August 31, 2010

Tune In Tuesday: Jasiri X Shares "Dr. King's Nightmare"

I suspect that Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was giving the side-eye to his neice, Sarah 'Mama Grizzly' and Glenn 'Elmer Gantry' Beck this past weekend. Young rapper (Jasiri X) shared his vision of what Dr. King would say if he was still speaking to us:

Good News Tuesday: Joseph Huggins, Jr. -- Future Face of Technology

Joseph Huggins Jr. graduated from high school earlier this year. He made the decision to accept a commission with the US Navy. He left on July 27th for the Naval Academy Prep School in Newport, Rhode Island. There he will receive 10 months of extra academic and military training before being transferred to the Academy in Annapolis, Maryland.

Joseph earned Bemley Scholarships from BDPA Education and Technology Foundation (BETF) for his performance in the 2006, 2007 and 2008 national High School Computer Competition (HSCC) championships.

Joseph was kind enough to share his thoughts on the HSCC program with us:

The day I first became a member of BDPA seems like ages ago, although it has only been five years since I first joined this program that has changed my life forever. My first year competing with the BDPA Chicago Chapter in the HSCC, I believe, was my best year. The year was 2006 and I remember walking to into a classroom and feeling intimidated by the amazing talent that surrounded me. Being only in 8th grade, I was one of the youngest students and was very shy. I knew I had my work cut out for me.

Surprisingly, the competition seemed to fade away as if it just disappeared into thin air. Somehow, after the long months of training, I found myself among the top five students selected to compete at the national conference. The Chicago Chapter took first place that year. I can remember the feeling I had that night as we were announced the first place champions of the BDPA National High School Computer Competition. Winning the national competition was one the greatest accomplishments of my life.

After my experience with BDPA in 2006, I decided to stick around and work hard in order to compete in the HSCC for the rest of my high school career. In the following three years I made the team and the Chicago Chapter placed in the top three winning teams two years in a row. I am not able to compete in the HSCC this year in 2010 due to my obligations to U.S. Navy. I have been accepted to the United States Naval Academy where I will study computer engineering and upon graduation will be a commissioned officer in the United States Navy or Marine Corps.

I would like to give thanks to the BDPA Foundation for expanding my knowledge of information technology and exposing me to the many great and amazing people I have met over the years. I would like to give special thanks to the people like Gibran McDuffie, Pamela Norfleet, Bryan Moore, Yvette Graham, and the host of other BDPA members and volunteers that have helped to shape me into the young man that I am today.

Joe is a remarkable young man. Whenever you hear a BDPAer talking about our work in advancing careers from 'the classroom to the boardroom' you would do well to remember Joe as an example of  the classroom'!   You can celebrate Joe's story best with a secure online donation to the Bemley Scholarship Fund so that we can help more young squires in the future.

August 30, 2010

Florida Racist Gets 10-Year Sentence for Hate Crime Against Nekedia Cato

It is nice to see the criminal justice system working in favor of the Black community. This blog told you about Thomas Cosby a couple of years ago. He is the white racist who ran his car into (then) 25-year old Nekedia Cato while she was riding her bicycle. Cosby was heard to shout the N-word and other racial slurs at her after the attack.

Cato, 27, suffered a broken leg and several internal injuries from the incident and spent months in rehabilitation.

Cosby was sentenced to 10 years in prison after being convicted of a hate crime. He was earlier convicted of aggravated battery with a deadly weapon and battery evidencing prejudice. He had faced up to 35 years in prison.

Hats off to the criminal justice system in this case!

August 28, 2010

President's Weekly Address: The End of Combat Operations in Iraq

With the end of combat operations in Iraq days ahead, the President salutes our troops for their service and pledges to fulfill America’s commitment to them as veterans. 90,000 troops have left Iraq since the President came into office, and by the end of next year even the troops taking part in the non-combat mission will be home.

The administration is upholding the sacred trust with our veterans by building a 21st century VA, making it easier for veterans with PTSD to receive the benefits they need, funding and implementing a Post-9/11 GI Bill, and devoting new resources to job training and placement to help those veterans looking for work in a tough economy.

I understand that President Obama will be speaking to the nation on Tuesday evening. What are your thoughts about the way he handled the Iraq War?

August 27, 2010

Taser Autopsy: Denver Coroner Rules 'Homicide' in Taser-Related Killing of Marvin Booker

The Denver Coroner has ruled that the July 9 death of an inmate at the new jail was the result of HOMICIDE.

Marvin Booker was being processed on a charge of possession of drug paraphernalia when he got into a scuffle with jail deputies. He was killed with a Taser gun shot at him by unidentified prison guards while being held to the floor.

Other inmates said Booker, 56, was then carried to the holding cell and dropped face first. He never recovered.

The coroner's finding means simply that another human being caused Booker's death instead of natural causes, suicide or an accident. It is not the coroner's role to determine who might have caused the death, or whether the homicide was justifiable.

The coroner ruled Booker's death was caused by "cardiorespiratory arrest during physical restraint." The coroner said deputies had their body weight on Booker's back continuously for four minutes while he was face down and put him in a "sleeper hold" for more than two minutes while shocking him with a Taser for 8 seconds.

An investigation is ongoing into the actions of the jail deputies who scuffled with Booker. Five deputies were placed on paid administrative leave.

Inmates who witnessed the event said Booker was trying to retrieve his shoes a short distance away when a jail deputy ordered him to immediately go to the holding cell. When he refused and tried to explain, he pushed the deputy and then was held down as several others dove on top of him, according to the witnesses.

A video captured the struggle, but has not been released while the investigation is underway. The coroner's report describes what is on the video, which confirms the inmates' accounts of the homicide.

"When he turned to return to the holding area for his shoes, the booking officer called him towards and isolation cell, and when he failed to come to her, she went to the holding area and placed her arms on his. He swung his arms to shake her off," the coroner's report says.

"The booking deputy was joined by three other officers who forced the decedent first to a chair, and then face down on the floor. Two officers struggled to cuff his hands behind his back; another tried to control his legs; a fourth lay across his upper back and applied a carotid "sleeper" hold around his neck.

"The decedent continued to resist, and the officer applying the neck hold requested a Taser. A fifth officer applied the Taser to his leg and discharged it for 8 seconds. The decedent ceased resisting shortly after the use of the Taser."
The sleeper hold was applied to him for two minutes and 30 seconds, but deputies said it was released intermittently to check whether Booker was still resisting.

After Booker was placed face down in the holding cell, a deputy remained on his back for another 90 seconds to two minutes.

A short time later, another deputy saw he was not breathing and began CPR.

Folks in Denver know that this man was done wrong. The powers-that-be know it as well. They are holding onto their videotape evidence of the electrocution in much the same way that Los Angeles Police Department never wanted the public to see the Rodney King video.

I sense that one or more of the five jailhouse deputies who killed Marvin Booker will be charged with a crime. What say u?

August 26, 2010

Taser Death: Eduardo Hernandez-Lopez (Las Vegas, NV)

The Nevada Highway Patrol are painting this as a case of 'road rage' gone wrong. Of course, we aren't able to ask 21-year old Eduardo Hernandez-Lopez what happened because he was electrocuted with at least 50,000 volts of electricity from the taser gun of an unidentified Nevada Highway Patrol trooper on Wednesday, August 25. [SOURCE]

According to the Nevada Department of Public Safety, the incident occurred more than two hours after a truck hauling sulfuric acid spilled the chemical and closed portions of U.S. 95 in both directions. Hernandez-Lopez got involved in a dispute with others during the hours of waiting for movement on the highway.

When officers arrived, they had a physical altercation with Hernandez-Lopez, whom they described as an "irate individual." During the altercation the man was shot by an unidentified trooper with a Taser, and troopers later noticed he was not breathing. These taser guns are 'stopping the breathing' of people on a weekly basis.

He was transported to Sunrise Hospital and Medical Center where he was pronounced dead yesterday evening at 7:30 p.m.

It should be interesting to see how this taser-related death story rolls out over the coming days and weeks.

Soulclap to Sojourner's Place for pointing this story out to us over on Facebook. I encourage other villagers to let us know about updates on this story ... or about other taser-related deaths.

Taser Death: Michael Ford (Livonia, MI)

Michael Ford,50, has been on life support since police used a taser on him back on August 14. He died on August 26 when his family consented to having him removed from life support.

Here is the story according to the Livonia Police department [SOURCE]:

According to the issued statement, police were called to the 20000 block of Purlingbrook on a report of a disturbance about 11 p.m. Aug. 13. A man was playing loud music from his vehicle and nearly struck another car.  An unidentified officer spoke to an intoxicated man, identified as Ford, who was told to go back into his apartment because the complainant was not located.

About two hours later, at 1 a.m. Aug. 14, Livonia Police were called again to the same place on another report of loud music in the parking lot.

"This time he was holding what appeared to be two knives, one in each hand, he was yelling and approaching the scout car. The officer retreated and awaited a back-up officer. When that officer arrived they approached Mr. Ford and ordered him to the ground as they had reason to believe he may still be armed," the police statement said.

When Ford refused to comply, an unidentified Livonia officer deployed the Taser. Ford fell and hit his head, police said.
Ford's cousin Ewayne Harrell said Ford had more injuries than falling and hitting his head after being jolted by a taser gun.

"(The police) beat him up. He had a ruptured spleen, a cracked pelvis and cracks in the front and back of his head. I don't see how you can get all that from a Taser," he said.
Harrell also disputed police statements made Tuesday, saying Ford did not have a knife and "was not on drugs."

An investigator's report is being reviewed and independently investigated by the Wayne County Prosecutor's Office. The unidentified officer who electrocuted Mr. Ford is on desk duty until the investigation is complete.

August 25, 2010

Death Row Inmate Troy Davis Fails to Prove Innocence

Soulclap to NAACP Wichita Branch for sharing breaking news about a death penalty case that this blog has been tracking over the past couple of years.

Judge William T. Moore ruled that Troy Davis did not "clearly establish" his innocence. Because of the ruling, the State of Georgia will make plans to carry out the death sentence and set a new execution date.

The June evidentiary hearing was not a new trial, Troy Davis had no presumption of innocence and was limited in what able to be presented. And while he was still able to produce four witnesses who testified under oath that they lied at Troy's trial and yet others implicated the alternative suspect, he was unable to meet the very high standard set to prove his innocence.

Troy Davis's legal team has stated that they plan to appeal the ruling.

August 24, 2010

Shirley Sherrod Declines USDA Job Offer (VIDEO)

The Shirley Sherrod story took another turn today. Villagers recall that Mrs. Sherrod was forced to resign in July after edited misleading video footage of a speech she gave was posted on the Internet.

This blog joined with many others in asking President Obama to reinstate Mrs. Sherrod to her position. However, Sherrod decided that she was not going to come back to the Obama administration on a full time basis. She will be accepting work as an outside consultant with the US Department of Agriculture.

She explains to CNN's Tony Harris why she declined the positions offered by Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack in the following video:

Does anyone know if there was any consequence to Andrew Briebert for his deceitful blog post on Mrs. Sherrod that created the shytstorm in the first place?

Good News Tuesday: Yusuph Mkangara -- Future Face of Technology

BDPA Columbus chapter made a major push with their Student IT Education & Scholarship (SITES) program this year. The leadership team worked with corporate sponsors, volunteers, educators and students to train dozens of students throughout the year. The effort culminated in the selection of a team of young people to participate in the 2010 National BDPA High School Computer Competition (HSCC) Championships held in Philadelphia PA.

One of the members of the Columbus national team was Yusuph Mkangara. Yusuph shares his thoughts on the experience:

This was my first year doing the competition at a National level. It was actually my first year doing any competition at a National level. I wouldn’t say I was nervous, but I was certainly anxious to experience it for the first time. From the first day of the competition, it was hectic; trying to make sure I didn’t forget anything that I learned from Columbus.

Columbus did exceptionally well this year at Philadelphia compared to previous years. I hope to be able to help Columbus make it to the top 5, if not the number 1 team, as I have 3 more years to experience the computer competition.

There were multiple speakers there who changed how I thought about a career in IT. One of the things I am always contemplating is what should I endeavor in, once I am attending college. Medicine is definitely the number 1 option. Some of the speakers though did show that I can incorporate IT into medicine.
All in all, I have definitely been exposed to the world of IT. Whereas before, I simply knew it existed, after the competition, I have taken it into more of a consideration as I make a career and life plans; thanks to BDPA and the HSCC.

The chapter needs support as it prepares to improve its performance next year. I hope that villagers will consider making a secure online donation to support Yusuph and his teammates!

August 23, 2010

Can a Muslim American Become President of the United States?

The first 43 presidents of our country have been white male. The first 4,000 members of the House of Representatives were non-Muslim. To my knowledge, we've only had one practicing Muslim in congress.

So Colin Powell's question caused me to do a double-take. Colin Powell asked, 'Is there something wrong with being a Muslim in this country? ... Is there something wrong with some seven-year-old Muslim American kid believing that he or she could be president?' during his endorsement of Barack Obama.

If a 20-year old Muslim American soldier, Kareem Rashad Sultan Khan, can die for our country ... it seems we should have no issue with the idea of a Muslim American being our nation's president. Khan died in Iraq and his mother is shown grieving over his headstone in Arlington Cemetery.

If there are aspiring Muslim Americans dreaming about being president ... they should note that it requires hard work. Barack Obama earned his opportunity for the presidency by doing well in school ... doing well in his marriage and as a father ... doing well in his chosen vocation.

Robert Kennedy thought it would take 40 years for a Black man to be president. I think it won't take a long for a woman to be president. Nor would I be surprised if Rep. Keith Ellison (D-MN) or some other Muslim American were to be a credible national candidate in my lifetime.

63 years in a row, from 1921 thru 1984, we had white women winning the crown as 'Miss America'. That changed in 1984 when we had two Black women holding that title -- Vanessa Williams and Suzette Charles.

The 'Vanessa Williams Effect' got busy at that point. We have had five more women of color crowned as Miss America -- Debbye Turner (1990), Marjorie Vincent (1991), Kimberly Aiken (1994), Angela Baraquio (2001) and Erika Harold (2003).

Perhaps the 'Vanessa Williams Effect' will trump the 'Bradley Effect' as other non-white males strive to become President of the United States.

If so, a small amount of the credit goes to Colin Powell and Kareem Khan.

August 22, 2010

Taser Death: Stanley Jackson (Washtenaw County, MI)

It happened again. This time 31-year old Stanley Jackson was tasered-to-death by a Washtenaw County Sheriff deputy for resisting arrest. I'm not aware that the death penalty is authorized for resisting arrest. However, the police seem to feel perfectly within their procedural rights to serve as executioner whenever they feel disrespected.

The extra-judicial electrocution occurred on Friday, August 20, when officers claim that Jackson didn't comply with their orders. One of the officers zapped Jackson with 50,000 volts of electricity thru a taser gun. The police say Jackson was still vocal and active right after being tasered.

"The deployment of the Taser was a direct response to the behavior of the subject," Washentaw Sheriff Clayton said.
Jackson was dead within the next two hours. Something went wrong ... and it seems that the taser may have been the cause of his death. Doctors spent 40 minutes trying to revive him. [SOURCE]

Jackson leaves behind numerous family members, including four children, ages 3 months to 12 years.

It should be interesting to see what the coroner announces as the cause of death. Jackson was a former high school running back with no known medical problems ... so it seems that the fail-safe excuse of "excited delirium" won't fit in this case.

Several deputies were placed on paid administrative leave.

Please let this blog know if you learn of any additional information regarding this taser-related killing.

August 20, 2010

Taser Autopsy: Coroner Lists Death of Michael Ford as 'Accidental'

The Oakland County Medical Examiner completed their autopsy of 50-year old Michael Ford. Villagers may recall that Ford was taken off life support earlier this week after a confrontation with Livonia Police Department that resulted in a taser gun being used on him. After being tased ... Ford violently hit his head on the ground. The coroner says that the cause of death was the blunt force head injury ... an accident ... not the use of the taser. [SOURCE]

Livonia Police Deputy Chief Curtis Caid jumped all over the coroner's decision to put distance between the actions of his officers and the death:

We extend our sympathies to the Ford family for their loss,” he said, but “claims that police used extensive force are proven to be inaccurate by the results of the autopsy, by the medical records and the hospital.”
He said Ford was not beaten as has been alleged by family members, and that if Ford had listened to police, the incident would have been a non-event.

Police said Ford was electrocuted with a taser gun when he approached a police cruiser. They said he ignored commands to drop to the ground and believed he had knives in each hand.

At this point we have no independent confirmation that any weapons were found on Ford ... much less "knives in each hand". The unidentifed officer who killed Ford is currently on desk duty.

Vervena Johnson, a friend of Ford’s, said he was a special person and not at all like he’s been portrayed.

He was one of the sweetest, nicest people you could meet,” she said.

August 19, 2010

Martha Ann's Quilt for Queen Victoria

I shared information on my sister's book, Martha Ann's Quilt for Queen Victoria a few years ago.   It is a children's book that share the true story of Martha Ann Ricks, an ex-slave who spent fifty years saving spare coins to fulfill her dream of meeting the Queen of England. 

Kyra Hicks (shown in above photo) is a world-class expert on African American quilts and quilters.   I'm pleased to see that a review of her book is now available on video:

Click here to see the book on Amazon.

Personally, I can't even sew a button back on my shirt ... however, I suspect that the villagers reading this blog post are much more creative.   Have any of you practiced the art of quilting?  or painting?  or anything else in the artistic realm of our village?

August 18, 2010

Dr. Laura Quits Her Syndicated Radio Show

Dr. Laura Schlessinger couldn't stand the pain. She told Larry King that she was going to give up her syndicated radio show.

I 'spose that she figured out that using the N-word 2.5 times per minute on your show ain't a good thing to do. Personally, I think that any radio personality who is that racially insensitive shouldn't be on the radio in the first place. Good riddance!

August 17, 2010

Good News Tuesday: Khadijah Celestine -- Future Face of Technology

Khadijah Celestine is one of the brightest stars in the BDPA universe. I saw her in Philadelphia last month. She participated in the college division of the BDPA IT Showcase. What I didn't realize was that Khadijah was also an alumni of our High School Computer Competition (HSCC). It turns out that little sister was part of the HSCC team trained by BDPA New York chapter to compete in the 2007 national championships.

I asked Khadijah to share her HSCC testimonial with us ... I hope you enjoy it as much as I did:

I am currently a student at New York City College of Technology (CUNY’s City Tech), pursuing my passion, computers and technology. This fall I will be a sophomore and by the time I graduate in June 2013, will have obtained a Bachelor of Science degree in Computer Information Systems and an Associate of Science degree in Computer Science.

My studies include designing web sites using HTML, Cascading Style Sheets (CSS), Javascript and Actionscript. In a continuous effort to better myself, I am also pursuing a professional certificate in Web Design and improving secondary interests in graphic design and video game design. I am an active member in City Tech’s Computer Science Club.

During high school, I was introduced to Black Data Processing Associates (BDPA). What started out as a high school extracurricular activity has become a very important part of my life.

My first year with BDPA, I represented the New York Chapter and took part in the National High School Computer Competition (HSCC) in Washington, D.C. I interacted with other students from around the country and was impressed and in awe of their interests in computer programming and development. With the help of my computer science teacher, Mr. Destine; BDPA-NY Education Director, Ms. Denise Hamilton and BDPA-NY President Mrs. Judaea Lane, I received an opportunity to learn how to compete and increase my technical knowledge of computers to another level. Also I received the opportunity to network with other African Americans who are taking a more active role in this.

In addition to my computer and technology pursuits, I gain significant satisfaction from tutoring and improving others lives. On Saturdays, I tutor adults in reading at the Flatbush Avenue Public Library. This opportunity opened up a whole new for me as I ignorantly believed that every adult could read. Being able to help someone do something as simple as read makes me understand what I can contribute to others. Furthermore, my life plans changed for the better when I had the honor of tutoring a woman who had grown up in foster care. When I found that children in foster care are in need of something more than the ability to read, I couldn’t pass up the chance to get involved. I am currently working on my certification as a Mentor.

My passion for dance rounds out my academic and volunteer efforts. I started to dance as a sophomore in high school and was quickly elevated from a “back line” dancer to a “front line” dancer. This was no easy task, since I had no prior training and was very shy. Nevertheless, my passion for dance as an art, permeated through each and every pore, every time music touches my soul. There isn’t a piece of music that passes by without an accompanied movement from me.

Sometimes people question why I'm so persistent in my efforts to find funding for BDPA's youth education program. It's simple ... I do it for Khadijah and the other young brothers and sisters out there who are touched by the work of BDPA.

August 16, 2010

Blog Safari #42

There are some truly creative Black bloggers out in the afrosphere. This semi-regular blog safari is designed to help you find and enjoy these talented folks. I encourage you to join our rhino-guide -- call her Nyabingi -- by visiting 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!

August 15, 2010

Urban League Calls on Talk Radio Network to Fire Dr. Laura for Her Racist Rant

I see that it didn't take much time for the National Urban League to hop on the Dr. Laura controversy.

It should be noted that the Urban League didn't have to have as much energy in the fight for economic rights of Black Freedmen and Black Indians which were mandated in the 1866 Treaties. The Harvest Institute has been fighting this issue for a decade in the courts and on Capital Hill. The Urban League chose not to get involved. The Cherokee Nation has used the 1866 Treaties to collect billion of dollars in benefits while the US Government ignores its mandated obligation to the descendants of Black Freedmen and Black Indians.

I encourage villagers and the Urban League to research and take a stand on the issue of Black Freedmen and Black Indians.

Having said that, I do applaud the Urban League for calling on Talk Radio Network to drop the Dr. Laura show from syndication.

"The problem is not simply that Dr. Schlessinger used the 'n-word' repeatedly, though that is offensive enough," National Urban League President and CEO Marc H. Morial said. "Her comments to the caller showed a breathtaking insensitivity and ignorance about racial dynamics in the United States."
In responding to a caller who complained that her husband's friends and relatives use racial slurs and make racially demeaning comments, Schlessinger scoffed, "some people are hypersensitive." She noted that "Black guys" use the n-word "all the time," and repeated the word 11 times in the 5-minute exchange.

But Morial noted that her most revealing comment was, "I don't get it. if anybody without enough melanin says it, it's a horrible thing, but when Black people say it, it's affectionate. It's very confusing."
An audio file of the exchange is available on the Electronic Village blog.

"As she said, she doesn't get it, and she is very confused about what constitutes racism," Morial said. "It's beyond comprehension that Dr. Schlessinger would consider Jade 'hypersensitive' for being offended by the use of the n-word. We should be long past the point in this country where anyone should be advised to laugh off or ignore racist comments."
This blog joins with Morial in making request that Talk Radio Network drop the Dr. Laura show from syndication.

Talk Radio Network
P.O. Box 3755
Central Point, Oregon 97502
Phone: 541.664-8827
Fax: 541.664-6250

Enough is enough when it comes to spewing negative racial attitudes to wide audiences on the public airwaves.

It's time to shut her down!

August 14, 2010

President's Weekly Address: Honoring Social Security, Not Privatizing It

On the 75th anniversary of Social Security, President Obama promises to protect it from Republican leaders in Congress who have made privatization a key part of their agenda. He makes clear that, especially in light of the financial crisis, gambling Social Security on Wall Street makes no sense.

Any thoughts on what the President had to say?

FOUND: Mitrice Richardson ... Who Murdered Her?

The Lakeesha Alert for Mitrice Richardson can be turned off now. Mitrice's remains were discovered deep in Malibu Canyon by park rangers who had been checking for marijuana plants. Her mother, Latice Sutton, sent a text message informing people that her daughter had been identified.

"It is with great sadness and grief that I [tell you] my baby, Mitrice Richardson, has gone on to our Heavenly Father. Thank you for all of your love, support and prayers."

Villagers may remember that 25-year old Mitrice Richardson was arrested nearly a year ago after being unable to pay an $89 dinner tab at a Malibu restaurant. She was released in the dark, early-morning hours of last Sept. 17 without a car, cellphone or purse.

Can anyone explain why the police would do such a thing? Mitrice's parents don't like the explanations from the police. Both her parents have filed separate lawsuits against the Sheriff's Department alleging negligence.

"This book is not closed," Michael Richardson said. "More chapters need to be written. We are going to hold people accountable. I will continue to fight for her."
I'm very sorry to see how this missing person case turned out. Perhaps now it is time for a murder investigation. Who killed Mitrice Richardson?

August 13, 2010

FULL AUDIO: Dr. Laura Schlessinger Shows Herself as a Racist ... Believe It

Dr. Laura showed herself to be a white supremicst the other day. She feels so entitled to the idea of white folks being in power that she had no problem accusing an African American female caller of having a "chip on [her] shoulder" and insisting that the woman was "hyper-sensitive" to racial incidents. Dr. Laura then decided it was within her rights to rattle off the N-word almost a dozen times in the live radio discussion.

Soulclap to Media Matters for providing a full audio of Schlessinger's comments:

Schlessinger has since issued an apology, claiming that in her attempt "to make a philosophical point" she realized she had made "a horrible mistake."   Personally, I subscribe to the Maya Angelou philosophy:

"The first time someone shows you who they are, believe them."

Old School Friday: Ready For The World

In a parallel universe I married a beautiful woman who was older and wiser than me. I met her at UC Riverside when I was a freshman in college. Ready For The World had a song called, Let Me Love You Down, that puts in music much of what I was feeling 30 years ago.

August 12, 2010

GOP Wacko Ben Quayle: The Potatoe Doesn't Fall Far From the Dan Quayle Tree

Did you see where congressional candidate Ben Quayle called Barack Obama "the worst president in the history of the United States"?

I guess that the accomplishments of the Obama administration don't carry much water with young Ben. He appears to poo-poo things like:
  • health care reform
  • financial reform
  • stimulus
  • jobs bills
  • pulling combat troops out of Iraq war
I guess that I shouldn't be surprised by young Ben's idiotic campaign video. After all, he is the son of Dan Quayle ... who probably is the dumbest person to ever serve our nation as vice president. I share the following video evidence for those that don't remember the stupidty of Dan Quayle:

I suspect that the potatoe doesn't fall far from the tree!

Taser-Torture Update: Andrew Torres (Greenville SC)

Andrew Torres, 39, was killed by taser-happy police officers in Greenville SC earlier this week. We now know the name of the 3 officers that performed the extra-judicial electrocution: Officer Kevin Hill, Officer Eric Koepke and Officer Dale Dirton. [SOURCE]

We also have new video from the family. They lay out a story that appears to be very bad for the Greenville police department. The family sought assistance from the police. The police arrived with an agenda of violence that resulted in death.

Is there any justification for this taser-related death?

August 11, 2010

Glenn Beck Infers that President Obama is an Ape

It is deja vu all over again. Do you recall when the New York Post (owned by Rupert Murdoch) ran that racist cartoon depicting President Obama as an ape?

It appears that Glenn Beck (employed by Rupert Murdoch) learned no lessons from that controversy. Otherwise, he would not have concluded one of his recent rants with the inference that our president is an ape. His rant is on video (h/t Black Political Thought) -- you be the judge:

Does it sound like the 'Planet of the Apes' phrase is racially-tinged? Or was it simply an innocent movie reference? What say u?

Wordless Wednesday: My Young 'Un ... He May Go All The Way!

National Taser-Torture Memorial

Did you know that almost 500 people have been tasered-to-death in North America?  At least 90 of these taser-related killings in America occurred since January 2010.

Most of the taser victims are recognized with a cross outside New Mount Calvary Baptist Church in the National Taser Memorial. Rev. Thomas Franklin created and maintains the memorial.

"There are almost 500 people who have been tortured to death by Taser devices, not counting the ones who have been wounded," Franklin said. "This is our way of showing our respect for those families and showing that someone really cares."
Kyev Tatum, president of the Tarrant County chapter of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, who helped create the memorial, said the Police Department makes the point that Tasers save lives, but the memorial shows that Tasers kill people.

"The memorial makes such a powerful statement," Tatum said.
I encourage villagers to visit the National Taser Memorial website and let them know your thoughts on their efforts. It appears that the church's neighbors aren't happy with the memorial.

August 10, 2010

Taser Death: Andrew Torres (Greenville, SC)

Another man is dead from pre-judicial electrocution by taser. 39-year old Andrew Torres was a mentally-ill man. His family called the police for assistance in getting Torres to a hospital for assistance. They had no idea the police would taser him six times resulting in his death.

Two unidentified Greenville police officers came to the Torres home to serve mental papers. The police clearly understood that this man was ill ... not a criminal ... not armed ... just sick. Instead of handling the process like professionals, the police allowed the situation to escalate to a point where taser guns were drawn and fired multiple times.

Ten minutes later, while in police custody, Andrew Torres was unresponsive. An ambulance responded to the scene and medics found him in cardiac arrest. Torres was driven to the hospital where medical personnel pronounced him dead at 5:40 p.m.

The mother said her son was suffering from a form of schizophrenia and bipolar disorder.  For years the family turned to National Alliance On Mental Illness in Greenville for help.  They attended support groups and education classes to learn how to deal with mental illness. [SOURCE]

"We understand their son had not been taking his medicine," said Fletcher Mann, NAMI Greenville program director. "His condition worsened (and the) family was seeking to go through the legal process of commitment," he said.
To families living with mental illness, Andrew's death is another painful reminder that the system doesn't always work.

We wait to see what the coroner says about this taser-related killing. In the meantime, the under-trained police continue to use their tasers as a killing weapon all over America. When will it stop?

Lakeesha Alert: Hasanni Campbell Missing for a Year, Is He Still Alive?

Today is the one-year anniversary of the disappearance of 6-year-old Hasanni Campbell. Hasanni was reported missing by his foster father, Louis Ross, who said the boy disappeared Aug. 10, 2009 from a car parked outside a shoe store in Oakland's Rockridge neighborhood.

On Aug. 28, 2009, Oakland police arrested Ross and 30-year-old Jennifer Campbell, Hasanni's aunt and foster mother, on suspicion of murder. The district attorney's office declined to file charges though because of insufficient evidence, and the couple was released.

In early January, the foster parents moved out of the Fremont home where Hasanni had lived with them. Ross is now living in Maryland, and Campbell is in Arizona.

I believe that Ross and Campbell each know more than they are telling about this missing boy. Unfortunately, I also believe that the child is dead. If a young boy with cerebral palsy were alive ... someone would have noticed by now.

In any case, this blog wants you to know that the Lakeesha Alert is still open for young Hasanni Campbell. Please say a prayer for him after you read this blog post.

Good News Tuesday: D Ephraim (BDPA Twin Cities)

Many villagers know that I'm active with BDPA ... a national organization that strives to advance African Americans in the information technology industry 'from the classroom to the boardroom'. There are 45 local BDPA chapters around the nation. No chapter has improved more over the last four years (2006-2009) in the national High School Computer Competition (HSCC) championships than BDPA Twin Cities.

One reason for their success is the powerful training offered by Michael Wulf and others. Another reason is the powerful intelligence and drive of its students ... such as D Ephraim.

He shared his thoughts with us:

My name is D Ephraim. I am a graduate of Edina High School and currently attending Normandale Community College with plans to transfer to the University of Minnesota in winter 2010. I plan to double major in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science. I have been interested in computers and programming all my life and BDPA has given me the chance to display what I've learned.

The High School Computer Competition (HSCC) was one of the most exciting things I've ever been a part of. It gave me and my team a chance to reap the fruits of our labor. We worked for months and months to advance our craft and be the best programmers we could be. I really enjoyed the whole weekend and meeting people like me from across the country was interesting. My team came in 9th in my first year (2008) and 4th in my second year (2009). I am very thankful for being a part of such a phenomenal program.

D earned a Jesse Bemley Scholarship for the high performance of his team at the 2009 HSCC championships in Raleigh NC. He is using that scholarship to continue his education at community college.

August 9, 2010

Gregory Collins Indicted for Murder in Dragging Death of South Carolina Black Man

I'm glad to see that a grand jury indicted 19-year old Gregory Collins, a white South Carolina man, on murder and other charges in the dragging death of 30-year old Anthony Hill. Collins was arrested in June after he shot Hill, and then dragged his body 11 miles behind a truck.

The New Black Panther Party would like to see this dragging death treated as a hate crime. Personally, I'll be happy to see Collins put in prison for the rest of his life without possibility of parole.

August 8, 2010

Sunday Inspirations: Philura Williams

I grew up as a member of Westminster Presbyterian Church in Los Angeles CA. My mom sang in the choir. My brother played the piano for the youth choir for many years. However, my lasting memory of music at Westminster revolved around one woman -- Philura Williams.

Her voice would soar into the balcony where I used to sit with the other young people of the church. I only knew Mrs. Williams from church. Her husband was an educator and her daughter was pretty cool. However, my lasting memory of Westminster's choir was the voice of Philura Williams.

She sang at my father's funeral. I've never heard a singing voice in person that is more beautiful over the full course of my half-century of living.

I encourage villagers of all ages, genders and creeds to close your eyes and enjoy the stylings of Philura Williams.

Mrs. Williams is a classically trained soprano.  She recently released a CD of 6 of her original songs and 3 popular hymns that she is often asked to sing.

You can check out her CD online or you can email her. Some of the proceeds from her CD sales go to I CAN FLY INTERNATIONAL which is a charity to meet needs of African girls.

Taser Autopsy * Was It Drugs or Taser That Killed Edward Stevenson (Leavenworth KS)?

The powers-that-be in Leavenworth, Kansas don't want to be liable for multi-million dollar lawsuits or potential criminal charges for their extra-judicial electrocution of 46-year old Edward Stevenson. They are trying to get the public to look elsewhere for the cause of his death.

A preliminary autopsy report says Edwards, who died while in police custody, was under the influence of cocaine and had underlying health problems. The autopsy also found that Stevenson had an enlarged heart and the altercation with police may have been secondary contributing factors in his death.

Leavenworth Police Chief Pat Kitchens wants us to know that Stevenson may have been under the influence of alcohol and opiates. [SOURCE]

I encourage villagers to use a little commonsense. Stevenson was handcuffed and sitting in the back of a police cruiser. He would be alive today if unidentified Leavenworth police officers didn't electrocute him three times with their taser guns. Officers eventually used physical force to subdue him ... and the man died.

The penalty for using drugs or being under the influence of alcohol should be the lost of brain cells. The penalty for such an offense is not supposed to be the DEATH PENALTY. The powers-that-be in Leavenworth hope that you won't use commonsense as you analyze this taser-related death ... one of 90 such deaths over the past 85 weeks.

What say u?

August 7, 2010

Campaign for Black Male Achievement

I was in Philadelphia last month for the 32nd annual BDPA Technology Conference. There were over 200 young people participating in the conference activities ... many of them young Black boys. I found myself wondering if each of the young Black boys that I saw would be able to successfully travel the obstacles that will be placed in their way over the coming years.

I wonder if each of us should be more direct in our efforts to inspire bolder and brighter visions of what is possible for Black men and boys in America.

Here is a video from the first annual Campaign for Black Male Achievement Transformational Leadership Retreat, which took place last year in Miami, FL. During the retreat, participants were asked to talk about their collective missions to improve the life outcomes of black men and boys. I found the to be uplifting and eye-opening in a number of ways:

"Transformational times require transformational leadership" was the theme for over 60 leaders from across the nation who participate in this retreat designed to raise the bar for participants' personal and organizational leadership in 2010.

I have a 10-year old son. I know that I need to do more to ensure that he and his friends can create bolder and brighter visions of what is possible for them in America.

Anyone else thinking about the future of our Black men and Black boys?

August 6, 2010

Would You Use a Taser on a Pregant Woman? California Highway Patrol Says "Yessir" as They Electrocute Tanisha Black

Tanisha Black was seven months pregnant. I don't imagine that she ever thought that she would feel 50,000 volts of electricity being shot through her body. Tanisha learned a lesson that was already taught to Valreca Redden.

Tanisha Black of Union City and her 3-year old son were pulled over by a CHP officer. [SOURCE]
"He says I am pulling you over because you were on your cell phone," Black recalled
.But that wasn't all. Unbeknown to her she said her driver's license had been suspended because she missed a court appearance on traffic tickets. And so, Black said the officer told her, "I am going to tow the vehicle because your license is suspended as well and I need your keys."

Black and the CHP officer got into a discussion about what would happen to the car. She wanted to leave the car for a friend to pick up. The police officer planned to bring in a tow truck to take the car away.

Black said, "I wasn't being nasty, I wasn't being rude, I wanted answers. Why is it that I can't get anyone with a license to get my vehicle?"

But she said that officer didn't want to hear any more. "He said if you don't leave, get out of here with your son, then I am going to arrest you and he's going to go to Child protective Services," Black recalled.

Then Black said the other officer tried to grab her keys. "I had my phone, credit card, keys in one hand, Frappuccino in the other hand and I felt him touch my hand. Next thing I know he is trying to grab this hand with the Frappuccino and I am like this trying to juggle, you know, hold on. I don't need any confrontation, I am pregnant," she said.
In fact Tanisha Black was seven months pregnant. Black said next thing she knew, she felt a terrible pain through her body. The officer had shot her with a Taser and she fell to the ground.

"I just remember screaming 'Oh my God, oh my God, I am pregnant. You are Tasing me in my stomach. Are you really doing this to me over a suspended license?" Black recalled.
Adam Goldman saw it happen from his window side table inside Starbucks and said Black didn't look like a threat. As for the CHP officer, Goldman said, "He seemed pretty quick to use the Taser."

You can view video interview of Tanisha Black here.

August 5, 2010

Birthers: Fear of a Black President

President Barack Obama celebrated his 49th birthday yesterday. Of course, this was simply another reason for the wacko "birther" movement folks to go crazy.

CNN released a poll that shows many Republicans (and others) in America are still buying into the nonsense that Manchurian Muslim who has infiltrated the White House:

  • Forty-two percent of those questioned say they have absolutely no doubts that the president was born in the U.S., while 29-percent say he "probably" was.
"Not surprisingly, there are big partisan differences, although a majority of Republicans thinks Obama was definitely or probably born here," says CNN Polling Director Keating Holland.

"Eighty-five percent of Democrats say that Obama was definitely or probably born in the U.S., compared to 68 percent of independents and 57 percent of Republicans. Twenty-seven percent of Republicans say he was probably not born here, and another 14 percent of Republicans say he was definitely not born in the U.S."
That means some 41 percent of Republicans say Obama was probably or definitely not born in the United States.

The only reason that 41% of Republicans think such a thought is FEAR. Republicans ... primarily old white men ... simply have a insatiable fear of a Black president. They rather believe that he was born in Africa then believe that a majority of Americans voted on November 4, 2008 to make an African American the most powerful person on the planet.

When will Republicans ... and other white Americans ... get over their fear of a Black president. For that matter, when will they stop letting racial prejudice inform their every behavior and emotion?