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‘True Blue – Memphis Lawmen of 1948’

TrueBlue 600Local filmmaker George Tillman 's Creative Arts film company will screen its second completed documentary tonight (Feb. 26th) at Studio On The Square at 2105 Court St.

"True Blue – Memphis Lawmen of 1948" explores the impact of the historic 1948 hiring of the city's first African-American policemen, including their influence on the African-American directors that would later run the department.

Along with Tillman's earlier Cinematic Arts release, "True Blue – Memphis Lawmen of 1948" is being prepared for presentation at Langston University in Oklahoma and Chicago State University in March. Arrangements also are being finalized for presentations in Waukegan, Ill. and New York before submission on the independent film festival circuit.

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Civil rights groups charge Deutsche Bank with housing discrimination

NFHA 600WASHINGTON, DC — The National Fair Housing Alliance (NFHA) and three of its member organizations announced Tuesday (Feb. 25th) that they have filed a federal housing discrimination complaint with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development against Deutsche Bank.

The civil rights organizations allege that Deutsche Bank maintains and markets foreclosed homes in majority white neighborhoods in a strikingly better manner than it does in majority African-American and Latino neighborhoods. Failing to maintain and market homes based on the racial or ethnic composition of the neighborhood violates the federal Fair Housing Act.

The metropolitan areas named in the complaint are: Chicago, Memphis and Washington, D.C., including Prince George's and Montgomery Counties in Maryland. The three member organizations that conducted investigations with NFHA are the South Suburban Housing Center (Homewood, Ill.), Open Communities (Winnetka, Ill.), and HOPE Fair Housing Center (West Chicago, Ill.).

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Taxes: Making the most of refunds

TaxRefunds 600With W-2s and 1099s in hand, most folks expecting a refund are lining up to file those returns. The doors are open to the many tax preparers who have waited patiently for the season to arrive. Once the money arrives there are many things that can be done with those much-anticipated dollars. Plan to get the most out of the money and improve your financial position. So, let's discuss a few of the many options of spending the refund checks.

Checking, savings or money market account

One option is to save your refund check for a rainy day or emergency. Experts advise that savings should equal between three and six months of expenses for cushion in the event of layoffs or cutbacks. This rainy day or emergency fund is separate from other accounts to make sure that it is not spent or mingled with the rest of the funds. It is to be used for the mortgage, rent, car repairs and such in times of need.

Instead of spending every cent received, try placing some in a checking, savings or money market account. The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) through direct deposit will place your money electronically into your account as instructed. The IRS will even divide your refund over multiple accounts with the completion of Form 8888, which is the Allocation of Refund Form.

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What’s behind Rand Paul’s blunt talk on race?

RanOnRace 600Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul speaks about racial issues both more often and in blunter terms than almost any prominent white Republican politician in the country, building a unique brand for himself that could help in his likely 2016 presidential run but also taking stands that are more controversial than his fellow conservatives.

Other Republicans, including Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wisc,) and Rep. Eric Cantor (R-Va.), speak regularly about income inequality and tout familiar conservative policies to appeal to black Americans, such as school vouchers. And Paul is not alone in urging the GOP to expand its base beyond conservative, white voters: the Republican National Committee released an entire report on this issue last year.

But Paul's approach is unique. He avoids euphemisms often used by GOP politicians like "inner city" or "low-income" to speak in direct terms about blacks, both as a group Paul says his policies will help and a segment of the population he wants to get to vote for Republicans. He has joined in traditionally-Democratic causes, like urging the restoration of voting rights for convicted felons, while at the same time annoying African-Americans with such a self-confidence on racial issues that last year he detailed the history of the Republican Party and race to a group of students at Howard University who then angrily told the senator they knew those facts as well as he does.

 

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Oscar Predictions 2014

OscarPredictions 600"12 Years a Slave" is benefiting from the most Best Picture buzz as we approach Oscar night, although this is shaping up as one of those rare years when the award for Best Director will probably go to a different film, "Gravity." Look for "12 Years" to net only a trio of statuettes overall, with "Gravity" likely landing seven.

"12 Years a Slave" is the sort of elaborate historical drama the voters just love to recognize, as reflected in such past picks as "The King's Speech," "Gladiator," "Shakespeare in Love," "Titanic," "The English Patient," "Schindler's List," "Driving Miss Daisy," "The Last Emperor," "Amadeus" and "Out of Africa," to name a few. And since the Anglophilic Academy ostensibly is impressed by English accents, it will also help that "12 Years: is a British production.

Besides forecasting the winners, I also suggest which nominees in each category are actually the most deserving. Furthermore, because some great performances are invariably overlooked by the Academy entirely, I also point out some who should've at least been nominated.

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