December 31, 2008
We were surprised and honored to be included on Marenda's list of the Top 50 Best Blogs of 2008. Her blog, Living Life Abundantly, has risen on the Villager's Black Blog Rankings from BBR #96 to BBR #19 over the past year because of the excellent information she provides to her readers.
This is our second year in a row being on Marenda's list. We will do all that we can possibly do to earn her respect again in 2009.
We'd like to beat the drums for other AfroSpear bloggers that made her list this year: Eddie Griffin (BASG) (BBR #178), Field Negro (BBR #9), From My Brown Eyed View (BBR #241), Raw Dawg Buffalo (BBR #16), Science Education & Society (BBR #457), and Vanessa Unplugged (BBR #311).
December 30, 2008
Only three African Americans ... Ed Brooke, Carol Moseley-Braun and Barack Obama ... have served as a United States senator since the end of Reconstruction era. It appears that Gov. Blagojevich wants to add a fourth nubian to the list.
Blagojevich will name former Illinois Attorney General Roland Burris to replace President-elect Barack Obama in the Senate later today.
Born in Centralia, Illinois, Roland Burris received his bachelor's degree in political science from Southern Illinois University at Carbondale in 1959. He then studied at the University of Hamburg, Germany, for a year before entering law school at Howard University.
Burris began his career in 1963 as a national bank examiner for the U.S. Treasury Department. This gave him the honor of being the first African American to examine banks in the United States. From 1964 to 1973, he served as vice president of Continental Illinois National Bank, making significant contacts in both the corporate and African American communities. Burris began his government career in 1973 as director of the Illinois Department of General Services. In 1978, with his election to the first of three terms as state comptroller, he made history as the first African American elected to state office.
On November 6, 1990, Roland W. Burris was elected attorney general for the state of Illinois. At that time, the only African American ranking higher in state office was Douglas Wilder, the governor of Virginia. He served as Illinois attorney general from 1991 to 1995.
Burris is now an attorney with the Peters law firm in Chicago, where he specializes in environmental, consumer affairs and estate law. Previously he was managing partner of the Chicago-based law firm of Jones, Ware & Grenard, one of the largest minority law firms in the country. Burris previously ran and lost bids for the U.S. senate and governor.
If Burris makes it to Washington DC, he would be the only African American in the U.S. Senate.
Politics makes for strange bedfellows. I've never heard of Roland Burris before today. What are your thoughts about this appointment?
Mychal Bell was arrested for shoplifting on Christmas Eve. He was realeased on $1,300 bail. Today we learn that the troubled youngster shot himself in the shoulder.
I encourage visitors to read the post on What About Our Daughters for some very insightful comments and analysis of this latest incident by a Jena 6 student.
Mychal Bell was cleaning a gun when it accidentally discharged, shooting him in the shoulder, his attorney, Carol Powell-Lexing, told CNN. He had surgery Monday night at a hospital in Monroe, Louisiana, and has not yet been able to talk, she said. CNN.com
I wonder what will become our most remarkable memory of the new year?
Prison reform wouldn't be necessary if our young men would simply do right in the first place. Drumbeats from Dallas South Blog informed us that Mychel Bell ... one of the Jena 6 youth ... was arrested for shoplifting $370 worth of merchandise from Dillard’s in Pecanland Mall in Monroe LA.
Bell's arrest comes less than less than a month after he completed a sentence for his role in a fight with classmate, Justin Barker, at Jena High School in 2006.
The national uprising about the racially-biased prosecution by Louisiana criminal justice system during the Jena 6 trials last year were on point. Unfortunately, a number of the Jena 6 youth appear to have misread the point of the protest.
We were not giving them carte-blanche to act a fool. We were giving them a second chance to make their families and community proud.
It appears that Mychal Bell turned down his second chance.
December 29, 2008
December 28, 2008
A number of villagers have been talking about the relevance and potency of the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) in 2009 and beyond. I think that everyone recognizes that they have not been relevant for many years. Whether it was because of the Republican dominance of congress and the White House or simply a dearth of energy and ideas ... it seems unlikely that much would be different over the past generation if the CBC never existed.
For those that don't know, the original purpose of the CBC was '...to promote the public welfare through legislation designed to meet the needs of millions of neglected citizens'.
The CBC agenda in 2008 focused on:
- Empower and Mobilize America's Youth
- Build an International Internet Communications Portal
- CBC Outreach Program
- Impact the Alternative Energy Discussion
CBC Members elected to leadership posts include:
- Representative Barbara Lee (CA) - Chair
- Representative Emanuel Cleaver (MO) – First Vice Chair
- Representative Donna Christensen (VI) – Second Vice Chair
- Representative G. K. Butterfield (NC) – Secretary
- Representative Yvette Clarke (NY) – Whip
I suppose what villagers want to know at this point ... what is that bold agenda for 2009-2010? Will the CBC avoid getting into a battle with Obama? Do you have any thoughts on the CBC agenda?
December 27, 2008
December 26, 2008
Bro. White brings it strong. I think that my favorite part is when he de-mystifies the myth about Bill Clinton being the first Black president. What was your favorite part in this video?
December 25, 2008
Can we do the same thing in the Black community? Can we recognize that the 20% unemployment in our community is a symptom of an economic crisis? Do we have the strength of mind and purpose to focus the 'Buy American' response into a more targeted 'Buy Black' campaign?
We have plenty of income in the Black community ... but, our inability to keep more than 5% of our spending with Black-owned businesses means that we have very little wealth in the Black community. Not surprising. If I give you 95 cents out of every dollar that I earn ... I'll be poor and you will be rich. The Black community gives 95 cents of every dollar to white-owned businesses. We are poor. They are rich.
One family in Chicago ... the Andersons ... plans to flip the script. For the Ebony Experiment, the Anderson Family publicly commits to exclusively ‘Buy Black’ for one year. They will live their lives as they normally do, except that each time they make an expenditure – from consumer goods to professional services to real estate and travel – they will make an exhaustive attempt to utilize Black businesses and Black professionals. In addition to actual new purchases, the Andersons will endeavor to convert any standing contracts (e.g. loans, bills, subscriptions, etc.) to adhere to their 'Buy Black' pledge.
Are you willing to support this effort? Can you find ways to 'Buy Black' in the coming weeks and months? Ken Bridges advocated for internal reparations ... and the Andersons appear to be doing it on a family level.
Please share your village voice on the 'Buy Black' concept. Will it work?
December 24, 2008
Our friends over at ColorOfChange have been seeking justice for Albert Woodfox and the other two people referred to as the 'Angola 3'. Angola is a prison located deep in Louisiana about 30 miles from the nearest town.
A 23-year old prison guard, Brent Miller, was stabbed to death with a lawnmower blade in 1972. Albert Woodfox and Herman Wallace were convicted of murder. They served the past 36 years in solitary confinement -- It's the longest any inmate has spent in isolation in modern U.S. history. Now, all these years later, the murder seems even more unsettled and elusive than it did then, and there are questions about their guilt.
Despite increasing evidence of Woodfox's innocence, the State of Louisiana is digging in its heels. They've pushed back against a federal judge who has overturned Woodfox's conviction and ordered his release. Many believe that the government is upset with the 'Angola 3' because they were organizing within the prison for better conditions, an end to sexual abuses, and the fair treatment of inmates.
Louisiana governor Bobby Jindal is not saying anything. Petitions have been delivered to him asking for him to take action in this case ... however, he hasn't said a word yet.
Have you been following the story of the Angola 3 over the past weeks and months? If so, what is your take on the situation?
December 23, 2008
Elon correctly tells us that the key player in 2008 is Barack Obama. No surprise. After all, if Obama was Time Magazine Man of the Year ... so why not continue his role with the folks at TWIB.
Check out TWIB Episode #14 for yourself:
I'm not gonna go stalk the jackal otherwise known as Alan Keyes ... but, if he ever comes to Cincinnati then I might kick him in the gonads just to get on Elon's show! Anyhow, what was your favorite part of the show?
December 22, 2008
Bro. Shine kept moving forward with his blog ... the six months passed ... and we're proud to welcome him as one of the newest members of The AfroSpear
Cedric wrote, "I think the purpose of the Afrospear is to network bloggers of color together to support a collective dialogue on issues that affect people of color. I also see it as way to cultivate leadership and ideas through online conversations about the state of our people. I feel that I will do that by not only contributing to my blog but being the voice that I have been on other blogs within the AfroSpear. I will continue to encourage our people to think objectively about our impact on society.
I blog every day and post several posts a day dealing with spirituality, music, politics and literary pieces that speak to the struggle and victories of people of color. I look forward to being a part of the AfroSpear."
Please take a moment to share your village voice with Cedric Shine. What are your thoughts about his blog ... or about the AfroSpear?
December 21, 2008
December 20, 2008
Where does America find these human jackals? Anyhow, he jumps immediately into the list of village jackals ... joining folks like Ward Connerly and Alan Keyes.
December 19, 2008
The theme this week is 'holiday songs'. Nat King Cole, The Whispers, Luther Vandross and others made beautiful music. I'm sure they will be featured by many OSF posts today. I decided to go in a different direction. How many of y'all remember Kurtis Blow? He was one of the original rappers back in the day and he had a very unique Christmas Rapping song that I used to enjoy. I thought I would share it with you today.
December 18, 2008
December 17, 2008
Are there any villagers active in Second Life? What do you like about it? If you are not in Second Life ... do you plan to visit that virtual world in the near future?
December 16, 2008
December 15, 2008
Lisa began blogging in March 2008. When seeking admission to the AfroSpear, Lisa wrote, "I think the purpose of AfroSpear is to support and encourage the literary work of bloggers of the African disapora. I would contribute to the purpose by making valued contributions to fostering community and supporting the literary work of my brothers and sisters."
It is difficult to describe the wealth of information, role models, spiritual praise and other dialogue that uplifts the souls of Black women to be found on this blog. Frankly, I'm honored that this sister applied for membership into the AfroSpear.
Share your thoughts on this new AfroSpear blogger. Have you checked out her blog yet?
December 14, 2008
- A Political Season - 'The Search for a Decent Obama Impersonator Is Over'
- Black Threads - 'Liberia: A Visit Through Books'
- Jack and Jill Politics - 'NPR Cancels Only Black-Issues Program, News & Notes'
- What About Our Daughters - 'Michelle Obama Named 'American of the Year''
- Womanist Musings - 'Saving The World One Savage At A Time: Porn To The Rescue'
December 13, 2008
December 12, 2008
A grand jury in the racially-troubled northeast Texas town of Paris returned first-degree murder indictments Thursday against two white men accused in the September dragging death of a Black man, and the prosecutor in the case said he is investigating whether to add hate-crime charges. [SOURCE]
Shannon Finley and Charles Ryan Crostley, both 27, face up to life in prison if convicted of charges that they murdered 24-year-old Brandon McClelland by running him over and dragging him beneath a pickup truck after the three went on a late-night beer run.
McClelland's mutilated and partially-dismembered body was found lying in the middle of a remote county highway. Local police initially dismissed the case as an ordinary hit-and-run.
The victim's mother said she was relieved to learn of the murder indictments.
"I'm glad to know that they won't sweep this under the rug," said Jacqueline McClelland. "Now I know that justice will get served and this family can get some rest and ease."
It saddened me to learn that the 'News & Notes' show is being cancelled by National Public Radio (NPR). News & Notes covered a wide range of issues from an African American perspective.
The one-hour daily program hosted by well-known broadcast and digital media journalist Farai Chideya was a wonderful opportunity for Black bloggers. Farai hosted a Blogger Roundtable each Wednesday as part of her program. I had pleasure of being a panelist in Nov 2007, Apr 2008, Jun 2008 and Aug 2008.
NPR claims that the show is being eliminated because of a $23 million budget shortfall. NPR, which has a staff of 889, said it will cut 85 jobs, including 21 unfilled positions. Dennis Haarsager, NPR's CEO, says that the show failed to attract “sufficient levels of audience or national underwriting necessary to sustain continued production under these tough financial circumstances.”
Here is what other Black bloggers are saying about this sad news:
- African American Political Pundit
- Can't Stop Won't Stop
- Jack and Jill Politics
- Jasmyne Cannick
- Maynard Institute
- My Urban Report
- Pam's House Blend
- Rod 2.0 Beta
- SES: Science, Education & Society
- African American Political Pundit - 'How Many Blacks and Other Minorities in Barack's Cabinet?'
- Black Political Thought - 'Eileen Bernstein, Haverstraw Middle School Teacher, Binds Two Black Students During History Lesson on Slavery'
- DigitalFanGirl - 'BlissDom ‘09 Shows Lack of Diversity'
- Keep It Trill - 'Know Thy Enemy'
- Tariq Nelson - 'Stand Up and Man Up for Strong Families'
December 11, 2008
This blog is dedicated to critiquing current events and pop culture from a womanist perspective. Its sole purpose is to give voice to those that have historically been marginalized and silenced.
When asked why she wants to join the AfroSpear, Renee wrote, "I think the purpose and the goal of AfroSpear is to help build a Black community online. Even though we speak with different voices, it is important to hear a Black perspective on daily life. The AfroSpear brings attention to Black issues and the work of Black bloggers.
Though my blog is new I am dedicated to raising awareness. I post almost daily. My blog is entitled womanist-musings because I focus on issues that are important to Black women. I also offer a womanist analysis of current events. I think that my blog is important because Black women are often disregarded by mainstream news."
I encourage all villagers to share their thoughts on this new AfroSpear member ... and visit her blog as well!
December 10, 2008
December 9, 2008
I understand that President-elect Barack Obama and Vice President-elect Joe Biden plan to meet with former Vice President Al Gore today.
In a statement, Obama spokesman Nick Shapiro said the three men would “discuss energy and climate change and how policies in this area can stimulate the economy and create jobs.”
Gore is a political superstar in the Democratic Party. He served for two terms as vice-president; earned more votes in presidential loss to George Bush in 2000; won Nobel Prize for his work on climate change in 2007; won an Academy Award for his about global warming film, 'An Inconvenient Truth'; and he is now a rich man as a result of his various tech-based partnerships.
Obama pledges to create millions of 'green jobs' over the coming years. How cool would it be for Obama to offer the job of Energy Secretary in his cabinet to Al Gore?
Obama is building a cabinet of stars. Do you think he can get Al Gore to join the mix?
December 8, 2008
December 7, 2008
Walton continued, "I've been blogging, not only on current issues, but also issues that connect us to our history. I want to be a part of the AfroSpear because I don't just want to write on my own. I want to be a part of a network or alliance that welcomes my work ... I don't want to be a person who goes to other bloggers to argue or complain. I want to be supportive ... or just to say a few words just to let them know I'm reading them and they're not alone."
I encourage folks to check out daddyBstrong and welcome him to the AfroSpear!
December 6, 2008
America seems like a more just place this morning. I woke up to the news that the voters of Louisiana finally realized that they were represented in Congress by an indicted bribe-taking jerk. Among other evidence, Jefferson was videotaped by the FBI receiving $100,000 worth of $100 bills in a leather briefcase at the Ritz-Carlton hotel in Arlington, Virginia.
I asked William Jefferson to go away ... and the voters of Louisiana 'made it so'.
Jefferson was defeated by Anh 'Joseph' Cao, a little-known Republican lawyer ... the very first Vietnamese-American Congressman ever. Cao is an immigration lawyer and community activist who once pursued the priesthood with the Jesuits.
Hailing from New Orleans’s Versailles — the area of almost 100% Vietnamese, best known to outsiders as an area heavily damaged by Katrina — Cao is said to be affiliated with Boat People S.O.S., a refugee rights advocacy group based in Washington DC.
William Jefferson had been Louisiana’s first Black Congress member since Reconstruction. However, Black folks all over America are seeking quality in our public officials. Once you go Obama ... you NEVER GO BACK! Jefferson cynically counted on a loyal base to return him to Congress for a 10th term.
I join with other villagers in wishing Mr. Cao much success as he goes to Washington DC. I don't have much love for Republicans because of their policies ... but, I appreciate the historical significance of breaking another cultural barrier in our national politics.
How did you feel about these election results from Louisiana?
December 5, 2008
The theme this week is 'Actor-Turned-Singer' or 'Singer-Turned-Actor'. There were actually a lot of good options. I'm old enough to remember that Janet Jackson was Penny on 'Good Times' before she brought us 'Rhythm Nation'. I remember Mos Def at age 14, in the TV movie 'God Bless the Child'. I also enjoyed him in The Cosby Mysteries, before he started his rap career. Other talented people that came to mind were Ice T, Queen Latifah and Will Smith.
However, my mind immediately went to Eddie Murphy. Eddie was a successful comic and movie star when he decided to try out his musical chops with Rick James. Did you 'Party All The Time' back in the day?
December 4, 2008
Eleanor Holmes Norton's schedule is likely going to become a lot more crowded in the next year. [SOURCE]
With Barack Obama's election, along with Democratic gains in the Senate, Norton -- the District of Columbia's non-voting delegate to the House of Representatives -- is poised to become a full-fledged Representative, giving DC a voting member of Congress for the first time in the nation's history.
Senate Democrats have added at least seven members to their caucus this year, with two races yet to be decided. While a filibuster-proof 60-vote majority remains elusive, the gains should be enough to move forward a DC voting-rights bill, among other measures that are supported by moderate Republicans, the Washington Post notes Monday.
Under a measure that passed the House by a wide margin last year, Norton would receive a vote in the House on behalf of the District's nearly 600,000 residents. The bill also would give Utah an additional House member, bringing the total in the House to 437.
The bill fell to a Republican-led filibuster in the Senate on a 57-42 vote, but this year's Democratic pick-ups seem likely to assure its passage if it returns to the floor. All seven Republicans who were replaced by Democrats voted against the measure.
President-elect Barack Obama co-sponsored the Senate bill and would be expected to sign the measure into law.
Norton, who co-sponsored last year's measure, says she will reintroduce it sometime in the next session of Congress, although the timing has yet to be decided.
“After 209 years, District residents will have not only a president who has already changed America, and the president that our residents most wanted, but they will have a Democratic president, who, as senator, co-sponsored the District of Columbia Voting Rights Act, and has told me he will sign our bill,” Norton said in a statement, released after Obama's victory.
Congress fixed the number of House seats at 435 in 1911. The body temporarily increased to 437 members in 1959 to give Alaska and Hawaii one member each, then returned back to 435 members after the next census.
December 3, 2008
December 2, 2008
December 1, 2008
Yobachi asked Black bloggers to support the 20th anniversary of World AIDS Day. We asked our villagers last year to support efforts to end AIDS.
This year I tried to look at AIDS from a personal point of view. It dawned on me that I don't have personal knowledge of anyone with HIV or AIDS. I suppose that the stigma from this disease is such that people still don't bring it up in polite company. However, I wonder if my experience is atypical?
According to estimates from the UNAIDS 2008 Report on the global AIDS epidemic, around 30.8 million adults and 2 million children were living with HIV at the end of 2007. During 2007, some 2.7 million people became infected with the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), which causes AIDS.
Have you ever wondered how people get HIV or AIDS? It turns out that 11% of HIV infections are among babies who acquire the virus from their mothers; 10% result from injecting drug use; 5-10% are due to sex between men; and 5-10% occur in healthcare settings. Sex between men and women accounts for the remaining proportion – around two thirds of new infections.
Around half of the people who acquire HIV become infected before they turn 25 and typically die of the life-threatening illnesses called AIDS before their 35th birthday.
The area in Africa south of the Sahara desert, known as sub-Saharan Africa, is by far the worst-affected in the world by the AIDS epidemic. The region has just over 10% of the world's population, but is home to 67% of all people living with HIV. An estimated 1.9 million adults and children became infected with HIV during 2007. This brought the total number of people living with HIV/AIDS in the region to 22 million by the end of the year. HIV prevalence varies considerably across this region - ranging from less than 1% in Madagascar to over 25% in Swaziland.
AIDS is one of the top 10 leading causes of death on our earth. Here are some suggestions for dealing with the impact of HIV in America and around the world:
- People need to challenge the myths and misconceptions about human sexuality that translate into dangerous sexual practices.
- Work and legislation is needed to reduce prejudice felt by HIV+ people around the world and the discrimination that prevents people from "coming out" as being HIV positive.
- HIV prevention initiatives need to be increased, people across the world need to be made aware of the dangers, the risks, and the ways they can protect themselves.
- Condom promotion and supply needs to be increased, and the appropriate sexual health education needs to be provided to young people before they reach an age where they become sexually active.
- Medication and support needs to be provided to people who are already HIV+, so that they can live longer and more productive lives, support their families, and avoid transmitting the virus onwards.
- Support and care needs to be provided for those children who have already been orphaned by AIDS, so that they can grow up safely, without experiencing poverty, exploitation, and themselves falling prey to HIV.
What are your thoughts on the HIV/AIDS epidemic? Any personal experiences that influence how you look at the six alternative solutions?