Is Your State a … Weakling?

Politico Magazine has tallied the numbers, and the Oscar for best state goes to … New Hampshire. Actually, the magazine’s ranking is pegged to a different winter event: the president’s annual State of the Union address. Here’s what Politico‘s Margaret Slattery has to say: Tuesday, President Obama, if precedent holds, will declare that the state of America’s union is “strong.” Is it? One way to judge is by the state of the states of the union: How strong are they, and, …

Is ‘Knockout Game’ a Hate Crime?

It’s all the “rage” - or is it?  The “knockout game” – not really a game, but rather a violent form of assault - has made headlines across the nation over the past several months. It involves knocking out an unsuspecting victim with a single punch. Some news organizations have reported that the “game,” in which people of color, often older, are randomly attacked by young “players,” has become an epidemic. Others, while acknowledging that the game exists, brand the so-called trend …

Hackers Steal Target Shoppers’ Credit, Debit Card Info

Hackers have stolen confidential data from as many as 40 million credit and debit cards that shoppers used at Target stores from the day before Thanksgiving until December 15. The data breach reportedly extends to nearly all of Target’s 1,797 stores nationwide and involves the hacking of machines at checkout lines on which customer swipe their cards when making purchases. So far, there’s no indication that payment data was stolen concerning online purchases from Target, the nation’s second-largest retailer. News of the …

Your Town Tells You to Move. Would You?

Imagine that you’ve lived in the same neighborhood for most of your life. Your friends, your family, your personal history are all rooted there. Sure, the neighborhood isn’t as desirable as it once was. It’s fallen on hard times, and there’s a lot of crime. But it’s home. Then the town decides that your neighborhood is a dump. It wants to make the working-class area more upscale by “revitalizing” it, but that means displacing you and your neighbors, most of …

Federal Grant for You? It’s Uncle Sham Calling

Uncle Sam may have oodles of agencies, but the “Federal Government Grants Department” isn’t among them. Nor does the “Federal Grant Association” exist, despite claims it is awarding free government money to lucky recipients who are randomly telephoned. So beware of callers using these and other official-sounding names to promise thousands in cash for reasons such as paying your taxes on time, being debt-free, needing debt relief, or just being a good citizen or money-spending consumer. The government grant scam …

Elmore Leonard: 7 Facts About the Crime Novelist

When it came to writing about crooks, cops and the bizarre predicaments in which they can find themselves, Elmore Leonard was the Stephen King of his genre – or perhaps, as Time magazine once described him, “The Dickens of Detroit.” Leonard published 45 novels, starting with The Bounty Hunters in 1953 and ending with Raylan in 2011. His work inspired scores of hit movies, including Fifty-Two Pickup, Mr. Majestyk, Get Shorty, Out of Sight and Jackie Brown. The hit cable TV series …