreliable celebrity spokesperson, T.I. is going to be considered toxic on Madison Avenue. Millions of dollars are on the line when corporations sign celebrity brands, and managing those brands requires careful and responsible behavior at all times.

Click to read.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Boyce Watkins: Don’t Let the Justice System Kill Your Sons

by Dr. Boyce Watkins, Syracuse UniversityScholarship in Action 

This week, I got together with a coalition of other concerned citizens and met at the steps of the county courthouse.  We then marched around the jail to fight for the rights of two people of color, Chuniece Patterson and Raul Pinet, both of whom recently died while in police custody.  The march and the reasons behind it led me down a path of self-discovery when it comes to understanding the impact that the criminal justice system has on our community and our children.

Click to read.

Friday, October 15, 2010

TI Gets 11 Months in Prison

by Dr. Boyce Watkins, Syracuse UniversityScholarship in Action 

The rapper T.I. appeared in court today, pleading with the judge not to send him back to prison. The artist faced five to 11 months in prison for violating the terms of his probation after being caught in possession of illegal narcotics. He and his wife Tameka "Tiny" Cottle were arrested last month, with the arrest taking over national headlines for several days.
T.I. (a.k.a. Clifford Harris Jr.) told the judge that he needs help for drug addiction instead of incarceration. The U.S. Attorney's Office, however, is asking that the artist spend two years in prison. The media was not allowed into the courtroom during the hearing, at the request of the judge.

Click to read

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Candidate’s Name Spelled “Rich Whitey” on Ballot

by Dr. Boyce Watkins, Syracuse UniversityScholarship in Action 

The Green Party candidate for governor of the state of Illinois is a man by the name of Rich Whitney. Unfortunately, if you take one letter out of his name, you turn him from a serious candidate into a serious joke.
That's what happened to Whitney this week, when his name was misspelled as "Rich Whitey" on voting machines in almost two dozen wards in the city of Chicago. Even worse is the fact that the wards are in predominantly African American neighborhoods.

Click to read.

Reuters: Judge allows states' healthcare suit to proceed

U.S. states can proceed with their lawsuit seeking to overturn President Barack Obama's landmark healthcare reform law, a Florida judge ruled on Thursday.

U.S. District Judge Roger Vinson had already indicated at a hearing last month that he could not uphold parts of a motion by the Justice Department to dismiss the lawsuit, led by Florida and 19 other states.

"In this order, I have not attempted to determine whether the line between constitutional and extra-constitutional government has been crossed," Vinson, of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Florida, wrote in his ruling.

Opponents of Obama's overhaul of the $2.5 trillion U.S. healthcare system have said it violates the Constitution by imposing, for example, unlawful taxes and requiring citizens to obtain coverage, among other issues.

"I am only saying that ... the plaintiffs have at least stated a plausible claim that the line has been crossed," Vinson said.

The suit was originally filed in March by mostly Republican state attorneys general.
In his formal ruling on Thursday, Vinson said the case would continue as scheduled. He had previously set a hearing for December 16.


Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Bishop Eddie Long Gets a Fifth Lawsuit

Bishop Eddie Long: 5th Lawsuit Filed

by Dr. Boyce Watkins, Syracuse UniversityScholarship in Action 

When it rains it pours. Bishop Eddie Long, the subject of a sex scandal that has riveted the nation, suddenly finds himself the target of yet another lawsuit. This one doesn't involve sex, though. Instead, Bishop Eddie Long is being accused of defaulting on a property loan to the tune of $1.9 million. This is the fifth lawsuit filed against Bishop Eddie Long in the past month.
The other four suits filed against Long include accusations that he used his power and influence to coerce sex from young men in his care. The latest lawsuit only names Long and doesn't name his church, New Birth Missionary Baptist.
"I am unaware of the lawsuit that you referenced and have no comment about it at this time," Bishop Eddie Long spokesman Art Franklin told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

Click to read.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Should There Be a Law Against “Saggin”?

North Carolina Couple Staging a Rally to Protest

by Dr. Boyce Watkins, Syracuse UniversityScholarship in Action 

Ken and Gwen Rasheed of Winston-Salem, North Carolina, apparently find saggy pants to be a serious problem in their personal lives. The two are working diligently to fight for an ordinance banning teens from "saggin" and have a zero tolerance policy for this style of dress. In fact, this past Saturday, the couple had a rally against saggy pants.
"I was working in the recreation department in one of the recreation centers and about 95 percent of the kids that came in there had their pants saggy," said Ken toldFox 8 News in Winston-Salem. "To me, the sagging and showing your underwear is not showing any pride in who you are."

Click to read.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Fallout over ObamaCare Continues....

President Barack Obama, June 23, 2009 :
“Let me be clear, When I say if you have your plan and you like it, or you have a doctor and you like your doctor, that you don’t have to change plans, what I’m saying is the government is not going to make you change plans under health reform.”

HEADLINES 6 months later:

3M Co. will drop retirees from health plans, steer to Medicare

McDonald’s: Obamacare regulations will cause 30,000 employees to lose insurance

ObamaCare Victims:
Harvard Pilgrim was forced (by Medicare’s administration) to notify its customers that their plans would be canceled as of the end of this year. The company will offer another supplemental plan offering fewer benefits at a higher premium

A bad omen on Obamacare: Fears about health reform’s costs are coming true
... several major corporations reported it would take a bite out of their future earnings. This group included AT&T, Caterpillar, John Deere, Verizon and several other large employers.

Two major Minnesota insurers announced this week that they would stop selling individual policies because of Obamacare’s uncertainties. Instead, they are routing policyholders into more expensive plans. Meanwhile, Anthem BlueCross and BlueShield, Aetna, Cigna, CoventryOne, Humana and UnitedHealthCare have stopped offering many child-only policies because Obamacare would force them to enroll children with pre-existing conditions, creating incentives for parents to wait until children get sick before buying coverage and hitting insurance companies with the bills.

President Barack Obama, June 23, 2009 :
“Let me be clear, When I say if you have your plan and you like it, or you have a doctor and you like your doctor, that you don’t have to change plans, what I’m saying is the government is not going to make you change plans under health reform

Now, what is the truth.... You decide....

Monday, October 4, 2010

What if TI Were Lindsay Lohan?

by Dr. Boyce Watkins, Syracuse University 

It's being reported that the rapper T.I. (aka Clifford Harris) has a probation revocation hearing coming up on October 15. The rapper was arrested for drug possession with his wife, Tameka "Tiny" Cottle. The incident occurred on September 2 of this year, and they were allegedly in possession of Codeine, Ecstasy and Marijuana, which was uncovered in what police say was a routine traffic stop.
I spoke with someone who is familiar with the case against T.I. I asked him if T.I. was going back to prison. He said that while he isn't sure what the rapper's fate will be, there is an inherent contradiction in his case. While we can almost expect that T.I. will be punished for his latest violation of the law, the same can't be said for other celebs, like Lindsay Lohan and Paris Hilton. Both of these young women have been arrested time and time again for one offense after another. In each case, they are typically given a slap on the wrist.

Click to read.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

AJC: Bishop Eddie Long - Opposing Lawyers Differ in Style

By Bill Torpy
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

One is a pugnacious former federal prosecutor whose name is often followed by “no comment” in news stories; the other, a media darling who notched a victory in one of the most high-profile cases in recent Georgia history

As they go about their jobs as attorneys for the defendant and plaintiffs in the Bishop Eddie Long lawsuits, Craig Gillen and B.J. Bernstein have employed differing lawyering styles as they try to shape the cases in the court of public opinion and in a DeKalb County courtroom.

Almost two weeks ago, Bernstein stood in front of a row of TV cameras and told the world about a lawsuit she had just filed against the popular pastor of New Birth Missionary Baptist Church. The suit alleges Long had engaged in sexual misdeeds with teenagers who saw him as a father figure.

Not only had she packed her lawsuits with lurid details, but she provided the public with gripping and damning sound bites to emphasize her allegations. “This is at the church, which reinforces how absolutely negligent and wrong and abusive and sick,” she paused, her voice dripping with disgust at the last word, “for a pastor to abuse these kids in this way.”


The case immediately exploded into a national story. Gillen, who had advised Long in 2007 when Congress investigated the finances of several mega-church pastors, was left to play defense and try to contain the quickly growing damage.

Long, who has vowed to vigorously fight the charges, was set to go on the national Tom Joyner radio show. But Gillen pulled the plug. The bishop was paying handsomely for Gillen’s advice, legal observers say, and it was simple: Button it.

Instead, to the frustration of Joyner and a national audience eager to hear Long, Gillen took the microphone. “I’m the one to blame” for Long not appearing, he said. “I’m the lawyer.” He added, “25,000 good folks are under attack, along with the bishop.”

Asked by the host if Bernstein had any settlement offer before the suit was filed, Gillen responded, “The only communication I’ve had with B.J. Bernstein was when I wrote her a letter and told her that her conduct is in violation of state bar rules for making statements outside the province of the court system after a lawsuit has been filed.”

Gillen’s legal style was forged in the tightly regimented halls of federal courts where judges frown on lawyers courting cameras. “I’ve always been a believer these cases should be tried in the courtroom, not in the press,” he said in a short interview with The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Dwight Thomas, another high-profile Atlanta attorney, and William Hill are joining in Long’s defense.

Bernstein, a frequent legal commentator on CNN, has often taken on high-profile clients and, according to her website, guided them through “the maze of media inquiries when a case becomes part of the public discussion.” Her site touts appearances on ABC’s “Good Morning America,” NBC’s “Today Show,” CBS’ “Early Show,” ABC’s “Primetime Live,” MSNBC, CNN, CNN International, Fox News, Court TV and “NBC Nightly News.”

to continue reading following the link below:

10/2/2010: One Nation Leaders speak....

See the video for yourself....

Let's compare the attendance to Glenn Beck's Rally as well....