Hillary and Obama to pull in about $20 million in 3rd Quarter

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 Obama_vs._Hillary

Hat Tip: By John King, CNN Political Ticker Blog

WASHINGTON (CNN) — Fundraising dropped off dramatically for the two leading contenders for the Democratic presidential nomination, but Sen. Hillary Clinton and Sen. Barack Obama will still report raising in the neighborhood of $20 million each over this three month time period, sources close to both candidates tell CNN.

Clinton will show she has pulled in between $17-$20 million, while Obama will report he raised between $18-$19 million. Fundraising is historically slow in the third quarter, which covers the final two months of summer and the first month of fall. In the second quarter, Obama shattered fundraising records by reporting that he raised $32.5 million, $31 million of which he could use in his bid for the Democratic nomination. Clinton raised $27 million during this same time period, and all but $6 million of it could be used in the primary.

There are still three days remaining for candidates to raise money for this fundraising period.

On the Republican side, Arizona Sen. John McCain is expected to show he raised more than $5 million this quarter, but a McCain advisor noted that his recent poll numbers in New Hampshire and a busy fundraising schedule next month shows that they “have some life.” Sources close to former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani suggest that he will lead the GOP pack in fundraising this quarter, but would not reveal their fundraising totals.

Mychal Bell is freed on bail

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 'Jena 6' suspect free on bail

Hat Tip: Doug Simpson, Associated Press

A black teenager whose prosecution in the beating of a white classmate prompted a massive civil rights protest here walked out of a courthouse Thursday after a judge ordered him freed.

Mychal Bell’s release came hours after a prosecutor confirmed he will no longer seek an adult trial for the 17-year-old. Bell, one of the teenagers known as the Jena Six, still faces trial as a juvenile in the December beating.

District Attorney Reed Walters’ decision to abandon adult charges means that Bell, who had faced a maximum of 15 years in prison on his aggravated second-degree battery conviction last month, instead could be held only until he turns 21 if he is found guilty in juvenile court.

The conviction in adult court was thrown out this month by the state 3rd Circuit Court of Appeal, which said Bell should not have been tried as an adult on that particular charge.

Walters credited the prayers of people in this small central Louisiana town with averting a “disaster” when tens of thousands of demonstrators descended on the town. Some critics of Walters considered that a slap against the peaceful marchers.

Juanita Bynum on Good Morning America

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 Juanita Bynum

Hat Tip: Good Morning America

Evangelical preacher Juanita Bynum and her husband, Bishop Thomas Weeks III, are superstars on the Christian circuit. But recently the Atlanta-based couple’s profile reached the stratosphere after Bynum accused her husband of domestic violence during the summer.

The episode surprised many of Bynum’s followers because the televangelist’s fan base is largely female and her sermons often center on female empowerment. The situation also served as an opportunity for them to challenge every word Bynum had ever preached.

So, when Bynum accused her husband of attacking her physically in a parking lot outside an Atlanta hotel, the incident seemed unimaginable for what many saw as picture-perfect couple.

The pair, who met in 2002 and were married a year later, separated earlier this year. On Aug. 21, the day the attack occurred, the couple met in an attempt at reconciliation.

Bynum showed police her bruises and claimed Weeks choked, kicked and stomped on her. She said he continued to do so until a bellman pulled him away.

A History of Violence

Bynum revealed on “Good Morning America” Wednesday that this was not her first encounter with domestic abuse.Her first marriage, which inspired her million-copy selling sermon “No More Sheets,” ended as a result of domestic abuse. At the time, Bynum quietly divorced her husband and chose to move on with her life.

“He repented for what he did. I made a vow that I would not talk about that situation,” she said.

Now, as her current husband faces charges of aggravated assault and making terroristic threats, according to The Associated Press, Bynum said she has decided to speak out. (Her husband is no longer is allowed to contact her.)

“You don’t call it abuse until it’s a parking lot situation,” she said. Often times people classify such behavior as marital issues, but it’s abuse when you’re getting yelled at, Bynum added.

Some critics have accused Bynum of using the situation to gain recognition and a larger following. Bynum shot down such allegations.

“The popularity that God had favored me with was already there,” she said.

Still, others questioned how a preacher who encouraged women to stay with their husbands regardless of their troubles can now change her tune. But Bynum said she still believes a wife should support her husband.

“It is the responsibility of every wife to make their husband feel loved and respected,” she said.

But, Bynum said, while people should live by the rules of their spirituality, they also should recognize danger signs.

“I think spiritually needs to be used in a proper manner,” Bynum said. “You need to pray, but you also need to take yourself out of harms way while you pray.”

The New Face of Domestic Violence

Since the incident with her husband, Bynum has christened herself the new face of domestic violence, and some of her followers believe it may have a lasting effect on Christians and their faith.

“It’s kind of like a black eye, you know, on Christianity,” said WTJH gospel DJ Reggie Gay. “We’re supposed to be able to get along with each other and live right and do all those kind of things. But it’s kind of tough. So I would encourage that congregation of people to be prayerful.”

Weeks has denied abusing his wife.

“I want to be clear in saying I do not condone in any way, shape or form violence of any kind towards woman,” he said. “My role has always been to operate as protector and not as an aggressor. I’ve walked away from many situations between the two of us just like I walked away that night.”

Finally, CBC steps up on the Jena 6

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Hat Tip: N.O. Times Picayune, Associated Press — The Congressional Black Caucus is asking the Justice Department to investigate possible civil rights violations in the “Jena 6” case that sparked a massive protest in Louisiana last week.

“This shocking case has focused national and international attention on what appears to be an unbelievable example of the separate and unequal justice that was once commonplace in the Deep South,” the group of 43 lawmakers said in a letter to Acting Attorney General Peter Keisler.

Justice Department spokesman Brian Roehrkasse said the department has been closely monitoring the case of six black high school teens arrested for beating a white classmate in Jena, La. He said the department also is investigating allegations of threats against the students and their families.

“Since these investigations are ongoing, the department cannot comment any further,” Roehrkasse said.

The caucus also sent a separate letter asking Louisiana Gov. Kathleen Blanco to pardon 17-year-old Mychal Bell, the black teen convicted in adult court of aggravated second-degree battery after the charge was reduced from attempted murder.

Bell, who remains behind bars, was one of six Jena High School students arrested after a December attack on a white student, Justin Barker, and the only one to be tried.

Bell was tried as an adult and convicted of aggravated second-degree battery after the charge was reduced from attempted murder. A state appeals court recently threw out his conviction, saying he could not be tried as an adult.

District Attorney Reed Walters said Thursday that he would not appeal that decision and would let a juvenile court deal with the case.

The black lawmakers call the decision to charge Bell and his classmates as adults “an abuse of prosecutorial discretion” and claim no action was taken in a recent similar case involving a white defendant and a black victim.

“The failure to grant bail to Mychal Bell is harsh, to the point of being unconscionable, given all the facts that have come to our attention,” the lawmakers wrote to Blanco.

More than 20,000 people converged on the small town last week to protest the case, accusing local officials of prosecuting blacks more harshly than whites.
 

Mychal Bell’s bail set at $45,000

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Hat Tip: (CNN) — Bail was being posted Thursday for Mychal Bell, a black teenager accused of beating a white classmate, after a district attorney’s announcement that he would not appeal a higher court’s decision moving Bell’s case to juvenile court, according to the Rev. Al Sharpton.

Mychal Bell, 17, is accused with five others of beating Justin Barker in a school fight.

Bell’s bail was set at $45,000, Sharpton said. The paperwork was being worked out, he said, and the bail bondsman was at the courthouse.

Earlier Thursday, Bell was moved from jail to a juvenile facility, according to his attorney, Lewis Scott.

LaSalle Parish District Attorney Reed Walters said his decision not to appeal was based on what he believed is best for the victim in the case.

“While I believe that a review would have merit … I believe it is in the best interest of the victim and his family not to delay this matter any further and move it to its conclusion,” Walters told reporters. Video Watch the district attorney say he won’t challenge the ruling. »

He said a march by 15,000 people last week in the small town of 3,000 residents led by civil rights leaders Sharpton and Martin Luther King III did not influence his decision.

Demonstrators were protesting how authorities handled the cases of Bell and five other teens accused of beating fellow student Justin Barker.

Many said they are angry that the students, dubbed the “Jena 6,” are being treated more harshly than three white students who hung nooses from an oak tree on high school property.

The white students were suspended from school but did not face criminal charges. The protesters say they should have been charged with a hate crime.

Bell, now 17, was the only one of the Jena 6 behind bars. His bond previously was set at $90,000.

A district judge earlier this month tossed out Bell’s conviction for conspiracy to commit second-degree battery, saying the matter should have been handled in juvenile court. The 3rd Circuit Court of Appeal in Lake Charles, Louisiana, did the same with Bell’s battery conviction in mid-September.

Prosecutors originally charged all six black students accused of being involved in beating Barker with second-degree attempted murder and conspiracy. Walters reduced charges against at least four of them — Bell, Robert Bailey Jr., Carwin Jones and Theo Shaw — to battery and conspiracy.

Bryant Purvis awaits arraignment. Charges against Jesse Ray Beard, who was 14 at the time of the alleged crime, are unavailable because he’s a juvenile.

Wednesday, Gov. Kathleen Blanco announced that Louisiana State Police officers will protect the families of the Jena 6 and investigate any threats they have received. A white supremacist Web site posted the names and addresses of the six black teens after last week’s march, calling on followers to “let them know justice is coming.”

Thursday, the FBI said it has been made aware of allegations of threats.

“Threats are taken seriously, and as these investigations are ongoing we cannot comment further,” said Sheila Thorne of the FBI’s New Orleans, Louisiana, office.

The December 4 attack on Barker came after months of racial tension, including at least two instances of fighting in the town, sparked originally when three white teens hung nooses from an oak tree on the town’s high school grounds.

Walters has said there was no direct link between the hanging of the nooses and the schoolyard attack, and defended the prosecutions ahead of last Thursday’s peaceful march. Blanco defended the prosecutor Wednesday, saying, “He has a solid record and is highly respected among his peers.”

Walters also addressed the stress and notoriety the town has been subjected to, saying the only way he and other residents “have been able to endure the trauma that has been thrust upon us is through the prayers of the Christian people who have sent them up in this community.”

He also suggested that some kind of “disaster” was averted when thousands of marchers came to Jena last week.

“I firmly believe and am confident of the fact that had it not been for the direct intervention of the Lord Jesus Christ last Thursday, a disaster would have happened,” Walters said.

“The Lord Jesus Christ put his influence on those people and they responded accordingly,” he said, without explaining exactly what he meant.

Soon after the district attorney spoke, a local reverend took issue with his comments.

Obviously, we are serving two different gods here,” the Rev. Donald Sidley said. “My Bible says that we should do — we should be loving, love your neighbor as yourself.

“For him to try and separate the community like he is and then using Christ Jesus to influence the people that Jesus is working on their side, well, that’s — that’s absurd. … God is god of the human race,” said Sidley, of the New Evergreen Church.

Jena 6 DA yields to pressure from Governor

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 Hat Tip: Doug Simpson, Associated Press

Louisiana Gov. Kathleen Blanco said Wednesday that the prosecutor in one of the so-called “Jena 6” cases has decided not to challenge an appellate ruling that sends the case to juvenile court.

LaSalle Parish District Attorney Reed Walters had earlier said he would appeal the state appeals court’s decision that 17-year-old Mychal Bell’s second-degree battery conviction be set aside. The court ruled that Bell could not be tried as an adult.

Blanco said she had spoken with Walters and asked him to reconsider pushing to keep the case in the adult courts system. She said Walters contacted her Wednesday to say he had decided not to appeal the ruling.

“I want to thank him for this decision he has made,” Blanco said.

Bell, who remains behind bars, was one of six Jena High School teens arrested after a December attack on a white student, Justin Barker. Five of the six teens initially were charged with attempted second-degree murder, though charges for four of them, including Bell, were later reduced. One teen hasn’t been arraigned, and the case of the sixth, handled as a juvenile, is sealed.

Blanco made her announcement at a news conference with activists Martin Luther King III and the Rev. Al Sharpton. Sharpton said he hopes a bond will be set low enough to allow for Bell’s release, and he thanked Blanco for getting involved in the matter.

“I want to congratulate her for showing leadership,” Sharpton said. “And I want to congratulate the district attorney for good judgment.”

Blanco said Walters gave her permission to announce his decision, and that he planned to discuss his decision publicly on Thursday. A phone call placed at Walters’ home went unanswered Wednesday.

The case brought more than 20,000 protesters to the central Louisiana town of Jena last week in a marched that harkened back to the demonstrations of the 1950s and ’60s.

Critics accuse local officials of prosecuting blacks more harshly than whites. They note that no charges were filed against three white teens suspended from the high school for allegedly hanging nooses in a tree on campus — an incident that was followed by fights between blacks and whites, including the attack on Barker.

Walters has condemned the noose incident — calling it “abhorrent and stupid” in a New York Times op-ed piece Thursday — but said the act broke no Louisiana law.

In the article, Walters defended the aggravated second-degree battery counts most of those charged in the attack on Barker now face. He said Barker was “blindsided,” knocked unconscious and kicked by at least six people, and would have faced “severe injury or death” had another student not intervened.

To the Jena 6: Just hold on, change is coming

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Norman Hutchin’s song, “A move of God,” has been in my head all day.

To Mychal Bell,  Robert Bailey, Jr, Theo Shaw, Carwin Jones, Bryant Purvis, and the other unnamed young brotha, just hold on, change is coming.

“I feel a breakthrough coming your way, it’s a mighty move of God, it’s gonna change your day. With signs and wonders, miracles to perform, God is gonna bless you for just holding on.”

“Just hold on, a change is coming, feel it in the air, it’s in the atmosphere. Just hold on, a change is coming, a move of God is on the way.”

“You’ve been expecting a change in your life, looking for your midnight to turn to sunshine. It’s gonna happen, you wait and see, all things are possible to them that believe.”

“Just hold on, a change is coming, feel it in the air, it’s in the atmosphere. Just hold on, a change is coming…A move of God is on the way.”

Thousands of chanting demonstrators filled the streets of this little Louisiana town Thursday. It's not about black and white. It's about right and wrong. I would like to see these young men set free,

We should have progressed past this kind of unequal treatment based on race; however, we clearly are not. The outpouring of community support in the black community and the dearth of support from others is quite telling.   Katrina became an enduring symbol of neglect and racial indifference and Jena, Louisiana has provided the nation with another.  

There is nothing particularly unique about the disproportionate felony charges meted out to these six teenage boys, this happens everyday to black children somewhere in America, as Al Sharpton has pointed out.  What is unique is the black reaction the racially discriminatory actions of the LaSalle Parish School Board and LaSalle Parish District Attorney provoked.    

Today’s rally was amazing in its genesis and scale, as the song above says, “It’s a mighty move of God, it’s gonna change your day.” I feel confident in predicting that the charges against all six young men will be dropped.  

Praise God for Michael Baisden, Tom Joyner, Howard Witt, Amy Goodman, Roland Martin, Rev.Al, Rev. Jackson, Color of Change, the black blogosphere, and for the many black college students and other concerned persons who raised the alarm to inform the community when it was needed.  

Congresswoman Maxine Waters, on hand for the day’s events, told CNN’s Kyra Phillips that the House Judiciary Committee is preparing to subpoena the LaSalle Parish District Attorney to Washington to explain his conduct and the President himself said that the Justice Department is monitoring this case.  Despite protestations to the contrary, there is a valid reason why Tina Jones, mother of Purvis Bryant, believes that the D.A. is “so adamant about destroying these kids lives.”  I would love to hear his explanation of how a tennis shoe becomes a deadly weapon.   

The idea of a 21st century civil rights movement which focuses on the disproportionate punishment of people of color in the criminal justice system warms my heart.  That’s something that this skeptical brotha can get with enthusiastically.  Much remains to be done and it is not simply a local issue.   I hope that that Congresswoman Waters and Congressman Conyers grasp that a comprehensive solution which addresses the lack of resources for indigent defense is at the root of the harsh and disproportionate treatment that our children and adults face nationwide. 

 

Jesse Jackson takes Obama to task over Jena 6

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Hat Tip: By Roddie A. Burris, the State

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Ain’t No Jury Black Enough

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Ain’t No Jury Black Enough

Sung to the tune of Ain’t No Mountain High Enough

Listen, O.J.
Ain’t no jury black enough (In Las Vegas)
Ain’t no lawyer low enough
Ain’t no legal argument good enough
What you need is, Jesus–Don’t call me
No matter where you are
No matter how far
Don’t call my name
I’ll leave your ass in there
You don’t have to worry

‘Cause O.J. ,
There ain’t no jury black enough (In Las Vegas)
Ain’t no lawyer low enough
Ain’t no legal argument good enough
To get me to do a damn thing for you

Remember the day Johnny Cochran set you free
He told you that you could always count on him
From that day on he made a vow
He’d be there when you need him
Some way,some how, b
ut he dead now

‘Look O.J.,
Ain’t no jury black enough (In Las Vegas)
Ain’t no lawyer low enough
Ain’t no legal argument good enough
No way, no how
Your half ass cover story is a lie
Way down in my heart
Although we are miles apart
If you ever need a helping hand
Betta call on Jesus
He can do more for your ass than I can

Don’t you know that
There ain’t no jury black enough (In Las Vegas)
Ain’t no lawyer low enough
Ain’t no legal argument good enough
To keep white folks from getting you

Don’t you know that
There ain’t no jury black enough  (In Las Vegas)

We don’t live in a Democracy….

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We live in a racist police state.   Case in point, the fake furor over the tasered student at a John Kerry speech at the University of Florida. 

While I won’t defend the obnoxious conduct of this kid that provoked a physical confrontation, it didn’t ever merit him being tasered while Senator Kerry told them to leave him be.  Acting like they didn’t know how to put the boy out the room without looking like a trailer park trained gestapo, doesn’t wash with me.

Last week, a minister, the Rev. Lennox Yearwood, was attacked on Capitol Hill by the notoriously racist Capitol Hill Police force before the General Petraus hearings.  Not a peep was heard even though the widely read Firedoglake blog posted the video.   

They tore ligaments in the man’s damn leg.  While waiting in a public line all morning to get into the hearing, he was barred at the door because of a lapel pin that read, “I love the people of Iraq.” 

The racist myopia that infects the corporate mass media in this country is not remedied by the increasingly critical coverage of the Jena 6 case, or the white glove treatment they give to Barack Obama.  It can only be remedied by telling the truth about the shameless greed, militarism and racism that infects everything we touch at home and abroad.

To that end, I propose that we amend the Star Spangled Banner, our national anthem, to say ”

“O say, can you see, by the cluster bomb’s frightful light,
What so proudly we hailed at ground zero’s last gleaming,
Whose brainwashed children and bright stars, went through the perilous fight,
O’er the TV we watched, as civilian casualties were so gallantly screaming, And the rockets’ red glare, the bombs bursting and killing women and children on live air, Gave proof through the night that our hypocrisy was still there.
O say, does that star spangled banner yet wave
O’er the land of the free market, and the home of the wage slave?”

Bishop denies assaulting Bynum

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Just When I thought this was pretty much played out, another wrinkle develops in the melodrama that is the Weeks-Bynum divorce. 

Turns out that Bishop held a press conference today in which he denies beating her.   Amazing.  From what I can tell, he told a boldfaced lie.    This press conference is a naked PR ploy to cloud the issue of domestic violence and play on the sympathies of the weak minded.  You be the judge and read for yourself.

Hat Tip: by John Shriek, 11Alive News

“She said,” last week.
“He said” on Friday afternoon.

Ten days after Evangelist Juanita Bynum proclaimed herself “the face of domestic violence,” her estranged husband, Bishop Thomas Weeks, told reporters he wanted to speak out to try to set straight “the many discrepencies, dramatizations and untruths.” Weeks denied violence toward Bynum, and insisted he walked away from a confrontation with her on August 21, the night he’s accused of assaulting her.

I have always loved my wife and have been nothing but faithful to her,” Weeks said in a statement he read to reporters at his church, Global Destiny Ministries, in Duluth. “I want to be clear in saying I do not condone in any way, shape or form, violence of any kind towards women. My role has always been to operate as a protector and not as an aggressor. I have walked away from many situations between the two of us, just like I walked away that night.”

Weeks did not answer questions from reporters, on the advice of his attorneys, and did not comment further on the criminal assault charges against him.Atlanta police say a hotel bellhop saw Weeks kicking, beating and choking Bynum in the parking lot of the hotel that night, and that the bellhop heard Weeks threatening to kill Bynum as the bellhop pulled Weeks off of Bynum.

“I want to share my heart with the people,” Weeks said Friday, “to inform all that will listen that there are two sides to every story.”

He asked people to keep an open mind while he fights the criminal charges against him.

“I am asking that everyone that has already judged me to take the time to consider other perspectives. I understand that my silence to date has given me the perception of guilt,” but he said he does not believe in speaking publicly about what he considers to be private matters between him and his estranged wife.

Weeks said their current troubles began on June 3, when, he said, Bynum suddenly announced to their congregation that she was quitting the church, the church that she and Weeks had founded together, never to return. “It was the first time I knew she felt this way about our church family,” Weeks said. Bynum has always maintained her own, separate ministry that she founded and led prior to their marriage in 2002.

“The shock to the congregation was the start of many rumors,” Weeks said of Bynums’ surprise announcement.

Two days later, he said, her office sent a fax to his staff, “cancelling a major, international event and noted the reason was due to our marital separation. I was then informed by my staff about the fax. It was the first time that I was made aware of our separation.”

Thenn on June 14th, Weeks said, Bynum’s attorney mailed him a “cease and desist” letter ordering him to stop using Bynum’s name, face image, sound or likeness in anything related to the church.

“We were not legally allowed to mention her name even in prayer,” Weeks said. “Many people were offended by my removal of her image, as it appeared that it was of my own doing…. I did not share her letter from her lawyers to the church family in an effort to cover and protect her from negativity and perceptions, as I have done countless times over the past five years.”

Weeks said he still hoped he and Bynum could work out a reconciliation, and on August 16 he said she showed up at his office saying she, too, wanted to reconcile. “It was that day that I first began to believe that our marriage was moving in a positive direction. It was my understanding that the relationship was salvageable,” Weeks said.

On August 20, he said, “I was with my wife the entire night… and felt that our love for each other was going to get us through these hard times.”

Weeks emphasized that, contrary to earlier statements and reports, the reason he met with his wife on August 21 was not that he was seeking a reconciliation. He thought that their previous night together meant that they were already reconciling.

On August 21, he said, she called him asking to meet with him at a hotel, saying to him that, as he described it Friday, “Juanita Bynum Ministries was in need of our church facility and members’ support in order to raise monies” for one of Bynum’s projects. “She shared her urgency that we meet that night,” Weeks said.

Weeks did not describe, in his statement Friday, his August 21 meeting with Bynum, what led to their confrontation or anything else about it, and he did not discuss the indictment against him. He has pleaded Not Guilty.

“I would like for Juanita to know that I respect but regret her decision for a divorce. My church family is fully aware that I have always supported her in every endeavor. I have never hindered her from pursuiing her ministry vision or personal goals in life…. I want her to know that I am praying God’s best for her.”

Weeks’ divorce attorney, Randy Kessler, told reporters after Weeks read his statement that “he can’t stop the divorce from happening.” Kessler said Weeks just wants it to be settled as soon as possible, in private.

“The Bishop is not interested in money, this is not a case about money,” Kessler said. “We’d like all offers to remain private” as the two negotiate a financial settlement.

“Everybody, all of us, have blemishes, have flaws, that we do not want exposed” in a public courtroom, Kessler said, and Weeks is hoping to settle both the divorce and the criminal charges against him out of court.

There was no pre-nuptual agreement, Kessler said.

“The truth will eventually be known by all,” Weeks said. “In the end, God will always get the glory.”
 

Charges against Mychal Bell overturned in Jena 6 case

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Hat Tip: Janet McConnaughey, Associated Press, USA Today 

NEW ORLEANS — A state appeals court on Friday threw out the only remaining conviction against one of the black teenagers accused in the beating of a white schoolmate in the racially tense north Louisiana town of Jena.

Mychal Bell, 17, should not have been tried as an adult, the state 3rd Circuit Court of Appeal said in tossing his conviction on aggravated battery, for which he was to have been sentenced Thursday. He could have gotten 15 years in prison.

His conspiracy conviction in the December beating of student Justin Barker was already thrown out by another court.

Bell, who was 16 at the time of the beating, and four others were originally charged with attempted second-degree murder. Those charges brought widespread criticism that blacks were being treated more harshly than whites after racial confrontations and fights at Jena High School.

Bell’s attorney Louis Scott said he didn’t know whether his client, whose bond was set at $90,000, would get out of jail immediately.

“We don’t know what approach the prosecution is going to take — whether they will re-charge him, where he would have to be subjected to bail all over again or not,” Scott said.

Civil rights leaders, including the Revs. Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton, had been planning a rally in support of the teens for the day Bell was to have been sentenced.

“Although there will not be a court hearing, we still intend to have a major rally for the Jena Six and now hopefully Mychal Bell will join us,” Sharpton said in an e-mailed statement.

Said Jackson: “The pressure must continue until all six boys are set free and sent to school, not to jail.”

Jena, La., is a mostly white town where racial animosity flared about a year ago when a black student sat under a tree that was a traditional gathering place for whites. A day later, three nooses were found hanging from the tree. There followed reports of racial fights at the school, culminating in the December attack on Barker.

The reversal of Bell’s conviction will not affect four other teenagers also charged as adults, because they were 17 years old at the time of the fight and no longer considered juveniles, said attorney George Tucker of Hammond.

Prosecutors have the option of appealing to the state Supreme Court. District Attorney Reed Walters did not return a call Friday.

Judge J.P. Mauffray had thrown out Bell’s conspiracy conviction, saying it was not a charge on which a juvenile may be tried as an adult. But he had let the battery conviction stand, saying Bell could be tried in adult court because the charge was among lesser charges included in the original attempted murder charge.

Teenagers can be tried as adults in Louisiana for some violent crimes, including attempted murder, but aggravated battery is not one of those crimes, the court said.

Defense lawyers had argued that the aggravated battery case should not have been tried in adult court once the attempted murder charge was reduced.

The case “remains exclusively in juvenile court,” the Third Circuit ruled.

Obama snags Oprah and Hillary courts Magic

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Hat Tip: by Michael R. Blood, Associated Press

Hillary Rodham Clinton pursued votes Friday in the city’s historical black heartland with basketball legend Earvin “Magic” Johnson at her side. Less than a week ago, her rival Barack Obama banked $3 million at a fundraiser at Oprah Winfrey’s seaside estate.

For the two leading Democratic presidential contenders, the dueling events just six days apart highlighted the stiff competition for support and dollars within one of the party’s key voter groups — blacks.

Johnson, the former Los Angeles Lakers star whose sprawling business interests range from movie theaters to health clubs, was also holding a fundraiser for Clinton at his Beverly Hills home Friday night. It was expected to be considerably smaller than the lavish event staged by Winfrey for Obama, an Illinois senator, on Sept. 8.

Johnson’s fundraiser was co-hosted by music industry heavyweights Quincy Jones, Berry Gordy and Clarence Avant, and scheduled guests included Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa. Guests at the Obama event included Sidney Poitier, Forest Whitaker and Chris Rock.

The divided loyalties among blacks show “the community just isn’t going to go lockstep behind any candidate, even a black one,” said University of California, Los Angeles, political scientist Franklin D. Gilliam Jr.

When it comes to competing celebrity endorsements, “I don’t know if anybody stands equal with Oprah,” Gilliam said. But Clinton, a New York senator, is not conceding the black vote to Obama and “she can compete for it in a legitimate way.”

On Thursday, the California Legislature’s black caucus endorsed Obama — but one of its eight members is backing Clinton. And independent polls in California suggest the black vote is divided, largely between Clinton and Obama.

Obama, whose late father was Kenyan, gives blacks a chance to put one of their own in the White House for the first time. But Clinton benefits from the strong relationship her husband, former President Bill Clinton, maintained with blacks for years.

“People in the black community love Bill Clinton; she’s seen as comfortable in the community,” Gilliam said. And “there’s concern about Obama being electable, period, because he’s black.”

The rivalry between Obama and Clinton also showcases the clout of black political influence and money.

Obama has predicted that black voter turnout could swell by at least 30 percent if he wins the presidential nomination, giving Democrats victory in Southern states that have been voting Republican for decades.

Asked last month why she would be a better candidate for blacks when Obama was in the race, she cited her years of public service and advocacy, and described herself as the more experienced candidate.

“My attitude is, I don’t deserve anyone’s vote. I have to earn everyone’s vote,” Clinton said.

At an event earlier Friday at a school in a heavily minority neighborhood near the Watts section, Clinton shared a stage with Johnson, Villaraigosa and other local leaders. She told a largely minority crowd including many students and supporters that she would bring a new style of leadership to Washington to take on issues like health care, education and ending the Iraq war.

“When I’m president, there will not be any invisible Americans,” she said.

Several people in the audience said they were comfortable with Clinton, in large part because of her long record in the public eye and efforts in her husband’s administration.

John Bruce, 45, a Democrat from Los Angeles who works in security, said the black community is looking for leaders and Obama “seems to be heading in the right direction.” Bruce, who is black, said race was not an issue in picking a candidate.

He said he remains undecided on 2008 but added, “I’m an all-Clinton Democrat.”

Black community activist “Sweet Alice” Harris, who is backing Clinton, said she worked closely with her during her days in the Clinton White House.

What about Obama?

“I don’t know him, but I know her,” Harris said.

Earlier in the day, Assembly Speaker Fabian Nunez, D-Los Angeles, held a private fundraiser for Clinton at a Mexican restaurant in Lynwood, a Los Angeles suburb.

If he stole it

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OJ SimpsonConfessions of the Killer

The useless waste of space that is O.J. Simpson, is caught up in some unnecessary drama once again.   The champagne corks in the household of Ronald Goldman’s family must be popping and the bubbly flowing generously.  Showing once again that God has a perverse sense of humor, the book “I did it,” which purportedly tells the world how O.J. Simpson murdered his ex-wife Nicole Brown Simpson and her friend Ronald Goldman, debuts today.  Also today, the Associated Press is reporting that O.J. Simpson was questioned and named a suspect in the theft of sports memorabilia in a Las Vegas Hotel. 

He claims to have taken part in a “sting” to reclaim stolen football memorabilia from his salad days as a sports hero and semi-respectable Negro.  I dunno.  And don’t really care.  

I refuse to be caught up in O. J. Simpson’s black hole of B.S. on this one.  I really don’t even wanna discuss it.  I just thought I’d pass it along so that y’all could have a good chuckle.

Nawlins update

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Louisiana has a Gubernatorial election this year and the massively incompetent Governor, Kathleen Blanco-D Louisiana, will not be running.    Speculation centered on chocolate city Mayor Ray Nagin to run in her stead, but, he recently announced, after flirting with a run on the “Tom Joyner Morning Show,” that he would not be a candidate after all. 

This means that the right-wing Indian American Congressman, Bobby Jindal R-Louisiana, is the presumptive Governor in waiting.  Tragic. 

 Jalila Jefferson-Bullock

On top of that impending disaster is the announced candidacy of State Rep. Jalila Jefferson-Bullock for a New Orleans State Senate Seat.   Jefferson-Bullock, the daughter of indicted Congressman “Dollar Bill” Jefferson, is following  Daddy’s example and getting her ducks in a row to succeed him if he is sent to the slammer where his black A belongs.

Jefferson-Bullock is a key lieutenent in her Daddy’s political empire, which also includes his wife, and his brother and sister.  Their corruption as a family is legendary.

Jefferson ‘s re-election campaign last year was a classic in southern political demagoguery and dirty campaigning.   He called his black opponent everything but a child of God, even as he defended himself for pocketing bribes obtained in an FBI sting.  He dipped liberally from the well of homophobia and racial antagonism as he accused Karen Carter of being an agent of the white establishment, which is precisely what he had been, when he voted to repeal the estate tax for the wealthiest 1% while black New Orleanianas were washed away by a flood of white establishment indifference.

Nevertheless, God is good and he always has a ram in the bush.  Her name is State Representative Cheryl Gray, a good friend and colleague of Karen Carter, the candidate I backed to run against Dollar Bill last year. 

Campaign News

Sistah Gray is a progressive who has focused on health care and housing issues in the legislature.  She has also opposed shredding a woman’s right to choose and has voted against banning same-sex marriage.   

A lawyer and state representative, she is a scion of the distinguished Gray family and is the daughter of Attorney James Gray and Judge Ernestine Gray.   Cheryl Gray has Skeptical Brotha’s enthusiastic endorsement for State Senate. I’ll take a Gray over a Jefferson any day because our people in the Big Easy need a champion, not more corruption. Its high time for our people to rise up in righteous indignation and throw the Jeffersons out of the temples of power.