Usher Divorces

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R & B crooner Usher Raymond finally gave up the ghost and terminated his train wreck of a marriage to celebrity stylist and desperate cougar, Tameka Foster.  And with that the brotha finally escapes from the tentacles of Tameka’s baby trap.  If I could ask the brotha one question, it would be “what took you so long, bruh?  I know that brotha Usher has a weakness for older sistah’s, but be that as it may, why in the hell would he put down a sistah like Chili to take up with woman of the same age who couldn’t even hold a candle to her.  His Mama didn’t even like Tameka, which shoulda been a clue for a confirmed Mama’s boy not to marry her arse.   On the real, Usher didn’t hafta call Dionne Warwick to find out if the sh*t would last.  Anybody who really knew him and loved him woulda told him to keep on steppin. IMHO, Usher shoulda married Chili.

Sistah’s Step Up

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Late last week, Georgia State Representative “Able” Mabel Thomas announced her intention to challenge Congressman John Lewis for re-election.  

 

 

 

She becomes the second serious challenger to Lewis, the first being Markel Hutchins, a community activist and minister.  This marks the second time Thomas has challenged Lewis. Representative Thomas lost badly in 1992 and won less than 25% of the vote.  Able Mabel is a serious politician having served in both the Georgia House of Representatives and the Atlanta City Council.  She is also a progressive legislator having twice passed legislation to increase Georgia’s homestead exemption to protect low income and elderly people from losing their homes.

 

She, like Hutchins, frames the contest in generational terms, I believe that, at the end of the day, that my opponent is not only beatable, but my opponent should — right now — just get out of the race and let a new generation come forth.”

 

Hutchins subsequently released a statement as well and obviously got the memo that this is a change election. “While my campaign will continue to respect the contributions of the elder politicians that have come before us, this congressional race is about sending a true change agent to Washington that has the energy to work, audacity to hope, courage to lead and propensity for diplomacy needed to effectively represent and advocate for all of the people of Georgia in the United States Congress.”

 

This follows on the heels of an announcement last month that Georgia State Senator Regina Thomas, (no relation) will challenge Congressman John Barrow for re-election in the July Democratic Primary. Barrow, a conservative Democrat, barely made it last election and has raised an impressive war chest to fend off stiff Republican competition.  

 

 

Senator Regina Thomas, a Savannah Democrat, has a weakness for colorful and elaborate hats and apparently hers is on too tight.   She cannot possibly win this seat in a general election despite having the demographic advantage of a 40% African American population in the district.  She’s a weak fundraiser but a solid progressive. Unfortunately, that ain’t gonna be enough to overcome white resistance to liberal black representation in rural South Georgia. 

Introducing Markel Hutchins

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Listening to Rev. Markel Hutchins preach is like listening to Martin Luther King, Jr for the first time-it gives you chills. The thirty year-old preacher has an extensive record of activism and community organizing on behalf of the voiceless and powerless.

Working with the progressive labor movement against Wal-Mart and for health care and living wages, Hutchins cuts a charismatic figure fighting for people in stark contrast to Congressman John Lewis who seems to have lost his nerve.

Lewis, a distinguished warrior during the civil rights movement, was beaten countless times by the racist stormtroopers of the confederacy. He faced down dogs and hoses only to punk out as a member of congress and to remain silent in the face of Bill Clinton’s unconscionable attempts to racially polarize the electorate for the benefit of his wife.

Only after Hutchins announcement of his candidacy did John Lewis find a pair and leave Hillary’s plantation.

What impresses the most is the level of his game, he brings it with a freshness and a skill that belies his age. His principled advocacy on behalf of the family of Kathryn Johnston, 92, who was shot to death by Atlanta Police in a botched drug raid proves to me that he is ready to lead because he is already doing it.

The Congressional Black Caucus has failed on so many levels that I cannot bear to go into an explanation. I am enthusiastic and wholeheartedly in favor of a challenge to the ossified and complacent membership of the Congressional Black Caucus. In my humble opinion, Lewis is toast. Don’t believe me, see for yourself.

As soon as I am able, I am going to send this cat a contribution. He inspires and provides the right dose of substance and charisma. While Lewis is a down the line progressive, his light does not shine brightly enough to shame his CBC colleagues into following his example or be replaced, I have every confidence that this brotha can provide the right example.

John Lewis challenged for re-election

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Hat Tip: By Jim Galloway, Atlanta Journal Constitution

For the first time in nearly a decade, U.S. Rep. John Lewis of Atlanta on Wednesday picked up opposition to his re-election to Congress.

Markel Hutchins, an Atlanta minister who took up the cause of a 92-year-old woman killed in a botched police raid, announced he would challenge the 11-term congressman and civil rights icon in the Democratic primary.

“Now is the time for us to move beyond the nostalgia of the Civil Rights era,” said Hutchins. The minister said he met privately with Lewis on Tuesday.

Hutchins, 30, said Lewis’ October endorsement of Hillary Clinton in the Democratic presidential race, while the 5th District largely supported Barack Obama, was a factor in his decision to challenge Lewis. “That presented some problems for many of us,” Hutchins said.

But Hutchins also said Lewis had not brought home enough federal dollars to help the city of Atlanta cope with its crumbling infrastructure. On Wednesday, to illustrate the point, he made his announcement on a Martin Luther King Jr. Drive bridge that he said was in desperate need of repair.

Lewis, who will turn 68 today, declared he was ready for the fight.

“Leadership cannot be given. It has to be earned with respect and integrity,” the congressman said in a statement issued by his campaign. “There is no question that something is happening in America. There is a movement, a movement I helped give birth to, that creates the conditions and the climate for change. I have always been a fighter.”

Congressman Scott defects from Hillary, Lewis on the fence

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Hat Tip: Yahoo, Associated Press, story by David Espo

In a fresh sign of trouble for Hillary Rodham Clinton, one of the former first lady’s congressional black supporters intends to vote for Barack Obama at the Democratic National Convention, and a second, more prominent lawmaker is openly discussing a possible switch.

When Israel was in Egypt’s land,
let my people go;
oppressed so hard they could not stand,
let my people go.

Rep. David Scott’s defection and Rep. John Lewis’ remarks highlight one of the challenges confronting Clinton in a campaign that pits a black man against a woman for a nomination that historically has been the exclusive property of white men.

Go down, (go down) Moses, (Moses)
way down in Egypt’s land;
tell old Hillary
to let my people go!

“You’ve got to represent the wishes of your constituency,” Scott said in an interview Wednesday in the Capitol. “My proper position would be to vote the wishes of my constituents.” The third-term lawmaker represents a district that gave more than 80 percent of its vote to Obama in the Feb. 5 Georgia primary.

“Thus saith the Lord,” bold Moses said,
let my people go;
“if not, I’ll smite your re-election dead,”
let my people go.

Lewis, whose Atlanta-area district voted 3-to-1 for Obama, said he is not ready to abandon his backing for the former first lady. But several associates said the nationally known civil rights figure has become increasingly torn about his early endorsement of Clinton. They spoke on condition of anonymity, citing private conversations.

No more shall they in bondage toil,
let my people go;
let them come out with Egypt’s spoil,
let my people go.

In an interview, Lewis likened Obama to Robert F. Kennedy in his ability to generate campaign excitement, and left open the possibility he might swing behind the Illinois senator. “It could (happen). There’s no question about it. It could happen with a lot of people … we can count and we see the clock,” he said.

We need not always weep and mourn,
let my people go;
and wear those slavery chains forlorn,
let my people go.

Clinton’s recent string of eight primary and caucus defeats coincides with an evident shift in momentum in the contest for support from party officials who will attend the convention. The former first lady still holds a sizable lead among the roughly 800 so-called superdelegates, who are chosen outside the primary and caucus system.

But Christine Samuels, until this week a Clinton superdelegate from New Jersey, said during the day she is now supporting Obama.

Two other superdelegates, Sophie Masloff of Pennsylvania and Nancy Larson of Minnesota, are uncommitted, having dropped their earlier endorsements of Clinton.

On Wednesday, David Wilhelm, a longtime ally of the Clintons who had been neutral in the presidential race, endorsed Obama.

The comments by Scott and Lewis reflect pressure on Clinton’s black supporters, particularly elected officials, not to stand in the way of what is plainly the best chance in history to have an African-American president.

“Nobody could see this” in advance, Rep. Jim Clyburn of South Carolina, the highest-ranking black in Congress, said of Obama’s emergence. He is officially neutral in the race, but expressed his irritation earlier in the year with remarks that Clinton and her husband the former president had made about civil rights history.

One black supporter of Clinton, Rep. Emanuel Cleaver of Missouri, said he remains committed to her. “There’s nothing going on right now that would cause me to” change, he said.

He said any suggestion that elected leaders should follow their voters “raises the age old political question. Are we elected to monitor where our constituents are … or are we to use our best judgment to do what’s in the best interests of our constituents.”

In an interview, Cleaver offered a glimpse of private conversations.

He said Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. of Illinois had recently asked him “if it comes down to the last day and you’re the only superdelegate? … Do you want to go down in history as the one to prevent a black from winning the White House?

“I told him I’d think about it,” Cleaver concluded.

Jackson, an Obama supporter, confirmed the conversation, and said the dilemma may pose a career risk for some black politicians. “Many of these guys have offered their support to Mrs. Clinton, but Obama has won their districts. So you wake up without the carpet under your feet. You might find some young primary challenger placing you in a difficult position” in the future, he added.

Obama and Clinton are in a competitive race for convention delegates. Overall, he has 1,276 in The Associated Press count, and she has 1,220. It takes 2,025 to clinch the nomination.

The New York Times is reporting that John Lewis has left Hillary’s plantation, a notion rebuted today by his press spokeswoman.

Bastardizing the Dream: Alveda King

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This is the week set aside in honor of one our own, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Normally a time for celebration, I have come to dread our annual commemoration because of photo-op’s like the one above with Republican presidential candidate Mike Huckabee. Dr. King’s niece, Alveda King, has fallen off the mountaintop, bumped her damn head, and become a member of the vast right-wing conspiracy.

 

Employed full-time by the religious right, she is an aggressive pro-life activist, minister, and professional public speaker. As she has moved steadily to the right, Alveda has provided political cover and given full license to those who would distort, defame, and destroy the dream of her late Uncle in the name of a fictitious colorblindness that is really white supremacy.

 

A long time opponent of Affirmative Action, she is entangled in a network of right-wing preachers hell bent on destroying the progressive social change that Dr. King fought for. While Dr. King spoke of the power of love and the creation of the beloved community, the glue that holds their little movement together is hatred, homophobia and a fixation with stopping same sex couples who love each other from having the right to marry.

 

In the month of Mrs. King’s death, Alveda participated in “Justice Sunday,” a wingnut gala consisting of the full constellation of reactionary politicians and their talabangelical brethren dedicated to fighting for the confirmation of Bush’s judicial nominees like Samuel Alito. Alito, an archconservative with a history of hostility to civil rights, provided the fifth vote to strike down voluntary Affirmative Action plans in the public schools last year. Weakening the legacy of Brown v. Board of Education without the guts to admit it, Alito and his allies on the court dealt the principle of ending separate but equal education a mortal wound.

 

Among those beating the drums of fascist religiosity with Alveda were Justice Sunday colleagues Tony Perkins, Head of the right-wing Family Research Council and a former Louisiana politician who paid white supremacist and neo-Nazi David Duke for his mailing list, and Jerry Falwell, a former segregationist who smeared Martin Luther King, Jr. as a tool of communists.

During most of Dubya’s first term, he found some way to paw Coretta Scott King in a manner that made my blood boil. Born on the same day as my grandmother two years apart, Mrs. King was always an icon in my household. I would NEVER allow George W. Bush to put his damn hands on my grandmother and I could never understand why Mrs. King visited the White House of a man who stole the Presidency. Her graciousness was always taken advantage of by this White House and she invariably became a colored prop in Dubya’s annual racist stage play of deceit every third Monday in January.

 

My personal favorite was the 2003 King Holiday. Within days of the holiday, the Administration announced a bold frontal assault on Affirmative Action by filing a brief against the Affirmative Action Admissions programs for both the University of Michigan and its School of Law. Writing a powerful Five-to-Four opinion upholding the principle of Affirmative Action, Sandra Day O’Connor ended her twenty years of steady opposition to Affirmative Action programs. Within two years, she resigned from the court only to be replaced by Alveda’s choice, Samuel Alito. It is only a matter of time now before Affirmative Action is destroyed by the Roberts Court.

 

Monday, I kept hearing reports of Republican presidential candidate Mike Huckabee being invited to attend King Day services at Ebenezer Baptist Church by a member of “the King Family.” While not identified, I have a hunch that the black fool in question was Alveda. She was the one sitting next to the presidential contender that told White South Carolina Republicans that they shouldn’t tolerate anybody dictating to them about where, when and how to fly the confederate flag. After desecrating the sanctuary with his presence, Huckabee used the occasion to accept the endorsement of a group of black wingnut preachers, the “Coalition of African American Pastors,” a group Alveda has claimed a board membership of on her website.

 

 

This week, Martin Luther King III, “deeply” concerned about politicians misappropriating the legacy of his father, wrote John Edwards a beautiful letter telling him to keep fighting and stay in the race. If he was truly concerned about folks distorting the dream, he would have stopped his Mama from being used by George W. Bush, stopped his sister Bernice from demonizing gays and lesbians, put his foot down to permit the man who paid for his Daddy’s funeral, Harry Belafonte, to eulogize his mother instead of the ignorant patrician in the White House, and done something to put his cousin Alveda in check.

 

As adherents of the drum major for justice who preached non-violence, it would be unseemly for the members of the King family to take Alveda aside and beat her ass until she remembers what the hell the dream is really about. Nevertheless, let me be the first one to say to the King family that all of black America would happily forgive y’all if you laid down the principles of non-violence temporarily to “lay hands” on Alveda with “the love of the Lord.”

 

I won’t tell nobody and I am quite sure that Atlanta Mayor Shirley Franklin, a King family friend, would help. After all, she has kept her girls outta jail, despite the mess they’ve been involved in, and I’m very sure a discrete word from the mayor to the Po-po would squash it. If Shirley can’t help, somebody can always call Bishop Thomas Weeks, Juanita Bynum’s soon-to-be ex-husband. The way I see it he’ll pop either the question, Alveda, or both.

 

Although I can’t help but lampoon Alveda and make light of this situation for the sake of my fragile sanity, bastardizing Dr. King’s dream is no laughing matter.

Obama addresses Dr. King’s Ebenezer Baptist Church

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Speech excerpts as prepared for delivery

THE GREAT NEED OF THE HOUR

The Scripture tells us that when Joshua and the Israelites arrived at the gates of Jericho, they could not enter. The walls of the city were too steep for any one person to climb; too strong to be taken down with brute force. And so they sat for days, unable to pass on through.

But God had a plan for his people. He told them to stand together and march together around the city, and on the seventh day he told them that when they heard the sound of the ram’s horn, they should speak with one voice. And at the chosen hour, when the horn sounded and a chorus of voices cried out together, the mighty walls of Jericho came tumbling down.

There are many lessons to take from this passage, just as there are many lessons to take from this day, just as there are many memories that fill the space of this church. As I was thinking about which ones we need to remember at this hour, my mind went back to the very beginning of the modern Civil Rights Era.

Because before Memphis and the mountaintop; before the bridge in Selma and the march on Washington; before Birmingham and the beatings; the fire hoses and the loss of those four little girls; before there was King the icon and his magnificent dream, there was King the young preacher and a people who found themselves suffering under the yoke of oppression.

And on the eve of the bus boycotts in Montgomery, at a time when many were still doubtful about the possibilities of change, a time when those in the black community mistrusted themselves, and at times mistrusted each other, King inspired with words not of anger, but of an urgency that still speaks to us today:

“Unity is the great need of the hour” is what King said. Unity is how we shall overcome.

What Dr. King understood is that if just one person chose to walk instead of ride the bus, those walls of oppression would not be moved. But maybe if a few more walked, the foundation might start to shake. If a few more women were willing to do what Rosa Parks had done, maybe the cracks would start to show. If teenagers took freedom rides from North to South, maybe a few bricks would come loose. Maybe if white folks marched because they had come to understand that their freedom too was at stake in the impending battle, the wall would begin to sway. And if enough Americans were awakened to the injustice; if they joined together, North and South, rich and poor, Christian and Jew, then perhaps that wall would come tumbling down, and justice would flow like water, and righteousness like a mighty stream.

Unity is the great need of the hour – the great need of this hour. Not because it sounds pleasant or because it makes us feel good, but because it’s the only way we can overcome the essential deficit that exists in this country.

I’m not talking about a budget deficit. I’m not talking about a trade deficit. I’m not talking about a deficit of good ideas or new plans.

I’m talking about a moral deficit. I’m talking about an empathy deficit. I’m taking about an inability to recognize ourselves in one another; to understand that we are our brother’s keeper; we are our sister’s keeper; that, in the words of Dr. King, we are all tied together in a single garment of destiny.

We have an empathy deficit when we’re still sending our children down corridors of shame – schools in the forgotten corners of America where the color of your skin still affects the content of your education.

We have a deficit when CEOs are making more in ten minutes than some workers make in ten months; when families lose their homes so that lenders make a profit; when mothers can’t afford a doctor when their children get sick.

We have a deficit in this country when there is Scooter Libby justice for some and Jena justice for others; when our children see nooses hanging from a schoolyard tree today, in the present, in the twenty-first century.

……But of course, true unity cannot be so easily won. It starts with a change in attitudes – a broadening of our minds, and a broadening of our hearts.

Unfortunately, all too often when we talk about unity in this country, we’ve come to believe that it can be purchased on the cheap. We’ve come to believe that racial reconciliation can come easily – that it’s just a matter of a few ignorant people trapped in the prejudices of the past, and that if the demagogues and those who exploit our racial divisions will simply go away, then all our problems would be solved.

All too often, we seek to ignore the profound institutional barriers that stand in the way of ensuring opportunity for all children, or decent jobs for all people, or health care for those who are sick. We long for unity, but are unwilling to pay the price.

…..For most of this country’s history, we in the African-American community have been at the receiving end of man’s inhumanity to man. And all of us understand intimately the insidious role that race still sometimes plays – on the job, in the schools, in our health care system, and in our criminal justice system.

And yet, if we are honest with ourselves, we must admit that none of our hands are entirely clean. If we’re honest with ourselves, we’ll acknowledge that our own community has not always been true to King’s vision of a beloved community.

We have scorned our gay brothers and sisters instead of embracing them. The scourge of anti-Semitism has, at times, revealed itself in our community. For too long, some of us have seen immigrants as competitors for jobs instead of companions in the fight for opportunity.

Every day, our politics fuels and exploits this kind of division across all races and regions; across gender and party. It is played out on television. It is sensationalized by the media. And last week, it even crept into the campaign for President, with charges and counter-charges that served to obscure the issues instead of illuminating the critical choices we face as a nation.

So let us say that on this day of all days, each of us carries with us the task of changing our hearts and minds. The division, the stereotypes, the scape-goating, the ease with which we blame our plight on others – all of this distracts us from the common challenges we face – war and poverty; injustice and inequality. We can no longer afford to build ourselves up by tearing someone else down. We can no longer afford to traffic in lies or fear or hate. It is the poison that we must purge from our politics; the wall that we must tear down before the hour grows too late.

Because if Dr. King could love his jailor; if he could call on the faithful who once sat where you do to forgive those who set dogs and fire hoses upon them, then surely we can look past what divides us in our time, and bind up our wounds, and erase the empathy deficit that exists in our hearts.

Apollo Holmes gets bail in Darius Miller beatdown case

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Hat Tip: Beth Warren, Atlanta Journal Constitution

The mother of a celebrity fitness trainer critically injured when he was beaten in a Midtown parking lot made an emotional plea to a judge Friday to think of her comatose son before granting bail to a suspect.

Patricia Bonhomme told Fulton County Magistrate Richard Hicks that her only son, Darius Miller, 41, nearly died when his heart stopped, but doctors were able to bring him back.

Doctors at Emory Crawford Long Hospital have told the family Miller may never come out of his vegetative state, Bonhomme said.

“I sit there watching my son suffer,” the mother said. “This violence has to stop. My son is lying there fighting for his life with tubes down him.”

Hicks told the victims’ mother, “I feel for you,” but under Georgia law, he had to grant bail to Apollo Holmes, who has no criminal record. He set it at $100,000.

Holmes, 24, is charged with aggravated assault in the attack on Miller.

Accounts differ regarding what happened the night of Dec. 16 outside two popular Peachtree Street nightclubs. One thing that is known is that Atlanta Mayor Shirley Franklin’s two daughters, Kai Franklin Graham, 35, and Kali Jamilla Franklin, 29, were present.

In one version, witnesses said a man turned his video camera on Graham, Franklin and a third, unidentified woman, and Miller, a friend of the mayor’s daughters, asked him to stop. At that point, witnesses said, about 10 men attacked Miller.

Page Pate, an attorney for 01 Entertainment, a party promoter filming an event at one of the clubs, has told a different story. He said witnesses told him the fight started after the three women became upset when they thought someone was videotaping them leaving a club about 2:30 a.m.

Miller stepped in and tried to take the video camera as several men crowded around him, Pate said. A scuffle ensued, and Miller ended up striking his head on the pavement, the attorney said.

Holmes’ attorney, Bruce Harvey, brought in several witnesses who were ready to testify. The defendant’s newborn son also was brought to court.

But Hicks opted not to hear from the supporters. Besides granting bail to Holmes, the judge assigned him a 6 p.m. curfew and ordered him to live with his mother in Mableton.

Holmes will continue his job at a rug manufacturing plant but cannot keep working nights as a front-desk security guard at a condominium due to the curfew, Harvey said.

Fulton prosecutor Jack Barrs said outside court that the case remains under investigation.

“There are other arrests coming,” Barrs said without elaborating.

Darius Miller still comatose a week after beatdown

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Hat Tip:  Atlanta Journal Constitution

Personal fitness trainer Darius Miller remained in a coma Wednesday, and Atlanta police continued their investigation into his brutal beating in the parking lot at two popular Midtown nightclubs a week earlier.

Officer James Polite, spokesman for the Atlanta Police Department, said more arrests were possible, but he did not know how soon.On Monday, 24-year-old Apollo Holmes turned himself in at the Fulton County Jail, two days after a warrant was issued for his arrest on aggravated assault charges.

Miller, 41, was beaten unconscious during a dispute that witnesses said started when Mayor Shirley Franklin’s daughters complained about being videotaped outside one of the clubs. He remains in critical condition at Emory Crawford Long Hospital, across the street from where he was attacked.

— Rhonda Cook

Apollo Holmes arrested in Darius Miller beatdown, Kai Franklin remains silent

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, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
A man wanted in connection with last week’s brutal beating of a personal fitness trainer turned himself in to authorities Monday morning, Atlanta police said.

Apollo Holmes turned himself in at the Fulton County Jail at around 8 a.m., according to Atlanta police spokesman James Polite.

Holmes, 24, has been charged with aggravated assault in the attack early Wednesday on Darius Miller in a parking lot outside two popular Peachtree Street nightclubs in Midtown Atlanta.

Miller, 41, was attacked during a dispute that witnesses said started when Mayor Shirley Franklin’s daughters complained about being videotaped outside one of the clubs, He remained in a coma over the weekend at Emory Crawford Long Hospital.

Police spokeswoman Judy Pal has said the investigation was continuing and that more arrests were possible.

Holmes was “affiliated” with 01 Entertainment, a party promoter that was videotaping an event the company staged at one of the clubs Tuesday night and early Wednesday morning, according to a lawyer for 01 Entertainment.

Attorney Page Pate said Holmes was in the parking lot at the time.

Witnesses said the fight started because of objections to videotaping people leaving the clubs.

But the accounts differ on what happened as Kai Franklin Graham, 35, Kali Jamilla Franklin, 29, and a third woman who has not been identified came into an adjoining parking lot at 2:30 a.m. Wednesday.

In one version, witnesses said as soon as a man turned his video camera on the three women, Miller, who has a number of celebrity clients, asked him to stop. At that point, witnesses said, about 10 men attacked Miller.

But in a telephone interview Saturday, Pate said 01 Entertainment contends the sisters started the argument that led to Miller’s injuries when Graham and her sister demanded the camera from the man they believed had just photographed them.

The attorney said Miller had gone to retrieve his truck and was not present when the dispute began.

“[The sisters] started arguing with them, saying they were already famous and they don’t need to be famous,” Pate said. “He [Miller] heard the argument between the mayor’s daughters and he jumped into the middle of it.”

Pate said Miller tried to take the camera, and two other people came up to help the photographer.

“I don’t think it was as big of a melee as has been described,” Pate said. “There weren’t a lot of blows thrown.”

Then Miller went to his truck,”saying he wants to air this out,” prompting one of the 01 Entertainment contractors to fear Miller was getting a weapon, Pate said.

“As he [Miller] was trying to go into the passenger seat … he fell down and was wrestling with one of them,” Pate said.

Miller, he continued, “got back up and he fell … He fell back … on the pavement with the back of his head.”

Mayor Franklin stays mum, arrest warrant issued in beatdown involving daughter

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 Hat Tip:  By Rhonda Cook, Atlanta Journal Constitution

Atlanta police issued an arrest warrant Saturday for a man suspected of brutally beating a personal fitness trainer and putting him into a coma in a dispute that started when Mayor Shirley Franklin’s daughters complained about being videotaped outside a nightclub.

Apollo Holmes, 24, is wanted on an aggravated assault charge for the early Wednesday attack on Darius Miller in a parking lot outside two popular Peachtree Street nightclubs in Midtown Atlanta, police said.

Police spokeswoman Judy Pal said the investigation was continuing and more arrests were possible.

Holmes was “affiliated” with 01 Entertainment, a party promoter that was videotaping an event the company staged at one of the nightclubs on Tuesday, Christmas night, and early the next morning, according to a lawyer for 01 Entertainment.

Attorney Page Pate said Holmes was in the parking lot at the time.

Miller, 41, remained in a coma Saturday at Emory Crawford Long Hospital.

Witnesses said the fight started because of objections to videotaping people leaving the clubs.

But the accounts differ on what happened as Kai Franklin Graham, 35, Kali Jamilla Franklin, 29, and a third woman who has not been identified came into an adjoining parking lot at 2:30 a.m. Wednesday.

In one version, witnesses said as soon as a man turned his video camera on the three women, Miller, who has a number of celebrity clients, asked him to stop. At that point, witnesses said, about 10 men attacked Miller.

But in a telephone interview Saturday, Pate said 01 Entertainment contends the sisters started the argument that led to Miller’s injuries when Graham and her sister demanded the camera from the man they believed had just photographed them.

The attorney said Miller had gone to retrieve his truck and was not present when the dispute began.

“[The sisters] started arguing with them, saying they were already famous and they don’t need to be famous,” Pate said. “He heard the argument between the mayor’s daughters and he jumped into the middle of it.”

Pate said Miller tried to take the camera, and two other people came up to help the photographer.

“I don’t think it was as big of a melee as has been described,” Pate said. “There weren’t a lot of blows thrown.”

Then Miller went to his truck, “saying he wants to air this out,” prompting one of the 01 Entertainment contractors to fear Miller was getting a weapon, Pate said.

“As he [Miller] was trying to go into the passenger seat … he fell down and was wrestling with one of them,” Pate said. Miller, he continued, “got back up and he fell again…. He fell back … on the pavement with the back of his head.”

Miller’s publicist hung up the telephone when called for comment Saturday.

Franklin’s daughters have been unavailable for comment since the incident.

On Saturday, the mayor’s office e-mailed a statement from Franklin criticizing the news media. She did not address questions about the latest reports involving her daughters.

“This is an ongoing criminal investigation and as such all comments … are best made to the Atlanta Police Department and not the press,” Franklin said.

“As mayor I stand by APD’s best practice standards for criminal investigations rather than reckless and unprofessional press frenzy,” the statement continued. “As the daughter of an attorney and Pennsylvania judge I stand by my belief that trial by public opinion and reckless media often advance inaccurate and dangerous conclusions.”

Asked about the attorney’s version of what happened, police spokeswoman Pal said, “We’ve got enough evidence to issue an arrest warrant, and we’ll let the justice system handle it from here.”

Pate said the video camera operators did not know the severity of Miller’s injuries or that the mayor’s daughters were involved until Friday, when they saw news accounts of the incident.

“He did not tape the mayor’s daughters,” Pate said of the cameraman in the incident. “He did not even know who they were. I suppose the mayor’s daughters thought they were being taped and became angry.”

Graham pleaded guilty last month to one federal count of illegally structuring a financial transaction. Her plea agreement calls for her to serve three months of home confinement, followed by three years of probation. She will be sentenced in early 2008.

Pate said his clients will meet with detectives within a few days.

“They didn’t know what was happening,” Pate said. “It got out of control and alcohol fueled it.”

I find it particularly interesting that Mayor Franklin doesn’t feel the need to explain the conduct of her children or why one of her girls is constantly mixed up in some bullshit she has no business being involved in.  Public resources are being used in this matter and the role of the police is not not a private thing that they can keep on the hush hush for long.  A good brotha is in a damn coma and somebody needs to explain why.

Drama continues to stalk Kai Franklin

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 Darius Miller

Hat Tip: By Megan Matteucci, Steve Visser, Atlanta Journal Constitution

A professional fitness trainer with a celebrity clientele —- including Usher and several National Football League players —- remained in a coma Thursday after being severely beaten in a downtown Atlanta parking lot.

Darius Miller, 41, was escorting Atlanta Mayor Shirley Franklin’s two daughters about 2:50 a.m. Wednesday when a group of men tried to videotape the women as they left a nightclub on Peachtree Street downtown, according to his cousin, Ken Miller.

“These guys were trying to videotape Shirley Franklin’s daughters and Darius tried to stop them,” Miller said Thursday. “Ten guys ganged up on him. They beat him until he was unconscious.”

Ken Miller was not present when the attack happened, but had eaten dinner with his cousin earlier on Christmas Day. He said he later spoke to several of the women who were with his cousin that night.

Mayor Shirley Franklin confirmed that her daughters, Kai Franklin Graham, 35, and Kali Jamilla Franklin, 29, were with Miller and a couple of friends when the videotaping took place.

The mayor, who said she is skiing in Colorado with her 8-year-old grandson, said she did not know Miller but was concerned about his well-being.

“I’ve talked to my daughters but I don’t know anything officially,” Franklin said. “I don’t know why 15 guys —- or 10 people or five —- would jump on one person regardless of what was said.”

Atlanta police spokesman Officer James Polite said the men turned on Miller “and physically assaulted him to the point where he had to go to the hospital.”

“He was just outnumbered and overpowered,” Polite said.

Miller was taken to nearby Emory Crawford Long Hospital, where he remained in the intensive care unit Thursday evening.

“We’re trying to wait it out and keep saying our prayers,” Ken Miller said.

Darius Miller had Christmas dinner with his family, including his cousin, and then took Franklin’s two daughters and several other women to Django and Verve, nightclubs on Peachtree.

Darius Miller is a career fitness trainer who also has dabbled in entertainment promotions. He worked at an Atlanta gym for eight to 10 years before starting his own business about five years ago, his cousin said.

According to his cousin, Darius Miller has trained Usher, Philadelphia Eagles linebacker Takeo Spikes, former New York Giants player Carlos Emmons and “Cosby Show” star Keisha Knight Pulliam, who visited Miller in the hospital Wednesday, his cousin said.

One of the mayor’s daughters who was with Miller that night was Kai Franklin Graham, who recently pleaded guilty in federal court in South Carolina to money laundering charges involving cash transfers from her ex-husband.

The ex-husband, Tremayne Graham, is serving a life sentence in a high-security federal prison in Kentucky for his role in a massive cocaine trafficking operation.

Franklin Graham has not yet been sentenced, but under her plea agreement with federal prosecutors she is expected to avoid prison.

Police said the attack on Miller occurred in a parking lot in the 400 block of Peachtree Street, but they would not confirm whether the women involved were Franklin’s daughters.

In a police report released to the media, no information on witnesses was included and the description of the fight said only that the assailants were “videotaping individuals walking to and away from the parking lot.”

Franklin said she did not instruct the police or city officials to cover up information that her daughters were with Miller. Franklin referred all questions to police Chief Richard Pennington or his staff.

“I haven’t talked to anyone officially … and I’m not involved in the investigation,” Franklin said. “Chief Pennington is in charge of his section of the city. … I’m sitting in 100 inches of snow on vacation.”

Police have made no arrests, Polite said. He did not know how many attackers were being sought.

If y’all ask me, the Mayor needs to explain why people keep getting hurt behind her daughter.

A rebuttal

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Recently, I was attacked by a fellow Black blogger for calling out Andrew Young for his  blatant corporate flackery, I didn’t elaborate. This post is meant to be a rebuttal to him and an enumeration of my reasons for denouncing Young. Young’s shameful advocacy on behalf of corporate thieves, corporate killers and African dictators is legendary.   

Others have studied his manifold sins in detail and slammed him in more expansive and eloquent prose than I.   To put it succinctly, Young is multinational crook who conveniently uses the bravery of his youth at the side of Martin Luther King Jr as a public relations shield for the multinational corporate criminals that line his pockets and those of his partners at the Orwellian sounding GoodWorks, International.   

Young was the prime mover behind former Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo’s “Presidential Library,” which is nothing more than a façade for corporate extortion and thievery from the public purse. 

Moreover, Young participated in spinning Nigeria’s last two presidential elections as successes that were rife with fraud and extrajudicial killings.  Lastly, he is bed with corporate thieves and killers like ChevronTexaco, which is being sued by Nigerian nationals for conspiring with Nigerian military security under the command of the former President for killing innocent civilians to protect corporate profits.  

As an ordained minister and man of God, Young knows better than to be cavorting with these people.  His actions tarnish the legitimate sacrifices he made on behalf of our people during the movement and he defecates on Dr. King’s legacy.  I shall not give him a pass. 

Mark, I like you brotha and wish you and your beautiful family happiness and success, but I have nothing good to say about Andrew Young and never will.  He is a fraud, a criminal and a corporate whore that has been faking the funk for years-period.  As an attorney and writer, you’re far too well-educated to believe anything that comes out of his mouth.

Kai Franklin to avoid jail

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Hat Tip:  By Alan Judd, Atlanta Journal Constitution

Greenville, S.C. —- In November 2004, Kai Franklin Graham’s life was unraveling.

Her husband of three years was a fugitive from justice, charged with operating a transcontinental drug-trafficking ring. One of his co-defendants —- a potential witness against him —- had been shot to death. Federal agents had searched the Grahams’ $650,000 house in suburban Atlanta. And the mortgage was due.

One day, about two weeks after her husband had fled to California, the oldest of Atlanta Mayor Shirley Franklin’s three children traveled to seven post offices. At each, she bought two $1,000 money orders, a total of $14,000 that she used for house payments. She paid cash.

The money, federal prosecutors said here Monday, came from drug dealing. And the transactions, Franklin Graham admitted to a judge, were designed to evade government reporting requirements that help authorities spot money laundering.

With her mother watching, Franklin Graham, 35, pleaded guilty Monday in a federal courtroom to a single charge of illegally structuring a financial transaction.

“Are you pleading guilty because you are guilty?” U.S. District Judge Henry M. Herlong Jr. asked her.

“Yes, sir,” she said.

Franklin Graham is likely to avoid jail time; her plea agreement calls for her to serve three months of home confinement, followed by three years of probation.

However, “she has to be fully and completely truthful” with federal investigators, Assistant U.S. Attorney Mark Moore said.

Otherwise, she could be sentenced to as much as five years in prison and be fined up to $250,000. Herlong is expected to sentence her in 60 to 90 days.

Authorities will ask Franklin Graham about a double homicide in Atlanta that is linked to her former husband, Tremayne Graham, 34.

Graham, whom she divorced in 2005, pleaded guilty to drug charges in 2006. He is serving a life sentence in a high-security federal prison in Kentucky.

Prosecutors have alleged that he ordered the killings of Ulysses Hackett III and his girlfriend, Misty Denise Carter. They were shot to death in Carter’s Virginia-Highland townhouse on Sept. 5, 2004. Hackett was thought to have incriminating evidence against Graham. Atlanta police never solved the case.

Franklin Graham will be asked to disclose what she knows about the killings and other matters, and might have to pass a lie-detector examination.

“We’re going to ask her a number of questions about a number of things,” Moore said outside Greenville’s federal courthouse. “I don’t know what, if any, information she has.”

Her testimony could be important to prosecutors, who might seek a death sentence for Graham or others implicated in the killings.

In court Monday, Franklin Graham was not accused of drug-related offenses.

However, Moore said: “We have looked into all the people who were involved. Not just limited to drug dealers, but people who assisted drug dealers, such as Ms. Franklin Graham.”

More than a dozen people have been convicted for their role in a ring that moved more than 2,200 pounds of Mexican cocaine through Atlanta to South Carolina.

Graham was indicted and arrested in 2004, several months after Hackett was arrested as he delivered cocaine to a “safe house” in Greenville.

On Nov. 12, 2004, 15 days after her then-husband skipped his $400,000 bond, Franklin Graham went to an Atlanta post office and used cash to buy two $1,000 money orders, Moore said in court.

Federal law requires postal officials to tell the Internal Revenue Service about any transaction exceeding $2,000.

Over the next several hours, Franklin Graham visited six more post offices, where she completed identical transactions, ultimately converting $14,000 in cash into money orders. She needed the money orders, Moore said, because her bank would have been required to report a cash payment of more than $10,000.

“This was a clear —- very clear —- transaction,” Moore said later.

The judge asked Franklin Graham whether she had known she was breaking the financial reporting laws.

“Yes,” she said, “in general, your honor.”

“You either did or you didn’t,” Herlong responded.

One of Franklin Graham’s lawyers, Richard Deane, a former U.S. attorney in Atlanta, told Herlong she knew reporting laws existed but not the details.

The guilty plea provided a dramatic coda to a series of indignities for Franklin Graham: personal bankruptcy, forfeiture of her home to the federal government, and the implication that she aided her husband’s drug ring.

Flanked by two lawyers, Franklin Graham stood facing the judge throughout Monday’s 22-minute hearing. Wearing a red turtleneck and black pants, her long, straight hair pulled into a ponytail, she answered Herlong’s questions in a quiet but clear voice.

Her mother watched alone from a second-row bench in the courtroom, her trademark fresh flower in her lapel. Asked outside the courtroom to comment on her daughter’s guilty plea, the mayor politely declined.

Kai Franklin, daughter of Atlanta Mayor, pleads guilty in drug trafficking probe

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Hat Tip:  By Alan Judd, Atlanta Journal Constitution

Greenville, S.C. — A daughter of Atlanta Mayor Shirley Franklin pleaded guilty today to federal charges that she illegally concealed proceeds from her former husband’s transcontinental drug-trafficking ring.

Kai Franklin Graham, 35, the oldest of the mayor’s three children, pleaded guilty to structuring financial transactions in a way that avoided scrutiny from federal authorities.

 

While her former husband, Tremayne Graham, 34, was a fugitive from justice, she converted cash from him into 14 postal money orders totaling $14,000. She admitted going to seven Atlanta area post offices in a single day to avoid federal financial rules that would require reports of transactions exceeding $2,000.

Franklin Graham is likely to be sentenced to three months of home confinement and three years of probation. However, if she fails to comply with terms of her plea agreement with federal prosecutors, U.S. District Judge Henry M. Herlong Jr. could increase the sentence to as much as five years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

Herlong will formally sentence Franklin Graham in 60 to 90 days.

The mayor sat in a federal courtroom in Greenville this morning and watched as her daughter entered the plea. She declined to comment afterward.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Mark Moore said Franklin Graham is expected to cooperate in several aspects of an investigation into her former husband’s drug business, which moved at least 2,200 pounds of Mexican cocaine from Los Angeles through Atlanta to South Carolina.

He said authorities will question her about a double homicide in Atlanta linked to the case. One of the victims, Ulysses Hackett III, was a co-defendant of Tremayne Graham’s and was thought to be considering an offer to testify against him in exchange for a lenient sentence.

A federal grand jury in South Carolina indicted Tremayne Graham in April 2004 in the drug case, which has resulted in more than a dozen guilty pleas. While he was out of jail on a $400,000 bond, Hackett and his girlfriend, Misty Denise Carter, were shot to death in her Virginia-Highland townhouse.

Atlanta police never solved the case, but federal prosecutors have alleged Graham ordered the killings.

According to earlier testimony, Graham then told an associate that he had moved into the mayor’s house, hoping to signal he feared he, too, would be killed. Soon, he fled to California. From there, authorities allege, he sent couriers with bags of cash to his wife.

Although Franklin Graham pleaded guilty to financial transactions conducted on Nov. 12, 2004, Moore said in court that the government could have proved that she engaged in additional transactions to hide the source of her cash.

Franklin Graham filed for divorce in January 2005.

Authorities captured Graham in June 2005 in California. Prosecutors later alleged he lied about his former wife’s role in his drug business ” one factor that prompted the judge to impose the maximum sentence against him: life with no chance of parole.

Must be nice to have Mama’s pull when you’re jammed up in a drug sting.  If it was you or me, they woulda charged us as accessories and sent us up for a cool quarter-mandatory.  That’s 25 years, for all y’all who ain’t know.