05 24 2016
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  • On Tuesday, a judge ordered the 78-year-old Cosby to stand trial on sexual assault charges 
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  • The judge concluded Officer Edward Nero played little role in the arrest and wasn't responsible for the failure by police to buckle Gray in  
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  • Bill Cosby faces a preliminary hearing Tuesday to determine if his criminal sex-assault case in suburban Philadelphia goes to trial.Prosecutors had declined to charge the comedian-actor over the 2005 complaint, but arrested him in December after his explosive deposition in the woman's lawsuit became public. In the testimony given in that deposition, Cosby is grilled about giving drugs and alcohol to women before sex; making secret payments to ex-lovers; and hosting Andrea Constand at his home. They knew each other through Temple University, where he was a trustee and she managed the women's basketball team. Bill Cosby's wife refused to answer dozens of questions during a combative deposition in a defamation lawsuit filed by seven women who say the comedian branded them liars after they accused him of sexually assaulting them, according to a transcript released Friday. Camille Cosby was subjected to intense questioning by the women's lawyer, who repeatedly pressed her to say whether she believes her husband "acted with a lack of integrity" during their 52-year marriage. The lawyer also asked if her husband used his position and power "to manipulate young women." Camille Cosby didn't answer those questions and many others after her lawyer cited marital privilege, the legal protection given to communications between spouses. She repeatedly said she had "no opinion" when pressed on whether she viewed her husband's behavior as dishonest and a violation of their marriage vows. About 50 women have publicly accused Bill Cosby of forcing unwanted sexual contact on them decades ago. Cosby has denied the allegations. He faces a criminal case in Pennsylvania, where prosecutors have charged him with sexually violating a former Temple University employee, Andrea Constand. He has pleaded not guilty. Camille Cosby answered questions in the deposition Feb. 22 and again April 19 after her lawyers argued unsuccessfully to stop it. A judge ruled she would have to give a deposition but said she could refuse to answer questions about private communications between her and her husband. Camille Cosby's lawyer, Monique Pressley, repeatedly cited that privilege and advised her not to answer many questions asked by the women's lawyer, Joseph Cammarata. The exchanges between Cammarata and Cosby became testy at times, and she admonished him: "Don't lecture me. Just keep going with the questions." Using a transcript of a deposition Bill Cosby gave in a civil lawsuit filed by Constand in 2005 and a transcript of an interview she gave to Oprah Winfrey in 2000, Cammarata asked Camille Cosby about extramarital affairs her husband had. "Were you aware of your husband setting up trusts for the benefit of women that he had a sexual relationship with?" Cammarata asked. She didn't answer after her lawyer cited marital privilege. Cammarata asked her about Shawn Thompson, a woman who said Bill Cosby fathered her daughter, Autumn Jackson, in the 1970s. Jackson was convicted in 1997 of attempting to extort money from Bill Cosby to prevent her from telling a tabloid she's his daughter. He acknowledged he had an affair with her mother and had given her money. "Was it a big deal when this came up in the 1970s that your husband had — big deal to you that your husband had an extramarital affair and potentially had a daughter from that extramarital affair?" Cammarata asked. "It was a big deal then, yes," Camille Cosby replied. She said she had "no opinion" on whether her husband's admission he obtained quaaludes to give to women with whom he wanted to have sex violated their marriage vows. Her lawyer objected and instructed her not to answer when Cammarata asked her if she ever suspected she had been given any type of drug to alter her state of consciousness when she had sex with her husband. A spokesman for the Cosbys declined to comment on her deposition. The Cosbys have a home in Shelburne Falls, an hour's drive from Springfield, where the lawsuit, seeking unspecified damages, was filed. An attorney handling a separate lawsuit against Bill Cosby revealed Friday that Playboy magazine founder Hugh Hefner provided sworn testimony Wednesday. In the sexual battery lawsuit filed in Los Angeles, Judy Huth says Cosby forced her to perform a sex act on him at the Playboy Mansion around 1974, when she was 15. Bill Cosby's former lawyers have accused Huth of attempting to extort him before filing the case and have tried unsuccessfully to have it dismissed. Huth's attorney, Gloria Allred, said Hefner's testimony will remain under seal for now. Hefner also was named as a defendant in a case filed Monday by former model Chloe Goins, who accuses Bill Cosby of drugging and sexually abusing her at the Playboy Mansion in 2008.   The Associated Press generally doesn't identify people who say they're victims of sexual abuse, but the women accusing Cosby have come forward to tell their stories.___AP Entertainment Writer Anthony McCartney contributed to this report from Los Angeles.
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While poverty remains at historically high levels, the percentage of people in the United States – especially children – who lack health insurance is declining, according to new data released by the Census Bureau.

"The big changes are in health insurance," said David S. Johnson, the chief of the Social, Economic, and Housing Statistics Division of the Census Bureau, in a teleconference last week presenting the agency's most recent findings on poverty and health insurance. He said that the drop in the number of people who are uninsured is the "most significant change" from 2011 to 2012.

Johnson attributed the change to an increase in coverage by public health insurance programs, including both Medicaid and Medicare. Nearly one in three people in the United States now relies on government programs for coverage. The rate has increased every year for the past six years.

The poverty rate remains 15 percent nationally, or over 46 million people – the same number as in 2011, and up from 37 million in 2007 (the year before the recession began). For children, the rate is higher, at 21.8 percent. African American and Latino children fare the worst, with poverty rates of 37.9 and 33.8 percent, respectively.

People living in poverty are defined as those whose household income is below the federal poverty level; in 2012, the FPL was just over $23,000 a year for a family of four.

"The child poverty rate in our country is still so painfully high. One in five children is living in poverty," says Dinah Wiley, a senior research fellow at the Georgetown University Health Policy Institute's Center for Children and Families. "The good news is that more children have health insurance in 2012 than in 2011."

The rate of children who are uninsured fell from 9.4 percent in 2011 to 8.9 percent in 2012, which represents about 400,000 children gaining insurance.

For children living in poverty, the rate of those who are uninsured is 12.9 percent, as opposed to 7.7 percent for those living above the poverty level.

The percentage of the general population that lacks health insurance dropped for the second consecutive year, from 15.7 percent to 15.4 percent, or from 48.6 million people to 48 million people.

Wiley says "it's a shame" that many of the remaining uninsured children nationwide are actually eligible for public programs like Medicaid and the Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP).

A study released last week, conducted by the Urban Institute for the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, found that as of 2011, 4 million children were eligible for public health insurance programs but not enrolled.

While that number represents a decline from nearly 5 million, which occurred between 2008 and 2011, over a third of the remaining 4 million who are eligible but not enrolled live in just three states – California, Texas, and Florida.

Wiley says that states with high numbers of uninsured children need to "put out the welcome mat" in terms of their public health insurance programs, and that "outreach and simplification of the enrollment process" are the main strategies for doing so.

Additionally, she says that one of the most important measures states can take to increase the rate of children and families who are insured is to accept the federal dollars being offered to expand Medicaid as part of the Affordable Care Act. Texas and Florida have both rejected Medicaid expansion.

Kelly Hardy, Director of Health Policy at Children Now in California, attributes the decrease in the rate of uninsured children to greater efforts within the context of the Affordable Care Act to enroll and retain children in coverage.

Hardy points out that in California, when the transition of children out of the Healthy Families Program (California's CHIP, which is being eliminated) and into the Medi-Cal program is complete at the end of this year, nearly one in two children in the state will be enrolled in Medi-Cal.

She agrees with Wiley that there's more work to be done in closing the coverage gap for kids. She notes, as Wiley does, that children are more likely to be insured if their parents are insured, and is optimistic because more adults will be required to enroll in coverage under the Affordable Care Act.

"I'm hopeful that as we reach October 1 [the start of open enrollment] and January 1 [when coverage under the ACA begins], there will be even more positive buzz around health care and that more parents will be enrolled, which means more children will be enrolled," she says.

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