Week of June 8, 2009 to June 14, 2009

Crofton Killing Prompts Race Discussion
Shantee Woodards, The Capital, June 14, 2009

“A Pebble Tossed in the Pond, and the Rings are Still Going Out.” In 1986, Amid Rising Violence, Denver Police Complied a List of 69 Names.  They Were Mostly African-American Teens, Lived Near East 28th Avenue and Williams Street and Were Believed to Be Members of the Rolling 20 Crips.  In the Nearly Quarter-Century Since, Some of Those Names Seem to Have Been Listed by Mistake and Others Found Redemption, but Many Lived Exactly as Cops Feared.
Burt Hubbard and Felisa Cardona, The Denver Post, June 14, 2009

Job Market, Rising Interest Rates Seen as Threats to Economic Recovery
The Frontrunner, June, 12, 2009

Fighting to Preserve Family: 2 From Single-Parent House Build Strength in Black Households
Clem Richardson, Daily News, June 12, 2009

Scholastic Launches Nationwide Mentoring and Literacy Program
Marketwire, June 12, 2009

Milpitas Students Rally to Help Foster Youth Join Graduation Ceremony
Karen de Sa, San Jose Mercury News, June 11, 2009

Teaching Kids the Cost of Urban Violence
Mary E. Medland, The Chronicle of Philanthropy, June 11, 2009

LA County Offers Teens Home Delivery of STD Tests
Shaya Tayefe Mohaier, Associated Press State & Local Wire, June 11, 2009

Scholars Programs Helps Black Students in Alameda County
Katy Murphy, Oakland Tribune, June 10, 2009

Sizable Health Disparities Evident in Every State Between Women of Different Racial and Ethnic Groups
Kaiser Family Foundation, June 10, 2009

NYPD-Backed Nabe Patrol Tied to Attack
Simone Weichselbaum and Alison Gendar, Daily News, June 9, 2009

Human Rights in the Near East: Part 1

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GbejJ8DJd4A&feature=fvw

In 2004, humiliation, pain and torture were inflected on an Afghan grain merchant named Mohammed Shah Poor. The torturer was Sheikh Issa Al Nahyan, one of the 22 royal Sheikhs of the United Arab Emirate (U.A.E). At this point in the clip, I hope you have realized that Sheikh Issa’s accomplices are police officers. Moreover, I believe (call me clairvoyant) that Mohammed (and Sheikh Issa) both realize there are to be no consequences for Sheikh Issa. After looking at the family chart, we notice that Issa’s kinfolk has the U.A.E on lock.  In fact, every top office belongs to a Sheikh Al Nahyan.  According to The Observers , on April 22nd 2009, the U.A.E Ministry of Interior (lead by one of Sheikh Issa’s brother) told ABC News that “all rules and procedure were followed correctly by the police.”

Hip-Hop's Commander-in-Chief


Some people just don’t know how to quit. Brett Favre, Joe Paterno, and Bobby Brown are just a few people who clearly can’t fathom taking a seat. There are other folks who retire prematurely before they reach their peak. Then there is Jay- Z. To put it crudely, Jay is kicking ass and taking names at the ripe old age of 39. In most professions, 39 is a time where people are still moving up the ladder in their respective fields. In hip hop years 39 is a dinosaur.

Fundamentally Flawed: Capital Punishment Follow Up

deathpenalty

There are two sides to every story. On one side you have a 14 year old girl, Tryna Middleton. An innocent girl who grew up a couple blocks from where my house is in East Cleveland, Ohio. Tryna Middleton attended Shaw High School, the same high school that I graduated from. A girl who literally was taught by one of the same teachers that taught me in high school. According to the attorney general’s office on September 21st 1984, Tryna was raped before being murdered by 7 stab wounds to her chest.

Bessye Middleton holds a portrait of her daughter Tryna

Bessye Middleton holds a portrait of her daughter Tryna

There are two sides to every story. On the other side you have Romell Broom. A man who committed actions that cannot be justified in anyway. A rapist who deserves to be punished. A murderer who should very well face the penalty of our laws.

East Cleveland (the neighborhood where I went to high school) is a poverty stricken area, and was hit with a mortgage crisis before the recent recession became so popular to talk about (decades before). When you walk around my neighborhood it is no surprise to walk down streets that are filled with a majority of boarded up houses. I talked to an elderly man in my neighborhood about the botched execution and he said “There wouldn’t of needed to be no damn execution if a man killed my daughter, and it wouldn’t of took 25 years to do it, I would of shot him right away” (You have to love the double negatives). The community I live in obviously feels passionate about crimes like this, and most people I talk to say he deserves to die. As I survey myself, while struggling to keep an unbiased perspective, I realize the fact still remains that I don’t want the convicted Romell Broom to be killed by the state. He was wrong, very wrong, and didn’t care about Tryna’s life, yet, the thing I still believe in most is that 1000 guilty men dead, is not worth the life of 1 innocent man. And innocent people have already died at the hands of capital punishment.

Brooms execution was originally re-scheduled for September 22, 2009 (yesterday), but that day was postponed due to a court order by U.S. District Judge Gregory Frost.  Broom’s attorney will begin to litigate U.S. Constitution, Ohio Constitution, and Ohio statutory claims on his client’s behalf. “Broom should not be executed because the state tried once and failed,” said Tim Sweeney, Broom’s defense attorney. Sweeney is trying to get Romell Broom’s prison sentence to be changed to life in prison.

There is two sides to every story, and many times there is never a clear right and wrong answer. In this case I think it is best to look at what our constitution says. And not allow our anger for a man’s actions to compromise the freedoms and civil liberties that all human beings will still need after Romell Broom is long gone. Tim Sweeny said it best, “There is no question that poor, beautiful girl did suffer, but that doesn’t change the fact that the Constitution applies to everyone. Even people who have been convicted of crimes”

In my initial blog on this issue last week, I gave a brief description of why I am against the death penalty. But I would like to conclude my thoughts by elaborating and use the ACLU’s seven reasons why they are working to end capital punishment:

1. In the last 30 years more than 100 prisoners that have been convicted of capital crimes and sentenced to death were released from death row with strong evidence of their innocence.

2. If serious mistakes occur in charging someone with a capital crime, or if there are errors in sentencing or in the appeals process, there is no recourse when an innocent person is executed.

3. Because most people are poor, too many defendants are forced to depend on incompetent or token representation. In fact, one lawyer fell asleep while defending his client. Other lawyers have appeared drunk during trials.
4. Racial discrimination taints capital cases. Those who kill white people are far more likely to get the death penalty, than those who kill black people.
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5. Prosecuting a death penalty case is enormously expensive for a state. It cost much more than sentencing a prisoner to life without parole.

6. The death penalty has never been applied fairly across race, class, and gender lines. Who is sentenced to die often depends on the attitudes of prosecutors, the prejudices of judges and juries, and the skills of the defense attorney.

7. The death penalty is not a deterrent to crime.

Must be the Money

I hate money ’cause it makes me numb. – M.I.A.

Yesterday, I had to stop by the main library on campus to return a recalled book.  (I’m coming for you, book recaller! What am I supposed to use for coasters now that you’ve taken a liking to all my books on racial passing?  You suck!)  There were a bunch of first years standing in line waiting to take their ID photos.  People were smiling at each other; they seemed both nervous and… happy.  Which is totally weird for the place where fun comes to die.  Then I remembered: school is about to start.  And I became happy, too.  Why?  The beginning of autumn quarter means money is about to come to me.  Please cue Johnny Kemp’s “Just Got Paid.”  (By the way, I think back in ’88 I might’ve had a crush on the woman in this video.  She was in Kwame’s “The Rhythm” right?)  It’s time for my beginning of the year shimmy + two-step.

Cruel and Unusual? Indeed.

Amnesty International is a non-governmental international organization that often campaigns against human rights abuse and calls for international compliance to standards of ethics. Lethal injection is the standard method of execution in the United States.

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e8yu6DOaoN0

Amnesty has issued a report stating that the cocktail of drugs used in lethal injections can cause excruciating pain and can also cause paralysis so that the convict can’t scream or in any way show that they are in pain.