Friday, September 21, 2007

Bail denied for only Jena beating suspect in jail

Ruling comes day after civil rights demonstration in La. town.
As seen on MSNBC website.

Posted by Nuttshell on 09/21 at 03:57 PM
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Another Double Standard - Why isn’t the news media playing up the shooting @ Del State?

When Cho was shooting up VA Tech, it was breaking news 24-7.  A shooting at a black college gets barely any mention.  WTF!

Posted by Nuttshell on 09/21 at 11:21 AM
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Tuesday, September 18, 2007

A ‘bad idea’ becomes wildly successful

By LEONARD PITTS JR.

Posted on Sun, Sep. 16, 2007 in the Miami Herald

ATLANTA—The consensus was that Tom Cousins was either crooked or crazy.
The former opinion was held by residents of the gritty East Lake Meadows housing project who didn’t believe him when he said he wanted to tear down East Lake and erect a mixed-income apartment complex in its place. The latter opinion was held by observers who did.

The residents thought it was just a land grab. They thought Cousins, a wealthy developer and philanthropist, was lying when he said they would be able to move back into nice apartments at subsidized rates and that the drug gangs that had held East Lake in thrall would be banished.

The observers thought it was nuts, this idea that you could effect change by tearing down a crime factory and building an apartment complex where the poor and the middle class would be neighbors. Charles Knapp, then president of the University of Georgia, told Cousins it was a bad idea. ‘He looked at me and said, `Professor’—which he always called me when he was trying to make a point—‘I have wasted a lot of money on other people’s bad ideas, including some of yours. And now I’m going to waste some on one of mine.’ ‘’

Fifteen years later, Cousins’ ‘’bad idea’’ has produced miracles. As detailed in my last column, crime is way down, income is way up, children’s test scores have exploded. Knapp is now board chairman of the East Lake Foundation.

This is a What Works column, part of my series on programs that are successfully attacking dysfunctions that plague black children. The success of East Lake suggests you can win that battle by not isolating poverty.

At East Lake, says Executive Director Carol Naughton, a child sees examples he might not see in places where poverty is concentrated. ``You see people going to work. You see people going to school, working on whatever plan they have for their life.’’

‘’What did we do differently?’’ says Cousins. ``We built in role models. Every other apartment is a [middle income] family.’’

Also, middle income communities tend to attract better services, says Naughton, pointing out the new grocery store and bank that recently opened nearby and the increased police patrols.

You didn’t see that when everyone here was poor. Nor, she says, is the benefit one-sided. East Lake, with its spacious apartments, pre-K learning center, excellent charter school and mentoring programs, is just a good, safe place to live, income notwithstanding.

Cousins has been seeking to solve poverty for years. He built low income housing under the old urban renewal program that razed the slums. That didn’t work. ``We go out three or four years later and they’re slums again. We hadn’t changed the environment.’’

Hence, this approach. Change the housing, change the schools, change the services, change the expectations, change everything.

Because Cousins was morally offended by East Lake. ‘’A child has no control over where he or she is born,’’ he says. Yet for children there, the ``future was set and hopeless. To grow up in that environment, which was just drugs and crime and illiteracy and poverty . . . I had two very strict parents and I still got in a little trouble. I can’t imagine what I would have done had I been in that environment.’’

As Naughton sees it, ``The unfairness of it all and the lack of a relatively even playing field just sat in his craw.’’

Cousins believed in his heart, she says, that ``had he been born in East Lake Meadows, he wasn’t special enough to have made it out. And shame on us for allowing a community to have developed and continued where the average guy or the average girl didn’t have a shot.’’

There’s a word for that. It’s not crazy and it’s not crooked. It is, rather, conscience.

Posted by Nuttshell on 09/18 at 07:09 PM
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Noose Found on Maryland College Campus

I bet you hadn’t heard about this yet.  Go to NPR and listen to the broadcast.

Noose Found on Maryland College Campus

http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=14496865

September 18, 2007 · A noose, long associated with lynching and racial hatred, was recently discovered hanging outside the University of Maryland’s hub for black cultural affairs. The discovery sent shockwaves through the campus. Bonnie Thornton-Dill and Ron Walters — both professors at the university — explain student reaction on campus and how the university is responding.

Posted by SPN on 09/18 at 02:44 PM
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Monday, September 17, 2007

La Raiz Olvidada

La_Raiz_Olvidada.pdf

Pleave view the Flier.

INTERNATIONAL BLACK FILM FESTIVAL PRESENTS

A SPECIAL SCREENING OF “LA RAIZ OLVIDADA”

A FILM BY RAFAEL REBOLLAR AT THE NEW YORK BAHA’I CENTER

LOCATED @ 53 EAST 11TH STREET (BTWN UNIVERSITY & B, WAY)

JOIN US ON SATURDAY SEPTEMBER 22ND FROM 6-10PM

“FREE RICE AND BEANS”

FILM SCREENING, DISCUSSION, NETWORKING WITH FRIENDS

DOORS OPEN @ 6PM / FILM BEGINS PROMPTLY @ 7PM

DONATIONS SUPPORTS THE IBFF

****La Raiz Olvidada (The forgotten Root) is a documentary about the profound cultural and economic contributions of enslaved Africans in Mexico (New Spain)****

*****The Forgotten Root is a film about the influence of enslaved Africans on Mexican culture*****

*****Media that Matters*****

*****Film will be followed by a discussion on African identity in Latin cultures *****

See, also http://www.blackfilmfestival.net

See, also http://www.americanlegacymag.com

FREE AND OPEN TO THE PUBLIC

Suggested Donation $10 (No one will be turned away)

Rice and Beans prepared by La Nueva Conquista Restaurant

Contact Rafael @ 516-225-2681

Posted by SPN on 09/17 at 08:51 AM
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Saturday, September 15, 2007

Black High School Students Charged with Attempted Murder

Here is an article that has a lot of detail about the ‘Jena 6’ case.

The Case of the Jena Six: Black High School Students Charged with Attempted Murder for Schoolyard Fight After Nooses Are Hung from Tree

Six black students at Jena High School in Central Louisiana were arrested last December after a school fight in which a white student was beaten and suffered a concussion and multiple bruises. The six black students were charged with attempted murder and conspiracy. They face up to 100 years in prison without parole. The fight took place amid mounting racial tension after a black student sat under a tree in the schoolyard where only white students sat. The next day three nooses were hanging from the tree. [includes rush transcript] Jena is a small town nestled deep in the heart of Central Louisiana. Until recently, you may well have never heard of it. But this rural town of less than 4,000 people has become a focal point in the debate around issues of race and justice in this country

.

Last December, six black students at Jena High School were arrested after a school fight in which a white student was beaten and suffered a concussion and multiple bruises. The six black students were charged with attempted second-degree murder and conspiracy. They face up to 100 years in prison without parole. The Jena Six, as they have come to be known, range in age from 15 to 17 years old.

Just over a week ago, an all-white jury took less than two days to convict 17 year-old Mychal Bell, the first of the Jena Six to go on trial. He was convicted of aggravated battery and conspiracy charges and now faces up to 22 years in prison.

Black residents say that race has always been an issue in Jena, which is 85 percent white, and that the charges against the Jena Six are no exception.

The origins of the story can be traced back to early September when a black high school student requested permission to sit under a tree in the schoolyard where usually only white students sat. The next day three nooses were found hanging from the tree.

Democracy Now! correspondent Jacquie Soohen has more on the story from Jena.

* Report on the Jena Six by Jacquie Soohen, from an upcoming feature documentary by Big Noise Films.

Jena 6 Defense Committee
PO BOX 2798
Jena, LA 71342
RUSH TRANSCRIPT

This transcript is available free of charge. However, donations help us provide closed captioning for the deaf and hard of hearing on our TV broadcast. Thank you for your generous contribution.
Donate - $25, $50, $100, more…

AMY GOODMAN: Jena is a small town nestled deep in the heart of Central Louisiana. Until recently, you may well never have heard of it. But this rural town of less than 4,000 has become a focal point in the debate around issues of race and justice in this country.

Last December, six black students at Jena High School were arrested after a school fight in which a white student was beaten and suffered a concussion and multiple bruises. The six black students were charged with attempted second-degree murder and conspiracy. They face up to 100 years in prison without parole.

The Jena 6, as they have come to be known, range in age from fifteen to seventeen. Just over a week ago, an all-white jury took less than two days to convict seventeen-year-old Mychal Bell, the first of the Jena 6 to go on trial. He was convicted of aggravated battery and conspiracy charges and now faces up to twenty-two years in prison. Black residents say race has always been an issue in Jena, which is 85% white and that the charges against the Jena 6 are no exception.

The origins of the story can be traced back to early September, when a black high school student requested permission to sit under a tree in the schoolyard, where usually only white students sat. The next day, three nooses were found hanging from the tree.

Democracy Now! correspondent Jacquie Soohen has more on the story from Jena.

JESSE BEARD: Black girls over there, black boys right here. Some black people standing right—a couple. All the band geeks right there. White folks under the tree. And then you might—it’s like…

JACQUIE SOOHEN: Jesse Beard, a freshman in high school and one of Jena 6, took us to where the nooses were hung.

JESSE BEARD: One day, I just wanted to—maybe the first, second day, we started riding the bus, me and Robert. And we came through, and I seen something hanging there. I told Robert. He looked at it. He’s like, “Them nooses right there.” He was getting mad. Everybody was getting—I started getting mad. By the time everybody came, they was trying to cut them down.

JACQUIE SOOHEN: Robert Bailey, seventeen years old and a safety receiver for the school football team, is another of the Jena 6 facing life behind bars. He described his reaction to the nooses.

ROBERT BAILEY: It was in the early morning. I seen them hanging. I’m thinking the KKK, you know, were hanging nooses. They want to hang somebody. Real nooses, the ones you see on TV are the kind of nooses they were, the ones they play in the movies and they were hanging all the people, you know, and the thing dropped, those were the kind of nooses they were. I know it was somebody white that hung the nooses in the tree. You know, I don’t know another way to put it, but, you know, I was disappointed, because, you know, we do little pranks—you know, toilet paper, that’s a prank, you know what I’m saying? Paper all over the square, all the pranks they used to do, that’s pranks. Nooses hanging there—nooses ain’t no prank.

JACQUIE SOOHEN: The school’s superintendent dismissed the nooses as a prank, and after three days’ suspension, the three white students who hung the nooses were allowed back to school. Caseptla Bailey, Robert’s mother, said the school did not inform the parents of the incident.

CASEPTLA BAILEY: The school didn’t tell me. I didn’t know that it happened, so therefore I didn’t call to find out what happened on that particular day.

JACQUIE SOOHEN: To Caseptla Bailey, the meaning of the nooses was clear.

CASEPTLA BAILEY: It meant hatred, to the other race. It meant that “We’re going to kill you, you’re going to die.” You know, it sent a message: “This is not the place for you to sit. This is not your damn tree. Do not sit here. You know, you ought to remain in your place, know your place and stay in your place. You’re out of your boundaries.” And the first thing now that the sheriff department or that the chief of police want to say that—as well as the superintendent—one had nothing to do with the other. Now, come on now!

JACQUIE SOOHEN: Most people we spoke to in Jena’s white community, however, see no connection between the students’ charges and race. Barbara Murphy, the town librarian, claims there isn’t a race problem in Jena.

BARBARA MURPHY: We don’t have a race problem. It’s not black against white. It’s crime. The nooses? I don’t even know why they were there, what they were supposed to mean. There’s pranks all the time, of one type or another, going on. And it just didn’t seem to be racist to me.

JACQUIE SOOHEN: A few days after the nooses were hung, the entire black student body staged an impromptu demonstration, crowding underneath the tree during lunch hour. Justin Purvis, the student who first asked to sit underneath the tree, described how the protest came about.

JUSTIN PURVIS: It was like, the first beginning, in the courtyard, they said, “Y’all want to go stand under the tree?” We said, “Yeah.” They said, “If you go, I’ll go. If you go, I’ll go.” One person went, the next person went, everybody else just went.

JACQUIE SOOHEN: The school responded to the protest by calling police and the district attorney. At an assembly the same day, the District Attorney Reed Walters, accompanied by armed policeman, addressed the students. Substitute teacher Michelle Rogers, one of the few black teachers at the school, was there. She recalls the DA’s words to the assembled high schoolers.

MICHELLE ROGERS: The kids didn’t say anything. They were listening. The kids were quiet. And so, District Attorney Reed Walters, you know, proceeded to tell those kids that “I could end your lives with the stroke of a pen.” And the kids were just—it was like in awe that the district—you know, Reed Walters would tell these kids that. He held a pen in his hand and told those kids that, “See this pen in my hand? I can end your lives with the stroke of a pen.”

JACQUIE SOOHEN: A series of incidents followed throughout the fall. In October, a black student was beaten for entering a private all-white party. Later that month, a white student pulled a gun on a group of black students at a gas station, claiming self-defense. The black students wrestled the gun away and reported the incident to police. They were charged with assault and robbery of the gun. No charges were ever filed against the white students in either incident. Then, in late November, someone tried to burn down the high school, creating even more tension.

Four days later, a white student was allegedly attacked in a school fight. The victim was taken to hospital and released shortly with a concussion. He attended a school function that evening. Six black students were charged with attempted second-degree murder and conspiracy to commit murder, on charges that leave them facing between twenty and one hundred years in jail. The defendants, ranging in age from fifteen to seventeen, had their bonds set at between $70,000 and $138,000. The attack was written up in the local paper as fact, and DA Reed Walters published a statement in which he said, “When you are convicted, I will seek the maximum penalty allowed by law.”

MINISTER: We have come today to stand against what we consider to be a great evil.

JACQUIE SOOHEN: Since their arrest, the defendants’ families have been speaking out and fighting for the release of their sons. Two of the six, including Mychal Bell, who was recently convicted, were unable to make bond and have spent close to seven months in jail to date.

CASEPTLA BAILEY: No justice!

PROTESTERS: No peace!

CASEPTLA BAILEY: No justice!

PROTESTERS: No peace!

CASEPTLA BAILEY: No justice!

PROTESTERS: No peace!

JACQUIE SOOHEN: Caseptla Bailey began writing letters to state and national agencies, including the Department of Justice, immediately after the charges were filed.

CASEPTLA BAILEY: The first thing was devastation. You know, I was down when it first happened. You know, I was very devastated. I was hurt, upset, angry, mad, frustrated. You know, I had so many emotions, crying a lot of nights, you know, trying to figure out where can I go from here. You know, a lot of times when you’re backed into a corner or you’re backed into a wall, naturally you’re going to come out fighting. You know, you’re not going to—you’re either going to fall and die, or you’re going to come out fighting.

You know, I’m just sending out these letters to anyone that would have a listening ear and to anyone that, you know, I thought that might help the situation. That’s how I fight back, you know, by putting the pen to the paper.

They want to take these kids—my son, as well as all these other children—lock them up, throw away the key. You know, that’s a tradition for black males. So they want to keep that tradition going, because they want to keep institutionalized slavery alive and well.

JACQUIE SOOHEN: At a friendly pickup game of football, Caseptla’s son Robert shows off the skills that made him a star player of the high school football team. Robert was in jail for over two months before his mother was able to raise the money for her son’s bond using three pieces of property from different family members. Seventeen-year-old Robert Bailey has no criminal record.

ROBERT BAILEY: I ain’t got no criminal record, nothing. I ain’t got no probation, community service or nothing, nothing like that. The DA, he ain’t after finding the truth. That’s what a DA’s for, to after find the truth, you know, of the case. He’s just, you know, trying to put me up in a jail cell, for life. Fifty years, twenty-five to a hundred years, you can just say “forever.” Twenty years is forever, to me.

JACQUIE SOOHEN: Robert wasn’t the only one with a promising future. All of the Jena 6 were athletes, and five of the six were on the high school football team. Marcus Jones, the father of seventeen-year-old Mychal Bell, has a stack of scholarship offers for his son.

MARCUS JONES: LSU, Southern Miss, Ol’ Miss, University of New York…

JACQUIE SOOHEN: Mychal is a star running back and a strong student who is being actively scouted by a number of colleges.

MARCUS JONES: We’re not blaming the victim for the charges or none of that. The DA is a racist DA. You know, I’m not calling him out for being a racist. I’m calling him out as being a racist due to his track record. The reason we is taking a stand for our kids for what he’s not doing is right, ’cause, you know, we’re tired of it, you know, ’cause if we, you know, we sat down and lay back and let him railroad our kids, too, he’s going to continue to do that to black people in this town. You know, so we have to take a stand now. Somebody has to take a stand now. If not, he’s going to continue to fill the prisons up with black people more and more.

JACQUIE SOOHEN: Mr. Bell believes that his son is learning a valuable lesson from this experience.

MARCUS JONES: One of the best lessons that my son could learn that’s one of the best lessons: to know what it is to be black now. You know, if this don’t teach him what it is to be black now, I don’t know what will. But he’s seventeen now. You know, he’s got a lot of life left ahead of him. And the day he set foot out of jail, I’m going to tell him, I’m going to tell him again, “You know what it is to be black now. Here it is.”

JACQUIE SOOHEN: For Democracy Now!, this is Jacquie Soohen, reporting from Jena, Louisiana.

AMY GOODMAN: That piece is from an upcoming feature documentary by Big Noise Films. Mychal Bell faces up to twenty-two years in prison when he’s sentenced July 31st. The five other students await trial on charges of attempted second-degree murder and conspiracy. They face up to 100 years in jail. When we come back from break, we’ll be joined by parents of three of the Jena 6, as well as the journalist who broke the story nationally. 

Posted by SPN on 09/15 at 08:30 PM
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‘Jena 6’ felony conviction vacated

Louisiana beating case stirred cries of racism

By Howard Witt | Tribune senior correspondent
September 15, 2007

HOUSTON - With the prospect of a major national civil rights protest looming next week in the central Louisiana town of Jena, a state appeals court on Friday abruptly vacated the felony conviction of a black teenager accused of beating a white student in a case fraught with racial tensions.

Louisiana’s 3rd Circuit Court of Appeals, acting on an emergency defense appeal, reversed the aggravated second-degree battery conviction of Mychal Bell, 17, ruling that the youth had been tried improperly as an adult in a case that has raised allegations of unequal justice in the small, mostly white town.

Last week, the judge who presided over Bell’s trial in June, LaSalle Parish District Judge J.P. Mauffray, vacated a conspiracy conviction against the youth for the same reason, but inexplicably let the more serious battery conviction stand. Now the local district attorney, Reed Walters, must decide whether to refile the entire case in juvenile court.

Walters initially charged Bell and five other black teens, who have come to be called the “Jena 6,” with attempted murder after the white student was beaten and knocked unconscious at Jena High School last December. The white student suffered cuts and bruises but was treated and released from a local hospital.

Walters later reduced the charges to aggravated second-degree battery, contending at Bell’s trial—the first case to go to court—that the tennis shoes Bell was wearing constituted a dangerous weapon.

Walters said in a statement Friday that he intended to appeal the reversal of Bell’s conviction to the Louisiana Supreme Court.

As the Tribune first reported in May, the beating incident followed a series of white-on-black attacks in Jena in which the white assailants escaped serious charges. And it capped months of escalating racial tensions in the town set off after three white students hung nooses from a tree in the high school courtyard in what was perceived as a threat to blacks. School officials called the noose incident an “adolescent prank” and declined to expel the white students, outraging black students and their parents.

National civil rights leaders, including Rev. Jesse Jackson, Rev. Al Sharpton and Martin Luther King III, had been planning to join black celebrities and thousands of Internet bloggers in a demonstration in Jena next Thursday, the day Bell had been scheduled to be sentenced to up to 15 years in prison on the battery conviction.

Nearly 200,000 people have signed petitions criticizing the prosecution of the black students and calling on Louisiana Gov. Kathleen Blanco to intervene in the case. Bus caravans headed toward Jena have been organized at scores of churches across the country, and organizers had predicted that more than 20,000 protesters might show up in the town of 3,000.

But with the reversal of Bell’s felony convictions, the extent of next Thursday’s demonstration is now unclear.

“The crisis is not over yet,” Jackson said Friday. “This ruling still leaves in suspension what’s going to happen to the other five. But the Jena 6 and their supporters are now on the offensive. So long as these kids were in the dark without representation, they were all going up the river. When the lights came on and the public pressure flooded in, it began to change everything.”

Alan Bean, director of Friends of Justice, a Texas-based civil rights group that was the first to notice the Jena case, said he expected the reversal of Bell’s convictions will turn next Thursday’s protest into a “celebration” of the power of public opinion to influence the Jena 6 case.

“People across the country, both black and white, conservative and liberal, were just appalled by what had happened in LaSalle Parish and the embarrassment factor weighed in very heavily for the appeals court,” Bean said. “I don’t think the state of Louisiana wants this travesty to go on any longer. I’d be very surprised if any of these other cases comes to trial.”

Bell has remained in jail since December, unable to post a $90,000 bond. But his attorneys said they would go before Mauffray on Monday seeking to have Bell released. The judge declined previous defense requests to reduce Bell’s bond, citing several juvenile assault convictions on the teen’s record.

Bell’s pro bono attorneys, brought into the case by civil rights leaders after his conviction, have argued that his trial, heard by an all-white jury, was filled with irregularities, including a court-appointed public defender who called no witnesses on his behalf and a prosecution witness who was one of the white youths who hung the nooses at the high school.

The NAACP, the American Civil Liberties Union, the Southern Poverty Law Center and the Congressional Black Caucus have all denounced what they view as the harsh prosecutions of the Jena 6.

On Thursday, Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama added his criticism of what he termed the “excessive charges” in the case.

“When nooses are being hung in high schools in the 21st Century, it’s a tragedy,” Obama said. “It shows that we still have a lot of work to do as a nation to heal our racial tensions.”

Posted by SPN on 09/15 at 08:26 AM
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Thursday, September 13, 2007

24 Hours for Darfur starts Sunday, September 16, 2007

I wanted to let you know about 24 Hours for Darfur, a rally in New York City urging world leaders to remember Darfur when they meet for the U.N. General Assembly on September 18.

24 Hours for Darfur is the flagship event for Global Days for Darfur - a day of rallies and events that will bring together thousands of activists on six continents demanding international action to end the genocide in Darfur.

What: 24 Hours for Darfur
When: Sunday, September 16, 11 am - 2 pm
Where: Dag Hammarskjold Plaza. 47th Street between 1st and 2nd Avenues in Manhattan

The rally will feature hundreds of short video appeals collected from Darfuris and concerned citizens around the world. Several Darfur experts from leading human rights organizations will also speak about the importance of a long-term peace process

Visit http://www.savedarfur.org/gdfd or http://www.24HoursForDarfur.org for more information, or to add your video appeal to the rally.

The Darfur People’s Association of New York will collect clothes and school supplies to be sent to Darfuri refugees in Chad. Please bring any clothes or materials - especially children’s clothes - you can contribute.

Thanks for your support, and we hope to see you on Sunday!

Sincerely

Ben Prochazka
Save Darfur Coalition

Posted by SPN on 09/13 at 12:29 PM
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Wednesday, September 12, 2007

How Does This Happen in 2007?

The following story is horrific.  This young, black women was abused mentally, physically and sexually.  I hope the perps are put in jail for life!

W.Va. mulls hate crime probe
W.Va. suspects allegedly used racial slur, tortured woman for a week
The Associated Press
Updated: 9:47 a.m. MT Sept 12, 2007
BIG CREEK, W.Va. - Inside a shed on a remote hillside of this coalfield community, authorities say a young black woman was tortured for days, sexually assaulted, beaten and forced to eat rat droppings.

Her captors, all of them white, choked her with a cable cord and stabbed her in the leg while calling her a racial slur, poured hot water over her and made her drink from a toilet, according to criminal complaints.

It wasn’t until an anonymous tip led Logan County Sheriff’s deputies to the property on Saturday that her ordeal ended and she was able to limp to safety, arms outstretched as she cried, “Help me!”

“I don’t understand such a horrific crime being committed here,” said Johnny Meade, pastor of the community’s Apostolic Church of God in the Name of Christ Jesus.

Possible hate crime
The FBI is now looking into possible civil rights violations, agency spokesman Bill Crowley said, authorities in West Virginia said they were investigating the case as a possible hate crime.

At one point, an assailant cut the woman’s ankle with a knife and used the N-word in telling her she was victimized because she is black, authorities said.

Investigators are still trying to determine how the woman ended up at the property and whether she knew any of the six people arrested or the two others, suspected of driving her to the home, who are being sought, said Logan County Chief Sheriff’s Deputy V.K. Dingess.

Police tape now surrounds the entrances to the beige-and-brown mobile home where Megan Williams, 20, was found. An extension cord runs from the home to the cramped shed, which authorities say she was held in with a portable stereo, a locker and a power saw.

The Associated Press generally does not identify suspected victims of sexual assault, but Williams and her mother agreed to release her name. Carmen Williams said she wanted people to know what her daughter endured.

‘I don’t understand’
“I don’t understand a human being doing another human being the way they did my daughter,” Carmen Williams said Tuesday from her daughter’s hospital room. “I didn’t know there were people like that out here.”

The suspects in the case have prior arrest records going back several years, according to records from Logan County Magistrate Court. Logan County Prosecutor Brian Abraham said, “I have some familiarity with all those individuals.”

Since 1991, police have filed 108 criminal charges against the six. Frankie Brewster, 49, faced the most serious charges among them. Karen Burton, 46, of Chapmanville had the most charges in all, with 33; and her daughter, Alisha Burton, 23, had 20.

Brewster, who owns the Big Creek mobile home, was charged in 1994 with first-degree murder, but pleaded guilty to lesser charges of manslaughter and wanton endangerment. She was released from prison in 2000 after serving five years in the death of 84-year-old Polly T. Ferrell, court records show.

In the Williams case, Brewster was charged with kidnapping, sexual assault, malicious wounding and giving false information during a felony investigation.

Brewster’s son, Bobby R. Brewster, 24, also of Big Creek, was charged with kidnapping, sexual assault, malicious wounding and assault during the commission of a felony.

Danny J. Combs, 20, of Harts, was charged with sexual assault and malicious wounding.

Karen Burton was charged with malicious wounding, battery and assault during the commission of a felony.

Alisha Burton and George A. Messer, 27, of Chapmanville, were charged with assault during the commission of a felony and battery. In May, Alisha Burton was accused of striking Messer with a shovel and smashing the window of a woman’s car. The charges are pending.

All six remained in custody Tuesday in lieu of $100,000 bail each, and all have asked for court-appointed attorneys.

Home is now quiet
The home is now quiet. Newborn pups sleep in the entryway to the small shed, their mother protectively barking at approaching strangers.

Megan Williams’ right arm is now in a cast, but she may be well enough to leave the hospital within a few days, her mother said.

“I just want my daughter to be well and recover,” Carmen Williams said. “I know the Lord can do anything.”

© 2007 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
URL: http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/20737211/

Posted by Nuttshell on 09/12 at 01:33 PM
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Monday, September 03, 2007

The Pentagon has drawn up plans for massive airstrikes against Iran

From The Sunday Times
September 2, 2007
Pentagon ‘three-day blitz’ plan for Iran
Sarah Baxter, Washington

The Pentagon has drawn up plans for massive airstrikes against 1,200 targets in Iran, designed to annihilate the Iranians’ military capability in three days, according to a national security expert.

Alexis Debat, director of terrorism and national security at the Nixon Center, said last week that US military planners were not preparing for “pinprick strikes” against Iran’s nuclear facilities. “They’re about taking out the entire Iranian military,” he said.

Debat was speaking at a meeting organised by The National Interest, a conservative foreign policy journal. He told The Sunday Times that the US military had concluded: “Whether you go for pinprick strikes or all-out military action, the reaction from the Iranians will be the same.” It was, he added, a “very legitimate strategic calculus”.

President George Bush intensified the rhetoric against Iran last week, accusing Tehran of putting the Middle East “under the shadow of a nuclear holocaust”. He warned that the US and its allies would confront Iran “before it is too late”.

One Washington source said the “temperature was rising” inside the administration. Bush was “sending a message to a number of audiences”, he said � to the Iranians and to members of the United Nations security council who are trying to weaken a tough third resolution on sanctions against Iran for flouting a UN ban on uranium enrichment.

The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) last week reported “significant” cooperation with Iran over its nuclear programme and said that uranium enrichment had slowed. Tehran has promised to answer most questions from the agency by November, but Washington fears it is stalling to prevent further sanctions. Iran continues to maintain it is merely developing civilian nuclear power.

Bush is committed for now to the diplomatic route but thinks Iran is moving towards acquiring a nuclear weapon. According to one well placed source, Washington believes it would be prudent to use rapid, overwhelming force, should military action become necessary.

Israel, which has warned it will not allow Iran to acquire nuclear weapons, has made its own preparations for airstrikes and is said to be ready to attack if the Americans back down.

Alireza Jafarzadeh, a spokesman for the National Council of Resistance of Iran, which uncovered the existence of Iran’s uranium enrichment plant at Natanz, said the IAEA was being strung along. “A number of nuclear sites have not even been visited by the IAEA,” he said. “They’re giving a clean bill of health to a regime that is known to have practised deception.”

Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, the Iranian president, irritated the Bush administration last week by vowing to fill a “power vacuum” in Iraq. But Washington believes Iran is already fighting a proxy war with the Americans in Iraq.

The Institute for the Study of War last week released a report by Kimberly Kagan that explicitly uses the term “proxy war” and claims that with the Sunni insurgency and Al-Qaeda in Iraq “increasingly under control”, Iranian intervention is the “next major problem the coalition must tackle”.

Bush noted that the number of attacks on US bases and troops by Iranian-supplied munitions had increased in recent months � “despite pledges by Iran to help stabilise the security situation in Iraq”.

It explains, in part, his lack of faith in diplomacy with the Iranians. But Debat believes the Pentagon’s plans for military action involve the use of so much force that they are unlikely to be used and would seriously stretch resources in Afghanistan and Iraq.

Posted by SPN on 09/03 at 02:14 PM
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Sunday, September 02, 2007

Taking the ‘Foot’ Out of Football

I’m certainly in agreement with this.  There is no reason, whatsoever, that this game should be called football when feet have hardly anything to do with the game.

Morning Edition, August 29, 2007 ·
By Frank Deford
Now that football season is upon us again, I would like to start off by saying: Let’s get the foot out of football. It’s time to call it, say, passball or smashball. Then we Americans could — like everyone else — call soccer by its proper name, football. Everybody would be much happier this way.

The trouble with our football is that the foot has gotten too prominent. If the feet in soccer were as accomplished as the feet in football, scores would be 9-8 or 12-11 and we’d all be watching Monday Night Soccer. But when I see an American football game now, I’m reminded of the old Fats Waller classic, “Your Feet’s Too Big.” What the football “feets” is doing is too big for the good of the game.

For decades now, the extra point has been called automatic. But no more is that just a hyperbole. In the NFL now, 99 percent of point-afters split — as they say — the uprights. That’s ridiculous. Nothing else in sports is automatic. Nothing in sports should be automatic. For that matter, nothing in life should be automatic.

If football must have the point-after, I say it should be done this way: Have each team that scores a touchdown celebrate in the end zone, and then have people like those awful judges from American Idol determine if the celebration merits an extra point. Certainly, end zone celebrations are much more entertaining than those little one-trick ponies in clean uniforms who come trotting out and kick automatic points.

Field goals have gotten almost as tedious. Now, 80 percent of attempted field goals in the NFL are successful. Good grief, two-thirds of field goals tried from at least 40 yards out split the uprights. Make field goals count only two points. Or, since the goal posts can’t fight back, let the defense jump up on each other’s shoulders and form pyramids, like those walls in soccer. Make those kickers have to learn to bend it like Beckham.

And punts. Aren’t you tired of scaredy-cat coaches with fourth and inches always punting? You got these great running backs churning out yardage down the field, but as soon as it’s close, the coaches punt. You might as well have cleanup hitters in baseball bunt. Kicking makes wimps out of football coaches.

Kickoffs are fun to watch, but they’re automatic, too — automatic mayhem. You got 22 guys averaging about an eighth of a ton each, wearing armor and colliding at full speed. The soldiers at Antietam and Gallipoli had a better chance.

The colleges are moving kickoffs back to the 30-yard line this year in order to create more fun and brutality. Some coaches have already professed deep concern. The Department of Orthopaedics at Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York is decrying this insane added danger.

What we should do is only allow those squibbly little onside kicks, where the ball bounces around all crazy, and it’s fun and goofy and altogether un-automatic. Or hey, let’s just kick the foot outta football and play the game with the good hands that God gave us red-blooded Americans.

Posted by SPN on 09/02 at 02:14 PM
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