Thursday, December 30, 2010

Scott Sisters Finally Free – Have to Share Kidney as Condition of Release

by Dr. Boyce Watkins, Syracuse UniversityScholarship in Action 



Jamie and Gladys Scott have sat behind bars for nearly two decades over a robbery that netted just $11 dollars. The two women also dispute the fact that they even participated in the robbery, and many wondered if there were political motivations behind the magnitude of their original sentence. But the Scott sisters, who are 36 and 38 years old, were released this week when Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour suspended their sentences indefinitely.
The sisters were given two life sentences in 1994 when they allegedly ambushed a man, hitting him in the head with a shot gun and making off with $11 dollars. Nancy Lockhart, an activist, fought tirelessly for the women to be released, and there were rallies held in Mississippi on their behalf. She was finally successful when the governor made the decision to release them.
One interesting aspect of the release conditions for the Scott sisters is that they are actually required to share a kidney or will be asked to come back to prison. While bizarre as a request, this doesn't seem to be a problem, given that Gladys offered to share her kidney with her sister. Governor Barbour cited the high cost to the state of Jamie's kidney condition (she has complete kidney failure), and also noted that he doesn't feel that the sisters are a threat to public safety.


Click to read.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

The Scott Sisters are Released after 17 Years in Prison


Gov. Haley Barbour has issued orders for the release of Jamie and Gladys Scott, sisters serving life sentences for a 1993 armed robbery. Barbour granted the Scott sisters an indefinite suspension of their sentences, which is "tantamount to parole," he said in a statement posted on his website this afternoon.
A large movement of civil-rights advocates and online activists has lobbied for the sisters' release, arguing that their sentences are disproportionately severe for an armed robbery that allegedly netted as little as $11. The sisters have spent 16 years in prison, and Jamie Scott is currently suffering from total kidney failure.

Reached by phone en route to the grocery store, the Scott sisters' mother, Evelyn Rasco, had to pull her car over upon hearing news of Barbour's order.
"Oh my God. You're kidding me," Rasco said. "Oh, please--oh my God." Rasco said that she had not been informed of the governor's decision but had plans to listen to Charles Evers' radio show this evening, on which Barbour is scheduled to appear as a guest.
Nancy Lockhart, a South Carolina-based activist who has worked with Rasco since 2005 to publicize the sisters' case, said that she looked forward to meeting the women she has only known through letters and phone calls.
"I am elated," Lockhart said. "I would like to thank Governor Barbour, and I can't wait to meet to meet Jamie and Gladys."


Click to read.

NAACP of GA Tours Prison After Georgia Prison Strike

by Dr. Boyce Watkins, Syracuse UniversityScholarship in Action 

After the Georgia prison strike that took place earlier this month, the NAACP in Georgia took notice. Officials from the Georgia State NAACP have decided to address the issue head-on by touring one of the prisons in the state to determine the depth of concerns by the inmates. The inmates said that their strike was organized to ask for educational opportunities, adequate healthcare, just parole decisions, less expensive access to their families and an escape from cruel and unusual punishment. Most significantly, they are leading the public to question the 13th Amendment's slavery exemption, which allows corporations to earn profits with slave labor as long as the state finds a way to label someone to be a convict. Similar to slavery a century ago, a disproportionate number of those controlled by the system are black.
Georgia State NAACP President Edward DuBose said that there was evidence to support the complaints of some of the inmates:

Click to read.

Tucker Carlson Says that Michael Vick Should Have Been Executed

by Dr. Boyce Watkins, Syracuse UniversityScholarship in Action 

Fox News commentator Tucker Carlson followed the company's interesting tradition the other day by making one of the most distasteful and egregious comments in recent media history. Filling in for Sean Hannity, Carlson said that Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Michael Vick should have been executed for dogfighting.

"I'm a Christian, I've made mistakes myself, I believe fervently in second chances," Carlson said. "But Michael Vick killed dogs, and he did in a heartless and cruel way. And I think, personally, he should've been executed for that. He wasn't, but the idea that the President of the United States would be getting behind someone who murdered dogs? Kind of beyond the pale."


Click to read.


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Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Eddie Long Linked to Alleged Financial Fraud

by Dr. Boyce Watkins, Syracuse UniversityScholarship in Action 

Bishop Eddie Long is in the media again, and not for good reason. Long and another Atlanta megachurch pastor, Gary Hawkins, have been linked to a mortgage company that is being investigated by federal authorities for allegedly stealing money from church members.
The company, Matrix Capital, has been allowed to hold financial seminars in the churches of both men, offering to help lower their mortgages in exchange for $1,500 payments. According to police, thousands of people paid money to Matrix, but ended up filing bankruptcy and/or losing their homes.
Fred Lee, the proclaimed front man for the company, was allegedly able to convince quite a few church members to give him their money primarily because he addressed them within the confines of their joint church environment. The Secret Service and the DeKaulb County Police are now investigating Lee.


Click to read.


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Monday, December 20, 2010

Duchess Harris: The State of Black Women Under President Obama

by Duchess Harris 

History was made in November 2008. Record breaking numbers of voters lined up to vote the first African-American President into office, with Barack Obama handily beating Arizona Republican Senator John McCain, winning 52% of the electoral vote, a clear mandate for change.[1] African-Americans made up 13% of the electorate, a two percent increase from the 2006 elections,[2] and approximately 95% of black voters cast their ballots in favor of Obama.[3] Within that 13%, black women had the highest voter turnout rate among all racial, gender, and ethnic groups.[4]

As the election results were posted, the media and the President-elect himself made grand proclamations about the significance of the election, as well as what it portended for the country's future. New York Times writer Adam Nagourney described voters' election of Obama as "sweeping away the last racial barrier in American politics," continuing with a quote from Obama's victory speech in Grant Park, Chicago:

If there is anyone out there who still doubts that America is a place where all things are possible, who still wonders if the dream of our founders is alive in our time, who still questions the power of our democracy, tonight is your answer.... It's been a long time coming, but tonight, because of what we did on this date in this election at this defining moment, change has come to America.[5]


Click to read.


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Man Arrested After Publishing Book on How to be a Pedophile

by Dr. Boyce Watkins, Syracuse UniversityScholarship in Action 

Phillip Greaves, like many other struggling authors, decided to self-publish a book and put it on The style of book Greaves chose to write landed him in hot water with authorities, and eventually led to him being arrested.
Greaves wrote a book entitled, "The Pedophile's Guide to Love and Pleasure: A Child-Lover's Code of Conduct." The book taught potential and practicing pedophiles how to have sex with children and rape them. Greaves was arrested this week in Colorado and will be extradited to Florida.
"You cannot engage or depict children in a harmful relationship," said Polk County, Florida, Sheriff Grady Judd. Judd was explaining an obscenity statute in Florida which precludes individuals or groups from distributing obscene materials depicting minors in harmful situations.

Click to read.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

From AOL: Bride Sues Groom for Dumping Her at the Alter

Dominique Batitia: bride sues groom for leaving her at the altarWhat would you do if the love of your life up and left you days before your wedding? Well, you couldsue his butt off.
Dominique Buttitta, a lawyer in Chicago, is taking her ice-footed former fiancé to court for bailing on their big dayjust four days before the ceremony was supposed to go down. The jilted bride claims that by calling it quits, the groom "intentionally inflicted emotional distress" on her. She's reportedly seeking more than $95,000 from her ex -- money, she says, that she'd already spent on the wedding.
I think she may have a case, and not just because people sue for less than this every day. I've had neighbors sue other neighbors when their dog crapped on the lawn. Buttitta's fiance crapped on her life. Not only is she now being portrayed as a bitter, spurned woman, she's in the hole for a whole lot of zeros.
Planning a wedding is a big, long, intricate process. I know; I'm in the middle of planning mine. Pick up any issue of "The Knot" and they'll tell you: planning a wedding takes about nine months to a year. And those are a packed nine to 12 months of making lists, touring venues, tasting cakes and spending thousands of dollars in nonrefundable deposits. There's the dress, the rings, flowers -- Buttitta says she spent over $12,500 on those -- invitations, escort cards and a ton of other things that take up a whole lot of time and even more of your money. It's ridiculous.

Click to read.

Friday, December 17, 2010

All Americans Must Support the Georgia Prison Strike

by Dr. Boyce Watkins, Syracuse UniversityScholarship in Action 

You may have heard about the prison strike occurring in Georgia right now.  Inmates in four facilities have come together in an amazing show of solidarity to demand that they be treated like (gasp) human beings, not slaves or animals.  Rather than continuing to fall for the game of divide and conquer that has kept them apart for so long, the whites, blacks, Muslims, Mexicans, and other groups have mobilized forces to fight for something worthwhile.

The guards and wardens of these prisons are nervous.  For the longest time, they were able to convince the inmates to take their aggression out on each other.  Now that the intellectual and spiritual guns are pointed at their overseers, the inmates are gaining access to the liberation that has been denied to them for so very long.  The Georgia prison strike is not just a one-time event; it is a model for success in organizing that can be replicated around the country.

I stand with these men as they fight for what they deserve, while fully understanding that they must pay a debt to society.  They are not asking for anything dramatic, just the basics of what any human being might expect:  an escape from involuntary servitude, adequate healthcare, educational opportunities, the ability to see their families without exorbitant expense and just parole decisions.  They are not asking to be treated like royalty or to even be released without good cause.  They are simply demanding that they be allowed to repay their debt to America and simultaneously create sustainable paths toward contributing to the society in which they live.  These men and women are not garbage to be thrown out and destroyed, but are actually individuals with tremendous productive capacity that remains untapped in a system structured to ruin both good people and bad.

Click to read.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Why Has the Congressional Black Caucus Not Supported the Prison Strike in Georgia?

by Dr. Boyce Watkins, Syracuse UniversityScholarship in Action 

In case you haven't seen it much in the media, history is being made in Georgia. Prison inmates in the state have come together for the largest prison strike in United States history. The event is significant, since the prison system is one of the last remnants of slavery in our nation. Among other things, the inmates are demanding access to education, decent heathcare, the ability to see their families, just parole decisions and an escape from cruel and unusual punishment. In other words, they are asking to be treated as human beings.

I've spoken to as many people as I could about what the inmates in Georgia are doing and I've also reported on the activities that I've begun in conjunction with the Your Black World Coalition. But as I was working with my team to figure out how we could help the inmates, one question came to mind: Where are the black folks in Washington?


Click to read.

Why We Should Support the Georgia Prison Strike

Why we should support the biggest prison strike in US history

by Dr. Boyce Watkins, Syracuse UniversityScholarship in Action 

The other day, I was inspired. I was also shocked, amazed and uplifted by the courage being shown by the individuals who helped to pull off the largest prison strike in United States history. The effort evolved by sneaking cell phones into the facilities, leading to inmate communication and virtually unprecedented coordination between six different prisons. I wanted to help them.

The inmates are protesting against slavery, which is actually still legal in the United States. The 13th Amendment of the United States Constitution abolishes slavery for most of us, but it deliberately leaves one gaping loophole: Being convicted of a crime. In that regard, the Constitution makes it clear that enslaving another human being is OK as long as you've found a way to label them as being a bad person.

To that end, corporations now earn millions of dollars from prison labor. The participants in this labor pool are not given a choice, they are forced into corporate servitude. Given that black and brown people are more likely to be searched, arrested and incarcerated, we have a prison system that is filled with black men. Justice requires money, and public defenders are only wired to offer plea deals. So many of the men and women in prison are either innocent of the crimes for which they've been convicted or are less guilty than others who were able to walk free.


Click to read.


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Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Why Isn’t the GA Prison Strike All Over the News?


Ga. prisoner protest puts spotlight on institutionalized slavery

by R. L’Heureux Lewis

For nearly a week, prisoners throughout the state of Georgia have been engaged in one of the largest prison protests in this nation's history. Why is this not plastered across mainstream media, blogs, and 24 hour cable news? The simple answer maybe that the more we focus on prisoners' rights, the more we are forced to focus on human rights and community transformation.

It is erroneously taught in many U.S. schools that the 13th amendment abolished all slavery, when in fact the amendment reads, "Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction." The italicized text leaves a powerful "loophole" in the American narrative of equality and freedom. In fact, the conditions in many U.S. prisons continue to spiral towards a peculiar form of industrial slavery.

The cost of not noticing the disproportionate incarceration of black people and the steady erosion of already limited rights of prisoners may allow the abuses of the past to be revisited in the present.


Click to read.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Coalition To Respect Prisoners’ Rights Holds Press Conference on GA Inmate Strike

Press Release
Concerned Coalition to Respect Prisoners’ Rights


Coalition of NAACP, Nation of Islam, Elected Officials, Prisoner Activists
Demand Governor Perdue and DOC Commissioner Brian Owens
Stop Violence Against Striking Prisoners


December 13, 2010, 3:30 p.m.
State Capitol
100 Washington Street
Atlanta, Georgia

    NAACP State Chairman Edward Dubose joined by representatives from the Nation of Islam, elected officials and others, who have formed the Concerned Coalition to Respect Prisoners’ Rights, will hold a press conference at 1:30 p.m. today at the Capitol to urge Governor Perdue and Department of Corrections Commissioner Owens to halt the violent tactics being employed by guards against thousands of striking prisoners.  They have reached out to Perdue and Owens for meetings earlier in the day.

Begun on December 9, 2010, the prisoners’ peaceful protest has been historic in scope and in the unity of thousands of black, brown, white, Muslim, Christian, Rastafarian prisoners, including those at Augusta, Baldwin, Calhoun, Hancock, Hays, Macon, Rogers, Smith, Telfair, Valdosta and Ware State Prisons.  For five days, now, these men have shut down all activity at most of these facilities.

Click to read.

Bloomberg: U.S. Health-Care Law Requirement Thrown Out by Federal Judge in Virginia

By Tom Schoenberg and Margaret Cronin Fisk - Dec 13, 2010 11:13 AM CT

The Obama administration’s requirement that most citizens maintain minimum health coverage as part of a broad overhaul of the industry is unconstitutional because it forces people to buy insurance, a federal judge ruled, striking down the linchpin of the president’s plan.

U.S. District Judge Henry Hudson in Richmond, Virginia, said today that the requirement in President Barack Obama’s health-care legislation goes beyond Congress’s powers to regulate interstate commerce. While severing the coverage mandate, Hudson didn’t address other provisions such as expanding Medicaid that are unrelated to it. He didn't order the government to stop work on putting the remainder of the law into effect.

Hudson found the minimum essential coverage provision of the act “exceeds the constitutional boundaries of congressional power.” Hudson was appointed by President George W. Bush in 2002.

The decision left intact other provisions of the law and only affects the part that requires most U.S. citizens to maintain minimum health coverage beginning in 2014.

The ruling is the government’s first loss in a series of challenges to the law mounted in federal courts in Virginia, Michigan and Florida, where 20 states have joined an effort to have the statute thrown out. Constitutional scholars said unless Congress changes the law, its fate on appeal will probably hinge on the views of the U.S. Supreme Court’s more conservative members.

U.S. health-care stocks extended gains after the ruling. The Standard & Poor’s 500 Health Care Index rose 0.5 percent at 12 p.m. New York time. UnitedHealth Group Inc. and Coventry Health Care Inc. led gains.

Tracy Schmaler, a spokeswoman for the U.S. Department of Justice, did not immediately reply to voicemail and e-mail messages seeking comment on Hudson’s decision.

The case is Commonwealth of Virginia v. Sebelius, 10-cv- 00188, U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Virginia (Richmond).


Sunday, December 12, 2010

Major Protests in Six Georgia Prisons: Inmates Demand Human Rights

by Dr. Boyce Watkins, Syracuse UniversityScholarship in Action 

Six major prisons in the state of Georgia have begun a strong peaceful protest against inhumane conditions in the facilities in which they live. The protest is unique because it represents a coalition of black, brown and white inmates, jumping the line of racial segregation so prominent in prisons across America.
While the wardens at the prisons are not speaking to the public, the public is certainly speaking to the system. Across the nation, supporters of the movement are making calls to various officials to request that they help with the problem (you can see who to call by clicking here).
Thousands of inmates stayed in their cells Thursday, leading to strong and swift retaliation by the prison guards. According to those familiar with recent events, inmates have been beaten and had their personal items destroyed. Inmates also say that the authorities have cut off their hot water and shut off the heat when outside temperatures were in their 30s.


Click to read.



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Inmate Protests in Georgia Prisons – How You Can Help

Friends of VOICE OF DETROIT, this is an emergency update. We have just received news that thousands of prisoners in Georgia have been on strike against inhuman conditions in at least six major prisons since Dec. 9. Supporters in Georgia say it is the LARGEST PRISON STRIKE IN NATIONAL HISTORY.  It is urgent that you read the story from Black Agenda Report at The strike is uniting Black, Brown and white prisoners, who are determined to maintain, but they are facing vicious retaliation. They are asking supporters to call the wardens of the following facilities at the numbers listed:

Macon State Prison is 978-472-3900. 

Hays State Prison is at (706) 857-0400

Telfair State prison is 229-868-7721

Baldwin State Prison is at (478) 445- 5218

Valdosta State Prison is 229-333-7900

Smith State Prison is at (912) 654-5000

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Congressional Black Caucus Angry at Obama Over Tax Cuts

Congressional Black Caucus Bashes Obama on Tax Cuts

1:23 PMDec 11

Source: BV on Money

The Congressional Black Caucus has joined the chorus of Democrats currently at war with President Barack Obama. The feud was built on the recent tax cut compromise the president made with Republicans. President Obama and the Democrats were pushing to ... Read More

Thursday, December 9, 2010

No, Wesley Snipes Should NOT Be Going to Prison

by Dr. Boyce Watkins, Syracuse UniversityScholarship in Action 

I've been sitting on the sidelines during the tax trial of actor Wesley Snipes, primarily because I didn't quite know what was going on. I wasn't sure if Snipes was guilty or innocent, since I've seen a lot of wealthy folks who've lived as if they were above the law. Part of me wants to believe that the justice system works if you're rich, so I figured that nature would simply take its course.
I took the time to watch Wesley appear on CNN to plead his case to the public. I was honestly skeptical, since I've rarely met a man on his way to prison who didn't try to convince me that he was innocent. In fact, I've received countless letters from prison inmates, many of whom want me to believe that they didn't do it. In most cases, I choose not to judge, but I know the game quite well.


Click to read.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

15-Yr Old Gets Convicted in Death of Honor Student Derrion Albert

by Dr. Boyce Watkins, Syracuse UniversityScholarship in Action 

The jury didn't deliberate for more than half an hour, but in that time, a 15-year old boy was convicted in the beating death of 16-year old honor student Derrion Albert.The boy was convicted of first-degree murder when it was determined that he laid a punch to the face of Albert as he tried to stand up. The jury decided that the punch played a significant role in Albert's death.

"I am pleased. Justice was served," Norman Golliday, Albert's grandfather told the Associated Press. "The facts were there from the start, they stared you right in the face. The jury saw that."

The teen's lawyer, Richard Kloak, admitted that his client punched Albert, but said that the crime was not as serious as the conviction.


Click to read.

Why the Democrats are Angry with Obama

by Dr. Boyce Watkins, Syracuse UniversityScholarship in Action 

President Barack Obama is at a unique point in his presidency. This is a place where no one thought he'd be, but then again, no presidency ever turns out the way we would expect. The president is finding that in addition to the burden of dealing with unrelenting Republicans, many of whom can't stand seeing a black man in power, he now has to deal with Democrats who are angry at him for compromising on the latest tax agreement.

I admit that I was shocked to see such strong Democratic opposition to Obama's tax deal with the Republicans. Effectively, the Republicans were holding the nation's unemployed hostage in exchange for having Bush tax cuts extended for the rich. This was a prime opportunity for the Democrats, given that the Republicans were revealing themselves to be working on behalf of the wealthy, at the expense of middle class Americans. Additionally, their push to give tax cuts to those who needed them the least was in stark contrast to their proclaimed objective of embracing fiscal discipline as it pertains to the federal debt.


Click to read.

Why Is Bishop Eddie Long Avoiding a Public Trial?

by Dr. Boyce Watkins, Syracuse UniversityScholarship in Action 

I was up working one night when someone reached out to me on Facebookmessenger.
The brother was asking me why Bishop Eddie Long chose mediation in his sexual coercion suit, rather than aiming for a public trial. In case you've been buried under a rock, Bishop Eddie Long has been in the media quite a bit these days, after being accused of using his authority to coerce four young men in to having sex with him.
Long has vowed to fight the charges, but he never really said much about whether he was guilty or innocent. Actually, he simply said that he is "not a perfect man." That could easily translate to Long admitting that there are a few things about his personal life that he wouldn't want to see on the 6 o'clock news.

Click to read.

U. Iowa Star Receiver Accused of Running a Drug House

by Dr. Boyce Watkins, Syracuse UniversityScholarship in Action 

Derrell Johnson-Koulianos is the star wide receiver for the Iowa Hawkeyes. Well, he was the star receiver until this weekend. Iowa City police just arrested Johnson-Koulianos on a long list of drug charges, including: possession of a controlled substance, keeping a drug house and unlawful possession of prescription drugs. Police allegedly found cocaine, marijuana and prescription drugs in his home, along with $3,000 in cash.
Johnson-Koulianos is currently in the Johnson County Jail in Iowa City, being held on $8,000 bail. His first court appearance was set to occur Wednesday morning. Clearly, the city and coaching staff are in shock over recent events.

Click to read.

Trial Begins for 16-Yr Old Honor Student Who was Killed

by Dr. Boyce Watkins, Syracuse UniversityScholarship in Action 

The trial is about to begin for a 14-year old boy who was one of five suspects accused of beating Derrion Albert, a 16-year old honor student, to death last year. The beating occurred in September 2009 as Albert was on his way home from school. It was captured on cell phone video and seen around the world.
The teen on trial isn't being identified because he is a juvenile. But there are four other suspects awaiting trial as adults. The prosecutor portrays the young men as part of a mob who attacked Albert and eventually killed him. The video shows the men kicking and punching Albert and eventually slamming a board onto his head. He died from the injuries to his skull.
The defense attorney for the boy claims that the suspect was caught up in a fight that he didn't initiate. He did acknowledge that the boy hit Albert when he stood up, but says that his client didn't cause Albert's death.

Click to read.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Group Protests Lack of black media ownership

by Dr. Boyce Watkins, Syracuse UniversityScholarship in Action 

The National Coalition of African American Owned Media has a serious concern about the lack of black ownership in American media. The group expressed its discontent by running a full page ad in the Washington Post today speaking to President Obama about his decision not to challenge the pending merger between NBC and Comcast.
The group is arguing that the NBC/Comcast merger should not be allowed to proceed without Comcast agreeing to allocate 10 percent of its channel capacity and 10 percent of its programming budget to African American owned networks.

According to the group's website,
two of the men behind the move are Stanley Washington, a former media executive, and Kevin Martin, former Chairman of the Federal Communications Commission. Martin has gone as far as filing a lawsuit challenging the pending merger between NBC and Comcast, and has even pushed for a Comcast boycott.

Click to read.


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Friday, December 3, 2010

CBC Says Black Farmers Won’t Be Able to Get Money Because of Complicated Claims Process

Members of the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) are complaining that legislation funding a settlement for discrimination against black farmers sets too high a bar for claimants.

The lawmakers argue language added by the Senate, which is meant to prevent fraud in the program, sets higher standards for proving a claim than were required for other groups trying to prove loan discrimination by the Department of Agriculture.

“There's no question. The bar is much higher,” said Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.), a CBC member and chairman of the Homeland Security Committee.

The legislation to be sent to the president would provide $4.55 billion to settle longstanding discrimination claims with the Department of Agriculture from black and Native American farmers.

The additional steps added to the claims process include an audit by an inspector general and oversight by the attorney general's office, as well as a review by the secretary of Agriculture, who must sign off on a farmer’s claim.

Attorneys involved in cases must swear in writing that the claims are legitimate, and a special federal “adjudicator” must also take an oath that the claim is legitimate and may request additional information and documentation. At the end of the process is another round of oversight and review from the Department of Agriculture and the Department of Justice at the top levels.

Thompson argues the additional standards are unfair, and that black farmers are being treated differently from other groups.

“Even when black people are about to receive a settlement, just because they raised the issue they are being treated differently. There should be a uniform standard for everybody,” Thompson added.

Click to read.

Former NBA Player Antoine Walker Being Sued for Stealing Another Man’s Fiancee

by Dr. Boyce Watkins, Syracuse UniversityScholarship in Action 

Former NBA star Antoine Walker is being sued for $5 million dollars by a man who claims that Walker stole his fiancee. Kevin Jenkins says that he caught Walker and his fiancee in an "intimate moment," and confronted Walker about it. He said that Walker laughed in his face to deliberately cause him emotional distress.
Jenkins then says that he became so emotionally distressed that he thought about killing himself.
To date, I haven't heard of anyone being sued for cheating with another person's fiancee. However, I do know that in some states, you can be sued for cheating with someone else's spouse. These "alienation of affection" lawsuits are legal in several states: Hawaii, Illinois, Mississippi, New Mexico, North Carolina, South Dakota and Utah.

Click to read. 


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Friday, November 26, 2010

Ugly Betty Actor Michael Brea: “I Killed the Demons Inside My Mom”

by Dr. Boyce Watkins, Syracuse UniversityScholarship in Action 

"Ugly Betty" actor Michael Brea did an interesting interview with the New York Daily News this week, after being sent to jail for allegedly murdering his mother with a samarai sword. The actor argues that he was "doing the work of God" when he continuously chopped at his mother's body. He also says that he believes there was a demon inside her.

"I was slashing my mom and I heard the police knocking on the door yelling, 'Michael, open up, Michael, open up,' but I knew they wouldn't open the door and stop me because the spirits were protecting me ... I just kept cutting her. No one could stop me. I was doing the work of God," he said.

Click to read.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Why is the Congressional Black Caucus Being Scrutinized so Heavily?

by Dr. Boyce Watkins, Syracuse UniversityScholarship in Action 

Last week, I found myself speaking about Rep. Charlie Rangel more than ever before. In case you haven't noticed, the future of the seasoned lawmaker has come into question in light of investigations alleging him to be involved in a slew of ethical violations. Sunday, I had a conversation with Rev. Jesse Jackson on the air regarding exactly what's going on with Rangel and his political career. Then Monday, Rev. Al Sharpton and I talked about the broader scenario as it relates to black lawmakers. Just when I thought we were done speaking about investigations against black people in Congress, the conversation turned toward Maxine Waters and the slew of other CBC members currently being investigated.

Defending (or not defending) one black lawmaker after another led me to a moment of pause, where I asked the question that's been asked before, but perhaps not vocally enough: Why are so many black lawmakers being targeted for investigations anyway? According to the late Ron Walters, the most respected black political scientist in the country, "it is curious ... that in over 30 of the probes the new Office of Congressional Ethics was considering, the only active investigations were on black Congresspersons."


Click to read.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Ugly Betty Star Allegedly Murders Mother With a Sword

Ugly Betty's Michael L. Brea Allegedly Murdered Mom with Sword

'Ugly Betty' and 'Step Up 3D' actor Michael L. Brea allegedly butchered his mother to death with a Samurai sword as he chased her around his Brooklyn, New Yorkapartment while reciting biblical passages in the wee hours of Tuesday morning.

Reportedly, neighbors called NYPD when they heard bloodcurdling screams coming from Brea's apartment. "I hear the brother chasing her [his mother] through the house and he's just saying a bunch of [Bible] passages like, 'Repent, Repent, Repent,'" neighbor Gregory Clare told local WPIX, a local television news outlet. "I heard him chasing her through the house and I hear a loud scream and so I have my father call the cops, call 911."

When police arrived at murder scene, they found Yannick, the small-time actor's 55-year-old World Trade Center survivor mother, in a blood-splattered bathroom, decapitated and in a kneeling position, her body had been mutilated by multiple stabbings. Investigators describe the residence as pure bloody gore.

Brea was found sitting on a bed with the three-foot ceremonial sword he had removed only one day before without permission from a Masonic lodge after a meeting. The 31-year-old low level mason was still spouting gibberish and talking about repentance when police tasered, then removed him from the apartment on a stretcher. Brea, who is a twin, Haitian-American and who also starred in a campaign for the energy drink Full Throttle was taken to nearby Kings County Hospital for psychiatric observation.


Click to read more on AOL Black Voices

Congressional Black Caucus Gains Power After Mid-term Defeats

by Dr. Boyce Watkins, Syracuse UniversityScholarship in Action 

While the mid-term elections were a blood bath for the Democrats, one group that came out surprisingly unscathed was the Congressional Black Caucus. Members of the CBC and the Hispanic Caucus will hold roughly one-third of all Democratic seats in Congress (61 out of 190), increasing their power within government. They also plan to use this influence to focus on job creation.
The Democrats who took the greatest drubbing during mid-terms tended to be the centrists of the party. The Black and Hispanic caucuses, however, only lost four out of 60 bids for re-election. Silvestre Reyes of Texas, a member of the Hispanic caucus is now the ranking member of the Armed Services Committee, and Maxine Waters will be the second leading Democrat on the Financial Services Committee. Their increases in power came largely because of the defeats of other Democrats.

Click to read.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Bishop Eddie Long Trial Date Set for Next Summer

by Dr. Boyce Watkins, Syracuse UniversityScholarship in Action 

Bishop Eddie Long appeared in a courtroom Friday to deal with accusations of sexual coercion being brought by four young men who were once members of his church. The judge decided that the trial should begin by next summer, unless the case is settled via mediation before that time.
Attorneys in the DeKalb County courtroom gathered for both sides to determine the status of the case. A tentative trial date has been set for July 11, 2011. There will be mediation before that time, set to take place in February.
Anthony Flagg, Maurice Robinson, Jamal Parris, and Spenser LaGrande are arguing that Bishop Long used his influence over them to coerce them into sexual relationships. They claim that the relationships took place during their teen years, and that inappropriate contact occurred during some of their trips together. Long's church, the New Birth Missionary Baptist Church, hasn't argued for Long's innocence or guilt. Instead, they've simply acknowledged that Long did share hotel rooms with some of the young men and that they did take trips together.


Click to read.

Friday, November 19, 2010

What Black Folks Can Learn from the Arrest of the DC County Executive, Jack Johnson

by Dr. Boyce Watkins, Syracuse UniversityScholarship in Action 

I was saddened to hear about the recent arrest of Prince George's County Executive Jack Johnson and his wife Leslie. Both Jack and his wife are well-respected in the DC area. Both have served their communities for decades, and both of them represent the essence of Prince George's County, the most affluent county in the United States with an African-American majority population.
Johnson was once an important ethical and legal protector of the county, serving as its lead Prosecutor. His wife has served the community for over 30 years in numerous capacities. He was also the first African American to become County Executive in the DC area. So, why are Johnson and his wife facing up to 20 years in prison for evidence tampering and destruction of evidence, among other charges? In fact, the story is quite bizarre, with reports of the FBI allegedly recording Johnson telling his wife to put nearly $80,000 in her underwear.


Click to read.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Tax Implications of the Increasing Welfare State

By Syreeta L. McNeal, CPA, JD

Recently, I prepared one of my clients’ tax returns for 2009. The individual received a significant amount of unemployment benefits and no income from employment. Unfortunately, the person had to pay the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) a large tax liability because the withholdings for unemployment benefits is significantly lower than if he/she would receive if employed in the private industry. In previous years, this individual received federal refunds because his/her withholdings were higher when the private industry employed the person.

This is a recent trend I am seeing in our great nation. The increasing dependence of American citizens on unemployment benefits is creating a welfare state where the IRS can force you to pay taxes for each respective tax year you receive a significant amount of unemployment benefits. Now, if you think you are not required to file taxes on unemployment benefits, you are vastly mistaken. Also, if you do not file and pay your taxes to the IRS in a timely fashion, the IRS can create a lien and levy taxes from you on any of your personal assets.

So, if you are receiving unemployment benefits, get ready to pay the IRS for the 2010 tax year.

Legal Disclaimer: This site provides information about the law designed to keep readers informed of pertinent legal matters affecting the African-American community. But legal information is not the same as legal advice -- the application of law to an individual's specific circumstances. Although we go to great lengths to make sure our information is accurate and useful, we recommend you consult a lawyer in your specific location if you want professional assurance that our information, and your interpretation of it, is appropriate to your particular situation.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Newly-Elected Rep. Allen West Talks To Reporters

"We need more people like him running our great country." - Syreeta L. McNeal, CPA, JD

Friday, November 12, 2010

AP: High court rejects plea to block gay military ban

WASHINGTON – The Supreme Court is refusing to block enforcement of the "don't ask, don't tell" policy on gays in the military while a federal appeals court considers the issue.

The court on Friday denied a request from the Log Cabin Republicans, a gay rights group, to step into the ongoing federal court review of "don't ask, don't tell." The Obama administration urged the high court not to get involved at this point.

Last month, a federal judge ruled that the policy violates the civil rights of gay Americans and she issued an injunction barring the Pentagon from applying it. But the San Francisco-based appeals court said the policy could remain in effect while it considers the administration's appeal.


Tuesday, November 9, 2010

The Hill: Black Caucus mum on Tea Party Republican who wants to join

By Mike Lillis - 11/08/10 12:16 PM ET

The Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) is staying silent about a Tea Party Republican's bid to join the group.

Rep.-elect Allen West (R-Fla.) indicated last week he intends to join the CBC to challenge the group's "monolithic voice."

"I plan on joining, I'm not gonna ask for permission or whatever, I'm gonna find out when they meet and I will be a member of the Congressional Black Caucus," West, one of two black Republicans elected to Congress last Tuesday, told WOR radio. "I meet all of the criteria, and it's so important that we break down this monolithic voice that continues to talk about victimization and dependency in the black community.

"We've got to turn this thing around, and I think it's time for some different voices to be in that body politic."

A CBC spokesperson on Monday declined to comment on West's bid.

The CBC is currently made up of 41 House members and outgoing Sen. Roland Burris (Ill.) — all Democrats.

West and Congressman-elect Tim Scott (R-S.C.) are the first black Republicans to win House seats since Rep. J.C. Watts (R-Okla.) retired in 2003.

The New York Times has reported that Scott hasn't yet decided whether he'll join the CBC.


Friday, November 5, 2010

FoxNews: Black Republicans Win First Congress Seats Since 2003

by L.A. Holmes November 03, 2010

Two black Republican victories tonight mark the first time African-Americans will represent the GOP in Congress in seven years.

Retired Lt. Colonel Allen West’s win in Florida’s 22nd District and South Carolina State Rep. Tim Scott’s victory in that state’s 1st Congressional District is also the first time two black GOP members will serve in Congress since 1996.

Scott defeated Democrat Ben Frasier in an open contest to replace retiring Republican Rep. Henry Brown to the first black GOP in Congress since former Oklahoma Congressman J.C. Watts retired in 2003.

West defeated incumbent Democratic Rep. Ron Klein shortly after Scott’s victory Tuesday. It was West’s second contest against Klein, losing to the incumbent in 2008.

Watts, elected to office in 1994’s sweeping GOP congressional gains, became the lone black Republican Member when former Congressman Gary Franks of Connecticut lost reelection in 1996, and Watts held the helm for three more terms before deciding not to seek reelection in 2002.

Watts notably did not join the Congressional Black Caucus given its overly Democratic leanings, and he balked at the suggestion among racial peers that he sold out his race. In 1997 the congressman famously denounced black leaders with archaic agendas, dismissing them as “race-hustling poverty pimps” on Fox News’s “Hannity and Colmes.”

An Atlanta native, West served in the Army for 22 years, including tours of duty in both Iraq wars and in Afghanistan. His campaign platform, “Restoring American Exceptionalism,” echoed this election cycle’s popular conservative sentiments of limited government, creating a business-friendly tax environment, and extending the Bush era tax cuts.

Scott hails from South Carolina and served the state in local office for 15 years. Scott’s agenda reflects many of the same views, including strengthening the borders against illegal immigration and focusing our military efforts to defeat violent Jihad.

Both men won tonight despite historically low black participation in the GOP and constant efforts by the left to discredit conservative movements like the Tea Party as racist. But the Republican Party had 14 viable candidates in House races this cycle, and the party intensified its outreach efforts to the black community this cycle.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010 Iowans dismiss three justices

By GRANT SCHULTE • • November 3, 2010

Three Iowa Supreme Court justices lost their seats Tuesday in a historic upset fueled by their 2009 decision that allowed same-sex couples to marry.

Vote totals from 96 percent of Iowa's 1,774 precincts showed Chief Justice Marsha Ternus and Justices David Baker and Michael Streit with less than the simple majority needed to stay on the bench.

Their removal marked the first time an Iowa Supreme Court justice has not been retained since 1962, when the merit selection and retention system for judges was adopted.

To read more, follow link below:

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Bishop Eddie Long Files Response to Sex Abuse Allegations

Bishop Eddie Long, Bishop Eddie Long Scandal

by Dr. Boyce Watkins, Syracuse UniversityScholarship in Action 

It took quite a while to get there, but Bishop Eddie Long has finally responded to the allegations of sexual assault being thrust upon him. The pastor of the New Birth Missionary Baptist Church just responded legally to the accusations of four young men who've stated that Long coerced them in to sexual relationships while simultaneously serving as their mentor.

Click to read.

Monday, November 1, 2010

AP: Megachurch pastor (Bishop Eddie Long) denies abuse allegations

By GREG BLUESTEIN, Associated Press Greg Bluestein, Associated Press – 53 mins ago
ATLANTA – The megachurch pastor accused of luring four young men into sexual relationships categorically denied the allegations for the first time in a court filing Monday, saying he was only a mentor to the men who filed civil lawsuits against him.

Bishop Eddie Long has for weeks vowed he would fight the lawsuits in court, and promised in church sermons he would not let the legal troubles prevent him from doing its work. While his attorney has denied the allegations on his behalf, Long had not refuted them publicly until he filed his legal response. He said in the filing that each of the "claims of sexual misconduct are not true."

The men, who were 17 and 18 at the time, say Long abused his spiritual authority to lure them into trysts with cars, jewelry and cash. Their attorney B.J. Bernstein said she doesn't have much physical evidence backing up the complaints, but that she plans to subpoena records from Long that will show he traveled with the young men to New Zealand and elsewhere.

Bernstein declined to comment because she had not yet received the response.

Long, though, said in the four separate documents that he often encouraged his New Birth Missionary Church members to call him "daddy" and that some even called him "grandaddy," but that the term was a sign of respect.

The bishop also said in the documents that he has long shared rooms with some of his church members, and that his parishioners often hug him. And while he admitted to giving the plaintiffs gifts, he said he often provided many members of his church with financial assistance.


"Question: What grown man would share lodging quarters with some members of his church especially if he is married?" - Syreeta L. McNeal, CPA, JD

"I smell trouble brewing...."- Syreeta L. McNeal, CPA, JD

2010 Black Republican Candidates


Friday, October 29, 2010

Lawrence Taylor Shows Up in Court to Face Rape Charge

by Dr. Boyce Watkins, Syracuse UniversityScholarship in Action 

Lawrence Taylor took his first steps into a courthouse yesterday to deal with allegations of sexual assault. Taylor is being accused of third-degree rape and soliciting a prostitute after he allegedly had sex with a girl under the age of 17. Taylor, who is now 51-years old, is accused of paying $300 to have sex with the girl, who was a 16-year old runaway.
Taylor's attorney, Arthur Aidala, says that his client didn't have sex with anyone and that he didn't rape anyone. He also said that he was not likely going to take a plea on the third degree rape charge. A plea on that charge would mean a mandatory 10-year probation, which Aidala says is "ridiculous."

Click to read.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Pastors Ask Bishop Eddie Long to take an HIV Test

Two pastors, Reuben Armstrong and Prophet H. Walker, have teamed up to plan a rally against Bishop Eddie Long. Both pastors are asking that Long resign from his church, and Armstrong has even gone as far as asking that Pastor Long take an HIV test.
Armstrong is a radio show host and Walker is the pastor of the True Light Pentecostal Church in Spartanburg, South Carolina. The two plan to rally this weekend in Atlanta. The event is set to take place on October 31 at the state capitol.
Armstrong is the author of the book, "Snakes in the Pulpit," in which he discusses fictional pastors who sleep with men. He now claims publicly that members of the New Birth Missionary Baptist Church came to him years ago to discuss Eddie Long's sexual behavior. According to Armstrong, they claimed that Long was sleeping with young men in the church. I am not sure why he's publicly requesting that Eddie Long undergo an HI

Monday, October 25, 2010

NCAA Wants to Fine Players for Benefits

NCAA Wants to Fine Players Who Get Extra Benefits

12:45 AMOct 26

Source: BV on Sports

The NCAA is working with various groups to find ways to keep college athletes from receiving benefits from sports agents. Most recently, there have been proposals put forth that would fine players for violating the rules. The penalties may even ... Read More

ATR: Six Months to Go Until Largest Tax Hikes in History

From Ryan Ellis on Wednesday, July 7, 2010 5:27 PM

In just six months, the largest tax hikes in the history of America will take effect. They will hit families and small businesses in three great waves on January 1, 2011:

(N.B. This version of the document contains even more tax hikes than the original version did)

First Wave: Expiration of 2001 and 2003 Tax Relief

In 2001 and 2003, the GOP Congress enacted several tax cuts for investors, small business owners, and families. These will all expire on January 1, 2011:

Personal income tax rates will rise. The top income tax rate will rise from 35 to 39.6 percent (this is also the rate at which two-thirds of small business profits are taxed). The lowest rate will rise from 10 to 15 percent. All the rates in between will also rise. Itemized deductions and personal exemptions will again phase out, which has the same mathematical effect as higher marginal tax rates. The full list of marginal rate hikes is below:

- The 10% bracket rises to an expanded 15%
- The 25% bracket rises to 28%
- The 28% bracket rises to 31%
- The 33% bracket rises to 36%
- The 35% bracket rises to 39.6%

Higher taxes on marriage and family. The “marriage penalty” (narrower tax brackets for married couples) will return from the first dollar of income. The child tax credit will be cut in half from $1000 to $500 per child. The standard deduction will no longer be doubled for married couples relative to the single level. The dependent care and adoption tax credits will be cut.

The return of the Death Tax. This year, there is no death tax. For those dying on or after January 1 2011, there is a 55 percent top death tax rate on estates over $1 million. A person leaving behind two homes and a retirement account could easily pass along a death tax bill to their loved ones.

Higher tax rates on savers and investors. The capital gains tax will rise from 15 percent this year to 20 percent in 2011. The dividends tax will rise from 15 percent this year to 39.6 percent in 2011. These rates will rise another 3.8 percent in 2013.

Second Wave: Obamacare

There are over twenty new or higher taxes in Obamacare. Several will first go into effect on January 1, 2011. They include:

The Tanning Tax. This went into effect on July 1st of this year. It imposes a new, 10% excise tax on getting a tan at a tanning salon. There is no exemption for tanners making less than $250,000 per year.

The “Medicine Cabinet Tax” Thanks to Obamacare, Americans will no longer be able to use health savings account (HSA), flexible spending account (FSA), or health reimbursement (HRA) pre-tax dollars to purchase non-prescription, over-the-counter medicines (except insulin).

The HSA Withdrawal Tax Hike. This provision of Obamacare increases the additional tax on non-medical early withdrawals from an HSA from 10 to 20 percent, disadvantaging them relative to IRAs and other tax-advantaged accounts, which remain at 10 percent.

Brand Name Drug Tax. Starting next year, there will be a multi-billion dollar tax assessment imposed on name-brand drug manufacturers. This tax, like all excise taxes, will raise the price of medicine, hurting everyone.

Economic Substance Doctrine. The IRS is now empowered to disallow perfectly-legal tax deductions and maneuvers merely because it judges that the deduction or action lacks “economic substance.” This is obviously an arbitrary empowerment of IRS agents.

Employer Reporting of Health Insurance Costs on a W-2. This will start for W-2s in the 2011 tax year. While not a tax increase in itself, it makes it very easy for Congress to tax employer-provided healthcare benefits later.

Third Wave: The Alternative Minimum Tax and Employer Tax Hikes

When Americans prepare to file their tax returns in January of 2011, they’ll be in for a nasty surprise—the AMT won’t be held harmless, and many tax relief provisions will have expired. These major items include:

The AMT will ensnare over 28 million families, up from 4 million last year. According to the left-leaning Tax Policy Center, Congress’ failure to index the AMT will lead to an explosion of AMT taxpaying families—rising from 4 million last year to 28.5 million. These families will have to calculate their tax burdens twice, and pay taxes at the higher level. The AMT was created in 1969 to ensnare a handful of taxpayers.

Small business expensing will be slashed and 50% expensing will disappear. Small businesses can normally expense (rather than slowly-deduct, or “depreciate”) equipment purchases up to $250,000. This will be cut all the way down to $25,000. Larger businesses can expense half of their purchases of equipment. In January of 2011, all of it will have to be “depreciated.”

Taxes will be raised on all types of businesses. There are literally scores of tax hikes on business that will take place. The biggest is the loss of the “research and experimentation tax credit,” but there are many, many others. Combining high marginal tax rates with the loss of this tax relief will cost jobs.

Tax Benefits for Education and Teaching Reduced. The deduction for tuition and fees will not be available. Tax credits for education will be limited. Teachers will no longer be able to deduct classroom expenses. Coverdell Education Savings Accounts will be cut. Employer-provided educational assistance is curtailed. The student loan interest deduction will be disallowed for hundreds of thousands of families.

Charitable Contributions from IRAs no longer allowed. Under current law, a retired person with an IRA can contribute up to $100,000 per year directly to a charity from their IRA. This contribution also counts toward an annual “required minimum distribution.” This ability will no longer be there.

Read more:

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Racism is a Black Occupational Hazard

by Dr. Boyce Watkins, Syracuse UniversityScholarship in Action 

Most of us know Hanes Brands as the company that has Michael Jordan peddling underwear. The company is also responsible for other leading brands such as Champion sports apparel and Playtex, among others.

The company is now in the middle of controversy after an African American employee, Yunusa Kenchi, filed suit for discrimination. An embarrassing email has allegedly surfaced in which Kenchi was referenced using the n-word. The employee has taken the case public, and Hanes has yet to respond.


Click to read.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Free Speech in the USA: Does it Exist for High Profile Black Government (and/or Semi-Government) Employees any More?

By Syreeta L. McNeal, CPA, JD

"Lord mercy Jesus, what is going on?" (Tribute to Cadillac Kimberly in her vlog on Bishop Eddie Long.) Is it just me or are a majority of our high profile black employees not allowed to exercise their first amendment right to free speech when they express their opinions in a public forum while they are employed by the government (e.g. Shirley Sherrod) or their employer receives government contributions (e.g. Juan Williams)? Why are the USDA and NPR so quick to terminate these employees, without allowing them the opportunity to explain their side of the story, when they express a different opinion that they should be able to exercise? I've listed the relevant law and videos for you to decide. I would love to hear your feedback on this matter.

I. Law

U.S. Constitution, Amendment I states "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances."

U.S. Constitution, Amendment XIV, Section 1 states "All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside. No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of laws."

II. Juan Williams firing from NPR (see video)

III. Shirley Sherrod firing from USDA (see video)

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Detroit News: Worthy proposes jail for parents who skip kids' school conferences

Prosecutor wants to punish those who skip kids' school conferences

Christine MacDonald / The Detroit News

Detroit — Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy is pushing for a law that calls for jail time for parents who skip parent-teacher conferences, a plan some call inspired and others consider the nanny state run amok.

Worthy pitched her plan Tuesday to the Detroit City Council and is shopping it to the Wayne County Commission and state Legislature. Drawing a link between parental involvement and youth crime, Worthy wants a sponsor to guide the idea to law. From The Detroit News:

Her plan would require parents to attend at least one conference per year or face three days in jail. Parents of those excelling in school would be exempt, as would those whose health issues make travel difficult and those "actively engaged" with teachers through e-mail, phone calls or letters.

"We have to find any means necessary to get parents involved," Worthy told the council. "We have to start talking about prevention.

From The Detroit News:

"Is this a good proposition? I would like to hear your thoughts." Syreeta L. McNeal, CPA, JD

Boston Herald: BC Law student asks for money back

"In all honestly, this is not a bad financial deal if you look at it in a cost-benefit analysis for the law degree." Syreeta L. McNeal, CPA, JD

By Jessica Heslam
Wednesday, October 20, 2010

A third-year Boston College Law School student facing dismal job prospects and a mountain of student loan debt has offered the prestigious Hub institution a unique deal: Keep the degree ... and give me back my tuition!

In an open letter to BC Law’s Interim Dean George Brown posted on EagleiOnline— an online student-run newspaper at BC’s law school — the anonymous dissatisfied customer said soon-to-be grads are about to enter “one of the worst job markets in the history of our profession” and an “overwhelming majority” of them can’t find jobs.

“We are discouraged, scared, and in many cases, feeling rather hopeless about our chances of ever getting to practice law,” the student wrote.

To continue reading, follow the link below:

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

TI Loses His Deal with Axe Body Spray

by Dr. Boyce Watkins, Syracuse UniversityScholarship in Action 

TMZ is reporting that the rapper T.I., who was recently sent back to prison, is going to be cut from his endorsement deal with Axe Body Spray. A representative for Axe stated that, "We will no longer feature T.I. in our promotional campaign."
It's no surprise that T.I. lost his deal with Axe. He is probably in the midst of having several film and recording projects derailed, and won't be a usable commodity for quite some time. While it might seem that a man of such tremendous talent would be able to easily recapture his spot at the top of the world, we can't make that assumption so quickly.
As I mentioned in the article about Kanye West yesterday, corporations are not into risk-taking. By proving himself to be an unreliable celebrity spokesperson, T.I. is going to be considered toxic on Madison Avenue. Millions of dollars are on the line when corporations sign celebrity brands, and managing those brands requires careful and responsible behavior at all times.

Click to read.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Boyce Watkins: Don’t Let the Justice System Kill Your Sons

by Dr. Boyce Watkins, Syracuse UniversityScholarship in Action 

This week, I got together with a coalition of other concerned citizens and met at the steps of the county courthouse.  We then marched around the jail to fight for the rights of two people of color, Chuniece Patterson and Raul Pinet, both of whom recently died while in police custody.  The march and the reasons behind it led me down a path of self-discovery when it comes to understanding the impact that the criminal justice system has on our community and our children.

Click to read.

Friday, October 15, 2010

TI Gets 11 Months in Prison

by Dr. Boyce Watkins, Syracuse UniversityScholarship in Action 

The rapper T.I. appeared in court today, pleading with the judge not to send him back to prison. The artist faced five to 11 months in prison for violating the terms of his probation after being caught in possession of illegal narcotics. He and his wife Tameka "Tiny" Cottle were arrested last month, with the arrest taking over national headlines for several days.
T.I. (a.k.a. Clifford Harris Jr.) told the judge that he needs help for drug addiction instead of incarceration. The U.S. Attorney's Office, however, is asking that the artist spend two years in prison. The media was not allowed into the courtroom during the hearing, at the request of the judge.

Click to read

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Candidate’s Name Spelled “Rich Whitey” on Ballot

by Dr. Boyce Watkins, Syracuse UniversityScholarship in Action 

The Green Party candidate for governor of the state of Illinois is a man by the name of Rich Whitney. Unfortunately, if you take one letter out of his name, you turn him from a serious candidate into a serious joke.
That's what happened to Whitney this week, when his name was misspelled as "Rich Whitey" on voting machines in almost two dozen wards in the city of Chicago. Even worse is the fact that the wards are in predominantly African American neighborhoods.

Click to read.

Reuters: Judge allows states' healthcare suit to proceed

U.S. states can proceed with their lawsuit seeking to overturn President Barack Obama's landmark healthcare reform law, a Florida judge ruled on Thursday.

U.S. District Judge Roger Vinson had already indicated at a hearing last month that he could not uphold parts of a motion by the Justice Department to dismiss the lawsuit, led by Florida and 19 other states.

"In this order, I have not attempted to determine whether the line between constitutional and extra-constitutional government has been crossed," Vinson, of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Florida, wrote in his ruling.

Opponents of Obama's overhaul of the $2.5 trillion U.S. healthcare system have said it violates the Constitution by imposing, for example, unlawful taxes and requiring citizens to obtain coverage, among other issues.

"I am only saying that ... the plaintiffs have at least stated a plausible claim that the line has been crossed," Vinson said.

The suit was originally filed in March by mostly Republican state attorneys general.
In his formal ruling on Thursday, Vinson said the case would continue as scheduled. He had previously set a hearing for December 16.


Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Bishop Eddie Long Gets a Fifth Lawsuit

Bishop Eddie Long: 5th Lawsuit Filed

by Dr. Boyce Watkins, Syracuse UniversityScholarship in Action 

When it rains it pours. Bishop Eddie Long, the subject of a sex scandal that has riveted the nation, suddenly finds himself the target of yet another lawsuit. This one doesn't involve sex, though. Instead, Bishop Eddie Long is being accused of defaulting on a property loan to the tune of $1.9 million. This is the fifth lawsuit filed against Bishop Eddie Long in the past month.
The other four suits filed against Long include accusations that he used his power and influence to coerce sex from young men in his care. The latest lawsuit only names Long and doesn't name his church, New Birth Missionary Baptist.
"I am unaware of the lawsuit that you referenced and have no comment about it at this time," Bishop Eddie Long spokesman Art Franklin told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

Click to read.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Should There Be a Law Against “Saggin”?

North Carolina Couple Staging a Rally to Protest

by Dr. Boyce Watkins, Syracuse UniversityScholarship in Action 

Ken and Gwen Rasheed of Winston-Salem, North Carolina, apparently find saggy pants to be a serious problem in their personal lives. The two are working diligently to fight for an ordinance banning teens from "saggin" and have a zero tolerance policy for this style of dress. In fact, this past Saturday, the couple had a rally against saggy pants.
"I was working in the recreation department in one of the recreation centers and about 95 percent of the kids that came in there had their pants saggy," said Ken toldFox 8 News in Winston-Salem. "To me, the sagging and showing your underwear is not showing any pride in who you are."

Click to read.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Fallout over ObamaCare Continues....

President Barack Obama, June 23, 2009 :
“Let me be clear, When I say if you have your plan and you like it, or you have a doctor and you like your doctor, that you don’t have to change plans, what I’m saying is the government is not going to make you change plans under health reform.”

HEADLINES 6 months later:

3M Co. will drop retirees from health plans, steer to Medicare

McDonald’s: Obamacare regulations will cause 30,000 employees to lose insurance

ObamaCare Victims:
Harvard Pilgrim was forced (by Medicare’s administration) to notify its customers that their plans would be canceled as of the end of this year. The company will offer another supplemental plan offering fewer benefits at a higher premium

A bad omen on Obamacare: Fears about health reform’s costs are coming true
... several major corporations reported it would take a bite out of their future earnings. This group included AT&T, Caterpillar, John Deere, Verizon and several other large employers.

Two major Minnesota insurers announced this week that they would stop selling individual policies because of Obamacare’s uncertainties. Instead, they are routing policyholders into more expensive plans. Meanwhile, Anthem BlueCross and BlueShield, Aetna, Cigna, CoventryOne, Humana and UnitedHealthCare have stopped offering many child-only policies because Obamacare would force them to enroll children with pre-existing conditions, creating incentives for parents to wait until children get sick before buying coverage and hitting insurance companies with the bills.

President Barack Obama, June 23, 2009 :
“Let me be clear, When I say if you have your plan and you like it, or you have a doctor and you like your doctor, that you don’t have to change plans, what I’m saying is the government is not going to make you change plans under health reform

Now, what is the truth.... You decide....