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Friday, September 28, 2007

Sunday at 8pm Afronerd Radio-Interview with UVC creator, Ron King

We have a special treat for the comic book aficionados that frequent Afronerd-an interview with Ron King, the creator of UVC (Urban Voice in Comics) magazine. So this time around we do plan to talk about graphic novels, the comic book industry as it relates to minorities and past/upcoming characters of color. And in homage to Black fanboys everywhere, check out the clip from Kevin Smith’s Chasing Amy and of course, please excuse the expletives. Give us a call-again, our show broadcasts “live” Sunday at 8pm(eastern)-reach us at-646-915-9620. Also feel free to email or IM Mr. Starks and I at afronerdradio@yahoo. And don’t forget-Be there and Be square.

Interview UVC Mag's Ron King and Week in Review continued

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Remember Afronerd Radio's Week in Review Tomorrow at 9pm eastern...also Afronerd Does NPR

Just reminding our readers that we have another Week in Review program scheduled for 9pm eastern. A few more topics have to be added to our George Foreman conservative grill-Bill O'Reilly made some interesting remarks about dining at Sylvia's Harlem restaurant, Adrianne Curry also said some interesting things, Isiah Thomas testifies in the Anucha Browne-Sanders sexual harassment case, BET's Hip Hop vs America special and a smorgasbord full of additional topics. Drop by with your thoughts either by phone-646-915-9620 or email/IM-afronerdradio@yahoo. And for an additional treat, check out our latest Bloggers Roundtable NPR appearance. Enjoy!

Bloggers Roundtable-Part 1

Bloggers' Roundtable: Jena & Jesse

Part 2

Bloggers Roundtable: Part II

And of course, our show:

Afronerd Radio's Week In Review

Monday, September 24, 2007

Here We Go Again.....Adrianne Curry proves once again why a mind is a terrible thing to waste....Model Boycotts BET for the wrong reason

I'm not sure if our readers are familiar with this story but it does appear to be gaining ground within the Black blogosphere. The only reason I decided to provide an editorial on this matter is because this latest celebrity faux pas against education conversely demonstrates a lack of an education. Talk about a mind being a terrible thing to waste. I posted the above clip as an example of what an uneducated person sounds like-with Adrianne Curry’s current footinmouth disease encapsulating a similar premise. The clip also shows that certain folks should never be passed the microphone or blog. Apparently Curry, best known for her reality TV career (My Fair Brady, Surreal Life, America’s Top Model, etc) has made some rather provocative statements on her blog calling for a boycott of both BET and Black History Month. Ironically, BET should be boycotted (and if you ask BET CEO Debra Lee-demonstrations in front of her home certainly feel like a boycott) but not for the convoluted reasons that Curry has delineated. What our country requires more than ever is a comprehensive re-education initiative that encompasses the history, culture and/or historical achievements of all of its citizens, so that we can stamp out this current and horrific scourge of footinmouth disease. Let’s take a look at Curry’s diatribe in question (she has of course, provided the customary next day capitulation):

MY Boycott against BET and Black History Month

Because of my last blog, and all the wonderful feedback I got..it made me think...

This is gonna be hard guys. I LOVE the comedians on BET. I also LOVE the fact that they play my favorite show of all time, In Living Color. However, I do not believe in seperating ANY RACE in America. WE ARE AMERICANS! How dare we have Black History Month! In my eyes, the Native Americans deserve it MUCH more, seeing how we destroyed their ENTIRE SOCIETY. There are hardly any of them left! They also have been proven to have the WORST living conditions on their reservations. I want AN AMERICAN HISTORY MONTH. One where we learn about EVERY race, ALL OF OUR LEADERS, EVERYONE! I think by having a month dedicated to one race, and not one for any other, is RACIST. Every fund set up to only help people of one race is SICK and RACIST.

Yes, I get it. Black people were slaves here once. You know what? That does suck some major balls, however, it is time to move the fuck on. Do we hear the Jews crying that they were made slaves for thousands of years? Do we hear them whine that they should OWN the pyramids in Egypt because THEY broke their backs making them? Do we hear them bitch and moan about Hitler, etc? (my hubby is a Jew)Nope, we dont. It's time for us to UNITE AS ONE. I do not think that singling out one race, giving one race opportunities to go to college (I know a TON of poor white.asian, indian, american indian, etc etc that could use that too!), giving one race the EXCUSE to blame things on others for being whatever nationality they are, is a good way at making sure we NEVER kill racism.

I am over this shit. WE ALL CAME FROM ONE BLACK WOMAN FROM AFRICA, THAT is our EVE! It has been proven by science, and I stand by it. If any other race had a chanel dedicated to just them, we would think it was racist. If any other race demanded a month be set aside for ONLY them, they would be considered racist. I am NOT living by this double standard any longer.

Think I am racist? I am not. I know what racism is. I dated a guy named "Justin" in Junior high. Nothing serious, but I really liked him. He was the blackest of black...BEAUTIFUL skin, kinda like Alex Wek's. He was handsome, and athletic, etc. I was called a nigger lover. But you know what? I was called that by a whole 2 people out of a school with HUNDREDS of students. THAT is why I am NOT buying this racist shit anymore. Let us teach or children that there is NO DIFFERENCE! We are all human. I hope one day aliens land and try to kill us. Maybe THEN we would finally realize that WE are ONE.

So, I will no longer tune into BET. This is going to suck, but I do NOT like the idea of having a chanel for only 1 race. In the year 2007 in a country that is supposed to be the most advanced and equal. This is unexceptable! I will also no longer acknowledge Black History Month. Instead, I will see it the way that Morgan Freeman does (I have the quote at the bottom of my last blog on Obama/jesseJackson, and OJ). AMERICAN HISTORY MONTH! I will read/watch/and learn about ALL the people who made a difference in this country.

I am asking you ALL to join me. Black, White, Indian, Asian, Russian, Australian, etc etc.....lets be AMERICANS together! What happened to the African American community was AMERICAN HISTORY, not BLACK HISTORY. If you want to celebrate in a way that excludes others and singles one race out, count me the FUCK out! I am soooo proud to be an American. I am SO proud that I have friends of every race, and none of us see each other as anything but what we are..people. Lets change Black History Month to 2 months of AMERICAN HISTORY. We will still learn about all the black leaders and people who made a difference....just not with the racist name of "Black History Month". It has to start somewhere. I am going to do my part in making sure we are all treated EQUAL in a country that CLAIMS we are. NO MORE SPECIAL TREATMENT FOR ANYONE WITH ANYTHING!

It will never happen. At least, that is what many of you will say...FINE! My number one priority here is being able to die and know that I stood up for what I believed in, and that I did not add to the SEPERATION OF AMERICANS!! I love my country, I love the people in it. I love our history, good and bad. We should LEARN from it,not dwell in it and not move forward. That's why I am done with this shit. You are all my brothers and sisters.....even if I think you suck ; ) As Bono said, "One life, with each other..sisters...brothers!"

now, have fun burning me at the stake ; )

And just for the record, I am for deracializing certain aspects of our nation's ethnic and cultural discourse (where and when it does not apply) but a great deal of the problems that are affecting people of color come from our historical ignorance. Let's flesh this out....when mannequins speak.

And check out TMZ's take on the Curry fallout:

Adrianne Curry: Another Fine Mess

Another Thursday and Another Afronerd Radio Week in Review-9/27 at 9pm Eastern

It's that time again people. We're making Thursdays our Week In Review show and Sundays will be more topical in nature-including interviews. This time around we plan to address the Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad NYC/Columbia University appearance, the Jena 6 aftermath (i.e.more nooses and Klan websites) and BET's Hip Hop vs America special...whew! Give us a call with your opinions at-646-915-9620 or IM/email the show via afronerdradio@yahoo. You should know the mental fitness program by now-check us out at afronerd radio dot com.

Exercise and eating right may not be enough, Racism really is bad for your health.

They should have also considered the impact of our own internal b.s. on life expectancy, that would have probally eliminated another decade or two...

Here's an excerpt:

Statistically, black males in America are at increased risk for just about every health problem known. African Americans have a shorter life expectancy than any other racial group in America except Native Americans, and black men fare even worse than black women. Some of it can be chalked up to poverty, the most powerful determinant of health, or to lifestyle factors. But even when all those factors are accounted for in studies, the gap stubbornly persists. Now researchers are beginning to examine discrimination itself. Racism, more than race, may be cutting black men down before their time.

You can find the complete article here:

Racism's toll may be physical

Mr. Starks

Something Of Interest-Let's Play the Select a Candidate Game!

As I was getting dressed this morning, I just so happened to catch Howard Stern (on Sirius 100) mention a cool site that allegedly will test which presidential hopeful you are most in line with regarding certain issues. Perhaps this will put to rest who you will ultimately vote for in 08' Check out the Select a Candidate Game and share with us your results:

Select a Candidate

Sunday, September 23, 2007

A Great Article from One of Our Commenters.....

I would like our readers to take look at an excerpt from a recent article written by our supporter and resident soothsayer Sergio Mims. He provides an excellent synopsis of the history of Black cinema in Chicago and it's unfortunate demise. The following piece is courtesy of NdigoOnline.com:

Is Chicago The New Black Hollywood?
By Sergio A. Mims
In the beginning, there was Chicago--the very location of The Railroad Porter, the first Black film ever made.

The Railroad Porter, a comic chase movie, was produced in 1912 by the multitalented William Foster, (aka actor Juli Jones), who also worked as a press agent, sportswriter, writer and director of the Pekin Players, an early, Chicago-area all-Black theater company, and a salesman of Haitian coffee.

Sadly, not much is known about The Railroad Porter, as it is one of thousands of silent films that were not preserved and are now lost to history. However, the film ignited a spark in what was to become the Black film industry; other Black film companies began to spring up in Chicago, including the Royal Gardens Film Company. Shortly thereafter, the great Black filmmaking pioneer Oscar Micheaux opened his first film production company in Chicago on 538 S. Dearborn Ave.

Micheaux’s first feature film, The Homesteader, was shot in and around Chicago in 1919.

Has Chicago finally become the new Black Hollywood, following in the gigantic footsteps of the pioneer Oscar Micheaux?

Alas, regretfully, the answer is a resounding NO.

Black Indie Film Industry: A REEL Disappointment

About five years ago, there began a genuine movement of new Black independent filmmakers in Chicago, which continues to grow every year. Suddenly, new works consisting of short films, documentaries and especially feature-length films began to appear in countless numbers.

For more of Sergio's article, click on the link below:

Is Chicago The New Black Hollywood?

And Speaking of Holding Hip Hop Accountable....check out LDizza

Okay folks I want you to listen to this young man's soliloquy because it was so heartfelt and on point that I thought that I would share it with our readers. Please excuse the expletives and as you know I'm not in complete agreement with his diatribe regarding the Jena 6 demonstrations (as Mr. Starks has stated, we'll march when folks start addressing Black on Black madness, but I digress) but his passion towards the pathology in commercial hip hop cannot be ignored. And one would say that we espouse high sadity precepts here in Afronerd (and one would be correct) but I like the truth more than I like perfect diction. It would be nice if these hip hop artists would be as honest as LDizza. Again, listen to his video and share your thoughts.

BET's Hip Hop Vs. America-A 3-Part Special.....Let's See if It Keeps it "Real"

While channel surfing a few days ago, I came across an advertisement for a three part townhallesque debate to be broadcast on BET (of all venues) starting this Tuesday. First off, for a discussion on hip hop to take place on BET is akin to conversing on the virtues of sinning while vacationing in Hades. I'm also inclined to think that although the conversation will undoubtedly be entertaining, ultimately it will be an exercise in futility-radio/tv programmers, sponsors and corporate CEOs are conspicuously absent from this tete-a-tete. Without holding the aforementioned entities accountable, what is the overall purpose of such a meeting? At this juncture, proclamatory statements and filibustering are just not enough to instill balance, honor and respect into a landscape that is currently bereft of such ideals. Let's take a look at an excerpt from a CNNMoney.com article regarding the upcoming debate:

This three-part special features a passionate, lively and opinionated debate that tackles many sensitive issues, including: hip-hop's relationship with criminality and the streets, snitching, police profiling and brutality; the images of Black women in hip-hop; and the embarrassment, pride and confusion Blacks feel over hip-hop's public airing of the community's "dirty laundry."

"The battle over hip-hop lyrics, images and values is the flashpoint of conflict and debate between almost every division within our community -- between men and women, younger and older generations, between economic classes and educational backgrounds," said Reginald Hudlin, President of Entertainment, BET. "Our special relationships with the most important thinkers, icons and leaders in our community allow BET to deliver the most complete exploration of this topic on television. This is the first of many Town Halls that BET will convene to address the most pressing issues facing our community."

"Generational gaps within the African American community have never been more prevalent when it comes to the hip-hop community," said Selwyn Seyfu Hinds, executive producer, BET News. "The issues may ring familiar -- sexism, violent lyrics, degrading words and images -- but this time the debate is different given hip-hop's complicated relationship with corporate America. This is why it was so important for BET to provide a forum for each voice to shed light on every angle of this issue."

Hip-hop recording artists Nelly, T.I., Mike Jones, MC Lyte, Master P and the legendary Chuck D; top journalists Keith Boykin, Diane Weathers, Jeff Chang, Farai Chideya, Kim Osorio and New York Daily News columnist Stanley Crouch; filmmaker and cultural critic Nelson George; Judge Mablean Ephraim; former video vixens Melyssa Ford and Karrine Steffans; music executive Valeisha Butterfield; music video director Benny Boom; ministers Conrad Tillard, Pastor A. R. Bernard; professor Dr. Michael Eric Dyson; and Reverend Al Sharpton lead the lists of outspoken panelists who take the stage and share their point of view on hip-hop. Other influential voices heard on the show include hip-hop pioneer Russell Simmons, professor Cornel West and writer and activist Kevin Powell.

For more of the CNNMoney.com article, click below:


We Preempt this Message Folks........Afronerd Radio is cancelled Today...Returning on Thursday at 9pm

Time constraints folks....Time constraints. We are still working out some kinks
behind the scenes and we never want to give our readers/listeners a sub par show-so bear with us as we expect to provide you with some special interviews, reviews and music coming up in the next few weeks. Thank you for your support and patience.

Friday, September 21, 2007

Check your cell phone bills folks, you might find a racist message mixed in with your monthly charges

Pay very close attention to the quote in bold.
THIS is what happens when you don't control your image AND don't care about your image.

Plainfield man finds offensive phrase, unexplained charge after purchasing cell phone.

Staff Writer

PLAINFIELD -- A city man was outraged Thursday to find what he considered a racial epithet, along with an unexplained charge, on the receipt for a cell phone he had purchased at a downtown wireless store.

Nykii Southerland, 27, went to the U.S. 1 Wireless store, 102 W. Front St., to purchase a mobile phone. When he got in his car and glanced at the receipt, he said he was shocked to find the phrase "good morning MY NIGGAS @ U.S. 1 HOLLA BAK" next to an otherwise unspecified charge of $25.

"I noticed it like two minutes after I got into my car," he said. "I felt disrespected; I was very offended."

Upset, Southerland, who is black, went home and showed the receipt to his mother, Cheryl.

"I called the store, and they said everyone uses the word all the time," Cheryl Southerland said. "I said, 'My son wants a refund.' "

When the store refused a refund, Cheryl Southerland called a lawyer, whom she said advised her to call police. Police then accompanied the Southerlands back to the store, and the money was refunded.

Reached by phone Thursday afternoon, Vinny Vemarco of U.S. 1 Wireless, who sold the phone to Nykii Southerland, said the N-word phrase was directed at other store employees as a way to brag about making a sale.

"It wasn't a statement towards anybody. It was a statement towards U.S. 1 Wireless," he said. "Something was wrong with the network. Normally, they (employee messages) don't show on the receipt. We talk to each other just like that."

As for the unidentified $25 charge on the receipt, Vemarco said the phone incorrectly rang up on the receipt for $125 instead of $150 -- another network error.

Vemarco said he isn't worried about the ramifications of his actions because he believes the Southerlands are overreacting.

Vemarco said the version of the N-word on the receipt is commonly used in his native Brooklyn, N.Y., and that the word no longer has a racist meaning.

"Did something happen to them that they had flashbacks or something?" Vemarco said. "I thought this happened in the fifties, and it was squashed. You go to MTV; they use it all the time."

Vemarco, who identified himself as "half black," said the word doesn't offend him.

But it does offend Nykii Southerland.

"Yes. That word still offends black folks today," Nykii Southerland said. "Even though it came from back then, it still offends African-Americans to this day. I'm offended only because it came from a consumer store and from the employees thinking it's OK."

Nykii Southerland acknowledged that, in some contexts, the term "nigga" is considered less derogatory than its original version, but he doesn't like it.

"It depends on the people, but it's not up to them to say it's OK for me to say that to another African-American," Nykii Southerland said. "I still would not use that word."

Vemarco said the store owner was out of town until Monday. Vemarco said he usually works at a store in Brooklyn but was called to help out Thursday in the Plainfield store.
U.S. 1 Wireless is a T-Mobile dealer. When reached for comment, a representative from T-Mobile USA said they would not comment on the matter because the T-Mobile did not own the store in question.

The Southerlands said they plan to pursue the case through the police department and the Union County Prosecutor's Office.

Mr. Starks

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Life imitates art? Maybe these guys should have checked with us first for the truth about some of their favorite Rappers

Rappers Face Felony Charges for You Tube Video Threatening Police


Two men were arrested and face a series of felony charges over a homemade rap video that threatened to kill police officers, harm a judge and rape a female police officer.

Police said the profanity-laced video was initially posted on YouTube, but has since been pulled from the Internet site.

The two men, both 20, face felony charges of making a terroristic threat, conspiring to commit second-degree assault with a gun against law enforcement officers, conspiracy to commit rape and tampering with a judicial officer. It was not immediately clear Wednesday morning if they had lawyers.

According to a probable-cause statement, the men outlined plans in the video to kill Savannah Police Chief David Vincent, Andrew County Sheriff Gary Howard and several police officers and deputies. In all, at least 22 law enforcement officers were threatened in the video, according to documents.

Officer Joshua Smith said in court documents that he watched the video and heard Stevens specifically name several officers, including himself. He said Stevens described shooting Smith in an alley with an AK-47.

The statement also says the video threatens to destroy the community 60 miles north of Kansas City "like a ... Godzilla."

The video also showed footage of officers and deputies on the job.

It was not immediately known if either man had a police record, but Vincent said neither man was under surveillance and he had never been in contact with one of them.

Mr. Starks

*No Gender Bias Commentary Folks! We Carpet Bomb Lower Tier Behavior Regardless of the Sex of the Offender

We can galvanize very quickly for racial/discriminatory matters and agree to wear one color collectively for the White bogeyman but no one marches against the gangs that terrorize our communities and we especially do not demonstrate on behalf of children. We will continue to highlight these horror stories until there is an acknowledgment and the madness stops. Jason Voorhees would have shown more sympathy:

Courtesy of 7online.com:

Father accused of killing baby girl in front of witnesses
Allegedly smashed his daughter's head against an iron railing
(Palisades Park- WABC, Sep. 18, 2007) - A father is being held on $1 million for the alleged murder of his 3-month-old baby.
Bergen County police say 29-year-old Peter Olmeda, asked his girlfriend if he could hold the baby one more time, before he left her family home last night.
According to witnesses he swung the baby by the ankles into the railing, then threw the baby down to the ground and ran.
Olmeda did not get far after running off. Upset bystanders chased him down and tackled him to the ground while relatives called 9-1-1 and tried to keep the baby alive.
The baby, Jenessa Olmeda was pronounced dead at Holy Name Hospital in Teaneck.
The father was taken to Bergen Regional Medical Center in Paramus, for psychiatric evaluation. The $1 million bail is pending as his hearing is scheduled sometime later in the week.
As for the baby's mother, she is said to be "very distraught" by what she witnessed and is undergoing psychiatric evaluation, authorities said.

Mr. Starks

Reminder-9pm Broadcast (eastern), Afronerd Radio's Week in Review

Just reminding our readers that we have a Week in Review show scheduled for this evening at 9pm eastern. Check us out at afronerd radio dot com and of course give us a call and share your thoughts-646-915-9620 or email/IM afronerdradio@yahoo. We will try to address Rev. Jackson's alleged comments toward Obama's reactions to the Jena 6 case along with the other hot topics mentioned previously-i.e. Isiah Thomas vs Anucha Sanders, baggy pants legislation, etc.

Some NPR Links.........

Check out the latest words of wisdom from the great hip hop apologist.....ahem, scholar, Dr. Michael Eric Dyson, courtesy of NPR's Book Tour:

Michael Eric Dyson Discusses 'Know What I Mean?'

In addition, check out this week's latest Bloggers Roundtable-remember I'm up for next Wednesday:

Bloggers' Roundtable: Too Much O.J.?

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Messy Jesse is at again.....Jackson Claims that Obama is Acting "white" regarding the Jena 6

Thanks to resident commenter Sergio for bringing this story hot off the presses to my attention. Due to time constraints, I can't provide an appropriate editorial at this moment, but suffice it to say, despite my uncertainty about Obama due to his progressive leanings, I do know that he has publicly addressed the Jena 6 issue. And the little known secret is.....according to Michael Baisden (the syndicated radio dj who has been highly instrumental in the development of forthcoming demonstrations/marches scheduled to take place in Jena tomorrow) Obama's office rose to the occasion quickly when asked about Jena and Hillary's did not. Funny how Jackson is leaving Mrs. Clinton out of his diatribe. I will provide more thoughts on this shortly. Here's more on the Jackson vs. Obama Thrilla in Manila send-up, courtesy of TheState.com:

The Rev. Jesse Jackson called Tuesday on Democrats seeking the 2008 nomination for president to give S.C. voters “something to vote for” when they go to the polls in January.

On a statewide tour to register new voters, Jackson said South Carolina will determine “who has momentum” in the primary when it votes Jan. 29.

Jackson sharply criticized presidential hopeful and Illinois Sen. Barack Obama for “acting like he’s white” in what Jackson said has been a tepid response to six black juveniles’ arrest on attempted-murder charges in Jena, La. Jackson, who also lives in Illinois, endorsed Obama in March, according to The Associated Press.

“If I were a candidate, I’d be all over Jena,” Jackson said after an hour-long speech at Columbia’s historically black Benedict College.

“Jena is a defining moment, just like Selma was a defining moment,” said the iconic civil rights figure, who worked with Martin Luther King Jr. in the 1965 Selma civil rights movement and was with King at his 1968 assassination.

Later, Jackson said he did not recall making the “acting like he’s white” comment about Obama, stressing he only wanted to point out the candidates had not seized on an opportunity to highlight the disproportionate criminal punishments black youths too often face.

Jackson also said Obama, who consistently has placed second in state and national polls behind New York Sen. Hillary Clinton, must be “bolder” in his political positions if he is to erase Clinton’s lead.

Jackson is the only African-American ever to carry South Carolina in a presidential primary election.

Obama’s South Carolina campaign pointed to a statement it released last week in which Obama called on the local Louisiana district attorney to drop the excessive charges brought in the case.

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

Thousands from across the country, including some from Columbia, are expected to converge on the small town of Jena today to protest the “Jena 6” arrests.

Jackson told the 500 to 600 students in his audience at Benedict that “criminal injustice,” instead of a rope, is the pressing civil rights issue of their day, but that voting remained their strongest ally.

“Your fight is not about ropes, it’s about hope,” Jackson said, blasting the flood of guns and violence he said permeates many black communities.

Civil rights, he said, has become the counterculture of the day rather than the prevailing culture. “You can’t call on the Justice Department anymore; it’s not there.”

Jackson, who became only the second major black candidate to run for president, won five primaries in his 1984 bid for the office, then 11 primaries and nearly 7 million votes in his 1988 run.

He said the 2008 presidential candidates must speak most directly to the pressing S.C. issues of housing, high tuition costs, health care and a plan to end the war in Iraq.

“The candidates have got to speak to South Carolina,” said Jackson, who was traveling also to S.C. State University in Orangeburg and to Charleston Tuesday evening before wrapping up his registration drive tonight in Aiken.

A Greenville native, Jackson said he hoped to register thousands of new voters during the statewide swing, which began Saturday in Rock Hill.

“Their votes must equal change,” he said, referring to residents in a state where only 1 in 4 eligible voters go to the polls. “I want to make sure the right agenda is being voted on in 2008.”

His approach worked for senior mass-communications major Darius Dior Porcher, 21, who graduated from famed Scotts Branch High School in Clarendon County, which produced the Briggs v. Elliott school desegregation case of 1954.

“The main thing when you speak to students is to get them to move,” Porcher said. “He moved students today. He got them to come down to the floor and register to vote.”

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

When Did COPS Start filming episodes on College Campuses? Student Gets Tasered at Kerry Appearance!

I'm really at a loss for words this time. Was this student really interested in asking provocative questions or was he more interested in getting Youtube notoriety? So far the press has reported that the student in the above video is known for pulling pranks which begs the question-are young people really interested in change or is the concept too alien for them to grasp? Irrespective of one's political affiliation-isn't it important to stand for something instead of vanity? Perhaps one day we will stop falling for faux protest-until then I'll keep my taser on high. Check out the latest on this story from the Associated Press:

GAINESVILLE, Fla. - A university student with a history of taping his own practical jokes was Tasered by campus police and arrested after loudly and repeatedly trying to ask U.S. Sen. John Kerry questions during a campus forum.

Andrew Meyer, 21, spent a night in jail before his release from jail Tuesday morning on his own recognizance. He had no comment when he left. His attorney, Robert Griscti, did not return messages seeking comment.

Videos of the Monday night incident, posted on several Web sites and played repeatedly on television news, show University of Florida police officers pulling Meyer away from the microphone after he asks Kerry about impeaching President Bush and whether he and Bush were both members of the secret society Skull and Bones at Yale University.

University spokesman Steve Orlando said Meyer was asked to leave the microphone after his allotted time was up. Meyer can be seen refusing to walk away and getting upset that the microphone was cut off.

As two officers take Meyer by the arms, Kerry, D-Mass., can be heard saying, "That's all right, let me answer his question."

Audience members applaud, and Meyer struggles for several seconds as up to four officers try to remove him from the room. Meyer screams for help and tries to break away from officers with his arms flailing at them, then is forced to the ground and officers order him to stop resisting.

As Kerry tells the audience he will answer the student's "very important question," Meyer yells at the officers to release him, crying out, "Don't Tase me, bro," just before he is shocked by the Taser. He is then led from the room, screaming, "What did I do?"

Meyer was arrested on charges of resisting an officer and disturbing the peace, according to Alachua County jail records, but the State Attorney's Office had yet to make the formal charging decision. Police recommended charges of resisting arrest with violence, a felony, and disturbing the peace and interfering with school administrative functions, a misdemeanor.

University President J. Bernard Machen issued a statement Tuesday saying he requested the Florida Department of Law Enforcement to investigate the arrest. Officials said it would determine whether the officers used an appropriate level of force.

Machen called the situation "regretful" in an afternoon news conference and said two officers involved in the incident were placed on administrative leave pending the outcome of the probe.

"We're absolutely committed to having a safe environment for our faculty and our students so that a free exchange of ideas can occur," Machen said.

Kerry said Tuesday he regretted that a healthy discussion was interrupted and that he never had a dialogue end that way in 37 years of public appearances. He also said he hoped neither the student nor police were injured.

"Whatever happened, the police had a reason, had made their decision that there was something they needed to do. Then it's a law enforcement issue, not mine," he told The Associated Press in Washington.

Meyer has his own Web site and it contains several "comedy" videos that he appears in. In one, he stands in a street with a sign that says "Harry Dies" after the latest Harry Potter book was released. In another, he acts like a drunk while trying to pick up a woman in a bar.

The site also has what is called a "disorganized diatribe" attributed to Meyer that criticizes the Iraq war, the news media for not covering the conflict enough and the American public for paying too much attention to celebrity news.

What about our daughters? Perhaps it should be What about our children?

Some folks want us to believe that Black women are under attack. If we are going to declare any group as being "under attack", I believe it is our children.

Infant killed execution-style

Two men kill father and son in suspected home invasion, police say

SACRAMENTO, Calif. - Two men fatally shot a 21-year-old man during a suspected home-invasion, then shot his 7-month-old son in the head as he was strapped in a car seat outside the home, police said.

Detectives believe Sean Paul Aquitania drove with his son, Sean Paul Aquitania Jr., to a home on Friday to visit friends. He left the infant in the car and went to the front door. As two men answered, two other men ran up and forced their way inside, sheriff’s spokesman Sgt. Tim Curran said Saturday.

A melee erupted, and Aquitania was shot at least twice in the upper body. The two suspects fled, stopping to shoot the infant. No one else was injured, Curran said.

The men whom Aquitania had gone to visit were questioned by detectives but not taken into custody, Curran said. They were initially cooperative, but detectives believe they know more than they are saying, he said.

“We are angered as law enforcement officers and disturbed as human beings that anyone could commit such an unconscionable act against an innocent child,” Curran said. “We also find it morally reprehensible that people who may have information that could help our detectives solve this tragic case have seemingly been less than honest.”

Authorities were searching for the suspects, Curran said.

Investigators initially believed the infant was killed accidentally by a stray bullet, but later determined he was killed execution-style.

© 2007 The Associated Press.


The Madness Continues and Our Children Continue to be True Victims....

Man accused of beating Long Island toddler dead held without bail
The Associated Press

September 11, 2007
A man accused of inflicting a pair of fatal blows on a 17-month-old child in his care was ordered held without bail Tuesday after pleading not guilty to first-degree manslaughter.
Michael Taylor, 34, was arrested early Monday following the death of Jailyn Price, said Suffolk County homicide commander Lt. Jack Fitzpatrick.
Police said Taylor, who shared a room with his girlfriend, Jailyn's mother, was left to care for the toddler while the mother, whose name wasn't released, went to an all-night laundry nearby.
At about 1 a.m., Taylor, of Wyandanch, punched the child at least twice in the abdomen because he was fussing and was not going to sleep, police said. When the mother returned home a short time later, she realized the boy was injured and called an ambulance. The boy was taken to a hospital in West Islip, where he died.
Results of an autopsy were pending Tuesday, but preliminary results indicated the boy died of blunt-force trauma to the abdomen, Fitzpatrick said. There was no immediate evidence to support claims by relatives that the child had several other suspicious injuries, he said.
Taylor's attorney, Jason Bassett, said his client 'vehemently denies' the charges against him.
'He was like a surrogate father to this child and looks forward to clearing his name,' Bassett said.
Taylor is due back in court on Friday, prosecutors said.

Mr. Starks

On Our Week in Review-Are OJ & Isiah the New Thelma and Louise? This Thurs. at 9pm eastern on Afronerd Radio

Wow..what a week it has been and we plan to use our analytical scalpels to dissect the pertinent issues. Isiah Thomas, once a great sports hero and now a coach of questionable character with his infusion of race during a trial of sexual harassment against a Black woman will be discussed. You can throw Stephon Marbury on the George Foreman grill as well during our on air barbecue. We will also address OJ's foolishness, Kanye vs 50 cent madness, Greenspan's latest revelations, the anti-baggy/saggy pants laws that appear to be gaining ground in various states and any other topics the audience would like to flesh out. You know the drill-call in with your thoughts at 646-915-9620 or IM/email via afronerdradio@yahoo. Thursday at 9pm-Be there and of course, Be square!

Afronerd Radio's Week in Review

Is Unkempt Hair in Zahara's future? Ignorance is not bliss for the children of Adoptive Parents concerning hair issues

I'm ashamed to say that I even know who Zahara is in this tabloid-celebrity obsessed world. To be put on the world stage at such a young age is problematic enough let alone dealing with the politics of hair, so little Miss Pitt has her hands full. So when I came across a recent article concerning hair issues with children of color and their White adoptive and/or biological parents, the Pitts' famous daughter quickly comes to mind. It would appear to be a "no-brainer" that parenting on many levels would incorporate research and instruction in dealing with the rearing of children, Black and Brown kids notwithstanding. I just hope that the hair issue doesn’t relegate itself to a weird dilemma making children feel peculiar when it’s just hair. I’m not one for engendering the belief that people are so different from each other. Let these parents get the appropriate instruction and move on to more important matters. Hair becomes slowly infinitesimal compared to parents needing to inculcate morality on their children’s scalps in addition to hair grease. Here's an excerpt from the Reno Gazette Journal regarding hair and parenting:

Black hair? Foster parents learn it's different

Norma Thomas of Wondrous World Cultural Training leads a session on African-American hair care at EnSoul.

Class Now Available to the Public
The Washoe County School District's Community Education program is offering a version of the Wondrous World class for the general public. Parents who want grooming tips for their black or bi-racial children are encouraged to attend, and bring their kids with them to the class.

Marian Miller is a seasoned foster parent -- licensed for four years, who recently adopted two of her former foster kids. So when she brought home

two more foster children this year, she thought she knew what was in store for her during her kids' adjustment period.

To get the bonding process rolling, she decided to redo her 4-year-old foster daughter's messy hair, starting with a shampoo and comb-out.

That's when the trouble started.

Although Miller had had foster kids before, she'd never taken care of a black child. If she had, she might have known that washing black hair before combing it can cause it to mat and become even more tangled. Acting on instinct, Miller did what she would have done to her own hair, which in this case was the opposite of what was required.

"After I washed it, her hair got totally matted," she said. "It was completely impossible to get a comb through it. She was crying and crying; I was afraid I was going to hurt her. That first day, her grandma had to come over and get the knots out."

For foster parents like Miller -- well-intentioned but unaware of certain aspects of black culture -- the Washoe County Department of Social Services has a solution. Since January, the Foster Care Support Program has offered a course in African- American hair care, grooming and cultural practices.

The mandatory class, called Wondrous World Cultural Training, is a welcomed development in Washoe County. Here, over 87 percent of licensed foster parents are Caucasian, while the children they care for are more ethnically diverse (64 percent are Caucasian, 20.1 percent Hispanic, 8.8 percent black, 3.2 percent racially mixed, 1.4 percent American Indian, 1.1 percent Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander and 0.8 percent Asian).

Binnie McLemore Lopez, Supervisor of Foster Care support for Washoe County, says that white parents who bring black children into their homes can face grooming challenges. Parents unfamiliar with the basics of black hair and skin care can unwittingly expose their foster kids to criticism from other children.

"Non-black foster parents don't always understand the impact that dry skin can have on a black child," she said. "And that child may struggle at school and in his/her peer group when the skin is dry. Parents don't know they have to put lotion on after every bath."

More from the Reno Gazette article here:

Black hair? Foster parents learn it's different

Monday, September 17, 2007

Just a Quick Graphic Novel(s) Recommendation-Trials of Shazam and more....

I try my best to never let our readership forget that we do try to discuss comics in Afronerd but it is sometimes a daunting task when there are so many other pertinent issues and hobbies that also vie for attention within this blog. Nevertheless, I have three books that I suspect the comic enthusiast portion of our audience might enjoy. Interestingly enough, all three books share two common themes-Greco-Roman/Middle-eastern mythologies and that the gods walk amongst us lowly mortals from time to time. Trials of Shazam has quickly become one of my top twenty books simply because it has given some literary life to the dated Billy Batson and family saga. Initially I was never a big fan of the Shazam mythos because as time goes on the characters still attempted to maintain a childish aesthetic in the midst of an ever maturing comic reading audience. In simpler terms-Batson never grew up. And coupled with the fact that DC acquired the Shazam franchise from a lengthy legal battle with Fawcett Publications going back five decades just added to the comic's murky history. Well now Batson has grown up and has taken on the mantle of the Wizard and the next in line to become Captain Marvel is well.....Marvel, Jr. Junior is on trial to become the Big Red Cheese but he must retrieve his individual powers (hence the acronym SHAZAM....wisdom of Solomon, strength of Hercules-you get the picture) from the gods who live their lives as mortals-but there are others that also want to get these vaunted abilities from the demigods as well.

The second book is in essence an extension or fleshed out sub-plot to Trials, entitled Black Adam: The Dark Age. Again, we are dealing with more murky history here-Adam or his mortal name, Teth-Adam was originally Egytian and essentially the first person to utter the phrase shazam but he went rogue, became the arch-nemesis of the Marvel Family and a citizen of of the fictional Middle-eastern nation known as Khandaq (you'll notice the Iraq War analogies in full abundance if you pick up related books-i.e. Justice Society, 52, etc) in the last 50 or 60 years. Its safe to assume that Adam is of arabic extraction to make things easier. Anyway....Dark Age is a bloody saga showing the depth to which a man will go to reclaim his life and wife. Here's more from Wikipedia:

Black Adam: The Dark Age
In this eight-issue mini-series, which begins sometime after his defeat, the still-powerless Teth-Adam orders his remaining loyal to savagely beat his face in order to alter his physical appearance. Effectively disguised, he leads the group to Kahndaq to retrieve the bones of Isis, while the JSA is in Bialya searching for him. Adam and his men are attacked by unidentified soldiers (who are also searching for Teth-Adam) while leaving the tomb of Isis and Osiris. Adam's followers sacrifice their lives so that he can escape with his wife's remains. Adam then travels to the frozen Himalays, where he eats the corpse of his last remaining henchman after running out of food. Finally reaching a secluded cave, Teth Adam resurrects Isis using a Lazarus Pit. The process is imperfect however, and Isis' new skin decays. Black Adam journeys to Doctor Fate's tower, hoping to retrieve Isis' amulet. He encounters Felix Faust, who offers his assistance in return for being freed from the tower. With Faust's help, Black Adam's magic word is changed to "Isis", and he sets off to retrieve the scattered pieces of Isis' amulet.

To make things simple-A god dies (and you know the likelihood of that remaining a fact) and then is reborn and must find his Asgardian-folk living among...you guessed it....mortals-some are even lurking in a post-Katrina habitat. And thanks to J. Michael Straczynski it seems like the reader will be in for a hell of a ride. Just to give you a taste as to how Straczynski has changed things around (beyond Heimdall living in New Orleans reference) Asgard is no longer located above the heavens with a rainbow transverse but hovers a few inches above the ground in Oklahoma!

Here's more from Wiki once again:

New beginning

The mysterious man seen during the events of Civil War is Donald Blake. When Blake touches the hammer Mjolnir, he is transported to the void where Thor has been in hibernation. Blake explains that when Odin originally removed the Donald Blake persona from Thor, Blake was transported to the void Thor now inhabits, and was returned to New York City when Thor broke the Ragnarok cycle. Blake convinces Thor to wield Mjolnir once more and return to Earth and renew the dual identity with Blake. Blake also reveals that Thor's fellow Asgardians are not dead but hidden on Earth.

Thor rebuilds Asgard in Oklahoma, paying for the land with Asgardian treasure, then goes off to seek his fellow Asgardians. He learns of the events of the superhero-registration "Civil War" and becomes angry that Tony Stark (Iron Man) and others used his DNA to create the Thor Clone without his knowledge or permission. Iron Man soon confronts him, demanding that he move Asgard and register with the government or be considered an enemy. Unimpressed, Thor decimates his former comrade with contemptuous ease. He then makes it clear that he will respond with greater aggression unless he is left in peace, and that his position in regards to the recent conflict is neutral. Seeking a compromise, Stark rationalizes that Asgard may be considered a foreign embassy of sorts, with diplomatic immunity granted to its inhabitants. Though Thor deems this acceptable, he makes it clear that the two men are far from reconciled. Afterwards, Thor finds the first of the lost Asgardians, Heimdall, and restores him to his true form. Observing the new addition to Asgard, Stark advises SHIELD to take no action, at present.

All in all, check out these great reads and tell the class what you thought.

I Hear there's a New Entry in Webster's Thesaurus-O.J. Simpson: Idiot, Foolish Negro; Dumba%$

I was really reluctant to provide my editorial as it relates to OJ Simpson's alleged armed robbery affair. This trepidation was also displayed in my assertions regarding the Jena 6 fiasco but the infamous case in Lousiana has far more reaching implications than Simpson's latest calamity. I must repeat-I am in no way making allowances for the racist court system or the town that appears to have upheld retro-style discriminatory practices pertaining to the six teens currently being held in jail. But the Black townspeople at this stage in the game should be adept at dodging these tired pre-fab ACME style traps that are always layed to bear for folks of color. OJ missed this memo in 1994 but was given a reprieve when he was acquitted of murder charges more than a decade ago. Claus Von Bulow disappeared into a puff of smoke and one would be hard-pressed to determine Robert Blake or his cockatiel's whereabouts after their respective trials of century. So it seems that I have fallen prey to discussing this matter as all the major media outlets are feasting on OJ's corpse as if he killed someone(s)...recently. However the $25,000 Pyramid question still remains-will Black folk (those who still espouse tribalism) foolishly rally behind OJ once again? Let's wait and see-and you can take dat to the bank! Here's the latest on Orenthal according to MercuryNews.com:

O.J. Simpson lawyer says there's no evidence against former star
By LINDA DEUTSCH AP Special Correspondent

LOS ANGELES—O.J. Simpson's defense lawyer said Monday that prosecutors lack the evidence to prove that the former football star committed armed robbery and other felonies in a sports memorabilia dispute at a Las Vegas hotel.
"We are definitely on the attack," Yale Galanter told The Associated Press.

Galanter, a Miami attorney who flew to Las Vegas to appear on Simpson's behalf, said he would seek Simpson's release on his own recognizance. Simpson had offered to surrender to police even if he had to return from his home in Miami, but they chose to arrest him, Galanter said.

"If it was anyone but O.J. Simpson, he would have been released by now," said Galanter who maintained that witness statements will clear Simpson.

Simpson, 60, was being held at the Clark County Detention Center without bail on felony charges, including burglary, assault with a deadly weapon and robbery with use of a deadly weapon. Police said Simpson and five other men robbed memorabilia dealers at gunpoint Thursday at the Palace Station hotel-casino.

Simpson told The AP before his arrest that there was no gun involved and he was only retrieving items that had been stolen from him, including his Hall of Fame certificate and a photo of himself with former FBI chief J. Edgar Hoover.

"You can't rob something that is yours," Galanter said. "O.J. said, 'You've got stolen property. Either you return it or I call the police.'"

Galanter acknowledged that the use of a gun would change the situation but he said Simpson was not armed.

"If at some point somebody else pulls out a firearm, it's still not a robbery for the person that wants his property back," Galanter said.

Loyola University Law Professor Laurie Levenson said the legal definitions would be disputed at a trial but she said the case seems to have been overblown.

"It seems like an awful lot of charges for what happened," she said.

The Forever Vigilant Stanley Crouch........Words DO Hurt...Hopefully!

The latest from my favorite scribe/columinist Stanley Crouch, courtesy of the NY Daily News:

It sure is getting hard out here for a chump


The dragon who has been protected in his lair by naive lames who confuse tastelessness, willful vulgarity and denigration with black "authenticity" took another monumental hit recently.

Handsome Earl Graves, mutton-chopped archcapitalist and one who is neither a stranger to nor opposed to the making of money, ordered that the microphone plug be pulled on comedian Eddie Griffin, who was spewing the N-word at a corporate fund-raiser sponsored by Black Enterprise magazine, which Graves founded. In doing so, Graves separated himself from both black and white business types who are either too craven or too cowardly to understand that the issue at the center of American capitalism is bringing the profit motive in line with morality and ethics.

Meaning yes, you can make money selling a product. No, you cannot sell a dangerous or unhealthy product to your customers. If that is still too hard to understand, ask the Communist Chinese why they have had to face the returns of so many of their toys covered with toxic lead paint or showing other dangerous tendencies because of shoddy workmanship.

One talented black filmmaker referred to the conflict between Graves and Griffin as some version of a "class struggle." I assume that he meant Graves represented the black upper class while Griffin was "representing" the authentic imbecility easily had at the bottom. Wrong.

Basic morality and a sense of civilization are shared across the classes, no matter how many are intimidated by wealth. Criminals, whether from the streets or the suites, remain a minority and are never seen as representative of the "real" black person, rich as Fort Knox or poor as the hole in a doughnut.

That is why Graves received a standing ovation from the 1,200 sponsors attending the 14th annual Black Enterprise/ Pepsi Golf & Tennis Challenge, a scholarship drive for aspirant lower-class kids. They were pleasurably shocked and thrilled by Graves when he said that Griffin would be paid his fee but that, "We at Black Enterprise will not allow our culture to go backward."

We are at a moment of expanding truth that brings much-needed attention to the fact that our culture is struggling through a fecal storm without an umbrella. Those bothered by the filth and the stink are dismissed as conservatives trying to deny the identity of black culture. Bull.

We are seeing a response of monumental significance, which ranges from the campaign against the misogyny in hip hop that was sparked in 2004 by the women at Spelman College - and was extended by Diane Weathers when she was editor at Essence magazine - to the National Action Network calling for decency. Add to that the recent "burial" of the N-word in Detroit by the NAACP and the group Enough Is Enough, which is intent on picketing the home of BET CEO Debra Lee every week for as long as it takes to get tasteful changes in the network's presentations.

The bottom line is that comedians and filmmakers produced much better work when they had to rein themselves in, including Richard Pryor on television. People are beginning to realize that, and the hip-hop dragons tremble and bleed with their every realization.

Even the multiplatinum 50 Cent has had to do a gut check. When asked why he isn't currently producing more hard-core music, he said, "I take into consideration what the music business is facing with things like the Don Imus situation. I think it would cause a full uproar if I wrote [hard-core] lyrics from that perspective all the way through my album. That's why I released 'Curtis' instead of my next project, 'Before I Self Destruct.' It's more of a hard-core sound, and it would be too aggressive for this period."

We have been in the dark and the storm too long, but the sun is getting pushed up.

Ok First the Britney Fan....now Petraeus has a fan too......will this Sh%$ never end?

Perhaps the Dems can afford to spoof but we do have soldiers dying in Iraq and that my friend is no laughing matter. I, like many conservatives of color (and conservatives in general, well excluding McCain and Rudy) are not making excuses for this war-the surge's effectiveness may be debatable (akin to the wack-a-mole carnival game) but are we going to make jokes or are we going to extricate our soldiers (many who are Black, Brown and poor Whites) from this sectarian debacle? Leave General Petraeus aloneeee! I can laugh but do our soldiers have the same luxury?

Sunday, September 16, 2007

He May Be Stating the Obvious but Greenspan Should be Taken Seriously-Links US quest for oil to Iraq War

Trust me when I say that investors literally viewed former Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan as a deity during my brief stint in the securities industry. His consistent lowering of interest rates to spur market activity forever marked him as a savior during the historic run of the bulls of the stock market during the Clinton administration. Now Mr. Greenspan is touting a new book and one of his revelations is his belief that the war in Iraq is more about oil than the spread of democracy. Let's take a look at an excerpt from the AFP:

Greenspan memoir links Iraq war to US thirst for oil

WASHINGTON (AFP) — Former Federal Reserve chairman Alan Greenspan, for years an inscrutable seer on the economy, is causing a stir by alleging in his new memoir that "the Iraq war is largely about oil."

Greenspan, who as head of the US central bank was famous for his tight-lipped reserve, is uncharacteristically direct, also accusing President George W. Bush of abandoning Republican principles on the economy.

"I'm saddened that it is politically inconvenient to acknowledge what everyone knows -- the Iraq war is largely about oil," he wrote in reported excerpts of "The Age of Turbulence: Adventures in a New World," which is set for release on Monday.

Greenspan's memoir appears 18 months after he left the Fed following a career that spanned 1987 to 2006, with the US economy at a crossroads, and ahead of a critical central bank meeting under the chairmanship of his successor, Ben Bernanke.

The man dubbed "The Oracle" tells his own tale of nearly two decades at the helm of one of the world's most powerful financial institutions, and includes surprising swipes at the Bush administration.

US Defense Secretary Robert Gates, while explaining his "respect" for Greenspan, rejected the charge that a thirst for crude explained the decision to invade Iraq in March 2003.

"I know the same allegation was made about the Gulf War in 1991, and I just don't believe it's true," he said on ABC television Sunday.

"I think that it's really about stability in the Gulf. It's about rogue regimes trying to develop weapons of mass destruction," he said.

Members of the US Congress, who by a broad majority also voted to authorize the use of military force against Iraq, also dismissed Greenspan's assertion.

"I don't believe that 77 United States senators on a broad, bipartisan basis would have authorized the use of force ... if it was only about oil," Republican senator John Cornyn told CNN.

"This is about our national security and not just about oil," he said.

And the AFP continues here:

Greenspan memoir links Iraq war to US thirst for oil

Maybe There's Some Truth to losing People in Threes-The Passing of thespian Percy Rodriguez and musicians Bobby Byrd & Joe Zawinul

Well it's that time again when I get frustrated at the loss of heroes that have played a tangential role in my cultural upbringing. First up, we have lost one of the great character actors of a bygone era, Percy Rodriguez. Many of you coming from a Afronerd persuasion, perhaps best know him from his role as Commodore Stone in the Star Trek (the original series) episode (the snippet, above) "Court-Martial". Rodriguez definitely provided the template for a generation of Black actors interested in mimicking his consistency in playing dignified roles-a mantra that appears to be losing ground in this current neo-minstrel entertainment phase. Here's more on the death of Mr. Rodriguez, courtesy of PittsburghLive.com:

Percy Rodrigues, neurosurgeon on 'Peyton Place,' dead at 89
By The Associated Press
Friday, September 14, 2007

Percy Rodrigues, whose role as a neurosurgeon on the 1960s television series "Peyton Place" broke ground because he was cast as an authority figure when relatively few black actors were given such parts, has died. He was 89.
Rodrigues, who also had a long career as a voice actor, died of kidney failure Sept. 6 at his home in Indio, Calif., said his wife, Karen Cook-Rodrigues.

With a booming voice and a commanding presence, Rodrigues came to Hollywood in the 1960s from Broadway and "respectfully fought for these more dignified roles," his wife said. "He was most proud of that."

Robert J. Thompson, a professor of television and pop culture at Syracuse University, said, "Television didn't have its equivalent of Jackie Robinson -- there wasn't that one moment when the race barrier was broken. But Percy was one of a very small army of actors who were in a relatively quiet way beginning to get these roles that television was very reluctant in the 1960s to give to black actors."

For more of the above piece, click on the link below:

Percy Rodrigues, neurosurgeon on 'Peyton Place,' dead at 89

And for Wikipedia's take on Percy Rodriguez, click here:

Wiki does Percy Rodriguez

Typical conversation between Mr. Starks and I:

(Mr. Starks) "Dburt, what you gonna write about now?"

(Dburt) "Mr. Starks, I don't know.....but's it's got to be funky"

Okay we really don't speak to each other like that but we both definitely acknowledge the death of the Godfather's right hand man, Bobby Byrd. And if you pay close attention to Byrd's preeminent composition (above) I Know You Got Soul, it has been sampled (and literally carved up like a turkey) by a litany of hip hop artists. Now, the true test will be if the hip hop community will lend a few words of recognition to an artist (along with Mr. Brown, of course) who was highly instrumental in the development of the rap genre. But then again, Mr. Brown really didn't receive his credit from the hip hop industry when he died either. So I guess it will be unnecessary to hold my breath as well. Anyway, here's more on Byrd's passing, thanks to the Washington Post:

Bobby Byrd, 73, a singer, pianist and songwriter credited with discovering James Brown and who was one of his most important collaborators for two decades, died Sept. 12 at his home in Loganville, Ga. He had lung cancer.

Without Mr. Byrd, it has been asserted by some music scholars, Brown might not have become famous beyond the walls of a Georgia youth detention facility, much less become the "godfather of soul." Mr. Byrd was dubbed by some "the godfather's godfather."

In the early 1950s, Mr. Byrd's family helped secure Brown's early release from a juvenile detention facility in Georgia. The Byrds provided a home for Brown, who hitched himself to Mr. Byrd's gospel group, which morphed into a much more secular vocal band. The Famous Flames were led by Brown, who strutted his way to international funk stardom as the "hardest-working man in show business."

Mr. Byrd remained with the Famous Flames, and subsequently the JBs, for 20 years. During that time, he energized crowds before the cape-sporting superstar appeared. He participated with Brown on million-selling records such as Brown's "Live at the Apollo" on several TV appearances.

As a composer, Mr. Byrd received co-authorship billing on songs including "Talkin' Loud & Sayin' Nothin', " "Licking Stick," "Get Up, Get into It and Get Involved" and "Get Up (I Feel Like Being a) Sex Machine." For the last, he was heard on the recording shouting the famous refrain, "Get on up!"

For more of the Post article, click below:

Bobby Byrd, 73;Musician Credited In Igniting Career Of James Brown

And last but certainly not the least of us, is the passing of Weather Report co-founder, Joe Zawinul. I literally grew up listening to a healthy dose of jazz-rock fusion and Weather Report's Birdland (a homage to Charlie "Bird" Parker) was constantly played in my household especially while listening to the now defunct NY jazz station, WRVR. Take a gander at what the BBC News has to say about the legendary Mr. Zawinul:

Zawinul, 75, passed away at his home in Vienna. Austrian media reports said he had been suffering from skin cancer.

The celebrated keyboardist enjoyed his biggest hit - the Grammy-winning Birdland - with Weather Report in 1977.

Austrian President Heinz Fischer said Zawinul's death meant the loss of a "music ambassador" who was known and cherished around the world.

Here's more from the BBC:

"As a person and through his music, Joe Zawinul will remain unforgettable for us all," the president said in a statement.

Born in Vienna, where he attended the Vienna Conservatory, Zawinul is credited with bringing the electric piano, as well as African and Middle Eastern rhythms, to mainstream jazz.

The artist emigrated to the United States in 1959, where he played with jazz stars including Dinah Washington and saxophonist Cannonball Adderley.

Honorary grave

He went on to perform and record with the great Miles Davis on such chart-topping albums as In a Silent Way and Bitches Brew.

In the early 1970s, Zawinul founded Weather Report with saxophonist Wayne Shorter and bass player Miroslav Vitous.

Weather Report pianist dies at 75

Is this The Sepia Version of Wizard? I'm not sure but I'm definitely buying UVC Magazine & You should too!

Please accept my apologies as it appears that yours truly is working on c.p. time once again. But the better late adage still reigns supreme as I highlight a magazine that comic book aficionados of color should make themselves aware of immediately-enter UVC (The Urban Voice of Comics) magazine. As a avid comic book (maybe I should start using the more grown up euphemism, graphic novel) collector, I not only purchase comics but also all things comic book related, hence fanzines. So along with my weekly purchase of graphic novels, I picked up a Previews catalogue. It was in Previews that I discovered UVC. I'm not sure the creator and editor (Ron King and Glyph scribe-Rich Watson, respectively) would liken their magazine to Wizard but comparisons notwithstanding-Black comic enthusiasts really do need a bimonthly journal such as this. As I purchase a two year subscription ASAP, I would implore our readers to do the same. I will also contact Mr. King to see if he would like to stop by our radio show to discuss his magazine and field some questions from our audience. For more info on UVC magazine, click on the link below:

UVC Magazine-The Urban Voice In Comics

I'm a Sucker for Human Interest Stories.....Especially if There's A Superhero Theme Involved-Introducing Ben Underwood

I must tip my hat to our resident commenter, Mario for bringing this story to my attention. It's a terrific allegory of a young man overcoming a handicap and moving forward with minimal assistance. And of course, his abilities are analogous to one of my favorite fictional characters, Matt Murdock a.k.a. Daredevil. Check out more on Ben Underwood, our own daredevil, courtesy of People.com:

The Boy Who Sees with Sound
Blind since age 3, Ben Underwood skateboards, shoots hoops and plays video games. How does he do it? Just like bats and dolphins

There was the time a fifth grader thought it would be funny to punch the blind kid and run. So he snuck up on Ben Underwood and hit him in the face. That's when Ben started his clicking thing. "I chased him, clicking until I got to him, then I socked him a good one," says Ben, a skinny 14-year-old. "He didn't reckon on me going after him. But I can hear walls, parked cars, you name it. I'm a master at this game."

Ask people about Ben Underwood and you'll hear dozens of stories like this – about the amazing boy who doesn't seem to know he's blind. There's Ben zooming around on his skateboard outside his home in Sacramento; there he is playing kickball with his buddies. To see him speed down hallways and make sharp turns around corners is to observe a typical teen – except, that is, for the clicking. Completely blind since the age of 3, after retinal cancer claimed both his eyes (he now wears two prostheses), Ben has learned to perceive and locate objects by making a steady stream of sounds with his tongue, then listening for the echoes as they bounce off the surfaces around him. About as loud as the snapping of fingers, Ben's clicks tell him what's ahead: the echoes they produce can be soft (indicating metals), dense (wood) or sharp (glass). Judging by how loud or faint they are, Ben has learned to gauge distances.

The technique is called echolocation, and many species, most notably bats and dolphins, use it to get around. But a 14-year-old boy from Sacramento? While many blind people listen for echoes to some degree, Ben's ability to navigate in his sightless world is, say experts, extraordinary. "His skills are rare," says Dan Kish, a blind psychologist and leading teacher of echomobility among the blind. "Ben pushes the limits of human perception."

To read the People article in its entirety, click on the link below:

The Boy Who Sees with Sound

And to see Ben in action, here's another link:

People.com-Video footage Of Ben Underwood

Friday, September 14, 2007

Real Life Astro Boy......Yeah It's Another Robot Story..

I was reluctant to address another android issue so quickly, but it does fit with the Afronerd motif, so why not? Check out the latest robotic innovation courtesy of Hanson & Son, as this new interactive toy is actually modeled after the creator's child (with a dash of the anime character, Astro Boy)-Courtesy of Halflifesource.com:

Hanson Robotics Unveals Artificial Boy

Two boy-like robotic Zenos are built by Hanson Robotics.

Hanson Robotics unveals two little Zenos, one is 18-month-old son Zeno, who prattles and smiles as he bounds through a cramped office, and the robotic Zeno. It can't speak or walk yet, but has blinking eyes that can track people and a face that captivates with a range of expressions.

Both Zenos stand at 17 inches tall and weigh 6 pounds. The artificial Zeno is the culmination of five years of work by David Hanson and a small group of engineers, designers and programmers at his company, Hanson Robotics. They believe there's an emerging business in the design and sale of lifelike robotic companions, or social robots. And they'll be showing off the robot boy to students in grades 3-12 at the Wired NextFest technology conference Thursday in Los Angeles.

Hanson says he envisions Zeno as an interactive learning companion, a synthetic pal who can engage in conversation and convey human emotion through a face made of a skin-like, patented material Hanson calls frubber.

Hanson said he is aiming for the same sort of realism found in the book "Supertoys Last All Summer Long," by Brian Aldiss. Aldiss' story of troubled robot boy David and his quest for the love of his flesh-and-blood parents was the source material for Steven Spielberg's film "Artificial Intelligence: AI."

He plans to make little Zenos available to consumers within the next three years for $200 to $300.

Until then, Hanson, 37, makes a living selling and renting pricey, lifelike robotic heads.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

More Without Prejudice......

Just lightening the mood folks-well by our standards. Check out another episode of Without Prejudice. Enjoy your weekend.

Sorry Folks....This Sunday's Afronerd Radio Show is Cancelled-BlogTalk Maintenance

Please accept our apologies folks, Blogtalk just informed me that they will be down for maintenance issues on Sunday therefore preempting Afronerd Radio, but we will be returning in fighting shape next Thursday. Meanwhile, I have a treat for you-an actual movie. I want you guys to check out Manufacturing Dissent, a film that seeks to dethrown your liberal hero, Michael Moore. It appears that he is an opportunist like many Americans. In all fairness, Moore is an excellent documentarian as I actually enjoyed Bowling for Columbine and I believe his latest effort, Sicko was an important film focusing on the failures within the US healthcare system. Is America ready for socialized medicine? That's open for debate-sometimes the grass (and long lines to wait for medical attention) is not always greener on the other side (of Cuba or Canada). But I digress-check out the flick below:

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Like Chris Rock Said.....He's Tired, Tired, Tired-Philly & the NOI Call for Black Men To Take Back Neighborhoods

Here's a snippet, courtesy of PhillyNews.com:

Commish: I need 10,000 black menVolunteers will patrol high-crime areas

Police Commissioner Sylvester Johnson is joining with civic leaders in an effort to recruit 10,000 black men to fight crime in Philadelphia's toughest neighborhoods.
Dubbed "A Call to Action: 10,000 men - It's a New Day," the effort will begin Oct. 21 with a rally and recruitment drive at the Liacouras Center, followed days afterward by the training of the volunteers to act as community "peacekeepers."

"It's time for African-American men to stand up," Johnson said in an interview. "We have an obligation to protect our women, our children and our elderly. We're going to put men on the street. We're going to train them in conflict resolution."

Johnson said volunteers will be asked to patrol in high-crime areas for two to three hours a day for "a minimum of 90 days."

He said that the effort wasn't a city program, though many police commanders will be involved in training volunteers and supporting the patrolling peacekeepers, and training will take place at city recreation centers.

Community and religious leaders will be closely involved, Johnson said.

A key architect of the strategy is Dennis Muhammad, chief of security for Nation of Islam Minister Louis Farrakhan. Muhammad has a Detroit-based consulting business that works with police departments on community policing and sensitivity training.

Muhammad met in City Hall last summer with Johnson, Mayor Street and some business leaders, and Johnson was enthusiastic about the notion of rallying African-American men to stem the growing tide of violence.

In an interview yesterday, Muhammad said he envisions a dramatic presence in Philadelphia's most troubled neighborhoods that could inspire a national movement.

"We plan to deploy these men and distinguish them with a colored shirt or something, and our very physical presence will become a deterrent," Muhammad said. "It would be hard to commit a crime on a corner with 200 men.

"When this is successful, we hope to bottle this and take it to every major city in the country," he said.

For the rest of the article, click on the link below:

Commish: I need 10,000 black men

Check out the latest NPR Bloggers Roundtable.....Afronerd is scheduled for 9/26

We always aim to keep our readers informed-check out the latest Bloggers Roundtable segment of NPR's News & Notes, hosted by Farai Chideya. Our fellow blogger-in-arms Undercover Blackman makes his debut on the program. I'm up for the 26th and Mr. Starks is scheduled for October but we will keep you posted. Enjoy!

Bloggers' Roundtable: Mos Def, Cornel West Face Off

Damn I Guess That Gay-dar is a Real Thing Afterall......It's All in the Walk..Duh!

I never really thought that the gaydar phenomenon was a reality, although I'm sure the wives of Governor McGreevey and Senator Craig wished they had such an ability. And I'm also sure that if anyone has seen RuPaul sashay, no one is going to mistake him for a construction worker, but then the dress probably gives him away. It appears that recent testing involving observers evaluating a given subject's gait showed that the walk is a dead giveaway. I think that is overstating the obvious but it's an interesting supposition. Check out an excerpt from the "gay walk" article, courtesy of ScienceDaily.com:

We already know that men and women are built differently and walk differently from each other and that casual observers use this information as clues in making a range of social judgments," said lead author Kerri Johnson, UCLA assistant professor of communication studies. "Now we've found that casual observers can use gait and body shape to judge whether a stranger is gay or straight with a small but perceptible amount of accuracy."

Johnson and colleagues at New York University and Texas A&M measured the hips, waists and shoulders of eight male and eight female volunteers, half of whom were gay and half straight. The volunteers then walked on a treadmill for two minutes as a three-dimensional motion-capture system similar to those used by the movie industry to create animated figures from living models made measurements of the their motions, allowing researchers to track the precise amount of shoulder swagger and hip sway in their gaits.

Based on these measurements, the researchers determined that the gay subjects tended to have more gender-incongruent body types than their straight counterparts (hourglass figures for men, tubular bodies for women) and body motions (hip-swaying for men, shoulder-swaggering for women) than their straight counterparts.

Gay Or Straight? Body Type And Motion Reveals Sexual Orientation, Study Suggests

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Ok this is just Freaky......But Afronerd Will Buy a Beyonce-bot as soon as available......A Scientist & His Robot Twin

For the record-when the Beyonce-bot becomes available (if there will ever be Black androids)- I want the intelligent version. Please do not give me the one that wishes she was a Latina. Although this is an old story, it definitely appeals to my nerdic disposition and proves my point from the previous reminder post. Here we have a scientist that made an andriod duplicate of himself and the footage garners minimal Youtube viewership and a blurb in the media. This accomplishment may end up being an Isaac Asimov novel fully realized. Just think of the implications. If you scour the internet for information pertaining to robotics, you will see that scientist are getting closer to developing sentient androids to interact with humans. You think gay marriage provides a moral dilemma-what happens when someone wants to marry a robot? And is it still a machine if it (he or she-hey I'm prepping for the future) thinks independently. Hell, some humans fail in this regard. Here is more on this story, courtesy of Engadget.com:

Hiroshi Ishiguro builds his evil android twin: Geminoid HI-1

And speaking of androids, check out this cool film short from our friends at Youtube:

A Reminder & A Request from Our Readers.......

First on the table-we implore our readers to try and read and comment on all our posts. Perhaps it is something that we must train our minds to do-yours truly included. Mr. Starks and I have highlighted issues ranging from the scientific/historical to missing women of color only to hear barely a peep from our readers. And this is something that I have noticed with many blogs-if it's racial or of a prurient nature everyone has something to say but we must pay attention to the less salient issues as well because they are probably the most important. Again, help us to make this blog special and not like the sites that focus on celebrity cellulite while Rome (or New Orleans) is burning.

Ok back to business-just reminding our audience that we do have a radio show tomorrow and all are invited. Same bat time same bat channel-Thursday, 9pm eastern at afronerd radio dot com. We will cover the week in review, whether Black notables are given a pass by communities of color and if there is such a thing as a ghetto pass for Whites. You should know the routine by now-give us a call at 646-915-9620 or IM/email-afronerdradio@yahoo. Love us or Hate us-I'm sure you have your opinions and get this.....we'll actually listen-we just may not agree.

Are Troubled Black Celebrities Given a pass by the African American Community?

New Medical School Comes to Harlem

It's been reported that out of the 800 applications received, only a few are from minority applicants.
We must teach our kids that math and science is much more important than a basketball and a microphone.

New York's first medical school to open in 30 years is setting up shop in Harlem - right across from the legendary Apollo Theater.

The mission of Touro College of Osteopathic Medicine is to recruit more minorities to become doctors and to help provide primary care to low-income residents in Harlem, officials said yesterday.

Tourocom, as the school calls itself, will seeks a partnership with the city's Health and Hospitals Corporation's network of uptown public hospitals and health clinics - including Harlem Hospital.

The first class of 125 students will enroll in September. More than 800 applications have come in, said Tourocom CEO Jay Sexter.

The medical school will also offer a science master's to prep students who didn't obtain a pre-med undergraduate degree.

The approval of the new medical school - which will be celebrated in a ceremony today with elected officials and health-care advocates - is something of a coup.

The state Health Department is closing nine underutilized hospitals this year - including five in the city.

Mr. Starks