The right ruling at the right time: Kudos to Anthony Kennedy and the Supreme Court for making same-sex marriage a national constitutional right

The highest court in the land has made the most momentous social-policy ruling in memory, deeming it a basic, constitutionally protected right for same-sex couples across the nation to marry. It was the right ruling made in the right way, and at the right time. Led by Anthony Kennedy, justices were split 5-4 — with one of the dissents, penned by Antonin Scalia, only qualified to be called viciously contemptuous. GOVERNORS VOW TO FIGHT SCOTUS RULING ON GAY MARRIAGE But Scalia’s bile obscures the fact that in recent years, at breakneck historical speed and with minimal bitterness, the nation has awakened to the wisdom of allowing people, regardless of whom they love, to enjoy equal rights to participate in society’s most basic secular institution. FOLLOW THE DAILY NEWS ON FACEBOOK. CLICK HERE TO "LIKE." Two years ago, with just 12 states recognizing gay marriage, the court struck down the federal Defense of Marriage Act, which blocked federal recognition of gay marriage — wisely letting the still-raucous debate continue to play out at the state level. As people saw same-sex couples entering into stable legal unions — and no resulting harm — momentum gathered. On Friday morning before the ruling, 37 states — either by court decision, legislative vote or popular referendum — had extended marriage rights to same-sex couples. In 1996, just 27% of Americans supported making same-sex marriage legal; today, it’s twice as high. The court is reflecting the country and following the lead of the people. There is no meaningful argument on the other side except the word: “because.” This got dressed up in paeans to the importance of the man-woman atomic family unit as the basis for child-rearing, and therefore society. But no one could explain why infertile couples are allowed and even encouraged to marry, with inheritance rights and other benefits resulting. No one Continue Reading

Serial pervert busted for attacking teenage girl outside United Nations International School

A serial pervert was arrested and charged with attacking a teenage girl in broad daylight outside the United Nations International School in Manhattan, police said Thursday. Garrick Morgan, 25, forced the 16-year-old to the ground and placed his hand on her crotch over her clothing at 8:10 a.m. Tuesday at E. 25th St. and the FDR Dr., cops said. The teen, who was on her way to the school where she is a student, was treated at Bellevue Hospital and released. Morgan, of East New York, Brooklyn, was grabbed by school safety officers immediately after the attack. The 6-foot-4, 190-pound suspect was charged with attempted rape, forcible compulsion and forcible touching. Just five minutes earlier, a 30-year-old woman was walking to work when Morgan touched the back of her dress at 21 First Ave. She turned around and said “Please don’t walk so close to me,” police said. That’s when he pounced, touching her privates before running off. She reported the incident to police, but by then they had already captured Morgan. He was charged with forcible touching. Morgan has been charged two other times with groping women recently, police said. Morgan also allegedly followed a 35-year-old woman in the 47-50th Sts.-Rockefeller Center station in Midtown on April 7 at about noon. He grabbed the woman and forced her down to her knees, but a good Samaritan saw and stopped Morgan, who was charged with reckless endangerment, cops said. Police said he also stalked a 30-year-old woman on a southbound G train going into the Jackson Ave. station near Court Square in Queens on Marcy 29. He cornered the woman against a door and then grabbed her below the waist. Morgan was apprehended a short time later and charged with forcible touching. Join the Conversation: Continue Reading

Let the national pastime take its time: Efforts to speed up baseball could kill its spirit

We felt like this day would never come. But with a sudden dapple of sun, a change of the clock and a few back-to-back 40-plus-degree days, this long, dreadful winter that cast a hopeless when-will-it-end malaise over New Yorkers is giving stubborn way to spring. For some, that means a premature donning of flip flops. For many more, it means the return of baseball. But please, let’s not rush. Conventional wisdom says baseball needs to speed up, and a bevy of new rules are intended to do just that. I get it. Business is business and nobody can afford to lose that precious 18-34 year old demographic. Marketing executives believe speed is the answer. But after we’ve endured a seemingly interminable chill, let’s not lose patience now and let speed spoil the game that paces itself. In fact, New York, the slowness of baseball is precisely what we’ve been longing for. As public school kids here as young as eight race to finish rigid, required, high-stakes tests, there is something about an untimed, clockless pastime that calls to our cooped-up children waiting to be unbound. They’ve had enough of speed. They want more time. They want spring. Winter is something we’d like to put on a clock, get it over with. But why put a rush on spring, on baseball? The season and the sport that arrives with it have always signaled renewal here. In the density and confines of our city living, we need the space and time that baseball permits — especially as everything in New York competes for that space and time. Riding next to each other on the subways and buses, we keep our eyes drilled down in our mobile devices and our ears shut out by insulating head phones. Baseball provides a haven from constant personal updating, a space for a collective urban heads up. It is, like spring, a relief. You want to change baseball? Block cell signals and wi-fi at the stadiums. You want to change baseball? Give me less noise from Continue Reading

Jamie Foxx to sing national anthem at Mayweather vs. Pacquiao fight: report

Jamie Foxx is getting set to step into the boxing ring, and this time it isn't for a movie. The "Annie" actor will reportedly sing the national anthem at the upcoming Floyd Mayweather vs. Manny Pacquiao fight, a source tells TMZ. Foxx, who's been cast to play Mike Tyson in an upcoming biopic, jumped at the opportunity to be a part of the showdown, the report says. The comedian gave a memorable performance of "America the Beautiful" at a Pacquiao fight in 2011. Foxx isn't the only star who seems to be excited about the upcoming fight. Khloe Kardashian posted a video on her Instagram talking about the fight along with other stars including Shaquille O'Neal, Adriana Lima and Sean Combs. The fight is set to air May 2 on Pay-Per-View. Continue Reading

Queens 13-year-old wins day 1 of annual New York Daily News Spelling Bee — her third victory, earning her trip to national competition

A 13-year-old from Queens stung the competition at the annual New York Daily News Spelling Bee for the third year in a row.  Sai Vishudhi Chandrasekhar, from Flushing, pulled off a three-peat Thursday after the competition got underway inside the New York Public Library’s Fifth Ave. branch.  The winning word was “oleiculture,” the production, processing and marketing of olives, according to the definition read aloud at the spelling bee. “I had studied it so when I heard it I knew what it was,” the victorious Sai said.  She was one of dozens of contestants who competed Thursday to be one of two winners who will get to travel to Washington, D.C. to represent the city at the Scripps National Spelling Bee.  The kids — about 70 in all — ranged from fifth-graders to eighth-graders. Another group will compete again Friday and the winner will go with Sai to the capital.  “This year it was really special because it’s my last year. It was in a sense more pressure but also it was like, I'll remember this for a long time,” said Sai, of her third consecutive win. “I try to study for a few hours every day ... I study lists, I look at books, and I see what words I don't know from there,” she said. “This year I wanted to do better at nationals than last year,” the ambitious teen said. She made it to the last round of the semifinals at the Scripps competition in 2014. The runner-up on Thursday was the same as last year — Catherine Chung, a sixth-grader from P.S. 334, The Anderson School in Manhattan.  Sai, who is an eighth-grader at Hunter College High School on the Upper East Side, said she always wears her lucky blazer — a black one with red stripes.  She plans to put her latest silver, first-place trophy on the mantle in her family home.  “If there’s room,” she laughed.  Continue Reading

National Guard tries to secure Baltimore streets in ‘darkest days’ as riots injure at least 15 officers, spark fires and looting

Responding to the riots that marked one of Baltimore’s “darkest days,” National Guard troops took up positions in the besieged city late Monday into Tuesday morning in an attempt to secure America’s latest flashpoint of racial unrest. Gov. Larry Hogan deployed the Maryland National Guard on Monday night, and guard members were coordinating with police to hold riot-scarred portions of the city. A National Guard spokesman, Col. Charles Kohler, said the force could soon number 5,000 soldiers, according to the Associated Press. Shortly after the Monday afternoon funeral for Freddie Gray, a black man who died of a spinal injury he suffered while in police custody earlier this month, rioters torched buildings, destroyed police cars and threw projectiles at cops and responding firefighters in West Baltimore. The violence spread to the eastern portion of the city, and left at least 15 law enforcement officers hurt, six of them seriously. The Baltimore Police Department responded to a rumor that one of the officers was in grave condition, tweeting: “THIS IS NOT TRUE.” Baltimore Police Commissioner Anthony Batts said he visited the six seriously injured cops in a hospital trauma center. “I told them how proud I was of them and how courageous they were,” he said. BRATTON'S ADVICE TO EMBATTLED BALTIMORE POLICE: LISTEN No fatalities were reported overnight, and officials did not release an estimate of the number of people injured. Several journalists were brutalized by mobs while covering the chaos. Police made several arrests. Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake instituted a 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. curfew across the city, and said it would remain in effect through May 4. The riots appeared to die down by 3 a.m., as social media updates from the streets slowed and the Baltimore Police Department tweeted it Continue Reading

Tom Cruise surprises fans at CinemaCon with two new ‘Mission: Impossible — Rogue Nation’ clips

LAS VEGAS — Tom Cruise has made a surprise appearance at CinemaCon in Las Vegas to promote the fifth installment in his “Mission: Impossible” series. The actor said the film, titled “Mission: Impossible — Rogue Nation,” features action, intrigue and twists. He premiered two new clips from the film set to open July 31. The clips featured an impossible escape, martial arts fighting and a comedic car chase. Joined on stage by co-stars Rebecca Ferguson and Simon Pegg, Cruise spoke of the stunts in the film. He also told exhibitors at the annual conference that in his four decades in the industry he has always done everything he can to entertain audiences. Continue Reading

National Urban League president: Freddie Gray’s death can be an opportunity for historic change

Sometimes difficult circumstances present a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to bring about historic change. Such is the case at this moment in history, when Baltimore and other cities are grappling with civil unrest prompted by police violence toward unarmed young men of color. BALTIMORE POL TELLS CNN THE WORD 'THUG' IS RACIALLY CHARGED The death of Freddie Gray, whose spine was severed under unexplained circumstances, was the latest of more than a dozen incidents over the past 18 months. This week we reiterated a call, first issued in December, for a national policy to address police reform and accountability. But this week’s unrest isn’t simply a reaction to a single incident of violence, or even the ongoing trend of violence. PRESIDENT OBAMA SAYS HE HAS NO IMMEDIATE PLANS TO VISIT BALTIMORE While the relationship between police and the communities they serve must be repaired, we also must address the economic hopelessness that drags down communities and puts young people at risk. The National Urban League 10-Point Justice Plan, together with a significant federal economic stimulus plan, would change the trajectory of the nation’s inner-city neighborhoods. When the Great Recession threatened the nation’s financial institutions, we responded with an unprecedented infusion of resources. The plight of the jobless is no less urgent. A public-private initiative, targeted toward the poorest neighborhoods, with a significant public-sector jobs component, must be a part of any plan to address urban unrest. Marc Morial is the president of the National Urban League. Continue Reading

Mets fail to give Jacob deGrom run support in 2-1 loss to Nationals

NATIONALS 2, METS 1 WASHINGTON —Matt Harvey will set the tone for the 2015 season after all. On Wednesday night, the Mets reverted to form after surprising the Nationals Monday on Opening Day. Jacob deGrom pitched well, but the Mets could not solve Nationals starter Jordan Zimmermann and fell, 2-1, in a game delayed by rain for 56 minutes at Nationals Park. The Mets, who have not won a series against the Nationals since September of 2013, were 4-15 against the Nats in 2014. On Thursday afternoon, the Mets will send Harvey, who missed all of 2014 after having Tommy John surgery, to the mound to try to get the season back on track against Stephen Strasburg. DeGrom, the 2014 National League Rookie of the Year, labored Wednesday but was solid against a weakened Nationals lineup missing Jayson Werth, Anthony Rendon and Denard Span, who are all on the DL. He gave up two runs on six hits over six innings, walked two and struck out six. “He did really well, especially for not having his best stuff,” said catcher Travis d’Arnaud, who said deGrom was laboring with his offspeed pitches. “He kept fighting with the stuff he had and pitched well.” RELATED: METS PLACE CLOSER JENRRY MEJIA ON 15-DAY DISABLED LIST The Nationals mustered only a two-run homer by Ryan Zimmerman in the first inning. DeGrom went inside with a high fastball, but Zimmerman was able to turn on it and sent the ball over the left-field wall. “That pitch was inside, he must have just been looking for it,” deGrom said. “I looked at the video and I got it in where I wanted it. He just happened to hit it.” DeGrom and Rafael Montero, making his season debut as a reliever, held the Nationals scoreless for eight innings and 0-for-7 with runners in scoring position. “I am definitely pleased with that,” deGrom said of his 2015 debut. “The only thing I wasn’t Continue Reading

Bob Schieffer, anchor of ‘Face the Nation’ on CBS, will retire this summer

CBS “Face the Nation” anchor Bob Schieffer is facing retirement. The 78-year-old news veteran, whose career in journalism spans a half-century, announced Wednesday that he plans to retire this summer. He broke the news at the annual Schieffer Symposium at Texas Christian University, his alma mater. “Because this is where my professional career began, this is where I wanted all of you to be the first to know, this summer I’m going to retire,” Schieffer told the crowd. Schieffer started his career as a reporter for the Fort Worth Star-Telegram and covered the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. He scored the first interview with killer Lee Harvey Oswald’s mother. He joined CBS News in 1969, and covered the Pentagon, the White House, Congress and the State Department. He was promoted to chief Washington correspondent in 1982, the same year he became anchor of “Face the Nation.” “He’s been an inspiration and a mentor to so many colleagues — and frankly, to me,” said CBS News President David Rhodes. Schieffer has won eight Emmy Awards, and in 2013 was inducted into the National Academy of Arts and Sciences Hall of Fame. He also anchored the Saturday edition of the “CBS Evening News” for 23 years, and served as the interim anchor for the weekday broadcast for 17 months following Dan Rather’s departure in March 2005. Schieffer has written four books, including the best sellers “This Just In” and “Bob Schieffer’s America.” ON A MOBILE DEVICE? WATCH THE VIDEO HERE.  Continue Reading