Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Goodbye, Sir

Max Roach's passing tapped my heart's rhythm. The death of piano great Oscar Peterson now tugs at my heartstrings as powerfully as his legendary piano solos sweetly hammered sound from many a grand piano. He was a gentleman and well-loved friend to many musicians in his time on Earth, a teacher who raised the bar of jazz music in his time, and an ambassador of goodwill to music lovers all over the world. My prayers are with his remaining family and every music lover who enjoyed "the technician" as much as I did.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Thank You for Letting Me Be Myself Right Now

My focus on work is at an all-time low; here comes music to the rescue! This young lady is one of the artists on my Myspace page. Honestly, she is BEAUTIFUL... but her voice doesn't move me as much as her looks and her band's sound have. I am NOT speaking anything negative! Some voices that touch other listeners would need a lightning bolt strike attached to them in order to move me. She is extremely talented... period.

Enjoy the video, and tell me if you like what you hear.




I don't know much about THIS young lady, but her voice DOES move me. I can safely say that she studied most of my favorite singers and songstresses of the last nine years. Just listen, and you'll quickly catch the DNA helix combinations of Jill Scott, Beyonce, Musiq, Bilal, and others. Again, enjoy and lend me your thoughts.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

No More a Casualty

Poking around on Youtube in a "munchies for music" moment, I found this video of a young singer named Rene Sebastian at a spot dubbed "Blowout Lounge" somewhere in NYC. Lyrics catch me, and this song had an interesting message: What can a woman (or a man, too!) do to stop the cycle of becoming a "casualty of love?" How many bad relationships, spurned loves, achy-breaky hearts, and joy-pain/sunshine-rain commitments must a person endure before he or she finds a different way? Do we habitually keep ourselves in a heart-directed harm's way until we just get sick and tired of the same results? For those who have made the same moves to different faces more than once, what brought you back down familiar paths... and what made you walk different trails? My people, educate me on YOU!

FYI, my NYC peeps need to take me to this spot when I make the trip East!

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

The Road I've Traveled


Ma Dukes and I were talking by phone recently-- our constant ritual and my joy-- about life in general and God's blessings. Family life was the biggest smile: Darian and Wanda, my brother and his sweetheart of a wife, have their hands full with the "wonder twins" Jayda and Mikayla, their youngest of five amazing kids; Pop is doing just fine in God's hands as he quietly mourns Gramma Thelma's recent passing and comforts his siblings all over the country; and Kris and I are learning every single day that our dating-time expectations can't scratch a match to the love-filled marriage we share in our peaceful apartment. That smile bred laughter as our talk on children's precociousness, adults' busy schedules, God's enduring power and current events in the Ballard/Harris clan poured a full bucket of joy and surprise into our hearts. My family, my foundation... my blessing.

Poverty didn't destroy our love. We endured an early life of bouncing from place to place as my mother struggled to feed two and a half mouths (she hid from us that she was feeding herself with the few crumbs she could pull aside from our meals in the roughest days), living in the squalor of backwood slums and the shamefulness of family who spent more time dragging my mother's good name and pride through the mud than they invested in helping us through those intensely rough early days. Ma Dukes taught us to be proud of every element, molecule and atom of our being. We had each other and God; what more did we need?

Racism didn't warp our vision. In kindergarten at Riser Elementary in West Monroe, I learned that hateful people could be teachers. My grandfather, grandmother, and mostly-estranged father (by his own whim-- Mom never talked anything more than positive words about him to me in those days... though he deserved a good ol' project beatdown back then) were teachers, but they were nothing like this woman. I read Bible scriptures by age 2 and Shakespeare by age 5 (hated his work until I read OTHELLO), but this "teacher" swore that I belonged in the remedial group. It made no sense, and I let her know (outspoken even THEN, seen?) that my mother taught me that I could do more than what anyone could expect of me-- including this "teacher." In her usual way, Mom entered the situation, checked the lady politely for her obvious bias, invited her to the principal's office for a nice discussion of the teacher's "wonderful" marriage to the Grand Dragon of the local KKK faction, and walked out of the classroom. I was the class reading tutor for the remainder of kindergarten. Dig that.

Cynicism didn't rape our morals. Local police were on a rampage: the crack-infested Eighties (thank you to the CIA, FBI, former mob boss... oops... President Ronnie "Who Needs Coloreds, Anyway?" Reagan et al.) gave them a brand-spanking-new excuse to rain terror on our neighborhoods... and on young Black men-in-training. I saw good friends turn into overnight criminals and thugs because "the cops don't see a difference anyhow... so what's the point?" Imagine that: a full life ahead of you, and your sight-robbed mind accepts AT AGE 12 that the cops "won't let [you] be more than a nigger and a monkey behind bars." I have never been inside a jail cell; I never will. Some of my childhood friends are doing multiple life sentences.

I am blessed. I had a future and followed it. Even the twists and turns that knocked me on my back didn't sap away my hope. My God, I have lived 12 years longer than I believed possible in my teen years! The life I enjoy, the family I treasure, the entrepreneurial spirit I hold dear and follow, and the soul change I celebrate are God's blessings, my sacred gifts from my Father. My life has been something akin to classic poetry; this "road less traveled" with all its deliberate bumps, bruises and breaks on my spirit has encouraged me and stoked the fire within me. In Jesus' name, with my eyes aflame with life and love and peering at a world of adversaries and friends, I will enjoy my purpose as I grow in it. I can, so I will.

Merry Christmas... enjoy the day someone set aside to celebrate my Savior's first day in human guise. Be safe, be free with your love of family and good things, and be a good neighbor. Peace to you and yours...

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

We Are Blessed

Bygpowis has impressed me with his thoughts on Black life in America from an islander's perspective. Watch his BygTalk podcast (available on Youtube and Itunes), and please share your thoughts.

Sunday, December 2, 2007

Is That a Demonic Clone of Sly and Bootsy?



What would happen if Rick James, Bootsy Collins, and T-Pain were morphed into a Frankensteinian creature, a musical demon? Snoop Dogg attempts to answer that question (and the question of how many afro wigs a rapper can wear in one video) with this little slice of video pie. Check it out, and please leave your thoughts. FYI, the video feature immediately follows the advertising (MTV, you sponsor whore).

Monday, November 19, 2007

Someone, Tell Me What's Going On Here!

This story in today's AP news blotter (courtesy of Yahoo! News) has scared the figurative Black off me. If the American military government that presently occupies Iraq is supporting democracy in the country, then why are so many UN-democratic decisions coming from American military leaders in Iraq? Read the news story below, and share your thoughts.

PS: My Black never runs! Back to the news...


Yahoo! News
Back to Story - Help
US plans case against AP photographer

By BRIAN MURPHY, Associated Press Writer2 hours, 39 minutes ago

The U.S. military plans to seek a criminal case in an Iraqi court against an award-winning Associated Press photographer but is refusing to disclose what evidence or accusations would be presented.

An AP attorney on Monday strongly protested the decision, calling the U.S. military plans a "sham of due process." The journalist, Bilal Hussein, has already been imprisoned without charges for more than 19 months.

A public affairs officer notified the AP on Sunday that the military intends to submit a written complaint against Hussein that would bring the case into the Iraqi justice system as early as Nov. 29. Under Iraqi codes, an investigative magistrate will decide whether there are grounds to try Hussein, 36, who was seized in the western Iraqi city of Ramadi on April 12, 2006.

Dave Tomlin, associate general counsel for the AP, said the defense for Hussein is being forced to work "totally in the dark."

The military has not yet defined the specific charges against Hussein. Previously, the military has pointed to a range of suspicions that attempt to link him to insurgent activity.

The AP rejects all the allegations and contends it has been blocked by the military from mounting a wide-ranging defense for Hussein, who was part of the AP's Pulitzer Prize-winning photo team in 2005.

Soon after Hussein was taken into custody, the AP appealed to the U.S. military to either release him or bring the case to trial — saying there was no evidence to support his detention. However, Tomlin said that the military is now attempting to build a case based on "stale" evidence and testimony that has been discredited. He also noted that the U.S. military investigators who initially handled the case have left the country.

The AP says various accusations have been floated unofficially against Hussein and then apparently been withdrawn with little explanation.

Tomlin said the AP has faced chronic difficulties in meeting Hussein at the Camp Cropper detention facility in Baghdad and its own intensive investigations of the case — conducted by a former federal prosecutor, Paul Gardephe — have found no support for allegations that he was anything other than a working journalist in a war zone.

"While we are hopeful that there could be some resolution to Bilal Hussein's long detention, we have grave concerns that his rights under the law continue to be ignored and even abused," said AP President and CEO Tom Curley.

"The steps the U.S. military is now taking continue to deny Bilal his right to due process and, in turn, may deny him a chance at a fair trial. The treatment of Bilal represents a miscarriage of the very justice and rule of law that the United States is claiming to help Iraq achieve. At this point, we believe the correct recourse is the immediate release of Bilal."

Calls for his freedom have been backed by groups such as the Committee to Protect Journalists.

Tomlin said it remains unclear what accusations, evidence and possible witnesses will be presented by military prosecutors in Baghdad.

"They are telling us nothing ... We are operating totally in the dark," said Tomlin, who added that the military's unfair handling of the case is "playing with a man's future and maybe his life."

Although it's unclear what specific allegations may be presented against Hussein, convictions linked to aiding militants in Iraq could bring the death penalty, said Tomlin.

U.S. military officials in Iraq did not immediately respond to AP questions about what precise accusations are planned against Hussein.

Previously, the military has outlined a host of possible lines of investigation, including claims that Hussein offered to provide false identification to a sniper seeking to evade U.S.-led forces and that Hussein took photographs that were synchronized with insurgent blasts.

The AP inquiry found no support for either of those claims. The bulk of the photographs Hussein provided the AP were not about insurgent activity; he detailed both the aftermath of attacks and the daily lives of Iraqis in the war zone. There was no evidence that any images were coordinated with the insurgents or showed the instant of an attack.

Gardephe, now a New York-based attorney, said the AP has offered evidence to counter the allegations so far raised by the military. But, he noted, that it's possible the military could introduce new charges at the hearing that could include classified material.

"This makes it impossible to put together a defense," said Gardephe, who is leading the defense team and plans to arrive in Baghdad next week. "At the moment, it looks like we can do little more than show up ... and try to put together a defense during the proceedings."

One option, he said, is to contend that the Pentagon's handling of Hussein violated Iraqi legal tenets brought in by Washington after the fall of Saddam Hussein in 2003. Among the possible challenges: AP claims that Hussein was interrogated at Camp Cropper this year without legal counsel.

Hussein is one of the highest-profile Iraqi journalists in U.S. custody.

In April 2006 — just days before Hussein was detained — an Iraqi cameraman working for CBS News was acquitted of insurgent activity. Abdul Ameer Younis Hussein was held for about a year after being detained while filming the aftermath of a bombing in the northern city of Mosul.

Tomlin, however, said that freedom for Bilal Hussein, who is not related to the cameraman working for CBS, isn't guaranteed even if the judge rejects the eventual U.S. charges. The military can indefinitely hold suspects considered security risks in Iraq.

"Even if he comes out the other side with an acquittal — as we certainly hope and trust that he will — there is not guarantee that he won't go right back into detention as a security risk."

Copyright © 2007 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. The information contained in the AP News report may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without the prior written authority of The Associated Press.
Copyright © 2007 Yahoo! Inc. All rights reserved.
Questions or Comments
Privacy Policy -Terms of Service - Copyright/IP Policy - Ad Feedback

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

ROC BOYS (And the Winner Is...)

I love this track from Jay-Z's AMERICAN GANGSTER project and just found the video for the song. Music moment...SWEEEEEEEEEEET!

Monday, November 5, 2007

Feeding My Music Jones in the Early Morn

This is a hood bootleg announcement:

JAY-Z'S NEW JAWN, "AMERICAN GANGSTER," IS A BEAST!

SWEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEET!

Take a listen to one of my favorite singles from the album, "Roc Boys (And the Winner Is...)"--just endure the Letterman interview for a couple of minutes.


Tuesday, October 23, 2007

The Fire THIS Time



Seven counties in Southern California and Baja California are aflame in an elemental cauldron. Hot temperatures and Santa Ana winds--dry, hot winds that wick moisture from the air and often set the final condition for natural fires-- have spawned firefighters' nightmares come to life. Despite the valiant efforts of firefighting teams from local fire stations, volunteer fire personnel, and neighboring firefighters from other parts of California and neighboring states, nearly 800,000 acres are charred, skeletal remains of formerly beautiful expanses of national forest and evacuated residential areas.

At this moment, news reports speak great news of a lull in the high-speed winds that swept flames uncontrollably over freeways and valleys, across mountain ranges, and through cities. Brave firefighters are drawing every ounce of personal determination and time-worn experience they can utilize to prevent the spread of this giant force of nature. Lessons learned in 2003 during the Cedar fires, in which thousands of acres of land, homes and city buildings were destroyed and many human lives lost, helped local public services to work quickly and jointly to evacuate residents from endangered areas and minimize the loss of lives (Two people are reported dead presently.). Still, injuries among firefighters are increasing, and relief efforts are surging to meet the needs of thousands of displaced residents around Southern California.

Government action has moved at record speed. Governor Schwarzenegger (Rep.-CA) declared a state of emergency shortly following reports of the disastrous fires (3 large wildfires and several smaller but still dangerous fires), and President Bush has announced that federal aid and personnel assistance are at the state's beck and call. FEMA representatives are currently cutting through the usual red tape to avail the fire-ravaged areas with all the aid that they can handle.

Thank God this disaster happened a year before a major election. Perhaps the federal and state governments in California, where I now live, will NOT fail the people here in Southern California as the Fed and the powers that rule in Louisiana failed my people. Perhaps...

I shall wait with baited breath and guarded cynicism.

Meanwhile, my prayers are with every soul who has run from home and comfort with family and animals in tow to avoid possible fiery destruction. As for me, I sit safely in my apartment congested from breathing trace ash in the air and nursing the woman I love who is suffering slightly more than I. We are safely planted within the safety of home roughly two miles from Qualcomm Stadium, where thousands have been gathered away from risk zones and flame-engulfed areas for nearly two days. So far none of our friends have been forced from their homes. So far...and I pray they remain safe and relaxed in their own digs.

Monday, October 22, 2007

A Late Monday Groove



Bernard Purdie on drums...instant smile for me. David Walker on guitar...heaven on wire strings. Enjoy.

Monday, October 15, 2007

God, Protect the Children


After reading this, I may consider having a drink. What is going on in America these days?

MAN ACCUSED OF RAPING TODDLER ARRESTED

Police said late Monday they had arrested Chester "Chet" Arthur Stiles, the man accused of videotaping himself while raping a 3-year-old girl.

Stiles, 37, had been the focus of a nationwide manhunt since police identified him as the man who raped and sexually assaulted a girl in a homemade videotape that surfaced last month in the rural Nevada town of Pahrump. He was arrested Monday night during a traffic stop in Henderson, just outside Las Vegas, police said at a news conference.

Henderson police officer Mike Dye said he stopped Stiles at about 7 p.m. on a busy thoroughfare. He said Stiles was driving a white Buick sedan with no license plates.

Stiles provided an expired California drivers license with a photo that Dye said looked "suspicious."

"The picture on the license didn't quite match the gentleman in the vehicle," Dye said.

After further questioning, the officer said Stiles revealed his true name.

"He said I'm Chester Stiles, the guy you're looking for," Dye said. "He said I'm tired of running."

Dye said Stiles cooperated and didn't resist. Dye called for backup and another officer arrived to handcuff Stiles.

Las Vegas Police Capt. Vincent Cannito said Stiles has been wanted since Oct. 5 on warrants issued for 21 felony charges in connection with the acts seen on the videotape, including lewdness with a minor, sexual assault and attempted sexual assault.

Stiles was alone in the vehicle and unarmed, but police have not fully searched the car, Cannito said. Police were awaiting a warrant.

Stiles was being booked at the Clark County jail. He had not yet hired a lawyer or been assigned a court date, police said.

Cannito said police were continuing the investigation.

"We don't know if we're going to find any other victims," Cannito said.

The girl in the videotape was found with her mother in Las Vegas on Sept. 28. Now 7 years old, she has been described as happy and healthy, with no memory of the 2003 encounter with Stiles.

Authorities had sought the public's help in finding Stiles, who was wanted on state and federal warrants in a case in which he was alleged to have groped a 6-year-old girl in 2003.

Police were also looking into an allegation that he had sexually assaulted a young girl in 2001.

Police say they had received hundreds of tips about Stiles, who they had called dangerous and possibly armed. Stiles had previously been arrested on charges including assault, battery, resisting a police officer, auto theft, leaving the scene of an accident and contempt of court, authorities said.

He was convicted in 1999 in Las Vegas of carrying a concealed weapon, and in 2001 of conspiracy to commit grand larceny. He pleaded no contest in Houston in 1993 to unlawful carrying of a weapon.

Nye County District Attorney Bob Beckett said others have characterized Stiles as a "survivalist type" who claimed to have weapons, a Navy SEAL background and who always carried a knife.

The man who turned the tape in, Darrin Tuck, 26, was arrested last month on a probation violation charge, and was likely to face pornography charges, Beckett said.


----------------
Now playing: Kirk Franklin - Let It Go
via FoxyTunes

News story and photo reference URL: Yahoo/Associated Press

----------------
Now playing: Kirk Franklin - Imagine Me
via FoxyTunes

Friday, October 12, 2007

Gettin' Close to the Edge...Need a Break



Time to listen to some music...since my world is a little crazy right now. Enjoy.

OH YEAH: Respect to the artist(s) who did the multicolored skull mural behind Jay-Z (the still you see above). Dope.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

I Smell Gunpowder...Another School Tragedy


I read this only 4 minutes ago. My prayers and concern are with the teachers, the parents, and the students of the SuccessTech Academy of Cleveland, Ohio. God bless them all.

4 SHOT, GUNMAN KILLED IN OHIO SCHOOL

By JOE MILICIA, Associated Press Writer 21 minutes ago

A 14-year-old suspended student opened fire in his downtown high school Wednesday, wounding four people as terrified schoolmates hid in closets and bathrooms and huddled under laboratory desks. He then killed himself.

A fellow student at SuccessTech Academy alternative school said Asa H. Coon, who was suspended for fighting two days earlier, had made threats in front of students and teachers last week.

"He's crazy. He threatened to blow up our school. He threatened to stab everybody," Doneisha LeVert said. "We didn't think nothing of it."

Armed with two revolvers, Coon fired eight shots and may have targeted teachers, Police Chief Michael McGrath said.

Math teacher David Kachadourian, who was treated at a hospital for a minor wound to the back of one shoulder, said Coon had been a student in a beginning algebra class he taught. But the 57-year-old teacher said he had not disciplined Coon and knew of no reason why Coon might target him.

"I never felt personally threatened or personally at risk," Kachadourian said after leaving the hospital. "I had concerns about him, yes. He seemed like an angry young man. I did not fear for my own safety."

Police found a duffel bag stocked with ammunition and three knives in a bathroom but found no suicide note, McGrath said.

Parents were angry that firearms got into a school equipped with metal detectors that students said were intermittently used.

Coon spent time in two juvenile facilities after a domestic violence episode and was given home detention, and he was suspended from school last year for trying to injure a student, according to juvenile court records obtained by The Plain Dealer. He had a history of mental health problems and threatened to commit suicide last year while in a mental health center, the paper reported.

"That's the most basic, profound and saddest part of the whole thing, knowing he was in so much pain and torment," Kachadourian said. "Anytime someone takes his own life, it shows he was desperate."

Officials said two teachers and two students were shot, and that a 14-year-old girl fell and hurt her knee while running out of the school.

Witnesses said the shooter moved through the converted five-story downtown office building, working his way up through the first two floors of administrative offices to the third floor of classrooms. Officials said he was wearing a Marilyn Manson concert shirt, black jeans and black-painted finger nails.

Police released audio from three 911 calls — two from students who had fled the building after the first two shots and one from a distraught mother, calling on behalf of her son, who was huddled in the back of a fourth floor classroom.

"They just shot somebody in his room!" the crying mother told the dispatcher.

The first person shot, 14-year-old student Michael Peek, had punched Coon in the face right before the shootings began, said student Rasheem Smith, 15.

Coon "came out of the bathroom and bumped Mike and he (Mike) punched him in his face. Mike started walking. He shot Mike in the side," Smith said.

Antonio Deberry, 17, said he and his classmates hid under laboratory tables and watched the shooter move down the hallway. "I saw him walking past. He didn't see us, we saw him." The shooter swore and shot several times, Deberry said.

LeVert said she hid in a closet with two other students after she heard a "Code Blue" alert over the loudspeaker. She said she heard about 10 shots.

Darnell Rodgers, 18, was walking up to another floor when the stairway suddenly became flooded with students.

"It took me a couple of minutes to realize that I was actually shot, when I felt my arm burning in the area, that's when I realized that I had got shot," Rodgers said.

"They were screaming, and they were saying, 'Oh my God, oh my God.' I knew something was wrong, but thought that it was probably just a fight, so I just kept going," Rodgers said.

Rodgers was released from a hospital after treatment for a graze wound to his right elbow.

Coon had been suspended since Monday for fighting near the school that day, said Charles Blackwell, president of SuccessTech's student-parent organization. He did not know how Coon got into the building Wednesday.

Blackwell said that there was a security guard on the first floor, but that the position of another guard on the third floor had been eliminated.

Student Frances Henderson, 14, said she often got into arguments with Coon, who once told her, "I got something for you all." He would often wear a trench coat, black boots and a dog collar, she said.

Students stood outside the building, many in tears, hugging one another and on cell phones. Others shouted at reporters with TV cameras to leave them alone. Family members also stood outside, waiting for their children to be released.

Michael Grassie, a 42-year-old history teacher, was in fair condition at Metro Health Medical Center after about two hours of surgery. The hospital would not disclose the nature of the surgery.

The other two injured teens were taken to a children's hospital, which would not release their names, ages or conditions.

People at Coon's home declined to comment Wednesday evening.

Deberry's mother, Lakisha Deberry, said she was upset that metal detectors at the school were not always in use.

"You never know what's going on in someone's mind," said Deberry, adding that she was required to go through a metal detector and present an identification card whenever she wanted to drop off something at school for her children.

Students were being sent to the FBI office across the street.

Classes at all schools in the Cleveland Metropolitan School District will be canceled Thursday, said Eugene Sanders, chief executive officer of the district. Counseling will be available Thursday for students at recreation centers throughout the city, Sanders said.

SuccessTech Academy is an alternative high school in the public school district that stresses technology and entrepreneurship for about 240 students, most of them black, with a small number of white and Hispanic students. It opened five years ago and ranks in the middle of the state's ratings for student performance. Its graduation rate is 94 percent, well above the district's rate of 55 percent.

"It's a shining beacon for the Cleveland Metropolitan School system," said John Zitzner, founder and president of E City Cleveland, a nonprofit group aimed at teaching business skills to inner-city teens. "It's orderly, it's disciplined, it's calm, it's focused."

___

Associated Press writers James Hannah, Terry Kinney, M.R. Kropko, John Seewer, Thomas J. Sheeran and Andrew Welsh-Huggins contributed to this report.


News story reference URL: Yahoo/AP News

Monday, October 8, 2007

Walking Down New Paths


I am still blogging, my friends! I have some new projects in the works including the new blog MUSIC...LIFE...LOVE, a chance for me to celebrate the artists I admire--both visual and musical--and to introduce to the world at large some of the most intriguing thinkers and doers we may ever know. That is my mission; that is my task.

Until we talk again, be happy, be proud, and be YOU.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Good News For Mychal Bell (For Now)...and the Tale of the Stubborn Attorney

JENA 6 TEEN RELEASED ON $45,000 BAIL

By DOUG SIMPSON, Associated Press Writer

A black teenager whose prosecution in the beating of a white classmate prompted a massive civil rights protest here walked out of a courthouse Thursday after a judge ordered him freed.

Mychal Bell's release on $45,000 bail came hours after a prosecutor confirmed he would no longer seek an adult trial for the 17-year-old. Bell, one of the teenagers known as the Jena Six, still faces trial as a juvenile in the December beating in this small central Louisiana town.

"We still have mountains to climb, but at least this is closer to an even playing field," said the Rev. Al Sharpton, who helped organize last week's protest.

"He goes home because a lot of people left their home and stood up for him," Sharpton said as Bell stood smiling next to him.

"There's only one person who could have brought me through this and that's the good Lord," Bell told reporters later in front of his father's house.

District Attorney Reed Walters' decision to abandon adult charges means that Bell, who had faced a maximum of 15 years in prison on his aggravated second-degree battery conviction last month, instead could be held only until he turns 21 if he is found guilty in juvenile court.

The conviction in adult court was thrown out this month by the state 3rd Circuit Court of Appeal, which said Bell should not have been tried as an adult on that particular charge.

Walters had said he would appeal that decision. On Thursday, he said he still believes there was legal merit to trying Bell as an adult but decided it was in the best interest of the victim, Justin Barker, and his family to let the juvenile court handle the case.

"They are on board with what I decided," Walters said at a news conference.

Bell faces juvenile court charges of aggravated second-degree battery and conspiracy to commit that crime.

He is among six black Jena High School students arrested in December after a beating that left Barker unconscious and bloody, though the victim was able to attend a school function later that day. Four of the defendants were 17 at the time, which made them adults under Louisiana law.

Those four and Bell, who was 16, all were initially charged with attempted murder. Walters has said he sought to have Bell tried as an adult because he already had a criminal record, and because he believed Bell instigated the attack.

The charges have been dropped to aggravated second-degree battery in four of the cases. One defendant has yet to be arraigned. The sixth defendant's case is sealed in juvenile court.

Bell's lawyer, Carol Powell Lexing, said his next hearing is set for Tuesday.

Critics accuse Walters, who is white, of prosecuting blacks more harshly than whites. They note that he filed no charges against three white teens suspended from the high school over allegations they hung nooses in a tree on campus not long before fights between blacks and whites, including the attack on Barker.

An estimated 20,000 to 25,000 protesters marched in Jena last week in a scene that evoked the early years of the civil rights movement.

Walters said the demonstration had no influence on his decision not to press the adult charges, and ended his news conference by saying that only God kept the protest peaceful.

"The only way — let me stress that — the only way that I believe that me or this community has been able to endure the trauma that has been thrust upon us is through the prayers of the Christian people who have sent them up in this community," Walters said.

"I firmly believe and am confident of the fact that had it not been for the direct intervention of the Lord Jesus Christ last Thursday, a disaster would have happened. You can quote me on that."

The Rev. Donald Sibley, a black Jena pastor, called it a "shame" that Walters credited divine intervention for the protesters acting responsibly.

"What I'm saying is, the Lord Jesus Christ put his influence on those people, and they responded accordingly," Walters responded.

After the news conference, Sibley told CNN that Walters had insulted the protesters by making a false separation between "his Christ and our Christ."

"For him to use it in the sense that because his Christ, his Jesus, because he prayed, because of his police, that everything was peaceful and was decent and in order — that's not the truth," Sibley said.

Walters has said repeatedly that Barker's suffering has been lost in the furor over the case, and that what happened to the teen was much more severe than a schoolyard fight.

Walters also has defended his decision not to seek charges in the hanging of the nooses, which he said was "abhorrent and stupid" but not a crime.


----------------
Now playing: Jill Scott - Come See Me
via FoxyTunes

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

What Does the Village Say?

Mos Def Expresses Outrage at Lack of Support for the “Jena 6”


Mos Def, who is currently in Jena, Louisiana for the rally in support of the “Jena 6,” is not happy with the response the Hip-Hop community has shown over the incident. Speaking to MTV News from Jena, Mos criticized his fellow artists, whom he noted seem to have no problem showing up at parties and award shows, for not traveling to Jena for the rally. “Shame on everybody who’s not here,” the rapper told MTV News. “I’m fuckin’ mad. I’m disappointed to always be coming to these things and it’s only one or two people [from the industry here]. If you ain’t gonna use your voice, then be quiet. I’m disappointed and ashamed.” Mos recently called upon his peers and any “influential African-Americans” to join him at the rally. Also in Jena this week is Port Arthur, TX native and UGK group member Bun B, who jumped in his car and drove over when he heard about the demonstration. “I grew up right next to a town where it’s strictly white people,” Bun explained. “I’ve been privy to these small incidents of violence in these all-white towns. We were blessed to find out about the Jena Six and were blessed to try to make some type of impact in this community before things went too far.”

I reserve my thoughts on this article for the moment...what are yours?


Article reference: XXL Magazine

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Penning Pain


My home is still Jim Crow's plantation. Louisiana still has an old guard who influence the young through racist rhetoric and fear factor thought. Every hateful and misguided view that a mind can imagine is being tossed around the family in far too many households in my home state. Leave aside the Beverly Hillbillies imagery; some of the worst hatemongers in Louisiana wear designer clothing, live in twenty-room mansions, and manipulate government action from the garden patios of spacious bayou-wrapped yards. The scenery has changed over the years, but the hate and the wrong still remain. Six children are living a lesson in the hypocrisy of the technical age: intellectual and technological advancements abound, but racial hate and discrimination are alive and well.

I am crying inside.

I am praying for my people.

I am Black and proud.

I am scared for the children--those six young souls.

I am exorcising the demons of a lifelong battle with hate that started in kindergarten.

Praying for justice and holding a scream of anger inside my lungs, I am TIRED of the injustice. I want that Lady Justice to take her thumb off those scales and to leave that blindfold in place. Free the Jena 6. Let real justice prevail.


----------------
Now playing: lessondaryradio - Lessondary Radio Episode 1
via FoxyTunes

Friday, September 14, 2007

Happily Kind of BLU...

I'm thinking about my grandmother now sitting in Heaven and hoping that I sit beside her one day, and I want to listen to some musical poetry. This young fellow Blu is an MC who calls the pretty/ugly city of Los Angeles his home and inspiration. Waxing philosophically about the city's contrasts and flexing lyrical muscle over the beat's pulse and flow (beat by LA producer Exile), he says some imaginative things. Here--let's listen together--then tell me what you think.

Friday, September 7, 2007

One of My New Favorites


The Sojourner puts it DOWN! I just checked out a poem on his page that woke me from writer's slump! Check it out!

----------------
Now playing: IndieFeed.com community - Decay - Soul Blast
via FoxyTunes

----------------
Now playing: IndieFeed.com community - Decay - Soul Blast
via FoxyTunes

Brand NEW Brand New Funk

I hear heads asking the occasional question, "What ever happened to DJ Jazzy Jeff after Will Smith went Hollywood?" I'm glad to know that the answer is easily found in Philadelphia. Jazzy and his Hidden Beach label have been doing some great projects above the radar (can you say JILL SCOTT?) and below it (mixtapes, club performances, and more jobs than a Jamaican on IN LIVING COLOR). The jury is still out discussing this recent video I found online--I don't feel very comfortable with this version of the old song--but the jury is NOT the authority I seek to question right now. What do you think about it?



----------------
Now playing: IndieFeed.com community - Decay - Soul Blast
via FoxyTunes

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Ego


Arrogance
Makes me
The focus
Of a scratched lens.
Selfishness
Causes my heart
A wealth of poverty.
Anger
Rips holes
In my freedom's ties.
Doubt
Kills my drive
And mothers my death.
Ego
Is their
Father.
Such fucked up kids
They are...

Monday, September 3, 2007

Music...Offbeat Yet On Time

I like offbeat artists who take risks and project good vibes in their projects. Singer Georgia Anne Muldrow, rapper Dudley Perkins, and DJ 2Tall have a small work circulating around the West Coast that is weird, sloppy funk (think Sly and the Family or Uncle Funkenstein--music lovers, you know the vibe) that is probably more suited to a natural pharmacology session (think about it) than it is for a freeway drive. Still, it IS good music.

Sample a little of it:




----------------
Now playing: Pharaohe Monch - No Mercy feat. M.O.P.
via FoxyTunes

Saturday, September 1, 2007

Family Greatness!


I'm proud of my family, and I love to celebrate the good that I see in the generation behind me. This moment is dedicated to my nephew, Mr. Damon Pitts. Honestly, I won't be surprised if you know his name in a few years. Some lucky college is going to get a beast of a player! Check THIS out! GO, DEE!

Bulldogs blow out Turner
By Dave Sorter, McKinney Courier-Gazette
(Created: Saturday, September 1, 2007 3:50 AM CDT)
Senior running back Damon Pitts (21) had one of McKinney North’s all-time best first games as he compiled three touchdowns on the ground and another on an electric punt return. Keith Owens/Special to the Courier-Gazette
CARROLLTON — Damon Pitts didn’t need long to make McKinney North football fans very happy he moved in from Richardson.

The Bulldog Nation knew the senior running back was the leading rusher for Richardson last year, on a team competing in the grinding District 9-5A. But Pitts needed just 20 minutes of game time in Friday’s 49-0 victory over Carrollton R.L. Turner to score four touchdowns and show some moves that may have put to rest a lot of fears about North’s young offense.

“Nothing’s easy,” Pitts said after sandwiching rushing touchdowns of one, 14 and three yards around a highlight-reel 68-yard punt return score in both teams’ season opener at Standridge Stadium. “We were well prepared.”

“Damon looked good,” Bulldogs heads coach Shawn Pratt said. “He made some great cuts and showed good speed. I think our kids came out with good energy and good enthusiasm.”

Though Pitts is not currently North’s leading rusher — Charles Cole got the bulk of the second-half carries and outgained Pitts 75 yards to 67 — it was Pitts, the battery of quarterback Vince Stanko and receiver David Douglas, and a defense led by omnipresent linebacker Colton Floyd that had R.L. Turner shaking almost instantly.

“We just sort of self-destructed right from the start,” Lions coach Larry McBroom said. “When the other team gets the momentum that they got, it’s hard to get off the floor. We learned that we sure can’t start that poorly.”

It didn’t help that Turner (0-1) had its longest gain of the game on its third play from scrimmage, when running back Michael Jackson swept right for 13 yards and a first down. The stage was set when Jackson fumbled on the next play and McKinney North’s (1-0) Kris Williams recovered it on the Turner 40.

Almost all of North’s snaps came in Lions territory. The Bulldogs snapped the ball only six times on their side of the 50, just one of those in the first half.

After Williams’ recovery, Douglas took an end around, then cut back to where he came from to gain 29 yards. Two plays later, Pitts scored his first touchdown as a Bulldog.

His second one came little more than a minute later. Steven Meyer kicked off a high popup that a teammate recovered. Three plays later, Pitts breaks through on a trap play for a 14-yard touchdown.

Then came the shockwave. After Turner gained seven yards in six plays, Juan Santana punted to Pitts, who caught the ball at the North 32. He raced to the right sideline, put on a burst of speed and left potential tacklers flailing at him. Six and one-half minutes into the game, the score was Pitts 18, place kicker Meyer 3, everyone else 0.

Williams relieved Stanko for the first series of the second quarter, and led North on a 39-yard drive that was capped by a touchdown pass to Ty Crump. The starters then returned, and a 65-yard drive ended with Pitts’ fourth touchdown. A 28-yard touchdown pass from Stanko to Douglas with 10 seconds left in the first half — right after two consecutive illegal procedure penalties — was basically superfluous.

Pratt said this certainly was a turnaround from last week’s 49-0 scrimmage drubbing.

“Yes, they wanted to get that taste out of their mouth,” Pratt said. “We have a lot of new faces, and it showed last week. But this was a great effort by our kids.”

Lost in the offense’s big day was the shutout effort by the Bulldogs’ defense. Floyd’s named seemed to be called on two out of every three tackles, while Marquise Milord-Sims — who intercepted a pass — Jayce Boyd and Rodney Nelson also got a lot of calls.

“The coaching staff did a great job in preparing,” Pratt said. “They simplified a lot of things. But we made plenty of mistakes that we’ll have to work on.”

Turner, meanwhile, will try to gain some lessons from the defeat. Sophomore quarterback Matthew Bernal had a tough day passing, completing three of 16 attempts, though he showed good potential running the ball, with a team-high 47 yards. Defensively, Jario Garcia , Corey Hall and Denzel Green made some good stops. And Siri Tim blocked a fourth-quarter field goal attempt that would have put the score over half-a-hundred.

“We’ve got to go back and re-evaluate,” McBroom said. “Hopefully, we’ll learn a lot.”

McKinney North 49, R.L. Turner 0

at C-FB ISD’s Standridge Stadium

Scoring

First Quarter

MN — Damon Pitts 1 run (Steven Meyer kick) 9:21

MN — Pitts 14 run (Meyer kick) 8:18

MN — Pitts 68 punt return (Meyer kick) 5:34

Second Quarter

MN — Ty Crump 13 pass from Kris Williams (Meyer kick) 9:42

MN — Pitts 3 run (Meyer kick) 4:10

MN — David Douglas 28 pass from Vince Stanko (Meyer kick) 0:10

Third quarter

MN — Josh Matthews 3 run (Meyer kick) 2:23

Fourth quarter

None

Team Statistics MN RLT

First downs 25 7

Rushes-yards 47-252 30-77

Passing yards 115 26

Total yards 367 103

Passing 10-16-0 3-16-1

Punts-avg. 1-23.0 3-35.0

Fumbles-lost 1-1 4-1

Penalties-yards 7-60 3-25

Individual Statistics

Rushing -- MN: Charles Cole 14-75, Damon Pitts 12-67, Josh Matthews 12-52, Kris Williams 8-28, David Douglas 1-29. RLT: Matthew Bernal 17-47, Frank DuBose 4-20, Michael Jackson 4-18, Brent Bilger 4-3, Juan Santana 1-(-11).

Passing -- MN: Vince Stanko 9-14-0 102, Kris Williams 1-2-0 13. RLT: Matthew Bernal 3-16-1 26.

Receiving -- MN: David Douglas 7-71, Damon Pitts 1-20, Ty Crump 1-13, Chris Allen 1-11. RLT: Brent Bilger 1-13, Ismael Solis 1-12, Charles Moore 1-1.

Friday, August 31, 2007

DAMN! DAMN! DAMN!


NO...this is not a tribute to one of my favorite TV shows, GOOD TIMES...ALTHOUGH the subject of this post is a man from the city that was the show's setting. Yes, I'm talking about Young Jawline aka Austin Polo aka the Louis Vuitton Don aka Chicago's Young Prince--Kanye West. The brother has more attitude than three gay men in a San Diego coffee shop (CRAZY ATTITUDE!) and nearly as much money in his bank accounts. In the words of an old homeless lady on 87th in the heart of the Windy City's Southside, "that boy then done good." The first project was so strong that critics were licking their lips in anticipation of a sophomore slump, but young Mr. West had a surprise and a middle finger waiting for his detractors. With a third offering on the way, who will win this time: the artist or his haters?

The artist wins again. The advance copy that I previewed recently is a MONSTER. What can I say? The fellow has a gift for translating his thoughts into incredibly entertaining music! On 11SEPT2007, you will see what I mean. If you don't like Kanye and his famously outspoken attitude, turn off your radio and television. The last quarter of 2007 is going to be chilly...because the City of Chi is blowin' a hawk in your ear! Enjoy.

Haters...buy cotton balls NOW. SERIOUSLY.

DAMN! DAMN! DAMN!

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

An Important Event That Needs YOUR Attention


I cannot make this trip, but I pray that you can:

On September 20th, Mychal Bell--the first of the Jena 6 to be convicted--is scheduled for sentencing. If the District Attorney has his way, Mychal will face 22 years in prison. It's a horrifying moment for Mychal, his parents, and the rest of the Jena 6 families. It's also a perfect time for those who can to come to Jena, in person, and stand with them. We know it's a serious time and financial commitment, but we wanted to give you the opportunity to join the hundreds of people who have already emailed us to say that they will come. If you can join us, please click on the link below to RSVP:

http://colorofchange.org/jena/rsvp.html

Our presence in Jena--in large numbers--will help focus media attention on the situation in Jena, escalate pressure on Louisiana public officials, and most importantly, show the families of the Jena 6, especially Mychal Bell and his parents, that we will stand with them in the face of this injustice.

On July 31st, with only a few days to prepare, 300 people from across the country rallied at the Jena Courthouse. We delivered a petition signed by 43,000 ColorOfChange.org members to the District Attorney demanding that he drop the charges against the Jena 6. It was a powerful day that made it clear that the Jena 6 and their families won't have to fight on their own. Since then, more than 100,000 people have taken action and contacted the Governor, media attention to the case has grown, and we have an even bigger opportunity to make a profound impact.

As we plan for this event, we want to get a sense of how many people can commit to coming to Jena. Below are some details about getting there, so you can figure out if you'll be able to join us.

Details

If you're flying to Louisiana, the closest airports to Jena are Alexandria (45 minute drive) and Monroe (my hometown...and EXPENSIVE AIRFARE--1.5 hour drive). You can also fly to Lafayette (2.25 hour drive), Shreveport (2.75 hour drive), Baton Rouge (3 hour drive), New Orleans (4.25 hour drive), or Houston (about a 5 hour drive). The closest hotels are in Pineville and Alexandria. As they fill up, we'd recommend staying at hotels near the airports above.

If travelling from out of town, you'll want to get to Louisiana the night before, as things will start early in the morning, probably by 8am or 9am. Organizers will meet you when you arrive at a central location in Jena and get you situated for the day. We will be providing maps, organizers' cell phone numbers, and other information closer to the day-of; you will be able to reach someone in case you have any problems, need directions, or have questions along the way.

RSVP

Once you're confident you can come, please rsvp at the following:

http://colorofchange.org/jena/rsvp.html

If you have questions, you can send them to jena@colorofchange.org.

If you can't come, don't worry. We'll be sending emails soon with more ways to take action between now and the 20th. Whatever your participation, we thank you for your ongoing commitment to justice for the Jena 6. It continues to be our privilege to be part of such a powerful community of support for these young men.

Thanks and Peace,

-- James Rucker
Executive Director, ColorOfChange.org
August 28th, 2007

Monday, August 27, 2007

Something Cool to Check Out...




Ananda is one of the beautifully talented souls who have blessed my walk through this online village. Stop by her page, take a listen to her podcast, and enjoy some peace (it's almost tangible on her page!).

Thursday, August 23, 2007

A Few of My Favorite Things...In One Video!

I posted this video on Myspace when it occurred to me: Why should my grown and sexy friends in Bloggerland miss out? I like the song for its lyrics (God knows I love a strong sista!) AND the scenery (All I can say is GOD IS GOOT!). Enjoy it! Barbados, stand up!

"Roll It"

Add to My Profile | More Videos

Sunday, August 19, 2007

A New Tupac Song?

My IG'NANT brother Darian sent this to me yesterday, and my face hurts from laughing!

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Where Are You, Cap?


I don't see my girl Cap online just yet...and that sucks! She has me hooked to her Wednesday Wisdoms to the point that I felt inspired to post one in her stead. I noticed this little quote on a coffee cup logo in one of the many coffee/tea spots in San Diego, and its power struck me like a young Tyson punch:

"Be the change you wish to see in the world..." --Mahatma Gandhi.

Please share your thoughts. I want to learn from the village today!

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Love On Time




Walkin' on a cloud
You're a true windstar
Beauty ravishing
You know who you are
You're a straight-up menace
To my senses
Your dimensions
Leave me skeptical
That God
Created you with good intentions
I mean
Can I be expected NOT
To notice those curves
To feel my freak come out
When you speak those words
Man, I shoulda paid attention
Back in Spanish class
Cuba done you propa
With all that bubble...
ASSSSSSSS I WONDER
On about you and who you are,
I'm sight-raped now--
You've become my star
I only remember one damn Spanish word
That fits this scene:
B O N I T A ! ! !
Girl, you must be a dream!
I step,
But you turn your head;
Thank God I got some confidence...
Or my heart would be dead!
I step--
You can't scare off a man like me...
Not when I notice
You looking out your eye's corner
At ME.
"Bonita...look at me."
You do.
"No wasted time...
"Life is too short...
"Let's talk.
"I want to know
"If the beauty I see around you
"Is even close to the beauty in you.
"Shall we?"
Yeah, it was lame...
But she walked my way.
In English soaked
With lime and Castro she said,
"Senor, you're not ready for that.
"It could take years to learn such facts.
"If you mean it, where will you start?"
I couldn't hold that smile
If I tied it down and chained it
Like Big Man walking the Green Mile
On his way to execution.
I said,
"I'll start with your name--"
"Mariposa."
"Sweet butterfly...thank you for
"Flying my way."
I took her hand--I don't know why--
But I noticed that she didn't resist.
Motioned toward a small cafe...
She strode with the illest twist.
Bwoi, look at that WAWK!
Had to get my SELF together...
I was determined to get to know this woman
If it took my life's forever.
We started a conversation
That has lasted forty-five years.
We've hurdled obstacles, fought adversity,
And wiped away each others' tears.
Looking back,
I loved her from the moment we met...
The beginning of our years.
Love is real, y'all,
No matter how your hurts
All feel.
It's right around your corner,
But it won't run up to you.
Pay attention when it comes your way--
So I can write this poem about YOU.


Picture reference URL: www.german-films.de

Monday, August 13, 2007

Humility = Strength

I love seeing the underdog rise to the top...especially when the underdog is a good brother. Common (you already know that he is one of my favorite lyricists if you read this blog) recently hit Billboard's Top 100 with his new project's--FINDING FOREVER's--first week sales. His music is not booty music, snap rap, or baller stories. A POET IS ROCKIN' IT! That truth makes me smile. There is still hope for good music in America.

Humility also makes me proud of this brother. I've seen many people in my day approach me with crocodile smiles and syrupy words to coax my vulnerability for their own sinister end. It makes me proud that this gentleman is sincere in his walk and thankful for his fans and listeners (I don't fulfill "fan" very well, but I LISTEN to music on every level that my spirit allows.) What am I talking about?

THIS...


Monday, July 30, 2007

Elder Lessons


Look and listen, young man
Pay attention, young lady
Life will pass you by faster
Than a cop can swing a nightstick
If you let it
Give yourself an hour everyday
To see sunlight
To peer at stars
To breathe your own scent
So you don't lose you
To the world around you
Mankind needs to be more than
Kind of a man
So, son, get to your dreams
As quickly as God can help you
Nobody promised to make it easy
Even an easy girl can have some
Haaaaaaaaaaaaaaard
Consequences for you
Daughter, don't let some fool
Misrepresent
What he desires
And take you for piecemeal
You're worth more than that, baby
Choose where you bury your treasures
And wisely pick he who gets to
UNEARTH them
You're built for life, child
Don't lose yourself in all this
Death music
Morbid television
Depressing news
Find hope
It still springs eternal
I don't care what you hear
The Bush program say
You were molten from the finest gold
On the planet Earth
African gold
It doesn't matter what your skin tone is
Child, we all came from the same fabric
God just dyed us to match our separate homes
Let me stop
I know your attention span
Is no span at all
It's just a point.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Mumia Podcasts


Hottnikkz recently asked me for suggestions on places to find Mumia abu Jamal's words in podcasts or internet radio spots. For anyone else who finds an interest, check this spot on Itunes to subscribe to a recurring feed of recordings. Stay cool in the heat, happy on your feet, and alert on your way through this life!

Photo reference URL: http://tbn0.google.com/images?q=tbn:CEAtro7rnqM2pM:http://peoplesvideo.tv/bm/thumbnails/Mumia1.jpg

Monday, July 23, 2007

FREE THE JENA 6


My friends and neighbors,

I just learned about a case of segregation-era oppression happening today in Jena, Louisiana. I signed onto ColorOfChange.org's campaign for justice in Jena, and wanted to invite you to do the same.

http://www.colorofchange.org/jena/?id=1949-203274

Last fall in Jena, the day after two Black high school students sat beneath the "white tree" on their campus, nooses were hung from the tree. When the superintendent dismissed the nooses as a "prank," more Black students sat under the tree in protest. The District Attorney then came to the school accompanied by the town's police and demanded that the students end their protest, telling them, "I can be your best friend or your worst enemy... I can take away your lives with a stroke of my pen."

A series of white-on-black incidents of violence followed, and the DA did nothing. But when a white student was beaten up in a schoolyard fight, the DA responded by charging six black students with attempted murder and conspiracy to commit murder.

It's a story that reads like one from the Jim Crow era, when judges, lawyers and all-white juries used the justice system to keep blacks in "their place." But it's happening today. The families of these young men are fighting back, but the story has gotten minimal press. Together, we can make sure their story is told and that the Governor of Louisiana intervenes and provides justice for the Jena 6. It starts now. Please join me:

http://www.colorofchange.org/jena/?id=1949-203274


The noose-hanging incident and the DA's visit to the school set the stage for everything that followed. Racial tension escalated over the next couple of months, and on November 30, the main academic building of Jena High School was burned down in an unsolved fire. Later the same weekend, a black student was beaten up by white students at a party. The next day, black students at a convenience store were threatened by a young white man with a shotgun. They wrestled the gun from him and ran away. While no charges were filed against the white man, the students were later arrested for the theft of the gun.

That Monday at school, a white student, who had been a vocal supporter of the students who hung the nooses, taunted the black student who was beaten up at the off-campus party and allegedly called several black students "nigger." After lunch, he was knocked down, punched and kicked by black students. He was taken to the hospital, but was released and was well enough to go to a social event that evening.

Six Black Jena High students, Robert Bailey (17), Theo Shaw (17), Carwin Jones (18), Bryant Purvis (17), Mychal Bell (16) and an unidentified minor, were expelled from school, arrested and charged with second-degree attempted murder. The first trial ended last month, and Mychal Bell, who has been in prison since December, was convicted of aggravated battery and conspiracy to commit aggravated battery (both felonies) by an all-white jury in a trial where his public defender called no witnesses. During his trial, Mychal's parents were ordered not to speak to the media and the court prohibited protests from taking place near the courtroom or where the judge could see them.

Mychal is scheduled to be sentenced on July 31st, and could go to jail for 22 years. Theo Shaw's trial is next. He will finally make bail this week.

The Jena Six are lucky to have parents and loved ones who are fighting tooth and nail to free them. They have been threatened but they are standing strong. We know that if the families have to go it alone, their sons will be a long time coming home. But if we act now, we can make a difference.

Join me in demanding that Louisiana Governor Kathleen Blanco get involved to make sure that justice is served for Mychal Bell, and that DA Reed Walters drop the charges against the 5 boys who have not yet gone to trial.

http://www.colorofchange.org/jena/?id=1949-203274

Thanks.

For more information on this CURRENT AND NEARLY UNSPOKEN MOMENT IN OUR HISTORY, check out the Final Call Online.

Friday, July 20, 2007

Stories from the OTHER Warfront...

One of my role models...

...I hope she can one day see American soil again...

...Assata Shakur.


Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Isaac, You're Nutty!

My friend/brother/ace Isaac sent this link to me just a few minutes ago. CRAZY!

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Random Thought, Cool Art

This is random, but I love the wit of the drawings...AND the use of normal CD's as a medium. Enjoy.

clipped from www.techeblog.com
 blog it

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Dearly Departed


I knew you were tired
Cooped up and shackled down by
Illnesses and old bones and tired muscles
And nerve endings that mutinied
Making your body
The Bounty in flesh
You smiled
You spoke peace
You frowned on weakness
You lived a long life
You served your clan
You made the world your clan
Grams, I miss you
Tanky said many a time
That you wouldn't leave
Until your mission was done
As your Savior spoke before you
On the schedule of His operation,
"It is finished."
We're ready to love
As a family that misses you
And we will stand together
We'll be OK
Just you wait and see
I miss you, Grams
But I'm glad you can finally
Rest.


Gladis Maine, my "Grams," passed last night in Los Angeles at Kindred Hospital at 9:30pm. She fought through illness and defied a doctor's grim prediction that she "wouldn't last another two weeks"...NEARLY EIGHT YEARS AGO. She's finally pain-free. She is finally FREE.

Photo: "Sleeping Woman" by Henri Matisse
Photo Reference URL: www.cavalierdaily.com

Friday, July 13, 2007

Meme = Me(Tagged)Again

I was tagged by Dave aka Wandering the Ether (great blog for the thinking person). Here are the rules of this particular meme:

1. We have to post these rules before we give you the facts.
2. Players start with eight random facts/habits about themselves.
3. People who are tagged need to write their own blog about their eight things and post these rules.
4. At the end of your blog, you need to choose eight people to get tagged and list their names.
5. Don’t forget to leave them a comment telling them they’re tagged, and to read your blog.


I'm breaking the rules. Though I will accept most tag challenges, I rarely tag others. Here goes everything:

1. I'm a closet chauvinist pig.
2. I thought that DEVIL WEARS PRADA was a funny movie.
3. Give me a dog, and I'll give it back to you. Give me a cat, and I'll thank you for giving me a pet with class.
4. I want Nona Gaye (Marvin's daughter). Dreams can come true, ladies and gentlemen.
5. I accidentally stabbed myself during my teen years as I learned how to knife-fight...in my hand, man!
6. I secretly wanted Dolly Parton when I was a little boy. What can I say? I'm still a chest man.
7. I miss Bill Clinton as Preident of the United States of America. The national budget was balanced, and the deficit was at a low unseen since the 1960s. To think that his enemies had to use sperm on a blue dress to take him down...
8. I want to meet Maya Angelou and adopt her as my great-aunt. She's so cool that she needs to be in my family.

Monday, July 9, 2007

Some Monday Love to My People...

Good morning, y'all. Enjoy your day to the fullest possible enjoyment, and work the angles on that job until Human Resources has to ask if you're dying tomorrow! Live, love, and be free...until the sun goes down.



Featured artist is Eric Roberson, one of the nicest R&B artists on the planet. Check him out on Myspace and show him some love.

Reference URL: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pZf8ozpmQWQ

Tuesday, July 3, 2007

Give Some Attention...

I've followed a group called the Procussions for a couple of years now. They have a great sound and one of the coldest live shows I've ever witnessed. One of the MCs, J. Madeiros, has issued a new single and video for his new project. The message is...why don't you check it out?

Saturday, June 30, 2007

Random Laugh: Were We This Bad Back in the Day? LOL!

It's a beautiful thing to meet good people on the street and share a handshake...except in Chicago (watch your hand gestures in that city!) I don't know--these cats take it just a little TOOOOOO FAAAAAAAAAAR! LOL!

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Men...Women...Teach Me.


Musiq happens to be one of my favorite soul singers (one day, I'll post my reasons for avoiding the term "neo soul") AND performs a beautifully written song that intriques me, teachme. The lyrics to this number really struck me as I watched this video a few minutes ago and inspired a question:

Do we teach each other to love, or do we separately outline the do's and don'ts of loving us?

Please...speak on it.

Men, show your courage and "teach" the ladies how things work from your perspective. Ladies, do you. I'll listen and learn...


Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Tell It Like It Is

Filter out the Imus discussion and the mention of some "anger management failure" that 50 Cent enjoyed. The "good father" approach is right on time. Leave your thoughts.

Andrew, you're right--I'm back.


Saturday, June 23, 2007

contracts cancelled


life is not promised
none of your dreams weight it to your timeline
life guarantees nothing to its user
well--don't forget it's expiration date
death
he is a jealous heart
he lives (how?) for the repeal of life from the congress
of hopeful hearts and timeless thinkers
his favorite joke is the cancellation of contracts
holiness is catered to better living
yet the most righteous of us all
our unborn
find their warranties voided
before they even have the chance to sue
pitiful death
life cuts you at your knees
and your jealousy fallacy greed
robs us
and that's so cold, death
we don't have an fdic...for lifeforce

i need to renegotiate this contract

Musical Aftercare

Musical therapy time...strictly for me.





Friday, June 22, 2007

Changes


Thanks and love flow to all of you who gave me advice, good notions, and pure hope for parenthood. My little one, it appears, was not destined to walk here. Less than eight hours after I posted a celebratory comment on Cap's page about the blessing of fatherhood, my baby died. Am I still counting blessings? Good question.

The answer is YES.

My child's mother lives on, and her recovery is happening quickly and with little discomfort. Family and friends are listening with love for any word of grief--without forcing advice or pushing me to feel on their time schedules. Life is still life; death is still inevitable. King Solomon spoke of moments like these centuries ago in Ecclesiastes, and the reminder is emblazoned on my third-eyesight:

Time and chance happen to all.

I was not promised to live my dream of fatherhood. I was never told that I would have a lifetime with my child. Frankly, the only promise I held before the miscarriage was that God would heed my prayers and protect my child from harm. I am so grateful that my son did not suffer more and that his mother was able to know her body and feel its changes. There could have been a myriad of horrible misfortunes that befell my seed and his mother earth...but they did not. Thank God for sparing both of them any additional pain.

Faithful believers, pray for us. Hope-filled friends, send positive vibrations toward San Diego. Thank you all, and love to you all.