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Federal Reserve Attacks Inflation With Another Big Hike, Expects More

The central bank raised its key short-term rate by a substantial three-quarters of a point for the third consecutive time.

Intensifying its fight against high inflation, the Federal Reserve raised its key interest rate Wednesday by a substantial three-quarters of a point for a third straight time and signaled more large rate hikes to come — an aggressive pace that will heighten the risk of an eventual recession.

The Fed’s move boosted its benchmark short-term rate, which affects many consumer and business loans, to a range of 3% to 3.25%, the highest level since early 2008.

The officials also forecast that they will further raise their benchmark rate to roughly 4.4% by year’s end, a full percentage point higher than they had forecast as recently as June. And they expect to raise the rate further next year, to about 4.6%. That would be the highest level since 2007.

On Wall Street, stock prices fell and bond yields rose in response to the Fed’s projection of further steep rate hikes ahead.

The central bank’s action Wednesday followed a government report last week that showed high costs spreading more broadly through the economy, with price spikes for rents and other services worsening even though some previous drivers of inflation, such as gas prices, have eased. By raising borrowing rates, the Fed makes it costlier to take out a mortgage or an auto or business loan. Consumers and businesses then presumably borrow and spend less, cooling the economy and slowing inflation.

Fed officials have said they’re seeking a “soft landing,” by which they would manage to slow growth enough to tame inflation but not so much as to trigger a recession. Yet economists increasingly say they think the Fed’s steep rate hikes will lead, over time, to job cuts, rising unemployment and a full-blown recession late this year or early next year.

In their updated economic forecasts, the Fed’s policymakers project that economic growth will remain weak for the next few years, with rising unemployment. It expects the jobless rate to reach 4.4% by the end of 2023, up from its current level of 3.7%. Historically, economists say, any time the unemployment rate has risen by a half-point over several months, a recession has always followed.

Fed officials now see the economy expanding just 0.2% this year, sharply lower than its forecast of 1.7% growth just three months ago. And it expects sluggish growth below 2% from 2023 through 2025.

And even with the steep rate hikes the Fed foresees, it still expects core inflation — which excludes the volatile food and gas categories — to be 3.1% at the end of next year, well above its 2% target.

Chair Jerome Powell acknowledged in a speech last month that the Fed’s moves will “bring some pain” to households and businesses. And he added that the central bank’s commitment to bringing inflation back down to its 2% target was “unconditional.”

Falling gas prices have slightly lowered headline inflation, which was a still-painful 8.3% in August compared with a year earlier. Declining gas prices might have contributed to a recent rise in President Joe Biden’s public approval ratings, which Democrats hope will boost their prospects in the November midterm elections.

Short-term rates at a level the Fed is now envisioning would make a recession likelier next year by sharply raising the costs of mortgages, car loans and business loans. The economy hasn’t seen rates as high as the Fed is projecting since before the 2008 financial crisis. Last week, the average fixed mortgage rate topped 6%, its highest point in 14 years. Credit card borrowing costs have reached their highest level since 1996, according to

Inflation now appears increasingly fueled by higher wages and by consumers’ steady desire to spend and less by the supply shortages that had bedeviled the economy during the pandemic recession. On Sunday, though, President Biden said on CBS’ “60 Minutes” that he believed a soft landing for the economy was still possible, suggesting that his administration’s recent energy and health care legislation would lower prices for pharmaceuticals and health care.

Some economists are beginning to express concern that the Fed’s rapid rate hikes — the fastest since the early 1980s — will cause more economic damage than necessary to tame inflation. Mike Konczal, an economist at the Roosevelt Institute, noted that the economy is already slowing and that wage increases – a key driver of inflation — are levelling off and by some measures even declining a bit.

Surveys also show that Americans are expecting inflation to ease significantly over the next five years. That is an important trend because inflation expectations can become self-fulfilling: If people expect inflation to ease, some will feel less pressure to accelerate their purchases. Less spending would then help moderate price increases.

Konczal said there is a case to be made for the Fed to slow its rate hikes over the next two meetings.

“Given the cooling that’s coming,” he said, “you don’t want to rush into this.”

The Fed’s rapid rate hikes mirror steps that other major central banks are taking, contributing to concerns about a potential global recession. The European Central Bank last week raised its benchmark rate by three-quarters of a percentage point. The Bank of England, the Reserve Bank of Australia and the Bank of Canada have all carried out hefty rate increases in recent weeks.

And in China, the world’s second-largest economy, growth is already suffering from the government’s repeated COVID lockdowns. If recession sweeps through most large economies, that could derail the U.S. economy, too.

Even at the Fed’s accelerated pace of rate hikes, some economists — and some Fed officials — argue that they have yet to raise rates to a level that would actually restrict borrowing and spending and slow growth.

Many economists sound convinced that widespread layoffs will be necessary to slow rising prices. Research published earlier this month under the auspices of the Brookings Institution concluded that unemployment might have to go as high as 7.5% to get inflation back to the Fed’s 2% target.

Only a downturn that harsh would reduce wage growth and consumer spending enough to cool inflation, according to the research, by Johns Hopkins University economist Laurence Ball and two economists at the International Monetary Fund.

Additional reporting by The Associated Press.


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Biden: Russia ‘Shamelessly Violated’ U.N. Charter In Ukraine

President Biden also highlighted consequences of the invasion for the world’s food supply, pledging $2.9 billion in global food security aid.

President Joe Biden declared at the United Nations on Wednesday that Russia has “shamelessly violated the core tenets” of the international body with its war in Ukraine as he summoned nations around the globe to stand firm in backing the Ukrainian resistance.

Delivering a forceful condemnation of Russia’s seven-month invasion, President Biden said reports of Russian abuses against civilians in Ukraine “should make your blood run cold.” And he said President Vladimir Putin’s new nuclear threats against Europe showed “reckless disregard” for Russia’s responsibilities as a signer of the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons.

He criticized Russia for scheduling “sham referenda” this week in territory it has forcibly seized in Ukraine.

“A permanent member of the U..N Security Council invaded its neighbor, attempted to erase a sovereign state from the map. Russia has shamelessly violated the core tenets of the U.N. charter,” he told his U.N. audience.

President Biden called on all nations, whether democracies or autocracies, to speak out against Russia’s “brutal, needless war” and to bolster Ukraine’s effort to defend itself.

“We will stand in solidarity against Russia’s aggression, period,” President Biden said.

He also highlighted consequences of the invasion for the world’s food supply, pledging $2.9 billion in global food security aid to address shortages caused by the war and the effects of climate change. President Biden praised a U.N.-brokered effort to create a corridor for Ukrainian grain to be exported by sea, and called on the agreement to be continued despite the ongoing conflict.

The president, during his time at the U.N. General Assembly, also planned to meet Wednesday with new British Prime Minister Liz Truss and press allies to meet an $18 billion target to replenish the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria.

But the heart of the president’s visit to the U.N. this year was his full-throated censure of Russia as its war nears the seven-month mark. One of Russia’s deputy U.N. ambassadors, Gennady Kuzmin, was sitting in Russia’s seat during President Biden’s speech.

The address came as Russian-controlled regions of eastern and southern Ukraine have announced plans to hold Kremllin-backed referendums in days ahead on becoming part of Russia and as Moscow is losing ground in the invasion. Russian President Putin on Wednesday announced a partial mobilization to call up 300,000 reservists and accused the West of engaging in “nuclear blackmail.”

The White House said the global food security funding includes $2 billion in direct humanitarian assistance through the United States Agency for International Development. The balance of the money will go to global development projects meant to boost the efficiency and resilience of the global food supply.

“This new announcement of $2.9 billion will save lives through emergency interventions and invest in medium- to long-term food security assistance in order to protect the world’s most vulnerable populations from the escalating global food security crisis,” the White House said.

President Biden was confronting no shortage of difficult issues as leaders gather this year.

In addition to the Russian war in Ukraine, European fears that a recession could be just around the corner are heightened. Administration concerns grow by the day that time is running short to revive the Iran nuclear deal and over China’s saber-rattling on Taiwan.

When he addressed last year’s General Assembly, President Biden focused on broad themes of global partnership, urging world leaders to act with haste against the coronavirus, climate change and human rights abuses. And he offered assurances that his presidency marked a return of American leadership to international institutions following Donald Trump’s “America First” foreign policy.

But one year later, global dynamics have dramatically changed.

His Wednesday address comes on the heels of Ukrainian forces retaking control of large stretches of territory near Kharkiv. But even as Ukrainian forces have racked up battlefield wins, much of Europe is feeling painful blowback from economic sanctions levied against Russia. A vast reduction in Russian oil and gas has led to a sharp jump in energy prices, skyrocketing inflation and growing risk of Europe slipping into a recession.

President Biden’s visit to the U.N. also comes as his administration’s efforts to revive the 2015 Iran nuclear deal appears stalled.

The deal brokered by the Obama administration — and scrapped by Trump in 2018 — provided billions of dollars in sanctions relief in exchange for Iran’s agreement to dismantle much of its nuclear program and open its facilities to extensive international inspection.

“While the United States is prepared for a mutual return to the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, if Iran steps up to its obligations, the United States is clear: We will not allow Iran to acquire nuclear weapons,” President Biden said.

U.S. National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan said no breakthrough with Iran was expected during the General Assembly and that administration officials would be consulting with fellow signers of the 2015 agreement on the sidelines of this week’s meetings.

This year’s U.N. gathering is back to being a full-scale, in-person event after two years of curtailed activity due to the pandemic. In 2020, the in-person gathering was canceled and leaders instead delivered prerecorded speeches; last year was a mix of in-person and prerecorded speeches. Biden and first lady Jill Biden were set to host a leaders’ reception on Wednesday evening.

China’s President Xi Jinping opted not to attend this year’s U.N. gathering, but his country’s conduct and intentions will loom large.

Weeks after tensions flared across the Taiwan Strait as China objected to the high-profile visit to Taiwan of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, President Biden called for “peace and stability” and said the U.S. would “oppose unilateral changes in the status quo by either side.” That came days after President Biden repeated that the U.S. would militarily assist Taiwan if China sought to invade.

China’s government on Monday said President Biden’s statement in a CBS “60 Minutes” interview that American forces would defend the self-ruled island was a violation of U.S. commitments on the matter, but it gave no indication of possible retaliation.

President Biden on Wednesday also declared that “fundamental freedoms are at risk in every part of our world,” citing last month’s U.N. human rights office report raising concerns about possible “crimes against humanity” in China’s western region against Uyghurs and other largely Muslim ethnic groups.

He also singled out for criticism the military junta in Myanmar, the Taliban controlling Afghanistan, and Iran, where he said the U.S. supports protests in Iran that sprang up in recent days after a 22-year-old woman died while being held by the morality police for violating the country’s Islamic dress code.

“Today we stand with the brave citizens and the brave women of Iran, who right now are demonstrating to secure their basic rights,” President Biden said. “The United States will always promote human rights and the values enshrined in the U.N. Charter in our own country and around the world.”

Additional reporting by The Associated Press.


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Mass Grave Site With 440 Bodies Found in Izium, Ukraine Says

Credit…Antranik Tavitian/The Republic/USA Today Network

WASHINGTON — President Biden will meet with the families of Brittney Griner and Paul N. Whelan at the White House on Friday, making good on a longstanding request from the relatives of the two Americans being held prisoner in Russia.

But the president does not have good news to deliver about the prisoner exchange that the administration offered Russia this summer, Karine Jean-Pierre, the White House press secretary, said on Thursday.

“While I would love to say that the purpose of this meeting is to inform the families that the Russians have accepted our offer, and we are bringing their loved ones home, that is not what we’re seeing in these negotiations at this time,” Ms. Jean-Pierre said.

“The president wanted to make sure that their families understood that they were front of mind,” she added, “and that his team was working tirelessly every day to get Brittney and Paul home safely.”

Ms. Griner, a W.N.B.A. star and two-time Olympic gold medalist, was detained in Russia in February after the Russian authorities found vape cartridges with 0.7 grams of cannabis oil in her luggage when she arrived in the country to play basketball. She was convicted last month of trying to smuggle narcotics into Russia and sentenced to nine years in a penal colony. Mr. Whelan, a former Marine and corporate security executive, was arrested in 2018 and convicted in 2020 on spying charges and later sentenced to 16 years in prison.

The fates of both Americans have been complicated by the deteriorating diplomatic relationship between the United States and Russia over President Vladimir V. Putin’s invasion of Ukraine. Mr. Biden has condemned Mr. Putin’s actions in Ukraine, and the United States has joined with other nations to impose severe sanctions on the country.

Despite that, Mr. Biden’s administration offered this summer to free Viktor Bout, a Russian arms dealer sentenced to 25 years by a court in New York in 2012, in exchange for the release of Ms. Griner and Mr. Whelan.

Russian officials have confirmed that diplomatic discussions are taking place, but White House officials have been frustrated by the lack of a response to the offer.

“The Russians should accept the offer that’s at the table, and we will encourage them to do that,” Ms. Jean-Pierre said on Thursday.

In the meantime, the families of Ms. Griner and Mr. Whelan have been increasing public pressure on Mr. Biden to ensure that his administration does not let up.

Early in the summer, relatives of both prisoners expressed frustration that they had not heard directly from Mr. Biden. Cherelle Griner, Ms. Griner’s wife, said on CBS in early July that the administration was “not doing anything” and that she wanted to hear from Mr. Biden directly. Two days later, Mr. Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris spoke with Cherelle Griner.

That prompted Elizabeth Whelan, the sister of Mr. Whelan, to publicly question why she had not received a similar call. In a call soon after, Mr. Biden assured Ms. Whelan that the administration was working to free both of the prisoners.

Since then, there has been continued pressure for Mr. Biden to meet with the families face to face. Ms. Jean-Pierre said on Thursday that the meeting was scheduled for Friday because one of the family members was already going to be in the area and that the president wanted to meet with both families on the same day.

It is not clear whether the president will meet with the families together or separately.

The possibility of reaching a prisoner-exchange deal with Russia comes several months after the United States freed a convicted Russian drug smuggler in exchange for Trevor Reed, a former U.S. Marine who had been detained in a Russian prison for three years. White House officials said their Russian counterparts indicated at the time that another trade, for Mr. Bout, could be possible.

Mr. Bout is known as the “Merchant of Death” for his activities as an arms dealer. He is serving a 25-year federal prison sentence for selling arms to undercover U.S. agents, telling them he did not object to the use of the weapons to kill Americans.

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Bernard Shaw, CNN’s 1st Chief Anchor, Dies At 82

By Associated Press

and Newsy Staff
September 8, 2022

Shaw was a former U.S. Marine who worked as a reporter at CBS and ABC News before taking on the chief anchor role at CNN in 1980.

Bernard Shaw, CNN’s chief anchor for two decades and a pioneering Black broadcast journalist best remembered for calmly reporting the beginning of the Gulf War in 1991 as missiles flew around him in Baghdad, has died. He was 82.

He died of pneumonia on Wednesday at a hospital in Washington, according to Tom Johnson, CNN’s former chief executive.

Shaw was at CNN for 20 years and was known for remaining cool under pressure. That was a hallmark of his Baghdad coverage when the U.S. led its invasion of Iraq in 1991 to liberate Kuwait, with CNN airing stunning footage of airstrikes and anti-aircraft fire in the capital city.

“In all of the years of preparing to being anchor, one of the things I strove for was to be able to control my emotions in the midst of hell breaking out,” Shaw said in a 2014 interview with NPR. “And I personally feel that I passed my stringent test for that in Baghdad.”

Shaw was a former U.S. Marine who worked as a reporter at CBS and ABC News before taking on the chief anchor role at CNN when the network began in 1980.

He moderated a presidential debate in 1988 between George W. Bush and Michael Dukakis. His first question to the Democrat Dukakis, an opponent of the death penalty, was whether he would want that sentence applied to someone who raped and murdered the candidate’s wife.

His striking on-the-scene work in Baghdad, with correspondents Peter Arnett and John Holliman, was crucial in establishing CNN when it was the only cable news network and broadcast outlets at ABC, CBS and NBC dominated television news.

“He put CNN on the map,” said Frank Sesno, a former CNN Washington bureau chief and now a professor at George Washington University.

On Twitter, CNN’s John King paid tribute to Shaw’s “soft-spoken yet booming voice” and said he was a mentor and role model to many.

“Bernard Shaw exemplified excellence in his life,” Johnson said. “He will be remembered as a fierce advocate of responsible journalism.”

Johnson said Shaw always forcefully resisted any compromise of news coverage or lowering of ethical standards.

CNN’s current chief executive, Chris Licht, paid tribute to Shaw as a CNN original who made appearances on the network as recently as last year to provide commentary.

Shaw left the business at age 61. He told NPR that despite everything he did in journalism, because of all of the things he missed with his family while working, “I don’t think it was worth it.”

Additional reporting by The Associated Press.


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Pres. Biden To Deliver Speech On ‘Battle For The Soul Of The Nation’

The president is aiming to inspire voters with rhetoric from his 2020 campaign.

It’s one of President Joe Biden’s most often repeated lines from his 2020 presidential campaign: “We’re in a battle for the soul of this nation.”

Now, he’s bringing that message back in a speech Thursday evening as he launches into a midterm season where Democrats possibly face losing control of their majority in Congress. 

Liz Suhay is an associate professor of government at American University, where she studies political psychology.

“I actually think that many Americans do believe that the soul of the nation is at stake, but they have very different ideas about what’s going wrong, who’s to blame and how you fix it,” she said. “I think what Biden is trying to do, electorally, is try to energize the coalition that led Democrats to victory in the 2018 and 2020 elections. And so that coalition is going to be made up, of course, of Democrats, of many independents who are not fans of Donald Trump, and a small slice of Republicans who are also anti-Trump.”

The Biden administration says the address will highlight what President Biden considers threats to America’s core values, with his spokeswoman telling reporters that “our rights and freedoms are under attack.”

Recently, President Biden has also begun referring to Trump-ism as “semi-facism,” a label that Darren Davis, a professor of political science at the University of Notre Dame, says is also directly targeted to appeal to the coalition that got President Biden elected. 

“I think it really helps more than it hurts. People in the middle help understand what is at stake,” he said. “It helps articulate the consequences. It helps frame these issues. But also, you know, it allows Biden to talk tough at the same time.”

But despite recent Democratic wins in Washington — like passage of the Inflation Reduction Act, hailed as the largest investment ever to prevent climate change — President Biden still faces just 44% approval in August.  

And he also faces dismal rankings on the economy, with 60% disapproval on his handling of the economy and 65% percent disapproval on his handling of inflation, according to the latest CBS News poll.  

But will the president’s rhetoric inspire the voters who turned out for him in 2020?  

“When things aren’t particularly great or positive for the incumbent president in the midterms, he has to turn to something. And I think he’s turning to what actually worked in 2020,” Davis said.


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Why Are Layoffs On The Rise?

Companies are beginning to lay off employees, and are in a hiring freeze amid inflation and an upcoming recession.

Two words have dominated the news cycle in 2022.  

Both have major impacts on your wallet; inflation and recession. 

“Fed chair Jay Powell has made it clear that he wants to substantially curb the rate of inflation. But there are some concerns that the fed could overreact and end up tipping the economy into a recession,” said PBS. 

Recessions are significant because they can limit pay raises, start hiring freezes and increase the possibility of layoffs. 

Companies are already reacting to the uncertainty of the economy.   

“There’s been an uptick in tech company layoffs in recent months. And hiring has slowed amid economic downturn predictions,” said CBS.  

Several major companies are downsizing by laying off hundreds – even thousands of employees.  

Walmart, the largest private employer in the country, laid off about 200 corporate workers. 

Netflix has already cut 450 jobs.  

JP Morgan Chase, the largest bank in the U.S., has let go of 1,000 employees, and online car dealer Carvana has let go of 2,500 employees.   

Career Karma, Go-Puff, 7-Eleven, Victoria’s Secret, Re-Max, Tesla, and Rivian are some of the other companies that have already submitted pink slips to many of their workers. 

“In a rising interest rate environment, a lot of these businesses are going to make less money and therefore there’s going to be less of a bonus pool to spread around,” said CNBC. 

Some company executives are saying the layoffs are in preparation for an impending recession. 

In June, Coinbase CEO Brian Armstrong sent a memo to his staff announcing the reduction of the team by 18% to “stay healthy during this economic downturn.”  

Some economists blame the layoffs on the slowing of business growth while labor costs increase.  

For the auto industry, shortages of semiconductor chips and skyrocketing car prices have left automakers like Ford rethinking their approach. 

Bloomberg reports Ford is preparing to cut as many as 8,000 jobs as it shifts investments toward electric vehicles.  

For other companies, the layoffs stemmed from the opportunity to boom during the pandemic.  

Peloton, which started its layoffs in February, has had to backpedal after its quick success, when gyms were closed in 2020. 

The company has eliminated about 3,000 jobs since, according to NPR. 

In Silicon Valley, some tech companies hired intensely during the pandemic and are now unable to meet venture capitalists’ financial expectations.  

According to an analysis by Crunchbase, as of July nearly 420 startups have gone through layoffs, with thousands of U.S. tech workers impacted.  

“Software development job postings have been in decline, but that being said, they remain much higher than their pre-pandemic base line,” said AnnElizabeth Konkel, an economist with Indeed Hiring Lab.

Some economists are more pessimistic and warn these layoffs are just the beginning.  

Steve Sarracino is the founder and partner at Activant Capital.

“They’re going to be shocking, and we’ve seen Meta and Facebook freeze hiring, the same with Uber and this will be in the millions of people in the next 12 to 24 months. This is just beginning,” Sarracino said.  

Others say employers may not go as far as layoffs with a job market that remains strong, and unemployment at historic lows.  

528,000 jobs were added in July, according to the Labor Department, while the unemployment rate stayed at 3.5%.  

“We are going from a very strong labor market, to a strong one. A good analogy is just kind of turning the temperature down. Where it’s 100 degrees and you’re maybe shifting to 93 degrees. It’s still hot. It’s still a strong labor market,” Koncal said. 

While economic uncertainty grows, so do employees’ concerns over job security. 

A survey from staffing firm Insight Global showed almost 80% of U.S. workers are scared about their job security if a recession hits.  

It’s a conundrum with complicated indicators that have economists, employees and employers wondering what will happen next. 


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R. Kelly Accuser To Give Key Testimony On Trial-Fixing Charge

A woman, who was 14 when R. Kelly was said to have produced a video of them having sex, will testify in his latest trial.

R. Kelly’s federal trial in Chicago that starts Monday is in many ways a do-over of his 2008 state child pornography trial, at which jurors acquitted the singer on charges that he produced a video of himself when he was around 30 having sex with a girl no older than 14.

There’s one big difference: This time, prosecutors say, she will testify.

Kelly goes into Chicago federal court already sentenced by a New York federal judge to 30-year prison term for a 2021 conviction on charges he parlayed his fame to sexually abuse other young fans.

Among the most serious charges the Grammy Award winner faces at his federal trial is conspiracy to obstruct justice by rigging the 2008 trial, including by paying off and threatening the girl to ensure she did not testify.

Testimony by the woman, now in her 30s and referred to in filings only as “Minor 1,” will be pivotal. The charges against Kelly also include four counts of the enticement of minors for sex — one count each for four other accusers. All are also slated to testify.

Even just one or two convictions in Chicago could add decades to Kelly’s New York sentence, which he is appealing. With the New York sentence alone, Kelly will be around 80 before qualifying for early release.

Prosecutors at the federal trial plan to play the same VHS tape that was “Exhibit No. 1″ at the 2008 trial. While it was the only video in evidence 14 years ago, at least three other videos will be entered into evidence at the federal trial.

Prosecutors say Kelly shot the video of Minor 1 in a log cabin-themed room at his North Side Chicago home between 1998 and 2000 when she was as young as 13. In it, the girl is heard calling the man “daddy.” Federal prosecutors say that she and Kelly had sex hundreds of times over the years in his homes, recording studios and tour buses.

Before the 2008 trial, Kelly carried a duffle bag full of sex tapes everywhere he went for years, but some tapes later went missing, according to court filings. In the 2000s, bootleg copies of some videos appeared on street corners across the U.S.

Kelly, who rose from poverty on Chicago’s South Side to become a star singer, songwriter and producer, knew a conviction in 2008 would effectively end his life as he knew it.

On June 13, 2008, Kelly shut his eyes tight and bowed his head as jurors returned from deliberations. As a court official read the jury’s decision and it became clear Kelly would be acquitted on all counts, tears streamed down his cheeks and he said over and over, “Thank you, Jesus.”

Two Kelly associates, Derrel McDavid and Milton Brown, are co-defendants in Chicago. McDavid is accused of helping Kelly fix the 2008 trial, while Brown is charged with receiving child pornography. Like Kelly, they have also denied any wrongdoing.

Double jeopardy rules bar the prosecution of someone for the same crimes they were acquitted of earlier. But that shouldn’t apply to the Chicago federal trial because prosecutors are alleging different crimes related to Minor 1, including obstruction of justice for fixing the 2008 trial.

Minor 1 first met Kelly in the late 1990s when she was in junior high school. She had tagged along to Kelly’s Chicago recording studio with her aunt, a professional singer working with Kelly’s music. Soon after that meeting, Minor 1 told her parents Kelly was going to be her godfather.

In the early 2000s, the aunt showed the parents a copy of a video she said depicted their daughter having sex with Kelly. When they confronted Kelly, he told them, “You’re with me or against me,” a government filing says.

The parents took it as a threat.

“Minor 1’s mother did not want to go up against Kelly’s power, money, and influence by not following what he said,” the filing adds.

Kelly told the parents and Minor 1 they had to leave Chicago, paying for them to travel to the Bahamas and Cancun, Mexico. When they returned, prosecutors say Kelly sought to isolate Minor 1, moving her around to different hotels.

When called before a state grand jury looking into the video, Minor 1, her father and mother denied it was her in it. Prosecutors say an attorney for Kelly sat in on their testimony and reported back to Kelly what they said.

Prosecutors from the Cook County state’s attorney’s office chose to push ahead with charges and to take the case to trial in 2008 despite what they knew was a major hurdle: their inability to call the girl in the video to testify.

Any confidence Kelly may have had of beating similar charges a second time were likely dashed when he learned Minor 1 was now cooperating the government. With more resources, federal prosecutors also boast conviction rates of more than 90% compared to around 65% for their state counterparts.

In 2008, his lawyers argued the man in the VHS video who appeared very much to be Kelly was not Kelly. They showed jurors that Kelly has a large mole on his back, then played excerpts of the video in which no mole was visible on the man.

One of Kelly’s attorneys, Sam Adam Jr., told jurors during closings that no mole on the man’s back meant one thing: “It ain’t him. And if it ain’t him, you can’t convict.”

Some 2008 jurors told reporters after the trial that they weren’t convinced the female in the video was who state prosecutors said she was.

That shouldn’t be an issue at the Chicago federal trial. Prosecutors say both the girl and her parents will testify.

What defense Kelly’s legal team will present this time isn’t clear.

The defense is likely to say Kelly’s accusers are misrepresenting the facts. Kelly was more blunt in a 2019 interview with Gayle King of “CBS This Morning,” saying about the women: “All of them are lying.”

Additional reporting by The Associated Press.


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Vin Scully, ‘Voice Of The Dodgers,’ Dies At 94

The Hall of Fame broadcaster was the announcer for Major League Baseball’s Brooklyn and Los Angeles Dodgers for 67 years.

Hall of Fame broadcaster Vin Scully, whose dulcet tones provided the soundtrack of summer while entertaining and informing Dodgers fans in Brooklyn and Los Angeles for 67 years, died Tuesday night. He was 94.

Jae C. Hong / AP

Scully died at his home in the Hidden Hills neighborhood of Los Angeles, according to the team after being informed by family members. No cause of death was provided.

“He was the best there ever was,” pitcher Clayton Kershaw said after the Dodgers game in San Francisco. “Just such a special man. I’m grateful and thankful I got to know him as well as I did.”

As the longest tenured broadcaster with a single team in pro sports history, Scully saw it all and called it all. He began in the 1950s era of Pee Wee Reese and Jackie Robinson, on to the 1960s with Don Drysdale and Sandy Koufax, into the 1970s with Steve Garvey and Don Sutton, and through the 1980s with Orel Hershiser and Fernando Valenzuela. In the 1990s, it was Mike Piazza and Hideo Nomo, followed by Kershaw, Manny Ramirez and Yasiel Puig in the 21st century.

“You gave me my Wild Horse name. You gave me love. You hugged me like a father,” tweeted Puig, the talented Cuban-born outfielder who burned brightly upon his Dodgers debut in 2013. “I will never forget you, my heart is broken.”

The Dodgers changed players, managers, executives, owners — and even coasts — but Scully and his soothing, insightful style remained a constant for the fans.

He opened broadcasts with the familiar greeting, “Hi, everybody, and a very pleasant good evening to you wherever you may be.”

Ever gracious both in person and on the air, Scully considered himself merely a conduit between the game and the fans.

“There’s not a better storyteller and I think everyone considers him family,” Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said. “He was in our living rooms for many generations. He lived a fantastic life, a legacy that will live on forever.”

Although he was paid by the Dodgers, Scully was unafraid to criticize a bad play or a manager’s decision, or praise an opponent while spinning stories against a backdrop of routine plays and noteworthy achievements. He always said he wanted to see things with his eyes, not his heart.

“We have lost an icon,” team president and CEO Stan Kasten said. “His voice will always be heard and etched in all of our minds forever.”

Vincent Edward Scully was born Nov. 29, 1927, in the Bronx. He was the son of a silk salesman who died of pneumonia when Scully was 7. His mother moved the family to Brooklyn, where the red-haired, blue-eyed Scully grew up playing stickball in the streets.

As a child, Scully would grab a pillow, put it under the family’s four-legged radio and lay his head directly under the speaker to hear whatever college football game was on the air. With a snack of saltine crackers and a glass of milk nearby, the boy was transfixed by the crowd’s roar that raised goosebumps. He thought he’d like to call the action himself.

Scully, who played outfield for two years on the Fordham University baseball team, began his career by working baseball, football and basketball games for the university’s radio station.

At age 22, he was hired by a CBS radio affiliate in Washington, D.C.

He soon joined Hall of Famer Red Barber and Connie Desmond in the Brooklyn Dodgers’ radio and television booths. In 1953, at age 25, Scully became the youngest person to broadcast a World Series game, a mark that still stands.

He moved west with the Dodgers in 1958. Scully called three perfect games — Don Larsen in the 1956 World Series, Sandy Koufax in 1965 and Dennis Martinez in 1991 — and 18 no-hitters.

He also was on the air when Don Drysdale set his scoreless innings streak of 58 2/3 innings in 1968 and again when Hershiser broke the record with 59 consecutive scoreless innings 20 years later.

When Hank Aaron hit his 715th home run to break Babe Ruth’s record in 1974, it was against the Dodgers and, of course, Scully called it.

“A Black man is getting a standing ovation in the Deep South for breaking a record of an all-time baseball idol,” Scully told listeners. “What a marvelous moment for baseball.”

Scully credited the birth of the transistor radio as “the greatest single break” of his career. Fans had trouble recognizing the lesser players during the Dodgers’ first four years in the vast Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum.

“They were 70 or so odd rows away from the action,” he said in 2016. “They brought the radio to find out about all the other players and to see what they were trying to see down on the field.”

That habit carried over when the team moved to Dodger Stadium in 1962. Fans held radios to their ears, and those not present listened from home or the car, allowing Scully to connect generations of families with his words.

He often said it was best to describe a big play quickly and then be quiet so fans could listen to the pandemonium. After Koufax’s perfect game in 1965, Scully went silent for 38 seconds before talking again. He was similarly silent for a time after Kirk Gibson’s pinch-hit home run to win Game 1 of the 1988 World Series.

He was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1982, received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame that year, and also had the stadium’s press box named for him in 2001. The street leading to Dodger Stadium’s main gate was named in his honor in 2016.

That same year he received the Presidential Medal of Freedom from President Barack Obama.

“God has been so good to me to allow me to do what I’m doing,” Scully, a devout Catholic who attended mass on Sundays before heading to the ballpark, said before retiring. “A childhood dream that came to pass and then giving me 67 years to enjoy every minute of it. That’s a pretty large thanksgiving day for me.”

In addition to being the voice of the Dodgers, Scully called play-by-play for NFL games and PGA Tour events as well as calling 25 World Series and 12 All-Star Games. He was NBC’s lead baseball announcer from 1983-89.

While being one of the most widely heard broadcasters in the nation, Scully was an intensely private man. Once the baseball season ended, he would disappear. He rarely did personal appearances or sports talk shows. He preferred spending time with his family.

In 1972, his first wife, Joan, died of an accidental overdose of medicine. He was left with three young children. Two years later, he met the woman who would become his second wife, Sandra, a secretary for the NFL’s Los Angeles Rams. She had two young children from a previous marriage, and they combined their families into what Scully once called “my own Brady Bunch.”

He said he realized time was the most precious thing in the world and that he wanted to use his time to spend with his loved ones. In the early 1960s, Scully quit smoking with the help of his family. In the shirt pocket where he kept a pack of cigarettes, Scully stuck a family photo. Whenever he felt like he needed a smoke, he pulled out the photo to remind him why he quit. Eight months later, Scully never smoked again.

After retiring in 2016, Scully made just a handful of appearances at Dodger Stadium and his sweet voice was heard narrating an occasional video played during games. Mostly, he was content to stay close to home.

“I just want to be remembered as a good man, an honest man, and one who lived up to his own beliefs,” he said in 2016.

In 2020, Scully auctioned off years of his personal memorabilia, which raised over $2 million. A portion of it was donated to UCLA for ALS research.

He was preceded in death by his second wife, Sandra. She died of complications of ALS at age 76 in 2021. The couple, who were married 47 years, had daughter Catherine together.

Scully’s other children are Kelly, Erin, Todd and Kevin. A son, Michael, died in a helicopter crash in 1994.

Additional reporting by The Associated Press.


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Democrats On Verge Of Passing Significant Climate Measures

By Maura Sirianni
July 31, 2022

The expansive $739 billion package dubbed the “Inflation Reduction Act,” includes $369 billion in spending to begin tackling climate change.

A raging wildfire along the California-Oregon state line is forcing evacuations, as scorching hot temperatures, and vicious winds, continue to stoke the flames of the fast-moving McKinney fire.

And across the country, in Montana, the Elmo wildfire has exploded to more than 11 square miles, as the National Weather Service warns temperatures in the area could spike to near 100 degrees in the coming days.

And in Kentucky, at least 26 people have died in devastating flooding.

“Make sure you are in a safe place. I don’t want to lose one more person,” warned Gov. Andy Beshear.

These extreme weather events – possibly linked in part to climate change – continue to plague communities across the U.S., as Democrats in the senate reached a deal to pass the “Inflation Reduction Act.”

A bill that would invest $369 billion in climate solutions and environmental justice.

Senate Democrats say the climate portion of the bill would reduce carbon emissions by around 40% by the year 2030 and put nearly $370 billion toward energy and climate change initiatives, including tax credits for people buying electric cars.

West Virginia Democratic Senator Joe Manchin almost killed the legislation off, but on Sunday he talked about the revised version that was agreed to last week.

“Now to have a piece of legislation—we have energy, and we have investments for new energy and basically, that’s our responsibility. You can walk and chew gum—we have a balanced approach. These are solutions Americans want,” said Sen. Manchin

Manchin told CBS’ “Face the Nation” that the energy and climate deal he’s now supporting will tackle inflation, while the majority of republicans fear the bill would add to inflation, which is currently running at a 40-year-high.

Senator Bill Cassidy also said Sunday on ABC, manufacturers would bear the brunt of the corporate minimum tax.

“Manufacturers can choose to set up in the United States or choose to move to Asia. I think what we’re doing is inducing them to move to Asia,” said Sen. Cassidy.

And when it comes to getting the new legislation passed, that hinges on a ‘yes’ vote from Democratic Senator Kyrsten Sinema—who has yet to commit, avoiding questions late last week – Manchin said Sunday he doesn’t know if Sinema would vote for the bill, adding that “she should.”

“I do think it will get the 10 Republicans we need to move forward,” said Sen. Tammy Baldwin.

However, Republicans are expected to widely oppose the bill, but Democrats can still pass it through “reconciliation,” which requires only a simple majority vote.

The legislation is expected to be voted on this week.


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