In a rebuke to the administration of former DeKalb County CEO Vernon Jones, a federal appeals court has decided against the county's request to dismiss a long-running, reverse-discrimination lawsuit.
The suit was filed in U.S. District Court in 2004 by current and former employees of the county Parks and Recreation Department, who alleged that the county had a plan to harass and discriminate against white managers.
Lawyers for DeKalb had asked the appellate court to throw out the lawsuit. But in a ruling issued today, a three-judge panel sent the case back to the trial court.
The order by the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals says that in 2001 DeKalb "embarked on a wholesale plan to replace its white managers with African Americans." It also says there is "shocking" evidence of "an overt and unabashed pattern of discrimination."
The judges did make one decision that was favorable to the county, dismissing former DeKalb Executive Assistant Richard Stogner from the suit. However, Jones and other officials remain as defendants.
Chris Anulewicz, a lawyer for the plaintiffs, said the overall decision is a good one for his clients because it means a trial could start in about eight months.
"We've been waiting for two years for this," he said.
Jones' successor as CEO, Burrell Ellis, had no immediate comment because he had not yet read the lawsuit, county spokeswoman Shelia Edwards said.
Jul 31, 2009
Led by old-school hip-hopper Kool Moe Dee, several artists took advantage of the National Urban League's conference here Thursday to promote legislation seeking royalties for musicians from radio stations.
The Performance Rights Act -- vigorously opposed by the National Association of Broadcasters -- is a matter of fairness and would bring radio in line with requirements of Internet, television and satellite broadcasters, and bring the U.S. in line with other industrialized nations, the musicians said.
"I remember my first record deal in 1980, my mother was so excited. She said, 'Honey, every time they play your record, you'll get paid,' " said Dee, who struck gold in the '80s with rap songs such as "Wild Wild West."
"She was wrong. But she was right," he said. "There's a lot of icons -- legends, who if there's money out there to be had, they should have it, the Dionne Warwicks and Aretha Franklins who sang songs written for them. Every time 'Walk on By' is played, Burt Bacharach gets a songwriter royalty. Dionne gets nothing."
Radio has long paid royalties to the songwriters, but not the performers.
As the bill has wended its way through Congress, many high-profile celebrity boosters have promoted the measure pushed by the Recording Industry Association of America.
Billy Corgan of the Smashing Pumpkins' testified before the House Judiciary Committee in March.
Opponents argue that the fees could kill some radio stations. Controversy over the act sponsored by Rep. John Conyers (D-Mich.), has taken on racial tones.
Some critics saying it could be the death knell for black radio in particular.
The measure has the support of the NAACP.
The National Urban League has not yet weighed in.
"There used to be a time when if you didn't get AM-FM play, you were dead," said Chicago rapper Rhymefest, who co-wrote Kanye West's hit single, "Jesus Walks."
"Today, AM-FM is not the only game in town. Digital radio pays us for our labor, and it's time to level the playing field," Rhymefest said.
WASHINGTON — The White House said Thursday it was reviewing what has turned out to be a wildly popular "cash for clunkers" program amid concerns the $1 billion budget for rebates for new auto purchases may have been exhausted in only a week.Transportation Department officials called lawmakers' offices earlier Thursday to alert them of plans to suspend the program as early as Friday. But a White House official said later the program had not been suspended and officials there were assessing their options.
"We are working tonight to assess the situation facing what is obviously an incredibly popular program," White House press secretary Robert Gibbs said of the Car Allowance Rebate System. "Auto dealers and consumers should have confidence that all validCARS transactions that have taken place to date will be honored."
Gibbs said the administration was "evaluating all options" to keep the program funded.
A Transportation Department official said the department was working with Congress and the White House to keep the program going. The administration officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak publicly about the discussions.
The CARS program offers owners of old cars and trucks $3,500 or $4,500 toward a new, more fuel-efficient vehicle.
Congress last month approved the program to boost auto sales and remove some inefficient cars and trucks from the roads. The program kicked off last Friday and was heavily publicized by car companies and auto dealers
Through late Wednesday, 22,782 vehicles had been purchased through the program and nearly $96 million had been spent. But dealers raised concerns about large backlogs in the processing of the deals in the government system, prompting the suspension.
A survey of 2,000 dealers by the National Automobile Dealers Association found about 25,000 deals had not yet been approved by NHTSA, or nearly 13 trades per store. It raised concerns that with about 23,000 dealers taking part in the program, auto dealers may already have surpassed the 250,000 vehicle sales funded by the $1 billion program.
"There's a significant backlog of 'cash for clunkers' deals that make us question how much funding is still available in the program," said Bailey Wood, a spokesman for the dealers association.
Alan Helfman, general manager of River Oaks Chrysler Jeep in Houston, said he was worried that the government wouldn't pay for some of the clunker deals his dealership has signed because they aren't far enough along in the process.
His dealership has done paperwork on about 20 sales under the clunker program, but in some cases the titles haven't been obtained yet or the vehicles aren't yet on his lot.
"There's no doubt I'm going to get hammered on a deal or two," Helfman said.
The clunkers program was set up to boost U.S. auto sales and help struggling automakers through the worst sales slump in more than a quarter-century. Sales for the first half of the year were down 35 percent from the same period in 2008, and analysts are predicting only a modest recovery during the second half of the year.
So far this year, sales are running under an annual rate of 10 million light vehicles, but as recently as 2007, automakers sold more than 16 million cars and light trucks in the United States.
Even before the suspension, some in Congress were seeking more money for the auto sales stimulus. Rep. Candice Miller, R-Mich., wrote in a letter to House leaders on Wednesday requesting additional funding for the program.
"This is simply the most stimulative $1 billion the federal government has spent during the entire economic downturn," Miller said Thursday. "The federal government must come up with more money, immediately, to keep this program going."
Michigan lawmakers planned to meet on Friday to discuss the program.
Brendan Daly, a spokesman for House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., said they would work with "the congressional sponsors and the administration to quickly review the results of the initiative."
General Motors Co. spokesman Greg Martin said Thursday the automaker hopes "there's a will and way to keep the CARS program going a little bit longer."
Jul 30, 2009
President Barack Obama will present his Medal of Freedom to Atlanta civil rights leader Rev. Joseph Lowery next month.
Obama announced the 15 award recipients, including Lowery, Thursday. The Presidential Medal of Freedom is the nation's top honor for a civilian.
An assistant for Lowery said he was traveling and not immediately available Thursday.
Lowery, a long-time United Methodist minister, helped lead the Montgomery bus boycott after Rosa Parks was denied a seat. In 1957, he co-founded the Southern Christian Leadership Conference with the late Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.
Lowery, who gave the benediction at Obama's inauguration, has been an ally of the President since meeting him in March 2007. The two men first met in Selma at the 42nd anniversary of the Bloody Sunday march.
Lowery, 87, later announced his endorsement of Obama and campaigned for him, including trips to Iowa, Mississippi and Alabama.
The medals will be presented Aug. 12.
Other recipients will include: U.S. Sen. Edward M. Kennedy, Archbishop Desmond Tutu of South Africa, breast cancer activist Nancy Goodman Brinker, homeless healthcare advocate Dr. Pedro Jose Greer Jr., physicist Stephen Hawking, the late U.S. Congressman Jack Kemp, tennis player Billie Jean King, Plains Indian Chief Joe Medicine Crow, the late gay rights leader Harvey Milk, U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor, actor Sidney Poitier, actress Chita Rivera, former Ireland President Mary Robinson, human geneticist Dr. Janet Davison Rowley and economist Muhammad Yunus.
The medal is awarded to recognize a "meritorious contribution to the security or national interests of the Unites States, world peace, cultural or other significant public or private endeavors."
Although I do not usually comment on active litigation or the allegations raised in that litigation, I am compelled to speak publicly at this time. The allegations in a recent lawsuit against AKA leaders are without merit.
The most outlandish misrepresentation is the so-called $900,000 wax figure of me. That amount was allocated by the AKA Board of Directors to help defray overall expenses for our 2010 convention.
Two new wax figures - one of me as president at the time of the centennial and one of our first international president - were purchased for a total of $45,000 by the Centennial Boule Hostess Chapters - not the national organization - to complement the wax figure of our founder created in 1996.
Under its new leadership, Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. (AKA) has enforced stringent financial standards as part of a professionalization of our organization, which is comprised of more than 260,000 members in more than 950 chapters worldwide.
Accounting and budgetary practices have been tightened, erasing past IRS liabilities and cost overruns.
Change never comes easy. The malicious allegations leveled against AKA by former leaders are based on mischaracterizations and fabrications not befitting our ideals of sisterhood, ethics and service.
Further allegations about personal use of AKA funds are false and unsupported by the organization's audited books. All expenses were consistent with furthering AKA's mission.
As part of the professionalization of the organization and in accordance with AKA's Constitution and Bylaws, the Board of Directors authorized a stipend for the president. The Board is the elected governing body of the organization.
AKA regrets that it has been put in the position where comments are expected about ongoing litigation. The Sorority understands the litigation process and will not try to subvert or circumvent it. Nevertheless, AKA and its leadership are proud of its successes and look forward to advising its membership and the public of its continuing successes.
We are committed to continuing this course of maintaining the financial integrity of our proud organization to serve the best interest of our members and advance our mission.
I was surprised when Radio One's Cathy Hughes added my name to the list of African American artists and civil rights activists she's attacked in her vicious campaign against fairly compensating musicians for their work. Then again, since smearing African American leaders to protect her profits has become Ms. Hughes siren song, maybe I shouldn't be surprised at all.
Every time we buy a CD or download a song, the artist is paid for their work. You might not know that this isn't the case when a musician's work is played on the radio. That's because corporate radio CEOs like Cathy Hughes are exploiting a legal loophole that allows them to play these artists songs without paying them for their work.
Ms. Hughes is now very angry with me, other black recording artists, and civil rights leaders because we support the Performance Rights Act, which many now call the Civil Rights for Musicians Act. This bill, which was written by the Dean of the Congressional Black Caucus, Congressman John Conyers, closes the legal loophole the radio corporations and CEOs are using to ensure that African American artists receive fair pay for airplay.
In defending her refusal to fairly compensate the artists on whose back she earns her living, Ms. Hughes now claims poverty, which is pretty amazing considering Radio One owns 54 radio stations and reaped $316 million last year alone. She even paid her own son, Radio One CEO Alfred Liggins, a $10 million bonus. Far from a struggling company, Radio One sounds more like one of those Wall Street rip off firms where executives pay themselves big bonuses while they rip us off and throw their workers in the street.
If their profits and the bonuses Ms. Hughes has paid her son are any indicator, Radio One is hardly struggling. But there are small stations, especially gospel stations, in our communities that we love and that deserve our help. That's why the Civil Rights for Musicians Act protects these truly small radio stations while insisting even a big corporate radio firm like Radio One would only pay roughly what they earn off of about five commercials each day.
You can begin to understand Ms. Hughes' willingness to rip off black artists when you take a look at who she attacks and the kind of company she keeps. During the last presidential campaign she repeatedly attacked Barack Obama, calling him "a dazzling deception" and implied that we supported him because black people are easily fooled. She has even supported the current chairman of the Republican Party, Michael Steele, who said he would attract more African Americans to his party by offering "fried chicken and potato salad." This is hardly a woman who is looking out for what's best for the African American community.
The struggling musicians who need the Civil Rights for Musicians Act don't want a handout from Cathy Hughes or Clear Channel or the National Association of Broadcasters, which is the mouthpiece of big -- largely white -- corporate radio. They just want to be paid for their work. This legislation would make sure that these artists are directly compensated, not the recording executives who may have stolen from them much as Ms. Hughes and Radio One steals from them now.
I am proud of my support for the Civil Rights for Musicians Act, even if it means suffering though the tirades of Ms. Hughes. I hope she understands that the struggle to pass the Civil Rights for Musicians Act isn't about us any more than Rosa Parks bravery was about getting a better seat on the bus.
Better women than Ms. Hughes have spent a lifetime toiling to ensure equal rights and economic opportunity for black Americans. There is nothing "stupid" about insisting that African American workers are paid for their labor. The Civil Rights for Musicians Act is about economic justice for African American artists. It's about what's right. And it's about time.
DEKALB COUNTY, Ga. -- Two DeKalb County police officers have been placed on paid administrative leave after an investigation revealed they ran a background check on President Barack Obama.A representative for the DeKalb County CEO's office identified the officers as Ryan White and C.M. Route. Officials said Obama's name was typed into a computer inside a DeKalb County police car on July 20 and ran through the National Crime Information Center. The secret service was immediately notified and contacted the DeKalb County Police Department. A representative said both officers have been with the department less than five years. A representative said one of the officers denied involvement. An official investigation is being conducted by the DeKalb County Police Department's Internal Affairs division. It is unclear why the officers ran a check on the president.
A battle over music royalties has pitted members of the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) against the owners of black radio stations, sparking a rare public fight between African-American powerbrokers that could work against lawmakers used to easy reelection.
The debate has become so intense that the NAACP, the civil rights group that has spent nearly a century advocating for black Americans, has stepped in to call for a truce.Leading the charge against the lawmakers is Cathy Hughes, the founder and chairwoman of Radio One, the nation's largest black-owned broadcast company.
She has aired a series of radio ads targeting black lawmakers, with the most recent round questioning the ethical integrity of House Judiciary Committee Chairman John Conyers Jr. (D-Mich.), the chief sponsor of the legislation calling for radio stations to pay royalties to musical performers, and seeking to connect him to federal bribery-related charges to which his wife recently pleaded guilty.
The fight has divided the liberal civil rights community, with the NAACP and the League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC) supporting Conyers while black leaders such as the Rev. Al Sharpton and the Rev. Jesse Jackson line up with Hughes, Radio One and other black-owned stations.
Radio One's ads have also criticized Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (D-Texas) and three other members of the CBC: Reps. Mel Watt (D-N.C.), Hank Johnson (D-Ga.) and Robert "Bobby" Scott (D-Va.).
These lawmakers support Conyers's legislation, which was approved in May by the Judiciary Committee and would require AM/FM radio stations to pay royalties to performers, such as Dionne Warwick, who didn't compose some of their most popular songs.
Under current law, stations only pay copyright royalties to artists who compose hit songs, not those who perform them. Other media, such as satellite and Internet radio, must pay royalties to performers.
The owners say a law requiring them to pay additional royalties would bankrupt their stations.
The barrage has begun to take a toll on lawmakers who come from traditionally safe districts and are accustomed to cruising to reelection.
"We've been dealing with this for months now and it's been creating a number of headaches when we want to focus on healthcare reform," said Andy Phelan, communications director for Johnson. "It keeps churning and churning and churning. They're running a lot of negative ads not just against my boss but Mr. Conyers, Mel Watt, Sheila Jackson Lee and Bobby Scott."
Radio One operates stations in or near the districts of Conyers, Jackson Lee, Johnson and Scott, according to its website.
In a new round of ads running on Radio One, Hughes highlights a recent ethics complaint filed against Conyers by the Landmark Legal Foundation, a conservative watchdog group.
Hughes describes Conyers's "role in writing a letter to the Environmental Protection Agency that supported a waste project tied to his wife, who has pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit bribery while she served on the Detroit City Council."
Hughes then goes on to quote from the complaint: "John Conyers could not have written the letter without knowing something, and it is crucial that he be questioned under oath under penalty of perjury.
"I couldn't agree more," Hughes adds.
U.S. Attorney Terrence Berg, however, has said there is no evidence linking Conyers to his wife's crime.
"The evidence offered no suggestion that United States Rep. John Conyers, Ms. Conyers's husband, had any knowledge or role in Ms. Conyers's illegal conduct, nor did the congressman attempt to influence this investigation in any way," Berg said in a statement last month.
But Hughes isn't limiting her fire to Conyers. She has also blasted Jackson Lee and other CBC members who are supporting the legislation.
"All five of these black elected officials continue to ignore the imminent danger to black media ownership," Hughes says in an ad that criticizes Jackson Lee for claiming that Conyers's bill would not force any black-owned stations out of business.
"How could she possibly know anything about what it takes or doesn't take to operate a broadcast facility?" Hughes asks.
But supporters of Conyers's bill argue that performers receive royalties for radio play in other countries, with the exceptions of North Korea, Iran and China.
The fight has intensified as the legislation has picked up momentum in Congress. The Senate Judiciary Committee is holding hearings next week on companion legislation sponsored by Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.).
Meanwhile, opponents have marshaled 244 lawmakers to co-sponsor a resolution opposing royalty payments to performers.
Recent attacks have spurred the NAACP to come to Conyers's defense.
The president of the NAACP's Detroit chapter, the Rev. Wendell Anthony, held a news conference with local church leaders last week to call on Radio One to "stop dishonest attacks."
"Conyers and other members of the CBC have been the target of a vicious smear campaign spearheaded by Big Radio corporations and CEOs who refuse to pay royalties to African-American musicians and performers, many of whom come from the Motown era," the NAACP Detroit chapter wrote in a statement.
One Conyers ally noted that Hughes is publicizing an ethics complaint filed by an organization headed by Mark Levin, a conservative radio talk show host whose program is broadcast by Citadel Broadcasting, which is made up of 165 FM and 58 AM stations. Levin is president of the Landmark Legal Foundation. This raises the question of whether Levin may be pushing a complaint against Conyers to slow legislation that could harm Citadel's bottom line.
Sean Glover, a spokesman for Music First, a coalition of companies that has partnered to pass Conyers's bill, said that "most of the people who don't support this bill have a financial interest in radio."
"When people hear the whole story, they support the bill. So far the public has heard only one side of the story because Cathy Hughes and Radio One control the airwaves. They won't let us advertise on their radio stations."
LOS ANGELES (AP) — The minister known as Reverend Ike, who preached the gospel of material prosperity to millions nationwide, died Tuesday. He was 74.
Family spokesman Bishop E. Bernard Jordan told The New York Times that The Rev. Frederick J. Eikerenkoetter II, who suffered a stroke in 2007 and never fully recovered, died in Los Angeles. He moved to the city two years ago, Jordan said.
Reverend Ike preached the power of what he called "positive self-image psychology" to his 5,000 parishioners at the United Church Science of Living Institute. The church was housed in a former movie theater in New York's Washington Heights neighborhood.
In the 1970s, Reverend Ike was one of the first evangelists to reach an audience of millions through television.
"This is the do-it-yourself church," he proclaimed. "The only savior in this philosophy is God in you."
Reverend Ike stretched Christian tenets, relocating the idea of God to the interior of the self, with the power to bring the believer anything he or she desired in the way of health, wealth and peace of mind.
The philosophy did not sit well with traditional Christian ministers and civil rights leaders who felt black churches should focus on social reform rather than self-fulfillment.
His critics said he preyed on the poor and conned the faithful into giving him donations that he spent on cars, clothes and homes for himself. The IRS and the Postal Service investigated his businesses.
Others defended his philosophy of mind over matter, which appealed to middle-class believers who felt their hard work should be rewarded in this life.
"If it's that difficult for a rich man to get into heaven," he said, riffing on the famous verse from the book of Matthew, "think how terrible it must be for a poor man to get in. He doesn't even have a bribe for the gatekeeper."
Reverend Ike was born on June 1, 1935, in Ridgeland, S.C., to an elementary school teacher and a Baptist minister from Dutch Indonesia.
He became an assistant pastor in his father's church at age 14. He attended the American Bible College in Chicago and spent two years in the Air Force as a chaplain. He founded his first church in Boston and moved to New York City two years later.
He moved his church into a Harlem movie theater with a narrow marquee that forced him to shorten his name to "Rev. Ike."
In the 1970s, Reverend Ike toured the country and preached over some 1,770 radio stations and television stations in major markets.
He is survived by his wife, Eula May Dent, and his son, Xavier F. Eikerenkoetter, who took over the ministry when his father retired. (Source)
LOS ANGELES (AP) — A coroner's official says heart disease, complicated by high blood pressure and a hardening of the arteries, is what killed author E. Lynn Harris last week.
County coroner Craig Harvey said Wednesday that the 54-year-old died of natural causes. Harris died July 23 while visiting Los Angeles to promote his latest book.
Harris lived in Atlanta and was considered a pioneer of gay black fiction, enjoying unprecedented success in the genre. He wrote 11 novels, and ten of them became New York Times best-sellers.
More than four million of his books are in print. (Source)
Jul 29, 2009
Members of a prominent Chicago-based sorority are suing to oust their national president -- former Chicago Housing Authority comptroller Barbara McKinzie -- saying she misappropriated funds and commissioned a $900,000 wax figure of herself.
She also is accused of taking nearly $400,000 for personal expenses and arranging for a $4,000 monthly stipend to be paid to herself after she leaves office.
McKinzie, Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority and its current and some former board of directors members are targeted in a lawsuit filed by eight sorority members last month.
Among the allegations:
• • AKA directors violated the group's rules when they approved a four-year "pension stipend" for a total of nearly $192,000. They also purchased a $1 million life insurance policy for McKinzie.
• • McKinzie used the group's American Express card to buy designer clothing, lingerie and jewelry, then redeemed points racked up on the card to get a 46-inch HDTV, gym equipment and other items for personal use.
• • The president started a campaign to raise $100 million for an endowment fund to be run by her management firm -- BMC Associates.
McKinzie denied any wrongdoing Tuesday, saying the lawsuit was backlash to "enforced stringent financial standards as part of a professionalization of our organization."
"Change never comes easy," she said. "The malicious allegations leveled against AKA by former leaders are based on mischaracterizations and fabrications not befitting our ideals of sisterhood, ethics and service."
McKinzie's likeness, along with one of the first national AKA president Nellie Quander, cost a total of $45,000, she said. All other figures are of group founders or first national presidents. The $900,000 "was allocated by the AKA board of directors to help defray overall expenses for our 2010 convention,' McKinzie said.
The wax figure of McKinzie is being prepped at the National Great Blacks in Wax Museum in Baltimore, where it will be in a growing exhibit of predominantly black fraternity and sorority representatives.
The suit also alleges that McKinzie persuaded the board in 2008 to approve $250,000 -- later increased to about $375,000 -- in compensation to her for services rendered on behalf of the sorority. McKinzie's pay was based on her securing $1.6 million in cost savings to AKA, but there was no proof that there were any savings, the members said.
The suit contends the expenditures should have been approved by AKA members last year. It seeks to have the board removed and money returned.
Leadership also is accused of overcharging for the group's 2008 conference, one that observed Alpha Kappa Alpha's 100th anniversary.
The registration fee was doubled to about $500 per member for the 2008 meeting, which brought in about $13 million. The complainants say expenses for that gathering were about $9 million, and the surplus was spent at McKinzie's discretion.
The dispute is being played out on open-access Web sites and blogs, a rarity among the black heritage fraternities and sororities that typically value handling internal discord more discreetly.
In another dispute, members of Illinois-incorporated Zeta Phi Beta Sorority are contesting the 2008 election of comedian Sheryl Underwood as national president. A D.C. Superior Court dismissed a lawsuit seeking to unseat Underwood. (Source)
Former Secretary of State Colin Powell said Tuesday that he has been the victim of racial profiling but believes Harvard professor Henry Louis Gates Jr. could have been more patient with the police officer who arrested him.
At the same time, Powell also faulted the Cambridge (Massachusetts) Police Department for escalating the situation beyond a reasonable level.
"I think Skip [Gates], perhaps in this instance, might have waited a while, come outside, talked to the officer and that might have been the end of it," Powell said in an interview with CNN's Larry King.
"I think he should have reflected on whether or not this was the time to make that big a deal.
"I think in this case the situation was made much more difficult on the part of the Cambridge Police Department," Powell said. "Once they felt they had to bring Dr. Gates out of the house and to handcuff him, I would've thought at that point, some adult supervision would have stepped in and said 'OK look, it is his house. Let's not take this any further, take the handcuffs off, good night Dr. Gates.' "
Gates, a top African-American scholar, was arrested July 16 for disorderly conduct outside his Cambridge, Massachusetts, home after police responded to a report of a possible burglary. The charge was later dropped.
Powell said that under the circumstances, Gates may not have been in the appropriate frame of mind to best handle the situation.
"He was just home from China, just home from New York. All he wanted to do was get to bed. His door was jammed and so he was in a mood where he said something," Powell said.
He recalled a lesson he was taught as a child: "When you're faced with an officer who is trying to do his job and get to the bottom of something, this is not the time to get in an argument with him.
"There is no African-American in this county who has not been exposed to this kind of situation," Powell said. "Do you get angry? Yes. Do you manifest that anger? Do you protest? Do you try to get things fixed? But it's the better course of action to try and take it easy and don't let your anger make the current situation worse."
The former secretary of state said he has been racially profiled "many times," including an incident that took place while he was the national security adviser to President Reagan.
"Nobody thought I could possibly be the national security adviser to the president. I was just a black guy at Reagan National Airport," Powell said. "And it was only when I went to the counter and said, 'Is my guest here waiting for me?' that someone said, 'Oh, you're Gen. Powell.' It was inconceivable to him that a black guy could be the national security adviser."
When asked how he dealt with the situation, Powell said, "You just suck it up -- what are you going to do? It was a teaching point for him. 'Yes, I'm the national security adviser, I'm black, and watch, I can do the job.' " (Source)
Jul 28, 2009
Police in Mobile, Ala., used pepper spray and a Taser on a deaf, mentally disabled who they said wouldn't leave a store's bathroom.The family of 37-year-old Antonio Love has filed a formal complaint over the incident on Friday.
Police tell the Press-Register of Mobile that officers shot pepper spray under the bathroom door after knocking several times. After forcing the door open, they used the stun gun on Love.
Police spokesman Christopher Levy says police didn't realize Love had a hearing impairment until after he was out of the bathroom. The officers' conduct is under investigation.
The newspaper says the officers attempted to book Love on charges including disorderly conduct, but a magistrate on duty wouldn't accept the charges. (Source)
Atlanta's poorest residents have to look hard for results from a $53 million federal program started six years ago to transform lives and rebuild communities.
That's because the Atlanta Renewal Community has invested just $7.3 million in services — while spending a nearly equal amount on administration — for a program set to expire at year's end when the remaining $30 million in unused cash will have to be returned to the federal government.
And, what little has been spent on services has largely landed back in the hands of various city departments and agencies, not the nonprofit public service agencies that work in the city's toughest neighborhoods every day.
That has local nonprofit officials seething at a time when a deep recession left service agencies on the edge of ruin.
"It's absurd," said Dan Moore Sr., director of Apex Museum. "It's hard to even respond to something like that at a time when so many nonprofits are struggling. To have so little money get in the hands of service providers, it's almost criminal."
Moore said his agency made three separate applications for funding — partnering with established groups like the Butler Street YMCA and the Atlanta Urban League — only to be rejected each time.
"The rules they have put in place are designed as barriers," Moore said.
The record of Atlanta's Renewal Community and the agency that runs it, Atlanta Renewal Community Coordinating Responsible Authority, or ACoRA, will be the subject of a public meeting Tuesday at 12:30 in City Hall before the Atlanta City Council's community development committee.
Atlanta Councilwoman Joyce Sheperd said the meeting was called because City Hall has been flooded with calls since a July 12 story in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution outlining how ACoRA was due to return so much federal aid.
At this late date, Sheperd said, there's no time to choose new agencies to use the leftover $30 million. Even if they could change the allocations, officials note, the purchasing rules that have slowed spending the money to date couldn't be navigated by Dec. 31.
"We want to educate the community on what's going on," Sheperd said. "We have gotten calls from so many people saying they want the money. That money is already allocated."
HONOLULU — State officials in Hawaii on Monday said they have once again checked and confirmed that President Barack Obama was born in Hawaii and is a natural-born American citizen, and therefore meets a key constitutional requirement for being president.
They hoped to stem a recent surge in the number of inquiries about Obama's birthplace.
"I ... have seen the original vital records maintained on file by the Hawaii State Department of Health verifying Barack Hussein Obama was born in Hawaii and is a natural-born American citizen," Health Director Dr. Chiyome Fukino said in a brief statement. "I have nothing further to add to this statement or my original statement issued in October 2008 over eight months ago."
So-called "birthers" — who claim Obama is ineligible to be president because, they argue, he was actually born outside the United States — have grown more vocal recently on blogs and television news shows.
Fukino issued a similar press release Oct. 31, but was prompted to speak out again because of the renewed attention on Obama's beginnings. Hawaii's Health Department has been flooded in recent weeks with questions from individuals and several national TV news networks asking for proof that Obama was indeed born in Hawaii.
"They just keep asking over and over and over again," Health Department spokeswoman Janice Okubo said.
The Constitution states that a person must be a "natural-born citizen" to be eligible for the presidency. Birthers contend that Obama's birth certificate is a fake, and many say he was actually born in Kenya, his father's homeland. They've challenged his citizenship in court.
One widely circulated YouTube clip of a town hall meeting showed a Republican congressman getting booed for saying Obama is a citizen. Talk show host Rush Limbaugh and CNN's Lou Dobbs have also raised the issue, and 10 Republican members of Congress co-sponsored a bill that would require future presidential candidates to provide a copy of their original birth certificate.
However, it appears Congress has moved on and has accepted Obama's island birthplace. The U.S. House on Monday unanimously approved a resolution recognizing and celebrating the 50th anniversary of Hawaii becoming the 50th state. A clause was included that reads: "Whereas the 44th President of the United States, Barack Obama, was born in Hawaii on August 4, 1961."
State law bars the release of a certified birth certificate to anyone who does not have a tangible interest.
However, Obama's birth certificate along with birth notices from the two Honolulu newspapers were brought forward even before he took office. But that's done nothing to shake the belief by many Obama critics that the president was born abroad.
Now, you know I have tried to stay away from this damn "Birthers" movement as much as I can, but this stuff has gotten ri-DAMN-diculous. The reason I haven't reported it on this site is because it is a non-story. It doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out why Obama's birth certificate is such an issue. My problem is why is the Mainstream Media even reporting on this foolishness. It's amazing how a few "conspiracy theorists" from the internet can create such a powerful story that MSM is willing to lead off their shows with the story. If you ever needed further evidence that the media is worthless then look no further than this story. Do you honestly think Bernard Shaw or Walter Cronkite would have reported on such foolishness? Stories like these are the primary reason I don't even watch the news on television anymore except for PBS NewsHour with Jim Lehrer. Everything is so sensationalized now. I realize it brings in ratings, but the people are not better for it. I guess the Dumbing Down of America continues!!!!!
PHOENIX (AP) — A Liberian man whose eight-year-old daughter allegedly was raped by four boys, and then reportedly shunned by her family, must wait at least three months before possibly regaining custody of the girl.
The father, who is not being named to protect the girl's identity, met with Child Protective Services on Monday.
The girl was taken into state custody after officials said they heard the victim's parents blame her and didn't want her anymore. But the father denied Monday that he ever blamed her or said that his daughter brought shame to the family.
"That is not true," the father told The Associated Press.
The family's pastor, who accompanied him to the meeting, said it will be 90 days until CPS officials reassess the situation. No arrangements for visitation have been made.
The incident has ignited an international outcry, including comments from Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf.
James Nyemah said the father was upset at having to go for such a long time without his daughter.
"He is troubled about the situation, that his daughter has been a victim of a horrible crime. This little girl that he raised ... knowing that the child might still be separated up to 90 days, that is troubling him," Nyemah said.
CPS officials said a three-month wait was not uncommon.
"Our primary goal in almost every case is to try to get a family unification. Whether it's going to recur in this case I can't say," said CPS spokesman Steve Meissner.
Prosecutors have charged a 14-year-old Liberian refugee as an adult. Three other boys — ages nine, 10 and 13 — have been charged in juvenile court.
Police said the boys lured the girl to an empty storage shed with the promise of chewing gum. Then they restrained her while taking turns assaulting her.
Nyemah said community officials also want to find out if there was any miscommunication between authorities and the girl's father. They also want to make sure families of the suspects and the victim get counseling.
Jul 27, 2009
(FinalCall.com) - Minister Louis Farrakhan delivered a major address today on "the crucifixion of Michael Jackson," his growing race consciousness and fears of the pop icon's potential social and political impact. He also revealed, for the first time, that the entertainer donated $100,000 to the historic Million Man March.
The two-hour plus address included details of their personal relationship and Mr. Jackson's desire and determination to gain control of his legacy. Citing the government's COINTEOPRO operation and parallel's with biblical scripture, the Minister outlined America's longstanding fear of Black independent thought or action.
Former FBI director J. Edgar Hoover feared the rise of a "Black messiah" and Black entertainers who showed any inclination for racial and social progress were targets, he said. Black leaders and freedom fighters were targets, from slave uprisings to covert operations that destroyed the Civil Rights and Black Power movements, the Minister said.
The White desire for control of Blacks and punishment of leaders who sought freedom can be found throughout U.S. history, the Minister said.
Reading lyrics from "They Don't Really Care About Us," a single on Mr. Jackson's 1995 "HIStory" album, the Minister said Mr. Jackson was more than an entertainer. The lyrics in the song protested a lack of promised freedom, police brutality, racism, hatred and government failures. There was fear of Mr. Jackson's potential power, the Minister said. His lecture was titled "The Crucifixcion of Michael Jackson and All Responsible Black Leadership."
Mr. Jackson died June 25. A probe of his death may be turning into a criminal investigation of his doctor and possible manslaughter charges.
Min. Farrakhan called Mr. Jackson's ability to unite people a "herald" of a prophetic figure who will bring justice to the world and bring Black people into power. Look for the full story in the print edition of The Final Call Newspaper and online at www.finalcall.com and view it now @ http://www.noi.org/webcast.
Jul 26, 2009
When her father unexpectedly falls terminally ill, exotic dancer Jessica "Jesse" Brown returns home for the first time in more than a decade. Her father's dying wish - that she take over as head of Mount Olive Baptist Church - turns her life and her family's life upside down. Jesse accepts her father's commission, thereby pitting herself against her sister and most of the leadership at Mount Olive who know her sordid past. Through accepting her father's request, Jesse embarks upon a course that changes her world forever. Not only does she reconnect with her family and her teenage son, but she also finds the dignity and self-love she lost so long ago. (Source)
Philadelphia police are investigating threats directed toward the president of a black officers league after her organization accused the now-disabled Web site Domelights.com of hosting racist material.
After the Guardian Civic League sued Domelights last week in federal court, several postings on the site attacked league president Rochelle Bilal.
One said she "deserves to be gang-raped."
Bilal, a sworn officer who works in narcotics intelligence, has been assigned officers from the dignitary protection unit to guard her during the investigation.
Two uniformed officers accompanied Bilal Wednesday night at a meeting at Guardian Civic League headquarters.
The investigation is to "determine if the threat requires any further police action," said Lt. Frank Vanore, a police spokesman.
Domelights, which is administered by a police sergeant, had been a public forum until this week, when access was restricted to registered users.
Last night, the site was disabled. A message posted by the site operator read: "Until further notice, all Domelights.com services (i.e. forums, galleries, blogs) have been suspended. Thank you. McQ"
While the site is commonly seen as a forum for police to discuss crime news and gossip, not all of its members are active-duty officers.
"If the person making the threat is identified, they will face the same action criminally" whether it's an officer or a civilian, Vanore said.
Police Commissioner Charles H. Ramsey initiated the investigation, Vanore said. Bilal did not file a complaint. (Source)
Join Savvy Talk Radio w/ The Savvy Sista at 6 pm EST as we talk about Black in America 2. This past week CNN revisited their Black In America documentary series. The second installment was advertised as being more of a solution based featured as oppose to what they showed last year. So the question now is what does it really mean to be Black In America. We will talk about the series as well as the Henry Louis Gates Jr. arrest and Pres. Obama's subsequent response to that arrest. We will also be talking about the Philly swimmers who were denied access to a country club swimming pool. We will be joined by cultural critic Roland Laird as well as other guest panelist. As always your comments and questions are welcomed. Please feel free to call 718-664-6383 or join us in the live chatroom at www.blogtalkradio.com/thesavvysista.
Savvy Talk Radio w/ The Savvy Sista is a talk radio show that discusses the hottest issues going on in the community. Whether it's topics covering relationships, politics, economics, etc, it will be covered on Savvy Talk Radio. The show takes place every Sunday from 6-8 pm EST. You may listen to the live show by calling 718-664-6383. If you wish to ask a question or make a comment during the show just press "1" on your phone's keypad. You can also listen to the show on the internet by going to www.blogtalkradio.com/thesavvysista and participate in the live chat room.
Savvy Talk Radio is a subsidiary of The Savvy Sista blog (http://www.the-savvy-sista.com/). Please check it out everyday to find out the latest that is going on.
I love this song. The Golden Era....
ATLANTA -- Professional boxer Vernon "The Viper" Forrest was killed in southwest Atlanta Saturday night during an attempted carjacking.Channel 2 Action News reporter Ashley Hayes was the only reporter at the scene following the shooting. Police told Hayes that Forrest stopped at a gas station to put air in the tire of his Jaguar when he was approached by two men.The shooting happened on McDaniel Street near Fulton Street in the Mechanicsville community. Police said Forrest, 38, was shot about eight times. Police said the gunmen had two semi-automatic weapons. Police said Forrest had his girlfriend's son in the vehicle at the time of the shooting. The child remains in police custody until his mother arrives from Texas. Police are looking for two black males last seen leaving the scene in a Red Monte Carlo. Forrest, a native of Augusta, Ga., who lived in Atlanta, was a member of the 1992 Olympic team. He was also a former WBC super welterweight champion. Forrest took two wins over Sugar Shane Mosley in 2002. On Sept. 13, 2008, Forrest reclaimed his WBC 154-pound title by beating Sergio Mora. (Source)
Jul 25, 2009
The president of Liberia spoke Friday on the sexual assault of an 8-year-old Liberian refugee in Phoenix, Arizona, decrying reports that the parents believe their family has been shamed by the girl.
"This is not a question of shame on the family. It is the question of an assault on a young child. That cannot be tolerated," said President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, speaking by telephone.
Police have charged four boys, ages 9 to 14, in the case. The boys also are Liberian refugees.
"We are so saddened," Sirleaf said. "We are deeply distressed at this behavior on the part of our young Liberians and very saddened at this 8-year-old child who has been so victimized."
Phoenix police say the boys used an offer of chewing gum to lure the girl to a storage shed at an apartment complex on July 16. There, they allege, the four boys restrained and sexually assaulted her.
The 14-year-old was charged as an adult Thursday and will face two counts of sexual assault and one count of kidnapping. The other three boys were charged in juvenile court with sexual assault, and two of them also were charged with kidnapping, Thomas said.
Speaking from Liberia, Sirleaf said the family's reaction to the incident is wrong. "They should help that child who has been traumatized," she said.
She suggested the family members "need serious counseling because, clearly, they are doing something that is no longer acceptable in our society here."
She also called upon Phoenix authorities to counsel the alleged attackers. "They have to pay the penalty, but we also want to make sure that they are counseled ... that they will have an opportunity to change and become useful citizens, not only in the United States but when they return home."
Detectives said the girl was placed in the custody of Phoenix child protective services after the attack because of her parents' attitude toward her.
"The parents felt that they had been shamed or embarrassed by their child," Phoenix police Sgt. Andy Hill said Thursday.
Tony Weedor -- co-founder of the CenterPoint International Foundation, which aids Liberians in the United States and provides aid for those still in Liberia -- agreed with Hill. He said rape was not against the law in Liberia until 2006.
"The family [believes they] have been shamed by her ... and they're more concerned about that than the crime," he said.
Sirleaf said the family should not be concerned about that.
"Let me say very clearly that rape is a problem in Liberia also. There is a strong law regarding that," she said.
Milton Barnes, Liberia's ambassador to the United States, said he also will step in to help the victim.
"Our primary concern is this child," he said. "We intend to work with the authorities and the family to make sure she is safe, protected and there is certain sensitivity exercised towards her."
Edwin Sele, the deputy ambassador, also responded to the incident.
"Having heard the story myself, I'm outraged," he said. "In Liberia, the family and law enforcement officers would be embracing the victim. To hear that the family is not doing that, that should be an isolated case."
Hill said Thursday that protective services officers would "determine what's going to happen [to the girl] in the days ahead." (Source)
Jul 24, 2009
UPDATE 4:08 pm EST:
Roland Martin via Twitter has just reported that he spoke to E. Lynn Harris good friend Judge Vanessa Gilmore of Houston and she said that he fainted two days ago and refused to go to the hospital. He died today in his hotel room of a heart attack. He was 53 years old.
Author E. Lynn Harris, cheerleading sponsor/coach for Arkansas and a passionate Razorbacks fan, has passed away at 53. He was on a book tour of the West Coast.
Harris, a best-seller whose work dealt with black, gay culture and delved into athletics, was a passionate Razorbacks fan. For the past eight semesters, Harris served as a "visiting" professor for the English department. Harris detailed his life, inspiration and passion for the Razorbacks in a September 2008 Q&A with ArkansasSports360.com
Most recently, Harris' wrote his 11th novel, "Basketball Jones", which involved an NBA player and the player's gay lover. Before "Basketball Jones," Harris penned "Just Too Good To Be True," a novel detailing the life of Heisman Trophy candidate Brady Manning. Harris' novel focused on the pressures surrounding Manning and the support system the star athlete leaned on to help him through dark and troubling times. (Source)
It has been brought to my attention that this poem was not written by Dr. Maya Angelou, but in fact was written by Kimberly Allers. You can check her blog out here. Hat tip to Angelicia S. in NC for the correction.
black boy who felt the world didn't understand him. I cried for a little black
boy who spent his adulthood chasing his childhood. And I thought about all the
young black boys out there who may too feel that the world doesn't understand
them. The ones who feel that the world does not understand their baggy jeans,
their swagger, their music, their anger, their struggles, their fears or the
chip on their shoulder.. I worry that my son, may too, one day will feel lonely
in a wide, wide world.
I cried for the young children of all colors who may live their life feeling
like a misfit, feeling like no one understands their perspective, or their soul.
What a burden to carry.
As a mother, I cried for Katherine Jackson because no mother should ever bury a
child. Period. And I think about all the pain, tears and sleepless nights that
she must have endured seeing her baby boy in inner pain, seeing him struggle
with his self-esteem, and his insecurities and to know he often felt unloved
Even while the world loved him deeply. How does it feel to think that the
Unconditional love we give as mothers just isn't enough to make our children
Feel whole? I wonder if she still suffers thinking, "what more could I have
done?" Even moms of music legends aren't immune to mommy guilt, I suppose..
When Rev. Al Sharpton ("who always delivers one" awesome "funeral speech") said
to Michael's children, "Your daddy was not strange...It was strange what your
Daddy had to deal with," I thought of all the "strange" things of the world that
my children will have to deal with. Better yet, the things I hope they won't
ever have to deal with anymore.
And as a mother raising a young black boy, I feel recommitted and yet a little
confused as to how to make sure my son is sure enough within himself to take on
the world. Especially a "strange" one. To love himself enough to know that even
when the world doesn't understand you, tries to force you into its mold or
treats you unkindly, you are still beautiful, strong and Black. How do I do
Today, I am taking back "childhood" as an inalienable right for every brown
little one. In a world, that makes children into booty-shaking, mini-adults long
before their time, I'm reclaiming the playful, innocent, run-around-outside,
childhood as the key ingredient in raising confident adults. Second, I will not
rest until my little black boy, MY Michael, knows that his broad nose is
beautiful, his chocolately brown skin is beautiful, and his thick hair is
And nothing or no one can ever take that away from him.
"Now aint we bad? And ain't we black? And ain't we fine?