Top 5 Live-WURD Friday October 23
1. Near-broke Phila. schools must borrow to make payroll
Close to broke, the Philadelphia School District will soon have to borrow money to make payroll through the end of the year.
The School Reform Commission will soon meet to authorize temporary borrowing that will allow the district to function until a state budget stalemate is resolved.
Superintendent William Hite said that if there was no Pennsylvania budget by the end of the calendar year, he could not keep schools open even with the temporary borrowing.
But for now, with 130,000-plus students and 16,000 employees, “it’s important that we keep schools open for children to attend,” the superintendent said.
In 2012, the SRC floated long-term bonds to bridge a massive budget deficit – essentially using a credit card to pay its expenses. Officials said then that the district was close to its credit limit and could not finance another such borrowing.
Chief operating officer Fran Burns said fees associated with the new short-term financing will cost up to $2 million.
On a tight budget, no dollar is spent without money coming out of another line item.
2. Fireworks erupt between Clinton, Republicans at Benghazi hearing
A marathon congressional hearing saw Democrats and Republicans feuding over the role of a special investigative panel while Hillary Clinton came under intense fire for her handling of the Benghazi tragedy.
The Democratic presidential front-runner — who seemed collected and in command as the meeting stretched well into its sixth hour, with more to come — mounted a passionate defense of her response to the violence, telling the Republicans arrayed against her that she had agonized over the deaths of four Americans in Libya than anyone else on the panel.
“I would imagine I have thought more about what happened than all of you put together,” she said. “I have lost more sleep than all of you put together. I have been wracking my brain about what more could have been done or should have been done.”
But she came under repeated criticism from Republicans who didn’t accept her explanations as they tried to prove she ignored pleas from U.S. diplomats in Libya for better security and played the dominant role in the U.S. intervention in Libya, which was an initial success but left a chaotic failed state behind.
3. Kane releases pornographic emails
Attorney General Kathleen Kane on Thursday publicly released 49 emails, including some that contain photos of naked women, and all were extracted from a personal account of state Supreme Court Justice J. Michael Eakin.
The disclosure of the emails, photos and videos came on the same day that the suspension of Kane’s law license, ordered by the same Supreme Court, took effect.
Kane made the material public in a bid to document her contention that the state Judicial Conduct Board wrongly cleared one of Pennsylvania’s top jurists of wrongdoing after an investigation, at her urging, of Eakin’s emails in 2014.
Kane said early last month that Eakin had sent or received “racial, misongynistic pornogaphy” in emails
4. Family: Corey Jones didn’t shoot before being killed by plainclothes police officer
How was Corey Jones supposed to know that the man who drove up to him on a dark Florida highway in an unmarked white van with tinted windows; who walked out in a t-shirt, jeans and a baseball cap; who never showed a badge; and who ultimately shot him dead was a police officer?
Jones’ family posed many questions in a meeting with State Attorney
Dave Aronberg on Thursday, four days after the deadly shooting. But making sense of how the plainclothes Palm Beach Gardens officer interacted with the late 31-year-old drummer, and what Jones could have done about it, topped the list.
“He doesn’t know if he’s about to be mugged, he’s about to be robbed, he’s about to be killed,” family lawyer Benjamin Crump said of Jones after the meeting with the Florida prosecutor. “Imagine yourselves on the side of the road at 3 in the morning, abandoned, the sense of concern you would have (while) waiting for a tow truck and an unmarked van rolls up.”
5. Obama defends Black Lives Matter
President Barack Obama said Thursday that the Black Lives Matter movement had given voice to the anger over policing and incarceration that has long been a fact of life in the black community.
“The African-American community is not just making this up…It’s real and there’s a history behind it,” the president said. “I think the reason that the organizers use the phrase ‘Black Lives Matter’ was not because they were suggesting nobody else’s lives matter. Rather, they were suggesting that there is a specific problem that is happening in the African-American community that is not happening in other communities.”
Obama went on to say, “As a young man, there have been times where I was driving and I got stopped and I didn’t know why.”
At the same time, the president urged the public not to blame law enforcement for the country’s high incarceration rate — which disproportionately affects black communities — by explaining that the “problem of racial justice or injustice in society has been a running theme in this country’s history for a very long time.”
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Solomon Jones is an Essence bestselling author and award-winning columnist. He is the creator and editor of Solomonjones.com and morning host on 900 am WURD radio. Click here to learn more about Solomon