Oct 31, 2011

Maybe it's because I'm stuck in West Virginia for the week, but I really feel the need to get on a soapbox and rant.  And what's a better topic to rant about than Kim Kardashian.  I'm pretty sure I'm going to be alone on this one, and I'll guarantee people are going to say the fact that I'm talking about her at all is giving her more attention.  Well, I really don't care about all that.  I really need to get this off my chest because I am so sick of the celebrity obsessed society we live in.  Once upon a time we use to obsess over people because of their talent, but now we just obsess over people for reasons I still have no idea as to why.
So recently my inbox was completely inundated with emails talking about the 'Breaking News' of the day.  So you know when I see that something is Breaking News I get a little excited.  I was thinking maybe the 5 year old missing girl, Jahessye Shockley, had turned up alive and well, but no that was not the case.  The news was about the fact that after 72 days of marriage Kim Kardashian was filing for divorce from her NBA husband.  OMG...stop presses.  Are you serious?  I mean what are we going to do? 
Some of us have already killed the majority of our brain cells when we watched that staged wedding but now we have to go through a divorce too.  Damn!  Momma Kardashian could not have scripted this mess any better.  This is certainly guaranteed to be ratings gold for the Kardashians.  I mean we can hate on these people as much as we want to, but they sure know how to exploit our vulnerabilities and keep the cash flowing. I mean, Kim did  manage to have a wedding costing upwards to 18 million dollars and not have to pay one dime for it.  That is hustling.
And trust me, I'm not knocking the chick for her hustle.  I just have a problem with the fact that stuff like this is treated on the same par as actual news.  The way my inbox was flooded you would have thought Congress had passed the President's jobs bill.
This obsession with Kim Kardashian is just a microcosm of a much bigger issue that we have in this country.  Everything is so celebrity driven.  The majority of people can't tell you who their congressional representative is, but I bet you they can tell you what kind of dress Kim was wearing when she got married.  Our priorities are severely jacked up.  I'm all for a little celebrity gossip, but it's not the meat and potatoes when it comes to my media diet. 
I don't know.  Maybe it's just me....
Uh Oh...It looks like Uncle Herman may be getting caught in a lie.  After he went on Fox and emphatically denied he ever sexual harrassed anyone; information about a cash settlement was brought to the forefront.  Now in all fairness, just becuse a person settles out of court does not mean they are admitting culpability.  It may just mean they don't want the case to go any further because the cost is very high.  But with that being said, for Uncle Herman to go on and say that if a settlement was paid he didn't know anything about even though he was the head of the National Restuarant Association.  Now that is something I find very hard to believe.
Via NBC:

NBC News has confirmed that one woman received a settlement from the National Restaurant Association after complaining about inappropriate sexual conduct by Herman Cain.

NBC News is not disclosing the name of the woman nor characterizing who she is.

Cain denied the allegations, saying on FOX this morning he was "falsely accused." "I have never sexually harassed anyone, anyone," he said, "and absolutely, these are false accusations."

Despite being the chief executive officer of the National Restaurant Association, he said he was unaware of any settlement with the accusers, though he didn't deny it.

"If the restaurant association did a settlement, I wasn't even aware of it," he claimed, "and I hope it wasn't for much. If there was a settlement, it was handled by some of the other officers at the restaurant association."

So do we have another Clarence Thomas on our hands or is Herman Cain in describing this matter as a 'witch hunt'?
I was just having a conversation with one of my friend's not too long go about the impact that would be felt if more black men would stand up for the young lady that was involved in the Twitter sextape scandal.  I guess someone must have been thinking the same thing we were thinking because a brother wrote a very touching essay explaining how the young lady could have just as easily have been his daughter.  He also goes on to talk about why all the blame is placed on the shoulders of the young girl, but no one seems to want to talk about the part the boys played.  It was just refreshing to get this perspective from a man for a change.  Please give the essay a read and let me know what you think.
Via NewBlackMan:
I was too busy raising my two daughters, aged thirteen and eight, to pay much attention to Amber Cole, but the truth is that Amber Cole is my daughter and the daughter of so many of us.

Unlike Jimi Izrael's recent suggestion, I have not seen the so-called Amber Cole video.  That so many have—and in the process downloaded and trafficked in illegal child pornography—speaks volumes about how we, as a society, think about Black girls. For that reason alone, Amber Cole is my daughter.

I suspect that for far too many, who have voiced displeasure and alarm about Amber Cole, and or the parenting skills of the adults responsible for her, it is less about real concern for Cole and more likely about the collective shame that she evokes.  Unfortunately it is such shame, and the politics of respectability that go hand-in-hand with Black collective shame, that often keeps us from having honest discussions about sex and sexuality in our communities—often to the detriment of our children. 

Ironically, this shame is seemingly always directed towards the women and girls in our communities and rarely extended to the men and boys who are complicit in sex acts.  It goes without saying, that in the case of Amber Cole, such complicity is indeed criminal; under the law, a 14-year-old cannot consent to sex acts.  Too often our conversations with our boys is not to discourage underage sex acts—indeed such acts viewed as a rite of passage for boys—but rather, to caution them about impregnating a partner, whether she consents or not.  Few have mentioned rape in response to this case, the reality of the act over-shadowed by the resentment and ire that Amber Cole has drawn from many.

As such there are some who will claim that Amber Cole's behavior is the product of slack parenting, single-parent households and the continued erosion of values within Black families.  Still others, part-time psycho-analysts, will suggest that Amber Cole's behavior is a cry out for the kind of attention that only a (presumably missing) father can provide or, as Jimi Izrael argues, the actions of a girl whose mother was too busy being everything but a mother.   It all sounds correct in a society that cares little about Black girls and even less about what motivates them to do the things that they do. No one is questioning the parenting skills of the parents of the boys in the video.

(AP) People grabbed their children when Bryon Widner swaggered into a store, lowered their voices when he entered a restaurant, sidled away when he strode up to a bar.

He reveled in it — the fear he inspired, the power. It made him feel like Superman.

He had symbols of racist violence carved into his face and the letters HATE stamped across the knuckles of his right hand — the hand that knocked out countless victims, sometimes leaving their teeth embedded in his skin. "Blood & Honour" was tattooed across his neck, "Thug Reich" across his belly, swastikas adorned his shaved scalp. On his forehead, a thick, black, upward-pointing arrow symbolized his willingness to die for his race.


EDITOR'S NOTE — Bryon Widner was a skinhead thug until he found love, and turned away from racism and violence. But how could he build a new life with a face stained by racist tattoos? First of two parts.


For 16 years, Widner was a glowering, strutting, menacing vessel of hate — an "enforcer" for some of America's most notorious and violent racist skinhead groups.

Hellbent on destruction, he was living to die, though even during the bloodiest beat-downs he knew he was unlikely to lose his life as a warrior in the glorious race war promoted by the white power movement.

"It was more likely to be a bullet through the head," he says, grimly.

By the time he was 30, Widner had spent a total of four years in jail, accused of murder and other charges, though he was never convicted of a major crime. Victim intimidation, he says, took care of that.

And then he met Julie Larsen.

Like Widner, Larsen's arms and legs were covered with neo-Nazi symbols — iron crosses, a Totenkopf skull, axes crossed into a swastika, the Nazi salute "sieg heil." She posted regularly on the Internet forum, Stormfront. Its motto: "White Pride, World Wide."

And she was active in The National Alliance, a once-powerful white supremacist organization founded by William Pierce, whose writings called for the extermination of Jews and the violent overthrow of the Federal government — and had inspired the 1995 bombing of the Oklahoma City federal building that left 168 people dead.

But by her 30s, the single mother of four was questioning her racist beliefs. She grew tired of telling her children they couldn't watch certain Walt Disney movies because Hollywood was controlled by Jews, or listen to rap music, or eat Chinese or Mexican food. After struggling to put an abusive marriage to a skinhead behind her, she yearned for something simpler.

"I just wanted a normal family life," she said.

And to his great surprise, Widner discovered that was what he wanted, too.

But leaving a life of hate would not be easy when it was all that he had known. And when his past was tattooed all over his face.


They first met in May 2005 at Nordic Fest, an annual Memorial Day weekend extravaganza hosted by the Imperial Klans of America in Dawson Springs, Ky.

It was hardly a romantic setting. Speakers from hardcore skinhead and white power organizations like The American Front, Blood & Honour USA/Combat 18 and The Creativity Movement ranted about racial justice and race war. White power bands thundered fierce anti-Semitic and racist lyrics.

Widner, a mean and scrappy brawler with a penchant for slicing victims' faces with a straight edge razor ("I wanted to leave a gash that would make them remember me for the rest of their lives") was living in Sidney, Ohio. He worked construction and other jobs, but mostly he acted as both recruiter and enforcer for the Vinlanders Social Club, which had quickly carved out a reputation as the most thuggish and violent skinhead organization in the country. Blacks, Hispanics, Jews — the Vinelanders savaged them all.

Their credo was a racist form of Odinism, a Viking religion named after the Norse god Odin which preaches that the path to heaven (Valhalla) is to die fighting for your race.

"We sent out a clear message," Widner says. "Cross a Vinlander and we WILL kill you."

Larsen, meanwhile, was living in Ironwood, Mich., working in a bank and raising her kids. Introduced to the white power movement by her late ex-husband, she began actively working for the National Alliance, distributing fliers about racial purity, organizing fundraisers for imprisoned white supremacist leaders and their families. Her home was also a base for the Pioneer Little Europe movement, an effort to create white communities purged of ethnic or Jewish influences.

At Nordic Fest, Larsen's 3-year-old daughter, Isabella, clamored to have her photograph taken with the guy with the wildly tattooed face. Larsen thought Widner was cute. Widner thought Larsen, with her smiling green eyes and mane of raven hair, was "one cool chick."

Over the next seven months they poured out their souls in endless, late-night phone conversations that often lasted until dawn. They talked of their dreams for the future — and their doubts about the past. They marveled at how much they had in common.

Raised in broken homes — their parents divorced when they were young — both had become teen runaways, cutting school, acting out. In Albuquerque, Widner discovered that shaving his head, wearing combat boots, and randomly beating people earned him a respect he'd never had before. Larsen, who grew up in Scottsdale, Ariz., started having babies in her teens and then bounced through different jobs and states and men. Alienated, restless, angry and self-destructive, they were the perfect recruits for the white power world.

It is a world populated by hundreds of different groups, including several thousand skinheads in the United States, according to the Southern Poverty Law Center, a nonprofit civil rights organization that tracks hate groups. The numbers are fluid: Skinhead gangs are notoriously short-lived, as members feud over leadership, create splinter groups, or join other gangs. Only a few — such as the Hammerskins — have managed to survive for a significant length of time.

The groups have no particular unifying code or coherent philosophy other than violence, says SPLC chief investigator Joseph Roy. There are racist skinheads with ties to outlaw motorcycle gangs. Some are explicitly revolutionary. Others belong to white supremacist groups with connections to the Ku Klux Klan and neo-Nazi groups. Still others claim to be anti-racist.

"These groups are violent, and they are dangerous," says Roy. "And when people get involved it is rare and difficult for them to get out."

The SPLC reports a growing interest in hate groups, fueled by recent events including the election of Barack Obama, the economic crisis, and the heated debate about illegal immigration. The Internet and social networking sites have also become powerful recruitment tools.

"The movement had answers for everything," Julie says. "And the answers usually revolved around the special status of the white race and the fact that most of existing problems, in society, in the economy, in the world, were created by Jews or blacks or immigrants."

But the movement provided something more — a tribal sense of belonging, a unity, brotherhood and purpose that neither Larsen nor Widner had ever experienced. Years later they would call it a cult. At the time it felt like family.

One night six months after they met, Widner staggered home from a bar brawl, picked up the phone and stammered out a proposal. He was so drunk he had to double check the next day to make sure she had said yes. It was just before Christmas 2005.

Friends told her she was crazy. But Larsen didn't hesitate. She packed up her kids and drove 12 hours to meet him.

They were married in Ironwood by a justice of the peace on Jan. 13, 2006. Their witnesses were Larsen's children and a couple of Vinlanders.

Two months later, she was pregnant.


"I am very glad that my mother found the perfect guy ever," wrote Julie's eldest daughter, Mercedez, on the inside of a book of tattoos she gave Widner as a Christmas present. "You are the greatest father any kid could ask for. Love always."

Fatherhood transformed Widner, though initially the responsibilities terrified him. For although he was utterly in love with Julie, he had a whole new family to get to know: Mercedez, then 14, Destiny, 8, and little Isabella. (Julie's eldest son wanted nothing to do with the world of skinheads or white power, though he eventually grew to respect his stepfather.)

Widner found that he loved the simple, daily routines — driving the kids to school, helping with homework, sitting around the dinner table.

"It was like overnight he went from being a drunk, a skinhead and a fighter, to being this kind, nurturing father and husband," Julie says. "He was amazing."

Widner was still drinking heavily, but he began cutting back and eventually stopped completely. He was still spending time with Vinlanders, but things were changing — in his mind and his heart.

Julie was changing as well. She had been deeply disturbed by a scene she had witnessed at the Nordic fest — tents where she says men lined up for sex with underage girls. She thought of her own daughters. She thought of the 14-word mantra of white nationalists: "We must secure the existence of our people and a future for White Children."

"These guys weren't honoring Aryan women or protecting white children," she says in disgust. "They were just thugs exploiting young girls."

She began questioning the violence of the movement, the abuse of some of her women friends who were married to skinheads and white nationalists, the arbitrary rules. Suddenly, it all began to feel oppressive and wrong.

At the time, the National Alliance was disintegrating after the death of its leader, Pierce. When Julie decided to leave, it was relatively easy. She simply stopped participating.

Things were far more complicated for Widner. Nicknamed "Babs" because of how he babbled incessantly when he was drunk, Widner was a "made" man in the Outlaw Hammerskins (a precursor to the Vinlanders), initiated in an elaborate ritual in which he placed his left hand on the gang's insignia or "patch" and his right hand on a pistol. He had "earned" the SS lightning bolts tattooed on his right forearm by beating some poor victim senseless. He was a founding member of the Vinlanders. He had stood in a circle with his "warrior" brothers in Odinist rituals and swigged mead from a sacred horn.

"I had lived with them, bled with them, sat in jail with them," he says. "That was the only way of life I knew. My crew WAS my family."

For Widner to leave would be heresy. He would be branded a "race traitor" and become a hunted man.

Vinlanders had given their blessing for him to move to Michigan in order to start a new chapter. Now they were pressuring him to be more active, to travel more, recruit more, attend leadership meetings. Julie was begging him to stay home.

It all came to a head in the summer of 2007, during a Vinlander day trip to Lake Superior. At the end of the day, the women and children returned home while the men stayed and drank.

Julie got a call: Widner had collapsed. She raced to the hospital.

Outside, she was met by Eric "The Butcher" Fairburn, a ferocious skinhead with "MURDER" tattooed across his neck. "This is Vinlander business," he said.

"No, it's not," she said, angrily pushing past him. "It's husband-and-wife business."

Larsen told Widner she didn't want his Vinlander friends in the house anymore. Vinlanders warned him to get his wife under control.

Widner, who had suffered a panic attack, didn't know where to turn. "I just felt like I was being attacked at every angle," he said. "I was done."

Filled with self-loathing, he locked himself in the bathroom and swallowed a bottle of pills.


The photo on the computer screen is striking — a cherubic sleeping newborn nestled next to the hate-tattooed face of his adoring father.

Cradling Tyrson, born in November 2006, Widner had never been so sure. He would shield his son from a life of violence and hate. He would give him a safe home, a happy childhood, a devoted dad.

And yet, the joy of Tyrson's birth could not mask his daily struggles. People wouldn't look at him in the eye, wouldn't serve him in restaurants, wouldn't give him a job. He had survived the pills; Julie had rushed him to the hospital. But he was deeply depressed.

For the first time, Widner began to see himself as others did: a social freak, an outcast from the society he now so desperately longed to be part of. Potential employers cringed when they met him. When he picked the kids up from school, parents and teachers looked at him in horror. Once, as he cradled a fussing Tyrson while waiting for Julie in a doctor's office, a woman, a stranger, blurted, "No wonder the baby is crying. He's probably scared of your face."

"I was a circus freak," Widner says. "And the worst part was that I had brought it all on myself."

He hated his face and all it represented. He wanted to scream at the world that he was a good father and husband, that he had changed. He wanted to beg people to look beyond the markings on his skin, to give him a second chance.

Sensing his withdrawal, his former crew members began turning against him. They spread vicious postings on the Internet, calling Widner weak, accusing the couple of being race traitors and sexual deviants.

"It was sickening," he says. But it also erased any lingering loyalties he had for his crew or his past.

In late 2007, Widner said, Brien James, self-appointed leader of the Vinlanders, called with an ultimatum: your club or your family.

"It's my family, man," Widner said.

"Then you better turn in your patch," James said.

Widner hung up and did what would once have been unthinkable. He mailed back his patch — a laurel wreath atop a red, white and blue shield that he had designed with James. He threw all his other skinhead trappings into a bonfire. Watching it burn, he felt a surge of relief.

Finally, he thought, I'm free.

But Widner still faced the seemingly insurmountable dilemma of trying to fit into society. How could he ever be a proper father, husband and provider, when he looked like a walking billboard of hate?

The answer was painfully clear. He had to find some way to wipe the tattoos from his face.


October 29, 2011 01:21 PM EDT

Copyright 2011, The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Oct 30, 2011

Well it looks like we have another re-launch on the horizon, but for this one I can actually say I am kind of excited.

Keenan Ivory Wayans and the people over at Fox are looking to re-launch the hit comedy sketch show 'In Living Color'. 'In Living Color' was a wildly successful show in the 90's that help launch the careers of such notables as Jamie Foxx, Jennifer Lopez, The Wayans Brothers, Jim Carey, and David Alan Grier.

Here is how Deadline is discussing the developing news:

Fox is bringing back its groundbreaking 1990s sketch comedy series In Living Color with the series’ creator and star, Keenen Ivory Wayans, on board as host and executive producer. Fox has ordered two In Living Color half-hour specials to air as part of the network’s 25th anniversary celebration in midseason with a series option behind them, meaning that in success, the reboot will join Fox’s schedule as a regular series next season. I hear it was Wayans’ idea to revive the popular sketch comedy series with a new cast. The new In Living Color will be produced by his production company Ivory Way Prods. in association with 20th Century Fox TV’s Fox 21

So the question is, 'Will You be Watching the 'In Living Color Re-launch?'

'Forgiveness is giving up the hope that the past can be any different.' - Oprah Winfrey

Move over Kelly Rowland, Jilly from Philly officially has the sexiest song of the year. So Gone (what My Mind Says) is definitely one of those songs that many a women (especially this woman) can relate to.

I've been raving about Jill Scott's album 'The Light of the Sun' on this site for awhile now. I swear hands down it's one of the best albums to come out this year. So Gone (What My Mind Says) is definitely one of my favorite cuts on the album. I even like the unexpected collaboration between her and Paul Wall.

I still like Kelly Rowland's Motivation, but I have to give the title of sexiest song to So Gone (What My Mind Says).

Oct 28, 2011

WASHINGTON (AP) — A federal judge has given final approval to a $1.2 billion government settlement with black farmers who claim they were unfairly denied loans and other assistance from the Agriculture Department over many years.

Federal judge Paul Friedman approved the settlement late Thursday. He said it will likely take about a year for neutral parties to review claims and then all of the settlements will be paid out at once.

This is the second round of settlements in the 1999 case known as the Pigford case, after the original plaintiff, North Carolina farmer Timothy Pigford. The settlement is directed at farmers who were denied payments in the first round because they missed deadlines for filing.

Congress passed the settlement last year.

Oct 27, 2011

After the debacle that was DIVAS Live last, it look like VH1 decided to regroup and actually bring some talent into the building. Although this lineup certainly does not match the lineups of yesteryear, it is definitely a lot more impressive than last year. I would have loved to seen a name like Gladys Knight, Chaka Khan or Rachelle Ferrell, but I'll take MJB and Jilly from Philly anyday.

NEW YORK – October 27, 2011 – VH1’s beloved, popular franchise, VH1 Divas, returns and will pay tribute to the cities where soul gave birth to music’s most powerful classics and inspired today’s divas. Mary J. Blige, Jennifer Hudson, Jill Scott, Florence + The Machine, Kelly Clarkson and Jessie J will pay homage to these cities and soul music’s timeless classics at New York City’s Hammerstein Ballroom. VH1 Divas Celebrates Soul premieres Monday, December 19 at 9 p.m. ET/8 CT on VH1.

“This years’ telecast will showcase the vast impact soul music has had on the 21st century’s music and pop culture landscape as our talented and diverse lineup will attest,” said Lee Rolontz, EVP, Original Music Production & Development, VH1 and VH1 Classic. “This year’s Divas offers a modern twist on soul music, all while tipping its hat to the legacy of key cities that created this musical heritage.”

VH1 Divas Celebrates Soul will bring together some of the best singers across the globe, men and women alike, to honor the soulful cities that inspired these divas and their art. The cities honored include: Chicago, Detroit, London, Memphis and Philadelphia. Accompanied by one of the most exciting groups of modern soul, The Roots, with ?uestlove as musical director, each diva will pay tribute through not only their own soul-inspired songs, but some of the greatest classics that have shaped a genre.

As in previous years, this edition of VH1 Divas will benefit VH1 Save The Music Foundation and its programs to restore music education in public schools. For more information, please visit vh1savethemusic.org.

This year’s sponsors for VH1 Divas Celebrates Soul include: COVERGIRL, GEICO, Hershey®’s, Old Navy and The Wendy’s Company.

Additional performers, presenters, special guests and sponsors will be announced as they are confirmed.

Visit DIVAS.VH1.com and Twitter at @VH1 and #VH1DIVAS for more information.

It was a year ago that a very controversial billboard went up in Houston that said, 'G.O.P. is the New Black'.

The billboard was sponsored by a website called The Raging Elephants. According to the group's web site, they are dedicated to advancing the cause of the conservative and libertarian point of view.

Since the erection of the 'G.O.P. is the New Black' billboard, the group has continued your campaign of trying to attract voters of color to the Republican Party. Their latest billboard to go up featured an image of Martin Luther King Jr. declaring that he was a Republican.

Now, if the founder of the group was trying to get attention with these billboards he definitely succeeded.

I'm all for African Americans exploring all their options when it comes to the political arena, but I do have a problem with something being called the 'New Black'. If the G.O.P. is the 'New Black' then what in the world is the 'Old Black'?

Billboard States GOP is the New Black: MyFoxHOUSTON.com

Oct 26, 2011

This is the kind of stuff that takes place when people stop paying attention to what is really going on. The state of Georgia (my home state) is seeking to have the Voting Right's Act declared unconstitutional if the court refuses to approve its Republican back plan to redraw congressional and legislative districts. I can't say I'm really surprised. We may no longer live in 1964, but that hasn't stop some people from thinking it.

Via AJC:

The state of Georgia wants three federal judges in Washington to declare a portion of the Voting Rights Act unconstitutional.

Georgia filed suit earlier this month asking that the court approve Republican-backed plans to redraw the state's legislative and congressional districts. But in that filing, the state asks that if the court rejects its redistricting plans, that it also rule the law that requires that approval to be unconstitutional.

Georgia is one of nine states that must get any change in election law, including district maps, pre-approved by either the Justice Department or the federal court in Washington. That preclearance is required by Section V of the Voting Rights Act, the landmark 1964 law passed in the wake of Jim Crow and voting laws aimed at limiting the ability of African-Americans to vote.

"The state of Georgia and its voters are being subjected to the continued extraordinary intrusion into its constitutional sovereignty through Section 5 and its outdated preclearance formula based upon discriminatory conditions that existed more than 47 years ago but have long since been remedied," the state says in its filing.

Attorney General Sam Olens said the state's argument against the Voting Rights Act is simple: "we're no longer in 1964, there's no longer poll taxes, there's no longer cases where less than 50 percent of the minority population is voting." Of Georgia's 5.7 million registered voters about one-third are minorities.

Click here to read the rest of the article.

(AP) CHICAGO - Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan said Tuesday that those rejoicing in the death of ousted Libyan leader Moammar Qaddafi will come to sorrow and predicted that the U.S. is unprepared for the looming backlash from his overthrow.

Farrakhan told a Chicago radio station that Qaddafi's death was ``an assassination'' and laid it at the feet of the U.S., Great Britain and France. Qaddafi was killed last week, two months after being ousted as Libya's leader. His 42-year reign turned the oil-rich country into an international pariah and his own personal fiefdom.

Farrakhan, who considered Qaddafi a friend, said those nations' establishment of a no-fly zone to stop Qaddafi's planes and offers of humanitarian relief to the Libyan people were intended to help oust Qaddafi from power and gain access to Libya's oil wealth.

``They succeeded in being the authors of the successful assassination of a sitting president,'' Farrakhan told WVON-AM in Chicago, adding that it placed America's interests in danger. ``No one can trust the United Nations because it is a pawn of the Western world. No nation will give up their weapons of mass destruction like Qaddafi did, because it is the only protection they have against the wicked witches of the West.''

Farrakhan also noted that the people now claiming leadership of Libya are advocating Islamic Sharia law, something that he contends the U.S. has opposed.

Farrakhan earlier this year portrayed Qaddafi as a fellow revolutionary who has lent millions of dollars to the Nation of Islam over the years. The group used $3 million it borrowed from Libya in the 1970s to acquire its opulent headquarters on Chicago's South Side. A $5 million loan was used years later to pay back taxes and costs for the home of the movement's former leader Elijah Muhammad.

``It wasn't the money, but the principles that made me his brother,'' Farrakhan said.

Farrakhan said Libyan oil revenue was used to build schools and universities that increased literacy, and he credited Qaddafi with establishing a health care system that he said was the best in the Third World.

Qaddafi, 69, was buried Tuesday along with his son, Muatassim, and former Defense Minister Abu Bakr Younis after the military council in the city of Misrata ordered a reluctant Muslim cleric to say the required prayers. The National Transitional Council is under international pressure to investigate the circumstances of Qaddafi's death.

Farrakhan said America ``doesn't know what it's gotten itself'' into with the Qaddafi overthrow. He said he didn't believe Qaddafi when he said al-Qaida was involved in efforts to oust him, but now Farrakhan believes that was true.

The Chicago-based Nation of Islam has espoused black nationalism and self-reliance since it was founded in the 1930s, though in recent years has made efforts to recruit other ethnic groups.

BURBANK, Calif.—President Barack Obama defended the U.S. role in bringing down Libyan strongman Moammar Gadhafi, rejecting assessments that the international coalition he helped assemble amounted to "leading from behind." "We lead from the front," he told late-night television host Jay Leno on Tuesday.

Laying out an argument for his emerging foreign policy doctrine, Obama distinguished the U.S. steps in Libya from the invasion and nine-year war in Iraq. He argued that by building a broad international alliance of European and Arab nations against Gadhafi, the United States saved American lives and money and achieved its goal.

"Not a single U.S. troop was on the ground," he said. "Not a single U.S. troop was killed or injured, and that, I think, is a recipe for success in the future."

Nudged by Leno in a notably sober first segment, Obama reflected on the meaning of Gadhafi's death, a gruesome and chaotic demise recorded on cellphone video for all the world to see. The president argued that Gadhafi had had an opportunity to let Libya move on a path toward democracy peacefully.

"He wouldn't do it," Obama said. "And, obviously, you never like to see anybody come to the kind of end that he did, but I think it obviously sends a strong message around the world to dictators that people long to be free, and they need to respect the human rights and the universal aspirations of people."

Still, Obama noted that the Pentagon never released photographs of terror mastermind Osama bin Laden after he was killed by U.S. Navy SEALs.

"That's not something that I think we should relish," the president said. "You know, I think that there's a certain decorum with which you treat the dead even if it's somebody who has done terrible things."


Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

Oct 25, 2011

If you have read my last couple of blogs, you know that I am firmly rooted in the belief that the Black community cannot progress unless we learn to invest in ourselves. Today, I felt that position received some reinforcement when the investors from Carver Bancorp announced that the bank will no longer be community owned as a majority of the shares are now owned by a Wall Street consortium including Goldman Sachs Group Inc, Morgan Stanley and CitiGroup and the Federal Government. In fact, the Wall Street consortium now owns 73% of the bank, the Federal Government 25% and the previous shareholders own the remaining shares. (yeah that's only 2% but I do like how all of the media outlets won't list the number... Like they think Black people can't add or subtract and figure out the number)

Now if you're scratching your head and wondering what Carver Bancorp is and how this takeover affects the Black community. Here's the scoop. Up until today, Carver Bancorp was the LARGEST Black owned financial institution in the country and one of only eleven (uh that's no typo I meant ELEVEN) Black managed, publicly traded companies. The company was founded in 1949 in Harlem, NY and has been active in helping Harlem residents become homeowners and dispensing small business loans.

The entire economy has been hard hit in recent years with foreclosures at an all time high and unemployment rates steadily rising. As we have often discussed on the Savvy Sista radio show, when everyone else is doing bad, Black people seem to somehow still be doing worse and that's exactly what happened to Carver. The bank reported that they had 120 million dollars in outstanding overdue loans which was almost 6 times the bank's reserve amount of 24 million. Earlier this year, the Federal Government warned Carver that they had to raise more capital or lose their FDIC status which would ultimately force closure of the bank.

In the end, the deal with the Wall Street consortium and the Federal Government netted the bank 55 million dollars in much needed capital. And that simple number brings me to the point of my post today. I doubt seriously, that I will ever see 55 million dollars in my lifetime BUT 55 million dollars doesn't seem like a lot of money to raise to me. Now, I am not trying to Monday morning quarterback, because I have never raised 55 million dollars before and I believe that Carver Bancorp CEO Deborah Wright tried frantically to raise the money in the community but it really floors me that in 2011, this money could not be raised to keep the bank for us by us.

So my question becomes two-fold: Why is Black wealth spent but not invested and how do we let the Black community know that a particular Black business is here and needs the support. On the first question, I have to say that I am saddened that this bank could not have been saved by wealthy Black celebrities/businessmen/athletes. I mean I read the Forbes list all of the time. Beyonce and Jay-Z could have invested in this bank with a just a portion of their this year's earnings. What about all of the wealthy Black athletes?? What about mogul and philanthropist Russell Simmons??? Now, I have no idea if any one reached out to these or any Black one percenters but I am saying that it seems to me that at some point we have to decide it is wise to invest in ourselves. And before you lecture me on how some people don't feel it's their job to "care" for the Black community, let me say that a) most of these people would not be wealthy if it was not for the support that the Black community gave them and b) we're not talking about a handout here, banks are a business and they make money which is why the CEO of Morgan Stanley will make almost 14 million this year in salary, perks and benefits. So investing in this bank would be a much wiser investment than dropping 500,000 dollars on a Maybach... #Imjust saying

Secondly, most of my friends who do not live in the New York area had never even heard of Carver Bancorp until I started harping on this deal. And the bank was not well publicized to people outside of NY, I just happen to be a stock market junkie and so I can name the mere ELEVEN publicly traded companies that we own. I can't help but wonder if part of the reason for this shift in ownership is the fact that many Black Americans who might have supported the bank didn't even know about it. And in defense of those who didn't know about the bank, they do have a website but other than that the only real visible presence of this bank was in the NY area. Still, I would like to think that in this age of technology, you could simply have your pay check direct deposited into the account and use your debit/check card for ATM deposits, etc. I mean there are some banks that are located solely online so I don't think it's that far-fetched an idea. Did Carver Bancorp essentially contribute to its own demise by not advertising/marketing itself more? Was that even possible when larger banks and corporations can afford to drive advertising costs up so much that smaller companies cannot afford to compete?

I know some of you will say the bank was simply a victim of the economy but I just think that answer is just too simplistic. I think that it should have been possible to raise the 55 million dollars needed without a corporate buyout. So my question to you Savvy Sista readers is how should Black businesses get the word out to you that they exist and need your support? If you know about a Black business, how likely are you to spend money with them?

Honestly, your advice and comments might keep another Black business from going under. I really feel as though we had a death in the Black community today and I think the repercussions will be felt for many years in the future.

(AJC) Joe Beasley, the southern regional director of the Rainbow PUSH Coalition, on Tuesday called on Atlantans to oust Mayor Kasim Reed from office because of what he calls the mayor’s overreaction in his standoff with protesters occupying Woodruff Park.

Reed announced he would revoke an executive order that has allowed them to stay in the park more than two weeks, and protesters held a news conference Monday night to take on Reed and Atlanta Police Chief George Turner.

“I’m just really appalled to see this massive police presence, so we’re calling on the people of Atlanta to recall Mayor Reed for malfeasance in office because he is abusing the taxpayers’ money by having this massive show of force when it’s not needed,” Beasley said Tuesday.

Beasley said he does not believe that the mayor’s plan to have members of the clergy talk with the protesters will bring an end to the occupation of the park.

Reed “must not be a Christian, because if he was, he would know if the clergy come out here, they would have to be on the side of the people that’s occupying this because they’re talking about justice and talking about equity,” Beasley said. “If the clergy comes out and if they’re familiar with the scripture, and they are, then they would have to be on the side of the people and against the mayor.”

Beasley added that he thinks the reason Reed “is so frustrated and so angry is that he finally recognizes that he’s not in charge of Atlanta. The corporate interest is in charge of Atlanta, so the bankers, I’m sure, and Central Atlanta Progress and the Chamber of Commerce have said, ‘this is unseemly, so you get these people out of the park.'”

"We have to let the mayor know he didn't get into office by himself," Former City Councilman Derrick Boazman said. He added, "(We have) a black police chief who sounds like Bull Connor." Connor was the public safety commissioner in Birmingham during the civil rights movement.

Atlanta police recruits, dressed in white T-shirts and blue pants, began erecting barricades around the park Monday afternoon after Reed said he would at some point void his order allowing the protesters to remain in the park until Nov. 7. Reed did not give a time when the order would be revoked. He did say, though, that it would be at his choosing and that the city's Police and Fire departments would be ready to clear the downtown park at his command.


While in Los Angeles for a campaign fundraiser, President Barack Obama made a stop at the legendary Roscoe's Chicken and Waffles.  Indeed, the presence of the leader of the 'Free World' cause quite a frenzy.  The President got a to-go order for himself, Rep. Karen Bass, Valerie Jarrett, Jay Carney, David Plouffe, and Marvin Nicholson.  He then proceeded to walk around the resturant and shake the hands of all the patrons while they were seated at their booths.
Oh and just in case you were wondering what he ordered, here is what was reported: Obama ordered the No. 9, "Country Boy," which includes wings with a choice of waffle, potato salad or french fries.

Ohio University students are creating waves and making the news with their anti-racism Halloween posters.  The posters entitled, 'We're a Culture. Not a Costume. This is not who I am, and this is not okay."' has definitely gone viral.  I'm pretty sure a lot of us can recall the blackface costumes from last year.  Well these students have decided to take a stand and I am proud of them.
Here's how the campus paper describes the posters and the young lady who started the campaign:
Each one displays a student holding up a picture of a stereotypical Halloween costume based on his or her race — including a terrorist, a geisha and a sombrero-clad Hispanic man on a donkey.
Sarah Williams, a senior studying political science and president of Students Teaching About Racism in Society, first displayed the posters on her Tumblr blog last week.
STARS has been at OU for 25 years. The organization seeks to spark discussion about racism and discrimination among students by creating campaigns every quarter.
The poster campaign began as one of STARS' quarterly events, Williams said. The organization did not expect it to attract so much attention.
Make that money girl!  35 year old actress, Paula Patton, is the new Celebrity Brand Ambassador for Queen Latifah and CoverGirl 'Queen Collection'.
Come January, Paula will help launch three new CoverGirl products: Vivid Impact Eyeliner, LashFanatic Mascara and Natural Hue Matte Pressed Powder.
A series rapist in Nothern Texas appears to be targeting older members of Delta Sigma Theta.  The most recent attack came on October 14.
There have been four attacks  over the last 11 months. The victim in each case was a black woman in her mid-50s to mid-60s who was attacked in her home between the hours of 9 p.m. and 4 a.m.

Each time, the attacker revealed a personal knowledge of the victim, although cops aren't saying exactly what he knew or said. The women were reportedly home alone in all four incidents.

Police recently released video stills of a man thought to be connected to the second attack, which occurred in April in Plano.

Northern Texas rapist has struck four times over the last 11 months.

The footage shows a black man in his late 30s to mid 40s approaching six-feet tall in height. He is between 250 and 300 pounds and has a thin, well-trimmed beard and short, possibly receding hair, according to the Denton Record-Chronicle.

One serial rapist is expected to be behind all the attacks.


Oct 24, 2011

The father of the 14 year old girl whose sextape went viral via Twitter express his frustrations to a local Baltimore news channel. The father, whose name was with held in order to protect the identity of the child, express anger towards Twitter and Facebook who allowed the child pornography to stay up for four days. My heart really and truly goes out to the girl and her family. I can't imagine what she is going through.

Her father has spoke up on the matter and expressed his frustions and anger with

BALTIMORE (WJZ) — A sex tape recorded on Baltimore City school property has spread all over the Internet. The father of the 14-year-old girl involved was so upset he contacted WJZ.

Baltimore City police are investigating a video that’s gone viral. It involves a 14-year-old girl whose father says she had no idea it was all over the Internet.

A sexually explicit act on Baltimore City school property involving students as young as 14 is now all over the Internet.

“She was forced to do this. She was bullied, harassed into doing this,” said her father, who was not identified.

The father of the girl involved said his daughter didn’t know she was being taped. Now he wants to know why Facebook, Twitter and YouTube allowed it to remain posted for four days.

“They did nothing to protect my daughter and I’m furious. I mean, any parent would be,” he said.

The girl’s father hopes someone pays for this.

“The one that videotaped it, I hope he’s incarcerated. I’m hoping he gets some serious time out of this,” he said.

The teenage girl has transferred out of that school.

Baltimore City police are working with school officials in the ongoing investigation.

Man at center of Eddie Long probe speaks out

ATLANTA (AP) - A North Carolina businessman involved in an investment program at an Atlanta-area megachurch where former members claim they lost their retirement savings says he's taking action to "make things right."

A group of church members is suing New Birth Missionary Baptist Church and its pastor, Bishop Eddie Long, saying they conspired with businessman Ephren Taylor Jr. to defraud the members through "wealth-building" seminars and sermons in 2009.

"In my case and that of my former company, some of the negative effects of a situation with very complex economics impacted businesses, individuals and families despite our best intentions," Taylor said in a statement to The Associated Press.

Attorneys for the church members say in a DeKalb County lawsuit that Taylor urged them to liquidate their retirement accounts, and as a result some lost their life savings.

The U.S. Secret Service and the Internal Revenue Service are also investigating issues surrounding the seminars, which were hosted at the Lithonia-based church which claims 25,000 members, federal officials said.

"Don't assume that I am just another greedy businessman," Taylor said in the statement. "I am taking action to make things right."

Taylor is also named as a defendant in a federal lawsuit filed this month in U.S. District Court in North Carolina.

In that case, lawyers say Taylor made a series of investment presentations for the "Prosperity Fund" at churches in Michigan, North Carolina, Pennsylvania and Tennessee.

In the summer of 2008, he spoke at the Democratic National Convention to a youth leaders' summit on his "socially conscious" corporate investment strategy, according to the federal lawsuit.

"Taylor was fortunate to be riding the wave of popularity of young, black, successful men created by then U.S. presidential candidate Barack Obama," the lawsuit states.

New Birth spokesman Art Franklin previously declined to comment on the church's role in the investments.

Copyright 2011 The Associated Press.

Voter suppression is the silent war that is going on in this country that the mainstream media is not willing to cover. In their efforts to prevent a key bloc of Democratic voters from voting, the GOP has come up with very clever voter ID laws that are slowly sweeping the country. Slate magazine is one of a few that decided to take a look at what was really going on and how the new laws are dispportionately affecting minorities and the poor.

Via Slate:

Proponents of reforming the voting process seem blind to the fact that all of these seemingly neutral reforms hit poor and minority voters out of all proportion. (The Brennan Center for Justice estimates that while about 12 per­cent of Amer­i­cans don’t have a government-issued photo ID, the figure for African-Americans is closer to 25 percent, and in some Southern states perhaps higher.) The reason minorities are so much harder hit by these seemingly benign laws has its roots in the tragic legacy of race in this country. They still work because that old black man, born into Jim Crow in 1940, may have had no birth certificate because he was not born in a hospital because of poverty or discrimination. Names may have been misspelled on African-American birth certificates because illiterate midwives sometimes gave erroneous names.

It’s true that the most egregious methods of minority vote suppression from the 19th century—the poll tax, the literacy test, the white primary—have disappeared. And we know (and can take some solace in the knowledge) that the worst of these indignities have not been recycled in the 21st century, in part because of the protections of the 1965 Voting Rights Act. But a look at the history of voting rights in this country shows that the current state efforts to suppress minority voting—from erecting barriers to registration and early voting to voter ID laws—look an awful lot like methods pioneered by the white supremacists from another era that achieved the similar results.

Click here to read more.

It is important that we get the word out as to what is going on.
Black parents who adopt white children confront myths
Mary Riley, her adoptive sons Austin, Dustyn and Justyn pictured here with the judge who handled the adoption and her 28-year-old daughter Wanda.
I can't help but wonder whether or not Hollywood would turn a story like this into a movie.
(TheGrio) - Mary Riley knows what some people have to say when they see her and her boys. But, the 68-year-old Georgia resident says simply: "I pay no mind to that."

The stares, the occasional negative comments and the questions are a fact of life, she acknowledges, for as long as she raises them.

Riley, 68, is black and her three sons -- Austin, Dustyn and Justyn -- are white.

Transracial adoptions have taken place for the past 20 years and have increased significantly since 1994 with the Multiethnic Placement Act, which made it illegal to discriminate in adoption because of race.

Most transracial adoptions involve white parents adopting black children and the controversy surrounding that isn't new. However, despite this influx of transracial adoptions, the number of black families adopting outside of their race is almost unheard of -- in some opinions, rightfully so.

The issue is thorny for different reasons. Chief among them is the argument that with a disproportionate number of black children available for adoption, there is no reason for a black person to adopt a child outside of his or her race.

Gloria King, executive director of Black Adoption Placement and Resource Center in Oakland, Ca., explains that black children enter the foster care system at the same rate as white children, but they do not exit at the same rate.

In 2010, black children left the system at a rate of 24 percent and white children left at a rate of 43 percent, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Administration for Children and Families.

King says it's been difficult for black children to get adopted due to particular circumstances, age and, sometimes, myths -- such as black children are supposedly more troubled or harder to raise.

Aisha Tyler - P 2011
The wheels of 'The Talk' go round and round...round and round...round and round...
Seriously, does anyone even watch this show?  I'm thinking if I want to watch a show like 'The View' wouldn't I just watch 'The View'?  Maybe it's just me.  Well anyway, congratulations still go out to actress/comedian Aisha Tyler for landing the gig as the latest co-host to join the panel featuring Julie Chen, Sheryl Underwood, Sharon Osborne, and Sara Gilbert.  She is the latest addition to the show following the departure of Holly Robinson-Peete and Leah Remini.
Listen, I will never hate on a person getting a paycheck even if it's for a show I have absolutely no desire to watch.

Oct 23, 2011

WOW! This video is very shocking. I'm all for self defense, but I do think the guy went a little too far. When the people were trying to get him to stop he should have stopped. Those women were clearly in the wrong and got the surprise of a lifetime, but he still took it too far. Someone said in a comment section on other site that if it had been two men then the cashier would be a hero. The whole thing leaves me conflicted because I think the cashier had a right to defend himself, but I do think he went overboard.

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — An argument between a cashier and two irate customers at a Manhattan McDonald’s turned violent, leaving both customers injured and all three facing charges.

The entire incident, which was captured on video, happened Thursday morning at a McDonald’s on West Fourth Street in Greenwich Village, CBS 2’s Chris Wragge reports.

It appeared to have started when two female customers argued and yelled obscenities at the cashier when he questioned a $50 bill they gave him.

One of the female customers then slapped the cashier. A woman is then seen jumping over the counter while the other woman goes behind the register.

That’s when the cashier can be seen on the video disappearing into the back of the fast-food restaurant. He comes back with a metal rod and begins hitting the women.

Other customers watched n horror as McDonald’s workers tried unsuccessfully to stop the violence.

One female customer had a fractured skull that required surgery and a broken arm. The other has a deep laceration.

Rayon McIntosh, 31, was arrested and charged with two counts of felony assault and criminal possession of a weapon.

McIntosh served more than a decade in prison after shooting and killing a high school classmate in 2000. He was being held on $40,000 bail.

The female customers were charged with menacing, disorderly conduct and trespassing.

The owner of that McDonald’s said in a statement that she was “disturbed” by what happened and said the cashier is no longer employed there.

TRIPOLI, Libya (AP) – Mounting calls for an investigation into whether Moammar Gadhafi was executed in custody overshadowed plans by Libya's new rulers Sunday to declare liberation and a formal end to the eight-month civil war that toppled the longtime dictator.

An autopsy confirmed that Gadhafi died from a gunshot to the head, Libya's chief pathologist, Dr. Othman al-Zintani, said hours before the liberation declaration was to start the clock on a transition to democracy.

However, the pathologist said he would not disclose further details or elaborate on Gadhafi's final moments, saying he would first deliver a full report to the attorney general. Libya's acting prime minister said he would not oppose an investigation, but cited an official reporting saying a wounded Gadhafi was killed in cross-fire following his capture.

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton and Britain's new defense secretary, Philip Hammond, said a full investigation is necessary.

The Libyan revolutionaries' image had been "a little bit stained" by Gadhafi's death, Hammond said Sunday, adding that the new government "will want to get to the bottom of it in a way that rebuilds and cleanses that reputation."

"It's certainly not the way we do things," Hammond told BBC television. "We would have liked to see Col. Gadhafi going on trial to answer for his misdeeds."

Clinton told NBC's Meet the Press that she backs a proposal that the United Nations investigate Gadhafi's death and that Libya's National Transitional Council look into the circumstances, too.

The 69-year-old Gadhafi was captured wounded, but alive Thursday in his hometown of Sirte, the last city to fall to revolutionary forces. Bloody images of Gadhafi being taunted and beaten by his captors have raised questions about whether he was killed in crossfire as suggested by government officials or deliberately executed.

Gadhafi's body has been on public display in a commercial freezer in a shopping center in the port city of Misrata, which suffered from a bloody siege by regime forces that instilled a virulent hatred for the dictator in Misrata's residents. People have lined up for days to view the body, which was laid out on a mattress on the freezer floor. The bodies of Gadhafi's son Muatassim and his ex-defense minister Abu Bakr Younis also were put on display, and people wearing surgical masks have filed past, snapping photos of the bodies.


AUGUSTA, Ga. — A Fort Gordon soldier who appeared to be drunk and had been firing at passing cars shot and killed a sheriff's deputy, then committed suicide alongside a Georgia road, authorities said Sunday.

Strength said Paugh was off duty and on his way home when he saw a suspicious car on the side of the road. He was shot several times when he stopped to check on the car and apparently fired two shots from his service weapon before he was killed.

"He was just checking that car. He pulled over his motorcycle and didn't even get to put the kickstand down before the suspect began firing on him," the sheriff said.

Authorities said Hodges had been having some sort of dispute with his girlfriend, though it does not appear Paugh knew about that.

When the sextape of a 14 year old girl went viral on Twitter last week, it became the talk of the blogosphere. A lot of people---especially the adults---placed all the blame on the 14 year old child. But is she really the one who should be blamed? There was absolutely no vitriol directed towards the young boys in the video nor to the children's parents. Why is that? Are we doing enough to protect our children from the dangers of the internet and camera-phones?

Join us on Savvy Talk Radio w/ The Savvy Sista on October 23, 2011 at 6PM EST as we discuss this very controversial topic. Call 718-664-6383 to join the conversation or listen to us in the chat room at www.blogtalkradio.com/thesavvysista.

Oct 21, 2011

Although we all can pretty much admit the President is vulnerable on the Economy when it comes to his re-election, we all have to admit that he is kicking a$$ and taking names on the foreign affairs side. First he brilliantly handle the Somali pirate situation, then he did what his predecessor could not do in the death of Osama bin Laden, got a victory in Libya, and now he is fulfilling his campaign promise and ending the War in Iraq. The man is on a roll. I want to see how the Republicans are going to spin this.

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama on Friday declared an end to the Iraq war, one of the longest and most divisive conflicts in U.S. history, announcing that all American troops would be withdrawn from the country by year's end.

Obama's statement put an end to months of wrangling over whether the U.S. would maintain a force in Iraq beyond 2011. He never mentioned the tense and ultimately fruitless negotiations with Iraq over whether to keep several thousand U.S. forces in Iraq as a training force and a hedge against meddling from Iran or other outside forces.

Instead, Obama spoke of a promise kept, a new day for a self-reliant Iraq and a focus on building up the economy at home.

"I can report that, as promised, the rest of our troops in Iraq will come home by the end of the year," Obama said. "After nearly nine years, America's war in Iraq will be over."

Obama spoke after a private video conference with Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, and he offered assurances that the two leaders agreed on the decision.

The U.S. military presence in Iraq stands at just under 40,000. All U.S. troops are to exit the country in accordance with a deal struck between the countries in 2008 when George W. Bush was president.

Obama, an opponent of the war from the start, took office and accelerated the end of the conflict. In August 2010, he declared the U.S. combat mission over.

"Over the next two months our troops in Iraq, tens of thousands of them, will pack up their gear and board convoys for the journey home," Obama said. "The last American soldier will cross the border out of Iraq with their heads held high, proud of their success and knowing that the American people stand united in our support for our troops."

More than 4,400 American military members have been killed since the U.S. and its allies invaded Iraq in March 2003.

The Associated Press first reported last week that the United States would not keep troops in Iraq past the year-end withdrawal deadline, except for some soldiers attached to the U.S. Embassy.

In recent months, Washington had been discussing with Iraqi leaders the possibility of several thousand American troops remaining to continue training Iraqi security forces.

Throughout the discussions, Iraqi leaders refused to give U.S. troops immunity from prosecution in Iraqi courts, and the Americans refused to stay without that guarantee.

Moreover, Iraq's leadership has been split on whether it wanted American forces to stay.

When the 2008 agreement requiring all U.S. forces to leave Iraq was passed, many U.S. officials assumed it would inevitably be renegotiated so that Americans could stay longer.

The U.S. said repeatedly this year it would entertain an offer from the Iraqis to have a small force stay behind, and the Iraqis said they would like American military help. But as the year wore on and the number of American troops that Washington was suggesting could stay behind dropped, it became increasingly clear that a U.S. troop presence was not a sure thing.

The issue of legal protection for the Americans was the deal-breaker.

Pulling troops out by the end of this year allows both al-Maliki and Obama to claim victory.

Obama kept a campaign promise to end the war, and al-Maliki will have ended the American presence and restored Iraqi sovereignty.

The president used the war statement to once again turn attention back to the economy, the domestic concern that is expected to determine whether he wins re-election next year.

"After a decade of war the nation that we need to build and the nation that we will build is our own, an America that sees its economic strength restored just as we've restored our leadership around the globe."

-Kin of Missing Black Girl Pleads for Attention: The grandmother of an Arizona girl missing for more than a week pleaded Thursday for more attention from police investigators and the national media, saying that the case of her granddaughter's disappearance hasn't been made a priority because she is black.

-Laptops confiscated from New Birth after Fraud scandal: The U.S. Secret Service has confiscated laptop computers from Bishop Eddie Long’s Lithonia megachurch, and the Georgia secretary of state is investigating an investment company and its former chief executive for possible securities violations involving investments sold to Long church members.

-NBA Labor Talks Turn Nasty as Negotiations End: NBA labor talks turned nasty and broke off Thursday when three days of meetings failed to yield a deal to end a 112-day lockout, raising the likelihood that even more games will be canceled in an already fractured season.

-'Occupy' protesters find allies in ranks of the wealthy: The “Occupy Wall Street” protesters — also known as the “99 percent” — have struck a chord with at least a few members of an unexpected audience: America’s rich and privileged.

Oct 20, 2011

Rapper turned businessman, MC Hammer, is looking to establish his own imprint on the world wide web. With the launch of his new search engine, WireDoo, he is hoping to challenge search engine behemoths Google and Bing.

Here is how CNN is reporting on the topic:

The project, called WireDoo, has been two years in the making, said Hammer (real name Stanley Burrell) Wednesday at the Web 2.0 summit in San Francisco.

At the conference, he said what will make his search tool better than Google (or, too legit to quit, if you will) will be its "deep search" ability.

WireDoo, which Hammer said he has a team developing, is still in pre-beta. Its website is currently letting people sign up to test the search engine when a beta release is ready.

This is a very tricky question. I can see the simplicity in the argument of telling black people to stand in solidarity, but I can also see how this push could backfire on the President. I remember I had a caller on Savvy Talk Radio from Oakland who expressed great frustration about black people who publicly criticize the President. She said she could not understand why we (I totally think she was including me in the argument) couldn't just shut up and go out in the streets and ensure the President was re-elected because he was a black man. Again, I fully understand her argument, but is black support of Obama really that simple?

The Washington Post

For several months, radio host Tom Joyner has pleaded with his 8 million listeners to get in line behind the first black president.

“Stick together, black people,” says Joyner, whose R&B morning show reaches one in four African American adults.

“Let’s not even deal with the facts right now. Let’s deal with just our blackness and pride — and loyalty,” Joyner wrote on his BlackAmericaWeb.com blog. “We have the chance to re-elect the first African-American president, and that’s what we ought to be doing. And I’m not afraid or ashamed to say that as black people, we should do it because he’s a black man.”

But the focus on sticking together has prompted criticism from some who call it an overly simplistic view that shuts off dialogue about Obama’s achievements and his failures.

“It truncates vibrant conversation in the black community,” said Eddie Glaude Jr., a professor of religion and African American studies at Princeton University. “What I hear them saying is, ‘Black folk need to get in lock step because we don’t want Republicans to take the White House.’ There is a kind of disciplining of the black polity that doesn’t lend itself to a vibrant and detailed consideration about political issues.”

The message is that criticism of Obama should be treated like a family argument — not to be made public — said Andra Gillespie, a political scientist at Emory University.

Sharpton said he learned an important lesson about supporting black politicians in the early 1990s, when David Dinkins, who was New York’s first black mayor, was running for reelection. Sharpton criticized Dinkins’s “deliberative” style and thought his policies were not progressive enough. Dinkins was hurt by the diminished enthusiasm and turnout among black voters.

“We beat up on him. He went down and we ended up with eight years of Rudy Giuliani,” said Sharpton, who has been among Obama’s most aggressive supporters. “I said I’ll never make that mistake again.”

I honestly don't think black people support the President just because he is a black man. Need I give you a history lesson on how few black people supported the President when he initially announced his candidacy back in 2007? President Obama had to prove he was worthy of support before African Americans came out in historical levels to support him. His blackness alone was not what convinced people who never voted before to support him. If blackness was all that was need then surely Uncle Herman would have more African Americans supporting him. The reason, I believe, so many African Americans support the President is because he is the right person for the job. Trust me, it gives me great pride to see that beautiful black family in the White House, but it wasn't that pride alone that made me a supporter of his since 2004. I supported him because he inspired me and I thought that the policies he would try to implement for the country would be the best for the country. Sure, having that beautiful black woman by his side played a part, but it wasn't enough to make me send his campaign my hard earned money nor knocked on strangers doors to talk about him. His blackness wasn't what made me go against the grain in 2007 to support his candidacy in the the beginning. It wasn't the thing that made me disagree with all my family and friends who said it was going to be impossible for him to beat Hillary Clinton. I support him because of a combination of things. His blackness was just icing on and already very impressive cake.

Bishop Eddie Long of New Birth Missionary Baptist Church was named in an investment scam lawsuit after ten of his parishoners lost over a million dollars after investing in a company Long endorsed.

Now honestly I feel for the people that lost money, but I don't know if I agree with this lawsuit. Maybe it's just me, but I don't go to my minister for financial advice just like I don't go to my financial advisor for spiritual advice. I just don't understand why no one thought to do any kind of research of their own when it came to investing their hard earned money into something. Yes, God gave you a spiritual leader, but he/she also gave you a spirit of discernment. Don't get me wrong, I realize people are taken advantage of every day, but we are talking about people who had at least $100K apiece to invest. Are you seriously telling me these people didn't have time to do a little research into what they were putting their money into? Yes, Long was wrong for endorsing something he obviously knew nothing about, but the victims were also wrong for not doing some research before they invested their money. Regardless of what someone tells you, I always believe it best to go and research it for yourself or find an independent source. Just because a person is a minister does not make his/her word Gospel.

I guess you can see I'm on my cynical kick again.

Check out the latest headlines that are burning up the web and the rest of the media:

- Libyan TV reports Gadhafi dead; report unconfirmed: Former Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi is dead, reported Al-Ahrar, a National Transitional Council TV station. It didn't cite a source and the news couldn't be independently confirmed.

- NJ teacher's husband defends her comments on gays: The husband of a New Jersey high school teacher accused of anti-gay postings on her Facebook page is defending his wife's comments.

Gene Knox told WCBS-TV in New York that "everybody's entitled to an opinion." He also told the station: "They can persecute her but they can't prosecute her."

-Man Trying to Raise $1M Dollars to Have 100 Pound Genitals Removed: A Las Vegas man is looking to raise $1 million for a rare condition that has kept him homebound for most of his life.

-Lawsuit: Alabama Counties Keep Blacks Off Juries: An advocacy group sued a district attorney for two Alabama counties on Wednesday, saying he and his assistants deliberately exclude blacks from juries in serious criminal cases.

-Bryant Gumbel calls NBA commissioner 'plantation overseer': Bryant Gumbel invoked race in a televised editorial on the NBA's strained labor talks, likening league Commissioner David Stern to a "plantation overseer."

Gumbel ended Tuesday's edition of HBO's "Real Sports" by taking aim at Stern, who he said is to blame for the lockout that threatens the entire season. He said Stern's "disdain for the players" is "pathetic."