Friday, September 4, 2009

Black Gold: Prison Industrial Complex

Without tackling root causes incarceration rate of African Americans will lead to utter chaos nationally

I am calling out so called Black leaders for being silent on the 3 federal judge order to release 44,000 inmates from California's overcrowded prisons.

A web search of California Clemency Boards will show that I have been preparing for a prison release order since 2000. And though this has come "Black leaders" are silent when the California governor and a State senator are vowing to fight the
release order.

When I hear the term “Black leaders” usually I am watching or reading the news describe how the NAACP, the Rev. Al Sharpton or Rev. Jesse Jackson has come to voice their opinion on some injustice dealing with Black people.

This past week a 3 federal judge panel has ordered the State of California to release up to 44,000 prisoners in our overcrowded prisons over the next two years and they must also come up with a plan to release these prisoners in “45 days.”

I have not heard one word from the so called Black leaders. This is especially disturbing when there are others like Governor Schwarzenegger who was quick to say “We will appeal” and California State Senator, John Benoit who was quoted by a KESQ reporter in Palm Desert as saying “…We should not lie down and take a federal court decision."

Where are the Black leaders when State leaders balk at a 3 federal Judge panel’s order to release many Blacks in an overcrowded prison system? Never mind the fact that many of these prisoners don’t belong in prison anyway.

According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics 2008 “At midyear 2008, there were 4,777 black male inmates per 100,000 black males held in state and federal prisons and local jails, compared to 1,760 Hispanic male inmates per 100,000 Hispanic males and 727 white male inmates per 100,000 white males.” has reported, “The soaring use of imprisonment in California has not been borne equally. Human Rights Watch has shown that African-Americans in the state are incarcerated at nearly 6 times (2,475 per 100,000 versus 421 per 100,000) the rate of whites. Hispanics are incarcerated at 4 times the rate of whites.”

California can comply with the 3 judge order to come up with a plan in 45 days to release as many as 44,000 of the most suitable prisoners in 2 years without risking the public's safety.

By creating a five person panel of current elected officials in every one of the State's 58 counties the responsibility to receive these released individuals breaks down to 379 prisoners on average per year, per county.

Now if counties receive $8,000.00 per released individual that comes to a little over $3,000,000 for rehabilitation for each county (again average. With the added incentive of granting a full pardon to those who complete rehab and stay out of the system for 3,4 or 5 years depending on their current prison record) many ex-cons would jump at the opportunity to have a clean record.

This is easier than the current convoluted way to determine who should be released. Why? Because the easier you make the process the better chance the ex-con could follow it.

Jones is a prison reform activist who lives in San Francisco.

Feel free to post your comments directly or submit them to

"Speaking Truth To Empower."

US Embassy fires 8 guards in lewdness scandal

Eight security guards at the U.S. Embassy in Afghanistan have been fired following allegations of lewd behavior and sexual misconduct at their living quarters, the embassy said Friday.

The Kabul senior management team of ArmorGroup North America, the private contractor that provides the guards for the State Department, is also "being replaced immediately," an embassy statement said.

The statement said the guards who were fired left the country Friday. Two other guards resigned and left. Their names and nationalities were not released.

The statement said all 10 appeared in photographs that depicted guards and supervisors in various stages of nudity at parties flowing with alcohol.

A team from the State Department inspector general has arrived to lead an investigation, the embassy said.

The scandal surfaced this week when an independent watchdog said guards were subjected to abuse and hazing by supervisors.

The Project on Government Oversight contended the situation had led to a breakdown in morale and leadership that compromised security at the embassy in Kabul, where nearly 1,000 U.S. diplomats, staff and Afghan nationals work.

Nearly two-thirds of the 450 embassy guards are Gurkhas from Nepal and northern India who speak little English, a situation that creates communications breakdowns, the group said. Pantomime is often used to convey orders and instructions.

In at least one case, supervisors brought prostitutes into the quarters where the guards live, a serious breach of security and discipline, the watchdog said this week. In other instances, members of the guard force drew Afghans into activities forbidden by Muslims, such as drinking alcohol, it said.

On Thursday, the embassy said alcohol had been prohibited at Camp Sullivan — the offsite location where ArmorGroup guards live — and diplomatic security staff had been assigned to the camp.

Dr. Boyce Talks Money and Sex on ABC News

I recently appeared on ABC News to talk about Financial Lovemaking, and the link between sex and money. I've discussed relationships and money several times on AOL in the past, but I think that I should quickly lay out some very interesting similarities that may not have crossed your mind. As I teach my Personal Finance Class at Syracuse University this semester, I am reminded that managing our money is linked to managing our love, which is critical to the ultimate goal of effectively managing our lives.

1) Many people think about both sex and money every single day. Don't lie, you know you enjoy thinking about sex, even if you aren't getting any. But chances are, you also think about money, whether it's figuring out how to get what you need or how to keep what you've got. Even most rappers spend all their time talking about either sex, money or how they use their money to get more sex. It's actually a universal concept.

2) Both sex and money can make you feel good. If I wrote you a check for a million dollars, you'd probably end up having a good day. If I offered you the sexiest person you could think of to do as you wish, you might have an even better day. Both sex and money have the effect of giving us a natural high that leads to human beings spending their lives obsessed with obtaining both commodities.

3) Both sex and money can devastate you if you are irresponsible. Promiscuous sex can lead to a life of disease and drama. Promiscuous spending can lead to a life of financial turmoil. Both sex and money, being the powerful drugs that they are, should be managed with both responsibility and moderation. They are both meant to be enjoyed, but not meant to be abused.

4) It's scary to share either one of them with another party.
Your body is valuable, so you don't want to share it with the wrong person. Your money is valuable too, so the same logic applies. Sharing your financial or sex life with the wrong person can lead to years of regret. Emotional, physical and financial investments are all quite risky.

5) Both sex and money require trust if you are engaged with another person. I've heard women talk about financial betrayal by their partners in the same context as emotional betrayal. If you trust someone with your money, you are trusting them with your life. The same is true when it comes to trusting them with your body.

6) It's no fun to share either your sex or your money with someone who doesn't know what they're doing. Sex is better with someone who knows how to do it right. Well, sharing your financial future with someone who knows what they're doing can actually lead to dramatic improvements in your quality of life. So, when you consider how good a person looks or how great they make you feel, also consider how great they can make you feel in the long run by providing both financial and emotional security, which can effectively be the same thing.

7) One is often used to obtain the other.
On average, guys with more money get more sexual opportunities and those who give good sex could use it to get their bills paid if they wanted to (Come on, let's be honest here - what's the oldest profession in the world again?). There are biological reasons that men with greater access to resources tend to make better mating options for women. The rapper Ludacris noticed how he suddenly went from "ah-ight" to "handsome" when he started to make money. That's to be expected.

In the episode of ABC News below, we talk about these links between sex and money in more detail. Enjoy!

The Boss Turns 60 – And Still Connects with NJ

By Richard A. Lee

Next week, on the auspicious sounding date of 9-9-09, the release of The Beatles: Rock Band music video game will dominate the conversation in the music world.

Two weeks later, another significant event will take place in the music industry, this one involving a well known entertainer from the Garden State:

On September 23, Bruce Springsteen will turn 60.

If you have trouble envisioning the Boss as a senior citizen, take a look at this month’s AARP magazine, where Bruce is gracing the cover. Or listen to his latest album, which includes an ode to the Queen of the Supermarket, a song inspired by a shopping trip he took with his wife and bandmate Patti Scialfa.

Despite the number of candles on his birthday cake, Bruce Springsteen is years away from becoming an old man. Since April, Bruce and the E Street Band have been on tour, filling huge arenas and performing long, energetic sets that belie his age. He has sold more than 1.5 million concert tickets this year, including tickets for five upcoming shows at Giants Stadium, where he will be the final musical act before the stadium is torn down.

One of the reasons Bruce remains immensely popular today is that, unlike so many artists who have risen to success from humble beginnings, he has not lost touch with his roots. As we all know, Bruce’s roots are right here in New Jersey, but as a multi-millionaire whose concert venues have included a Super Bowl halftime show and presidential inaugural festivities, how does Bruce Springsteen keep in tune with his New Jersey working-class roots?

This is a question I decided to explore for a presentation at Glory Days, an academic symposium that takes place later this month at Monmouth University. I constructed a timetable that lists, on a yearly basis from 1972 to 2009, Bruce’s age, the albums he released and the significant developments in his life, both professional and personal. Then I added to each year information about the major developments that occurred in New Jersey, expecting to find a relation between the changes in Bruce’s music and the changes taking place in the state.

However, I found little to suggest that Bruce’s music had been influenced by any of the major news stories that occurred here over the past 35 years – other than The Rising. But while the impact of 9/11 was felt heavily in New Jersey, it was event that far transcended the Garden State. In other cases, when there were major news events in New Jersey, they do not appear to be reflected in his work.

For example, during most of 1990 and 1991, a “tax revolt” against the $2.8 billion in tax increases enacted by the Florio Administration and the Democratic legislature was an ongoing news story. For Bruce, however, it was a time for family matters. In 1990, he and Scialfa had their first son. In 1991, they married and had a daughter. It was not a particularly prolific time for him musically.

In 1994, New Jersey became the subject of national stories when 7-year old Megan Kanka was kidnapped, raped and murdered by a sexual offender living in her Hamilton Township neighborhood. The tragedy led to the passing of “Megan’s Laws” all over the nation, requiring law enforcement authorities to make information available to the public regarding registered sex offenders. But while New Jersey was leading the way in enacting the law, Bruce was in California, where he and his family lived for a few years before returning to the Garden State. He released no albums in 1994, and 1995’s The Ghost of Tom Joad was inspired by a book about America’s underclass.

A decade later, New Jersey found itself in the national spotlight again when then-Governor James McGreevey announced that he was gay and was resigning from office. The news involving Springsteen and politics in 2004 was more national when, for the first time in his career, he took a public role in a presidential campaign, performing in support of John Kerry’s candidacy. Bruce was even more active in the Obama campaign last year, but in his home state of New Jersey, he has never gotten involved – at least not publicly – in any of the gubernatorial campaigns that have taken place over the years.

How then has he kept such close ties with his fellow New Jerseyans? Why does he continue to sell tickets to Giant Stadium shows at record paces? Why do New Jerseyans who rarely display pride in their state cheer when he spits out a lyric with a reference to the Garden State? Why do New Jersey teenagers still naturally relate to Springsteen songs written years before they were born?

Perhaps, it is because working-class New Jersey families have more in common with the messages of Bruce Springsteen’s songs than they do with the news that makes headlines. Sociologist Herbert Gans has suggested that there is a gap between the type of news that is reported and what is actually of importance and interest to the citizenry. Gans contends that the media covers news in a “top-down” manner that over-emphasizes powerful government leaders. “To whatever extent journalists view themselves as reporting for the democratic citizenry, they cover the news from a citizen’s perspective only in a limited fashion,” he explained in his 2003 book Democracy and the News.

Springsteen’s music provides the “citizen’s perspective” that Gans feels is lacking. For example, New Jerseyans gain a better understanding of the dire economy from the characters and the stories in Springsteen’s songs than they do from reading news reports filled with numbers, percentages and statistics.

Bruce is not the first musical artist to fill such a role. During the 1960s, protest music served as an alternative media outlet, providing information and raising questions that were absent from mainstream media. Springsteen’s music performs a similar function, albeit in a more subtle manner.

This may explain not only why he has managed to remain relevant to New Jerseyans for so many years, but also why from time to time – on websites, on signs displayed at his concerts and in casual conversations among those who form the backbone of New Jersey – there are suggestions that Bruce should run for office in his home state.

The Boss was indeed born to run, but perhaps the role of reporter is more appropriate for him than any elected office.

# # #

Richard A. Lee is Communications Director of the Hall Institute of Public Policy – New Jersey. A former journalist and Deputy Communications Director for the Governor, he also teaches courses in media and government at Rutgers University, where he is completing work on a Ph.D. in media studies. He will expand on this essay in a presentation at Glory Days: A Bruce Springsteen Symposium, which takes place at Monmouth University from September 25 to 27.

Dr Boyce and Rev. Al Sharpton Discuss Chris Brown, Domestic Violence

What does the Chris Brown/Rihanna incident say about the state of relationships in the African American community? What does it say about the perception of black males in the media? When it comes to the Chris Brown case, there are some important questions that the black community needs to answer, as well as some areas in which we must hold ourselves accountable.
Here are some issues we address in the latest Sharpton/Watkins conversation below:
1) Does the quick forgiveness of Chris Brown tell us that we don't value the lives of black women?

2) If Rihanna is really interested in dating Chris again, does this send the wrong message to domestic violence victims? At what point should the state intervene?

3) What if the woman also hits the man? Does that change the rule stating that a man should never hit a woman? How many men are unfairly incarcerated for domestic violence each year?

4) If women are willing to look past Chris Brown's behavior and still buy his records, does that justify the consistent disrespect of black women by recording artists such as Lil Wayne and others? What would an artist have to do or say to get women to stop supporting him, or is nothing off limits?

5) What is the role of African American men when it comes to holding male artists accountable in their treatment of African American women?

These questions and more are answered during the conversation below. Enjoy!

FBI Arrests Ex-Dallas Cowboys Linebacker Eugene Lockhart in Mortgage Fraud Scheme

Former Dallas Cowboys linebacker Eugene J. Lockhart could be playing football again, but this time behind bars.

The FBI on Thursday arrested Lockhart, 48, whose nickname was once “The Hitting Machine”, on mortgage fraud charges.

The feds charged Lockhart and eight others in a classic mortgage fraud scheme that involved “straw purchasers” and 54 fraudulent residential property loans totalling about $20.5 million between 2001 and 2005 in the Dallas area, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Dallas.

Authorities said that Lockhart was involved in a number of real estate companies with names like America’s Team Funding Group and Cowboys Realty.

National Baptist Convention Convicted Pastor Vies for Presidency

Members of the National Baptist Convention, USA seem determined to practice what they preach.

In what would be an ultimate act of forgiveness, the denomination seems poised to re-elect as their president the Rev. Henry Lyons, who bilked them of millions when he was last entrusted to lead the church.

Lyons is the presumed frontrunner among those vying to head the denomination—one of the largest Black organizations in the United States—in a Sept. 10 runoff during the denomination’s annual convention in Memphis, Tenn. His competition is the Rev. Julius R. Scruggs, of First Missionary Baptist Church, Huntsville, Ala.

Now pastor of the New Salem Baptist Church in Tampa, Fla., Lyons was convicted in 1999 on charges of grand theft and racketeering after he stole $5.2 million from the church’s corporate partners, including donations to rebuild burnt Black churches. The minister used the pilfered monies to fund a lavish lifestyle that included travel, cars, luxurious dwellings and mistresses.

Lyons’ sins came to light after his then-wife Deborah ignited a $700,000 waterfront house he co-owned with another woman, according to news reports, and he spent almost five years in prison.

"It stinks in God’s nostrils, and I know it stinks in the law’s nostrils, and it stinks to me,” he said of his crimes, according to the {Tulsa World.}

Now having declared himself repentant, the disgraced minister is campaigning for his former job under the theme: "Restore the love, and repair the breach.''

Many within the denomination say they are willing to forgive Lyons but not all are willing to forget — or to re-elect him as president.

The Rev. Dr. L.B. West, pastor of Mount Airy Baptist Church in Northeast Washington, D.C., said many still hold the charismatic Lyons in “high esteem.”

“He is still well-respected. Having gone through what he’s gone through, and now that he’s on his feet, people are showing him love and forgiveness—we all make mistakes,” West told the {AFRO.} “However, when it comes to his being elected to lead this august body, I don’t know that people are going to be ready to re-elect him.”

Venerable Baltimore minister, the Rev. Dr. A.C.D. Vaughn of Sharon Baptist Church, said if Lyons is chosen he could taint the image of the denomination.

“He has paid his debt to society, going to prison and all, but I’m still not sure that it would send out a good image,” said the much respected minister. “When you are in a high position…you ought to be someone with high ethical and moral standards…you to be there without raising questions.”

Lyons has said publicly that his candidacy was mandated by a God-given call to leadership.

But West, who plans to support Rev. Scruggs, said the time for Lyons’ leadership has passed.

“It’s a new day; the convention has moved forward and we need to continue moving forward,” the District minister said. If Dr. Lyons is elected, “he would do what any other person elected would do, which is to lead according to his own direction and vision…but the convention is well beyond the vision Dr. Lyons brought years ago.”

Ex-FBI Agent in Lockerbie Case Says Gaddafi Must Have Given Ok

It’s good to see someone with authority speak up about the connection, but it’s not particularly surprising. Everyone assumed that Gaddhafi gave the ok.

By David Horovitz

JERUSALEM-- Adding more heat to the boiling controversy in the US and UK over Britain’s recent release to Libya of the only man ever convicted in the Lockerbie bombing, the senior FBI agent in the case has told The Jerusalem Post he believes Libya’s Col. Muammar Gaddafi must have personally sanctioned the atrocity.

In a telephone interview from the United States, Richard Marquise, a 31-year FBI veteran who led the US task force probing the December 1988 blast which destroyed Pan Am flight 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland, with the loss of 270 lives, said it was unthinkable in a regime such as Libya for that kind of major terrorist attack to have been authorized without Gaddafi’s approval.

The Media Sucked Up To Gov. Blago For Interviews After FBI Arrest

The media just assumes its letters to politicians won’t be made public. Wrong. It happens. In this case, the media shamefully sucked up to ex-Ill Gov. Blago to get interviews.

By John Cook
On the morning he was arrested on corruption charges last December, Rod Blagojevich was the nation’s biggest greaseball. So obviously, the national press was willing to say anything to land an interview. And we’ve got their emails to prove it.

We reported a little over a month ago that the Today show had booked Blagojevich to appear on the morning he happened to be arrested by the FBI, but bumped the interview so they could flack for Jay Leno’s new show.

We found that out through a Freedom of Information Act request to the state of Illinois asking for e-mails from representatives of the media to Lucio Guerrero, Blagojevich’s press secretary (we got the idea from South Carolina’s The State, which did the same thing-to comic effect-after Mark Sanford’s Argentinian Rhapsody).

For Full Story

No Ph. D. for Roxanne Shanté

As it turns out, ’80s rapper Roxanne Shanté never actually earned her doctorate degree.

News that the former lyricist of “Roxannne’s Revenge” fame had gotten Warner Music to pay for her tuition while she pursued a Ph. D. originally surfaced in the New York Daily News last week. Since then the story, boasting righted wrongs has been spread about the blogosphere.

Roxanne had told the Daily News that the label stiffed her on royalties by "cheating with the contracts, stealing and telling lies.” Financing her college career was a way to make amends. The paper reported that she eventually earned her Ph. D. from Cornell University and went on to create a type of therapy, aimed at urban Black people, that utilizes hip-hop as a way to talk about problems.

Although it was an inspirational story, it’s a complete fake, according to Warner told the Web site that it never had a contract that required it to pay for Roxanne’s education and neither did any of its imprints

And Cornell University has no student record for Lolita Shanté Gooden (the rapper’s real name), so they definitely didn’t give her a Ph. D. In fact the only college she’s attended is Marymount Manhattan College, but those record show that she only attended classes there for about three months.

Furthermore, there are no New York state records that Roxanne is even licensed to practice psychology.

Even Roxanne admits that the story isn’t 100 percent accurate because she told Slate that she hasn’t gotten her doctorate, but she insisted that she has received a master’s degree in psychology from Cornell.

But what about the fact that neither Marymount nor Cornell has proof of her attending or completing a degree program? Roxanne speculates that she may have made a mistake on an application when she wrote in her last name.

“Maybe that's the reason for the computer error,” she suggested in an e-mail. “"I also attended College under an alias, because of a Domestic Violence situation."

Black woman sues Billy Graham group over race

A black woman is suing the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, saying she was abruptly fired after complaining that the organization was not reaching out to African-American churches.

A spokesman for the organization didn't comment on the firing, but said the association does extensive outreach and works extensively with African-American and other diverse churches.

Kimberly McCallum said in the lawsuit that was moved into a federal court Wednesday that she was the only black employee working in the executive offices in Charlotte when she started in February 2007. She complained to her superiors later that year when she was asked to recruit congregations to a camp program but found that a list of 635 prospective churches had only three memberships that were primarily black.

McCallum said it was apparent that black churches were excluded.

A week after raising her concerns, McCallum said she was told her job with global offices was cut because of downsizing. Her boss never raised concerns about the quality of her work, according to the lawsuit filed in June in a local court.

McCallum said she tried to get other jobs at the association, based in Minneapolis, but that she was blocked from other positions and had a later job offer revoked.

"Subsequent to her discharge, plaintiff learned that the global offices had not been downsized and that the only job that was eliminated there was the one occupied by the plaintiff," the lawsuit says. She wants a job reinstated, back pay and damages for what she describes as discrimination because of her race.

McCallum declined further comment Thursday.

Mark Demoss, a spokesman for the Graham organization, declined to talk about McCallum's job. But he said he has frequently seen the association go to great effort to increase black participation and noted that two prominent black pastors from the Minneapolis area recently led an association event there.

"That's a preposterous claim that the organization would deliberately bypass African-American participation," Demoss said. "In fact, the opposite is quite true."

The association was founded by Billy Graham in 1950 and is now headed by Graham's son, Franklin. Billy Graham, 90, has recently battled a range of health problems and largely spends time at his North Carolina home.

Though he began his ministry when segregation was still accepted, Graham later integrated his crusades and made efforts to draw diverse crowds to his U.S. rallies.

Michael O. Emerson, a Rice University sociologist who has done extensive research on race and religion, said the association has long emphasized trying to increase its diversity even though churches remain deeply segregated.

"Although I don't think they've been as successful as they would like, they have worked very hard at it," Emerson said.

Students question campus safety after co-ed killed

Dormitories at Clark Atlanta University were locked down Thursday after a Spelman College student was killed by a stray bullet while walking near campus.

Sophomore Jasmine Lynn was shot around 12:30 a.m. Thursday on James P. Brawley Drive near Clark Atlanta, according to the Fulton County Medical Examiner’s office.

No arrests have been made.

CAU president Carlton E. Brown said there will be no visitors at campus housing. Extra campus and Atlanta Police officers have also been called in, Brown said.

Police questioned one witness at Grady Hospital on Thursday. The witness was taken to the hospital after being chased down and beaten by bystanders who saw the shooting, investigators said. Police said the witness is cooperating with investigators.

“He has some knowledge about what was going on,” Atlanta Police Chief Richard Pennington said. “We can’t say he’s the suspect. We can’t say if he was the actual triggerman. He’s a person of interest.”

The swarm of police on Thursday didn’t comfort the students who were left mourning their friend and scared for their safety. Dozens of students complained of slow response times from police at a town hall meeting at CAU.

“Look at the area we’re near,” said Loneia Powell, a 20-year-old Clark Atlanta junior from Columbus. “It happens all the time.”

Campus officials insist CAU is safe and the shooting is unusual.

“The challenges that led to this incident are no different from the ones that have recently been recorded at Georgia Tech and Georgia State,” Brown said. “The matters we are addressing are similiar to matters that many urban univerisites address. These remain safe places to be. while the risk is not great, the benefits certainly are.”

The Full Story

Obama's speech to kids causes uproar in schools

When President Barack Obama gives a televised address to students in schools across the country on Tuesday, some metro Detroit school districts won't be broadcasting it.

Districts throughout the suburbs have been hit with complaints from parents who are worried about their children hearing a message from Obama that they won't have a chance to preview.

Farmington Public Schools is encouraging parents to pull them from class if they are uncomfortable with the speech.

Districts that have addressed the speech on their Web sites include Oxford Community Schools, Rochester Public Schools and Van Dyke Public Schools in Warren.

NATO Airstrike in Afghanistan Kills Up to 80 Civilians

NATO forces in Afghanistan were investigating whether civilians were among up to 80+ people burned to death when they carried out an air strike against two hijacked fuel tankers on Friday. Nato officials insisted the strike had killed a large number of militants, but said they were investigating the reports that civilians had died as well. A spokesman for the Nato forces said two tankers were stolen at 10pm on Thursday evening by a band of Taliban guerrillas. The tiny village of Omar Kheil, 15 miles south of Kunduzonce was a calm region of northern Afghanistan that has recently slipped under control of insurgents, Afghan officials said.
Afghan officials said the stolen fuel tankers were being transported across a river to villages in Angorbagh, when one became stuck in the river. The Taliban fighters on top of the tanker called for villagers to take the fuel, who responded in scores, rushing with any available container that they had, including water buckets and pots for cooking oil. And then allegedly coalition aircraft delivered the bombs.

LeGarrette Blount Just Sucker Punched His Way Out of College Football Video

There's no other way to put this: Oregon tailback LeGarrette Blount straight lost his mind Thursday night, sucker punching a Boise State player and requiring physical restraint to leave the stadium after the Ducks' embarrassing 19-8 loss. Boise State's Byron Hout appeared to tap Blount on the shoulder during postgame interactions, before turning away, only to take a Blount sucker punch to his jaw that floored him. Broncos coach Chris Petersen rushed in to separate him from further incident.

Blount then hopped away, only to get into another altercation with several Boise State fans seated near the field. At that point several people had to restrain him and forcibly drag him down the tunnel into an unknown but probably dark future. It's not unreasonable to speculate that his college career is over. Blount was particularly atrocious in Thursday's game, netting negative five yards on eight carries including being on the wrong end of a safety.

Hout is not immune from criticism in his role in the affair, but Blount crossed a line in punching a player who had turned away from him. His inexplicable escalation after arguing with some Boise State fans while leaving the stadium only further condemns him to a severe fate.

Boise State coach Chris Petersen, who was witness to the sucker punch, was more diplomatic, telling ESPN's Heather Cox that emotions had gotten the better of some players while turning attention to his team.

It's too bad, because, despite his bad game, Blount is a marvelous talent who would have done great things for Oregon this year. At this point he's just as likely to face a lengthy suspension or outright booting from the Oregon football program as he is to play again this year.

Of no small irony -- the American Football Coaches' Association had recommended full-team pregame handshakes to build sportsmanship in the game during opening weekend.

Jobless rate to 9.7%, payrolls decline 216K

The Labor Department reported that the August U.S. unemployment rate reached its highest level in more than 26 years and nonfarm payrolls posted their smallest decline in a year.

The nation's jobless rate jumped from 9.4 percent to 9.7 percent last month, the highest rate since June 1983 but still more than a full percentage point short of the post-World War II high of 10.8 percent reached in late-1982, as employers remain cautious about hiring, unsure as to the strength of the economic recovery.

The U-6 measure of "under-employment" - including workers who have given up looking for a job and those who have settled for part-time work instead of full-time - rose from 16.3 percent to 16.8 percent.

Nonfarm payrolls declined by 216,000 in August following declines of 463,000 in June and 276,000 in July, these figures revised downward from 443,000 and 247,000, respectively. This follows a general trend in recent months of upward revisions to prior data, a sign that, perhaps, the improvement in labor market conditions is stalling.

The latest decline brings total job losses to 6.9 million since the current recession began in December 2007, making this the worst post-World War II recession in terms of job losses, and the total number of unemployed now stands at 14.9 million.

By category, job losses were widespread, the construction and manufacturing industry losing 65,000 and 63,000 jobs, respectively. Education and healthcare services was the only category with net job gains, up 52,000 from the month before.

Even the government pared back in August, total net job losses of 18,000 being reported across all levels of public service, paced by a decline of 12,300 in state and local education and the elimination of some 8,500 U.S. Postal Service positions.

The birth-death model added 118,000 jobs to the unadjusted nonfarm payrolls total last month. For the year, this estimated measure of new job creation has contributed a stunning +673,000 to the unadjusted nonfarm payrolls total of -4.9 million.

Michael Jackson finally laid to rest in Los Angeles

Michael Jackson, the singer, has finally been laid to rest at an intimate yet star-studded funeral service in Los Angeles.

The singer, who died aged 50 on June 25, was buried at Forest Lawn Cemetery in Glendale, California, around 10pm local time. Last week, the LA County Coroner announced that the death had been ruled as homicide caused by acute propofol intoxication.

Celebrity mourners included Jackson’s close confidante Elizabeth Taylor, actor Macaulay Culkin and his ex-wife, Lisa Marie Presley.

Michael Jackson's last home to host shows in his memory Also in attendance at the 200-strong gathering was singer Stevie Wonder, minister Al Sharpton, comedian Chris Tucker and actress Mila Kunis.

A host of other celebrities attended the event – which was broadcast live on US television and simultaneously streamed on the internet site

But there were some noticeable absentees including Jackson’s former spouse, Debbie Rowe, and the singer Diana Ross.

Escorted by a fleet of police cars, Jackson’s body was delivered in a hearse at 8.30pm local time.

The ceremony was due to start at 7pm local time, but proceedings were delayed for over an hour due to the family’s late arrival.

Those waiting at the cemetery fanned themselves with service programmes to counter the effects of a humid Californian evening.

The programmes contained pictures of the Thriller singer alongside some of his quotes.

It opened with words taken from Jackson's book Dancing The Dream: "If you enter the world knowing you are loved and leave the world knowing the same, then everything that happens in between can be dealt with."

Relatives eventually turned up in a fleet of 26 chauffeur-driven limousines.

The singer’s three young children, Prince Michael, 12, Paris, 11 and Blanket, seven, joined mourners led by his mother, Katherine, and father Joe Jackson.

His brothers paid tribute to their late brother by each wearing his trademark sequined glove on one hand.

Gladys Knight, the Motown singer, sung a version of the Lord’s Prayer in front of mourners while others gave tribute speeches.

According to CNN, Lisa Marie Presley was particularly emotional when Jackson’s body arrived.

His mother, Katherine, was also reportedly weeping as he was laid to rest.

Amid tight security, the singer was lowered into the ground in his gold coffin at the cemetery’s 13th Century, Italian-themed Grand Mausoleum.

Following the service, Jackson mourners gathered at an Italian restaurant in nearby Pasadena, California.

Other celebrities who have been buried at Forest Lawn include Hollywood legends Humphrey Bogart, Clark Gable and Red Skelton.

Gotham Chopra, a close friend of the Jackson family, paid tribute to the “beautiful” ceremony, saying Michael would have been touched by the outpouring of public emotion.

He noted the “sad irony” that Jackson’s music is more popular nowadays than when many of his hits were produced in the 1980s or 90s.

Others guests took to tweeting about the experience.

Mr Sharpton wrote on his Twitter page: "What MJ went through was so unfair yet he succeeded. In the end, he was the biggest artist ever.

"He faced the headwinds but he made it."