Friday, July 31, 2009

Call for Solutions



The Think Tank for African American Progress – to be held in Memphis from October 14 to October 16, 2009 – seeks solutions to challenges confronting Black boys and young men. We are inviting scholars, activists, and advocates to join us for the 2009 Think Tank with the theme “What is the Future of Black Boys?”. Practitioners, community activists, and researchers whose efforts are related to the following thematic areas are especially invited to submit a solutions’ proposal in relevant to one of the 4 areas: (1) Health; (2) Education/Youth Development; (3) Science, Technology, Engineering or Mathematics; and (4) Community/Economic Development.

The Think Tank will feature opportunities for practitioners, researchers, policy makers, and, Black youth themselves to dialogue about solutions to pressing issues facing our communities, think about strategies to resolve these challenges, and design methods in which to implement solutions to challenges.

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What Team Wants Michael Vick?


If any NFL teams are interested in Michael Vick(notes), they’re not saying.

A day after the quarterback was conditionally reinstated to the league, only the Baltimore Ravens would directly acknowledge evaluating him.

“We’ve had long discussions about Michael Vick and we have a feeling about how he would impact our team and not impact our team,” coach John Harbaugh said Tuesday.

General manager Ozzie Newsome declined comment. Previously, he has said the Ravens have enough quarterbacks.

Other teams either refused comment or insisted they wouldn’t pick up the former Atlanta Falcons star, who served 18 months in federal prison for running a dogfighting ring and was released from home confinement on July 20.

Commissioner Roger Goodell said Monday that Vick can immediately take part in preseason practices, workouts and meetings and can play in the final two preseason games—if he can find a team.

Once the season begins, Vick may participate in all team activities except games, and Goodell said he would consider Vick for full reinstatement by Week 6 (Oct. 18-19) at the latest.

Two clubs that might have seemed like a logical destination—the Miami Dolphins and Cincinnati Bengals—said they wouldn’t pursue Vick.

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A Beer for Race

When it comes to race, we could all use a drink

You can make fun of me for being a goody two shoes, but I've never finished a beer in my entire life. I am, however, willing to drink a beer with President Obama if that will open the door to an honest conversation on race relations in America.

President Obama's announcement that he will get together today with Dr. Henry Louis Gates and Sgt. James Crowley for a beer sounds, honestly, like a bit of political posturing from a man who is trying to reverse the stain of tremendous embarrassment. But like a political pro, the president is getting chummy with police departments across the nation, and this will help him recover from his own "George Bush moment," in which he attacked the Cambridge Police Department while admittedly not knowing all the facts.

Perhaps the first beer in the White House will turn into a second and a third. People let it all hang out when they get drunk, so maybe open bottles of beer will encourage the three parties involved to have an honest dialogue on race. In fact, why don't the rest of us drink a beer too? The American racial conversation should not only include three people behind closed doors, it should include all of us.


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Thursday, July 30, 2009

President Obama’s “Teachable Moment” What Should We Learn?



Dr. Wilmer J. Leon III

This afternoon, President Obama, Sgt. James Crowley, and Dr. Henry Louis Gates Jr. will sit down at the White House to “clear the air.” The President’s objective is to bring the parties together and through their personal interaction move the national dialogue on race forward. In the President’s “Teachable Moment” what should we learn? We should learn how one’s perceptions can color their reality. We should also learn the danger of trying to contort a non-race based issue into a dialog or valuable lesson on race.

In all of the accounts of Dr. Gates’ arrest there has never been any indication that Sgt. Crowley used racial slurs, epithets, gestures or any other means to inject “race” into the arrest. Even Dr. Gates’ attorney, Charles Ogletree, when asked about racial profiling during a CNN interview said, “I’ve never said anything about racial profiling; you’ve never heard those words from me, it’s a case of bad judgment…we won’t know about the race element until all of the facts are in.”

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Glenn Beck Says Obama Is Racist


NEW YORK (AP) — Fox News Channel commentator Glenn Beck said he believes President Obama is a racist. Beck made the statement during a guest appearance Tuesday on the Fox & Friends morning show. He said Obama has exposed himself as a person with "a deep-seated hatred for white people or the white culture."

His remarks came during a discussion of Obama's reaction to the arrest of Harvard University scholar Henry Louis Gates Jr. Gates is black and was arrested for disorderly conduct by a white policeman over a misunderstanding about a break-in at Gates' home.

An Obama spokesman, William Burton, said the White House had no comment on Beck.

Beck's statement was challenged on the air by Fox host Brian Kilmeade, who noted that most of the people who work for the nation's first black president are white.

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Man Charged Having Sex With Horse


COLUMBIA, S.C. -- A South Carolina man was charged with having sex with a horse after the animal's owner caught the act on videotape, then staked out the stable and caught him at shotgun point, authorities said Wednesday.

But this wasn't the first time Rodell Vereen has been charged with buggery. He pleaded guilty last year to having sex with the same horse after owner Barbara Kenley found him in the same stable and was sentenced to probation and placed on the state's sex offender list.

Kenley said she noticed several weeks ago her 21-year-old horse Sugar was acting strange and getting infections again. She noticed things in the barn had been moved around - dirt piled up and bales of hay stacked near the horse's stall at her Lazy B Stables in Longs, about 20 miles northeast of Myrtle Beach.

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Divorce May Cause Physically Damage


(CNN) -- Divorce causes more than bitterness and broken hearts. The trauma of a split can leave long-lasting effects on mental and physical health that remarriage might not repair, according to research released this week.

Research shows health differences between people who are married and those who have gone through a divorce.

"People who lose a marriage take such damage to their health," said Linda Waite, a sociologist at the University of Chicago in Illinois.

Waite and co-author Mary Elizabeth Hughes, of Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, found that divorced or widowed people have 20 percent more chronic health conditions such as heart disease, diabetes or cancer than married people. They also have 23 percent more mobility limitations, such as trouble climbing stairs or walking a block.

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Dr Boyce Watkins and Roland Martin going at it on CNN

Dr Boyce Watkins of Syracuse University speaks with Roland Martin and Rick Sanchez of CNN.  The conversation gets quite heated.  Click here to watch the video!

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

How to End Racial Profiling

In one week, President Obama covered the waterfront on racial politics. Although, in his address to the delegates at the NAACP's Centennial he said, "an African-American child is roughly five times as likely as a white child to see the inside of a jail," he also used the same "personal responsibility" rhetoric as he has every time he has spoken to African American audiences as candidate and president. Just days later, he would answer a question at a prime time press conference regarding the arrest of African American Harvard Professor Henry Louis Gates, Jr. that would place him in the middle of the debate on racial profiling.

"Personal responsibility," a Republican vocabulary word born in the Reagan era, plays politically well among moderate and conservative Whites, and even among some White liberals who, unfortunately, have a hard time distinguishing reality from the right-wing noise machine. The "personal responsibility" argument suggests that there is some inherent pathology within African Americans that is disabling. "Personal responsibility" is the modern day replacement for the antebellum term that endured through the middle of the 20th century -- "shiftlessness."

Today, Republicans argue "personal responsibility/shiftlessness" most frequently with the statistic that 70% of African American children are born to single mothers. But according to the Institute for Policy Studies, "the increase in the share of White children living in a single parent home has been much higher (229%) than for Black children (155%) since 1960." Yet Whites are never accused of lacking personal responsibility or preached to about the subject. And sometimes we Democrats, Lefties and Progressives are too quick to repeat what the Right has popularly propagandized without a careful analysis of this rhetoric's roots.

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The Ways Companies Profit off Prisoners


Dr. Byron Price is a black scholar with a mission. His book, "Merchandizing Prisoners" opens the door for a discussion on how the African American community is being financially pillaged by the prison industry. You may not know this, but private corporations earn money from inmate incarceration and have a direct financial incentive to house more inmates. This is a problem, since unfocused profit maximization does not make room for the dual-significance of social progress. Dr. Price is one of the leading scholars in America and he has taken it upon himself to help solve this problem.

1) What is your name and what do you do for a living?
Byron E. Price, Associate Professor, Political Science Department and Interim Director, Barbara Jordan Institute for Policy Research
2) Tell us about your book? What does it teach us?
According to National Union of Public and General Employees, "This book examines the steady growth of private, for-profit prison firms and the correctional-commercial complex that has developed tangentially with the private prison industry. It also details the strange bedfellows that have been brought together to expand this industry.

I underscore how these for-profit private prison companies have gone public and are trading on the stock exchanges and the inimical impact of prisons being publicly traded. The book debunks many of the claims as to why states seek prison privatization and demonstrates that incarceration is the new form of slavery....This work sets the record straight about the decision to privatize state prisons, revealing the political bias that often drives these policy choices."

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Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Colin Powell Criticizes the Actions of Henry Gates

Colin Powell

Former Secretary of State Colin Powell was mildly critical Tuesday of Harvard professor Henry Louis Gates Jr., whose angry response to a Cambridge, Mass., police officer touched off a national debate involving President Obama.

Powell, interviewed by CNN's Larry King, criticized the way Gates dealt with Sgt. James Crowley, a white officer who responded to reports of a possible break-in by arresting the black professor at his home on a charge of disorderly conduct. The charge was soon dropped.

Gates "might have waited a while, come outside, talked to the officer, and that might have been the end of it," said Powell, one of the nation's most prominent African Americans.

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Diddy’s Restaurant Owes Over $7,000 in Taxes

The IRS has its sights on Sean "Diddy" Combs' Atlanta spot Justin's Restaurant, claiming it owes $7,373 in federal taxes, reports the Detroit News, citing public records. The restaurant, named in honor of his son, opened in 1998 and specializes in upscale Southern and Caribbean cuisine. An identically named restaurant in New York City closed a few years ago.

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Monday, July 27, 2009

Radio/TV Host Montel Williams Speaks with Dr Boyce

Dr Boyce Watkins of Syracuse University spoke with TV and radio show host Montel Williams on Monday.  The conversation focused on race and racial profiling.  They are going to also speak on financial advice in the future.

Boxer had Intuition about His Death

Former Boxing Champ Vernon Forrest who was killed Saturday in Atlanta when he was robbed at gun point Tweeted a week before his death about a dream he had that was similar to the way he was killed.

Man I had a nightmare last nite I dreamt I come home and found 4 guys were breaking into my house. I pull my heater and it was empty they chased me and was about to shoot me then I woke up. The first thing I did was get my heater and made sure it was loaded. That dream will not come true.

Man that’s is some scary ISH.  I think I will start taking my dreams a little more serious.


Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Sometimes When You’re Right, You’re Wrong

By Wilmer Leon


On Thursday July 16, 2009 after returning from a trip to China, Harvard University scholar Dr. Henry Louis Gates Jr. had difficulty opening the front door of the home he leases from Harvard.  After he and his driver struggled with the front door Dr. Gates gained entry through the back door of the home, shut off the alarm, opened the front door, and the driver left.

According to Cambridge Police Department Incident Report #9005127, a neighbor called the police and reported a possible breaking and entering at the residence. The woman “…observed what appeared to be two black males with backpacks on the porch...”  Her suspicions were aroused when, “…she observed one of the men wedging his shoulder into the door as if he was trying to force entry.”  The uniformed police officer went to the front door, saw Dr. Gates standing in the foyer and asked him to step out onto the porch.  Dr. Gates refused.

According to the Incident Report, after identifying himself as Sgt. Crowly and explaining that he was “investigating a report of a break-in in progress” at the residence, Dr. Gates opened the front door and stated, “why, because I’m a black man in America?”  After supplying the officer with Harvard University identification, the officer radioed for Harvard University Police.

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Tuesday, July 21, 2009

“Being A Black Male – 101” Don’t Argue With the Police

By Dr. Wilmer J. Leon III


On Thursday July 16, 2009 after returning from a trip to China, Harvard University scholar Dr. Henry Louis Gates Jr.  had difficulty opening the front door of the home he leases from Harvard. After he and his driver struggled with the front door Dr. Gates gained entry through the back door of the home, shut off the alarm, opened the front door, and the driver left.

According to Cambridge Police Department Incident Report #9005127, a neighbor called the police and reported a possible breaking and entering at the residence. The woman “…observed what appeared to be two black males with backpacks on the porch...” Her suspicions were aroused when, “…she observed one of the men wedging his shoulder into the door as if he was trying to force entry.” The uniformed police officer went to the front door, saw Dr. Gates standing in the foyer and asked him to step out onto the porch. Dr. Gates refused.

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No More No Homo Says Dr. Marc Lamont Hill

Dr. Marc Lamont Hill

Fox News political contributor Dr. Marc Lamont Hill wants to put an end to the pop culture catchphrase "no homo."

"No homo" was originated by rap star Cam'ron, who had an affinity for wearing anything pink but didn't want it to be perceived as "gay."

Since being made popular by Cam'ron and his Dipset hip-hop crew, the expression has evolved into a ubiquitous slang term used to chase any phrase, action or idea that could be perceived as linguistically gay.

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Aids Vaccine Funding Cut in South Africa

South Africa


South Africa's government joined Monday in launching a high-profile trial of an AIDS vaccine created by its own researchers -- the first designed by a developing country -- but the moment was marred by the lead researcher's announcement it has actually halted funding its own project.

It was a jarring development in a nation whose politicians have a history of unscientific responses to the epidemic. Attempts to get an explanation from the government were not immediately successful.

Monday's announcement was meant to be a proud occasion for a nation where politicians have a history of unscientific responses to the epidemic. But after a government minister lauded the project, Professor Anna-Lise Williamson, the scientist heading the research, said the state had pulled the plug on its funding.


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Monday, July 20, 2009

Black News: Harvard Prof Henry Louis Gates Arrested

Harvard University’s Henry Louis Gates Jr., director of the W.E.B. DuBois Institute for African & African American Studies, was arrested July 16 on a charge of disorderly conduct.

Gates, 58, a resident of Cambridge, Massachusetts, where Harvard’s main campus is located, was arrested after “exhibiting loud and tumultuous behavior,” according to a report on the Cambridge Police Department’s Web site. Cambridge police officials declined to comment and said the case was under investigation by Office of the Middlesex District Attorney. A call to the DA’s office wasn’t immediately returned.


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Saturday, July 18, 2009

Dr Boyce Watkins Speaks on Lil Wayne and More

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Dr Boyce: Lil Wayne Is Willing to Murder Newborn Babies?


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Nicole Spence Moves Beyond her Wendy Williams Experience


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Dr Boyce Money: Would You Date Someone Who Has Been Laid Off?


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Dr Boyce: Bill Cosby's Book Made Money, But Did He Forget Something?


Sunday, July 12, 2009

Black Athletes: McNair’s Death Tells Us A lot

Danny Aller
Sports Editor, Albany Herald

Former NFL quarterback Steve McNair's tragic death eight days ago today is one that, looking back years from now, certainly will be - for me - one of those passings where I'll someday say, "I remember where I was when I heard the news."

For some who don't follow football, or even sports as a whole that closely, maybe that feeling is not shared.
But for this American sports journalist - and other writers around the country - I think the effect was slightly different. And I say that because of an experience once early in my career that opened my eyes to what I was in for when it came to one of the lows of the biz.
About five years ago when I worked as a sportswriter for a newspaper in Florida, I remember a night quite vividly that still sticks with me today.


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