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THE RATCHET FILES!

mcdonaldstat 600Cops: Man freed after 15 years robs same store

(Newser) – Christopher Miller robbed the Stride Rite shoe store in Toms River, NJ, in 1999, got caught, and served 15 years in state prison. Police say he became a free man on Friday and celebrated by catching a bus to Toms River and, yes, robbing the same Stride Rite shoe store, reports the Star-Ledger. Though he had 15 years to stew over what went wrong the first time, authorities say this robbery didn't go so well, either. Two employees were so slow in handing over cash that the "agitated" robber grabbed the register drawer himself and fled on foot, reports the Ocean County Signal. (The employees refused to hand over their keys, scotching any hopes for a getaway vehicle.)

They called the cops—the apparent plan was to tie them up in a storage room, as happened in the 1999 robbery, but the employees refused to go—and within minutes, a police K-9 unit tracked down Williams and recovered the stolen $389, reports the Daily Record. Miller is charged with robbery and is being held on $100,000 bond. The 40-year-old is from Tulsa, Okla., and police aren't sure what his connection is to Toms River, besides maybe nostalgia.

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“Gone With the Wind” prequel starring Mammy may be a mistake

mammy 600"Are we ready for Mammy's story?" is a loaded question, with no easy answer.

But it's a question that Simon & Schuster has prompted with the announcement that it will publish a "Gone With the Wind" prequel, "Ruth's Journey," through its Atria imprint, focusing on Mammy, the role in the 1939 film version of the book for which Hattie McDaniel became the first-ever African-American Oscar winner.

A post suggesting movie rights from the black film-focused Indiewire blog Shadow and Act garnered a few comments, including Miles Ellison's "More black servant porn. The renaissance continues. Yay."

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Will ‘Noah’ film survive the flood of criticism from Christians?

noah 600The new bible epic "Noah" hit theaters nationwide Friday amid a storm of controversy.

The $130 million film, directed by Darren Aronofsky, starring Oscar winners Russell Crowe, Anthony Hopkins, and Jennifer Connelly, has received a flood of criticism from Christian leaders who say the director has taken too many liberties with religious scripture.

"Noah" offers a unique interpretation of the timeless Biblical tale of the flood that destroyed all mankind while Noah's ark prevailed through it all.

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African-American women must harness their political power

womenpower 600Fannie Lou Hamer was a poor black woman with a sixth-grade education who spent much of her life working in the cotton fields. Her legacy, however, demonstrates that each of us has an important voice and role to play in our democracy, and as we near the end of Women's History Month, it is a mighty reminder of the real power African-American women have in blazing the path toward true political equity and leadership.

Activist Hamer showed up at the 1964 Democratic National Convention as a member of the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party, intent on securing voting rights for African-American people. Her formidable presence and insistence that she, too, deserved a seat at the decision-makers' table rattled the likes of President Lyndon B. Johnson and Sen. Hubert Humphrey and threatened their bid to secure the Democratic Party's nomination for the presidential ticket.

Fifty years later, African-American women are among the country's most politically active citizens. In 2012, 70 percent of eligible African-American female voters went to the polls, providing the highest rate of voter turnout for any group. This statistic highlights African-American women's ability to be defining factors in election outcomes. But despite this growing power, African-American women's electoral heft is not translating into legislation and policies that address their concerns.

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African Americans locked out of housing market

Credit 600WASHINGTON – As the housing market recovers a new report by the Urban Institute shows that African-American borrowers "have been disproportionately shut out of the market."

According to the report titled, "Where Have All the Loans Gone? The Impact of Credit Availability on Mortgage Volume," the share of African-American borrowers was 6 percent in 2001 but fell to 4.8 percent in 2012. By contrast, the share of white borrowers increased more than 3 percent from 2001 to 2012 and now account for 71.2 percent of mortgage loans.

From 2001 to 2012, the number of loans that went to African-American borrowers decreased by 55 percent while the number of loans to whites dropped 41 percent, with most of the losses occurring after 2005.

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