Monthly Archives: August 2009


Convicted Dunbar Village rapist sentenced to 60 years in prison

Updated: 9:15 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 3, 2011 | Posted: 7:48 a.m. Wednesday, Aug. 3, 2011


Convicted Dunbar Village rapist sentenced to 60 years in prison photo
Judge Krista Marx listened to arguments, then sentenced Walker to 60 years in prison.

Convicted Dunbar Village rapist sentenced to 60 years in prison photo
Nathan Walker’s mother, Ruby Walker appeared to be praying during the hearing.

Convicted Dunbar Village rapist sentenced to 60 years in prison photo
Nathan Walker, convicted in the savage Dunbar Village rape case, was resentenced today in light of a U.S. Supreme Court opinion saying juveniles can’t be sentenced to life for crimes other than homicide. Walker testified about his time behind bars and his efforts at rehabilitation in the penal system.

By Daphne Duret

Palm Beach Post Staff Writer

WEST PALM BEACH – By all accounts, Nathan Walker started out in life with little chance to make it.

Raised in extreme poverty in a violent neighborhood, by the time he was 16 he became one of several young men implicated in one of the most heinous local crimes in recent history – the brutal gang rape and forced incest of a mother and son inside the Dunbar Village housing project.

Walker had already begun serving a life sentence in prison for the crime last year when U.S. Supreme Court justices mentioned him by name in a court ruling declaring Florida courts were unconstitutional in sentencing juveniles to life in prison for crimes other than murder.

The ruling cleared the way for a new sentencing hearing Wednesday, one that Walker’s attorney and relatives hoped would give him a chance, if only for a couple decades, to live in freedom.

What Circuit Judge Krista Marx gave him, however, was 60 years – just about the closest sentence to life she could fashion without disregarding the high court ruling.

Walker will likely get out in 51 years – at age 71. Prosecutors told Marx that Walker’s life expectancy is 72.

“I have never doubted for a second that the appropriate sentence is life,” Marx said. “But I’m not going to go against the court’s ruling.”

Walker’s mother, Ruby, burst into tears as soon as she heard the new sentence. Both she and Walker’s father, Nathan Walker, Sr., rushed from the hearing without comment.

Their son had mentioned them both as he testified Wednesday, saying they sent him letters telling him to keep his head up. His father had apologized for not being the father he needed. His mother sent him money and told him to trust in God.

Attorneys, meanwhile, spent Wednesday debating Walker’s fate in light of the Supreme Court ruling, which in essence said sending juveniles to life in prison with no chance for parole on crimes like carjacking and rape constitutes cruel and unusual punishment.

The hearing marked the first time in a local case that a juvenile was resentenced because of the high court’s ruling.

The court’s decision mentioned Walker and another Dunbar defendant, saying that though they may deserve to be locked up for life, they should at some point have a chance to prove that they have been rehabilitated.

What the court’s ruling ignored, Marx said, is that there is no parole in Florida, which left her no way to give Walker a sentence that would give him an opportunity for early release. The judge suggested legislators reinstate parole – eliminated in 1983 – if only for cases like Walker’s.

Assistant State Attorneys Aleathea McRoberts and Terri Skiles along with Celia Terenzio from the Florida’s Attorney General’s Office took turns telling Marx that a more than 50-year sentence would satisfy the court’s ruling that punishments in cases like Walker’s give juveniles a “meaningful opportunity for release.”

“That doesn’t mean he is guaranteed release,” McRoberts said.

Prosecutors pointed to the severity of the crimes, the details of which Marx said she still remembered Wednesday.

The then 35-year-old victim said as many as 10 men forced their way inside her home and took terms raping her and assaulting her with guns and bottles as they beat her 12-year-old son.

At some point the group forced mother and son in a bathtub together, forced them to have sex with one another, and doused them with cleaning products as they searched for a lighter to set them on fire.

Walker’s attorney, Robert Gershman, said Walker has been portrayed too harshly, asking for a 22-year sentence while telling Marx that others charged in the case were much more culpable.

“Anything is better than life in there for sure,” Gershman said after the sentencing. “I respect the court’s ruling, but I think he deserved some time outside the box.”

Marx in her statements reiterated her thoughts from the first sentencing hearing, saying that as tragic an upbringing Walker had, it did not overcome the brutality in which he participated.

During his testimony, Walker told Marx that while in prison, his limited vocabulary and reading skills had improved to the point the was understanding more from the books he read, which were mostly self-help. Hard as it was, he said, he had adapted to prison life.

“It can drive you crazy, make you do things you never thought you would do, but that’s only if you let it,” he said of prison. “I just try not to get into any of those kinds of things.”

Another defendant in the Dunbar Village case, Jakaris Taylor, who also was a juvenile at the time, is eligible to be resentenced under Supreme Court ruling, though no new sentencing date has been set.

The two other men convicted in the attack, Tommy Poindexter and Avion Lawson, were unaffected by the ruling.

Poindexter was also sentenced to life in prison but was 18 at the time of the crime – something Marx said disturbed her because he was older than some other defendants only by a matter of months. Lawson was a juvenile, but he cooperated with investigators in the case and received a 30-year sentence.



3rd Teen Convicted in Dunbar Village Rape/Sodomy Case
Jakaris Taylor Faced Charges Of Rape, Kidnapping, Assault

POSTED: 5:31 pm EDT September 18, 2009
UPDATED: 5:34 pm EDT September 18, 2009
WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — A jury convicted a teenager Friday in the gang rape of a mother and the beating of her young son.
Jakaris Taylor, 17, faced multiples charges, including rape, kidnapping and assault.
A West Palm Beach jury deliberated for about five hours on Friday before convicting Taylor on all 13 counts against him.
Two others charged in the case were convicted on most of the same counts last month. Another defendant pleaded guilty and testified against the others. All the suspects were teens at the time of the 2007 attack, but were charged as adults. They face life in prison.
Authorities said the teens — along with up to six others — repeatedly raped and sodomized the now-37-year-old woman, beat her son and then forced her into sex acts with the boy.
Victim in Dunbar Village rape case testifiesPosted:
Aug 27, 2009 1:57 PM CDT
Thursday, August 27, 2009 2:57 PM EST

By John Bachman – bio | email Posted by Rachel Leigh – email

WEST PALM BEACH, FL (WFLX) – Prosecutors have decided not to ask a 14-year-old boy to testify in the Dunbar Village rape case. He and his mother were raped and brutalized in the attacks.

Because of his mother’s chilling testimony, prosecutors feel the case is solid and are choosing to spare the boy the pain of testifying.

“I couldn’t breathe. I keep crying, ‘Please, you are hurting me,'” described the 37-year-old victim.

Prosecution asked, “Do you have any idea why these guys would do this to you?”

She replied, “I don’t know.”

It was the first time the victim spoke publicly about the rape and attack that occurred in Dunbar Village. Dressed head to toe in white and speaking in a thick Haitian accent, the victim often wept as she told prosecutors how several men barged into her home and proceeded to brutally rape and torture her and force her son to have sex with her. She has permanent internal injuries, but, she says, the men meant to kill her by setting her on fire.

“Did there come a time where someone in the crowd talked about lighting you on fire?”

“Yes, they keep asking for a lighter.” She says she kept the lighter from them, keeping her and her son alive.

Throughout her entire testimony Wednesday, both defendants, Nathan Walker, Jr. and Tommy Poindexter, rarely made eye contact, only looking down or at their attorneys.

“I was crying and praying at the same time,” continued the victim.

Prosecution asked, “And why didn’t you scream out for help? Did you believe they would kill you?”

Victim responded, “Yes.”

The prosecution is expected to rest its case Thursday. Up to 10 men participated in the rape, but most wore masks. Only four were arrested. Two are on trial right now, a third at a later date, and one turned state’s witness.



Previous Stories:
The Dunbar Village trials of two of the accused started today.
Here are the latest reports:
Detective Expects More Arrests In Dunbar Village Rape Case  (08.27.2009)  Jurors this afternoon will hear closing arguments in the case against Tommy Poindexter for the assault on a Dunbar Village mother and her son.
Prosecutor: Poindexter ‘guilty as sin’ of assaulting Dunbar Village mother and son (08.27.2009) “Guilty as sin, right there!” Assistant State Attorney Craig William exclaimed before jurors today, pointing to the 20-year-old accused in the savage attack on a Dunbar Village woman and her son.
State’s case against 2 charged in brutal Dunbar Village attack nears end (08.26.2009). The state’s case against two young men charged in the savage attack on a mother and son in Dunbar Village is nearly done.
Attorneys draw out different roles of key witness in Dunbar Village rape case – (08.25.2009)
… A co-defendant in the savage rape of a Dunbar Village woman and her son testified Tuesday about details of her assault, naming six people who had violated her that night, including himself. Avion Lawson, 16, who has pleaded guilty, told of Tommy Poindexter having an assault rifle and being the ringleader. He described him as the one laughing as she was assaulted, the one directing others to beat the boy to shut him up, the one forcing mother and son into sex together.
Police witness in Dunbar Village rape case: ‘She was in the fetal position’ after assault – (08.24.2009)
After opening statements in the trial of two men charged with a brutal attack on a Dunbar Village woman and her son, prosecutors rolled out dozens of evidence bags, sealed with red tape. They began showing photos, pointing out the staples in the boy’s head after being beaten. One police officer described their demeanor at hospital after the attack. “She was in the fetal postion on side of the bed, and he was in the fetal position in the chair next to her,” said Dustin Moore.
Second jury seated in Dunbar Village rape case – (08.19.2009)
A jury panel was seated late Wednesday for the trial of a second man accused in the savage attack on a Dunbar Village woman and her son. Five females and three males were seated to hear the case against 18-year-old Nathan Walker Jr. Opening statements in Walker’s and co-defendant Tommy Poindexter’s cases are scheduled for Monday morning.
Jury selected to hear evidence against one defendant in Dunbar Village rape case – (08.18.2009)
… Moving quickly in the Dunbar Village sexual assault case, six men and two women were selected as jurors late today to judge the evidence against 20-year-old Tommy Poindexter. The panel of eight, including two alternates, was asked to come back Friday morning for opening statements. None are African-American. The hunt begins Wednesday for prospective jurors to judge evidence against 18-year-old Nathan Walker Jr. Poindexter and Walker are scheduled to be tried together, but each will have his own jury.
Two charged in brutal Dunbar Village rape set to go to trial Tuesday – (08.16.2009) …Dunbar Village – the public housing complex’s name itself connotes one of the county’s most appalling crimes. Two young men charged with a brutal assault inside one of its apartments go to trial Tuesday in the first public vetting of evidence in the case. This much is known for sure: a mother and her then 12-year-old son were attacked in June 2007 by a group of as many as 10 men and boys, at least some with shirts wrapped around their faces. The mother was beaten and sexually assaulted various ways and she and her son were forced to simulate sex with each other, according to a charging indictment. The 35-year-old woman told police that afterwards they were doused with chemicals in an attempt to destroy any evidence.
Youngest Dunbar Village rape defendant pleads guilty, will testify against others – (08.12.2009) …The youngest of four men charged in the gang rape of a 35-year-old Dunbar Village woman and assault on her 12-year-old son could become the star witness against others accused of the crime that stunned the community two years ago. Avion Lawson, who was 14 when the woman was raped by up to 10 men before she and her bloodied son were forced to perform sex acts on each other, pleaded guilty Wednesday to 14 charges, admitting he brutalized the two in their West Palm Beach apartment.
Youngest Dunbar Village rape defendant pleads guilty, will testify against others – (08.11.2009) …The youngest of four men charged in the bone-chilling rape of a 35-year-old Dunbar Village woman and her 12-year-old son pleaded guilty this morning. Avion Lawson, who was 14 when the woman and her son were gang raped in her West Palm Beach apartment in 2007, wants to accept responsibility for his actions, his attorney told Palm Beach Circuit Judge Krista Marx.
Dunbar Village rape suspect’s deal is dead, judge rules – (07.29.20090…Prosecutors will not be forced to honor a 25-year prison plea deal they once offered to one of four young men charged in the brutal rape of a Dunbar Village woman and her son, a judge ruled Wednesday. But the judge also strongly criticized the way prosecutors treated Tommy Poindexter, including taking a statement from him in December without precise assurances and then reneging on the deal later.
Nun on jury works at same church Dunbar Village victims attended – (08.20.2009)
A nun assigned to the same parish as the victim of an armed gang rape at a notorious West Palm Beach public-housing complex will sit as a juror in the case. The woman will be on the panel in the case against Nathan Walker, 18, who, along with co-defendant Tommy Poindexter, 20, faces up to 11 life sentences for the 2007 attack in the Dunbar Village community. The young men are charged with 14 counts, eight of them armed sexual battery by multiple perpetrator while masked, in the duration of an armed gang rape of a working-class Dunbar Village woman and her son, at the notorious West Palm Beach public-housing complex.



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Published: August 17, 2009
Lawrence Lucie, a guitarist whose career began in the early years of jazz and continued into the early years of the 21st century, died Friday in Manhattan. He was 101. His death was confirmed by Sharon Linder, an administrator at the Kateri Residence, the nursing and rehabilitation center in Manhattan where Mr. Lucie lived in recent years.
G. Paul Burnett/The New York Times

Lawrence Lucie in 2007.


Living to 100, and Looking Back on a Legacy of New York Jazz (December 19, 2007)

December 19, 2007    
G. Paul Burnett/The New York Times


Lawrence Lucie, right, at his 100th birthday bash in Manhattan. He played with Duke Ellington at Harlem’s Cotton Club.


Mr. Lucie spent most of his career as a rhythm guitarist, rarely stepping forward to solo. But he was a master of the underrated art of keeping the beat, and over the years he kept it for some of the biggest names in jazz.
“The most amazing thing about him is how many great musicians he worked with,” Dan Morgenstern, the director of the Institute of Jazz Studies at Rutgers University, said at a party celebrating Mr. Lucie’s 100th birthday. “It’s like a whole living history of jazz.”
The list of Mr. Lucie’s employers included Duke Ellington, with whom he worked for a few nights in the early 1930s, and Louis Armstrong, with whom he worked for four years in the 1940s. He also performed or recorded with Billie Holiday, Benny Carter, Fletcher Henderson and many others. He was the last living musician known to have recorded with the New Orleans jazz pioneer Jelly Roll Morton.
Lawrence Lucie was born in Emporia, Va., on Dec. 18, 1907. (Some sources give his year of birth as 1914, but he confirmed the earlier date to an interviewer in 1981, explaining, “In show business it doesn’t always pay to tell your real age.”) He began studying banjo, mandolin and violin at an early age and played in a band led by his father. He moved to New York at 19 to pursue a career as a musician.
Later in his career he performed and recorded with his wife, the guitarist and singer Nora Lee King. The couple had their own public-access cable television show in Manhattan for many years.
Mr. Lucie taught for three decades at Borough of Manhattan Community College. He performed with the New York Jazz Repertory Company and the Harlem Jazz and Blues Band in the 1970s and with Panama Francis and the Savoy Sultans in the ’80s and ’90s. His last show was at Arturo’s in Greenwich Village, where he played solo guitar on Sunday nights until 2005.
Information about survivors was not available. His wife, Ms. King, died during the 1990s.
Published: August 22, 2009
HARVEY, Ill. (AP) — R&B lead tenor John E. Carter, a two-time inductee into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum, has died. He was 75.

Susan Fine, a spokeswoman for Ingalls Memorial Hospital in Carter’s native Harvey, said Carter died there early Friday.
“We have lost an incredible voice that graced two of the most significant vocal groups of all time,” said Terry Stewart, president and CEO of the hall of fame. “As a member of both the Dells and the Flamingos, Johnny was one of a select few artists inducted twice into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.”
Mr. Carter, who was known for his falsetto, was the last surviving founding member of the Flamingos. The classic doo-wop group gained fame with such hits as “Golden Teardrops” and their reworking of the pop classic “I Only Have Eyes for You.”
Mr. Carter left the Flamingos the first time in 1957 to do military service, and left permanently in 1960 to join the Dells, which had been formed in the early 1950s by some of his high school friends from Harvey.
Stewart noted that the Dells were one of the longest-running R&B vocal groups. The quintet had no personnel changes after Mr. Carter replaced original lead tenor Johnny Funches.
The Dells’ 1954 breakout hit, “Oh What A Night,” sold more than a million records when it was reissued in 1969 with Mr. Carter on falsetto lead. The Dells were also famous for “Stay in My Corner,” one of the first R&B hits to run more than six minutes.
The group toured extensively with Dinah Washington, and later with Ray Charles. The Dells also came to the attention of Quincy Jones, who coached them into a more eclectic vocal style, incorporating jazz, soul and Broadway sounds.
The Dells, consisting of Mr. Carter, baritone lead Marvin Junior, and backup singers Charles Barksdale, Michael McGill and Verne Allison, served as technical advisers on Robert Townsend’s 1991 movie, “The Five Heartbeats,” which was loosely based on their careers.
The Dells performed publicly for one of the last times in 2004, when they did an outdoor concert in downtown Chicago to celebrate their induction into the hall of fame.
The Flamingos were inducted in 2000.
Mr. Carter is survived by five daughters and several grandchildren.
John E. Carter and the Flamingos prove they are one of the trail blazers of R&B and the pinnacle of doo-wop singers, as seen here in this great video as my tribute to the late John E. Carter of the Flamingos:
Rest in peace, john.
Rest in peace.

Photographs by Alex Wong/Getty Images, for “Meet the Press”

Robert Novak on NBC’s “Meet the Press” in 2003, during the controversy after he published the name of a C.I.A. officer, Valerie Wilson. More Photos >


Published: August 18, 2009
Robert D. Novak, the pugnacious political columnist and cable television fixture whose nickname, “the prince of darkness,” was invoked with renewed fervor in 2003, when he revealed the name of a C.I.A. officer, setting the stage for a criminal investigation that reached the Bush administration, died Tuesday morning at his home in Northwest Washington. He was 78. 
Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images
August 18, 2009    
Robert D. Novak, Columnist, Is Dead at 78

Robert Novak in 2006. More Photos »



The cause was a malignant brain tumor, his wife, Geraldine Novak, said. It was the latest of a number of cancers and maladies, including spinal meningitis and broken bones, that Mr. Novak had suffered in recent years.
Over five decades Mr. Novak rose from a $68-a-week cub reporter to become the wealthy proprietor of almost a cottage industry, achieving prominence and celebrity as a conservative Washington pundit while parlaying that renown into books, newsletters and political seminars.
At one point his column appeared in as many as 300 newspapers, and he was one of the first personalities to emerge on all-news cable television. CNN put him on the air its first weekend.
He first drew attention as an old-fashioned, notebook-and-shoe-leather newspaperman. For three decades his was the second byline with “Inside Report,” a syndicated column, written with Rowland Evans, that became a must-read for many both inside and outside Washington.
After Mr. Evans retired in 1993, Mr. Novak continued the column alone, writing as recently as last September about the tumor that ultimately took his life. Mr. Evans died in 2001.
Among the column’s many scoops was a 1978 interview with the Chinese leader Deng Xiaoping, which carried a conciliatory message to the United States. Some say the overture helped pave the way for the resumption of diplomatic relations with China the following year.
‘Prince of Darkness’
There were more than 120 Evans and Novak columns about the Watergate burglary alone, one telling of a White House plot to blame the Central Intelligence Agency for the break-in.
During the 1980s, the Evans and Novak column was called, for better or worse, the bulletin board of the Reagan administration. But he did not move in lockstep with Republicans.
Leading up to the invasion of Iraq, he had been among the most vocal conservatives against the war.
Al Hunt, the Washington executive editor of Bloomberg News, said it was difficult to pigeonhole Mr. Novak.
“Bob was known for his very tough and hard-line views, but he was also a great reporter who liked a good story even more than his ideology,” said Mr. Hunt, who had worked for The Wall Street Journal for 39 years before joining Bloomberg in 2005. “He was the ‘reverse’ Washington. If you were riding high, Novak loved to kick you. And if you were down, he’d be there for you.”
On cable television, Mr. Novak was the often churlish commentator in the three-piece suit, his eyebrows, it seemed, permanently arched. He was a regular on various CNN programs, most notably “The Capital Gang,” “Crossfire” and “Evans, Novak, Hunt and Shields,” with Mark Shields, the longtime Washington journalist and former Democratic strategist.
Mr. Novak relished making outrageous comments. He once complained that his Thanksgiving dinner had been ruined by seeing so many homeless people on television. Always combative, he left CNN in 2005 after storming off the set in a row with James Carville, the Democratic strategist and commentator. He later contributed to Fox News.
Morton Kondracke, a colleague on the syndicated talk program “The McLaughlin Group,” once characterized the role Mr. Novak played so enthusiastically as “the troll under the bridge of American journalism.”
As for the “prince of darkness” moniker, which John J. Lindsay, a Newsweek reporter, had bestowed, Mr. Novak said he was amused by it. Indeed, he made sly use of it in the title of a memoir in 2007, “The Prince of Darkness: 50 Years Reporting in Washington” (Crown Forum). He said in the book that the name referred to his pessimism about civilization, not his conservatism.
Becoming the Story
On television or in print, Mr. Novak had uncanny access to top officials in many administrations. Yet Mr. Novak did not rely solely on senior officials. “He may be the only major syndicated columnist in Washington who regularly had a meal with the assistant minority staff director of House subcommittees, Mr. Shields said. “His sources weren’t status sources.”
Mr. Novak exulted in his broadcast success. “Now strangers come up to me and they say, ‘I love you on television,’ ” he told The San Diego Union-Tribune in 1985.
So when Mr. Novak became embroiled in perhaps the messiest story of his career, Americans had a face on which to focus. The episode began on July 14, 2003, when, acting on a tip, Mr. Novak published the name of a C.I.A. officer, Valerie Wilson. Her husband, the former diplomat Joseph C. Wilson IV, had made public assertions that the Bush administration had justified the invasion of Iraq by distorting intelligence about Iraqi efforts to acquire unconventional weapons. Referring to Ms. Wilson by her maiden name, Plame, Mr. Novak disclosed her identity as “an agency operative on weapons of mass destruction.”

Chicago Sun-Times, via Associated Press

He shared a byline with Rowland Evans for three decades. More Photos >

A federal investigation began; federal law prohibited the disclosure of the identities of C.I.A. officers in some circumstances. And it led to the conviction of I. Lewis Libby Jr., Vice President Dick Cheney’s chief of staff.
Mr. Libby was charged not with leaking Ms. Wilson’s name but with perjury, for lying about his conversations with reporters about Ms. Wilson, and obstruction of justice. President Bush later commuted Mr. Libby’s 30-month prison term. (Mr. Novak himself was at little risk of prosecution under the disclosure law, which applies mainly to people who have authorized access to classified information.) Some reporters were pressured to identify sources with whom they had discussed Ms. Wilson. But to the consternation of some liberals and news media critics, there seemed to be little focus on Mr. Novak. Judith Miller, then a reporter for The New York Times, went to jail for 85 days before she agreed, with Mr. Libby’s permission, to testify to a grand jury about her conversations with Mr. Libby.
In interviews, Mr. Novak seemed to rub salt into the wounds of the other journalists. “I don’t know why they’re upset with me,” he told Brian Lamb of C-Span in 2004. “They ought to worry about themselves. I worry about myself.”
Mr. Novak insisted that he would not name his sources, then disclosed them to investigators and a grand jury, saying he had felt free to speak because the sources had identified themselves to the authorities.
(Mr. Novak’s sources were eventually revealed to be Richard L. Armitage, a former deputy secretary of state, and Karl Rove, the longtime political adviser to President George W. Bush. Neither official was charged with violating the law.)
The episode all but culminated a career that had taken off in earnest some 40 years earlier, when, in 1963, James Bellows, the editor of The New York Herald Tribune, asked Mr. Evans, the paper’s chief Washington correspondent, to write a political column, initially six days a week, and agreed to hire another reporter to help. Mr. Evans chose Mr. Novak, then at The Wall Street Journal.
They were an odd couple: Mr. Evans was Philadelphia Main Line, Yale, squash and exclusive clubs. Mr. Novak was a smart, shrewd small-town boy “looking for trouble,” in his own phrase.
‘Evans and Novak’
The humorist Art Buchwald said: “Novak is the guy who hits you over the head with the truncheon. And Evans is the guy who offers you a cigarette.
The Evans-and-Novak method was to unearth a nugget of real news from inside Washington, or pick up on a piece of political gossip, and build a column around it. Over the years the column leaned in an increasingly conservative direction. (The Chicago Sun-Times became its home paper in 1966.)
For all its influence, though, the column could not always document its scoops. In April 1972, Mr. Evans and Mr. Novak reported that Senator George S. McGovern, the Democratic presidential candidate, favored abortion rights, legalization of marijuana and amnesty for draft dodgers — positions that crippled his standing with most conservative voters.
Mr. Novak said the source had been a Democratic senator, but his refusal to say more prompted accusations that he had made up the story. Only in 2007 did Mr. Novak say that the source had been Senator Thomas F. Eagleton, who had briefly been Mr. McGovern’s running mate before being forced off the ticket by disclosures about electric shock treatments in his past. Mr. Novak said he had felt free to reveal his source after Mr. Eagleton died that year.
Mr. Novak also admitted to giving, on occasion, misleading descriptions of people quoted anonymously. He might say, for example, that someone worked in Congress when the person actually worked for the State Department, he told Right Wing News in 2007.
“It’s shady on the ethical side,” Mr. Novak said.
Mr. Novak liked to own sporty cars. In July 2008, he was fined $50 for striking a homeless pedestrian in Washington with his black Corvette. He said he did not know that the accident had happened until a witness on a bicycle told the police. The witness said the victim, who was not seriously hurt, had been splayed across Mr. Novak’s windshield.
Shortly afterward, a brain tumor was diagnosed, and Mr. Novak underwent surgery. But by September of that year, though now officially retired, he was writing again.
“There are mad bloggers who profess to take delight in my distress, but there’s no need to pay them attention in the face of such an outpouring of good will for me,” Mr. Novak wrote in a column that month. “I had thought 51 years of rough-and-tumble journalism in Washington made me more enemies than friends, but my recent experience suggests the opposite may be the case.”
Robert David Sanders Novak was born in Joliet, Ill., on Feb. 26, 1931, in a Republican home. His father was a chemical engineer who ran Joliet’s gas company. Robert worked on the local newspaper as a high school student and attended the University of Illinois, but he left one course short of graduation to serve stateside as a lieutenant in the Army for two years during the Korean War.
He then worked in Omaha and Indianapolis for The Associated Press before being transferred to Washington. Mr. Novak was recruited by The Wall Street Journal in 1958 and became known as a skilled political reporter. He also wrote for the paper’s editorial page.
In writing about his life, Mr. Novak said he had a brief first marriage to an Indianapolis debutante but did not identify her. He later married Geraldine Williams, a secretary for Senator Lyndon B. Johnson. Mr. Johnson insisted on giving the wedding reception.
Besides his wife, Mr. Novak is survived by his daughter, Zelda Jane Novak Caldwell; his son, Alexander; and eight grandchildren. A funeral is planned for 10 a.m. Friday at St. Patrick Catholic Church in Washington. Mr. Novak wrote seven books, some with Mr. Evans, on Washington politics and personalities. Robert Caro, who is writing a multivolume biography of Lyndon Johnson, praised their 1966 book “Lyndon B. Johnson: The Exercise of Power” (New American Library).
“Sometimes you read old biographies where you scarcely take a note,” Mr. Caro told Vanity Fair in 2005. “My sheaf of notes on that book is really thick.”
Mr. Novak grew up Jewish and was in a Jewish fraternity in college, but, like Mr. Evans, he was critical of Israel. He prompted a firestorm when he said the terrorist attacks on New York and Washington in 2001 had been provoked in part by the United States’ closeness to Israel.
After largely ignoring religion and dabbling in Unitarianism, Mr. Novak, in 1998, at age 67, converted to Roman Catholicism. In a ceremony, Msgr. Peter Vaghi proclaimed that the “prince of darkness” had been transformed into a “child of light.”
Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan of New York, who was in attendance, warned against jumping to conclusions.
“Well, we’ve now made Bob a Catholic,” Mr. Moynihan said, according to Washingtonian magazine. “The question is, Can we make him a Christian?”
Published: August 20, 2009
Burl Toler, who as perhaps the best player on one of college football’s greatest teams became the focus of racial discrimination, and who went on to become the first black on-field official in the National Football League, died Sunday in Castro Valley, Calif. He was 81.
He died after a sudden illness, said his daughter Susan Toler Carr.
The story of Toler’s college team, the 1951 University of San Francisco Dons, is one of the most extraordinary in sports. Called by Sports Illustrated “the best team you never heard of,” the Dons sent nine players to the N.F.L., three of whom — Gino Marchetti, Bob St. Clair and Ollie Matson — were eventually inducted into the Professional Football Hall of Fame. Its head coach was Joe Kuharich, who went on to coach at Notre Dame and for three professional teams; and the athletic publicity director was Pete Rozelle, who became the N.F.L. commissioner.
Toler, who played on the line on offense and linebacker on defense, was drafted by Cleveland, but he never made it to the pros because of a severe knee injury in a college all-star game.
“I personally felt Burl Toler was the best player of any of us,” Marchetti said in a telephone interview Wednesday. “He was the best tackler, the hardest hitter, and he had the most speed.”
The team went 9-0, defeating its opponents by an average score of 32-8, but it was not selected for a postseason game by the Southern-based bowl game committees, ostensibly because of its weak schedule, but in fact because of its two black players, Toler and Matson. In the interview, Marchetti said Rozelle and Kuharich told the team they would be invited to play in a bowl only if the team agreed to leave the two black players behind.
“We answered ‘No, we’d never do that,’ ” Marchetti said. “And after we said no and removed ourselves from consideration, nobody ever had a second thought about it.”
In 2000, the United States Senate unanimously passed a resolution, submitted by Barbara Boxer, Democrat of California, acknowledging that the Dons were victimized by racial prejudice and “that the treatment endured by this team was wrong and that recognition for it accomplishments is long overdue.”
Burl Abron Toler was born in Memphis on May 9, 1928. His father, Arnold, was a Pullman porter. His mother, Annie King Toler, operated a small store and ran a boarding house.
Young Burl went to a segregated high school and did not play football because of a severe burn on his arm; he had an accident disposing of a vat of cooking grease.
After graduating, he went to San Francisco at the suggestion of an uncle who lived there, and he enrolled at the two-year City College of San Francisco, where the football coach spotted him in the gymnasium and asked him to come out for the team. In his first practice, the story goes, he tackled the star running back, Ollie Matson, on three consecutive plays. Their 1948 team was 12-0, and both Toler and Matson earned scholarships at the University of San Francisco.
Toler’s wife, Melvia, died in 1991. In addition to his daughter Susan, who lives in Altadena, Calif., he is survived by a brother, Arnold Jr., of Memphis; two other daughters, Valerie, of Hayward, Calif., and Jennifer, of Berkeley; three sons, Burl Jr., of El Sobrante, Calif., Gregory, of Oakland, and Martel, of San Francisco; and eight grandchildren.
After his knee injury, Toler taught math and physical education at a San Francisco junior high school, the Benjamin Franklin Middle School, where he eventually became the principal. The school was closed in 2004, but reopened in 2006 as the Burl A. Toler Campus, home to two charter schools. Toler was also a commissioner of the San Francisco Police Department from 1978 to 1986.
N.F.L. officiating is part-time work, conducted mostly on weekends. Toler was an N.F.L. official for 25 seasons, beginning in 1965, a year before Emmett Ashford became the first black umpire in the major leagues and three years before Jackie White broke the color barrier in the National Basketball Association. Toler officiated a number of crucial games, including Super Bowl XIV in 1980, in which the Pittsburgh Steelers defeated the Los Angeles Rams, and the 1982 A.F.C. championship game, in which the Cincinnati Bengals defeated the San Diego Chargers. It became known as the Freezer Bowl because it was played in the coldest temperatures of any game in league history. The wind chill in Cincinnati on Jan. 10, 1982, reached minus 59 degrees Fahrenheit. Toler sustained frostbite on his fingers.
“He was very, very knowledgeable about the game,” Jim Tunney, who worked on the same crew with Toler for 11 years, said in a telephone interview Thursday. “He knew about blocking and tackling. He knew about the emotions the players go through playing the game, which is very important.”
Tunney said Toler was so self-possessed that whatever racist attitudes he encountered in the game simply never became an issue.
“He just didn’t allow racism to enter into his doing his job,” Tunney said. “He never mentioned it, and if it ever did occur, he just rose above it.”
Unlike baseball umpires, whose crews rotate positions from game to game, football officials specialize. When Toler began his career, there were six on-field officials: the referee, who lines up behind the offensive backfield; the umpire, who is positioned in the middle of the field behind the defensive line; the head linesman and the line judge, who are on opposite sidelines on the line of scrimmage; the field judge, who stands on the sideline in the defensive backfield, and the back judge, who is positioned in midfield behind the defensive backs. A seventh official, the side judge, an across-the-field complement to the field judge, was added in 1978.
For most of his career, Toler was a head linesman, with a twofold responsibility: first to watch for line-of-scrimmage infractions like being offside, and then to move downfield to monitor receivers running short and midrange pass routes and the defenders covering them. The job requires not just the instinct to read plays as they develop and foot speed, but also, because he lines up on the sideline and within easy shouting distance of coaches, an especially serene demeanor.
“Burl was extremely quick; he could run like the wind,” said Art McNally, the N.F.L.’s supervisor of officials from 1968 to 1990. “But more than that he was a master of getting people who were up on the ceiling screaming and bringing them back down again.”
Published: August 19, 2009
Don Hewitt, who changed the course of broadcast news by creating the television magazine “60 Minutes,” fusing journalism and show business as never before, and who then presided over that much-copied program for nearly four decades, died Wednesday at his home in Bridgehampton, N.Y. He was 86 and also had a home on the Upper West Side of Manhattan.
August 19, 2009    

Librado Romero/The New York Times

Don Hewitt in 1999. More Photos »

The cause was cancer, his wife, Marilyn Berger, said. In an interview in March, Mr. Hewitt said that doctors had found a cancerous tumor on his pancreas and that he was being admitted to Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in Manhattan for treatment.
In a career of more than half a century at CBS News, Mr. Hewitt bridged the history of television journalism, from its birth in the long shadow of radio, through its golden age as an unrivaled fixture in dens and living rooms, to its middle-age present, under siege by the Internet. As a director and producer, Mr. Hewitt helped shape the early broadcasts of pioneers like Edward R. Murrow, Douglas Edwards and Walter Cronkite and oversaw CBS’s coverage of watershed moments like the first presidential debate, between Richard M. Nixon and John F. Kennedy, in 1960; the assassination of President Kennedy in 1963; and the NASA space missions of the late 1960s.
But it was as creator and executive producer of “60 Minutes” that he had his biggest impact — imagining, in effect, what an electronic version of Life magazine would be like, and then bringing it to the screen with a mix of hard-hitting investigative pieces and celebrity profiles. It was a formula that the other networks soon imitated.
Mr. Hewitt was also instrumental in the emergence of the television reporter as a celebrity.
The reporters he recruited for “60 Minutes” — including Mike Wallace, Harry Reasoner, Dan Rather and later Lesley Stahl and Ed Bradley — became as recognizable as the politicians they confronted and the entertainers they interviewed. Whatever lineup of reporters was featured in a particular television season, they were presented to their Sunday night audience as equals.
Within a few years, the program had become a ratings juggernaut, a status that until then had been the province of comedies like those featuring Jackie Gleason and Lucille Ball. It took up residence among the top 10 shows on prime-time television for more than two decades, earning the network “maybe $2 billion,” Mr. Hewitt once estimated. At its peak, in the 1979-80 television season, “60 Minutes,” opening with the trademark ticking stopwatch, was seen in an estimated 28 million homes each Sunday, according to Nielsen Media Research.
Separately, Mr. Hewitt was given credit for creating, or helping to create, a number of television news innovations, like putting headsets on newsmakers at political conventions and other events so they might be interviewed remotely, and displaying type on screen — a subject’s name, for example. He said he got that idea from the sliding letters on the wall-mounted menu of a diner in Chicago in 1952.
He also gave new meaning to the word anchorman, which referred, he said, not to the anchor of a ship but to the final runner on a four-person relay team, the one who in effect would carry the news home and receive the most attention in the process.
A New Model for TV
In more than 35 years at the helm of “60 Minutes,” which he led from its founding in 1968 to his departure, under pressure, at age 82 in 2004, Mr. Hewitt made stars (and millionaires) not only of Mr. Rather, Mr. Wallace, Mr. Bradley and Ms. Stahl, but also of Morley Safer, Steve Kroft and Andy Rooney. While theirs were the faces that, collectively, opened the program for decades each Sunday night at 7 (or a bit later in football season), the program that viewers ultimately saw was largely forged off-camera by Mr. Hewitt.
Having been fired in the mid-1960s as executive producer of Mr. Cronkite’s “CBS Evening News” — Fred Friendly, who was president of CBS News at the time, faulted Mr. Hewitt for his emphasis on “lots of dazzle, lots of pace” — Mr. Hewitt used his brief time in exile within the news division headquarters in Manhattan to conceive a program that he likened to a broadcast version of a general-interest magazine like Life.
Mr. Hewitt reasoned that “60 Minutes” — named for the hour of prime time the network would give him each week — would toggle between hard news and soft.
“We could look into Marilyn Monroe’s closet, so long as we looked into Robert Oppenheimer’s laboratory, too,” he wrote in his 2001 memoir “Tell Me a Story.” “We could make the news entertaining, without compromising our integrity.”
A Force Behind the News
Behind the scenes, he could be a stern, hyperkinetic taskmaster. Tom Goodman, a former public relations executive at CBS, recalled Wednesday that Mr. Hewitt was known for the occasional screaming match with Mr. Wallace and would sometimes threaten to quit over minor matters, behavior that the management knew it had to put up with.
A story often told at CBS, and by Mr. Hewitt himself, involved an incident in which he and Mr. Wallace were on a plane together when Mr. Wallace collapsed. Mr. Hewitt recalled looking down and saying, using an expletive: “Oh, he’s dead. Now we’re never going to catch ‘Cheers.’ ”
Mr. Hewitt established and enforced a set of fundamental elements for the program: an emphasis on narrative; interviews in which the questions (and questioners) were often more interesting than the subjects themselves; occasional gotcha moments that snared wrongdoers like Watergate co-conspirators or cigarette manufacturers; and, as respites from the more sober reports, candid conversations with personalities like Barbra Streisand, Lena Horne, Robin Williams and Bruce Springsteen.
The format spawned a host of newsmagazine competitors, among them “20/20,” “Prime Time Live” and, to some extent, “Nightline,” all on ABC, as well as “Dateline” on NBC. For several years it also had a sister broadcast on CBS, known as “60 Minutes II” and “60 Minutes Wednesday.”
“ ‘60 Minutes’ was the model and the framework of everything that followed,” said Victor Neufeld, who was a senior producer of “20/20” at its inception in the late 1970s and was the program’s executive producer for 16 years, ending in 2002. “ ‘20/20’ was a different version of ‘60 Minutes.’ It was the same concept of taking information and telling compelling stories, nonfiction stories with strong characters, in a prime-time environment.”
But by demonstrating that news could deliver big audiences at a fraction of the cost of a scripted comedy or drama, Mr. Hewitt and “60 Minutes” also helped usher in an era in television in which reality would become routinely wrapped in the gilt of excess and sensationalism.
In more recent years, an offshoot of “Dateline” called “To Catch a Predator” would seek to entrap pedophiles on camera in ways reminiscent of one of Mr. Wallace’s early pieces. In that report, a “60 Minutes” producer working with the Better Government Association of Chicago had turned a Chicago storefront into a dummy health clinic, with the intent of catching a representative for a blood lab in the act of seeking a kickback. At the climactic moment, Mr. Wallace appeared from behind a one-way mirror.
With a mix of stories in both content and tone, Mr. Hewitt strove for balance on “60 Minutes.” But that studied approach was thrown to the wayside by some early-evening entertainment news shows, which focused on gossip and stories that were often spoon-fed to them by movie and television publicists.
As his “60 Minutes” career was drawing to a close, Mr. Hewitt appeared to acknowledge what he had wrought.
“We started a trend, and we ruined television,” he said in 2002, on an episode of the PBS program “American Masters” that focused on “60 Minutes,” “because we made it profitable to do this kind of thing.”
Mr. Hewitt was also present at what is now regarded as the inception of the modern presidential campaign: the first 1960 Nixon-Kennedy debate, which established television as the pre-eminent medium in American electoral politics. Mr. Hewitt produced and directed the face-off, in Chicago, for the three major networks.
His involvement in the event extended even to the makeup. Mr. Hewitt said he offered makeup to Kennedy, who refused. Nixon, following suit, also refused. But Kennedy was suntanned and Nixon was not, and without makeup Nixon’s complexion came across as pasty, setting off his five o’clock shadow. Many critics have said that Kennedy was perceived to have won the debate, and eventually won the election, because he looked better on camera that day.
Strife at CBS
With Mr. Cronkite’s death in July at age 92, CBS News has now lost two of its biggest pillars in a little over a month. There was a time when the two men were on opposite sides of a story that roiled CBS. In 1974, “60 Minutes” presented a muckraking Mike Wallace report about press junkets that named CBS as having organized free trips paid for by corporations to working journalists and identified Mr. Cronkite, the network’s leading anchorman, as one who had accepted junkets in the past.
In what he later regarded as one of the darkest periods of his career, Mr. Hewitt capitulated in 1995 to CBS’s demand that he kill a “60 Minutes” piece based on interviews with an “insider” from the Brown & Williamson tobacco company. The insider, a former Brown & Williamson scientist named Jeffrey Wigand, had provided “60 Minutes” with evidence that the company had systematically disregarded evidence on the dangers of smoking.
The network, which was in the process of being sold to Westinghouse, worried that the broadcast could expose CBS to billions of dollars in potential liability, because it could be perceived as abetting Mr. Wigand in breaking a confidentiality agreement he had signed. Among those sharply and publicly critical of Mr. Hewitt’s acquiescence were Mr. Wallace, the correspondent on the segment, and Lowell Bergman, the segment producer. Mr. Bergman’s defiance was memorialized by Al Pacino, who played him in the 1999 film “The Insider,” based on a Vanity Fair article about the episode.
In his 2001 memoir, Mr. Hewitt said his hands had been tied by the network’s lawyers. He recalled telling Mr. Wallace, “Look, the only way to get this story on the air is to go out and hire a bunch of guerrillas and take the transmitter at gunpoint.”
“Failing that,” he wrote, “what could we do about it? We could quit, of course. But I had spent too much of my life making ‘60 Minutes’ what it was.”
Eventually, after The Wall Street Journal beat “60 Minutes” to a version of the same story through an article based on Mr. Wigand’s testimony in a court case, “60 Minutes” belatedly broadcast its report on the matter.
Donald Shepard Hewitt was born in New York City on Dec. 14, 1922, and grew up just north of the city in New Rochelle, N.Y. His father was a classified advertising manager for The Boston American and later ran a company that sold circulars door-to-door. The young Don Hewitt found himself pulled toward two seemingly opposite poles as he logged endless hours in the local movie house.
“Through it all, I never knew which character I really wanted to be,” he wrote in his memoir, “Hildy Johnson, the reporter in ‘The Front Page,’ or Julian Marsh, the Broadway producer in ‘42nd Street.’ I would have settled for either one, with a slight nod toward Hildy Johnson. Because along with the movies, I had another passion: to be a reporter.”
The Path to Television
A year after enrolling in New York University on a track scholarship, Mr. Hewitt dropped out. His first job was as a copy boy at The New York Herald Tribune, for $15 a week. In 1943, he enrolled at the Merchant Marine Academy in Kings Point, N.Y., in lieu of joining the Army. He eventually parlayed that experience into an assignment covering the merchant marine for Stars and Stripes, the military newspaper, which led him to London.
By 1945, he was back in New York working for The Herald Tribune when he was hired to become night editor of The Associated Press bureau in Memphis. His new wife, Mary Weaver, began to pine for New York, though, and they soon moved back. His new job as the night editor at a photo agency led to a lucky job offer: a friend told Mr. Hewitt that CBS, known primarily for its radio work, was looking for someone with picture experience to join its new effort to produce television programming.
“What-avision?” Mr. Hewitt recalled asking.
At the time, in 1948, the CBS studio was based over Grand Central Terminal. “So I went down to Grand Central Terminal, and damned if they didn’t have it, up on the top floor — little pictures in a box,” Mr. Hewitt wrote in “Tell Me a Story.” “They also had cameras and lights and makeup artists and stage managers and microphone booms just like in the movies, and I was hooked.”
Mr. Hewitt eventually separated from Ms. Weaver, who later died. A second marriage, to Frankie Childers, ended in divorce. He married Marilyn Berger in 1979; she had been a correspondent for The Washington Post and NBC News who later wrote obituaries for The New York Times.
She survives him, as do two sons, Jeffrey and Steven, from his first marriage; two daughters, Lisa Cassara and Jilian Hewitt, from his second marriage; and three grandchildren.
Though Mr. Hewitt remained under contract as a consultant to CBS after his departure from “60 Minutes,” he returned to prime time in 2007 as an executive producer for an hourlong program broadcast on a rival network, NBC. He did so in a capacity that might have made Julian Marsh proud. Mr. Hewitt conceived of a special that would broadcast the Radio City Christmas Spectacular largely intact, so that the viewer at home could watch the show as if in person.
Asked at the time how he had enjoyed the experience — in which he directed two hosts, Matt Lauer and Meredith Vieira, posed with the Rockettes and managed nine high-definition cameras that Murrow and Edwards would have hardly recognized — Mr. Hewitt said it had been the thrill of a very rich lifetime.
“I consider myself a guy who married ‘show biz’ and ‘news biz,’ ” he said.

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Black American women obviously have no right to choose with whom they wish to share their lives, and no where is that more obvious in this video.

The Jan and Quiana Pietrzak murder-rape case is not the only incident that shows that Black women, and the men they love (especially if those men are not Black) have to face the threat of people shoving their myopic and hateful venom down the throats of Black women who dare to want a life with someone who will love them—regardless of the race of man they become involved with.

But, so silly of me to forget.

Black women have no rights that anyone is bound to respect.

Especially when it comes to something so important, so personal, so intimate, as to whom she will date and want to spend the rest of her life with.

May Nicola Fletcher have the man she loves survive his injuries at the hands of these cowards, and may Brian Milligan, Jr. recover from  the brutal beating he suffered, and may his attackers face the full force that the law can punish them with.

(Hattip to {;topicseen }

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Please note Sisterhood Agenda’s new telephone number:  (973) 893-7608
Did you see Sisterhood Agenda’s comments in the August issue of ESSENCE? Click on the image to read about media images and their effect on Black women and girls:  Black Women Behaving Badly by Kierna Mayo.

“Angela D. Coleman, president and founder of the Sisterhood Agenda (, agrees that our struggle to love ourselves is at the crux of our issues with one another. “At the core of being able to be a sister, of being someone who can be relied upon for unconditional love and support, is being able to love yourself,” she says. ‘Intrinsic to sisterhood is self-love, self-esteem, and understanding and accepting who you are.”


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Saturday, August 22, 2009 12:00pm—3:00pm

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* How to define, obtain, & maintain self- Esteem * How to communicate with your parents, and more! Parents will learn:  How to communicate with your daughters * How your daughter’s actions or lack of could get you into trouble * How to prevent getting involved with the court system, and more!


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Attend this dynamic workshop with your daughter for only $149 (one parent per child)

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*The National Campaign to Prevent Teen  & Unplanned Pregnancy







Want to see your event posted?  Become a Sisterhood Agenda Global Partner!






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Daralyn Schoenewald / 325-676-6765
Sunday, August 16, 2009

The United White Knights of the Ku Klux Klan peppered some Abilene neighborhoods on Saturday night with leaflets.

Only a select few neighborhoods got the leaflets, which consisted of three double-sided pages stapled, rolled up and placed in a plastic bag with rocks to weigh it down. Approximately 400 were distributed in all.

The leaflet outlines the group’s mission, from urging readers to stand up for “white rights” to decrying misogamy between interracial couples and denouncing illegal immigration. The sheaths of paper include the 10 current goals of the organization.

Neighborhoods where the pamphlets were circulated were carefully selected, said a local Klan member who helped distribute them. Homes with driveways full of cars were passed by. Predominantly Black and Hispanic neighborhoods were also passed by.

“We try go white neighborhoods, but you can never guarantee who lives where,” said the Klan member, who declined to give his name. “We don’t want to distribute to other races. We don’t want to upset anybody.”

Rather, the local Klan group is seeking to recruit new members, the man said.

“The KKK is not a violent or prejudice group. It’s a Christian group. This is not the Old Klan,” he said. “This is the second era. The way the political climate is now, we’re trying to give some stability, some help to the right wing.”

The man said no laws were broken by distributing the pamphlets.

Abilene Police said no case reports had been completed about the leaflets, which could mean that no calls to the police were made about them.



“We try go white neighborhoods, but you can never guarantee who lives where,” said the Klan member, who declined to give his name. “We don’t want to distribute to other races. We don’t want to upset anybody.”

Oh, sure, of course you do not want to upset anybody. You know that the KKK has been a group of low-life, pieces of fecal matter in their vicious mistreatment of various racial groups who do not fall under the umbrella of racial white purity. You know that the KKK has been a filthy group of murderers, arsonists, liars, rapists, thieves, and haters of humanity who do not wear a lighter skin color.

Of course the KKK does not want to upset anyone. The Klan knows the history of its organization, therefore, these creatures who passed out these leaflets already knew they stood for all that is wrong and indefensible in the history, past and present, of America, as represented in the followers of the Ku Klux Klan.

“The KKK is not a violent or prejudice group.”

Oh, really.

Wow, do tell.

Yep.  The Klan….so, peaceful, such lovers of all of their fellow human beings. The Klan. I guess all those midnight riders who terrorized and destroyed countless Black ex-slaves they were what…little boys out on a lark? Yes, the lovely, fine, upstanding Klan. Hats off to them for helping set America back to the Carboniferous Period.

“It’s a Christian group.”

Christian, eh?

Since when is hating your fellow human beings, wanting to be part of a group of weak, craven cowards who hide under white sheets, and advocating for the destruction of those who do not espouse your gibberish and hate-mongering beliefs make  you a “Christian”?

That is not what a Christian does.

That is what a self-hating derelict does.

And as the relics that you are, the world has had its fill of your kind.

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August 20, 2009 ColorLines Direct. News and commentary from ColorLines magazine and RaceWire blog.


The Mujeres of the Young Lords Forty years after the Puerto Rican activist group took over an East Harlem church, a look at the women who shaped their politics.


Gays Shut Out of the Parade
This year’s organizers for the India Day Parade in Manhattan barred LGBT community from joining the celebration.


Shah Rukh Khan: Bollywood Border Stop

Deepa Iyer, Executive Director of South Asian Americans Leading Together (SAALT) reports on the Shah Rukh Khan incident at Newark International Airport and has a recommendation for the Obama Administration and Congress.Special Education: Equity and Access in Charter Schools
Charter schools are often marketed as incubators of educational innovation, and they form a key feature of the Obama administration’s school reform agenda. But in some urban communities, they may be fueling de facto school segregation.

Caption Contest: President Obama, Professor Gates and Sgt. Crowley
RaceWire is holding a caption contest. If you submit the epic caption and win, we’ll send you a copy of Tram Nguyen’s Language Is a Place of Struggle: Great Quotes by People of Color.

A Just Cause vs. an Unjust Eviction: Q&A with Karen Mims [VIDEO]

Last year, a speculator showed up to inspect Karen Mims’ home. That’s how Karen found out that her home of 12 years was getting foreclosed on.

“Tragic, but not Criminal”: No Charges in NYPD Friendly Fire Death
A Manhattan grand jury has cleared Officer Andrew P. Dunton of all criminal charges in the killing of his colleague, Omar Edwards.

Schwarzenegger’s Blockbuster Budget Cuts Terminate the Safety Net [VIDEO]

When financial crisis hit, the California legislature didn’t raise taxes, end tax giveaways, or cut corporate welfare. Instead, they cut services to the people made most vulnerable by the recession


ColorLines Direct is the weekly news update of the Applied Research Center (ARC) sent to subscribers, supporters and participants in ARC’s activities. ARC publishes ColorLines Magazine, and most recently hosted The Compact for Racial Justice Phone Forums.

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After many pre-emptory strikes against prospective jurors on the Dunbar Village trial, a jury has finally been selected to hear the case against one of the accused in the rape-sodomy trial.

I will have more to say on this case later.

(UPDATE – August 20, 2009):

While both the defense attorney and district attorney prepare for next week’s rial, many thoughts cross my mind.

Will the defense try to play up to the jury’s sympathy with the ages of the accused men? Will the accused turn on each other to cop a lesser time in the sentencing phase, if they are found guilty? (Then again, that is already happening as stated here.) Since many jurors had to excuse themselves during the jury selection process, due to much knowledge of the case, and due to their disgust of the heinousness of the crime, how will the seated jury handle the evidence presented to them by the prosecuting attorney? Will the defense try to portray the mother as having a questionable reputation to try and impugn her character to bolster support from the jury for their clients? (Even now, one of the attorneys, is already attacking the mother as one of the following news reports states:   “An attorney for Walker, Robert Gershman, joined by the other defense attorneys, has begun an aggressive vetting of the victim, seeking information about a confidential settlement she received following the attack and an alleged inappropriate contact with her son nearly a year after the attack.

 How far will the defense lawyers go to try and tear down the assaulted mother to garner sympathy for their clients?

Will the prosecuting attorney present enough clear, without-a-shadow-of-a-doubt evidence to seal a conviction against the accused so that this young mother and her son can receive justice?

As the trial unfolds in the weeks to come, only then will my questions be answered.

Until then, I will post updates on the trial.

May this young mother and her son receive the justice they are due. They have suffered through an ordeal that even a pitbull dog should not receive.




Palm Beach Post Staff Writer

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

The youngest of four men charged in the bone-chilling rape of a 35-year-old Dunbar Village woman and her 12-year-old son pleaded guilty this morning.


Lannis Waters/The Post

Avion Lawson, who was 14 when the woman and her son were gang raped in her apartment in 2007, wants to accept responsibility for his actions, his attorney said.

Avion Lawson, who was 14 when the woman and her son were gang raped in her West Palm Beach apartment in 2007, wants to accept responsibility for his actions, his attorney told Palm Beach Circuit Judge Krista Marx.


“He’s very sorry for what he did,” attorney Bert Winkler said.


Lawson’s fingerprints were on a wall and his DNA was in a condom left at the woman’s apartment.


The 16-year-old has agreed to testify against the three others charged in the rape – two of whom are to go to trial on Tuesday.


However, while his cooperation may win him some points with Marx, there are no guarantees, Winkler admitted.


Lawson, 16, faces a maximum 11 life sentences plus 50 years, according to sentencing guidelines. While Marx has broad discretion when she sentences him on Oct. 13, he faces a minimum of 49 years in prison.


Marx repeatedly warned Lawson that she could sentence him to life in prison.


“Yes, ma’am,” Lawson answered softly each time Marx asked him whether he understood the consequences of pleading guilty to 14 charges in connection with the rape that shocked the community in both its brutality and the tender ages of those charged.


Lawson’s mother, Kathy, stood by him as he admitted his guilt. While stoic in front of the judge, she collapsed in tears outside the courtroom after her son was led back to jail by sheriff’s deputies.


According to police, as many as 10 young men entered the apartment of a woman identified in court papers only as M.D. and her son, identified as C.J. They raped her repeatedly, making her son watch, police said. They then forced the two to engage in sexual activity. Finally, they dumped chemicals on the two and fled, after stealing the woman’s cell phone and car, and ripping their home phone out of the wall.


The two walked to Good Samaritan Medical Center in the middle of the night to seek treatment, prosecutors said.


Two others accused of the rape who are to be tried beginning Tuesday are: Tommy Poindexter, 20, and Nathan Walker, 18. While they will be tried together, they will have separate juries.


Jakaris Taylor, 17, who was to be tried with Lawson, is to face a jury in September.


Prosecutors acknowledged that all involved are not in custody.






Palm Beach Post Staff Writer

Thursday, July 16, 2009

WEST PALM BEACH — The four young men charged in the attack on and gang rape of a Dunbar Village woman and her son two years ago will not go on trial together, a judge ruled Thursday.
Two will be tried at a time and each defendant will have his own jury. They face life in prison if convicted as charged.


Dunbar Village assault
See recent headlines, documents, editorials and more.

Dunbar assault trial

 Reporter Susan Spencer-Wendel Twitters from the courtroom:

  • A terrible twist for prosecutors: ASA Terri Skiles, part of team to try the case, is hospitalized today with appendicitis 2 days ago

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Tommy Poindexter, 20, and Nathan Walker, 18, will start trial on Aug. 18. Avion Lawson, 15, and Jakaris Taylor, 17, are set for trial beginning Sept. 15.
Circuit Judge Krista Marx told lawyers for the defendants that a delay is not likely. “The case is old and it’s time for it to go to trial,” she said.

Prosecutors have listed some last-minute witnesses, including three men depicted in court as additional suspects in the crime and new experts in handwriting and DNA.

Among the thousands of pages of evidence are scores of letters the defendants have written while jailed.

As trial nears, defense attorneys are turning over every rock for defense points.

According to police, a group of armed, masked intruders broke into the woman’s Dunbar Village apartment, forcing her and her son, then 12, into sex acts.

Afterward the attackers took pains to cover their tracks, pouring alcohol, nail polish remover and ammonia on the woman, according to a police report.

The savagery of the crime and the backdrop of the low-income housing project made national headlines at the time.

An attorney for Walker, Robert Gershman, joined by the other defense attorneys, has begun an aggressive vetting of the victim, seeking information about a confidential settlement she received following the attack and an alleged inappropriate contact with her son nearly a year after the attack.

An attorney for the woman has alleged Dunbar Village did not provide enough security to keep residents of the 226-unit complex safe.

Gershman argues that any settlement or how the woman handled the report of her alleged inappropriate contact with her son speaks to any possible bias or prejudice she may have.

Marx told Gershman he must narrow the questions for the woman about the settlement and the inquiry into the inappropriate contact.

“Relevancy is really a stretch here,” the judge said.





Palm Beach Post Staff Writer

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

WEST PALM BEACH — Moving quickly in the Dunbar Village sexual assault case, six men and two women were selected as jurors late today to judge the evidence against 20-year-old Tommy Poindexter.
The panel of eight, including two alternates, was asked to come back Friday morning for opening statements. None are African-American.




Dunbar assault trial

LIVE Reporter Susan Spencer-Wendel Twitters from the courtroom:

  • A terrible twist for prosecutors: ASA Terri Skiles, part of team to try the case, is hospitalized today with appendicitis 1 day ago

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Photos More trial photos

Photos More photos of other suspects

Charges brought by grand jury

Criminal complaints
Avion Lawson
Nathan Walker
Jakaris Taylor

Dunbar photo
Dunbar Village: Audio Tough times for a good place


The hunt begins Wednesday for prospective jurors to judge evidence against 18-year-old Nathan Walker Jr. Poindexter and Walker are scheduled to be tried together, but each will have his own jury.
Both face 14 charges, including burglary, kidnapping, and multiple counts of sexual battery by multiple perpetrators. Both face up to life in prison if convicted.
Poindexter’s lawyers questioned at length today one panel of prospective jurors. Most said they had heard of the case. Some recalled more, and cited their shock at the gang rape of the mother and the mother and son being forced by their attackers to perform a sex act together.
One woman said it was the cruelest thing she’s ever heard. “For me it’s over the top,” she said.
That woman was not selected for the panel.

Public Defender Carey Haughwout is defending Poindexter, the eldest of the four boys and young men charged in the crime. She questioned prospective jurors at length on whether they assume older children would necessarily be the leader in misdeeds, as well as asking them if they could “think somebody could participate in some of it .. but not be guilty of all of it.”

The questions harken the possible defense strategy for Poindexter.

The prosecution team, Assistant State Attorneys Aleathea McRoberts and Terri Skiles, took a hard hit after Skiles was hospitalized for apparent appendicitis after appearing in court in the morning. McRoberts told the Circuit Judge Krista Marx that Skiles is scheduled for surgery tonight or Wednesday morning and is hoping to soon return to the courtroom.

McRoberts and Skiles have tried cases as a team for years, winning many convictions.

















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