Aug 31, 2010

Threats from Carmelo's Twitter feed stir scandal

NBA superstar Carmelo Anthony is back to tweeting after saying his Twitter account was hacked over the weekend.

On Sunday Anthony tweeted, "Im back on! My account was hacked. Thanks twitter for getting me str8. Jst finished my first movie in China now im headed back to the States"

Anthony's claim came after a series of tweets were posted to his account, which seemed to indicate Anthony had a Twitter beef with hip hop socialite Kat Stacks.

Various entertainment sites including MediaTakeOut report that Anthony's alleged tweets came after an inappropriate tweet from Stacks to Anthony "hey @carmeloanthony do you taste like caramel?" The suggestive message prompted a back and forth between Anthony, his wife television personality LaLa Vasquez, and Stacks.

Anthony's alleged response, "I got 5k for whoever see @ihatekatstacks and slap the s**t out her pigeon face a**. Real talk. U f**ked with the right one now."

The next tweet, "When u do it record it and send it to me along with name and address. Real talk" included a picture of what appears to be $5,000 posted to the basketball player's Yfrog account.

Stacks a former stripper is well known in the hip-hop world because she regularly discusses her liaisons with rappers, athletes, and others inside the entertainment industry.Though Anthony's tweets were scrubbed from Twitter the drama may not be over quite yet.

Stacks tweeted last night, "See you in court @CarmeloAnthony"

For Anthony's part he's back to sending out messages and communicating his fans as if the incident never occurred.

It's unclear if Anthony faces any repercussions from the league though the NBA has a social media policy; it's aimed at preventing players from tweeting during games from the bench or sidelines. The individual teams govern any other use of Twitter by players.

Pittsburgh teenager sues over police beating
Jordan Miles (AP Photo/Keith Srakocic)
JOE MANDAK, Associated Press Writer

PITTSBURGH (AP) - Jordan Miles, a black teen who attended Pittsburgh's prestigious Creative and Performing Arts High School, has filed a federal lawsuit saying three white Pittsburgh police officers wrongfully beat him in January, then conspired to file false charges against him and concocted a cover story for their actions.

The city is not commenting on the lawsuit filed by Miles on Monday in U.S. District Court.

Miles claims the officers assumed he was a troublemaker because of his race and beat him without cause. Miles says in the lawsuit he thought he was being kidnapped by the plainclothes officers, and muttered "The Lord's Prayer" out of fear as they allegedly beat him.

Miles, an 18-year-old high school student, hopes to go to college to study crime scene investigation, and played the viola at the performing arts school. Miles was charged Jan. 13 with assault and resisting arrest and his family says he was hospitalized after being hit with a stun gun and suffering head lacerations. He claims that he resisted because he thought the men were trying to abduct him and didn't identify themselves as police.

The officers remain on paid leave. The Associated Press could not immediately reach the officers for comment.


I swear if it ain't one thing it's another....
WASHINGTON (AP) — A Texas congresswoman admitted that she wrongly steered thousands of dollars in college scholarships from the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation to her own relatives and the children of a staff member but said she did so unintentionally.

Democratic Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson said in a statement Monday that she will reimburse the foundation by the end of the week. She did not state how much money was involved. The Dallas Morning News reported Monday that 23 scholarships she has handed out since 2005 violated the foundation's eligibility rules.

The Morning News reported on its website that Johnson had arranged scholarships between 2005 and 2008 for two grandsons and two grandnephews and the son and daughter of a Dallas-based aide, Rod Givens. The newspaper placed the amount of those scholarships at up to $20,000.

In 2009, according to the foundation, Johnson gave two grandsons and the aide's two children two scholarships apiece from foundation funds, the newspaper reported.

Relatives of members of Congress are ineligible to receive scholarship funds from the foundation because of anti-nepotism rules. The scholarships also violate a foundation rule that recipients need to live or study in the district represented by the Black Caucus member who awards the scholarship.

"As previously stated, I was unaware of being in any type of violation and never intentionally violated the CBCF's rules," Johnson said in a statement sent by e-mail by her office. She said she would appoint a third party to examine her office's practices in distributing scholarship money.

"I have never and never planned to restrict my help to only Texans who reside in my district," she said. "My district lines have constantly changed and since I am the only Democrat in the entire North Texas Region ... much of my district office casework benefits people outside my constituency. While I am not ashamed of helping, I did not intentionally mean to violate any rules in the process."

The Black Caucus Foundation, a nonprofit organization formed by black lawmakers, receives millions of dollars in private corporate sponsorships. The group is best-known for organizing an annual legislative conference in Washington that draws thousands of black leaders around the country. It also runs various programs aimed at getting African-American youths involved in government and politics.

The foundation provides $10,000 a year for members of the Congressional Black Caucus to dispense in scholarships. Members can decide how the money is split and how it is awarded, although the foundation sets some basic rules.

Muriel Cooper, a spokeswoman for the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation, did not respond to an AP request for comment.

Johnson's actions could lead to a House ethics investigation. The key question would be whether she used official resources, including congressional staff, in any aspect of the scholarship program.

An investigation also could look at whether she violated the federal government's Code of Ethics, which says government officials cannot discriminate unfairly by dispensing special favors or privileges to anyone.

The code says officials cannot accept, for themselves or their families, favors or benefits under circumstances that might be construed as influencing performance of official duties.

Johnson, 74, is seeking her 10th term in Congress and represents a Dallas-area district. In the e-mail, she said she is recuperating from major surgery.

She was not expected to face a difficult re-election campaign. Her GOP opponent, Stephen Broden, a pastor, said in a radio interview on Monday that he planned to make the scholarship money an issue.

"We really need a change that emphasizes the needs of the district over self-interest and self-aggrandizement," Broden said on "The Mark Davis Show," a Dallas-area radio program.
LOS ANGELES (AP) — The mother of "The Brady Bunch," a former NFL quarterback, one of the self-proclaimed "guidos" from "Jersey Shore" and the daughter of Sarah Palin are among the celebrities who will cha-cha-cha on the 11th season of "Dancing with the Stars."

Tom Bergeron and Brooke Burke, hosts of the ABC ballroom competition, announced the cast Monday.

Singer-actress Brandy Norwood, Disney Channel star Kyle Massey, former Los Angeles Lakers forward Rick Fox and Bristol Palin are among the 12 celebrities who will be paired with professional dance partners and train before their prime-time premiere Sept. 20.

Also competing for the mirrorball trophy will be "The Brady Bunch" matriarch Florence Henderson, retired Arizona Cardinals quarterback Kurt Warner, "Jersey Shore" co-star Mike "The Situation" Sorrentino,"When a Man Loves a Woman" singer Michael Bolton, comedian-actress Margaret Cho, "Dirty Dancing" actress Jennifer Grey, "Baywatch" actor David Hasselhoff and "The Hills" co-star Audrina Patridge.

"I'm happy to be here," said Hasselhoff. "My two daughters love this show, and they convinced me."

The names of most of the celebrity contestants, save for 19-year-old "That's So Raven" and "Cory in the House" star Kyle Massey, had been widely rumored as competitors in the weeks leading up to Monday's official announcement, which was broadcast live during "Bachelor Pad." The first celebrity and their professional partner will be eliminated Sept. 21.

Aug 30, 2010

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Following an uproar over a policy it said was designed 30 years ago to achieve racial equality, a school district board in a Mississippi town on Friday scrapped a system of student elections where race determined whether a candidate could run for some class positions, including president.

The rules sparked an outcry after Brandy Springer, a mother of four mixed-race children in Nettleton, Miss., complained that her 12-year-old daughter couldn't run for class reporter because she wasn't the right race. Read the original memo

Springer contacted an advocacy group for mixed-race families and the NAACP called for a Justice Department investigation — not surprising in a state with a history of racial tension dating to the Jim Crow era.

By Friday afternoon, Superintendent Russell Taylor posted a statement on the school's website, saying the policy had been in place for 30 years, dating back to a time when school districts across Mississippi came under close scrutiny from the U.S. Justice Department over desegregation.

"It is the belief of the current administration that these procedures were implemented to help ensure minority representation and involvement in the student body," the statement said. "It is our hope and desire that these practices and procedures are no longer needed."

"Therefore, beginning immediately, student elections at Nettleton School District will no longer have a classification of ethnicity," it added. "It is our intent that each student has equal opportunity to seek election for any student office."

Springer, who moved to Nettleton from Florida in April, said her daughter was told the office of sixth-grade class reporter at Nettleton Middle School was available only to black students this year.

Her anger grew when she saw school election guidelines that allowed only whites to run for class president this year. In alternating years, the positions would be reversed so blacks could run for president and whites could hold other positions, district officials said.

Even if the policy is an attempt to ensure black and white participation, Springer said diversity is no longer a black and white issue, with a growing number of mixed-race children, Hispanics and other ethnicities attending school together.

'Ethnic diversity' now embraced, school says
The school agreed, saying it the statement that it "acknowledges and embraces the fact that we are growing in ethnic diversity and that the classifications of Caucasian and African-American no longer reflect our entire student body."

Springer is white. Her two older children, including the sixth grader, are half Native American. Her two younger children have a black father.

"How are they supposed to be classified?" she asked.

"My main concern is that the object of school is to prepare people for life. An employer could never do this: Advertise a position for a white man only or a black man only," she said. "This is not a lesson we want to teach."


"The Takers"
Sony is claiming the victory for Screen Gems' Takers based on revised estimates including numbers from Sunday where The Last Exorcism fell behind, dropping 45% on Sunday to Takers' 32% and that allowed Takers to win the weekend with $20.6 million to Exorcism's $20.4 million. It's still early and one can expect the numbers to be contested with it being so close, but right now, it looks like Takers has indeed kept Lionsgate from having their first-ever third weekend at #1.
The Box Office Report has been updated with studio estimates for the weekend. Click here for the full box office estimates of the top 12 films and then check back on Monday for the final figures based on actual box office.

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) — The Rev. Jeremiah Wright, President Barack Obama's controversial former pastor, accused people who wrongly believe Obama is Muslim of catering to political enemies during a fiery speech Sunday in Arkansas.

In his sermon at New Millennium Church in Little Rock, Wright criticized supporters of the Iraq war and defended former state Court of Appeals Judge Wendell Griffen for speaking out against it. Griffen serves as the church's pastor.

Wright's only reference to Obama came when he compared Griffen's opponents to those who incorrectly think Obama is Muslim. The president, whose full name is Barack Hussein Obama, is Christian.

"Go after the military mindset ... and the enemy will come after you with everything," Wright told the packed church.

"He will surround you with sycophants who will criticize you and ostracize you and put you beyond the pale of hope and say 'you ain't really a Baptist' and say 'the president ain't really a Christian, he's a Muslim. There ain't no American Christian with a name like Barack Hussein,'" he added.Griffen lost a re-election bid for the Arkansas Court of Appeals in 2008, after high profile battles with a state judicial panel over the rights of judges to speak out on political issues. Griffen was elected in May to a judicial post in Pulaski County, the state's most populous county that includes Little Rock.

Griffen said he invited Wright to speak at his church as part of a monthlong focus on the relationship between faith and the community.

Wright defended Griffen's outspokenness on political issues, saying it showed he was willing to speak out even if it would cost him politically.

Wright's sermon focused on the Old Testament story of the prophet Elisha thwarting an attack by the Aramean Army. Wright repeatedly made references to the war in Iraq and suggested parallels with the Biblical story.

"What was his motivation? Elisha had embarrassed him, like Saddam had embarrassed George Herbert Walker," Wright said, referring to the former president.

Wright spoke as Arkansas Republicans hope to capitalize on Obama's unpopularity in the fall election. Obama has not visited the state since 2006, and lost its six electoral votes in the 2008 election.
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) — William P. Foster, credited with innovating a much-imitated high-stepping style as founder and longtime director of the Florida A&M Marching 100 band, died Saturday. He was 91.

Foster died in Tallahassee, university officials said. They did not release a cause of death.

Foster served as the marching band's director from 1946 until his retirement in 1998. He created more than 200 halftime pageants for the band at the historically black university.

He is credited with innovating marching band techniques, including a high-stepping style imitated by high school and college bands nationwide.

"He revolutionized marching band techniques in America," said Julian E. White, a former student of Foster's and the school's current band director and music department chairman. "The most exciting response you can get from an audience is their reaction to well choreographed dance routine steps. That's the kind of thing that Dr. Foster introduced."

A 1991 article in USA Today called the Marching 100 "probably the best known college marching band in the USA," and a 1989 New York Times piece called them "perhaps the most imitated of marching bands."

"There's a psychology to running a band," Foster told The New York Times in 1989. "People want to hear the songs they hear on the radio; it gives them an immediate relationship with you. And then there's the energy. Lots of energy in playing and marching. Dazzle them with it. Energy."

In 1989, the French chose the Marching 100 to represent the United States in the Bastille Day Parade in Paris, celebrating the 200th anniversary of the French Revolution. Instead of traditional marching band music, the band played and danced to songs by James Brown.

"They illustrate American music to me, which is to say the best of black music," the parade's artistic director, Jean-Paul Goude, told The New York Times. "Some things have never been exposed to the Parisian people, and this is more exciting than some pop star seen on MTV."

Over the years, members of the Marching 100 have played at Super Bowls, the Olympics, the Grammy Awards and the inaugurations of Presidents Bill Clinton and Barack Obama.

The Marching 100 won the Sudler Intercollegiate Marching Band Trophy in 1985 and in 1992, Sports Illustrated declared them the best marching band in the country.

The band has grown to more than 400 members, who wear green and orange uniforms. Many go on to careers as band directors and professional performers. One of the best-known was jazz saxophonist Julian "Cannonball" Adderley.

"As a visionary leader, (Foster) built America's greatest band by departing from the standard routines and maneuvers to showcase band pageantry," said FAMU President James H. Ammons.

White, who spent 25 years as an assistant band director before succeeding Foster, said his mentor taught students problem-solving, discipline and perseverance.

"I've heard doctors, lawyers and professors say that Dr. Foster instilled those leadership qualities in them, and it caused them to be successful," White said.

Foster graduated from the University of Kansas in 1941, earned his masters degree from Wayne State University in 1950 and received his doctorate from Teachers College at Columbia University in 1955.

He wrote two books, "Band Pageantry: A Guide for the Marching Band" and "The Man Behind the Baton."

Foster was born in Kansas City, Kansas, on Aug. 25, 1919. He began his music career by learning to play the clarinet at age 12.

When Dr. Foster arrived at the historically black Florida A&M campus in Tallahassee in 1946, football halftime shows around the nation generally offered a rendition of the home team's fight song and a smattering of John Philip Sousa marches.

Dr. Foster introduced shows that infused black popular culture into his routines, blending contemporary music, often jazz or rock, with imaginative choreography, his green-and-orange uniformed band members carrying their instruments at a 45-degree angle, legs bent to the same angle.

College and high school marching bands around the nation drew on the Florida A&M style.

"It's gotten to the point where I can't remember the last time I saw a halftime show that featured traditional marches," Fred Tillis, emeritus director of the University of Massachusetts fine arts department, told The Florida Times-Union in 1998.

Dr. Foster said there was "a psychology to running a band."

"People want to hear the songs they hear on the radio; it gives them an immediate relationship with you," he told The New York Times in July 1989, when the Marching 100 headed to Paris, having been selected by the French government to represent the United States with renditions of James Brown at the parade marking the French Revolution's bicentennial. "And then there's the energy. Lots of energy in playing and marching. Dazzle them with it. Energy."

Sometimes his band moved at a step every three seconds or so, what he called the "death cadence" or "death march," then zoomed to six steps a second.

It didn't exactly march.

"It slides, slithers, swivels, rotates, shakes, rocks and rolls," as Dr. Foster once put it. "It leaps to the sky, does triple twists, and drops to earth without a flaw, without missing either a beat or a step." It often became an animation show, simulating palm trees with branches swaying or an eagle flapping its wings.

Dr. Foster became known on campus as the Law, for what could be an intimidating presence, but he began with only 16 bandsmen in 1946. He soon called his musicians the Marching 100 because he envisioned reaching that number at some point.

The Marching 100 has grown to 400 or so musicians, drum majors and flag-bearers. It has played at the Super Bowl, presidential inaugurations and the Grammy Awards and in nationally televised commercials.

Aug 29, 2010

Today on Savvy Talk Radio August 29, 2010 6PM EST:

Proverbs 22:6 says, "Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it." But the question is has society made it virtually impossible for parents to place their children on the right path? When anything goes wrong with a child we always want to blame the parents, but have we as a society created a society where it is virtually impossible for the parents to be successful in raising their children? When the Montana Fishburne sextape was released many pointed the fingers at her father, Laurence, but did we as a society play a part in this young woman seeking out this path since we in fact created her idol Kim Kardashian? So should society take some of the blame for the decisions of these kids?

​If you would like to join this conversation please feel free to call 718-664-6383 at 6PM EST or join the live chatroom at

The King of Pop would have celebrated his 52nd birthday. We here at The Savvy Sista would like to celebrate his life and artistry by wishing him a Happy Birthday. May he continue to rest in peace.

Never Can Say Goodbye

Aug 27, 2010


How did D.C. Mayor Adrian M. Fenty lose the love of so many black women -- the most faithful and forgiving constituents a black man in public office can have? The answer: He worked at it, went out of his way to snub and disrespect even the most revered sisters of distinction.

They include Dorothy I. Height, president emeritus of the National Council of Negro Women, who died this year; Maya Angelou, the poet; Susan L. Taylor, editor of Essence magazine; Oracene Price, mother of tennis greats Venus and Serena Williams; and former D.C. first lady Cora Masters Barry, founder of the Southeast Washington Tennis and Learning Center.

The list goes on and on.

A year ago, two meetings were scheduled between Fenty, Height and the others. The women were concerned that he was using a legal ruse to take the tennis center from Barry and turn the operation over to one of his fraternity brothers.

Both meetings were canceled at the last minute, with Fenty claiming that the women called it off and the women saying they were snubbed by him.

Whom are you going to believe?

"Dr. Maya Angelou and I were scheduled to meet with the mayor on the 28th of August and on the 31st of August," Height, who was 98 at the time, told reporters afterward. She didn't mention the other women lest they get caught up in petty D.C. politics. "It didn't happen because the meetings were canceled. Well, we were disappointed."

You hear that word a lot about Fenty. It's as if black women had let down their natural guard against disappointment and allowed themselves to be fooled by a man they thought really cared about them.

"I just don't understand him," said Joan Ellis Tillman, 76, a longtime grass-roots political activist, sounding bewildered. "I worked hard for Fenty, and as soon as he became mayor he starts acting like he doesn't know me."

Complaints about Fenty's abrasive personality must be put in context. For many black women, his dismissiveness is not just a personal affront but a quality reflected throughout much of his government; his arrogance is just the coldness of his policies personified.

With about three weeks before the Democratic primary, Fenty's approval rating among black women is at an all-time low. And you just can't win a citywide race if enough of them are aligned against you -- no matter how big the white turnout may be.


Doubts over bid to protect New Orleans from more ...

It never crossed Corey Robinson's mind to leave New Orleans' Lower Ninth Ward. Not even after Hurricane Katrina breached the city's levees in 2005, filling his home and every other on his street — Flood Street, it so happens — with fetid water that wallpapered every room with mold and wrecked the plumbing. A construction contractor, Robinson, 30, was determined to rebuild and keep his wife and four children in the community that he calls "our home, our habitat, our roots." "You just don't walk away from that," he says as he stands outside his rebuilt, newly painted and beautifully detailed historic shotgun house.

But Robinson is one of the Lower Ninth Ward's exceptions. Across Flood Street stand other lovely but abandoned and boarded-up houses, some still bearing the ominous X's on their facades that disaster officials used to indicate they were uninhabitable. On a blighted property next door, grass and weeds have grown taller than August corn. "We're giving the Lower Ninth another chance," says Robinson. "But you don't see too many of your neighbors anymore. It hurts a lot."

Five years after Katrina, the Lower Ninth remains a world of hurt. Predominantly African-American and working class, it was the district hardest hit by a storm whose biblical floods, it's now agreed, resulted largely from negligence on the part of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the agency that built and was supposed to maintain the surrounding levees. And yet, post-Katrina, the once thriving community is also the hardest hit by seeming government indifference. Only a fifth of the Lower Ninth's 20,000 residents have returned to live since 2005, in no small part because of inadequate reconstruction funding compared to aid that homeowners in other New Orleans neighborhoods have received, and because of the slow pace of long-promised infrastructure and other community development projects.

That casts a long shadow over any celebration of the Big Easy's revival. Even though New Orleans landmarks like the French Quarter may be humming again, Lower Ninth stalwarts insist that the city's comeback has to be measured by how fully their two-square-mile (3.3 sq km) pocket returns to life. "Until the Lower Ninth Ward is back on its feet, the New Orleans recovery has failed," says Patricia Jones, a resident and director of the Neighborhood Empowerment Network Association (NENA), a nonprofit working to restore the area.

To some, it's a miracle that the Lower Ninth, home to famous New Orleans musicians like Fats Domino, is still making any noise at all. Katrina, possibly the worst natural disaster in U.S. history, wrecked the Gulf Coast from Louisiana to Florida, caused almost $100 billion in damage and killed 1,800 people. But one of its most enduring images is the Lower Ninth submerged by floodwaters — and the moonscape that was left when they finally subsided. Government officials strongly hinted that the community should not be rebuilt. The costs seemed too daunting and, just as important, "Lower" was an all too apt description of the area's below-sea-level geography — a tract surrounded by the Mississippi River, the Industrial Canal and Lake Borgne — making it vulnerable to future deluges.

But new and stronger levees are nearing completion. And a determined core of residents argues that abandoning the Lower Ninth would be an even bigger betrayal of blue-collar New Orleans than the one suffered at the hands of the Army Corps and then the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), whose notorious dysfunction exacerbated the catastrophe. "You get the feeling they're just waiting for all us so-called poor people to leave so they can turn the place into a resort area or something," says resident Henry Holmes, 76, who owns a popular local restaurant, Holmes One Stop. "But you can't have New Orleans without the Lower Ninth Ward. The neighborhood's going to come back eventually."

Read more:,28804,2012217_2012252_2012673,00.html#ixzz0xoL3rk2e

Aug 25, 2010

President Barack Obama sits with daughter Sasha during a barbecue with family and friends in celebration of his 49th birthday on the South Lawn of the White House, Aug. 8, 2010. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)



In the chaotic days after Hurricane Katrina, an order circulated among New Orleans police authorizing officers to shoot looters, according to present and former members of the department.

It's not clear how broadly the order was communicated. Some officers who heard it say they refused to carry it out. Others say they understood it as a fundamental change in the standards on deadly force, which allow police to fire only to protect themselves or others from what appears to be an imminent physical threat.

The accounts of orders to "shoot looters," "take back the city," or "do what you have to do" are fragmentary. It remains unclear who originated them or whether they were heard by any of the officers involved in shooting 11 civilians in the days after Katrina. Thus far, no officers implicated in shootings have used the order as an explanation for their actions. Only one of the people shot by police – Henry Glover – was allegedly stealing goods at the time he was shot.

Still, current and former officers said the police orders – taken together with tough talk from top public officials broadcast over the airwaves -- contributed to an atmosphere of confusion about how much force could be used to combat looting.

In one instance captured on a grainy videotape shot by a member of the force, a police captain relayed the instructions at morning roll call to cops preparing for the day's patrols.

"We have authority by martial law to shoot looters," Captain James Scott told a few dozen officers in a portion of the tape viewed by reporters. Scott, then the commander of the 1st district, is now captain of the special operations division.

Another police captain, Harry Mendoza, told federal prosecutors last month that he was ordered by Warren Riley, then the department's second-in-command, to "take the city back and shoot looters." A lieutenant who worked for Mendoza, Mike Cahn III, said he remembered the scene similarly and would testify about it under oath if asked.

Mendoza and Cahn said in separate interviews that Riley made the remarks at a meeting at Harrah's casino, where police had established a command post. Mendoza quoted Riley as saying: "If you can sleep with it, do it," according to a document prepared by prosecutors and provided to lawyers defending police officers recently charged with federal offenses.

Riley categorically denied telling officers they could shoot looters. "I didn't say anything like that. I heard rumors that someone else said that. But I certainly didn't say that, no."

"I may have said we need to take control of the city," Riley said. "That may have happened."


TV Guide Magazine: Throughout the season, will you go back to your favorite moments on the show?
There will be some of that. We have nearly 5,000 hours [of footage], and we broke up into different teams of people who have over the past eight, nine months looked at every single show.

TV Guide Magazine: Wow. Impressive.
That's what I say, too. [Laughs] They have reviewed and documented every single show, so we know what to revisit. I plan on going back to Forsyth County [in Georgia]. That's the town where there were no black people allowed and a guy was using the N-word with me. I'm going to do a tour of the new Forsyth County with him. I'm also going to go back to Williamson, West Virginia, where the town wouldn't allow a young man who had AIDS in the grocery store. His name was Michael Sisco. He's since died.

V Guide Magazine: Have you asked President Obama to make an appearance?
No, I did not ask him to come on this year. But I did say, "I'm sure you will hear from somebody on my team before this year is over." [Laughs] I'm sure that at some point I will see a taped message or something.

TV Guide Magazine: Is it true that you're trying to locate the people who were on your first show and in the audience for your first national show?
That is true. Our record-keeping wasn't as solid then as it is now. [Laughs] Those were the days when I would go out on the street and ask people to come in: "Come in! It's air-conditioned."

TV Guide Magazine: How did Oprah evolve into a show that is about inspiration and aspiration?
Winfrey: Yesterday I was looking at a skinhead show [we did in 1988], and I said to my staff, "That's the show that caused me to do television differently." What I learned from that is you cannot allow yourself to be a vehicle that promotes the energy of hatred in any form. That was life-changing for me.

TV Guide Magazine: Is there a secret to creating a great talk show?
The secret is authenticity. The reason people fail is because they're pretending to be something they're not. And even those who are not in alignment with my value system, people like Jerry Springer, he works because he's real. If you can find what the passion is and figure out a way to express that in an authentic and entertaining way, you have a chance at success.


MIAMI — Overlooked and underestimated on the campaign trail for nearly two years, Miami Congressman Kendrick Meek on Tuesday easily beat back a profligate challenge from real estate mogul Jeff Greene to run away with the Democratic nomination for U.S. Senate.

Meek, 43, is the first black Senate nominee from Florida and the only major black Senate candidate nationwide. If elected, he stands to become the Senate's lone African American.

The Associated Press called Meek the winner just 15 minutes after the polls closed in Pensacola, Florida's western-most voting outpost.

"There were those that counted us out, but you counted us in," a beaming Meek told hundreds of supporters at the Westin Diplomat Resort & Spa in Hollywood. He thanked everyone from God to President Barack Obama to "school bus drivers that I greeted this morning at 4:30 a.m. that know what it means to have to live paycheck to paycheck."

But Meek has little time to savor defeating a brash billionaire who vowed to spend "whatever it takes." He wakes up Wednesday somewhat bruised, very broke, and polling in last place behind a national Republican superstar, former House Speaker Marco Rubio, and the sitting governor, Charlie Crist.

Crist, who left the Republican Party four months ago to run as an independent, has about $8 million stashed away. Rubio has about $4.5 million.

Greene, 55, said Tuesday night that he would endorse Meek and contribute to his campaign.

"While this effort may have fallen short, we must work hard to ensure that the failed policies that will be pursued by the two Republicans in this race . . . cannot come back to power in Washington," Greene said in a concession speech in front of only about 35 people at the West Palm Beach Marriott.

Former Miami Mayor Maurice Ferre, who had a shoestring campaign with about $220,000, ran a distant fourth.

Greene spent about $25 million out of his own pocket, more than four times as much as Meek. He pummeled the Miami congressman with television spots and mailings casting him as a do-nothing, "corrupt'' career politician tied to a massive development scandal. Meek sought $4 million in federal budget earmarks for developer Dennis Stackhouse, who had paid his mother $90,000 as a consultant.

The development proposed for one of Miami's poorest neighborhoods was never built, and Stackhouse was charged with making off with about $1 million in public and private loans. Meek repeatedly said he didn't know about Stackhouse paying his mother, former U.S. Rep. Carrie Meek, and that he sought the federal money to bring jobs to struggling Liberty City.

For weeks, the attacks seemed to be working as Greene surged ahead of the longtime front-runner.

But Meek countered with his own negative campaign in the homestretch, condemning Greene for making a fortune betting on massive mortgage foreclosures. Voters said they were also turned off by Greene's partying past and his carpetbagger status as a registered Democrat and Florida resident only since 2008.

Read more:

Aug 24, 2010

ATLANTA – The U.S. Education Department says nine states and the District of Columbia will receive money in the second round of the $4.35 billion "Race to the Top" school reform grant competition.

Department spokesman Justin Hamilton says the winners are: Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Massachusetts, Maryland, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Rhode Island and Washington, D.C. The amounts of the grants are expected to be announced later.

The competition has instigated a wave of reforms across the country, as states passed new teacher accountability policies and lifted caps on charter schools to boost their chances of winning.

The aim of the historic program is to reward ambitious changes to improve schools and close the achievement gap.

Tennessee and Delaware were named winners in the first round of the competition in March, sharing $600 million. The applicants named winners Tuesday will share a remaining $3.4 billion.

WASHINGTON — Shirley Sherrod, the Agriculture Department official ousted during a racial firestorm last month, declined Tuesday to accept an offer to return full-time to the agency.

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said that Sherwood did agree to work with the agency in a consulting capacity in the future to help it improve its civil rights performance. She told reporters she did not think she could say yes to a job "at this point, with all that has happened." There had been indications that Vilsack, who apologized to Sherwood for pushing her out, had offered her a position in the Office of Advocacy and Outreach, which works in the civil rights area.

"It is a new position," she said. "I look at what happened now. I know he has apologized and I accept that. A new process is in place and I hope that it works. ... I think I can be helpful to him and the department if I just take a little break and look at how I can be more helpful in the future," Sherrod said.

She did say she was "tempted" to take the position.

Vilsack said that "Shirley has unique opportunities here."

Vilsack said he had tried in vain to get Sherwood to return to the department.

The veteran department employee was forced out earlier this year when an excerpt of a speech she gave several years ago was posted by a conservative blogger on the Internet, remarks that seemed to show Sherwood giving shortshrift attention as a local agriculture to a poor white farmer's plea for financial assistance.

ATLANTA (AP) — Federal agents are seeking to hire Ebonics translators to help interpret wiretapped conversations involving targets of undercover drug investigations.

The Drug Enforcement Administration recently sent memos asking companies that provide translation services to help it find nine translators in the Southeast who are fluent in Ebonics, Special Agent Michael Sanders said Monday.

Ebonics, which is also known as African-American Vernacular English, has been described by the psychologist who coined the term as the combination of English vocabulary with African language structure.

Some DEA agents already help translate Ebonics, Sanders said. But he said wasn't sure if the agency has ever hired outside Ebonics experts as contractors.

"They saw a need for this in a couple of their investigations," he said. "And when you see a need — it may not be needed now — but we want the contractors to provide us with nine people just in case."

The DEA's decision, first reported by The Smoking Gun, evokes memories of the debate sparked in 1996 when the Oakland, Calif., school board suggested that black English was a separate language. Although the board later dropped the suggestion amid criticism, it set off a national discussion over whether Ebonics is a language, a dialect or neither.

The search for translators covers a wide swath of the Southeast, including offices in Atlanta, Washington, New Orleans, Miami and the Caribbean, said Sanders. He said he's uncertain why other regions aren't hiring Ebonics translators, but said there are ongoing investigations in the Southeast that need dedicated Ebonics translators.

Linguists said Ebonics can be trickier than it seems, partly because the vocabulary evolves so quickly.

"A lot of times people think you're just dealing with a few slang words, and that you can finesse your way around it," said John Rickford, a Stanford University linguistics professor. "And it's not — it's a big vocabulary. You'll have some significant differences" from English.

Critics worry that the DEA's actions could set a precedent.

"Hiring translators for languages that are of questionable merit to begin with is just going in the wrong direction," said Aloysius Hogan, the government relations director of English First, a national lobbying group that promotes the use of English.

"I'm not aware of Ebonics training schools or tests. I don't know how they'd establish that someone speaks Ebonics," he said. "I support the concept of pursuing drug dealers if they're using code words, but this is definitely going in the wrong direction."

H. Samy Alim, a Stanford linguistics professor who specializes in black language and hip-hop culture, said he thought the hiring effort was a joke when he first heard about it, but that it highlights a serious issue.

"It seems ironic that schools that are serving and educating black children have not recognized the legitimacy of this language. Yet the authorities and the police are recognizing that this is a language that they don't understand," he said. "It really tells us a lot about where we are socially in terms of recognizing African-American speech."

Rickford said that hiring Ebonics experts could come in handy for the DEA, but he said it's hard to determine whether a prospective employee can speak it well enough to translate since there are no standardized tests. He said the ideal candidate would be a native speaker who also has had some linguistics training.

Finding the right translators could be the difference between a successful investigation or a failed one, said Sanders. While he said many listeners can get the gist of what Ebonics speakers are saying, it could take an expert to define it in court.

"You can maybe get a general idea of what they're saying, but you have to understand that this has to hold up in court," he said. "You need someone to say, 'I know what they mean when they say 'ballin' or 'pinching pennies.'"

Aug 23, 2010

Beautiful and Powerful! This is the type of poetry you need to hear when you're having a bad day. You know those days when the fact that the world doesn't acknowledge you or your beauty starts wearing on you. Well, this poem came for me right on time because just for a second I was beginning to have one of those moments. I was sitting here reading Facebook and I noticed everyone was commenting on the Miss Universe pageant. I can't tell you the last time I watched this pageant but of course I had to turn it on to get a perspective of why a lot of the women were complaining, and of course as soon as I turned it, it became obvious. There wasn't a brown skin sista represented at all in the top 15. Now, Miss Jamaica was definitely representing for the mocha latte sistas, but there wasn't an ounce of chocolate to be found anywhere. Now, of course I wasn't surprised. This is to be expected when you have these so-called beauty contests that only find one type of beauty that is acceptable. It is a cycle that continues to churn along. So you can imagine my delight when I stumbled across this poem by Joshua Bennett because just for a second I was starting to believe the assault the media has perpetrated against black women. You know the one where they continue to tell us that we're not worthy, we're not beauitful, black men don't love us, and we're doomed to be forever lonely and single. Well, Joshua brought me back to reality. I hope he does the same for you.

Side Note:

You know poetry is good when you hear the 'Amen Corner' hmmm-ing and hawing in the background...LOL!!!
Is the controversy over building a mosque near ground zero a grand distraction or a grand opportunity? Or is it, once again, grandiose demagoguery?

It has been said, "Nero fiddled while Rome burned." Are we not overly preoccupied with this controversy, now being used in various ways by grandstanding politicians? It looks to me like the politicians are "fiddling while the economy burns."

The debate should have provided the conservative defenders of property rights with a perfect example of how the right to own property also protects the 1st Amendment rights of assembly and religion by supporting the building of the mosque.

Instead, we hear lip service given to the property rights position while demanding that the need to be "sensitive" requires an all-out assault on the building of a mosque, several blocks from "ground zero."

Just think of what might (not) have happened if the whole issue had been ignored and the national debate stuck with war, peace, and prosperity. There certainly would have been a lot less emotionalism on both sides. The fact that so much attention has been given the mosque debate, raises the question of just why and driven by whom?

In my opinion it has come from the neo-conservatives who demand continual war in the Middle East and Central Asia and are compelled to constantly justify it.

They never miss a chance to use hatred toward Muslims to rally support for the ill conceived preventative wars. A select quote from soldiers from in Afghanistan and Iraq expressing concern over the mosque is pure propaganda and an affront to their bravery and sacrifice.

The claim is that we are in the Middle East to protect our liberties is misleading. To continue this charade, millions of Muslims are indicted and we are obligated to rescue them from their religious and political leaders. And, we're supposed to believe that abusing our liberties here at home and pursuing unconstitutional wars overseas will solve our problems.

The nineteen suicide bombers didn't come from Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan or Iran. Fifteen came from our ally Saudi Arabia, a country that harbors strong American resentment, yet we invade and occupy Iraq where no al Qaeda existed prior to 9/11.

Many fellow conservatives say they understand the property rights and 1st Amendment issues and don't want a legal ban on building the mosque. They just want everybody to be "sensitive" and force, through public pressure, cancellation of the mosque construction.

This sentiment seems to confirm that Islam itself is to be made the issue, and radical religious Islamic views were the only reasons for 9/11. If it became known that 9/11 resulted in part from a desire to retaliate against what many Muslims saw as American aggression and occupation, the need to demonize Islam would be difficult if not impossible.

There is no doubt that a small portion of radical, angry Islamists do want to kill us but the question remains, what exactly motivates this hatred?

VINEYARD HAVEN, Mass. – Michelle Obama will join former first lady Laura Bush in ceremonies marking the ninth anniversary of the United Flight 93 crash in Pennsylvania during the Sept. 11 attacks.

Mrs. Bush had previously confirmed her participation, saying we "must never forget the brave sacrifice of these extraordinary men and women."

Passengers aboard the flight are believed to have struggled with its hijackers before the jet crashed in a field near Shanksville, Pa., killing all aboard.

Mrs. Obama's press office confirmed her role as the first lady vacationed with her family on Martha's Vineyard.

"Their show of support honors the lives and memories of these 40 heroes and everyone we lost on September 11th," said Neil Mulholland, head of the National Park Foundation. The group is helping build a memorial at the Shanksville site.


Harold Dow

Harold Dow has died unexpectedly.

The veteran CBS News correspondent died Saturday. He was 62.

Dow leaves behind a wife, Kathy, and three children, Danica, Joelle, and David.

His career at CBS spanned almost 40 years. A five-time Emmy winner and a correspondent for 48 Hours since the program's inception, Dow covered everything from the kidnapping of Patty Hearst to American involvement in Bosnia.

A Peabody and Edward R. Murrow Award winner, Dow was the first network news reporter to interview O.J. Simpson after the murders of Nicole Brown Simpson and Ron Goldman. According to the CBS press release announcing his passing, Dow narrowly escaped one of the falling twin towers during his coverage of the September 11 terror attacks.

When 48 Hours premiered as a television news series on CBS in 1988, it took its name from the 1986 documentary 48 Hours On Crack Street. Dow's work appeared in the documentary and he was part of the series since its debut.

In a recent interview with his hometown newspaper, Hackensack, New Jersey's The Record, Dow talked about his work:

"I've traveled all over the world. I've seen things few people in life get a chance to see up front and personal," Dow said in his distinctive, deep voice. "I covered the tsunami in Sri Lanka. I was in South Africa when Nelson Mandela was freed. I traveled with him across the United States when he gave his tour. There's just moments, places I've been that I think truly changed my life."

Before joining CBS, Dow broke the color barrier in 1968 as the first African American reporter in Omaha, Nebraska. It was a feat that earned Dow and the news director that hired him death threats.

Dow told the The Record that being a black journalist carried a special weight for him, a man who grew up picking cotton and tobacco during summers on his grandmother's farm:

"To know what it's like in that hot sun, working from sunup to sundown, forbidden to be able to read or write for hundreds of years. ... and that's what you do as a journalist, the thing they say you can't do," said Dow. "It's all connected for me."




With the controversy surrounding the Islamic Cultural Center that is to be built in the vicinity of 'Ground Zero' (I refuse to call it the 'Ground Zero' mosque because that is not where it is located), I thought now would be a good time to educate the people on what some of the fuss is all about.  One of the things that is being tossed around is that of Sharia Law.  So I decided to do a little research and find out exactly what Sharia Law is.  Here is some of the information that I found:

Sharia law is "the path that must be followed by a Muslim".

It brings together elements from the Qur'an and the Hadith (a collection of the deeds and words of Mohammed), plus judges' rulings from Islam's first centuries. It was fixed by about the 10th century, and contains detailed instructions for practically every aspect of life.

In the West, it is most famous for its penal code: the prescribed punishments for sexual offences, which include stoning; for theft, which include amputation; and for apostasy, for which the punishment is death.

Much more important for most Muslims, however, are the parts of sharia that relate to the status of women, to contracts and to family law.

These include provisions that allow men several wives and that enshrine, in law, the inferiority of women.

Women can be divorced merely by their husbands reciting "I divorce you" three times; their testimony is worth less than that of men; and they cannot marry a non-Muslim man - although it is permissible for a Muslim man to marry a non-Muslim woman. source

Here is some information that was provided by the Washington Post:

Islam makes no distinction between the sacred and secular, thus Islamic law, or sharia, governs not only religious affairs but also daily ones, from criminal justice to banking and business ethics. Traditional sharia, for instance, dictates that Muslims should only invest in ventures that hew to Islamic doctrine. Since the Koran forbids drinking, investing in a winery is not permitted.

Sharia literally means "path" or "path to water," referring to the path a Muslim must follow to salvation. The law comprises multiple elements: most important is the instruction of the Koran, considered the literal word of God; next is the sunnah, or the model of how one should live set by the Prophet Muhammad; the final components are the ijma, or consensus of Islamic scholars, and the qiyas, a sort of reasoning by analogy that extends the law to issues not explicity addressed in the holy texts (for example, extending the drinking prohibition, drugs may also be assumed to be forbidden).

Most Middle Eastern countries have some degree of sharia law integrated into their legal codes. Mostly these measures deal with issues of personal-status, such as marriage and divorce, while sharia guidance on criminal law has largely been tempered with legislation that is seen as more modern or secular; generally adulterers are not stoned to death in the contemporary Middle East. Even so, Saudi Arabia and Iran claim to implement sharia fully in all matters.


There are four main schools of Sharia law:

bullet Hanbali: This is the most conservative school of Shari'a. It is used in Saudi Arabia and some states in Northern Nigeria.
bullet Hanifi: This is the most liberal school, and is relatively open to modern ideas.
bullet Maliki: This is based on the practices of the people of Medina during Muhammad's lifetime.
bullet Shafi'i: This is a conservative school that emphasizes on the opinions of the companions of the Prophet Muhammad.
Within Sharia law, there are a group of "Haram" offenses which carry severe punishments. These include pre-marital sexual intercourse, sex by divorced persons, post-marital sex, adultery, false accusation of unlawful intercourse, drinking alcohol, theft, and highway robbery. Haram sexual offenses can carry a sentence of stoning to death or severe flogging. 

Aug 20, 2010

Video game lets players be 'Bad' to Jackson hits

LOS ANGELES (AP) -- An upcoming video game starring Michael Jackson is set to be "Bad."

Video game publisher Ubisoft announced Wednesday its dancing-and-singing "Michael Jackson The Experience" game will feature such Jackson hits as "Bad," ''Beat It" and "Billie Jean."

The title is scheduled to be released later this year for the Xbox 360, PlayStation 3 and Wii, as well as the handheld consoles Nintendo DS and PlayStation Portable.

Other tunes for the game centered on the late King of Pop include "Earth Song," ''The Girl Is Mine," ''Who Is It" and "Workin' Day And Night."

"Michael Jackson The Experience" will be among the first to use Kinect and Move, the new gesture-recognition systems for Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3.

The game's songs were announced at the Gamescom convention in Cologne, Germany.


Sometimes a picture is worth more than a thousand words.  I realize that a lot of us don't live in New York so I thought it would be nice if we were able to put some of this Ground Zero Mosque controversy in perspective.  You would think the news would be dominated by the fact that the last group of combat troops were pulled out of Iraq, but no, here we are debating an Islamic Center somewhere near Ground Zero.

Aug 19, 2010

By: Will Bunch

Over the last year, I traveled across the country seeking the sources of right-wing outrage and anger in the Obama era as I researched my new book -- The Backlash: Right-Wing Radicals, High-Def Hucksters and Paranoid Politics in the Age of Obama -- that will be published at the end of the month. What I discovered was fear -- some of it innate and much of it whipped up by high-def hucksters on TV and in talk radio and even in the corridors of political power in America. Much of that fear centered on one simple fact: That America is increasingly becoming a non-white-dominated country. While many Americans take no issue with that, the prospect of an America with an increasingly non-Caucasian face is a deeply disturbing one to millions of people -- people for whom a unified and traditional culture is a source of solidarity and comfort, even -- according to some sociologists -- a bulkhead of immortality.

In the mid-2000s, an anti-immigration frenzy took root across right-wing talk radio. It seemed largely a matter of entertainment and most likely changing the subject, since the George W. Bush presidency was at low ebb because of Iraq and Katrina. The increasingly paranoid conversation about the threat from brown-skinned, Spanish-speaking people grew in a way that was completely disconnected from realities, that immigrants were growing the economy in places like Arizona and Nevada, that crime rates among immigrants were quite low, and that these arrivals were paying more in taxes than they received in services.

But the bottom line was that for many, reports that whites will be a minority of Americans by the year 2050 carried the shill ring of an alarm bell. But this concern about the submersion of a dominant white culture in America spiked prematurely in 2008 with the political rise of Obama. In researching the book, I spoke with many conservative voters who talked of their "discomfort" the first time they watched Obama speak on television, who said that in particular they were alarmed at the future president's use of the specific word "transformation." These voters were egged on by political "leaders" like vice presidential candidate Palin, who didn't just voice traditional policies differences with the Democrat but accused him of "palling around with terrorists."

It is no surprise that by mid-2009 I was hearing from the leader of the anti-Obama group the Delaware 9-12 Patriots that the 44th president of the United States "is absolutely not American" while his neighbors were screaming at town hall meetings: "I don't want this flag to change. I want my country back!" These rank-and-file citizens were often echoing what they heard in a 24/7 right-wing media bubble of ratings-driven irresponsibility -- outlandish neo-McCarthyite allegations that Obama had Commies and Maoists working in the West Wing, Glenn Beck's notorious claim that the president has "a deep-seated hatred of white people" and, perhaps more tellingly, of "white culture," and most recently radio's Rush Limbaugh's bizarre charge that Obama is probably the "best anti-American president the country's ever had."



Ja'Van Duley, Devean Duley

Orangeburg, SC (WLTX) - For the first time since the bodies of two young boys were discovered in the Edisto River, Shaquan Duley's mother and sister are breaking their silence.

Helen and Adriane Duley are hoping their story will save someone else in desperate need of help.

Shaquan is charged with the murder of 18-month-old Ja'Van Duley and 2-year-old Devean Duley. Officers say she confessed to suffocating them with her hand, putting them in a car, and finally placing that car in the Edisto River along Shillings Bridge Road just outside Orangeburg.

Helen says her grandchildren were gifts from God.

"They were happy children, energetic, they were boys," Helen says. "Devean I think he was gonna play some kinda sport. Javon, he was the only one of my grandchildren I gave my full name too; I call him Gerber baby, he had that kind of smile"

She and her other daughter, Adriane, say the boys had a specific purpose.

"My nephews lost their lives, but their living wasn't in vain," says Adriane Duley. "I pray that through her story this won't happen again; those children are gonna save lives and so is she."

They believe Shaquan is a loving mother and a person who needed help.

"There's nothing you would ask Shaquan that she wouldn't do," Helen says. "I'm asking the people not to judge her for what she's done, but understand that we all have problems and never know when things might get out of hand."

Shaquan Duley

Orangeburg Sheriff Larry Williams says he believes Shaquan was overwhelmed by the responsibility of motherhood.

"That's not normal behavior," Adriane says. "You have to be physically well to take care of your children but you also have to be mentally well."

This is a day the Duley's never wanted to face, but while the national media spotlight shines on their family, they hope save someone whose story has yet to be told.

"If you have a problem, please seek help, there are resources out there, talk to somebody," Helen says.

With Shaquan's five-year-old daughter left to raise, Helen says this is only the beginning of a long road, but she's pacing herself with help from a power greater than her own.

"There's a deep hurt, this is a very dark time in our lives but because of my faith in God, I feel the victory," Helen says.

The family has an account set up at Bank of America to help them cover funeral costs. You can donate by asking for the Duley memorial at any branch location.

The funeral for Ja'Van and Devean is set for Friday at 11 a.m. at St. Paul Baptist Church in Orangeburg. source

NEW ORLEANS — The new superintendent of the New Orleans Police Department read the mountain of federal court documents detailing the alleged behavior of his officers with increasing alarm.

The papers, Ronal Serpas says, are like a "disgustingly vile novel," outlining the murders of two unarmed civilians, the woundings of four others and a vast coverup involving 11 current and former officers accused in the deadly 2005 shootings in the chaotic aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.

So far, five of the officers have pleaded guilty to conspiracy, while the fates of six others — indicted last month on charges ranging from murder to obstruction of justice — are pending in the fatal assaults on Danziger Bridge.

Now more than 90 days into his tenure as the city's top cop, Serpas says the reality of his department is even worse than the "insidious" accounts he began reading in the documents just before he was appointed superintendent in May.

The court records accuse officers of killing innocent survivors of the storm, then covering up their actions by creating fictional witnesses and holding a secret meeting to get their stories straight during investigations of the incident. Yet Serpas says the troubles run even deeper: More officers have been linked to other crimes, and new charges are likely.

Five years after Hurricane Katrina — when some New Orleans officers deserted their posts and film crews caught others looting stores — police officials, community activists and civil rights advocates say the storm exposed systemic failures in a law enforcement agency that had been decaying for years. Many of the city's institutions have rebounded from the storm, but the police department seems to have sunk to new lows.

With the department's credibility in tatters, the federal government has launched an unprecedented intervention to salvage the agency at the urging of the city's new mayor and police superintendent.

In a May letter to U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder calling for the Justice Department's help, Mayor Mitch Landrieu said he had inherited "one of the worst police departments in the country."

"It is clear that nothing short of a complete transformation is necessary and essential to ensure safety for the citizens of New Orleans," Landrieu wrote.

The mayor's unusual candor quickly won endorsement from Serpas. "Deadly accurate," the police superintendent says. "Complete, systemwide failure."

Assistant Attorney General Thomas Perez, chief of the Justice Department's Civil Rights Division, says Landrieu's entreaty has launched the "widest-ranging review ever" of a local police force by the federal government.

Already, the department is the subject of eight federal inquiries into alleged wrongdoing by police. At least 18 current or former officers have been charged with federal crimes so far this year, 11 in connection with the Danziger shootings. Four face possible death sentences if convicted.

Apart from the criminal inquiries, Perez said the Justice Department is reviewing the city's police operations to try to reduce crime and restore public trust in an institution shaken to its core.

Violent crime, like police corruption, has menaced the city for years, linked in large part to the trafficking of illegal drugs.


The day is still young, but I can't help myself.  I just have to select this story today's winner.  I'm pretty sure there are going to be some other strong contenders, but this one just topped it for me.  If you have any dumb media stories you would like to recommend for tomorrow please let me know and feel free to share.  At the end of the week I'm going to post the week's dumbest story and then we'll have a winner for the month.  So without further ado here's today's winner:
Americans uncertain about Obama's faith
President Obama, then a Democratic senatorial candidate, prays at Trinity United Church of Christ in Chicago on Oct. 31, 2004.
WASHINGTON — Nearly one in five Americans incorrectly say President Obama is a Muslim, up from 11% last year, according to a Pew Research Center poll released today.

In the survey, about one-third of Americans correctly say Obama is a Christian, down from 48% who said so last year. In all, 43% say they do not know what religion Obama practices.

The survey "shows a general uncertainty and confusion about the president's religion," said Alan Cooperman, associate director of research with the Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life.

The survey of 3,003 adults was taken July 21-Aug. 5, before Obama endorsed a Muslim group's right to build a mosque and Islamic cultural center near the site of the 9/11 attacks in New York City. Those comments, made last weekend, added to the firestorm over the location of the mosque.

On Wednesday, Obama said at an event in Ohio that he has "no regrets" about his comments.

Responses in the poll tended to fall along ideological lines, Pew found. About one-third of self-described conservative Republicans said they believe Obama is a Muslim.

"Those who say he is a Muslim overwhelmingly disapprove of his job performance, while a majority of those who think he is a Christian approve of the job Obama is doing," said a Pew report about the poll. Pew found that "even among many of his supporters and allies, less than half now say Obama is a Christian."

Obama has spoken frequently about his Christian faith, including at the annual National Prayer Breakfasts and at a White House event celebrating Easter this year with Christian leaders. He receives a daily devotional prayer sent to his BlackBerry device.

As a candidate, Obama participated in a forum led by prominent Christian pastor Rick Warren, in which he said his "starting point" is "Jesus Christ died for my sins, and that I am redeemed through him."

Cooperman said one possible reason for confusion over Obama's religion is that people may not perceive the president as being as forthcoming about the subject compared with President George W. Bush. The Pew survey, however, showed that 48% say Obama relies on his religious beliefs the "right amount" when making policy decisions, compared with 53% for Bush.

Cooperman said he is glad the survey was done before Obama weighed in on the New York mosque because controversies can cause "temporary blips in public opinion." source
The reason this story was picked is because for the simple fact everybody and their momma knows the President is a Christian.  I mean seriously what was all the controversy surround Rev. Wright about if you didn't believe the man was a Christian and that his pastor was his chief spiritual adviser.  I'm so sick of these made up stories that people are trying to get to stick to this man in order to de-legitimize him as the Commander-in-Chief.  And for the record, if he was a Muslim who gives a damn?  What does him being a Muslim have to do with his policy?  How did being a Christian help George W. Bush?  If anything he made Christians look bad. 
Do you agree or disagree with Today's Dumb Media Story Award'?  Please share your responses in the comment section. 
Douglas Perlitz

NEW HAVEN, Conn. – A Colorado man who founded a school for street children in Haiti acknowledged Wednesday that he sexually abused several, wrapping up a case in which prosecutors said he manipulated the boys with promises of food and shelter and threatened to expel them if they refused.

Douglas Perlitz, 40, pleaded guilty Wednesday in U.S. District Court in New Haven, Conn., to travel with intent to engage in illicit sexual conduct, a charge that carries up to 30 years in prison. As part of a plea deal, he admitted to engaging in illicit sexual conduct with eight children.

Perlitz is a former Connecticut resident who now lives in Eagle, Colo. He was charged last year with enticing boys at the Project Pierre Toussaint School in Cap-Haitien into sex acts. Prosecutors say Perlitz, 40, withheld benefits and threatened to expel the boys if they spurned him.

"This defendant preyed on impoverished and powerless street children in Haiti, enticing them with significant benefits such as food, shelter, clothing and education, only to exploit his position of trust and sexually abuse the boys under his care," said U.S. Attorney David Fein.

"I commend the extraordinary strength and courage of the minor victims in this case who came forward and spoke out about the abuse that they suffered in order to protect others from harm and so that justice would prevail," Fein said.

Perlitz's lawyer, William Dow III, said after the hearing that his client looked forward to presenting his side of the story at his sentencing.

Perlitz founded the school in 1997 when he lived in Connecticut, and authorities say the abuse went on for nearly a decade.

U.S. District Judge Janet Bond Arterton last month dismissed the charges on a technical issue, saying he couldn't be prosecuted in Connecticut because the crimes weren't committed there.

The judge noted that Perlitz flew to Haiti from airports in New York and Florida but took no flights from Connecticut. She did leave the door open for prosecutors to refile the charges elsewhere, and authorities did just that in New York City shortly after Arterton's ruling.

Perlitz, though, waived his right to a trial elsewhere and agreed to a plea deal. Dismissal of the refiled charges will be sought at his sentencing.

The original indictment said Perlitz received funding from a religious organization to found Project Pierre Toussaint. The program initially served mostly street children as young as 6 and expanded to include a residential program for high school-age children. Children were offered meals, sports, classroom instruction and access to running water for baths.

Volunteers and staff members were scared to come forward with the allegations, the indictment said, because Perlitz controlled the school's operations and "utilized the fear of unemployment and the difficult economic situation in Haiti."

Prosecutors said they plan to mention additional victims at the sentencing hearing Dec. 21. Federal guidelines call for a prison term of about eight years to 20 years, and he must register as a sex offender when he leaves prison. He remains detained on bail.

He wore a beige prison jumpsuit during the hearing and smiled at his lawyers when he entered the courtroom. Most of his comments repeated the wording in the charge against him.