Sep 30, 2010

Tony Award winner and Academy Award winner Denzel Washington will host this year's Nobel Peace Prize Concert in Oslo, Norway on December 11. The prize will be announced on October 8, and formally handed out on December 10.

Performers at the concert will include British pop band Florence and the Machine, U.S. pop singer Colbie Caillat, pianist Herbie Hancock, and singer-songwriter Elvis Costello.

Washington won the 2010 Tony Award for his work in Fences and previously starred on Broadway in Julius Caesar. He won two Academy Awards, for Glory and Training Day.

Marquees of Sade: The British singer's  U.S. tour begins June 16 in Baltimore.
NEW YORK — Sade and the band that bears her name are known for their affinity for understatement. So it's no surprise that in announcing her first national tour since 2001, she speaks with a distinct lack of bombast.

"It just seems a natural progression," Sade says. The trek launches June 16 in Baltimore and includes dates through Aug. 30. "Once you put an album out, it's gone, in the ether. Being on stage makes the music tangible again."

The album Sade refers to is Soldier of Love, released in February after a decade-long sabbatical from the recording studio. Soldier made its debut at No. 1 on the Billboard album chart and has been certified platinum — confirmation that at 51, Sade remains a pop-soul icon.

In fact, she'll appear alongside Alicia Keys and Jay-Z tonight at Black Ball, an annual event benefiting Keys' Keep a Child Alive Foundation, a charity for children and families with HIV/AIDS.

"Alicia chased me for a couple of years, and she's a very persuasive girl," says Sade, who has a wide smile and earthy sense of humor that belies her cool, elusive persona.

Keys is not alone among her peers in revering Sade's sultry alto and the band's smooth, jazz-kissed hits from the 1980s and '90s. Programming director Alan Light of PBS' Live From the Artists' Den notes that her successful re-emergence, and her reluctance to promote it, "flies in the face of everything marketing people tell you. She makes an argument for the power of elegance and restraint."

Sade acknowledges that she values her privacy. "I've always got so much to accomplish in my personal life, and I see that as separate," she says. That has been especially true since the birth of her daughter, Ila, in 1996. Sade and her partner, Ian Watts, live together in rural England.

"I lived in London till about six years ago, but I'm basically a country girl," Sade says. Still, she's excited to visit different cities on her tour, and Ila will accompany her "at least some of the time. She went on the road with me the last time I toured, but she always went to bed before I went on stage."

Not that Sade's daughter isn't familiar with her mum's singing. "I always express myself with music. I have a friend who drags me out shopping, and when I try on something and she says that it looks good, I'll do this little song and dance. I just sing when I'm happy, you know?"


An undated Facebook photo of Tyler Clementi, sources say killed himself jumping off the George Washington Bridge. Two classmates (below) were arrested for cyber-voyeurism.

A Rutgers University freshman, distraught over a gay tryst splashed live across cyberspace by his roommate, plunged to his death from the George Washington Bridge.

"Jumping off the gw bridge sorry," read the final Facebook status from Tyler Clementi, just 72 hours after his private life suddenly became public knowledge.

The 18-year-old committed suicide after his dorm-room rendezvous was surreptitiously streamed on the Web via his roomie's hidden camera, sources told the Daily News.

The student who broadcast the liaison, and the friend who was with him, were arrested while Clementi's family waited for his body to be found.

"His poor parents," one police source said. "Shame is a terrible thing."

The quiet redhead, a scholarship student and skilled violinist, apparently asked roommate Dharun Ravi, 18, for some privacy on Sept. 19.

"Roommate asked for the room till midnight," Ravi wrote on Twitter that night. "I went into Molly's room and turned on my webcam. I saw him making out with a dude. Yay."

Authorities say Ravi streamed the action on the Web to friends - an illegal video transmission.

Two days later, in another Twitter post, Ravi indicated he had plans for a sequel.

"Yes, it's happening again," he wrote, inviting people to watch between 9:30 p.m. and midnight. The second streaming attempt failed, authorities said.

When Clementi learned of the vile voyeurism, he couldn't handle it and methodically planned his own death.

Sometime after 8 p.m. on Sept. 22, a friend said, he used his cell phone to change his Facebook status to the chilling farewell message.

Clementi wandered along the south walkway of the GWB from Fort Lee, N.J., to the tower on the New York side at 8:50 p.m., sources said.

Once there, he carefully left behind his wallet - including his license, AAA card and Rutgers ID - before leaping to his death. There was no note.

Authorities discovered the corpse of a white male floating Wednesday near the Columbia University boathouse, about 30 blocks north of the bridge, but no identification was made.

The dead teen's devastated family said they were "cooperating fully" with the continuing criminal probe against Ravi and his high-school pal and fellow Rutgers freshman Molly Wei.



Dharun Ravi

Dharun Ravi


Molly Wei

Molly Wei

Sep 29, 2010


A couple dozen Cub Scouts in DeKalb County were facing a bleak camping season after someone stole their gear from a church parking lot.

But when Atlanta filmmaker Tyler Perry heard the news about the theft of Cub Scout Pack 103's belongings, he gave the scouts a check for $10,000 to cover the loss.

The pack's plans for an October camping trip were ruined by the disappearance of its gear-packed trailer.

Early this month, someone stole it -- and an empty Boy Scout trailer that was parked next to it -- from the parking lot of Clairmont Hills Baptist Church in Toco Hill.

The pack''s trailer was filled with tents, coolers, propane tanks and "industrial-sized" stoves that could feed 50, pack administrator Emily Skuban said.

Police told Skuban that the bad guys probably wanted the heavy equipment so they could scrap it for money.

"The police guessed the thief didn't care about the camping equipment," Skuban said.

But the loss of the gear ruined plans for a two-day rugged adventure in October. Skuban's 7-year-old Will and about two dozen other kids were going to have to make do with a car-camping trip, instead.

"The trailer is a big loss," Skuban said, "but we can't camp without the camping equipment."

Then Perry entered the picture. He heard about the loss in media reports and someone from his studio contacted Skuban soon after she spoke with the AJC.

"He just gave us a $10,000 check," she said in a follow-up interview Tuesday.

Skuban said the trailer and its contents were probably worth around $4,000. She said she has been overwhelmed by the generosity of Perry and other Atlantans, who have been contacting her pack through its website offering help.

She urged other scouting troops and packs who've suffered a similar loss to contact her group, so she can put victims in touch with donors.

There have been other victims.



One of Long's accusers, told a local television station that he loved the Lithonia pastor but now considers him "a monster."

"This man manipulated us from childhood," Jamal Parris told WAGA-TV, who interviewed the 23-year-old outside a Colorado grocery store. "This was our father and we loved him."

Parris, who alleged that Long used church funds to lavish him and the other victims with gifts, said he reached out to the bishop privately before filing suit.

"This man turned his back on us when he had no more need for us," Parris told WAGA-TV. "That's not a man. That's a predator."

Attorney B.J. Bernstein, who represents the accusers, said she did not authorize the interview.

In a civil lawsuit filed last Wednesday, Parris, a former member of New Birth Missionary Baptist Church and one of Long's "spiritual sons," claims the charismatic bishop made him call him "Daddy," exploiting his role as a father figure and mentor.

Long has denied the allegations and told his congregation Sunday he will "vigorously" fight the charges against him. He has yet to comment on Parris' interview.

Click here to watch the video of the interview.

Terry McMillan and Jonathan Plummer
Famed author Terry McMillan made a reappearance on The Oprah Winfrey Show yesterday along with her ex-husband, Jonathan Plummer.  McMillan who recently released Getting to Happy, which is the the follow-up to her bestselling book, Waiting to Exhale, appeared to have forgiven her ex.  Here is a snippet of what was said:

Terry said, "I wish I hadn't been so compelled to sue him and his attorney because the anger lingered and it wore me out."

She added, "I thought the more I hated him the more he'd suffer."

On their relationship now, Jonathan says, "Things are great!" while Terry quickly noted, "He's not my BFF." source

A lot of people also questioned why Terry couldn't see that Plummer was gay and here was her response:

In response to one viewer who wrote, "He wasn't down low, he was high low," McMillan answered why she didn't see the signs that her ex-husband was gay:

"Most people in love don't see a lot of things. He was one from another culture so I just thought there were certain things about his manners and things that he could and couldn't do that had a lot to do with him being from Jamaica. And plus he was young, very young."

Terry also said that he loved her and that, "He brushed my hair, massaged me, all kinds of wonderful things."

Have you read Terry McMillan's new book, Getting to Happy?  If so, what did you think?  I've read it, but I would love to know your opinion about it.
Tavis and Cornel Team Up or the Smiley and West Radio Show

Princeton professor Cornel West and broadcaster Tavis Smiley are joining forces this fall to co-host a new radio show. Both are provocative and well-known public figures and leveraging the current popularity of the Tavis Smiley Show and integrating their professional and personal relationship, they will "explore contemporary, cutting-edge issues." The announcement came during the 23rd annual Public Radio Programming Conference in Denver, Colorado, Sunday, September 26.

"Dr. West is a long-time friend and I am honored that he has agreed to go on this journey with me. This new venture, Smiley & West, will not only set the pace for tomorrow's news but will be a conduit for the insightful conversation that America is thirsting for. I'm excited that alongside one of America's greatest thinkers, we will encourage, enlighten and empower the listeners together." – Tavis Smiley

The show will be one hour long and air on a weekly basis on Public Radio International (PRI) affiliates nationwide. President and CEO Alisa Miller says that, "PRI is proud to bring the broadcast to audiences nationwide and to support Tavis as he encourages conversation about issues of importance." According to Miller, "PRI creates and distributes content that offers different perspectives and new voices to help people live successfully in our complex, interconnected world. That's why we're thrilled that Tavis and Dr. West have created this forum for a robust exploration of ideas among people with different points of view."

The first half of the show consists of Tavis and West discussing current news topics. They will focus on stories that deserve attention, but are being ignored by mainstream media outlets. They will also give listeners the opportunity to directly engage the co-hosts on issues they may disagree with on a segment called "Take 'Em to Task." The final 30 minutes of the show will be a conversation between Tavis, Cornel, and a special guest. The first episodes will feature New York Times columnist Frank Rich and comedian, actor and writer Garry Shandling. Future episodes will include "celebrities, politicians, intellectuals and other newsmakers."

"Many of America's most important discussions aren't necessarily happening in the boardroom or between the pundits on cable television. Rather they're happening at BBQs, cocktail parties, barbershops, and salons between real people. With this new endeavor, Smiley & West, Tavis and I hope to really tap into the concerns of everyday people." – Cornel West

Check out for more details on the show and how to participate.

Sep 28, 2010


A new survey of Americans' knowledge of religion found that atheists, agnostics, Jews and Mormons outperformed Protestants and Roman Catholics in answering questions about major religions, while many respondents could not correctly give the most basic tenets of their own faiths.

Forty-five percent of Roman Catholics who participated in the study didn't know that, according to church teaching, the bread and wine used in Holy Communion is not just a symbol, but becomes the body and blood of Christ.

More than half of Protestants could not identify Martin Luther as the person who inspired the Protestant Reformation. And about four in 10 Jews did not know that Maimonides, one of the greatest rabbis and intellectuals in history, was Jewish.

The survey released Tuesday by the Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life aimed to test a broad range of religious knowledge, including understanding of the Bible, core teachings of different faiths and major figures in religious history. The U.S. is one of the most religious countries in the developed world, especially compared to largely secular Western Europe, but faith leaders and educators have long lamented that Americans still know relatively little about religion.

Respondents to the survey were asked 32 questions with a range of difficulty, including whether they could name the Islamic holy book and the first book of the Bible, or say what century the Mormon religion was founded. On average, participants in the survey answered correctly overall for half of the survey questions.

Atheists and agnostics scored highest, with an average of 21 correct answers, while Jews and Mormons followed with about 20 accurate responses. Protestants overall averaged 16 correct answers, while Catholics followed with a score of about 15.

Not surprisingly, those who said they attended worship at least once a week and considered religion important in their lives often performed better on the overall survey. However, level of education was the best predictor of religious knowledge. The top-performing groups on the survey still came out ahead even when controlling for how much schooling they had completed.

On questions about Christianity, Mormons scored the highest, with an average of about eight correct answers out of 12, followed by white evangelicals, with an average of just over seven correct answers. Jews, along with atheists and agnostics, knew the most about other faiths, such as Islam, Buddhism, Hinduism and Judaism. Less than half of Americans know that the Dalai Lama is Buddhist, and less than four in 10 know that Vishnu and Shiva are part of Hinduism.

The study also found that many Americans don't understand constitutional restrictions on religion in public schools. While a majority know that public school teachers cannot lead classes in prayer, less than a quarter know that the U.S. Supreme Court has clearly stated that teachers can read from the Bible as an example of literature.

Mom sentenced to 67 years for killing infant rapist may get reprieve
Laquita Calhoun may have her sentence reduced because of an appeals court saying she was provoked. She was convicted in 2006 of killing her neighbor, Alonzo Jones.

Laquita Calhoun's sentence may be reduced after an appeals judge ruled that her original sentence by Cook County Judge Stanley Sacks failed to properly consider the "undeniably egregious nature of the provocation" that led to the 2004 slaying of Jones.

Instead, the judge said Calhoun deserves a sentence more in line to that of the others sentenced in the case. Katherine Calhoun, her sister, received a 20-year sentence.

Laquita Calhoun, now 29, was bathing her 1-year-old daughter when she noticed signs of sexual abuse and went to confront Jones, 29, who confessed to abusing the girl, Calhoun told police. Another neighbor said Jones had molested one of her children, too, witnesses said.

Jones was then beaten by several people, then tossed screaming into the trunk of a car.

He was also slashed with a broken bottle, kicked by several men and taken to an alley, where Calhoun beat him with a stick until he collapsed, police said.

They even ran over him with a car.

After a jury found Calhoun guilty of murder, Sacks said he had never seen a more "horrendous, vicious crime" and said her vigilantism had cost Calhoun the right to "live among a free society." He sentenced her to 67 years in prison, including the maximum 60 years for murder.

Gloria Burton, the mother of Laquita, took custody of her five children as well as her sister Katherine's three children.


With the spotlight being on the educational system, options about how to best educate children are being explored.  So the Question of the Day is would you ever consider homeschooling your children?  Why or why not?
If you are a parent that is homeschooling, please feel free to share your experiences here.

More black parents turn to home schooling as alternative
The Carter family are shown here during celebrating Jolene's eight grade graduation: Janae, Derek, Jolene, Cheryl and Jarrett. (Photo courtesy of Cheryl Carter)

More than 15 years ago when Cheryl Carter's oldest child, her son Jarrett, was just starting school, she and her husband were committed to sending him to a good public school. The family had moved to Long Island, New York for that expressed purpose -- quality schools. But soon Cheryl Carter had an epiphany of sorts, which opened her to a whole new world: home schooling.

As a young boy, Jarrett was incredibly active. Carter said her son's teachers didn't know what to do to harness his energy, capture his attention, and tap into his imagination. As a mother, her instincts told her that without the right support, Jarrett could be turned off from school. The local public school wasn't failing her family yet, but she didn't want things to go that far. The job of inspiring Jarrett fell to her.

"I wanted to instill in him a joy for learning," she said.

Jarrett, now 20 and a college junior, was just six when his mom began home schooling him. Then came his two sisters, Janae and Jolene. Neither of the girls ever attended traditional school. For the Carter family and a lot of other families like them, home schooling works.

According to the National Home Education Research Institute there are more than 2 million home schooled children in the United States. The institute also says what while home schooling was once considered a different type of experience, it's now considered a readily available option and in the mainstream.

Cheryl Carter said that when she first started, she didn't know many other families who home-schooled, never mind African-American families like hers who had made the same decision.

For some, the number of African-American home-schoolers may come as a surprise, but Dr. Brian Ray, president of the National Home Education Research Institute, said the rate of African-American home-schoolers is growing at the same rate as home-schoolers of other races, about 5 to 12 percent per year.

"When African-American families choose to home school, by and large, it's for the exact same reasons that anyone else home schools," Ray said.

Ray lists among the motivating reasons: Parents believing they can offer at least as good an education as a school; home schooling allows the family to spend more time together to build stronger relationships; and home school parents believe they can educate their children in a safer environment physically, psychologically, and emotionally given some of the dangers children are exposed to when they go to school.

Suze Dalencour, another New York-area parent, has also been home schooling for years. Dalencour has four children, two boys and two girls who range in age from 11to 22.

Dalencour said that while she's confident she made the right decision for her family, she faced lots of criticism after her decision to home school.

"As far as the reaction, yes, people thought that I was strange and some people thought I was harming my kids, and that they were not going to get enough socialization," she said.

Sep 27, 2010

Visit for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

This town hall is definitely a must-see!

President Obama set a goal today of recruiting 10,000 teachers in science, technology, engineering and math, calling these subjects essential to competing in the 21st-century global economy.

"When I came into office, I set a goal of moving our nation from the middle to the top of the pack in math and science education," said Obama, who discussed his plan this morning on NBC's Today show.

Obama expressed support for a longer school year in the interview tied to a series of NBC News programs about education. He said improvements will require more than money.

The president called education one of the country's most important economic issues as it competes with China, India and other growing nations that outperform the USA in the classroom.

"They have caught up and now in some cases have surpassed us," Obama said.

Obama said people should insist on better standards and better teachers. He said more education funding is needed but that is far from the only solution. "Money without reform will not fix the problems," he said.

The president called for longer school years, saying U.S. competitors keep their children in schools for an average of a month longer. "That month makes a difference," Obama said, though "that's going to cost some money. ... That would be money well spent."

Obama defended his administration's "Race to the Top" program, saying it forces states and school districts to improve their standards. He said math and science instruction should be priorities and urged parents to stay involved in their children's education.

The president said little about the criticism of teachers' unions but did agree with interviewer Matt Lauer's assertion that there are some very good teachers out there and some very mediocre ones.

"Sort of like politicians and journalists," Obama said.

I'm really glad the focus is slowing beginning to turn to education in this country, but I find it kind of curious the manner in which we are focusing that attention.  With the new documentary, Waiting for Superman, it would appear that all the blame for our lackadaisical educational system can be laid at the feet of teachers and teachers' unions.  Now don't get me wrong, I'm pretty sure there are some mediorce teachers just like any other profession, but let's be real.  It's very easy to blame teachers because we can fired them, but yet we cannot fire parents who should share in the blame.  Oh and please don't get me started on the politicians who implement policies that make it virtually impossible for a teacher to efficiently do their job.  They are just as culpable in this situation as anyone.  Trust me, there is plenty of blame to go around for everyone to partake in.
Instead of blaming people maybe we should start putting forth solutions.  How about classroom sizes?  That should be an easy one to tackle and if there are more than 20 students in a class how about placing a paraprofessional in the class to assist the teacher.  These teachers spend so much time policing these classes they don't have time to teach.  How about when teachers ask for help we actually give them that help?  How about we listen to the teachers for a change?
If you want to make the standards more stringent for teachers how about you pay them more money.  No one goes into teaching to get rich.  The vast majority of teachers go into classrooms to make a difference.  Trust me, they don't get paid nearly what they are worth especially having to deal with what they have to deal with.
Parents need to be involved in the educating of their children.  In the words of my little sister, 'Parents should be their kids first teachers.'  The education of your child shouldn't just take place at school.  You have to play an active role.  If you are a parent that can't read, how about you put your pride aside and learn to read with your child.  In order to be better we have to do better.  We have to be parent-activists.  Your children deserve better.
Demand more from your elected officials.  If they are not getting the job done, boot their behinds out of office.  They work for you and they need to be reminded of that.  They are willing to spend more money on building prisons, but are unwilling to build more efficient schools that have a 21st century curriculum.
The super fashionable design duo composed  of Domenico Dolce and Stefano Gabbana used their runway show in Milan to honor megamodel Naomi Campbell for her 25 years of working the hell out of a catwalk.  Models from the show don t-shirts that depicted iconic photos of Naomi throughout her illustrious career. 
****Side Note****
The Smith women are still killing it over in Milan on the fashion front.  I'm loving Jada's entire look.

I just love the Smith family.  I also love how Will and Jada allow their kids to express their individuality as far as fashion is concerned.
Racist messages a problem for mainstream websites
Via theGrio:

Although you rarely hear racial insults on Main Street these days, there's a place where unashamed bigotry is all too easy to find: tossed off in the comments sections of some of the Internet's most popular websites, today's virtual Main Street.

Internet anonymity has removed one of the strongest barriers to the type of language that can ruin reputations and end careers.

Do these comments reflect a reversal of racial progress? Is that progress an illusion while racism thrives underground? What kind of harm are these statements doing? Could there be any value in such venting? And what, if anything, should a free society do about it?

"We've seen comments that people would not make in the public square or any type of civic discussion, maybe even within their own families," said Dennis Ryerson, editor of The Indianapolis Star. "There is no question in my mind that the process, because it's largely anonymous, enables people who would never speak up on Main Street to communicate their thoughts."

At the newspaper's website, moderators delete individual racist comments that are brought to their attention, and will take down a whole thread if such comments persist. On some stories that are expected to provoke racism, the entire comments section is disabled beforehand, a practice shared by a growing number of newspapers.

On a single day recently, racially offensive online remarks were not hard to find:

In a comment on a Yahoo News story about a black civil rights era photographer revealed to be an FBI informant, someone called blacks farm animals who "were not and are not wanted in this society."

Another commenter wrote, "We all know who MADE America what it is today, and we also know which group is receiving hefty tax dollar pay outs... so until the tables turn the only thing you should be saying is 'thank you' to all the hard working (whites) who gave you the life you now take for granted."

Black racism was evident, too. One person on the site wondered if the FBI beat information out of the photographer: "You know how white people do." On a story about two black sisters jailed 20 years for an $11 robbery, someone used several crude epithets to suggest that the judge was a white racist.

A story about demographic changes in the nation's kindergartens turned into open season on Latinos. "Go to any ER, school, jail and see first hand what race is over consuming precious US resources?" one comment said. Another complained in ugly terms about Latino birthrates.

Some believe such comments indicate that racism has not declined as much as people may think. Joe Feagin, a sociologist at Texas A&M University, said a study he conducted of 626 white college students at 28 institutions revealed thousands of examples of racism in "backstage," all-white settings.

Are these comments cause for alarm?



NEW YORK (AP) — White descendants of the nation's first professionally trained African-American doctor gathered in a cemetery on Sunday to dedicate a tombstone at the unmarked grave where he was buried in 1865.

"Right now I feel so connected in a new way, to actually be here," said Antoinette Martignoni, the 91-year-old great-granddaughter of James McCune Smith. "I take a deep breath, and I thank God, I really do. I am so glad to have lived this long."

Smith, born in New York City in 1813, wanted to be a doctor but was denied entry to medical schools in the United States. He earned a degree from the University of Glasgow in Scotland, then returned to New York to practice. Besides being a doctor, he was celebrated in his lifetime as a writer and an anti-slavery leader.

Although scholars have written books about Smith, who set up a medical practice in lower Manhattan and became the resident physician at an orphanage, his descendants knew nothing about him until recently.

The story of why Smith was nearly overlooked by history and buried in an unmarked grave is in part due to the centuries-old practice of light-skinned blacks passing as white to escape racial prejudice. Smith's mother had been a slave; his father was white. Three of his children lived to adulthood, and they all apparently passed as white, scholars say.

Greta Blau, Smith's great-great-great-granddaughter, made the connection after she took a course at Hunter College on the history of blacks in New York. She did some research and realized that James McCune Smith the trailblazing black doctor was the same James McCune Smith whose name was inscribed in a family Bible belonging to Martignoni, her grandmother.

Her first response was, "But he was black. I'm white."

Blau, of New Haven, Conn., concluded that after Smith's death, his surviving children must have passed as white, and their children and grandchildren never knew they had a black forbear, let alone such an illustrious one.

Blau contacted all the Smith descendants she could find and invited them to join her Sunday for a ceremony dedicating a handsome tombstone at Smith's grave at Brooklyn's Cypress Hills Cemetery.

Eleven of Smith's descendants went to lay flowers at the cemetery, the final resting place of other notables including baseball player Jackie Robinson and actress Mae West.

Blau's aunt Elizabeth Strazar said she had grown up believing her ethnic heritage was English, Irish, Scottish and French.

"Now I can say I'm English, Irish, African-American and French, which I feel very proud of," she said.

Joanne Edey-Rhodes, the professor whose course led Blau to discover her ancestor, said Blau had written about Smith in her paper for the course.

"She was writing about this person and didn't realize that that was her very own ancestor," Edey-Rhodes said.

Edey-Rhodes, who's black, said that to be black in America in Smith's time "was a horrible condition."

"Black people were a despised group, and to many we still are a despised group in the world," she said. "I think that it is so important that at this time in history, that a family that is classified as white can say, 'I have this African-American ancestor,' and be able to do it without any shame, without having to hide it."
CHICAGO (AP) — The wife of U.S. Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. said she and her husband have undergone marital counseling and spiritual therapy since he told her nearly two years ago of an extramarital affair.

"He said it was over. I was mortified and in agony, but he knew if I found out any other way, it would be over. That the only way to save our marriage was to come clean," Chicago Alderman Sandi Jackson said in an interview published in Sunday editions of the Chicago Sun-Times. "There were sleepless nights, and I started losing hair, and I told him I would only consider staying if we got into therapy."

She said she immediately questioned herself and whether it was her fault, but she never wanted details. When word of the affair became public last week, she said it was like opening the wound again.

Jesse Jackson Jr., a Democrat, has been dogged by corruption allegations in connection with former Gov. Rod Blagojevich since December 2008, shortly after Blagojevich was arrested.

Last week, more allegations surfaced that Jackson told a businessman to offer Blagojevich $6 million in exchange for an appointment to Barack Obama's former U.S. Senate seat. The businessman also told the FBI he purchased plane tickets for a woman identified as Giovana Huidobro, a "social acquaintance" of Jackson.

Jackson, who has not been charged with a crime, has repeatedly denied wrongdoing in connection with Blagojevich.

He didn't, however, deny allegations of an affair with the "social acquaintance" and called it a "personal matter between me and my wife that was handled some time ago."

Messages left for Jackson on Sunday by The Associated Press weren't immediately returned.

In the interview, Sandi Jackson acknowledged empathy for her husband, who she said "has been quiet, withdrawn and concerned."

"It's been surreal. I feel bad for Jesse because he is living this thing all over again. He is remorseful over this fire storm he's created around us," she said.

She also said her husband never had an intention of running for Chicago mayor and is instead gearing up for re-election in his congressional district covering parts of Chicago's South Side and south suburbs.

The congressman, who first won election in his district in 1995, previously said he's been mulling a run for mayor since Mayor Richard Daley announced earlier this month that he wouldn't seek a seventh term.

The Jacksons have been married since 1991 and have two children.

Sandi Jackson said she could never anticipate how she would feel when her husband told her of the affair.

"You know, when the Clintons ran into marital trouble, I thought Hillary should leave Bill," she said. "I couldn't stand what Tiger Woods did and how his wife had to suffer publicly.

"But when the 'beast' lands at your door, it can be a very, very different experience. No one really knows what they are going to do until they are in that situation. When it happens to you it's amazing how what you once thought was black and white becomes variations of a color called gray."

Jackson, who has been alderman of her South Side ward since 2007, said for now she wants to stay focused on her job and children.

She said there are people who have had far worse situations.

"Mine is a matter of the heart," she said. "For many, it's a matter of survival. My heart will heal."

Bishop Eddie Long speaks on Sunday.

Via AJC:

Bishop Eddie Long's steadfast vow to fight accusations of sexual coercion drew cheers from church members Sunday, but left some uncertain about the high-profile religious leader.

Standing before thousands of supportive congregants, Long used the pulpit of his DeKalb County megachurch, New Birth Missionary Baptist, to respond to a week of lawsuits by four young men who say he used his influence to coerce them into sex.

In his first public appearance since the lawsuits, Long said the past few days have been among the most painful in his life.

The 57-year-old pastor did not say much beyond the written statements issued earlier by himself and his attorney. Those statements declared his innocence against the sex accusations. His sermons on Sunday did not address the accusations directly.

He never specifically proclaimed his innocence. But he vowed to clear his name.

"This thing I'm going to fight," he told the throngs of faithful who at the Lithonia church. And they cheered the pastor who built the church into a huge community of 25,000 followers.

B.J. Bernstein, the Atlanta lawyer for all four of the plaintiffs in the lawsuits, said she had no comment on Long's remarks.

Dressed in a khaki-colored suit bearing the New Birth emblem, Long walked onto the stage accompanied by his wife, Vanessa. He spoke of his aim to "vigorously" defend himself, and that he would not play out the battle in the media but in a court of law.

Despite conjecture that he might step down or stop preaching during this church crisis, Long told his congregants: "I will see you next week," and later, "I'm not leaving you, if you don't leave me."

The reaction to Long's short sermons during two morning services ranged from enthusiastic approval to lingering uncertainy.

Long said he has not begun to fight in earnest.

In both sermons, among the most important of Long's career, the embattled preacher compared himself to the biblical David against Goliath. "There is a giant in front of me. And I'm going to fight and fight vigorously," he said. "And I've got five rocks and I haven't thrown one yet."

He did not elaborate on what form those "rocks" might take.

He made clear that he understood the gravity of the moment, as did his parishioners.  Members of his DeKalb County megachurch started arriving before dawn. One couple slept in their green Lexus parked in a visitor's spot. A platoon of reporters and camera crews joined them, and CNN broadcast his appearance.

"I realize many have been waiting on me to say something," he said.

Long said he has never portrayed himself as a perfect man. "But I am not the man being portrayed on the television," he said. "That's not me. That's not me."

Long used Psalm 34:19 as his sermon scripture: "Many are the afflictions of the righteous; but Lord delivereth him out of them all."

At a media conference between services, Long made a short statement but did not take questions.

He said, "I am going to fight, fight very vigorously."

Long let it be known that, on the advice of his attorney, he would not address the accusations head on at this time.



Sep 24, 2010

A fourth man alleges that when he was a teenager, he had sexual relations with Bishop Eddie Long.

His latest accuser, Spencer LeGrande, claims he was 17 when he began a sexual relationship with Long while accompanying the bishop on a trip to Nairobi, Kenya.

LeGrande, of Charlotte, N.C., alleges in a civil suit filed Friday in DeKalb County that Long gave him an Ambien, a popular prescription sleep aid, followed by a "prolonged hug," kissing and rubbing, according to the suit.

The suit claims the two shared a bed for the remainder of their trip.

"Bishop Long categorically denies the charges," church spokesman Art Franklin said Friday. "We believe that it is unfortunate the young men have chosen to take this course of action. The defense team will review the complaints and respond accordingly at the appropriate time and in the appropriate forum."

LeGrande, like the three other young men who've filed suit against Long, is represented by attorney B.J. Bernstein. Two of the alleged victims, Maurice Robinson, 20, and Anthony Flagg, 21, were linked to a June robbery of Long’s personal office at the DeKalb church. Robinson and Anthony Boyd, who were captured on surveillance cameras, took an iPod, iPad and jewelry, according to a police report. Flagg was never charged.

Channel 2 Action News reports Long interceded on their behalf, telling DeKalb Assistant District Attorney Dan Geary he wished to "show compassion" and drop charges.

The case is still pending, said a spokesman for the district attorney.

Spencer LeGrande was 15 when he met Long, the suit alleges. LeGrande and his mother were among the founding members of Long's satellite church in Charlotte, N.C., Bernstein told the AJC.

Their first meeting was an emotional one, according to the suit. LeGrande, moved by one of Long's sermons, approached the pastor and began to cry. Long hugged the 15-year-old, assuring him, "I got you" ... "I will be your dad," the suit states. Soon after they began talking regularly by phone.

"Long would become angry if LeGrande failed to call Long on a frequent basis," according to the suit.

LeGrande alleges the bishop told him to call me "dad." Like two of the other young men claiming Long coerced them into having sex, LeGrande's father was not actively involved in the youth's life.

"[LeGrande] would call [Long] dad in front of me," Spencer's father, Eddie LeGrande, told the AJC Friday. "That would hurt me." He acknowledged rarely seeing his son but said their relationship began to mend when the boy was 11.

But eventually, the elder LeGrande said, Long drove a wedge between father and son.

"He was doing all these things for him. I couldn't compete," said Eddie LeGrande, adding he had no clue of his son's alleged sexual relationship with the bishop. But looking back, he said, "There were red flags."

Eddie LeGrande said he rarely saw his son after the teen left North Carolina for Atlanta. Long encouraged the move following a second trip to Kenya, the suit alleges. LeGrande agreed, abandoning a potential college basketball career to attend Beulah Heights University.

The boy's mother, Deborah LeGrande, wrote the bishop thanking him for looking after her son, according to the suit.

LeGrande, who says he was showered with gifts, including a Dodge Intrepid, was expected to "have no girlfriends." In return his tuition and expenses at Beulah were covered, the suit alleges.

The freshman college student was allowed to live, rent-free, in the Harwell House, owned by another New Birth minister.

After a few months, LeGrande was moved into a church-owned community center on Parsons Road. The suit alleges the two had sex in that home along with other church properties, including the bishop's private office.

Their relationship crumbled in early 2009 as LeGrande became "disillusioned and confused by Long’s actions and began pulling away from [the bishop]," according to the suit. Around that time, LeGrande dropped out of Beulah University and sought to distance himself from his spiritual mentor.

"From the Spring of 2009 up through October 2009, Long continued to contact LeGrande," the suit states.

Since the scandal broke surrounding Bishop Eddie Long and his Longfellows Youth Academy, I decided to do a little research and learn more about the academy.  The little that I've read about the program has definitely left me impressed.  I can see why any single mother would want to get her son(s) involved in such a program.  It is a program that is geared towards bringing young boys from boyhood into 'Christian' manhood.  Now I have absolutely no problem with the religious slant.  This is a program provided by the church so of course religious tenements are expected to be factors in the curriculum.  Besides, I think we have a lot of wayward young boys out there who are in serious need of male leadership in their lives. 
I was most impress with the emphasis on education and financial literacy in the program.  There are four program levels:
1. Sons
2. Rough Riders
3. Gladiators
4. Ishmen
Each level has Completion Standards.
Here is what the AJC is saying about the program:

The mentoring program, which boasts a 100 percent high school graduation rate for its participants and a curriculum that promotes sexual purity and physical fitness, is tailored to boys like Jamal Parris, who was 14 when he joined, and Anthony Flagg, 16 when he allegedly became one of Long's "spiritual sons."

Parris, who claims the bishop said "he would protect him and never let another man hurt him," and Flagg were named in two of the civil suits accusing Long of sexual coercion. They allege he positioned himself as the father figure both teens lacked.

"Most men, and most boys growing up these days, have no man to guide them in their journey to becoming a man," according to the LongFellows site. "This has destroyed many of our youth."

Long's accusers say he exploited that relationship and used the Bible to rationalize sexual encounters. But other graduates of the program, tailored for boys ages 13 to 18, say LongFellows helped turn their lives around.

The bishop was actively involved in the program, serving as mentor to many of its members. According to LongFellows director Marcus Hughes' bio on the academy's site, Long was like a "spiritual father" to the Morehouse College graduate, who has been the director since 2005. Hughes has not answered calls requesting comment.

If you know of anyone who went through the Longfellows program please let me.  I would love to talk to them and get their prospective on the program and the scandal surrounding it.
The controversy over Rep. Sanford Bishop's decision to award charity scholarships to his relatives has expanded as four more students tied to the south Georgia Democrat and his wife have acknowledged receiving them, as well.

Bishop earlier this month repaid the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation $6,350 to cover the cost of scholarships that he provided to his stepdaughter and niece. The nonprofit foundation receives funding from corporate sponsors to help fund the education of needy students.

Now the circle of people known to have received scholarships and have connections to the Bishops is growing, raising fresh criticism from a government watchdog group and questions from charity officials. Public documents and interviews show that two scholarships went to the children of individuals who were employed by Bishop's wife, while two more went to persons with connections to the congressman's office.

"Those scholarships were intended to go to smart, needy kids," said Melanie Sloan, executive director of Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington. "It wasn't supposed to be a matter of cronyism."

Bishop, who is running for re-election against Republican Mike Keown, has refused to discuss his or his wife's relationships with the scholarship recipients, except to say the awards met rules set by the CBC Foundation.

"There's no reason to go into this, so we're not going to do it," Bishop spokesman Tim Turner said.

The foundation, a nonprofit that supports the work of the CBC through policy seminars and other activities, did not explicitly bar scholarships from going to relatives of lawmakers, foundation board members and staff until 2008.

But an attorney for the foundation, Amy Goldson, said it's long been understood that scholarships shouldn't be directed to relatives.

"Would they be happy to admit in public that we're raising this money because we want to give this to our relatives?" asked Goldson. "Nope, this is to help deserving young students who otherwise wouldn't have the opportunity."

The foundation began an internal audit of its scholarship program this summer after U.S. Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson of Texas admitted that she steered scholarships to her relatives and a staffer's children.

In Bishop's case, scholarships went to people who worked for his wife, Columbus Municipal Court Clerk Vivian Creighton Bishop, who chaired a committee of lawmaker spouses who raised money for the scholarship program from 2003 to 2005.

Besides assisting his two relatives, Rep. Bishop earlier acknowledged that one scholarship went to Sherletha Thomas, who once worked for his wife and is now married to a staffer of the congressman's.

Others related to those with ties to Rep. Bishop recently said they received scholarships during the years 2001 to 2003.

Sep 23, 2010

Via AJC:
Bishop Eddie Long, in his first public statement since he was sued by three men who alleged he coerced them into having sexual relationships, said he has  been  "through storms and my faith has always sustained me."

" I am anxious to respond directly to these false allegations and I will do so," he said in a statement released by his spokesman. " However, my lawyers have counseled patience at this time. But let me be clear; the charges against me and New Birth are false. I have devoted my life to helping others and these false allegations hurt me deeply. "

He asked for patience and said he plans to respond to the charges during services at New Birth Missionary Baptist Church on Sunday.

Earlier, his attorney,  Craig Gillen,  took to the air  to defend his client against charges he used his pastoral influence to coerce three men into having sexual relations.

Gillen was interviewed by Roland Martin for the syndicated Tom Joyner Morning Show. It was the first public interview by Long's attorneys since three lawsuits were filed against the head of the Atlanta mega-church.

"These false allegations are an attack on Bishop Long personally. They are an attack on New Birth and all of the 25,000 good people who attend that church, and it's an attack on the mentoring program that has helped thousands of young men," Gillen said.

Gillen also read Long's statement on the air.

"Let me be clear. The charges against me and New Birth are false," Long's statement said.

Gillen said Long, a married father of four, was "chomping at the bit" to speak out on the the show, but that he had advised against doing so.

Gillen questioned the character of some of the men who filed the lawsuits. At least one, Maurice Robinson, was arrested in connection with a June break-in at the church. He said lawyers are trying to get a copy of a tape of the burglary.

Gillen said the lawsuits have "ignited a firestorm against this good man." He implied the motives of the lawsuits were money.

Now, I am a prime believer in a person being 'innocent until proven guilty', but something about these photos just don't sit right with me.  Maybe I'm making something out of nothing, but I just don't understand the purpose of him sending these photos to these boys.  Now, his attorney defended him by saying the following:
"The photos don't corroborate these charges. [Bishop Long] is a health advocate, he's a weight lifter. He's a fella, who's gonna go to work and he's gonna have on a muscle shirt. And you know he may show up in church in a muscle shirt. There's nothing really in those photographs that seems to me corroborative of these allegations." source
It still doesn't sit right. 

PALO ALTO, CA - AUGUST 18:  Facebook founder a...

Mark Zuckerberg, the 26-year-old Facebook founder and the biggest climber on this year's Forbes 400, has just agreed to donate $100 million to Newark's troubled public schools.

The tech whiz kid is expected to appear on fellow Forbes billionaire Oprah Winfrey's show tomorrow to announce the gift, alongside Newark Mayor Cory Booker and New Jersey Governor Chris Christie.

This is the first time Zuckerberg has made a large-scale public charitable donation. Today, the media's attention has been piqued by both the timing and nature of the pledge, which amounts to $100 million in Facebook stock rather than cash.



Via AJC:

Mega-church leader Bishop Eddie Long has canceled a previously announced appearance on the Tom Joyner Morning Show Thursday after a third man filed a lawsuit accusing the prominent minister of using his pastoral influence to coerce him into a sexual relationship.

In addition, Long's attorneys canceled plans for a press conference to address the growing scandal.

The syndicated radio show, heard locally on Kiss 104.1, had issued a press release saying he would discuss the allegations. However, the show's Roland Martin, who was scheduled to interview Long at 7:15 a.m., said on his Twitter account early Thursday that "the lawyers have made the decision that due to the third lawsuit that Bishop not to do interviews tomorrow."

Craig Gillen, an attorney for Long, was interviewed on the radio program instead. Gillen said there was "miscommunication" about a press conference today, and that there would not be one .On Wednesday  Gillen, an Atlanta attourney,  media members that a press conference would be held Thursday, though no time was set.

A lawsuit filed Wednesday by Jamal Parris, 23, a former member of New Birth Missionary Baptist Church, claims Long made Parrish call him "Daddy" and coerced him into sexual acts.

The suit, similar to two filed on Tuesday (Read a PDF of one of the earlier lawsuits), accuses Long of using his power to force the plaintiff into a sexual relationship. In exchange, Long placed Parris and the two other men on the church's payroll, bought them cars and other gifts, and took them on lavish trips, according to the suits filed in DeKalb County Superior Court.

Long adamantly denies the allegations and has scheduled a news conference Thursday morning.

Stephen M. Brown, senior vice president of media strategy at MS & L's Atlanta office, questioned the time it's taken Long to make a personal statement about the allegations.

"Something definitive needs to be said, for sure," he said. "I think he needs to explain what the relationship was between himself and the people making these allegations and detail any misunderstandings."

Parris' allegations are similar to claims made by Anthony Flagg, 21, and Maurice Robinson, 20, who filed suits Tuesday.

Robinson and Flagg say Long began having inappropriate relations with them when they were 16. They are seeking a trial by jury and unspecified damages.

"It is unfortunate that these young men have chosen to take this course of action," Long's attorney, Craig Gillen, told the AJC Tuesday night.

Parris and his mother joined the church in 2001 when he was 14.

Within two weeks, Long gave Parris his personal cell phone number, the suit alleges.

Their relationship intensified during the 2004-05 school year, with Long often inviting Parris to his guesthouse on Snapfinger Road.

"Initially, Long engaged in sexual touching during their encounters and then escalated the activity to oral sodomy and other acts of sexual gratification," the suit reads. "Long would discuss the Holy Scripture to justify and support the sexual activity."

Parris claims he left the church in 2009 "disillusioned, confused and angry."

Attorney B.J. Bernstein, who is representing the three plaintiffs, has said they do not want to comment. Phone calls left with them and their relatives were not returned.

Meanwhile, gubernatorial candidate Roy Barnes has canceled a Friday morning fundraiser that Long was to co-host.

"While these allegations are troubling, we will refrain from commenting until all the facts are known," Barnes spokesman Emil Runge said in a prepared statement.

Bernstein claims Long abused his pastoral relationship with the men and convinced them that the sexual relationships were a "healthy component of [their] spiritual lives."

Parris' suit claims that Long took him on trips on his private jet as far away as Trinidad and Honduras.

On some of the trips with Robinson and Flagg, Long would use the alias "Dick Tracy" when he checked into hotels. According to online service Accurint, a Dick Tracey Long lives in Lithonia at the same address as Eddie L. Long.

The three suits each allege 11 counts, including fraud and negligence, against Long, the 25,000-member church and the Longfellows Youth Academy.

The three plaintiffs were each members of the academy, which is aimed at helping men "love, live and lead."

Two of the men have criminal records, including a recent arrest for a burglary at Long's office.

In June, Robinson and Anthony Boyd were charged with using a secretary's key to enter Long's personal office at the Lithonia church. Robinson and Boyd, who were captured on surveillance cameras, took an iPod, iPad and jewelry, according to a police report.

The case is still pending, said a spokesman for the district attorney.

Bernstein said Robinson and Flagg, who was there the night of the burglary but not charged, were angry at Long and seeking retaliation after learning he was involved with other men.

Court records show Flagg was charged with simple assault in 2007 and sentenced to an anger management class. A warrant was issued after he failed to show up for court, court records show.

After that arrest, Long had Flagg move into a friend's house in Lithonia, the suit alleges. Flagg was still attending Miller Grove High School at the time, but his mother thought the move would be good for him, Bernstein said.

Instead, Long used that time to engage in sex acts with Flagg, the suit alleges.

Despite that, Flagg, and Robinson, both graduated from Miller Grove in 2008. They still live in DeKalb. Parris now lives in Colorado.

The sex acts occurred when the men were 16, which is the legal age of consent in Georgia, Bernstein said. But Bernstein said some of the acts which occurred at hotels in other states could be considered criminal, which is why she contacted the U.S. Attorney's Office, Bernstein said.

A spokesman for the U.S. Attorney said Justice Department policy prohibits him from confirming or denying any possible investigations.

DeKalb school board member Eugene Walker, who has known Long for more than 20 years, said he did not believe the allegations.

"Ever since I have known him, he has reached out and lifted up our young people," Walker said. "These allegations are absolutely not true. They have accused me of a whole lot of wrong things and they, like this, weren't true. He's a great servant and I can't say anything wrong about him."


Sep 22, 2010

Via AJC:

A third lawsuit has been filed against Bishop Eddie Long, alleging he coerced a man to have sex with him.

The third suit was filed Wednesday afternoon in DeKalb County Superior Court, said a spokeswoman for attorney B.J. Bernstein.

Jamal Paris, a member of New Birth Missionary Baptist Church, filed the suit against Long, the church and the Longfellows Youth Academy Inc.

Long was not immediately available for comment Wednesday, but has scheduled a news conference for Thursday morning. On Tuesday, Long denied similar accusations.

Maurice Robinson and Anthony Flagg filed suits in DeKalb Tuesday alleging Long coerced them into having sex in exchange for trips, cars and cash. The plaintiffs say Long began having inappropriate relations with them when they were 16. They are seeking a trial by jury and unspecified damages. Long adamantly denies the allegations.



U.S. Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. (D-Ill.) said Tuesday he is "deeply sorry" for having "disappointed some supporters" regarding his relationship with a female "social acquaintance."

But the congressman vowed to stay in office in the wake of a Chicago Sun-Times report that a major political fund-raiser has told federal authorities that Jackson directed him to offer former Gov. Rod Blagojevich millions of dollars in campaign cash in return for an appointment for Jackson to the U.S. Senate, to succeed President Obama.

The Sun-Times reported on Tuesday that sources said Nayak told authorities that on Oct. 8, 2008, Jackson directed him to offer Blagojevich $6 million in exchange for the Senate appointment.

Sources said Nayak also told authorities that Jackson asked him to pay to fly a Washington, D.C., restaurant hostess named Giovana Huidobro — described as a "social acquaintance" of the Democratic congressman — to Chicago to visit him. Nayak did so twice, according to the sources.

Jackson didn't address Nayak's allegation involving payment for those flights, which could raise ethical questions under the U.S. House of Representatives' gift ban act.

But Jackson acknowledged knowing Huidobro and that the relationship was something he an his wife, Ald. Sandi Jackson, have had to deal with.

"The reference to a social acquaintance is a private and personal matter between me and my wife that was handled some time ago," Jackson said in his statement. "I ask that you respect our privacy.

"I know I have disappointed some supporters, and for that I am deeply sorry. But I remain committed to serving my constituents and fighting on their behalf."

Having a third party pay for flights at a congressman's request and not reporting the value of those flights as a gift, if they were worth more than $50, would appear to be "something of value" under the House's gift ban, according to an expert on the act.

"It defines 'gift' as any 'item having monetary value,' " Kathleen Clark, a professor at Washington University School of Law in St. Louis said, quoting from the law. " 'The term includes gifts of . . . transportation . . .   A gift to . . . any . . .  individual based on that individual's relationship with the Member . . . shall be considered a gift to the Member . .  if it is given with the knowledge and acquiescence of the Member.' "

Jackson did not disclose the gift from Nayak on his House ethics statements or on federal campaign contribution logs.

"Completely apart from disclosure, a member's solicitation of a gift like this would be troubling," Clark said. "The mere solicitation of a gift is problematic."

Unless Huidobro's visit was campaign-related, Jackson's failure to disclose the gift on his campaign contribution reports does not appear to violate Federal Election Commission requirements, though, Clark and other experts told the Sun-Times.

The FBI interviewed Huidobro about a year ago as part of its corruption probe of Blagojevich. Authorities were trying to determine whether Jackson had asked Nayak to offer Blagojevich campaign cash in exchange for the then-governor appointing Jackson to the seat formerly held by the president Obama, according to sources with knowledge of the probe.




Via CNSNews:

"Blacks for Gray, Whites for Fenty," ran the nuanced headline on page one of the Washington Examiner.


The story told of how black D.C. Mayor Adrian Fenty, who got rave reviews for appointing Michelle Rhee to save District of Columbia schools, was crushed six to one in black wards east of the Anacostia River, as he rolled up margins of three to one in the white wards west of Rock Creek Park.


In Fenty's political obit, it was said, he devoted too much time and gave too many appointments to non-blacks in a rapidly gentrifying city where black folks are still the majority.


After one term, Fenty is out. And there may a lesson here for the black man in the big white house on Pennsylvania Avenue.


For, at a weekend gathering of the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation, a commission is preparing a report card on how our first black president is dealing with issues of concern to black America.


Last week, an open letter came from public policy scholar Dr. Boyce Watkins, who gave it to Obama with the bark on


Black unemployment last month hit 16.7 percent. Among black teenagers, it is 45 percent. Blacks, wrote Watkins, "bear the brunt of this economic crisis in ways that are unimaginable to other Americans. Our homes are being foreclosed on more often, and we are less able to rely on a source of background wealth to help us get through."


Yet as this crisis deepens for black America, Obama and Sen. Harry Reid are pursuing an amnesty called the DREAM Act for 2 million illegal aliens, as a prelude to full amnesty for 12 to 20 million.


Yet, these illegals hold 8 million jobs that would otherwise be available to black Americans.


In 2009, as unemployment soared under Obama, the U.S. government issued 1.131 million green cards, 808,000 of them for immigrants of working age, the fourth highest number of foreign workers brought into this country in history.


Why, with 25 million Americans unemployed or underemployed, are we importing a million foreign workers? Why are we not sending the illegals back, as President Eisenhower did, and imposing a moratorium on new immigration, as FDR did, to save American jobs for American workers?  African-Americans have other grievances.


Whatever you say about tea party folks, they ride to the rescue of their embattled own, like Delaware's Christine O'Donnell.

And the Obama Democrats? What did they do for African-American William Thompson, who lost to Michael Bloomberg by 4.6 points in 2009 and would be mayor of New York if Obama's people had gone all-out for him? Bloomberg spent $100 million to bury the under-funded Thompson.


Democrats have now sent their one black U.S. senator, Roland Burris, packing, telling him not to run again. They turned their backs on Alvin Greene in South Carolina, who admittedly has big issues. But what have they done for black Rep. Kendrick Meek, who won a major primary victory in Florida and is in a three-way race for the Senate? Meek is the only black with a chance to be in that select body of 100.


Yet some Democrats talk of cutting Meek and backing Gov. Charlie Crist because Crist may have a better shot at winning.

What did Republican-turned-independent Crist ever do for the Democratic Party?


If Obama and his party had gone all-out for Meek, as the tea party has for Sharron Angle in Nevada and Rand Paul in Kentucky, Meek might be in the hunt.


Consider the most prestigious appointments Obama has made.


Sep 21, 2010

Via BV:

Lionsgate has released the trailer to Tyler Perry's 'For Colored Girls,' which will open nationally on November 5.

Directed by Tyler Perry, the film stars Janet Jackson, Loretta Devine, Kimberly Elise, Thandie Newton, Phylicia Rashad, Anika Noni Rose, Kerry Washington, Whoopi Goldberg, Macy Gray, Michael Ealy, Hill Harper, Khalil Kain, Omari Hardwick and Richard Lawson.

Based on Ntozake Shange's award-winning 1975 play of the same name, 'For Colored Girls' onsists of a series of poems performed through a cast of nameless women known only by a color. The characters deal with subjects such as love, abandonment, rape and abortion.
Bishop Eddie Long addresses students of Southwest Dekalb High School  in 1997.
Damn, I go on vacation and all hell breaks loose! This is a long read but it's definitely interesting!
Via AJC:

Two DeKalb County men filed lawsuits Tuesday alleging Bishop Eddie Long coerced them to having sex with him in exchange for lavish trips, cars and cash from New Birth Missionary Baptist Church.

The men’s attorney called Long a “sexual predator” and said she is now talking to other potential victims.

“It’s not just these two. There are young men around him at all times,” the men’s attorney B.J. Bernstein said. “There are kids at risk now.”

The victims, Anthony Flagg, 21, and Maurice Robinson, 20, began having inappropriate relations with Long at the age of 16, which is the legal age of consent in Georgia, Bernstein said. Bernstein said she has not contacted DeKalb law enforcement because of Long’s ties to so many DeKalb officials.

Both men filed lawsuits Tuesday against Long and the church, alleging the bishop breached his pastoral duty.

While Long likely cannot be charged with a crime in Georgia because the men consented, he could faces charges in other states, Bernstein said. The sex acts occurred while the men were between the ages of 16 and 20, the suit alleges.

The attorney said she has asked the FBI to investigate allegations that Long had sex with the men in hotels in New York, Dallas, Tennessee, New Zealand and other areas.

Long took Flagg to New Zealand for his 18th birthday, where his “gift” was sodomy, Bernstein said.

In separate trips, the men flew on Long’s personal jet and shared a bed with him at the hotels, Bernstein said. Long used the alias “Dick Tracy” when he checked into the hotel, the suit alleges.

However, the bulk of the relations occurred on the mega church’s property, including inside Long’s “guest house” on Snapfinger Road in south DeKalb

“A hug turned into a kiss and a kiss turned into something else,” Bernstein said. “This occurred at the church, which reinforces how absolutely negligent and sick and abusive this is.”

Flagg and Robinson’s parents both moved to DeKalb specifically to attend Newbirth. The two men met while enrolled in the church’s Longfellow Academy, which is for teenage boys age 14-17.

While at the academy, Flagg and Robinson developed relationships with Long, Bernstein said. They began spending more time with him and were placed on the church’s payroll, the suit alleges.

By the time they turned 16, Long began taking them on separate trips and inviting them to his home, Bernstein said. At one point, Flagg and Long held a private “marriage-like” ceremony where they exchanged vows, Bernstein said.

In exchange for Flagg’s love, Long bought the teenager a Ford Mustang, the suit alleges.

Robinson received other gifts, including introductions to T.I. Chris Tucker, Tyler Perry and other celebrities who met with Long, Bernstein said. The bishop also let Robinson drive his Bentley.

Bernstein said she has emails, text messages and photographs between the men and Long.

“The bishop used biblical verses to coerce them. He out front being homophobic and making all these remarks when at the same time, he is leading a double life,” Bernstein said. “They [the plaintiffs] aren’t gay. They just wanted to be loved and cared for by a powerful man.”

In June, Robinson was charged with breaking into Long’s home, stealing jewelry, an iPad and other items. Flagg may also be involved, Bernstein said.

Robinson committed the burglary in retaliation after learning that Long was involved with other men, including Flagg, Bernstein said.

“He lashed out,” Bernstein said. “But if it weren’t for that act, we wouldn’t know about this. He talked to his friends and learned Long had other ‘spiritual sons.’”

Bernstein said the church is named in the suit because several other members were aware of the allegations and “protected” Long.

Bernstein, a former child abuse prosecutor, is a criminal defense attorney in Decatur. She also represents former DeKalb schools official Pat Reid, who is charged with running a criminal enterprise at the school system, and Genarlow Wilson.

In June, DeKalb County police arrested two men, Anthony Boyd, 19, of Decatur, and Maurice Robinson, 20, and charged them with burglary, according to the police report obtained by the AJC.

A security camera at the church on Woodrow Road in Lithonia caught most of it on videotape.

Two men wearing dark hooded shirts, dark pants and white gloves were recorded using a key to enter the church during the night between June 13 and 14.

The men’s attorney B.J. Bernstein, said Robinson committed the burglary in retaliation after learning that Long was involved with other men, including Flagg, Bernstein said.

“He lashed out,” Bernstein said. “But if it weren’t for that act, we wouldn’t know about this. He talked to his friends and learned Long had other ‘spiritual sons.’”

Long was named 21 years ago as pastor of the then 300-member church that would become New Birth Missionary Baptist Church.

It has expanded beyond its Lithonia home and has satellite churches in other cities. The 240-acre Lithonia campus is like a small town; the church claims 25,000 members and promotes a myriad of ministries, such as the annual Hosea Feed the Hungry and help for the homeless and addicted.