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Task Force of ministers to address Stand Your Ground laws

RBHolmes 600WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Rev. R.B. Holmes, a civil rights leader and pastor of the Bethel Missionary Baptist Church in Tallahassee, Fla., is heading up a task force of 40 ministers to undertake a 12-point action plan to revitalize the black community, taking on issues ranging from the repeal of controversial “Stand Your Ground” laws to supporting Historically Black Colleges and Universities.

Holmes made the announcement here last week at a news conference at the National Press Club.

“In our 12 Point Action Plan, we will take the leadership to save our boys and girls, to build schools in our own neighborhoods, to repeal and repair ‘Stand Your Ground’ laws across America, to support historically Black colleges and universities, and the importance of business ownership and the significance of marriage and the family,” said Holmes.

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New Pew poll confirms Americans ready to end war on drugs

cocaine 600A new national survey released Wednesday by the Pew Research Center reveals that a broad majority of Americans are ready to significantly reduce the role of the criminal justice system in dealing with people who use drugs.

Among the key findings of the report:

More than six in ten Americans (63 percent) say that state governments moving away from mandatory prison terms for drug law violations is a good thing, while just 32 percent say these policy changes are a bad thing. This is a substantial shift from 2001 when the public was evenly divided (47 percent good thing vs. 45 percent bad thing). The majority of all demographic groups, including Republicans and Americans over 65 years old, support this shift.


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CFPB turns its attention to payday lending

CharleneCrowell 600Last week, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) focused on those little loans that come with triple-digit lending rates – payday loans.

The CFPB's public forum in Nashville coincided with the Bureau's release of a new research report. After analyzing 11 months of borrowing at 12 million storefront locations, CFPB's findings again confirm that the industry relies not on individual borrowers' ability to quickly repay, but on their inability to repay, resulting in individual borrowers taking out many loans each year.

In other words, the business model for payday lending is a debt trap. With numerous storefronts often concentrated in communities of color, many consumers are drawn in by convenient locations and promises of quick cash with no credit checks. All too often, borrowers discover that the terms of the small dollar loan cause even more financial stress and deepening debt.

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Should we lower our expectations for new Michael Jackson album ‘Xscape’?

xscape 600For the second time since his tragic demise, Michael Jackson is returning from the hereafter.

Not in the literal sense, of course. Michael's latest revival is that time-honored tradition, prized by record companies and estates riven by family feuds over cash, if not debt (for the record, Jackson's Herculean personal debts were in fact paid off more than a year ago). The King of Pop will come back to us via "Xscape," his latest posthumous release – or, according to The Rolling Stone's hair-splitting definition, "the first posthumous album of new music."

Depending on who you ask and how they define a new album, "Xscape" will be Jackson's third musical effort released in the wake of his death. Executive producer and music legend L.A. Reid, who literally raided Michael's music vaults to curate songs where his vocals were completed, will partner with hip-hop wunderkind Timbaland and a host of other artists to give the new music a "fresh, contemporary sound."

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New law would let residents vote on annexation

tate 600If you've ever had to buy clothes for your kids, you know how fast they can grow.
You've probably had to buy shoes or pants that were just a little too big. "You'll grow into it," you told them.

Cities are kind of like that. They can grow outside their city limits, and it's become a hot topic in the General Assembly in Nashville. It affects everything from how much you pay in taxes and what kind of services you get from the city.

As our Shelby County cities grow, their mayors and councils have a pretty good idea about where they'll grow within Shelby County. They write up growth plans and maps that spell that out which "reserve" areas they plan to bring into the city limits.

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