Wednesday, June 25, 2008

US Courts reject child rape law


Is Child rape < Death Penalty?

In a recent decision, the United States Supreme Court has banned a Louisiana law that would permit capital punishment for someone convicted of raping a child. Justices in favor of striking down the law won by a vote of 5-4.

The court said the Louisiana law would have violated the US constitution’s ban on “cruel and unusual punishment”.

“The death penalty is not a proportional punishment for the rape of a child,” wrote Justice Anthony Kennedy in his majority opinion. (BBC News)

Case Background

Patrick Kennedy, a man from suburban New Orleans, was sentenced to death after being convicted of raping his eight-year-old stepdaughter. He has contended since the assault occurred in March 1998 that it was committed by two neighborhood boys. His attorneys have said he refused to plead guilty when a deal was offered to spare him from a death sentence.

The Louisiana Supreme Court affirmed the imposition of the death sentence, noting that, although the U.S. Supreme Court had struck down capital punishment for rape of an adult woman in Coker v. Georgia, that ruling did not apply when the victim was a child. Rather, the Louisiana Supreme Court applied a balancing test set out by the Court in Atkins v. Virginia and Roper v. Simmons, first examining whether there is a national consensus on the punishment and then considering whether the court would find the punishment excessive. In this case, the Louisiana Supreme Court felt that the adoption of similar laws in five other states, coupled with the unique vulnerability of children, justified imposing the death penalty.

Wale - "The Artistic Integrity"

Props to Wale for breakin' in the game.

I say "breaking" because that is the prerequisite for reaching the masses nowadays. Hope the rest of his work is on par with this here. What I've heard so far I'm cool with though. Peep the video.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Exhibitions of a Video Vixen, they can see you!!

Lately I have begun to concede that I'm somewhat attractive. I say concede because I believe it's not for me to decide. Just yesterday I was hit on twice in the span of three seconds; meaning one pair of girlfriends had to interrupt another pair of girlfriends. Never seen that happen before. I thought I was merely 'alright' (or 'enough to get by') but again I guess that's not my call to make. Anyway, I say this because these approaches occur in spurts and sure enough as I walked the subway platform ('cause parking downtown is a mutha) text-messaging my homegirl, I noticed two girls sitting on the bench at which I usually wait. Happens.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

South Africa declares Chinese people Black

Newly Black Chinese South African
“Everybody want to be Black but don’t nobody want to be Black.” ~ Paul Mooney


In a recent decision, the High Court in South Africa officially reclassified Chinese South Africans as black people. Since the end of apartheid 14 years ago, affirmative action polices aimed at improving the standard of living for black people have generally excluded ethnic Chinese South Africans. And though popularly regarded as white and at one time officially classified as people of mixed race, The Chinese Associations of South Africa pushed its application to the high court citing discrimination against its members.

South Africa’s ethnic Chinese population is estimated around 200,000. Chinese activists say they also fought against apartheid. Meanwhile the association stated that discrimination against Chinese South Africans was prevalent during apartheid and that still today its members often fail to attain job promotions or business contracts because they are regarded as whites.

The BBC’s Mpho Lakaje in Johannesburg says the Broad-Based Economic Empowerment and the Employment Equity Acts were designed to eradicate the legacy of apartheid which left many black people impoverished.

The laws give people classed as blacks, Indians and coloureds (mixed-race) employment and other economic benefits over other racial groups.

The Black Economic Employment concept was initiated by the governing ANC to help previously disadvantaged individuals - to start their own businesses or become part of existing companies - thus redressing the country’s historic inequalities.

A study released last month revealed that white South Africans still earn around 450% more than their black counterparts, 14 years after the end of apartheid.

The association pointed to the case of an oil company making the nation’s largest empowerment transaction and excluding Chinese saying they were not covered in the classification codes. As well, the association presented a case from two years ago in which a Chinese national was refused the opportunity to buy shares from the Johannesburg Stock Exchange.

Of the three government agencies named as respondents, none offered any opposition to the application.

Lil' Wayne Sells One Million (in a Week)

Lil Wayne frolics in air on TVUm... congrats?

Your favorite raspy rapper has gone platinum in one week. Selling one million copies since its June 10 release "The Carter III", Wayne's sixth album, gives him the best debut so far this year. The last album to sell one million in its debut week was "The Massacre" by 50 Cent. No album in 2006 broke 800,000 copies sold in its first week out. Kanye West's 2007 effort "Graduation" was a mere 50,000 shy of the platinum mark selling 957,000 in its first week despite the competition from Curtis (no pun intended).
Celtics Win 17th NBA Title

Celtics in NBA Championship"What you expect?!"
The anticipation was built. The broadcasting network seemed all to eager to display their video montages of slow-motion highlights set to grandiose scores fitting a John Williams dream. Phil Jackson hoping to win his 10th Finals to surpass Red Auerbach (famous Celtics coach) in playoff series won. The Celtics poised to win the NBA Finals avoiding Game 7 and earning their 17th NBA title and first championship in 22 years.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Tiger Captures a Dramatic 3rd U.S. Open

Tiger holds 3rd US Open trophy "...the best player that ever played."

Rocco Mediate described Tiger Woods as such Sunday following the number one ranked player's clutch birdie (one below par) putt to force an 18-hole playoff Monday. Tiger had been one stroke behind the leader, made a few flawed shots on the final hole of what was the final round but stunned all with a bumpy 12-foot putt to finish with a share of the lead. The resulting playoff was possibly the greatest match seen in decades at the U.S. Open.

Monday, June 16, 2008

‘Chu Know About That?: So Fresh and So Clean

Red wine spills on carpet

“If you don’t know, you betta ask somebody… BABY!!”

As I grow older there are certain things that I’m actually starting to understand, or even more frightening, they are starting to make sense to me. Of course these are the harmless but tacky parts of our culture that i’m sure only we (you know which ‘we’) do, but still I should probably let them fall by the wayside. Though just to make sure none of these would ever come to pass, I started checking with my girl to see what she thought of them. Also to make sure she knew about them, cus some times you think something is Black famous and then you find out somebody’s card is in jeopardy. [Hold up... JUST to break it down. Black famous is best summed up in that reaction you get when you mention someone like (i don't know) Gerald Levert to members of the 'ethnic majority' versus the reaction you'd get asking us if we knew who he was.] The following things have been deemed Black famous:

Plastic Couch Covers

I’m not sure when this began. However at some point, we (people) decided we needed to preserve our furniture for … hell, i don’t know. Now that i think about it, it’s not like we took the covers off when there was a party … or ever. Nor did we only put it on for guests, so really for whom were we saving these seats. My girl said “You know, i always wondered about the plastic. I mean, what are you doing to these couches that you need to protect them like that? It’s like you’re saying you’re that nasty.”

Cushy Bathroom Toilet Seat

Honestly, I always knew just how old the residents where when i saw this seat. And/or how ghetto, Nobody under 35 has one of those in their house. BUT i’m not gone lie… that cushy toilet seat was never cold. The whole rest of the house could be cooler than Freddy Jackson sippin’ a milkshake in a snowstorm (c~Outkast) but that seat was still warm (and soft). Granted maybe it denotes that somebody was spending far too much time poppin’ a squat, but hey, at least they were comfortable. However, why is it that that seat never matched anything. And i don’t just mean in the bathroom, i mean anything… ever.

Plastic Walkway

Had to come back to this one, mainly cus there may be people that don’t have the plastic on the couch thinking they high-sadiddy, but d*mn sure have that walk way covering some piece of carpet that no feet will ever touch again. Why? Maybe folks just walk there that much. Maybe nobody takes their shoes off. Which i find hard to believe knowing that when we have some new carpet can’t nobody walk on it. How they’re supposed to get to where they need to go… walk along the edges, take big steps, or… stay on the plastic trail.

Manual Blackout

Now this one right here used to piss me off. It could be the lightest rain ever. Or at best thundering way off in the distance. The TV, the lights, the radio, the fan, the VCR (am i missing something) all had to be off (and depending on how close the storm was unplugged). Did it plug in… turn it off. Was it expensive… turn it off? Could lightening unbelievably jump through the closed window and make it explode without catching anything else on fire… turn it off. You know who the only person who doesn’t do it in my family is… my mom. Sure enough she lost a laptop when lightening struck the outside of the particular outlet it was plugged into and shorted it out. Chances?!

The Museum Room

So beautiful. One could go so far as to claim it pristine, if you will. Scratch that; it is pristine. Know why? Cus NOBODY EVER USES THIS ROOM FOR ANYTHING!!! It’s there to be looked at by guests. And even they don’t use the room. I mean sure if Obama was coming to dinner MAYBE, just MAYBE you may actually see what this room looks like from the inside. That’s right, you can’t even walk in this room. You d*mn near got yelled at for even thinking about that room. Breathing all that room’s good air. Best gone somewhere with that!


I bring these gems of our culture up because I know as we rise and educate and advance ourselves, they will fall by the wayside. I know i will use every room i ever have. JUST cus i can. Hahaha! But that doesn’t mean I might not pull one of these just so my kids can know of these experiences first hand. Of course I mean my eventual kids… yeah, there are a few things i will put them through just so they have the experience. Tsk Tsk Tsk.

I say this as if some of you might do the same. I would hope most of you are familiar with one or more of these few strands in the dashiki that is 'our' culture. In fact, you know you have at least one relative for each of these things. Don’t lie. You may have plastic on yo couch right now! Hell, I turn out the lights anytime a lightening strikes uncomfortably close to my place. And I won’t be mad if i catch my kids doing it one day too. One less laptop to replace.

P.S.> Yes, the pic is an example of the opposite end of the spectrum.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

One man’s trash…

Stevie Wonder blessing the keys.

Recently came across this Stevie Wonder throwaway clip from 1974 thanks to ?uestlove. He may not blog that often, but he definitely makes up for it with the quality rather than quantity. Now, the cautionary tone in his words were straight out of The Ring. “If you listen to this, you will die!” Ok, ok, really it was more like “…you will not stop listening to this… for seven days!”

My dumbass went and played it not realizing he meant that!! No, no. Correction!! He meant, ‘You may be late to work listening to this at home. You may not pay enough attention to your girl analyzing the changes and appreciating Stevie’s impeccable vocals, thus leaving you lonely. But you won’t care. You’ve got this tease of musical greatness to keep you warm; make you remember what music could be.’ ::sigh:: Please understand that my life has been measured in 45 second intervals for the past week.
Now, you may have a chance at freedom from the clutches of this clip in that the one provided here for you will not repeat (unlike Mr. Thompson’s post - good job, sir). Hopefully, for your sake, you come away with the feeling that this bit of aural pleasure was over-hyped. Something to the effect of, “It’s not really all that. I don’t know why Rev was trippin’. Where’s my Usher album?”
In that case, you probably aren’t listening to it right. Just like folks that say sex is overrated probably aren’t doing it right (or they’re partners suck - or don’t - i digress). Nevertheless, I bestow upon you the credit you deserve. Thus assuming you can appreciate even 1/3 of the music in this 45 second clip, you will probably react as my boy did when I told him about it. In fact I’ll leave you with that convo:

The Reverend (3:50:35 AM): i am tempted not to do this to you… cus i know u will listen to this
The Reverend (3:50:38 AM): TOO much
The Reverend (3:50:49 AM): [Stevie Wonder - 1974 snippet]
Homey (3:50:49 AM): dont do it
The Reverend (3:50:54 AM): aw
The Reverend (3:50:57 AM): don’t click on it then
The Reverend (3:50:59 AM): save yourself
The Reverend (3:51:02 AM): it will consume you
Homey (3:51:09 AM): but its right there
Homey (3:51:12 AM): i have to click on it
The Reverend (3:51:16 AM): noooo
The Reverend (3:51:21 AM): you have so much to live for
Homey (3:51:30 AM): but its right there tho
Homey (3:51:34 AM): you didnt have to do it..
The Reverend (3:51:43 AM): ok, read… this first
The Reverend (3:52:09 AM): [?uestlove's OkayPlayer Blog Post]
The Reverend (3:52:18 AM): this is the closest i can do to prepare you and warn you
The Reverend (3:53:07 AM): and unlike the link i clicked, the one i sent you won’t automatically play it on repeat
The Reverend (3:53:14 AM): so maybe if you only hear it once you may escape
Homey (3:54:51 AM): wtf
Homey (3:55:01 AM): why the fuck would you do that tho…
Homey (3:55:06 AM): its fucking stevie wonder
Homey (3:55:13 AM): not some schmuck
The Reverend (3:55:47 AM): HAHAHAHAHA
Homey (3:56:04 AM): thats not even conceivable

Sidenote: Definitely cop that “Songs In the Key of Life” by Sir Steveland. I’m currently jamming “Summer Soft” but other favorites include “Knocks Me Off My Feet”, “As”, “I Wish” and pretty soon “All Day Sucker”.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

The Storm Is Over (for) Now

Teary R. Kelly waves to fans as he exits courts

Synopsis: “Thank you, Jesus!”

Yes, those were the words repeated over and over by R. Kelly (aka Kels) as the final few counts were delivered by the official Friday according to one of his attorneys, Sam Adam Jr. Originally indicted on June 6, 2002 on 21 counts of sexual intercourse with a minor these were eroded over six years to 14 counts soliciting a minor for child pornography. If convicted, 41-year old R. Kelly faced up to 15 years. (Yes, Public Announcement was a long time ago.)

After seven hours of deliberation, the jury of nine men and three women acquitted Kelly on all counts. Apparently the jury (four black, eight white) remained as divided throughout deliberation as they began - seven voting not guilty, five voting guilty. The “burden of proof” was on the prosecution. Jurors cited the ambiguity as to the identities of those on the tape. Notably, whether or not the 23-year old on the stand was the same individual as the minor in the video.

“You want to be 100 percent sure it’s Kelly and (the alleged victim),” one juror said. “What we had wasn’t enough.”

Another juror said prosecutors left too many questions unanswered.

“All of us felt very much the grayness of this case,” he said.

Several jurors said one weakness in the prosecution’s case was that neither the alleged victim nor her parents testified.

The alleged victim’s family also presented a puzzle for the jury; three relatives testified they did not recognize her as the female on the tape, while other relatives said she was on the tape. (AP/M. Tarm)

The defense also painted the alleged victim as an extortionist stating that in exchange for her silence she allegedly requested hundreds of thousands of dollars from Kelly. Also claiming she at one point stole a $20,000 watch from the famed South Side Chicago native. Kelly was visibly emotional wiping tears as the verdict was read. Also, holding hands with his flanking body guards as he exited the court.


Kels better pray. All of this is over for now. As we all know, the next thing to happen is Kels will do something strangely confessional such as … i don’t know… calling yourself the Pied-Piper of R&B. And just like that, Kels goes on that list of people you would not leave yo’ kids around. Mike (Michael Jackson), as much as I love Off The Wall you are on that list too. Now i’m not saying you (Mike) did anything, but i could believe it if you did.

Kels,.. ::sigh:: …I seen that there tape, mayn. Now I’ma put it like Ed Gordon did (back when BET had News anchors): “Unless you got a real twin, it would be hard for anyone not to believe it was you on that video.” That said, you need to do two things… never utter the word “girl” again in reference to anything or anybody and sing yo ass off. Sing for your life. Like how Kobe played better during his case than he ever did. Pray that album in July is the jam. You may be claiming the “King” title now, but you need to hit that “legendary” status… so folks will forget. (Ok, maybe not forget… but let this sli-i-i-ide. Best make that live tour the jam too.)

Sunday, June 08, 2008

Fail: ???????

No Photo Available

It’s quiet. A little too quiet.

So I had in mind who Failed this week, but on second thought their shortcomings weren’t that crucial. In fact, their perspective follows a predictable line of logic they have been up to for months. Also, most of it revolved around Hillary again (and two Fails is beating a dead horse - where did this saying come from, who was out beating dead horses?). Whether it be Bob Johnson’s “please baby please” urging for Senator Obama to select his favorite blonde as VP or the millions (::like The Rock fans:: “and millions”) of people who are seriously considering voting for McCain just because Haterade didn’t seal the deal, AfroThought is beyond wasting a fail on them. However we’ve mentioned a larger looming darkness… (”Darkeness is spreading”).

Thankful as we are, it has been at tad long since the last Black embarrassment. You know the moment i mean. You hear a news report about some fool whose blunder made it to the national stage and all you are thinking is “Please don’t be Black; please don’t be Black, please don’t be … d*mn D*mn D*MN (shaking Good Times style)!!” Sure enough. Now you’re hoping there is some angle that this brotha’s actions were understandable but of course there isn’t. Not even close. Like the DC sniper. For the remainder of history brothas can no longer go… “somebody sniping folks? Mayn, white folks are crazy.” That there was a stereotype you could have left alone. A glass ceiling window, basement window (with bars over it), that was perfectly fine in tact.

So who’s it going to be? More so… when? If possible can it hold off ’til December? And Mr. Embarrasment can you not be famous? As in, all you celebrity’s and public figures stop f*ckin’ up for the next six months. I know that’s alot to ask. I know you it pains you to go through everyday knowing you are passing up perfectly good moments to throw your life away. But please, just give us til December. Now, why am I so paranoid? Well, think about it. We’re doing pretty well this year. Last thing i can really think of was Vick and that was late ‘07 really so that doesn’t count. Did the Source Awards pass already? I know we have the BET awards later this month. How about we ride this thang on out? There are plenty of dumb ninjas out there waiting to be an embarrassment to themselves, their family and their people. How about we just be cool? That’s what we do. Ain’t a day I’m not proud of how cool we can be. Let’s just bank on that real quick. At least til December or even the start of ‘09. After that there inauguration, do you. Alright, then. Ready… break.

Saturday, June 07, 2008

Boondocks Season 2 punks BET

Boondocks Season 2

"Bask in the Thugnificence!"

So I was going to save this bit of news, but for those of you who don't know... The Boondocks Season 2 drops Tuesday. For those of you not up on The Boondocks, you are sooooooooo missing out. Consider your Black card in jeopardy.
Clinton Endorses Obama

Clinton endorses Obama

“Ain’t no stoppin’ us now…”

In a speech this afternoon, Senator Hillary Clinton officially withdrew from the race for the Democratic party nomination and endorsed Senator Barack Obama. The announcement of today’s speech came only a couple days ago but already much anticipation and even more speculation surrounded the event. Amongst a crowd of supporters Hillary offered the following in her 28-minute address…

“The way to continue our fight now to accomplish the goals for which we stand is to take our energy, our passion, our strength and do all we can to help elect Barack Obama, the next president of the United States.

Today as I suspend my campaign, I congratulate him on the victory he has won and the extraordinary race he has run. I endorse him and throw my full support behind him and I ask of you to join me in working as hard for Barack Obama as you have for me.”

Many have questioned the future of Senator Clinton following her concession. Interviews with supporters offer a range of guesses including Vice President and cabinet member. Additionally, Obama was reported to have privately met with Senator Clinton days ago though the topic of discussion remains unclear.

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Clinton to Drop Presidential Bid

Clinton to withdraw Saturday

Literally, not a moment too soon.

Reports from the Clinton campaign announce that she will concede her party’s nomination Saturday and endorse Senator Obama. A conference call to senior Democrats was among the turning points in her stance. She still has yet to publicly admit she lost the contest. However, all primaries have concluded and Clinton remains short of the necessary delegate count needed to become the Democratic nominee. Supporters were stunned in her speech as Obama claimed victory in which she seemed determined as ever to press onward.

Many (including we here at AfroThought) have speculated that her prolonged campaign was a tactic to position herself as the prominent choice for Vice President. Public opinion seems mixed about an Obama-Clinton ticket. While some feel it would unite the party, others feel she would negate the “change” so desired by the Obama campaign. It is however clear that Obama needs a running mate with foriegn policy experience, as well as experience in Washington. However many more see Clinton as far too polarizing a figure to aide the Obama ticket. Her active endorsement will definitely be much needed among the voting groups with which Obama has had difficulty. Clinton has expressed strong commitment to do “whatever it takes” to makes sure her party wins in November.

Obama Clinches Democratic Nomination

Obama clinches Democratic nomination

“Who’s the man with the masterplan?!”

In a historic occasion last night, Senator Barack Obama officially declared himself the Democratic party’s presumptive nominee. Following the primaries in both Montana and South Dakota, the Illinois senator crossed the threshold of 2,118 necessary delegates needed to clinch to nomination. Obama is expected to have an estimated 2,156 delegates garnered not only by the primaries but also an influx of super-delegates.

In the past week, in effort to bring the heavily contested democratic nomination race to an end, the Obama campaign reached out to super-delegates who were on the fence or leaning in the direction of his campaign to make endorsements; thus receiving backing from super-delegates in Oregon, Colorado, Guam, Wyoming, California and Texas. The results of the primaries split as expected were still enough to push Obama well beyond the needed delegates. In fact, it has been reported for weeks that Obama could lose every remaining primary with a 40-60 margin and still clinch the nomination. Now June 3, 2008, he has made history as the first African-American to clinch a major party’s Presidential nomination.

Sunday, June 01, 2008

As-Dunkin’ Alaykum

Rachael Ray in extremist scarf

“First off, f#@k your b!tch and the click you claim!!”

So apparently Dunkin’ Donuts wants to make you imbibe terrorism (one over-portioned ice coffee at a time). Apparently the scarf in an ad featuring their mascot Rachael Ray (that’s right… i said mascot, what?!) has sparked anti-terrorism sentiments in a right-wing blogger who managed to fan it into her 15seconds of fame (no one has minutes of fame anymore). The black and white scarf supposedly is too similar to a traditional Arab keffiyeh. Why is that a problem?, you ask. Naturally your average American assumes ‘remotely similar to Arab’ equals terrorist, thus complaints arose that the scarf was the same kind worn by extremists and thus gives some the impression Dunkin’ is supporting their views.

“Fashion statements may seem insignificant, but when they lead to the mainstreaming of violence - unintentionally or not - they matter,” Ms Malkin has written.

Mainstreaming of violence?! You think a silky scarf is corrupting society. Wow!! And do u think black cats worship the devil?! (Response is probably “No, just their owners”). In this action-blockbuster per weekend, shoot-first-spread-democracy-later presidency, ‘dead-nine-is-a-headline’ country we live in, you really think violence can be any more mainstreamed by a silky scarf? Or worse that the silky scarf promotes terrorism? ‘Terror eye for the straight guy?’ That’s just over-sensitive. I’m not even gone add a qualifier to explicitly make that editorial, no, i’m stating that sh*t as fact. As in, I hope a majority of people would be afraid to know there are people that agree with you working near them, sleeping by them, shopping where they shop. Be afraid. Raise the alert to a metro-sexual pastel.