November 30, 2007

Valreca Redden is Another Pregnant Black Woman Abused by the Police

We heard the drumbeats from Yeah...I Said It blog. I think that Villagers will be outraged when they hear this story. Y'all remember we told you about a pregnant Black woman that was abused by police in Missouri?

It happened again. This time in Ohio.

Police officers used a taser with 50,000 volts of pure electricity on a pregnant 33-year old Black woman who voluntarily came to them for assistance. Keep in mind that this sister was not doing anything illegal. She feared for her safety, so Valreca Redden went to the Trotwood Police Station on Nov. 18 asking police to take custody of her 1-year-old son. When the police weren't helpful, she turned to leave. The police over-reacted ... I guess out of mortal fear of a 120-pound pregnant woman ... and used a taser on her neck.

I'll stop right here and let you see the interview with Sis. Redden now.

The FBI read the Valreca Redd Police Report and they are investigating the Trotwood Police Department.

I need to hear some village voices on this one. Villagers, what say u?

November 29, 2007

Blogging While Brown Conference Call For Papers

Planning is underway for Blogging While Brown: The First International Conference for Bloggers of Color, scheduled for July 25-27, 2008 at the Georgia World Conference Center and Hilton Downtown in Atlanta, GA.

The most important purpose of the conference is to share knowledge. The conference will promote intellectual, social, and cultural development of the blogging community by bringing bloggers of color together. Blogging While Brown is an opportunity to meet other bloggers and blog readers of color for the first time, discuss current issues of interest to bloggers of color, network with individuals and organizations interested in leveraging online activity with offline results, and learn about the latest technology that will assist bloggers with publishing their work and improving their readers experience by fully engaging in the newest media technology.

Blogging While Brown is currently accepting proposals for workshops that will appear at the conference. The three Conference Tracks are:
  1. From the Screens to the Streets: News, Politics, and Social Justice - This track will feature sessions related to blogging about current events, activism, and bloggers who are leveraging their online resources to get offline results.

  2. Blogging Building Blocks -This conference track will feature sessions related to the nuts and bolts of blogging such as technology, blogging widgets, the business of blogging, monetizing blogs, increasing blog traffic, legal issues, design, layout and improving the reader experience.

  3. The Blogs of Our Lives -This conference track will feature sessions related to entertainment, gossip, lifestyle and social networking, how not to get sued, artist promotion, and the blogs that are our favorite guilty pleasures.

Who may submit workshop proposals? - Any and all individuals interested in bloggers of color and the issues or interest to them should submit proposals. Individuals from for- profit and not-for-profit entities may submit proposals for consideration provided the proposed workshop supports the theme, goals or workshop subject areas of the Conference.


Villagers, don't wait until the last minute! Download the Workshop Proposal Form or review some of the other suggested topics on the Blogging While Brown blog.

I am hopeful that The AfroSpear will find a way to market our organization. Be as creative as you want to be. Work with other bloggers and blog readers. If you have any questions, email

November 28, 2007

Blackface is Holiday Tradition in Amsterdam

Mark Twain is credited with saying, "When the end of the world comes, I want to be in Cincinnati because it's always twenty years behind the times." I live in Cincinnati ... and there are many times when I agree with Mark Twain's assessment. Today, I learn from an AfroSpear blog, Black Women In Europe, that Amsterdam may be even further behind the times.

Can you believe that they have an annual tradition of white folks wearing blackface in Amsterdam?

Wordless Wednesday: George Bush

November 27, 2007

Education & the Black Woman

Villagers, did you have a chance to watch the first part of the series, African American Women: Where They Stand on NBC Nightly News with Brian Williams last night?

I have two daughters and two sisters. As such, it is encouraging to learn that almost two-thirds of Black college undergraduates are women. I thought that the example of the single mother who was a Stanford graduate being shown with her daughter who is currently attending Stanford was excellent.

I just wonder why NBC decided that they needed to denigrate Black men in order to make their point. It seemed like the story was a much about the struggles of Black men in the education system as much as the success of Black women. Perhaps I was too sensitive. What did you think about the news report on NBC re: Black women and education?

Michelle Obama Gives Excellent Reasons to Vote for Barack Obama

Michelle Obama gave a speech in South Carolina last week. I haven't seen the video of the speech, however, the content of her speech is powerful. Kudos to Black Women for Obama for sharing the full text of her speech. She gives good background information on her husband.

At one point, Sis. Obama lays out a powerful statement that hits home with me for a variety of reasons:

Ask yourselves: of all the candidates, who will fight to lift Black men up so we don’t have to keep locking them up; who will confront the racial profiling and Jena justice that continues to afflict this nation; the voter disenfranchisement that rears its ugly head every few years; and the redlining that persists in our communities, keeping prosperity out and hopelessness in. Who will use the bully pulpit of the presidency to call on Black men to accept their responsibility and raise their children; who will refuse to tolerate Corridors of Shame in this country – of all countries? The answer is clear – Barack Obama. Not because of the color of his skin. Not because of what he’s said. But because of what he has done. How he has lived his life. Fighting for justice for all Americans; from all walks of life.

I'm still amazed that Black women have any difficulty understanding the unique historical opportunity that exists. First, the perfect storm exists for the Democratic presidential candidate to sweep into office next November. Therefore, the big decision is who will win the Democratic primary ... Obama, Clinton or Edwards. This is the first time in the history of our country that an African American is a legitimate and QUALIFIED candidate for the presidency. Why are Black women hesitant to throw their full support behind this man and his family?
Villagers, why are Black women hesitant to support the Obamas?

I've never been much of an Oprah Winfrey fan before. However, I am hopeful that her four major campaign appearances on Dec 8-9 for Barack Obama in Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina will provide women of all colors a reason to re-consider their support of Hillary Clinton. Women should't vote for the first woman president, they should vote for what they need. I think that America needs Obama. Villagers,What say u?

November 26, 2007

Good Day for Democrats

Today was an unusually active day for political wonks:
  1. Trent Lott announced his decision to resign from US Senate. It is actually fun to watch republicans in congress scurrying about like roaches with the lights turned on 'em!

  2. Dick Cheney goes to the hospital because of an irregular heartbeat and ends up having more surgery on his heart. For the sake of his family, I hope that the surgery is successful enough for him to live, however, it would be great if this guy has to resign. If not, it is a shame that he wasn't impeached earlier.

  3. Al Gore visits the White House today. Ironic when you consider that George Bush and Al Gore battled it out for the presidency in 2000. You got to beleive that Al Gore will be smiling inside as he reflects on how poorly Bush as done as our president over the past 7 years.

What will happen next in the world of national politics?

Manic Monday: Rank

Villagers, the Manic Monday word this week is 'RANK'. I've shared information about African Americans in the military before. As such, many of you know that my cousin retired from the US Navy as a rear admiral. Of course, the highest-ranked Black military man that most of us know nowadays is retired General Colin Powell. If things had broken a little different for Colin Powell ... he might have become our President instead of George Bush (sigh).

Anyhow, I thought I would point Villagers to high ranking African American officers in the four branches of the military.

  1. Air Force - Lt. General John Hopper was the highest-ranking African American in the US Air Force when he retired in 2005, after a distinguished 35-year military career. His last assignment was Vice Commander, Air Education and Training Command at Randolph AFB, Texas. The command recruits, trains and educates more than 370,000 men and women for the aerospace force and the nation.

  2. Army - Colonel Charles Young was the highest ranking African American officer in the army when WW1 started. He was also the first African American to reach that rank in the army. Young thought that he would have a major leadership role in World War I as a result of his military experience and rank, but prejudice and injustice led to him being forced out of of the military on June 22, 1917 under protest.

  3. Marines - Maj. General Cornell Wilson will be the highest-ranking African American on active duty in the Marine Corps when he receives his second star. He's now commander of the II Marine Expeditionary Force Augmentation Command Element at Camp Lejeune, NC. Wilson often reflects on the accomplishments of Black marines since the The Montford Point Marines were first established after President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed Executive Order 8802, which allowed African Americans to be recruited during World War II.

  4. Navy - Samuel Lee Gravely, Jr., (1922-2004), was an African American Navy pioneer and a native of Richmond, VA. Gravely built a Navy career that lasted 38 years and included many distinguished accomplishments. He became the first African American to command a U.S. Navy warship (Theodore E. Chandler), the first African American to command an American warship under combat conditions (Taussig), the first African American to command a major naval warship (Jouett), the first African American admiral, the first African American to rise to the rank of Vice Admiral, and the first African American to command a U.S. Fleet (Commander, U.S. 3rd Fleet). The USS Gravely (DDG-107) has been named in his honor. A street on the east side of Richmond, VA is also named in his honor.

Anyhow, these are the thoughts that ran through my mind as I pondered the word RANK. I hope you have enjoyed my Manic Monday effort this week.

November 25, 2007

Jakaris Taylor, Dunbar Village Rapist Gets 20-Year Sentence

Jakaris Taylor is a 16-year-old boy who's life will never be the same because of his decision to join a gang. Nine of his gang buddies joined him in rape, sodomy and cruelty imposted on a 35-year old single Black mother and her 12-year old son earlier this summer. Click here for our original post on the Dunbar Village gang rape. He could have faced life sentence for the indictment on each of the three charges of burglary with battery, and two counts of sexual battery with a gun while wearing a mask.
Instead, he flipped. He took a deal.

Jakaris agreed to testify against his co-defendants in exchange for a 20-year prison sentence. His plea deal gives him a 20-year sentence on each charge to be served simultaneously, with credit for 130 days served. He will also be branded a sexual predator, according to the agreement.

Taylor will now testify against his co-defendants, Avion Lawson, Nathan Walker and Tommy Poindexter.

I wonder if the police know who the other six rapists are from the original attack? Are the other six sexual predators still living untouched by the law in the Dunbar Village apartment complex where the rape took place?

In other words, Villagers, methinks that there will be more to this story over the coming weeks and months.

November 24, 2007

Killing of DeAunta Farrow

Villagers, I feel foolish for not knowing about DeAunta Farrow until this morning. DeAunta is a 12-year old Black boy that was shot and killed by a police officer in West Memphis, AR earlier this year. Young DeAunta was in his own neighborhood, his mother knew where he was and what he was doing, he was with one family member going to another family member's residence and was not engaged in any illegal activity. DeAunta was loved and cared for.

Now he is dead.

The powers-that-be in Arkansas have declared that the police officer was not wrong for killing this young boy. The police officer, Sgt. Erik Sammis, claims that he thought the youngster had a gun. A plastic toy gun was placed into evidence at the scene, however, the boy's family indicate that the toy gun was placed on the scene by someone friendly to the police department.

Our thanx to the Police Brutality Blog and Thaddeus Matthews Dot Com for beating the drums about this case.

One lesson that we can all take from this case is to remind our children not to walk the streets with play guns or any type of gun in their hands, waist, or on themselves at all. We know now that they take their lives and place it into the hands of a cop, and they could be killed.

In any case, Villagers, have you heard about this case? Am I wrong in wondering whether this young boy would still be alive if he didn't have as much melanin in his skin?

November 23, 2007

Can Mentoring Programs Really Grow Minority Businesses?

I have operated as a full-time entrepreneur since July 5, 2002. As a result, I stay attuned to information that impacts on Black business growth.

The Institute for Entrepreneurial Thinking is the leading authority on issues related to minority business development and supplier diversity. The Institute's mission is to help its clients improve the outcomes of their investments in these areas. Dr. Mel Gravely is a colleague here in Cincinnati. He owns The Institute and uses it to provide an objective, balanced and practical resource committed to providing leading edge insight about the evolving opportunities and challenges related to race and business.
I encourage all Villagers to check out the featured article in the November 2007 issue of The Entrepreneurial Thinker entitled, 'Can Mentoring Programs Really Grow Minority Businesses?'.

Are there any other entrepreneurs floating through our village?

Anna Ciriani May Need a Mortgage Calculator

It is so difficult to figure out what to do when you make the decision to buy a home. Traditional Fixed Rate Mortgage? Adjustable Rate Mortgage? 5/1 ARM? 3/1 ARM? Negative or Option ARM? You have to wonder which kind of mortgage is best. The simple answer is: There is no right loan.

I figured that Anna Ciriani needs to sell her current home in Italy and buy a new one ... probably in Hollywood. She is slowly becoming the most well-known teacher in the universe and she needs to decide which which type of mortgage will best serve her individual needs.

I suggest that Madameweb spend a little time understanding the advantages and disadvantages of various mortgage programs. With a little effort she can save thousands by choosing the right mortgage.

Anna (and anyone else that is in the real estate market), please get a Free Mortgage Calculator and a free copy of your credit report. Anna, if Italy doesn't declare your home a national monument ... then you may want to see what it would take to get out from under your current debt.

* Anna's Video
* Official Madameweb Site

Sponsored Post

Books or Bullets: The Choice is Ours

Drumbeats from Blackonomics pointed us to the Books or Bullets blog. Here I discovered a program that I encourage all Villagers to consider. Do you believe that we are experiencing not a generation gap but an information gap and we will work towards raising the consciousness of the Black community, especially our youth. We have talked about ending Black-on-Black violence ... but, are we willing to take steps to stop youth violence and replace bullets with books?

We understand that during slavery, Black people were not allowed to read and we are still suffering from that legacy today. Later, Black schools were separate and unequal giving Black children an inferior education. Even today, Black children are taught a Euro-centric education that downplays the contributions of African people. This coupled with an entertainment industry that promotes and glamorizes ignorance is the reason that our youth are in their current condition. Since information about Black history has been stolen and information about current events has been hidden, the Books or Bullets Movement says "Stick em up!"

The program suggested for Villager consideration is as follows:

The Program

  1. We must return to the "each one teach one principle."
  2. We must develop study groups in communities across the country that will meet regularly to discuss Black history and how it applies to current events.
  3. We must aggressively develop a more informed Black community by any means necessary.

How you can help?

  1. Make a point to buy at "least" one book a month to give to a young person.
  2. Clean out your closets and donate your old books dealing with Black history/issues to the Books or Bullets Movement.
  3. Always keep information in your posession that you can pass on to a young person, whether it be a book, CD, DVD or a news clip.
  4. Develop a syllabus of reading material that you can give to others either hand to hand or via email.
  5. Use for an information clearing house to post news stories, book reviews and announcements about current events.
  6. Encourage radio DJs to become involved by featuring at least a weekly segment discussing a book that gives the historical basis for current events.
  7. Encourage barbershops, beauty salons and other places where our people gather to have a small library of conscious reading material.

Villagers, are you interested in following up on this program? If so, you can get more information by phone (919.451-8283) or email ( .

November 22, 2007

Mukasey Releases Hate Crimes Report

Attorney General Michael Mukasey didn't take much time to get active once appointed to his new gig. His Justice Department indicted Barry Bonds within about a week, while the past Justice Department leadership had the case without any action for over four years. Muskasey experiences a Washington DC march calling for his department to do more in addressing hate crimes and racial injustice ... and three days later his FBI releases a report showing that hate crimes rose nearly 8 percent last year.

The problematic thing is that the noose incidents reported in the last half of 2006 at Jena High School are not included in the report. It makes you wonder if the statistics are understated.

An analysis of the data shows that hate crimes increased by 8% in 2006 with anti-gay hate crimes up by 15.5%. The information was collected from police departments across the country (which might explain why the Jena statistics aren't in the report ... Jena legal system isn't known for doing the right thing). Police departments reported 7,722 incidents targeting people or property because of race, religion, sexual orientation, ethnicity, national origin and mental or physical disability.

More than half of those crimes were motivated by racial prejudice, the report stated.

"The FBI report confirms what we have been saying for many months about the severe increase in hate crimes," said the Rev. Al Sharpton, who organized the Washington DC march. "What is not reported, however, is the lack of prosecution and serious investigation by the Justice Department to counter this increase in hate crimes." Sharpton called for Attorney General Michael Mukasey to meet with members of the Congressional Black Caucus and civil rights leaders to discuss this enforcement.

African American Women: Where They Stand

Drumbeats from Blackfolks blog tell us that throughout the week of November 26, "NBC News With Brian Williams" will take a look at the issues facing African American women across our nation in a new series "African American Women: Where They Stand." The series will cover a wide-range of issues from their role in the '08 Presidential race, to the increased health-risks that they need to be concerned about.

Monday's installment will discuss African American women's progress in the education field. Nearly two-thirds of African American undergraduates are women. At Black colleges, the ratio of women to men is 7 to 1. And that is leading to a disparity in the number of African American women who go on to own their own businesses. Rehema Ellis will talk to educators, students and businesswomen about why this disparity exists.

Tuesday, Ellis will look at relationships within the African American female community. Many agree the gender disparity in education and business among African Americans is having an effect on relationships that African American women have. Some even say the implications could redefine "Black America's family and social structure." In the past fifty years, the percentage of African American women between 25-54 who have never been married has doubled from 20% to 40%. (Compared to just 16% of white women who have never been married today). Ellis sits down with the members of a Chicagobook club and talk about this difference and how it impacts them.

Dr. Nancy Snyderman will discuss the increases risks for breast cancer for African American women on Wednesday. Mortality rates for African American women are higher than any other racial or ethnic group for nearly every major cause of death, including breast cancer. Black women with breast cancer are nearly 30% more likely to die from it than white women. Premenopausal Black women are more than twice as likely to get a more aggressive form of the disease. And, not only are African American women more likely to die from breast cancer, but they're less likely to get life-saving treatments. Dr. Snyderman will profile one of the only oncologists in the world who specializes in the treatment of African American women with breast cancer.

On Thursday, Ron Allen will take viewers to South Carolina -- the first southern primary state -- and ask the question: Will race trump gender or gender trump race? In South Carolina, Black women made up nearly 30 percent of all democratic primary voters in 2004. This year, polls show a significant number are undecided, torn between choosing the first African American or first female Presidential candidate. Allen talks with the undecided, as well the state directors for the Clinton and Obama campaigns, who happen to be African American women.

To close the series on Friday, Dr. Snyderman will raise the frightening statistic that African American women are 85% more likely to get diabetes, a major complication for heart disease. And, like breast cancer, more Black women die from heart disease than white women. Dr. Snyderman will profile a leading expert and a unique church-based outreach program in South Carolina that seeks to spread the word about heart disease risks to black women congregants.

Mara Schiavocampo, Digital Correspondent for "Nightly News," will address two hot topics in the African American community: interracial dating and the impact of hip hop music on Black women. Interracial dating is a growing trend in the African American community. An poll found that 81% of participants approved of Black women dating non-Black men. According to a U.S. Census Bureau report in 2000, 95,000 Black women were married to white men. In 2005, that number increased to 134,000. Schiavocampo will talk to experts about the trend and discuss how this defines the "Black family" of the future. Schiavocampo will convene a panel of leading Black men and women from the hip-hop industry for an engaging discussion on whether hip hop lyrics and videos positively or negatively affect Black women. The roundtable also will address how these portrayals are affecting relationships between Black women and Black men.

Villagers, I look forward to seeing your comments on this NBC news reporting. Do you plan to watch it?

November 21, 2007

Judge Backpedals, Opens Jena Trial to Public

UPDATE: Judge Mauffray has been pimp-slapped by another judge who ordered that the entire Mychal Bell hearing should be open to the public and the press. Click here for the full story.

Villagers, there was some positive news for those of us concerned about justice in the Jena Six trials that are still ongoing down in Louisiana. Judge J.P. Mauffray, the judge overseeing the trial of Mychal Bell, one of the teenage defendants in the racially charged Jena 6 case in Louisiana, reversed course and agreed to open Bell's upcoming juvenile trial to the public.

The lawsuit asserts that the judge's earlier decision to close all the proceedings in Bell's case runs counter to Louisiana juvenile laws and provisions of both the Louisiana and U.S. Constitutions.

"Judge Mauffray does acknowledge that [sections of the Louisiana Children's Code] permit or require adjudication, disposition and modification hearings in those specified cases to be public, and he intends to comply with applicable law," Mauffray's attorney, Donald Wilson, wrote in response to the lawsuit.

Bell, 17, is scheduled to go on trial Dec. 6 on charges of aggravated second-degree battery and conspiracy for his alleged part in an attack on a white student at Jena High School last December. Bell was initially tried and convicted of the charges as an adult, but an appellate court threw out the conviction, ruling that Bell should have been prosecuted as a juvenile.

Kudos to Howard Twitt (Chicago Tribune senior correspondent) for continuing to share his drumbeat on the Jena Six story.

Cops Still Investigating Killing of David Willis in Savannah, GA

Villagers, we shared information with you in mid-August about the shooting of David Willis, who authorities said was attempting to run down officers. Later, Al Sharpton traveled to Savannah to comfort the family of the young man killed by the police. I have been wondering about the news blackout on the internal investigation of this police shooting case.

"Some investigations are cut and dry and move quickly through the system, but others are not," police spokesman Sgt. Mike Wilson said. "We want to examine everything carefully and thoroughly. It gives officers an opportunity to really review the strategies, tactics, policies and procedures and to look at how we can better serve the community. That's what we do."

Willis family representatives, however, contend some crucial details surrounding his death have not been fully disclosed. Moreover, they have pointed to what they call contradicting evidence. Attorney Lennie Darden thinks the Pontiac sedan Willis was driving was disabled at the time of the shooting, and deploying airbags put occupants of the car in a state of confusion. He said his law firm is conducting an investigation of its own.

"The family is still heartbroken, and they're still asking for answers," he said. "There's been no direct response from the city or the police department to the family, so they're distraught over that."

We will keep the drumbeats coming on this story until we know the final results.

Wordless Wednesday: Demore Barnes

I'm a fan of a weekly television show called, The Unit. One of the five warriors on this show is a brother, Hector. Hector's character was falling in love with a white woman. He also saw his commanding officer in a compromising position with another member of The Unit. As a result, I wasn't surprised when that ol' wives tale about the Black guy being the first one killed became real last week. My man, Hector, was killed by a sniper. We wish Demore Barnes the best of luck in his future acting career.

November 20, 2007

NAACP Economic Reciprocity Initiative Gives F-grade to Target

It is no secret that I think that the NAACP hasn't been relevant in many years. When their national president resigned earlier this year I questioned whether the NAACP, with it's 64-person board of directors, could ever become relevant again. I served as a national president of a large association of Black IT professionals in 2004-2005. I know how difficult it is to move a national organization.

That being said, I was pleased to hear the drumbeats from the Wichita NAACP Blog about the NAACP Economic Reciprocity Initiative (ERI). This is a sustained effort on the part of NAACP to measure Corporate America's financial relationship to the Black community. Our Black spending power is over $700 billion. It is helpful that the NAACP provides a booklet with information that helps us spend more wisely.

One of the outgrowths of this effort is the creation of the NAACP Diversity Best Practice Guide. This guide highlights the diversity and inclusion practices of the highest performing companies in each of the categories noted in the ERI. The Best Practices Guide is meant 1) to provide corporate executives, diversity practitioners, and human resource professionals with information to begin a dialogue about diversity and inclusion in corporate America, and 2) to be used as a mechanism to highlight what works as corporations continue to evaluate their current corporate diversity programs.

There is some good news in terms of advancements in employer diversity and community reinvestment. But, there is still significant ground to cover to advance economic opportunity for African Americans. Here are the specific reports on companies in the following industries:

For the third year in a row, one of the nation's largest retailers, Target, has flat-out refused to participate. What are they hiding? Villagers, my hope is that you will tell Target to take the NAACP Survey. African Americans contribute more than $700 billion a year to the economy--and a substantial amount of those hard earned dollars are spent in stores like Target. We are serious about holding companies accountable for respecting the value of African American consumers.

Economic empowerment isn't just a financial issue, it's a civil rights issue. African American consumers want fairness in the marketplace, just as they do in all other aspects of their lives. We must demand economic diversity and transparency from corporate giants like Target. Tell Target to clarify its position on economic opportunity for African Americans by answering the NAACP's survey and supporting the Economic Reciprocity Initiative.

Villagers, we need to use information such as this to advance our belief in the principle of Ujamaa. We simply must learn how to better use our income and spending power to create wealth. I think that this is an issue that we will address more in the future.

November 19, 2007

Obama Pulls Ahead in Iowa Polls

Villagers, did you see the recent polls in Iowa? Barack Obama now has 30% of likely Democratic caucus voters express interest in Iowa. Clinton poll number is now 26%. This is the first poll in quite awhile that shows that Hillary isn't the inevitable Democratic party candidate.
Personally, I think that Hillary is at her peak in Iowa with about 25% of the vote ... while Obama still has room to grow ... especially as other candidates such as Edwards begin to fade. Barack Obama is the favorite second choice for most other candidates. In other words, he benefits when the others begin to drop out of the race.

It seems that those of us that want change and fresh ideas are being heard, especially when we realize that Hillary's honesty and character keep coming into question. Most Democratic likely voters in Iowa, 55 percent, say they're more interested in a "new direction and new ideas" than in strength and experience, compared with 49 percent in July -- a help to Obama, who holds a substantial lead among "new direction" voters. Obama beats her by 2-1 as the most honest and trustworthy candidate. Her advantage on experience, while substantial, has softened since summer. She has notably less support in Iowa than nationally in trust to handle a variety of specific issues -- on Iraq, for example, Obama now runs evenly with her.

I think that the other results from this Washington Post/ABC News poll that should interest folks is how women in Iowa are trending in this primary. Obama is running even with Clinton among women in Iowa, drawing 32 percent to her 31 percent, despite the fact that the Clinton campaign has built its effort around attracting female voters.

Click here for more ABC News polls

Plenty of open questions remain -- including where preferences wind up at the caucuses six weeks from now and whether or how Iowans' choices resonate elsewhere. Clearly there's room to move: Forty-three percent say there's a chance they could change their minds by the Jan. 3 caucuses; 20 percent say there's a good chance of it.

I must admit that I'm glad to see positive news for Obama. Hopefully, there aren't any more televised debates for the brother. He simply doesn't do well in those debates.

Villagers, have you decided who you want to see as our next President of the United States?

November 18, 2007

Jay-Z is a Punk

We heard the drumbeats from UltravioletUnderground about this video clip with a nationally known celebrity.

Villagers, does it appear that Jay-Z is pimp-slapping a young girl (pony-tail and all)? What could cause him to do something like this to a young girl in front of his posse? Any why didn't any of them come to her defense? Villagers, what say u?

Help Katrina Survivors Come Back Home

UPDATE: My Private Cabash blog shared information about other serious public housing issues impacting on New Orleans. Click here to see the full story on destruction of public housing in that city.

Villagers, There were a number of public housing residents impacted by Hurricane Katrina. They have been blocked from returning home for over two years. New Orleans leaders are concerned that The Gulf Coast Housing Recovery Act of 2007 (HR 1227 / S. 1668) is being stalled in the US Senate.

This bill would help Katrina-impacted public housing residents come home by repairing and opening thousands of minimally damaged public housing units. The bill passed in the House of Representatives, but some senators are standing in the way of the bill, supporting the interests of those who would like to see a richer, Whiter New Orleans and Gulf Coast.

Villagers, is Katrina still on our minds and hearts entering into this thanksgiving season? If so, sign the online petition to help these brothers and sisters out.

November 17, 2007

AfroSpear Blogger Named One of 25 Most Influential African Americans

Villagers, share some love with Gina McCauley, What About Our Daughters blogger, for being recognized as one of 25 distinguished African Americans who have made a difference in 2007. Senator Barack Obama received the most votes in an online poll on, earning recognition as the "Readers' Choice" for the year's most influential African American. You will find Gina in the opening pages of the current issue of the magazine right across from Barack Obama in a half-page piece that features a very nice picture of our sister in blog.

"Some of the most poignant moments in African American history took place in 2007, from the unified stance that was taken in support of the Jena Six and the Rutgers University Women's Basketball team to the triumphant victory made by Barry Bonds," says Angela Burt-Murray, editor-in-chief, ESSENCE. "Making their voices heard on, the overwhelmingly positive response from our 8 million readers for Senator Obama as African American of the Year is noteworthy, as African American women are predicted to be the tipping point for the Black vote in the 2008 election."

The melange of influencers, ranging from actors and advocates to moguls and students, were compiled in a compelling feature of rarely seen photos and biographical profiles.

ESSENCE Magazine's
25 Most Influential List
  1. Senator Barack Obama - US Senator and Presidential Candidate
  2. Gina McCauley- Blogger,
  3. Tyler Perry - Writer, Producer, Director
  4. Majora Carter - Environmentalist, Founder, Executive Director, Sustainable South Bronx
  5. Victoria Lanier- Former Youth Director, NAACP, Northeast Region
  6. Reverend Jesse L. Jackson - Civil Rights Activist, Minister
  7. Reverend Al Sharpton - Civil Rights Activist and President, National Action Network
  8. The Jena Six
  9. Beyonce Knowles - Singer, Songwriter, Actress
  10. Oprah Winfrey - Media Mogul, School Founder
  11. Timbaland - Music Producer, Recording Artist
  12. Cory A. Booker - Mayor of Newark, New Jersey
  13. Lovie Smith - Head Coach, NFC Champions, Chicago Bears
  14. Tony Dungy - Head Coach, Super Bowl Champions, Indianapolis Colts
  15. Deval Patrick - Governor, Massachusetts
  16. Don Cheadle - Actor, Activist
  17. Shonda Rhimes - Creator, Executive Producer, Grey's Anatomy and Private Practice
  18. Venus Williams - Tennis Champion
  19. Charles Rangel - Chairman, House Committee on Ways and Means
  20. Barry Bonds - "Home Run King"
  21. Cynthia Tucker - Syndicated Columnist, Editorial Page Editor, Atlanta Journal-Constitution
  22. The Scarlet Knights - Rutgers University Women's Basketball Team, NCAA Finalists
  23. Kiri Davis - Filmmaker, Youth Activist
  24. Bishop T.D. Jakes - Founder, Senior Pastor, The Potter's House of Dallas
  25. Steve Harvey - Radio Personality, Comedian, Actor

Do any of the other folks on this list have a blog? If so, we should encourage them to join The AfroSpear!

November 16, 2007

Focus on Hate Crime is Far Too Narrow

Villagers, we shared information about the onsite conversation that Shane Johnson organized in conjunction with the Al Sharpton rally in Washington DC yesterday. In another example of the mainstream media picking up on stories reported first in the afrosphere we see that nationally-syndicated columnist Clarence Page picked up on the story:

Here's one from the "Taste of His Own Medicine" department: When the Rev. Al Sharpton led a recent Washington rally to protest what he called lax federal prosecution of hate crimes, at least one local black resident was waiting with a protest of his own.

Amid recent reports of noose hangings and other racial incidents, Sharpton, Martin Luther King III and other activists rallied outside the Department of Justice Friday to call for tougher federal prosecutions of hate crimes.

Shane Johnson, 32, a social worker by day and Weblogger on the side, staged a nearby dissent with a few sympathizers. He supported the prosecution of hate crimes, he said, but thinks Sharpton's definition of "hate" is too narrow. Johnson didn't draw much attention and he wasn't surprised. "Most people view me as taking on the black establishment," he told me in a telephone interview. "They think I am going to embarrass our leaders. My view is that they should be embarrassed."

Click here for the rest of Clarence's column

Any thoughts on the two events held at the Justice Department in Washington DC yesterday?

November 15, 2007

NPR Blogger Roundtable Invites Villager Back Again

Villagers, I learned today that I will be back on the blogger roundtable hosted by NPR News & Notes in January 2008 to discuss the evolution of The AfroSpear as well as the recent ranking of influential Black blogs.

We ran out of time to discuss this segment during the Nov 14 NPR Blogger Roundtable ... so, we rescheduled that segment for January 9. Villagers, did you have a chance to listen to the 13-minute roundtable discussion with me, La Shawn Barber and Yobachi Boswell? If so, what did you think?

November 14, 2007

Is Barry Bonds a Fallen Hero?

One of the top sports stories of 2007 will be Barry Bonds breaking the all-time home-run record. However, a bigger story is likely to be the 4-count indictment of Barry Bonds for perjury and obstruction of justice. Bonds is facing many years of imprisonment if the government case is strong enough. You be the judge. Villagers are encouraged to download or read the indictment yourself.

Click here for copy of Barry Bonds indictment

What do you think? Should his baseball records be erased? Should there be an asterisk next to his records? Should his records be left alone? Are there any Barry Bonds' fans outside of the San Francisco area?

November 13, 2007

Dunbar Village Protest Against Al Sharpton Hits USA Today

The counter-protest to Al Sharpton's march on the Justice Department made national headlines in the mainstream media today. Villagers, we told you about this counter-protest called by Shane Johnson (shown in the photo to the left) and Gina McCauley in an earlier post. This is an example of the evolving influence of the afrosphere.

The USA Today article provides a quote from Al Sharpton acknowledging the Dunbar Village victim. However, I found two other things to be most interesting. First, I was surprised to learn that the leader of the National Urban League was unaware of the Dunbar Village rape of a Black woman and her young son. Second, I was disappointed that the focus of the headline was "Black-on-Black crime". I simply don't like that overt racial slant on crime in our country. We never called the IRA conflict with England "white-on-white crime". We never talk about the fact that over 90% of crime committed against white people in our country occurs from other white perps/criminals.

In my view, the issue is crime against Black women that appears to be accepted ... regardless of whether the perps are Black, white or purple. Anyhow, the key point is that the counter-protest reached a national audience by being published in the USA Today.

November 12, 2007

Field Negro Asked a Good Question...

Field won his bet. I never heard of Asia Adams until I read about her in his blog. Truth to tell, I learned about Megan Williams and Dunbar Village via bloggers in The AfroSpear network.

Field gave us a pass on our ignorance about Asia Adams when he wrote:

"Because when she was murdered three years ago in her Germantown home, it didn't make national headlines, and there wasn't a cadre of bloggers focusing on her brutal and tragic death and calling for the equal and proper treatment of Black women. No marches, no wall to wall commentary, and no moral outrage from all the usual suspects."
Field wondered out loud "what it is that makes a story news worthy? Why are some stories worth our outrage and our righteous indignation, and some like Asia Adams....well, we never even hear about?"

In my view, there are three things that we can do now. First, we need to keep one another informed through drumbeats, email listservs or blogs. We can not depend on the mainstream media (MSM) to have the interests of the African American community at heart. We must look out for our own interests by keeping one another informed. We must take advantage of this technology to maintain and increase the flow of information and dialogue.

Second, it is my view that we need to control our own family first. Each of us must ensure that we are spending appropriate time, talent and energy in raising OUR OWN CHILDREN. If you father a child ... you need to step up and be a man .... you need to be involved in raising that child so that they can grow into a productive member of our village (society). Perhaps if each of us simply took responsibility for our child then we would have less young people like Asia or the Haitian mother in Dunbar Village being victimized.

Finally, I accept that there are killers among us that will take another life ... stone-cold, no-remorse killers. However, there are an equal number of young men that will kill tonight who wandered into the killing zone by taking path of least resistance (gangs, drugs, etc). These young people will be forever changed in their soul because of the life that they took. I wonder if there isn't an answer beyond lock 'em up when it comes to rehabilitating these accidental killers?

Field, the marching and blog-writing won't change the mindset that causes a killer to take the life of another human being. Perhaps we can change their mindset before they get in that killing zone? Perhaps we can bring down the number of killings in Philadelphia, Cincinnati and elsewhere. One brother (or sister) at a time.

Villagers, read Field's blog post on Asia Adams ... do you have an answer to his question?

November 11, 2007

Chris Smitherman Makes NAACP Cincinnati Branch More Relevant

We shared with you news of a new president for the NAACP Cincinnati branch earlier this year. It appears at the people are speaking with their checkbooks about the effectiveness of the new leadership. The branch reported a 100% increase in membership in the six months since Chris Smitherman took office as president.

Smitherman said of the increase, "The increase in membership is based on citizens in our community viewing the Cincinnati Branch of the NAACP as relevant and engaged in issues that impact their daily lives.".

Smitherman successfully led a coaliton of groups to defeat a county 'jail tax' issue that had the support and momentum of big business and major politicians in the city. Last night he ended a hunger strike protesting the ridiculous bond that held a Black man in prison for over 60 days for what appears to be a minor transgression. The bail set by a Cincinnati judge in this case was more than the bail OJ Simpson had to pay to Las Vegas judges for release on 11 charges of armed assault.

NAACP is bringing their national conference to Cincinnati next year and it appears that the local branch may be worthy of the honor. Do you see similiar resurgence by the NAACP branch in your town? More importantly, are you a NAACP member?

November 10, 2007

Dunbar Village Supporters Question Al Sharpton and Other Silent Black Leaders

I attended the Million Man March in October 1997. I recall that there were a number of other marches scheduled in the following weeks and months. It is impossible to put lightning in a bottle twice. I didn't attend the Jena Six march in September 2007, however, I'm proud to be part of the process in the afrosphere that led to that successful march. There have been a number of marches called since September ... the latest is one called by Al Sharpton to protest the inaction of the Department of Justice on hate crimes.

The story that you may not have heard is that Al Sharpton will be greeted by counter protesters on November 16. The counter protesters want to know why he and other African American leaders have refused to publicly comment on a horrific crime against humanity committed against a Black woman and her child in a housing project called Dunbar Village located in West Palm Beach, FL.

The Dunbar Village tragedy is the horrific story of the brutal gang rape, sodomy, and torture of a 35 year old black Haitian immigrant and her 12 year old son. 10 black teens forced their way into the victim's home at a public housing complex in West Palm Beach, Florida. The mother was forced to perform fellatio on her own son at gunpoint. The teens then cut and stabbed the mother and her son, poured cleaning solvent on their skin and in their eyes, and would have set them both on fire, but as one teen suspect reported, no one in the gang had matches. Currently, only four suspects are in custody. During the 3 hour rape and torture, not a single neighbor called 911.

The counter protest was organized by Shane Johnson. "How is it that practically every social justice organization from the ACLU to the NAACP to the SCLC knows something about Dunbar Village but refuses to speak out about it?", asks Shane Johnson who is a blogger and the author of Black Sapience...My .02. Johnson adds, "This protest is not to request that Sharpton and his allies march in West Palm Beach, but simply an inquiry regarding Rev. Sharpton's peculiar silence on this issue."

For over three months, Gina McCauley, who created the blog, What About Our Daughters? has been asking why prominent African Americans have failed to make any public comment about the Dunbar Village crime. "This type of crime happened on our watch and our "leaders" are still silent. They are silent because they are indifferent. Their indifference is immoral." McCauley says. She posted the names and contact information of prominent African Americans and organizations on her blog and despite numerous calls, emails and letters from readers, not a single person on the list has issued a public comment on the crime. She describes their refusal to publicly comment 'Immoral Indifference'.

"It is the height of hypocrisy that Black leaders have remained silent for so long about the Dunbar Village Rape tragedy. Black leaders remain silent about victims of Black on Black crime." McCauley noted on her blog that several prominent African American issued statements on the humane treatment of animals during the controversy surrounding Michael Vick. "We can get a statement about dogs, but not about two human beings."

Tanisha Mathis, who operates the Essential Presence blog adds, "African Americans are falsely led to believe the mainstream is not sensitive to their issues but its proven repeatedly that it is, in fact, Black leaders and Black news entities that are the most silent in regards to crimes against Blacks like the Dunbar Village gang rape."

I am unable to attend either protest march in person, however, I wish the counter protesters well as they gather in Washington, DC at the Justice Department on Friday, November 16, 2007. It should make for an interesting afternoon.

November 9, 2007

Villager Joins NPR Roundtable Hosted by Farai Chideya

Villagers, I am heading to local NPR station later today to participate in a weekly blogger roundtable on News & Notes hosted by Farai Chideya (shown in the photo to the right). I will be joined by La Shawn Barber and Yobachi Bowell. The show is pretty relaxed -- think of it as a conversation around the dinner table with friends and family, or at a coffee house or bar.

My understanding is that we will be talking about four topics (time permitting) during the show:
  1. Growing influence of 'The AfroSpear - The history of AfroSpear is documented. This progressive section of the afrosphere stoked the fires that led to mainstream media coverage of Jena Six, Genarlow Wilson and Shaquanda Cotton situations. The group recently began to track the Top 10 Black Blogs with a list that is published monthly on both the Electronic Village and BDPA Foundation blogs.

  2. Who speaks for Black America? Anyone?? - Personally, I think that this is a bugaboo of white powers-that-be resulting from their utter surprise at the response of Blacks all over the country to the news of MLK's assasination.

  3. UC system considers using race for admissions - I think that affirmative action programs are valid responses to institutionalized racism. As such, I think that using race for admissions is a valid option for consideration.

  4. HOTGIRLS - (Helping Our Teen Girls In Real Life Situations) uses rap music to start conversations with girls about the challenges they face growing up --- BUT rap is often blamed for promoting degrading images of women -- Is this what they call a conundrum?

Anyhow villagers, I hope that you will listen to the show live or via the taped audiocast! Let me know what you think about the four topics or the show itself!