Showing posts from June, 2007

Apple launches iPhone; America lines up

New York - Apple launched its new iPhone in US retail stores Friday to brisk demand as some New Yorkers lined up to get their hands on the latest offering from the computer and gadget maker which packs a cell phone, music player and web browser.

Cupertino, California-based, Apple and its chief executive Steve Jobs hope the iPhone, a sleek lightweight device which fits in the hand, will prove as popular as its best-selling iPod music players.

Eager New Yorkers, some of whom camped out overnight, were lined up at one Apple store which offered the first iPhones for sale Friday morning to be among the first consumers to get hold of one of the pocket-sized gadgets.

Greg Packer, 43, was first in line at the Apple store on Fifth Avenue, one of New York's premium shopping avenues, after setting up camp on Monday at 5:00 am to ensure he would be among the first in the city to grab a new iPhone.

By the time the store opened at 9:00 am Friday morning, an additional 160-odd people had lined up be…

***Newsflash* **non-white teenager convicted of aggravated second-degree battery by all-white jury

JENA -- After deliberating for less than three hours Thursday, an all-white jury of six returned with a unanimous guilty verdict on the highest possible charges for the first member of the "Jena Six" to face trial.

Mychal Bell, 17, could be as old as 40 when released from jail if given the maximum sentence for aggravated second-degree battery and conspiracy to commit that crime -- more than 22 years. He was 16 when the incident took place.

read the whole story...

helpful links:
Non-white teen guilty in La. high school beating of white
Teenager says he never saw who attacked him

Genarlow Wilson Rejects 'deal'

B.J. Bernstein said Genarlow Wilson won't accept the deal offered by Douglas County District Attorney David McDade because it would require him to plead guilty to a felony with a 15-year sentence and serve five years in prison.

The Douglas County man imprisoned for having oral sex with a 15-year-old girl when he was 17, has turned down a plea deal a prosecutor offered in writing this week, his attorney said Friday.

Bernstein pointed out that a Monroe County judge granted her appeal this month, changed Wilson's conviction to a misdemeanor and ordered him freed from prison. Attorney General Thurbert Baker, however, is appealing that judge's ruling to the Georgia Supreme Court.

Bernstein is also concerned that Wilson would be forced to register as a sex offender under the deal, despite McDade's contention that he could plead to an offense that does not normally require registration.

Bernstein said she spoke to Wilson about McDade's offer during a meeting with him Thursday…

Indian Males Targeted in Skin Whitening Trend

Beiersdorf is making a move to mirror the booming success of the Western male grooming market in India - increasing its marketing campaign for the Nivea for Men skin whitening range.

Upping its presence in the country, the company is campaigning to further increase its foothold as the leading skin care manufacturers, and is attempting to tap into the success of the skin whitening craze that has gripped the Asian cosmetics market.

Exclusively targeting the male consumer, Beiersdorf is inviting men to 'join the whitening' revolution, attempting to reach the masses with the Nivea for Men range through a series of TV and print advertisements.

"The more than 500 million men are a tremendous, yet untapped potential for the cosmetics industry and for Nivea" said general manager Kai Bendix.

the whole story...

Non-whites kids harrassed at Disney

Tampa - What began as a fun night out for five Florida State football recruits ended late Friday with Moses McCray running across a parking lot to escape what he and the other players consider harassment by Walt Disney World security guards.

McCray, a senior-to-be who recently transferred from Middleton to Hillsborough High, said Wednesday that the players are considering legal action after being ejected and banned for life from Downtown Disney under the theme park's recently beefed up antigang, no-loitering policy.

'I feel something should happen,' said McCray, a 6-foot-2, 270-pound defensive lineman. 'We were just hanging out. It's not illegal. I feel the trespassing warrants should be dropped against the other guys. We did nothing wrong. They were harassing us, basically.'

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Helpful link:

Disney accused of profiling non-white teens

DA: Offer to Genarlow Wilson; Get out of jail after 5 years

Genarlow Wilson, the Douglas County man imprisoned for receiving oral sex from a 15-year-old girl when he was 17, would be able to get out of prison sooner and avoid having to register as a sex offender under a plea deal a prosecutor offered his attorney this week.

Douglas County District Attorney David McDade spelled out the deal in a letter he sent Monday to one of Wilson's attorneys, Rodney Zell.

In the letter, McDade offers to let Wilson plead to a felony "that reflects his criminal actions with the victim in this case."

McDade, however, does not identify possible charges. But he says Wilson could plead guilty to an offense that does not require sex offender registration, which has been one of the main sticking points in the case. Wilson's attorneys have said he fears being on the registry would hurt his chances of getting into college and starting a career.

McDade also offers to let Wilson serve only five years of a 15-year sentence, with credit for time served. Wil…

Supreme Court rejects school diversity plans considering race

WASHINGTON - The Supreme Court on Thursday rejected integration plans in two major public school districts but left the door open for the limited use of race to achieve diversity in schools.

The decision in cases affecting how students are assigned to schools in Louisville, Ky., and Seattle could imperil similar plans in hundreds of districts nationwide, and it further restricted how public school systems may attain racial diversity.

The court split, 5-4, with Chief Justice John Roberts announcing the court's judgment. The court's four liberal justices dissented.

"The way to stop discrimination on the basis of race is to stop discriminating on the basis of race," Roberts said.

the whole story...

Helpful link:
Seattle parent 'vindicated' by Supreme Court school ruling

District Attorney Justice: ending their lives with a stroke of the pen...

In September 2006, a group of African American high school students in Jena, Louisiana, asked the school for permission to sit beneath a "whites only" shade tree. There was an unwritten rule that blacks couldn't sit beneath the tree. The school said they didn't care where students sat. The next day, students arrived at school to see three nooses (in school colors) hanging from the tree.

The boys who hung the nooses were suspended from school for a few days. The school administration chalked it up as a harmless prank, but Jena's black population didn't take it so lightly. Fights and unrest started breaking out at school. The District Attorney, Reed Walters, was called in to directly address black students at the school and told them all he could "end their life with a stroke of the pen."

Black students were assaulted at white parties. A white man drew a loaded rifle on three black teens at a local convenience store. (They wrestled it from him and ran a…

Undercover Officers Find Dangerous Substances in Skin Cream

London - UNDERCOVER trading standards officers have found skin products with dangerous substances available over the counter at five out of six shops they tested in East London.

They found Crusader skin lightening cream being sold to the public containing hydroquinone, which has been banned from all products except hair dye since January, 2001, because of serious side-effects.

Trading standards officers this week issued a public warning about hydroquinone, which is used to lighten dark areas such as freckles and liver spots.

Short-term symptoms include extremely itchy skin and burning, often leading to scars. Long-term use can damage internal organs and result in liver and kidney failure.

Crusader cream was also found to contain dangerous levels of mercury.

Both hydroquinone and mercury suppress the skin's production of melanin, the pigment that gives skin its colour.

the whole story...

Douglasville Judge denies Genarlow Wilson Bail

A Douglas County judge ruled Wednesday Genarlow Wilson is not eligible for bond in his child molestation case, a development that could keep Wilson behind bars for at least several more months pending an appeal.

Superior Court Judge David Emerson issued an order canceling a July 5 bond hearing for Wilson. He cited a state law that prohibits appeal bonds for people convicted of Wilson's crime -- aggravated child molestation -- and who have been sentenced to five years or more in prison. Wilson is now serving a 10-year prison sentence.

"As the court has no authority to grant an appeal bond in this case, there is no need for an evidentiary hearing on the defendant's eligibility for a bond," Emerson wrote in his three-page order. "The motion for bond is dismissed. The hearing scheduled for July 5, 2007, is therefore cancelled."

However, McDade has previously argued Wilson is not eligible for bond since his crime is one of Georgia's so-called seven deadly sins.…

All-white jury selected in first Jena Six trial

JENA -- An all-white jury of five women, one man and a female alternate was selected today in the trial of Mychal Bell, one of six black Jena High School students charged in a Dec. 4 fight at the school that, according to court records, left the white victim unconscious and in a hospital emergency room.

The case has drawn attention worldwide following accusations of racism and unequal treatment in the handling and prosecution of the boys. Before Monday, when Bell's charges were reduced, all of the boys had been charged with attempted second-degree murder and conspiracy to commit the same. If convicted on those charges, the boys could face as many as 100 years in prison.

read the complete story...

ht: elle, phd.

Egypt's Female Pharaoh Hatshepsut's mummy has been found!

CAIRO, June 26 -- The centuries-old search for the mummy of Queen Hatshepsut, Egypt's most famous female pharaoh, may finally have ended.

According to US-based Discovery Channel, Egypt's antiquities supremo Zahi Hawass will announce at a media conference in Cairo on Wednesday "the most important find in Egypt's Valley of the Kings since the discovery of Tutankhamun" in 1922.

Egyptology discussion boards have been abuzz with the news that the one of the most important discoveries in Egypt's history could be announced soon.

A broken tooth was the latest clue which led archaeologists to explore the possibility they had indeed found Hatshepsut.

read the full story...

A single tooth and some DNA clues...
Wikipedia: Hatshepsut

Financial Group offers $1 Million Dollar Bond to Free Genarlow Wilson from Georgia Prison

Genarlow Wilson, a 21-year-old man from Georgia, still sits in jail today despite the fact that earlier this month a judge declared his 10-year felony sentence a "grave miscarriage of justice" and ordered him freed.

Wilson has already served two years of his sentence for receiving consensual oral sex from a 15-year-old girl when he was 17.
Related Stories

A bond hearing is set for July 5, but Wilson's attorney B.J. Bernstein argues on a Web site she set up for Wilson that the hearing would be unnecessary if Douglas County District Attorney David McCade would agree to set bail. Bernstein argues there is no reason why Wilson can not be freed while Georgia Attorney General Thurbet Baker appeals the decision.

The Price for Freedom? $1 Million

On Monday New York City investment manager Whitney Tilson announced that he and 10 other business managers would immediately wire a $1 million cash bond for Wilson's release.

the story continues...

Read Genarlow Wilson petition to the Geo…

Charges reduced for one of Jena Six

JENA, La. -- Prosecutors reduced charges against a black high school student a day before he was to go on trial Tuesday in the beating of a white student amid escalating racial tensions.

Mychale Bell and four other black students faced up to 80 years if convicted of attempted murder and conspiracy to commit murder in the December beating, which occurred several months after three white students were suspended for hanging nooses from a schoolyard tree.

But the district attorney on Monday reduced Bell's charges to aggravated second-degree battery, which carries a sentence of up to 15 years, and conspiracy to commit aggravated second-degree battery, which carries a maximum sentence of 7 1/2 years.

Aggravated second-degree battery involves use of a dangerous weapon, according to state statutes. Parents of the accused say they had heard no previous mention of a weapon.

"Well, anything is better than murder and a lifetime in prison," said John Jenkins, whose son, Carwin Jones, is …

Skin Whitening Commercial from India

Related: Skin Whitening

Skin Whitening common practice in Ghana

"When you are lighter, people pay more attention to you. It makes you more important and the rich men find you attractive," the sentiments of an Accra-based woman with light skin and dark knuckles.

Yet, the self-hate phenomenon of skin-bleaching is not limited to black women alone. The music fans of men like Michael Jackson and the famous Lumba Brothers, Charles Kwadwo Fosu (Daddy Lumba) and Nana Acheampong, have seen the skin of the stars go lighter and lighter with every album hit. Through multiple surgeries, Michael Jackson has arguably become transracial.

Bleaching is often attributed to extreme low self-esteem, and a misplaced desire to be better appreciated.

But, there is a growing repugnance within black communities worldwide against bleaching.

"Skin Bleaching" is the term applied to the process of cosmetic methods used to whiten the skin. It has for a long time been considered a common practice in dark skinned women in sub-Saharan Africa although increasingly, …

Nike says, Vick entitled to full presumption of innocence

Nike has no plans to dump Michael Vick from its roster of celebrity athletes, turning aside a request from the national Humane Society to cut ties with the Atlanta Falcons quarterback over alleged ties to dogfighting.

Wayne Pacelle, president and CEO of the Humane Society of the United States, on Tuesday released a letter that he sent to the apparel giant.

"We trust that Nike (nyse: NKE - news - people ) does not want to be associated with any celebrity who is linked to this odious form of animal cruelty," Pacelle wrote.

Nike spokesman Dean Stoyer said the company planned to honor its lucrative deal with Vick, who worked with the company to design a line of athletic shoes and has been used prominently in advertising campaigns.

"There is no change in the status of the agreement between Nike and football player Michael Vick," Stoyer said. "He is rightfully presumed innocent and afforded the same due process as any citizen, rather than be tried in the court of public…

Humane Society Knows Dogfighting, Writes Nike

SURRY -- The Humane Society is asking Nike to cut ties with NFL quarterback Michael Vick in light of a dogfighting investigation at Vick's Surry County property.

Wayne Pacelle, the Humane Society's president, wrote to Mark Parker, Nike president and CEO, to drop Vick as a corporate spokesman. Vick, a Newport News native, plays for the Atlanta Falcons.

"We recognize that Mr. Vick has not been charged with a crime. But we know that Nike has high standards for its spokespersons," the letter read. "We trust Nike does not want to be associated with any celebrity who is linked to this odious form of animal cruelty."

story continues...

Skin Whitening Creams the Rage in Asia

MAKHAM KHU, Thailand Neighbors gawk and children yell, "ghost!" The manager of the restaurant where Panya Boonchun worked simply told her she was fired.

The cream that she applied to her face and neck was supposed to transform her into a white-skinned beauty, the kind she saw on page after page in women's magazines and on television.

But rather than lighten her complexion, the illegally produced lotion she bought in a local grocery store near this village in southeastern Thailand disfigured her skin into an unsightly patchwork of albino pink and dark brown, a condition that doctors say might be irreversible.

At a time when whiter skin is being aggressively marketed across Asia as beautiful and healthy, Panya's case illustrates the lengths that some women will go to change their complexions - and the dangers that this sometimes entails.

The vast selections of skin-whitening creams on supermarket and pharmacy shelves are testament to an industry that has flourished over th…

American Girl in a Filipino World

I cannot talk about the Philippines without mentioning my whiteness. Remember in my first blog I said I was a deer in the headlights? Well, that's pretty much how I felt most of time out in public! Here in the US, my family and friends give me a hard time about being SO white. I'm constantly being told "to get some sun". I'm known for going on cruises and other vacations to warm places and coming back just as white as I was before I left (due the SPF 100 I just's more like SPF 55). As you can imagine, I was completely surprised at the attention I received in the Philippines. My first time there I started noticing people staring at me. It seemed to happen wherever we went; the mall, out to eat, walking down the street. It was as if I was an alien who just landed on their planet. After the first couple of stares my husband said to me "Everyone thinks your beautiful". What??? Why? "Because you're so white" he went o…

Latin Governments Struggle to Lift 'veil of invisibility'

Until recently, Latin American leaders treated racism as if it were someone else's problem. South American presidents in 2000 even issued a statement condemning its resurgence in "other parts of the world."

If Afro-Latin Americans were poorer and less educated than whites, and underrepresented in government or corporations, the thinking went, it was a problem of class, not skin color.

Then, a quiet but stunning U-turn.

Governments have not only stopped ignoring racism but are drafting anti-discrimination laws, negotiating a tough hemispheric agreement to deter racism despite U.S. skepticism, and counting the number of blacks in their midst -- all moves that activists say are needed to lift the veil of invisibility that has shrouded Afro-Latin Americans for centuries.

These advances have not come with the searing drama that marked the U.S. civil rights movement. But for a region where many blacks have long led a marginalized existence, it is heady stuff.


Genarlow Wilson freed by Judge's Order

A judge has ordered that Genarlow Wilson be freed from prison, where he has spent more than two years for receiving consensual oral sex from a 15-year-old girl when he was 17.

Monroe County Superior Court Judge Thomas Wilson also amended Wilson's felony conviction this morning to a misdemeanor without the requirement that he register as a sex offender.

Wilson's lawyer, B.J. Bernstein, appealed to the judge Wednesday to free him from prison, arguing that his 10-year prison sentence and inclusion on the state's sex offender registry is grossly disproportionate and violates the Constitution.

Bernstein also pointed to how the Legislature changed the law last year to make similar acts a misdemeanor punishable by a maximum of one year in prison. Wilson, now 21, has been locked up for more than two years.

Judge Wilson agreed the 10-year prison sentence "would be viewed by society as 'cruel and unusual' in the Constitutional sense of disproportionality."

"The fac…

Medical Pioneer Sues NYU

NEW YORK -- In "total-body photography," patients typically strip nude and stand on a platform while a photographer snaps two dozen pictures covering every inch of their skin.

Bill Slue pioneered the procedure at New York University Medical Center, hoping it could save lives by letting doctors monitor unusual moles in people who might develop skin cancer. Mr. Slue, a native of Jamaica who never graduated from college, was appointed to the medical-school faculty at NYU and celebrated as an innovator in dermatology.

NYU is now struggling to distance itself from the photographer, while contending that his technique is still valid. The hospital fired Mr. Slue in January 2004, accusing him of taking extra photographs of female patients for his personal enjoyment. He denies that. The accusation followed an NYU investigation in which an attractive undercover operative visited Mr. Slue's studio posing as a patient.

A 63-year-old former Jehovah's Witnesses minister, Mr. Slue say…

White Privilege and It's Racist Baggage

Many communities around the country are grappling with what to do about schools, buildings, monuments and public places named after Confederate heroes or people who profited off slavery and racism. The University of Colorado renamed a residence hall after it came to light that the original honoree had participated in a 19th century massacre of American Indians. Brown University did a thorough study of the "grievous crimes" committed by its founders who owned slaves or captained slave ships.

California faces its own dilemma: What to do about the legacies of honored public figures who promoted and justified racism in the name of "eugenics," and about the institutions that made them honorable.

Eugenics, popular across the globe from the mid-19th to mid-20th century, was politically and ideologically diverse, and ranged from the "softer" pronatalist eugenics of France to the annihilationist "racial science" of Nazi Germany.

Story continues...

California Christian School Promoting White Supremacy?

Leaders at Riverdale Christian Academy are accused of racism after a themed graduation party on Friday, June 1st.

The theme was southern plantations during the Civil War. Students and staff dressed up in period costumes for the event.

Controversy arose when some school employees dressed up as slaves and wore black make-up on their faces, arms and legs.

Pictures from this party ended up on the internet and have caused controversy. One photo shows a scene of a runaway slave as he is taken away. Other photos show slaves working in the field and at a lemonade stand. The scenes were part of a graduation party skit.

story continues...

Related: Urban knowledge blogs on the christian academy prom in blackface

Vick's cousin apologizes for dogfighting investigation

NEWPORT NEWS -- Davon Boddie, a cousin of NFL quarterback and Newport News native Michael Vick, says he's sorry.

He wants to apologize to NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell and to Atlanta Falcons fans for his involvement in launching a dogfighting investigation at Vick's Surry County property.

"I want him (Goodell) to know that everything going on is really my fault," said 26-year-old Boddie, who spoke to the Daily Press on Thursday afternoon. "I want to apologize to Atlanta Falcons fans for what's going on. It's a lot of drama."

Boddie, who now lives in Newport News, denied involvement in dogfighting.

"There is no dogfighting," he said. "There's nothing of that nature."

Boddie said the attention is casting a negative light on Vick.

"They're just making Michael look like something he's not," Boddie said. "Michael is the type of dude who would do his sit-ups and crunches every night, read his Bible and go to bed.&…

Poindexter asks what motivated Feds to move in

Surry, Va. — As car after car — and one evidence collection truck belonging to the Virginia State Police — darted out of the fenced yard surrounding Michael Vick's property, the officers inside gave barely a glance to reporters waiting across the street.

Pulling the gate closed, though, one of the last men to leave Thursday night said investigators had done some digging and that he didn't expect to be back anytime soon.

"I hope I never see this place again," the man said, refusing to identify himself.

On a day when a search warrant a Surry County sheriff's deputy drew up expired unexecuted, federal law enforcement officials showed up with one of their own for the NFL star's property, indicating that they are taking over a slow-moving probe into possible dog fighting.

It was a development that left Gerald G. Poindexter, the commonwealth's attorney who would have been charged with prosecuting the case, dumbfounded — and more than a little insulted.

"What is…

Obama Warns of 'Quiet Riot' Among Non-whites

HAMPTON, Va. (AP) - Democratic presidential hopeful Barack Obama said Tuesday that the Bush administration has done nothing to defuse a "quiet riot" among blacks that threatens to erupt just as riots in Los Angeles did 15 years ago.
The first-term Illinois senator said that with black people from New Orleans and the Gulf Coast still displaced 20 months after Hurricane Katrina, frustration and resentments are building explosively as they did before the 1992 riots.

"This administration was colorblind in its incompetence," Obama said at a conference of black clergy, "but the poverty and the hopelessness was there long before the hurricane.

"All the hurricane did was to pull the curtain back for all the world to see," he said.

Obama's attack on Bush got ovation after ovation from the nearly 8,000 people gathered in Hampton University's Convocation Center, particularly when he denounced the Iraq war and noted that he had opposed it from the outset…

Despite lack of solid evidence, attorney under pressure by media

SURRY COUNTY - Gerald G. Poindexter and the 7,000 or so county residents he helps protect aren't used to much attention from outsiders.

They mostly live among farm fields and along rural lanes, mid way between South Hampton Roads and Richmond. When a serious crime or dispute does arise, Poindexter, the county's part-time and lone commonwealth's attorney, seeks justice in Circuit Court, which usually convenes one or two times a month.

Lately, Surry's chief prosecutor has felt the kind of pressure he's not used to. On Poindexter's plate is a whopper by almost any political yardstick.

NFL superstar and Newport News native Michael Vick is entangled in a suspected dog fighting operation at a home he is now selling on Moonlight Road in Surry.

Critics charge that Poindexter, who is black, is dragging his feet because of Vick's status as a popular black celebrity. Poindexter says he refuses to be bullied by outsiders or pressured to bring unwarranted charges.


Explorations in Whiteness

NEW YORK—A new art exhibit at the International Center of Photography, "White: Whiteness and Race in Contemporary Art," is an important, well-meaning but limited show that brings to the art world discussions about race that have been a part of college courses for more than a decade. Through photographs, video and mixed media works by ten artists, the exhibit attempts to tackle the difficult terrain of race, and dispel the myth that it is primarily the job of people of color to deal with racism.

"Whiteness continues to offer White people of all classes a valuable dividend: the ability to exist in the world without having to think about the color of their skin," writes the curator, Maurice Berger, in the show's catalogue. "Whiteness remains today no less meaningful to white people who continually reinforce their own authority and social standing by seeing themselves in positive contrast to an inferior, negative, or even dangerous "blackness." For th…