December 31, 2011

Obama's Weekly Address: Working Together in the New Year

President Obama tells the American people that, by joining together, we can move past the tough debates and help to create jobs and grow the economy in the new year.

December 30, 2011

Top 10 Greatest GOP Moments of 2011 (VIDEO)

While these moments are definitely funny, the truth is, they reveal a little something about the GOP candidates for president.

Some of them need to brush up on foreign policy and the federal government. Some think that under-privileged kids should work as janitors to one day make it to the middle class. And others truly believe, in their heart of hearts, that corporations really are people.

No matter which one ultimately gets the nomination, they're going to be hawking an extreme agenda. And they're going to have a ton of money from corporate lobbyists and outside super PACs to back them -- and their ideas.

Villagers, we should be scared ... one of these people could actually become president.

December 26, 2011

Taser Death: Ernest “Marty” Atencio (Phoenix, AZ)

It happened again! This time the infamous law enforcement apparatus of the Maricopa County Sheriff were involved in the taser-related killing of 44-year old Ernest “Marty” Atencio. [SOURCE]

Atencio was a military veteran. He was in police custody. He was unarmed. There were no drugs in his system. He was surrounded by ten police officers. There was no need for the use of a taser gun. The use of force was totally out-of-whack for the situation.

The infamous Sheriff Joe Arpaio recently released video of the confrontation.

I have a feeling that this taser-related death is not going to fade away so easily for the powers-that-be in Phoenix. What say u?

December 25, 2011

Obama's Weekly Address: The President and First Lady Thank Our Troops for Their Service This Holiday Season

President Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama offer a special holiday tribute to the men and women who wear our country's uniform and the families who support them.

This blog joins with the First Family in wishing a very Merry Christmas to everyone who has ever visited the Electronic Village!

December 24, 2011

The Racism of Ron Paul

Dr. Ron Paul is a serial candidate for the Republican nomination to become President of the United States. He is also a serial racist. He fought against making an official holiday for Martin Luther King Jr.   He called it "Hate Whitey Day".  That was only the beginning.  There is a disturbing pattern of racism in this Ron Paul Political Report.  Here are some links to some of the racial comments in his most incendiary newsletters.
  • A Special Issue on Racial Terrorism” analyzes the Los Angeles riots of 1992: “Order was only restored in L.A. when it came time for the blacks to pick up their welfare checks three days after rioting began. ... What if the checks had never arrived? No doubt the blacks would have fully privatized the welfare state through continued looting. But they were paid off and the violence subsided.
  • The November 1990 issue of the Political Report had kind words for David Duke.
  • This December 1990 newsletter describes Martin Luther King Jr. as “a world-class adulterer” who “seduced underage girls and boys” and “replaced the evil of forced segregation with the evil of forced integration.”
  • February 1991 newsletter attacks “The X-Rated Martin Luther King.”
  • An October 1990 edition of the Political Report ridicules black activists, led by Al Sharpton, for demonstrating at the Statue of Liberty in favor of renaming New York City after Martin Luther King. The newsletter suggests that  “Welfaria,”  “Zooville,” “Rapetown,” “Dirtburg,”and “Lazyopolis ” would be better alternatives—and says,  “Next time, hold that demonstration at a food stamp bureau or a crack house.”
  • A May 1990 issue of the Ron Paul Political Report cites Jared Taylor, who six months later would go onto found the eugenicist and white supremacist periodical American Renaissance. 
  • The January 1993 issue of the Survival Report worries about America’s “disappearing white majority.”
  • The July 1992 Ron Paul Political Report declares, “Jury verdicts, basketball games, and even music are enough to set off black rage, it seems,” and defends David Duke. The author of the newsletter—presumably Paul—writes, “My youngest son is starting his fourth year in medical school. He tells me there would be no way to persuade his fellow students of the case for economic liberty.”
  • A March 1993 Survival Report describes Bill Clinton’s supposedly “illegitimate children, black and white: ‘woods colts’ in backwoods slang.
This is some nasty stuff ... and it was always written in a newsletter under his own name. Paul has disavowed these articles and statements. I find it hard to think that he's sincere. He didn't apologize for these newsletter articles. Instead he is trying to say that he never wrote nor read about these racist comments.

Dr. Paul is uncomfortable
about the fact that people are beginning to unearth his past thoughts and statements on race relations in America. I guess this must be how Herman Cain was feeling when his past sexual improprieties began to get publicized!

What is your take on Dr. Ron Paul?

Taser Death: Wayne Williams (Houma, LA)

It happened again! A young man was electrocuted with over 50,000 volts of electricity from a taser gun and died. This time the taser gun was used by police officers in Houma, LA. The guy who died, 27-year old Wayne Williams, was in police custody at the time of his death. The police indicate that he swallowed drugs. I imagine that the autopsy will play up the drug angle.

Click here to learn more about this taser-related death.

It is worth noting that Houma is a relatively small town in Louisiana. However, Houma is no stranger to taser-related deaths. Villagers may recall that Dennis Sandras was also electrocuted by the Houma police department last year.

December 12, 2011

What Has Barack Obama Done for Black Folks?

President Obama received about 95% of the African American vote in the 2008 presidential elections. Black folks put a great deal of energy and enthusiasm into his election. Some say that the Obama administration has not delivered enough for Black folks in America.

Personally, I think that Barack Obama could have sleep-walked through the entire 4-year period of his first term as President of the United States and I would be cool with it. Just having a person of African American descent as our president is powerful enough in many respects. My young son now understands that there is no limit to his dreams and aspirations.

However here is a more tangible list of accomplishments made by Obama administration that impacted on the Black community. Methinks this list may be more tangible for the more skeptical 'villagers' in cyberspace!
  1. Last year President Obama extended unemployment benefits for roughly 7 million workers who would have otherwise lost them.
  2. The Small Business Administration will commit $1 billion to invest in companies located in under-served communities. This will include investing in hardest hit areas.
  3. $3.6 billion out of a total of $7.2 billion has been secured in grants and financing for Black businesses due to the work of President Obama’s Minority Business Development Agency.
  4. President Obama is challenging states to turn around America’s 5,000 lowest performing schools – many of which are serving African American children. And this Administration is investing more than $4 billion to help states turn those schools around.
  5. More community colleges will receive funding they need to grow and thrive – $2 billion more over 4 years.
  6. Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) like Morehouse, Spelman, Howard University and Florida A & M will now receive nearly $1 billion more in funding over the next 10 years with the total amount of funding going to HBCUs now approaching $2.55 billion more to invest in serving their students.
  7. Because of the Affordable Care Act 8 million African Americans now have access to healthcare. And, expanding access to preventive care will reduce health disparities for 41 million African Americans (14% of the population).
  8. President Obama signed into law the Fair Sentencing Act, to reduce the huge disparity in punishment of those convicted with cocaine possession or use versus those caught with crack. The law gets rid of so-called “mandatory minimums” and knocks down the disparity in length of sentences from 100-to-1 to 18-to-1.
  9. Under President Obama 80 cents of every dollar in HUD’s budget is being used for renewing homeless and rental assistance for current residents of HUD-assisted housing. In the 2012 budget the Obama administration will assist over 5.5 million families and double the number of new supportive housing units.
  10. President Obama signed the Cobell-Pigford settlement for Black & Native American farmers which approved two multi-billion dollar settlement agreements that have been held up in Congress for decades that benefit minority groups with claims against the federal government.
The challenges faced by President Obama have been unique and powerful -- two traditional wars, war on terrorism, BP oil spill, natural disasters, near-depression level economic, high unemployment and a do-nothing Congress. Yet, he continues to fight for us. At the end of the day I suspect that the Black community is going to realize that Barack Obama is a better choice for a second term as our president than any of the folks currently running for the GOP nomination.

Don't you agree?

Video of the Day: Al Sharpton Lampooned on Saturday Night Live

I guess that you know you've made it into pop culture when you are satirized on Saturday Night Live. I must admit that I haven't watched a full episode of Saturday Night Live for over 20 years ... but, I did find this video-clip about the new Rev. Al Sharpton talk show to be funny!

Did you laugh?

December 11, 2011

Did You See 60 Minutes Segment on Tasers?

Some villagers have asked what I thought of the 60 Minutes' segment titled, 'Taser: An Officer's Weapon of Choice'. Personally, I thought that it was a puff piece that could have been filmed entirely by the public relations department of Taser International.

The show indicates that only two (2) people have died as a result of being electrocuted by a taser gun. Of course, it seems to me that over 500 people have been killed by taser guns over the past few years ... at a rate of once per week in the United States alone. There is quite a bit of difference between two taser-related deaths and 500+ taser-related deaths. 

I did learn new things from the 60 Minutes' piece. For example, I truly didn't know that the manufacture and sale of taser guns is not regulated like any other lethal weapon. Instead, the regulations is no more stringent than that placed on the manufacture and sale of a screwdriver or a hammer.

Also, I admire the entrepreneurial aspects of the Taser International story. These two siblings in Arizona took an idea ... worked on it in their backyard ... and now they have a multimillion dollar business. You can't argue with their business plan or their aggressive marketing of the taser guns to police departments around the country.  

The scary part is that they are now looking to market the taser guns to households. Scary when you realize that (supposedly) trained law enforcement officers are killing people on a weekly basis with the device.

In case you missed the show ... here is the full 13-minute episode for your viewing pleasure:

What was your opinion of the show?

December 10, 2011

Video of the Day: Mitt Romney Offers a $10,000 Bet to Rick Perry

Do you remember the last time that you made a $10,000 bet on national television? If your name is Mitt Romney ... then it was earlier tonight! Romney put his hand out to Rick Perry suggesting that they make a $10,000 bet on some words in his book...

All of a sudden this photo from Mitt's past doesn't seem so far-fetched anymore:

I think that Mitt Romney may have lost his chance for the presidency tonight. His $10k bet has already spawned its own Twitter account --> @Bet10k

'Blogging While Black': New Book Discusses One Journalist’s Rise to National Prominence During the Historic 2008 Presidential Election

We had some heady times in my early days as a blogger!  The afrosphere was buzzing with online activism that reached its heights with the Jena Six protest march.  One of the leading Black bloggers of that era was a young brother named Shawn Williams.  

As such, this blog is pleased to inform all villagers that social media and hyper-local news pioneer Shawn Williams released his first book, Blogging While Black, which chronicles the pivotal role his blog played during the historic 2008 presidential election of Barack Obama, as well as during the brief but effective online civil rights movement. Williams is publisher of, a frequent columnist for the Dallas Morning News and formerly contributed to WFAA Channel 8’s Inside Texas Politics.
The meteoric rise in popularity of then-Senator Obama created an avenue for African Americans to stand up and speak out about their community and their country,” said Williams. “Regretfully, when some people saw Black bloggers weigh-in on politics, the message was misunderstood by some and perceived as antagonistic by others,” Williams said. “Blogging consistent messages allowed us the opportunity to articulate an intelligent point of view that didn’t appear vitriolic, and allowed for understanding which opened doors for effective communication.” 
Beginning with the plight of a teenager in Paris,Texas, and ending with the election of President Barack Obama, Blogging While Black tells the story of how Williams, and other online advocates, changed America for the better. The book also looks at “breakthrough bloggers” who have transferred their online stardom into offline success.

Blogging While Black is a tool created for aspiring writers, bloggers and journalists who want to make inroads through the media and make a difference in the community as well. At the end of each chapter, Blogging While Black provides tips for anyone who aspires to use social media tools to make their own mark online, including: how to launch a blog in five minutes; how to become a big fish in a small media pond; how to leverage your personal networks; and how to use your phone as a news gathering tool.

This would make a great gift for any bloggers in your sphere of influence!

December 9, 2011

Video of the Day: Not Disappointed by President Obama

Last month I mused over the things that President Obama has done for Black folks. This month I share with you some thoughtful commentary given by American author Jake Lamar.

I'm willing to give President Obama the benefit of the doubt as well. Can he live up to our dreams and aspirations if he is re-elected for a second term? YES, HE CAN!

December 8, 2011

NAACP Leads Fight Against Voter Suppression Tactics

My favorite era in American history was known as 'Reconstruction'. This was the era after the end of slavery when our nation had more African Americans in congress, Senate, state legislatures and statehouses than any other time in our nation's history. Of course, the white power structure couldn't stand to see people of color doing so well in politics ... so they began to find ways to 'block the vote'. Poll taxes. Counting jellybeans in a jar. White sheets and hoods. The era of 'Jim Crow' came into fruition and Blacks were driven out of congress, Senate, state legislatures and state houses.

Fast forward to 2008. The first election of an African American to the presidency. An unprecedented number of Black and Latino voters. The white power structure couldn't stand to see people of color doing so well in politics ... so they again began to seek out ways to 'block the vote'. Several states have passed laws requiring voters to present specific types of photo identification and proof of citizenship to vote; creating new rules for voter registration drives; reducing early voting days and voter registration periods; and further preventing ex-felons from voting. 'James Crow, Esquire' hopes to drive President Obama out of the White House.

There are 14 states who have passed such laws this year: Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Iowa, Kansas, Mississippi, Ohio, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, West Virginia and Wisconsin.

These are some the findings documented by the NAACP in their recently-released report: 'Defending Democracy'.

The NAACP collected this information about early voting advocacy by Black churches in Florida, hoping to convince the Justice Department to strike down a slew of new state voting laws it claims are intended to thwart growing minority participation at the polls ahead of next year’s presidential election.

NAACP President Ben Jealous said the NAACP wants to diligently document how the laws affect African Americans and Latinos, and provide the attorney general ample evidence for finding the laws unconstitutional.
"In some ways, these tactics are not Jim Crow. They do not feature Night Riders and sheets … This is in fact, James Crow, Esq.,” said the Rev. William Barber, NAACP North Carolina president and a pastor. ”...Jim Crow used blunt tools. James Crow, Esq. uses surgical tools, consultants, high paid consultants and lawyers to cut out the heart of Black political power."
For example, a law passed in Florida reduced its early voting period from 14 to 8 days, including the last Sunday before Election Day.

In 2008, 54 percent of Black voters in Florida cast their ballots early, and Blacks comprised 32 percent of the entire statewide turnout on the last Sunday before the election, said Ryan Haygood, director of political participation for the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund.
"It’s widely known in Florida that Black churches would organize what they called ‘Get Your Souls to the Polls’ where they urged their members, after fulfilling their spiritual duties on Sundays to discharge their civic ones by voting," Haygood said.
Florida’s Black and Latino populations grew during the past decade, inching it closer to being a majority-minority state.

Supporters of the new laws, including at least one group funded by the billionaire brothers Charles and David Koch, have said the new laws are designed to prevent voter fraud. Hans von Spakovsky, a senior legal fellow at the Heritage Foundation, a conservative think tank, said voter ID laws have wide support, including in the Black community.
It’s hard for me to believe a serious group like the NAACP would come out to say there’s some grand conspiracy to deny people the right to vote,” von Spakovsky said.
Actually, the only person in the Black community that I know who is supporting these 'voter suppression' efforts is Artur Davis. Anyhow, the NAACP has planned a protest march and rally that will start at the Koch brothers’ offices in New York on Saturday. This blog encourages all 'villagers' in the New York area to participate in this protest march.

We also encourage all 'villagers' to sign the online 'Stand for Freedom' pledge.

December 6, 2011

Gift Suggestion: RSS Feed Subscriptions

Our economy is terrible! Therefore, most villagers are looking for less expensive ways to share gifts with our favorite bloggers. I thought that I would help you out with one really great idea:

Subscribe to the RSS feed for this blog!

Some villagers may be asking, 'What the heck is RSS?'. My hope is that the rest of y'all already know the value in being a RSS feed subscriber. After all, you don't want to go into the new year missing any of our blog posts just because you weren't able to personally get online to visit. The front page of this blog only holds about 7-9 posts ... so some of them only stay on the main page for a few days.

Subscribe to my feed and you never need to miss out in the future.

I tried to make it easy with the widget up at the top of the sidebar over on the right. I hope that this is a helpful decision for your holiday gift-giving efforts. After all, a RSS feed subscription is the gift that keeps on giving!

December 5, 2011

Russian Journalist Fired After Giving Middle Finger to President Obama

It appears that there are 'haters' of our president all over the globe ... even in Moscow, Russia. Award-winning journalist Tatyana Limanova was fired after making an obscene gesture when mentioning President Barack Obama in a live newscast. She says that the middle finger gesture was meant for her TV crew, not President Obama. [SOURCE]

Watch the video and you can be the judge:

December 4, 2011

Taser Death: Jonathan White (San Bernardino, CA)

It happened again! This time we learn that a 29-year old Black man was electrocuted by unidentified police officers in San Bernardino, CA. [SOURCE]

Jonathan White was mentally-ill ... suffering from both bi-polar disorder and schizophrenia. He got confused and his mother worried that she couldn't control him ... so she called the police to ask for their help. Her son was dead less than an hour after the police arrived on the scene. Suffice it to say that this was not the outcome that she sought when she made the 9-1-1 call to the police.


The investigation needs to determine if the unidentified officers in this taser-killing were trained sufficiently in the use of a taser ... and whether the use-of-force in this case was unreasonable.

The only thing I can say is that a 29-year old man didn't need to die that day. What say u?

December 3, 2011

Video of the Day: Racism Unleashed on British Tram

Did you see the video of the white woman who woke up on the wrong side of the bed? She tested out her freedom of speech rights as she began to lash out against the number of Black people and Polish people who have immigrated to Great Britain.

I gotta say that I'm glad that the young man sitting behind her thought better of his initial decision to get physical with the woman. Also, I think it is sad to see that this woman had no problem saying these things with her toddler on her lap. Finally, I guess that it is not surprising that people on this bus would rather stand up than sit in the empty seat next to this woman.

What say u?

Obama's Weekly Address: Extending and Expanding the Payroll Tax Cut

President Obama calls on Congress to extend and expand the payroll tax cut -- to protect middle class families and ensure that the economy continues to grow.

Have you checked out the 'Tax Calculator' that the President mentions in this week's message?

December 2, 2011

Old School Friday * Merry Christmas Baby

We had our first snowflakes yesterday. Thanksgiving leftovers are gone. It truly is time to begin the preparations for Christmas. What better way to get in the mood than to listen to a few different renditions of Merry Christmas Baby. The song was originally written by Charles Brown. Here he is singing it live.

My favorite version is the one that Ray Charles gave back in 1979 while on tour in Germany.

And you know a song is a classic when it brings together people as different as these two!

Merry Christmas Villagers!

Black Unemployment Rate Falls to 15.5% in November 2011

The economy added 120,000 jobs last month according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. There are about 13.3 million unemployed people in the country bringing our overall unemployment rate to 8.6% ... down to its lowest level since March 2009. This is good news for the re-election prospects of President Obama.

The news is not as rosy for the Black community.

The unemployment rate in the Black community did fall from 16.7% (August) to 16.0% (September) to 15.5% in November. However, that is still a ridiculously high rate of unemployment ... that is even worse when you look at the impact on African Americans without a college diploma ... and worse than that for those in the Black community who left school without a high school diploma.

The jobs gained in November were in the following industries: retail trade, leisure and
hospitality, professional and business services, and health care.

December 1, 2011

25% of Blacks Will Go Into Foreclosure

Foreclosure rates among African American homeowners are pretty much the same across all income groups, unlike those for whites whose foreclosure rates decline as income rises, according to a study published in November by the Center for Responsible Lending. [SOURCE]

The 47-page report , "Lost Ground, 2011: Disparities in Mortgage Lending and Foreclosures," said that 9 percent of mortgage loans to higher-income African Americans, based on mortgage originations made from 2004 to 2008, went into foreclosure, virtually the same rate of foreclosure for loans to middle-income Blacks. Among moderate-income Black homeowners, the foreclosure rate was 10 percent, and among low-income Black homeowners, the foreclosure rate was 11 percent.

"For African Americans, the foreclosure rate is highest among low-income groups, but there is not much variation across income groups," found The Center For Responsible Lending, which is based in Durham, N.C. "Among non-Hispanic whites, the completed foreclosure rate decreases as income goes up."

The foreclosure rate among higher income, non-Hispanic whites was just above 4 percent, compared with 5 percent for middle-income whites. Among moderate-income whites, the foreclosure rate was nearly 6 percent, and among lower- income whites, it was above 6 percent.

The organization defined low income as borrowers at 50 percent below the area median income; moderate income refers to borrowers at 50 percent to 80 percent of area median income; middle income referred to borrower at 80 percent to 120 percent of the area median income and high income referred to borrowers at 120 percent or above the area median income.

The center reported that the disparity in foreclosure rates among African Americans, Hispanics and whites is tied to mortgage-loan products.

"We find that borrowers in minority groups were much more likely to receive loans with product features associated with higher rates of foreclosures, specifically higher interest rates, hybrid and option ARMs [adjustable rate mortgages] and prepayment penalties," center officials reported.

The study found that 21.4 percent of African Americas with credit scores over 660, which is considered a high credit score, received high-interest-rate mortgages, 3.5 times higher than the proportion of non-Hispanic white borrowers receiving high-interest loans. The organization based its report on data provided under the Home Mortgage Disclosure Act.

So far, 25 percent of African American homeowners either have lost their houses to foreclosure or have become seriously delinquent, according to the report. The foreclosure rate has destroyed Black communities. In Detroit, for instance, more than 33 percent of African American homeowners have lost their houses to foreclosure, the center reported.

"This is a staggering statistic for a city that once had one of the highest African American homeownership rates in the country," the report said.

Center for Responsible Lending Officials noted that this is the fifth year of the nation's foreclosure crisis, and that it does not show any signs of abating.

So far, 6.4 percent, or 2.7 million homes, have gone into foreclosure, and 8.3 percent of families are at risk of losing their homes, the report said. Among African Americans, the center officials predict 25 percent will lose their homes to foreclosure before the crisis ebbs.

The foreclosure crisis will have a devastating effect on Black wealth.

"The average white household now has twenty times more wealth ($113,149) than the average African American ($5,667) household," the report said. "The ongoing foreclosure crisis will only exacerbate this growing inequality, as more African American households see their assets erode either directly through foreclosure or though loss of home equity resulting from concentrated foreclosures in their neighborhoods."