News & Information
Kim Burrell calls homosexuality
‘perverted’ during sermon
Gospel singer Kim Burrell has found herself in hot, hot heat after a portion of her sermon where she speaks out against homosexuality hit the internet.
In the now-viral video that surfaced Friday (Dec. 30), Burrell refers to homosexuality as a sin, calling gay people “perverted,” too.
PUT ON THE WHOLE ARMOR: ‘BE PREPARED TO WATCH, FIGHT AND PRAY’
The Bible declares in the book of Isaiah 26:3 that “Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee.”
Many pastors and church-goers have now become mindful of the fact that there are some really sick and twisted individuals in this world who have absolutely no problem disrupting their peace and seeking to harm them, even while worshipping God in their place of worship.
With the recent deadly shootings, particularly those that have been happening in places of worship, many pastors and parishioners across this country are having a tough time keeping their minds focused on God, while having to be concerned with their personal safety as well.
In addition to trusting in God and holding on to their faith, many churches have also chosen to take initiative to proactively get training on how to deal with an active shooter if encountered.
Texas Governor Greg Abbott called it “the largest mass shooting in state history,” and it was truly a dark day in this country, when 26-year-old Devin Kelley walked into the First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs, Texas, on Sunday, November 5, 2017, and proceeded to shoot and kill 25 parishioners with an assault rifle, along with the unborn child one of the victims was carrying. Click here to Read More
Although there have been other deadly shootings that have taken place over the past several years, this shooting has seemingly served as a wake-up call for many individuals who have always looked at the church as a therapeutic escape from the world’s problems.
The Sutherlands Springs massacre comes on the heels of another church shooting that took place on a Sunday morning in September, right outside of Nashville, Tennessee, where 25-year-old Emanuel Kidega Samson opened fire on several individuals at Burnette Chapel Church of Christ, where one woman was killed and seven others were injured. And of course, the nation can never forget the horrific murders that took place during a prayer meeting in 2015, at the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, S.C., where 21-year-old White supremacist Dylan Roof committed one of the most heinous and atrocious acts of violence against Black people in this history of this country, killing nine African American men and women – sisters and brothers – friends and family – in cold blood inside of a church.
Now, after coming off the worst mass shooting in Texas history, and the other tragic incidents that have taken place at the aforementioned churches, another startling incident has occurred that has left many Houstonians concerned and seeking answers.
This past Sunday, November 26th, 20-year-old Keanu Randolph allegedly showed up in Houston’s historic Fifth Ward with a gun and threatened to use it on some of the church members who were at a worship service at the Greater Sunrise Missionary Baptist Church.
According to investigators, witnesses say that Randolph pulled out the gun while standing on the street after being forced to leave the church building because he was cursing and being disrespectful to the pastor. A deacon in the church eventually called 9-1-1 and ended up following Randolph in a truck for several blocks until police arrived. According to police, once they arrived on the scene, officers ordered Randolph to put his hands up and he refused and ran, but they eventually caught up with him and took him into custody. Upon searching the backpack that Randolph was carrying, officers state they found a stolen loaded gun and 9-inch knife inside of the bag. While being arrested, police state that Randolph threatened the deacon that followed him and his family. According to police, Randolph said, “When I get out, I’m going to kill you, rape your wife and hurt your girl. I know where you live across from the church.”
Authorities charged Randolph with carrying a weapon, evading arrest and retaliation, but the alarming thing for many was that a judge only issued him a $7,000 bond and ordered him to stay away from the church and have no contact with the victim. He is currently in Harris County Jail.
John Horton, the pastor of Greater Sunrise Missionary Baptist Church, is said to be considering changing the way they look at security, with he and his staff being legally armed, as one of the primary options.
This incident in Houston could have ended tragically for the elders, children and parishioners inside the church, in the same way it did in Sutherland Springs, which is why the conversation about whether all attendees of the church should be legally armed and trained to deal with situations like this, should they escalate.
Since the signing of Senate Bill 2065 by Governor Abbott that went into effect on September 1st, it appears many churches are seriously rethinking their approach to safety and security, while seeking to maintain their respect for the church grounds as a place of holiness. Prior to this new law, the prohibition on possession of firearms by License To Carry individuals at places of worship was only enforceable if the location was posted or verbal notice was given. Senate Bill 2065 allows volunteers providing security at places of worship to be exempt from the requirements of the Private Security Act and gives congregation leaders the ability to authorize and approve select License To Carry holders to be armed in their respective churches.
Church leaders like Pastor E.A. Deckard of the Greenhouse International Church believes that in today’s culture, every church should create a Security Ministry which should include law enforcement officers, military personnel, and well trained individuals in church with concealed gun license.
“The church community should use the past church shootings as an alarm sounding and put plans in place to better secure and protect the church,” said Pastor Deckard. “The biggest threat that the church faces today from individuals with bad intentions is the myth that the church is a safe haven and nothing like that would ever happen at “our church.” Because of this false feeling of protection, I believe the church is often an easy target to attack. Imagine a bank without security, because only the people with money go to the bank. The 21st Century church must be more like Nehemiah and be prepared to watch, fight and pray, all at the same time.”
Some pastors are not so quick to move towards having a fully armed congregation, but do see the need to address these issues of violence that are affecting so many churches across the country.
“We never want to have a shootout in the sanctuary, but doing nothing loses more lives, so we have to do something,” said Pastor Gerald Shanks of Mary Olive Baptist Church in Third Ward, who attended a Church Security Workshop put on by the Houston Police Department this past Tuesday. “It is important that we are proactive and train our staff and our members on exactly what to do.”
According to Bishop James Dixon II, pastor of The Community of Faith Church, the official security team should be the only persons allowed to carry weapons in the church, because he believes the church will not be considered a safe place if all members are allowed to do so.
“There are simply too many people in a confined area,” said Bishop Dixon. “Churches should work to provide an environment wherein attendees feel safe due the security plan the church has designed and implemented. People feel relatively safe in airports and most government buildings because they are aware that there are plans in place. Churches have not had to do this before. But this is where we are today. We must make safety the highest priority.”
Bishop Dixon states that every public venue is a possible place for tragedy to break out, especially churches, but believes there are things that can be done to minimize the risk of this happening.
“Churches like The Community Of Faith where I am pastor, must do the painstaking work of planning and implementing sophisticated plans for security,” said Bishop Dixon. “These plans must focus worshipper, church leadership and facility safety. Obviously, the larger the facility and the more people attending, the more difficult such places are to secure. This necessitates even more elaborate plans and security systems. Preventing easy and unobservable access should be a part of the plan. Also, being aware of every vehicle that has access to the parking lot through cameras and teams monitoring all activities is extremely important. Manning facilities with trained and professional security personnel is next. Churches should take advantage of programs and educational sessions that are being offered to churches free of charge. Also, pastors, like me, are willing to assist other churches in their efforts to become security proficient.”
To help deal with the recent tragedies that have occurred close to home and abroad, Constable Gary Majors of the Fort Bend County Precinct 2 Constable’s Office recently held a symposium to make Pastoral and Clergy Leaders aware of what can be done to help prevent cowardly acts leading to incidents similar to those that have taken place. They invited Pastors and Clergy Leaders of any and all religious affiliations to participate, and also invited members from the ATF and other local law enforcement agencies to come together for the wellbeing of the community. They also had a Conceal Handgun Instructors on hand to help with any questions anyone had concerning State of Texas concealed license permits.
“The aim of this Symposium was to foster a meaningful dialogue between church leaders and law enforcement,” said Constable Majors. “We recognize that strong community partnerships help to reduce crime and increase public safety. We wanted those in attendance to leave educated to the law and what can be done to protect themselves and their congregation. It is imperative to discuss steps we can take right now to maintain and improve public safety in our communities and in any place of worship.”
Constable Majors says that the inability to identify an Active Shooter situation could potentially cost lives. He states that all congregational leaders and their staff must improve their knowledge on what to look for and what to do if they see something of concern.
“No amount of planning can stop someone from wanting to harm others. Nevertheless, having a plan of action and response can make your church a more difficult target and can help reduce the harm if violence occurs,” said Constable Majors. “Everyone involved in church leadership, including those who are often the frontline of security responses, should be involved in considering the risks that are present in a specific church. We must allow the church to still be the church, but people must be properly trained and comfortable with carrying and using a lethal force option.”
There is no system that could totally prevent any church or venue from being attacked but the more prepared the organization is in regards to security could significantly decrease the amount of harm done. You may not be able to prevent it but you can definitely end it sooner. It is time for all churches to look at their current security plans to ensure they are doing everything in their power and ability to keep their congregation safe.
Economic Growth in Arkansas
Ranks 14th Best in Nation
The state’s GDP expanded by 3.5 percent in the 2nd quarter of 2017, inning accordance with the Bureau of Economic Analysis record launched the other day. That’s the 14th biggest development in the country.
” This is terrific financial information for Arkansas as we going right into the last weeks of 2017,” Gov. Hutchinson stated. “This is additional proof that we are appreciating a period of restored development in our state as well as validates that our economic climate continuously patterns in the appropriate instructions.
LITTLE ROCK, Ark. – Guv Asa Hutchinson states Arkansas is doing points right and also brand-new financial numbers function as evidence.
” In the previous 3 years, greater than 300 firms have actually relocated to Arkansas or increased their procedures in the state, which has actually created almost $7 billion in capital expenditures. Considering that 2015, over 60,000, even more, Arkansans are utilized and also we have actually seen document reduced joblessness, in addition to the highest possible variety of utilized Arkansans in the state’s background. I’m honored of the job we’ve done, and also we’re not ended up yet.”
PHAEDRA PARKS SIGNS ON AS A WILHELMINA MODEL
It might be up for debate, but when it came to serving #bawdy on The Real Housewives of Atlanta, no-one did it quite like Ms. Phaedra Parks.
While she’s no longer a cast member, it turns out that the 5-foot-1 Georgia peach has started a new chapter as a Wilhelmina Model. Phaedra broke her exciting news yesterday via Us Weekly for an exclusive piece.
Phaedra has been working hard on her revenge body post-divorce from estranged husband, Apollo Nida. She credits a mix of pilates and swimming daily to keeping her super snatched.
“I think I’m the face of “yes, you can.” I’m a small town girl who has followed her dreams. Yes, you can be a mom. Yes, you can be a lawyer, and yes, you can be a model,” Phaedra shared with the weekly tabloid.
“When the opportunity presented itself some people asked me ‘Why?’ And I said, ‘Why not?’ A supermodel started this company, and she wanted to give power back to the women, and I think I stand for the same things. I have the opportunity to show people that beauty can come in every size, shade, color and age. It’s exciting and an adventure!”
Of course, Phaedra has set some goals for herself regarding her dream campaign already: the face of a skincare brand.
“I have great skin, I love makeup, but I love to be able to take off the makeup and have beautiful skin,” she said. “I also think a lot of girls are looking on Instagram for an idealized standard of beauty that requires a lot of makeup. Those are not the faces of what real women look like.”
She looks up to models like Naomi Campbell and fellow Wilhemina Model Nicki Minaj, citing her as “a big supporter of me.”
The one thing Phaedra isn’t nervous about as a model? Showing some skin.
“I have been wearing g-strings and baring it all really every season for seven years. I had two children on national TV. I love nudity! I’ve brought a lot of exotic entertainers on the show, so I love my body and I’ve got curves. I’m a mother of two children, so I’m not perfect, but I have no problem getting naked.”
ZINZI CLEMMONS: ‘IT’S TIME FOR WOMEN OF COLOR…TO DIVEST FROM LENA DUNHAM’
Writer Zinzi Clemmons, author of What We Lose, has announced that she will no longer be writing for Lena Dunham and Jenni Konner’s online feminist weekly newsletter Lenny Letter because, she says, of Dunham and her friends’ racism which was “well-known” prior to their fame. “She cannot have our words if she cannot respect us,” she writes.
Because let’s take a step back, says Clemmons. She’s currently in Nigeria at a literary festival hearing stories from women who are “putting themselves in danger every day to help women in some of the worst conditions on earth.” She reminds us to consider the 26 Nigerian girls who drowned last week while being sex trafficked off the coast of Italy.
With that in mind, here’s what she has to say about Dunham: Click here to Read More
Jemima Kirke was in my year at RISD while I was at Brown [Ed note: the campus is next door]. We had many mutual acquaintances and still do. Most of these acquaintances were like Lena–wealthy, with parents who are influential in the art world. They had a lot of power and seemed to get off on simultaneously wielding it and denying it.
Back in college, I avoided these people like the plague because of their well-known racism. I’d call their strain “hipster racism,” which typically uses sarcasm as a cover, and in the end, it looks a lot like gaslighting– “It’s just a joke. Why are you overreacting?” is a common response to a lot of these statements. In Lena’s circle, there was a girl who was known to use the N word in conversation in order to be provocative, and if she was ever called on it, she would say “it’s just a joke.”
Clemmons adds that she was “horrified” to hear Aurora Perrineau’s accusation of sexual assault by Girlswriter Murray Miller–which Dunham baselessly rejected–because it mirrored an assault a friend of hers experienced at the hands of another member of Lena’s circle. “I grew up middle class, with no family connections in the writing or art worlds, and my friend was from a similar background. We were powerless against them.”
50 Cent scores legal victory in
‘Power’ copyright lawsuit
50 Cent has emerged victorious in a lawsuit that accused him of stealing the concept for his hit drama “Power,” where the rapper serves as both star and executive producer.
According to TMZ, two men claim that the Starz series is too similar to a play they wrote, titled “Dangerous.” The story line involved a drug dealer who engaged in violence, launders money and attempts to avoid prosecution.
A judge threw out the case, saying their storyline is made of common elements that are in the public domain. “One need only look to such shows and movies as ‘The Wire,’ ‘Empire,’ ‘Breaking Bad,’ ‘Narcos,’ ‘Weeds,’ ‘Carlito’s Way,’ ‘American Gangster,’ ‘New Jack City,’ ‘
“Power” is actually the brainchild of Courtney Kemp, who also serves as executive producer as well as showrunner. In May, she signed a new multi-year, overall deal with the studio and the premium cable channel.
Under the exclusive agreement, Kemp will develop series for Starz and work on projects for Lionsgate that could be sold to a variety of outlets. She also will continue as the showrunner and EP on the hit NYC drama.
Bruno Mars sprinkled his “24K Magic” around NYC and the city is better for it.
Smack in the middle of his “24K Magic World Tour,” Mars took viewers on a magical ride at the Apollo Theater as part of his CBS primetime special.
The one-night-only showcase kicked off with a ride through Harlem and highlighted Mars going door to door with flyers to promote the event. “Everywhere you go,” he said. “You can feel it. The city’s singing.”
From hair salons to street corners, Mars made his rounds and arrived at the legendary theatre to deliver a stellar performance of “24K Magic” on top of the Apollo marquee. Inside the theatre, Mars and the Hooligans launched into a show-stopping set that included “Finesse,” “Perm,” “Chunky,” and “Calling All My Lovelies.”
The soul singer spoke with CBS prior to the debut and shared how he developed his music for the live performance. “That’s my cheat code,” he said. “I think about, ‘Man, I have to perform songs every single night or every other night, I have to write songs that I’ll genuinely have fun performing,’ so half the battle is won. I’m hoping that the audience will see that and it will be contagious and infectious.”
Bruno Mars 24K Magic Tour HERE
PATRIOTISM: AMERICA’S NEW RELIGION -THIS PLAYBOOK IS ALL TOO FAMILIAR TO AFRICAN AMERICANS.
Several statements have been used to define the religious foundation of America, such as “America was founded on Christian principles” or “America is a Christian nation.”
This has caused many people to use the Bible as a benchmark for their every decision and every action – both for good and evil. Some have even gone to the extreme with their religious beliefs, using both the Bible and their belief in it, as a means to push positions that they will go to great lengths to defend, even if it means ignoring or hurting other people in the process.
This form of religious extremism has proven harmful, and oftentimes fatal, throughout the course of American history, especially as it relates to African Americans. Click here to Read More
Now, there seems to be a newfound obsession with the American flag that has been embraced by patriotic extremists in this country that rivals the way religion has been used over the years as a tool to oppress and disenfranchise African Americans.
According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, ‘patriotism’ is defined as the “love for or devotion to one’s country.”
It is no secret that African Americans have a strong love for this country and have been devoted to it since inception. However, African Americans have also been the unwilling victims of racism and systematic oppression in this country since its inception, and sadly, many people have used religion as a tool to perpetuate even more racism and systematic oppression.
Interestingly enough, in the same way religion was used as a tool, now this false narrative about disrespecting the American flag has become the latest systematic tool to justify racism and the systematic oppression that African Americans continue to face in this country.
People who profess to be so incensed with NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick’s decision to protest police brutality and systematic oppression in this country by choosing to peacefully take a knee every game, have noticeably treated him in a way that is totally the opposite of others who have used their platforms to protest, primarily because he is an African American taking a stand concerning issues that impact African Americans. Those who are so adamant about Kaepernick’s decision to take a knee are actually using this American flag narrative as a way to change the conversation in order to avoid dealing with the real issues that Kaepernick raised as a result of his protest, as well as ignore systemic oppression in the U.S. in the process.
Sadly, the response to Kaepernick’s protest is eerily reminiscent to the responses many Americans had during the days of slavery and during the height of the attacks on African Americans by the Ku Klux Klan, where they used religion to justify their brutal and targeted attacks on African Americans, choosing to turn the other way and ignore the root issues and realistic concerns that were being brought to their attention by African Americans.
This playbook is all too familiar to African Americans, in that patriotism is now the substitute for religion, and the Bible has been replaced by the American flag. Same concept though.
One would need to look at the core of the country’s foundation, along with the historical treatment of African Americans in this country, in order to better understand how Black people have always had to deal with religion being a tool to justify their enslavement and ill-treatment.
Following the slave revolts in the early 19th century, states like Virginia and others passed a law requiring Black congregations to meet only in the presence of a White minister. Many Black slaves didn’t want to be constrained to having a White minister that served as their spiritual overseer, while justifying their enslavement in the process. Racist slave owners used select scriptures from the Bible to justify and legally sanction slavery.
For instance, people of African descent were considered the children of Canaan and the Bible scriptures found in Genesis 9:20-27 have widely been used to justify the enslavement of Africans for centuries. The passage reads: “When Noah exited the ark, he planted a vineyard. He sampled too much of his wine, got drunk, and lay naked inside his tent…….Noah had three sons: Shem, Ham, and Japheth. Ham had a son named Canaan. Ham saw his father’s nakedness, but his brothers walked backward into the tent to avoid the sight. When Noah awoke, he put a curse on Ham’s son, declaring that Canaan “shall be a slave to his brothers.”
Other proponents of the abuse and oppression of African Americans used scriptures from the Song of Solomon 1:5-6 to justify their racist positions, which reads: “I am black but beautiful, O daughters of Jerusalem . . . Do not gaze at me because I am dark, because the sun has gazed on me. My mother’s sons were angry with me; they made me keeper of the vineyards.”
That verse of scripture has been used by American religious extremists as biblical justification that dark-skinned people, or people of color, are somehow cursed and beneath everyone else, therefore occupying a lower position on the racial ladder and are destined to be slaves and serve others. This caused the most extreme racists and racist organizations to flourish in this country, with no accountability.
In 1863, Brigham Young, who was the founder of Salt Lake City and a prominent and well-respected leader as President of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormon Church) from 1847 until his death in 1877, is reported to have said: “Shall I tell you the law of God in regard to the African race? If the white man who belongs to the chosen seed mixes his blood with the seed of Cain, the penalty, under the law of God, is death on the spot. This will always be so.”
It was nothing to see Ku Klux Klan (KKK) members dressed in their robes and attending church. The burning cross is synonymous with the KKK and has been used as a symbol of intimidation by the KKK. The burning of the cross was used as a symbol of Christian fellowship, and its lighting during meetings was steeped in Christian prayer, the singing of hymns, and other overtly religious symbolism.
During the Civil Rights movement, the majority of the White evangelical leaders refused to get involved and speak out against the atrocities faced by African Americans, and were noticeably absent during most of the marches, protests, bus boycotts and voter-registration drives.
Prior to NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick choosing to take a knee during the playing of the national anthem back in 2016, it is clear that this level of conversation, attention and controversy surrounding what it meant to respect the flag and display patriotism was not nearly as intensified as it is now. The United States Flag Code, written in 1923, had penalties in it for mutilating or stomping on the flag, which included a fine and up to a year in prison, but that all changed in 1990 when the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that burning the American flag was protected by the First Amendment right to freedom of speech. Many of the people who have created this false narrative about Kaepernick allegedly “disrespecting the flag,” have seemingly found no issue with addressing other people who have utilized freedom of speech in ways that show disrespect to the American flag, along with other forms of disrespect to people and other sacred things, such as the burning of a cross or supporting the rebel flag of the Confederacy or the comments made from the person currently occupying the office of the presidency.
We live in a country where we have witnessed thousands of mostly White Anti-Vietnam War demonstrators, burn the American flag in the 1960s as a powerful form of free speech. We have also witnessed musical artists like Kid Rock perform at an NFL Super Bowl halftime show while wearing an American-flag poncho, with a hole cut out for his head to come through it, as a form of free speech. Most recently, we have even seen Houston Astros baseball player, Josh Reddick, take off all his clothes, with the exception of some American flag speedos, all while being drenched with champagne after they eliminated the Boston Red Sox in the ALDS last month.
So, while these actions initially drew the ire of some, they did not nearly reach the same level of reaction as the controversy surrounding the false narrative attributed to Kaepernick, along with the negative attention this young man has received.
Kaepernick’s words have been completely ignored and swept under the rug, as if he didn’t tell everyone why he was taking a knee from the start. Many Americans are seeking to hold Kaepernick, along with those who support his efforts, to some standard that the average American is not held to, and have taken on a ‘holier-than-thou’ approach, as to what they believe respecting the American flag and what being “patriotic” actually means to them.
It is time for these patriotic extremists to be called out for who they are – a newer version of religious extremists who are using the American flag to replace the Bible as the latest tool to justify racism and the systematic oppression of African Americans in this country.
MISS JAMAICA CELEBRATES BEING
‘THE FIRST AFRO QUEEN
TO MAKE IT THUS FAR’
IN MISS UNIVERSE PAGEANT
MISS JAMAICA CELEBRATES BEING ‘THE FIRST AFRO QUEEN TO MAKE IT THUS FAR’ IN MISS UNIVERSE PAGEANT
The 2017 Miss Universe pageant host Steve Harvey correctly announced the winner’s name without any confusion. But if you were to go on social media during last night’s show, you would have thought Miss Jamaica Davina Bennett took home the crown because Twitter was going wild for her.
The 23-year-old contestant embraced her natural hair, wearing an afro during the competition and the social media response was overwhelming. Fans gave the second runner-up an outpouring of love and even started the hashtag, “#MissJamaicaShouldHaveWon.”
“I did not win but I got what I was seeking,” Bennett wrote on Instagram. “I won the hearts of many, I got to highlight Deaf awareness, I stand as the first afro queen to have made it thus far, I represented my little island and I received allll the love one could possibly wish for…. THANK YOU!!! I came, I conquered and if you know me, then you know that’s just another story and you will be seeing a lot more from me…To all the queens that represented, congrats and to our new Miss Universe @demileighnp go conquer the world you are indeed a gem!..”
Have They Got a Bond for You?
Connecticut and Chicago borrow a debt trick from Puerto Rico
State and local governments pledge their full faith and credit to repay general obligation bonds, but politicians in Chicago and Connecticut realize their word is depreciating in value. Thus they’re pitching a debt arbitrage to reduce their borrowing costs. Click here to Read More
As part of Illinois’s slow-rolling bailout of Chicago, Democrats in Springfield this summer allowed the city to issue bonds securitized with $700 million or so in annual sales tax revenue. Creditors would have a legal lien on the revenues. Chicago plans to start floating the sales-tax bonds next month to refinance existing debt.
The bonds will be cheaper to finance than Chicago’s junk-rated GO bonds, which carry a 3.5% premium over top-rated municipal securities. Fitch has rated Chicago’s sales tax bonds AAA, which is an insult to every triple-A issuer including the U.S. Treasury. (Fitch still rates Treasurys triple-A, unlike Standard & Poor’s.) While the city noted in a recent presentation that “ratings agencies rate bonds issued by special-purpose corporations highly because they are more legally secure than a normal bond,” that hasn’t historically been the case.
Securitized bonds issued by special public corporations were once considered less safe than GO bonds because their revenue bases are narrower and can shrink over time. Consider the 2011 bankruptcy of Jefferson County, Alabama, which resulted from political corruption at its over-leveraged sewer system.
Detroit’s Chapter 9 bankruptcy in 2013 set a precedent by subverting GO bondholders to pay public workers and retirees. Prior to Detroit, creditors considered GO bonds sacrosanct and figured courts would compel local governments to raise taxes or cut pensions to repay them. That assumption proved incorrect. So creditors are now demanding higher yields for GO bonds issued by fiscally irresponsible governments.
Hence, Connecticut lawmakers recently authorized bonds backed by state income taxes as a substitute for GOs. The budget noted that “the new type of borrowing authorized in the bill may be viewed more favorably in bond markets because it is linked directly to a large and relatively stable revenue source.” Hmmm.
Income-tax revenues in Connecticut have repeatedly fallen short of estimates due to tepid economic growth. Last year they were off by $530 million. Perhaps Democrats consider this a rounding error on a $3.5 billion deficit. Chicago has reassured investors that the new “corporation would be considered bankruptcy-remote” (our emphasis). However, “in the unlikely event of a municipal bankruptcy, bondholders would still be paid.” Not so fast.
Puerto Rico likewise established a special public corporation in 2006 to issue sales-tax “Cofina” bonds, which were billed as more secure than debt paid from the commonwealth’s operating fund. And for a time that appeared true as politicians raised the sales tax (which was later converted into a VAT) to repay creditors.
But last year Puerto Rico’s governor issued a debt moratorium, which led Congress to impose a fiscal control board and create a quasi-Chapter 9 bankruptcy process. Cofina and GO bondholders are now vying for the same, small pool of money, and both will be lucky to get half of what Detroit bondholders recovered.
Illinois could authorize Chicago to declare bankruptcy in the future, and while states can’t declare bankruptcy, Connecticut could try to renegotiate the terms of its debt. In the event of a default, GO bonds in both places would be less secure because of competing creditor claims.
Investors thirsty for yield may take Chicago and Connecticut up on their proposition, but they shouldn’t complain later if these bets turn out to be bad political risks. Caveat creditor.
RAY J EXPECTING FIRST CHILD WITH WIFE PRINCESS LOVE
There’s a baby on the way for Ray J and wife Princess Love!
The singer, 36, revealed the happy news on Monday’s episode of The Real, telling co-hosts Adrienne Houghton, Loni Love, Jeannie Mai and Tamera Mowry-Housley: “Love is on my mind. Love is in my heart. Princess and I are expecting.”
Following the announcement, Princess shared the first photo of her baby bump on social media.
“It’s such a blessing from God to be able to carry our child. We kept this to ourselves until after the first trimester because it’s bad luck to announce too early,” the mother-to-be captioned the profile shot. “But we’re so proud to share this journey with you guys. Thank you for all of the love and prayers.”
In August 2016, Ray J and Princess tied the knot at the Vibiana in Los Angeles. Click here to Read More
“I just love him to the point where it doesn’t matter what he does,” Princess told PEOPLE exclusively following their wedding. “He’s the only person I’ve ever been with that I couldn’t see myself without.”
The couple documented their struggles to get pregnant during the most recent season of VH1’s Love and Hip Hop: Hollywood.
“We were trying for a while. It’s not as easy as people think,” Ray J said during his The Real appearance.
Video highlights: Hog OL commit Silas Robinson
Arkansas offensive lineman Silas Robinson is a powerful blocker with a nasty streak and plays until the whistle. […]
Police: Man fleeing officers crashed while checking phone
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Texas O-lineman flips commitment from SMU to Hogs
Offensive lineman Silas Robinson committed to Coach Chad Morris at SMU and has now flipped his pledged to Arkansas with Morris now in Fayetteville. […]
Video highlights: Razorback receiver commit Mike Woods
New Arkansas commitment Mike Woods is a speedy and elusive receiver that also likes to throw punishing blocks on defensive backs in the running game. […]
Texas receiver becomes Morris' first commitment at Arkansas
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Guards' policy slips cited for state prison flare-ups
A string of violent altercations at Arkansas' maximum security prisons occurred, in large part, because correctional officers failed to follow policy, according to state prisons director Wendy Kelley. […]
Faculties' outcries slow UA System's tenure-policy redo
Faculty members at five University of Arkansas System campuses are waiting for a seat at the table. […]
PHOTOS: Crystal Bridges tells visitors to stay awhile in 1950s-inspired sitting room
Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art has a colorful and comfortable surprise for visitors as they wind their way through the temporary exhibition "Stuart Davis: In Full Swing." […]
PAPER TRAILS: Little Rock missing person case on 'Dr. Phil'
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Arkansas man given life term for killing; 11-time felon was on parole at time of slaying
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ICYMI: Miguel Drops Fourth Studio Album, ‘War & Leisure’
Two years after the release of Wildheart, Miguel shares his fourth album, War & Leisure.
The 12-track project features guest appearances from Travis Scott (“Sky Walker”), J. Cole (“Come Through and Chill”), Rick Ross (“Criminal”), Kali Uchis (“Caramelo Duro”) and Quiñ (“Wolf”).
During his interview with PAPER magazine, Miguel described his latest musical endeavor as a direct reflection of his current state of mind. “I want to be an artist whose personal life is really reflected in their music,” he said. “If I didn’t include some of the things that are happening in the ethos and the things that I’m seeing and paying attention to and that I care about, if I didn’t include those topics in my music, I think it wouldn’t be a real, honest representation.” Stream the album here.
Next up, the R&B crooner will be hitting the road on “The War & Leisure Tour,” which will feature SiR and Nonchalant Savant. The tour will run from Feb. 22 in Portland through April 12 in Berkeley.
Mary J. Blige shared an emotional new single entitled “Mighty River,” from her new film, Mudbound.
“Time, tells no lie / It keeps changing and ticking and moving then passes by,” she sings. “But if you’re lucky / It will be kind / Like a river flowing through time.”
Similar to her rousing delivery on the single, Blige also showcased her acting skills in the Netflix original, allowing fans to see another side of the Queen of Hip-Hop and Soul.
Available now, ‘Mudbound’ is a story of two families, one black and the other white, and their fight to survive in the poverty-stricken Mississippi Delta after World World II.
Listen to “Mighty River” below.
Steyer’s Campaign to Impeach Trump Unsettles Democrats
Why Steyer’s Campaign to Impeach Trump Unsettles Some Democrats: California billionaire Tom Steyer is funding a $20 million ad campaign calling for the impeachment of President Donald Trump. The move is causing anxiety among lawmakers—within the Democratic Party. Democratic leaders fear that independent and Republican voters will view impeachment talk as Democratic overreach and undercut the party’s message in the midterm elections. Mr. Steyer says he doesn’t care. Julie Bykowicz and Natalie Andrews report.
New Book, “Mama’s Girl,” Tells the Story of a Single Mom Raising Her Daughter in All the Right (and Wrong) Ways
Farmingdale, NY — Mama’s Girl by Daybreak Jones is a Black urban story about a single mom raising her daughter. It is also a story about a daughter who knows her mom is not her grandmother; She is not perfect, but she tries to respect and love her anyway. It is the story of a young woman claiming her own sexuality and acknowledging her desires and feelings with absolutely no shame.
Here’s the synopsis:
May Jameson has never fully approved of the questionable things her mother does to subsidize her income. That’s why, when her mother encourages her to date a much older man from a family of means, May is torn. Her desire to lead a positive life is at odds with her mother’s advice, but also with the physical desire she feels for this older man. Her best friend’s warning against an affair has the opposite reaction, and May begins a relationship even though she knows she doesn’t really love him. May must make some tough decisions, because although she wants to do right, she is feeling the need to do wrong. Her role models add to her confusion, with some offering real opportunities for jobs and education, while others are caught up in drugs, gambling, and the illegal sale of alcohol. Will she fall into the same trap that holds her mother back from living her best life, or will she ignore that advice and follow her own path to success? Click here to Read More
May thinks beyond the life she’s been born into, but can she achieve what she sees in her mind?
Mama’s Girl has strong elements of magical realism, family epoch, street lit, new adult, and Black experience; it doesn’t fit squarely into any genre, but… it is a really good story!
For bulk orders, contact:
Kensington Publishing Corp.
400 Hahn Road
Westminster, MD 21157-4627
Arkansas Ranks First in Jailed
Parents with Kids
LITTLE ROCK, Ark. – A brand-new record exposes Arkansas rates initially in the nation in the variety of youngsters with imprisoned moms and dads.
The Annie E. Casey Foundation located greater than 100,000 Arkansas youngsters had a moms and dad or guardian behind bars at some time in their lives.
Just 4 various other states, Arizona, Louisiana, Tennessee and also Kentucky, dropped in the exact same 13 to 16 percent brace.
One Little Rock granny is functioning in order to help them.
” It’s throughout the vacations that it’s really felt one of the most, the lack of a mom and dad or liked one,” stated Sabrina Lumpkin. “All of these numbers are expensive.”
They do not amaze Lumpkin. She could not place a number on the number of youngsters she collaborates with at Moody Chapel Faith-Based Ministry whose enjoyed ones are secured.
” There’s constantly somebody in requirement,” Lumpkin claimed. “There’s wonderful have to aid the youngsters in addition to the moms and dads.”
Her ministry attempts to assist, offering spiritual support and also mentorship to them.
” They do not connect well with their peers since they have these concerns taking place,” she stated. “We should examine the issue that happens with his kid prior to we decide and also claim, ‘Well, they’re unable to find out or place them on a unique course.'”.
Her large heart originates from her daddy, that ran the earliest recovery facility in New York City.
” Basically my whole life I matured around individuals that required assistance,” Lumpkin claimed. “This is my goal and also my vision in order to help those that have actually gone astray.”.
Lumpkin motivates her area to offer the present of love to a youngster that requires it most.
” If you could simply connect as well as assist a person along the road, I believe that’s the very best Thanksgiving or Christmas you could provide to any individual,” she stated.
Lumpkin’s ministry additionally aids homeless kids.
She claimed 21,500 children are displaced during a year in the state.
Her ministry’s Purpose Outreach Intervention Program residences females as well as youngsters that are homeless because of residential physical violence.
Democrats Disingenuous on Mandate Repeal
Thirteen million Americans were taxed because they didn’t purchase health insurance—that means they were not insured. Rescinding the mandate doesn’t make them any more or less insured.
When it comes to the pending tax reform, it becomes obvious that the Democrats can’t even formulate a good lie and the Republicans simply cannot resist playing defense. Thirteen million Americans were taxed because they didn’t purchase health insurance—that means they were not insured. Rescinding the mandate doesn’t make them any more or less insured. Rescinding the mandate does restore individual choice (see the Ninth Amendment).
Republicans in the Senate need to recognize that the Democrats who so heatedly attack Attorney General Jeff Sessions have opened the door to rescinding the Byrd rule. After all, Robert Byrd was a senior member of the KKK, so according to progressive values, anything associated with his name should be eliminated from the public square. How much more do Republicans need to eliminate the Byrd in their hand?
The current nonsense from the swamp that ending the insurance mandate will raise insurance premiums is nonsense. Take Rockingham County, Va., where my wife and I live. Our current carrier is Anthem Inc. at about $1,400 a month. It has exited our market for 2018. The remaining carrier, about to enjoy monopoly pricing next year, will cost us $3,000 a month for a bronze plan with a $13,100 family deductible. We aren’t eligible for a subsidy. We are in our 60s, not yet Medicare eligible, and find a description of our situation in your editorial. We will be forced to purchase outrageously priced insurance most of which we don’t need or face a fine. The outrageous price increases are already here.
Economic Forecasting Survey Group,
More Than 60 Economist,
More Than 60 Economic Indicators
GDP (quarterly) Actual (Q 3 2017) 3.0%
Projected: Q4 2017 2.8% Projected: Q1 2018 2.4%
Projected: Q2 2018 2.6% Projected: Q3 2018 2.5%
Projected: Q4 2018 2.4%
Terrorism Takes No Holiday
The deadliest attack in Egypt shows a growing jihadist threat.
President Trump called Egyptian President Abdel Fattah Al Sisi on Friday, and the White House issued a statement of support after terrorists killed more than 235 people in an attack on a mosque near the Sinai coast. The assault was especially vicious as jihadists cut down Sufi worshippers, who practice a moderate form of Islam. The attack was the deadliest in Egyptian history, exceeding the 224 who died in Metrojet Flight 9268 over the Sinai Peninsula in October 2015.
Mr. Trump couldn’t resist using the event as an argument for his immigration limits, tweeting “Need the WALL, need the BAN! God bless the people of Egypt.” But the attack in Sinai is almost surely the work of home-grown jihadists, perhaps inspired by Islamic State. Immigration at the Mexican border, or even at U.S. airports, has nothing to do with it.
The death toll is a reminder that Muslims continue to be the main targets of Islamic terrorism world-wide. And it underscores that Mr. Sisi is a long way from crushing the jihadist threat inside Egypt. Authoritarian rule is no guarantee of success against jihadism, and Mr. Sisi is a particular target after he deposed the Muslim Brotherhood in 2013. The U.S. can help with intelligence, but Mr. Sisi has the challenge of defeating the terrorists while encouraging fewer jihadist recruits by opening Egyptian civil society and politics to more voices.
Meanwhile, a Pakistani court Wednesday released from house arrest Hafiz Saeed, the man accused of masterminding the 2008 Mumbai terror attack that killed 166 people. The State Department said the U.S. “is deeply concerned” and “the Pakistani government should make sure that he is arrested and charged for his crimes.” President Trump and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson have pressured Pakistan’s government for cooperation in the war on terror and in Afghanistan, and Saeed’s release is a test of U.S. influence.
The recent victory over Islamic State’s would-be caliphate in Syria and Iraq is welcome, but the jihadist threat continues to evolve and adapt around the world and won’t be defeated by a wall between Ciudad Juarez and El Paso.
Puerto Rico Grid Contractor
Resumes Work After Partial Payment
By Andrew Scurria
The company that was hired and then fired under a $300 million deal to rebuild Puerto Rico’s power grid has resumed repairs on a critical power artery after receiving partial payment on an $83 million bill backlog.
A Whitefish Energy Holdings LLC spokesman said the company went back to work Wednesday after Puerto Rico’s public power utility paid some of what was owed under the controversial contract, enough to show its “good faith intent to pay” for services rendered. Whitefish had suspended work on the island’s electrical grid on Monday over a payment backlog that the company blamed both on the power utility, known as Prepa, and on construction subcontractor Arc American Inc.
Whitefish and Arc American are now accusing each other of leveraging the unfinished job of turning Puerto Rico’s lights back on to extract as much money as possible under their agreements.
The work stoppage was a setback to power restoration efforts that have failed to bring service back for millions of Puerto Ricans more than two months after Hurricane Maria made landfall. Whitefish accused Prepa of failing to pay $83 million owed under their contract, including $39 million for the anticipated costs of demobilizing 500 subcontracted workers.
Whitefish said the backlog worsened because Arc American complained it wasn’t being paid and asked for money from Prepa directly. Prepa responded by cutting off all payments under the Whitefish deal until the situation was resolved.
Puerto Rico had nixed the contract with Whitefish last month after intense criticism on how it was awarded and priced. But Whitefish was scheduled to remain in Puerto Rico until Nov. 30 to continue repairs on an important south-to-north transmission line damaged by Maria.
Whitefish is now suing Arc American in a state court in Montana, where Whitefish is based, saying Arc American has no basis to jump the line and collect payments directly from Prepa. Even after the partial payment that allowed work to resume, Prepa is still “deliberately withholding” a “large sum of money” because of the subcontractor’s claims of nonpayment, the Whitefish spokesman said. Click here to Read More
Documents filed in the Montana case show that Arc American asked for an $8.7 million direct payment from Prepa last week. Whitefish said in its complaint that because it hadn’t been fully paid by Prepa, Arc American’s invoices “are not yet due and owing.”
Arc American said it never stopped working and denied snarling the contract payments. Whitefish asked for subcontractors including Arc American to walk off the job “seemingly in order to gain leverage” over Puerto Rico and squeeze the bankrupt government for payments in the final days of the contract, Arc American President Ben Wilson said in a statement.
“It’s ludicrous to think we would have the power, as Whitefish claims, to make Prepa stop the flow of moneys meant to pay other subcontractors,” Mr. Wilson said.
A judge in Montana has scheduled a Nov. 29 hearing to determine whether Arc American should withdraw its request, according to court records.
The rifts between Prepa, Whitefish and Arc American are further tarnishing a construction contract that turned into a political distraction for Puerto Rico Gov. Ricardo Rosselló. Prepa was widely criticized for tapping Whitefish, a startup firm that had two full-time employees when Maria hit, without a competitive bidding process. The controversy has galvanized Congress to scrutinize Puerto Rico’s management of federal disaster relief dollars and its safeguards against graft and corruption.
Lawmakers questioned why Prepa used private contractors instead of relying on mutual-aid agreements with larger U.S. utilities designed to repair storm damage without delivering a profit. Documents released by a House committee probing the deal showed how Prepa didn’t follow its attorneys’ advice and omitted terms from the Whitefish contract designed to control costs. The Federal Bureau of Investigation is also reviewing the deal.
Prepa has been slow to pay invoices, leading to delays that had subcontractors “extremely frustrated,” Whitefish said in a Sunday letter reviewed by The Wall Street Journal. Subcontractors from Florida-based utilities were in negotiations to stay in Puerto Rico into December under new deals with Prepa but didn’t receive the assurances they wanted, people familiar with the matter have said.
It’s unclear if Whitefish will be fully compensated under the contract and the dispute could spill into Prepa’s court-supervised bankruptcy proceedings. The federal board supervising Puerto Rico’s finances placed the utility under court protection in July to restructure $9 billion in debt.
Other utilities from the mainland U.S. have been sending resources to Puerto Rico, sometimes at their own expense, in anticipation of Whitefish’s departure. Together with contractors hired by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, there are now roughly 3,300 workers reconstructing the grid.
Gov. Rosselló has ordered two investigations into the Whitefish contract and created a new office to oversee contract awards. The Prepa executive director who signed the deal, Ricardo Ramos, testified to the U.S. Senate that he viewed Whitefish as a first responder. Mr Ramos resigned last week.
Gov. Rosselló has said he wants 95% of Prepa’s generation restored by mid-December. As of Thursday, Prepa was generating 51.4% of its capacity.
Whitefish has defended its work, saying it mobilized quickly when lives were on the line and charged rates that took into account the risk of doing business with a bankrupt utility. When terms of the deal came to light, Whitefish hired security protection for its workers as outraged island residents started throwing rocks and bottles at its crews.
John Legend on Fatherhood: ‘You Want People to have Justice’
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— Millennial Banking Concept develops new strategies for a new generation via their trademark process Human Equity Line of Credit™ strategy! —
Washington, DC — Having access to the education and tools needed to successfully manage finances and generate income, use to be reserved for the ‘select few’ who rarely shared their secrets. However, things have rapidly changed.Click here to Read More
This is due to the advancements that have come with technology in the internet revolution and the financial evolution. This movement changed society, social structure, and the way the African American millennial generation makes, spends and saves their money.
As Founder and CEO of Millennial Banking Concept, Steven LaBroi said, “It is an empowering and educational concept that addresses the challenges this new generation faces, (Money!) in our ever-evolving, technological age”. Stevens based his program, Human Equity Line of Credit™, on 100-year old traditional strategies, 50-year old money management strategies, 30 years of personal experience and education, along with alternative thought strategies designed for business owners, organizations, churches, families and individuals.
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With over 30 years of professional experience in different industry, Founder and CEO, Steven LaBroi is compelled to share his knowledge, in order to help others succeed. His experience in: manufacturing, telecommunications, healthcare, franchising and the film industry, allows him to offer tried and true, solid methods for financial success. Mr. LaBroi has educated his talent, earning him a BA in Finance and Banking, from prestigious, Morehouse College. He’s sharpened his skills and abilities, by serving as Managing Director and Chief Strategist of The LaBroi Insurance Group LLC, an independent financial strategy firm that specialized in empowering individuals, families and businesses, through education and consultation.
Millennial Banking Concept is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization that is dedicated to providing the educational tools and resources needed in order to develop firm money management skills. The Human Equity Line of Credit™ method has been developed in response to the increasing number of young African Americans concerns of build the strong money management skills necessary to generate positive savings, and an effective retirement plan. The goal at MBC, has always been to prepare the next generation for the task ahead; to build wealth for the future, and to qualify the millennial generation, to achieve their visions and goals. For more details, visit www.millennialbankingconcept.org
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Entertainment & Lifestyle
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'Jumanji' draws new players into the game
on December 9, 2017 at 3:07 pm
Grading on the "Baywatch"-deflated scale of 2017 The Rock reboot roles, "Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle" turns out to be surprisingly fun, infusing the premise […]
CNN corrects story on email to Trumps about Wikileaks
on December 9, 2017 at 3:18 am
Why 'Coco' is so much more than your average box office hit
on December 9, 2017 at 12:54 am
A little boy wielding a special guitar has made beautiful music at the box office since "Coco" debuted in theaters last month. […]
Dylan Farrow: Why does Woody Allen get a pass?
on December 8, 2017 at 10:36 pm
Dylan Farrow, the adopted daughter of Mia Farrow and Woody Allen, is asking why the director has not suffered the same fate as other powerful men in Hollywood […]
Long reduced discuss the sexual predation of males, in Hollywood, politics, company, the news market, expert sports and life in basic has...
Twenty seasons ago not a single Premier League jersey brought the name of a betting business now 9 do. We trace the patterns...
When Linkin Park frontman Chester Bennington took his own life on July 20, the world was ravaged. The awful loss was a shock...
Spanish prime minister safeguards violent reaction to survey, as raids on tally stations by riot cops leave numerous Catalans hurt ...
Aaron Rodgers, perhaps the NFLs finest gamer, might miss out on the remainder of the season after he broke his collarbone on Sunday...
First Black Astronaut Honored on 50th Anniversary of Death
CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. (AP) — America’s first Black astronaut, Air Force Maj. Robert Lawrence Jr., finally got full honors Friday on the 50th […]
Armstrong Williams, Eying Purchase of Washington City Paper
What do Strom Thurmond, Ben Carson, President Donald Trump, and Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas have in common? Aside from being some of the […]
Trump Hails Civil Rights Heroes; Protesters Pan his Record
JACKSON, Miss. (AP) — President Donald Trump paid tribute Saturday to the leaders and foot soldiers of the civil rights movement whose sacrifices help […]
After HBCU Equity Lawsuit Decision, HBCUs Plan Path Forward
Representatives of Maryland’s historically Black college and universities recently met with alumni plaintiffs in a decade-old lawsuit challenging […]
Randallstown Native Liris Crosse Wins Model Competition of Project Runway’s Season 16
As a young West Indian girl growing up in Baltimore County’s Randallstown community, Liris Crosse knew her calling. Music and pop culture influenced her […]
Six Months After Collins Killing, Univ. of Md. Announces Hate-Bias Protocol
The University of Maryland on Nov. 27 announced revisions to its procedures for reporting of hate-bias incidents on campus. “A clear and transparent […]
Anita Hill Says Thomas, Weinstein Part of Arc Toward Justice
BEVERLY HILLS, Calif. (AP) — Anita Hill told a room full of entertainment industry professionals that her 1991 testimony about Clarence Thomas and the […]
Boycotts, Protests to Greet Trump on Mississippi Visit
WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. (AP) — President Donald Trump’s celebration of the heroes of the civil rights movement is set to go on without at least one […]
Bannon Praises ‘Economic Nationalism’ as Saving Grace for Black Businesses—Not Everyone Agreed
(Updated 12/8/2017) Championing a call for “economic nationalism,” as a means of restoring Black and Hispanic access to capital, former White House […]
Columbus is among the year's absolute best movies-- and, in all probability, one you have not yet seen. Premiering in August to vital...
In its very first century as a business, BMW has actually made commercial engines, bikes, Steve Urkel’ s Isetta ,...
Media playback is unsupported on your gadget Media caption UK set for long pay capture,...
Business Insider just recently reported that various households have grown disappointed with the education their kids are getting at ...
Cayey, Puerto Rico (CNN)People on this part of the island knew Quintn Vidal Roln for two things: his white cowboy hat, which he seemed...