Wednesday, September 22, 2010


L.A Reid and The Dream
This news hasn’t been officially confirmed yet but it’s been reported that Island Def Jam bigwigs fired label executives L.A Reid and singer/producer The Dream today.
Via Gyant Unplugged
According to my source, Vin Vivendi, a french international media conglomerate, with activities in music, television, film, and telecommunications, is cleaning house, and Dream as well as LA Reid are out due to disappointing sales figures and exuberant spending .
If L.A Reid has in fact “left the building” then I wonder where this leaves UK group N-Dubz? Reid was the one who signed them.

Anyway once this news is confirmed I’m sure those who remember the Def Jam glory days will be dancing in the streets.

Breaking News: Steven Tyler, Jennifer Lopez and Randy Jackson confirmed as new judges on American Idol

judges.jpegIt is so easy to make a snide assumption here.
After getting fans hyped to watch the announcement of American Idol's new judging panel on the Internet, the show found another way to mess it all up -- providing a video link which had no sound until the final moments of the webcast.

No matter. The rumors are finally confirmed and refuted: Pop star Jennifer Lopez, Aerosmith singer Steven Tyler and returning judge Randy Jackson will serve on American Idol's new panel, charged with helping the show remain the most-watched program on television after the departure of its biggest star, Simon Cowell.

"I just want to find the next Michael Jackson," Lopez said during the small portion of the webcast that was audible. She had stepped onstage in a fountain of fake fog, wearing a sparkly blue jump suit that may have already had Idol's image coaches clucking in apprehension. "Are you excited now guys?" host Ryan Seacrest asked the crowd at The Forum in Los Angeles, where the show is holding its last in-person auditions today.
idollogo5.jpgNews of this trio's identity broke two months ago. But fevered negotiations and the fact that producers hadnt yet officially released one judge, Kara DioGuardi, led to confusion and non-denials from all involved until now. During Lopez's announcement, images of newspaper articles citing the pop singer wouldn't be on the show or was demanding too many perks were projected onto a huge screen, as if to sneer at those who predicted this moment would never happen at all.

A few other details emerged in a flurry of press releases after the big unveil: Lopez gets a first-look deal with Twentieth Century Fox Films and Fox Broadcasting Company for pojects develped by her Nuyorican Films company. And Interscope Records chairman Jimmy Iovine comes onboard as mentor, perhaps to address criticisms that last season's singers weren't compelling enough.

"It feels like the perfect feather nest," said Tyler. "It's being a part of something much bigger than yourself. I want to bring some rock to this rollercoaster. If you got the talent, the heart, the feeling to do this, you could be the next American Idol." In the following press conference, Fox executives denied that Lopez's demands created the delay and confusion in finalizing the judges' lineup, blaming any time lag on conflicting schedules.
Of course, some snide fans online pronounced this as Idol's Jump the Shark moment -- the instant things have gotten so absurd, that the show's fan base dissolves and its status as TV's highest-rated show disappears. We won't know that for sure until January, when the program comes back to new episodes.

But it doesn't look so good when a show with two new and untested judges can't even work out how to announce their identities without major snafus.

Click here to check out my appearance this morning on National Public Radio to talk about Idol's judge factor, and hear someone else suggest changing the show so it doesn't even have judges at all. Below is the video stream of the announcement, which Ustream has been rerunning periodically.
By Eric Diggins

Prachard Alabama jail

 Prichard, Alabama jail
A cry of innocence that went unheard
People often ask me what it was like to work at the weekly Life magazine. I tell them that they should read The Bridges of Madison County. It was a book and a movie that made me cry. It captured in many ways what life was like for me as a photographer on the road. Mine was life always full to overflowing with new people, people that I often cared deeply about. People that I often formed a lasting bond with, people that I met once and would never see again.
            Horace Wilcox was just such a man. I had been on the road for almost two months straight when my best friend at the time, and fellow Life staff photographer, Vernon Merritt, sold the magazine on doing a story on Prichard Alabama. Vernon, a white man born in Alabama, had a perfect insight into the southern mindset and I, a New York-born black kid, felt deeply the need for freedom that all blacks felt. We were a perfect team to cover the changing city, and the magazine was eager to send us. We had worked together often over the years covering riots in Birmingham, Selma, Watts, Detroit, Newark, New York. We photographed back to back; I shot in one direction, he in the other, our bodies never more then two feet apart. That way if the cops were coming after us, we would see them and could beat a hasty retreat into a near by crowd. 
Prichard had been the center of Klan activity in Alabama and had just elected its first black mayor a man named Jay Cooper. Vernon covered the city’s whites, and I its blacks. Cooper had vowed to change Prichard, to shatter the Klan’s long strangle hold on city government and bring an end to the violence and segregation that had marked Prichard’s past. Looking back on that period, I sometimes think that the problems our current president is facing are mild when compared to the problems and racial hatred that Cooper faced his first days in office.
It was against this background of racial hatred that I heard about Horace Wilcox. Wilcox was from the windy city of Chicago. He moved to Prichard to work on the Cooper campaign, but with the campaign two years off, he started working as a social activist with the goal of ending segregation in the local high schools. His work put him in touch with many students, both black and white. In the course of his work, he attended many school football games, dances and other social events sponsored by Prichard’s many black churches. Horace was well liked and as his work with white students started to become more visible in the local press, the police and other white city officials marked him as an outside northerner, a troublemaker who wanted to change the status quo. They found their chance after a school dance. He was falsely arrested for dancing and later raping a young white woman.
I went to see Horace in the Prichard county jail. The jail was a grim place that looked like it was pulled from an old thirties movie. Its broken windows and cracked walls provided little shelter from the outside winds and rain. The smell of unwashed flesh filled my nose the moment I stepped from my rental car. As I entered the jail, I watched two rats run along the jailhouse wall and thought about what a night in the jail must have been like with a rat as a bedside companion. As I walked through the maze of tunnels that led to Horace’s cell, voices called out to me from behind locked doors. “Cigarette, mister, cigarette, mister,” was a constant refrain.
When I got to Horace’s cell I found him staring at me with a look that could have frozen the dead. I was able to take one picture before he pulled back from his cell’s only window. The window provided his cell’s only light and was his only contact with the outside world. The cell door was secured with a small lock and had a tray of rotten food sitting at its base. The bread was blue with mold.
“How long has this food been here?” I asked.
“This morning,” he said.
“How long have you been in here?”
“I don’t know, maybe a year. They never turn off the outside light. I don’t know when one day starts and another ends.”
“People tell me that you never raped that girl.”
“Everyone at the so called trial told them that I didn’t do it,” his voice boomed from deep inside his small-blackened cell.
“Then why are they holding you?” I asked.
“You’re in Prichard, mister,” Horace said.
That was the last thing that Horace ever said to me. I told Vernon what had happened to Horace. He shook his head and repeated what Horace had said to me.
“You’re in Prichard mister.”

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Daryl Mikell Brooks: The Convicted Activist Part 1

Daryl Brooks is an accomplished activist, he is a part of the Tea Party (Trenton, New Jersey chapter), and an accomplished blogger; his blog “Today’s News NJ” is ranked among the top 3 in the state of New Jersey. In addition to all of  this Brooks attempted to run for United States Senate and House of Representatives, in both of which he placed high although he did not win.

If you were to mention Brooks’ name around the city he is the type of guy who people love to hate. Most people admire his activism, but think that he is crazy for his stances on political issues. Others have a different reason for not liking him…. In 1998, Daryl Mikell Brooks was convicted as a sex offender and sent to prison for three years and six months. However, Brooks has maintained that he is innocent since the day that he was accused of the crime.

It has now been nearly 14 years since the crime took place; it has been 12 years since he was convicted and 8 years since he served his prison time. During the time of the crime Brooks was entrenched in activism, “I owned a newspaper (that is now a blog), I was on a radio station, my work in activism entailed me speaking out about police brutality, drugs, and I had a cable TV show.”

Brooks was a young, ambitious 24 year old, wanting to change the violence and injustices that plagued his city. His potential future as an activist would come to an end. Brooks recalls the day that his life got turned upside down.

“ I was with a friend who worked at the Trenton Rehabilitation Center. I would go there to talk to some of the people and I would help him out. I remember going through Martin Luther King Park and stopping to talk to a friend who was a baseball coach and a preacher, then I went home. This was a weekday, I went home and I changed my clothes, picked up my bible and left.”

Brooks says that he was heading home to change his clothes because he was headed to a training for young ministers at Galilee Baptist Church located on Martin Luther King Blvd. Brooks returned home from church only to leave again with a friend. At the time Brooks was staying with his mother.

“I remember coming back home and my mom told me that the cops came there looking for me,” says Brooks.  After his mom informed them of the allegations, Brooks took action and called the police himself. The cops then came back. At this point and time Brooks was interested in the individuals who identified him as this character that “flashed himself”. When the officers arrived at the residence where Brooks was staying, they then proceeded to go to the girl’s home who identified him.  “When we arrived the cops knocked on the door and there was no one home except the little girls. Then one cop went into the house and I stayed outside, waiting for them. They all come back to the front door and the officer asked one of the girls who did it? She (One of the girls) pointed me out!”

 It is alleged by Brooks that the young girls were at home by themselves, “it was between 9:30 and 10 pm and there were no parents at home, that was kind of weird to me that these little girls were at home by themselves with no parents there” says Brooks.

Brooks acknowledges that he was indeed passing through that area around the hours of 5-6 pm. However, he also says, “that it doesn’t make sense for him to do something like that because there was a mini police station in the area.”  He adds that the description of the man given by the police and the witness was not him.

“They said that I had a bottle of brandy in my hand” Brooks admits that he does drink, but says, “he would not have had a bottle of brandy walking down the street in front of a mini police station!” He adds that “around the times of 5 to 6 pm there are a lot of people outside.” According to Brooks there were no other witnesses that came forth to identify him.

Despite one of the girls identifying Brooks the officers did not proceed to lock him up. Brook says, that night he was sent back to his mother’s house. In the interview Brooks says, “The little girls were picked up around one week later, they were taken to the police station and questioned by the officers.” According to Brooks there was no attorney present with them. However, according to Brooks 2 weeks later in an incident dealing with a city council man, “I got in an argument… he threatened me. I was then advised to go down to the police station. He now admits that he was a “fool” to follow directions from the ones who had threatened him.

 Brooks remembers that as he arrived he was interviewed by Detective Buddy Law. A couple of minutes later he was photographed and added to a photograph line up. It was there that the girls identified Brooks as the perpetrator. This was all done without an attorney present, says Brooks.  “They then took pictures of me and she pointed me out in a photo lineup, my lawyer wasn’t even present” says Brooks. He then was taken into custody and charged with 2 counts of sexual assault, 2 counts of endangerment of a child, and 2 counts of lewdness. He posted bail, about $10,000. Brooks, says the chargers were changed because according to him he believes that, “if I was just getting charged with flashing, it would have just stayed in municipal court, I was charged with those charges because then the trial would have to go to superior court.”

The trial would not take place until 1998, almost 3 and a half years later from the time of the incident. “I didn’t take the charge seriously because I figured they didn’t have a case.” As he looks back in regret, “he admits, “I should’ve taken it more seriously” “I thought that there was no real evidence against me.” After it all was said, Daryl Mikel Brooks was found guilty and not charged with the initial charge of flashing, but with, two counts of sexual assault, two counts of endangerment of a child, and two counts of Lewdness. The Prosecutors were aiming to give Brooks 16 years, his lawyer managed to get him a mandatory 7, Brooks was released from prison in three and a half years.

Brooks is out now and believes that he was set up, that it was Trenton political figures who were out to get him. As stated earlier, Brooks was an activist, “I spoke out against the politicians in this city, and they didn’t like me!” There are at least a couple of individuals who have sided with Brooks.

Rabbi Gellar who runs a synagogue in South New Jersey is a friend of Brooks. He met Daryl directly after he was released from prison. He met Daryl in a public transportation area, “I met Daryl reading a political science text book and it peaked my interest. I am a professor, we then started a conversation.” They have been friends ever since. He describes Daryl as idealistic and creative, he also considers Daryl an “asset” to his community. Gellar, who also has a Law Degree from Catholic University, was shown the case by Daryl.

Gellar states, “That anybody could do anything, you or I or anybody could do anything. It’s not purely a question of could anybody do this, it’s a question of did he do anything like this? In terms of the evidence, the evidence points in the opposite direction.” He also says that he has had a very prominent Lawyer in New Jersey view Daryl’s case; his acquaintance, which shall remain nameless, came to the conclusion that Daryl was the victim of an unjust system.

“There is no doubt in my mind that Daryl got shafted,” says Gellar. Gellar is not the only one who seems to think that. One of the jurors in the trial says the same: “It was too many conflicting stories between the police”. When it came down to deliberation, “some people had their mind made up before they came into the courtroom (that Daryl was guilty)”, says the juror.  He remembers “There were at least three jurors who thought Daryl was innocent, out of those three, one of them changed their vote to guilty… when I approached the person on why they’d changed their vote, the person replied ‘everyone else said he was guilty so I went along with it.’” The jurors took at least 2 weeks to make the decision.  

Daryl is out of prison now and he is looking to move forward with his life, but the crime still haunts him. Currently he is forced to attend counseling and if he does not admit to the crime he can be charged again.  “I want my story to be told because people think they know what happened,” says Daryl.

Currently, Daryl heads his own blog, in which it is currently ranked amongst the top 3 in the state of New Jersey. In addition, he was interviewed by Essence Magazine for his participation in Tea Party and he looks to hold community events. Earlier this summer Brooks held an event that entailed panelist that include Rutgers Professor and author Dr. Stephanie Bush-Baskette.
What do you think?

By: Delonte Harrod 
Paul Quinn College "05"
Cumme Laud
Bachelors of Art in Mass Communications Emphasis in print and photography 
To use this artical  Contact Delonte Harrod
Photo's of Daryl Mikell Brooks and Friends

Brooks and Glenn Beck
Brooks and Cornel West
Brooks and former S.C.LC President
Brooks, Amira Barraka and rich Lee

Brooks And Danny Glover

Brooks and Kyle Petty
Brooks and Hugh Price

Brooks, Harry Belafonte and Rev. Al Sampson

American Justice, Blacks Men Prison Express.

 Like what has become American culture the story of Raymond Towler is one in skin justice of America judicial system.

Towler is a calm man, according to Eric Adelson of yahoo sport, A thoughtful man with salt-and-pepper beard and deep-set eyes. He’s always had that demeanor, that peaceful vibe. When he was a kid, back in the ’60s, his older half-brother tried to get him to mess with some neighborhood kids in West Cleveland. Ray never would. He wanted to play music or draw. He spent his time at a local park with an easel or a sketchbook. That’s where a young woman on roller skates noticed him a long time ago. It was 1981.
But this is no love story. In fact, the woman on roller skates probably never saw Ray at all. She saw a black man who looked like Ray. And that would be enough to change his life. Because on a sunny day in May of that year, Towler was pulled over for rolling through a stop sign in that park. The cops brought him down to the station because there had been an incident nearby. The cops took Ray’s mug shot. And when the woman on roller skates saw that picture, she thought, “That’s him.”

Days later, police came to the house where Towler lived with his brother, mother and niece. He was cuffed and pushed into the backseat of a patrol car. He was charged with the rape of an 11-year-old girl.

Ray, only 23, couldn’t afford a good lawyer. Nor could he think up a convincing alibi. He didn’t spend much time with anyone other than his family or his girlfriend. He wasn’t with them when the little girl was attacked. So there was nothing he could do. It was his word against that of the woman on roller skates. And why would she lie? What did she have to gain? Ray stood in the courtroom, noticing the judge and the mostly white jury looking angry. Hope drained away and fear crept in. He didn’t have a criminal record and he served in the Army, but the state’s attorney tore him up. “It was like trying to get out of an alligator’s mouth,” he says. When asked by the judge if he had anything to say for himself, he said, “You have the wrong person.” That wasn’t enough.

Ray was going away for life.

They sent him to a maximum security prison across the state in Lucasville, where Ohio’s death-row inmates are housed. Ray’s girlfriend, a percussionist named Jackie, wanted to stay in touch, but Ray knew their relationship wouldn’t make it. He figured none of his relationships would make it. Family members promised to visit, but Lucasville was a long way, and visitation could be canceled for any reason at any time, and it’s so depressing to see loved ones in orange, behind bullet-proof glass. “I was alone,” Ray says. “I would have to do this by myself.” He would spend seven years in max, and receive only four visits.

Friendships didn’t really happen in prison. Why become close with someone who could be dangerous, or someone who will die in front of your eyes eventually, or someone who might be getting out? The feeling in max was always tense, and eventually the Lucasville prison erupted into a deadly riot in 1993. Ray avoided most interaction, spending most of his time drawing or playing the guitar, the sound bouncing off the cement walls. He was only allowed outside the prison grounds once, to attend his mother’s funeral in shackles. “I’m not a big crier,” he says. “But you can’t help it. Late at night, when everyone’s asleep, you let it out.”

The options were few, and the pitfalls were many. “A lot of people were sitting around mad,” he says. “What is their life about? I had to make a decision not to let prison turn me into something ugly.” That drew Towler closer to sports. He was not a huge sports fan as a free man. He liked playing basketball and liked Magic Johnson and Oscar Robertson, but he didn’t crave sports the way many of the rest of us do. But on the inside, things were different. “I’m going to tell you how important sports are,” says Robert McClendon, another Ohio native who was imprisoned for a rape he didn’t commit. “No one does time by marking Xs. That’s a bunch of crap. You do time in prison by season: football season, basketball season, baseball season, Olympics, tennis, WNBA. This is how we do time in prison. Prisoners become real big sports fans – I’m talking huge. Cleveland fans even more so.”

Slowly, Ray started marking time with seasons – sports seasons. He moved out of max, into a lower-security prison, in 1987, and he eventually got a small TV. Not many games were on, and newspapers came days late, but he followed Cleveland teams more than ever before. He suffered through Michael Jordan’s shot over Craig Ehlo, though he didn’t see it live and he still thinks Ehlo defended well on the play. And although there were other heartbreaks (The Drive, The Ravens, Craig Counsell, etc.), Ray watched everything. Though all else in his life had withered, sports grew. It was a relationship that got stronger – and one that couldn’t be taken away by an irritable warden. (Actually a lot of wardens love sports also and let prisoners stay up late to watch the end of games.) “Sports were my escape,” Towler says. “It was safe. Nothing bad is going to happen because you’re watching a football game. It’s something you could depend on year after year. It was a big thing.”
Raymond Towler hugs family members after he is released from prison. The Innocence Project believes Towler is one of the longest-held wrongfully imprisoned people in U.S. history.
(AP photo)
Of course nothing could make prison life easy or even bearable, but sports helped the days and years go by. And in this one way, Ray was as able as a free man. If he had never been arrested, he would be watching the games on TV anyway. He was going through something with the Cleveland public – even if that something was constant losing. Yet while free fans counted years since the last title, Towler counted days until the next game. “I’m not a championships guy,” he says. “I just want a contender.” Contending, after all, took up almost as much time as winning titles.

The new millennium came like just another day on the endless calendar, but it brought a little bit of hope for Ray. He spent a lot of time in the library, studying legal issues and getting his associates degree. Then, in 2001, another prisoner he knew, Michael Green, was cleared after 13 years because of DNA testing. If there was evidence held over from Towler’s own case, now more than 20 years closed, surely it would show no trace of his DNA.

Towler wrote to the Innocence Project, a non-profit group dedicated to using DNA evidence to overturn prior convictions. After five more letters, he got a new lawyer. An envelope was recovered from the case – one used to collect fingernails and hair clippings from the attack in 1981. Ray was sure this would be his way out.
But there was nothing inside. Maybe the evidence disintegrated over time. Maybe it was tampered with. Maybe … maybe it didn’t matter. That was it for Ray. He wasn’t getting out at all. “That was the lowest point right there,” he says.

More years passed. Towler kept studying. He drew portraits for other inmates and played guitar. LeBron James became his favorite player, and he made the Cavs one of the best parts of Ray’s daily life.
In 2007, he turned 50.

Midway through the decade, Towler got a new Innocence Project consultant from the University of Cincinnati College of Law named Mark Godsey. He was sure the panties of the raped girl (now nearing middle age) had DNA traces. It was just a matter of waiting until the technology caught up. In 2010, it finally did.

Tests showed none of Towler’s DNA in the girl’s underwear. The courts would have no choice but to overturn. Godsey couldn’t wait to get his client on the phone, especially after listening to Ray’s half-brother burst into tears at the news. But Ray, once again, was calm. His voice hardly raised an octave when he told Godsey: “I already know I’m innocent. When can I get out of here?”

Early in May, as the Cavs started their run toward a title, Towler was back in a courtroom – this time in a sweater. A judge ruled him free, read him an Irish blessing and shed tears with the ruling. Ray grinned and hugged his relatives hard. The Innocence Project believes Towler is one of the longest-held wrongfully imprisoned people in American history.
The Cavs invited Raymond Towler to share the court with them before Game 5 of the Eastern Conference semifinals.
(NBAE/ Getty Images)
Godsey and his staff took Towler out for pizza. He sat in the restaurant, looking around at young people the same age he was when he left society. They all held little rectangular devices up to their ears and then in front of their faces. He wondered what they were.

The Cavs found out about Ray’s story and invited him to a game. They gave him a jersey and VIP access to food he wasn’t able to eat for so long. Ray thought of how surreal it seemed: a year before, or 25 years before, no one would have allowed a convicted rapist into the parking lot of an arena. Now he was special – honored. To the media, it seemed perfect: the end of a man’s struggle and the end of his team’s drought.
But Ray knew better than anyone: some waits don’t end; they only change seasons.

Towler hardly slept for weeks after getting out. He was overwhelmed with stimuli, questions, confusion, fear. His first night of freedom was spent at his brother’s house, where the cops had arrested him. That terrified him. He was up all night, staring out the window, wondering if he was safe or if this was some sort of horrible tease. The state of Ohio owed him a hefty sum as compensation – more than $47,000 a year for each year of his incarceration – but it could take years of legal wrangling before he receives any money. But now Towler’s story is out there, along with the knowledge that he is 52, single and technically rich.

His friend, Robert McClendon, who also had a rape conviction overturned after 18 years, warned him about this. “He’s a good man, a gentle soul,” he says. “He has to determine who to trust. He has to know who’s been there from the beginning.” But that’s hard for Ray, since hardly anyone has been there from the beginning. More than a generation has passed. At a July 4 cookout at his brother’s, he mentioned to a guest, “Most of these people are family, but I don’t really know.” Later he confided: “Some Towlers have popped up and they haven’t proven themselves to me.” Towler is using his new BlackBerry to take photos of all the people he encounters, to help him remember who they are. After a month out of prison, he told a friend, “I don’t feel normal. I don’t feel free.”

Then there’s the language gap. It’s not just the technobabble of the times – Facebook, iPad, Twitter – it’s the way Ray has taught himself to see the world. Everyone asks if he’s bitter about the judicial system. They don’t know what to say when he quietly insists: “The judicial system freed me.” He says he forgives the woman on roller skates and his accusers and the jury. He forgives everyone. People wait for some explosion of anger, but it never comes. Wallowing in self-pity and resentment didn’t work in prison, so he’s not going to start now. While everyone in the free world makes decisions based on an assumed payoff in the future, Ray ditched that approach a long time ago.

So he’s a different kind of sports fan. It’s the rest of us who expect the millionaire athletes to act right, work hard and bring home a title – or else. Ray just wants them to play. He didn’t get through 29 years in prison by expecting much from others. No, he didn’t like “The Decision,” but he’s dealt with much worse decisions. “Maybe LeBron isn’t the answer,” he says. “We’ll keep looking.” He pauses.
“Gotta look at reality and deal with it.” Deal with it in did. Those are the words that me cringe, are you kidding me, to spend almost 30 years behind bar for crime not committed and am not bitter about it, something is wrong here just like the justice system.

Somewhere inside, Ray Towler does think about what he’s missed. His one-time mentor, Michael Hampton, is now in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. He feels he could have been there with him. He thinks about Jackie, his former girlfriend, and wonders where she is now. He never imagined himself approaching 60 years old, working a mailroom job and pausing for an extra second at every stop sign. Things aren’t ideal for Ray. Not even close. But he’s looking forward to the next paycheck, his next jam session and the next season. Both he and his team are starting over from scratch. But that’s OK.

He can wait. That is the story of another black man wasted in prison, at 60, he now know that justice in America for blacks is never just, freedom is never free, and equal rights is never right once your skin is black.

Jesse Jackson Jr. Allegedly Behind $6 Million Senate-Seat Scheme

by Jason Weintraub
Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. asked a political fund-raiser to offer then Gov. Rod Blagojevich $6 million dollars in exchange for an appointment to President Obama's former Senate seat.

Businessman Raghuveer Nayak 's allegations, first reported by the Sun-Times, counter Jackson Jr.'s public statements that he never authorized any deals to buy the Senate seat.

Nayak says Jackson instructed him to offer Blagojevich as much as $6 million for the seat -- $1 million from the Indian community and $5 million from a yet-to-be-held fund raiser that Jackson Jr. would organize.

The congressman's alleged involvement in the scheme was first revealed during the Blagojevich trial.

After the trial, Jackson Jr. said he was present during a meeting on Oct. 8, 2008 when the scheme was allegedly discussed, but that the businessmen involved were speaking "practically in Hindu."
Jackson Jr. is believed to be mulling a possible run for Chicago mayor.

He has not been charged with any crimes.

Last year Congress began an ethics investigation into Jackson Jr. but suspended the inquiry at the request of federal authorities who said it could interfere with the Blagojevich trial.

Does This Mean Harry Reid Gets To Keep Dan Choi’s Ring?

Jim Burroway

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and Lt. Dan Choi at Netroots 
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and Lt. Dan Choi at Netroots Nation (Photo by Pam Spaulding)

If we’re going to cast blame for yesterday’s debacle in the Senate as Democrats failed to break a Republican filibuster against a Defense Appropriations Bill that would begin the process of repealing “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” it is important to make sure everyone is accounted for. First and foremost, primary responsibility must fall on all forty Republicans and the two Democrats, Arkansans Blanche L. Lincoln and Mark Pryor, who supported the filibuster. They will be remembered for being on the wrong side of history and the wrong side of what some three-fourths of the American people support.

But anyone with any powers of observation over the circumstances under which Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid brought the bill to the floor cannot reasonably escape the conclusion that the filibuster suits his political purposes as well, as he and many other Senate Democrats struggle to hold onto their seats in tight mid-term campaigns. To not recognize that what happened yesterday was nothing but political theater, and that all the participants came away with something they wanted going into the final stretch of the campaign season — well let’s just say that just because Schoolhouse Rock didn’t cover political theater, it doesn’t mean it’s not an important byproduct of the legislative process, even if (or especially if) a bill fails to become a law. And in this case, that nasty byproduct was more important than actually doing the horse-trading it takes to pass the bill itself.

Last July when Reid appeared at Netroots Nation in Las Vegas, he was approached by Lt. Dan Choi, who had just been discharged from the Army. Choi handed Reid his West Point ring with the promise that Choi would hold Reid accountable for passing DADT’s repeal. “When the bill’s signed, I’ll keep it safely and then give it back to him,” Reid said. I guess the ring is still safe somewhere.

“Why do we keep having these meetings?”

Using meeting notes, documents and interviews, Bob Woodward details the president’s Afghanistan strategy in the new book Obama’s Wars.
According to Woodward, obama wants out of Afghanistan and has grown incensed with the military’s asking for more troops. He’s been fixed on an exit strategy, not a build up of any sort. When the commanders failed to give him what he wanted in terms of planning an exit… he just made one up on his own.
Frustrated with his military commanders for consistently offering only options that required significantly more troops, Obama finally crafted his own strategy, dictating a classified six-page “terms sheet” that sought to limit U.S. involvement.
Obama kept asking for “an exit plan” to go along with any further troop commitment, and is shown growing increasingly frustrated with the military hierarchy for not providing one. At one strategy session, the president waved a memo from the Office of Management and Budget, which put a price tag of $889 billion over 10 years on the military’s open-ended approach.
In the end, Obama essentially designed his own strategy for the 30,000 troops, which some aides considered a compromise between the military command’s request for 40,000 and Biden’s relentless efforts to limit the escalation to 20,000 as part of a “hybrid option” that he had developed with Gen. James E. Cartwright, the vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
In a dramatic scene at the White House on Sunday, Nov. 29, 2009, Obama summoned the national security team to outline his decision and distribute his six-page terms sheet. He went around the room, one by one, asking each participant whether he or she had any objections – to “say so now,” Woodward reports.
The document – a copy of which is reprinted in the book – took the unusual step of stating, along with the strategy’s objectives, what the military was not supposed to do. The president went into detail, according to Woodward, to make sure that the military wouldn’t attempt to expand the mission.
After Obama informed the military of his decision, Woodward writes, the Pentagon kept trying to reopen the decision, peppering the White House with new questions. Obama, in exasperation, reacted by asking, “Why do we keep having these meetings?”
“This needs to be a plan about how we’re going to hand it off and get out of Afghanistan,” Obama is quoted as telling White House aides as he laid out his reasons for adding 30,000 troops in a short-term escalation. “Everything we’re doing has to be focused on how we’re going to get to the point where we can reduce our footprint. It’s in our national security interest. There cannot be any wiggle room.”
Obama rejected the military’s request for 40,000 troops as part of an expansive mission that had no foreseeable end. “I’m not doing 10 years,” he told Secretary of Defense Robert M. Gates and Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton at a meeting on Oct. 26, 2009. “I’m not doing long-term nation-building. I am not spending a trillion dollars.”
Here I thought Afghanistan needed to be stabilized in order to further protect us from the growing terrorist threat in Pakistan? For that scenario to work, don’t we have to BE THERE?
…and just when you thought your blood pressure was returning to normal…
“We can absorb a terrorist attack”
Warned of the threat of terrorist attacks, obama says that the U.S. can ‘absorb’ them.
“We can absorb a terrorist attack. We’ll do everything we can to prevent it, but even a 9/11, even the biggest attack ever . . . we absorbed it and we are stronger.”
Could someone call the nearest adult to go to the White House at once, please? Thanks.

By Pamible

Iran's War without Borders threat and the WT Sherman School of Excellence in Foreign Policy

President Ahmedinejad Threatens U.S. With War 'Without Boundaries'

jannatui and achma 
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmedinejad warned the Obama administration today that if Iran's nuclear facilities are attacked, the U.S. will face a war that "would know no boundaries."
The Iranian president, who is in New York for the annual meetings of the United Nations General Assembly, spoke at a breakfast meeting with reporters and editors at Manhattan's Warwick Hotel.

He said that Iran is on the brink of becoming a nuclear power, and warned Israel and the U.S. against attacking its nuclear facilities.
Asked about the possibility of a U.S.-supported Israeli air strike against Iran, the fiery Iranian leader said an attack would be considered an act of war, and suggested the U.S. is unprepared for the consequences. Such a war "would know no boundaries," Ahmedinejad said. "War is not just bombs."

Should undocumented students get citizenship? by Nathan Crabbe

A Congressional proposal to give illegal immigrant students a path to citizenship might receive a vote this week.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has announced that he will attach the so-called DREAM Act to an overall defense authorization bill expected to receive a vote as early as this week. University of Florida students have rallied in support of the measure, with UF President Bernie Machen also backing the proposal.

The DREAM Act — which stands for Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors Act — would provide undocumented high school graduates who meet certain requirements with the chance to earn temporary residency. If they finished at least two years of work toward a bachelor’s degree or served two years in the military, they’d be granted permanent residency and eventually be able to apply for citizenship.

A law school forum held last year included both sides of the debate over the act. A supporter said the act would ensure bright students who have stayed out of trouble could remain in the U.S., while an opponent said the change would deny spots at universities to U.S.-born students.

What do you think of the DREAM Act? Post your comments below.

UPDATE:  Senate Democrats failed to get the 60 votes needed to overcome GOP-led opposition to putting the DREAM Act into the defense bill. I wrote about the reaction of one UF student and act supporter in my column.


Larry Summers is stepping down according to Fox Business and Bloomberg:
“White House officials expect Lawrence Summers to leave his job as the president’s National Economic Council director after November’s congressional elections, according to three people familiar with the matter.
His departure would leave Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner as the only member of President Barack Obama’s original top-tier economic team. Summers, 55, and the president have discussed his future plans, according to one person.”
The Obama economic team is slowly being sliced and diced as their results speak for themselves.  Unfortunately, they’ve already done their damage and the primary players remain firmly entrenched.  I said it from day one – the nominations of Geithner, Summers and Bernanke were huge mistakes by Obama and will likely seal his fate in 2012.  These men either helped or were instrumental in getting the economy into this mess in the first place.  The idea that their rehashed Clinton or Greenspan ideas would get us out of this mess was misguided from the very beginning.

I would have loved to see Obama install a new Fed Chairman and an economic team that was not a Clinton revival.  Unfortunately, he has not attempted to truly own this economy and has instead relied too much on the failed policies of the past while at the same time continually blaming the past administration.   Let’s hope this is the beginning of a new direction.  I am not getting my hopes up, however.
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Paladino within 6 of Cuomo in NY gubernatorial race

by Ed Morrissey

Could the Tea Party wave crash as far into Democratic strongholds as the governor’s mansion in New York?  Until now, businessman Carl Paladino has been more of a human-interest story than a threat to Andrew Cuomo in his quest for his father’s old position as Governor.  The New York Daily News reports that a new Quinnipiac poll shows that Paladino has transformed from a sideshow to a contender (via Jammie Wearing Fool):

Flame-throwing Republican Carl Paladino is within striking distance of overtaking longtime gubernatorial frontrunner Andrew Cuomo, a shocking new poll finds.
Among likely voters, the Democrat Cuomo has a paltry 49% to 43% lead over Paladino, the blowhard Buffalo businessman who won a shocking and decisive victory last week in the GOP primary, the Quinnipiac University poll finds.
Quinnipiac’s findings are in stark contrast to a Rasmussen Reports poll released Monday that showed Cuomo with a more robust 54% to 38% lead.
Cuomo “might be a victim of his own excess,” Quinnipiac pollster Maurice Carroll said. “Politicians and polls have depicted him so relentlessly as a sure thing that he might be a victim of the ‘throw the bums out’ attitude that hits incumbents in this angry year.”
Paladino famously says that the way to clean up Albany is with a baseball bat and not a broom.  He may be hitting a home run with New York voters, whom most analysts had more or less written out of the big conservative wave that appears to be breaking across the US.  Cuomo was too impressive a candidate, and Republicans too disorganized and with unknowns on the ballot, to make a dent in the Empire State this year.  At least with Quinnipiac, those voters may have other ideas after all.

It’s still an uphill climb.  Paladino will need a much bigger split among independents than his current 49/43 lead in order to overcome the Democratic registration advantage.  He could help matters by getting the 13% of Republicans who are moving to Cuomo; Paladino gets 8% of Democrats, but he’s not likely to get much more than that.  Republican Rick Lazio is still on the ballot in the Conservative Party slot as well, which complicates matters — but since neither Quinnipiac nor Rasmussen polled with Lazio as an option, it’s hard to say how much.  The real question for Democrats will be turnout, and whether the likely-voter models used by the two pollsters will accurately predict the enthusiasm building on the Right.

This could have an effect on down-ticket races as well.  Until now, New York Republicans and conservatives may have been forgiven for having somewhat less enthusiasm in this election as is seen in other states with less daunting odds.  If Republicans get excited about Paladino, they may not quite carry him to victory, but the force of that enthusiasm will reverberate in close Congressional races throughout the state.

Absorbing A Terrorist Attack

You are going to hear a lot of spin about this comment of the President to Bob Woodward.

"We can absorb a terrorist attack. We'll do everything we can to prevent it, but even a 9/11, even the biggest attack ever . . . we absorbed it and we are stronger."

The White House will try to tell you that this comment is about the strength of the American people, about our resiliency. But...

Word choices matter. Hey, we all know that another attack is a possibility, maybe even a probability. We know this. I don't blame the President for being candid about this, even to try and prepare us for it. But...

Absorb. Think about that word. I think we can survive another terrorist attack. I think we can overcome another terrorist attack. We can endure another terrorist attack. I believe we will be undaunted even in the face of another terrorist attack. But absorb?

For me, absorb means that you take a blow without caring much about it. You take a blow and move on. You take a blow and you do not retaliate. You absorb it.

The White House will spend the next few days trying to convince us otherwise, but this is what absorb means to me. If and when we are hit again, Obama will do nothing. He will absorb it and move on. He wants us to do the same.

The point? Our reaction to 9/11 made things worse. President Obama will rise above. Even in the face of attack, President Obama will remember who the true enemy is. Us.
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Breaking News: Multiple Men Allege Bishop Eddie Long Coerced Sex From Them

CNN is reporting that two men in Georgia are suing Bishop Eddie Long in Atlanta, alleging that the powerful pastor used his influence to force them in to having sex. Filed in DeKalb County, the suit claims that Long used his position of authority at the New Birth Missionary Baptist Church to persuade the two young male employees in to various forms of misconduct.

One of the plaintiffs, Anthony Flagg, is a 21-year-old man who alleges that some of the misconduct occurred during overnight trips to various cities:

"Long shared a bedroom and engaged in intimate sexual contact with plaintiff Flagg, including kissing, massaging, masturbating of plaintiff Flagg by defendant Long and oral sexual contact," according to the lawsuit.

Long's spokesman, Art Franklin, stated that "we categorically deny the allegations. It is very unfortunate that someone has taken this course of action. Our law firm will be able to respond once attorneys have had an opportunity to review the lawsuit."

The lawsuit is seeking unspecified amounts in financial damages and accuses Long on multiple counts, including negligence, breach of fiduciary duty and so on.

Well, it seems that while the summer in Atlanta was hot, the fall is going to be even hotter. I've never met Bishop Eddie Long, but I've always known of his vast presence in the city of Atlanta and throughout the world. He is second-to-none when it comes to mega pastors-and is certainly a historical figure.

At the same time, one has to be quite curious to determine if there is any merit to this lawsuit. I would imagine that if this form of behavior were going on in the past, there'd be rumors circulating throughout the black church community. I am not aware of such rumors, but once again, I don't run in the circle of black clergy.

The irony of this lawsuit is that it re-opens the ugly conversation about homosexuality within the black church. While African Americans lead the nation in homophobia, there are legions of black gay men throughout the black community, many of whom feel that they have to hide who they truly are.

I feel sorry for these men and hope that perhaps, one day, we can find it in our hearts to accept them. This might go double for Bishop Eddie Long, who led a march against gay marriage not too long ago. Should it be the case that Long actually is gay, one can only wonder just how much self-hatred a person needs to have to fight against the very thing he represents.

Again, without saying whether or not the allegations against Bishop Long are true, it seems that we can sort this issue into exactly what would be wrong if Long were guilty of any of the things for which he's being accused. There is nothing illegal about sleeping with a 21-year-old.

There is also nothing illegal about being gay (whether it's part-time or full-time). This incident would not make him a child molester either. At worst, he would be guilty of various forms of sexual harassment, which might be questionable in light of the fact that these men may have chosen to share a room with Long on these trips.

I also wonder -- if there was indeed coercion -- exactly how Long might have forced them to have sex. It's easy for someone to sleep with a person, get disgruntled and then claim that you forced them in to it. That's why I highly advise against sleeping with someone you deal with on the job.

While it's simple to presume that Long did something wrong, we have to remember that there are always people out there seeking to get money out of famous people by blackmailing their public image. I expect that the courts will help those who support Eddie Long to sort through the facts of this case.

Let's be clear folks
: Any potential misconduct on the part of Bishop Eddie Long in this sex scandal would only go as deep as sexual harassment/coercion and the ethical violations that come with preaching the bible on Sundays and possibly doing "unbiblical things" for the rest of the week. But if it is the case that Long has positioned himself as a spiritual leader and failed to meet the standards he's imposed on his congregation, then he has become a black version of the Catholic priests who've abused their power over young men for many centuries. If Long is found guilty of such an allegation, then I will personally never forgive him.

But if you consider all the folks who go to church on Sunday and live a double life on the side, it might seem that nearly all the members of the black church would be guilty of things more dramatic than anything I could repeat on this page (that's where all the Tyler Perry movies come from). Oh, yeah, there's also that little thing about Bishop Long being married (he's pictured above with his wife, Vanessa), but I'll let his wife work that one out. This is certainly going to be interesting and life-changing for tens of thousands of people, and for that reason, this is a sad day for the African-American church.

Dr. Boyce Watkins is the founder of the Your Black World Coalition and a Scholarship in Action Resident of the Institute for Black Public Policy. To have Dr. Boyce commentary delivered to your email, please click here.