Nov 19, 2014

Bill Cosby will not be making his triumphant return to NBC after all.

NBC has decided to not move forward with its planned family comedy starring the former Cosby Show star, The Hollywood Reporter has learned. The decision comes after Netflix "postponed" its post-Thanksgiving Cosby special. NBC and producers Sony Pictures Television did not immediately respond for comment.

Cosby was poised to star in an untitled comedy from Sony Pictures Television in which he was to play a family patriarch and father to three married daughters with children. NBC handed out a script plus significant penalty for the comedy earlier this year, tapping Rules of Engagement alum Mike Sikowitz and Mike O'Malley (Shameless) to write and produce the comedy. O'Malley was eyed for a co-starring role on the comedy, which NBC Entertainment topper Bob Greenblatt envisioned for a summer or fall 2015 debut.

NBC's decision to scrap the new Cosby show comes after decades-old rape allegations against the legendary comedian resurfaced. The comedian on 2006 settled out of court with a woman who claimed he'd sexually assaulted her. According to court documents, the attorneys planned to bring forward 13 other women with similar allegations. Cosby has denied these allegations.

Netflix announced it would ditch the planned Cosby concert, taped on the comic’s 77th birthday and initially slated to run the day after Thanksgiving.
With rape allegations against Bill Cosby mounting, supermodel Janice Dickinson tells ET in a new interview that the comedian sexually assaulted her in 1982.

Dickinson, now 59, recalls first meeting Cosby, now 77, when her agent set up a meeting with him to hire her for a role on The Cosby Show. After they had dinner, she says their next conversation was when he called her out of the blue while she was in rehab for drugs and alcohol. Following her stay in rehab, Dickinson says Cosby reached out to her during a trip to Bali and had her travel to Lake Tahoe, because he was performing there and wanted to offer her the job they had discussed as well as help her with a singing career.

Dickinson says they had dinner in Lake Tahoe, and claims that he gave her a glass of red wine and a pill, which she asked for because she was menstruating and had stomach pains.

And that's when she tells ET that things took a disturbing turn.

"The next morning I woke up, and I wasn't wearing my pajamas, and I remember before I passed out that I had been sexually assaulted by this man," she tells ET. "... Before I woke up in the morning, the last thing I remember was Bill Cosby in a patchwork robe, dropping his robe and getting on top of me. And I remember a lot of pain. The next morning I remember waking up with my pajamas off and there was semen in between my legs."

Dickinson also says she tried to write about the assault in her 2002 autobiography No Lifeguard on Duty: The Accidental Life of the World's First Supermodel, but claims that when she submitted a draft with her full story to HarperCollins, Cosby and his lawyers pressured her and the publisher to remove the details.

"I'm doing this because it's the right thing to do, and it happened to me, and this is the true story," she says about coming out with her story now. "I believe all the other women."

Dickinson says that keeping the alleged sexual assault a secret for 32 years drove her to a life of hurting herself.

"Stuffing feelings of rape and my unresolved issued with this incident has drove me into a life of trying to hurt myself because I didn't have counsel and I was afraid," she says. "I was afraid of the consequences. I was afraid of being labeled a whore or a slut and trying to sleep my way to the top of a career that never took place."

But now Dickinson, who says she never confronted Cosby after the alleged incident, doesn't mince words when it comes to what she would say to him now.

"How dare you," she says. "Go f*ck yourself. How dare you take advantage of me. And I hope you rot."

Dickinson is the third woman to come forward with a sexual assault accusation against Cosby, after a renewed interest in the allegations began when comedian Hannibal Buress called Cosby a "rapist" during an October comedy show in Philadelphia.

On Monday, ET spoke to former publicist Joan Tarshis who says that the legendary comedian assaulted her on two occasions in 1969. She also echoed Dickinson's statements about why she stayed silent for so long.

"I want to talk about this now and I want to really support the other women who have gone through this," she told ET. "Now with people coming out..., it's being handled differently."

Tarshis is referring to another of Cosby's accusers, Barbara Bowman, who wrote an op-ed piece in the Washington Post earlier this month detailing the alleged assault she says she fell victim to in 1985 when she was a 17-year-old aspiring actress.

"In one case, I blacked out after having dinner and one glass of wine at his New York City brownstone, where he had offered to mentor me and discuss the entertainment industry," she wrote. "When I came to, I was in my panties and a man's t-shirt, and Cosby was looming over me. I’m certain now that he drugged and raped me. But as a teenager, I tried to convince myself I had imagined it."

Bowman said that she was one of the alleged victims asked to testify when a woman named Andrea Constand filed a suit against Cosby in 2004. The case was eventually settled out of court.

Cosby's lawyer, John P. Schmitt, issued a statement on Sunday in response to the sexual assault allegations after Cosby's initial response of just silence during an NPR interview Saturday.

"Over the last several weeks, decade-old, discredited allegations against Mr. Cosby have resurfaced. The fact they are being repeated does not make them true," the statement reads. "Mr. Cosby does not intend to dignify these allegations with any comment. He would like to thank all his fans for the outpouring of support and assure them that, at age 77, he is doing his best work. There will be no further statement from Mr. Cosby or any of his representatives."


Nov 10, 2014

President Obama on Saturday nominated U.S. Attorney Loretta Lynch as his next attorney general. If confirmed, she would be the first African American woman to serve in that post.

Lynch, 55, is an experienced prosecutor with deep relationships inside the Justice Department and a long history of litigating political corruption, terrorism and organized crime cases.

“Ms. Lynch is a strong, independent prosecutor who has twice led one of the most important U.S. Attorney’s Offices in the country,” White House press secretary Josh Earnest said in a statement Friday. “She will succeed Eric Holder, whose tenure has been marked by historic gains in the areas of criminal justice reform and civil rights enforcement.” Holder and Lynch joined Obama in the Roosevelt Room for Saturday’s announcement.

Lynch was the least controversial of the final choices before the president, according to several government officials. She has been confirmed twice by the Senate. And she was respected for the way she conducted several high-profile cases without seeking ­publicity.

Still, the nomination could spark a battle on Capitol Hill. Republicans warned before the midterm election said they opposed the idea of approving a nomination in a lame-duck session of Congress. Democrats, however, may choose to have the confirmation fight while they still have control of the Senate.

Sen. Charles E. Grassley (R-Iowa), who is expected to be the new chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, said Friday he expected Lynch to get a “very fair but thorough vetting” from the committee.

“U.S. attorneys are rarely elevated directly to this position, so I look forward to learning more about her, how she will interact with Congress and how she proposes to lead the department,” said Grassley, who has tangled repeatedly with Holder. “I’m hopeful that her tenure, if confirmed, will restore confidence in the attorney general as a politically independent voice for the American people.”

Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), who is expected to be the next Senate majority leader, said: “Ms. Lynch will receive fair consideration by the Senate. And her nomination should be considered in the new Congress through regular order.”

Lynch, who had been rumored for weeks to be a leading contender to replace Holder, chairs the Justice Department review commission that has advised Holder on policy decisions. In that capacity, she worked closely with several senior Justice officials, including former associate attorney general Tony West, who stepped down from his post in September.

“Loretta’s an excellent choice — smart, steady, talented and experienced,” West said in an interview Friday. “You’d be hard-pressed to come up with anyone better qualified or more prepared to be the nation’s next attorney general.”

Her appointments to be U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of New York — first from 1999 to 2001 under President Bill Clinton and again in 2010 — each had to be confirmed by the Senate.

“She’s the wonderful combination of smart, focused, personable and kind,” said Robert Raben, an assistant attorney general who worked with Lynch in the Clinton administration and is now a Washington consultant and lobbyist. “She’s a great pick — law enforcement and prosecution chops and a deep sense of compassion. That she is an African American woman from the South is just an awesome day for this nation.”

The daughter of a Baptist minister, Lynch grew up in Greensboro, N.C. She received a bachelor’s degree from Harvard College and a law degree from Harvard Law School.

During her first term in the post, Lynch oversaw the prosecution of New York police officers for brutality against Abner Louima, a Haitian immigrant who was arrested after a scuffle outside a nightclub. She is now prosecuting Rep. Michael G. Grimm (R-N.Y.), who was reelected Tuesday, for alleged fraud.

Her team also helped investigate Citigroup’s sales of mortgage securities, a probe that culminated in a $7 billion settlement between the bank and federal authorities.

At a recent goodbye ceremony for West in the Great Hall at Justice Department headquarters, Lynch spoke publicly about the “tug of war” between U.S. attorneys in the field and the headquarters in Washington. But she praised West for working closely with the U.S. attorneys and listening to their needs.

Lynch enjoys the strong support of Democrats and progressive activists.

Nan Aaron, president of the Alliance for Justice, which represents a coalition of 100 liberal groups, cheered the prospect of Lynch’s nomination in a statement. “We are confident that Lynch will build on Holder’s strong legacy of standing up for civil rights and ensuring equal justice for all Americans,” she said. “We call on Ms. Lynch to take a leading role in addressing the Supreme Court’s repeated efforts to deny access to the courts and the ballot box.”

Hill Republicans were more skeptical but expressed hope that their relationship with Lynch would be better than with it is with Holder.

“When reviewing a candidate to serve as our nation’s chief law enforcement officer, a full and fair confirmation process is always essential, and its importance has only increased in light of the troubling abuses under the current Attorney General,” Sen. Orrin G. Hatch (R-Utah), the longest-serving member of the judiciary panel, said in a statement. “I look forward to hearing Ms. Lynch’s plans for restoring trust in the Department of Justice.”

Obama had initially planned to announce Lynch’s nomination when he returned from a week-long trip to Asia that starts Sunday, government officials said. Earnest initially discounted media reports about the Lynch selection. But after reporters continued to pursue the subject, the White House moved up the announcement to Saturday.

“Loretta Lynch is a consummate professional, has a first-rate legal mind and is committed in her bones to the equal application of justice for all people,” said Sen. Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.), a close White House ally. “I was proud to recommend her to be the U.S. attorney for my home community of the Eastern District of New York, and I will be prouder still to champion what must be her swift confirmation in the Senate.”

(AJC) -- Former Atlanta Mayor Andrew Young had planned to be on a plane that crashed in the Bahamas Sunday, according to a person close to the Young family who asked not to be named.

The government of the Bahamas says the small plane with nine people on board crashed on approach to the island of Grand Bahama killing all nine people on board.

Channel 2 Action News learned that Young did not get on the jet because he was concerned about flying in bad weather.

Young's foundation released the following statement Sunday night:

"Ambassador Young expresses his deep sadness over the tragic death of his friends Dr. Myles and Mrs. Ruth Munroe. He offers condolences to the Monroe family and the families of the other souls who lost their lives as a result of this shocking plane crash."

(Forbes) -- Prolific best selling author and internationally renowned preacher and business coach, Dr. Myles Munroe of Bahamas Faith Ministries International and his wife Mrs. Ruth Ann Munroe, died in a plane crash earlier today in the Bahamas. According to The Associated Press, the plane, a Lear LEA executive jet, reportedly struck a crane at the Grand Bahama Ship Yard, exploding on impact and crashing into the ground near a junkyard area.

The Bahamas Ministry of Transport and Aviation reported that the Lear 36 executive jet departed the Lynden Pindling International Airport (LPIA) in Nassau, Bahamas at 4:07PM for the Grand Bahama International Airport, a privately owned international airport in Freeport, Bahamas with nine people on board.

The plane crashed while making an approach for landing at Grand Bahama International Airport at 5.10pm, the Ministry of Transport and Aviation said. The crash killed all nine people on board the private jet. The identities of the other people on board have not yet been confirmed. The cause of the crash was not immediately determined, though there had been heavy rain across the region. A full investigation is expected to begin on Monday.

The crash occurred as people were gathering in Grand Bahama for Dr. Munroe’s 2014 Global Leadership Forum which starts tomorrow, November, 10. Former mayor of Atlanta and former U.S Ambassador to the United Nations, Andrew Young scheduled to speak at the popular leadership forum, released the following statement through his foundation: “Ambassador Young expresses his deep sadness over the tragic death of his friends Dr. Myles and Mrs. Ruth Munroe. He offers condolences to the Munroe family and the families of the other souls who lost their lives as a result of this shocking plane crash.”

Oct 9, 2014

MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) - It's an announcement that continues to rock a Montgomery church and the surrounding community.

WSFA 12 News confirmed with church leaders, including the now former pastor of Shiloh Missionary Baptist Church, Juan Demetrius McFarland himself, that McFarland confessed from the pulpit a few Sundays ago that he had full blown AIDS and had slept with church members without revealing he had AIDS.

Shocked and stunned, church members contacted the 12 NEWS DEFENDERS and reaction is coming in from the congregation that is still in disbelief.

McFarland didn't hold back when he revealed to worshipers at Shiloh Missionary Baptist Church on Sept. 14, that he contracted HIV in 2003 and discovered in 2008 he had AIDS.

"The church was very accepting of Reverend McFarland and was willing to help him in any way possible," a church member, who wanted to remain unnamed, explained.

Once the pastor, with 23 years of leadership, started revealing more and more on the following Sundays, members and leaders say they realized he had crossed the line.

In a resolution read aloud at the church, leaders shared, and Pastor McFarland confirmed to WSFA 12 News, that he admitted to drug use and mishandling of church funds. And there was what members say was the ultimate shocker, described by church deacon Nathan Williams Jr.

"He concealed from the church that he had knowingly engaged in adultery in the church building with female members of Shiloh Missionary Baptist Church while knowingly having AIDS," Williams said.

McFarland was removed as church pastor on Oct. 5. Still, church members say some congregation members are afraid to come forward and many others are concerned.

"Who does this to people, and you are the leader? Who does this?" another unnamed church member asked.

"I know a young lady who is a member of the church who says she has slept with him and that she didn't want this to go public, and she running out now trying to find out if there is anything wrong with her," the member explained. "And my heart goes out to her because she's been a wonderful church member, and then for something like this to happen. The fact that he didn't tell them at all. That's a crime in itself."

The unnamed church member went on, "And I'm hoping by doing this interview that she will see that she can come and talk to someone and her name or whatever will not be revealed. And maybe she can have some peace by coming forward and not the shame that goes along with it."

Deacon Williams says he's been a member of the church for 70 years, and this is the biggest scandal the church has ever experienced.

"He confessed to the entire membership and then to the City of Montgomery, because as soon as he got done confessing, it went all over Montgomery anyway," Williams said. "So it's nothing we [are] making up. It's coming out of his mouth."

Williams says leaders have obtained legal counsel, and are now focused on moving the church forward.

"Our moves are going to come directly from counsel. We want peace and we want to do things right, legally," Williams said. "We are not looking to hurt him. We are looking to get the church back. That's our theme: Get the church back. We want the church back. That's it."

But some members say they want justice.

"I believe that he should be put on trial," another unnamed church member said. "Go to court and let the judge decide if he should go to jail or not. We tend to sweep things under the rug, especially if they're the leader. It's like oh, no, please let's not get this out but I think after this that they will have more discussions on HIV and AIDS."

These types of discussions are what local pastors like Jackie Slaughter of Metropolitan United Methodist Church say need to happen in all churches.

"If we are all sisters and brothers, when one person is hurting, we all should feel that hurt. And if we think about the statistics, specifically for our ethnic group, we are bearing the brunt of it," Slaughter said. "So I think it behooves us to try to really want to try to be involved because we are all connected, we are all connected and that makes a difference when we are thinking about issues like this."

WSFA 12 News spoke with Pastor McFarland on the phone after he made his announcement. He answered questions and confirmed everything he shared with his congregation.

WSFA 12 News reached out to him again to get a comment after he was removed as pastor, but he did not return calls or text messages.

"Transmitting a Sexually Transmitted Disease" is a Class C Misdemeanor, according to the Montgomery Police Department. At this time, no charges have been filed against McFarland.

Deacon Williams and other members who spoke both on and off camera say they want to start the healing process and move forward with new leadership. Members are asking for prayers to lift their church.

McFarland also holds the position of Moderator with the Alabama Middle District Baptist Association, which includes 34 churches across the state. Calls to association leaders indicate that at this time there are no discussions to remove McFarland from his position.

WSFA 12 News will continue to follow any developments concerning this story.
Ephren Taylor II
A man who targeted church groups across Georgia pleaded guilty Wednesday in federal court to defrauding hundreds of victims of their retirement savings.

Ephren Taylor II took in more than $7 million nationwide — including $2 million from at least 80 victims across Georgia, said U.S. Attorney Sally Quillian Yates in Atlanta.

Taylor claimed to be a socially conscious investor while traveling the country on a “Building Wealth Tour,” giving wealth management seminars to church congregations. One of the churches whose membership he scammed was the New Birth Missionary Baptist Church in Lithonia, a megachurch with many affluent members.

Taylor claimed 20 percent of the profits were donated to charity and he vamped promissory notes in investments such as juice bars, laundries, and gas stations that he knew would not be profitable, Yates said. But Taylor not only promised profits, but ones as high as 300 percent in “sweepstakes machines,” which are computers loaded with games that offer cash prizes to players, officials said.

“The United States Secret Service is aggressive in our investigative mission to arrest those who commit financial crimes,” said Reginald G. Moore, Special Agent in Charge of the United States Secret Service, Atlanta Field Office. “In this case, we were particularly resolved to bring to justice a criminal who chose to take advantage of unsuspecting members of the public in environments of reverence and trust.”

Taylor’s co-defendant, Wendy Connor, the former COO of City Capital Corporation, participated in a conspiracy to defraud investors and also has pleaded guilty in the scheme that ran from April 2009 to October 2010, Yates said.

The sentencing for Taylor, 32, of Overland Park, Kan., is scheduled for Dec. 18 at 2:30 p.m. Connor, 45, of Raleigh, N.C., is scheduled to be sentenced the same day at 9:30 a.m.

Oct 7, 2014


Florida has suspended true freshman quarterback Treon Harris who is being investigated for sexual assault on the Gainesville campus, according to a press release distributed by the university Monday.

The 5-foot-11, 190-pound Harris is from Miami and has been suspended from all team activities.

The statement explains Harris is accused of sexually assaulting a female student early Sunday morning in a university residence hall.

The following is the full statement from University of Florida University Relations:

University of Florida student athlete Treon Harris is accused of sexually assaulting a female student early Sunday morning in a residence hall on the UF campus.

The University of Florida Police Department is investigating the incident, and UFPD has brought in the Gainesville Police Department to assist with collection and analysis of forensic evidence.

The investigation is ongoing and we do not have an update regarding any charges at this time.

The University of Florida and the University Athletic Association are cooperating fully.

Due to legal and privacy requirements, there are limitations as to what the university can say publicly about a pending matter such as this. In these types of serious situations, Student Affairs initiates the Student Conduct Code process. Often, a student may be suspended on an interim basis, which means he or she is banned from campus and all campus activities, pending the outcome of the conduct process.

UAA has suspended Treon Harris from all team activities.

"We have no tolerance for sexual assault on our campus," UF President Bernie Machen said. "The university is committed to providing a safe and inclusive environment for every member of the UF community. We must strive to protect all of our students from sexual harassment and assault, and do everything in our power to promote a safe learning environment."

UF continues to provide a wide variety of support services and resources. The university continually enhance its campus efforts to address issues of sexual assault and harassment.

As this process unfolds and is resolved, UF is committed to addressing this serious matter with integrity, fairness and compassion.

Oct 2, 2014

Jacksonville, Florida (CNN) -- Jurors found Michael Dunn guilty of first-degree murder Wednesday in the 2012 shooting death of 17-year-old Jordan Davis.

Dunn's parents were in the courtroom for the verdict. Davis' parents, Ron Davis and Lucia MacBath, both let out a quiet gasp upon hearing the jury forewoman's words and then hung their heads and cried.

Dunn did not appear to have an immediate reaction, but later, he turned around and somberly shook his head toward his father.

Dunn, 47, was charged with murder after shooting into an SUV full of teenagers at a Jacksonville, Florida, gas station following a squabble over the music emanating from the teens' vehicle.

Outside the courtroom, Davis' mother expressed her gratitude for a verdict she said represented justice not only for her son but for "Trayvon and for all the nameless faces and children and people that will never have a voice." She was referring to Trayvon Martin, an unarmed teenager killed earlier the same year by a neighborhood watch captain who was acquitted in the death.

"Words cannot express our joy but also our great sorrow because ... we know that Jordan has received his justice," she said. "We know that Jordan's life and legacy will live on for others, but at the same time, we're very saddened by the life that Michael Dunn will continue to live. We are saddened for his family, for his friends and the community that will continue to suffer by his actions."

The victim's father said the verdict made Jacksonville "a shining example that you could have a jury made of mostly white people, white men," that delivers justice in a racially charged case.

"Hopefully," Davis said, "this is a start where we don't have to look at the makeup of a jury anymore."

Prosecutor Angela Corey said Dunn faces a life term along with a minimum of 25 to life for using a firearm.

"It's a vindication for justice," she said of the verdict.

"We believe that we have to have as much justice as we can to assure that Michael Dunn will never ever walk out of a prison."

Duval County Judge Russell Healey set a tentative sentencing hearing for October 17 but said he would wait until Tuesday to ensure the date worked for Dunn's defense attorneys.

"This has been going on for two years, and everyone has acted graciously. I ask that you continue to do that," Healey said before the verdict was read. "Remember, we must respect the verdict of the jury. They did not volunteer to do this."

Dunn has said he shot at the vehicle because he thought Davis had a weapon and feared for his life, but the prosecution has alleged Dunn was the aggressor and pointed out he kept firing even after the teens fled.

Three of the 10 shots that Dunn fired struck Davis, one of them cutting through his liver, a lung and his aorta.

Investigators say Davis never had a weapon, nor was one found in the teens' SUV or the surrounding area.

A jury found Dunn guilty of four charges in February, commanding at least 60 years in prison, but the jury was hung on the murder charge related to Davis' November 2012 death.

Jurors began deliberating on the new charges just before 10 a.m. ET on Wednesday, after Healey dismissed two of the three alternates and provided instructions for the charges jurors were to consider.

The first charge to consider, Healey said, was first-degree murder, which would require that Dunn premeditated killing Davis.

If the jury didn't feel the state proved first-degree murder, it was instructed to move on to second-degree, which would mean Dunn killed Davis via a criminal or depraved act.

The third charge was manslaughter, which would require a finding that Dunn unlawfully caused Davis' death.

Juror: 'Race was never a factor'

Killing Davis was lawful, Healey told the jury, if Dunn acted in the heat of passion or if he unintentionally caused Davis' death. The jury could also find Dunn not guilty if he was in danger, acted in self-defense and exacted a justifiable use of force, the judge instructed.

Dunn was convicted in February on one count of shooting into a vehicle and three counts of attempted second-degree murder -- one each for Davis' friends, Leland Brunson, Tommie Stornes and Tevin Thompson, who were in the Dodge Durango with Davis that day.

Juror: 'I believed he was guilty'

The Satellite Beach, Florida, man hasn't been sentenced on those charges, but prosecutor Eric Wolfson said at the time of the conviction that each attempted second-degree murder charge carries a minimum sentence of at least 20 years. There's also a 15-year sentence possible on the conviction for shooting at the teenager's vehicle, Wolfson said.

Sep 25, 2014

The blackest black person in the Obama Administration is resigning!  Yes, you read that correctly!  That's how I feel about Eric Holder.  I feel he is one of the black people in the Obama Administration that gets black people pain and isn't afraid to voice it.  I'm really sad to see him go.

WASHINGTON — Attorney General Eric Holder is resigning, NPR reports.

According to NPR's Carrie Johnson, Holder will step down as soon as his successor is confirmed. The AP confirmed the news with a White House official, and ABC News also reported Thursday that Holder will resign.

Holder has served as attorney general since 2009. He is the nation’s first black attorney general, and one of the longest-serving in the history of the United States.

He will announce his resignation at a White House event on Thursday afternoon.

Holder has spoken about his resignation before, telling the New Yorker in February he was planning to leave office sometime this year.

Did you watch ABC's new sitcom "Blackish"?  If the answer is yes, I would love to know what you think.

Honestly, I have to say I love the show.  It was beyond relatable for me. 

If you missed the show make sure you check it out on Wednesdays at 9:30 PM EST on ABC.

Sep 23, 2014

Prolific writer and playwright J. California Cooper has died at the age of 82, a family friend has confirmed to

Cooper passed away peacefully in Seattle, Washington on September 20th, with daughter Paris Williams by her side.

The Berkley-native was best known for her short stories and plays including Strangers, which earned a 1978 Black Playwright Award. Cooper authored six short story collections including A Piece of Mine, Homemade Love (winner of the 1989 American Book Award), Some Soul to Keep, The Matter is Life, Some Love, Some Pain, Sometime, and Wild Stars Seeking Midnight Suns. Her short story Funny Valentine was turned into a 1999 TV movie.

Cooper moved from California to Seattle in 2013, where she continued to write and spend time surrounded by family and friends. Funeral information has not yet been released.

Sep 15, 2014

We've all heard the saying, "spare the rod, spoil the child," but at what point does discipline of a child actually becomes abuse?

NFL running back Adrian Peterson recent indictment for child abuse has brought this discussion back to forefront. 

Peterson is accused of disciplining his FOUR year old son with a switch.  The above pictures were used as evidence of the beating.

So my question is:  Is this discipline or is this abuse?

Sep 11, 2014

ATLANTA — The Atlanta Hawks cancelled a scheduled meeting between their CEO and city civil rights leaders Wednesday, prompting one of the group's leaders to say his community was greatly offended.

The Rev. Markel Hutchins said the meeting with CEO Steve Koonin was called off "at the last minute." He later said he received a call from Hawks spokesman Garin Narain on Tuesday night asking the appointment be postponed.

Hutchins said he needed to hear that request from Koonin, and because Koonin didn't personally cancel the meeting, the group of 12 civil rights leaders showed up as planned.

When they entered Philips Arena and were told there would be no meeting, Hutchins and the other leaders said they were insulted.

"The entire civil rights community, locally and nationally, have been offended, the likes of which we have not seen in this community in decades," Hutchins said.

The group asked for the meeting to discuss what Hutchins said was the Hawks' "disrespect for people of color." The request followed racially charged comments by Hawks co-owner Bruce Levenson and general manager Danny Ferry.

In a statement Wednesday, the Hawks asked for patience from the community and said they want to reschedule the meeting.

"Koonin postponed today's meeting last night," the Hawks' statement said. "This conversation is a priority for us. We are committed to having this meeting and will work with community leaders to reschedule as soon as possible. We ask our community to work with us, be patient with us, and help us heal."

The Hawks did not say why the meeting was cancelled.

Levenson said Sunday he will sell his majority share of the team. Koonin said Tuesday Ferry has been punished but won't be fired.

Hutchins said when he arranged the meeting with Koonin on Monday night, he made it clear the group wanted Ferry to lose his job.

"Perhaps one of the reasons why they cancelled the meeting is we made it very clear we were going to demand in our conversations that Danny Ferry be fired or resign," Hutchins said. "There is no way that a man who uses the kind of language and holds the kind of sentiments that he does should be the general manager of the basketball team in the home of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and the cradle of the civil rights movement."

Others also have called for Ferry to be fired. Former NBA great Magic Johnson said late Tuesday on his Twitter feed "Atlanta Hawks GM Danny Ferry should step down after making racist statements about NBA player Luol Deng."

Deng and Ferry are former Duke players under Mike Krzyzewski, who is coaching the U.S. team at the World Cup. Krzyzewski said he couldn't comment on the controversy involving his former players because he hasn't followed the news.

Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau, serving as an assistant on the U.S. team, defended Deng on Wednesday.

"I've never been around a better person," Thibodeau said. "He's not only a great basketball player, he's an even better person. I'll stand by Luol any day. He's good. He's done a lot of great things in the community. He's a great human being. He's a very humble guy. He has a lot of integrity. I can't say enough good things about him. ... It was a privilege for me to be his coach."

Thibodeau said he "can't imagine" why Ferry made the statements.

Ferry made inflammatory comments about Deng in a conference call with the Hawks' ownership group in June when the team pursued Deng as a free agent. Ferry described Deng as someone who "has a little African in him."

Deng, who was born in what is now South Sudan, now plays for the Miami Heat. He responded to Ferry's comment on Tuesday by saying, "I'm proud to say I actually have a lot of African in me, not just 'a little.'"

A letter from co-owner Michael Gearon Jr. to Levenson recommended that Ferry resign or be fired. Gearon said Ferry made that description of Deng to the team's ownership group.

Gearon's June 12 letter to Levenson said Ferry went on to say, "Not in a bad way, but he's like a guy who would have a nice store out front and sell you counterfeit stuff out of the back."

Added Gearon: "Ferry completed the racial slur by describing the player (and impliedly all persons of African descent) as a two-faced liar and cheat."


 (Washington Post) -- Black men. Fellas. Brothers.

Stop complaining about Ray Rice’s (much deserved and yet woefully insufficient) punishment. Right now.

When we are beaten, slain and otherwise persecuted, our sisters, our mothers, and our women stand for us with nearly unilateral, unwavering support. They march for us. They cry out our names and demand justice. They support us in our moments of quiet fear when we shed the bitter tears of self-doubt and fatigue.

Why aren’t we doing the same?

Stephen A. Smith wasn’t alone in blaming black women for the violence against them. Too many black men are making shameful attempts to explain away the punch that Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice laid on his then-fiancee, Janay Palmer. The caught-on-tape abuse earned Rice an indefinite suspension from the NFL this week. That’s the least he should suffer for knocking a woman unconscious. It’s foolish to watch that video and see it any other way.

And yet, black men are complaining about Ray Rice’s punishment and diminishing his actions:

“It couldn’t have been that bad. She married him.”

It doesn’t matter.

“She should know he’s a big man and, if provoked, he’s gonna hit back.”

It doesn’t matter.

“She hit him first.”

It doesn’t matter.

“He’s trained to hit. He can’t stop it. It’s a reflex.”

That’s absurd and even if it were true, it doesn’t matter.

When you say these kinds of things — when you look for ways to go easy on Ray Rice — you are doing two things: First, you’re telling black women, “Your lives and your sense of safety have less value to me than the recreational sports that I watch ritually.” You’re telling the women who stand for you, cry for you and demand justice for you, “Thanks for all that, but don’t mess with my game.” You damage their feeling of safety with you. You reinforce the perception that they are alone in their struggle. All of that leaves them even more vulnerable in a society that so often leaves them behind.

The second thing you do – and this is irony – is borrow from the script of people like Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson’s supporters. Let’s compare notes:

“He shouldn’t have been in the street.”

It doesn’t matter.

“He should have listened to the cop.”

It doesn’t matter.

“It was reflex. Cops are trained to shoot to kill. He couldn’t help it.”

Are you seeing the terrifying parallel? None of these excuses matter.

Brothers, recognize wrong and stand up for what’s right. Whatever happened between Ray and Janay Rice, and whatever they did to patch things up, is irrelevant. The bottom line is that no man has business hitting — let alone knocking out — any woman over a spat. He should regard the use of his body against her as lethal force and exercise restraint above all else.

Stop complaining about Ray Rice’s suspension. Stop minimizing his behavior. Stop giving in to blind idol worship.

And stop sipping your tea. This is your business.

When one of our sisters is hurt, abused or in peril, it’s our business. Because when some authority has us jammed against a car with guns drawn on us, they always make it their business to speak out. They throw themselves in peril to see us safe.

It’s a shame when we cannot do the same.