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.

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Bishop Weeks bows to inevitable and won’t contest divorce

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Televangelist Juanita Bynum’s husband, accused of assaulting her, will not contest her petition for divorce after all, his attorneys said Thursday.

The Rev. Thomas W. Weeks III had held out hope that he and Bynum could reconcile even after she filed a petition for divorce Monday, but now “has come to the personal resolve, that if Juanita is insistent on a divorce, he will not stand in the way,” his attorneys said in a statement.

Bynum’s attorney Karla Walker said she is withdrawing a divorce petition filed in south Georgia’s Ware County, where Bynum has a home, and refiling the case in Gwinnett County, where Weeks lives.

Bynum, known for her message of female empowerment, claims Weeks choked, pushed and stomped on her in a hotel parking lot after an Aug. 21 meeting in which the couple failed to reconcile.

Weeks faces charges of aggravated assault and making terroristic threats. He is free on $40,000 bond and is not allowed to have contact with Bynum.

Bynum, 48, is head of a dynamic ministry that also includes a gospel record label and seminar tours. She has sold thousands of motivational books, CDs and DVDs related to empowerment and marriage.

She has now emerged as a self-appointed “face of domestic violence” and has said she wants to be seen as a survivor, not a victim, of abuse.

Weeks, 40, is known to his followers as Bishop Weeks and is head of Global Destiny Ministries, based in the Atlanta suburb of Duluth. He co-wrote “Teach Me How to Love: The Beginnings” with Bynum, and the two wed in a million-dollar, televised ceremony in 2002. They have been estranged since June.

The developments of the past few weeks may have put things in perspective for Weeks regarding the relationship, his attorney Randy Kessler said Thursday, who added that his client will speak out Friday.

“He put the word out there, said he was open for reconciliation,” Kessler said. “I guess he got no positive response. At this point he’s not going to fight whether or not there’s going to be a divorce.”

It ain’t like he had grounds to contest the divorce, noway.

Louisiana black caucus appeals to Gov. Blanco

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Hat Tip: By Sherrell Wheeler Stewart, BlackAmericaWeb

The Louisiana Legislative Black Caucus asked Gov. Kathleen Blanco to intervene in the case of the Jena Six, but the governor maintains that state law prevents her from acting at this time.

Black Caucus Chairman  Rep. Juan LaFonta wrote Blanco a letter on Monday and said he spoke with the governor personally to ask for clemency for Mychal Bell, a 17-year-old jailed following his conviction in connection with a Dec. 4 fight that followed a series of racially charged incidents in the small town of Jena, Louisiana.

“The next thing for us to do is look at the appellate process and look at what can be done through the Legislature,” LaFonta, a New Orleans Democrat, told BlackAmericaWeb.com.

Bell is one of six black youths to face criminal charges in connection with the fight with a white student at Jena High School. He is the first to be convicted and is scheduled for sentencing on Sept. 20. Also on that date, thousands are expected to descend on the central Louisiana town to rally for justice in the case of the youths dubbed the Jena Six.

Earlier this week, a LaSalle Parish judge reduced the charges against Robert Bailey. His attorney, Jim Boren, told BlackAmericaWeb.com that Bailey still faces one charge for aggravated assault and charges of second degree battery and conspiracy to commit the same.

Bailey also faces charges from an incident where a white male pulled a gun on him. He took the gun from the man and was “charged with theft and aggravated assault of the person he took the gun from,” Boren said.

Last month, Judge J.P. Mauffray reduced charges filed against Carwin Jones and Theo Shaw. He also reduced an additional charge against Bell. Weeks after the attempted murder charge was dropped, the judge vacated Bell’s conspiracy conviction, his attorney, Louis Scott, told BlackAmericaWeb.com.

Charges have not been reduced for Bryant Purvis and an unnamed juvenile.

The fight at school that resulted in the criminal charges followed months of incidents touched off in August when blacks sat under a tree used as a regular gathering place for white students. The next day, three nooses were hung from that tree. The white students who hung the nooses were suspended from school for a few days. The black students in the school fight were expelled from school, arrested and jailed. They also had bonds ranging as high as $130,000. 

In a statement from Blanco made available to BlackAmericaWeb.com, the governor said, “I must clear up a widespread misunderstanding of my authority in this case. Our State Constitution provides for three branches of state government — Legislative, Executive and Judicial — and the Constitution prohibits anyone in one branch from exercising the powers of anyone in another branch.  This issue is currently a matter in the Judicial System, and should those involved in this case suffer any defects, it is their right to address them in that system through the appeals court.”

According to state law, the Louisiana governor can grant a pardon, but only after a person has been convicted and sentenced, said Marie Centanni, Blanco’s press secretary. The person must apply for a pardon and have that case reviewed by the Board of Pardons, who would make a recommendation to the governor.

Louisiana officials have received requests for intervention on several levels.

In addition to the call for clemency for Bell, national leaders also have called for both the investigation of the district attorney’s office in LaSalle Parish and for the dismissal — and even disbarment — for District Attorney Reed Walters.

According to several published reports, Walters visited the school during the unrest last fall and told students, “I could end your lives with the stroke of a pen.”

Boyce Watkins, a Syracuse University professor and political commentator, said Walters’ comments are examples of his abuse of power and further evidence of a trend to ruin the lives of young people.

“I have seen black men get railroaded by prosecutors. I want to fight for them,” Watkins told BlackAmericaWeb.com.

Also the Rev. Al Sharpton has said he wants the state attorney general and judicial oversight agencies to investigate the actions of Walters.

Repeated attempts by BlackAmericaWeb.com to reach Walters have been unsuccessful.

Under Louisiana Law, district attorneys are elected by voters in their parish. “A D.A. can be popular and powerful in their parish,” Scott said. “You have to remember they answer mainly to the voters who elect them.” 

According to the Louisiana Secretary of State’s office, there are 8,798 voters in LaSalle Parish. Of that number — 7,998 are white and 661 are black. Most of the them are Democrats.

A spokeswoman for the Louisiana Attorney General Charles Foti Jr. said it is very rare that a district attorney is removed from office in that state.

Watkins said Walter’s conduct warrants not only removal from office but disbarment. He has started a petition and said he plans to present it to the Louisiana governor and other state officials.

“If Mike Nifong can be disbarred for his handling of the case involving the rich boys at Duke, then certainly this guy is eligible for disbarment,” Watkins said, referring to the former prosecutor who led in bringing charges against members of the Duke University lacrosse team.

“If you’re a prophetess, didn’t you see this coming?”

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Tom Joyner

Prophetess Bynum talked all around it and never answered the direct question posed by Tom Joyner, on the Tom Joyner Morning Show.    I wasn’t terribly impressed with the gist of her answer.  The only thing that mollified me was the clarity of her opinion that a woman is NEVER to stay in a physically abusive relationship.   She was honest and said that she filed for divorce in 2005 and pulled back because of who she was, I will give her that.   I hope that in her new ministry, after the divorce is over, that she can really come clean and lay it all out so that people can understand how this happens and how to keep it from happening.   ESSENCE magazine will be doing a December cover on the Prophetess, and she said that she will be at liberty to say more then.  I commend Tom for this interview and for asking the questions that needed to be asked.  Also discussed was her support for Barack Obama and that she has been asked to be a surrogate for the candidate and will do some traveling on his behalf.