.
August 9th, 2012
05:00 PM ET

Olympics Day 13: Women boxers make history

By Laura Smith-Spark, CNN

London (CNN) - History was made in the boxing ring Thursday, as Great Britain's Nicola Adams became the first woman ever to win a full Olympic gold and Team USA's Claressa Shields followed with the middleweight title.

"I think I will wear (the gold medal) every day for the first year," Shields said.

Adams' triumph in the flyweight final over China's Ren Cancan was greeted by ear-splitting screams of delight by the home crowd.

"It sounds really good, it's like a dream come true," Adams said. "I've wanted this all my life and it's finally come true. I'd really like to thank all the supporters here and elsewhere. I'm so happy and overwhelmed with joy right now."

Shortly after, Ireland's Katie Taylor came out on top in the first Olympic women's lightweight final, making a spirited comeback in the last round to beat Russia's Sofya Ochigava by 10 points to 8.

Taylor fell to her knees in joy and relief as the victory was announced, giving her country its first gold medal of the Games, before doing a lap of honor around the ring draped in the Irish flag.

Photos: The youngest female boxer

Shields' 19-12 victory against Russia's Nadezda Torlopova is a remarkable achievement for the 17-year-old from Flint, Michigan - and makes her the first American woman to take an Olympic boxing gold.

Flyweight Marlen Esparza, from Texas, took a bronze.

Read the full post 

Posted by
Filed under: History • How we look • Sports • Women
Welfare spending cut in half since reform
August 9th, 2012
03:00 PM ET

Welfare spending cut in half since reform

By Tami Luhby @CNNMoney

NEW YORK (CNNMoney) - Today's welfare program is nothing like what it used to be.

In the 16 years since President Clinton and Congress overhauled the nation's welfare system, the number of people receiving cash assistance has fallen by two-thirds. And public spending on the program has dropped by more than half.

Conservative lawmakers and policy analysts have celebrated the reform, saying it has helped put people on the road to self-sufficiency rather than government dependence.

But advocates for low-income people contend that Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), which is what welfare turned into in 1996, does not adequately support the poor, particularly in tough economic times.

The cash assistance portion of TANF has fallen to $9.6 billion in 2011, down from $20.4 billion in what were mostly cash benefits in 1996, according to an analysis by CLASP, a low-income advocacy group. The average number of people receiving payments per month is 4.6 million, down from 12.6 million.

"Very few poor families are served," said Liz Schott, a senior fellow at the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities. "It's really not a very broad program right now."

Read the full post

Posted by
Filed under: Economy • How we live • Poverty
Embed America: Wide open spaces but reservation residents don't feel free
Calvin "Hawkeye" Waln says raising allegations of abuses against his reservation's police department cost him his job.
August 9th, 2012
12:35 PM ET

Embed America: Wide open spaces but reservation residents don't feel free

By Lisa Desjardins and Emma Lacey-Bordeaux, CNN

Listen: Native Americans confront police brutality on reservation

Rosebud, South Dakota (CNN) – They are watchwords of both parties: freedom and liberty.

But when Embed America went to South Dakota we found a place where many say that both are threatened and the problem is ignored. The Rosebud Sioux Reservation includes one of the poorest counties in the nation, but residents talked with us more about their concerns that the tribal police force is part of a broken justice system.

We spoke with Calvin “Hawkeye” Waln, a recently fired police officer who made some serious charges.

[3:14] “You're talking violations of civil rights, excessive use of force is one. You’re talking spraying handcuffed suspects with pepper spray to physical police brutality where the officers end up injuring or breaking bones from assaulting somebody.”

Waln says his reporting these problems led to his ouster. The police department would not comment on why he was fired.

This comes after years of upheaval in the Rosebud police force. Two chiefs of police were fired in the past four years amidst corruption allegations, then the second chief was reinstated in the past few weeks.

Read the full story on CNN's Soundwaves blog

Wisconsin gunman's Army base had white supremacists
Wisconsin shooter Wade Michael Page had ties to white supremacist groups.
August 9th, 2012
08:00 AM ET

Wisconsin gunman's Army base had white supremacists

By Tom Cohen, CNN

(CNN) - When Wisconsin temple gunman Wade Michael Page arrived at Fort Bragg in 1995, the sprawling Army base in North Carolina already was home to a small number of white supremacists including three soldiers later convicted in the murder of an African-American couple.

The killings launched a military investigation that tightened regulations against extremist activity, but some say such influences persist in today's armed forces.

"Outside every major military installation, you will have at least two or three active neo-Nazi organizations actively trying to recruit on-duty personnel," said T.J. Leyden, a former white power skinhead in the U.S. Marines who now conducts anti-extremism training.

'Swimming upstream,' white supremacist groups still strong

Page died in a shootout with police responding to his attack Sunday on a Sikh temple in the Milwaukee suburb of Oak Hill that killed six people and wounded four, including a police officer.

He had ties to white supremacist groups and the FBI acknowledges it knew of him, though no formal investigation ever took place.

According to Pete Simi, a University of Nebraska criminologist who knew Page, the military experience at Fort Bragg helped instill Page's allegiance to the white power movement.

Read the full post

Posted by
Filed under: History • How we live • Race • Veterans • Where we live