July 30, 2011

Tell President Obama: We Have Your Back on the 14th Amendment

The Republican Party is on track to drive our economy off the cliff over the debt negotiations. Rep. John Garamendi (D-CA) is sending an open letter to President Obama letting him know that progressives have his back if he chooses to invoke the 14th Amendment.

Dear President Obama,

We understand the difficulties you face in reaching a debt limit agreement. Extremists have taken over the Republican Party in Congress. To get their way, they're willing to risk the United States defaulting on its debts for the first time in history. This GOP-manufactured debt crisis threatens a rejuvenated recession, hundreds of thousands of lost jobs, and higher interest rates. You don't want that. We don't want that.

Mr. President, we want you to know that if a reasonable compromise cannot be reached with Congressional Republicans, we have your back if you choose to use your constitutional authority under the 14th Amendment to avoid economic catastrophe.

The 14th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution clearly states that the validity of the public debt of the United States "shall not be questioned." Let's stop questioning it.

When we play chicken with radicals willing to drive the economy off the cliff, the entire country loses. That's the lesson we're now learning.

We support negotiations. We do not support fiscal suicide. Should a reasonable compromise be unreachable, we urge you to consider the "Constitutional Option" to get us past imminent disaster.

When the situation has stabilized, we can focus on the real issues -- job creation in the immediate term and deficit reduction over the next decade. There is plenty of time for bipartisan debate on these important issues of the day, but we are running out of time to stop an easily preventable financial disaster.

Thank you for your leadership.
John Garamendi

Add your name to the letter here.

July 24, 2011

Is Your Digital Tattoo Attracting or Repulsing Customers?

Tonya R. Taylor
It’s a fact, love them or hate them tattoos are popular and (almost) permanent. The tattoo design choice, or body art, says something about you; well actually a lot about you. It may convey your mood at a particular moment in time, it may have a deep personal meaning, you may like the artwork or some may think they're just stylish.

Even though tattoos have become incredibly mainstream the kind I am talking about has nothing to do with body art. This type of tattoo is about your business or career; yes even if you have a small business, be a college student or work in corporate America. Let me ask you a simple question, what does your digital tattoo say about your business?

Before you can answer that, I need to explain exactly what a Digital Tattoo is.

Just like a regular tattoo, your digital reputation is an expression of yourself and your business. Over time it is shaped by you and added to by others which include friends, family and your business visibility online and in the media.

Your digital tattoo is what a potential customer, recruiter, corporate executive, or anybody else finds online about your business. It’s the information people see when they search the internet for your name or your business name.

What images will they find of you? – an old photo from college or high school, your company logo, a cartoon character where your picture should be or your favorite sports team instead of a current photo?

What information will they find on your website or blog? – a new video, static information that has never been changed or updated since December or your latest blog post?

What images will they find on social media? - are you presenting at a conference, you with your family, you participating at a networking event or hanging out with friends?  (Are you even using social media to help shape your digital tattoo?)

What information will they find in the media? – your published article(s), a press release, a story written about you or your business, or nothing at all?

Why is your digital tattoo important? - Ask any successful salesperson or flourishing marketer, they will tell you this...“People buy from people they know, they like and they trust”.

Your digital tattoo will help create the magic to make this happen.

Copyright © 2011 Rising Star Ideas, LLC. All Rights Reserved Worldwide.

Tonya R. Taylor, Your Savvy Online Business Builder, is dedicated to helping you learn how to use the internet to build a bigger more profitable business so you can spend more and make less. Her clients learn savvy ways to use their website to take their online presence to the next level fast. To get your FREE Savvy Online Business Building Starter Kit and receive weekly online marketing tips, tools and resources visit www.SavvyBizBuilder.com.

July 23, 2011

Taser Death: La'Reko Williams (Charlotte, NC)

Last week was a rough one for the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department (CMPD). They were deemed out of control by a federal jury who awarded the family of a taser-killing with a $10 million settlement. Then they went ahead and did it again. This time CMPD officer Michael Forbes pumped 50,000 volts of electricity into the frail body of 21-year old La'Reko Williams -- killing him.

According to CMPD officials, police were called to the CATS Lynx Blue Line station at Woodlawn around 10:30 p.m. Wednesday where a man was allegedly beating and choking a woman. When Officer Michael Forbes and several other officers arrived, they ordered the man -- Williams -- to stop and sit down.
"He gave several orders for the male to desist. As he approached the male, the male got up and started running," CMPD Police Chief Monroe said early Thursday morning. "Officer Forbes gave chase and during the chase, he deployed his Taser."
Williams was knocked unconscious by the taser death-rays and Medic arrived moments later to revive him. Attempts by Medic and doctors at Carolinas Medical Center to revive the man with CPR were unsuccessful.

Less than an hour later, Williams was dead.

The mother of Williams' 1-year-old child said she was not the woman he was allegedly beating Wednesday night, and said she has never known him to be physically violent. She said she was in disbelief that police claim he was hitting and choking another woman.  However, Williams has been arrested twice for assaulting a female and once for assaulting an officer, according to police records.

The police are very quick to share police records when they are trying to avoid troubling taser-related death inquiries. Anyhow, the killer-cop (Forbes) has been placed on paid administrative leave pending the outcome of the death investigation. Forbes has been a member of CMPD since Sept. 24, 2007.

July 22, 2011

Taser Lawsuit: Jury Awards $10 Million to Family of Darryl Turner (Charlotte NC)

The shocking taser-killing of 17-year old Darryl Turner by a Charlotte-Mecklenburg police officer was one of the early cases of its kind covered by this blog. We've spent a lot of time covering taser-deaths since then ... but, Turner's case was particularly appalling. A young, vibrant teenager killed because a police officer thought it was a good idea to pump his body with 50,000 volts of electricity for 37 seconds.

The city of Charlotte knew it was wrong. That is why they settled with the family for over $600,000.

However, Taser International continued to hide behind its junk-science of 'excited delirium syndrome'. A federal jury decided it was time to put Taser International in its place. The jury ordered Taser International Inc. to pay $10 million to the family of the 17-year-old teenager who was killed in March 2008 at a Food Lion in northeast Charlotte

Police at the time said the officer violated policy when he shocked Darryl Turner for about 37 seconds (see store surveillance video), contributing to the teen's death. Turner fell to the floor during the confrontation and died.

The jury returned its verdict Tuesday in U.S. District Court for the Western District of North Carolina.  Lawyers for Turner's family persuaded jurors that the manufacturer knew the product could cause heart problems if it struck near the heart but failed to warn customers.

Good for them!

There have been hundreds of these taser-related killings in America over the past few years. I hope that we begin to see many more of these successful lawsuits brought against the manufacturer of these taser death-ray guns!

Our prayers remain with the family of Darryl Turner. The money won't bring Darryl back ... but, it does provide some measure of justice against the people who took him away in the first place.

July 21, 2011

Taser Death: Alonzo Ashley (Denver, CO)

It happened again. We learned that another person's death has been hastened along by the use of 50,000 volts of electricity from a police officer's taser gun. This time the victim was 29-year old Alonzo Ashley.

Denver police said that officers used a Taser on Ashley but that the device was ineffective and he continued to struggle with officers until he was finally held down.

Police were called to the zoo at 5:02 p.m. Monday after the man threatened his girlfriend and attacked a zoo security guard. After arriving, officers contacted Ashley, who was acting irrationally, and he repeatedly refused to comply with officers' commands, police said.

Ashley's girlfriend, who asked not to be named, denied that Ashley threatened her. The girlfriend says that he was getting delirious because of the extreme heat. She told TV reporters that Ashley had been putting his head in a fountain, and zoo security told him to stop.

When police attempted to restrain Ashley, he attacked the officers and zoo security guards — hitting one officer and biting another officer and a security guard, police said. At this point officers used a taser gun on the young man.

Family members say that Ashley was "a positive kid."

Officers later called paramedics to examine the man, citing his "unusual behavior and extraordinary strength." While waiting for the paramedics, he started to convulse and stopped breathing, police said. He was taken to Presbyterian/St. Luke's Hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

Police say that drugs and drug paraphernalia were found on the suspect. Ashley's girlfriend said he had no drugs on him.

Some community members, including civil rights activist Alvertis Simmons, the Rev. Patrick Demmer and Pastor Reginald Holmes, announced tonight they plan to hold a rally outside the Denver Zoo entrance beginning at 2 p.m. Friday.

Simmons said in an e-mail, "The killing of this Black man is questionable at least and suspicious at best."

July 20, 2011

University of Connecticut Reneges on Commitment to 13-Year Old Autum Ashante

This blog shared some good news about 13-year old Autum Ashante being accepted to the University of Connecticut last month. Autum is reported to have an IQ of 149. We are very sorry to learn that UConn decided to renege on their commitment. [SOURCE]

Ben Ashante, Autum's dad, says that the institution has caused his family a lot of grief for “going back on their word,” and as a result have been dragged through the media. He said that he was told that he and his daughter needed to formally enroll, but upon doing so, the admission’s office told him that Autum was not “academically” ready.

Ashante condemned the institution and accused them of “covering their ass."

Meanwhile, the Ashante’s had to halt initial plans to relocate to Connecticut, as they originally were under the impression that Autum would begin classes at UConn this fall. Instead, Mr. Ashante is looking into enrolling Autum at other institutions such as Hampton University, a historically Black college in Virginia, and the University of Bridgeport.

July 17, 2011

2011 Black Weblog Award Winners

Soulclap to Gina McCauley and Maurice Cherry for successfully delivering the 2011 Black Weblog Awards! The Black Weblog Awards were given out earlier this year in Los Angeles during the 2011 Blogging While Brown Conference.

The Awards gala was co-hosted by Kim Coles and Rene Syler. Here is a list of the winning blogs!

2011 Black Weblog Awards Winners
Best Blog Design
Single Black Male

Best Blog Post Series
Single Black Male

Best Business Blog
In Her Shoes

Best Culture Blog
From Ashy to Classy

Best Cooking or Food Blog
Black Girls Guide to Weight Loss

Best Faith Based Blog
DC District Diva

Best Fashion or Beauty Blog

Best Film Blog
The Black Box Office

Best Gaming or Comics Blog
Oh Hell Nawl: Gamers

Best Gossip Blog
Necole Bitchie

Best Health or Wellness Blog
Black Girl's Guide to Weightloss

Best Hip Hop Blog
The Hip Hop Democrat

Best Humor Blog
Very Smart Brothas

Best International Blog
I am the Nu Black

Best LGBT Blog
The Skorpion Show

Best Micro-Blog
Sister Toldja

Best Music Blog
Soul Bounce

Best New Blog
Dirty Pretty Thangs

Best Parenting or Family Blog
 Black and Married With Kids

Best Personal Blog
Skinny Black Girl

Best Photography Blog
Oh Hell Nawl

Best Podcast Series
Blacking It Up

Best Political or News Blog
The Black Snob

Best Science or Technology Blog
She Geeks

Best Sex or Relationship Blog
 Very Smart Brothas

Best Sports Blog
Black Sports Online

Best Teen Blog
Reading in Color

Best Travel Blog
I'm Black and I Travel

Best Video Blog / Vlogger
The Skorpion Show

Best Writing in a Blog
Very Smart Brothas

Blog to Watch
The Skorpion Show

Best Lifestyle Blog
A Diva State of Mind

Best Plus Size Fashion Blog
Young Fat and Fabulous

Best Automotive Blog
Be Prestigious

Best Green, Nature, Outdoor Blog
Outdoor Afro

Best Book, Author, Literature Blog
Reads for Pleasure

Best Blog Network
The Fresh Xpress

Blog of the Year
Very Smart Brothas

Best Group Blog
Very Smart Brothas

July 12, 2011

Good News Tuesday: BDPA Student Member Francisco Nunez Accepts Summer Internship With HP

Soulclap to Perry Carter for letting us know about the internship offered by HP to Francisco Nunez this summer in the Washington DC area. He attends Morehouse College and maintains a 4.0 GPA. Francisco served as the High School Computer Competition (HSCC) co-captain for teams trained by BDPA Washington DC chapter. He helped his teams capture the BDPA Northeast Regional HSCC title for four consecutive years.

Francisco and his teammates also had remarkable success whenever they participated in the national HSCC championship during his high school years. As a result, he earned a number of Jesse Bemley Scholarships from the BDPA Education and Technology Foundation. Francisco is also a two-time BDPA-Oracle Scholar.

BDPA maintains his student membership with BDPA Washington DC chapter. BDPA is very proud of Francisco Nunez for his many accomplishments within the context of its HSCC Alumni program!

It is also great to see a BDPA corporate sponsor, HP, recognizing the talent that can be found within the organization. We talk about creating a pipeline of IT talent that can win the future. HP sees that BDPA is serious about advancing the careers of its members 'from the classroom to the boardroom'.

I encourage all villagers in the Chicago area to join us at the 33rd annual BDPA Technology Conference on August 3-6, 2011. You go to sports tournaments to find baseball, basketball and football prospects. You need to go to the BDPA conference to identify IT talent!

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.

July 10, 2011

Broke A$$ Brotha Tip #3: Netflix Rate Hikes vs. Public Library

Politicians are bickering up in Washington DC about deficits and debt. It is the argument that many a Broke-A$$ Brotha has when (s)he runs out of money before they run out of month. This blog likes to share tips with y'all about ways to increase revenue and decrease expenses ... we call them Broke-A$$ Brotha Tips.

Today's tip surrounds Netflix. I got the following email message from Netflix today saying that they planned a 60% increase on my monthly bill.

Dear Broke-A$$ Brotha,

We are separating unlimited DVDs by mail and unlimited streaming into two separate plans to better reflect the costs of each. Now our members have a choice: a streaming only plan, a DVD only plan, or both.

Your current $9.99 a month membership for unlimited streaming and unlimited DVDs will be split into 2 distinct plans:

  • Plan 1: Unlimited Streaming (no DVDs) for $7.99 a month
  • Plan 2: Unlimited DVDs, 1 out at-a-time (no streaming) for $7.99 a month
Your price for getting both of these plans will be $15.98 a month ($7.99 + $7.99).

I love my Netflix Queue as much as the next guy. I probably have over 150 titles in my queue at the moment. I also enjoy watching BBC mystery television series episodes via the streaming option. However, I don't think it is worth getting ripped for a 60% increase in the monthly bill. Especially when I can get movies at no cost from my local public library.

Are you a Netflix customer? If so, what are you gonna do?

July 9, 2011

Obama's Weekly Address: Working Together to Meet Our Fiscal Challenges

President Obama calls on both parties to come together to find a balanced approach to deficit reduction that lets us live within our means without hurting investments our economy needs to grow and create jobs. [Video / Transcript]

President Obama continues to show me that he is an aspirational leader who sees the best in people ... including his Republican opponents. It should be interesting to see what happens this weekend in the negotiations to raise the debt limit. What is your evolving view of your President? Is he worthy of his office?

July 3, 2011

Obama's Weekly Address: Cutting the Deficit and Creating Jobs

President Obama addresses the need to reduce the nation's deficit while creating jobs across the country and wishes Americans a happy Fourth of July (Video / Transcript)

I think that the Republicans are convinced that America's economy must deteriorate in order for them to win the 2012 presidential election. I fear that GOP leaders are more interested in working against President Obama than they are in solving our nation's economic problems.

What say u?

July 1, 2011

Call For Papers: International Men's Day

Over 50 nations throughout our global village will observe International Men’s Day under the theme “Giving Boys The Best Possible Start In Life” on Saturday, November 19, 2011.

Created in 1999 by Dr. Jerome Teelucksingh, a faculty member in the History Department at the University of West Indies in Trinidad and Tobago, International Men’s Day celebrates and honors the sacrifices that men make to our families, communities, and our world. International Men’s Day shares a 48-hour partnership with Universal Children’s Day which is observed worldwide on 20 November of each year and is endorsed by the United Nations.

To commemorate 2011 International Men’s Day, In Search of Fatherhood has issued a CALL FOR PAPERS and welcomes submissions from educators, CEOs, legislators, legal professionals, law enforcement professionals, Fatherhood and Men’s Issues Practitioners and Advocates, health care professionals and providers, social entrepreneurs, religious leaders, social services professionals and providers, journalists, family and marriage therapists, members of the judiciary, and students which, among other things, design new initiatives or identify existing initiatives which provide a blueprint for how we can give “Boys The Best Possible Start In Life” throughout our global village.

The initiatives should address one of the following five challenges which have been identified as areas that are problematic for boys and young males throughout our global village:
  1. EDUCATIONAL FOCUS: Why are boys in richer countries underperforming girls and also less likely to be in education, and why are tens of millions of boys in poorer countries still not completing a primary education? How can we address truancy, and poor literacy rates which leave boys prone to adult unemployment, substance abuse, obesity, depression, and poverty? What action can we take to focus on boys’ education in way that gives them the best possible start in life and closes the gaps between girls and boys and rich boys and poor boys?
  2. HEALTH AND LIFE EXPECTANCY: Why are boys around the world more likely to die before the age of five and why do boys in every continent look forward to a much shorter life than girls? What are the reasons for boy’s higher likelihood of suicide? What action can we take to give boys the best possible start in life and help them live longer, happier, healthier lives?
  3. REAL LIFE CHOICES: How can we make sure that every boy has opportunities to make a range of positive life choices in terms of work, family and leisure and reduce the number of boys whose life choices are limited and end up poor, illiterate, unemployed, homeless, imprisoned and isolated? What action can we make to help every boy get the best possible start in life and make a positive transition form boy to man that makes the world a better place for everyone? 
  4. RIGHTS TO FATHERHOOD: How can we give boys a right to family life that gives them an equal opportunity to know and experience both their father and mother and ensure that their role as a future father is equal to a girls role as future mother. What actions can we take to give every boy an equal right to fatherhood?
  5. TOLERANCE OF VIOLENCE: Why are we so tolerant of violence and abuse against men and boys and why do we still tolerate a world where we send boys to fight the wars among adults? What actions can we take to help boys’ grow up free from violence and challenge our collective tolerance and support of violence against men and boys?
Submissions should be sent via e-mail to D.A. Sears, Managing Editor – IN SEARCH OF FATHERHOOD.  Inquiries can be made by telephone at (267) 581-3963.