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What To Do When You're Stopped By Police - The ACLU & Elon James White

What To Do When You're Stopped By Police - The ACLU & Elon James White

Know Anyone Who Thinks Racial Profiling Is Exaggerated? Watch This, And Tell Me When Your Jaw Drops.

This video clearly demonstrates how racist America is as a country and how far we have to go to become a country that is civilized and actually values equal justice. We must not rest until this goal is achieved. I do not want my great grandchildren to live in a country like we have today. I wish for them to live in a country where differences of race and culture are not ignored but valued as a part of what makes America great.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Is Obama the new 'black'? - Los Angeles Times

Is Obama the new 'black'? - Los Angeles Times:

Gregory Rodriguez:

Is Obama the new 'black'?

The possible presidential candidacy of the biracial senator has sparked an illuminating debate on race.

December 17, 2006

WE KNOW this: Barack Obama is a rising star. He's a powerful speaker and a gifted writer. He is the only African American serving in the U.S. Senate. But is he black?

That's what New York Daily News columnist Stanley Crouch asked last month, and his answer was decidedly "no." No, Crouch wasn't just employing the old "blacker than thou" canard. Nor was he concerned with the fact that Obama was raised by his white mother. Rather, he was treating blackness not just as a racial (shared biology) identity but as an ethnic (shared historical experience) one. And isn't that what the switch of terms from "black" to "African American" was all about?


Think back to the late 1980s, when the Rev. Jesse Jackson became the most prominent black to call for the adoption of the term African American. "Just as we were called colored, but were not that," he said, "and then Negro, but not that, to be called black is just as baseless…. Every ethnic group in this country has a reference to some land base, some historical cultural base. African Americans have hit that level of maturity." The problem, of course, is that most black Americans are descendants of slaves who had their African cultural heritage brutally stripped from them.

What Crouch is arguing is that what the majority of black Americans share is their ancestors' experience as human chattel, brought to these shores in the grips of chains. Slavery and segregation not only forged a rigid racial line between black and white but created a shared ethnic experience. For Crouch, the fact that Obama's father — whom Obama met only once — was a black Kenyan who came to the U.S. to study at Harvard and the University of Hawaii removes him from the traditional black American narrative.

Author and essayist Debra Dickerson agrees. She believes that much of Obama's popularity among whites stems from the fact that his family wasn't part of the slave experience and therefore elicits no feelings of historical guilt. "The swooning from white people is a paroxysm of self-congratulation," she said. But Dickerson also thinks that Obama's thoughtful embrace of his African lineage has the potential to broaden the definition of what it means to be black in the United States. Indeed, the possibility of an Obama campaign for the presidency has already sparked an unusual — and potentially illuminating — debate about race.

It's true that in our country, blackness is not a choice but rather something thrust on people who have any hint of African lineage. Traditionally, anyone with "one drop of African blood" has been considered black. But in recent decades, more children of black-white unions are choosing to buck the "one-drop rule" and call themselves biracial.

But in this respect, Obama is a traditionalist. He clearly chooses a black identity, but he does so even as he embraces his Midwestern Anglo roots. In other words, rather than straddling two identities or creating a new mixed one, he prefers to place himself within a single category and then expand it. In his lyrical yet interminable 1995 memoir, "Dreams From My Father," Obama tells of his journey toward accepting his absent father's legacy and coming to terms with his feelings of alienation from both sides of his family tree. Ultimately rejecting old-fashioned racial nationalism and narrow notions of authenticity, Obama encourages Americans to accept their messy racial inheritance. And though he admits that his personal story bears little resemblance to that of most African American families, he chose to graft his own personal story onto theirs.

The one-drop rule was developed to protect slavery and to maintain segregation. By defining all mixed children as black and compelling them to live in black communities, the rule enabled whites to believe in the fantasy of their own racial purity. By extension, blacks also came to embrace rigid notions of their relative purity from whiteness.

BUT LOOK closely at the historical record and you'll find that plenty of prominent black political figures were at least half white, including Frederick Douglass and Booker T. Washington. In addition to his African ancestry, W.E.B. Du Bois could trace his roots back to France and the Netherlands. During Reconstruction, all but three of the 23 blacks in the House and Senate were some mixture of black and white. The list goes on.

The difference between now and then, of course, is the element of choice. Barack Obama does not remind Americans of the racial divide or of the chains that first created it. Instead, he points to an alternative history that Americans have never been able to achieve. "Symbolically, Obama's parentage is the founding couple that America never accepted," said Werner Sollors, who teaches African American literature at Harvard.

Crouch is right: Obama does not remind us of this nation's original sin. But he does remind us of an opportunity that we as a nation are continually missing.

Critic of Oprah really insulted all black people

Critic of Oprah really insulted all black people

Posted on Mon, Dec. 11, 2006

Critic of Oprah really insulted all black people

The rappers are mad at Oprah again.

Just one rapper, actually: the gentleman who calls himself 50 Cent, but whose 1994 mug shot identifies him as prisoner No. 94R6378: Jackson, Curtis. Mr. Cent -- ''Fiddy'' to the cognoscenti -- was one of a trio of rappers (Ice Cube and Ludacris were the others) who lambasted the Queen of All Media last summer for being insufficiently willing to promote hip-hop. Now, Mr. Cent renews the attack.

In an interview in Elle magazine(!), he charges Winfrey with being not black enough. Winfrey, he says, ''started out with black women's views but has been catering to middle-aged white American women for so long that she's become one herself.'' He also calls her an ''Oreo,'' which, for those not fluent in black-on-black insult, means black on the outside, white on the inside.

Mr. Cent, should it not be painfully obvious from the foregoing, is an idiot. Worse, he's an idiot with a painfully transparent need for approval from the woman he has spent so much energy denigrating. I'll leave it to the mental-health community to explain what that means. I'm here only to make one point:

It's not easy being O.

Yeah, I know: Cry me a river. And $1.5 billion (the reported size of Winfrey's fortune) buys a lot of Kleenex.


I'm not trying to engage your sympathy for the most powerful woman (sorry, Hillary, beg pardon, Condi) in America. I'm only trying to say it's a hard trick to manage, being both famous and black. Or, at least, famous to the degree that Oprah Winfrey is -- i.e., to the degree that you are recognized as readily in white homes as in black.

To reach that level of renown is to find yourself pulled between competing expectations. On the one side, they praise you for ''transcending race'' -- whatever that means -- and they get resentful if you remind them of the ways you are not like them. On the other side, they are alert to any sign that you have Forgotten Where You Came From, and they will call you out if they think you're suffering racial amnesia.

I've always thought Oprah Winfrey handled those competing pulls with a rare grace. She produces programming (The Legends Ball) that celebrates the passages of great black women, she promotes black authors (full disclosure: I was once one of them), she speaks out on racial issues, she makes a movie (Beloved) on the horror of slavery, she builds a school in South Africa -- and yet, somehow, white women don't fear her, still love her. Even when she rebukes them for racial insensitivity.

I remember when one of those women, intending a compliment, told Winfrey she didn't think of her as black. And Oprah said, Whoa. Black, she explained, gently, but emphatically, is exactly what she is. And her predominantly white audience, as I recall, cheered. That's a minor miracle.


Granted, I watch daytime television infrequently. So maybe in those dozens of Oprah shows I haven't seen, Winfrey proves herself the black man hater and white woman worshipper that black critics often depict. But you'll forgive me if I doubt. You'll forgive me if I suspect that the Oprahs I haven't seen track pretty closely to the ones I have: celebrity interviews, pop psychology and self-actualization strategies for women of a certain age and station in life.

It's hard for me to understand what's wrong with that, or inherently ''not black'' about it. 50 Cent makes the mistake a lot of white people do: assuming that there is but one monolithic black experience and that it is street, poor and hard-core.

Which doesn't insult just Oprah Winfrey. It insults all of us because it denies a simple fact: Black is many things. That's something Mr. Cent should consider next time he's holed up in his mansion in Farmington, Conn. (median income $67,000, black population 1.5 percent), writing rhymes about how hard life is for poor black folks on mean streets.

The N-word, by any spelling, is still hateful

The N-word, by any spelling, is still hateful:
Posted on Mon, Dec. 04, 2006

The N-word, by any spelling, is still hateful

The N-word has had few friends better than comedian Paul Mooney.

Put aside that the word was long a staple of his act. Put aside the promotional pamphlet he once sent out that screamed the word in big, fat type. Consider instead what he told anyone who argued that blacks should stop using the word. He replied that he said it a hundred times every morning. ``It keeps my teeth white.''

Last week, the selfsame Paul Mooney joined the Rev. Jesse Jackson and California Rep. Maxine Waters in a news conference asking black folks to stop using the N-word. In other news, there are unconfirmed reports of pigs flying above Times Square.

Mooney says he was ''cured'' of his N-word addiction by Michael Richards' infamous meltdown last month at the Laugh Factory. I tend to think he's not the only one. From strangers online to my neighbor down the street, everywhere I turn lately, I find black folk debating the stubborn insistence some of us have on using this word.

Which leaves me as much vexed as pleased. More power to them for belatedly getting religion. Still, are you telling me that nearly 20 years after hip-hop made that word unavoidable, it takes some white TV actor losing his mind to make black folks see what should have been obvious all along?


I mean, what do we learn from Richards' rant that we should not have known already from Snoop Dogg or Ice Cube? That the word is ugly? That it is hateful? That it demeans, denigrates, diminishes and denies? Anyone with the barest historical memory already knew these things. So where was black outrage when black rappers began putting that word into the minds and mouths of black children? When we -- African Americans -- began hating ourselves to a beat?

And if I hear one more Negro offer a pseudo-intellectual justification for that self-loathing, I will not be responsible for my actions afterward. Don't give me the 'it means something different because we spell it with an `a' on the end'' speech. Spare me the ''it doesn't mean black, it means a bad person of any race'' load of bull.

And for mercy sake, don't subject me to the addled argument profferred by John Ridley in December's Esquire. He says that, as whites feel no particular solidarity with their impoverished racial brethren in Appalachia, it is time for ''ascended blacks'' to bid farewell to, as he puts it, ``niggers.''

Don't tell me any of that, because it quails in the face of historical fact. We are talking about the word that was used as Gus Clarke's back was split open with a whip and salt was rubbed into the wounds. The word that was used when Mary Turner's baby was cut from her womb with a knife and stomped to death in its birth cries. The word that was used when James Byrd was tied to the back of a pickup truck and dragged until his body was torn to pieces.


To the people who did these things, it did not matter how it was spelled. They knew precisely what race they were referring to. And they saw no difference between ''ascended blacks'' and any other kind. Nor should that last surprise us. In the calculus of race, I am not my brother's keeper. I am my brother. Individuality is the first casualty of bigotry.

Black people, like other Americans, tend to flee from the burdens and demands of history. History, ours especially, hurts too much.

But what Michael Richards taught, and what blacks may be learning belatedly, is that history doesn't care. Not about your feelings, not about your rationalizations, not about your subtleties of spelling.

Because they don't realize that, some blacks, Paul Mooney prominent among them, seem surprised to learn that this word still hates us. That it always has and always will.

And if Richards is the catalyst that finally forces them to understand this, there's only one thing I can say to him:

Thank you.

Monday, December 11, 2006

52 years later, integration faces new Supreme Court test

Tue Dec 5, 6:32 AM ET

Since the historic 1954 ruling in Brown v. Board of Education began dismantling separate schooling for black and white children, the Supreme Court has spent a half-century painstakingly working out a fair way of making America's classrooms more racially diverse.

The results can be seen nearly everywhere you look. African-Americans head major companies. The two most recent secretaries of State are black. A vibrant, educated black middle class has sprung up, and colleges actively seek black students to enrich their campuses, expanding that middle class further.

So it was ominous Monday to hear Supreme Court justices sounding hostile to voluntary - and popular - desegregation plans in Seattle and Louisville. If the justices rule them unconstitutional, the tenuous advance of equal opportunity could be undermined or even reversed.

As with anything involving race, the system of desegregation and affirmative action that has evolved under the court's watchful eye is controversial. Whites sometimes feel slighted, and it is whites who brought the Seattle and Louisville cases to court.

Both cities assigned students to schools in part to ensure that the schools are racially diverse, and parents whose children were temporarily denied admission to the schools they preferred sued, claiming racial bias.

Lower courts ruled against them, and just a year ago, the issue seemed settled. The court refused to hear a challenge to a desegregation plan in Lynn, Mass., that is similar to the Louisville plan.

But then Justice Sandra Day O'Connor retired and was replaced by Justice Samuel Alito, who civil rights advocates fear is the crucial fifth vote to undo the two plans - and others in hundreds of school districts that follow similar guidelines to achieve diversity.

In 2003, O'Connor was the fifth vote in a pivotal 5-4 decision that said the University of Michigan Law School could consider race as a factor in admissions, as long as there was no explicit quota for admitting black applicants. The court noted that diversity promotes "cross-racial understanding and the breaking down of racial stereotypes" and gives students invaluable skills that "can only be developed through exposure to widely diverse people, cultures, ideas, and viewpoints."

That is the reason Louisville and Seattle tried to diversify their schools. Another reason was that students in overwhelming black or Hispanic schools consistently underperform.

The plans of both cities are complex, trying to balance family preferences against diversity and other non-racial considerations, but they are widely accepted in those communities, and they work.

But they appear far less popular at the court. Court watchers came away thinking the school diversity plans will be in trouble when the court rules early next year. Justice Anthony Kennedy, the likely swing vote now, said at one point that Seattle's plan seems to hinge in some cases "solely on skin color … it's like saying everybody can have a meal, but only (certain people) can get the dessert."

More telling was the answer to a question Kennedy asked about what has happened to Seattle schools since the school board suspended the plan after an adverse court ruling in 2001. Kennedy wondered whether the schools had integrated on their own.

The facts should sober him. In 2000, white enrollment at predominantly non-white Franklin High School was 25%; by 2005 it was down to 10%. Without the plan, Seattle's schools have gone backwards. The high court shouldn't lead a charge to ensure similar results around the nation.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Court Reviews Race as Factor in School Plans - New York Times

Court Reviews Race as Factor in School Plans - New York Times:
December 5, 2006

Court Reviews Race as Factor in School Plans

WASHINGTON, Dec. 4 — By the time the Supreme Court finished hearing arguments on Monday on the student-assignment plans that two urban school systems use to maintain racial integration, the only question was how far the court would go in ruling such plans unconstitutional.

There seemed little prospect that either the Louisville, Ky., or Seattle plans would survive the hostile scrutiny of the court’s new majority. In each system, students are offered a choice of schools but can be denied admission based on their race if enrolling at a particular school would upset the racial balance.

At its most profound, the debate among the justices was over whether measures designed to maintain or achieve integration should be subjected to the same harsh scrutiny to which Brown v. Board of Education subjected the regime of official segregation. In the view of the conservative majority, the answer was yes.

While there is no reliable data on how common these plans are, they are thought to be widespread among school districts where residential patterns would otherwise produce neighborhood schools of one race or nearly so. Depending on how broadly the court rules, possibly hundreds of districts would need to modify or scrap voluntary integration plans.

The National School Boards Association as well as the Council of the Great City Schools, representing 66 urban districts, filed briefs on behalf of Seattle and Louisville, warning of impending disruption if the justices overturn the lower court rulings that upheld the two plans.

The Supreme Court had declined to review a similar voluntary integration plan in Massachusetts last year, shortly before the retirement of Justice Sandra Day O’Connor and the arrival of Justice Samuel A. Alito Jr. But in June, after weeks of internal debate, the justices accepted these two appeals.

One was filed by a white woman in Louisville whose son was denied a transfer to attend kindergarten in a school that needed black rather than white students in order to keep its black population at the district’s required minimum of 15 percent.

The other was filed by parents in Seattle who organized as a corporation to oppose the plan there, which applies only to the city’s 10 high schools. A racial “tiebreaker,” used when a high school attracts more students than there are places, intends to keep the schools within 15 percent of the district’s overall makeup, which is 60 percent nonwhite.

Before the arguments on Monday, the challenge for the school board lawyers defending the plans, along with their allies in the civil rights community, had appeared to be to persuade the justices that the appropriate analogy was not to affirmative action, a freighted subject for the court in which benefits are bestowed on one group and withheld from another, but rather to integration, in which the goal is to educate everyone as equally as possible.

But by the end of the tense two hours of argument, that effort had not so much failed as it had become irrelevant. Lawyers for the school systems found themselves struggling, under the justices’ questioning, to meet the even more basic challenge of explaining why the plans should be seen as something different from the intentional segregation that the court struck down in Brown v. Board of Education.

For example, Michael F. Madden, the Seattle district’s lawyer, tried to argue that because the Seattle high schools were “basically comparable,” and “everyone gets a seat,” the court should not view the plan as “a selective or merit-based system where we adjudge one student to be better than the other.”

It was, Mr. Madden said, “a distributive system” that was “quite wholly dissimilar to a merit or selective-based system.”

Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. countered, “Saying that this doesn’t involve individualized determinations simply highlights the fact that the decision to distribute, as you put it, was based on skin color and not any other factor.”

He added: “I mean, everyone got a seat in Brown as well. But because they were assigned to those seats on the basis of race, it violated equal protection. How is your argument that there’s no problem here because everybody gets a seat distinguishable?”

“Because segregation is harmful,” Mr. Madden replied.

“It’s an assignment on the basis of race, correct?” the chief justice persisted.

It was, Mr. Madden replied as his 30 minutes ran out and the red light came on, an effort “to bring students together in a mix that is not too far from their community.”

As the arguments proceeded, the court’s more liberal members appeared increasingly and visibly dispirited. Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg tried unsuccessfully to turn the chief justice’s colloquy with Mr. Madden in a different direction. The question of whether “using racial integration is the same as segregation,” she said, was “pretty far from the kind of headlines that attended the Brown decision.”

Bringing “white and black children together on the same school bench,” Justice Ginsburg continued, “seems to be worlds apart from saying we’ll separate them.”

Justice Stephen G. Breyer let his frustration show in several exchanges with Solicitor General Paul D. Clement, who argued the Bush administration’s position as a “friend of the court” for the challengers and against the school systems in both cases.

“Think, go back to Cooper v. Aaron,” Justice Breyer told the solicitor general, referring during the argument in the Louisville case to the court’s 1958 decision enforcing a desegregation order in Little Rock, Ark. “Go back to the case where this court with paratroopers had to use tremendous means to get those children into the school. That’s because the society was divided.”

He continued: “Here we have a society, black and white, who elect school board members who together have voted to have this form of integration. Why, given that change in society, which is a good one, how can the Constitution be interpreted in a way that would require us, the judges, to go in and make them take the black children out of the school?”

“Well, I understand that, Justice Breyer,” Mr. Clement said. “But I think the answer to that is that the lesson of history in this area is that racial classifications are not ones where we should just let local school board officials do what they think is right.”

The Louisville plan, adopted in 2000 as the formerly segregated district emerged from 25 years of federal court supervision, provides that all schools should have a black student enrollment of no lower than 15 percent and no greater than 50 percent. The district as a whole, which includes suburban areas of Jefferson County as well as the city of Louisville, is about one-third black.

Mr. Clement said the 15-to-50-percent range was a “strict racial band” that was not sufficiently “narrowly tailored” to satisfy the “strict scrutiny” to which the court’s precedents subject government actions that are based on race. The administration’s position is that those choosing to adjust the racial balance in their schools should do so by “race-neutral means,” like magnet schools that attract children across racial lines.

“There’s a fundamental difference between whether or not the policy manages to avoid classifying people on the basis of their race,” the solicitor general said.

Justice David H. Souter asked Mr. Clement why this position was not just another way of saying that “the important thing is simply to hide the ball.” If improving the racial mix was the objective, Justice Souter asked, “why can’t they do that candidly?”

There were “several responses,” Mr. Clement answered. “One is that the Constitution puts a particular premium on avoiding express racial classifications.”

Justice Anthony M. Kennedy asked the lawyers a series of questions designed to test the outer reaches of their positions. Could a school district deliberately place a new school in a location designed to supply a racially mixed student body, he asked, and appeared displeased when Harry J. F. Korrell, the lawyer representing the parents challenging the Seattle plan, answered no.

While his questions suggested that he would not rule out any and all policies undertaken with a knowledge of the probable racial consequences, Justice Kennedy made clear his distaste for the policies at issue in these cases, Parents Involved in Community Schools v. Seattle School District, No. 05-908, and Meredith v. Jefferson County Board of Education, No. 05-915.

To Mr. Madden, the Seattle district’s lawyer, Justice Kennedy said that unlike magnet schools, special resources, or school location decisions, “you’re characterizing each student by reason of the color of his or her skin.”

He continued: “That is quite a different means. And it seems to me that that should only be, if ever allowed, allowed as a last resort.”

Thursday, November 23, 2006

CBS 46: News and Weather for Atlanta, GA, WGCL, | Copyright office issues 6 new rights, including cell phone reuse

CBS 46: News and Weather for Atlanta, GA, WGCL, | Copyright office issues 6 new rights, including cell phone reuse:Copyright office issues 6 new rights, including cell phone reuse

Nov 23, 2006 01:13 PM

Associated Press photo
Associated Press photo

NEW YORK (AP) -- Cell phone owners will be allowed to break software locks on their handsets in order to use them with competing carriers under new copyright rules announced Wednesday.

Other copyright exemptions approved by the Library of Congress will let film professors copy snippets from DVDs for educational compilations and let blind people use special software to read copy-protected electronic books.

All told, Librarian of Congress James H. Billington approved six exemptions, the most his Copyright Office has ever granted. For the first time, the office exempted groups of users. Previously, Billington took an all-or-nothing approach, making exemptions difficult to justify.

"I am very encouraged by the fact that the Copyright Office is willing to recognize exemptions for archivists, cell phone recyclers and computer security experts," said Fred von Lohmann, an attorney with the civil-liberties group Electronic Frontier Foundation. "Frankly I'm surprised and pleased they were granted."

But von Lohmann said he was disappointed the Copyright Office rejected a number of exemptions that could have benefited consumers, including one that would have let owners of DVDs legally copy movies for use on Apple Computer Inc.'s iPod and other portable players.

The new rules will take effect Monday and expire in three years.

In granting the exemption for cell phone users, the Copyright Office determined that consumers aren't able to enjoy full legal use of their handsets because of software locks that wireless providers have been placing to control access to phones' underlying programs.

Providers of prepaid phone services, in particular, have been trying to stop entrepreneurs from buying subsidized handsets to resell at a profit. But even customers of regular plans generally can't bring their phones to another carrier, even after their contracts run out.

Billington noted that at least one company has filed lawsuits claiming that breaking the software locks violates copyright law, which makes it illegal for people to circumvent copy-protection technologies without an exemption from the Copyright Office. He said the locks appeared in place not to protect the developer of the cell phone software but for third-party interests.

Officials with the industry group CTIA-The Wireless Association did not return phone calls for comment Wednesday.

The exemption granted to film professors authorizes the breaking of the CSS copy-protection technology found in most DVDs. Programs to do so circulate widely on the Internet, though it has been illegal to use or distribute them.

The professors said they need the ability to create compilations of DVD snippets to teach their classes -- for example, taking portions of old and new cartoons to study how animation has evolved. Such compilations are generally permitted under "fair use" provisions of copyright law, but breaking the locks to make the compilations has been illegal.

Hollywood studios have argued that educators could turn to videotapes and other versions without the copy protections, but the professors argued that DVDs are of higher quality and may preserve the original colors or dimensions that videotapes lack.

"The record did not reveal any alternative means to meet the pedagogical needs of the professors," Billington wrote.

Billington also authorized the breaking of locks on electronic books so that blind people can use them with read-aloud software and similar aides.

He granted two exemptions dealing with computer obsolescence. For computer software and video games that require machines no longer available, copy-protection controls may be circumvented for archival purposes. Locks on computer programs also may be broken if they require dongles -- small computer attachments -- that are damaged and can't be replaced.

The final exemption lets researchers test CD copy-protection technologies for security flaws or vulnerabilities. Researchers had cited Sony BMG Music Entertainment's use of copy-protection systems that installed themselves on personal computers to limit copying. In doing so, critics say, Sony BMG exposed the computers to hacking, and the company has acknowledged problems with one of the technologies used on some 5.7 million CDs.

Article written by Associated Press writer Anick Jesdanum.

New York Daily News - News & Views Columnists - Stanley Crouch: The hate factory

New York Daily News - News & Views Columnists - Stanley Crouch: The hate factory:
The hate factory

N-word outburst adds to the denigration
that passes as entertainment

When "Seinfeld" comedian Michael Richards lost his cool and began a racist rant at some noisy customers in a Hollywood comedy club, it seemed to surprise a number of people. It shouldn't. What is actually surprising is that it has taken this long for some airhead made famous by a very popular but insipid television series to flip out within the context of today's minstrel entertainments.

Naturally, a lawyer representing the affronted audience members did not feel that it was enough for Richards to apologize on television; he still needs to pay them some money for what they had to suffer at his hands.

The question, however, is what exactly did the patrons suffer?

What they actually suffered, if anything, was an unintended caricature of a redneck in heated rage, expressing conventional disdain for black people. Richards said that 50 years ago, the black members of the noisy group of comedy club customers would have been hanged, and stabbed in the backside with a pitchfork. Before leaving the stage, Richards reminded the assembled that when it was all over, he would still be wealthy and the black people would still be, well, N-words.

The painfully unfunny comedian Paul Rodriguez performed on the same stage that evening and told the press that if one uses the N-word and is not African-American, a lot of explaining will have to be made.

In the interest of equality, no black comedian should get a pass when using insulting and denigrating words in the middle of an act. It all seems very simple to me. We do not need to accept the conventions of insult and denigration that have been established by black comedians and rappers.

And I do not feel that there should be a freedom of speech issue raised either. Nor do I feel that any laws need to be passed.

This was another moment to question what the ongoing vulgarization of our popular culture has actually come to mean. Two groups - women and black people - are disdainfully addressed and demeaned constantly. Only one has made any protest against being the constant butt of overstated vulgarity. White women have stood up against the misogyny in popular entertainment, but black people have not had much to say about the denigration.

Rap producers and others in the business of selling anything that gives a little spice to the minstrel content of our popular culture have been known to claim that the N-word has become a common means of expression and has taken on a universal understanding through rap. We can now be treated to young people of all ethnic groups referring to each other when using the word.

Does that prove anything? I think not. When Richard Pryor first made liberal use of the N-word, he could not have imagined what emerged in the wake of his performances. But when Pryor himself took a position against minstrel updates, no one listened to him. He had passed out the right of irresponsibility and could not take it back.

So what remains before us is the issue of coming to terms with a popular culture in which the N-word, bitches and hos have become no more than condiments in a particularly unappetizing meal. We need not ban their use, but we do need to face the fact that we have been hustled far more often than not.

Originally published on November 23, 2006

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Tuesday, November 14, 2006

My Way News - Bush Leads King Groundbreaking Ceremony

My Way News - Bush Leads King Groundbreaking Ceremony Bush Leads King Groundbreaking Ceremony

Email this Story

Nov 13, 11:23 PM (ET)

(AP) National Council of Negro Women President Dorothy Height, center, is assisted by former Amb. Andrew...
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WASHINGTON (AP) - Martin Luther King Jr. belongs among American icons like Thomas Jefferson and Abraham Lincoln, national leaders said Monday at the ceremonial groundbreaking for a King memorial.

"We give Martin Luther King his rightful place among the many Americans honored on the National Mall," President Bush told a crowd of about 5,000.

King's memorial, he said, "will unite the men who declared the promise of America and defended the promise of America with the man who redeemed the promise of America."

The King memorial, slated to open in the spring of 2008, will be the first monument for a civilian and black leader on the large park at Washington's core. It is also probably among the last monuments on the Mall following a 2003 vote in Congress to sharply limit development of the parkland.

(AP) Yoland King, left, and Martin Luther King III, right, children of Martin Luther King Jr., arrive on...
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The stage in front of the crowd was filled with King's fellow civil rights leaders such as Jesse Jackson, celebrities like Oprah Winfrey, politicians including Illinois Sen. Barack Obama, and three of King's children. A gospel choir sang, and Maya Angelou read poetry. Children read essays they had written about King.

Clinton, who signed legislation in 1996 authorizing the memorial, received a standing ovation from the largely black crowd. He told the crowd of King's commitment to nonviolence and social justice causes such as ending poverty, saying those goals still have not yet been achieved.

"If he were here, he would remind us that the time to do right remains," Clinton said.

The memorial will occupy a four-acre plot on the banks of the Tidal Basin, near the Potomac River. The Jefferson Memorial is across the Tidal Basin, while the Lincoln Memorial lies to the northwest, near the river.

The design is based in part on King's 1963 "I Have a Dream" speech. Before repeating the "Let freedom ring" refrain, King told the crowd, "We will be able to hew out of the mountain of despair a stone of hope."

(AP) Entertainer Nick Cannon smiles as he arrives on the red carpet for the National Dream Dinner Gala...
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Visitors will pass through an entryway cut through a massive stone symbolizing the mountain of despair and once inside, will come upon the missing section marking the stone of hope, bearing a carved profile of King. It will be ringed with walls chiseled with King's words that may eventually be the base for a waterfall.

Obama, who has said he is considering a presidential run in 2008, spoke shortly after Bush. He imagined bringing his two young children to the memorial when it is completed and passing through the mountain of despair.

"He never did live to see the promised land from that mountaintop," Obama said. "But he pointed the way for us."

Winfrey credited King and other civil rights leaders with making it possible for her to build her talk show empire.

"It's because of them that I can be heard," she said. "I do not take that for granted, not for one breath."

(AP) Singer Michael Bolton smiles as he poses upon arriving on the red carpet for the National Dream...
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The memorial was first conceived in 1983 by members of King's fraternity, Alpha Phi Alpha. But it has been beset by delays and fundraising issues - the memorial's foundation still has only $70 million of the estimated $100 million construction cost.

Eugene Williams, a Washington resident and an Alpha Phi Alpha member, said he believed the rest of the money will be found now that people know the memorial will be built.

"Absolutely, it's coming forth," he said of funding. "This is a monument to the fact that no other person in history has done what King has done."

In a seat nearby, Carolyn Jackson of Philadelphia recalled how as an 18-year-old in 1963 she was among the vast crowd who heard King's "I Have a Dream" speech during the March on Washington. With much of the civil rights struggle still ahead, Jackson didn't imagine at the time she would be back on the National Mall again because of King.

But she was back despite the cold and rainy weather, and this time not at a memorial borrowed from another leader.

"It's a full circle for black people in this country," Jackson said.

Race & The Political Race

Race & The Political Race:

Race & The Political Race

Observant Americans have noticed it. Newspapers around the country are mentioning it. "It" being the subtle way in which race has become the latest weapon of choice in an increasingly destructive arsenal designed to support dirty political race tactics.

I don't know about you, but I'm sick of these political ads, the thousands of dollars they represent, wasted on slander, on below-the-belt attacks, on bashing. "This is how you should think," they tell us. "Vote for the lesser evil," is ultimately the message that comes across to me. I refuse to watch them. Particularly, when race becomes yet another offensive tool.

For example, White Massachusetts Republican Kerry Healey, running against black Democrat Patrick Deval for governor, has approved a commercial that capitalizes on Deval's earlier defense of a rapist that he believed was innocent until DNA tests proved him wrong. The commercial shows a nervous white woman being stalked. The commercial's message? "Deval Patrick, he should be ashamed — not governor." White woman being stalked, black man running for governor. These are the images emblazoned on the American voter's mind. Are we really to believe race is not a factor?

An LATimes article emphasizes the importance of context in determining the weight these images and messages carry: "Context provides the moral thicket. Consider that when South Carolina finally repealed its Constitution's ban on interracial marriage in 1998 — 31 years after the U.S. Supreme Court struck down such laws — almost half of white voters voted to keep it in place. These ads and commercials themselves may not be overtly racist, they just hope you are."
Monday October 30, 2006 |

Friday, November 10, 2006

Ed Bradley, TV Correspondent, Dies at 65 - New York Times

Ed Bradley, TV Correspondent, Dies at 65 - New York Times

November 10, 2006

Ed Bradley, TV Correspondent, Dies at 65

Ed Bradley, a fixture in American living rooms on Sunday nights for a quarter century as a correspondent on “60 Minutes” and one of the first black journalists prominently featured on network television, died yesterday in Manhattan. He was 65.

Mr. Bradley died at Mount Sinai Medical Center of complications from chronic lymphocytic leukemia, said Dr. Valentin Fuster, his cardiologist and the director of the Cardiovascular Institute at Mount Sinai. Mr. Bradley, who underwent quintuple bypass heart surgery in 2003, learned he had leukemia “many years ago,” Dr. Fuster said, but it had not posed a threat to his life until recently, when he was overtaken by an infection.

Even some close colleagues, including Mike Wallace, did not know that Mr. Bradley had leukemia or that his health had precipitously deteriorated over the last few weeks. His most recent segments on “60 Minutes” were on Oct. 15 (on the rape allegations against three Duke University lacrosse players, whom he interviewed) and on Oct. 29 (an investigation of an oil refinery explosion in Texas City, Tex.). On the day that that last segment was broadcast, he was admitted to Mount Sinai and remained there until his death.

Though Mr. Bradley had largely concealed his illness, he and his wife, Patricia Blanchet, had reached out in recent days to some of his closest friends — including Charlayne Hunter-Gault of National Public Radio (who traveled to his bedside from her home in South Africa) and the singer Jimmy Buffett (who rushed to New York to be with him following a concert in Hawaii).

Mr. Buffett said he told Mr. Bradley on Wednesday that “the Knicks and the Democrats won,” eliciting a smile from Mr. Bradley, who by that point could barely speak. Mr. Buffett and Ms. Hunter-Gault were part of a close-knit circle gathered at Mr. Bradley’s hospital room at the time of his death.

“This has been a long battle which he fought silently and courageously,” Ms. Hunter-Gault said. “He didn’t want people to know that this was a part of his struggle. He didn’t want people feeling sorry for him. And for a good part of his life, he managed it.”

To generations of television viewers, Mr. Bradley was a sober presence — albeit one with salt-and-pepper stubble and a stud in one ear — whose reporting for CBS across four decades ranged from the Vietnam War and Cambodian refugee crisis to the sexual abuse scandal in the Catholic Church and the Columbine High School shooting. His most prominent interviews over the years included those with Timothy McVeigh and the convicted killer (and author) Jack Henry Abbott, and with the performers Michael Jackson, Robin Williams and Lena Horne. He won 19 Emmy awards, according to CBS, including one for lifetime achievement in 2003.

In the three years since his bypass operation, Mr. Bradley had more than 60 segments broadcast on “60 Minutes” — more than any other correspondent. “And he kept track,” said Jeff Fager, the program’s executive producer.

But Mr. Bradley’s life off camera was often as rich and compelling as his life in the studio. Having begun his broadcast career as a disc jockey in Philadelphia, Mr. Bradley was an enormous fan of many forms of music — particularly jazz and gospel. He counted the musicians Wynton Marsalis, Aaron Neville and George Wein among his friends and made regular pilgrimages to the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival. At his death, he was also the host of “Jazz at Lincoln Center Radio With Ed Bradley,” broadcast weekly on 240 public radio stations.

“I made the mistake once of letting him get onstage with my band, and he never stopped doing it,” said Mr. Buffett, who was introduced to Mr. Bradley 30 years ago in Key West, Fla., by a mutual friend, Hunter S. Thompson.

Mr. Bradley had many nicknames throughout his life, including Big Daddy, when he played defensive end and offensive tackle in the 1960s at Cheyney State College (now Cheyney University of Pennsylvania); but his favorite, Ms. Hunter-Gault and Mr. Buffett said, was Teddy Badly, which Mr. Buffett bestowed on him onstage the first time Mr. Bradley played tambourine at his side.

“Everybody in my opinion needs a little Mardi Gras in their life,” Mr. Buffett said, “and he liked to have a little more than the average person on occasion.”

“He was such a great journalist,” Mr. Buffett added, “but he still knew how to have a good time.”

Edward Rudolph Bradley Jr. was born June 22, 1941, in Philadelphia. His father was a businessman and his mother a homemaker. After his parents divorced, he spent summers with his father at his home in Detroit, said Marie Dutton Brown, a literary agent and Philadelphia native.

Ms. Dutton Brown said she met Mr. Bradley in the mid-1960s, after he graduated from Cheyney State with a degree in education, when both worked for the Philadelphia schools. Mr. Bradley, she said, taught elementary school.

At the time, she said, his dream was to attend the Annenberg School for Communication at the University of Pennsylvania. But on the strength of his work in his other job at the time — at WDAS radio, where he was a news reporter and host of a jazz show — he was hired as a reporter at WCBS radio in New York. “And that was that,” Ms. Dutton Brown said.

In 1971, after four years at WCBS, he joined CBS News, as a stringer in its Paris bureau. The next year, he was reassigned to the network’s Saigon bureau, where he stayed until 1974, when he moved to its Washington office. Mr. Bradley, who was wounded on assignment in Cambodia, had become a full-fledged correspondent while in Southeast Asia. In 1975, he volunteered to return to the region to cover the fall of Saigon.

His reporting on Cambodian refugees, as broadcast on the “CBS Evening News With Walter Cronkite” and “CBS News Sunday Morning,” won a George Polk Award. After covering Jimmy Carter’s presidential campaign, he covered the Carter White House from 1976 to 1978. He was also anchor of the “CBS Sunday Night News” from 1976 to 1981.

It was in 1981 that Don Hewitt, the founding executive producer of “60 Minutes,” hired Mr. Bradley for the program, the most prestigious (and arguably the most competitive) news magazine on television.

And yet, despite having to jockey for airtime with heavyweights like Mr. Wallace and Morley Safer, Mr. Bradley stood out — in no small measure because of the competence and decency he conveyed, said Mr. Fager, a longtime producer on the program who succeeded Mr. Hewitt last year.

“Not only was he just a natural broadcaster and storyteller, but he was filled with integrity and credibility, in the way Cronkite was as an anchorman,” Mr. Fager said yesterday. “He had no pretensions. He was a remarkable, likeable, wonderful man you just wanted to be around.”

He also had a wicked sense of humor. At one point, Mr. Fager said, Mr. Bradley tried to convince Mr. Hewitt that he wished to change his name to Shahib Shahab, and thus the opening of the “60 Minutes” broadcast to: “I’m Mike Wallace. I’m Morley Safer. I’m Shahib Shahab.”

“He let the gag run for quite some time,” Mr. Fager said. “Don was quite concerned.”

Mr. Bradley, who had no children, is survived by Ms. Blanchet, whom he married two years ago at his home in Aspen, Colo., said Ms. Hunter-Gault. His two previous marriages, to Diane Jefferson and Priscilla Coolidge, ended in divorce, Ms. Hunter-Gault said.

For Ms. Hunter-Gault, who left The New York Times for the “MacNeil/Lehrer News Hour” on PBS in 1978, Mr. Bradley was more than just someone who helped clear an early path to national television for herself and other black journalists — a distinction he shared with, among others, Max Robinson and Lem Tucker.

“I think people might want to characterize him as a trailblazer for black journalists,” she said yesterday, by cellphone from outside Mr. Bradley’s hospital room just after his death. “I think he’d be proud of that. But I think Ed was a trailblazer for good journalism. Period.”

In the weeks before his final hospitalization, Mr. Bradley had been scrambling to finish the Duke report in particular, while fending off what would become the early stages of pneumonia.

“He just kept hitting the road,” Ms. Hunter-Gault said. “Every time I talked to him, he was tired. I’d say, ‘Why don’t you go home and rest?’ He’d say, ‘I just want to get this piece done.’ ”

“He was proud of what he did,” she said. “But he never allowed that pride to turn him into a star in his own head.”

“In his own head,” she added, “he was always Teddy.”

Thursday, November 09, 2006

I am Not Teaching This Fall Semester 2006

Do to political forces beyond my control I am not teaching at Clark Atlanta University this Fall Semester 2006. Please feel free to contact me by email or by cell phone if you need to reach me. Please give me forty-eight hours to return your contact. I will be in the Mass Communication Department each and every Saturday evening from 9PM-1AM hosting my radio show "The Hard Core Jazz Cafe" in the studios of WCLK.

Saturday, July 22, 2006

Test 2 PodCasts Summer 2006

There are two PodCasts for test 2. Please listen to both of them. Please ignore the date references. These PodCasts were recorded originally for the Spring class but they are suitable for your class also. Good luck on the test!

  • Review PodCast for Test 2 Definitions

  • Review PodCast for Test 2 Essay Instructions
  • Tuesday, July 11, 2006

    Communications Law PodCast Test 1 Summer 2006

    Communication Law Summer 2006 PodCast Test 1

    Right Click on the link below and save the PodCast to your computer and listen to it or transfer it to your MP3 Player. If you click on the link the PodCast will stream from the internet

    PodCast Test 1

    Below there is an alternate link to download the PodCast to your computer

    Alternate Download Link

    Good Luck!

    Tuesday, April 25, 2006

    NPR : Roundtable: New Orleans Vote, Taxing Big Oil

    NPR : Roundtable: New Orleans Vote, Taxing Big OilRoundtable: New Orleans Vote, Taxing Big Oil

    Listen to this story...

    News & Notes with Ed Gordon, April 24, 2006 · Topics: The New Orleans mayoral election, and a proposed tax on oil companies making big profits at the pump. Guests: Robert George, editorial writer for the New York Post; Callie Crossley, social and cultural commentator on the Boston television show Beat the Press; and Jeff Obafemi Carr, host of the radio show Freestyle.

    Osama's Crusade in Darfur - New York Times

    Osama's Crusade in Darfur - New York TimesApril 25, 2006
    Op-Ed Columnist


    Those of us who want a more forceful response to genocide in Darfur should be sobered by Osama bin Laden's latest tape.

    In that tape, released on Sunday, Osama rails against the agreement that ended Sudan's civil war with its Christian and animist south and accuses the U.S. of plotting to dispatch "Crusader troops" to occupy Darfur "and steal its oil wealth under the pretext of peacekeeping." Osama calls on good Muslims to go to Sudan and stockpile land mines and rocket-propelled grenades in preparation for "a long-term war" against U.N. peacekeepers and other infidels.

    Osama's tape underscores the fact that a tougher approach carries real risks. It's easy for us in the peanut gallery to call for a U.N. force, but what happens when jihadis start shooting down the U.N. helicopters?

    So with a major rally planned for Sunday to call for action to stop the slaughter in Darfur, let's look at what specific actions the U.S. should take. One reader, William in Scottsdale, Ariz., wrote to me to say that he had called Senator John McCain's office to demand more action on Darfur. "The lady on the phone asked me for suggestions," he said — and William was short on suggestions.

    The first step to stop the killing is to dispatch a robust U.N. peacekeeping force of at least 20,000 well-equipped and mobile troops. But because of precisely the nationalistic sensitivities that Osama is trying to stir, it shouldn't have U.S. ground troops. Instead, it should be made up mostly of Turks, Jordanians, Bangladeshis, Pakistanis and other Muslims, and smaller numbers of European and Asian troops. The U.S. can supply airlifts, and NATO can provide a short-term bridging force if necessary.

    Second, the U.S. and France should enforce a no-fly zone from the French air base in Abéché, Chad. American military planners say this is practicable, particularly if it simply involves destroying Sudanese aircraft on the ground after they have attacked civilians.

    Granted, these approaches carry real risks. After we shoot up a Sudanese military plane, Sudan may orchestrate a "spontaneous" popular riot that will involve lynching a few U.S. aid workers — or journalists.

    But remember that the Sudanese government is hanging on by its fingernails. It is deeply unpopular, and when it tried to organize demonstrations against the Danish cartoons, they were a flop.

    The coming issue of Foreign Policy magazine publishes a Failed States Index in which Sudan is ranked the single most unstable country in the entire world. If we apply enough pressure, Sudan's leaders will back down in Darfur — just as they did when they signed a peace deal to end the war with southern Sudan.

    A no-fly zone and a U.N. force are among the ways we can apply pressure, but another essential element is public diplomacy. We should respond to Osama by shining a spotlight on the Muslim victims of Darfur (many Arabs have instinctively sided with Sudan's rulers and have no idea that nearly all of the victims of the genocide are Muslim).

    The White House can invite survivors for a photo-op so they themselves can recount, in Arabic, how their children were beheaded and their mosques destroyed. We can release atrocity photos, like one I have from an African Union archive of the body of a 2-year-old boy whose face was beaten into mush. President Bush can make a major speech about Darfur, while sending Condi Rice and a planeload of television journalists to a refugee camp in Chad to meet orphans.

    Madeleine Albright helped end the horrors of Sierra Leone simply by going there and being photographed with maimed children. Those searing photos put Sierra Leone on the global agenda, and policy makers hammered out solutions. Granted, it's the fault of the "CBS Evening News" that it gave Darfur's genocide only 2 minutes of coverage in all of last year (compared with the 36 minutes that it gave the Michael Jackson trial), but the administration can help when we in the media world drop the ball.

    The U.S. could organize a summit meeting in Europe or the Arab world to call attention to Darfur, we could appoint a presidential envoy like Colin Powell, and we could make the issue much more prominent in our relations with countries like Egypt, Qatar, Jordan and China.

    Americans often ask what they can do about Darfur. These are the kinds of ideas they can urge on the White House and their members of Congress — or on embassies like Egypt's. Many other ideas are at and at

    When Darfur first came to public attention, there were 70,000 dead. Now there are perhaps 300,000, maybe 400,000. Soon there may be 1 million. If we don't act now, when will we?

    Saturday, April 22, 2006

    Liberty Beat
    Mutiny at the Supreme Court
    The Roberts Court signals the president that he is not immune from the Constitution
    by Nat Hentoff
    April 16th, 2006 11:04 AM

    John Roberts delivers remarks on the State Floor of the White House
    photo: White House photo by Eric Draper/
    The preservation of liberty requires that the three great departments of power should be separate and distinct. James Madison, Federalist Papers, No. 47.

    There was celebration within George W. Bush's Republican base when he managed to appoint two justices to the Supreme Court, Samuel Alito and John Roberts, with the latter also becoming chief justice. At last—it was also widely assumed by Bush's opponents—whatever the ultimate failures of his administration, the high court had moved firmly to the right for some time to come.

    This grim prospect may well prove true, but two recent events at the Supreme Court indicate strongly that regarding the most dangerous thrust of Bush's reign, his continuing, unprecedented expansion of his powers as commander in chief, the court is finally and crucially alarmed.

    During the March 28 oral arguments in Hamdan v. Rumsfeld, there were two main issues: the constitutional legitimacy of the military commissions at Guantánamo, created solely by the president, and whether the Supreme Court itself had the right to even hear the case.

    In a revealing exchange, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg said to Solicitor General Paul Clement: "I thought it was the government position that these enemy combatants do not have any rights under the Constitution and laws of the United States."

    "That is true, Justice Ginsburg," the solicitor general said. The unmistakable subtext of the government's answer was: "So why is this court interfering with the inherent constitutional powers of the commander in chief in the war on terrorism? Get lost!"

    This dismissal of the Supreme Court's jurisdiction by the administration angered at least five of the justices in that hearing during a series of hostile questions to Clement. Among the five, most significantly, was Anthony Kennedy, who increasingly appears to be the Sandra Day O'Connor of this Supreme Court—a more or less conservative swing vote.

    Moreover, the questions and comments of five of the eight justices sitting on the case revealed a strong likelihood that the court will disagree with the president's skewed concept of due process (basic fairness in our rule of law) in inventing these military commissions.

    Even more disturbing to the president—if he has the educational background to parse the court's warnings for the future when it refuses, for the time being, to review a case—is what happened on April 30.

    In Jose Padilla v. Hanft, there were not the necessary four votes to hear the case right now, although justices Ginsburg, David Souter, and Stephen Breyer wanted to go ahead in this second appearance before the court by Padilla.

    But very significantly, in a concurring opinion by John Paul Stevens, Anthony Kennedy (again!), and most notably, Chief Justice Roberts, it became clear that this case is still very much alive, as I'll show as we go on.

    Moreover, a majority of the court ( not Clarence Thomas, Antonin Scalia, and Samuel Alito) signaled a readiness to, in the not so distant future, startle the president by striking down his method of removing terrorism suspects from our system of laws by setting them apart as "enemy combatants" imprisoned in military cells indefinitely, incommunicado, without access to lawyers,
    and without charges—as he did to Padilla.

    On March 8, 2002, I suddenly saw on network television, from Moscow, Attorney General John Ashcroft triumphantly announcing that an American citizen, Jose Padilla, had been captured at O'Hare Airport in Chicago before he could set off a radioactive "dirty bomb." (Ashcroft did not say "alleged" terrorist and certainly had no thought of invoking the American value of "innocent until proven guilty.")

    Padilla was briefly held to testify before a grand jury but then was summarily transferred to a military brig in South Carolina for more than three years as an "enemy combatant," without charges and without contact with anyone but guards.

    In 2004, the Supreme Court would not hear his case on a technicality, saying his appeal had been filed in the wrong jurisdiction. At last, when the Supreme Court indicated it would consider listening to his appeal, the Bush administration—fearing that, My God, there might be a majority to declare Bush's "enemy combatant" designation unconstitutional—pulled a not-so-hidden-ball trick.

    Pulling Padilla out of the military brig and into our real justice system, the administration filed a mélange of new charges—without any mention of the "radioactive dirty bomb" that John Ashcroft had tried to scare us with. When that happened, a majority of the high court—clearly resentful of the Bush team's trying to game the system by preventing the court from ruling on the lawfulness of putting people away as "enemy combatants"—decided to hear Padilla once more.

    This time, although they decided to hold off on the "enemy combatant" ruling until Padilla goes through our regular courts, a majority of the justices showed they're aware that even if he is found innocent of the new charges, the administration can still put him into military prison again as an "enemy combatant."

    If this happened to Padilla—warned John Roberts, Anthony Kennedy, and John Paul Stevens in their concurring opinions—the Supreme Court wouldl teach Bush a lesson he and the nation will not forget. Even, therefore, if Padilla is acquitted in a lower civilian court, the often cited Professor Michael Greenberger, director of the University of Maryland's Center Health and Homeland Security, told National Public Radio:

    "I think we're going to see the end of the use of the enemy combatant status . . . arresting a U.S. citizen in the United States and claiming they can be held incommunicado without contact with the outside world."

    When Padilla first appeared before the Supreme Court two years ago, John Paul Stevens, speaking for justices who wanted to hear his case then, said: "At stake in this case is nothing less than the essence of a free society." And the then chief justice, William Rehnquist, writing for the majority that dismissed the case on a technicality, spoke for the court, also emphasizing that Padilla's case was "indisputably of profound importance." Will somebody try to explain all of this to Bush?

    Call to Escort Service Began a Night of Trouble at Duke - New York Times

    Call to Escort Service Began a Night of Trouble at Duke - New York TimesApril 23, 2006

    DURHAM, N.C., April 22 — The Duke University lacrosse team's troubles began with a phone call.

    A team captain using an assumed name called an escort service to hire two exotic dancers for a party on March 13. Last week, two Duke players were indicted on charges of first-degree forcible rape, first-degree sexual offense and the kidnapping of one woman hired that night. Collin Finnerty, 19, of Garden City, N.Y., and Reade Seligmann, 20, of Essex Fells, N.J., both sophomores, are each free on $400,000 bail.

    Michael B. Nifong, the Durham County district attorney, said he had identified another suspect and was gathering evidence for an indictment. The grand jury next meets May 1, one day before an election in which Mr. Nifong, a Democrat, faces two Democratic opponents.

    To all but some of the people at the party, the truth of what happened that night to one of the dancers, who accused three white players of raping her in a bathroom, is a mystery.

    Mr. Nifong says a sexual assault occurred, based on hospital records and the account of the accuser, who is black. A second dancer and a neighbor corroborated some of the accuser's details.

    Defense lawyers say the accuser was drunk when she arrived at the party, and fabricated the assault. Taxi and bank receipts and dormitory access records prove that Mr. Seligmann could not have raped the woman, his lawyer says. A statement by the team captains said the sexual assault accusations were "totally and transparently false."

    The case has polarized Durham, where tension between Duke and local residents is palpable.

    "Everyone around here has strong feelings about this, one way or the other," said Renee Clark, the student government president at North Carolina Central University, where the accuser was a student. "But you can't be sure. If you weren't there in the bathroom with the players and that woman, you really don't know what happened, do you?"

    Nonetheless, a skeletal timetable is evolving through court and police records, news and personal accounts, photographs and lawyers.

    Using the name Adam, Dan Flannery, a senior team captain, called an escort service and hired two dancers for $400 each. The dancers were to show up at 11:30 p.m. on March 13. The address was 610 North Buchanan Boulevard, a white house across the street from Duke's east campus on a block known for parties.

    A neighbor, Jason Bissey, watched the party begin as players gathered in the backyard. By 2 p.m., he said, he saw them drinking in the yard.

    About 8:30 p.m., a 27-year-old single mother of two answered her phone. That woman, a Durham native, was enrolled at North Carolina Central, a historically black college on the south side of town. Its patchy grass and simple brick buildings are a world away from Duke.

    The woman had held factory and store jobs but had begun working for an escort service to help pay for college. She thought she would be dancing at a bachelor party that night. When she arrived about 11:30 p.m., she was wearing a negligee and shiny white strappy high heels, and met a second dancer, Kim Roberts. They entered the house by the back door.

    Team captains have told the police that 41 of the 47 Duke lacrosse players attended the party. The team captains left Mr. Seligmann off the list they gave to the police, although he had been photographed watching the dancers.

    The women were paid $800 and danced briefly. Time-coded digital photographs, defense lawyers say, show the women talking and dancing in the living room between midnight and 12:04 a.m. In one photo, the accuser is prone on the floor. Men holding beers ring the living room.

    Defense lawyers say the players told the dancers to leave because one was drunk. They said the women went in the bathroom for 10 to 20 minutes, then left the house. The women, however, say they were scared off. The accuser told the police that the men had become "excited and aggressive" as they danced. She and Ms. Roberts said one man held up a broomstick and threatened to sexually assault them with it.

    Mr. Bissey said he saw the women get into a car after they had been in the house about 20 minutes. The players and the women exchanged heated words, he said. "Some of them were saying things like, 'I want my money back,' " he recalled the men saying. Mr. Bissey said he then saw the accuser return to the house because she had left a shoe there.

    The accuser said later that both women re-entered the house after one player apologized for the behavior during their dance. She said two men then pulled her into a bathroom, locked the door and said, "Sweetheart, you can't leave."

    It was then, she told the police, that Mr. Seligmann forced her to perform oral sex, and Mr. Finnerty raped and sodomized her and the third suspect strangled her, according to a transcript of a photo identification session with police on April 4. The transcript was obtained by WTVD in Raleigh, N.C. She told the police that the attack lasted for about 30 minutes.

    Defense lawyers say the rape could have happened only in an improbably short period, between 12:04 and 12:30 a.m.

    A photograph stamped 12:30 a.m. shows the accuser smiling on the back porch, defense lawyers said. A photo stamped minutes later shows her lying on the porch. Defense lawyers say the players helped her to the car after she passed out. A photo at 12:41 a.m. shows her in Ms. Roberts's car.

    Mr. Seligmann had already left the party, his lawyer, J. Kirk Osborn, said, after phoning for a taxi at 12:14 a.m., an account confirmed by the taxi driver, Moez Mostafar. Mr. Seligmann's Duke ID card was used to enter his dormitory at 12:46 a.m., Mr. Osborn said.

    Mr. Finnerty's lawyer said his client was at a restaurant several blocks away when the women were dancing. But Ms. Roberts told The Associated Press that she recalled seeing Mr. Finnerty, whom she described as the "little skinny one."

    At 12:53 a.m., Ms. Roberts called 911 to report that men at 610 North Buchanan had shouted a racial epithet at her and a friend. About that time, Mr. Bissey said, he heard one partygoer yell, "Thank your grandpa for my nice cotton shirt."

    The police responded to Ms. Roberts's 911 call about 12:55 a.m. They found the house quiet, lights off. No one answered a knock at the door.

    Mr. Mostafar said he went to the house again at 1:07 a.m. and saw about 20 students outside the house and picked up four. The time discrepancy between his account and that of the police has not been explained.

    At 1:22 a.m., a security guard at a grocery near Duke's main campus dialed 911 because a woman, later found to be the accuser, would not get out of Ms. Roberts's car in the store's lot. One responding officer told the dispatcher: "She's not in distress. She's just passed-out drunk."

    Ms. Roberts later said the accuser's demeanor changed during the party, from "talkative and friendly and smiling" to "completely incoherent." She added, "It's quite possible that something really terrible had happened to her" in the bathroom although Ms. Roberts told The Associated Press that she could not say for sure because she was not there.

    At 1:58 a.m., Ryan McFadyen, a lacrosse player from Mendham, N.J., sent an e-mail message from his Duke dorm, according to a search warrant affidavit.

    "To whom it may concern," the message read, "tommrow night, after tonights show, ive decided to have some strippers over to edens 2c. all are welcome.. however there will be no nudity." The message said that he would kill the strippers and cut their skin off for sexual gratification "in my duke issue spandex." The message was signed "41," his jersey number.

    Duke's president canceled the team's season and accepted the coach's resignation after the authorities disclosed the e-mail message.

    By 2:31 a.m., the police had taken the accuser to Duke University Hospital. At 2:50 a.m., the police classified the episode as a rape investigation.

    Duff Wilson reported from Durham for this article, and Juliet Macur from New York.

    New York Daily News - Ideas & Opinions - Stanley Crouch: Helping a troubled continent beat its demons

    New York Daily News - Ideas & Opinions - Stanley Crouch: Helping a troubled continent beat its demonsHelping a troubled continent beat its demons

    Conferences and panels on foreign policy are rarely refreshing. Those held at universities can be horrific affairs in which a predictable ideology can dominate, as speakers attempt to indoctrinate naive students unaware of the complexities of the real world.

    A recent striking exception was the panel on American policy in Africa that was held at New York University.

    The conference, presented by Africa House and moderated by Yaw Nyarko, vice provost for globalization and multicultural affairs at NYU, was made refreshing by the fact that the speakers talked about how policy actually comes about and what influences that policy. There also was informed discussion of what is demanded of diplomats and those involved in the policies formed in the interest of the African people, who are in great need of freedom from a backward past - part traditional, part colonial and part the result of the many dictatorships.

    As one panelist pointed out, $569 billion in aid has been received by African governments over the past 40 years, but the average African in the street lives no better now than he or she did when no money was coming in.

    The corruption that seems to rise to the moon, the outdated customs that socially limit and imprison women and the sloppy responses that have made AIDS a plague across the continent have defined Africa's problems as not only complex, but deadly.

    Why is there no outcry, no international recognition of this wasted money, no demands made on the governments that are as barbaric as any on Earth? Part of the explanation is that the press has not always been interested and when it does become interested, things are too far along to be easily drawn back.

    Particularly interesting and informative was Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs Jendayi Frazer. Frazer pointed out that that policy of the Bush administration has come straight from the President himself, aided and encouraged first by Colin Powell and now by Secretary of State Rice.

    Frazer argued for engagement with Africans from the top to the bottom of society, which would educate those in the diplomatic corps and allow for greater authority in discussions. Others pointed out that many armed conflicts in Africa have been brought to a stop because of well-focused diplomatic activity, even though much more could have been done in Rwanda.

    There was some hot conflict that could have risen to the top if there had been more time allotted, and the questions from Africans in the audience offered a sense of how much goodwill is expected of the U.S., which sometimes seems to drag its feet because there is, as Congressman Donald Payne (D-N.J.) pointed out, not enough noise in the streets.

    What became clear was that Africa not only has a long way to go but has, contrary to the surface readings, already come a long way.

    Still, nothing is guaranteed. If the next President is less interested and the public remains tuned out, everything could slow down until a more enlightened administration takes the Oval Office.

    It seems to me that the Bush administration could set a standard that might force the next few administrations to step up where it should and when it should. That, in combination with the African women who are publicly at war with traditional corruption, might brighten Africa's future much more quickly than we might expect.

    Originally published on April 20, 2006