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Saturday, November 28, 2009

Segregated Coast Guard

Here is a great article by Dennis Conrad of the Associated Press regarding what I term a segregated coast guard. Check out the numbers, the lack of diversity in a service where only 311 of its 6,787 commissioned officers are black, with only one black admiral. One can see why the Coast Guard academy continues to respond to racism.

WASHINGTON — Eight years after the U.S. Coast Guard and the NAACP signed a voluntary agreement to work together to boost the number of African-Americans at its 1,000-cadet service academy, the annual enrollment and graduation figures for blacks remain in single digits.

Seven blacks graduated from the academy based in New London, Conn., in the spring of 2001, the year the agreement was signed.

The same number graduated from the Class of 2006, the first class for which blacks were recruited under the agreement.

Subsequently, there were seven black graduates in 2007, five in 2008 and four in 2009.
That makes 23 graduates in four years under the agreement, including the academy's first black female valedictorian. In the four previous years the number was 33.

Leading lawmakers have grown increasingly upset with results even as they repeatedly are told the Guard is working hard to improve diversity in a service where only 311 of its 6,787 commissioned officers are black, with only one black admiral.

"The Coast Guard has just not paid attention to it. It is not antipathy or animosity toward it," said Rep. James Oberstar, D-Minn., chairman of the House Transportation Committee. 
"I think we're moving in the right direction and got the Coast Guard's attention and we're not going to let up."

Under a House bill, sponsored by Oberstar and Rep. Elijah Cummings, D-Md., the Coast Guard subcommittee chairman, members of Congress would nominate candidates for the academy. All the other service academies have long used congressional nominations.

On a 385-11 vote last month, the House advanced the legislation to the Senate.
The Coast Guard Academy historically has taken pride in viewing itself merit-based and choosing its applicants without regard to their geographical distribution among the states.

Cummings, a member of the Congressional Black Caucus, expects black enrollment to grow with congressional involvement, at least in part because the House typically has about 40 black lawmakers who would be effective recruiters in largely black congressional districts.

The Coast Guard's position on the bill has been rather subdued.

The academy's superintendent, Rear Adm. J. Scott Burhoe, likes the existing "merit-based system," but would be "fine" if Congress adopted congressional nominations.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

The Trial of Watson Black - A Novel

Here is an interesting novel from blogger Francis L. Holland at the Police Brutality blog.


Watson Black was on his way home from his dry cleaning job when he noticed a police car behind him. Watson, a mentor at the local high school and a member of the the Whitesville Chamber of Commerce was used to obeying law, having never been charged with any offense civil or criminal in his 32 years of life.

Still he knew the danger police posed. His mother had told him since he was a child that he should never believe he could do what whites did and get away with it, if only because whites would point the legal finger at him if anything went wrong.

Even as he drove at the speed limit and stopped well before the corner at the next stop sign, he felt ill at ease. Just three months prior Whitesville police officers pulled over a car driven by a Howard University students, with two classmates and, for some reason that was never fully, explained, two Whitesville police officers had shot fifteen bullets into the students' car before even approaching them or running their license plate numbers.

Although no one could prove it, most local Blacks considered the incident to be yet another color-aroused assassination by police, while whites who were 81% of Whitesville, believed the students must have done something wrong, even if police could not say convincingly what it was. Two of the students had died before they reached the hospital while the third was paralized from the neck down.

The knowledge that Samuel Bill Sye would never walk again burned deep in the hearts of Black people, in a place that whites could not see or conceive. In fact, since that day Whitesville had become a tinderbox awaiting a match, a bolt of thunder or just a cigarette carelessly thrown from the window of a Whitesville squad car.

What distinguished Whitesville from other towns across America was that most of its sons and daughters had found no jobs in the local area and had instead enlisted in the US Armed services, returning home with a few dollars toward college and the best munitions and target practice training that the United States Armed Services could provide.

Encouraged by Alex Oldhead, a fiftyish ex-Black Panther who had seen the group annihilated in the early seventies and only escaped himself because he was doing time for armed robbery, returning veterans from both Gulf wars had obtained gun permits and given each other new Glocks and high-powered rifles as Christmas presents. They established a de facto Blacks-only shooting club, hunted together on weekends and shot bull's eyes on weeknights. Only they knew whose faces their minds' eyes superimposed over the red and white cardboard.
Blacks in Whitesville never talked of their weekend and evening activities with their white co-workers and friends, and no one asked. With gun laws watered down statewide like cheap liquor, there was no firearm they couldn't buy at Wal-Mart, at a weekend flea market or over the Internet. At the age of eleven or twelve, young men and some pig-tailed young girls snuck romantic looks at one another as they decimated targets that seemed miles away from their pre-pubescent fantasies.

Behind Watson Black, the flashing red and blue lights began furiously blinking on and off, for no reason that Watson could comprehend, except his skin color, which in Whitesville was reason enough. Watson pulled his Buick carefully over to the curb, put his hands on the top of the steering wheel and waited what seemed like an eternity for the police officer to exit his car and sidle up behind Watson's driver's side window, with his hand on his sidearm as if he were expecting a shootout. Read more HERE

AAPP:  No need for a novel, this is happening everyday in America. But then again... Great novel.

Thanksgiving Thoughts - From a black man - 2009

Local and national news have been showing  images of the First lady Michelle Obama in the elegant, strapless designer gown she wore for the white House's first state dinner. While a group of native Americans and thier supports are experiencing thanks & giving-back to Dineh elder resisters at Big Mtn.

Candidly, I'm just a bit disappointed to see our government, lead by an African American,  have a state dinner while black folks are in a depression and there is so much hunger in America. Don't get me wrong, I'm not hating on Thanksgiving, I know we have a lot to be thankful for, but.... 

State Dinner vs Hunger in America

As Jayne Lyn Stahl, recently wrote in CounterPunch, "one can't help but be distracted by the equally stunning number of people who find themselves hungry and poor this Thanksgiving. More than 12% of all Americans know what it means to be poor in America. While they're conspicuously absent from reality T.V. shows, from box office movies, and political party platforms, they are increasingly visible at food banks, and shelters." For me, Obama and his administration should take a second look at having "State Dinners" when so many Americans are out of work and losing their homes? Happy Thanksgiving?

Seeing that black folks don't seem to be getting anything substantial from the Obama administration, Maybe Barack Obama will give the native Americans a Thanksgiving and  Settle the USDA lawsuit in keeping with the National Congress of American Indians request.
(Note: the National Congress of American Indians recently passed a resolution asking Obama to settle a lawsuit against the USDA, who denied thousands of American Indian farmers credit to keep their farms running).

UPDATE: Now we here reports of the big security leak at the White House. How did these knuckleheads get this close to the Vice president and the President? 


Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Joblessness for 16-to-24-year-old black men has reached Great Depression proportions - The Washington Post

According to The Washington Post,  joblessness for 16-to-24-year-old black men has reached Great Depression proportions, 34.5 percent in October, more than three times the rate for the general U.S. population, The Washington Post reports.

Young black women have an unemployment rate of 26.5 percent, while the rate for all 16-to-24-year-old women is 15.4 percent.

For young blacks, race statistically appears to be a bigger factor in their unemployment than age, income or even education. Lower-income white teens were more likely to find work than upper-income black teens. Even blacks who graduate from college suffer from joblessness at twice the rate of their white peers.

Some studies examining how employers review black and white job applicants suggest that discrimination may be at play.

"Black men were less likely to receive a call back or job offer than equally qualified white men," says a Princeton University sociologist. "Black men with a clean record fare no better than white men just released from prison."

Read More: More HERE

AAPP Says: OK you folks who have blind faith with our President. Why is the President not having his cabinet Secretaries address this issue? Ratther than extending the war in Afghanistan he should be addressing real needs at home. Has anyone heard from the department of labor secretary?  America's core cities needs a massive jobs program. It's no wonder our communities have not exploded. I'm glad the haven't because they would only taser a another black man to death. Maybe Ms. Huffington is right, the disaster of  unemployment will be President Obama's Katrina.

Join me and other progressive thinkers, tonight on the 8:00 PM EST on African American Political Pundit's "Political Slugfest Show."  We want to address this particular issue. if you can handle the truth.

Monday, November 23, 2009

The Politics of obesity and black folks

Some two dozen Lincoln University seniors may not receive their degrees this spring, thanks to a graduation requirement stipulating that students who enter college with a BMI over 30 must either prove to the school that they've lost weight, or take a one-semester class called "Fitness for Life." Lincoln, a historically black university in Oxford, Pennsylvania, enacted the requirement in 2006, meaning that this year's graduating class is the first to feel its effects. Despite student protests, James DeBoy, chairman of the health, physical education, and recreation department, doesn't see a problem with the requirement. "We test for written, oral communication skills, and I don't see this as any different," he says. We want our students to have a sound mind, but also a sound body." --- Let's talk about the politics of black health tonight... If you can handle the truth.

AAPP says: I have no problem with this decision, good health is an individual decision, yet the community needs to help out whenever possible. Read Generation Triple XL: African American Kids' Obesity Rates Rise.

Tasers Wins 100th Law Suit

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz., Nov. 23, 2009 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- TASER International, Inc. (Nasdaq:TASR), a leading provider of technology solutions and the market leader in electronic control devices (ECDs), announced that on November 20, 2009, the United States District Court for the Northern District of California entered an order and judgment for TASER International in the arrest-related-death lawsuit entitled Rosa v. TASER International, et al. granting TASER International's motion for summary judgment. Plaintiffs were represented in the Rosa case by California attorneys: John C. Burton, Peter M. Williamson, John F. Baker, and Peter T. Cathcart. Plaintiffs filed their lawsuit in 2005, and aggressively litigated their case for 4 years. The medical examiner had determined cause of death was from the methamphetamine Mr. Rosa ingested.

The Court noted that "California courts require that plaintiffs present evidence of 'general recogni[tion] and prevailing best scientific and medical knowledge' to meet the 'known or knowable' element of a strict liability claim." In addition, the court noted that the "evidence is insufficient as a matter of law to raise a triable issue as to 'knowability' of the risk,... [and] insufficient to create a triable issue as to whether TASER should have known of the risk."

The Court also noted that "TASER has developed a comprehensive warning system in which every ECD sold or distributed is accompanied by a training CD/DVD and operating manual to be used by TASER-certified instructors," and that Defendant's expert Dr. Raymond Fish "unequivocally rejects the theory that ECDs on humans decrease respiration and cause dangerous acidosis."

In granting TASER's motion for summary judgment, the Court stated that TASER International's assertions "are well-taken" that there are no genuine issues of material fact with regard to whether, "the alleged propensity of ECDs to cause metabolic acidosis was known or knowable on December 30, 2003, when the ECDs in question were shipped from TASER to its distributor; [and]... TASER's warnings with respect to the dangers posed by application of its ECDs were adequate..."  More HERE

AAPP says: There is a real reason why Taser International can win cases in Federal Court. The  Federal judges have been bribed  and the Federal government is currently contracting through the Pentagon with Taser International, U.S. Customs and other federal agencies. if anyone is tasered by these Federal Police Departments and Federal Law Enforcement agencies the government would be liable. I smell a conspiracy, do you?

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Taser, Gun Crazy America

As reported by AFP, CHANTILLY, Virginia — Recession-stoked fears of rising crime and tougher gun laws under a Democratic government are sending US gun sales sky high, and big crowds at the Chantilly Gun Show this weekend proved it once again.

"Do you see the line all around the building and in the back," asked Annette Elliott, co-organizer of one of the top gun shows in Virginia, a conservative state with rather liberal gun laws.
Several hundred people thronged the gun show in the Washington suburb of Chantilly, where some 260 retailers have set up stalls hung with ready-to-fire Smith and Wessons, Glocks, Walthers, Colts and Berettas.
"We've had a huge increase in sales since last October," 2008 just before President Barack Obama was elected. "Well over 200 percent. It's coming back," said Jerry Cochran, owner of his eponymous major gun retailing firm in the state.

He hopes to sell 500 weapons at the gun show this weekend.

Elliott expects as many as 12,000 people will turn up at the three-day gun fair.
In a state where you can wear a loaded weapon on your belt as long as it's in full sight, or a concealed one with a permit, handguns and semi-automatic assault rifles are openly sold to residents after a customary spot check for criminal records.

A questionnaire must also be filled out asking whether the prospective buyer has been convicted of any crime, is an illegal immigrant or is "subject to a court order restraining you from harassing, stalking... an intimate partner." More HERE


AAPP Says:  Well I guess the United States is getting wackier every day. Now private citizens will be taseing their kids in order to have the take a shower. 

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