Reading two excellent posts about this from:
Pam’s House Blend and Field Negro

I thought that this was a point that had to be brought out.

When we point out that there are few voices of color at their blogging conventions, we’re told that ‘ they’re improving’, and ‘why bring it up’.

We’re all SUPPOSED to be Progressive, right?

But, how come, when it comes to issues that are important to African-Americans, the White Progressive Blogosphere is pretty much NOWHERE TO BE FOUND.

More than a few of us chide Francis Holland for being a flame thrower, but I understand Francis, and support him doing his blogging thang as he sees it. I’ve often thought Francis gets banned because he speaks the truth, and some folks don’t like hearing the truth.

Well, here’s some truth.

Shaquanda Cotton

White Progressive Blogopshere M-I-A.

Genarlow Wilson

White Progressive Blogosphere M-I-A.

The Jena Six

White Progressive Blogosphere M-I-A

Those are the FACTS.

The mainstream journalists who were on this story before anyone else had coined the phrase ‘ The Jena Six’ were Howard Witt of the Chicago Tribune, and Amy Goodman.

There simply ARE issues that concern the Black Community, and if the White Progressive Community expects for Black folk to support a Progressive Cause, then, in a show of MUTUAL RESPECT, we expect no less, than when an issue of serious concern to us, as a community, is presented, that it be treated with the respect that it deserves.

And, in case you don’t know, let me tell you right now…

There are few issues that concern the Black Progressive Community more than the the disproportionate punishment of people of color in the criminal justice system. It is OUR brothers, sons, nephews, cousins and friends that are being locked up for crimes at alarming rates, while others doing the same crimes, get lesser time or go free. It’s a MAJOR ISSUE, so show some RESPECT and learn about it.

One time missing-in-action is an oops.

Two times missing-in-action is a double oops.

Three times missing-in-action is the beginning of the formation of a pattern.

A pattern in which, the interpretation could be from those of us in the Black Progressive Blogosphere, that you are saying

YOU DON’T WANT ANY OF OUR ‘ BLACK’ PROBLEMS.

As if desiring EQUALITY in the Criminal Justice System was a ‘BLACK’ problem.

That’s why I’m so proud of the Black Blogosphere. Even when I disagree with some conservative Black Bloggers, I at least believe they respect the validity of my position….and that is lacking from quite a number of White Progressive Bloggers.

For some, you might wonder – why this case? With all the INjustice in the Criminal Justice System, why this case?

Some of it was the obviousness of the symbolism. Black folk don’t become too educated to understand that TREE+NOOSE=Threatening Your Black Ass.

It is not a prank.
It is not ‘ freedom of expression’.

With Black folk, in THESE United States of America, TREE+NOOSE is a very clear THREAT.

We don’t become too ‘ educated’ for that.

And, Fannie Lou Hamer said it best, ‘ Sometimes you get sick and tired of being sick and tired.’

And, I’m sick and tired of it being Open Season on Young Black Men. I have a nephew. Good kid. Never been in any trouble. I worry about him everyday because he’s a Young Black Male in America, and it’s Open Season on them. I wonder if we’ve reinforced to him how he should handle himself if he’s involved in an altercation with the police. If he understands the rules of engagement with law enforcement that could mean the difference between my sister coming to get him at the police station OR THE MORGUE.

THAT is why this is personal. Because there are very few Black folk with a Six Degrees of Separation between them and a bad story with law enforcement. If you can go two degrees, you’re fortunate.

We fight for The Jena Six, so that maybe I won’t have to fight for my nephew one day.

If you don’t believe that my thoughts and positions are common, why don’t you go ask the Black folk you work with, socialize with, and actually LISTEN to their response.

In case you missed it, here is the audio from the Blogger Roundtable section of NPR’s News & Notes, hosted by Farai Chideya. The show aired Wednesday September 19, 2007 at 1pm Eastern Time. You can also access it on NPR’s website.

Click on the image below to play the show right here.

Bloggers at the table this week were:

lynne and I were in the NYC studio, and I can’t remember where Juliette was. We had originally planned to discuss four topics but had to drop the Juanita Bynum story due to time constraints. The three we did get to were:

Some of my extended thoughts on the topics…

OJ. I have nothing to say about the man. I got two text messages from CNN about his “story” but none about Petraeus, none about Jena.

The GOP. Giving the Heismann to black and brown voters is foolish. What happened to the testosterone-filled manly men of the GOP? Are they afraid of getting tough questions from colored folks, values voters and even YouTubers? I’m a lefty, but I know the truth lies in the middle of so-called Left and Right. I am genuinely interested in how Republicans might propose to seriously address the concerns of black and brown folks. But, if you don’t bring your ideas to the table, you might as well not have any.

Blackwater. This was a tough story for me to get a handle on. I have a knee-jerk liberal-type reaction against privatized security forces, but I reached out to a good friend with some expertise on the matter and found some truly balanced opinions at BlackWaterBlogger.com. Things are rarely as simple as they appear, and definitely more complicated that we want them to be. I also highly recommend Iraq for Sale from Brave New Films.

Thanks to News & Notes and the other bloggers for a good time.

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I can’t emphasize how far from over this is. Mychal Bell remains in jail, and the other five members of The Jena Six are still awaiting trial, with two still facing conspiracy and attempted second degree murder charges. Yesterday, a three judge panel ruled it was “premature” to consider releasing Bell, and refused to set a date to consider the motion.

A three-judge panel ruled Tuesday, however, that it would not consider a motion to free Bell from prison.

“The motion for release from custody, filed by the defendant in this court, is premature,” the panel ruled without setting a date for considering the motion.

The future of Bell’s case is up to the district attorney, who must decide whether to refile the charges in juvenile court, Bell’s attorney Bob Noel said last week.

Walters has at least two weeks to appeal, which means he will be taking his time. But even if he does file more charges, Bell must be charged as a juvenile, which makes the fact that he remains in an adult prison a complete travesty.

Bell has been in jail for over a year now for charges that no longer exist. He was the only one of the Jena Six whose family did not have the financial means to post bail, so he is not a flight risk. He is 17, and he remains in a grown man’s prison because what passes for the law in Louisiana thinks, despite the time already served for charges that have now been dismissed, he deserves to remain in jail.

Of the remaining two charged with conspiracy and attempted murder, one is a juvenile.

Charges against four of the teens — Bell, Carwin Jones, Theodore Shaw and Robert Bailey — have been reduced to battery and conspiracy. Shaw and Jones have not gone to trial. Bailey has pleaded not guilty to the charges and his trial is scheduled for November 26.

Bryant Purvis and an unidentified juvenile remain charged with attempted murder and conspiracy to commit murder.

So today we wear black. We wear black because The Jena Six are not an aberration, they are a symptom of a criminal justice system that is sick with racism, and that refuses to see the nature of its own arbitrary justice. We wear black because any one of us could be The Jena Six.

Today we wear black because this is far from over.

There are rallies all over the country today. Look for an event near you here.

From CQPolitics.com:


D.C. Voting Rights Bill Derailed in Senate
By Michael Teitelbaum
3:50 PM; Sep. 18, 2007

The Senate on Tuesday dealt what is likely to be a fatal blow this year to legislation giving the District of Columbia full voting representation in the U.S. House.

An effort to invoke cloture drew a 57-42 majority but fell short of the 60 votes needed to limit debate on a motion to call up the measure (S 1257). Eight Republicans voted “yes,” and one Democrat, Max Baucus of Montana, voted “no.”

The bill would grant full voting rights to the District’s current delegate and create one additional seat in the House, initially to be given to Utah, bringing the chamber to 437 voting members and four non-voting delegates.

The setback likely dooms the legislation for the entire 110th Congress. Opponents, led by Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., said the Constitution limits membership in the House to representatives from “the several states,” and the District is not a state.

He hailed the Senate’s action, declaring the bill was “clearly and unambiguously unconstitutional.” He added, “If the residents of the District are to get a member for themselves, there remains a remedy: amend the Constitution.”

Congress tried that route almost 30 years ago. In 1978, the 95th Congress passed a constitutional amendment to grant the District full membership in both the House and Senate. But the amendment carried a seven-year limit for ratification by three-fourths of the states (38), and only 16 had ratified it by the time the deadline arrived.

The Senate’s senior Democrat, Robert C. Byrd of West Virginia, agreed with McConnell and other Republicans who argued that only a constitutional amendment could grant the District a vote in Congress.

While Byrd was absent for the vote, he issued a statement explaining his position. “We cannot pick and choose which provisions of the Constitution we will abide by, and which we will set aside whenever convenient,” he said. “If one provision of the Constitution can be circumvented, then so can others just as easily. Let us provide the citizens of the District of Columbia with full voting rights in both the House and the Senate, and do so the proper way, by passing a joint resolution to amend the Constitution.”

The House passed its version of the voting rights bill (HR 1905) on April 19 by a 241-177 vote.

Veto Threat

But even if supporters of the measure had been able to move it through the Senate, it had little chance of becoming law.

The White House meanwhile renewed its threat that President Bush would veto the legislation, declaring, “The bill violates the Constitution’s provisions governing the composition and election of the United States Congress.”

Although the legislation appeared to command a majority of members in both chambers, its support did not reach the two-thirds majority needed to override a presidential veto.

Orrin G. Hatch, R-Utah, a cosponsor of the bill, said the legal issue was not as clear-cut as critics suggested, because the Constitution also gives Congress power over the District of Columbia, the nation’s capital. And he noted the bill contained provisions expediting a Supreme Court review of its constitutionality.

“We’re prepared to accept whatever the Supreme Court says,” he declared.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., and other advocates argued that District residents pay taxes, serve in the armed forces and sit on federal juries, yet “they are given only a ‘delegate’ in Congress, not a real voting member. This is nothing more than ‘shadow representation.’ This injustice has stood for far too long. Shadow representation is shadow citizenship.”

Joseph I. Lieberman, I-Conn., chief sponsor of the measure, said it aimed to correct “taxation without representation” for 600,000 Americans who live in the District.

D.C. Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton, a Democrat, Rep. Thomas M. Davis III, R-Va., and Mayor Adrian Fenty were in the Senate chamber lobbying Republicans to support the cloture motion. But their efforts were in vain.

This story originally appeared in CQ Today.

Once again, no representation to go along with the representation for The District of Columbia. We can dance around it all we want, but it’s no surprise as to why the GOP blocked it – AGAIN. Yeah, that GOP really wants that ‘Big Tent’. Once again, birds chirping waiting on comments from Black GOPers.

Why else would this triflin Negro utter such foolishness:

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.

Yes, Jesse, if you were a candidate, you would be all over Jena. And you’d be all over OJ, counseling him during his grief. You’d be all over Michael Richards, boycotting the Seinfeld Season 7 DVD. You’d be all over alleged rape cases, giving free college tuition to all accusers. That’s the problem, Jesse. You are all over everything, except yourself. You would probably lick your chops at the prospect of an old school Jim Crow terrorist lynching because it would give you a chance to hold a press conference and a march. I really hate to say it, but what else am I supposed to believe?

It is an absolute affront to black people and, hell, humanity, that Jesse Jackson takes his outdated soapbox, rallies around the legitimate injustice that is the Jena 6 and uses it to toss a universally insulting and immature insult at a presidential candidate he has endorsed! If this is how he treats his friends, I’d hate to see what he serves up to his enemies.

This entire Jesse Sharpson / Al Jackston duopoly on black spokesmanship (because it’s definitely not leadership) is played out. Can we get a forced retirement up in here? Are there term limits for embarrassing black leaders? How do you impeach someone who was never elected?

I’m with Oliver Willis. Get me some Deval Patrick or anybody new over this foolish old man.

Seriously Jesse, what’s going on brotha? Mad that Obama might do what you didn’t? Mad that he’s not running the campaign you would run if you were a candidate? Guess what, Jesse. You were a candidate… twice, and you lost… twice. Let it go. And since you’re going for a personal attack against the Obama’s racial authenticity — not to mention attacking all white Americans who stand for racial justice — Reverend, what’s the real problem? Baby mama drama got you down, Reverend?

I’m only asking because the last time I checked, Obama didn’t father any crumb-snatchers with a woman other than his wife. If attacking Barack Obama is how you show that you’re “all over” Jena, I’d rather you stayed away from tomorrow’s protest. Instead, just make sure you’re “all over” those child support payments.

(cross-posted to goodCRIMETHINK)

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This was one of the headlines on the front page of The Chicago Tribune today. In a story by Howard Witt, he puts forth that none of this would be happening with The Jena Six without Black bloggers. He wrote:


JENA, La. – There is no single leader. There is no agreed schedule. Organizers aren’t even certain where everyone is supposed to gather, let alone use the restroom. The only thing that is known for sure is that thousands of protesters are boarding buses at churches, colleges and community centers across the country this week, headed for this tiny dot on the map of central Louisiana.

What could turn out to be one of the largest civil rights demonstrations in years is set to take place here Thursday, when Rev. Jesse Jackson, Rev. Al Sharpton, Martin Luther King III, popular black radio talk show hosts and other celebrities converge in Jena to protest what they regard as unequal treatment of African-Americans in this racially fractured Deep South town.

Yet this will be a civil rights protest literally conjured out of the ether of cyberspace, of a type that has never happened before in America—a collective national mass action grown from a grassroots word-of-mouth movement spread via Internet blogs, e-mails, message boards and talk radio.

Jackson, Sharpton and other big-name civil rights figures, far from leading this movement, have had to scramble to catch up. So, too, has the national media, which has only recently noticed a story that has been agitating many black Americans for months.

As formidable as it is amorphous, this new African-American blogosphere, which scarcely even existed a year ago, now comprises hundreds of interlinked blogs and tens of the thousands of followers who within a matter of a few weeks collected 220,000 petition signatures—and more than $130,000 in donations for legal fees—in support of six black Jena teenagers who are being prosecuted on felony battery charges for beating a white student.

Rest of the article is here:

Mr. Witt is the journalist that brought Shaquanda Cotton to the attention of Black bloggers. Sometimes when I feel discouraged or overwhelmed, I think about the community that is forming everyday. I think about the Black minds that I have the pleasure of reading. And, even if I am frustrated, what blogging has meant to me is to get in touch with other people with a similar spirit and fight. I have learned a great deal from bloggers, and the ability to connect with others is one of the greatest benefits from blogging. Whatever happens tomorrow, however many people show up in Jena, Louisiana, they are there because we were able to find a common voice and display our collective displeasure over obvious injustice.

And, if people think that Black-owned media isn’t important, this story and others should point out that that’s simply not the case. They might not have been the leaders, and had to be pushed into it, but pushed into it they were, and far earlier than the MSM, who still doesn’t quite get it. While I have been blogging about this case for some months, I have routinely sent notices to other ‘ mainstream’ bloggers with links and information about the case. Their willingness to completely disregard this case only makes me more determined in my own blogging. They have the ‘option’ to disregard cases like The Jena Six, while we, as a community, simply don’t have that ‘choice’, because we know that if we don’t speak up for these young men, the NEXT TIME, it will be a young Black male that WE KNOW. There are no six degrees of separation for Black folk and bad stories about the Criminal Justice System. If there are two degrees, you feel lucky.

This case, at its core, is about a town and system that continues to think that they can abuse our children, have two sets of rules, and judge our children more harshly while we stand around doing nothing. Doing nothing is no longer acceptable, not that it ever was.


FREE THE JENA SIX!

Thursday, September 20, 2007, there will be a march in Jena, Louisiana in support of The Jena Six. For those of us who cannot march tomorrow, show your solidarity by wearing all Black clothing.

FREE THE JENA SIX!

Jim Webb is standing up for the troops’ right to spend as much time with their families at home as they do at war.

ThinkProgress has a great summary of what’s going on with the Webb Amendment, who’s writing about it and the pathetic GOP attempts from Sen John Warner and John McCain to scuttle it. If you live in VA especially, please reach out to Warner and other senators to let them know how you feel. Here’s a list of other folks to call:

Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska)
DC: 202-224-6665
Anchorage: 907-271-3735

George Voinovich (R-Ohio)
DC: (202) 224-3353
Cleveland: (216) 522-7095

Elizabeth Dole (R-North Carolina)
DC: 202-224-6342
Raleigh: 866-420-6083

John Warner (R-Virginia)
DC: (202) 224-2023
Roanoke: (540) 857-2676

Mitch McConnell (R-Kentucky)
DC: 202-224-2541
Louisville: 502-82-6304

Arlen Specter (R-Pennsylvania)
DC: 202-224-4254
Harrisburg: (717) 782-3951

While you’re at it, ask Harry Reid to stand firm:

Harry Reid
DC: 202-224-3542
Las Vegas: 702-388-5020

I love to see Dems with a little backbone. Sen. Jim Webb:

Well, first of all, Sen. McCain, who I’ve known for 30 years, needs to read the Constitution. There is a provision in Article I, Section 8, which clearly gives the Congress the authority to make rules with respect to the ground and naval forces. There’s precedent for this.

Peace.

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EDWARDS STATEMENT ON THE JENA SIX

Chapel Hill, North Carolina – Today, Senator John Edwards issued the following statement about the events in Jena, Louisiana:

“As someone who grew up in the segregated South, I feel a special responsibility to speak out on racial intolerance. To measure our progress in the fight against racism, today our nation looks to Jena, Louisiana. Americans of all races are traveling to Jena because they believe that how we respond to the racial tensions in Jena says everything about who we are as a nation.

“When a ‘white tree’ stands outside a public school, marking a place where white students sit but black students are not welcome, there is something so wrong that the right words are hard to find. When children have learned to intimidate each other with age-old, hateful symbols of racial terror, we are reminded that we cannot take progress for granted. And we must turn to the larger truth: that we still have two criminal justice systems in this country – largely defined by race and class.

“Fortunately, we also still have in this country the desire for racial justice, understanding and tolerance. I am hopeful that justice will be served, these young Americans can look to the future, and the community of Jena will find peace.”

Check out the recent and good NYTimes story too:

“I think a lot of people recognize that the criminal justice system grinds down people of color every day,” said J. Richard Cohen, president of the Southern Poverty Law Center, the civil rights group based in Montgomery, Ala. “Oftentimes, it’s nameless, it’s faceless. We know the story in a generic way but not specifically. People see Jena as the tip of the iceberg and ask, ‘What lies beneath?’ “

Oh, let me correct you, Mr. Cohen. Black folks know this story in a very personal and non-generic way — which is why it resonates and demands our response. We know exactly what lies beneath. The noose should be your first clue.

Get on board y’all, tomorrow, September 20! Color of Change has got all the deets for ya to hold your own event including, tips, flyers, talking points, web banners, a customizable media advisory you can use and more.

Oh and btw, the NAACP has copied Color of Change’s leadership and has a rally they plan to webcast and petition online now too. Welcome to the power of the internets…

They say in an email I recently received:

The NAACP, in conjunction with the American Civil Liberties Union, the Southern Poverty Law Center and the Southern University Law Center, has provided some additional legal support and resources to the defendants’ attorneys and remains committed to the defense of the remaining young men.

We presented a petition of over 62,000 signatures (gathered on the NAACP website; signatures now exceed 92,000) to the Governor of Louisiana on Sept. 17 as a symbol of the thousands of citizens concerned with the unequal treatment of the defendants and the pubic acknowledgement that the hanging of the three nooses is a serious hate crime offense.

The fact that leading Republicans like Ken Mehlman, New Gingrich and Jack Kemp are speaking publicly in the Washington Post about major Republican candidates refusing to show up for debates that made news for Democratic candidates speaks volumes. Newt, to his credit, makes it plain:

“For Republicans to consistently refuse to engage in front of an African American or Latino audience is an enormous error,” said former House speaker Newt Gingrich (Ga.), who has not yet ruled out a White House run himself. “I hope they will reverse their decision and change their schedules. I see no excuse — this thing has been planned for months, these candidates have known about it for months. It’s just fundamentally wrong. Any of them who give you that scheduling-conflict answer are disingenuous. That’s baloney.”

Black people have always known where modern Republicans stand. Their history of supporting segregation and their race-baiting messaging during elections combined with their consistent support of legislation hostile to the average black person’s interests is something we have generations now of experience with.

We know they are not on our side. Latinos in America are starting to get a clue and overall leaned Democratic in the last elections. The problem for Republicans is that except among a sub-section of their base comprised of ignorant, misguided mouthbreathers, open racism is not cool anymore. Even if blacks and brown aren’t swayed by the fake sincerity of candidates coming to speak to us on our issues, many whites are. Post-Martin Luther King, most Americans hold at least an ideal of racial harmony in America in their hearts as a core value. Republican candidates are in danger of sacrificing the suburban white soccer mom vote with this behavior. Their failure to show up at the CNN/YouTube debate for their party shows they are afraid of answering middle class white America’s questions on issues like Iraq, national security, climate change, tax cuts and healthcare too, though. I agree with Tavis Smiley on this and probably so do a lot of white Republicans:

“When you reject every black invitation and every brown invitation you receive, is that a scheduling issue or is it a pattern?” he asked. “I don’t believe anybody should be elected president of the United States if they think along the way they can ignore people of color. That’s just not the America we live in.”

For all the white folks and other folks stopping by, the title is a riff on the old chestnut among black folks — “the blacker the berry, the sweeter the juice.” The saying is probably in the same genre as “once you go black, you never go back.” I know y’all have got to have heard that one before.

The criminal trial of O.J. Simpson divided the nation in an unhealthy way and at the time, I felt like a stranger in two worlds. The pink and blue collar black folks at work and all around me had convinced themselves of O.J.”s innocence while the rest of American society was pretty confident the Juice was guilty.

So confident that the outrage and passionate defense of someone to whom the evidence pointed strongly seemed baffling to people outside the black community. As a white collar worker spending a lot of time with white people, I was often quietly asked in one way or another: “Why?”

I tried to explain that O.J. was a symbol of the aspirations of millions. He’d risen from a poor childhood in the projects to Make It and be accepted at all levels of society including among the wealthiest of whites. Handsome, athletic, popular, elegant, funny, smart, wealthy — he seemed the all-American dream man, no matter your race.

To see an icon crash to the ground was difficult and disillusioned many. This was compounded by the failure of the L.A.P.D. to truly reform after the Rodney King riots. It was too easy for many reasons for black people to sympathize with O.J.’s assertion that he’d been unfairly targeted and harassed by police because he was a black man married to a white woman.

I felt terrible because I knew Black America was in for a hell of an hangover after the trial was over. Sure enough, a year or so later the same barbershop/hair salon where I’d heard intense analysis of the meager evidence that O.J. was innocent, people were relieved — and chagrined — he’d been convicted in the civil trial. He’d turned his back on all those who supported him and had retreated back to a wealthy world of golf courses and cocktails and folks had a chance to see him for who he really is. The Juice’s black signifying ultimately went sour, hey.

So it’s with an inner groan I read about O.J’s latest criminal activities. It’s embarrassing for African-Americans though in large part, we gave up on him a long time ago. The O.J. Simpson Trial was a metaphor and a meta-discussion in American culture mis-directed and gone horribly awry. White folks in power didn’t get it at the time and couldn’t diffuse the tension by addressing the real issue behind the African-American emotion around the case.

That’s why Jena 6 is so important to black people. It’s yet another symbol, another metaphor on legal lynching, racial profiling and other forms of mis-treatment by law enforcement. I’m glad to see at least one candidate Hillary Clinton recognize the significance this case has for African-Americans.

“There is no excuse for the way the legal system treated those young people,” she said.

Alex Lombard III displays the scars allegedly given to him by the NYPD. They’re not on his ankle. Photo via

Last month in Harlem, 17 year old Alex Lombard III was allegedly placed in a choke hold, beaten with a nightstick, and tazered four times by local police who were responding to “a disturbance” around 126th Street and Park Ave. He was then charged with “disorderly conduct.”

If it were any other young black man, this might have occurred without further incident. Unfortunately for those involved, Alex Lombard III’s dad is a cop.

A retired 20-YEAR veteran of the NYPD said yesterday that cops used excessive force against his son when they zapped him four times with a Taser, hit him 15 times with a nightstick and put him in a choke hold.

Retired Lt. Alexander Lombard said his son, Alexander Lombard 3rd, 17, was beaten by cops after they arrived at a “community sponsored” barbecue at 126th St. and Park Ave. last month.

The police who allegedly attacked him claim they “applied the stun gun to his ankle.” Which begs the question of how Lombard then got stun gun scars all over his torso*.

But Deputy Police Commissioner Paul Browne said in a statement that a police sergeant “employed a Taser against the suspect’s ankle” to subdue him after responding to a large disturbance at about 3:30 a.m.

A black law enforcement group is protesting his treatment, alleging abuse and excessive force.

The group, 100 Blacks in Law Enforcement Who Care, called on NYPD Commissioner Raymond Kelly to launch an investigation into the arrest of Alex Lombard III, who was allegedly placed in a choke hold and struck with an electrical stun gun four times after police responded to a disturbance near 125th Street and Park Avenue at about 3:30 a.m. on Aug. 19.

“To stun a 17-year-old four times and then for him to be charged with just disorderly conduct is extreme,” said Noel Leader, a co-founder of the group. “We believe it manifests into the form of abuse.”

Leader — who is a retired NYPD sergeant — said he found it suspicious that Lombard was only issued a summons for disorderly conduct following the arrest despite the apparent need for force, specifically the use of a Taser multiple times. If that much force was required to subdue the teen, Leader said, Lombard should have also been charged with resisting arrest or assaulting a police officer.

But you probably didn’t hear about this story when it finally broke yesterday, because it was only covered by local papers in New York like the Daily News and the Metro. But you know what you did hear about?

You did hear about O.J.

Watch as the Washington Post’s Paul Farhi attempts to rationalize his paper’s decision to hold a discussion group and devote heavy coverage to the O.J. case, while not showing similar interest in the Jena Six.

Silver Spring, Md.: Is this truly important? Have you had a discussion on the Jena 6?

Paul Farhi: On some level, yes, this is important. It’s about celebrity and justice and race and fairness and the mysteries of human behavior. And Jena is important, too. We can handle more than one important story at a time.

They can. They just didn’t. I guess human behavior in the Jena story is less of a “mystery” to them.

Farhi can only argue that “on some level” the O.J. story is important. The importance of the events in Jena is obvious to anyone who reads about them, but the Post devotes its resources, coverage, and online discussion groups to a story that is only, in Farhi’s own words, important ” on some level.”

But my favorite argument in the meager argument Farhi musters in his paper’s defense has to be that the O.J. story is important because it is about “the mysteries of human behavior.”

Can you imagine a reporter pitching that to an editor?

“I want to do a story on the mysteries of human behavior.”

The real appeal of the O.J. story is that it restores a comfortable narrative for America, where the bad guys and the good guys are marked by the color of their skin. As the media is inundated with stories about our dysfunctional and racist criminal justice system like those of The Jena Six, Kenneth Foster, Troy Davis and Genarlow Wilson, the O.J. story offers an opportunity to return to a more simplistic understanding of race and criminality.

Ask yourself which is more relevant to your personal life; the possibility of law enforcement officials using excessive force against your child and then lying about it, or a washed-up celebrity being arrested?

*Further reports indicate the police may have been rehearsing for the Broadway musical version of Do The Right Thing. Sike.

What’s up fam,

We’re back on News & Notes this Wednesday afternoon, and I’m reaching out to yall for topic suggestions. What’s on your mind from the past week?

  • Condi fighting Cheney over diplomacy v. war
  • Some hints of justice for the Jena Six
  • The snorable Fred Thompson
  • Bush’s speech
  • Greenspan’s criticism of the Bush administration and backpedalling on the war for oil comment
  • Alan Keyes jumping into the race (because somebody has to take on Mike Gravel)

?

Throw em up on the comments.

Update 17th September at 11:34pm

That’s what I get for blogging from a plane about to depart. I forgot to mention the other bloggers on the show!

Juliette Orteing of Baldilocks
and
lynne d johnson of herself

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Like Tupac and Humpty said, “All around the world, it’s the same song.”

I read this in the NY Times a few days ago and had to blink a few times:

The language in Mr. Bush’s speech reflected an intense and continuing struggle between factions within his administration over how aggressively to confront Iran. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice has been arguing for a continuation of a diplomatic approach, while officials in Vice President Dick Cheney’s office have advocated a much tougher view. They seek to isolate and contain Iran, and to include greater consideration of a military strike.

Didn’t Colin Powell go through the very same thing? Haven’t we seen this movie before? Did Rice explain the Pottery Barn rules to Cheney with regard to Iran? Can we now expect Rice to apologize after her resignation as well? I am so tired of “former” officials trying to clear their consciouses well after such confessions could do the country and the world some good. Do us all a favor, speak up when it counts or shut up when it doesn’t.

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Cheryl Contee aka "Jill Tubman", Baratunde Thurston aka "Jack Turner", rikyrah, Leutisha Stills aka "The Christian Progressive Liberal", B-Serious, Casey Gane-McCalla, Jonathan Pitts-Wiley aka "Marcus Toussaint," Fredric Mitchell

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