July 30, 2010

Congress Votes to Deal With the Racism of Federal Cocaine Laws

Villagers may recall that we shared information about efforts to reduce (if not eliminate) the racist federal laws regarding punishment for cocaine use.

The House voted to "reduce the disparity in the sentencing of people caught with crack cocaine versus powder cocaine," altering a sentencing standard that has long been considered racist by critics. The new law will reduce sentencing disparities from 100-to-1 to 18-to-1.

I wonder why they didn't go all the way to a 1-to-1 ratio?   Shouldn't the penalty be absolutely the same for abuse of crack vs. powder cocaine?   What say u?

July 29, 2010

Blog Safari #41

Our creative rhino-guide is ready to take you on a blog safari expedition to enjoy the flow from talented bloggers out in the afrosphere. I encourage all interested villagers to click on the links below to enjoy these suggested blog posts!

Let us know if you come across any remarkable posts that should be shared in our next Blog Safari!

July 27, 2010

Am I Not Human? Child Slavery in United Kingdom

I imagine that going to Hell is something that all of us want to avoid ... and we can't imagine any reason that a child should have to go to Hell. In the United Kingdom it appears that they don't mind if a child goes to Hell more than once.

Here is the situation as told on Change.org website:

The United Kingdom is losing children. A recent study found that 55% of child trafficking victims in the U.K. who are identified and rescued eventually go missing. Those children are going to Hell twice in a very short lifetime.

The U.K. is suffering from a guardianship crisis when it comes to trafficked children, namely, that trafficked kids have no guardian and the government isn't providing a good one. One government-run home which lost 77 kids in three years turned out to be a front for a trafficking ring. And Afghan children trafficked to the U.K. have been leaking out of the country faster than BP oil into the Gulf of Mexico. But an issue which before seemed to maybe be a failure of just a handful of agencies now looks to be a system-wide breakdown.

The Home Office's Centre for Exploitation and Online Protection reviewed several local authorities who serve trafficked children and found that over half the kids who are brought in slip through some rather gaping cracks. There are a number of reasons child trafficking victims get lost: they are re-trafficked by the agency or someone else, they run away out of fear of the trafficker, they are deported, or they run back to the trafficker, especially in cases where the trafficker was a boyfriend first.

According to a recent opinion poll regarding this research, 44% of British adults think they way the government is dealing with child trafficking victims is unacceptable. Really? Only 44%? That means over half of British citizens aren't concerned that their government is losing most of the children it rescues from slavery. Can that many people really be ok with the idea of a children's shelter acting as a front for a child trafficking ring? Or the government deporting children who have been enslaved in the U.K. back to war zones? I have to believe the poll response is based on denial that child trafficking exists rather than callous indifference to the suffering of hundreds or even thousands of children.

The U.K. needs to get their act together, and you can tell them to start by stopping the deportation of trafficked children back to Afghanistan. You can also sign the petition created by ECPAT UK and the Body Shop to ask the government to create stronger guardianship guidelines and more comprehensive services for trafficked children.

Lest we feel superior here in America -- please note that we have our share of human trafficking of children in the United States.

Human trafficking is the third largest criminal industry in the world and it is thought that 1.2 million children and young people are trafficked every year for sexual exploitation and cheap labour.

What are you thoughts on this human rights issue?

Good News Tuesday: Postal Service Honors Negro Baseball League

I purchased a set of stamps from my local post office last week that paid homage to the Negro Baseball League.

The Negro Leagues, established in 1920, contributed in its own way to the struggle for equality by allowing Black men, barred from major league baseball, to display their athletic prowess on the field. The players, with their trademark uniforms and regular exhibitions of exciting play, garnered a sizable multi-racial fan following as they traveled to rural and urban areas throughout the United States, Canada and Latin America.

Gregory D. Baker, president of the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum, told the Associated Press, "Make no mistake about it. All these athletes were trailblazers on and off the field. Through their unsung civic endeavors, the (Negro) Leagues and their players raised awareness and started a conversation about the standards of social justice in our country for all people regardless of race or gender." [SOURCE]
Players such as Satchel Paige, Josh Gibson and "Cool Papa" Bell were just a few of the standout performers in the Negro Leagues' heyday. Attendance and interest waned for the Negro Leagues after the majors were integrated, and young sluggers like Hank Aaron, Ernie Banks and Willie Mays opted to sign major league contracts. The Leagues remaining teams folded in the early '60s, leaving a legacy that still inspires many people.

Both stamps, designed by NAACP Image Award recipient, Kadir Nelson, were put through a grueling process before they were approved by the Citizens' Stamp Advisory Committee's 14 members, one of which is Dr. Henry Louis Gates Jr., and selected by the Postmaster General.

One stamp depicts a "bang-bang play" at home plate in which a runner slides in and is called "safe" by the umpire whose arms are emphatically outstretched. The other stamp has an image of Andrew "Rube" Foster superimposed over a background that features a ballpark.

Foster, a former player, manager and businessman, is regarded by many as the "father" of the Negro Leagues as he and a group of other Black entrepreneurs joined to form the Negro National League, which spawned the formation of rival leagues.

Roy Betts, a USPS spokesman, said that public write-in submissions are typically how stamps are decided each year. He added, from there, they are then sent to the committee, where they are evaluated and measured by set criteria.

"There was a groundswell of support from many different people for the Negro Leagues to be honored," said Betts. "For years, fans, the museum and politicians have asked for the stamps and now they're available. If your local post office runs out, you can ask them to re-order more."
I encourage all villagers to support this set of Afrocentric stamps. Buy a pack of these stamps next time you go to the post office!

July 26, 2010

Taser Autopsy: Death of 17-Year Old William Owens Ruled a 'Homicide'

A 17-year old African American child died after being electrocuted mulitple times by the taser gun of an unidentified white Homewood (AL) police officer. The Jefferson County Coroner's Office ruled that the taser was part of the reason that the young man died.

Chief Deputy Coroner Pat Curry classified the cause of death as "sequelae of confrontation of Taser use." The manner of death is classified as a homicide. [SOURCE]

The pre-existing condition, combined with the stress of the events including the 50,000 volts of electricity from the taser gun, all worked together to end in his death. Absent one link in the chain events, whether that be the struggle with police, the taser gun or the heart condition, Owens may or may not have died, Curry said

"The totality of the circumstance killed him," Curry said.
Owens died June 14. He was struck by a Homewood police officer's Taser after lawmen caught him and three of his cousins, including a 12-year-old, allegedly breaking into cars at Herzing University just before 1 a.m. Police said Owens was struck with the taser after the teen repeatedly resisted arrest. [NOTE: I'm fairly certain that there is no death penalty for 'repeatedly resisting arrest'.]

The case is under investigation by the Alabama Bureau of Investigation, the Homewood Police and the Jefferson County District Attorney's Office.

District Attorney Brandon Falls said he wanted to withhold comment until completion of the investigation.

The Homewood Police Department released this statement:
"The findings from the coroner's office are consistent with any death where the actions of one person cause the death of another. This ruling is consistent whether the actions of the remaining person(s) are direct or indirect. This finding does not reflect any misconduct on the part of Homewood officers responding to the scene. Officers on the scene acted reasonably and quickly to the circumstances surrounding this incident."
The next step in this process is to see what the District Attorney does. Not all homicides lead to criminal prosecution. Will the unidentifed police officer be charged with a crime? Or will this young man's life end without any legal recourse against the person that electrocuted him without a trial?

July 25, 2010

Sunday Inspiration: The Million Man Poem (Maya Angelou)

I'm still having good memories from my participation in the Million Man MarchOne of the MMM highlights was a poem read by Maya Angelou. It went something like this:



Million Man March Poem - By Maya Angelou
The night has been long,
The wound has been deep,
The pit has been dark,
And the walls have been steep.

Under a dead blue sky on a distant beach,
I was dragged by my braids just beyond your reach.
Your hands were tied, your mouth was bound,
You couldn't even call out my name.
You were helpless and so was I,
But unfortunately throughout history
You've worn a badge of shame.

I say, the night has been long,
The wound has been deep,
The pit has been dark
And the walls have been steep.

But today, voices of old spirit sound
Speak to us in words profound,
Across the years, across the centuries,
Across the oceans, and across the seas.
They say, draw near to one another,
Save your race.
You have been paid for in a distant place,
The old ones remind us that slavery's chains
Have paid for our freedom again and again.

The night has been long,
The pit has been deep,
The night has been dark,
And the walls have been steep.

The hells we have lived through and live through still,
Have sharpened our senses and toughened our will.
The night has been long.
This morning I look through your anguish
Right down to your soul.
I know that with each other we can make ourselves whole.
I look through the posture and past your disguise,
And see your love for family in your big brown eyes.

I say, clap hands and let's come together in this meeting ground,
I say, clap hands and let's deal with each other with love,
I say, clap hands and let us get from the low road of indifference,
Clap hands, let us come together and reveal our hearts,
Let us come together and revise our spirits,
Let us come together and cleanse our souls,
Clap hands, let's leave the preening
And stop impostering our own history.
Clap hands, call the spirits back from the ledge,
Clap hands, let us invite joy into our conversation,
Courtesy into our bedrooms,
Gentleness into our kitchen,
Care into our nursery.

The ancestors remind us, despite the history of pain
We are a going-on people who will rise again.

And still we rise.


What is your favorite memory of Maya Angelou? or the Million Man March?

July 24, 2010

Taser Autopsy: Death of Anastasio Hernandez is 'Unclear'

I have to admit that I often think that doctors aren't much more different than witch doctors. Both professions seem to guess without any real answers. San Diego medical examiner Glenn Wagner did the autopsy on 42-year old Anastasio Hernandez ... a man tasered-to-death by unidentified US Border Patrol agents.

He says that he still can't tell what caused the death of Hernandez.

Wagner's autopsy report characterizes Hernandez' methamphetamine blood level of 0.16 milligrams per liter as acute but lists it as only one of several potential causes. He says it's also unclear how much blame to assign to the taser gun, Hernandez' agitated state and the position in which he was restrained by law enforcement officers.

It appears that we will have to wait for the legal system to determine who is responsible for the death of the 42-year-old father of five U.S.-born children came to the U.S. when he was 14.

July 23, 2010

Taser Death * Edward Stevenson (Leavenworth KS)

The police continue to practice a violent and deadly practice of pre-judicial electrocution. The person killed this time was 46-year old Edward Stevenson. He was tasered-to-death on July 18.

Leavenworth Police Chief Pat Kitchens gave the following account to a reporter from the Kansas City Star:

Officers were called after Stevenson reportedly came into a local bar and claimed he had been shot. When police arrived, Stevenson was lying in the street. An ambulance was called, and police put Stevenson in the back of a patrol car while they waited.


Stevenson, whom Kitchens described as combative and aggressive, began to kick and butt his head inside the vehicle. Officers removed him and tried to get him under control. He was shocked by unidentified police officers at least three times with taser guns.


An ambulance arrived and took him to the hospital, where he was pronounced dead.  There is no evidence of any gunshot wounds on Stevenson ... despite the earlier reports.


There was no need for this man to be electrocuted with taser guns. There was no need for this man to die. He was in police custody in the back of a patrol car. He was contained with no weapon (they wouldn't put him in the back of the car without frisking him for weapons or drugs). He was not a danger to anyone ... and medical folks were coming in an ambulance.

Why did the unidentified police officers pull their taser guns and shoot this guy? HE WAS NO DANGER TO THE OFFICERS OR ANYONE ELSE. Even if you think that he was a danger to himself ... pumping him full of electricity through multiple taser gun shots wasn't appropriate.

Next step? Let's see what the autopsy results tell us. However, I can't see how the unidentified police officers get out of this taser-killing without some criminal repercussions.

What say u?

The BDPA Insider - July 23, 2010

Blog Talk Radio Live! July 28th at the National BDPA Conference

Mark your calendars!

BlogTalkRadio co-hosts Jacqueline Lawson (Cozzas) and Milt Haynes (National BDPA) will bring you BlogTalk Radio Live on Wednesday, July 28th at 12:30 pm EST, during the 32nd Annual National BDPA Conference.

African Americans sometimes underestimate the impact of technology on shaping the course of history. The show’s segments will include short interviews of senior BDPA officials to discuss their vision and dream for the organization. Internet Radio brings an added technology feature to the conference. It is a format that allows for real-time dialogue over the phone and in chat rooms anyone can access on the Internet. These Internet Radio interviews will provide multiple perspectives that are sure to appeal to anyone interested in the future of African Americans in IT.

Everything you ever wanted to know about an African American technology organization, but were afraid to ask!

The program agenda for the Internet radio show:
  1. Historical BDPA – Advancing careers for 35 years
  2. Transforming While Performing ... As We Take BDPA To The Next Level
  3. What is BDPA? A Corporate Sponsor’s Perspective
  4. National BDPA Conference Preview – How To Get What You Need In 4 Days!
  5. BDPA Social Networks – Promoting innovation, professional growth and technical development
  6. BDPA Education and Technology Foundation - Philanthropy and Scholarships
  7. Identifying Partners For Teaming Agreements
  8. Young Techpreneurs - BDPA Creating Young Black Millionaires
The call-in number for the Internet radio show is 347.989-1228. I encourage all villagers to mark this show on your calendar. It is your opportunity to interact with a number of BDPA leaders and figure out how this organization may impact on you and your local community.

Click here for Blog Talk Radio chat room and call in details.


BDPA Announces New $100 One-Day Conference Pass

BDPA created a new One-Day Pass that is now available for $100. This pass is ONLY valid any 1 day of the 32nd annual BDPA Technology Conference and does not include the Awards Gala. However, it does provide you with access to world-class workshops and plenary sessions for the day that you choose.

Click here for the full article.


Philly Meet-up of Blogging While Brown supporters at the National BDPA Conference.

Want to meet some of your friends on Twitter, Facebook, FriendFeed, and LinkedIn in person? Then this is the tweet-up for you! Mix, mingle, meet, and get a preview of all the goings on at the National BDPA Technology Conference. Refreshments will be served at the Opening Ceremony Reception.






When:
Wednesday, July 28th
7:00 p.m.

Where:
Opening Ceremony
Philadelphia Marriott Downtown
1201 Market Street
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19107

Click here to RSVP for the Blogging While Brown Philly Meet-Up.

Hosted by:
@blacksgonegeek, @BDPA and @BDPA_Conference

Contact:
Milt Haynes, Outside Director
National BDPA Social Networking Team
milt@blacksgonegeek.org
Milt on Twitter
Milt on Facebook
Milt on LinkedIn Network


Please accept our invitation to join us in the City of Brotherly Love by registering for the 32nd Annual National BDPA Conference, July 28 – 31, 2010 at the Philadelphia Marriott Downtown, Philadelphia, PA.

Hotel Rooms Are Now Going Fast: Please Book Now!!!
Reserve your room today by contacting the Philadelphia Marriott Downtown at 1-800-266-9432 and ask for the BDPA (Black Data Processing Associates) rate or register online.
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Find the buzz on Twitter - #BDPA:

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Contact our Social Networking Team - socialnetworking@bdpa.org

PS: Please share this information with your friends, co-workers, church members, etc so that they can help us pass the word. The key is that we must share what we know with others so we can all grow and prosper.

Arizona Police Officer: 'This is a Racist Law' [VIDEO]

Brave New Foundation's Cuéntame, has made major headlines this week for its video interview with Arizona Police Officer Paul Dobson speaking out about evil Arizona anti-immigration bill, SB1070. Officer Dobson is now under investigation for exercising his first amendment right to speak freely about the real effects of the law:

I know people will not call the police in case of a real emergency. This law is purely racist and solely focused on Latinos. In my opinion, SB 1070 violates equal protection under the law.” Paul Dobson, Patrol Officer, Arizona
Here is the video interview:




Are you in favor of the Arizona law? What would you like to see done about immigration reform in America?

July 22, 2010

Denver Citizens Demand Justice for Taser-Killing of Marvin Booker

I encourage Denver-based villagers to head over to the New Denver Jail to join the West Denver Copwatch, Aurora Copwatch and other concerned community member on Thursday July, 22nd at 6:00pm, for a rally and vigil to demand justice for the brutal pre-judicial electrocution of Marvin Booker.

The rally organizers are demanding:
  1. Justice for the brutal murder of Marvin Booker
  2. Transparency regarding the brutal murder of Marvin Booker
  3. Release of any and all relevant information regarding the brutal murder of Marvin Booker
  4. Release of any video surveillance regarding the brutal murder of Marvin Booker
  5. Punishment for the brutal murderers of Marvin Booker to the fullest extent of the law
If you have questions or wish to discuss further you should contact the West Denver Copwatch folks by email (westdenvercopwatch@riseup.net) or phone (720.878-3658).

July 21, 2010

Tell President Obama to Reinstate Shirley Sherrod

This blog joins with ColorOfChange in demanding that the Obama Administration reinstate Shirley Sherrod.

The Obama administration just caved in to the right-wing smear machine, firing a Black USDA official after she was smeared by far-right blogger Andrew Breitbart and his friends at Fox News Channel.

On Monday, Andrew Breitbart (a blogger who works closely with FOX News and has a long history of launching deceptive, racially charged smear campaigns) posted a deceptively edited video of USDA employee Shirley Sherrod speaking at an NAACP function. The video shows Sherrod telling a story about how she once was asked for help from a White farmer, and how she didn't "give him the full force of what I could do" to help him, because of his race.

Breitbart touted the video as evidence that the NAACP and the Obama administration tolerated racial discrimination against White people, saying that it showed Sherrod's "federal duties are managed through the prism of race and class distinctions." Breitbart's doctored video and false storyline moved quickly to FOX News, where on-air personalities called for Sherrod's firing.

The truth is that Sherrod was telling a 24-year old story about her work for a non-profit organization whose mission was to help Black farmers. Discrimination against Black farmers was rampant, and she described how she was first reluctant when approached by a White farmer named Roger Spooner for help (Sherrod also says that her father was killed by a White farmer 45 years ago). But after seeing that no one wanted to help Spooner, she worked to save his farm, and eventually became good friends with his family.

Yesterday, Roger Spooner said that Sherrod saved their farm and kept them out of bankruptcy. He told CNN, "I don't know what brought up the racist mess. They just want to stir up some trouble, it sounds to me in my opinion."

The NAACP was snookered.   They joined the attack on Shirley Sherrod based on the the edited video.  They should have simply watched the full speech before they rushed to judgement.   The full video is shown below:





It took less than 24 hours for the lies to be debunked. But by that time, it was too late — Sherrod was forced to quit.

Once the truth became known, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack issued a statement saying that whether or not the smear campaign against Sherrod was based in lies, it was necessary to fire her because the "controversy" would make it hard for her to do her job.

The Obama administration is essentially saying that they will always back down in the face of dishonest, race-baiting smear campaigns launched by right-wing propagandists. They've ended the career of someone who did nothing wrong, and by handing a victory to the people who launched this deception, the administration is encouraging them to launch even more smears. All to avoid "controversy." It's pathetic, it's shameful, and it has to stop.

It's not the first time this has happened. Several members of the Obama administration have lost their jobs or been demoted, and nominees to cabinet positions have either stepped down or withdrawn their nominations after becoming the target of smear campaigns launched by FOX News and Breitbart.

It's bad enough that we have to fight the constant smear campaigns and appeals to racial paranoia from FOX and the right-wing media. But it's completely shameful and outrageous for the Obama administration to throw innocent public servants under the bus just to avoid having to fight back against the lies.

Please join us in calling on the White House to immediately give Shirley Sherrod her job back, and to stop bowing to the will of right-wing propaganda artists.

Taser Autopsy: Death of Efrain Carrion is Ruled 'Excited Delirium'

The autopsy of 35-year old Efrain Carrion is complete. Villagers may recall that this is the man police say was acrobatic enough to get loose from five officers (Sgt. James Prokop, K-9 Handler Doug Clark and officers William Hertler, Chris Lundberg and Elias Martz), a K-9 police dog and two handcuffs that held his arms behind his back. Yep ... this man was the 'Houdini' of Middletown CT. The police felt a need to electrocute him multiple times with their taser guns in his own backyard.

Anyhow, the medical examiner indicates that the cause of death is “excited delirium”.

The term isn't one recognized by the American Medical Association and has become controversial because excited delirium is most often listed as a cause of death in cases where someone died after being electrocuted with a taser gun.

The co-chairman of the legislature's Judiciary Committee, state Rep. Michael P. Lawlor, says he can't recall another case in Connecticut where excited delirium has been listed as the cause of death.
"Whether that's a diagnosis or a cause of death, I don't know," says Lawlor. "I'm not a doctor, but I have not heard of this as a cause of death before [in Connecticut]."
Some activists claim the term is being used to cover up cases where police have used excessive force, particularly when an incident involved the use of a Taser.

The Middletown Police Chief is hiding behind the finding by the medical examiner.

“Tasers are very safe if used properly. They are designed to minimize any injury to individuals and injury to police officers. It eliminates the need to use a nightstick or police dogs that can bite and harm someone. Absolutely nothing at the time indicates any wrong-doing done by the officers,” acting Middletown Police Chief Patrick McMahon said. “I think the medical examiner’s findings speak for themselves.”
Of course, there is another point of view from a witness at the scene of this prejudicial electrocution. Eunice Barrientos told reporters she called police to calm down her brother, Efrain Carrion who was acting irrational, but she never expected them to taser him to death.

They just tasered him and tasered him and let the dog chew him up,” the Middletown woman said.
She said after the officers were finished tasering her brother, they kicked him down the stairs as they were taking him out of the apartment.






My understanding is that the family will file a 'wrongful death' lawsuit against the city and the police officers. The Connecticut State Police Eastern District Major Crime Squad is currently still under investigation.

Villagers ... what are your thoughts about this taser-related killing?

July 20, 2010

The BDPA Insider - July 20, 2010

BDPA Webinar: Job Seekers: Tips for success in your IT career search

Friday July 23, 2010 12:00 PM Eastern

This 30-minute webinar is designed to help BDPA members and jobseekers maximize their exposure and chances of success with BDPA sponsors currently hiring IT professionals nationwide. The BDPA Talent Management System currently has 65 career opportunities ... the most recent was posted yesterday by Prudential Finance.

Presented by: Portia Westbrooks
National BDPA Career Center Director


Mastering LinkedIn: Advanced Techniques and Insider Secrets (Keith Warrick)

There will be over 50 workshops at the 32nd annual BDPA Technology Conference in Philadelphia later this month. Keith Warrick will be a presenter at two of them ... including one entitled, 'Mastering LinkedIn: Advanced Techniques and Insider Secrets'.

This workshop is designed to enhance the LinkedIn user experience of current users by taking it to the next level through the introduction of advanced features and techniques designed to get the maximum value out of using LinkedIn. LinkedIn is a professional social networking site that has grown in popularity since starting up in 2003.

Click here to read the full article.


BDPA IT Showcase: Production Planning Tools (Jessye Bemley, North Carolina A&T State University)

IBM and Eli Lilly and Company are sponsoring the 2010 BDPA IT Showcase. It provides them with an opportunity to see some of the most powerful African American high school and college students. The young people in the IT Showcase have potential to become Ph.D candidates in the hard sciences.

Jessye Bemley was a senior attending North Carolina A&T State University when she competed in the 2008 BDPA IT Showcase. She was finishing course work for her Bachelor’s Degree in Industrial Engineering. On-campus she is active in the North Carolina A&T Fellowship Gospel Choir, National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE) and Institute of Industrial Engineers (IIE).

Click here to read the full article.


Call to Action - US Military Readers Poll - Tell Us Your Story

You've served your country in the US Military and now you're serving your country in BDPA. Got a story to tell about the US military and BDPA? We're asking all military veterans to answer the question:

  • What did you learn leadership and technology by serving your country in the US Military and how have you applied what you've learned to do great things in BDPA?
Send your responses to the BDPA Social Networking Team via email socialnetworking@bdpa.org.

Read more:
BDPA in the News (military)


Please accept our invitation to join us in the City of Brotherly Love by registering for the 32nd Annual National BDPA Conference, July 28 – 31, 2010 at the Philadelphia Marriott Downtown, Philadelphia, PA.

Hotel Rooms Are Now Going Fast: Please Book Now!!!
Reserve your room today by contacting the Philadelphia Marriott Downtown at 1-800-266-9432 and ask for the BDPA (Black Data Processing Associates) rate or register online.
  • Subscribe to the BDPA Foundation Blog via email:
  • Subscribe to Blacks Gone Geek Blog via email:
 Follow us on Twitter:
http://www.twitter.com/BDPA
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Find the buzz on Twitter - #BDPA:

This message has been brought to you by the BDPA Social Networking Team

Contact our Social Networking Team - socialnetworking@bdpa.org

PS: Please share this information with your friends, co-workers, church members, etc so that they can help us pass the word. The key is that we must share what we know with others so we can all grow and prosper.

Taser Autopsy: Death of Audrecas Davis is Ruled a 'Homicide'

DeKalb County medical examiner Pat Bailey ruled that the death of Audrecas Davis was a homicide and the use of a Taser was one of several contributing factors. [SOURCE]

Other factors that contributed to death were drugs, prior medical conditions and obesity. Davis, 29, died from cardiorespiratory arrest and had marijuana, caffeine and nicotine in his system. He also suffered from hypertension and sickle cell disease.

Physical exertion and morbid obesity also contributed to his death; Davis was 445 pounds when police used their taser on him.

If you remove the Taser, you can’t say they wouldn’t have died anyway,” Bailey said.
The report showed Davis suffered a seizure and drug hallucinations on May 9. Paramedics called police after Davis became combative, according to a police report.

During the struggle, officers used a Taser on Davis five times to get him to comply with their commands. Officers said in their report that they repeated the shocks because the weapon had no effect on the man.

It was only after paramedics injected Davis with valium that he calmed down. His heart also slowed down after the drug, the report stated. He was pronounced dead about 25 minutes later at the hospital.

The medical examiner also indicated that a Taser had been used on Davis before by Gwinnett Police in 2006 and he had a history of drug-related arrests.

The next step in this process rests with the prosecutors. They need to review the autopsy report and decide whether or not to bring criminal charges against the taser-wielding police officers for their role in this homicide.

July 19, 2010

The BDPA Insider - July 19, 2010


BDPA New York chapter member Eric Hamilton is becoming one of our favorite IT professionals. He was the key player in the successful grant proposal with Yahoo! Employee Foundation. He is also one of the world-class workshop presenters at the 2010 BDPA Technology Conference in Philadelphia on July 28-31.

Click here for the full article.



Savvy job seekers know how important choosing the right words is when we communicate with prospective employers--but what about nonverbal communication?

"You could be saying how great you are," says image consultant and "Hello Job! How to Psych Up, Suit Up, & Show Up" author Alison Craig, "but your body could be giving your true feelings away." Mark Bowden, the author of "Winning Body Language" agrees with Craig--and with the highly regarded Mehrabian communication study, which found that if what's coming out of your mouth doesn't match what your body is saying, your audience is more likely to believe your body.

Click here for the full article.


BDPA's vets may not be "vocal" about BDPA, but our actions certainly have been far from "silent" over the past 30+ years. Meet Joe McMahon, President, BDPA Hampton Roads and Distinguished Military Veteran.

Joe is an active volunteer who works to provide high impact educational opportunities and workforce development for grades k-12, undergraduate and graduate studies and IT professionals. He currently serves as Advisory Board member for Norfolk State University College of Engineering, and ECPI College of Technology.

His actions have earned him special recognition such as 2009 BDPA Epsilon Career Achievement Award, letters and certificates from members of US Congress, and numerous military awards including two Defense Meritorious Service Medals, three Navy/Marine Corps Commendation Medals, and four Navy/Marine Corps Achievement Medals.

Click here for the full article.


Call to Action - US Military Readers Poll - Tell Us Your Story

You've served your country in the US Military and now you're serving your country in BDPA. Got a story to tell about the US military and BDPA? We're asking all military veterans to answer the question:

  • What did you learn leadership and technology by serving your country in the US Military and how have you applied what you've learned to do great things in BDPA?
Send your responses to the BDPA Social Networking Team via email socialnetworking@bdpa.org.

Read more:
BDPA in the News (military)


Please accept our invitation to join us in the City of Brotherly Love by registering for the 32nd Annual National BDPA Conference, July 28 – 31, 2010 at the Philadelphia Marriott Downtown, Philadelphia, PA.

Hotel Rooms Are Now Going Fast: Please Book Now!!!
Reserve your room today by contacting the Philadelphia Marriott Downtown at 1-800-266-9432 and ask for the BDPA (Black Data Processing Associates) rate or register online.
  • Subscribe to the BDPA Foundation Blog via email:
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Taser Autopsy: Death of Sukeba Jackson-Olawunmi is Ruled a 'Homicide'

DeKalb County medical examiner Pat Bailey ruled that the death of Sukeba Jackson-Olawunmi was a homicide and the use of a Taser was one of several contributing factors. [SOURCE]

Other factors that contributed to death were drugs, prior medical conditions and obesity.  Jackson-Olawunmi, 40, died of a cocaine-induced delirium. In addition to cocaine, she had blood pressure medication in her system to treat her hypertension.

Physical exertion and morbid obesity also contributed to his death; Jackson-Olawunmi was 359 pounds when police used their taser on her.

If you remove the Taser, you can’t say [she] wouldn’t have died anyway,” Bailey said.
Jackson-Olawunmi died May 14 after a Taser was used on her four times. Police were called to a Clarkson apartment complex after neighbors reported she was frantically shouting that someone was trying to kill her, according to witness statements. She kicked in several doors before falling off a second-floor balcony.


Police arrived to find Jackson-Olawunmi stealing a car and attempting to flee, the report stated. A Taser was used on her after she refused to surrender and fought officers. She remained violent until police used the Taser against her side. Thirty seconds later, she became unresponsive. She was pronounced dead 30 minutes later.

The next step in this process rests with the prosecutors. They need to review the autopsy report and decide whether or not to bring criminal charges against the taser-wielding police officers for their role in this homicide.

July 18, 2010

Witnesses Describe Brutal Taser-Murder by Denver Police of Marvin Booker

This blog has been tracking taser-related deaths for quite awhile. In most cases we only hear one side of the story because the other side of the story has been electrocuted to death.

I bet that the Denver police officers who pumped multiple taser jolts into the helpless body of Marvin Booker wish that they could tell the only side of the story.

Thanks to the Kirk Mitchell and the Denver Post we get to hear the other side of the story.

Witnesses at the Denver jail tell the story of how deputies were processing Booker on a charge of possession of drug paraphernalia. At some point during the processing the deputies felt that Booker was disobedient, he was held down, hit with electric taser gun shocks and then placed facedown in a holding cell, according to two inmates who watched it unfold.

Booker never got up. He was pronounced dead later that morning.

"I've never seen anything happen like that before in my life," said John Yedo, 54, who was being processed on a charge of destruction of property and said he witnessed the scene. "What I saw is not what you'd expect to see in America."
The two jail witnesses, who were both arrested in the early-morning hours of July 9 around the time Booker was being processed, were contacted and interviewed by The Denver Post separately. Both of them said they had not been questioned by police investigating the death of Booker, a homeless ordained minister who served the poor, but also a habitual criminal with a long string of arrests.

Yedo has had one prior arrest, in 1974 on a drug charge. Christopher Maten, 25, the other witness, was arrested in 2005 for public consumption of alcohol. Neither is a career criminal. The versions the two suspects tell are nearly identical.

"I can't breathe..."
Both say that Booker, 56, was asleep in a chair in a holding area of the jail when his name was called and he was ordered to a processing desk.

Half-asleep about 3 a.m., Booker walked to the desk in his socks, forgetting to put on his shoes. The female deputy ordered Booker to sit in a chair in front of the desk.

Booker responded that he wished to stand. When the deputy threatened to have him placed in a holding cell if he didn't sit, Booker told her he would go to the holding cell, said Maten, who had been arrested that morning for resisting arrest in a confrontation with a parking-meter attendant.

" 'Let me get my shoes,' " Maten quoted Booker as saying as he walked toward the chairs to get his shoes.

The deputy yelled at him repeatedly to stop, got up and followed Booker. Booker turned and repeated that he was getting his shoes, Maten said.

The deputy grabbed Booker by the arm and put a lock on him, Yedo said. Booker, who was 5 feet 5 and weighed 175 pounds, pushed her away. At that point, four other deputies wrestled Booker to the concrete floor. They slid down two steps to the floor in the sitting area. Yedo said the deputies each grabbed a limb while he struggled.

" 'Get the Taser. Get the Taser,' " Yedo quoted one of the deputies as saying.

Yedo said he was only about 3 feet away, and Maten said he was close enough that if he stood and took one step, he could reach out and touch one of the deputies.

None of the deputies involved in the restraint has been identified. One female deputy was treated at a hospital for an injury she suffered in the confrontation, Gale said.

A fifth deputy put Booker in a headlock just as the female deputy began shocking him with a Taser with encouragement from one of the deputies, who kept repeating, "Probe his ---," Maten said. He could hear the Taser crackle repeatedly.

Booker said, "'I can't breath... ," Yedo heard. Then, Booker went limp.

Booker's wrists were handcuffed behind his back in an awkward position when the deputies picked him up, each holding an arm or a leg, and carried him stomach-down to a holding cell with an unbreakable glass door.

They set him down on his stomach, with much of his weight on one shoulder and his legs bent, Yedo said. They took the handcuffs off and without checking his pulse, the officers left him on the floor of the holding cell.

The deputies walked away high-fiving and laughing, Maten said. Several inmates were saying, " 'I can't believe they're doing this,' " Maten said.

Yedo said he stared at Booker, watching his chest, which wasn't moving. One deputy had stayed next to the cell and was also staring at Booker.

"I told the guy, 'Hey, that guy is not breathing,' " Yedo said.

The deputy turned and yelled at the sergeant.

" 'Sergeant, come here. Sergeant, hurry,' " Yedo said he yelled.

It should be interesting to see how this case turns out. Don't ya think?!

Sunday Inspiration: The Million Man March Pledge


Do you remember the Million Man March?  There were a number of powerful aspects to that day in October 1995.   One of the memorable moments came when Min. Farrakhan led all of us in a pledge.



July 17, 2010

Charles Rangel (D-NY) Introduces H.R.5741, Legislation to Bring Back the Military Draft (VIDEO)

Rep. Charles Rangel is again calling for a military draft to highlight the fact that relatively few families are bearing a disproportionate burden in fighting the nation’s wars.




It should be noted that the President cannot initiate a draft on his own. Congress would first have to pass legislation (both the House and Senate), and the President would have to sign the bill into law.

Rangel (D-NY) introduced a bill  to reinstate the draft. The bill would mandate military service for men and women between the ages of 18 and 42. Deferments would be allowed only for completion of high school up to the age of 20, and for reasons of health, conscience or religious belief. Recruits not needed by the military in any given year would be required to perform some national civilian service.

Rangel previously introduced similar legislation in 2003 and 2006.

Rangel said lawmakers who support the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan should require “all who enjoy the benefits of our democracy to contribute to the defense of the country.”

He was quoted in the past as follows:

"I dare anyone to try to convince me that this war is not being fought predominantly by tough, loyal, and patriotic young men and women from the barren hills and towns of rural and underprivileged neighborhoods in urban America where unemployment is high and opportunities are few. As we see who are the troops coming home wounded and killed, I challenge anyone to tell me that the wealthiest have not been excluded from that roll call."
I respect the point that Rangel is making. However, I disagree with the notion of a draft. The only legitimate reason to re-instate the draft is if America faces a crisis that requires more troops than the volunteer military can supply. President Obama is bringing our troops home from Afghanistan and Iraq. We have not reached the tipping point that requires a draft.

Another point that I'd like Rangel to consider is SUICIDESDoes he know that the U.S. Army reported a record number of suicides in a single month among active duty?   In June, there were 32 soldiers who are believed to have committed suicide, and suicides "for the first half of the year are up 12 percent over 2009."  I suspect that the number of suicides would rise dramatically if the military were made up of people who were forced to serve via a military draft.

Villagers, what say u?

July 16, 2010

Taser Death: Jerome Gill (Chicago IL)

Cook County (IL) Sheriff's officers used their taser guns to impose pre-judicial electrocution on 31-year old Jerome Hill on July 15. Jerome Gill was subject to a year-long drug investigation.

Officers were about to apprehend Gill during an undercover purchase of drugs, but he fled and resisted arrest (according to the police). 50,000 volts of electricity from a taser gun were pumped into Gill's body; he was later subdued by officers who physically pulled him to the ground and placed him under arrest.

The police say that Gill then began spitting up pieces of crack cocaine that he may have ingested. The police took Gill to Gottlieb Memorial Hospital, where he died.

An official cause of death won't be determined until toxicology results and the autopsy of Gill are completed by the Cook County medical examiner's office.

Jerome Gill may have been a drug dealer and a bad person. However, there is no death penalty for selling crack cocaine to an undercover police officer. Neither does the death penalty apply when you resist arrest. Yet, we again see that the police used their taser gun to kill someone. This pattern repeats itself on a weekly basis in America.

Something is wrong. Don't you agree?

Community Reacts to Taser-Killing of Anibal Rosario-Rodriguez

Soulclap to New Britain Herald for providing an update on the taser-related death of Anibal Rosario-Rodriguez.

There are three points of view emerging in the community:

The Family - The family is very sad. A small memorial of photos, candles and cardboard signs sits on the street where Rosario-Rodriguez, 61, was electrocuted by a taser gun used by unidentified police officers.

Local corner stores in the area have collection jars to help the family with the cost of funeral arrangements as many of Rosario-Rodriguez family live and shop in the area. Many of the jars read “Anibal Rosario-Rodriguez … Unnecessary death.

The Powers-That-Be - The state Office of the Chief Medical Examiner said that Rosario-Rodriguez died from a lacerated spleen. The implication is that he would have died even if he didn't receive 50,000 volts of electricity from the police officer's taser gun.

Rosario-Rodriguez’s spleen injury could have been a result of a degenerative disease or trauma like a fall or stab wound, but not the stun gun. Police said he fell when he was struggling with officers.

The Community - Neighbors said Rosario-Rodriguez was for the most part a nice guy. However, many in the community said the incident brings to light concerns of a seemingly abusive approach by police.

I don’t think the cops take the time to assess the situations and handle people in a good manner,” said Yolimar Gonzalez, who lives and works in the area. “There are people who sell drugs around here and you don’t see cops arresting them as often as they should. But if we’re sitting on our porch, they constantly start asking questions and telling us to go inside. It’s the manner that they talk to you — with disrespect. Like we’re dirt and we’re all here selling drugs ... but they target the wrong people.”
She feels that many are disappointed with how police handled Rosario-Rodriguez.

Man, he was 61 years old, who had trouble walking. Where was he going to run to that the police had to Taser him?” said Willy Lockhart, a friend of Rosario-Rodriguez. “Everybody knows that wasn’t necessary. You mean to tell me the police couldn’t have grabbed him? The police shouldn’t have done him like that.”
Carlos Ortiz,of New Britain laughed and shook his head when asked about how police are viewed.

Police brutality and abuse of authority is an everyday thing,” Ortiz said. “They used to pull you to the side, talk to you and find out what’s what. Now they ‘Taser’ you for any little thing.”
Gary Mora, also works in the area and said he sees police walking the beat daily and some are invested in getting to know the neighborhood. He acknowledges there are drugs.

This is not the first time someone has been ‘Tasered.’ I think police don’t really see us with any worth. A lot people live here, they work and they want what police want — peace, no crime. That man who was ‘Tasered,’ they could have used the spray.”
Well, Villagers ... what say u?

BP Oil Disaster Relief Efforts

The brown pelican is Louisiana's state bird, only recently removed from the endangered species list. Like much of the wildlife along the Louisana coast, these birds are now in danger.

A number of community foundations in the area have established relief funds to help the people, wildlife, and environment in the Gulf Coast.

For more information, please visit:

Please let us know if any villagers are negatively impacted by the BP Oil Spill.

July 15, 2010

BP Oil Spill — Watch the Live Underwater Video Feed




I encourage all villagers to watch the live video feed of the BP oil spill — it’s streaming from the ocean floor, 5,000 feet below the surface. There’s been technical difficulties intermittently with this underwater video feed, so if the “SpillCam” isn’t streaming, wait a few minutes, then try again.

Rep. Edward Markey is providing updated news and information on the BP spill, including YouTube clips of underwater footage.

I think that we are at a time when prayer is needed as much as technology and engineering. This is a disaster that will have implications for decades to come. What are your thoughts as we enter Day #86 of the BP Oil Spill?

Taser Autopsy: Anibal Rosario-Rodriguez (New Britain, CT)

The medical examiner's office indicates that 61-year old Anibal Rosario-Rodriguez died of a lacerated spleen after his struggle and pre-judicial electrocution from New Britain police officers. [SOURCE]

New Britain police said they are investigating the incident. The police pulled over Rosario-Rodriguez while he was driving in the downtown area about 1:46 a.m. on July 12, 2010.

Police say that Rosario-Rodriguez pulled over and fled on foot. The officer chased after him and shot Rosario-Rodriguez once with 50,000 volts of electricity from his taser gun after he refused to obey verbal commands.   He was dead a few hours later that morning.

Rosario-Rodriguez's daughter, Elizabeth Rosario of New Britain, said her father should not have been electrocuted by the unidentified police officer.

"I felt it was excessive aggression for his age," Rosario said.
Rosario said she was notified of her father's death almost two hours after he died.

Please let this blog know if you learn of any new information about this taser-related death.

The BDPA Insider - July 15, 2010

GET THE FACTS

Give us 1 to 4 days and we’ll give you:
You can find the latest 6-page National BDPA Technology Conference Fact Sheet here. [PDF version]


Visit BDPA's Career Center


Your virtual career center has a robust resume database to post current resumes for immediate exposure to some of the world's best companies and Federal agencies for Information Technology positions at all levels. It has an excellent search facility in the form of a Job Bank thus allowing one to search for the perfect position matching skill sets anywhere in the country.

There are 62 career opportunities today ... the most recent one was added yesterday by Walgreens.

Employment Resources for BDPA Stakeholders!


3 Ways to Become a Professional Software Developer
by Kai Dupe


Over the course of my 20 years as a software developer I have met many people who have enjoyed successful careers as software developers, however they took a completely different route to reach the same goal. As a teacher and trainer one of the questions I am asked most often is: What is best way to become a software developer? I do not believe there is a best way, but there are ways that may be better suited for your situation. Here are 3 alternative routes to becoming a professional software developer:
  1. Trade School
  2. Auto Didactic
  3. Find a Mentor
Click here for the full article.


BDPA Coach Alliance Career Planning Workshop

The BDPA Coach Alliance is offering a Career Planning workshop in Philadelphia on Thursday, July 29, 2010 from 8:30 am to 11:30 a.m. The primary objective of the workshop is to assist BDPA members with improving their marketability.


Please accept our invitation to join us in the City of Brotherly Love by registering for the 32nd Annual National BDPA Conference, July 28 – 31, 2010 at the Philadelphia Marriott Downtown, Philadelphia, PA.

Hotel Rooms Are Now Going Fast: Please Book Now!!!
Reserve your room today by contacting the Philadelphia Marriott Downtown at 1-800-266-9432 and ask for the BDPA (Black Data Processing Associates) rate or register online.
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