September 30, 2007

Parents Protest Beatdown of Black Teen in Palmdale

One thing that we learned from the Jena Six affair is that we can no longer go away quietly into the night when one of our children is abused in a racially-biased manner. 16-year old Pleajhia Mervin was beat down by a school security guard for not cleaning up some cake crumbs from the floor.

Instead of calling a janitor the security guard decided it was best to break the wrist of the youngster.

The incident was caught on tape by a student with his cell phone camera. It shows 16-year-old Pleajhia Mervin being held down by a security guard. The school says it all started when students began throwing pieces of a birthday cake around the lunch room.

Dozens of parents, students and civil rights activists gathered in front Knight High School in Palmdale Friday morning to send the message. The message: Stop the security guard violence against students.

Najee Ali (Project Islamic Hope) said,
"We are seeing a trend of black students being victimized and today, we say enough is enough, enough is enough."
The security guard has been placed on administrative leave pending the investigation.

Jim Clingman, nationally syndicated columnist, lays it out quite well in his essay, 'Here a Jena, There a Jena, Everywhere a Jena Jena'

September 29, 2007

Rudy Giuliani Decided Bo Derek is More Important Than the Black Community

Rudy Giuliani couldn't be at the PBS presidential debate to discuss issues of importance to African Americans last Thursday. He had to shake his groove thang with Bo Derek and two or three reporters in California. He valued the $100,000 he raised along with the endorsement from former governor Pete Wilson over an opportunity to talk directly to issues impacting Black people in this country. Check out the a 55-second video of Rudy's choices on the day of the PBS presidential debate hosted by Tavis Smiley.

Are there any Black leaders endorsing Rudy Giuliani for president? Or does he have a lily-white supporting cast in his campaign?

Megan Williams Raped by the System

We shared our disappointment about the decision by law enforcement officials picked Megan Williams up for some bounced checks a few days after she was attacked by a family of rednecks in West Virginia.

Megan Williams is charged with obtaining under false pretenses and writing a worthless check in Raleigh County, according to the Raleigh County warrant. The false check charge is for a $32.21 check to Dominos Pizza. The false pretenses charge is for $96.40 to the Kiddie Junction Consignment Shop in Beaver.

In Greenbrier County, Williams is wanted for eight worthless checks, according to the warrant for her arrest filed in Greenbrier County. One of the checks was for $173.79 to BSR Auto Supply.

She was wanted for two counts of worthless checks in Summers County, according to the warrant for her arrest filed in Summers County. One of the checks was for $220 to Jack W. Turner, the other was for $10.46 to Country Roads Store.

A bench warrant out for Williams in Summers County is for failing to appear at the arraignment for the worthless check charges, according to the court document filed in Summers County.

The original charges against Williams all stem from incidents in May 2006.

After the magistrate completed the arraignments for the three different counties, Megan Williams was taken to the Kanawha County Courthouse to be processed. She was released on $8,000 bond.

Her car was broken so she bought a part. She bought USED clothes and other things at the consignment shop. She probably paid "Jack W. Turner" to fix her car. She bought herself a pop, a hot dog and a candy bar at the corner store.

Maybe she thought she had the money in the bank. Maybe she did and someone stole it. Don't tell anyone in West Virginia ... but, many folks in this village have bounced a check or two in the past.

Who knows what the hell happened. What we do know is that rich white folks steal millions of dollars a day in so-called white-collar crime ... there is no justification for arresting anybody like Megan Williams less than 10 days after being raped and tortured.

September 28, 2007

Republicans Wax Poetic About Slavery While Skipping Debates

Drumbeats from Oliver Willis about a Michael Medved column that shares six reasons that republicans shouldn't feel bad about slavery. Coming on the heels of the disrespect shown by republicans at the recent PBS presidential debate hosted by Tavis Smiley ... is there any wonder why African Americans feel no kinship for the Republican Party. I still try to understand why Black conservatives feel they are safe with a party that is unwilling to talk with Black or Brown people in America.

Slavery wasn't all that bad. Presidential debates focused on African American issues aren't more important than fundraising events. Is there any issue where the republican party and people of color agree?
Villagers, why would anyone vote for a republican at local, state or national level?

White Mob Attacks Black Teens in New York

A few days ago the eyes of the world focused the president of Iran as he was a guest of a college campus in New York. Meanwhile, nobody seemed to notice another hate crime taking place in the streets of New York. Did you hear about the brutal attack on a college basketball team and two coaches that took place earlier this month?

New York Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly indicates that the incident is being investigated as a hate crime.

Kelly weighed into the furor surrounding the violent beating of the Manhattan Community College sports team after community leaders blasted the NYPD's failure to report the incident as a racial attack. "I'm told at no time did either side make any statements concerning race, as far as it being racially motivated," Kelly said. "What we have done as a result of the Daily News article written today is engage our hate crimes task force to do an investigation of this matter."

The players say they were set upon by a gang of white men as they headed home on Sept. 11 from a four-hour practice at the lower Manhattan school. As the students passed the Patriot, a rowdy Chambers St. bar, they were bombarded with racist shouts of "n-----s" and "this is what slavery feels like," the players say.

One person in the group, Marquis Scott, 18, says he was thrown into the middle of the street, jumped on and kicked. Police arrived and immediately handcuffed Scott, the son of an NYPD officer, and charged him with misdemeanor assault while letting the assailants go, he said. The team called its coach, Chester Mapp. Mapp and an assistant coach followed the students to the Brooklyn Bridge subway station, where the students and the coaches were attacked, Mapp said.

"I'm very shook up, nervous, kind of scared," Mapp said.

Villagers, I am still trying to understand why the victim of racial attacks are always the ones that end up in handcuffs. We saw that in Jena, Palmdale and now it happens again in New York.

Why is it that the strange fruit of the past appears to be growing wild in America in the 21st century?

September 27, 2007

Palmdale Teen Beat by Security Guard Over Cake Crumbs

What is happening in America? Jailings, shootings, lynchings, nooses in schools, unjust criminal just-us actions in the courts, Black worker arrested and charged with assault for cooking "too salty" burger, Black woman and her child gang raped in Florida, Black woman raped and tortured by an entire redneck family in West Virginia.

And the beatdown continues ... Did you see what happened in Palmdale, CA?

A young Black girl assaulted by school security and called 'nappy-head' by the security guard because she didn't pick up crumbs off the cafeteria floor. At the end of the day three teens and a mother are arrested.

One of the students arrested caught the whole thing on video. The incident was instigated over cake.

It was a birthday party at Knight High School in Palmdale. Early last week, during lunch hour, students say the cake dropped, and then everything else dropped. There was mayhem and chaos. A student used his cell phone to capture video of 16-year-old Pleajhia Mervin being arrested by campus police early last week.

Mervin says a security guard slammed her against a table at a lunchroom at the high school and twisted her arms behind her back so violently, he broke her wrist. Her wrist is in a cast. "He put my arm behind my back and he started raising it until it hurt, so I told him, 'Stop, it hurts.' He had slammed me on the table and told me to hold still. He called me a 'nappy-head,' and that's when I just started crying," said Mervin.

Mervin claims she was roughed up simply because she failed to pick up every crumb of a birthday cake she accidentally dropped on the floor of the lunchroom during a lunch-hour birthday celebration for a friend. She says she thought she cleaned up the mess, but the security guard thought otherwise. "He said, 'You have to come pick the rest of this cake up.' So I said, 'I picked it up.' He gets on his walkie-talkie, he got a call, so I just started walking to class, and that's when he grabbed me," said Mervin.

Mervin says when the security guard realized he was being videotaped, he tackled the student shooting the video.

Mervin's mother, Latrisha Majors, said when she rushed to the school demanding to see her daughter, she was accused of battering the principal. She says she was then arrested and forced to spend the night in jail.

"This has caused such a disruption in my life," said Majors. "I try to explain this, but I can't. The 'nappy-head' thing, she doesn't understand that there is prejudice going on every day, all day long. It's not right."
Pleajhia Mervin has been expelled from school. She will have to go to an expulsion hearing. She says she's even been accused of battering the security guard, and was ticketed for littering. Her mother works for the school district. They fired her when they learned she had been arrested. A group of parents, students and community activists plan to protest outside the school.

Villagers, I come back to my original question, What is happening in America?

Mychal Bell of Jena Six Released Today

Mychal Bell was released from prison in Jena, LA today when his bail was reduced and the district attorney, Reed Walters, finally stopped piling on new charges and new excuses.

Villagers recall that Walters vowed to appeal the decision to turn Bell's case over to the juvenile system because of Bell's previous criminal convictions. He caved on that decision when he got a call from Gov. Kathleen Blanco, Al Sharpton and Martin Luther King III.

However, Walters couldn't leave well enough alone. He got up at his press conference today and said,

"I firmly believe, and I'm confident of the fact that had it not been for the direct intervention of the Lord Jesus Christ last Thursday, a disaster would have happened."

The momentum continues to build for racial justice in Jena, LA. However, The AfroSpear remains vigilante. We can count on the mainstream media to go back to ignoring racial INjustice as soon as OJ emerges from hiding.

Any thoughts on the developments since the Jena march last week?

Mychal Bell of Jena Six Gets Good News from Kathleen Blanco, Al Sharpton and Reed Walters

Good news today for Mychal Bell. Louisiana Gov. Kathleen Blanco announced that LaSalle Parrish DA Reed Walters would not contest the state appeals court ruling throwing out the adult convictions (calling for up to 15 years in prison) on Mychal Bell. The decision now must be made by Reed Walters on what he plans to do next with Bell and the other Jena Six juveniles.

Drumbeats came to us from Too Sense about the selective amnesia shown by Reed Walters in his recent New York Times op-ed. dNa wrote,

After completely ignoring the incident for months, a few white progressive bloggers declared Walters "reasonable" in his op-ed for the Times. But of course, since they just learned about the case on CNN, they have no idea how many other incidents of violence on behalf of white students Walters refused to prosecute. I wrote a very thorough rebuttal which notes that while Walters apparently thought the Jena Six's sneakers were deadly weapons, a beer bottle and shotgun in the hands of white person were not deemed to be similarly dangerous.
Click here to see the full rebuttal from dnA.

The momentum appears to be rolling in favor of the Jena Six. Hopefully this matter can be brought to a just conclusion in the near future. In the meantime, The AfroSpear will continue to monitor the situation.

Villagers, what is your take on the current Jena Six situation?

September 26, 2007

Some Want Mychal Bell Free, Others Want to Shoot or Stab Him

Drumbeats came to us from Too Sense about decision by Rep. John Conyers to call for the release of Mychal Bell from adult prison in Jena, LA.
"Our first responsibility is to get young Mychal Bell out of prison," said Rep. John Conyers, the chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, who said he will pressure the Justice Department to take a hard look at "the miscarriages of justice that have occurred in Jena, Louisiana."
On the other side of the spectrum, we see villages on the far side of the river that are so scared of diversity and harmonious race relations that they fantasize about shooting 17-year old Mychal Bell or stabbing him with his puny knife. Is it any wonder that race relations are so difficult to move in a positive direction?

And don't get me started about Bill O'Reilley and his consistent difficulty understanding Black people. He simply refuses to accept that African Americans are no different than other Americans in our abilities and our dreams for the future.

I had to smile last night when I decided to watch a Billy Bob Thornton movie called 'The Badge'. Billy Bob was LaSalle Parrish sheriff. Yep, the movie was set in Jena, LA. Also, one of the actresses in the move is named Jena. The universe is strange...

Wordless Wednesday: Burma

President Bush told the United Nations that most of us here in America were concerned about the conflict between the people and the government of Burma. Of course, none of the folks that I know were talking about Burma at all. We focused on Jena Six, Genarlow Wilson, Megan Williams and such. However, thousands took to the street today in Myanmar (Burma) . Bush may have been right for first time in his presidency...

September 25, 2007

Senator Craig Rolls the Dice One More Time

UPDATE: Drumbeats from Pam's House Blend indicate that Larry Craig won't step down from the Senate this week.

This is supposed to be the last week in the US Senate for Larry Craig. He announced plans to retire on 9/30/07 a few weeks ago. He hopes to be the new Comeback Kid if he can just get his guilty plea reversed in Minnesota. Beldar has bad news for Craig. Craig gambled that he could keep his bathroom escapades a secret from the public ... and he lost. It appears he will lose again this week.

I imagine that he is sleeping on the couch at home as well!

September 24, 2007

Manic Monday: Kit

I wish that there was some sort of kit that would eliminate the part of the human psyche that thinks it is acceptable to discriminate on the basis of race, skin color or nationality. My dad and grandparents used to tell stories about lynchings and nooses. Now, here I am in 2007 explaining to my children the meaning of nooses being hung in Louisiana, Maryland and North Carolina.

I recall the television kit (alright ... he was a CAT, but, I'm trying to use Morgen's Manic Monday word for this week!) known as Felix the Cat. He would reach into his bag of tricks to pull out all sorts of magical stuff. If I had that kit of tricks I would eliminate the Extreme Color Arousal syndrome. As Rodney King once lamented, 'Why can't we all just get along?'.

Villagers, this week we acknowledge the 50 year anniversary of Little Rock Nine ... nine brave youngsters that desegregated Central High School in Little Rock, AR. You would think that our nation would be further along in race relations over the past 50 years. Yet, we have almost daily reminders that we still have a long way to go.

Where is Felix the Cat when you need him?

September 23, 2007

Congress Joins the Afrosphere in Battle Against Degrading Images

Villagers, have you heard about the strong case that Black bloggers made against BET programming and Gangsta Crap music? The main targets are Black Entertainment Television (BET), who they call ‘Black Exploitation Television’, and gangsta rappers such as 50cent, Snoop Dog, The Game, and Cam’ron. These artists produce music bloggers brand ‘gangsta crap’.

Gangsta rap regularly glorifies sexism, the n-word, profanities, violence, drug use and dealing, sexism, and the dehumanization of Black men and women. Gangsta rap videos and stereotype-filled shows are the programming staples of BET. "BET and hip hop have gone down hill. They were once inspirations. Now they purvey some of the most harmful anti-Black sentiments you will ever see or hear, and this has become a representation of mainstream Black culture," says Bronze Trinity of the Afrosphere Bloggers Association (ABA).

Congress plans to follow the lead of Black bloggers with a subcommittee hearing on the media "stereotypes and degradation" of Black woman. The hearing is entitled: From Imus to Industry: The Business of Stereotypes and Degrading Images.

Rep. Bobby Rush (D-Ill.), chairman of the House Subcommittee on Commerce, Trade and Consumer Protection, said "I want to engage not just the music industry but the entertainment industry at large to be part of a solution ... I want to talk to executives at these conglomerates who've never taken a public position on what they produce."

The hearing will be broadcast via the Committee website.

Witnesses include Philippe Dauman of Viacom, Doug Morris of Universal Music Group and Edgar Bronfman Jr. of Warner Music Group. Witnesses will discuss the impact of racist and sexist language and images transmitted via interstate commerce and telecommunications modes, the perpetuation of damaging stereotypes, and how best to protect consumers from the increasingly coarse and vulgar language and images that have the effect of undermining important moral values in our society. This hearing will explore these issues in the context of commercial hip hop music and video games, and their impact on popular culture and young people.

Click here for full list of witnesses.

Rush stressed that this is "not an anti-artist hearing, or antimusic or anti-youth hearing." He said he's hoping for voluntary -- not regulatory -- solutions. "I respect the First Amendment, but rights without responsibility is anarchy, and that's much of what we have now. It's time for responsible people to stand up and accept responsibility."

Well, villagers, what are your thoughts on these issues?

September 22, 2007

Shawn Williams Talks About Black Bloggers and Jena Six March

Kudos to Francis Holland for beating the drums about Shawn Williams. Bro. Williams (Dallas South Blog) is a member of The AfroSpear. He was part of the 50,000 people that marched in Jena on 9/20/07 to protest the unequal justice. The Dallas Morning News interviewed the pharmaceutical salesman and member of Friendship-West Baptist Church. Bro. Williams reflections on his blog and the Jena rally:

The News - Give us the background on the Dallas South Blog. Did you create it? What is its aim?
Mr. Williams - I started Dallas South Blog 15 months ago as a way of expressing myself, but as the site has evolved, the goal is to promote positive images of African Americans to contrast the negative images put forth daily in the popular press.

The News - Have you been involved in other civil rights movements or protests before?
Mr. Williams - I think the movement is ongoing. Since college I have been aligned with these types of issues in some form or fashion, but most recently I worked to rid our neighborhood of a sexually oriented business that was being built in walking distance of a charter school.

The News - What was your role in this week's trip to Louisiana?
Mr. Williams - Besides helping to get 1,000 folks that left from our church on the right bus, I was just a participant. I marched, I listened, I shouted, but mostly, I was there in support of the young men who stand accused.

The News - Did you network with other bloggers?
Mr. Williams - I am a member of the
Afrosphere Bloggers Association. We had a Day of Blogging for Justice on August 30th, where many of us blogged about Jena at the same time.

The News - How will Thursday's event advance the civil rights movement?
Mr. Williams - No one can answer that. I am hopeful that the African American community will commit to seeking justice and equality for the long hall. Cases like this happen all over the United States. We must use this energy to highlight injustice and to take responsibility for our own community and our own future.

Villagers, it is a wonderful thing to see the interest that the mainstream media has in Black bloggers over the past week or so. I have been contacted by four separate media outlets including NPR and CNN.

Shawn's advocacy for people of African descent is outstanding. It is no wonder that his blog is #66 and rising on the list of Top Black Blogs.

September 21, 2007

Playing With Nooses Ain't No Game

We learned today that Mychal Bell must remain behind bars while some white folks continue to think that playing around with nooses is funny.

First, the three kids in Jena, LA hung three nooses in the Jena High School 'whites-only' tree last year. Second, someone at the University of Maryland hung a noose in a tree near Black Student Union building. Next we see 4-5 nooses hung from tree at high school in High Point, NC. Now we have two white youngsters rolling through Alexandria, LA with nooses hanging off both sides of their truck.

Alexandria is about an hour from Jena, LA. It served as the staging area for thousands of protesters who went to Jena to demonstrate against the unequal prosecution of the Jena 6.

Authorities in Alexandria, Louisiana, arrested two people after nooses were seen hanging from the back of a red pickup Thursday night. The 18-year old driver was charged with DUI and inciting a riot. The 16-year old passenger is in custody pending charges. The younger kid told police he and his family are in the Ku Klux Klan.

How arrogant do white kids have to be to try to incite a riot with nooses in front of all the brothers and sisters who spent the day at the Jena protest march? These youngsters are fortunate that the brothers and sisters that saw the noose decided to do the right thing by calling the police rather than do what they may have wanted to do ... reach in the truck and slap each of the kids across the face.

Villagers, why do some white folks think that playing with nooses is funny?

John Conyers Calls for Congressional Hearings on Jena Six

Drumbeats from Too Sense on congressional hearings about the Jena Six affair with particular attention on the district attorney Reed Walters.
(Washington, DC)- House Judiciary Committee Chairman John Conyers, Jr. (D-MI) told a crowd gathered on the Capitol grounds that he is holding a forum next week and plans to hold hearings to address the case of six teenagers in Jena, Louisiana who were charged with attempted murder for a schoolyard fight. Conyers spoke during a rally of support for the Jena 6 students in Washington, in coordination with rallies in Jena and other U.S. cities.
It is good to see that the pressure continues to mount on the legal system in Jena, LA continues to grow.

One result that we need to see in the next few days is the release of Mychal Bell from adult prison. His conviction has an adult was vacated by the appeals court last week. No new charges have been filed yet by Reed Walters. Why is the young man still behind bars?

September 20, 2007

Blog Power Fuels Civil Rights Movement

Today was a remarkable day. Seeing the streaming video of the Jena, LA protest march was inspiring on a number of levels. The highlight for me came when it was announced that a mandatory hearing must be held within 72 hours to explain why Mychal Bell is still sitting behind bars. Chances are good that the massive pressure will result in the young man being released from prison within the next 3-4 days.

The other amazing thing is to realize that our efforts in the afrosphere are recognized as the catalyst for this massive protest today in Jena, LA. The most extensive analysis that I've seen can be found on Counter Punch in an article entitled, 'Jim Crow's Children'.

"The development of Jena story is only part of a much larger "Cyber Rights Movement" that has been gaining greater ground in America in 2007. Let's call it "BLOG POWER"! It goes a little something like this: yet another African-American teenager falls victim to Jim Crow-like criminal injustice; the injustice is covered in some local newspaper; national mainstream media completely ignores story; story spreads like wildfire across hundreds of predominantly African-American blogs; national media still ignores it; bloggers still blog; national media keeps ignoring; bloggers keep blogging on irresponsible national media; one national mainstream outlet might pick up story; bloggers keep blogging; other embarrassed national outlets might pick up story; bloggers keep blogging; finally, previously voiceless activists start to receive national media attention; bloggers keep blogging; more well-known activists such as Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson are part of planned widespread national march; bloggers keep blogging; just days prior to the scheduled protest the charges against the young teenager have been reduced or thrown out. While there exist many examples of BLOG POWER, perhaps the greatest two in 2007 involve "The Jena 6" and Shaquanda Cotton. But before we examine what they represent, some context might be necessary."
Villagers, care to share your insights on the Jena 6 story (in general) and the Jena protest march (in particular)?

September 17, 2007

Manic Monday: Crisp

The Manic Monday word this week is crisp. My first thought was the baseball player, Coco Crisp. However, I am not a Red Sox fan ... so I can't do a post on one of their players. My second thought was that crisp is the word that I always use to describe what I think of the uniforms worn by naval officers. My brother, Charles, was a naval officer who used his law degree as a member of the Navy's JAG for a number of years. My uncle, Ben Hacker, retired as an admiral in the navy. Uncle Ben and Charles both looked crisp whenever they wore their navy uniforms.

I imagine that they both know about the Golden Thirteen. Truthfully, I didn't know about the Golden Thirteen until today. March 1944 was a turning point for all African American men serving the United States in a military capacity. Thirteen intelligent, proud, and able-bodied black men became the first African American commissioned officers serving the US Navy.

The Golden Thirteen, as these highly esteemed men were called, trained at Camp Robert Smalls, a recruiting center now known as the Great Lakes Naval Training Station in Illinois. These highly capable African American men earned an almost perfect 3.89 class grade point average and officer status in the US Navy, which counted a total of almost 100,000 African American enlisted men in its ranks.

The entire military wasn't desegrated until 1948. I'm sure that the success of these 13 pioneers made a difference. I'm also confident that these brothers looked crisp in their naval uniform as well!

September 16, 2007

NAACP Seems More Relevant Today

I questioned the relevancy of the NAACP here and here over the past year. Today, I feel much better about them. It turns out the the NAACP Detroit Branch created a public education program called the George W. Crockett Jr. Community Law School. Classes are taught by attorneys, judges, civil rights advocates, and community leaders.

George W. Crockett, Jr.

of you knew him as a legendary civil rights leader, a brilliant attorney, and outstanding constitutional scholar. He defended labor unionists and civil rights activists when such causes were unpopular. He represented the late Coleman A. Young, when Young was called before the House Committee on Un-American Activities.

Many of you knew him as one of the first African American judges to sit on Recorder's Court. When Detroit Police Officers randomly arrested 142 people after the infamous New Bethel Church incident, Crockett ruled they could not be held indefinitely without probable cause, and released most of them.

Many of you knew him as a congressman elected to represent the old 13th Congressional District, where he became one of the House's foremost experts on foreign affairs and the U.S. Constitution. In Congress, he introduced the Mandela Freedom Act, which eventually passed. He also sued President Ronald Reagan under the War Power Act for unauthorized military actions in El Salvador.

I knew him as 'Granddaddy'.

All of a sudden the NAACP seems more relevant to me.

September 15, 2007

Electronic Village Celebrates our 200th Post

I had no idea what I would do with this blog when I started it in January 2007. My sister inspired me with her niche blog on African American quilting. Electronic Village evolved over time with the help of our online community of villagers with an interest in creating a more connected world. Some of you remember our celebration of the 100th post back in May 2007.

Today, we invite everyone to introduce themselves and subscribe to the Electronic Village.

I suspect that our blog is motivated by the seven principles of Kwanzaa more than anything else. I'll need to expand upon that thought over the next 200 posts.

Anyhow, I thought this would be a good occassion to respond to the Archive Meme that I found from Danielle on Modern Musings. The Archive Meme rules are simple enough:

  • Link 1 must be about family.
  • Link 2 must be about friends.
  • Link 3 must be about yourself, who you are... what you're all about...
  • Link 4 must be about something you love
  • Link 5 can be anything you choose.
Post your five links and then tag five other people. At least TWO of the people you tag must be newer acquaintences so that you get to know each other better.... and don't forget to read the archive posts and leave comments! So villagers, here are my five links...

  1. About Family - I regularly share updates on my sister Kyra, however, I have not posted very much about my family here on the Electronic Village blog. For a hint on my family you need to visit the Electronic Village website.
  2. About Friends - The majority of my blog-related relationships have come from The AfroSpear. My most recent inspiration from these blogger friends led to a ranking of the Top Black Bloggers.
  3. About Me - This post revealed more of me than I first intended. Earlier I shared the five reasons that I blog.
  4. Something I Love - There aren't many things that I love. There are some people that I love including, Iya, Wayne Sr., Charles, Kyra, Iyisa, Nailah, Laura, Khalis and Shenita.
  5. Wild Card - Any excuse to see Serena is a good excuse in my book!
I tag five of the most prominent Black bloggers in the universe:

  1. Natasha E (Young, Black and Fabulous)
  2. Terrance Heath (The Republic of T)
  3. Steve Spalding (How To Split An Atom)
  4. Dame (Truth & Opinion)
  5. Earl Dunovant (Prometheus 6)
I am grateful to the 20,000+ villagers that have been here at one point or another since we began! I hope you enjoy the next 200 just as much...

September 14, 2007

K9 Castrates Black Teen in Oklahoma City

Drumbeats from Over Analyze It blog about a 15-year old having his scrotum bit off by a police dog after being caught joyriding in a stolen car. There is no upside to stealing a car, however, the punishment probably shouldn't be castration.

September 13, 2007

Top Ten Black Bloggers Update

Electronic Village recently published a list of the Top Ten Black Bloggers. At that point over 70 Black blogs had been reviewed. We shared the names and links to the Top Ten, along with honorable mention for the next 15 in the rankings.

We received some tremendous feedback from villagers all over the world. Folks want us to create widgets, add scoring value for Black blogs that work on critical issues such as Jena 6, add scoring value for Black blogs that are members of The AfroSpear or the Afrosphere Bloggers Association, and so forth.

We are reviewing all the input and continue to solicit your thoughts and ideas on how to advance this concept of tracking the Top Black Blogs and Top Black Bloggers. At this time there are two updates we can share with you:
  1. Daily Updates - We will update the Top 10 on a daily basis in the left-hand navigation bar of the Electronic Village. We will provide a link to each of the top ten blogs. You will note that today's update is considerably different than the initial list published a few days ago. Time will tell if there continues to be daily movement on this list.
  2. Many New Blogs Added to the List - We added almost 100 more Black Blogs in the past few days. We currently have 169 Black Blogs on the list. Please leave a comment if you think we may have missed any ... or if you want to know the current ranking for your favorite Black Blog.
Villagers, I'm open to any creative soul that wants to create a logo for this effort! For now, I look forward to your comments, ideas and suggestions...

September 12, 2007

Support Jena 6: WEAR ALL BLACK on September 20

UPDATE: Click here to see videos of the Jena, LA protest!

The lives of six young black men are being ruined by Jim Crow justice in Jena, Louisiana.

Community activists, concerned citizens and The AfroSpear will descend on Jena next week in protest of the barbaric felony charges filed on the Jena Six. It is estimated that up to 50,000 people will arrive in Jena 6 intent on having the charges reduced from felonies to misdemeanors, so these students can go back to school and not to jail. The destination of the protestors on September 20 will be on the steps of LaSalle Parish courthouse where Mychal Bell, 17, will receive his sentence. Take a moment to read the full story from The Washington Times.

We can help turn things around by making it a political liability for the authorities of Jena to continue the racist status quo, and by forcing the Governor of Louisiana to intervene. It is stunning to note that Gov. Kathleen Blanco continues to display stubborn and stupidity in her handling of this matter. She refuses to display leadership. Barack Obama spoke out on the Jena 6. Hilary Clinton and John Edwards issued statements a little later. The republican candidates won't even speak to African Americans at political debates ... so we are not surprised that they ignore the groundswell of anger and protest over the Jena 6.

Now the situation flows into this growing protest movement. Hopefully, Gov. Blanco will provide security for the 50,000 visitors to Jena, LA. After all, we already know that the District Attorney has refused to protect the rights of Jena's Black population and has turned the police and courts into instruments of intimidation and oppression.

Villagers, I'm going to pull out my black dress shirt and black pin-stripe suit that morning. How do you plan to show your support of the Jena 6 on September 20? Will you WEAR ALL BLACK on that day? Will you be able to travel to Jena, LA on that day? What say u?

September 11, 2007

Police Brutality Does Not Require a Taser or Night Stick

Kanawha County has about the sleaziest sheriff in the nation. Sheriff Mike Rutherford read in the papers about Megan Williams, the West Virginia woman who has been the center of international media attention after her torturous ordeal of rape and torture earlier this month. Sheriff Rutherford didn't pray for her full recovery ... he didn't curse the six thugs that held her captive for over a week ... instead, he decided to arraign Ms. Williams on outstanding warrants that she had for writing bad checks.

Before the arraignment, Williams was placed in a holding cell. She screamed and cried for her mother. Her mother, Carmen Williams, made a rude gesture toward the cameras at the arraignment and later threatened to strike a member of the media. "I wish you all would go," Carmen Williams told the media.

The timing of this decision is troubling. I wonder if Sheriff Rutherford is related to the thugs that held Ms. Williams captive? Why else would he do this now, instead of waiting for Ms. Williams to fully recover from her injuries. I can understand why drivers in town flip their middle finger at Sheriff Mike Rutherford.

Sheriff Mike Rutherford is formally exiled from the Electronic Village.

September 10, 2007

Barack Obama is a Better Choice than Hilary Clinton for Black America

Hillary Clinton is an ambitious and powerful woman. She is a 2-term senator for good reason. She would be a great president and I would be happy to support her in most any election except this one. This year her opponent is equally ambitious and powerful brother named Barack Obama.

Barack Obama is a presidential candidate of African descent. He's not the first.
The difference is that Obama has the funding and the intangibles to win and become our next US president. What he doesn't have is unqualified support of the African American voters. The Black vote is split between Obama and Clinton at this point.

As such, I found the recent study done by Theodore Cross, editor of The Journal of Blacks in Higher Education very enlightening. Cross' comparisons are directed solely at the domestic initiatives of special concern to African Americans from both Clinton and Obama.

Click here to read the full study.

Cross concludes that Barack Obama has a far superior program for the vast majority of African American voters than does Senator Clinton.

Obama offers a concrete plan to deal with the most serious problems of Black America. Senator Clinton, on the other hand, totally sidesteps all racial issues and concerns. She directs her campaign program solidly toward attracting votes of America's predominantly white middle class.

Cross also notes that existing poll results suggest that large numbers of Black voters may not be giving sufficient consideration to the import of an Obama presidency as a role model that might change the lives and expectations of millions of young Black Americans.

Villagers, are you leaning towards a vote for Clinton or Obama at this point?

September 9, 2007

Manic Monday: Clue

The word for this week is clue. Detectives are people that use clues for a living. My television tastes include a number of fictional detectives such as Rockford (James Garner) and Magnum (Tom Selleck). Garner and Selleck are both on my list of all-time favorite actors. I used to enjoy watching a show called Banacek (George Peppard), however Peppard never became a favorite actor for me ... probably because of his work on a show called the A-Team.

Over the past year I have become very much in tune with British mysteries that show on either the Biography Channel or BBC channel, such as Midsomer Murders, Miss Marple, Inspector Morse, Sherlock Holmes, Poirot, Prime Suspect, Inspector Lynley Mysteries and Foyle's War. I didn't have a clue that I watched so many British mystery movies until tonight.

There are not many fictional African American detectives. Shaft and Hawk are two African American detectives that come to mind.

However villagers, my all-time favorite detective of all time is Easy Rawlins, an unemployed Black vet who falls into the detective trade quite by accident. The character was created by Walter Mosley in his 1990 book called, Devil in a Blue Dress. Mosley continues the series, jumping ahead a few years at a shot, with each book offering a vivid snapshot of the Black experience in America -- and particularly Los Angeles, in the latter half of the 20th century.

Easy is a cool character. We watch him complete his education. We see him build a real estate portfolio. We admire his sense of right and wrong as he adopts two abandoned children into his life. He knows -- as a Black man living in the last half of the twentieth century in the United States, and from his own experiences -- how easiliy it can all be stripped away.

Last year, I gave away Easy Rawlins' novels as gifts during the holiday season. I encourage all villagers to experience the Easy Rawlins experience if you haven't done so already --> Red Death (1991), White Butterfly (1992), Black Betty (1994), A Little Yellow Dog (1996), Gone Fishin' (1997), Bad Boy Brawly Brown (2002), Six Easy Pieces (2003), Little Scarlet (2004) and Cinnamon Kiss (2005).

September 8, 2007

Megan Williams Tortured for Over a Week in West Virginia

Villagers, I imagine that you are aware of the situation up in West Virginia where a sister was kidnapped and raped for over a week by six white thugs (including a mother, her son and her daughter). Deidra (Black and Missing Blog) has been provided regular updates on the investigation by the police. Click here for the latest update on the torture of Megan Williams.

September 7, 2007

Jena 6 Conviction Overturned, Mychal Bell is Almost Free

A state appeals court threw out the only remaining conviction against Mychal Bell, one of the Black teenagers accused in the beating of a white schoolmate in the racially tense Louisiana town of Jena.

This is fantastic news for the Jena 6. The young man was 16 at the time of the school fight. He and four others were originally charged with attempted second-degree murder. Mychal Bell has been in court for a long time. He is still subject to charges that have been filed against him as a juvenile. In fact, all six teenagers are facing charges. As such, I anticipate that the massive protest scheduled to take place in Jena will go on as planned on September 20.

Jena politicians feel the pressure of the world bearing down on them. Our American tragedy is slowly moving in the right direction.

Villagers, any thoughts on this appeals court ruling?

September 6, 2007

New Blog Design for Electronic Village

Our first post here on the Electronic Village was on January 13. It is eight months later. We decided it was time to complete our first major web design. I expect that the elders of our village will immediately note the changes ... most notably the new header ... complete with rhino, African landscape and the omnipresent rhino! Some of you noticed that we went from 2-column design to 3-column design a few weeks ago. It helped us place more information on our blog, however, our village was looking mighty crowded.

Over the past few weeks I noticed some very unique blog designs as I visited others in the Manic Monday and Wordless Wednesday memes. That is where I first came across se7en of BlogsGoneWild. I shared my vision of the Electronic Village with se7en. He took my words and created a remarkable design that should allow us room to grow over the coming months. He also shared some SEO tips that I will be implementing in the near future.

Villagers, now is time for you to share your thoughts. Your candid comments help us make this blog better for all villagers. What else can we do to improve our blog?

September 5, 2007

Wordless Wednesday: Rhinoceros Success

The secret of success is becoming a rhinoceros. Wake up each morning as a 6,000 pound rhino! No more sleeping in until the last possible moment. You are now a rhinoceros! At six in the morning, get out of bed like a rhinocerous; not a sloth! Take a quick shower, brush your horns, put on your rhino clothes and get ready to ... CHARGE!!

Charge massively and you will have massive success. Put everything you've got into everything you do. You are a rhino! There is nothing you cannot tackle. It is all or nothing for you. You are a charging rhino with your throttle to the floor, full blast ahead!
Luckily for you, you've got two-inch thick rhino skin, because your damn-the-torpedoes charging, you occassionally catch a torpedo or two. Never mind. You are a rhino! Your skin is so thick, you hardly feel them. They might knock your breath out once in awhile, but you are back on your feet, ready to charge again and madder than hell!

You are a thick-skinned, mad, charging rhino and the torpedoes will run out before you would ever go back to being a lazy, old cow in the pasture. KEEP CHARGING!

September 4, 2007

Noose Hung in Tree at University of Maryland

Hat tip to Danielle of Modern Musings for beating the drums about a noose found hanging in a tree near a building that houses several African American campus organizations at the University of Maryland.

University of Maryland administrators moved quickly over the weekend to assure students and other members of the community that they were taking the possibility of a campus hate crime with the utmost seriousness.

University President C. D. Mote Jr. wrote in an open letter.

Police said they have opened a criminal investigation and are treating the case as a hate crime.
"The University of Maryland will not tolerate discrimination, harassment or acts of hate. The possibility that this act appears intended to bring to mind the horrific crime of lynching, which is such a terrible and tragic part of our nation's past, is particularly abhorrent."
The University of Maryland graduates more African American students than any other public research university among the nation's top 25. In 2006, African American students made up 12.9 percent of the university's 25,154 undergraduate students.

Yet, with all those Black folks on campus ... and with humongous wealth of the Black community in that geographic area ... some fool feels comfortable enough to hang a noose. We are not talking about silly white kids in Jena, LA ... this time we're talking about some grown college-age adults.

Villagers, the September 20 rally in Jena is more and more important. Not just to change the legal system in Jena, but also to remind America that racist acts against our community will no longer be tolerated.

Sit around the baobob tree and share your thoughts on the noose incident at the University of Maryland. What say u?

Larry Craig, Bishop Thomas Weeks and Juanita Bynum Need Credit Card Consolidation

Whenever your income drops by alot in a short period of time ... you become a candidate for credit card consolidation. As such I imagine that folks like Senator Larry Craig, Bishop Thomas Weeks and Juanita Bynum are looking over their options as I gotta believe that they have been losing money since their scandals first hit the airwaves.

Credit card consolidation may save you a considerable amount of money, especially if you’re transferring the balances from high APR (annual percentage rate) credit cards to low APR credit cards, or better yet, one of the many credit cards that offer zero percentage APR for balance transfers.

There are five distinct reasons why credit card consolidation may very well be an excellent choice for you:

  1. Your current credit cards are costing you far too much in annual fee or APR. It may be that the card you use for credit card consolidation may not offer a permanently low APR but rather a short term zero or low APR percentage for any transfer. Go for it! You can always do credit card consolidation, or just one bulk transfer to yet another card when the low introductory rate runs out on this newest one you’ve chosen.

  2. Annual fees can be a strong incentive for credit card consolidation as well. These can add up, especially if you have several credit cards. While many cards have annual fees around $20 or $25 dollars, some can carry an annual fee as high as $250. Keep in mind, however, that doing credit card consolidation by transferring to a card that has no annual fee is only advantageous if you’re going to use that card for the year. If, however, you’re looking at a card whose introductory rate is six months, after which the APR skyrockets, that low or nonexistent annual rate is not going to be much help to you.

  3. If your credit card payments have been continually late they’ve probably affected your credit. Credit card consolidation may be a good way to reduce the debt and improve your credit standing.

  4. Your credit card consolidation might make a little money from it - right up front. There is so much competition among the various credit card companies that some literally offer to give you money back immediately if you’ll transfer your credit card balances to them. They do this by saying that they’re going to reduce that debt. If, for example, you had a total of $2000 in credit card debt on your current credit cards, you might do a credit card consolidation with a new credit card that offers to forgive five percent of your debt. What this means is that the minute you do the credit card consolidation, transferring your outstanding balances on your current cards, you’ve made five percent of $2000, or $100 instantaneously.

In any case, it may be worthwhile checking out companies like Clear Debt Solution for your credit card consolidation needs.
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