Signs and Wonders
Hillary Clinton
Associated Press/Photo by Cliff Owen
Hillary Clinton

Signs and Wonders: Are you ready for Hillary?

Newsworthy

Ready for Hillary? High-profile members of both political parties are already jockeying for position for the 2016 presidential campaign. Democratic strategist James Carville sent out an email blast Thursday from a super PAC called “Ready for Hillary.” He urged recipients to sign the “I’m Ready for Hillary Pledge,” saying, “Hillary had to give up all of her political organizing activities when she became secretary of state. That means it’s up to us to build this thing from the ground up. We owe it to Hillary to start putting the building blocks of her campaign together now. The modern political campaign demands it.” The email hit in-boxes the same day Hillary Clinton signed a deal with Simon & Schuster for a book about her experiences heading up the State Department, with a tentative publish date of June 2014. Financial terms of the book deal are private, but word has leaked out that her 2003 deal with Simon & Schuster was worth about $8 million.

STDs rampant. New data from the Centers for Disease Control suggest that approximately 24,000 women in the United States become infertile every year as a result of undiagnosed sexually transmitted diseases (STDs). According to the CDC, STDs are particularly devastating for young people: “While sexually transmitted diseases affect individuals of all ages, STDs take a particularly heavy toll on young people. CDC estimates that youth ages 15-24 make up just over one-quarter of the sexually active population, but account for half of the 20 million new sexually transmitted infections that occur in the United States each year.”

A defining moment? The Atlanta school cheating scandal could end up being a defining moment in the history of American education. If you haven’t been following this story, former Atlanta schools superintendent Beverly Hall and 34 of the system’s top educators were indicted on charges of falsifying standardized test scores. Tuesday was the deadline for Hall and the other 34 to surrender to authorities. Hall arrived at the Fulton County jail about 7:30 p.m., but quickly made her $200,000 bail and went back home. Look for the trial to be interesting, possibly even entertaining. Hall’s attorney is J. Tom Morgan, who began his career in the 1970s as a political operative and staffer for Georgia Gov. George Busbee. He then became Dekalb County’s district attorney. “J. Tom” is known for his knowledge of the law, his quick wit, and his political connections. Another interesting aspect of this trial is the likelihood that Atlanta is not alone: U.S. News reports that “testing anomalies” exist in “cities of Detroit and Baltimore and states including Ohio, Arizona, California, Colorado, and Florida.”

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A second chance. When Brian Banks was 17, he was one of the top high-school football prospects in the country. But in 2002, a classmate and friend accused him of rape. Banks feared 41 years in prison, so he pleaded “no contest” and accepted a five-year sentence. His accuser ultimately recanted, and on May 24 of last year, the same judge who put him in jail declared him not guilty. He was free, but after his prison term and another five years of probation, Banks—now 27—thought his football dreams were over. On Wednesday, the Atlanta Falcons thought otherwise. Banks has been training hard for the past couple of years, and he was playing in a semi-pro league and going to NFL tryouts until Wednesday, when the Falcons signed him. “We’re putting together our roster and this isn’t a charity case,” Falcons general manager Thomas Dimitroff told the NFL Network. “This is a great, feel-good story, but it’s also one that we believe that he has a chance to come in there and compete.” Dimitroff and Banks both know he has a long way to go to make the 53-man roster, but given what he’s overcome so far, no one is counting him out.

Warren Cole Smith
Warren Cole Smith

Warren, who lives in Charlotte, N.C., is vice president of WORLD News Group and the host of the radio program Listening In. Follow Warren on Twitter @WarrenColeSmith.

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