It's been a big week for advocates of gay marriage: legislation in its favor passed both New Jersey's Assembly and Maryland's Senate. However, this isn't the first time Maryland lawmakers have debated this issue. Last year a similar bill died after being passed by the state senate. The bill's failure was largely attributable to black representatives who were hesitant to back an issue so strongly opposed by the state's black clergy. Governor Martin O'Malley has voiced his support, and now so has Reverend Delman Coates, pastor of a 6,000 strong black church.
The ripple effect of the 2008 subprime mortgage crisis and a chronically sluggish economy have changed the face of poverty in America. Sections of the population who never previously utilized the "safety net" have experienced long periods of under, or unemployment and struggled to get by. According to recent Census data, 47 million Americans now live below the poverty line. In 55 cities across the country, the new urban poor have responded by living in tent cities.
On Sunday, the Arab League called for the U.N. Security Council to create a joint peacekeeping force for Syria and urged all Arab states to sever diplomatic ties with president Bashar al-Assad's regime. The U.N. human rights chief Navi Pillay told the General Assembly that the scale of abuses by the Syrian government indicate that crimes against humanity have taken place since March, and are continuing. In response, the U.S. is hoping to meet with international partners to discuss how to end the violence.
President Obama presented his 2013 budget to Congress on Monday that includes $1.5 trillion in new taxes over the next ten years for the wealthiest taxpayers, closing some corporate tax breaks, and allowing Bush-era tax cuts to expire. However, it's not all cuts: the budget outlines increased spending for infrastructure projects, job-training, and innovation. Overall, it aims to lower the deficit below $1 trillion.
An 80-minute movie called "The Third Jihad," produced by the Clarion Fund, asserts that a vast number of radical Islamic forces exist in the U.S. and are preparing a violent jihad against America. Last January, the NYPD revealed that this direct-to-DVD movie had been shown once during anti-terrorism officer training. But this week, following a freedom of information request, the Brennan Center for Justice revealed that the video may have been viewed by nearly 1,500 officers during training breaks as well.
Last night rescuers hunted for survivors from the Costa Concordia cruise ship in a race against time. Eleven people have died and more than 20 are said to be missing after the ship crashed into rocks off Italy's west coast on Friday. Costa Cruises blames the captain of the ship for the crash claiming that he changed course, veering too close to the nearby island of Giglio. The captain is presently being detained on suspicion of manslaughter, but denies any wrongdoing.
Mississippi's attorney general Jim Hood said Thursday that the state may have to issue a nationwide manhunt after four pardoned murderers left jail and "hit the road running." The four were among nearly 200 convicted criminals granted clemency by Governor Barbour before he left office earlier this week. Why Barbour did this, and the legality of his selections, has been hotly debated by both members of the public and by victims' families.
According to the U.S. Census figures from 2010, one in four African-Americans live in poverty. Less than one in five has a college degree. The question of how to help the community be upwardly mobile has been debated for decades, and it was on the mind of commentator Gene Marks when he wrote a recent commentary for Forbes called "If I Were a Poor Black Kid." "If I was a poor black kid I would get technical. I would learn software," Marks wrote. "I would learn how to write code. I would seek out courses in my high school that teaches these skills or figure out where to learn more online. I would study on my own. I would make sure my writing and communication skills stay polished." Gene Marks is neither black, nor poor, and some people wondered why he would be giving advice to those who are.
Since 2008, the Obama administration has deported over 1 million illegal immigrants, the highest number in six decades. However, this crackdown has not only affected illegal immigrants. A new investigation into the Secure Communities program finds that hundreds of American citizens have been detained because immigration officials thought they were illegal immigrants.
Prime Minister Vladimir Putin hopes to return to the president's office in Russia, but he never really gave up any of the power that went with the office. Putin rules Russia with an authoritarian hand and has never been shy about raising it against his enemies, or those he perceives as enemies. William F. Browder knows that perhaps better than anyone.
Across the United States, statutes of limitations with regard to sex crimes vary from state to state. The cases of former sports coaches Jerry Sandusky and Bernie Fine highlight how variations in the law can create very different outcomes. On Wednesday, prosecutors said that despite credible allegations of sexual misconduct with minors, charges against Fine could not be brought because the statute of limitations has expired. Meanwhile, Sandusky has posted bail after spending a night in jail.