As Survivors Dwindle, Tulsa Confronts Past

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As Survivors Dwindle, Tulsa Confronts Past


TULSA, Okla. — With their guns firing, a mob of white men charged across the train tracks that cut a racial border through this city. A 4-year-old boy named Wess Young fled into the darkness with his mother and sister in search of safety, returning the next day to discover that their once-thriving black community had burned to the ground.

Ninety years later, Mr. Young lives not far from where he lost his home that day. He is part of the dwindling ranks of the living who can recollect what may be the deadliest occurrence of racial violence in United States history — an episode so brutal that this city, in a bout of collective amnesia that extended more than a half-century, simply chose to forget it ever happened.

The Tulsa race riot of 1921 was rarely mentioned in history books, classrooms or even in private. Blacks and whites alike grew into middle age unaware of what had taken place.

Ever since the story was unearthed by historians and revealed in uncompromising detail in a state government report a decade ago — it estimated that up to 300 people were killed and more than 8,000 left homeless — the black men and women who lived through the events have watched with renewed hope as others worked for some type of justice on their behalf.

But even as the city observed the 90th anniversary this month, the efforts to secure recognition and compensation have produced a mixed record of success.

The riot will be taught for the first time in Tulsa public schools next year but remains absent in many history textbooks across the United States. Civic leaders built monuments to acknowledge the riot, including a new Reconciliation Park, but in the wake of failed legislative and legal attempts, no payments were ever delivered for what was lost.


They Want to Make Voting Harder?

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They Want to Make Voting Harder?

One of the most promising recent trends in expanding political participation has been allowing people to vote in the weeks before Election Day, either in person or by mail. Early voting, which enables people to skip long lines and vote at more convenient times, has been increasingly popular over the last 15 years. It skyrocketed to a third of the vote in 2008, rising particularly in the South and among black voters supporting Barack Obama.

And that, of course, is why Republican lawmakers in the South are trying desperately to cut it back. Two states in the region have already reduced early-voting periods, and lawmakers in others are considering doing so. It is the latest element of a well-coordinated effort by Republican state legislators across the country to disenfranchise voters who tend to support Democrats, particularly minorities and young people.

The biggest part of that effort, imposing cumbersome requirements that voters have a government ID, has been painted as a response to voter fraud, an essentially nonexistent problem. But Republican lawmakers also have taken a good look at voting patterns, realized that early voting might have played a role in Mr. Obama’s 2008 victory, and now want to reduce that possibility in 2012.

Mr. Obama won North Carolina, for example, by less than 15,000 votes. That state has had early voting since 2000, and in 2008, more ballots were cast before Election Day than on it. Mr. Obama won those early votes by a comfortable margin. So it is no coincidence that the North Carolina House passed a measure — along party lines — that would cut the early voting period by a week, reducing it to a week and a half before the election. The Senate is preparing a similar bill, which we hope Gov. Beverly Perdue, a Democrat, will veto if it reaches her.


Why, Why, Why

Why, Why, Why do we press harder on a remote control when we know the batteries are getting weak?

Why do banks charge a fee due to insufficient funds when they already know you’re broke?

Why is it that when someone tells you that there are one billion stars in the universe, you believe them but, if they tell you there is wet paint, you have to touch it to check?

Why do they use sterilised needles for lethal injections?

Why doesn’t Tarzan have a beard?

Why does Superman stop bullets with his chest, but ducks when you throw a revolver at him?

Why did Kamikaze pilots wear helmets?

Whose cruel idea was it to put an “s” in the word “lisp”?

Why is it that, no matter what colour bubble bath you use, the bubbles are always white?

Is there ever a day that mattresses are not on sale?

Why do people constantly return to the refrigerator with hopes that something new to eat will have materialised?

Why do people run over a string a dozen times with their vacuum cleaner, then reach down, pick it up, examine it, then put it down to give the vacuum one more chance?

Why is it that no plastic trash bag will open from the first end you try?

How do those dead bugs get into enclosed light fixtures?

When we are in the supermarket and someone rams our ankle with a shopping cart, then apologises for doing so, why do we say, “It’s all right”? Well, it isn’t all right, so why don’t we say, “That really hurt, why don’t you watch where you’re going?”

Why is it that whenever you attempt to catch something that’s falling off the table you always manage to knock something else over?

Why, in winter, do we try to keep the house as warm as it was in summer when we complained about the heat?

How come you never hear father-in-law jokes?

Do you ever wonder why you gave me your e-mail address in the first place?


The statistics on sanity say that one out of every four persons is suffering from some sort of mental illness. Think of your three best friends.

If they’re OK, then it’s you.

**A day without a smile is like a day without sunshine! And a day without sunshine is, like, night.**



Bad breaks push Barber back to football

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Bad breaks push Barber back to football


Last Updated: 10:02 AM, May 5, 2011

Posted: 2:40 AM, May 5, 2011

The emptiness paralyzed Tiki Barber to the point where getting out of bed to face the day was overwhelming. One of the greatest New York Giants of them all barely could move.

There was no drive, no incentive, no reason to go anywhere, be anywhere. No real purpose to serve. Tiki Barber, his football exploits ended by his own accord, his marriage dissolving and his television career in tatters, was melting down.

“I thought, not that I had it all figured out, I thought that I had the right plan,” Barber said yesterday in an exclusive interview with The Post. “The problem with thinking and believing wholeheartedly that you have the right plan is if you’re wrong, you’ve gone all-in. And then when that falls by the wayside, you’re stuck, like I was. I won’t say depressed, but it’s kind of like I was depressed. I was still social, interacting with people, but I didn’t FEEL anything.”

The man who believed to his very core that he had squeezed everything he ever needed out of football is now pulling an end-around, for the sake of feeling something again. Four years removed from his last NFL rushing attempt and light years removed from the seemingly perfect life he had designed for himself, Barber at age 36 and admittedly humbled some, is again putting his body through the grind to prepare for another season.


Obama gets Osama?

Obama gets Osama?




Uh huh.


Flashback to some accidental truth from 2007.





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City Vows to Fight Suits in Central Park

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City Vows to Fight Suits in Central Park Jogger Case


New York City is refusing to settle lawsuits brought by the five men whose convictions in the Central Park jogger case were overturned after they spent years in prison.

“The charges against the plaintiffs and other youths were based on abundant probable cause, including confessions that withstood intense scrutiny, in full and fair pretrial hearings and at two lengthy public trials,” Celeste Koeleveld, executive assistant corporation counsel for public safety, said in a statement on Tuesday.

“Nothing unearthed since the trials, including Matias Reyes’s connection to the attack on the jogger, changes that fact,” Ms. Koeleveld added, referring to the man who later confessed to being the attacker.

The statement came in response to a news conference on Tuesday during which Councilman Charles Barron, as well as two of the men whose convictions were vacated, criticized the city for refusing to settle the lawsuits, the first of which was filed by three of the men in Federal District Court in Manhattan in 2003.

The five men, who are each seeking $50 million in damages, and their supporters say the city has been unwilling to even entertain settlement negotiations. Tuesday was the 22nd anniversary of the attack on the jogger.

“We believe firmly that their families have suffered tremendously emotionally,” Mr. Barron said in an interview on Tuesday evening. “They have suffered economically, and the city should pay compensation and settle out of court and not put them through a trial.”

Two of the men, Raymond Santana Jr. and Kharey Wise, attended the news conference, held on the steps of City Hall, Mr. Barron said.

The five confessed on videotape to the attack in 1989, and they were convicted at trial. The men later said their confessions had been coerced.

More than a decade after the attack, Robert M. Morgenthau, the Manhattan district attorney at the time, ordered a new investigation of the case after DNA evidence showed that one man, Mr. Reyes, had committed the attack and Mr. Reyes confessed to it. A Manhattan judge vacated the convictions at Mr. Morgenthau’s recommendation.

The lawsuit names 15 plaintiffs, including the 5 men and their family members. Ms. Koeleveld said the city was “proceeding with a vigorous defense of the detectives and prosecutors, and the hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars that each of the five plaintiffs and their family members are seeking.”


Charter School Champion Shifts Focus

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Charter School Champion Shifts Focus


Green Dot, the schools group based in Los Angeles that challenged conventional practices by staffing its charter schools with unionized teachers, is going through a divorce with its founder, Steve Barr, who is leaving to build a new national charter group.

On Friday, Mr. Barr and Shane Martin, the college dean who succeeded him as chairman of the Green Dot board in 2009, issued a joint statement announcing that Mr. Barr would no longer use the Green Dot name as he sought to open charter schools in New York and elsewhere.

The Green Dot organization will continue, under the leaders who have replaced Mr. Barr, to run its network of 16 charter schools in Los Angeles.

Mr. Barr’s exit left somewhat unclear the status of the Green Dot New York Charter School, which he helped organize in the Bronx in 2007 as a collaboration with the United Federation of Teachers.

Marco Petruzzi, who succeeded Mr. Barr as chief executive of Green Dot in 2008, said through a spokeswoman that Green Dot had provided curriculum and other educational services to the Bronx school and would continue to do so.

But Michael Mulgrew, the teachers’ federation president, said it would be up to the Bronx charter’s nine-member board of directors to decide whether the school’s future relationship would be with Mr. Barr’s group, or with Green Dot’s management.

Two Queens school bus drivers were busted Thursday for having fraudulently obtained licenses as the city cracks down after a bus crash that killed 15 people.

Deal on Stalled Condo Project Is First

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Deal on Stalled Condo Project Is First Under a City Program


In the summer of 2009, city officials began a $20 million program that would allow developers to convert stalled condominium sites into moderate-income housing. The initial response was tepid, as many developers and investors clung to the hope that the New York housing market would rebound.

Now, nearly two years later, the city has closed on its first deal under the program, which was the brainchild of City Council Speaker Christine C. Quinn, officials announced on Monday. The weed-choked lot at 382 Lefferts Avenue in the Prospect-Lefferts Gardens neighborhood of Brooklyn, originally envisioned as the site of a 26-unit condo building, will instead have a 46-unit rental apartment building for middle-income residents. To be eligible as tenants, households of four cannot earn more than $79,200 a year.

Rafael E. Cestero, head of the city’s Housing Preservation and Development Department, said his agency had also approved four other projects totaling 220 units, though financing on each had yet to close. The agency is reviewing four additional projects, Mr. Cestero said, but their collective costs would exceed the program’s remaining financing.

Still, the program’s reach remains modest; the Department of Buildings has calculated that there are about 672 stalled construction sites citywide, up from 572 a year ago.

Construction at 382 Lefferts Avenue began in September 2007 and stalled a year later. The lender, the Community Preservation Corporation, then started to foreclose, city officials said.

Last year, the developer, Tali Realty L.L.C., applied for the city plan, called the Housing Asset Renewal Program, and was allocated a $2.9 million subsidy. Mr. Cestero said the lender refinanced its loan, waiving $350,000 in fees and penalties and writing down the loan’s value by $115,000, or 10 percent of the principal. Under the program’s rules, the city’s per-unit subsidy could not exceed $75,000; in the case of 382 Lefferts, it was $64,463.





Herman Cain Turns His Back on the Africa


Drinking From the White Fountain: Tea Party Candidate Herman Cain Turns His Back on the African-American Community

In New Hampshire, the stump speech of presidential hopeful Herman Cain revealed him as an apologist for white racism.READ MORE

Chauncey DeVega / AlterNet