February 06, 2014
LAWT Wire Services
Sheriff’s deputies searched the familiar haunts of a murder suspect today but made no arrests.
Oscar Bridges, 54, who is known to frequent Runyon Canyon Park and Griffith Park, is wanted in the Jan. 23 stabbing death of 21-year-old Robert Brewer of Texas in a motel room in the 10400 block of South Vermont Avenue.
Bridges has been described as black, about 6 feet 2 inches and 180 pounds, with long hair in dreadlocks.
Detectives said Bridges, a registered sex offender with a lengthy criminal record and ties to Arizona, is known for befriending younger men, then robbing them.
About 50 deputies — some working with scent dogs, others on horseback — scoured some of the trails familiar to Bridges but came up empty handed, Nicole Nishida of the Sheriff’s Headquarters Bureau said.
“The search has concluded today, and we haven’t found him, but we are still asking for the public’s assistance,” she said. “We will not be conducting a large scale search tomorrow.”
Oscar Murillo told ABC7 he saw Bridges in Griffith Park last week. Sheriff’s detectives said Bridges sometimes goes by “Rick” and stays in motels in Hollywood and West Hollywood.
February 06, 2014
By TOBY STERLING
AMSTERDAM (AP) — Prosecutors at the International Criminal Court said Wednesday that Kenya’s government is obstructing the crimes against humanity case against its president by withholding access to crucial documents.
Kenyatta has pleaded innocent to charges of crimes against humanity, including murder, forcible population transfer and persecution, for his alleged role in organizing violence that left more than 1,000 people dead after Kenya’s 2007 elections.
The start of his trial was delayed in December after Chief Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda acknowledged that one key witness had decided not to testify and another said he had given false testimony about a “critical event” in the case.
In a hearing on Wednesday about how and whether the case should proceed, prosecutor Benjamin Gumpert told judges that Kenya’s government is obstructing access to information, particularly about Kenyatta’s finances, which could prove vital to the case.
“One of the allegations that we make against Mr. Kenyatta is that he personally provided very large quantities of money which were funneled down through his intermediaries and messengers, and delivered in the form of cash to the perpetrators of the violence,” he said.
He asked for an indefinite delay or at least “until such time as the government of Kenya complies with its treaty obligations” and discloses the information the prosecution is seeking.
Kenyatta, who was not present at Wednesday’s hearing, is the son of Kenya’s founding president, Jomo Kenyatta. He was elected president last year, despite his 2011 indictment by the International Criminal Court. Popular resistance among Kenyans to the cour’s authority may have helped his campaign.
Defense lawyer Steven Kay said Wednesday that the prosecution's “new direction” of blaming the Kenyan government for obstruction comes “at the convenient time when the prosecution has realized that its case has collapsed.”
Human rights groups have warned that witnesses in the case are being intimidated.
Gumpert acknowledged Wednesday that two other avenues the prosecution had been pursuing to bolster evidence had not borne fruit and probably never would.
Presiding Judge Kuniko Ozaki said the panel hearing the case in The Hague, Netherlands, would not decide the matter Wednesday.
February 06, 2014
By Jazelle Hunt
NNPA Washington Correspondent
WASHINGTON (NNPA) – In last week’s State of the Union Address, President Barack Obama declared, “…Our success should depend not on accident of birth, but the strength of our work ethic and the scope of our dreams.”
The operative word was “should.” A recent study by a team of Harvard University and University of California-Berkeley researchers and others confirm that the birth lottery still rules the day.
The report states, “Contrary to popular perception, economic mobility has not changed significantly over time; however, it is consistently lower in the U.S. than in most developed countries. It also said two studies found, “Upward income mobility varies substantially within the U.S. Areas with greater mobility tend to have five characteristics: less segregation, less income inequality, better schools, greater social capital, and more stable families.”
In other words, we have not reached the point where the strength of our work ethic and the scope of our dream dictate our success.
“The Equality of Opportunity Project” is a two-part study that examines intergenerational mobility over time and over geography. The first paper studies the correlation between the incomes of today’s 30-somethings and their parents’ income between 1996 and 2012, and then compares the data across the country.
The second paper studies time trends by comparing the incomes of citizens born between 1971 and 1993, to the incomes of their parents. (For those born after 1986, the researchers compare their probability of attending college and their parents’ income).
“Intergenerational mobility varies substantially across areas. For example, a child born in the bottom fifth of the income distribution has a 7.8 percent chance of reaching the top fifth in the U.S. as a whole,” the report states. “But in some places, such as Salt Lake City and San Jose, the chance of moving from the bottom fifth to the top fifth is as high as 12.9 percent. In others, such as Charlotte and Indianapolis, it is as low as 4.4 percent.”
According to the data, five factors have the greatest influence on mobility: racial and income segregation; income inequality; primary school quality; social connections and community involvement; and family structure.
In areas with the most depressed mobility, these five factors coalesce to form a perfect storm. Income inequality spurs economic segregation; and since race and class are sometimes inextricable, racial segregation arises. Property taxes support schools, so the quality level of a primary school often reflects its neighborhood’s wealth (or lack thereof). Family structure refers to concentrations of single-parent households. Single-parent households tend to have less income than two-parent households, and also tend to have less time to be involved in community affairs.
To clarify, these factors only serve as indicators on a community level. In other words, an individual’s chance at mobility is not tied to his or her family circumstances, but rather to the overall circumstances of his/her hometown. In the case of many African American communities, it is the isolation from jobs, infrastructure, resources, and the influence of more affluent citizens that creates depressed mobility. Such communities stunt successful outcomes for its residents (of all races and incomes).
“These results suggest that it is the isolation of low-income families rather than the isolation of the rich that may be most detrimental for low income children’s prospects of moving up in the income distribution.” The paper states, “One explanation of this correlation is that the separation of the middle class from the poor reduces beneficial peer effects or funding for local public goods (e.g., schools) for children from low-income families. In contrast, the separation of the affluent from the middle class may not directly harm low income individuals.”
In some commuting zones (CZs), which are like metropolitan areas but also include surrounding rural areas, children born to parents in the bottom fifth income level have less than 3 percent chance of earning their way to the top fifth. This is significantly lower than the national mobility average, and the rates of other developed nations.
Among the 50 biggest CZs, Charlotte, Milwaukee, and Atlanta have the lowest mobility. San Jose, San Francisco, and Washington, D.C., have the highest. Geographically, the Midwestern states beyond the Great Lakes have the highest mobility rates. (Racial segregation — one the strongest correlates of depressed mobility — is less of an issue in these states, where at least 95 percent of the population is White). The Southeast has particularly low mobility; 55 percent of all Blacks live in the South.
Senior researcher, Sarah Abraham noted, “As a family at the 25th income percentile, whether your child grew up in Salt Lake City or Charlotte makes a difference of over $8,000 on their expected income at age 30.”
For example, the average child reared in Charlotte in a 20th percentile household (making $26,000 per year) will end up in the 34th percentile (making $41,000 yearly) by the time he or she is 30. Of all the children born in the same circumstance, only 45 percent will earn their way beyond the 40th percentile ($48,000 yearly, or more).
Conversely (and to illustrate the difficulty of upward mobility in this CZ), the average child born in an 80th percentile household (making $109,000 per year) will fall to the 58th percentile (making $71,000 yearly) by 30. In this scenario, only 32 percent will be able to climb the one level above their parents, into the top 20th percentile.
For people raised in the 80th percentile in Charlotte, the mobility rate is two to three points lower than the national rate.
“The southeast generally has severe residential segregation across both income and races. You can also measure the average commute times in a place, and find that places where people have longer commutes have worse mobility. Southern cities generally exhibit sprawl,” Abraham explains.
In Newark, which has the ninth highest mobility among the country’s largest 50 CZs, the average child born into the 20th percentile will end up in the 43rd percentile (making $52,000 per year). Of all the children born in this same circumstance, 77 percent will grow up to earn more than their parents.
The paper concludes that “the fact that much of the spatial variation in children’s outcomes emerges before they enter the labor market suggests that the differences in mobility are driven by factors that affect children while they are growing up.”
The project makes it clear, however, that the key to improving upward mobility for all Americans – particularly those in the middle class – lies in creating diverse, well-planned, supportive communities.
“There are two broad conclusions from our research that we believe should be taken into consideration as guide future research and policies,” Abraham says. “First, our study shows the importance of early intervention, as the patterns of inequality emerge well before students enter the labor market, even as early as their teenage years…. Second, America does not have uniform mobility but rather significant amounts of spatial variation, and as such we might consider targeting limited funds at specific areas to alleviate persistent inequality.”
February 06, 2014
By George E. Curry
A “concerned” U.S. District Judge Gladys Kessler is expected to rule next week on whether advertising she ordered major tobacco companies to purchase in order to correct their past false statements about the danger of smoking should be expanded to include Black media.
On Jan. 22, Judge Kessler held a hearing in Washington, D.C. in which she stated, “… I do have some real concerns and I want to put those concerns in the public record now so that everybody is clear about matters of substantial import.”
She continued, “Number one, I’m concerned about the issue that has arisen – and I have to say –arisen for the first time some seven years, I believe, if I’m counting right, seven years after Order Number 1015 was issued. And the issue is beliefs that in setting forth the newspapers in which the corrective statements have been placed, that we have ignored an extremely important segment of the population in general, and that we have ignored a segment of the population that was directly targeted by the Defendants in this case.”
Cloves C. Campbell, Jr., chairman of the NNPA, said he remains optimistic that his group will get a fair hearing in federal court.
“Judge Kessler has a reputation for being a fair-minded judge and we are hopeful that when all the facts are presented, she will see that the Black media should be central to any proposed settlement,” Campbell said.
A proposed agreement was reached June 9 between the U.S, Justice Department, the Tobacco-Free Kids Action Fund and the four major tobacco manufacturers – Altria, R. J. Reynolds, Lorillard and Philip Morris USA – that would place advertising in White and Hispanic newspapers and the three major TV networks. No advertising was planned for any Black print or broadcast media company.
Under the proposed agreement, the tobacco companies must purchase full-page Sunday ads in White- and Hispanic-owned newspapers and commercials on either ABC, CBS or NBC network four days a week for a year. Target Market News, which first disclosed the proposed settlement said industry sources place the value of the ad buy at $30 million to $45 million.
The U.S. Justice Department filed suit against the cigarette manufacturers on Sept. 22, 1999 charging that they had violated the Racketeer Influenced and Corruption Organizations Act.
After the companies were found guilty, Judge Kessler wrote in her ruling that the case “is about an industry, and in particular these Defendants, that survives, and profits, from selling a highly addictive product which causes diseases that lead to a staggering number of deaths per year, an immeasurable amount of human suffering and economic loss, and a profound burden on our national health care system. Defendants have known these facts for at least 50 years or more. Despite that knowledge, they have consistently, repeatedly, and with enormous skill and sophistication, denied these facts to the public, to the Government, and to the public health community… In short, Defendants have marketed and sold their lethal products with zeal, with deception, with a single-minded focus on their financial success, and without regard for the human tragedy or social costs that success exacted.”
In her initial ruling against the tobacco industry in 2006, Judge Kessler provided a list of publications where “corrective statements” should be made. It is uncertain how or if she will amend her original list beyond the two newspapers that have since gone out of business.
The National Newspaper Publishers Association (NNPA) and the National Association of Black Owned Broadcasters (NABOB), two trade associations whose members reach more than 95 percent of African Americans, filed an amicus curiae or friend of the court brief objecting to the proposed settlement.
“…The Defendants targeted the African America community with advertising campaigns which were delivered in part by their paid advertisements in African American print and electronic media,” the amicus brief states. “The proposed remedy does not list any media which specifically targets the African American community. To insure that the Corrective Statements reach the population that the Defendants targeted, the Court should require the parties to jointly select alternative newspapers that specifically target the African American community.”
Judge Kessler has scheduled another hearing for Feb. 18. Since the NNPA and NABOB went to court, the NAACP has also filed a supporting brief.
“To rectify the damage created by Defendant in their targeting of African American communities, this Court should require Defendants to use NABOB and NNPA member organizations to fulfill its remedial order. Black-owned print and visual media remain a primary method of receiving information for African Americans,” their amicus brief stated. “The NAACP fears that the current list of media sources will not effectively inform the black community of the Defendant’s illegal targeting and provide correct information in line with this court’s order.
“In fact, the Defendant corporations knew of the black print media’s reach when it used their advertising space to target African American communities. Leaving the NNPA and NABOB member publications out of the remedial order advertising list allows the Defendant to walk away from the community that it directly targeted African American communities. As a result, the Defendants will have directly disseminated misinformation to the African American community without the responsibility of returning to correct their errors.”
After NNPA and NABOB went to court, two cable giants filed briefs asking that they be included in the settlement deal.
FOX, which has been in operation since 1986, said it should be included, saying: “ FOX Network programming is broadcast over the airwaves to virtually any U.S. resident with a working antenna and a television, reaching 99.8% of the United States population, slightly more than ABC, CBS or NBC.”
In its amicus filing, Fox stated, “FOX enjoys particular popularity among younger audiences, having been the preferred network among teenagers 12-17 and men 18-34 for 12 consecutive years. It was also the top-rated network for 11 of the past 12 seasons among all adults under the age of 35.”
Viacom, Inc. – the parent company of BET, MTV, MTV2, VH1, Comedy Central – filed a brief challenging the idea that the three major networks reach a significant number of young people or African Americans.
“The Proposed Consent Order provides that Defendants shall cause Corrective Statements to be broadcast through 260 spots on CBS, ABC, or NBC between Monday and Thursday, from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m., over one year,” Viacom said in its brief. “This ignores the reality that much of the programming on those networks during those hours is not geared to reach youth and African American demographics. For example, the median age of viewers of CBS, ABC, and NBC is between 50 and 60 years old, and only 1%-2% of those networks’ primetime viewers are Black adults ages 18 to 34. Moreover, pursuant to the Proposed Consent Order, Defendants could purchase the lowest-cost airtime on the least-viewed shows on CBS, ABC, and NBC and further minimize the impact of the Corrective Statements on young adult and Black viewers.”
The amicus brief continued, “The Court should not countenance this approach. Defendants should be required to target the young adult and Black markets with their Corrective Statements, just as they targeted young people and young African Americans with their deceptive advertising and marketing campaigns.”