June 30, 2011

Mark Halperin Calls President Obama a 'Dick' on Morning Joe Show; Suspended by MSNBC

Mark Halperin is a regular contributor to MSNBC and a senior political analyst for TIME. He wrote a great book about the 2008 election called, "Game Changer". I imagine that Halperin is also a big fan of George Carlin. He obviously bought into Carlin's rant about the '7 Words You Can't Say on Television'.

'Dick' isn't on Carlin's list. As such, Halperin thought it was OK to say 'Dick' on MSNBC earlier this morning. Not only did he use a word that doesn't have a place in our political discourse ... he decided it was good to use it to describe the President of the United States. Seriously!?

It didn't take long for Halperin to feel the consequences. He apologized to the President and the Morning Joe viewers before the show ended, saying:
"I can’t explain why I did it. It’s inappropriate, disrespectful. I’ve already apologized, and I will again to the President.

“I’m sorry, I’m sorry to the viewers…It is disrespectful, what I said was disrespectful to the president and the office but it also lowers our discourse."
He also tweeted to his followers: “I want to offer a heartfelt and profound apology to the President and the viewers of Morning Joe. My remark was not funny. I deeply regret it."

MSNBC later released this statement:
"Mark Halperin's comments this morning were completely inappropriate and unacceptable. We apologize to the President, The White House and all of our viewers. We strive for a high level of discourse and comments like these have no place on our air. Therefore, Mark will be suspended indefinitely from his role as an analyst."
Halperin followed up with this statement: "I completely agree with everything in MSNBC's statement about my remark. I believe that the step they are taking in response is totally appropriate. Again, I want to offer a heartfelt and profound apology to the President, to my MSNBC colleagues, and to the viewers. My remark was unacceptable, and I deeply regret it."

I think that MSNBC did the right thing.   I don't have an issue if you disagree with the President ... or anyone else in the political arena ... but, you can disagree without being disrespectful.   Shame on you Mark Halperin!

Taser Death: Delric East (Montgomery County, MD)

Montgomery County police arrived at the scene of an auto accident earlier this week. Instead of helping the man involved in the accident the officers thought it would be a good idea to electrocute him with 50,000 volts of electricity from a taser gun.

Delric Tyrone East, 40, died at Suburban Hospital at 11:30 p.m., on Tuesday, June 29, about an hour after resisting county police and emergency crews, who were attempting to pull him from a 1993 two-door Cadillac he drove into a barrier.

The police claim that "became agitated and began to fight with rescue personnel." The police indicate that the taser was used to subdue the man so rescue workers could remove him from the vehicle.

Officers found what they believe to be a small vial of PCP in the car. Of course, the police like to make sure that the public knows that drugs are someplace in the vicinity whenever there is a taser-related death. It helps them pin the blame on something other than the electrocution itself as a cause of death. It should be interesting to see what the autopsy says about East's cause of death.

The four officers involved in the incident were placed on administrative leave. They have been identified as Officer David Courtemanche, a six-year veteran, Officer Michael Putman, a nine-year veteran, Officer Eric Hammelton, an eight-year veteran, and Sgt. Jeffrey Divers, a 19-year veteran.

Taser-related deaths in America continue to occur on a weekly basis. When will something be done?

Taser Autopsy: Otto Kolberg (Waycross, GA)

The powers-that-be down in Waycross (GA) are trying to convince themselves and the public that 55-year old Otto Kolberg died from injuries in a truck crash and not from the 50,000 volts of electricity that were pumped into him from a Ware County sheriff's deputy's Taser.

The preliminary results from an autopsy are being widely released to mitigate the fault of the taser in this man's death.
"The preliminary results show Mr. Kolberg died due to injuries consistent with the car wreck. Those results also indicate the Taser didn't have any effect in causing his death," said Russell Mansfield, special agent in charge of the GBI office in Douglas, which is handling the investigation.
Read the rest of the Florida Times-Union article on this taser-related death.

June 29, 2011

Press Conference: President Obama on Our Economy and the Debt Limit (VIDEO)

President Obama held a news conference in which he addressed the American economy, the deficit talks and what Congress can do right now to help create jobs. You can see the full news conference by the President and also read a transcript of the remarks. 

What is your take-away from this press conference?

June 28, 2011

Good News Tuesday: 13-Year Old Autum Ashante Heads to College

Soulclap to Your Black World for sharing this good news message with us.

Autum Ashante is not your typical 13-year old. She’s a poet with a high IQ who has mastered three different languages, has a strong sense of her culture and is headed to college this fall. Shante is going to be a freshman at The University of Connecticut after being home schooled by her parents.

Her father, Ben, was able to put all of his time into educating his daughter. He’d retired early and also worked with teachers in the community to ensure that his daughter had access to a high quality education.
What she’s doing is groundbreaking but this is not about vanity,” he said. “It’s about setting the tone for other Black and Latino children who will come behind her. They’re always being told they are underachievers. We want to show this can be done.“
The Ashante family isn’t just shining the light on themselves for personal reasons, they want to make it clear that their daughter is an example for all to see the potential of their own children. They fully expect their child to serve as a role model to African American and Latino children everywhere. Well, from first glance, it appears that this young lady can also provide a good example for many adults as well.

This blog will continue to seek out Good News stories about people of African descent and share them with you each Tuesday. We need to tell the positive and upbeat information about OURstory. We can't depend on others to do it for us. Please pass along any Good News story that comes your way. In the case of bloggers ... we want you to join our Good News parade every Tuesday.

June 27, 2011

Serena and Venus are Wimble-Done...

I enjoyed watching the early-morning Wimbledon tennis championship last week. Serena Williams and Venus Williams alternated days on the court as they made their way through the first three rounds of the tournament. The two of them have dominated Wimbledon over the past decade. I was confident that they would meet each other later this week in the Wimbledon finals.

My expectations were shattered today when the Williams' sisters both lost today against lower-ranked players. I suspect that most 'villagers' join me in letting out a sigh of disappointment when we realized that neither sister was in the tournament any longer.

It is likely that I won't be watching Wimbledon any more this week.

Well, I might be tempted to see if this Mardy Fish guy can keep winning. He is the last American standing in the tournament. He's in the quarterfinals ... so he has a chance to make some noise if he can win another match or two.

Question for the Day: Will Serena or Venus ever make it back to #1 in tennis rankings?

June 25, 2011

Obama's Weekly Address: Strengthening America by Investing at Home

Speaking from Carnegie Mellon University, President Obama discusses the vital role advanced manufacturing will have in strengthening our economy and creating good, middle-class jobs.

Are you feelin' this message from President Obama?

June 23, 2011

Pardon Wrongly-Convicted Autistic Youth, Neli Latson

There is some rank shyt out in the world. Racial profiling and improper imprisonment of mentally-challenged people are high up on the list. Villagers need to know about a young 19-year old man in Stafford (VA) who is a victim of both issues!

Reginald 'Neli' Latson is a young autistic man who was sitting on the front lawn of the public library in Stafford (VA) minding his own business. He was waiting for the library to open. The police saw him and made some assumptions about what a young Black man was doing out on the public library's lawn. They acted on their assumptions and approached Latson. They searched him and found that he had no weapons. The incident should have been over at that point.

However, it appears that Latson didn't show the proper amount of respect to the officers. They continued to harass him ... and his response was to physically resist the officers.  What the police didn't realize was that Latson suffers from autism.  He doesn't understand the normal 'cues' that the rest of us understand.

They arrested him. He was held without access to his family. He was sent for psychiatric evaluation. Eventually he was given a 10-year conviction for resisting arrest.

The Huffington Post has written about the case. Neli's family created a blog to talk about the case. Neli's mother posted a video shortly after his initial arrest to seek support for her son.

I'm joining with other online activist to call for this criminal injustice to be corrected. We need to get Neli into a treatment facility where he can rehabilitate from the trauma he has suffered. Each day that Neli is in the penitentiary he is in danger of missing important cues and getting in more and more trouble because he is just not able to understand what is happening to him. In order for this to happen he needs to get a pardon.

I encourage all villagers to sign the online petition and spread the word!

June 21, 2011

Worst First Pitch in the History of Baseball * John Wall vs. Mariah Carey vs. Mayor Mallory

John Wall was the #1 pick in the NBA draft last year. He is a world-class basketball player. I guess he didn't fully realize that throwing a first pitch at a baseball game is not the same as throwing a bounce pass in a NBA game.   This pitch was thrown on June 17, 2011.

I live in Cincinnati, Ohio. As such, I'm very proud of our city's mayor. Mayor Mallory is a young brother with a strong family legacy in local and state politics. So, we were surprised, shamed and humiliated when Mayor Mallory made the first pitch last year at a major league baseball game. Take 35 seconds to relive the horror of it all:

Fast forward to May 2008. Someone thinks it is a bright idea for Mariah Carey to throw out the first pitch at a major league game in Japan. Mariah Carey has many skills ... throwing a baseball ain't one of them ... especially when you are wearing 5-inch heels to do so:

John's pitch may have been picture-perfect on the fast break of a basketball game ... Mariah's pitch had better direction ... Mayor Mallory's pitch had more distance. I dunno. Which one do you think earns the honor of being the 'Worst First Pitch in the History of Baseball'?

June 19, 2011

Is Radio Talkshow Host Neil Boortz Saying That Blacks Should be Killed?

Post-racial America? Not hardly. You never have to go very far to find some vile and racist incident in our nation. Today, it is the radio stylings of Neil Boortz. Boortz is a syndicated radio show host who broadcasts from Atlanta. He decided that it was appropriate to suggest to his listeners that they purchase a gun and go out to shoot Black people.

What is your take on Boortz and his radio commentary? Any doubt in your mind that he was advocating for his listeners to kill Black people in the streets of our major cities? Should he be fired?

June 18, 2011

Eyewitness to Taser-Killing of Howard Hammon: 'It Was Like a Rodney King Beating'

Middleburg Heights police chief John Maddox still claims that his officers didn't do anything wrong when they killed an unarmed 41-year old man last week. However, an eyewitness has come forward to say what he saw Middleburg Heights officers do to a man was like watching the Rodney King video. [SOURCE]

Howard Hammon was electrocuted by taser at least five times because he didn't show the proper respect to a police officer.

But a new witness says it's what police did after Hammon was on the ground that is most disturbing to him. He claims one officer stomped on Hammon's head at least twice with his foot, while two other officers kneed him repeatedly in the rib cage, and yet another officer was punching him in the side.

Hammon would later die after being left face down in the grass for five minutes. When paramedics arrived he wasn't breathing and had no pulse.

The witness who has come forward says he did so because his conscience couldn't handle not saying something.

It is hard to see how the police can justify this murder?!

June 17, 2011

Seeking Applicants for White House Internship Program

President Obama is doing some heavy lifting for our nation.   It seems that he needs some additional help in the White House!   The application period for the Spring 2012 White House Internship Program is now open. Applicants have until September 11, 2011 to apply for a Spring 2012 White House Internship. Please read instructions below for additional explanations.
The following are important questions to ask yourself before and after submitting your internship application.  The link to apply can be found at the bottom of this page, but please read all instructions before starting your application.
Am I eligible to apply for a White House Internship?
All White House Internship Program participants must be:
  • United States citizens
  • At least 18 years of age on or before the first day of the internship
  • Currently enrolled in an undergraduate or graduate program at a college, community college or university OR graduated in the past two years from undergraduate or graduate program at a college, community college or university
  • A veteran of the United States Armed Forces who possesses a high school diploma or its equivalent and has served on active duty at any time over the past two years
Am I available for the Spring 2012 internship program?
All White House Interns are expected to intern full-time for the entire term of the program:
  • The spring internship term runs from January 17, 2012 - May 4, 2012
  • Please visit our FAQ page for questions regarding quarter systems
  • The White House internship program is an unpaid program
  • The White House internship program is a full-time program
  • Interns will be expected to work from approximately 9 a.m. - 6 p.m., Monday-Friday
  • Hours may vary by office
  • Please visit our FAQ page for questions regarding the definition of "full-time"
Do I have all my application materials?
A completed packet includes:
  • Two Essays: Each answer should be between 300-500 words in length
  • Current Resume: Your resume should not exceed one page
  • Three Letters of Recommendation
How do I submit my application correctly?
All application materials must be submitted online.
  • The application for the Spring 2012 White House Internship will be posted from May 9, 2011 - September 11, 2011. All Spring 2012 White House Internship application materials MUST be submitted ON or BEFORE 11:59 p.m. EDT September 11, 2011.
  • When an applicant enters a recommender's email address into the application, the recommender will be sent an email with instructions on how to submit a recommendation for the applicant.
  • When a letter of recommendation has been successfully submitted, both the applicant and the recommender will receive an email confirmation with the name of the recommender who has submitted a letter on the applicant's behalf.
Please click here to fill out and submit your application to the Spring 2012 White House Internship Program.

June 16, 2011

Taser Death: Howard Hammon (Middleburg Heights, OH)

Howard Hammon
It happened again. This time a 41-year old man was electrocuted by Middleburg Heights (OH) police officers after he was involved in a traffic accident. The police in this case are already beginning to look suspicious. The police are spinning the story as quickly as they can to place the blame on the victim, Howard Hammon.

The basic facts of the case appear clear. Howard Hammons was alive on Monday evening at 11:00 PM. He was driving and got involved in a car accident. The driver of the other car said Hammon stopped and asked her if she was OK.

Police arrived on the scene of the accident. Instead of helping a man who was obviously dazed from the car accident ... they went into 'gestapo' mode and pumped Hammon's body with 50,000 volts of electricity four or five times. Once he was knocked out from the electrocution he was handcuffed.

Unfortunately for the police it turns out that Hammon was dead. He was rushed to the hospital where his death was confirmed.

Here is where the police try to taint the public perception of Hammon. They claim Hammon resisted efforts to handcuff him, and officers took him to the ground. The man, more than 6 feet tall and 275 pounds, continued to struggle with officers after they warned him that he would be shocked if he did not stop.

The first time he was shocked he was unfazed. After the second time, officers were able to link two sets of handcuffs on him and he stayed on the ground.   The police don't mention that they used their taser guns at least twice more before they were done.

The police also wanted the police to know that Hammon had a marijuana joint clip in his pocket. Why was that factoid important? Does having marijuana paraphernalia justify execution?

Of course the police were not as honest in their approach to the family. The family was informed that Hammon died in an auto accident. They didn't realize that he had been electrocuted until they saw the reports on television.

"How could they do that to a person? What if that was their brother? I loved him with all my heart," said Hammon's sister, Neva Hammon.

"They executed my son. That's cowboy action," said Hammon's father, Howard Hammon, Sr.
John Maddox
Middleburg Heights Police Chief John Maddox says that his police officers decided it was best for the hospital to break the news to the family about what happened.

When asked why the hospital failed to inform the family about the extra-judicial electrocution, Maddox said he wasn't sure why that wasn't mentioned.
"They told us he died from hitting the windshield. Or maybe his chest from hitting the airbag. That's what the doctors told us," said Neva Hammon.
The police indicate that the arrest was caught on their patrol car's video camera. Well, they say that "most" of the arrest is on film. The end of the arrest appears to be unavailable. I imagine that will be the part of the tape where Hammon was killed.

This taser-killing seems suspicious to me. What say u?

June 9, 2011

Waco Police Officers Cleared in Taser-Killing of Rodney Green

The district attorney in Waco, Texas decided not to press charges in the taser-related killing of an unarmed, non-violent 36-year old man. Four Waco police officers (Anita Gomez, D. J. Adams, Daniel Kent and Jason Taylor) were cleared of any responsibility in the 2010 Thanksgiving Day death of Rodney Green ... a man they subdued with taser guns after his car struck a pole.

Police had received a report about a man near the accident scene who was acting strangely. An officer determined that Green was experiencing some type of difficulty.

The first officer on the scene called for back-up. The back-up arrived and the police officers thought that Green was acting strangely. Instead of helping the unarmed and nonviolent man who had just survived a crash with a pole ... the police used a Taser to subdue him.

Another officer arrived and used ankle cuffs to try to restrain Green, who was able to break them almost immediately, police said.

Then Green became unresponsive and the officers called for an ambulance.

A preliminary autopsy report released in February said Green died of "Toxic effects of cocaine and the physiologic stress associated with police struggle compounded by cardiac hypertrophy and asthma." The autopsy also found Green suffered from cardiac hypertrophy, an abnormal enlargement of the heart muscle.

District Attorney Abel Reyna said officers followed department policy, procedure and state law in their attempts to subdue Green. The decision not to indict in the incident ends the investigation.

This appears to be another situation in which an unarmed and nonviolent man was killed by taser-happy police ... with no consequences to the ones who did the killing. The city of Waco should be ashamed.

June 3, 2011

Are Blacks More Likely Than Whites to Support Causes Online?

Most villagers know that I'm the executive director of the BDPA Education and Technology Foundation (BETF).  BETF has established a number of online fundraisers via social networks in the past few years. As such we were intrigued by a new survey that claims ethnicity is a factor in how people perceive charitable and political causes they encounter on social networks and whether they go on to get involved with those causes.  [SOURCE]

Out of 2,000 participants in the survey, 30 percent of Black adults and 39 percent of Hispanics said they were more likely to support online causes rather than causes they encountered offline; 24 percent of whites said the same.

The study was released by Georgetown University’s Center for Social Impact Communication and Ogilvy PR, a public-relations company.

While most of the survey participants said they believed they could make a difference by supporting a charitable or political cause, African Americans and Hispanics were more optimistic about the effectiveness of using online networks to do so. When asked if tools like Facebook, Twitter, and blogs could help spread the word about a cause, 58 percent of Blacks and 51 percent of Hispanics agreed, compared with 34 percent of whites.

In addition, more Blacks and Hispanics said Facebook and other social-networking sites made it easier to support a cause: 62 percent and 64 percent, respectively, compared with 54 percent of whites.

Whites are also less likely to use Twitter in general. According to a telephone survey of 2,277 adults conducted by Princeton Survey Research Associates International, 25 percent of black and 19 percent of Hispanic Internet users say they use Twitter, compared with just 9 percent of white Internet users. What’s more, one in ten Black Internet users now visit Twitter on a typical day, compared with 3 percent of whites and 5 percent of Hispanics.

Yet despite the emphasis placed on social media, blogs and social networking sites are still second to more traditional information sources like television, newspapers, and personal relationships. Likewise, people were more likely to donate money or talk about a social issue than post it to a blog or Facebook, the Georgetown study found.

What the study shows us over all is not to put all your eggs into the social-media basket,” says Julie Dixon, deputy director at the Georgetown Center. Instead, organizations should tailor their communications strategy based on the how their audience is likely to engage.

Our hope is that those of you who support the STEM-based programs that BDPA implements on local, regional and national level will find a way to visit and support our online fundraising efforts. Here is where you can find BDPA in various social networks:
  1. Click and Pledge: Donor designates how funds are used
  2. Crowdrise: BDPA IT Corps
  3. Crowdrise: Various local chapter college scholarships
  4. Facebook: BDPA Charlotte HSCC program
  5. Facebook: BDPA IT Corps
  6. Facebook: BDPA Los Angeles HSCC program
  7. Facebook: BETF Endowment Fund
  8. Facebook: Jesse Bemley Scholarship
  9. YourCause.com: Donor designates how funds are used
What is your take on the survey findings?