December 31, 2007

Villager's 2007 Year-In-Review

It has been a remarkable year for those of us in the afrosphere. The number of blogs included in the Black Blog Rankings (BBR) grew from 75 to over 600 in the course of a few months. We saw the creation of both the Afrosphere Bloggers Association and The AfroSpear.

Mainstream media become much more aware of our presence as evidenced by events in Jena LA, Paris TX and Atlanta GA. Many Black bloggers are regularly featured on weekly National Public Radio broadcasts. Heck, a Black blogger was recognized as one of the 25-most influential African Americans in the country by Essence magazine.

I encourage all villagers to check out the comprehensive 'Black blogging year-in-review' perspective provided by Yobachi earlier this month.

I was inspired by my sister (Kyra Hicks) to create two blogs in 2007. The Electronic Village (BBR #34) was brought to life in Jan 2007 and redesigned in Sep 2007. The BDPA Foundation Blog (BBR #342) came online in Aug 2007. Both blogs evolved during the course of the year. Generally, the mission for both blogs is to share information that will inform and uplift our readers about people of African descent. The BETF-Blog tasks itself with an added goal to raise funds for the education and technology programs of BDPA.

We track our popular posts throughout the year. However, it is tradition to reflect on the year just ended. As such, we share with you our list of the top ten posts for 2007:

  1. Black Blog Rankings - I got pissed when a blog listed the most influential bloggers in the world ... and not a single person of African descent made the list. I channeled my anger into the creation of the Black Blog Rankings. I publish updated rankings on the 1st day of each month. The inaugural publishing of the Top Ten Black Blogs took place in Sep 2007.
  2. Jena 6 - The saga of justice in Jena, LA is well-documented on my blog and elsewhere. Without doubt, the major reason that the Electronic Village rose into the top 5% of all Black blogs was our coverage of the Jena 6 situation. I didn't know it at the time, but our blog was one of a handful of Black blogs that helped fuel the fire resulting in over 20,000 marchers descending on Jena in early September. I summarized my thoughts originally in a post titled, Jena 6: An American Tragedy.
  3. HSCC Testimonials - Jena Six showed us high school kids going in a bad direction. I also wanted to show high schoolers going in the right direction. BETF wants to provide scholarships and funding for the high school computer competition (HSCC). As such, I share testimonials from HSCC students on my blog. One of the most powerful testimonials came from a youngster in Charlotte, NC.
  4. The AfroSpear - One of the biggest accomplishments for Black bloggers in 2007 was the creation of The AfroSpear. My post explaining the evolution of the AfroSpear is one that I hope to update in the future.
  5. Barack Obama - One of the first major stories in 2008 will be the results of the Iowa caucus. If Barack Obama wins that state caucus it will be one of the biggest stories around the world. For now, it is a dream and a prayer for many of us. My support for Barack Obama came after reading his first book. He is a remarkable brother ... and I truly believe that America needs him in the White House. I posted about Obama and his family a number of times during the year, however, I'm most proud of the fact that my blog provided live/streaming video of his appearance with Oprah Winfrey in South Carolina.
  6. Nooses - One of the negative outcomes of the Jena Six story was the rapid and visible rise in the number of hateful nooses placed in public places to intimidate African Americans. One of my most powerful posts this year gave a history of lynching in America.
  7. Tasered While Black - African American Political Pundit recently told me that our blog inspired him to create Tasered While Black (BBR #298). Back in March 2007, I shared my first post that talked about tasers.
  8. Only A Dad - My parents celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary earlier this year. My father succombed to cancer later in the year. I shared his photo with my blog readers in a post dedicated to my Dad.
  9. Hot Ghetto Mess - Another time when the power of the blogosphere showed itself to me was during the battle with Black Entertainment Television over a degrading television show. At one point, I saw direct action taken by a BET advertiser as a result of our blogging efforts. My inital post on this effort was simply entitled, BET is a Hot Ghetto Mess.
  10. Don Imus - I was surprised by the speed in which this story circulated through the blogosphere. I joined with many other Black bloggers when I wrote that Imus should be fired.
Anyhow, these are my thoughts on the 2007 year-in-review.

Now, I am interested to learn what you think. After all, you have been a blog reader for some period of time. What would you care to share about the past year. Were there other posts or themes that you thought should be in the Top Ten? Where do you want us to take this blog over the next year? What say u?

December 30, 2007

Thoughtful Blogger Award

AJ, over at Over Analyze It shared this award with the Electronic Village while noting that we "...have made it a point to respond to comments posted on their blogs and are tolerant of those with dissenting positions (most of the time... lol). I think they all rock!"

It’s called the Thoughtful Blogger Award, and it was originally created by Christy (Writer’s Reviews). The award is for those

"who answer blog comments, emails, and make their visitors feel at home on their blogs. For the people who take others feelings into consideration before speaking out and who are kind and courteous. Also for all of those bloggers who spend so much of their time helping other bloggers design, improve, and fix their sites. This award is for those generous bloggers who think of others."
It is in that spirit that I share The Thoughtful Blogger Award with:

  1. Paula Mooney's Tips - Paula willingly shares tips with any blogger interested in learning more about the secret underbelly of the blogging business.
  2. What About Our Daughters - Gina doesn't suffer fools lightly ... but, she makes herself available via her blog, Blogging While Brown conferences and blog radio shows. It has been a pleasure watching this sister rise in the ranks of influential bloggers ... while maintaining her willingness to communicate with the rest of us less talented bloggers
  3. Black Women in Europe - Adrianne is helpful in the administration of a growing network of Black bloggers known as The AfroSpear. In addition, she is an advocate for all issues that impact upon people of African descent in the diaspora. It is a pleasure watching her blog grow in influence on the international scene.
  4. plezWorld - Plez is another Black blogger in The AfroSpear who willingly volunteers to help with some of the administrative duties necessary to move us forward. More importantly, he is a brother willing to blog and comment on a wide variety of issues and topics.
I hope that these brothers and sisters accept this award in the spirit of Umoja with which they are given.

December 29, 2007

Missing: Chioma Gray

Chioma Gray is a 15-year old girl abducted from her hometown of Oxnard, CA. She is not blue-eyed and blonde ... so the mainstream media hasn't told you about her story yet. It is up to us to beat the drums on blogs like Black and Missing But Not Forgotten or Wichita NAACP to get her story out. We ask all Villagers to be vigilant in looking after their own children ... and keeping an eye out for Chioma as well.

December 28, 2007

Barack Obama Impact on Black Community

There are some unique perspectives on the Barack Obama presidential candidacy. Here are I encourage villagers to check out if you have time or inclination:
Have you seen other interesting blog postings on Barack Obama's run for the presidency?

December 27, 2007

Stick a Fork in Hillary ... She is Done!

What happens to US Senators ... front-runners for the Democratic Presidential nomination ... when they break down and cry in the New Hampshire primaries?

They Lose!

1972 - Senator Edmund Muskie was the favorite to win the 1972 Democratic Presidential nomination. But being the front-runner for over a year proved difficult. During the New Hampshire primary, Muskie choked with anger broke down and cried because of a couple of nasty articles in the "Manchester Union Leader." Admittedly, one of the articles attacked his wife. There was no YouTube or citizen journalist back in 1972 ... so video of the incident is hard to find. But, Muskie lost the nomination because he was considered to be too weak for the presidency.

2008 - Senator Hillary Clinton was the favorite to win the 2008 Democratic Presidential nomination. But being the front-runner for over a year proved difficult. During the New Hampshire primary, Clinton broke down into tears as she talked about the campaign. We have YouTube and citizen journalists in 2008 .... so you can check out the video.

Hillary lost the election with this crying jag. All of her work to be considered the Iron Maiden and her claims to be 'Ready' fall away with this 90-second video because it shows that she is too weak for the presidency.

History repeats itself. I would be interested to hear from Clinton supporters. Are you surprised at her 90-second breakdown on camera?

December 26, 2007

Africa ... Alkebulan ... Our Mother Country

My daughter is in the 8th grade. Over the past few weeks she has been studying world geography. She had maps of each continent with borders shown for all the countries. As I reviewed her map of Africa ... I realized that I didn't know how many countries were on the African continent. Do you know how many?

There are 47 countries on the African continent, including the disputed territory of Western Sahara. However, the islands off the coast are also usually listed as African, bringing the total to 53. The island nations are Cape Verde, São Tomé and Príncipe, Madagascar, the Comoros, the Seychelles, and Mauritius. Each is an independent nation.

Mes Deux Cents shared the African map that I have down below. Over the coming weeks, I will share info about these African countries. I'll be learning new stuff ... perhaps you will as well. I wish that I knew which African country my ancestors came from ... that is something that we lost during the slavery period here in America. Perhaps we can find some connections on a personal, political, professional or economic level between African Americans and Africans as a result of these postings. Time will tell.

Villagers, do you have any preference on which country we should use to begin this educational journey? Do you have any thoughts on the type of information that should be shared in these posts over the coming weeks and months?

December 25, 2007

2007 Black Weblog Winner is White-Owned

Mes Deux Cents beat the drums to let us know that we were being hoodwinked and bamboozled with blogs masquerading as being run by people of African descent. One or more of the fake-Black blogs are owned by David Hauslaib. It turns out that Hauslaib is the owner/publisher for Stereohyped. I have to believe that he was laughing up a storm when his blog one the 2007 Black Weblog Award as the 'Best New Blog' of the year.

The Boston Globe outed Stereohyped as white-owned in this article. I wonder if there are any other white-owned blogs winning Black Weblog Awards or being listed on our Black Blog Rankings?

December 24, 2007

Manic Monday: Joy

It is time for the Manic Monday post. Today the word is Joy. Many of us know someone who is very sad. In my case, I am sad when I realize what a mess that I've made of my life in many respects, primarily through actions that led to divorce. I'm sad that my father passed away after his battle with cancer. I'm sad that our society is still so infected with vestiges of racism in almost every activity and action.

That being said, I'm grateful to Morgen for making Joy the word for this week. It reminded me of a simple Bible passage, Psalm 30:5:

"For His anger is but for a moment, His favor is for a lifetime; Weeping may last for the night, But a shout of joy comes in the morning."

I ask Villagers to pray for me, and others, who may be sad ... who may be crying this Christmas eve ... pray for us to remember that joy comes in the morning. Merry Christmas y'all!

December 22, 2007

Black Holiday Shopper Tasered by Police in Wisconsin Mall

Drums beating from Tasered While Black blog about another instance of an unarmed, innocent Black family being shot full of 50,000 volts of electricity by police. This time it was a Madison, Wisconsin couple out doing some Christmas shopping.

Major Lemon, a 48-year old Black man was in Madison's West Towne Mall with his wife on Christmas eve. The two of them were doing last-minute shopping for some family members who didn't have any Christmas presents under the tree yet.

Evidently, an anonymous tip was called into the police station about a Blackman with a gun in the mall. The Madison police came in full force to the mall looking for a suspect reported to have been carrying a handgun. They arrived ... found a convenient Blackman ... and promptly applied the taser in front of his wife and later arrested the brother for "resisting arrest". Of course, the brother didn't have a handgun ... but, so far the police don't see anything wrong with their taser-happy actions.

Tara Emery-Walls, the general manager at the nearby Arby's, felt that officers overreacted. "I didn't think it was right," she said. "A bunch of people were in here shopping. There were kids in here." Marissa Lemon (Major's wife) shares her perspective in this videotaped interview. We understand that Major Lemon plans to sue the police for their unlawful actions.

Taser happy cops at it on Christmas Eve. Is it just me? Or does it appear that police with tasers are out of control in this country?

December 21, 2007

Cops Disciplined for Tasering Pregnant Woman in Ohio

Villagers, we have some good news to report on one of the stories that we shared with you last month. Valreca Redden, a 33-year old pregnant Black woman, went to the police department on Nov 18th asked officers to take custody of her 1-year-old son. Instead of getting the support you requested ... she was brutally attacked and tased by a police officer.

Trotwood Police announced that the probationary police officer who shocked a pregnant woman with a stun gun has been fired, and four others have been disciplined following a departmental investigation. Officer Michael Wilmer, who joined the police department in December 2006, had already been terminated for unrelated reasons, which included driving city-owned vehicles at excessive speeds and posting unauthorized pictures on his account.

The investigative report prepared by Trotwood Police Maj. Quincy Pope said Wilmer was justified in using a Taser stun gun to subdue the woman but committed an error in judgment and violated department policy by administering the device to the woman's neck, an area reserved for the most violent subjects.

Wilmer also failed to summon medical help or ensure that photographs were taken and documented inaccurate information, all in violation of policy. Sgt. Richard Wright was suspended for one day for failing to see that photographs were taken of the woman's neck and to ensure that she received medical evaluation. Another sergeant was given a written reprimand for disseminating unprofessional messages. An officer received a reprimand for failing to document a domestic violence complaint, and another officer was given a counseling form for failing to properly log the use of a stun gun.

The Trotwood Police still don't want to acknowledge that the use of a Taser gun on this defenseless and innocent pregnant Black woman was wrong. However, they did get the right conclusion ... the taser-happy cop who fired the gun no longer wears a badge. I'm satisfied with the actions that they've taken to date. I hope that Valreca Redden takes them to civil court and gets paid big-time by suing them for their actions on that night.

What say u? Has justice been served?

December 20, 2007

Black August: Movie About Black Panther George Jackson

It amazes me the information that slides by without notice. I did not know about movie called Black August until earlier this morning while visiting UltravioletUnderground. The film shares the story of George Jackson, a Black Panther ... and former boyfriend of Angela Davis. Take a moment to review the trailer:

What say u Villagers? Did you know about this movie? Do you plan to watch it?

December 19, 2007

CBC Demands Pardon for Jena Six

My grandfather was a member of the Congressional Black Caucus back in the day. I supported the efforts of the CBC when I served as national president of an association of Black information technology professionals. However, it has been a long time since I've seen anything positive come from the CBC. As such, I was pleasantly surprised when fifteen CBC members asked Gov. Kathleen Blanco for clemency on behalf of Mychal Bell and the five members of the Jena Six. [source]

"We believe Mychal Bell and the Jena 6 have paid a sufficient debt to society for any transgressions they may have committed," Barbara Lee (D-CA) wrote in her letter on Wednesday. "The pardon power was regarded by the Founding Fathers as the 'power of grace' because of its capacity to bring about healing and reconciliation. That is what is sorely needed in Jena today."

Blanco's spokeswoman, Marie Centanni, is quoted by the Associated Press as saying that the governor is unable to grant pardons without a recommendation from the Louisiana Pardon Board. Oddly enough, a similar request made by the caucus to Blanco in September was received with a statement from Blanco's office saying the governor can only grant pardons after a person has been convicted and sentenced.

Scooter Libby received a commutation of his jail sentence ... and he will likely be pardoned in full by the president next year at this time. It is a shame that Gov. Blanco is a spineless government bureaucrat and not a true leader.

Anyhow, Villagers, do you agree with the CBC ... have the Jena 6 suffered enough punishment? Is a pardon the way to go at this point?

December 18, 2007

Celebrate Kwanzaa in Second Life

I am one of over two million folks (up from 100k since January) that have built Second Life into a dynamic alternative community, resource and commercial venue far different from what many of us are familiar with. It is more than a game. It evolved into a virtual world experience. My Second Life character is Villager Barbosa.

People of color, consciousness and rhythm have establihed a presence in Second Life. In many cases, our peeps are generating new experiences, presentations and program material. For more about our collective role in the shaping of this medium, see The Virtual Is Real - Just Follow The Eye Movements or the Music.

I am pleased to see that Villagers can participate in the 2nd annual multimedia Kwanzaa celebration within Second Life. Just head to the Nguzo Szaba Park located on Hip Hop Island. Villagers are encouraged to participate, to engage in a form & forum of celebration unique in the history of this cultural holiday. While the primary locus of the event will take place in Second Life, you will be able to connect & interact with the collective here and here.

The candle lighting opening the celebration will occur twice each day -- at 7pm EST/4pm PST, and 10pm EST/7pm PST in Nguzo Szaba Park. Come join us, and live the experience, be the story. The celebration is FREE. The new century is almost 8 years old, well on its own legs, and emerging into the realm of innovative exploration and play. This is an opportunity to see and experience it firsthand.

Villagers, do you have a Second Life account?

December 17, 2007

Killer Cop Resigns While City Council Boycotts

The fallout from the killing of 12-year old DeAunta Farrow continues to mount in West Memphis, AR. Sgt. Erik Sammis resigned his job on the police force four months after he shot the innocent youth [video report and copy of Sammis' resignation letter].

Three different investigations cleared Sammis of any wrongdoing, however, the community is very upset about the lack of responsibility being taken by the police department. My understanding is that Sammis will pop up next month on the payroll of a federal law enforcement agency.

The city council asked the police chief to resign. The mayor vetoed this action. The police chief ranted on television about his antipathy towards the feelings of African Americans in his town. The Black members of the West Memphis city council boycotted the meeting this week ... causing it to be cancelled. The boycott will stay in place until the police chief sits down to discuss the Farrow shooting with the Black leaders in the community.

Villagers, this is an interesting situation brewing in Arkansas. It hasn't hit the mainstream media yet. What do you think of the current developments?

December 16, 2007

Blogging to End AIDS

Progressive bloggers worked together on World AIDS Day to engage and educate our readers about AIDS. We raised our voices to increase AIDS awareness, increase understanding, and decrease stigma; especially for people of African descent. As we enter the new year, Villagers are encouraged to watch an online PBS program called The Age of AIDS. The trailer for the PBS program is shown below:

Please take the AIDS Leadership Pledge if you have time or inclination.

December 15, 2007

Ghost of DeAunta Farrow May Force Killer Cop to Resign

Here are some updates on the DeAunta Farrow killing down in West Memphis, AR. Villagers recall that the West Memphis city council passed a resolution to ask for the resignation of the two killer cops and the police chief. However, the mayor vetoed the resolution last week. More recently, we learn that Sergeant Erik Sammis, the killer cop cleared of all charges in the shooting death of DeAunta Farrow, may resign. See the television report shown below for details.

What do you think? Should Erik Sammis resign?

December 14, 2007

White Employees Suspended for Hanging Noose in Workplace

Two white employees of the Riverdale Park (Maryland) Department of Public Works suspended because they hung a noose in the workplace on December 7th. The man and woman involved in the incident claim it was a joke.

One former DPW employee says that racist attitudes and actions are common. In fact, this former employee would like to see the two jokers fired from the job and prosecuted for a hate crime. Click here to see videotaped report on this noose incident.

Villagers, I'm still at a loss how anyone in America can think that it is a joke to use hangman noose in conjunction with any African American? Do they not understand the history of the noose in our country?

December 13, 2007

Blue Uniforms and White Hoods Ain't a Good Combination

UPDATE (12/15/07): Federal subpoenas issued in Hempstead Police Dept noose case.

UPDATE (10/15/07): Local NAACP Leaders speak out on noose incidents in New York.

UPDATE (10/6/07): Hempstead Police Department noose incident prompts new training.

How arrogant do you have to be in your whiteness to hang a noose in a police locker room to intimidate the African American deputy chief of police and other officers of African descent in the department? I guess we will find out as they investigate the latest noose incident ... this time in Long Island NY. The noose was found in the locker room of the Hempstead Police Department. Check out the video report of the incident.

Is there any benign connotation when a noose is hung at your schoolyard or your workplace or your home? Only horse thieves and Black men ever had to fear a noose. And it appears that this strange fruit is being grown again in our land.

One day you have empty nooses. The next day some fool tries to place an innocent Black neck in one.

Villagers, those three young 'pranksters' in Jena, LA appear to have started a whole new fad amongst some white folks in America. All of a sudden, it is difficult to go a week without another noose being hung in some public place as a not-so-subtle reminder of the danger that lurks beneath the surface for every African American in this country.

Racist thoughts being publically displayed in the form of nooses is something that needs to be addressed with quickness before this place explodes.

300-pound security guards are breaking the wrists of 16-year old teenage girls. White family having a good ol' fashioned picnic complete with rape and torture of a neighboring Black woman. Nooses flying high in high schools, colleges and now police stations.

Here a Jena, there a Jena, everywhere a Jena Jena.

Villagers, this is getting a little out of hand if you ask me. I wonder when President Bush or any of the candidates (either party) will recognize that this issue cannot be allowed to fester and grow as it currently appears to be doing?

What do you think villagers ... am I being too sensitive? Or is this some deep doo-doo in your view?

December 11, 2007

America Has Lost a Generation of Black Boys

Drumbeats from Phillip Jackson (The Black Star Project) brought us the essay below. Villagers, as you read it ... ask yourself what you can do in your space ... in your home ... in your neighborhood ... to ensure that we turn this situation around in 2008.

"There is no longer a need for dire predictions, hand-wringing, or apprehension about losing a generation of Black boys. It is too late. In education, employment, economics, incarceration, health, housing, and parenting, we have lost a generation of young Black men. The question that remains is will we lose the next two or three generations, or possibly every generation of Black boys hereafter to the streets, negative media, gangs, drugs, poor education, unemployment, father absence, crime, violence and death.

Most young Black men in the United States don't graduate from high school. Only 35% of Black male students graduated from high school in Chicago and only 26% in New York City, according to a 2006 report by the Schott Foundation for Public Education. Only a few Black boys who finish high school actually attend college, and those few Black boys who enter college, nationally, only 22% of them finish college.

Young Black male students have the worst grades, the lowest test scores, and the highest dropout rates of all students in the country. When these young Black men don't succeed in school, they are much more likely to succeed in the nation's criminal justice and penitentiary system. And it was discovered recently that even when a young Black man graduates from a U.S. college, there is a good chance that he is from Africa, the Caribbean or Europe, and not the United States.

Black men in prison in America have become as American as apple pie. There are more Black men in prisons and jails in the United States (about 1.1 million) than there are Black men incarcerated in the rest of the world combined. This criminalization process now starts in elementary schools with Black male children as young as six and seven years old being arrested in staggering numbers according to a 2005 report, Education on Lockdown by the Advancement Project.

The rest of the world is watching and following the lead of America. Other countries including England, Canada, Jamaica, Brazil and South Africa are adopting American social policies that encourage the incarceration and destruction of young Black men. This is leading to a world-wide catastrophe. But still, there is no adequate response from the American or global Black community.

Worst of all is the passivity, neglect and disengagement of the Black community concerning the future of our Black boys. We do little while the future lives of Black boys are being destroyed in record numbers. The schools that Black boys attend prepare them with skills that will make them obsolete before, and if, they graduate. In a strange and perverse way, the Black community, itself, has started to wage a kind of war against young Black men and has become part of this destructive process.

Who are young Black women going to marry? Who is going to build and maintain the economics of Black communities? Who is going to anchor strong families in the Black community? Who will young Black Boys emulate as they grow into men? Where is the outrage of the Black community at the destruction of its Black boys? Where are the plans and the supportive actions to change this? Is this the beginning of the end of the Black people in America?

The list of those who have failed young Black men includes our government, our foundations, our schools, our media, our Black churches, our Black leaders, and even our parents. Ironically, experts say that the solutions to the problems of young Black men are simple and inexpensive, but they are not easy or popular. It is not that we lack solutions as much as it is that we lack the will to implement these solutions to save Black boys. It seems that government is willing to pay billions of dollars to lock up young Black men, rather than the millions it would take to prepare them to become viable contributors and valued members of our society."

Please consider these simple goals that can lead to solutions for fixing the problems of young Black men:

Short term
  1. Teach all Black boys to read at grade level by the third grade and to embrace education.
  2. Provide positive role models for Black boys.
  3. Create a stable home environment for Black boys that includes contact with their fathers.
  4. Ensure that Black boys have a strong spiritual base.
  5. Control the negative media influences on Black boys.
  6. Teach Black boys to respect all girls and women.

Long term

  1. Invest as much money in educating Black boys as in locking up Black men.
  2. Help connect Black boys to a positive vision of themselves in the future.
  3. Create high expectations and help Black boys live into those high expectations.
  4. Build a positive peer culture for Black boys.
  5. Teach Black boys self-discipline, culture and history.
  6. Teach Black boys and the communities in which they live to embrace education and life-long learning.

What say u?

December 10, 2007

'Resign' says West Memphis City Council to Police Chief for Killing 12-Year Old DeAunta Farrow

12/10/07 UPDATE: Mediaverse gives detailed run-down on the facts of the DeAunta Farrow killing ... along with raising some unanswered questions about the police actions after the young boy was shot.

12/8/07 UPDATE: West Memphis preachers claim cover-up. [video source]

Officer Erik Sammis, who shot and killed 12-year-old DeAunta Farrow, and his partner, Jimmy Evans, returned back to work on the West Memphis police force. They were cleared by three separate agencies of any wrongdoing in the killing of the youngster. You'll recall that DeAunta was not doing anything wrong at the time ... just walking over to his cousin's house. Sammis shot him dead. Now Sammis is back at work. Ain't police justice grand?!

West Memphis City Council member Lorraine Robinson was not happy about the return of the officers. "I think it's a slap in the community's face, 'cause the whole nation is looking at West Memphis, Arkansas," she said. "These men have committed this act, and it has gotten to much notoriety, and these men can just go back."

The West Memphis City Council took an unusual step. They voted 6-4 to remove the two officer and Bob Paudert, the police chief. The Mayor has five days to make a decision, but he doesn't plan to announce anything until Monday. William Johnson is the mayor of West Memphis, "I support Bob Paudert totally 100 percent. I always have." He says, he can't think of any reason why he would not keep the Chief.

You must see the racially-charged remarks of the West Memphis police chief. It was these heated comments made to News Channel 3 that set-off the firestorm.

Click here to see the video of the Chief's remarks.

Council Member Robinson says, "It was very clear from the comments that he made that he is extremely biased and extremely racist. I have worked with him now going on nine years but the person I saw last night is someone that I don't even know."

Paudert responded after the vote to have him removed by saying, "You know what? I changed my view of her when she called me a 'whitey'. It's just gotten out of hand... She changed. I made one public remark after 5 months of intense scrutiny. I make one public remark and I'm criticized for it. They've been calling Erik Sammis a murderer for months, Lorrain Robinson. So, I don't care if she's upset or not."

The Mayor finally spoke out about the case, chosing not to make a rush decision while fully supporting his chief. Mayor William Johnson says, "Certainly Bob Paudert hasn't done anything to terminate his employment. He's been a great contributor to this city, we are safer than we've ever been, and personally I wouldn't even think about removing Bob Paudert."

Council member Marco McClendon said Sammis and Evans should resign for their own safety. "I think its for the peace of the city," McClendon said. "I'm looking at the safety of the officer himself, as well as the community." McClendon said he feared someone might be gunning for Sammis and Evans, and it could put the officers in a position where they might have to shoot.

Villagers, what do you think? Should these two cops resign for the good of the community? What do you think of the Police Chief's comments? or the City Council's vote?

December 9, 2007

Oprah and Barack Obama Streaming Live in the Electronic Village

My thanks to those that watched the live feed from South Carolina! Please let me know if there is a YouTube or other video of today's speech from Oprah & Obama. I'll place it in this post to replace the live feed box. OK?

  • Final update [4548 viewers] - Barack ends by telling a story of his trip to Greenwood, SC and the 'Fired Up' chant of a local city council member. One voice can make a difference. He leads chant, Fired Up ... Ready to Go. The crowd eats it up. This appears to be a slam dunk for Barack Obama. I imagine that he will get a big bump in South Carolina and elsewhere.

  • 3:30 pm update [4494 viewers] - Barack Obama calls on voters to be bold. He gives a story about home health care worker in Oakland. He shows his compassion for women and other common folks that need some help from government to knock down some of the barriers to the American Dream. Barack breaks it down about why he is running for President. He talks about his foreign policy vision. He talks about criminal justice system ('no more Jena 6'). Our moment is now ... the fierce urgency of now. He gives list of things that he doesn't want to see four years from now.

  • 3:15 pm update [4523 viewers] - Barack Obama is on fire! He acknowledges his wife, Oprah and the largest crowd in the election cycle. Big applause from the crowd when he reminds them that George W. Bush will not be on the ballot next year. He challenges the audience to ask, 'What is next for America?'. He talks about how America has lost trust in government. He says that this is a chance to come together and work on big problems (healthcare, energy, poverty, children in prison instead of college) that have been on our agenda for decades.

  • 3:00 pm update [4450 viewers] - Oprah is breaking it down. She is sharing why she is inspired by Obama. She isn't telling the audience to just trust me, rather she is breaking it down in terms of the reasons she believes we should vote for Obama --> statesmanship, strength, honor and compassion. She looks to see Obama inspire us to fix education problems ... fix health insurance ... Now is the time for Barack Obama. Oprah is sick of politics as usual. We need to tell the truth and be the truth. Oprah hits Hillary, "...the amount of time you spent in Washington DC doesn't matter if you haven't used good judgement while you are there." She challenges the experience argument. She wants us to see if there is wisdom in the candidate. She breaks down his resume and track record as community organizer, state legislator and US senator. Clarity and conviction and proceed with moral authority. Oprah sez, "it does matter what the rest of the world thinks about us." She reminds the audience that Jan 23rd is the time for South Carolina to seize the moment. Some say Barack Obama should wait his turn ... Oprah knocked down this argument by saying that we can't wait for the future ... the moment is NOW. She took the microphone and is walking around the stage now to tell her Jane Pittman story. Is he the one? she asks. It's Obama-time!

  • 2:40 pm update [4273 viewers] - Michelle Obama did a wonderful job of introducing Oprah Winfrey. Is Michelle taller than Barack?

  • 2:30 pm update [4133 viewers] - World record set for the Largest Phone Bank with 36,426 participants, beating previous record of 15,000.

  • 2:15 pm update [4176 viewers] - Two members of the Obama campaign staff are on stage asking folks in the stadium to take out their cell phones and join the campaign text-messaging program. The two staffers are now using a gimmick to get the folks in the stadium to make phone calls to potential voters that are not in the stadium. They are trying to break a world record evidently. This is boring for those of us viewing on streaming TV. I'm ready for Oprah, Michell and Barack now!

  • 2:00 pm update [3753 viewers] - The crowd appears to be building. Of course, the camera view doesn't give the full stadium, however, you can see the crowd grew considerably since the show first came on 90-minutes ago. Arrested Development first started 17 years ago. These two sisters that are dancing are probably in their 40s. I see one of them is sitting down now. I know that I would be sitting after the energy that they placed into the early part of their set. OK. I'm ready for Oprah, Michelle and Barack now!

  • 1:45 pm update [3425 viewers] - The first hour was filled with performances by local groups, including some high school marching bands. The real show appears to be heating up now with the appearance of Arrested Development. They are setting stage with song called, I Believe in Miracles.

December 8, 2007

Sometimes I Wish I Was White

There are times when I get angry or frustrated about the racial injustices that exist in America. I have three beautiful nubian children and I want them to have unlimited access to opportunities as they grow up. As such, it worries me when I find brothers like Allen Watty who is so hopeless, desperate and filled with self-hate that he would write a song called, "Sometimes I Wish I Was White". No matter how angry or frustrated that I have become ... I never wished to be white. Have you?

[Listen to Song]

Watty sings, "Sometimes I feel, I wish I was white, so I could feel, just how it feels to be treated right. I'm not ashamed of me. Just one time, I want to see, how it feels to be treated equally." The disclaimer on his website says that he simply wants to stimulate conversation about the mistreatment of Black people.

My problem with the song is that it opines that the answer to our mistreatment is for us "to wish were white". First, much of the mistreatment that we experience comes from other Blackfolks in our own community. Even if there were no white people in America ... we would still have issues. The so-called 'Black-on-Black' crime issue that has been talked about incessantly in recent months isn't tied directly to white people.

Second, the mistreatment caused by white people in our country is at its roots caused by white supremecy thoughts and ideas that still permeate our country. I don't want my children or my community to "be white". I want them to be successful because of their character, their knowledge and what they bring to the table. Part of what they bring is a proud legacy that comes with being a person of African descent.

Hearing Allen Watty's song reminds me that we still have to battle on the frontlines for our dignity ... for our manhood ... for our respect as a people. There should never be a reason for any person of color to wish that they were without melanin.

Villagers, what say u?

Barack Obama Winning in South Carolina; Where Is Oprah Event Coverage This Weekend?

A new Insider Advantage poll of South Carolina (conducted Dec. 3-4 of 421 likely Dem voters) has Obama at 26%, Clinton at 24%, Edwards at 15%, and Biden at 10%.

C-Span TV will have live coverage of the Obama-Oprah event in Iowa today at 4:30 pm here is a preliminary indication the "Road To The White House" program on C-Span TV will have taped coverage of a portion of the Obama-Oprah event from South Carolina on Sunday December 9, 2007 at 6:30 pm and 9:30 pm ET.

Villagers can watch the South Carolina event with Senator Barack Obama, his wife Michelle and special guest Oprah Winfrey LIVE on the web at starting at 12:30pm ET on Sunday, December 9.

What do you think about Oprah's support of Barack Obama? Will it matter?

December 7, 2007

Wichita Police 'Regret' Using Taser on Innocent Deaf Man

Wichita Deputy Police Chief Robert Lee is getting negative feedback from the afrosphere and around the globe for the unwarranted use of a taser gun on Donnell Williams ... an innocent, unarmed, naked nubian inside his own home. Deputy Chief Lee wants to assure people they are looking into the incident. "We regret it. I know he does and our goal is to learn from it, to see if there's anything we need to do to make sure it doesn't happen again," says Lee.

The police plan to meet later this week with a group representing deaf and hearing impaired people. The department has also opened a full investigation into the officers' actions as a result of support provided to Donnell Williams by the Wichita NAACP. There will be a civil rights lawsuit filed with Justice Department in the next few days.

[video source]

December 6, 2007

How Addicted to Blogging Are You?

plezWorld shared a unique widget that measures how hooked you are to blogging. I took the test this morning. Methinks that I may need to slow my roll on this bloggin' stuff (smile)!

78%How Addicted to Blogging Are You?
The test is for people who own blogs or read blogs. What score did you get when you took the test?

Police Fire the Cop Who Tased Pregnant Valreca Redden

--==[Drumbeats from msladydeborah tipped us to this story]==--

Al Sharpton's NAN Ohio chapter reports that the Trotwood Police Department fired Officer Michael Wilmer, the police officer who used a stun gun on Valreca Redden, a pregnant nubian.

Hallelujah! It is about time that justice occurs in Taser Nation.

Villagers recall that I was surprised that Officer Michael Wilmer was still working. It appears that he won't be working much longer.

When you use a taser gun on a pregnant woman who comes to you for protection and help then you are in the wrong line of work. You need to have your toubob butt fired!

Check out the video for yourself. Does it look justified to you?

Valreca Redden still faces charges of obstruction of justice and resisting arrest. I imagine that those charges will be dropped soon. The Federal Bureau of Investigation reviewed the case. It is good to see the federal government enforcing the laws. If they had done so in Jena when those three nooses were hung on the white tree perhaps we could have avoided the damage done to seven young lives (Jena 6 and the boy that they beat up on the school yard).

Anyhow, I'm glad to see that the police are trying to clean up their act. Hopefully, something similar will happen to the taser-happy cops in Wichita.

What do you think? Was the firing of Office Michael Wilmer justified?


December 5, 2007

Demand is Overwhelming for Barack Obama and Oprah Winfrey in South Carolina

Barack Obama invited Oprah Winfrey to join him at a campaign stop this coming weekend in Columbia, SC. The campaign had been scheduled to hold the rally at the Colonial Center in downtown Columbia, which seats 18,000 people, but Obama's campaign announced that "overwhelming excitement" had caused a run on free tickets.

The rally on Sunday is being moved to the 80,000 seat college football stadium at the University of South Carolina. There had been a waiting list for tickets, but the move to the football stadium will allow the campaign to accommodate every man or woman in South Carolina who wants to go.

Obama/Oprah may not fill the stadium up to capacity ... but, the mere fact that they are moving to sold-out the initial arena so quickly is a sign of the momentum that continues to build for Obama.

Billary must be sick in their stomach about this support booming in South Carolina!

December 4, 2007

Donnell Williams is Deaf Black Man Attacked by Taser-Happy Police in Wichita

Drumbeats from Over Analyze It told us that police responding to a false shooting call broke into a deaf man's apartment and shot him with a taser as the man was getting out of the bathtub. Donnell Williams was wearing only a towel when police entered the bathroom with guns drawn.

Williams kept pointing to his ear and yelling, "I am scared. I can’t hear, I can’t hear!" He is functionally deaf without his hearing aids. When he didn’t obey the unheard police commands he was shot with the taser.

Were the police so frightened of a naked Blackman coming out of his own bathroom, inside of his own house, that they felt a need to use 50,000 volts of pure electricity on him?

Can you imagine how Donnell Williams had to feel at that moment?

After police realized they were at a false call they apologized to Mr. Williams. The police are trying to trace the source of the call and stated only that it came from a cell phone. The case is being reviewed by the department. Anyone have the name of the cop that used the taser on this brother? It wasn't reported in the initial news reports.

Click here to see televised report on taser incident

The Wichita police are begging for forgiveness now (before the lawsuits come down). But, is there any defense for this type of shoddy police work? It ain't happening this way in the 90210 zip code ... only in OUR neighborhoods.

Villagers, how many brothers and sisters do we need to see victimized by the shoot-first, ask-questions-later mentality of these taser-happy cops before we recognize that there is a serious problem going on.
  1. Pregnant woman
  2. Innocent Blackman with his mother on Thanksgiving day

    Now we see it happening to a deaf Blackman. Was he engaged in some illegal activity? Was he out after 3:00 am in the morning acting a fool? Nope, this brother was buck-naked coming out of his own bathtub in his own dayum house. What is wrong in our country?

    Police Taser Blackman With His Mother in Austin

    Drums continue to beat about these taser incidents. You know how it seems that everyone on the road owns your same make, model and color of car when you get a new car? Maybe it is that way with these taser incidents. Perhaps, we are simply noticing them more. One AfroSpear blogger created an entire blog dedicated to this issue.

    It turns out that Black people have been getting tased without good reason for over a year. Did you see this incident down in Austin, TX?

    Police officer Thomas O'Connor pulls over a Blackman, Eugene Snelling, and his mother on Thanksgiving Day for driving 5-MPH over the speed limit. He asks the brother for his driver's license and registration. Without giving the driver a chance to get it, Officer O'Connor opens the door; directs the driver at gunpoint to the back of the car ... AND USES HIS TASER!

    You be the judge. Check out the dashboard police camera showing the use of police taser on innocent Blackman.

    Officer O'Connor gave his side of the story during internal affairs investigation. He was suspended by the Austin Police Department for three days. I wonder if Bro. Snelling had to pay the speeding ticket?

    Barack Obama is Winning in Iowa

    The winds of change continue to blow in favor of Sen. Barack Obama. The Des Moines Register is a leading newspaper in Iowa, where the first votes of the US presidential race will be cast on January 3. This poll shows:

    1. Barack Obama leading the race with support from 28 percent of likely voters (up from 22% in October).
    2. Hillary Clinton was in 2nd place with likely Iowa voters at 25% (down from 29% last month).
    3. John Edwards stayed steady at 23% of the vote.
    Even more significant in some respects is the fact that Obama leads with support from 31 percent of women likely attend the caucuses, compared to 26 percent for Clinton. In October, Clinton was the preferred candidate of 34 percent of women caucusgoers, compared to 21 percent for Obama. In other words, there has been a switch of 18% among likely women voters in this state towards Obama.

    Iowa City Democrat Katharyn Browne said she abandoned her support for Clinton in the past month and now supports Obama in light of the Iran issue. Clinton supported a measure that allowed President Bush to declare the Iran's Revolutionary Guard a terrorist organization, a move Obama said was a step toward war. Clinton said the measure enhanced U.S. negotiating strength with Iran.

    Browne said she feels Obama is a more inspirational candidate than Clinton, despite the intensifying crossfire between them. "I just think that Obama is more of a positive candidate overall," she said. "Aside from the Clinton-Obama interaction lately, it's nice to hear a candidate with a positive outlook. I think our country needs that right now."

    Browne, who supported Clinton early partly out of gender loyalty, represents a shift among some women caucusgoers from Clinton to Obama.

    Hopefully this is a trend that will impact on Black women around the country. I've noticed some caustic remarks by Black women bloggers and blog readers on Barack Obama. It appears that Iowa women (few of whom are Black) are realizing that Barack and Michelle Obama is better for their future than Billary.

    On the Republican side I see that Gov. Mike Huckabee also overtook the frontrunner. Huckabee's rise is a direct result of his outstanding performance in recent televised debates. I think it is critical that Barack Obama wins a few of the upcoming televised debates this month. He has the character, positions and skills to be a remarkable POTUS.

    He needs to apply the knock-out punch to Clinton in the next 30 days.

    Villagers, the first votes will be cast one month from today. How are you leaning now? If you had a chance to vote today in the Democratic primary ... who would you cast your vote for?

    Jena 6 Odd Couple: Mychal Bell and Reed Walters Agree to Plea Deal

    Drumbeats from Howard Witt with some great news on the Jena Six case. It appears that the endgame is coming to Jena, LA. Mychal Bell, 17, agreed to a plea bargain with LaSalle Parish District Attorney Reed Walters that sharply reduced the charges against him. Walters was the foolish law enforcement official who made the original decision to charge the Jena 6 with attempted murder for beating a white youth.

    Walters accepted guilty plea to a juvenile charge of second-degree battery, with a sentence of 18 months and credit for time he has served in jail over the last year.

    District Judge J.P. Mauffray approved the plea agreement Monday afternoon, just three days before Bell's trial in juvenile court was to have begun. It appears that both the Jena legal system and the other Jena Six families are in plea negotiations that could bring a conclusion to a controversial case that drew more than 20,000 civil rights protesters to Jena in September and earned the town a portrayal in the national media as a racist backwater.

    Villagers have been following this story well before the mainstream media learned about it. It was national pressure from groups like The AfroSpear and others last spring that caused Walters to back away from attempted murder charges. Walter was hard-headed when he tried Bell on those charges as an adult in June and won a conviction, but a state appeals court reversed the verdict in September, ruling that Bell should have been prosecuted as a juvenile.

    Since then, Walters has come under growing political pressure to conclude the Jena 6 cases. Local leaders had been dreading a drawn-out series of criminal trials that would have kept Jena in the spotlight throughout 2008. And Louisiana's outgoing governor, Kathleen Blanco, directly pressed Walters in September not to pursue an appeal of the decision that struck down Bell's adult conviction.

    Walters said in a statement Monday that he hopes to have the remaining Jena 6 cases resolved "early next year."

    "A trial would be very bad for the town, very bad for Reed Walters, very bad for anybody in Jena associated with the process, and it could turn out very bad for the defendants as well," said Alan Bean, head of a small civil rights group called Friends of Justice who was the first activist to call attention to the Jena case. "It had the potential for being a perfect storm in which everybody lost."

    Parents on both sides of the case agreed.

    "If the district attorney makes an offer to us and my son doesn't have to do any jail time, that would be fine," said Tina Jones, who insists that her son, Jena 6 defendant Bryant Purvis, was not involved in the school attack. "I'm ready to get this all over with."

    Plea bargains "would be the best solution, as long as they don't get away with no punishment at all," said David Barker, father of Justin Barker, the school beating victim. "This case has taken its toll on everybody. Justin has ulcers now. Letting it drag on for years would just be additional stress for him."

    Bell's attorneys said they agreed to the plea bargain to spare the former high school football star the danger of being convicted of more serious charges and also to win early release from juvenile custody. Mychal Bell will get credit for the nine months he spent in jail while awaiting trial. His attorneys said he could be released by June.
    When this is over I hope that the Jena Six young people take a lesson from the sad story of Rodney King.

    December 3, 2007

    Jennifer Love Hewitt and I Need HD Radio

    I feel like a dinosaur when it comes to things like iTunes tagging and iPods and such. I have an unopend iPod Shuffle here on my desk. Perhaps, I need to open up the box and use the iPod Shuffle. At the same time, I think that Jennifer Love Hewitt (that is her in the black bikini) may need to get HD Radio into her exercise room.

    What is HD Radio? HD Radio is free, and broadcasts on about 1,500 stations in the US, but offers higher quality audio than standard FM, in addition to features like track ID and extra "piggybacked" channels (called HD2). It seems to be simple to work the HD Radio system.

    To get access to these new digital radio stations, a Villagers simply need to buy a radio with a built in HD Radio Tuner, such those found here. Many new cars include an HD Radio built in when you take the car out of the showroom. HD Radio receivers such as the Polk I-Sonic ES2 will also integrate new features, such as iTunes Tagging, which will allow a listener to "tag" a song on their HD radio and easily find it later for download via iTunes.

    I understand that I still have my local radio, with local content, information, traffic and weather when I get this new radio technology. However, I'll get some cool extras like having the artist name and song title right on the radio screen. Best of all, there are NO monthly subscription fees ... subscription to this service is FREE!
    Sponsored Post

    More Gay Men Hop on the Senator Larry Craig Train

    The rules truly are different for white men. Have sex with young interns ... in bathrooms ... with escorts ... and you can stay one of the most powerful men in the country. Did you see where four men have gone public about their homosexual relations with Sen. Larry Craig?
    Some would say that Craig's power in the Senate is shrinking, however, he ain't resigning. He plans to stay until his term is over in January 2009. More to the point, there are only 100 senators in the country ... and this inherently dishonest guy is one of them.

    What do they call the Senator at the bottom of the rankings of all Senators? They call him SENATOR and continue to hold the doors of power open for him.

    I didn't know that Sen. Larry Craig was named as a sex partner in the 1982 scandal with congressional pages. I learned about it while listening to Sen. Craig respond to allegations, rumors, his future, the 1982 page scandal and more.

    This is some truly raunchy stuff.

    Buy Black for Christmas

    Drumbeats from Buzzology Surveys about ways that you can Buy Black for Christmas.

    What is the point of having so much Black spending power in this country if we are not going to use it to uplift and enhance the economy in our own community?

    Have you considered making a conscious effort to spend your dollars with a Black-owned business over the next few weeks?