Monday, October 12, 2009

Michael Jackson: THIS IS IT World Premiere Song

Michael Jackson 'This Is It' Official Movie Trailer

'2012' Trailer HD

Exclusive scene clip Tv Spot for '2012' in Theaters November 13, 2009
An epic adventure about a global cataclysm that brings an end to the world and tells of the heroic struggle of the survivors.

Weapons Failed US During Afghan Fight

Weapons failed US troops during Afghan firefight

By Richard Lardner, Associated Press Writer

WASHINGTON – It was chaos during the early morning assault last year on a remote U.S. outpost in Afghanistan and Staff Sgt. Erich Phillips’ M4 carbine had quit firing as militant forces surrounded the base. The machine gun he grabbed after tossing the rifle aside didn’t work either.

When the battle in the small village of Wanat ended, nine U.S. soldiers lay dead and 27 more were wounded. A detailed study of the attack by a military historian found that weapons failed repeatedly at a "critical moment" during the firefight on July 13, 2008, putting the outnumbered American troops at risk of being overrun by nearly 200 insurgents.
Which raises the question: Eight years into the war against the Taliban in Afghanistan, do U.S. armed forces have the best guns money can buy?

Despite the military’s insistence that they do, a small but vocal number of troops in Afghanistan and Iraq has complained that the standard-issue M4 rifles need too much maintenance and jam at the worst possible times…

Army Col. Wayne Shanks, a military spokesman in Afghanistan, said a review of the battle at Kamdesh is under way. "It is too early to make any assumptions regarding what did or didn’t work correctly," he said.

Complaints about the weapons the troops carry, especially the M4, aren’t new. Army officials say that when properly cleaned and maintained, the M4 is a quality weapon that can pump out more than 3,000 rounds before any failures occur.

The M4 is a shorter, lighter version of the M16, which made its debut during the Vietnam war. Roughly 500,000 M4s are in service, making it the rifle troops on the front lines trust with their lives…

Battlefield surveys show that nearly 90 percent of soldiers are satisfied with their M4s, according to Brig. Gen. Peter Fuller, head of the Army office that buys soldier gear. Still, the rifle is continually being improved to make it even more reliable and lethal.

Fuller said he’s received no official reports of flawed weapons performance at Wanat. "Until it showed up in the news, I was surprised to hear about all this," he said.

The study by Douglas Cubbison of the Army Combat Studies Institute at Fort Leavenworth, Kan., hasn’t been publicly released. Copies of the study have been leaked to news organizations and are circulating on the Internet…

One wonders why the Associated Press thought it was timely to bring up a battle from more than a year ago.

Especially after CNN has recently reported that the lesson to be learned from Wanat was that we should not have military outposts.

Even though in the same article they quote Sgt. Mace, who rightly surmises that the problem was:

"He talked about the village next to the base, that it had 300 Taliban, and they couldn’t do anything about it because they were in mosques hiding or with other civilians," says his father, Larry Mace. "They knew they were there and they couldn’t do anything about it and they killed them."

This was also the problem at Wanat, according to the US Army (via Wikipedia):

An investigation by the US Army, completed on August 13 and released to the public the first week of November 2008, found that the Taliban attackers had been assisted by the local Afghan police forces and a district leader. The evidence included large stocks of weapons and ammunition discovered in the police barracks in Wanat after the battle. The stocks were much more than could be used by the villages’ 20-man police force and included dirty weapons which appeared to have been used recently…

The investigation also examined whether the Army had intelligence about a possible assault and whether the troops had access to it. The report found that despite reports earlier in July that 200 to 300 militants had been massing to attack another remote outpost in the vicinity, including numerous reports from local villagers that an attack was imminent, the commanders at Wanat had no reason to expect such a large frontal assault.

The report, however, criticized the “incredible amount of time” — 10 months — it took NATO military leaders to negotiate arrangements over the site of the outpost, giving the Taliban plenty of time to coordinate and plan an attack on the base…

Also according to Wikipedia, the ‘US Army historian’ Mr. Cubbison has written earlier reports that did not cite the M4 as the culprit, but rather faulty decisions by senior commanders:

In July 2009, US Senator James Webb asked the US DoD Inspector General to formally examine the battle and the US Army’s investigation into the event. In his request, Webb cited an unreleased report from the army’s Combat Studies Institute by a US Army historian, Douglas Cubbison, that was sharply critical of the way senior Army leaders in Afghanistan, especially Ostlund and Preyser, acted prior to the assault at Wanat. According to that report, soldiers at the Wanat base were critically short of basic necessities such as water and sandbags and had complained repeatedly, to no avail, that their base was in a precarious position. Cubbison had written the report at the request of Lieutenant General William B. Caldwell IV, commander of the United States Army Combined Arms Center.

According to Cubbison, a few days before the battle, on July 4, a US Army helicopter mistakenly attacked and killed 17 local Afghan civilians, including all of the Afghan doctors and nurses at a local clinic, infuriating local Afghans throughout the area. In response, platoon commander Brostrom and company commander Matthew Myer notified senior commanders that they were worried that a retaliatory attack was imminent and that extra surveillence was necessary. Rather than bolstering security around Wanat, however, US Army leaders at Bagram air base ordered the withdrawal of all intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance assets from the area. Brostrom’s father, retired Army Colonel David. P. Brostrom, alerted Webb’s office to the Army historian’s report. Said Brostrom, "After I read the report, I was sick to my stomach." …

Seeing that the despicable James Webb has cited Mr. Cubbison, we wonder about his objectivity.

But the Associated Press isn’t going to pass up any opportunity to throw doubts upon the Afghan mission.

India tests medium range missiles

India has successfully tested two short-range ballistic missiles capable of carrying nuclear warheads, defence officials say.

The Prithvi-II missiles were launched from Chandipur in the eastern state of Orissa into the Bay of Bengal at 1028 and 1033 local time.

The 9m (29-ft) surface-to-surface Prithvi missile has a range of up to 350 km, defence officials said.

The missile has already been inducted by the armed forces, they said.

The two missiles have been designed to operate with both liquid and solid fuels, and are capable of carrying both conventional and nuclear warheads, officials say.

India and Pakistan routinely carry out missile tests, and normally inform each other of them in advance.

Tensions between the two nuclear powers has increased in recent months, in the wake of last November’s attacks in Mumbai.

Why Are We Occupying Afghanistan Again?

Dr. William Brydon, the only British survivor of the 1842 defeat of an entire British army between Kabul & Jalalabad

Although the phrase has been reworked and endlessly repeated-- primarily by high school history teachers-- I believe it was George Santayana who first said "Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it" (in the first volume of The Life of Reason). Today, though, I have nothing to say about Alexander the Great, the Czarist Russians, The British, the Great Game or the Soviets and their misadventures in Central Asia. Let's keep this little history lesson all post-9/11.

Eric Margolis is best known as "an expert" on the Middle East, primarily in Canada, where he's a contributing editor for the Toronto Sun and a go-to journalist for all things Asia and all things Islam. Here in the states we know him as someone who CNN and Fox use frequently. He made his bones embedded with the mujahadeen when they were fighting the Soviets in Afghanistan before most Americans knew what embedded journalists were. Margolis is a conservative, though decidedly not a neo-conservative.

Yesterday he endeavored to teach his Canadian readers a little history about the current conflict in Afghanistan without once mentioning Alexander and Roxanna, the Simla Manifesto, or even Leonid Brezhnev or Mikhail Gorbachev. He starts with a version of another much-quoted aphorism, California Senator Hiram Johnson's 1918 statement that "The first casualty when war comes is truth," although some insist he got it from either Aeschylus or Sun Tzu. Margolis's point is that the current tragedy in Afghanistan is based on an utterly false premise, that "we've got to fight terrorists over there so we don't have to fight them at home." Few know better than him, through years of on-the-ground, gritty first hand experience how utterly untue this is. Americans, though they oppose escalating the war and though they tend to be unfocused and confused about Afghanistan, also tend to think the World Trade towers attacks were planned out either by the Taliban or by al-Qaeda in Afghanistan with the connivance of the Taliban. "False," says Margolis.

The 9/11 attacks were planned in Germany and Spain, and conducted mainly by U.S.-based Saudis to punish America for supporting Israel.

Taliban, a militant religious, anti-Communist movement of Pashtun tribesmen, was totally surprised by 9/11. Taliban received U.S. aid until May, 2001. The CIA was planning to use Osama bin Laden's al-Qaida to stir up Muslim Uighurs against Chinese rule, and Taliban against Russia's Central Asian allies.

Al-Qaida only numbered 300 members. Most have been killed. A handful escaped to Pakistan. Only a few remain in Afghanistan. Yet President Barack Obama insists 68,000 or more U.S. troops must stay in Afghanistan to fight al-Qaida and prevent extremists from re-acquiring "terrorist training camps."

This claim, like Saddam Hussein's non-existent weapons of mass destruction, is a handy slogan to market war to the public... Taliban are the sons of the U.S.-backed mujahidin who defeated the Soviets in the 1980s. As I have been saying since 9/11, Taliban never was America's enemy. Instead of invading Afghanistan in 2001, the U.S. should have paid Taliban to uproot al-Qaida.

The Pashtun tribes want to end foreign occupation and drive out the Afghan Communists, who now dominate the U.S.-installed Kabul regime. But the U.S. has blundered into a full-scale war not just with Taliban, but with most of Afghanistan's fierce Pashtun tribes, who comprise over half the population.

Obama is wrestling with widening the war. After eight years of military operations costing $236 billion US, the U.S. commander in Afghanistan just warned of the threat of "failure," a.k.a. defeat. Canada has so far wasted $16 billion Cdn. on the war. Western occupation forces will be doomed if the Afghan resistance ever gets modern anti-aircraft and anti-tank missiles.

The U.S. is sinking ever deeper into the South Asian morass. Washington is trying to arm-twist Pakistan into being more obedient and widening the war against its own independent-minded Pashtun tribes-- wrongly called "Taliban."

Washington's incredibly ham-handed efforts to use $7.5 billion US to bribe Pakistan's feeble, corrupt government and army, take control of military promotions, and get a grip on Pakistan's nuclear arsenal, have Pakistan's soldiers on the verge of revolt.

Obama has been under intense pressure from flag-waving Republicans, much of the media, and the hawkish national security establishment to expand the war. Israel's supporters, including many Congressional Democrats, want to see the U.S. seize Pakistan's nuclear arms and expand the Afghan
war into Iran.

Obama should admit Taliban is not and never was a threat to the West; that the wildly exaggerated al-Qaida has been mostly eradicated; and that the U.S.-led war in Afghanistan is causing more damage to U.S. interests in the Muslim world-- now 25% of all humanity-- than Bin Laden and his few rag-tag allies. The bombing in Madrid and London, and conspiracy in Toronto, were all horribly wrongheaded protests by young Muslims against the Afghan war.

We are not going to change the way Afghans treat their women by waging war on them, or bring democracy through rigged elections.

The U.S. presence in Afghanistan, which, understandably is now widely looked at by the people there as a horribly foreign and often brutal and deadly occupation of their country, is making the resistance bigger, stronger and more widespread. In Friday's Boston Globe Bryan Bender pointed to American intelligence reports showing that the insurgents battling U.S. troops are fighting for lots of reasons but being religiously motivated Talban supporters is not high on the list of most of them; some are anti-Taliban. Only about 10% of the insurgency is Taliban-oriented now. No doubt, though, thousands will flock to collect the bribes Obama is leaning towards giveing Afghans who agree to forsake the Taliban.

Americans don't get Afghanistan, don't get Pashtunwali and need to pack up and leave the Afghans to themselves. As Alan Grayson (D-FL) said a few days ago, the best foreign policy is to just leave people alone. Grayson:

I’ve been to 175 countries all around the world including Afghanistan, including every country in that region, and what I’ve seen everywhere I go is that there are some commonalties everywhere you go. Everywhere you go people want to fall in love. It’s an interesting thing. Everywhere you go, people love children. Everywhere, they love children. Everywhere you go, there’s a taboo against violence. Every single place you go. And everywhere you go, people want to be left alone. And that’s the best foreign policy of all. Just to leave people alone.

Make sense to you? Grayson was one of the 32 Democrats who voted against the supplemental budget to fund the war back on June 16. No Means No is an opportunity to thank him and his colleagues and to encourage other members of Congres sto get on board. Please click the link and lend a hand.

32 die in Taliban suicide bombing in Pakistan

At least 32 people were killed and dozens injured when a Taliban suicide bomber struck near Pakistan's Swat Valley

The attack was reported to have targeted a convoy of military vehicles as it passed close to a crowded market in Alpuri, Shangla district, not far from the town of Mingora.
"Thirty-two people have been killed - 28 of them are civilians and four are security personnel," said Major Mushtaq Khan, a spokesman at the army-run Swat Media Centre.

"Forty-six people are injured - six of them are troops. Five of the troops are in a serious condition.
"It was a suicide blast. The attacker was on foot."

The bomber targeted the convoy as it passed through a security checkpost near a crowded bazaar, hitting both a military target and maximising civilian casualties.

The attack is just the latest in a string of Taliban blasts in recent weeks that have left dozens of civilians dead.

It followed air strikes against Taliban camps in the previous 24 hours which were a response to the storming and siege of the Pakistan army's headquarters in Rawalpindi at the weekend.

Brad Lidge saves Game 3 for the Phils

If you couldn't stay up until 2:15 a.m. today, you missed one of the most exciting playoff games the Phillies have ever played.

The see-saw battle was decided in to the 9th inning. The Phillies took a 6-5 lead on a Ryan Howard sacrifice fly that drove in Jimmy Rollins and turned the game over to Brad Lidge.

I know what you're thinking. Brad Lidge to protect a one-run lead? The same Brad Lidge who went 0-8 with 11 blown saves and an ERA of 7.21? Yes, that Brad Lidge.

Actually it was a different Lidge who took the mound on a bitterly cold night in Denver. This was the Lidge of 2008 when he routinely saved the big game.

The Phillies beat the Rockies in pivotal Game 3 to take a 2-1 lead in the Division Series. Cliff Lee takes the mound tonight for what could be the series win for the Phillies.


A Never-Before-Released Michael Jackson Song!

"This is It," an unreleased Michael Jackson song, has been released on

"This Is It," featuring backing vocals by Michael’s brothers The Jacksons, plays during the closing sequence of Sony Pictures' upcoming film, 'Michael Jackson's This Is It,' and is included on the two-disc CD set Michael Jackson's This Is It, which is the stand-alone companion to the motion picture.

Later this month, Sony Music Entertainment's Columbia/Epic Label Group will release the album internationally on October 26th and in North America on October 27th to coincide with the worldwide release of the motion picture, which arrives in theaters on October 28th and runs for a limited two-week engagement.

Disc one features the original album masters of some of Michael's biggest hits, including "Billie Jean," "Smooth Criminal," "Human Nature," and "Thriller" arranged in the same sequence as they appear in the film.

Disc two offers fans a rare listen to the early demo versions of such classics as "She's Out Of My Life," "Wanna Be Startin'," "Somethin'," and "Beat It." This disc also features a recently discovered spoken word poem from Jackson entitled "Planet Earth."

Michael Jackson's This Is It also includes a 36-page, commemorative booklet featuring exclusive photos of Michael from his last rehearsal.

Hispanics mull boycotting 2010 census

To this I can only tell the president, “If you call this bluff, I’ll actually believe that you deserve your Peace Prize”:

Angered by President Obama’s lack of success in legalizing illegal immigrants, some Hispanic activists are urging all Hispanics to boycott the 2010 census as a sign of displeasure.

Other groups have asked the federal government to suspend immigration raids while census takers are in the field, hoping that will make illegal immigrants more likely to respond to questions.

Sure, and while we’re at it, let’s not arrest bank robbers for the duration of the census so we can get an accurate count of that particular sect of lawbreakers without chasing them off as well.

Hispanic activists are already disturbed by the fact that Obama’s count of “uninsured Americans” suddenly dropped from 47 million to 30 million — meaning the president has already excluded them from the health care census.

I agree with the Hispanic activists. Illegals, you’re not going to take this crap, are you? Boycott the next census. The wallets of legal, taxpaying Americans could use the break and at the same time you’d be getting back at the president who lied to you.

You know, the fact that this is even a debatable topic is evidence enough that the United States as we knew it is in deep trouble.

Man arrested at JFK over 1968 hijacking of Pan Am flight from N.Y. to Puerto Rico

A man wanted for hijacking a flight out of New York 40 years ago was arrested Sunday after arriving on a flight from Cuba, federal authorities said.

Longtime fugitive Luis Armando Pena Soltren was wanted for his role in the Nov. 24, 1968, hijacking of a Pan Am flight bound for Puerto Rico. The 66-year-old Soltren was arrested at John F. Kennedy International Airport, federal prosecutors said.

Soltren was expected to be arraigned Tuesday in Manhattan on a 1968 indictment.

"As the 1968 charges allege, he terrorized dozens of passengers when he and his cohorts wielded pistols and knives to hijack Pan American flight 281," federal prosecutor Preet Bharara said in a statement Sunday.

A spokeswoman for the U.S. district attorney refused to comment on why Soltren was traveling to the U.S.

It was at JFK airport in 1968 that Soltren and accomplices boarded the Pan Am flight and hijacking it, according to an indictment filed in the U.S. Southern District of New York. The flight, bound for San Juan, Puerto Rico, was diverted to Havana, Cuba.

Dozens of U.S. flights were hijacked and diverted to Cuba in the 1960s. Some of the flights were hijacked by self-described radical leftists, fugitives seeking asylum on the Caribbean island or criminals scheming to extort money from the U.S. government or from the airline companies.

Pan American Flight 281 was commandeered by three men carrying pistols and knives, who forced their way into the flight cabin and ordered the crew to fly to Cuba, instead of Puerto Rico, according to a criminal complaint.

Weapons and ammunition were sneaked onto the flight in a diaper bag, the court papers said.

Two of the men, Jose Rafael Rios Cruz and Miguel Castro, were arrested in the mid-1970s and pled guilty to their roles in the skyjacking, a spokeswoman for the U.S. district attorney said.

Another man, who was not on the flight but was described in the criminal complaint as a leader of the Puerto Rican Movement for Liberation, was indicted in the hijacking. He was found not guilty on all charges.


'You know, you already sent 21,000 troops. You might send 65,000 troops. That’s not a Peace Prize-acting activity.'

*In the days following Barack Obama's unexpected awarding of the Nobel Peace Prize, reaction has been mixed among the public.

The President's latest accomplishment was topic of conversation for Dr. Cornel West, a longtime supporter of Obama, who addressed the situation while promoting his new memoir, "Brother West: Living and Loving Out Loud."

Although he expressed his joy over Obama receiving the Prize, the activist was left wondering what factors contributed to his friend receiving the honor.

"I don't understand the criteria of the Nobel Prize committee," West told EUR's Lee Bailey. "They give it to Martin King, Nelson Mandela, Desmond Tutu. I can understand that. They give it to Teddy Roosevelt, Henry Kissinger, two of the most pro-war people in the 20th Century. They give them the Peace prize. I say well ... I don't know.

"I celebrate with the brother. I congratulate him. I wish that his loving mother ... I wish his brilliant father were alive to see him get it. No doubt about it," the educator/author continued, as he noted how the award could become a double-edged sword for the president. "But I think that it puts brother Barack in a very tough situation because if you got a Peace prize and you end up being a war president in Afghanistan, if you got a Peace prize and you don't want to investigate and prosecute people who have been torturing people, turn your back, it doesn't look good."

West's comments join various opinions regarding the Norwegian Nobel Committee's decision to award Obama the 2009 Nobel Peace Prize on Friday (Oct. 9). The news reportedly came as an unexpected development for the Commander in Chief, who admitted he was "surprised and deeply humbled" by the Committee's decision.

"This award is not simply about my administration," Obama told reporters on Friday. It "must be shared" with everyone who strives for "justice and dignity."

Obama is the fourth U.S. president to win the Nobel Peace Prize as well as the third sitting president to receive the award. In addition to the award, recipients receive a prize of roughly $1.4 million. According to a White House spokesman, Obama will donate the money to charity.

The president's "extraordinary efforts to strengthen international diplomacy and cooperation between peoples" served as the reason behind the committee's honoring of the president. Despite the recognition, Obama saw the honor as "call to action" rather than acknowledgement of his own accomplishments.

West indirectly echoed Obama, as he believes the Nobel Prize should also take into account those he feels have "sacrificed" for the president to become who he is today.

"I just wish his parents were alive because, for me, these kind of awards are not so much for the recipients but they're for the people who sacrificed for you," the philosopher shared." So I just want to say it's a family affair. And I wish his family were here to be able to see that kind of magnificent award. "

Despite being proud of Obama, West believes recent overseas activity could put a damper on the impact of the president receiving the honor.

"I just think it's gonna really put him in a limelight because ... you know, you already sent 21,000 troops. You might send 65,000 troops. That's not a Peace Prize-acting activity. You see what I mean," the activist said. while referencing efforts to address the recent death of Chicago honor student Derrion Albert.

Albert was beaten to death after he was caught in the middle of a street fight between two groups of students from Christian Fenger Academy High School on September 24. Four suspects have been charged in the videotaped killing, which exploded onto the Internet.

Authorities are currently looking for more people in connection with the beating. Last week, U.S. Cabinet officials met with Chicago's mayor and community leaders to address youth crime.

A funeral for Derrion Albert was held October 3.

"And so, for me, another thing is that peace is not the absence of conflict. That's what brother Martin used to say. Peace is the presence of justice," West said. "So if you can take a jet to Copenhagen and can't meet with sister Albert in Chicago to deal with peace in the hood, it doesn't look good. It doesn't look good at all."

T.I. wins BET awards from prison; Kanye a no-show

ATLANTA – T.I. didn't need to attend the BET Hip-Hop Awards to win two trophies on Saturday.

The rapper, who is locked up in an Arkansas penitentiary on a federal weapons conviction, won the best collaboration award with Rhianna for the song "Live Your Life" and the album of the year award for "Paper Trail." His fiancee Tameka "Tiny" Cottle accepted his awards at the ceremony in Atlanta and read a letter by the rapper, who began serving a yearlong sentence in late May.

"Although I'm not there with you all, I'm there in spirit," Cottle quoted the rapper as writing. "My road to redemption is almost over. ... Thanks for the support."

Jay-Z was honored as the "MVP of the Year," while Drake took home "Rookie of the Year," and Ice Cube received the "I Am Hip-Hop" icon award.

Ice Cube said he was humbled by the award, and he believes his career as filmmaker could earn him more honors in the future. He helped launch the gangsta rap genre with the group NWA, and he starred in "Barbershop" and "Friday," which he also co-wrote.

"When you get recognized by your peers for a life of work, you got to be humbled," the rap veteran said. "I'm honored by this. I have 20 more years of work left in me. I hope (BET) is ready to give out two of these awards."

Rapper Busta Rhymes presented the award for "DJ of the Year" to DJ AM, the celebrity spinner who died of an accidental drug overdose in August.

Kanye West, meanwhile, couldn't hijack the stage, because the rapper was a no-show. West had been expected to attend the fourth annual awards show. He fell under scrutiny for interrupting Taylor Swift's award-winning moment at last month's MTV Video Music Awards.

Jay-Z took the stage with Young Jeezy to perform "Real as It Gets" and rap group Goodie Mob performed its 1995 song "Cell Therapy."

The award show will air on Oct. 27.

Black Male Dropouts Lead Nation in Incarceration

New report released by national coalition demonstrates need for national dropout re-enrollment strategy
CHICAGO, Oct. 9 /PRNewswire/ -- On any given day, nearly 23 percent of all young Black men ages 16 to 24 who have dropped out of high school are in jail, prison, or a juvenile justice institution in America, according to a disturbing new national report released today on the dire economic and social consequences of not graduating from high school.

Dropouts become incarcerated at a shocking rate: 23 of every 100 young Black male dropouts were in jail on any given day in 2006-07 compared to only 6 to 7 of every 100 Asian, Hispanic or White dropouts. While young Black men are disproportionately affected, the report found that this crisis cuts across racial and ethnic lines. Male dropouts of all races were 47 times more likely to be incarcerated than their peers of a similar age who had graduated from a four-year college or university."For too long, and in too many ways, young people across the country have been let down by the education system and by the adults responsible for their care and development. Now is the time to increase the investments we make in young people, enhance the content, opportunities and supports we provide, and empower them to make better choices about both their individual future and the future of our nation. This report is another important step towards those ends," said Marc Morial, President and CEO of the National Urban League.

Released today by a coalition of leading national and regional education, advocacy, and social service groups, the report, Consequences of Dropping Out of High School: Joblessness and Jailing for High School Dropouts and the High Cost for Taxpayers - 22% Daily Jailing Rate for Young Black Men Who Drop Out of High School is available online at

Professor Andrew Sum, Center for Labor Market Studies (CLMS), Northeastern University in Boston was commissioned by the Alternative Schools Network (ASN) in Chicago, to provide a detailed portrait of the employment, earnings and family income, incarceration and parenting experiences of dropouts, ages 16 to 24, compared to their better-educated peers. The report is based on an analysis of the U.S. Census Bureau data from national Current Population Surveys and American Community Surveys in 2006-08.

"This timely and insightful report offers a critical account of the impact of dropouts on America's present and future. As America begins to consider the re-authorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (NCLB) and shapes the unprecedented investment in education by the Obama administration, we must remember to take careful and thoughtful account of what is at stake," said Jack Wuest, Executive Director, the ASN. "These statistics overwhelmingly make the case for a national education strategy that focuses on re-enrolling these young adults back into school and training programs that can lead to well-paying careers."

This new report builds upon the groundbreaking findings of Left Behind in America: The Nation's Dropout Crisis, released earlier this year, which disclosed that nearly 6.2 million largely black and Hispanic youth have dropped out of high school and are living in America. This report, also released by the ASN in conjunction with other national education and civil rights organizations, documented the magnitude of America's dropout crisis.

Consequences of Dropping Out of High School: Joblessness and Jailing outlines the extremely difficult circumstances that these young people ages 16 to 24 face after dropping out of high school, and demonstrates the high price paid by both these young adults, American taxpayers and our society as a whole. In addition to their sharply higher rates of incarceration, the report showed that these young adults face very bleak economic prospects, which will make it difficult for them to change course and finance future schooling and training.

"This new report from the Center for Labor Market Studies at Northeastern University presents a vivid portrait of the growing economic peril the nation faces if it fails to reverse the rising tide of high school dropouts. The Chicago Urban League strongly endorses this report, and its call to action. High school dropouts face daunting obstacles that will bar them from entry into the labor market. The problem is most severe among African American males, who earn less and have an incarceration rate three times that of Asians and nearly four times that of Hispanics. The study also makes clear that young people who return to school can reverse these trends. The study clearly illustrates the case for quick federal action, and the need for increased capacity on the part of state agencies, non-profits and social service outlets to stave off this crisis," said Herman Brewer, Acting President and CEO, The Chicago Urban League.


•More than half - 54 percent - of the nation's dropouts ages 16 to 24 were jobless on an average month during 2008.
•Black dropouts experienced the highest jobless rate at 69 percent followed by Asians at 57 percent and Whites at 54 percent. Hispanic dropouts had the lowest jobless rates at 47 percent, reflecting the higher employment rate of young Hispanic immigrants. In sharp contrast, only about 13 percent of young adults with a college degree were jobless on average in the same time period.
•40 percent of all young dropouts in the country were jobless for the entire year.
•Without a high school diploma, you cannot earn enough money to make ends meet and certainly not enough to reach the American dream of raising a family and buying a home. The mean annual earnings of the nation's young people with a bachelor's or advanced degree were $24,797 in 2007, three times higher than the mean earnings for dropouts of $8,358. These figures include workers with zero earnings.
•The limited earnings potential of dropouts mean many never leave their parents' or relatives' homes to form independent households. Nearly 37 of every 100 dropouts live in poor or near-poor families.
•Over $292,000 is the cost incurred by taxpayers for each dropout over their lifetime in terms of lost earnings and therefore lower taxes paid and higher spending for social costs including incarceration, healthcare, and welfare.


•Nearly 38 percent of young female dropouts ages 16 to 24 were mothers, the highest percentage compared to their peers still enrolled in high school or college or with high school or college degrees. Young high school dropouts were nearly 9 times as likely to have become single mothers as their counterparts with undergraduate college degrees.

Wuest and other national leaders point out that such programs can be cost effective because the personal and public fiscal benefit more than outweighs the estimated cost of re-enrolling a student who has dropped out. Due to their low lifetime earnings, dropouts will contribute less in taxes than they will receive in cash benefits, in-kind transfers and correctional costs. By contrast, adults with high school diplomas and additional education contribute major fiscal benefits to the country over their lifetime.

Such programs also would help improve high school graduation rates, especially in the cities, which is a major goal outlined by U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan.


Create a national re-enrollment strategy that becomes a fundamental element of America's national education agenda in the U.S. Department of Education Race to the Top program and reauthorization of the No Child Left Behind program.

To address this crisis, the proposed Hope & Opportunity Pathways through Education (HOPE USA) initiative seeks to re-enroll 480,000 dropouts every year.

As jointly proposed by the National Urban League, National Council of La Raza, Youth Build, the Corps Network, Los Angeles Conservation Corps, Soledad Enrichment Action, Los Angeles, Chicago Department of Family and Support Services, Illinois State Council on Re-Enrolling Students Who Dropped Out of School, the Chicago Urban League and the Alternative Schools Network, HOPE USA would become a $2 billion federal matching incentive grant program to spur state and local school districts to establish programs to re-enroll dropouts in comprehensive programs that would assist them in earning a high school diploma. The initiatives would be small schools (80-150 students) and led by experienced principals and teachers. They would focus on real-world learning and include summer and after-school components and year-round employment programs.


•Emphasize and provide significant funding for re-enrollment of students who have dropped out of school as part of the Obama administration's Race to the Top initiative and the revised No Child Left Behind legislation.
•Expand year round and summer employment for jobless youth with a $5 billion initiative.

This report was released nationally in conjunction with the National Urban League, the National Education Association, Youth Build, The Corps Network, Chicago Department of Family and Support Services, City of Los Angeles Workforce Investment Board, Chicago Urban League, Illinois Council on Re-Enrolling Students Who Dropped Out of School, Los Angeles Conservation Corps, Soledad Enrichment Action, Los Angeles, and the Alternative Schools Network.

To view a full copy of the report please visit:


SOURCE Alternative Schools Network

N. Korea Test-Fires Short-Range Missiles

A South Korean official says North Korea test-fired several short-range missiles Monday off the east coast of the communist state.

The official says North Korea warned vessels to avoid its east coast from October 10 to the 20, an indication that it was planning missile launches. No other details of the missile test were available.

North Korea has carried out several short-range missile tests in recent years off its east and west coasts. South Korean officials have interpreted them as routine military exercises.

Earlier, South Korea proposed holding talks with North Korea on Wednesday on preventing flooding from a cross-border river.

North Korea released a massive amount of water from a dam on the Imjin river last month, killing six South Koreans camping and fishing downstream.

Pyongyang said a sudden surge in the dam's water level required an emergency release. Seoul said there were signs the water release was meant as a deliberate attack.