Apr 30, 2010

During a concert stop Monica decided to pay tribute to her idol the uncomparable Whitney Houston. She sung 'I Will Always Love You' and one of my personal favorites 'You Give Good Love.' Girlfriend got the Whitney antics down and everything. You can tell she is a student of Ms. Houston's.

Love you Whitney!!!


Forever a Whitney Fan

NEWARK — She lay face-down on the pavement, trying in terror to follow the orders of those who had already robbed and molested her. "Somebody had their knee on my back," she said, when suddenly, "They pulled my hair up and was trying to chop my neck off with a machete."

"I guess the knife was dull, because I just felt banging," Natasha Aeriel told a jury here Thursday morning. "But then I saw a bunch of blood." Screaming for mercy, she managed to push one attacker off her and rose to flee, when another shot her in the head.

The sole survivor of a notorious attack in a Newark schoolyard that left her brother and two friends dead almost three years ago, Ms. Aeriel told her story publicly for the first time in State Superior Court in Essex County. She recounted the horror of Aug. 4, 2007, in grim detail, in testimony that is at the heart of the prosecution's case in the first trial of one of the six men accused in the slayings.

Despite partial facial paralysis from the shooting that forces her to talk from one side of her mouth, Ms. Aeriel, 22, spoke clearly in three and a half hours on the witness stand, pausing just once to regain her composure. But her left hand was in nervous motion much of the time, holding her chin or her cheek, playing with the collar of her light brown jacket or running through her braids.

More than 20 relatives and friends of the victims sat in the gallery, underlining her words with a few gasps, silent tears, even a little laughter and, at one point, a smattering of applause, which brought a rebuke from Judge Michael L. Ravin.

She calmly described her wounds, tugging at her gray blouse to reveal a machete scar on her right shoulder, and pointing to the spot where the bullet struck behind her left ear. She told of living in chronic pain and of multiple operations to remove bullet fragments from her head, reattach her ear and partially reconstruct her jaw.

But what she could not do was say much about the defendant in this trial, Rodolfo Godinez, 26. She identified another of the accused as the one who shot her and said a third hacked at her neck and shoulders. In the aftermath of the attack, she was able to identify some of the defendants from pictures, but not Mr. Godinez, whose lawyers have acknowledged that he was there but say he did not participate in the attack.

Investigators have described Mr. Godinez, a native of Nicaragua, as a recruiter for MS-13, or Mara Salvatrucha, a violent street gang composed mostly of Central Americans.



PITTSBUGH, PA A Brighton Heights man standing trial for rape stabbed himself in the throat as he left the witness stand at his jury trial today.

Robert Polzer, 34, had just completed cross-examination, when he was able to grab a pen. Just as he was about to stab himself, he shouted the victim's name and said, "I'm sorry."

Once he got the pen in, a witness said, Mr. Polzer continued to push it into his throat. An Allegheny County Sheriff's deputy used a Taser to stop him from doing further harm to himself.

Mr. Polzer was taken to UPMC Mercy, and his injury required surgery.

His defense attorney asked Judge John K. Reilly Jr. for a mistrial, and it was granted.

Once Mr. Polzer recuperates, the court will have to evaluate him for competency before setting another trial date.

He is accused of rape, false imprisonment and indecent assault, stemming from an Aug. 20, 2008, incident. Mr. Polzer is accused of raping a woman he had been friends with for several months.

President Obama wipes away tears during funeral service for Dr. Dorothy I. Height's. 

Martha Minow, dean of Harvard Law School,  has released a statement in response to the controversy that erupted yesterday when a student's email discussing "the possibility that African Americans are, on average, genetically predisposed to be less intelligent." Here's an excerpt from Minow's statement:

"Here at Harvard Law School, we are committed to preventing degradation of any individual or group, including race-based insensitivity or hostility. The particular comment in question unfortunately resonates with old and hurtful misconceptions. As an educational institution, we are especially dedicated to exposing to the light of inquiry false views about individuals or groups. [...] This sad and unfortunate incident prompts both reflection and reassertion of important community principles and ideals. We seek to encourage freedom of expression, but freedom of speech should be accompanied by responsibility. This is a community dedicated to intellectual pursuit and social justice. The circulation of one student's comment does not reflect the views of the school or the overwhelming majority of the members of this community."


The student who sent the email, Stephanie Grace, is currently a third-year at Harvard Law School. She has since emailed an apology to the Black Law Students Association, saying: "I am deeply sorry for the pain caused by my email. I never intended to cause any harm, and I am heartbroken and devastated by the harm that has ensued. I would give anything to take it back. I emphatically do not believe that African Americans are genetically inferior in any way. I understand why my words expressing even a doubt in that regard were and are offensive. I would be grateful to have an opportunity to share my thoughts and to apologize to you in person. Even beforehand, I want to extend an apology to you and to anyone else who has been hurt by my actions."  source

I think this should serve as a teachable for Stephanie and her peers.  Hopefully the Black Law Students Association will meet and dialogue with her.  Only through true dialogue can we start moving forward on the issue of race in this country.
Erykah Badu, who was cited by Dallas authorities for disorderly conduct after shooting a video on a downtown Dallas street in which she strips off all of her clothes, has pleaded not guilty, MTV News reports.

It's unclear what her defense strategy is, given that she filmed the evidence for all the world to see.

The soul singer, who lost her laundry during the video for "Window Seat," did not ask permission to film in the buff, but clearly thought – maybe even hoped – that she might invite legal trouble. source


THE PRESIDENT:  Please be seated.  Let me begin by saying a word to Dr. Dorothy Height's sister, Ms. Aldridge.  To some, she was a mentor.  To all, she was a friend.  But to you, she was family, and my family offers yours our sympathy for your loss. 

We are gathered here today to celebrate the life, and mourn the passing, of Dr. Dorothy Height.  It is fitting that we do so here, in our National Cathedral of Saint Peter and Saint Paul.  Here, in a place of great honor.  Here, in the House of God.  Surrounded by the love of family and of friends.  The love in this sanctuary is a testament to a life lived righteously; a life that lifted other lives; a life that changed this country for the better over the course of nearly one century here on Earth. 

Michelle and I didn't know Dr. Height as well, or as long, as many of you.  We were reminded during a previous moment in the service, when you have a nephew who's 88 -- (laughter) -- you've lived a full life.  (Applause.) 

But we did come to know her in the early days of my campaign.  And we came to love her, as so many loved her.  We came to love her stories.  And we loved her smile.  And we loved those hats -- (laughter) -- that she wore like a crown -- regal.  In the White House, she was a regular.  She came by not once, not twice -- 21 times she stopped by the White House.  (Laughter and applause.)  Took part in our discussions around health care reform in her final months.  

Last February, I was scheduled to see her and other civil rights leaders to discuss the pressing problems of unemployment -- Reverend Sharpton, Ben Jealous of the NAACP, Marc Morial of the National Urban League.  Then we discovered that Washington was about to be blanketed by the worst blizzard in record -- two feet of snow. 

So I suggested to one of my aides, we should call   Dr. Height and say we're happy to reschedule the meeting.  Certainly if the others come, she should not feel obliged. True to form, Dr. Height insisted on coming, despite the blizzard, never mind that she was in a wheelchair.  She was not about to let just a bunch of men -- (laughter) -- in this meeting.  (Applause.)  It was only when the car literally could not get to her driveway that she reluctantly decided to stay home.  But she still sent a message -- (laughter) -- about what needed to be done. 

And I tell that story partly because it brings a smile to my face, but also because it captures the quiet, dogged, dignified persistence that all of us who loved Dr. Height came to know so well -- an attribute that we understand she learned early on. 

Born in the capital of the old Confederacy, brought north by her parents as part of that great migration, Dr. Height was raised in another age, in a different America, beyond the experience of many.  It's hard to imagine, I think, life in the first decades of that last century when the elderly woman that we knew was only a girl.  Jim Crow ruled the South.  The Klan was on the rise -- a powerful political force.  Lynching was all too often the penalty for the offense of black skin.  Slaves had been freed within living memory, but too often, their children, their grandchildren remained captive, because they were denied justice and denied equality, denied opportunity, denied a chance to pursue their dreams. 

The progress that followed -- progress that so many of you helped to achieve, progress that ultimately made it possible for Michelle and me to be here as President and First Lady -- that progress came slowly.  (Applause.)

Progress came from the collective effort of multiple generations of Americans.  From preachers and lawyers, and thinkers and doers, men and women like Dr. Height, who took it upon themselves -- often at great risk -- to change this country for the better.  From men like W.E.B Du Bois and A. Philip Randolph; women like Mary McLeod Bethune and Betty Friedan -- they're Americans whose names we know.  They are leaders whose legacies we teach.  They are giants who fill our history books.  Well, Dr. Dorothy Height deserves a place in this pantheon.  She, too, deserves a place in our history books.  (Applause.)  She, too, deserves a place of honor in America's memory.

Look at her body of work.  Desegregating the YWCA.  Laying the groundwork for integration on Wednesdays in Mississippi.  Lending pigs to poor farmers as a sustainable source of income.  Strategizing with civil rights leaders, holding her own, the only woman in the room, Queen Esther to this Moses Generation -- even as she led the National Council of Negro Women with vision and energy -- (applause) -- with vision and energy, vision and class. 

Black Entertainment Television, which Sheila Crump Johnson and her husband Bob started three decades ago with $15,000 in seed money and a $500,000 investment from media mogul John Malone, made her one of wealthiest women in America.

When Viacom bought them out in 2000, Sheila and Bob pocketed $1.3 billion—making them, pre-Oprah, the nation's first African-American billionaires.

So today she must be extremely proud of her baby, right?

"Don't even get me started," says the 60-year-old Johnson, who has since divorced and remarried (charmingly enough, to the Virginia circuit court judge who presided over her divorce). "I don't watch it. I suggest to my kids [a twentysomething daughter and a college-age son] that they don't watch it… I'm ashamed of it, if you want to know the truth."

Johnson—who was at the Tribeca Film Festival this week for the premiere of The Other City, a searing, but ultimately hopeful documentary she produced about the AIDS epidemic in Washington, D.C.—says BET is making matters worse, and potentially contributing to the spread of AIDS, by promoting promiscuous, unprotected sex in raunchy late-night rap videos.

It wasn't always that way. "When we started BET, it was going to be the Ebony magazine on television," Johnson tells me. "We had public affairs programming. We had news… I had a show called Teen Summit, we had a large variety of programming, but the problem is that then the video revolution started up… And then something started happening, and I didn't like it at all. And I remember during those days we would sit up and watch these videos and decide which ones were going on and which ones were not. We got a lot of backlash from recording artists…and we had to start showing them. I didn't like the way women were being portrayed in these videos."

Johnson says she no longer has any connection with BET. "I just really wish—and not just BET but a lot of television programming—that they would stop lowering the bar so far just so they can get eyeballs to the screen," she says. "I know they think that's what's going to keep programming on the air; that's what's going to sell advertising. But there has got to be some responsibility. Somebody has got to take this over. Because with all the studies that are out there, this is contributing to an atmosphere of free sex, 'I don't have to protect myself anymore.'"

Now if the co-founder of BET doesn't want her children watching the channel, why are you letting your children watch it?  I agree with her.  I remember a time when BET was the best thing going on television.  Video Soul, Teen Summit, Midnight Love, BET News, Caribbean Rhythms, Video LP, just to name a few, kept me tuned in as a kid.  But who are we kidding, just as much as Ms. Johnson wants to slam the network she was also apart of its demise.  Soon as she and Bob sold the network to Viacom they had to know what was going to happen.  So the fact that she is feigning disappointment is a little disingenuous of her.  She knows just like everyone else that for corporate giants like Viacom that the bottom line is the 'bottom line.'  These companies don't care about content as long as it is making them and Sumner Redstone money. 

Apr 29, 2010

(NEW YORK) April 29, 2010 Judith Jamison today announced that her mantle as Artistic Director of Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater will pass to Robert Battle, a fast-rising choreographer who has created ballets for the Ailey company and Ailey II since 1999 and has served as an artist-in-residence with The Ailey School. Mr. Battle, 37, will be the third person to head the company since its founding by Alvin Ailey in 1958. He will serve side-by-side with Ms. Jamison as Artistic Director Designate from now until July 1, 2011, when she takes Emerita status and he assumes his full responsibilities.
Judith Jamison stated, "We are enormously fortunate in being able to secure the leadership of Robert Battle. Combining an intimate knowledge of the Ailey company with an independent perspective, he is without question the creative force of the future."
Joan H. Weill, Chairman of the Alvin Ailey Dance Foundation, commented, "Robert's decade-long relationship with Ailey has given me confidence that he is a great choice to lead the company at this moment. It is exciting to know that his fresh point of view and powerful new ideas will now become part of the ever-enduring, ever-evolving legacy of Alvin Ailey, carrying our spirit forward in the years ahead."
Bruce Gordon, chairman of the Succession Planning Committee for the Board of Trustees, commented, "We feel certain that our audiences throughout the United States and around the world will embrace the evolution of the Ailey company under Robert Battle's direction. They will know their profound emotional bond with this company is being not just honored but renewed."
According to Executive Director Sharon Gersten Luckman, "Alvin Ailey and Judith Jamison built a world-renowned institution around a singular artistic vision. Under Robert Battle's artistic leadership, we can be sure that the vision will remain strong and true. I look forward to working with him to keep this institution flourishing for years to come.
Accepting his appointment as Artistic Director Designate, Robert Battle stated, "I don't know whether to call this the proudest moment of my life or the most humbling. With the help of Judith Jamison and the great, great dancers in this company, I hope to be worthy of this tremendous responsibility that I've been given, and to honor it in the only way Alvin Ailey would have accepted: by keeping it new, alive and moving forward."
"In seeking a new artistic leader for the company, it was important to find someone who has his own vision, his own experience," Judith Jamison explained. "Robert has his own company and is a maverick in his choreography. He's edgy and forward-thinking, very talented and savvy—a lovely, intelligent person who in many ways reminds me of Alvin. He also has a worldview and is capable of taking this company in new directions, while at the same time understanding our traditions. Choosing Robert Battle is the giant leap I want to take to ensure that this company stays vibrant in the future."
# # #
About Robert Battle
Honored by the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in 2005 as one of the "Masters of African-American Choreography," Robert Battle was born in Miami, Florida, in 1974 and was educated at the New World School of the Arts and The Juilliard School. Upon his graduation from Juilliard in 1994, he joined the David Parsons company as a dancer, and in 1998 he began setting his own work on the company, which now has performed his choreography nationally and internationally. Upon leaving Parsons in 2001, Robert Battle founded his own group, Battleworks Dance Company, which made its premiere in 2002 at the World Dance Alliance's Global Assembly in Düsseldorf, Germany, where it was the U.S. representative to the festival. Battleworks has subsequently performed extensively at venues including the Joyce Theater, Dance Theater Workshop, American Dance Festival and Jacob's Pillow Dance Festival.
Robert Battle began his association with Ailey in 1999, when he was commissioned to create Mood Indigo for the popular young Ailey II company under the leadership of its long-time Artistic Director Sylvia Waters. He first worked with Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater in 2003 when he created Juba for the company and choreographed side-by-side with Judith Jamison and Rennie Harris for Love Stories, which had its world premiere in 2004. The most recent work by Mr. Battle to enter the company's repertoire is In/Side, performed during the December 2009 New York season to popular and critical acclaim. Mr. Battle has also conducted workshops for The Ailey School as an artist-in-residence in 2006 and 2008.
Other companies that have commissioned new works from Mr. Battle or restaged his ballets include Hubbard Street Repertory Ensemble, River North Dance Company, Koresh Dance Company, Introdans, PARADIGM, Jeanne Ruddy Dance, and Ballet Memphis, among others.
In addition to his activities as a company leader and choreographer, Robert Battle regularly conducts residencies at universities throughout the United States and teaches master classes in New York and abroad. Among the honors he has received is the prestigious Statue award of the Princess Grace Foundation-USA, which he accepted in 2007.

CHICAGO — Bria Fleming has been through a lot in the last year, including her mother's hospitalization and job loss and a fire in their home. It'd be enough to get most 18-year-olds down.

But the black high school student is surprisingly optimistic about the future and her chances for a better life — an attitude common among her African-American peers, according to a new nationwide survey of high school students.

"I know kids who've been through less and maybe they can't handle it," said Fleming, who will head to Florida A&M University in the fall in hopes of eventually becoming a veterinarian. "But my mom always tells me, 'Work hard, stay positive and you'll make it.'"

A poll released Thursday by Hamilton College in Clinton, N.Y., found that 70 percent of black students ages 15 to 18 thought their standard of living would be better than their parents, compared with just 36 percent of white students.

Overall, 39 percent of respondents thought they would have a higher living standard.

Those numbers and the level of optimism among black students appeared to be closely tied to their enthusiasm for President Barack Obama, making for what some called the "Obama effect."

Asked about the president's performance, more than two-thirds of black students rated his performance as "good" or "very good," compared with 23 percent of white students. Overall, about a quarter of the students who were surveyed rated the president highly.

DeQuan Foster, a 15-year-old high school sophomore in Newark, N.J., agreed that having someone who looks like him leading the country has strongly influenced his belief in the future and what he can personally achieve.

"You're always told anything is possible — but when you see it, you believe it. It makes me want to try twice as hard," said Foster, who's active in the theater and his local Boys & Girls Club and hopes to start his own entertainment company after college.

It's an attitude that mirrored the findings of a recent Harvard Institute of Politics survey of 18- to 29-year-olds, and that could have ramifications on November's midterm elections, said John Della Volpe, the institute's polling director.

"Young African Americans have this serious afterglow that is not as strong with whites and Hispanics," Della Volpe said. "And that's despite (African American youth) having more serious economic concerns."

WATCH LIVE: Dr. Dorothy Height's Funeral starting 10am EST

WASHINGTON (AP) -- President Barack Obama will deliver the eulogy Thursday for the late Dorothy I. Height, a woman he calls the godmother of the civil rights movement.

Height, who led the National Council of Negro Women for decades and marched with the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., will be honored during a funeral service at Washington National Cathedral for her leadership on the front lines fighting for equality, education and to ease racial tension. She died last week at age 98.

"Dr. Height devoted her life to those struggling for equality ... and served as the only woman at the highest level of the civil rights movement -- witnessing every march and milestone along the way," Obama said in a statement when she died April 20.

She was a voice for women in the civil rights movement and beyond. Leading women are expected to celebrate her life in return, including poet Maya Angelou, educator Camille Cosby, singers BeBe Winans and Denyce Graves, among others.

Height was a quietly powerful figure in Washington, meeting with every president since Dwight D. Eisenhower. Her activism stretched from Obama's election back to the New Deal. In recent years, she was cheered at events and easily recognizable in the colorful hats she often wore.

Born in Richmond, Va., in 1912 before women could vote and when black people had few rights, Height went on to earn bachelor's and master's degrees from New York University. As a social worker in the 1930s, she worked to resolve riots in Harlem and marched in protest of lynching.

She became a leader in the YWCA, worked to desegregate public facilities and was one of 10 young people chosen by Eleanor Roosevelt to spend a weekend at the first lady's Hyde Park, N.Y., home preparing for a World Youth Conference.

Height was elected national president of the Delta Sigma Theta sorority and volunteered in her 20s for the National Council of Negro Women under her mentor, Mary McLeod Bethune.

By 1957, she became head of the organization and created the National Black Family Reunion, attended by thousands since 1986 on the National Mall. She led the council to be the only historic black group with a home on Washington's symbolic Pennsylvania Avenue between the Capitol and White House.

She stepped down in 1997, but the building still bears her name. Friends raised $5 million in 2002 to pay off the mortgage.

In a soon-to-be-published book, "Living With Purpose," Height left some advice. She writes that people should look at the world as it is becoming, rather than as it has been.

"We have to gain a recognition not only that no one stands alone, but on a positive side, that we also need each other," she wrote. "In the long run, it is how we relate to each other and how well we work together that will make the deciding difference."


First let me share a little background on the email:
This email was written by a female third year law student at Harvard who also attended Princeton.  Just on that description alone she shares the same credentials as one Mrs. Michelle Obama.  She is also scheduled to begin a very prominent circuit court clerkship upon graduation.  So on paper, this young lady definitely sounds like a reasonably intelligent person (at least book sense wise), but that is not what came across in an email she sent out.  
She was apparently at dinner with a group of friends when she made a few statements that appeared to have offended some.  So in order to clarify her statements she sent an email to couple of the people from the dinner who in turn forward the email to the Harvard Black Law Student Association.  As you may have guess, the email didn't go over very well with the students fromt he BLSA and thus they forward the email to the BLSA's at the top 14 law schools across the country.
Here is the email in its entirety (the name of the author has been changed to 'DNA')

… I just hate leaving things where I feel I misstated my position.

I absolutely do not rule out the possibility that African Americans are, on average, genetically predisposed to be less intelligent. I could also obviously be convinced that by controlling for the right variables, we would see that they are, in fact, as intelligent as white people under the same circumstances. The fact is, some things are genetic. African Americans tend to have darker skin. Irish people are more likely to have red hair. (Now on to the more controversial:) Women tend to perform less well in math due at least in part to prenatal levels of testosterone, which also account for variations in mathematics performance within genders. This suggests to me that some part of intelligence is genetic, just like identical twins raised apart tend to have very similar IQs and just like I think my babies will be geniuses and beautiful individuals whether I raise them or give them to an orphanage in Nigeria. I don't think it is that controversial of an opinion to say I think it is at least possible that African Americans are less intelligent on a genetic level, and I didn't mean to shy away from that opinion at dinner.

I also don't think that there are no cultural differences or that cultural differences are not likely the most important sources of disparate test scores (statistically, the measurable ones like income do account for some raw differences). I would just like some scientific data to disprove the genetic position, and it is often hard given difficult to quantify cultural aspects. One example (courtesy of Randall Kennedy) is that some people, based on crime statistics, might think African Americans are genetically more likely to be violent, since income and other statistics cannot close the racial gap. In the slavery era, however, the stereotype was of a docile, childlike, African American, and they were, in fact, responsible for very little violence (which was why the handful of rebellions seriously shook white people up). Obviously group wide rates of violence could not fluctuate so dramatically in ten generations if the cause was genetic, and so although there are no quantifiable data currently available to "explain" away the racial discrepancy in violent crimes, it must be some nongenetic cultural shift. Of course, there are pro-genetic counterarguments, but if we assume we can control for all variables in the given time periods, the form of the argument is compelling.

In conclusion, I think it is bad science to disagree with a conclusion in your heart, and then try (unsuccessfully, so far at least) to find data that will confirm what you want to be true. Everyone wants someone to take 100 white infants and 100 African American ones and raise them in Disney utopia and prove once and for all that we are all equal on every dimension, or at least the really important ones like intelligence. I am merely not 100% convinced that this is the case.

Please don't pull a Larry Summers on me,

I know you may be asking yourself why is this news, of course there are people at Harvard who are racist, but that is not the reason why this is news.  The reason this email is news is because the young woman who wrote this email will eventually be in a position of influence where her opinion can have a great affect on your life and the lives of your children.  You may think I'm reaching with this one, but look up all the past Presidents, Supreme Court justices, federal court judges, etc. and tell me what the majority of these people have in common. 
I can sit here all day and tell you how racist 'The Man' is, but the truth of the matter is we have to do a better job with our children.  We are capable of producing some of the brightest and most brilliant people in world at a quarter of the resources.  Everyday we as a people defy the odds, but somewhere along the line we began to lose our ingenuity and brilliance.  Some of us began to think the mediocrity is normal and all that we are capable of.  I know for fact that we are capable of so much more.
I don't want this email to just make you hate 'The Man' I want this email to serve as a reminder and be your motivation.  For every 'DNA' that's in a position of influence we must counter with a Myron Rolle, Katie Washington, Michelle Obama, or Reginal Laster, Jr. (who happens to be my brilliant 8 year old nephew).  We can sit back and sang songs about whoa-is-me or we can prove our brilliance through our actions. 
Everyday some of us rise to the occasion when it comes to mediocrity and ineptitude.  How about we rise to the occasion and maximize our potential and be the brilliant people that we are.  Stop dumbing it down and smarten it up.  Our children deserve better.
****Me stepping off of soap box****

WASHINGTON – The U.S. policy banning women from serving on submarines passed quietly into history Thursday morning.

Secretar of Defense Robert Gates notified lawmakers in mid-February that the Navy would be lifting the ban — unless Congress objected.

Navy spokesman Lt. Justin Cole said the deadline for Congress to object passed at midnight without action.

The Navy plans a press conference later Thursday to talk about the new policy that will allow women to serve along side men on submarines.

The Tennessee Titans nabbed Florida State safety and Rhodes Scholar Myron Rolle in the sixth round of the NFL Draft on Saturday against quiet concern over his commitment to the game.

Rolle graduated in 2 1/2 years from Florida State, where he played safety for three years. He chose to skip his senior year after being awarded the Rhodes Scholarship, an honor that only 32 men and women garner every year and requires study at Oxford University.Rolle spent this past football season in Oxford studying for a graduate degree in medical anthropology. Yet, the Titans still selected him with the 207th overall pick – and over questions from multiple NFL teams, scouts and executives about his commitment level because of his decision to accept the Rhodes Scholarship.

In a radio interview on Monday – in between answering questions about American health care policy, the medical clinic he plans to build in the Bahamas, his love for football, and hanging with fellow Rhodes Scholar President Bill Clinton – he addressed the question of how having his commitment to football questioned made him feel.

"I was very surprised. I had anticipated I would get some questions. … but I didn't expect it to be as big, or as huge of an issue in the whole scheme of the draft process," he said. "The only thing I can say or try to convey is that I have a lot of options, I do, and I'm very proud I won the Rhodes Scholarship. Medical school will be in my future 15 years from now, Lord willing … and being a politician is not out of the question either. But if I have all these options and I still choose to play football, that must mean that I really love it. … I really do want it, and I have to show it."

Congratulations to Mr. Rolle.  I'm glad he chose to take the Rhodes Scholarship because through it he finds himself in an even more elite group than just being in the NFL.  He is in a group that has produced Presidents, senators, generals, and countless other brilliant people.  He serves as a perfect representation of his parents and what is possible if you are willing to put in the work.  He stands as the perfect role model to our young boys as to what they can achieve.  He has the perfect backup plan!

Apr 28, 2010


President Obama will deliver the eulogy at the funeral of Dorothy Height, the civil rights leader who died last week at the age of 98. Height, who was president emerita of the National Council of Negro Women, was one of the last surviving leaders of the generation that battled for the fundamental rights of African Americans.

A White House source said the President would deliver the eulogy on Thursday at the National Cathedral, where final rites are scheduled for Height. She was often the only woman present at male-dominated events of the 1950s and 1960s. She stood to the left of Martin Luther King Jr. when he delivered his famed "I Have A Dream" speech at the National Mall in 1963. Mahalia Jackson sang, but no woman was allowed to speak at the March on Washington.

Her body will lay in repose at the council's headquarters on Tuesday. Members of the public can pay their respects from 6 p.m. to 10 pm. On Wednesday, Height will be honored by the Delta Sigma Theta sorority at 2 p.m. in a public service at Howard University. At 7 p.m., a public Community Celebration of Life memorial will be held at Shiloh Baptist Church in Washington, DC. Height's funeral will begin at 10 a.m. Burial will follow at Fort Lincoln Cemetery in Brentwood. source

World Exclusive: Meet Sandra Bullock's Baby Boy! | Sandra Bullock
Now isn't this the cutest baby you've ever seen.  I am so happy for Sandra.  Based on statistics, African American children are the least likely to be adopted in this country.  So if a person is willing to show these children love and invite them into their home I am all for it regardless of their color.  These children deserve love and love sees no color.  And who wouldn't love a face like little Louis Bardo Bullock.  Just adorable!

Cross Post from Eurweb:

Shoutout to bell hooks!

*I'm disappointed in Black women! Yeah, I said it! Now before you stop reading, hear me out. I'm not disappointed because of the "Nightline" special or the subsequent responses around the 'net.

I actually applaud the response, because most blogs, essays, articles, I've read dealt with the exploitive nature this topic is taking on. What I am upset with is the response, or lack thereof, to the expanding empire of exploitative Reality TV shows.

Each week there's an announcement of a new show that continues to push the envelope of tackiness towards the abyss and with each premiere I see legions of fans flock to some of the most disturbing images of Black women since BET's "Uncut" was taken off the air. But I know what you're saying, "That's not me on that TV." That's where you're wrong, that is you showing your ass every week on VH1 or BET, because there's people around the country that have limited interactions with Black women, so all they have to go on is what they see on TV.

Much like I'm forced to wear the stereotype of a potential criminal, the angry Black guy, a shiftless, non-committal baby father or if I'm thought to be just plain ol' ignant thanks to the Mayweathers on HBO's "24/7", you're fighting media representations that showcase you in a less than flattering light.

Dr. Dorothy Height helped to prove that Black women could fight a war for equality on two fronts, but her work was all in vain if a blind eye is turned to the irresponsible use of the Black female image. For every Michelle Obama, Oprah Winfrey or Claire Huxtable, there's a Nene Leakes, Tiffany "New York" Pollard, Royce Reed, a houseful of chicks vying for Flavor Flav, Real, Chance or Ray J, plus Frankie and Neffie! And if you haven't noticed, these characters are hatched weekly. Less than a week after "Basketball Wives" premiered on VH1, it was announced that "Football Wives" was being developed to air later this year and just a few days ago plans for a new show named "Diary of a Hip Hop Girlfriend" was revealed.  Notice the trend; we've gone from wives to girlfriends, what's next, "Drug Dealer's Baby Mamas"?

In thousands of households last night there was someone watching the behavior of the basketball wives that saw the Nightline special and thought to themselves, "I see why Black women can't get married." It is painfully obvious watching the show that money doesn't buy class and those dollars don't amount to common sense. That is, unless you're Shaunie O'Neal aka the Puppet Master, executive producer behind the show who's conveniently absent as the rest of the cast plunges from the surreal to the ridiculous. Seriously, Evelyn and Jennifer couldn't be happy that Gloria and her fiancé (Matt Barnes of the Orlando Magic) are happy and building a great family, instead they have to project their experiences on her relationship.

We saw the warning signs a few years ago when Karrine Steffans' tell-all book and subsequent promotional tour landed her on numerous bestsellers' lists and Oprah's couch, but we ignored it and deemed it as an isolated incident. Then came New York and her multiple shots at love (and stardom), Keyshia Cole introduced us to her dysfunctional family, Bravo's "Real Housewives" franchise moved to Atlanta, Fantasia got real and the beat went on and on and on and now Teairra Mari is singing about her "Sponsor" while loose lips sink the sailboats of the Black family structure in the background.

Even the guy you've entrusted to project on-screen images of you (Tyler Perry), shoots the most one-dimensional, stereotypical views of Black women, but you continue to laugh and he chuckles all the way to the bank. It seems like Essence magazine would be the perfect vehicle to approach this problem, but they seem preoccupied with the 'Single Black Woman' problem and provide a platform for this new wave of entertainment and we all know Oprah's just too busy to worry herself (or show) with what Black women actually go through daily.

Ok maybe I'm taking this too serious, maybe it isn't my fight, and maybe years of double standards within our community has rewritten the definition of a Black woman and I haven't updated my copy of Webster's. That's all hypothetical, but what is for sure, is there's a large population of women watching this madness week after week as Maya Angelou's "Phenomenal Woman" has been rewritten by Nicki Minaj, Teairra Mari and the folks at Viacom.

About the writer

Between rhetoric and reality is where you'll find The World According to Teef. Plainfield, NJ native Al-Lateef Farmer is a self-styled social documentarian that tackles everything from politics to pop culture, Reality TV to relationships with a brand of social commentary rooted in independent thought that is unfiltered, uncensored, unforgiving, but never unreal! Take a trip to his world at http://worldaccording2teef.blogspot.com/

Apr 27, 2010

The White House and Department of Education are kicking off the final phase of the Race to the Top Commencement Challenge – your input. 

Starting today at WhiteHouse.gov/Commencement you can view a three minute video and short essay from each of the six high school finalists and rate them from 1-5.  President Obama will choose from one of the top three publicly rated schools to visit and deliver the commencement address this spring.

The Commencement Challenge launched on February 19th, when the White House and Department of Education invited public high schools across the country to submit applications to have President Obama speak at their graduation. Over 1,000 high schools submitted applications, demonstrating how they are making significant strides on personal responsibility, academic excellence and college readiness, and how they are working toward the President's national goal of having the most college graduates by 2020.

The six finalists, Blue Valley Northwest High School in Overland Park, KS, Clark Montessori in Cincinnati, OH, Denver School of Science and Technology in Denver, Colorado, Environmental Charter High School in Lawndale, CA, Kalamazoo Central High School in Kalamazoo, MI and MAST Academy in Miami, FL, were announced on April 9th. Over the last two weeks, the Get Schooled Foundation, which includes founding partners Viacom and The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, worked with each school to create short videos highlighting how the school best fulfills the Commencement Challenge's criteria.  Starting today, you can watch the videos, read the essays and submit your ratings.  Your top-three rated schools will go to the President and from there  he will select one national winner.

The Commencement Challenge highlighted stories of success in schools across the country and I am especially proud of these six finalists for their dedication to producing and promoting academic excellence. Visit WhiteHouse.gov/Commencement anytime between 8 AM EDT on Monday, April 26th through 11:59 PM EDT on Thursday, April 29, and help decide the best high school for the President's first annual high school commencement address. source

Thomas Hagan (l.) is treated at Jewish Memorial Hospital in 1966 for a gunshot wound after the assassination of Malcolm X (inset).

The man who murdered Malcolm X with a 1965 shotgun blast was released Tuesday from prison.

Thomas Hagan, who turned 69 this month, walked out of the Lincoln Correctional Facility around 11 a.m., said state corrections spokeswoman Linda Foglia.

Hagan was spending two nights a week in the W. 110th St. facility as part of a work release program that he started in 1988 - 23 years after the assassination of Malcolm X inside the Audubon Ballroom.

His bids for parole and full release were rejected 16 times before Hagan was cleared for freedom on March 3. He is now under supervision of the state Division of Parole.

Foglia said Hagan was turned loose one day prior to his tentative release date because all the inmate's paperwork was completed early.

Two years ago, the married father was working in a fast food restaurant.

Hagan - known then as Talmadge Hayer - was arrested within minutes of the brutal slaying as Malcolm addressed about 400 followers in the ballroom at 166th St. and Broadway.

The religious leader's pregnant wife and daughters looked on as Malcolm was gunned down. Hagan was then shot and beaten by outraged members of the audience while trying to flee.

He has been in custody ever since.

Hagan, a one-time militant member of the Nation of Islam, admitted his role in the killing during his 1966 trial.

A decade later, he said the killing was sparked because Malcolm was a "hypocrite" who turned against Nation of Islam leader Elijah Muhammad.

Hagan was sentenced to 20 years to life in prison.

Two other men were convicted with him in the killing, although both were paroled more than two decades ago.

Dear Steve,

Wow. I almost feel like I should call you Mr. Harvey, you are twenty-six years my senior. But since we've become so intimately acquainted- you coaching me and my peers on how to find a man and all, I'll just call you Steve.

My first memory of you was on the sitcom, Me and the Boys. A short-lived mid-90's series, you played a single father parenting three sons on your own. Although not necessarily reflective of the true-to-life black family structure of prominently female-led homes, the show presented an obscured experience in popular culture– black fathers doing what they have to do, hard working and committed to raising their children. You became officially integrated into black Hollywood on WB's "The Steve Harvey Show." Portraying a high school music teacher, black America came to know your brand of coolness, a no non-sense mix of authenticity and humor. It was an everyday kind of comedy-you didn't crack jokes, you simply told it like it was and we laughed.

In 2000, middle-aged black women everywhere fell for you. As a host in the acclaimed stand-up comedy film The Original Kings of Comedy, you hilariously declared your devotion to old school soul music. I can remember sitting in a crowded movie theater with my Mother, so saturated we had to sit in the third row. You were like this grand wizard taking viewers on the funkiest sonic time travel. Like a funny Don Cornelius, you introduced young Black America to love songs by Earth, Wind and Fire and Lenny Williams. For many of us, it like was a breezy nostalgia, driving in the car with our parents playing The Ohio Player's "Heaven Must Be Like This" on the oldies station.

Instinctively becoming a champion for the old school way, you professed, "If you ain't old school, you don't really know what's happening." You transitioned into a distinctive new kind of black male comic. Undoubtedly a first, you became a maestro, sort of a crusader for the 'back in the day.' Hosting the BET Awards, presenting Lifetime Achievement honors to legends of our music's past, you were one of our favorites. Never the cooning, cross-dressing comedian. You wouldn't be caught dead tap dancing for anyone, certainly not white America.

Well Steve, 10 years later things have kind of changed you know? Many of us never imagined you become that chosen representative for all of black America. The kind of commentator, "joe-for-a-quote" routinely solicited by the media. The kind of media that will select you to "advise" black women in America and in the same breath will clown you for your seldom mispronunciation of words. I mean, we all believed in your talent. We knew you would evolve as a performer. Predictably in a Dick Gregory kind of way, but not like this.

Today you host a nationally syndicated radio show and last year, authored a New York Times bestselling book, Act Like a Lady, Think Like a Man. Some argue your book help usher in the latest emergence of the myth of the 'Single Black Woman' or 'SBW.' You dedicate in your book to 'all women,' "My hope is to empower you with a wide-open look into the minds of men." You urge single women to adopt the behavior of men, while preserving a chaste sensibility. In your popular '90 day rule' you compare sexual activity to the receipt of job benefits stating, "If Ford and the government won't give a man benefits until he's been on the job and proven himself, why, ladies, are you passing out benefits to men before they've proven themselves worthy?" A seemingly useful how-to, black women religiously consumed the 232 pages like a First Sunday communion.

Now you're regularly called on by ABC. Essence magazine even gave you a column. You regularly dish advice to frantic female callers during your radio show's "Strawberry Letter." You've become the love doctor with a media-endorsed diagnosis for the new 'Black woman problem.' Today, you're like another Al Sharpton. Anytime the media needs a weigh-in from a black voice, you appear. But Steve, are you really comfortable here in this new position? Somehow many of us get the impression that this isn't exactly where you planned to be. At least I'm hoping so.

Four students who were abducted Sunday night gave a press conference on the Morehouse campus on Monday, April 26. They did not want their faces shown.

Audio provided Monday night by the Atlanta Police department showed that the students kidnapped Sunday night from Morehouse were not put on hold when they called 911.

Two of the students, who were placed in the trunk of a car during the carjacking used a cell phone to call for help, and said they eventually had to call Morehouse Police when they couldn't get through Atlanta's 911 emergency call center.

But recordings of two of the four 911 calls made -- the students hung up before two other calls were answered -- reflect conversation that was either indecipherable or gave no information that could lead police to them.

"Tell them give them money," one student is heard saying in the first call, placed just after 5:16 p.m., as the operator repeats … "Hellooo."

Atlanta Police spokesman Sgt. Curtis Davenport, in an e-mail, said the first call was answered in four seconds.

"The 911 operator could hear the victim talking in the background, but could not ascertain vital information needed to complete the call," Davenport said.

The connection was lost, and the operator calls back, with no answer.

The students made two subsequent calls after 5:17 and after 5:18 p.m., both of which police said the caller hung up on before the call was answer, but after more than 30 seconds.

At a news conference at Morehouse on Monday morning, the captives said they eventually called the Morehouse College police department, where a dispatcher alerted officers to their whereabouts.

Atlanta Police received that call from Morehouse at 5:21:24 p.m., and officers were on the scene four minutes later, Davenport said.

Two suspects, a 17-year-old and a juvenile, were arrested when police arrived at a West End bank where the suspects went to use the victims' ATM cards.

As police were arresting the alleged kidnappers at 5:27:45 p.m., a fourth call came from the students.

"They got my wallet … they got my iPhone and everything," the students were heard saying in the final call, although it was unclear before they hung up who the students were talking to during the 33-second transmission..

Davenport said the operator called the students back at 5:28 p.m.

Morehouse College police Chief Vernon Worthy said the victims, three of them Morehouse students and the fourth a student at American InterContinental University, were in the "Collegetown" complex a block west of the Morehouse campus when they were carjacked at gunpoint.

The gunmen forced two of the students into the trunk of the Buick LaCrosse, while the other two victims remained in the back seat of the vehicle.

"These students were taken to the West End area," Worthy said. "The intent was to take them somewhere west of this area to an ATM to gain money from their bank accounts. The kids had presence of mind to ask the robbers, or tell the robbers, they wanted to stay in the West End area to access banks there."

Worthy said that after being kidnapped, one of the students in the trunk "got on his phone and dialed 911. He was unable to get anyone, he was put on hold at 911, so he switched over and called the Morehouse College police number."

From the APD recording, the students didn't seem to hear the 911 operator talking to them during the roughly 30-second call.


Apr 26, 2010


Funeral Arrangements for Dr. Dorothy I. Height
Courtesy of the National Council of Negro Women
Saturday, April 24, 2010

Funeral services for Dr. Dorothy I. Height, chair and president emerita of the National Council of Negro Women (NCNW), who passed earlier this week, will take place in Washington, D.C. beginning Tuesday, April 27 and end with funeral services at Washington National Cathedral on Thursday, April 29, according to former U.S. Secretary of Labor Alexis Herman, who is overseeing the arrangements.

Burial services will be held at Fort Lincoln Cemetery in Maryland. Dr. Height passed away on Tuesday, April 20, at the age of 98.

Tuesday, April 27
6:00 – 10:00 p.m. — Dr. Height will lie in repose at the NCNW Dorothy I. Height building for a public viewing.

Wednesday, April 28
2:00 p.m. — The Delta Sigma Theta Sorority will conduct a public Omega Omega Service at Howard University. Dr. Height served as national president of the sorority in 1947.

7:00 p.m. — A "Community Celebration of Life" memorial will be held at Shiloh Baptist Church in Washington, D.C. The memorial is open to the public.

Thursday, April 29

10:00 a.m. — A funeral service will be conducted at Washington National Cathedral and is open to the public. The burial service will follow at Fort Lincoln Cemetery in Maryland.


John Spink, jspink@ajc.com
Four students who were kidnapped in a Sunday night carjacking in Atlanta used a cell phone to call 911 from the trunk of the car where they were being held, only to be put on hold by the 911 operator. The captives eventually called the Morehouse College police department, where a dispatcher alerted Atlanta police to their whereabouts, the students said at a news conference at Morehouse on Monday morning.

Two suspects, a 17-year-old and a juvenile, were arrested when police arrived at a West End bank where the suspects were attempting to use the victims' ATM cards.

Two of the students were in the trunk and two others were in the back seat of the carjacked Buick Lacrosse. The victims in the trunk were able to use an emergency latch to open the trunk enough to see where they were. Police responded to a Wachovia branch on Lee Street, where they arrested the two suspects. A third suspect was able to escape.

The four students were approached by gunmen around 6 p.m. on Peeples Street in southwest Atlanta, according to Atlanta police spokesman Otis Redmond.

The suspects demanded money and other belongings from the victims before forcing two of them into the trunk of the car. source

Am I the only person who hears Flavor Flav in his/her head saying, "...911 is a joke in your town..."


Here's proof that hip-hop is still America's most potent and controversial pop form: Barack Obama -- a leader some have dubbed the hip-hop president -- has yet to have a rapper perform in the East Room.

This administration loves music. It has held numerous concerts through the landmark White House Music Series, a laudable effort to celebrate unique strands of American music at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. Thus far, the series has shone its chandelier light on country, jazz, Latin and classical.

So what's taken President Obama so long to recognize the genre that mobilized to help get him elected?

Hip-hop was pumping out the hosannas during Obama's trek on the 2008 campaign trail, praising him in rhyme after rhyme. Young Jeezy's "My President" was the most compelling hit to emerge from the pack -- a powerful confluence of pop hit, street anthem and rally cry. Over a triumphant beat, the Atlanta rapper gave his endorsement with a trademark roar: "Obama for mankind/We're ready for damn change, so y'all let the man shine!"

So far, Jeezy hasn't roared those words in the East Room. And it's not because the administration doesn't understand reciprocity. In June 2009, country hunk Brad Paisley released "Welcome to the Future," a soaring tune that cites the Obama presidency as Martin Luther King Jr.'s dream manifest. A few weeks after "Welcome to the Future" hit the airwaves, Paisley was in the White House crooning it for the first family.

Meantime, Jeezy is presumably still waiting for his invitation. Ditto for Ludacris and Common -- both A-list rappers who praised Obama during the campaign. And while Jay-Z made a quick and quiet visit to the White House in March, the only rap performance to take place there during Obama's term came in spring 2009 from Will.I.Am of the Black Eyed Peas. (And let's be real -- Will's not a rapper so much as a walking, talking, rhyming BlackBerry commercial.)

One can assume that Obama is still tiptoeing the very thin line between embracing the hip-hop community and catering to constituents who remain dubious about rap music.

He took a similar approach during the campaign, adopting Jay-Z's dirt-off-your-shoulder gesture during a speech in North Carolina, while distancing himself from a Ludacris song that hurled pointed insults at Hillary Rodham Clinton, John McCain and George W. Bush.

But isn't that the beauty of both hip-hop and American politics? Opinions run hot. Mud gets slung. In a crumbling music industry where survival often depends on playing nice, hip-hop is not afraid to push envelopes. And that's exactly why it's worth celebrating in America's house.

It wouldn't come without criticism. If Bill O'Reilly was able to persuade Pepsi to drop a Ludacris endorsement in 2002, one can only imagine what Glenn Beck might do with an Easter Egg Roll appearance from Gucci Mane.

Still, it's time for the White House Music Series to recognize hip-hop. Common -- a Chicago rapper who is incredibly thoughtful, widely revered and squeaky clean -- seems like a plausible candidate. Even better: an appearance from hip-hop troupe the Roots. Many of these Music Series events contain an educational component for young students, and you're not going to get a better drum lesson from anyone other than Roots bandleader and timekeeper ?uestlove.

Or maybe invite hip-hop royalty. Twenty years ago, Chuck D of Public Enemy was one of American music's hottest lightning rods. Today, he divides his stage time between rapping and giving lectures. He spoke on a panel at Washington's Duke Ellington School of the Arts in February. Did he think the POTUS was overdue in recognizing hip-hop?

"The Obama administration has other things to worry about," he said. "They have to worry about the constituency of the United States of America, and I think the president is wise enough to understand that there are major issues at hand."

Let's hope he's also wise enough to invite someone like Chuck D to perform at the White House -- sooner rather than later


In this Friday, Oct. 16, 2009 photo, Girard College president Autumn Adkins smiles during her investiture ceremony at Girard College in Philadelphia. The private boarding school for needy children now led by Autumn Adkins, who describes herself simply as "a black girl from Richmond, Virginia," would have excluded her in years past. The one-time white boys-only institution in Philadelphia did not admit its first black student until 1968, after numerous legal challenges, months of protests, a visit from Martin Luther King Jr. and a ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court. Girls weren't allowed until 1984. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)

PHILADELPHIA — The private boarding school for underprivileged students now led by Autumn Adkins, who describes herself simply as "a black girl from Richmond, Virginia," would have excluded her in years past.

The one-time white boys-only institution in Philadelphia did not admit its first black student until 1968 — and that was only after numerous legal challenges, months of protests, a visit from Martin Luther King Jr. and a ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court. Girls weren't allowed until 1984.

Girard College — a misnomer, as it serves first- through 12th-graders — has come a long way since being established by the richest man you never heard of. And as its newest president, the 37-year-old Adkins is determined to take it further, raising the school's profile by giving its students "a true 21st-century education."

"I have been really putting a lot of energy around making school exciting," Adkins said. "It needs to be engaging. I've said to several of my administrators, I don't want teachers wasting kids' time — they're young. It's just not fair."

Stephen Girard, a French-born sea captain, amassed a fortune through shipping, trading and banking after coming to Philadelphia in 1776. He helped the U.S. finance the War of 1812 and, when he died in 1831, was likely the wealthiest man in America.

Girard left about $6 million (approximately $146 million in today's money) to the city of Philadelphia, mostly to build and endow a tuition-free school for poor, fatherless white boys. The "college" opened in 1848 and, until now, had been run exclusively by white men. Its first president was Benjamin Franklin's great-grandson.

The school's overseers were not looking to make history after the most recent president retired. But they were bowled over by Adkins' enthusiasm, work ethic, rigorous standards and an impressive resume that includes degrees from the University of Virginia and Columbia University's Teachers College.

"She is highly intelligent, she is highly driven, she is extremely communicative," said Peter Shoemaker, chairman of the board of managers. "She has evolved a very clear vision for the school."

Raised in an upper-middle class Virginia suburb, Adkins' passion for education was inspired in part by teenage volunteer work in poor neighborhoods. She was struck by the narrow life experiences of the children there, and later wrote in a college application that she dreamed of starting a boarding school for underprivileged students.

Girard is the realization of that dream.

Following high-level posts at the elite Friends Seminary School in New York and Sidwell Friends School in Washington, D.C., Adkins arrived last summer at Girard's 43-acre campus.

The school looks like a slice of New England in rough North Philadelphia: Students in blue and burgundy blazers stroll grassy quads amid stone buildings, playing fields and a soaring chapel. The grandly columned Founder's Hall — the original school building — was planned by Thomas Ustick Walter, who designed the dome of the U.S. Capitol.

Yet Girard's imposing walls and entrance gate became symbols of segregation when trustees refused to admit African-American students. Local activists picketed for months outside the school in 1965; King visited that August, declaring "the walls of segregation would come tumbling down." In 1968, they did.

Today, most of Girard's 620 students are black and half are female; all come from low-income families headed by a single parent or guardian. Students are selected based on an assessment test, family interview and, if older than first grade, an academic transcript.

Adkins — the descendant of a slave — believes Stephen Girard would support diversity and that the restrictions in his will, which she has read, simply reflect the era in which he lived.

The new civil rights struggle, she says, is to make urban education competitive with its suburban peer.

To that end, Adkins plans to broaden the curriculum, modernize the facilities and increase teacher salaries. She also wants to better prepare students for life outside the walls; while nearly all Girard students are accepted to college, less than half get a degree in six years, school officials say.

The school's $25 million annual budget comes almost entirely from the Girard estate's securities, real estate and mining investments, which suffered during the recession. Financial records show the trust's value dropped from $309 million in 2008 to $204 million last year, prompting Adkins to launch aggressive fundraising plans.

"I do have real concerns," Adkins said. "Will we be able to educate as many children as we should be?"

The new president is a vibrant presence on campus, doling out hugs, handshakes and banter. She hosts small groups of students at the president's house for "family" meals — a chance for Adkins to know them better, and to expose them to sit-down dinners they may not get at home.

"I've learned an enormous amount from the students," Adkins said. "They're interesting, they're thoughtful, they're inquisitive — they deserve the kind of education that complements that."

Sophomore Olayinka Lawal said when she first saw a picture of Adkins last year, she was most struck by the new president being young and female. That Adkins is black was almost an afterthought, Lawal said, coming as it did the same year Barack Obama became the nation's first African-American president.

"It just fit perfectly, it really did," she said. "It was like, wow, what a mirror!" source


ASHEVILLE, N.C. — An armed man who was spotted at a North Carolina airport parking lot just after Air Force One departed and said he wanted to see the president was to appear before a judge Monday.

Authorities arrested Joseph Sean McVey, 23, of Coshocton, Ohio, on Sunday afternoon at the Asheville Regional Airport and charged him with going armed in terror of the public, a misdemeanor.

A first appearance in court was scheduled for Monday, said Sgt. John Lutz of the Buncombe County jail, where McVey was being held on $100,000 bond.

McVey told an officer in the airport parking lot he wanted to see the president and he had a car equipped with police gear, including a siren and flashing lights, though he did not work in law enforcement, authorities said.

Security was heightened at the airport Sunday because President Barack Obama was leaving after spending the weekend vacationing in Asheville.

At about 2 p.m., airport police saw McVey get out of a maroon car with Ohio plates and that he had a sidearm, airport police Capt. Kevan Smith said. Both airport police and the Secret Service questioned him and he was taken into custody. The suspect was nowhere near the president's plane, which had just departed, and was in a rental car return lot that is open to the public, Smith said.

His car was equipped with clear LED law enforcement-style strobe lights in the front and rear dash, Smith said. The car also had a mounted digital camera in the front window, four large antennas on the trunk lid, and under the steering wheel was a working siren box.

When McVey got out of the car, he was listening to a handheld scanner and radio that had a remote earpiece, Smith said. Police said he was monitoring local agencies and had formulas for rifle scopes on a note in his cup holder. Police did not immediately elaborate on what the formulas might mean.

McVey gave authorities an Ohio driver's license, but a computer check failed to show the number was valid, police said. His hometown of Coshocton is about halfway between Pittsburgh and Columbus, Ohio.

When Officer Kaleb Rice asked him what he was doing, McVey told him he heard the president was in town and wanted to see him.

Rice removed the firearm and took McVey into custody.

The investigation into what McVey was doing with a gun, with formulas for rifle scopes and why his car was equipped with police gear was continuing, Smith said. The Secret Service had no comment on the arrest Sunday, deferring to airport police. source

A 17-year-old and a juvenile  suspected in the Sunday evening kidnapping and carjacking of a group of Atlanta University Center students were arrested after one of the abducted students used a cell phone to alert police.

The four Morehouse College students were approached by gunmen around 6 p.m. on Peeples Street in southwest Atlanta, according to Atlanta police spokesman Otis Redmond.

The suspects demanded money and other belongings from the victims before forcing two of them into the trunk of the car.

One of the victims had kept a cell phone, and called 911, according to Redmond. That student led police to an ATM on Lee Street, where two of the gunmen were taken into custody.

Redmond identified one of those arrested as Jevontay Fleetwood, 17. Fleetwood was taken to the Fulton County Jail, facing numerous charges including armed robbery and kidnapping.

The second person arrested was a juvenile whose name has not been released, Redmond said.  A third suspect got away and remains at large.

No injuries were reported in the incident. source

The manager of a Detroit strip club was charged after authorities learned a 14-year-old girl was employed as a topless dancer, making several hundred dollars a night, authorities said Friday.

The 31-year-old manager of the All Star topless bar was arraigned Friday on a charge of child sexually abusive activity.

Andrew Hutson was arrested Wednesday night at the club on Eight Mile Road. The girl, whose name was not released because of her age, is believed to have danced at the club several nights each week, making about $350 per night, Police Chief Warren Evans said at a news conference across the street from the establishment.

"It is clear that she danced there for a significant amount of time. It's clear, at least to us, that the club knew or should have known that she shouldn't be there," Evans said.

The girl's mother pulled her daughter from the club one night last week after learning she was working there. Employees of the club brought the girl out to a lobby area near the door, said her mother, whose name was withheld to protect her daughter's identity.

"Our youth are not some cheap commodity, to be used and cast aside," Prosecutor Kym Worthy said in a release. "We are sending a clear message that if you hire underage women you will face criminal charges."

An elaborate sign on an outside wall of the club bills it as "The 'ALL STARS' of GENTLEMEN CLUBS." But Evans described it as a constant thorn in the sides of police.

Over the past six years, there have been 11 nonfatal shootings and three fatal shootings "related to this club," Evans said. Violations also have been found in each of the last 15 Vice Squad inspections.

The Associated Press left a message Friday seeking comment from the club's owner. Hutson was released on a personal bond Friday. The AP could not determine if he had an attorney.  source

Apr 25, 2010

Via NYTimes:

WHEN I started out as a TV reporter in Nashville in 1973, a death from drunken driving was big news. One person killed by a drunken driver would lead our local broadcast. Then, as the number of drunken driving deaths across the country continued to rise, the stakes for coverage got even higher. One death wasn’t good enough anymore. Two deaths — that would warrant a report. Then a whole family had to die before the news would merit mention at the top of the broadcast. The country, all of us, had gotten used to the idea of drunken driving. I just kept thinking: How many people have to die before we “get it”?

Fortunately, we did get it, and since 1980, the number of annual traffic fatalities due to drunken driving has decreased to under 15,500 from more than 30,000. But in recent years, another kind of tragic story has begun to emerge with ever greater frequency. This time, we are mourning the deaths of those killed by people talking or sending text messages on their cellphones while they drive.

Earlier this month, I visited Shelley and Daren Forney, a couple in Fort Collins, Colo., whose 9-year-old daughter, Erica, was on her bicycle, just 15 pedals from her front door, when she was struck and killed by a driver who was distracted by a cellphone. I think about Erica’s death and how senseless and stupid it was — caused by a driver distracted by a phone call that just couldn’t wait.

Sadly, there are far too many stories like hers. At least 6,000 people were killed by distracted drivers in 2008, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, and the number is rising. A lot of good work already is happening to try to change this. President Obama signed an executive order banning texting while driving on federal business. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood is pushing for tougher laws and more enforcement. States are passing laws, too. Local groups are gaining strength, spurred by too many deaths close to home.

But we are hesitant to change. I saw this firsthand when I instituted a policy at my company that forbids employees from using their phones for company business while driving. I heard countless stories about how hard it was for people to stop talking and texting while driving. Everyone is busy. Everyone feels she needs to use time in the car to get things done. But what happened to just driving?

It was difficult for my employees to adjust, but they have. Life is more precious than taking a call or answering an e-mail message. Because even though we think we can handle using our cellphone in the car, the loss of thousands of lives has shown we can’t.

So many issues that we have to deal with seem beyond our control: natural disasters, child predators, traffic jams. Over the years, I’ve done shows on just about all of them. But this is a real problem we can do something about and get immediate results. All we have to do is hang up or switch off. It really is that simple. Once we do that, not another son or daughter will have to die because someone was on the phone and behind the wheel — and just not paying attention.

So starting from the moment you finish this article, and in the days, weeks and years that follow, give it up. Please. And to those who feel like this is asking too much, think about your own child just 15 pedals from your front door. Struck down.

Oprah Winfrey is the chairman of Harpo Studios and the host of “The Oprah Winfrey Show.”

Apr 23, 2010

A family of British holidaymakers were accused yesterday of telling the management of a five-star Florida hotel that they did not want to be waited on by black staff.

Court papers say that the family, whose principal member was named as Rodney Morgan, left the instruction when they checked into the beachside Ritz-Carlton in the city of Naples on February 28.

The family, whose other members are not identified, allegedly informed the hotel of their preference not to be served by "people of colour" or staff with "foreign accents".

A note of their demand was allegedly made on behalf of Edward Staros, the hotel's vice-president and managing director. As per Mr Staros this couple is very, very prejudice and do like like [sic] ppl of color or foreign accents," was allegedly typed into the hotel's computer system.

A black waiter says in a lawsuit that he suffered discrimination. Wadner Tranchant, 40, a Haitian-born US citizen, who has been at the hotel for 15 years, says that on March 12, the hotel "instructed the serving staff regarding the stated prejudice of the Morgan family" when they made a reservation for banquette seating at the hotel's Grill Restaurant.

Mr Tranchant says he was not allowed to serve the Morgans because he was black.

"Plaintiff's normal duties entailed providing service to guests, including the serving of food, but as Plaintiff began to provide such services on March 12, 2010, he was prevented by his immediate supervisors from doing so, as to the Morgan family because they did not want to be waited on by a black person," the lawsuit says.

Other staff received similar treatment on many occasions, Mr Tranchant says.

Mike McDonnell, his lawyer, told the Naples Daily News that nine witnesses would testify that they had been told that the Morgans had not wanted to be served by blacks. "My client was prevented from waiting on this couple because he was black," he said.

The lawsuit seeks punitive and compensatory damages from the hotel for the alleged violation of the US Civil Rights Act.

"Plaintiff was humiliated, embarrassed, frightened, intimidated, subject to undeserved shame and suffered severe emotional stress, which is continuing and for which Plaintiff is seeking medical and psychological treatment," the suit says.

The 450-room hotel, which made the 2009 Condé Nast Traveller Gold List, boasts on its website of its "impeccable service". "The Ritz-Carlton, Naples, offers guests an unforgettable experience in one of the world's most beautiful destinations," its says.

Rooms start at $449 (£290) and go up to $4,999 for the presidential suite overlooking the Gulf of Mexico. The Grill is one of six restaurants on the hotel premises.

Among the hotel's forthcoming events is an appearance by Darren McGrady, a former senior chef at Buckingham Palace and chef to the late Diana, Princess of Wales, who will discuss royal life and the history of the English tea-time at a tea party on May 2.

Bruce Seagel, the hotel's director of marketing, said last night that the company did not discuss pending litigation.

However, he added: "The Ritz-Carlton has policies in place prohibiting discrimination and harassment and takes very seriously all allegations of discrimination and harassment." source

See this is exactly why I prefer the Four Seasons over the Ritz...LOL!!!  But seriously, something like this doesn't even shock me.  These hotel chains, just like most businesses, don't care about the character of the people that are using their facilities as long as their money is long.  Money allows for people to be prejudice and get away with it in this country.  The Ritz, in my opinion, should have never fulfilled such a request and should have turned the couple away, but they didn't because the people have money.
****Side Note****
Am I the only one confused by the foreign accent thing?  They are British so of course if they come to America everyone is going to have a foreign accent to them....SMDH!  I mean seriously is this a joke. 
The National Congress of  Black Women Thursday called for a public viewing of the late Dorothy I. Height at the U.S. Capitol, "In light of the unparalleled standing of Dr. Dorothy Irene Height as the sole woman within the highest ranks of leadership of the civil rights movement of the United States of America, and in light of her global impact in fostering the ideals of human rights, equality, and social justice," the organization said in a statement.

The honor would make Height, who died Tuesday at the age of 98, the second woman to lie in state in the Capitol rotunda. The first was Rosa Parks, who died in October 2005 at the age of 92.

Height paid tribute to Parks – often called the "mother of the civil rights movement" – at her funeral, describing what Parks said was going through her head the day she was arrested for refusing to give up her seat on a bus to a white man:

"And she said it suddenly seemed to her that she could hear a small voice saying, 'Rosa Parks, you're a child of God. You can make a difference.' And so she remained in her seat. And what a difference she made. What a difference she made for the United States of America, not just for herself."

Height, the chair and president emerita of the National Council of Negro Women (NCNW) and chairperson of the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights, was herself called the "godmother of the civil rights movement." She received nearly every significant national honor, including the NAACP Spingarn Medal, the Presidential Medal of Freedom award, the Congressional Gold Medal and the Ronald Reagan Citizens Medal.

During the civil rights movement, she was the only female frequently identified as an equal among the "Big Six" in the United Civil Rights Leadership with Martin Luther King, Jr., Whitney H. Young, A. Philip Randolph, Roy Wilkins and Floyd McKissick.

Services for Height, will take place in Washington, D.C. beginning Tuesday, April 28, with a wake from 6-10 p.m. at the National Council of Negro Women's headquarters, and end with funeral services at 10 a.m. Thursday at Washington National Cathedral.

At 2 p.m. Wednesday, the Delta Sigma Theta Sorority will conduct a public Omega Omega Service at Howard University. Dr. Height served as national president of the sorority in 1947. At 7 p.m., a "Community Celebration of Life" memorial service will be held at Shiloh Baptist Church in Washington, D.C.

This would be an honor well deserved!!!