The Village of Hempstead, N.Y., sounds like a posh resort in the Hamptons. But if you ride the train an hour east from Penn Station, what you'll find is a working-class town of about 54,000 people, more than 80 percent of them African-American and Hispanic.
Nearly a third of local residents are underwater on their mortgages, six times the state average. Mayor Wayne Hall says he heard story after story from local residents who tried to get banks to refinance their loans but couldn't. Finally, Hall got fed up.
The U.S. Supreme Court has once again rebuked the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, based in California. This time, the court, by a 6-to-3 vote, reinstated the conviction of a California grandmother for shaking her baby grandson to death. The court's unsigned opinion, provoked a strong dissent from three of the justices, who accused the court majority of using a "tragic case" to "teach the Ninth Circut a lesson."
Being a comedian, Joe Marlotti is always afraid he won't get laughs. But he grows especially nervous this time of year. After all, a comedian doesn't want his kids to bomb when it comes time to tell jokes.
Marlotti hails from St. Louis, where local Halloween tradition calls for children not to say "trick or treat," but to tell a joke in order to earn candy.
"I've been all around the block — literally — telling them that it's important to tell the joke right, or it makes me look bad," Marlotti says.