December 31, 2010

Top 10 Films of 2010 According to the African American Film Critics Association

I don't have a large degree of trust in the ability of the annual Academy Awards to comment on the image of African Americans in film.  After all, they only seem to recognize African American actors when they are in roles like slave-era mammies, modern-day mammies, corrupt cops or servants with driver's licenses.

As such, I'm please to share the feedback by the African American media professionals around the nation who are part of the African American Film Critics Association (AAFCA). The organization honors excellence in cinema by creating awareness for films with universal appeal to Black communities, while emphasizing film about the Black experience and those produced, written, directed and starring performers of African descent. The association actively reviews the quality and standard of Black talent, content and media coverage.

The AAFCA List of Honorees: 
  • Best Feature Film:               “The Social Network” directed by David Fincher
  • Best Documentary:              “Waiting for Superman” directed by Davis Guggenheim
  • Best Actress:                         Halle Berry, “Frankie and Alice” 
  • Best Actor:                             Mark Wahlberg, “The Fighter” 
  • Best Supporting Actress:    Kimberly Elise, “For Colored Girls” 
  • Best Supporting Actor:        Michael Ealy, “For Colored Girls” 
  • Best Director:                        Christopher Nolan, “Inception” 
  • Best Screenplay:                  “Night Catches Us” by Tanya Hamilton
  • Best Song:                            “Four Women” composed by N. Simone, “For Colored Girls
  • Special Achievement:         Lena Horne, Roger Ebert and Melvin Van Peebles. 
AAFCA Lists Top Ten Films of 2010:

1.            The Social Network
2.            The King’s Speech
3.            Inception
4.            Black Swan
5.            Night Catches Us
6.            The Fighter
7.            Frankie And Alice
8.            Blood Done Sign My Name
9.            Get Low
10.         For Colored Girls

I have to admit that I don't go to out to see movies at the theaters very much. As such, I haven't seen many of the movies being recognized this year by AAFCA. However, I am heading over to my Netflix queue to add these movies. I'll be seeing 'em soon!

What do you think about the choices made by AAFCA for best movies, actors and such?

December 30, 2010

Gov. Haley Barbour Tries to Assuage His White Guilt by Releasing the Scott Sisters from Mississippi Prison

Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour is finally doing the right thing ... albeit for the wrong reasons. Barbour agreed to free two sisters who served 16 years of a double life sentence for an armed robbery in which nobody was hurt and $11 was stolenJamie and Gladys Scott should never have been sent to jail in the first place.

Here is the statement from Gov. Barbour:

"Today, I have issued two orders indefinitely suspending the sentences of Jamie and Gladys Scott. In 1994, a Scott County jury convicted the sisters of armed robbery and imposed two life sentences for the crime. Their convictions and their sentences were affirmed by the Mississippi Court of Appeals in 1996.

"To date, the sisters have served 16 years of their sentences and are eligible for parole in 2014. Jamie Scott requires regular dialysis, and her sister has offered to donate one of her kidneys to her. The Mississippi Department of Corrections believes the sisters no longer pose a threat to society. Their incarceration is no longer necessary for public safety or rehabilitation, and Jamie Scott's medical condition creates a substantial cost to the State of Mississippi.

"The Mississippi Parole Board reviewed the sisters' request for a pardon and recommended that I neither pardon them, nor commute their sentence. At my request, the Parole Board subsequently reviewed whether the sisters should be granted an indefinite suspension of sentence, which is tantamount to parole, and have concurred with my decision to suspend their sentences indefinitely.

"Gladys Scott's release is conditioned on her donating one of her kidneys to her sister, a procedure which should be scheduled with urgency. The release date for Jamie and Gladys Scott is a matter for the Department of Corrections.

"I would like to thank Representative George Flaggs, Senator John Horne, Senator Willie Simmons, and Representative Credell Calhoun for their leadership on this issue. These legislators, along with former Mayor Charles Evers, have been in regular contact with me and my staff while the sisters' petition has been under review."

Of course it made too much sense for Barbour to simply commute their sentence without the ludicrous and unconstitutional condition that one sister (Gladys) donate a kidney to her sister, who requires dialysis at least three times per day.

Villagers are reminded that the Scott sisters were convicted of robbing at gunpoint two men driving them to a nightclub in Forest, north Mississippi, in 1993. They had no prior criminal record. Each was sentenced to two life terms.

They have served 16 years for a conviction that never would have occurred if they were white. Being Black and poor in Mississippi means that the judicial system can truly phuque with you ... as the Scott sister learned.

Gov. Barbour is taking big-time heat for his racist recollections of his childhood in KKK-dominated southern hometown. I figure that he realized he couldn't afford to continue to ignore the growing protests about the unjust and inhumane imprisonment of these two Black women. Barbour saw a chance to end the protest and get the Scott sisters the heck out of Mississippi (...they plan to move in with their mother who lives in Florida). So, in my mind, Barbour is making this move for his own political reasons ... he is a candidate for the GOP presidential nomination in 2012 ... and not because he believes it is the right thing to do in his heart.

However, a good deed ... even if done for wrong reasons ... is still a good deed. This blog is glad to see Barbour taking these steps. We understand it may take up to 45 days for the sisters to be physically released from the prison. Our hope is that Barbour will get that done sooner rather than later.

December 29, 2010

Ujamaa: Top Ten Reasons to BUY BLACK

Originally posted: 11/29/2007

Drumbeats from Black In Business that gives ten reasons for us to support Black Business during this holiday season. Shop Black on Black Friday ... and beyond!

One of the principles of Kwanzaa that resonates with me strongly is Ujamaa ... cooperative economics. It is in our interests to spend our money with Black businesses that support and respect us and our interests. Here are the Top 10 Reasons to Buy Black:
  1. We invest in ourselves, our communities and our future.
  2. We participate in a Black self-love fest by putting our financial resources where our mouth/interest is.
  3. There is a higher likelihood of finding culturally specific products for our unique needs.
  4. Our dollars will stay within our community for a longer period of time when the Black business also employs Black folks, buys products from Black distributors and Black wholesalers.
  5. We will have a greater chance of influencing the decisions makers where we shop.
  6. We will receive respectful customer service and high quality products.
  7. We contribute to the building of business institutions that can be handed to the next generation.
  8. We contribute to becoming an independent group/nation able to sustain ourselves.
  9. We become a force to be reckoned with and able to affect change.
  10. The next generation sees a community who respects and supports itself and self esteem is increased.
In fact, we would like to use this post to identify online Black businesses. In other words, where are the Black businesses that are using the Internet to see products or services that might benefit us during this holiday season? Share your village voice and we will keep this post updated with new entries. Doable?

Here is list of Black-owned businesses that Villagers recommend for your consideration:

  1. Afri-Ware Inc. - Oak Park, IL (708) 524-8398
  2. AfroSpear Freedom Technology Christmas
  3. ATM Typing (Clerical Services)
  4. Auto Parts For Less (Auto Supplies)
  5. Frontier National Products Co-Op - Norway, IA (800) 669-3275
  6. National Black Business Trade Assn - (641) 953-0492
  7. Preciss Data (Data Processing)
  8. Sportacular Players (Sports Apparel & Equipment)
What do you think about the top ten reasons? What do you think about the concept of 'Buy Black'?

December 28, 2010

Good News Tuesday: Yvette McGee Brown, Ohio Supreme Court Justice

Soulclap to the ABA Journal for sharing information about Yvette McGee Brown. Born to a teenage single mother in Ohio who worked two jobs to provide for the family, Judge McGee Brown has soared far above what might have been predicted for her based on where she started in life.

McGee Brown earned her law degree at Ohio State University in 1985 at the same time her mother was earning her college degree. She then went on to become a high-ranking state government lawyer and law firm partner. Then she was the first Black woman to be elected a Franklin County Court of Common Pleas judge.

Now, at age 50, she is about to be appointed by Gov. Ted Strickland to a seat on the Ohio Supreme Court, where she will be the first Black woman ever to serve on that bench. However, her planned elevation, which the outgoing governor announced last week will be one of his last acts before leaving office in January, will create an unusual 4-3 female majority on the court.

She replaces another judge who was elected chief justice of the state supreme court in November.
In announcing the appointment, Strickland said McGee Brown "throughout her life, from a humble upbringing to a distinguished career serving others ... has embodied the highest levels of personal integrity and an exceptional intellectual capacity. Her diversity of experience, work as a former judge, and advocacy for the welfare of Ohio families will add a unique perspective and balanced decision-making to Ohio's Supreme Court."
McGee Brown served on the juvenile court bench in Franklin County for a decade before unsuccessfully seeking election as lieutenant governor, as Strickland's running-mate, last month.

McGee Brown is a lifelong resident of Columbus, married to a retired special education teacher and the mother of three children.

It still amazes me that there are 'firsts' for African American woman ... but, it appears that we are still keeping our eyes on the prize in the 21st century!

Tune In Tuesday: Freedom (Theme from Panther)

It amazes me how many things happen without my knowledge. I didn't realize until just recently that a movie was made in 1995 about the Black Panther party. I'm going to see if I can get it from my local public library or on my Netflix queue.

Did y'all already see the movie, Panther?

I learned about the movie when the theme song, Freedom, came to my attention. I imagine that y'all are already hip to these two versions of the song as well, huh?

December 27, 2010

Am I Not Human? The Universal Declaration for Human Rights

Eleanor Roosevelt considered the signing of the Universal Declaration for Human Rights to be her greatest triumph. It was signed by the United Nations on December 10, 1948.

Roosevelt once said, "Where, after all, do universal human rights begin? In small places, close to home - so close and so small that they cannot be seen on any maps of the world. Yet they are the world of the individual person; the neighborhood he lives in; the school or college he attends; the factory, farm, or office where he works. Such are the places where every man, woman, and child seeks equal justice, equal opportunity, equal dignity without discrimination. Unless these rights have meaning there, they have little meaning anywhere. Without concerted citizen action to uphold them close to home, we shall look in vain for progress in the larger world."

Universal Declaration for Human Rights

Whereas recognition of the inherent dignity and of the equal and inalienable rights of all members of the human family is the foundation of freedom, justice and peace in the world,

Whereas disregard and contempt for human rights have resulted in barbarous acts which have outraged the conscience of mankind, and the advent of a world in which human beings shall enjoy freedom of speech and belief and freedom from fear and want has been proclaimed as the highest aspiration of the common people,

Whereas it is essential, if man is not to be compelled to have recourse, as a last resort, to rebellion against tyranny and oppression, that human rights should be protected by the rule of law,

Whereas it is essential to promote the development of friendly relations between nations,

Whereas the peoples of the United Nations have in the Charter reaffirmed their faith in fundamental human rights, in the dignity and worth of the human person and in the equal rights of men and women and have determined to promote social progress and better standards of life in larger freedom,

Whereas Member States have pledged themselves to achieve, in cooperation with the United Nations, the promotion of universal respect for and observance of human rights and fundamental freedoms,

Whereas a common understanding of these rights and freedoms is of the greatest importance for the full realization of this pledge,

Now, therefore, The General Assembly proclaims
This Universal Declaration of Human Rights

as a common standard of achievement for all peoples and all nations, to the end that every individual and every organ of society, keeping this Declaration constantly in mind, shall strive by teaching and education to promote respect for these rights and freedoms and by progressive measures, national and international, to secure their universal and effective recognition and observance, both among the peoples of Member States themselves and among the peoples of territories under their jurisdiction.

I encourage you to review the 30 articles that make up the complete UDHR.

Once we realize that the nations of the world accepted human rights as being inalienable it becomes more difficult for us to sit by idly when we learn about human rights abuses. Our hope is that you will take action!
Please make a note on your calendar to join our blogging campaign, 'Am I Not Human?' on the 27th of each month. We want all concerned bloggers and blog readers to support this effort. It is one way that we can lift up the powerful example set over 60 years ago by First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt and the United Nations.

December 26, 2010

President and First Lady Spend Part of Christmas With Troops

As a buddy of mine noted yesterday, it appears that President Obama "has his mojo back!"

The president and first lady took some time out of their vacation to visit with some members of the military and their families during Christmas dinner at Anderson Hall on Marine Corps Base Hawaii in Kaneohe, Hawaii.  The Obamas shook hands, posed for pictures, admired babies and chatted with Marines and their families in the mess hall decked out in Christmas decorations for about 40 minutes.

The Obama's own Christmas dinner at their oceanfront vacation home included steak, roasted potatoes and green beans, with pie for dessert. I guess the White House chef in Hawaii didn't have what it takes to give the Obama family some collard greens or mustard greens for his Christmas dinner?!?
"The first family is enjoying family and friends, enjoying their traditional Christmas Day activities and taking in a little NBA basketball," said White House spokesman Bill Burton.
I hope that they were out at the military base during the Lakers-Heat game. Man, what a waste of time that game turned out to be!

Simi Valley District Attorney Clears Police Officer James Wismer in Taser-Related Death of Charles Torrence

It took over a year ... but the Ventura County District Attorney issued a 37-page report clearing the Simi Valley police officer James Wismer and the others involved in the taser-related death of 35-year of Charles Torrence.

Torrence was killed back in July 2009. The coroner never came to a definitive conclusion about whether or not the 50,000 volts of electricity jolted twice by Wismer's taser gun into Torrence had anything to do with his death.

Torrence was not a nice man. However, he was an UNARMED man. That didn't seem to matter in the post-death analysis. In a 37-page report, the District Attorney’s Office said the force used by police was “fully justified.” The report also says there was insufficient evidence that the police actions were even a factor in Torrence’s death.
The DA’s report confirms the officers did the right thing,” Simi Valley Police Chief Mike Lewis said. “I know it’s reassuring to the officers involved in this. They were traumatized, too, in this unexpected death.”
Officer Wisner involved told investigators he pulled his Taser out because he could see Torrence was acting violently, sweating profusely, likely on drugs and yelling that he was thirsty. Torrence was 6-feet tall and 240 pounds.

A test of the officer’s Taser showed it was fired three times, but an autopsy found no physical evidence on Torrence’s body that the gun’s electrical probes ever entered the skin. The police officer switched the Taser to “drive-stun” mode in an attempt to control Torrence, who was flailing his arms and punching at him with fists, the reports show. The stun mode requires the Taser be applied directly to the skin. The officer could not restrain Torrence until additional officers arrived and helped hold Torrence down until handcuffs could be applied.

Officers carried him by his arms and legs to a police car, but decided to put him down outside the car because Torrence continued to resist, the reports show.

Torrence stopped breathing while laying face down with his hands and feet restrained and at least one officer putting pressure on his upper back. Officers said he continued moving around and making grunting noises until he stopped breathing.

Officers rolled him over, paramedics performed CPR and Torrence was rushed to a Simi Valley Hospital, where he died the next day.

December 25, 2010

Our President Deserves His Hawaiian Vacation

President Barack Obama is a man who works hard for us. He rebounded over the past couple of weeks from the 'shellacking' that he took in the mid-term elections. So, I'm glad that our president and his family are taking this 11-day vacation down in Hawaii. This should give him some time to spend with his family, walk on the beach, play some golf, do some reading and maybe leave a comment or two on this blog!

Unfortunately, I suspect that Sen. Mitch McConnell and Rep. John Boehner are taking advantage of the quiet time to come out of the box strong in January.   I suspect that the days of bi-partisan accomplishments are about to come to an end.   The GOP, powered by their Tea Party fruitcakes are itching to take on the President.

Hopefully, the president is building up his strength for the fight.

Anyhow, what are your vacation plans as we end the calendar year?

Weekly Address: Merry Christmas from the President and First Lady

President Obama and the First Lady wish families across the country a “Merry Christmas” and encourage everyone to support the troops and their families this holiday season. Visit to find ideas for what you can do to help our servicemen and women and their families.

December 24, 2010

Old School Friday: Nat King Cole

This blog is using the Old School Friday meme to wish you and yours a very Merry Christmas! Enjoy the powerful vocals and emotions from Nat King Cole as he sings a classic Christmas song.

I hope you enjoyed this musical selection. What is your favorite Christmas song of all time?

December 23, 2010

Taser Autopsy: Coroner Says Death of Philadelphia Teenager Was 'Accidental' | Being Tased Twice Did Not Cause His Death

Powers-That-Be in Philadelphia found a way to work their magic on the taser-related death of 18-year-old Patrick Johnson. Johnson was shot with 50,000 volts of electricity TWICE by unidentified police officers. Yet the city's Medical Examiner ruled that his October 2010 death was ruled accidental.

The coroner tells us that Patrick Johnson died from right ventricular cardiomyopathy -- a form of heart disease. [SOURCE]
Villagers, it is difficult for me to believe that Johnson would have died that day if the police didn't put two taser shots into his young body. It boggles the mind to think that his heart disease would have kicked in on that very same October day if the police never arrived to 'help'.

The coroner indicates that the shocks were a factor in the teen's death and could have kick started the heart condition but were only a factor -- not a cause of death -- for Johnson.

A young, mentally-challenged man is dead and nobody is responsible? It was an accident? Mind-boggling!?!

December 22, 2010

Taser Death: Christopher Knight (Brunswick, GA)

It happened again. There are few things in life that occur more regularly than a taser-related death in America. This time Christopher Knight, 35, ended a bad day by being electrocuted to death while sitting in the backseat of a police cruiser. [SOURCE]

It seems that Knight was involved in a traffic accident on December 20. Glynn County police officers arrived at the scene and indicate that Knight appeared to be under the influence of alcohol and was driving with a suspended driver's license.

Knight was arrested, and police said that as officers tried to place him in the back of a patrol car, he refused to cooperate and would not place his feet and legs in the car.

Police said Knight eventually complied, but later became violent and began kicking the rear door and window of the police cruiser "with great force."

Police said that to gain control of Knight to prevent him from harming himself, to prevent him from further damaging the vehicle and to reduce the potential of being harmed, an unidentified officer electrocuted him with a taser gun blast.

Officers said they saw that Knight did not immediately recover as expected, and he stopped breathing. Officers said they began CPR and called for rescuers.

Knight was taken to the Southeast Georgia Regional Medical Center, where he was pronounced dead.

The police quickly gave out their side of the storyWe will never get Knight's side of the story. He's dead. It appears that he was an unarmed man who was acting in a disrespectful manner to the police and their car. Knight was unarmed. He was in handcuffs. And now he will never see the sun rise again.

The penalty for being disrespectful to the police or their car's backseat should NEVER be death. But, the easy way that the taser comes off the hip of so many police officers is resulting in more and more death. Something is wrong.

What say u?

Wordless Wednesday: Earthquake Vagina

MissRFTC gained hundreds of twitter followers, including me, when she shared the following tweet, "I am totally serious. My Ob/Gyn was IN my vagina and an earthquake started rattling the room!"

December 21, 2010

Tune In Tuesday: The Temptations

The Temptations have been part of the musical scene for over 40 years. Everyone has a favorite hit by The Temptations. Personally, my favorites are probably My Girl, Ball of Confusion and Silent Night. The Temptations made Motown famous with their sharp dress and tight dance choreography. Every villager reading this post knows that they've tried to mimick those Temptation moves at some point in their life!

The group started as The Primes and The Distants; two Detroit groups that came together in the early 1960’s. Their combined their forces and signed with Berry Gordy’s Motown Records, changing their names first from the Elgins then to the Temptations. They added singer David Ruffin, and had their first smash hit in 1964 with “The Way You Do The Things You Do”. After Ruffin’s legendary lead on “My Girl” the Temptations were stars.

I'll end this tribute to The Temptations with a song that has great meaning to all of us at this time of the year. Merry Christmas Villagers!

Good News Tuesday: James Peterson III - Future Face of Technology

Yvette Graham, James Peterson, Milt Haynes
I met James Peterson III in 2008 when National BDPA recognized him with their Epsilon Awards as their 'Most Promising Technologist'.

James has lived up to that high honor with his work over the past few years. Today we learned that James is finishing the last year of his MBA program at Keller Graduate School of Management of DeVry University’s Tinley Park location. James recently accepted a position with an accounting and consulting leader, Deloitte Consulting. Here is interview that James recently completed with the folks at Keller where he shares some of his wisdom and advice for his Keller peers. I thought it was a great addition to our weekly Good News Tuesday meme!

  1. How did you develop an interest of the field of that you are currently in?
    My mother is the Executive Director of Nursing for the Cook County Bureau of Health. After watching her at work and assisting her with her duties I wanted to be just like her, only in a different industry. After realizing that project management is one of my best professional qualities I decided to pursue that as a career in the technology sector since that is what I have experience in.
  2. What successes have you achieved thus far and how was it made possible?
    My greatest success to date has been being profiled in Black Enterprise magazine (March 2008). I responded to an advertisement in the October 2007 issue asking for submissions pertaining to how Black Enterprise magazine has helped to shape your career. I submitted my article and the rest is history.
  3. From what Keller program will you be graduating?
    MBA – Project Management concentration, June 2011
  4. What has been your favorite experience at Keller so far?
    Taking GM 545 in the Atlanta Perimeter center. I loved that class and the professor made statistics very interesting, I ended up getting an A in that class.
  5. What motivated you to succeed at Keller?
    I wanted to have the suffixes MBA & PMP listed after my name.
  6. What will be your title and role (job description) with Deloitte?
    Business Technology Master Consultant – Technology Division, Systems Integration service line. Duties will involve interfacing directly with clients (Fortune 1000 and Government) with regards to delivering valued services and technology solutions aligned to their strategic goals and initiatives.
  7. What do you feel set you apart from the competition?
    My competition came from medium and large size public institutions where firms like Deloitte routinely recruit from on-campus. Most of the students from these schools feel as if their institution name and degree title should “elevate” them into the roles and organizations that they seek employment in. I feel that my desire to achieve success and to outperform my competition is what separates me from the rest. Keller trained me to get the job done, not to rely on an outsider’s subjective ranking.
  8. How did your Keller experience prepare you for this role?
    Keller prepared me for this role by having classes scheduled for every 8 weeks. Each class in a sense becomes a project and this has conditioned me to working quickly, delivering quality results and gaining real-world expertise and instruction.
  9. What advice would you have for your Keller peers?
    When you tell your peers what school you’ve attended (or are attending) and they get it confused with another graduate school, kindly correct them. If they sneer or give you awkward looks, please inform them that you attend a high caliber and quality school that actually prepares you to become leaders in business, and not to rely on someone’s name or brand to become successful. Also, Join professional organizations that are related to your professional goals and network, network, network!!!

This blog will continue to seek out Good News stories about people of African descent and share them with you each Tuesday. Please pass along any Good News stories that come your way!

In the meantime, I encourage you to share some love with James Peterson III. Perhaps we'll get enough good vibes going here that he'll come by and visit himself!

December 20, 2010

The BDPA Insider - December 19, 2010


What better way to start the day than with your weekly message from BDPA!

In this issue:
  1. BDPA Newsletters from Chapters Around the Country
  2. BDPA Seeks High School and College Students for 2011 IT Showcase
  3. BDPA Students: Upload Files to CPanel (Zack Garbow)
  4. Five Ways To Stand Out In The IT Career Community
  5. Message from Atlanta Chapter President
  6. Message from New York Chapter President
  7. Message from New York Chapter President-Elect
  8. National BDPA President - Welcome to our new website
  9. Newman Networks News December 17th, 2010
  10. Tablet PC + PowerPoint = Productivity
  11. Why IT Jobs Are Never Coming Back
  Kudos to Milt Haynes for creating this weekly message.  It is much appreciated by BDPA-Nation! 

Family Members Accuse Las Vegas Police of Lying About Taser-Killing of Anthony Jones

The plot thickens in Las Vegas as the family members of Anthony Jones question the story being told by the police about the way he died. Villagers may recall that Jones was electrocuted by Mark Hatten and Timothy English.

This taser-related death is still being investigated by local authorities. We don't have the autopsy results yet. It is understandable that the family is upset. I think it is unfortunate that this unarmed and non-violent man was killed after a simply traffic stop.

December 19, 2010

Taser Autopsy: Adam Colliers Tased, Unresponsive and Dead; Coroner Says His Death Was 'Accidental'

Am I the only one who thinks that doctors seem like they enjoy peeing in our face and calling it 'rain'? That's what it feels like whenever I hear a coroner use some bogus condition like 'excited delirium' to excuse an extra-judicial electrocution by a police officer.

Villagers may recall that Adams Colliers, 25, was unarmed and non-violent when police received a 911 call. Colliers was running up and down the street. He was acting strange, however, he hadn't touched anyone. Sheriff’s Deputy Ian Whipple arrived first. Deputy Bryson McGee arrived next. McGee fired his Taser, which made contact with Colliers’ body, according to the search warrant. McGee said Colliers became unresponsive, and he and Whipple started CPR. CPR didn't work as Colliers died moments later.

The guy gets tased ... and within moments he's dead. Nothing accidental about it.

The Snohomish County Medical Examiner's office sees it differently. They claim that Colliers had acute methamphetamine intoxication and likely had excited delirium as well. The manner of death was ruled an accident.

Colliers’ death remains under investigation by the Snohomish County Multiple Agency Response Team. Hopefully, they will understand that an unarmed and non-violent Colliers should not be dead. The fact that he *is* dead is not an 'accident' ... it is criminal!

What say u?

December 18, 2010

REPEALED: Don't Ask Don't Tell

President Obama was counted out earlier this month by his detractors. However, the past week demonstrates that our president is playing chess while most of his opponents (including John McCain) are playing checkers.

Yesterday President Obama signed a gigantic bill that came out of a principled compromise with the Republican party leadership.

Today he watched as the Senate repealed the Don't Ask Don't Tell (DADT) policy that denied gay and lesbian soldiers from serving openly in the military. The Senate passed the bill 65-31 in their so-called "lame-duck" session. Much props to Sen. Harry Reid, Leader Nancy Pelosi and the others who kept working the angles until the DADT policy was successfully repealed by congress.

This blog has shared information about DADT since July 19, 2009 ... and it feels good to be on the right side of history. I look forward to the signing ceremony in the White House where this discriminatory policy will finally be outlawed!

I'm proud of our president ... and I hope he continues to display his chess skills in the coming weeks and months!

Taser-Killing Waco Police Officers Return to Work; No Sanctions for Killing Unarmed and Non-Violent Man

Rodney Green deserves justice. The 36-year old man was killed by several Waco police officers on Thanksgiving night following a traffic accident. He was unarmed. He was non-violent. Yet, he ended up being tased and killed by Waco police officers.

After an internal review of the officers' actions, it was determined they followed department policy, procedure, and state law in attempting to subdue Green. [SOURCE]

An unarmed, non-violent and confused man is surrounded by Waco's finest and ends up being electrocuted to death ... and this is perfectly fine with the Waco police department.

I wonder how Waco police officers Anita Gomez, D.J. Adams and Jason Taylor are sleeping at night? Now that their bosses have cleared them to come back to work ... I suspect that they are wondering whether or not the district attorney is going to file criminal charges against them?

What say u?

December 17, 2010

Florida Police Identify Officers Involved in Taser-Killing of Linel Lormeus

The Collier County Sheriff released the names of the deputies who were in the house when 26-year old Linel Lormeus was killed by multiple taser shots. Three deputy corporals -- Neil Gershman, Alfred Rodriguez and Todd Sanner -- engaged Lormeus in a violent struggle before they killed him.

Deputy Cpl. Sanner was the first officer to pump 50,000 volts of electricity into Lormeus. Deputy Cpl Rodriguez got impatient when Lormeus didn't comply quickly enough with the shouted demands from the police ... so he also fired his taser at Lormeus. Lormeus was standing in the back of the closet at the time. He fell to the ground and was dead a short time later.

The police also shared a redacted transcript and an audio clip of the 911 calls that brought them to Lormeus' home in the first place.

The police don't usually release the 911 information unless they want to try to influence public opinion. Methinks that the police know that they used too much force in dealing with this situation. Three officers had Lormeus cornered in his closet. Did they really need to use the tasers until he stopped breathing?

What say u?

December 15, 2010

Las Vegas Police Identify Officers Involved in Taser-Death of Anthony Jones

Las Vegas Metro police identified the officers involved in the extra-judicial electrocution of 44-year-old Anthony Jones as Mark Hatten and Timothy English. Jones was unarmed at the time he was being pumped with several hundred thousand jolts of electricity from the taser guns of Hatten and English.

Hatten, 35, has been with Metro since January 2007 and English, 24, has been with Metro since June 2008.

We're now waiting to see if justice will be served in this taser-killing.   What do you think?

Wordless Wednesday: Does Santa Claus Look Different This Year?!

December 14, 2010

Good News Tuesday: John Dabiri, 2010 MacArthur Fellow

Biophysicist John Dabiri was named a MacArthur Fellow in 2010. The Fellowship is a $500,000, no-strings-attached grant for individuals who have shown exceptional creativity in their work and the promise to do more.

Dabiri is only 30-years old. He serves as the Associate Professor of Aeronautics and Bioengineering at the California Institute of Technology.

He graduated from Princeton University with a B.S.E. degree summa cum laude in Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering in June 2001. In September 2001, he came to Caltech where he earned an M.S. degree in Aeronautics in June 2003, followed by a Ph.D. in Bioengineering with a minor in Aeronautics in April 2005. He joined the Caltech faculty as an Assistant Professor in May 2005. In 2008, Popular Science magazine named him one of its "Brilliant 10" scientists.

This brother is the reason that we need to ensure our children are up-to-speed on science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) all throughout their school years!

Taser Death: Linel Lormeus (Naples FL) | 'He Called for Help ... Instead They Killed Him'

An unidentified Collier County deputy pumped at least 50,000 volts of electricity into Linel Lormeus, an unarmed 26-year old southwest Florida man, in front of his home on Sunday, December 12. Lormeus died as a result of the extra-judicial electrocution. [SOURCE]

Years ago when her sister died, Marti Guilbeau took custody of her nephew, a mentally ill boy by the name of Linel Lormeus. Lormeus couldn’t do much because of his illness, but he was generally calm, and Guilbeau treated him as her own.
He became like my son,” she recalled.
Lormeus and Guilbeau had some type of domestic disturbance over the weekend. Guilbeau tried to get him under control and she ended up leaving the house to ask a neighbor for help. The neighbor instead called 911. The woman told deputies that Lormeus suffered from a mental illness and had stopped taking his medication.

Three deputies arrived at the scene and Guilbeau told them her adopted son was mentally ill, and she asked them to be gentle with him. When deputies knocked at the door, Lormeus opened it and allowed them inside, Guilbeau said. He panicked when they tried to handcuff him.

According to the police, Lormeus ran as soon as deputies arrived.

Guilbeau didn’t see what happened next, but she said that a witness told her Lormeus was tackled to the apartment floor by deputies. She heard that he was able to get back up and began running deeper into the apartment, hiding in a closet. That’s when the Taser was used, she heard.

Lormeus suffered a medical emergency as he was handcuffed. One deputy performed CPR as another ran for a defibrillator. Paramedics were called to respond to the scene. Lormeus was taken to the Pine Ridge campus of Physicians Regional Hospital, where he died at 11:44 p.m.

Guilbeau mourns her adopted son’s death, and she wonders if deputies could have handled the situation more gently after a neighbor called 911.
He called police for help,” she said through a translator. “Instead, they killed (Lormeus).”
The Sheriff’s Office is conducting an internal investigation into the actions of the officer, according to a press release, and the agency has requested the Florida Department of Law Enforcement conduct an outside investigation into the incident. Results of the inquiry will be forwarded to the State Attorney’s Office, which will determine if any of the officers are criminally culpable.

She said her adopted son had received treatment in and out of Haiti for his mental illness. He had been prescribed pills in Haiti, but he didn’t have them in the U.S. during his latest stay. Guilbeau estimated that roughly a year and a half had passed since Lormeus last took his medication.
The police are supposed to help, gently,” Guilbeau said.
Please let this blog know if you have any additional information or opinions to share about this taser-related killing.

December 13, 2010

Taser Autopsy: Coroner Unsure if Taser Contributed to Death of Curtis Robinson

The family of Curtis Robinson is still seeking answers. The coroner indicates in his report that there is no way to tell if the multiple jolts from the taser of an unidentified Albuquerque police officer contributed to his death.

The most recent autopsy reveals that while the manner of death is still undetermined the cause was due to cocaine intoxication. Unidentified Albuquerque police officers say they were forced to use their taser on him after he became violent with them. They thought that Robinson was under the influence of drugs or alcohol.

According to police, officers approached Robinson back in June after seeing him slamming a young child, who turned out to be his 3-year-old daughter, against the dashboard of a car he had just crashed into a pole.

Robinson fell ill later on June 11 and died the next day.

An autopsy conducted in June did not provide enough evidence to determine the cause of death.

December 12, 2010

The BDPA Insider - December 12, 2010


The BDPA Insider – December 12, 2010
What better way to start the day than with your weekly message from BDPA!
In this issue:
  1. 11 Hot Skills for 2011
  2. BDPA IT Institute Offers PMP Exam Prep Course thru Auburn University
  3. Feedback: Parent of HSCC Alumni Tyrone Hinderson (Los Angeles, 2007-2010) 
  4. So You Lost Your Job What Do You Do Now?
  5. Tech Tip: Using iPad
  6. Understand the Mind of the Interviewer
  7. Unemployment Rate Remains High‏
  8. Why BDPA Students Should Consider the US Air Force Academy
If you believe in what BDPA is trying to accomplish ... you can help us by supporting our scholarship fund!

Taser Death: Anthony Jones (Las Vegas, NV)

We are seeing a re-birth of the Wild, Wild West out in Las Vegas, Nevada. For the second time in recent months the police killed a man with multiple shots from their taser guns.  [SOURCE]

The taser-related death occurred early in the morning on Saturday, December 11. Police stopped 44-year old Anthony Jones for a traffic violation at 1:07 a.m. The unarmed man and police officer were talking with one another in front of the police car. Police claim that Jones suddenly began to run away ... jumping over a wall into the backyard of an abandoned home.

Police said officers chased and attempted to take Jones into custody but he aggressively resisted them. The officers then "attempted to deploy an E.C.D. several times to subdue the suspect," police said.

That is police-speak for they pumped this unarmed man with hundreds of thousands of volts of electricity because they were pissed off that he ran away from them.

Jones was taken into custody but soon appeared to be in medical distress. No surprise since he had just been electrocuted by multiple taser gun blasts from these unidentified officers.

Jones was pronounced dead later at Valley Hospital.

Police did not specify how many officers were involved. They were placed on paid leave, and their names will be released 48 hours after the incident, per department policy.

This might be a good time to remind ourselves that resisting arrest should never be punishable by death.   Especially, without any judicial oversight.   The police are not supposed to be judge, jury and executioner in America.   Yet and still we are seeing extra-judicial electrocutions taking place on a weekly basis in our nation.   Why is there no outrage?

Please let this blog know if you have any additional information about this taser-related killing in Las Vegas.

Zeitgeist 2010: Year in Review

This is a remarkable recap of the accomplishments, tragedies and deaths that occurred in 2010. I wonder if you can guess who gets covered in this review?

Who did they miss?

December 11, 2010

USA Ranks #17 in the World for 'Reading' ... and Black Folks Are Doing Worse

Soulclap to the Black Star Project for sharing this information with us.   It is a scary situation when the rest of the world is reading better than us ... especially those of us of African descent here in America

The bottom line is that we need to get busy reading again!

The Program for International Student Assessment (PISA) is an international assessment that measures the performance of 15-year-olds in reading literacy, mathematics literacy, and science literacy. Coordinated by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), an intergovernmental organization of 34 member countries, PISA was first implemented in 2000 and is conducted every 3 years. PISA 2009 was the fourth cycle of the assessment.

Each PISA data collection effort assesses one of the three subject areas in depth (considered the major subject area), although all three are assessed in each cycle (the other two subjects are considered minor subject areas for that assessment year). Assessing all three areas allows participating countries to have an ongoing source of achievement data in every subject area while rotating one area as the main focus over the years. In the fourth cycle of PISA, reading was the subject area assessed in depth, as it was in 2000.

Sixty countries and 5 other education systems (located in non-national places like Shanghai-China) participated as partners in PISA 2009. This report focuses on the performance of U.S. students in the major subject area of reading literacy as assessed in PISA 2009. 

Let's get to it ... I invite 'villagers' to take a look at the international ranks shown below for 'combined reading literacy'.

            International Ranking - Country/Other Education System - Comparative Score
1.       Shanghai - China 556
2.       Korea, Republic of 539
3.       Finland 536
4.       Hong Kong - China 533
5.       Singapore 526
6.       Canada 524
7.       New Zealand 521
8.       Japan 520
9.       Australia 515
10.   Netherlands 508
11.   Belgium 506
12.   Norway 503
13.   Estonia 501
14.   Switzerland 501
15.   Poland 500
16.   Iceland 500
17.   United States 500
18.   Liechtenstein 499
19.   Sweden 497
20.   Germany 497
21.   Ireland 496
22.   France 496
23.   Denmark 495
24.   Taiwan - China 495
25.   United Kingdom 494
26.   Hungary 494
27.   Portugal 489
28.   Macao-China 487
29.   Italy 486
30.   Latvia 484
31.   Slovenia 483
32.   Greece 483
33.   Spain 481
34.   Czech Republic 478
35.   Slovak Republic 477
36.   Croatia 476
37.   Israel 474
38.   Luxembourg 472
39.   Austria 470
40.   Lithuania 468
41.   Turkey 464
42.   Dubai-UAE 459
43.   Russian Federation 459
44.   Chile 449
45.   Serbia, Republic of 442
46.   Bulgaria 429
47.   Uruguay 426
48.   Mexico 425
49.   Romania 424
50.   Thailand 421
51.   Trinidad and Tobago 416
52.   Colombia 413
53.   Brazil 412
54.   Montenegro, Republic of 408
55.   Jordan 405
56.   Tunisia 404
57.   Indonesia 402
58.   Argentina 398
59.   Kazakhstan 390
60.   Albania 385
61.   Qatar 372
62.   Panama 371
63.   Peru 370
64.   Azerbaijan 362
65.   Kyrgyz Republic 314
 Where various U.S. racial populations would rank among the world's best readers:
  • U.S. average 500 - Rank 17 out of 65 reporting countries
  • Asian, non-Hispanic 541 - Rank 2 out of 65 reporting countries
  • White, non-Hispanic 525 - Rank 6 out of 65 reporting countries
  • Hispanic 466 - Rank 41 out of 65 reporting countries
  • Black, non-Hispanic 441 - Rank 46 out of 65 reporting countries
Please click here to see full report.