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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graduation ceremony

By the time you read this article, millions of college students will have graduated and be looking for jobs, many will be going on to grad school and millions will suddenly be faced with paying off college loans or contemplating obtaining a loan for graduate studies.  Neither option is attractive.

Even if students are fortunate enough to have a job when they graduate, if they are laden with tens of thousands of dollars in debt, it will be very difficult to save money for their future, pay living expenses and costs associated with the job they accept, and make $300-$600 in monthly payments for college loans.   

For those moving on to grad school, unless they have a fellowship or some other kind of grant, they will have a tough decision to make when the loan officer at their school or the bank says, “No problem, here’s a $30,000 check to pay for your degree.”  I hate to think what it costs for an medical degree these days.

At more than $1 trillion, having surpassed credit card debt, college loan debt is an albatross around the necks of students, some of whom had no idea of what they were getting into and some who did know but refused to do anything about it until now, when it’s too late. 

With the job market the way it is and has been for Black people for decades, some graduates will have an overpriced college degree without a commensurate job prospect. They will be faced with the challenge of paying back their loans while looking for a job that does not exist.  Or, they will have to accept the prospect of joining the ranks of the “underemployed.” 

This is indeed a sad state of affairs for our best and brightest, the grandchildren of the baby boomers.  It is said that “millennials,” as they are called, are the first generation that will be worse off than their parents.  Most parents want their children to do better than they did, and most parents participate in that aspiration by putting a little money aside to help their children get off to a reasonable start in life.  However, in today’s economic climate, there is very little of that kind of help available from parents who are struggling just to pay the rent and keep the lights on.

What can we do? 

High on our agenda should be a demand made, to Congress and whoever is running for president, for student loan debt forgiveness.  A strong, independent bloc of voters must go to candidates in both parties and make this demand.  Keep in mind, however, as I have said before, a demand without power backing it up is just rhetoric.  I think we have heard enough and had enough of empty words by some of our leaders to know that it will take more than just asking for what we want.  We must be willing to withhold our votes in order to get what we want—and that goes for both parties.

The banks and other financial entities got their $780 billion bailout. Where is ours?  Why not bail the students out, and why not bail the homeowners out rather than merely “adjusting” their loans?  The bankers were given billions that they used to make even more money from the taxpayers (That be us, y’all) who paid their bills.  Contrary to what we were told, lending was curtailed rather than expanded, and hundreds of thousands of folks are still homeless because there was no real bailout program for them.

The so-called American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, as of January 1, 2014, had paid out $816.3 billion in tax benefits, grants, contracts, loans; and entitlements.  Who got that money?  In my neck of the woods, the folks who got the most were those who worked on the roads and expressways; of those contractors and workers, few if any were Black. 

Georgia recently embarked on a $1 billion-plus road improvement project, and even with 3.2 million Black folks in that state, the fourth highest in the nation, Black contractors and workers will not benefit as much as they should. Department of Transportation inclusion rules are based on Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE) Programs, in which White female businesses get a significant share of the contracts, and “front” companies rule the day. 

So with all of the barriers facing our 2015 graduates, and the bleak outlook for improvement of their lot, the least we could do is bail them out of their student loans.  Politicians said the banks were “too big to fail,” and I guess the bankers were “too big to jail.”  They caught a huge break from George W. Bush and Obama.  It’s time for a break for Black and poor people now.  Hey politicians, forgive student loans.

 

Jim Clingman, founder of the Greater Cincinnati African American Chamber of Commerce, is the nation’s most prolific writer on economic empowerment for Black people. He can be reached through his website, blackonomics.com. He is the author of "Black Dollars Matter: Teach Your Dollars How to Make More Sense", which is available through his website; professionalpublishinghouse.com and Amazon Kindle eBooks.

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