Mychal Bell Freed on $45k Bail

28 09 2007

The Associated Press has reported Mychal Bell was released on $45,000 bail only a day after District Attorney Reed Walters relented in appealing the court’s decision to have Bell’s case tried in juvenile court instead of adult court. Interestingly enough, the bail was reduced from its initial from $90,000 to $45,000.

In his op-ed in the New York Times Reed Walters explained

Only the intervention of an uninvolved student protected Mr. Barker from severe injury or death. There was serious bodily harm inflicted with a dangerous weapon — the definition of aggravated second-degree battery. Mr. Bell’s conviction on that charge as an adult has been overturned, but I considered adult status appropriate because of his role as the instigator of the attack, the seriousness of the charge and his prior criminal record.

But now he claims he “still believes there was legal merit to trying Bell as an adult but decided it was in the best interest of the victim, Justin Barker, and his family to let the juvenile court handle the case,” according the AP.

Walters also was quoted as saying:

”The only way — let me stress that — the only way that I believe that me or this community has 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,” Walters said.

”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. You can quote me on that.”

And we will.

At any rate, its also possible many of those very same Christians, including those in town of Jena and beyond, also prayed for the protesters and the accused teens. And maybe just maybe it was never the intent of the protesters to be violent at all.

It will be interesting to hear how the apologists out there will argue how while these comments were inappropriate they should not be construed as racist.

The saga now continues in juvenile court.


Library Fines the Dead

27 09 2007

Some people take their job a little too seriously….

Even the dead apparently have to pay the fines on their overdue books at one Westchester County library. Elizabeth Schaper said she was charged a 50-cent late fee while turning in a book that her late mother had checked out of a Harrison Public Library branch.

“I was in shock,” Schaper said. “This has rocked me to my core.”

Schaper’s mother, Ethel Schaper, died at the age of 87 on Sept. 16 after suffering a massive stroke. A few days later, Schaper said she found a library book, “The Price of Silence,” by Camilla Trinchieri, that her mother had checked out from the library.

Read the rest of the AP story here.

Quote of the Day

27 09 2007

After The Politico asked him whether or not a Member of Congress rushed to submit an amendment to a bill on a napkin, House Majority Leader Congressman Steny Hoyer (D-MD) said:

It was some piece of paper, the consistency of which I do not know.”

Jena 6 Prosecutor Drops Appeal to Court Ruling

27 09 2007

LaSalle Parish District Attorney Reed Walters has just dropped his appeal to an Louisianna State Appeals Court to have Mychal Bell tried in adult court, according to the Associated Press.

BATON ROUGE, La. — The prosecutor in the “Jena 6” cases has decided not to challenge a ruling that sent 17-year-old Mychal Bell’s case to juvenile court.

LaSalle Parish District Attorney Reed Walters had earlier said he would appeal the state appeals court’s decision to set aside Bell’s second-degree battery conviction on the grounds that Bell should not have been tried as an adult.

Gov. Kathleen Blanco, with Martin Luther King III and the Rev. Al Sharpton at her side, announced Wednesday that she had spoken with Walters and asked him to reconsider pushing to keep the case in the adult system. She said Walters contacted her Wednesday to say he had decided not to appeal the ruling.

Read the rest of the story here.

Advertising meets Mockumentary

26 09 2007

From a friend of mine over at Civil Rights Theory.

Activist Parody Beats Reality to the Punch: Social Media Strategy

September 26th, 2007 | by jcibarra |

I was flying back from California yesterday, and on the little television on plane I watched a strange advertisement for Frontier airlines.

The show was a “parody of a parody,” a “documentary” about how Flip – a dolphin painted onto the back of a Frontier airliner – was able to “get to Mexico.” You have to see it to believe it, but the as the story goes: Frontier airlines created a fake ad campaign in which they “organized” to send Flip, a dolphin whose plane never flew to Mexico, an opportunity to enjoy warmer skies. The documentary examines the political and media strategy around Flip’s eventual success.

What struck me was the special blend of tactics used by “Flip Advocates” which included:

– A catchy tag line: “Send Flip to Mexico”
– Interesting commercial spots
– Video footage of local protesters and community activists
– Video footage of primary players
– A “Send Flip to Mexico Blog”
– Social networking community outreach
– Vlogs (video blogs) and podcasting
– And even interactive elements such as web forums and petitions

Whether these items are real or not matters less to me than the fact that the parody of activism gets it better than true-life activism. The fact is that few civil rights organizations have invested in media campaigns that organize online media as well Frontier airlines can play “pretend activist.”

Food for thought.

If you don’t believe, see for yourself:

Coast Guard Academy Investigates Hanging of Nooses

26 09 2007

Congressman Elijah E. Cummings has requested an investigation into the recent hanging of two nooses at the Coast Guard Academy, according to the Associated Press.

The superintendent of the U.S. Coast Guard Academy in New London says he has ordered further investigation into two incidents in which nooses were left for a black cadet and an officer giving race relations training……

The first noose was left in the cadet’s bag July 15 on board the Coast Guard cutter Eagle, French said. The second was found in early August on the office floor of a female officer who had been conducting the race relations training in response to the first incident, he said.

Guiliani Fundraiser Charges $9.11 Per Person

26 09 2007

Presidential hopeful Senator Chris Dodd (D-CT) criticized the organizers of a Guiliani fundraiser charging $9.11 per guest. According to an Associated Press report, a Guiliani spokeswoman claims the fundraiser was held without the knowledge of the caimpaign.

Democratic presidential candidate Chris Dodd said Tuesday a fundraising party for Republican Rudy Giuliani seeking $9.11 each from guests exploits the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks for political purposes.

Dodd called on Giuliani to refuse the money raised at the event, saying the theme “is absolutely unconscionable, shameless and sickening.” A Giuliani spokeswoman said the $9.11 idea was selected without the campaign’s knowledge.

“Mr. Giuliani was quick to express much vitriol for the independent ad created by last week; we would hope he would express the same kind of outrage and indignation about this group that he is the beneficiary of,” Dodd said in a statement released by his campaign.

Giuliani and other GOP presidential candidates strongly criticized the liberal, anti-war group for a full-page advertisement the group bought in The New York Times [NYT]. The ad included the headline “General Petraeus or General Betray Us?,” a reference to Gen. David Petraeus, the U.S. commander in Iraq.

Dodd also said Giuliani “should reject and/or return any money raised” through the party, which is to be held Wednesday night at the home of Abraham Sofaer in Palo Alto, Calif. Giuliani’s campaign is sponsoring house parties across the country that night for the candidate’s backers.

Sofaer said he had nothing to do with the decision to ask for the $9.11.