Thursday, May 31, 2012

Student loan debt soars to highest levels in 10 yearss

Student loan debt has tripled in the last decade without signs of slowing down.

Student loan debt hit $904 billion for the first quarter of 2012, up from $241 billion a decade ago, according to the Federal Reserve.

There is currently a bill introduced in Congress and an online petition for student loan debt to be forgiven.

For more on the story click here

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Long-time publishing company files Chapter 11 bankruptcy

Boston-based Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Co. sought bankruptcy protection Monday to eliminate more than $3 billion in debt.

The company listed $2.53 billion in assets and $3.53 billion in Chapter 11 documents filed at the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Manhattan.

Company general counsel William Bayers said that the global financial crisis over the past few years has negatively affected Houghton Mifflin's financial performance.

The filing comes at a time where printed books face stiff competition from e-books. Sales of paperback books fell 18 percent from 2010-2011, according to the  Association of American Publishers. Borders Group, Inc. recently filed for bankruptcy in February 2011.

Houghton Mifflin also owes it creditors R.R. Donnelly & Sons, Co. and William Lea, Inc. $20 million each in trade debt.

Court papers show the company plans to borrow up to $500 million from Citigroup to complete the bankruptcy process.

Moody's Investor Service downgraded the company's credit rating to Ca, the second-lowest rating and reserved for borrowers that "offer very poor financial security."

Houghton provides educational resources to 60 million students in 120 countries and print e-books for, Inc.

The partnership allows Amazon to cater to customers who do not purchase items from the site and provides Houghton with a revenue stream to combat the decline of sales at bookstores.

Houghton Mifflin's beginnings date back to 1832 and among its authors published are Ralph Waldo Emerson and Jonathan Safran Foer.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Coach Stan Van Gundy, GM Smith out as Magic clean house

The Orlando Magic fired head coach Stan Van Gundy and general manager Otis Smith per team's statement announced Monday afternoon.

Van Gundy was head coach of the Magic for five seasons, going 259-135 during the regular season. Orlando reached the playoffs in all five seasons of his tenure with a 31-28 mark including three Southeast Division titles, 2009 Eastern Conference Finals Championship and a 2009 NBA Finals appearance, losing to the eventual champion LA Lakers in six games.

The Magic were ousted by the Pacers in the first round after going 37-29 in the shortened 66-game season. All-star center Dwight Howard missed the end of the season due to back surgery.

The firing marks a bizzare end to the season. In April, Van Gundy himself said that Howard went to management and asked for him to be fired and would no longer play for the coach.

Howard has since denied that claim.

GM Smith leaves the Magic organization after six years. He was the architect behind the Magic's 2009 playoff run that garnered them the Eastern Conference Champions and an NBA Finals berth, the first since 1995.

Smith drew criticism after signing then-Magic Rashad Lewis to a six-year $118 million deal in 2008, which made Lewis one of the highest-paid forwards in the NBA.

Smith also dealt Rafer Alston, Courtney Lee, Tony Battie to New Jersey for Ryan Anderson and aging Vince Carter.

Carter never panned out with the Magic as they hoped and was shipped to Phoenix for Jason Richardson and Earl Clark and brought back fan-favorite Hedo Turkoglu after his brief stint with the Raptors.

Smith drew more flak for trading Lewis to the Washington Wizards for Gilbert Arenas, who was in the middle of an $111 million contract. The team used the amnesty clause in the new collective bargaining agreement to waive him and be financially cleared.

Van Gundy arrived to Orlando in 2007 after the team failed to get Florida's Billy Donovan. Donovan agreed to be Magic coach but had second thoughts and returned to college basketball. The Magic went to great lengths to woo Van Gundy, who was in line for the Sacramento coaching gig but called the Magic his first-choice.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Michael Eric Dyson calls out Black church on MSNBC's "The Ed Show"

President Obama stated in a Good Morning America interview last week that same-sex marriages should be allowed to be married. This personal opinion from the highest office in the land started a firestorm of backlash and controversy, especially from the Black church.

On Friday, Michael Eric Dyson (@MichaelEDyson) called out the Black church on this issue saying that they are "using God to cosign on their bigotry." I couldn't agree more. 

Below is the segment on The Ed Show.

It saddens me that the Black church would have the audacity to use the Bible to justify their homophobia against the LGBT community when they are the same people asking for offering from the people they reject on Sunday mornings.

Lest they forget that the slave masters in the South used the very same Bible to justify slavery. Well look at the pot calling the kettle black.

My pastor, Dr. Frederick D. Haynes III (@fhunscripted) spoke on the very same issue during his sermon yesterday. He said that President Obama's job is to uphold, honor, and defend the US Constitution, NOT the Bible. He is not a pastor but the president.

The Constitution is based solely on the Declaration of Independence which starts off with "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that ALL men are created equal." It didn't say that all straight men.

Many people missed the point that President Obama also said that it was up to the STATES to decide on the legality of same-sex marriages. You did know that marriage is a STATE issue?

What disturbs me in terms of the Black community is that they want to criticize and have a say in gay marriage when they are out here having multiple relationships with people at the same time, having pre-marital sex and having babies out of wedlock. Who died and made them God? If gay marriage has no direct impact on your life why should you care?

We are clearly worrying about the wrong thing and in this case, the wrong issue. Many Black Americans should be more concerned about the potential doubling of student loan debt rates and the lack of jobs instead of who is marrying who. Let's be real, we all have that one family member or friend that we rather not talk about because of their sexual orientation. 

We have NO right to decide what sins are ok and what are not. God said that no sin is higher than another.  In addition, Jesus said to love our neighbors as ourselves. Most of us may not like the idea of gay marriage but we must be able to tolerate our LGBT brothers and sisters and continue to support President Obama.

Student debt rising at alarming rate

Now that graduation season is  in full swing, many newly college graduates will now begin the transition from college life to the real world. However, there will be no parade, no confetti, no scores of fans cheering your name.

Instead, it will mark the never ending days of finding employment, considering post-grad options and steadily waiting for the first notice from good ole Sallie Mae.

The question I pose is, why is student debt increasing so rapidly instead of jobs for these newly college grads, including me? Why are potential employers not hiring college grads and instead hiring those age 50+ because they ASSUME they will work at the companies longer?

 Yes, I, too am a recent college graduate (Texas Southern University, Class of 2011), that is currently unemployed and saddled with debt. I honestly believe that employers don't want to take the time and money to develop someone who is at the entry-level and instead hire someone who has 10+ years of experience.

Despite my current situation, I firmly believe that God will do more exceedingly and abundantly than what we could ever ask or think.

Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban clearly agrees with what most of the pundits say on rising student loan debt. Here is his take.

I urge all college graduates to just remain patient, have faith in God and I assure you that He will come through for all of us.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Wednesday's Top News Stories: May 2, 2012

Four players suspended for role in bounty program

The NFL continued to lay down the hammer on the New Orleans Saints Wednesday with suspensions of four players involved in the bounty program, according to reports.

According to an ESPN report, defensive captain and linebacker Jonathan Vilma received the stiffest penalty in a season-long ban. Defensive end Jonathan Hargrove, now with the Green Bay Packers was suspended for eight games. Saints defensive end Will Smith was banned the first four games of the season; linebacker Scott Fujita, now with the Browns was suspended three games.

All four players plan to appeal suspensions and all suspensions are without pay.

The league said in a statement that the players were suspended due to "conduct detrimental to the NFL as a result of their leadership roles" with the bounties.

Earlier last month, Goodell upheld suspensions of Saints head coach Sean Payton, GM Mickey Loomis and assistant head coach Joe Vitt after their attempts of appeal.  Rams defensive coordinator Gregg Williams continues to be suspended indefinitely.

For the full story click here

Former NFL player Junior Seau dead at 43

Long-time San Diego Chargers linebacker Junior Seau was found dead at his home on Wednesday, police said. He was 43.

Oceanside Police Chief Frank McCoy said that Seau's girlfriend found him unconscious with a gunshot wound to the chest. McCoy later said that a gun was found near Seau and the incident is being investigated as a suicide.

Seau's mother weeped uncontrollably as she appeared before reporters.

He was an outstanding linebacker at the University of Southern California before leading the Chargers to a Super Bowl run in 1994.

Seau is the eighth member of the Super Bowl XXIX team, who lost to the 49ers, to die under the age of 50.

For the full story, click here

13 charged in drum major death

Authorities in Florida have brought charges against 13 people involved in the alleged hazing death of Florida A&M drum major Robert Champion, a prosecutor announced Wednesday.

State Attorney Lawson Lamar said at an Orlando press conference that Champion "died as a result of being beaten." The attorney for the family were disappointed that more severe charges were not filed.

11 individuals face one count of third-degree felony hazing resulting in death, according to officials. Each one is also accused of two counts of misdemeanor hazing.

Two people face one count of first-degree hazing.

For the full story, click here

Gingrich bows out of GOP presidential race

Former Speaker of the House and GOP presidential candidate Newt Gingrich officially suspended his campaign for president Wednesday in Virginia.

Gingrich thanked his supporters, continued to fight for his policy ideas and expressed supporter of GOP front-runner Mitt Romney.

It began to go downhill for Gingrich last week with news of campaign debt, compounded by consecutive losses in state primaries and falling poll numbers.

For the full story, click here