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jamie spider_600For movies opening May 2, 2014


"The Amazing Spider-Man 2" (PG-13 for action and sci-fi violence) Second installment in re-booted Marvel Comics franchise finds your friendly neighborhood superhero (Andrew Garfield) wooing Gwen (Emma Stone) while protecting New York from a few, formidable new foes (Jamie Foxx, Dane DeHaan and Paul Giamatti). With Sally Field, Chris Cooper, Denis Leary, Colm Feore and Embeth Davidtz.

"Belle" (PG for mature themes, mild epithets and brief smoking) Gugu Mbatha-Raw stars in this biopic about the life of Dido Elizabeth Belle (1761-1804), the illegitimate offspring of an African slave and a British ship captain (Matthew Goode) who sent his daughter to England to be raised in polite society by his aristocratic aunt (Emily Watson) and uncle (Tom Wilkinson). Cast includes Penelope Wilton, Sarah Gadon, Miranda Richardson, Tom Felton and Bethan Mary-James.


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‘Racist’ LA Clippers owner banned from NBA and fined $2.5 million

nbarule 600After Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling was sternly denounced for racist comments by a spectrum of individuals, ranging from President Barack Obama to NBA superstar LeBron James, NBA Commissioner Alan Silver on Tuesday fined Sterling $2.5 million and banned him from the NBA for life.

At a news conference Tuesday, Silver said he will ask the NBA Board of Governors to force Sterling to sell the Clippers, an action that would require a three-fourths approval. The fine, the maximum allowed under the NBA's constitution and bylaws, will be donated to anti-discrimination and tolerance organizations jointly selected by the NBA and the NBA Players Association.

"The views expressed by Mr. Sterling are deeply offensive and harmful. That they came from an NBA owner only heightens the damage and my personal outrage," Silver said at the news conference in New York City. "Sentiments of this kind are contrary to the principles of inclusion and respect that form the foundation of our diverse multi-cultural and multi-ethnic league.

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Howard University made right call in honoring P. Diddy

BenChavis 600Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) have had a long tradition of pursuing and encouraging excellence. Howard University in Washington, D.C. is considered by many to be the flagship of HBCUs. It one of the leading institutions of higher education in United States with a global brand of high achievement and historic contributions to the empowerment of Black America and to all who strive for human progress.

I am a proud graduate of Howard University and a strong proponent of the evolution of hip-hop culture and entrepreneurship. Therefore, I am extremely pleased that Interim President Wayne A. I. Frederick selected Sean John "P. Diddy" Combs to deliver the 2014 commencement keynote address. This is another example of President Frederick, a well-respected faculty member and an accomplished scholar, providing Howard University with effective leadership during a period that the university is searching for a new president.

As soon as President Frederick made the announcement that Sean Combs would be the commencement speaker, there was an immediate outcry by those who felt that Combs, who dropped out of Howard before graduating, was an inappropriate choice. I beg to differ. A true education is not strictly defined by whether one graduates from college.

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How to start savings

CarleeMcCullough-160Many people live paycheck to paycheck. This means that there is no savings and most of the previous check is gone before the next check is received. The goal of most should be to save as much as possible for a rainy day. However, saving eludes most people because folks buy today and figure out how to pay for it later. Unfortunately later comes faster than many expected. Understanding how to start the saving process is the first step to establishing and growing savings.

Create a budget

The first step is to create a budget. The budget will help identify all of the bills that have to be paid monthly and the associated income available to do so. Determine if there is enough income to pay the bills with anything left over. Then evaluate the bills and expenses to see if there are any that can be eliminated immediately and not have an ongoing expense. If so, eliminate those bills. Now calculate what we have left over that can be earmarked for savings or debt reduction.

After documenting your income and expenses, evaluate to see if there are any places where the income can be increased or the expenses decreased. Be sure to include all of the little purchases as well including coffee, gas and fast food. This allows you to fully identify where every cent is spent in order to ascertain the potential cutbacks.

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NEW STUDY: 4 percent of people sentenced to death are likely innocent

deathpenalty 600WASHINGTON, D.C. – At least 4.1 percent of defendants sentenced to death in the United States are innocent, according to new peer-reviewed research published Monday (April 28th) in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, one of the world's most respected and cited scientific journals.

"(N)o process of removing potentially innocent defendants from the execution queue can be foolproof. With an error rate at trial over 4 percent, it is all but certain that several of the 1,320 defendants executed since 1977 were innocent," the study concludes. The article, "Rate of False Conviction of Criminal Defendants who are Sentenced to Death," is available at: http://www.pnas.org/cgi/doi/10.1073/pnas.1306417111.

"This study provides the first rigorous estimate of the rate of conviction of innocent criminal defendants in any context. It shows that the number of innocent people sentenced to death is more than twice the number of inmates actually exonerated and freed by legal action," said Bruce Levin, Ph.D., an expert in statistics who did not participate in the research but is familiar with the study. Dr. Levin is professor and past chair, Department of Biostatistics, Mailman School of Public Health Columbia University, and author of "Statistics for Lawyers" (2001, with Michael O. Finkelstein); "Statistical Methods for Rates and Proportions," 3rd Edition (2003, with Joseph L. Fleiss and Myunghee Cho Paik); and "The Biostatistics of Aging" (2014, with Gilberto Levy).

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