Monthly Archives: June 2009

HATEWATCH: SENATE APOLOGIZES FOR SLAVERY; BUT, ADDS “DISCLAIMER” TO RESOLUTION

SENATE APOLOGIZES FOR SLAVERY, BUT DISCLAIMER DRAWS CRITICISM
 
By WILLIAM DOUGLAS
 
Thursday, June 18, 2009
McClatchy Newspapers
 
WASHINGTONThe Senate passed a resolution Thursday calling on the U.S. to apologize officially for the enslavement and segregation of millions of African-Americans and to acknowledge “the fundamental injustice, brutality, and inhumanity of slavery and Jim Crow laws.”
 
The resolution, sponsored with little fanfare by Sen. Tom Harkin, D-Iowa, passed on a voice vote. It now moves to the House of Representatives, where it may meet an unlikely foe: members of the Congressional Black Caucus.
 
Several CBC members expressed concerns Thursday about a disclaimer that states that “nothing in this resolution authorizes or supports any claim against the United States; or serves as a settlement of any claim against the United States.”
 
The CBC members think that the disclaimer is an attempt to stave off reparations claims from the descendants of slaves. Congressional Black Caucus Chair Barbara Lee, D-Calif., said her organization is studying the language of Harkin’s resolution.
 
Other CBC members said they’ve read it and don’t like it.
 
“Putting in a disclaimer takes away from the meaning of an apology,” said Rep. Bennie Thompson, D-Miss. “A number of us are prepared to vote against it in its present form.
There are several members of the Progressive Caucus who feel the same way.”
 
Thompson and other Black Caucus members noted that a 1988 apology that the government issued to the Japanese-Americans held in U.S. camps during World War II had no disclaimer and didn’t prevent them from receiving compensation.
 
“The language is unacceptable,” said Rep. William Lacy Clay, D-Mo., “I’m a reparations man – how else do you repair the damage?”
 
Sen. Roland Burris, D-Ill., the Senate’s lone African-American, went to the floor after the Harkin resolution passed and said, “I want to go on record making sure that that disclaimer in no way would eliminate future actions that may be brought before this body that may deal with reparations.”
 
Such concerns by the Black Caucus could slow a resolution that many lawmakers and civil rights groups considered such a slam-dunk that plans are already under way for an elaborate signing and apology ceremony in the Capitol Rotunda early next month.
 
Rep. Steve Cohen, D-Tenn., who’s shepherding the Harkin resolution in the House, sponsored a slavery apology bill that excluded a disclaimer and passed in that chamber last year. He described the scheduled Rotunda event as “an understanding, a beginning of a dialogue.”
 
Instead of making preparations for the event, Cohen found himself Thursday trying to convince Black Caucus members that the disclaimer is simply ultra-careful legalese that senators insisted upon and doesn’t impact the drive for reparations.
 
“It doesn’t set reparations back,” Cohen said, his voice trailing. “But to be against an apology … .”
 
However, some African-Americans hailed the Senate vote as a monumental achievement.
 
Charles Ogletree, a Harvard University law professor who mentored President Barack Obama, placed it on par with the federal government’s apology to Japanese-Americans and said it comes at a time of significant milestones for African-Americans.
 
“This year we’re celebrating the 80th birthday of Martin Luther King, the 200th birthday of Lincoln and the 100th anniversary of the NAACP,” Ogletree said.
 
Harkin’s resolution was blunt and direct. It states that Africans and their descendants were forced into slavery in the U.S. and the original 13 colonies from 1619 through 1865 and “were brutalized, humiliated, dehumanized, and subjected to the indignity of being stripped of their names and heritage.”
 
To that end, the resolution “apologizes to African-Americans on behalf of the people of the United States for the wrongs committed against them and their ancestors who suffered under slavery and Jim Crow laws.”
 
“A wrong of segregation was done by the federal government of the United States of America, and we acknowledge that,” said Sen. Sam Brownback, R-Kan., a co-sponsor of the resolution. “We say it was wrong, and we ask forgiveness for that.”
 
The U.S. and other countries have long wrestled with apologizing for their roles in slavery or the African slave trade. Former President Bill Clinton considered apologizing, but stopped short of it during a trip to Uganda in 1998.
 
“European-Americans received the fruits of the slave trade,” Clinton said then. “And we were wrong.”
 
In 1997, an apology measure by then-Rep. Tony Hall, D-Ohio, failed to gain support in a Republican-controlled House. Cohen’s resolution passed the House by voice vote last year but lingered in the Senate.
 
Harkin’s resolution notes that states including Virginia, Alabama, Florida, Maryland and North Carolina have adopted resolutions “officially expressing appropriate remorse for slavery.”
 
In addition, cities including Philadelphia, Chicago and Richmond, Va., have passed ordinances over the years that require businesses seeking government contracts to provide historic records to determine whether they were involved in or earned profits from slavery before they’re awarded contracts.
 
Former British Prime Minister Tony Blair flirted with apologizing for Great Britain’s role in slavery in late 2006, but came up short, like Clinton. The Church of England earlier that year voted to formally apologize to the descendants of victims of the slave trade.
 
 
 
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Last year the House of Representatives issued an apology for slavery and Jane Crow segregation.
 
 
Obviously, the humanity of Black Americans means nothing to those in the Senate who back this resolution with the disclaimer tied to it, else there would have been no disclaimer.
 
The racial heirarchy of America reigns supreme, and this insult of an apology speaks loud and clear to that truth.

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ON THIS DAY IN BLACK MUSIC HISTORY: JUNE 6

#1 R&B Song 1970:   “Love On a Two-way Street,” the Moments

 

Born:   Levi Stubbs (the Four Tops), 1936; Gary “U.S.” Bonds (Gary Anderson), 1939

 

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1956   The Platters’ beautiful standard, “My Prayer” (#1 pop and R&B), was released.

 

 

1960   Sam Cooke’s “Wonderful World” charted en route to #2 R&B (#12 pop.) It was his last hit for the independent Keen label before he went on to RCA for major money and began writing gospel-inflected songs with more blues influence.

 

 

1963   Little Miss & the Muffets (originally called the Meltones) topped the Hot 100 with “Chapel of Love,” but thanks to a last-minute name change they became known to the world as the Dixie Cups.

 

 

1970   Bo Diddley and Chuck Berry headlined the Hampden Scene ’70 concert in Glasgow, Scotland.

 

1971   Gladys Knight & the Pips were the last pop or R&B act to appear on The Ed Sullivan Show.

 

1992   Earth, Wind & Fire performed on the Great Lawn of Central Park in New York City at the Earth Pledge Concert to save the environment.

 

1993   The biopic, What’s Love Got to Do With It, based on Tina Turner’s life and her 1986 autobiography, premiered.

 

1994   Stevie Wonder performed at the twentieth-anniversary concert for the Duke Ellington School of the Arts and then donated his harmonica to the Hard Rock Cafe in Washington, DC.

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ON THIS DAY IN BLACK MUSIC HISTORY: JUNE 5

#1 R&B Song 1971:   “Want Ads,” the Honey Cone

 

Born:   Floyd Butler (Friends of Distinction), 1941; Ronnie Dyson, 1950; Brian McKnight, 1969

 

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1954   The Drifters’ “Honey Love” (#40 pop, #1 R&B; $50.00), the Midnighters’ “Sexy Ways” (#2 R&B; $80.00), and the Moonglows’ blues classic, “I Was Wrong” ($800) were released.

 

1964   The Chiffons began a tour starting in San Bernadino, CA, as the opening act for the Rolling Stones on their debut American tour.

 

1974   Sly Stone (Sylvester Stewart) married Kathy Silva on stage at Madison Square Garden in New York City prior to a concert by his group, Sly & the Family Stone. It lasted five months (the marriage, not the concert.)

 

1982   The Temptations’ reunion album reached #37 pop and included all of 1964’s original members, including Eddie Kendricks. In his enthusiasm to get into the music business, Eddie forged his brother’s signature on an $82 income tax refund check to have traveling money to Detroit.

 

1993   Mariah Carey married Sony Music president Tommy Mottola at St. Thomas Episcopal Church in New York. Among the guests were Barbara Streisand, Bruce Springsteen, and Billy Joel.

 

1993   Richie Havens performed at UCLA in Los Angeles in the Troubadours of Folk Festival.

 

1994   Donna Summer performed with the Nashville Symphony at the town’s Summer Lights Arts Festival.

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ON THIS DAY IN BLACK MUSIC HISTORY: JUNE 4

#1 R&B Song 1966:   “It’s A Man’s, Man’s, Man’s World,” James Brown

 

Birn:   Leroy Hutson, 1945; El DeBarge (DeBarge), 1961

 

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1955   The Miracles recorded their first single, “I Wanted You,” at Radio Recorders in Hollywood. While considering a new name in engineer Bob Ross’ office, comedian Stan Freburg came in. Posed with the question, he sat down, unwrapped a candy bar, finished it and said, “The Jaguars,” and left. The group then became the Jaguars of “The Way You Look Tonight” fame.

 

1983   Donna Summer entered the carts with the women’s national anthem of the ’80s, “She Works Hard For the Money” reaching #1 R&B for three weeks and #3 pop.

 

 

She works hard for the money
So hard for it honey
She works hard for the money
So you better treat her right

Onetta there in the corner stands
And wonders where she is and
It’s strange to her
Some people seem to have everything

Nine a.m. on the hour hand
And she’s waiting for the bell
And she’s looking real pretty
Just waitin’ for her clientele

She works hard for the money
So hard for it honey
She works hard for the money
So you better treat her right

Twenty eight years have
Come and gone
And she’s seen a lot of tears
Of the ones who come in
They really seem to need her there

It’s a sacrifice working day to day
What little money just tips for pay
But it’s worth it all
To hear them say that they care

She works hard for the money
So hard for it honey
She works hard for the money
So you better treat her right

(She) already knows
She’s seen her bad times
(she) already knows
These are the good times

But never sell out
She never will
Not for a dollar bill
She works Hard

 

1988   Armed with an anthropology degree from Tufts University (just in case), folk/R&B artist Tracy Chapman didn’t need it when she cruised onto the charts with “Fast Car” (#6), her first of five hits through 1996.

 

 

1991   The Shirelles perfcormed at Los Angeles’ Pantages Theater in the Celebrate the Soul of American Music concert to raise money for Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall’s scholarship fund.

 

1992   Dionne Warwick sang at the Hammerstein Odeon in London at the end of a ten-performance trip through England.

 

1994   Seal’s second album reached #1 in England on its first week on the charts. It took him over two years to make the record.

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ON THIS DAY IN BLACK MUSIC HISTORY: JUNE 3

#1 Song 1957:   “Young Blood,” the Coasters

 

Born:   Memphis Minnie (Lizzie Douglas), 1896; Curtis Mayfield (the Impressions), 1942; Eddie Holman, 1946; Deniece Williams (June Deniece Chandler), 1951

 

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1957   The Isley Brothers’ first single, the doo-wop-styled “The Angels Cried” (Teenage Records), was released. It would be two years before they would have their first hit, “Shout.”

 

 

1967   Aretha Franklin’s “Respect” topped the pop charts for two weeks and the R&B hit list for eight, giving Aretha her second million-seller. The song was originally a hit (#4R&B) for Otis Redding in 1965.

 

1967   The Fifth Dimension charted with “Up, Up, and Away,” which became their first million-seller, reaching #7. The light, lilting, pop feel of the recording was such that it never got near the R&B charts. In fact, the all-black group charted almost twice as much pop (thirty times) as R&B (seventeen) during their ten-year hit-list career.

 

 

1967   The Jimi Hendrix Experience reached the British Top 10 for the third time in a row when “The Wind Cries Mary” peaked at #6 today. The unusual aspect of an American artist having hits in England while going unrecorded in the U.S. was not lost on Reprise Records, who finally sign Hendrix.

 

 

1967   The Staples Singers charted with “Why? (Am I Treated So Bad),” reaching #95 pop. It was the first Top 100 single for the family of gospel-turned-R&B vocalists, who would have eighteen charters through 1992.

 

 

1972   The Staples Singers had their first of two #1 pop hits and three #1 R&B smashes when “I’ll Take You There” reached the top spot today. Nineteen years later, lead singer Mavis Staples would have a hit with it, this time as lead with Bebe and Cece Winans, reaching #1 R&B once again.

 

 

1990   Michael Jackson, experiencing chest pains later diagnosed as a rib-cage disorder, was admitted to St. John’s Hospital in Santa Monica, CA.

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HATEWATCH: NEO-NAZI BLOGGER SURRENDERS TO POLICE

Come on. What does it take? There is free speech, and there is hate speech.
  
Free speech does not include words and statements that advocate harm of any kind to any individual, or group.
  
“Though many people may not agree with Mr. Turner’s views, his First Amendment right must still be protected,” the statement says.”
  
No.
 
It is cheap cop-out statements like that which has  created environments for monsters like Turner, Terry McNichols, and Timothy McVeigh, to harm, or take the lives of American citizens. Turner’s threat to release personal information on his intended targets is not protected by the U.S. Constitution. Any weak-minded believer who reads Turner’s blog can take the addresses and phone numbers of the officials Turner was venting his rage against, and carry out violence against those people, and “to foment direct action against these individuals personally.”
 
Free speech does not mean you can say anything, and not live with the consequences of those words.
 
Any speech that implies, advocates, or promotes the destruction of anyone is never free speech. It is hate speech plain and simple.
 
A hateful tongue, like Turner’s, can destroy just as much as the hands that assemble a bomb, or pick up a gun and fire it, or throw a Molotov cocktail.
 
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N.J. NEO-NAZI BLOGGER, HAL TURNER, CHARGED WITH INCITING INJURY, POSTS BAIL IN HARTFORD
By HILDA MUÑOZ | The Hartford Courant

June 12, 2009
Police said the 47-year-old Hal Turner was angry over controversial legislation dealing with Roman Catholic parish finances. (HANDOUT / CONNECTICUT STATE POLICE / June 11, 2009)

 

New Jersey Internet radio host Hal Turner, wanted by Capitol police for encouraging Connecticut residents to “take up arms” against three state officials, surrendered Thursday.

“I am pleased that Mr. Turner was able to turn himself in today to the Capitol police in Hartford without incident,” said Matthew R. Potter, one of Turner’s Connecticut attorneys.

Turner has been charged with inciting injury to person or property, a Class C felony. He was able to post $25,000 bail, and his case is scheduled for an initial appearance June 22 at Superior Court in Hartford.

Turner, who has been called a white supremacist and an anti-Semite by several anti-racism groups, hosts an Internet radio program from his home. The publishing service Blogger has pulled Turner’s blog and is reviewing it for possible terms of service violations.

His attorney in New Jersey, Michael Orozco, issued a statement saying Turner was practicing his right to free speech when on his website June 2 he described certain conduct by Connecticut officials as tyrannical and encouraged residents of the state to “put down this tyranny.”

“Though many people may not agree with Mr. Turner’s views, his First Amendment right must still be protected,” the statement says.

Turner’s blog included a post that promised to release the home addresses of state Rep. Michael Lawlor, D- East Haven; state Sen. Andrew McDonald, D- Stamford; and Thomas Jones of the State Ethics Office.

“It is our intent to foment direct action against these individuals personally,” the blog post said. “These beastly government officials should be made an example of as a warning to others in government: Obey the Constitution or die.”

The June 2 blog post reacted to the recent controversy over a bill before the legislature’s judiciary committee that would have changed the way the Roman Catholic Church is governed, taking power away from church officials and turning it over to lay members.

The bill was pulled in mid-March following an outcry from Catholics across the state and questions about its constitutionality. Lawlor and McDonald are co-chairman of the committee.

In his post, Turner also wrote about a letter from Jones that told church officials his office was investigating whether the diocese had violated state statutes by failing to register as a lobbyist before a rally protesting the legislature’s bill.

Capitol police learned of the June 2 blog posts that same day from one of the targeted lawmakers.

 
SOURCE  

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DUNBAR VILLAGE: JUNE 18, 2007 – JUNE 18, 2009

ONE DUNBAR VILLAGE TRIAL ENOUGH

Palm Beach Post Editorial

Sunday, June 14, 2009

It was one of Florida’s most heinous crimes. The details made national headlines and shocked seasoned investigators. It wasn’t just the savagery; it was the ages of the alleged perpetrators. One was only 14. All were younger than 21.

Thursday marks the 2-year anniversary of the gang rape of a 35-year-old mother who was forced to have sex with her 12-year-old son in West Palm Beach’s Dunbar Village housing project. Their attackers held them at gunpoint for three hours, then poured alcohol, nail polish remover and ammonia on the woman in an attempt to destroy evidence. They poured cleaning solution in her son’s eyes. The only reason they didn’t set the pair on fire, the woman told police, was because they couldn’t find a lighter.

Fortunately, justice awaits the attackers, and change has come – and is coming – to the crime scene.

The attack shined a spotlight on Dunbar Village, a 1940s-era, barracks-style complex where crime and poverty festered, in part because of official neglect. Dunbar Village is quiet and safer now, says West Palm Beach Housing Authority Executive Director Laurel Robinson. Shots no longer ring out at night. This summer, the authority plans to tear down 13 boarded-up buildings that provided a hideout for drug dealers.

Ms. Robinson said her goal is to tear down all the buildings, provide the tenants with housing vouchers to move and revamp the entire 17-acre site. “We’re very hopeful,” she said, “that some of the stimulus money may become available for applications.” Past applications have been denied. Dunbar now should be a priority for the Florida congressional delegation and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

The victims no longer reside in Dunbar Village. Prosecutors handling the case say they have no idea where the woman and child live. The pair does plan to testify in the trial set for Aug. 18.

Defense attorneys for Jakaris Taylor, 17, Nathan Walker, 18, Avion Lawson, 16, and Tommie Poindexter, 20, want their clients tried separately. To avoid life in prison, Taylor had agreed to a plea deal in which he would testify against the others for a 20-year sentence. But he failed to cooperate, and withdrew the plea. Prosecutors cite that confusion, along with the complex nature of the case – four defendants, collecting and examining evidence and witnesses – to explain why it’s taken two years to get to trial. It took four years to get the April conviction of Milagro Cunningham for raping an 8-year-old girl and leaving her to die in a Lake Worth trash bin.

There is evidence linking the four Dunbar defendants – each of whom is being tried as an adult – to the crime. DNA links Walker, Poindexter and Lawson. Taylor’s fingerprint was found in the apartment. Assistant State Attorney Aleathea McRoberts will fight the motions to sever the cases. “This is a woman and son who suffered an egregious, heinous event,” said Ms. McRoberts, “and we’re trying to avoid having to make them go through it more than once.”

Ms. McRoberts is right. The victims finally are getting their chance at justice. That shouldn’t come at the price of having to relive the brutality they suffered four times.

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PUBLIC DEFENDER ACCUSES PROSECUTOR OF BACKING OUT OF DEAL IN DUNBAR VILLAGE GANG RAPE

WEST PALM BEACH – One of four young men charged in the gang rape of a mother and her 12-year-old son in a West Palm Beach public housing complex is accusing the state of backing out of a plea deal.

Tommy Lee Poindexter, 20, confessed his involvement in the Dunbar Village attack and gave authorities information on at least three murders, according to a defense motion.

The Palm Beach County Public Defender’s Office filed the motion late last week on Poindexter’s behalf, asking a court to compel the State Attorney’s Office “to perform its side of the agreement.”

Public Defender Carey Haughwout says the deal calls for Poindexter to receive a 25-year prison sentence in exchange for his truthful testimony about his involvement in the case, plus information he had about three other homicides.

Poindexter and co-defendants Jakaris Taylor, now 17, Avion Lawson, now 15, and Nathan Walker, now 18, are accused of forcing their way into the victim’s apartment, then raping and sodomizing her and her son for three hours. The victims told police the attackers forced the mother and son to have sex.

In an attempt to eliminate DNA, the assailants then poured household chemicals on the woman before robbing her and leaving, according to authorities. The case made international headlines and highlighted problems at the crime-ridden, public-housing community.

Earlier this year a plea deal reached between Taylor and the state — calling for Taylor to receive a 20-year sentence — fell through after Taylor refused to provide information.

Haughwout could not be reached to comment Tuesday despite attempts by telephone. Lanna Belohlavek, who was prosecuting the case, recently left the State Attorney’s Office.

According to Haughwout’s motion, Poindexter agreed to a plea deal on Dec. 8 and three days later gave a complete statement about his involvement in the Dunbar case and about three local homicides. There were also discussions about a fourth homicide and Poindexter possibly receiving immunity before providing that information, according to the motion. The state agreed to more time to discuss immunity with then State Attorney Barry Krischer, according to Haughwout.

Krischer retired soon afterward and State Attorney Michael McAuliffe took office in early January.

The following month, Haughwout wrote, the state announced a plea deal had never been reached, though defense counsel disputed the claim and asked the state to review Poindexter’s taped statement.

“Thereafter … [the defense] was told by the [State Attorney’s Office] that there would be no plea agreement because the new State Attorney did not approve of the 25-year resolution,” she wrote.

State Attorney’s Office spokesman Michael Edmondson declined to comment Tuesday, citing office policy. “We respond [to motions] in court,” Edmondson said.

Haughwout says because of the information provided, Poindexter’s safety could be in jeopardy. Furthermore, she wrote, the state needs to hold up its end of the deal.

“A change of personnel does not determine whether the government is released from its obligations in a plea agreement,” she wrote.

Poindexter is next scheduled to appear in court July 17. The men are set for trial Aug. 18.

Missy Diaz can be reached at mdiaz@SunSentinel.com or 561-228-5505.

SOURCE

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It has now been two years since the brutal attack on a defenseless 35-year-old working-class mother and her 12-year-old son.

In the months that followed, there has been a plea bargain deal sought by one of the perpetrators to secure a lesser sentence of 25 years, in exchange for information for his part in this horrific crime, and for information he has concerning three other homicides.

“Public Defender Carey Haughwout says the deal calls for Poindexter to receive a 25-year prison sentence in exchange for his truthful testimony about his involvement in the case plus information he had about three other homicides.”

 

Twenty-five years. Fifty years. One hundred years. There is not enough time in any prison sentence that can do justice for the hellish crimes committed that day by those masked monsters against that mother and her young son.

But, then this ominous note:

“The victims no longer reside in Dunbar Village. Prosecutors handling the case say they have no idea where the woman and child live.”

 

It is one thing to not divulge the whereabouts of a victim of crime. To admit to not “having any idea where the woman and child live” smacks of indifference.

The trial is set for August 18, 2009.

We shall see if this young mother and her son will receive justice—-or a slap in the face.

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