Twitter

Saturday, May 31, 2014

A Modest Proposal on the Anniversary of the Tulsa Race Riot



British slave ship illustration from 1808 None: Original image housed by Chapin Library of Rare Books, Williams College


Ta-Nehisi Coates  presented an excellent case for reparations   saying, "America will never be whole again until we reckon with our compounding moral debt for 250 years of Slavery, 90 years of Jim Crow, sixty years of separate but equal, and thirty five years of racist housing policies."

On the anniversary of the Tulsa Race Riot I would like to make a modest proposal for those who are loath to call it reparations, let's call it:  #The Descendants of Slaves Educational Emancipation Act.

Under this act all descendants of American slaves would be entitled to scholarships for under graduate and post graduate studies at any institution of higher learning that receives federal funds. All African American student loan debt would be forgiven. Scholarships would provide for tuition, fees, and books. This act and it's provisions would operate similar to GI Bill ,which offers scholarships to dependents of American Disabled Veterans.

While this act doesn't meet the misery, untold affliction, and billions of dollars in lost economic value visited on the descendants of slaves,  it is something this county can do now to demonstrate remorse and serious concern for the condition of African Americans, many of which were/are caused by discriminatory laws  and  public policies in education, housing, and employment.  In other words, America can begin to solve the problem it helped create.  See graphic above.

Friday, May 30, 2014

Blast from the Past

school seg

I am sharing this comment from Mack Lyons I found in this post while doing research for my in depth analysis of the rezoning hearing.   

Al.com commenter Drambui said this on August 19, 2011
"Casey you have to break the mold and prove you're not afraid of minorities, democrats, liberals, aclu types and the entire entitlement crowd! Do that, and you'll be doing the job you were hired to do! Oh yeah, not to mention striking down all racial transfers. And that includes allowing not allowing whites to racially transfer either. If you don't like where your child goes to school, move to where they can be zoned into a school of your preference, that's what I had to do!"
 Mack Lyons said this in response on August 21, 2011
Casey, if you're reading this, don't do this. You'll only end up with the Department of Justice's foot up your ass behind this, which, when it comes down to it, is effectively promoting the re-segregation of the school system. If you think you're worried about doing the job you were hired to do, imagine how it'll be with those DOJ wingtips traveling up your intestines.
Those guys at AL.com should be glad they have a little Topix-lite they can vent on. It warns everyone else about the attitudes that still linger around the Deep South.
Un Huh.  Very prophetic, only the wingtips traveling up Casey's intestines were high heel pumps worn on the feet of  two 30 year old lawyers working in Washington D.C. At the Justice Department .
In the documents, the DOJ says Huntsville's plan emphasizes racial lines already in the city. It also says that even with major changes in 32 of the 40 schools, it would leave most students in segregated schools.
The court document also claims that under the district's plan, identified African-American schools would lack access to advanced educational material that is easily available to identifiable "white schools."
The most significant change in the district's plan, according to the DOJ's filing, is the closure of Butler High School, a school with a majority of African-American students. However, court documents say that under the district's plan, those students would go to a school with a less diverse population.
"The district's plan falls short of its desegregation obligations," the DOJ said in the documents. The state said they are open to continued discussion with the district.
 To be continued.....

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Desegregation, white privilege, reparations, the "r" word, racism. I'm back!

I'm back from my brief but fun hiatus, and, I am in the process of writing an in depth analysis of the Huntsville desegregation hearing, where I see the Huntsville Sitty Schools are up to their old tricks.  In the meantime, here are some relevant must see/reads for you to chew on.  Once again thanks to those who continue to read even when I don't post.  It continues to amaze and humble me. RedEye

You have to realize what we have here is a perception issue.  There is no such thing as white privilege.




The Case for Reparations
Two hundred fifty years of slavery. Ninety years of Jim Crow. Sixty years of separate but equal. Thirty-five years of racist housing policy. Until we reckon with our compounding moral debts, America will never be whole.
Groups want NFL Players to join battle over Washington Redskins team name.

187287681-native-americans-protest-before-the-minnesota-vikings

How does a poor white person know if they are racist?  Take the racism quiz.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

How can the blind lead the blind?

univplace.JPG
University Place students sit for 2012 kickoff of Mayor Tommy Battle's Book Club. (Huntsville Times file) 

 Blind ambition has lead District 1 School Board member Laurie McCaulley to a deserted island.
 What's happening outside of court? This dispute has tapped into all sorts of local hostilities. Madison County Commissioner Bob Harrison has blasted Superintendent Casey Wardynski for not meeting with black officials. Wardysnki ordered an audit of Harrisons' non-profit. Mayor Tommy Battle and the Chamber of Commerce and the PTA have written letters on behalf of the school board. Black ministers and all the elected black officials, save school board member Laurie McCaulley, have written in support of the Justice Department.
Like the dismissal of the NAACP Legal Defense Fund Lawyer Norman J. Chanchkin, the tax payers are over due for another dismissal.
 Plus, she found Chachkin, who lives in New York, was out of touch with sentiments in Huntsville and that the Justice Department has done an adequate job representing broader concerns of black children in Huntsville.

Guess who else is out of touch with the people they are supposed to represent?
 Casey Brown said the decision to do away with J.O. Johnson High School was made in a "back room" and he is starting a petition today calling for the resignation of Laurie McCaulley, who represents the district on the city school board.
Speaking at a rally and march this morning to support keeping the name J.O. Johnson when a new school is built, Brown said McCaulley should resign because she has not properly represented the people of her district.
So much for the legacy of Dr. James I. Dawson and Fletcher Seldon.
During his almost 20 years representing north Huntsville on the city school board, Dawson "was a voice of equality and justice for all," according to the resolution. "Some thought he was abrupt at times, but admitted he had a servant's heart. He was an outspoken champion for diversity. Dr. Dawson once commented: 'If people don't like equality and justice, they can't like me.'" He died in December 2009.
Seldon was the first black person to campaign for and win a seat on the elected city school board in 1971 and served until 1980. He "aggressively worked to better the public school system at both local and state levels through advocating improved policies regarding problems in student discipline, improving teacher capabilities, implementing an effective program in school/community relations, and improving employee personnel policies."
Huntsville City Schools vs. The United States Department of Justice.
 What does Huntsville say? Huntsville says they desegregated two generations ago, people moved around and the courts have held that school boards can't control housing patterns.
But the city does control housing patterns.  Housing prices are tied to test scores of the neighborhood school.
 Why? On the most basic level, rezoning stands to influence neighborhoods and real estate prices within every high school zone. Big picture, that means this ruling could determine what this city will look like in coming years.
This residential isolation of the most disadvantaged children – a product of migration patterns and economic trends that have occurred since Brown -- points to one set of strategies that’s been given little attention over the last 60 years. What if we made a more concerted effort to integrate schools by integrating neighborhoods? What if we tried to improve the educational prospects of low-income minority students by breaking down barriers to affordable housing in the communities where good schools exist? What if we wielded zoning laws and housing vouchers as levers of education policy?

So what's the bottom line?  This is about protecting property values .
 Concerns over public housing can still draw a crowd, as almost 250 people on Tuesday gathered for the second meeting of the South Huntsville Civic Association.

"We need something in south Huntsville they've had in other parts of Huntsville for years - a cohesive voice," Madison County Commissioner Mo Brooks announced from the stage at Grissom High School.

Brooks, one of two key speakers, said that the Huntsville Housing Authority has quietly used vouchers to send poor families south and plans now to single out south Huntsville for more.

In February, the authority surprised homeowners with the outright purchase of 50 units at Stone Manor near Chaffee Elementary. That sparked a raucous public meeting at Chaffee on April 6 and led to the creation of the civic association.

On Tuesday, the upstart group drew an influential crowd, including Republican Brooks, a former legislator; newly elected state Sen. Paul Sanford, R-Huntsville; state Sen. Arthur Orr, R-Decatur; and Republican gubernatorial candidate Bradley Byrne.

Going through the numbers at Whitesburg Elementary, Brooks argued that schools in south Huntsville have seen test scores drop "thanks in large part to what the Huntsville Housing Authority has done to us."

 This is what happens when property values are tied to student/school achievement, and vice versa.  A blind  person can see Huntsville City Schools are separate and unequal 60 years after Brown.

Even if we win, we lose.
The Wardynski Plan is a fool’s errand. We did not have to file it. And the public has had zero input into the plan.
So, after potentially years of litigation and expense, we will have accomplished absolutely nothing, even if we win.
Nothing except the following:
  1. Wardynski has shored up support for himself in this town because he’s willing to fight the “evil” federal government.
  2. Wardynski has improved his name recognition on a national level.
  3. Wardynski has spent a ton of the district’s money that he should be spending on improving education at all of our schools. And of course,
  4. We’re still a segregated system.
This is, in the Bard’s wise words, much ado about nothing.

What looks like crazy on the left and the right on an ordinary day in Alabama Politics

 

Well, well, well.  Look what I stumbled upon on my morning Blog stroll...... those crazy republicans are trying to send crazy back to the attic.  That's right (pun intended), Radio Boy,  who enabled the birthers and crazy conspiracy theorists that have taken over the local Republican Party… is now trying to help a group called Republican Refresh defeat them at the ballot box.  Snicker
"Republican Refresh is a group Madison County residents tired of the embarrassing antics of the Madison County Republican Executive Party. We have decided to unify under the idea of getting new competent Republican Leadership on the Madison County Republican Executive Committee. For too long, us everyday Republicans have been embarrassed, ashamed, and confused by some of the current members of the Madison County Republican Executive Committee. The time for a refresh is now and starts with you voting on Tuesday June 3rd in the Republican Primary for new local leadership in the Republican Party."
RedEye's Translation:  It's time to send the crazy Aunts and Uncles who say out loud what we say behind closed doors back to the attic.  Uh...good luck with that.  Have you ever heard the saying you can't un ring a bell?

LIA swag
Happy Birthday Left in Alabama!
Speaking of un ringing a bell, lets mosey on over to slightly Left in Alabama, the Informed. Involved. Progressive. blog of record for Alabama politics, where Blogger Smedley  asks readers:
Talk to me.  Tell me what you like, or don't like, about the two Democratic candidates for governor this year, Parker Griffith and Kevin Bass. Parker Griffith I know is a Democrat  Republican Democrat who has served in the State Senate and the US House.  He has a history of right-wing votes. Kevin Bass I know is a former minor-league baseball player with no history of elected office.
And..
 What do you know about these two?  Why should a voter choose one over the other?  Are there reasons to vote for one of them, as opposed to against the other?
I've been giving that question a lot of thought and I'm glad Smedley posed that question, since I'm banned from Left in Alabama for life, allow me respond here in my own sandbox.  I believe in second chances, therefore I'm willing to forgive Parker Griffith for walking on the wild side, but I can't forget Parker Griffith walked on the wild side.  That said, we all make mistakes, ask former Governor George C.Wallace.  Griffith is talking the talk when it comes to jobs, health care, and education, I'm willing to give him the chance to walk the walk.  As my Daddy used to say... vote for the candidate with the smallest foot so when they kick you in your Donkey it won't hurt as bad. 

RedEye tiptoeing away from the computer keeping an Eye on the Reddest of the Red States....

Saturday, May 17, 2014

60 years after 'Brown v. Board of Education' it looks as if 'Brown v. Board of Education" never happened

In Tuscaloosa today, nearly one in three black students attends a school that looks as if Brown v. Board of Education never happened.

According to a new report just released by the Civil Rights Project called "Brown at 60," "Black and Latino students tend to be in schools with a substantial majority of poor children, but white and Asian students are typically in middle-class schools."
This double segregation doesn't just condemn these precious children to an often inferior education, it also strips them of their humanity and their dignity. Race and poverty shouldn't matter more than shared humanity.

 Today, however, the very states whose segregated schools, poll taxes, and Jim Crow laws necessitated federal intervention in Brown are once again limiting the educational opportunities for people of color. Rather than explicitly refusing to admit students of color into school, these states have found new, more clandestine ways to marginalize people of color. In this new segregated system, states disadvantage students of color by providing fewer resources to schools serving the highest concentrations of students who need them the most. By perpetuating this inequitable system and rejecting powerful and effective education reforms such as the Common Core State Standards, these states effectively reclaim their legacy of systematic racial discrimination.

 This residential isolation of the most disadvantaged children – a product of migration patterns and economic trends that have occurred since Brown -- points to one set of strategies that’s been given little attention over the last 60 years. What if we made a more concerted effort to integrate schools by integrating neighborhoods? What if we tried to improve the educational prospects of low-income minority students by breaking down barriers to affordable housing in the communities where good schools exist? What if we wielded zoning laws and housing vouchers as levers of education policy?

A new secessionist movement, anchored in the South, provides yet another reminder that “separate” still means “unequal” when it comes to the racial dynamics of the nation’s public schools.
The small middle-class town of Gardendale, Alabama, outside Birmingham, voted on November 12 to secede from the Jefferson County school district and then to raise taxes on themselves to finance the solo venture. Then, in March, Gardendale’s 14,000 residents finally got their own Board of Education. Soon after his appointment, one new board member, Clayton “Dick” Lee III, a banker and father of two, said he aspires to build a “best in class” school system “which exceeds the capabilities of the system which we are exiting.”

 Freed from court oversight, Tuscaloosa’s schools have seemed to move backwards in time. The citywide integrated high school is gone, replaced by three smaller schools. Central retains the name of the old powerhouse, but nothing more. A struggling school serving the city’s poorest part of town, it is 99 percent black. D’Leisha, an honors student since middle school, has only marginal college prospects. Predominantly white neighborhoods adjacent to Central have been gerrymandered into the attendance zones of other, whiter schools.

 “We know that today in America, too many folks are still stopped on the street because of the color of their skin, or they’re made to feel unwelcome because of where they’re from, or they’re bullied because of who they love,” she said. “So graduates, the truth is that Brown vs. Board of Education isn’t just about our history, it’s about our future.”

We Shall Overcome One Day.

Thursday, May 15, 2014

NAACP Legal Defense Fund Attorney who supports the School District and not the black school children of Huntsville is back on the case

 

Only in AmeriBama.
In the space of about 48 hours, Norman Chachkin went from asking to withdraw from Huntsville's historic desegregation case to withdrawing his motion to withdraw.
If that sounds confusing, that's because it is. But the bottom line, for the moment, is Huntsville school officials retained an ally in their legal skirmish with the U.S. Department of Justice.
Let's Recap
So, the long time NAACP attorney who sided with the Huntsville City School Board, the Mayor,  The Huntsville/Madison  Chamber of Commerce, and some PTA officers, against the black school children of Huntsville ,was informed his services would no longer be needed on Monday.  In his place, retired federal judge, and long time Civil Rights attorney, U.W. Clemons.

"As a practical matter, there is an irreconcilable conflict between the position that Mr. Clemon intends to pursue in the litigation and the positions that undersigned counsel has taken with respect to the pending motion," wrote Chachkin to the judge today, "a conflict that can only be a distraction as the Court seeks to address the issues in the case."
This is what's at stake:
At issue are zone lines submitted by Huntsville City Schools in February. The U.S. Department of Justice argues the plan "would leave most students in segregated schools." Huntsville argues that federal law has changed since 1963 and that the courts no longer hold school boards accountable racial imbalances due to housing patterns.
Chachkin had sided with Huntsville. In his motion to withdraw, Chachkin included an email showing that Clemon planned to side with the Justice Department and oppose Huntsville.
So, the attorney that is with Huntsville City Schools, the Mayor, the Chamber of Commerce, and some PTA officers and against the black children of Huntsville is back on the case, and the attorney who is with the black children of Huntsville and against Huntsville City Schools, the Mayor, the Chamber of Commerce and some PTA officers is off the case.

What is wrong with this picture?  I mean really?  And what's up with the NAACP Legal Defense Fund?
"The NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund is simply the best civil rights law firm in American history." -- President Obama
Could have fooled me.

Contact the NAACP Legal Defense Fund and request a lawyer that will represent the black children of Huntsville.

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Edit~ Breaking News Update: "The black school children of Huntsville effectively swapped lawyers and changed sides today."



Sonnie Hereford IV, 6, holds his father's hand as he arrives for his second day of integrated classes at Fifth Avenue Elementary School in Huntsville, Ala., Sept. 10, 1963. There were no incidents. Sonnie was turned away from the same school Friday by Alabama state troopers. (AP Photo)



It's about time.  So, the long time NAACP attorney who sided with the Huntsville City School Board, the Mayor,  The Huntsville/Madison  Chamber of Commerce, and some PTA officers, against the black school children of Huntsville ,was informed his services would no longer be needed on Monday.  In his place, retired federal judge, and long time Civil Rights attorney, U.W. Clemons.
"As a practical matter, there is an irreconcilable conflict between the position that Mr. Clemon intends to pursue in the litigation and the positions that undersigned counsel has taken with respect to the pending motion," wrote Chachkin to the judge today, "a conflict that can only be a distraction as the Court seeks to address the issues in the case."
The black school children of Huntsville can once again thank Dr. Sonnie Wellington Hereford IV, who integrated Huntsville schools back in 1963, for coming to their rescue.
"I was concerned the document implied I had given a thumbs up to the plan, by what's on the very first page. When I contacted Huntsville City Schools with this question, the answer was this was now a class-action lawsuit, and the plaintiffs are represented by the NAACP Legal Defense Fund, who apparently had not expressed any opposition."  Read the full statement (PDF) here.
When I first read the brief filed  by the NAACP Legal Defense Fund on behalf of the Plaintiffs in the HCS desegregation lawsuit, I wondered how an organization steeped in civil rights law could be so out of step with the Plaintiffs, as outlined by the United States Department of Justice,  in their motion opposing the school districts rezoning plan?
Huntsville officials filed their plan in court on Feb. 7, despite federal opposition,. They say their plan guarantees better magnet schools, more advanced classes and bus transportation, while federal suggestions don't mention these areas. Chachkin had indicated that's why he supported the city plan.
But the Justice Department has contended Huntsville zone lines do little to increase desegregation within neighborhood schools.
The NAACP Legal Defense Fund Attorney was not opposed to the school construction plan (which was his first mistake), because of penalties the BOE would incur if they ddidn't start construction of the new Grissom and the new Johnson High Schools by a certain date due to Arbitrage (Page 6-7 and footnotes page 6)
Counsel spoke for the Plaintiffs without speaking to the Plaintiffs, and therein lies the problem. Chachkin justifies his actions by noting  he has a special obligation granted to him by the court in rule 203, as amended in 2003, to protect the rights of the class.  The class needs to know if he is with the class or, with the school district.  Should the court revisit the decision to name a specific counsel/ firm as special counsel for the Plaintiffs?   
Huntsville City School Board Attorney J.R. Brooks responded to the sea change by spending more of our tax dollars, quickly filling a motion trying to keep Chachkin on the case and asking for a hearing. I wonder what part of he was fired didn't he understand?
"The legal issues in the case are what they are," said Brooks, "so we're going to present them."
I'm not a lawyer, but these are the legal issues in the case they will present:

May 17, 1954 marks a defining moment in the history of the United States.  On that day, the Supreme Court declared  the doctrine of  “separate but equal” unconstitutional.

Huntsville City Schools continues to ignore the Supreme Court.

The Huntsville City School rezoning plan includes combining predominately black/brown/poor, Ed White Middle School and Davis Hills Middle school, and busing them to a predominately black school named after a black male astronaut, located  less than half a mile from an active rock quarry,  without  involving the public.

The HCS rezoning plan includes combining predominately black/brown/poor Butler High School and J.O.Johnson High Schoo, busing them to a predominately black school named after a black female astronaut, located less than half a mile from an active rock quarry,   without involving the public.

The HCS rezoning plan promises to "look at" and "study" policies concerning academics and discipline, among other things,  without involving the public. 

North Huntsville Students are required to wear school uniforms, south Huntsville students are not required to wear school uniforms. " it's hard to see how different policies for majority black and for majority white schools will help dispel the vestiges of a dual system."

North Huntsville schools are staffed with Teach for America teachers, south Huntsville Teachers are staffed with certified educators.

J.O. Johnson High School is the only school being forced to change it's  name, and lose it's legacy.

I wonder if Dr. Wardynski wishes any number of councilmen and officials had warned him it would be a gargantuan mistake to change the name of J.O. Johnson?

 Update: The attorney that is with Huntsville City Schools, the Mayor, the Chamber of Commerce, and some PTA officers, and against the black children of Huntsville is back on the case, and the attorney who is with the black children of Huntsville and against Huntsville City Schools, the Mayor, the Chamber of Commerce and some PTA officers is off the case.

Sunday, May 11, 2014

A Mothers Day Rant

Where is the breathless,  wall to wall, 24/7,  media  coverage of the   234 kidnapped girls in Africa? Strike that.  We know.  They would rather cover all Benghazi  all the time, unfair and unbalanced.


Saturday, May 10, 2014

State Senator Hank Sanders said republicans wanted to return to the days of slavery and Jim Crow, guess what, he was right (no pun)




Remember  Alabama State Senator Hank Sanders (D. Selma) mad as hell robo call to democratic voters that apparently made it on some of the wrong answering machines?
Hello this is Hank Sanders, Alabama state Senator, and I’m still mad as hell. I say hell no! I ain’t going back to the cotton fields of Jim Crow days. I’m going forward with Ron Sparks, Jim Folsom and others who would do right by all of us. I hope you are mad as hell and will not go back, and you have the power to choose. I will stand until hell freezes over for Ron Sparks for Governor and Jim Folsom for Lt. Governor on November the 2nd.
Paid for by Alabama New South.

Remember when CNN correspondent CooperAnderson asked Alabama State Senator Hank Sanders what evidence he had that the Republican opponents would take Alabama back to Jim Crow days after Sanders  Mad as Hell robo call to democratic voters during the 2010 election?

 Well, here is your evidence Mr. Anderson Cooper and Company.

Inmates at an Alabama prison plan to stage a work stoppage this weekend and hope to spur an escalating strike wave, a leader of the effort told Salon in a Thursday phone call from his jail cell.
“We decided that the only weapon or strategy … that we have is our labor, because that’s the only reason that we’re here,” said Melvin Ray, an inmate at the St. Clair correctional facility and founder of the prison-based group Free Alabama Movement. “They’re incarcerating people for the free labor.” Spokespeople for Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley and his Department of Corrections did not respond to midday inquiries Thursday. Jobs done by inmates include kitchen and laundry work, chemical and license plate production, and furniture-making. In 2011, Alabama’s Department of Agriculture reportedly discussed using inmates to replace immigrants for agricultural work; in 2012, the state Senate passed a bill to let private businesses employ prison labor.
 Can you hear him now?
 In Alabama prisons, orange may be the new green. Now here's a compliant labor force that isn't likely to ask for raises, sue for discrimination, or try to join a union: convicts.  It could be the perfect solution for private businesses looking for cheap labor, so of course, Alabama is looking into it.
 Hell no I ain't fergittin!

Friday, May 9, 2014

RedEye'sWeekly Rundown 5/9/2014

 Sample Voter ID


Reminder: Voter Suppression isn't coming, it's already here. 
 Alabama voters now need to have a photo ID to cast a ballot. Not having one could get you turned away at the polls.
Poll workers will get a long list of acceptable options, but if you registered and don’t have any of them, you still have a chance. You can apply for an ID to use for voting purposes only.
You will have to provide some documentation to get the free photo ID used for voting. A birth certificate is the easiest way to do it, though you can sign up without it if you were born in-state.
But don’t you dare register for the card if you have another form of ID, though. If you sign the Voter ID Card application and you already have a photo ID, it’s a class C felony.
So Lynda Hairston with the Voter Registration Office says, ” We want you to be very careful that if you sign it, you do not have one in your possession.”


Former Republican turned Independent, turned Democrat, Charlie Crist tells the truth and shames the Devil.

I’m happy for his soul, but I’m happier that someone had the balls to say what he did about Republican opposition to President Obama. Granted, it’s coming from a calculated politician who understands that he’s not nearly crazy and bigoted enough to be a factor in the Republican Party anymore, but I appreciate it all the same.

School Board Meeting Gone Wild, First Amendment thrown out of the door,  here, there, and everywhere.
Restricting access to school board meetings seems more an "intimidation" of critics than any intimidation critics may pose in recording board actions. And it's against the law.

Caught on Tape:  Did Police handle this properly? (Warning hard to watch)
The video shows the officer tackling Jaquora White, 15, and then handcuffing the girl while she is seizing. Jaquora is then left on the floor for an extended period of time while the officers and school officials attempt to clear the halls. Paramedics were eventually called and Jaquora was taken to the hospital.

Out of the frying pan, into the fire?
When a school system closes public schools and replaces them by funding private organizations like The Pinnacle Schools, the people, the community, and especially the students, lose. The district, the people, lose their ability to oversee and question even extreme examples of child abuse as seen in these pictures.
Why Michelle Obama joining the #BringBackOurGirls Campaign is Ridiculous
Firstly, it was absurd to see Michelle Obama holding up a sign with the #BringBackOurGirls hash tag considering that her husband, as Commander-In-Chief, oversees Seal Team 6, as well as every other elite military unit available in the world’s mightiest army. If Mrs. Obama wants to #BringBackOurGirls, then she need not hold up a sign with a sad faced frown. She should talk to her husband.
 Eye see you.
The DOJ said Huntsville's plan does not integrate the school system enough.
Mayor Battle disagreed, stating the DOJ's plan "actually congregates larger numbers of African-American children and underperforming children in a few schools than the plan offered by the Huntsville School Board".
Peace.

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Edited~"Keeping Them Honest"


CNN  Talking TeeVee Pundit Head Anderson Cooper has segment on AC-360 entitled "Keeping Them Honest" "Keeping Them Honest" exposes possible issues of government corruption, failed promises, and other anomalies from various sectors.  I'm no Anderson Cooper, but stay with me as I attempt to keep some people honest with some fact checking, starting with Huntsville City Schools Board of Education member, and city council candidate,   Dr. Jeannie Robinson.

Members of the J.O. Johnson Alumni Association were  guest on WEUP Talk with host David Person yesterday (5/6/2014).  Person begin the segment by describing the lengthy discussion he had with HCS BOE member Dr. Jeannie Robinson following  the Prayer Vigil conducted by the GHIMF (Greater Huntsville Interdenominational Ministerial Fellowship), to pray for peace and equity in Huntsville's Schools.  Person revealed Robinson said she thought the prayer vigil was divisive, and, she also questioned why there were no complaints from the black community about equity and low test scores when  Dr.  Ann Roy Moore was the Superintendent.

I'm going to begin by debunking the allegation there were no complaints from the black community about equity and low test scores when Dr. Ann Roy Moore was the superintendent.   First of all, Dr. Moore did not propose a sweeping zoning proposal that would re-segregate the public school system.  Secondly, Dr. Robinson was one of Dr. Moores' biggest fans before she became a detractor. Robinson was part of the 4-1 majority that voted to hire Dr. Moore.  Dr. James I Dawson, who championed justice and equality, was the lone vote against hiring Moore, and frequently challenged her recommendations.  Robinson also served on the board during Moore's entire tenure, giving her near perfect evaluations until she decided to cut the puppet strings.
WAFF 48 News looked at Dr. Moore's past three evaluations, which show what the board of education believe Dr. Moore is doing right and what she is doing wrong in her job.

She was evaluated on seven tasks, ranging from her performance as an education leader, to overseeing the districts thousand of employees.

Dr. Moore was given high marks from four of the five board members.

The only low scores came from Dr. Jeannie Robinson, especially when it came to Moore's involvement in community planning and problem solving.

When the scores were added and averaged, though, the Superintendent passed the test.

The average of the seven areas reviewed combined were 4.4 out of 5 in 2007.
Now let's move on to the allegation the prayer vigil was "divisive".   Talking a position can be divisive, especially when everyone doesn't agree. The position taken by the GHIMF is based on justice and equality for ALL Huntsvillians, black and white.  People who have no concept of what justice is, and others who do, but take a different position for political reasons ,would most certainly find the prayer vigil "divisive".

 Thank you Dr. Robinson for speaking to the obvious.


 

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Pay your taxes, shut up, and die

Gloria Richardson in stand off with National Guardsman in the aftermath of Cambridge Riot of 1963
Happy birthday Gloria Richardson (5/6/22). “A first-class citizen does not beg for freedom. A first-class citizen does not plead to the white power-structure to give him something that the whites have no power to give or take away. Human rights are human rights, not white rights.” Richardson led the Cambridge Nonviolent Action Committee (a SNCC affiliate) in Cambridge, Maryland to fight against institutional racism.

If you were meant to have a voice you would have been born white.  This is how I feel as I type this post in the wake of HCS superintendent Casey Wardynki's meeting with Southeast Huntsville residents, organized by Huntsville City Councilman Bill Kling and community leaders.   I would describe the atmosphere as....cordial.  Unlike BOE meetings, citizens comments/questions didn't have to be written down and read by the Director of Community Engagement, also, unlike BOE meetings, the superintendent answered their questions.

Several people expressed their love and support to the Superintendent for doing the job he was hired to do.

Casey you have to break the mold and prove you're not afraid of minorities, democrats, liberals, aclu (sic) types and the entire entitlement crowd! Do that, and you'll be doing the job you were hired to do! Oh yeah, not to mention striking down all racial transfers. And that includes allowing not allowing whites to racially transfer either. If you don't like where your child goes to school, move to where they can be zoned into a school of your preference, that's what I had to do!
One thing I did learn as a result of the meeting is although they can't disclose who the potential buyers are for Butler High School and some of the other vacant schools in the district, residents in these neighborhoods would be happy if these deals go through.
In addition to the interest in Butler, Wardynski said, there is also a buyer interested in both Stone Middle and West Huntsville Elementary. A portion of the Stone property has already been sold off, and the school itself is being used as a storage facility by the district.
Portions of the West Huntsville building are currently being used by the non-profit Free 2 Teach and The Pinnacle Schools, the outside company that, in 2012, replaced the Seldon Center as the district's alternative school.
The current Grissom High School campus may become the site of a new southeast library and a police substation.  The current J.O. Johnson High school  facility will be used as a public safety training facility when the new school is moved less than half a mile from an active rock quarry.  It's hard to see how a public safety (police and fire) training station slapped right dab in the middle of a residential neighborhood is going to improve the quality of life and property values in north Huntsville.  But hey, it's north Huntsville, who cares?

The superintendent and the councilman did all they could to assure southeast Huntsville residents they would be pleased by the purchasers of the properties in their neighborhood, and promised they would be safe from homeless vagrants, north Huntsville residents not so much.  Speaking of security, the superintendent must have been afraid for his safety because he was there with a full security detail consisting of a HCS and HPD detail.  I thought he was the Governor of the President or something.

So tonight, at a public meeting held in a church, Huntsville leaders claim they want residents to contribute to the cities future plans. Call me cynical, but I believe the plans have already been made, and I have no reason to believe north Huntsville is included in said plans.  We can't even get them to listen to us about  a name change.  Why should they listen to us about anything else?  Seems like to me all they want north Huntsville residents to do is pay taxes, shut up, support the status quo, and die.

I feel like an unwelcome visitor in my own cityMarginalized, minimized, under estimated and under valued.
Remember when Huntsville was known as the Star of Alabama?  What happened to that bright star?
Our new Constitution is now established, and has an appearance that promises permanency; but in this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes.
Benjamin Franklinin a letter to Jean-Baptiste Leroy, 1789

Monday, May 5, 2014

Donald Sterling's Entitled Mentality



Billionaire Donald Sterling's emotional rant epitomizes the paternal attitudes of Cliven Bundy who famously wondered whether black folks weren't better off as slaves picking cotton and Paul Ryan's "tailspin of culture" remarks that "generations of men not even thinking about working or learning the value and the culture of work." Like Bundy's wonderings, Ryan wanders into the genetic superiority red herring by referencing Charles Murray, who held that that the reason "we still have poverty in the United States is that a lot of poor people are born lazy." Shades of Ann Richards silver-spooning Bush, who was "born" that way.

The argument of nature vs. nurture excuses the racist institutional system from providing the best to all of its citizens and makes the under-served scapegoats.

Little did Donald Sterling realize that he is among the under-served. In his rant, Sterling revealed that there's more than racism going on with Donald Sterling; his illogic exposed it. One thing is the "entitled mentality vs. the entitlement mentality." His rant to Stiviano exposes his attitude that he is "entitled" to treat his players as recipients of his largesse instead of what they are: men who play sports and earn their wages. In his mind, Sterling considers his players to have the "entitlement mentality" as he quite clearly lists what he "gives" to his players. After all, from Sterling's perspective, his wealth, prominence and color "entitle" him to discredit his players from wage earners to welfare recipients.

Sterling: "Who gives it them? I give it to them!"

V. Stiviano: Do you know that you have a whole team that's black, that plays for you?

Sterling: You just, do I know? I support them and give them food, and clothes, and cars, and houses. Who gives it to them? Does someone else give it to them? Do I know that I have — Who makes the game? Do I make the game, or do they make the game? Is there 30 owners, that created the league?

"...Sterling replies. "And I'm just saying that it's too bad you can't admire him privately. And during your ENTIRE FUCKING LIFE, your whole life, admire him -- bring him here, feed him, fuck him, I don't care. You can do anything. But don't put him on an Instagram for the world to see so they have to call me. And don't bring him to my games. OK?"

These are the words of an 80 year old racist who wasn't even making sense and may be in early stages of Alzheimer's. Where's the sense in his words? According to the CDC, "Starting at age 65, the risk of developing the disease doubles every five years. By age 85 years and older, between 25 and 50 percent of people will exhibit signs of Alzheimer’s disease."

Getting upset about a picture posted on Instagram and some phone calls shows that the Sterling isn't stable.

Sterling feels that he's entitled to give Stiviano "permission" to do anything with Magic but just don't do it publicly (asserting his "power" over her). It's not unusual that when people begin to recognize that they are losing control of their cognitive abilities, they try to control something or someone else. It's ironic that Donald Sterling is under-served in terms of his mental health needs.

"Improper use of state property, time, etc. for political actitivies" Huntsville City Schools style

 


Per AL.com
HUNTSVILLE, Alabama -- Fellowship of Faith Pastor Troy Garner will hold a press conference Monday at 12 p.m. in front of Lakewood Elementary School located on Mastin Lake Road.
Garner will call for a boycott of convenience stores selling drug paraphernalia.
"Over the past month it has been brought my attention that nearly all convenience stores in North Huntsville are selling these products. Although it might be legal, it is immoral and the placement of these products is reprehensible. We will be asking our elected officials and ministers to band together to stop this practice once and for all. I am also proud that the Huntsville Police Department supports our cause. They know firsthand the effects of illegal drugs on our young people," Garner said.
"Last week after a discussion with my daughter and wife, we sent our 15-year-old daughter into one of these stores and she was able to buy drug paraphernalia in less than five minutes. This convenience store was located across from Lakewood Elementary School. Our charge is to protect our children and stop the drug problems and the crimes it causes in our community. Enough is enough. "
Why is this press conference being held on school property during school hours, instead of at Pastor  Garner's church , which is located less than half a mile away from Lakewood Elementary School?  This has nothing to do with school business, and what about the separation of church and state?

IMHO, this is another media enabled weapon of mass distraction from the desegregation battle, and a nice nasty way of telling black clergy, black elected officials, and  black community leaders what they should be focused on.  Want proof?  Listen to HCS superintendent Casey Wardynski during this interview on WVNN, pay close attention at the 6:44-7:11 time mark.  

Listen to this interview and you will hear the callous disregard for the safety of the student's, teachers, and support personnel at the new north high school.  Funny how Wardynski and Company are concerned about the crime and drugs in north Huntsville but not about the potential health and safety risk associated with building a school less than half a mile from an active rock quarry.
Other elected officials speaking against the quarry were Mark Russell, president of Huntsville City Council, Madison County District 3 Commissioner Eddie Sisk, state Sen. Paul Sanford, state Sen. Shadrack McGill, state Rep. Wayne Johnson, Gurley Mayor Rob Sentell, Gurley Councilman Robert Wren.
Their concerns addressed environmental quality of Flint River and Hayes Nature Preserve, unsafe traffic with trucks crossing Norfolk Southern Railroad along a curve, heavy trucks sharing roads with school buses, air quality at two nearby schools and a lack of local governmental control of the quarry operation.
To be clear, I agree the issue of crime in our city needs to be addressed, and I am all for us working together for a safer and better Huntsville,  however let's work together with more substance and less show.

Enough is Enough

The First (?) and Last(?) African American Host of the White House Correspondent's Association Dinner "Hurt the Goppers Feelings"

I thought Joel McHale  was the best White House Correspondents Dinner Host since Stephen Colbert and my all time favorite Wanda Sykes.....who for some reason is never mentioned anymore...I wonder how the folks that recommended her, are doing at GITMO?

Any hoo, here is a replay of  IMHO and mine only, the best White House Correspondents Dinner Host of all times ...Ms. Wanda Sykes.  Enjoy.


Friday, May 2, 2014

Huntsville City Schools character education words for May; cheerfulness, fairness, and kindness, Oh My!


NAACP Coalition Addresses Schools Crisis
NAACP President Alice Sams speaks for the NAACP Coalition as she addresses the Huntsville City Schools crisis at a press conference in front of the Annie C. Merts Center February 15,2011.

Superintendent Dr. Casey Wardynski is doing the job he was hired to do.
Casey you have to break the mold and prove you're not afraid of minorities, democrats, liberals, aclu (sic) types and the entire entitlement crowd! Do that, and you'll be doing the job you were hired to do! Oh yeah, not to mention striking down all racial transfers. And that includes allowing not allowing whites to racially transfer either. If you don't like where your child goes to school, move to where they can be zoned into a school of your preference, that's what I had to do!
If there is anything a certain segment of the Huntsville community despises more than  being under a court ordered desegregation plan it's them there  Majority to Minority transfers.
To enhance desegregation, the Huntsville City school district permits a student to transfer from a school where his/her race is in a majority to a school where his/her race is in a minority if space is available. This is called a Majority to Minority transfer.
There is the perception of some (not to confused with all) south Huntsville parents and officials, black students from north Huntsville will lower the standardized test scores at their neighborhood schools, thereby lowering their property values.  The part about test scores lowering property values is true.  For verification all you have to do is compare north vs south Huntsville property values. While parents worry about property values, south Huntsville principals worry white  students will flee when/if black enrollment increases.

It's all about race, income, and geography

At poor schools, test scores are lower. "That does not mean these kids are dumber," said Dr. Mary Ruth Yates, Huntsville's assistant superintendent.Achievement tests measure what a child has already learned, not how much a child can learn. Some kids receive less teaching at home, Yates said. They reach school less prepared to learn.What they don't learn often puts limits on what they can eventually earn."If we close the achievement gap, then you have equal opportunity to get jobs, to buy property," she said.School leaders shouldn't give up on integration, Yates said, or the cycle on inequalities will continue."As long as we have Grissom and Johnson," she said, "we can't really say we've done all we can do."
"If we close the achievement gap,then you have equal opportunity to get jobs,to buy property."  Instead of focusing on solutions this board would rather focus on ways to strike down all racial transfers and trap disadvantaged students in the schools they fail to serve.
Using the logic of the Huntsville City Board of Education, University of Alabama football coach Nick Saban should only use his youngest, most inexperienced players when his team plays a Top Ten opponent.
 Anyone who pays attention to education knows that the most persistently poor-performing schools are those in impoverished neighborhoods.  For example, there are nine schools in the Huntsville system where more than 90 percent of students receive free-reduced lunches.  According to an analysis by the Public Affairs Research Council of Alabama, none of these schools have reading and math scores where all grades (three through eight) are equal to or above state average.
After patting themselves on the back and taking credit for a federally funded summer feeding program  at last nights Work Session, the superintendent recommended the board approve a Revision of Policy 6.3.1 a- Majority to Minority Transfer.

Per  the Huntsville City Schools website:   The majority to minority transfer window, originally scheduled for May 1-May 31 has been postponed.  The new application window date will be communicated by Student Support Services.  Note, it doesn't say when or how this information will be communicated by SSS.  My guess is they are waiting to see if the revision will be approved.
Students will be granted Majority to Minority transfers through a lottery system when there are more requests for Majority to Minority transfers than space available at the requested school.
There are no specifics as to how said lottery will work,  but it will be done via computer, as well as the initial application for the transfer.  So, instead of parents being awarded a transfer based on first come (date) first served basis with a paper trail,  a computer program will perform this function.  Usually when there is a change in policy it's because of complaints or problems with the implementation. When asked why the policy was changing the superintendent said it was to keep parents from having to come the Merts Center and stand in line, or something to that effect.  To my knowledge parents aren't complaining about coming down standing in line at the Merts center, they are complaining because their transfers are being denied, and they aren't being notified until just before school starts when it's too late to appeal or make other arrangements. This new digital process sounds like it's going to make it harder for parents to apply for, and be granted, a majority to minority transfers, not to mention the lack of transparency.

What parents are complaining about is not being allowed to speak at school board meetings, but I don't see them changing the policy that  says all questions have to be written down and read by the Director of Community EngagementBut I digress.


"What we want" is equal access to a quality public education for all children, regardless of their race, address, or class.  If all schools were created equal there would be no need or demand for majority/minority transfers to enhance desegregation.   Para quoting the late, great, James Brown, we don't want nobody to give us nothing,  stop standing in the school house door so we can get it ourselves.