Tag: News

Update. Gladys Knight Defends Super Bowl Performance

Animated GIF

Update. Ms. Knight defends her decision…

Gladys Knight tells Variety

“I understand that Mr. Kaepernick is protesting two things, and they are police violence and injustice. It is unfortunate that our National Anthem has been dragged into this debate when the distinctive senses of the National Anthem and fighting for justice should each stand alone.”

“I am here today and on Sunday, February 3rd to give the Anthem back its voice, to stand for that historic choice of words, the way it unites us when we hear it and to free it from the same prejudices and struggles I have fought long and hard for all my life, from walking back hallways, from marching with our social leaders, from using my voice for good — I have been in the forefront of this battle longer than most of those voicing their opinions to win the right to sing our country’s Anthem on a stage as large as the Super Bowl LIII.”

R&B legend Gladys Knight will sing the national anthem at this year’s Superbowl LIII scheduled for Feb. 3 at Mercedes-Benz stadium in Atlanta.

“I am proud to use my voice to unite and represent our country in my hometown of Atlanta,” Knight said in a statement. “The NFL recently announced their new social justice platform Inspire Change, and I am honored to be a part of its inaugural year.”

Knight got started in music with her group, Gladys Knight and the Pips, which signed with Motown in 1966. They were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1996 and the Apollo Legends Hall of Fame in 2006.

Her Superbowl performance will be televised live on CBS-TV prior to kickoff, according to NFL.com.

She joins a long list of A-list performers who have sung the national anthem at the Super Bowl, including fellow Motown legends Aretha Franklin and Diana Ross.


Cardi B Blasts Donald Trump Over Government Shutdown: ‘Our country is in a hellhole right now’

Animated GIF

Cardi B has some words about the state of the government shutdown.

On the heels of Trump ordering thousands of government workers to return to their jobs Tuesday, despite the fact that they still won’t get paid, Cardi B aired her grievances on Instagram.

““Now, I don’t want to hear you motherfuckers talkin’ about, ‘Oh, but Obama shut down the government for 17 days. … Yeah bitch, for health care,” Cardi B exclaimed. “So, your grandmother can check her blood pressure and you b—-es can go check out your p—ies at the gynecologist with no motherfuckin’ problem.”

Cardi continued, “I know that not a lot of y’all don’t care because y’all don’t work for the government or y’all probably don’t have a job, but this shit is really fuckin’ serious, bro. This shit is crazy,” she continued. “Our country is in a hell hole right now all for a fuckin’ wall. Everybody needs to take this seriously. I feel like we need to take some action. I don’t know what type of action, b—h, because dis not what I do, but bitch, I’m scared. This is crazy and I feel bad for these people that got to go to fucking work to not get motherfucking paid.”

The government shutdown, officially longest in U.S. history is now on its 26th day. Among furloughed federal employees ordered back to work without pay are those who inspect planes, issue tax refunds, monitor food safety and facilitate the sale of offshore oil drilling rights.

IRS will issue tax refunds during shutdown, White House says

Animated GIF

The White House on Monday announced that it will reverse previous policy and direct the Internal Revenue Service to pay tax refunds this season during the partial government shutdown, which has gone on for more than two weeks.

According to reports, Russell Vought, the acting director of the White House Office of Management and Budget, told reporters during a briefing on Monday that the Trump administration has “been trying to make this as painless as possible” within the law. The White House did not provide specifics, but said further guidance on tax refunds would be forthcoming.

“Tax refunds will go out. They will not be non-accepted activities. That’s something that we will be sending out guidance on that we’re fixing from past administrations,” Vought said.

In the briefing with reporters, Vice President Mike Pence also said that President Donald Trump directed OMB to lessen the impact of the shutdown on everyday Americans.

Trump has been in an acrimonious standoff with Congress over funding his long-promised border wall, which prompted the shutdown. Roughly 800,000 federal employees have been furloughed or are working without pay. Democrats, who now control the House, passed legislation last week to end the shutdown. However, congressional leaders are still haggling with the administration to re-open the government and address the president’s demand for billions in border security.

In a contingency plan from December, the IRS noted that 12.5 percent of its staff is expected to continue working through a shutdown.

Taxpayers typically file for refunds at the beginning of the year, but during a shutdown, the IRS is typically restricted from dispersing tax refunds without congressional approval.

In 2018, the IRS began its filing season on Jan. 29. By Feb. 2, it had received roughly 18.3 million returns and processed 6.1 million refunds, with an average refund of $2,035. By Nov. 23, 2018, the IRS received about 154.4 million returns and issued an average refund of $2,899.

Cyntoia Brown Is Granted Clemency After Serving 15 Years In Prison

Image result for Tennessee Prison For Women

Cyntoia Denise Brown, a woman serving a life sentence for killing a man who bought her for sex when she was 16 years old, has been granted clemency, the Tennessee governor’s office said Monday.

According to CNN reports, Brown will be released to parole supervision on August 7 after serving 15 years in prison, Gov. Bill Haslam’s office said in a statement.
“This decision comes after careful consideration of what is a tragic and complex case,” Haslam said.
“Cyntoia Brown committed, by her own admission, a horrific crime at the age of 16. Yet, imposing a life sentence on a juvenile that would require her to serve at least 51 years before even being eligible for parole consideration is too harsh, especially in light of the extraordinary steps Ms. Brown has taken to rebuild her life. Transformation should be accompanied by hope.”
Brown’s case drew the attention of several high-profile advocates including a US congressman, several Tennessee lawmakers and a number of A-List celebrities. Comedian Amy Schumer, reality star Kim Kardashian West and actress Ashley Judd were among those who called for Brown’s clemency.

Hundreds of TSA screeners, working without pay, calling out sick at major airports

Image result for TSA screeners

Hundreds of Transportation Security Administration officers, who are required to work without paychecks through the partial government shutdown, have called out from work this week from at least four major airports, according to two senior agency officials and three TSA employee union officials.

According to reports, “This will definitely affect the flying public who we (are) sworn to protect,” Hydrick Thomas, president of the national TSA employee union, told CNN.
TSA spokesman Michael Bilello said the agency is “closely monitoring the situation” and that “screening wait times remain well within TSA standards,” although that could change if the number of call outs increases.
At New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport, as many as 170 TSA employees have called out each day this week, Thomas tells CNN. Officers from a morning shift were required to work extra hours to cover the gaps.
Call outs have increased by 200%-300% at Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport, where typically 25 to 30 TSA employees call out from an average shift according to a local TSA official familiar with the situation.
Union officials stress that the absences are not part of an organized action, but believe the number of people calling out will likely increase.

Government shutdown: Tax refunds could be delayed under IRS plan

Image result for irs gif

Americans may find themselves missing an agency they usually love to hate if the government shutdown persists: the Internal Revenue Service.

According to reports, A protracted fight between Donald Trump and Democratic congressional leaders to fund the government could delay payouts of tax refunds to millions of Americans who are owed money.The country’s tax collector is among the federal agencies affected by the government shutdown, now in its second week.

As a partial government shutdown approaches its two-week point, concerns are growing that a heavily impacted Internal Revenue Service will delay issuing taxpayers’ refunds.

The agency has categorized issuing tax refunds as a “non-excepted” activity — meaning those tasked with processing refunds would be furloughed during a shutdown. Meanwhile, several types of tax return processing were deemed “Necessary for the Safety of Human Life or Protection of Government Property.” 

That’s according to a December shutdown plan that lays out the first five business days of the agency’s response during a shutdown occurring outside of tax season. While the document notes the plan can be reassessed and furloughed employees can be recalled, The Wall Street Journal reported Wednesday and CNN reported Thursday that the IRS generally does not issue refunds during a shutdown.

The IRS plan says that only 12.5 percent of the IRS workforce is authorized to work during a shutdown, while the rest of the agency faces furloughs

Read more Here and Here.