Marion Brothers

Marion Brothers

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

The Horse who lost a Rider

For want of a shoe a horse was lost.
For want of a horse a rider was lost.
For want of a rider...

The motorcycle in this picture has ejected its rider in a traffic accident. The bike is crushed. And, here is the picture of the bike rider.

For want of a rider a life was lost.

I see a man, racing down the highway, at a high rate of speed. He becomes distracted. And, when he wakes up, he is face to face with God.

Eddie Griffin has created a religious bible study blog. It is recommended only for those who come with bibles. If you do not have a bible, there are direct links to scriptures.

I am a man who seeks to know God better before I have to meet him face to face.


Eddie Griffin, 60 years old, survived a Texas Ranger sharpshooter at close range, the death penalty for bank robbery, kidnapping, and commandeering a police squad car- at age 26. In prison, Eddie Griffin was a peacekeeper among inmates. Encountered with numerous life-threatening situations, Eddie (also known among inmates as Mwana or M1) once had to face down two knife-welding inmates to keep them from stabbing a brother to death. Griffin also survived innumerable days in a refrigerated prison strip cell, held incommunicado, with running water for only 30 minutes a day.


My conversion experience was a de ja vu dance with death when I stepped up to an inmate welding a pipe and disarmed him after he crushed his skull. It happened just the way I had trained and practiced for it. In real life drama, I got clonked and dazed, surprised that I did not strip him of his weapon. I made the same mistake in practice after practice of stepping outside my defense parameters. So, I found myself holding on to the arm with the pipe, hanging on for dear life, bleeding like a skinned pig, willing myself not to fall to the ground, refusing to blackout. It took everything I had, every ounce of strength I could muster, to wrestle the pipe away.

It was also the same de ja vu dance with death for Raymond “Cadillac” Smith, ("Samson", I call him) my training partner, who died in handcuffs after prison guards abandoned him to two knife-welding white Aryan Brotherhood assassins. (Current FBI files are full stories of the prison warfare between the AB and DC gangs, originating with the assassination of Raymond “Cadillac” Smith). Cadillac and I had both trained in the same prison cage for that very moment to come- that is, how to protect ourselves by blocking batons and pipes and how to fend off an assailant while in handcuffs. De ja vu, by the grace of God, I came out alive.

Eddie Griffin was recognized as an international political prisoner. This history is fully documented, including the lawsuit and national protests that caused the United States government to release him. Also released from prison by President Jimmy Carter were Marion Brothers Rafael Cancel Miranda and Lorenzo Komboa Ervin. Other Marion Brothers still incarcerated include American Indian Movement leader Leonard Peltier and Black Liberation Army leader Herman Bell.

Eddie Griffin is the author of “Breaking Men’s Minds”, a dissertation and real life experience of the government’s research on mind control techniques using prisoners as guinea pigs. During the 1970s, Griffin was the most interviewed prisoner in the US prison system on issues of prisoner human rights, torture by psychological stress techniques and sensory deprivation, and forced and coerced drugging of prisoners without their consent.

“Breaking Men’s Minds” is still cited by prisoners and their lawyers today.

Monday, July 30, 2007


Why Black Children are being sent from Schools to Jails

Resubmitted By Eddie Griffin

Monday, July 30, 2007

The case of the Jena 6 black youth is hereby being resubmitted for your consideration, along with the following explanation of why certain children as harshly disciplined and prosecuted through our education system.


Office of the Governor
Attn: Governor Kathleen Babineaux Blanco
P.O. Box 94004
Baton Rouge, LA 70804-9004

Fax: 225-342-7099

RE: Pardon Mychal Bell & Free the Jena 6

On July 31, 2007, there will be a national rally behalf of six Jena juvenile defenders from further prosecution by the state of Louisiana. It is a fact that, in public schools around the United States, black children are disciplined more than white children. The harshest form of punishment is doled out through criminal prosecution. We find black boys being disproportionately criminalized.

The town of Jena, Louisiana, its public school system, and law enforcement allowed white children to tease, threaten, intimidate, and assault black children with impunity. When black youth defend themselves by retaliating, the local dominant white population assailed them with Jim Crow law and discriminatory practices. They prosecuted the black youth, while letting their own pass with egregious wrongdoings, along race lines.

Monday, July 30, 2007

Dear Governor Kathleen Blanco:

Please stop the prosecution of the Jena 6. Drop all charges and pardon Mychal Bell.

This is a classic case of racial injustice much like the Scottsboro boys. Do realize that these are children, high school students, who were caught up in a race tense situation. The Jena High School administration is the blame for allowing a white prank to go unpunished. The Jena police have acted as protectorates of white wrongdoers. The Jena district attorney’s office leveled some of the heaviest criminal offenses against six young black boys. Reading the sequence of events, you cannot help but realize that the “alleged” crimes were nothing more than a schoolyard fight, common to most high schools. But every high school does not take racial sides when administering punishment, as in the case of Jena, Louisiana.

The reputation of this great state is at stake.

REMEMBER: One out of every three African-American males, who go through the nation’s public school systems end up going to jail and prisons. Why so?

The Jena 6 case takes a common school yard fight, which grew out of racial tension, and treats it as a serious criminal offense. The application of law is so arbitrary that it can be said: The white people in Jena make the law up as it goes along. In so doing, they suppress the minority black population in submission, albeit aided by the school system, prosecution office, and local judicial system.

There are hundreds of school disciplinary incidents prosecuted each year as criminal offenses against black youth. The result is a pattern of misdemeanors, leading to incarceration.

In Paris, Texas, a 14-year old teenager shoves a teacher’s aide while trying to enter a school building. They charged her with “aggravated assault upon a public servant”. The minor incident then became a major felony by local officials and school administrators arbitrarily applying the Texas Criminal Code.

The child was tried in a court of law by a judge, who applied adult standards equivalent to that of an assault of a prison inmate upon a guard. ShaQuanda Cotton was incarcerated in the Texas Youth Commission (TYC) lockup facilities, hundreds of miles from home and family.

If she was a “good girl”, she could go home in 9 months. If she received any prison infractions, her stay could be extended up to her 21st birthday. As a prerequisite to gaining her freedom, little Ms. Cotton must confess and show remorse for the crime of assaulting a “public servant”- a dubious and concocted offense. Otherwise, she would not be released. In fact, her nine-month stay was extended, because of a TYC disciplinary report for the offense of “possession of contraband”, to wit an extra pair of socks.

The Texas legislature was so appalled at the case of ShaQuanda Cotton that the teenager was immediately released. She and hundreds of other incarcerated teens were released immediately because their original sentences had been arbitrarily extended.

It seems ironic that, during the Texas legislature’s investigation into the children sexual abuse scandal by TYC prison officials, district attorneys around the state fought vigorously against the mass release of these youth. And, small rural Texas prison towns who, otherwise would not exist except for these lockup facilities, protested depopulating the youth prison system. To them, it would mean the loss of jobs- but, to us, it would be jobs that depended on the continued rate of incarceration of our children.

Texas Governor Rick Perry has seen fit to shut down two or three of these facilities as a result of trying to reform the Texas Youth Commission. And, many Texas counties are beginning to look at keeping their own youth offenders and working at finding an in-house solution to juvenile delinquencies, rather than send the kids off to these scandalized facilities.

But the statistics speak for themselves. More black youth are being sent to prison straight out of the school system- a practice condoned by the office of many district attorneys and courtroom benches.

The case of the Jena Six should never have been prosecuted as a criminal offense, but handled as a school disciplinary matter, in context of the overall tense racial climate. Only as last resort does a public school disciplinary action warrant being processed through the criminal justice system. It appears that teachers and administrators are using the punitive concept of “Zero Tolerance” to comport youth behavior and language to server forms of social control. It is a bully weapon against minority children and their parents.

The only way to correct the egregious injustice in Jena, Louisiana would be:

3. PARDON Mychal Bell

Friday, July 27, 2007

ALERT! FREE THE JENA 6 Rally July 31, 2007

Free The Jena Six

An all-white jury in the central Louisiana town of Jena swiftly convicted a black teenager Thursday for attacking a white student in an incident that capped months of racial unrest and attracted the scrutiny of civil rights leaders concerned about the application of justice in the town.

Jurors convicted Mychal Bell, 17, of aggravated second-degree battery… He allegedly jumped the victim as he emerged from the gymnasium at the local high school on Dec. 4, knocking him unconscious.

This case is important to all African-Americans who are suspicious of disparities in the administration of Justice. A young black man being convicted by an all-white southern jury is nothing new. In fact, the disparities in charging and convicting blacks are so one-side. This case merits shame of white justice upon African-American children, who get caught up in the southern criminal justice system.

The white students started the fight at Jena High School when they hung three nooses across a tree in front of the school. The black students had appealed to the school principal to allow them to sit under the tree. But the display of the three nooses anger the black students. The school administration played it off as a childish “prank”.

It proved to be no prank, as the situation escalated into racial violence over the next several months, culminating in the charging of six Jena black male students with aggravated assault… and, with a “deadly weapon”, to wit, “a pair of tennis shoes worn on the feet of Mychal Bell as he allegedly kicked and stomped a white student”… deadly weapon equal a pair of tennis shoes. How arbitrary can the law be? Is it arbitrary enough to satisfy a blood-thirst revenge of white authority against black youths retaliating for previous violent incidents instigated by white but wholly unpunished?

Mychal Bell, the first of the Jena 6 defendants, is scheduled to be sentenced on July 31, 2007.

PLEASE REVIEW the Michael David Murphy video, if you agree that this is a grievous miscarriage of justice, PLEASE SIGN THE PETITION to the US Justice Department Civil Rights Division. And give your support to FREE THE JENA SIX Campaign organized by Friends of Justice.

The Sacred Rule Of Law in the South is as much a farce as Jim Crow, which is why African-Americans have always had to call upon the international community for Justice. The United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, Article 37 provides:

States Parties shall ensure that:

(a) No child shall be subjected to torture or other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment. Neither capital punishment nor life imprisonment without possibility of release shall be imposed for offences committed by persons below eighteen years of age;

(b) No child shall be deprived of his or her liberty unlawfully or arbitrarily. The arrest, detention or imprisonment of a child shall be in conformity with the law and shall be used only as a measure of last resort and for the shortest appropriate period of time;

Thursday, July 26, 2007

What Alternative Have We to Offer vs BET

My first impression about mass media influence on black youth culture

Originally published:
Monday, February 06, 2006

Dear E. R. Bills,

I appreciate your letter and must admit that I am more clueless than you are about hip-hop culture, music, language, and credo. Indeed, it is a counter-culture hard to understand, with derivative roots in the black radicalism of the 1960s and 1970s. I recognize much of the slang as originating among convicts inside the prison systems. But the negative rap and vulgar displays is purely a mass media creation. VH1 and MTV are the main culprits. Hip-Hop is Big Business, though the hip-hoppers themselves are the least benefited.

We African-Americans have been trying to get control of this counter-culture and turn it around, in a positive direction, for some time. But we do not have control of the educational institutions. Our standards and discipline are rejected by Anglo-American culture. In the segregated school system, we had prayer, pledge allegiance, corporal punishment, and kids who obeyed and had a sense of common sense and direction. But the integrated school system seems to proceed on the theory of racial inferiority and treat our kids like little monkeys gone out of control.

Many black leaders are beginning to conclude that integration have undermined our traditional family value system and our system of motivating high achievement. But we do not control what comes on TV. We can do nothing about white teachers who cannot handle hip-hop kids. In fact, we find ourselves fighting the backend of the same problem. The superior intellects will not concede defeat and let the real experts handle the problem. As we would have once said, “It’s either a white man’s fix of the problem or no fix at all. And, if he cannot fix the problem, it cannot be fixed”.

As an Old School OG, I have some credibility with the younger generation. They give me my “props”. But some people may believe that we OGs set the original bad example that kids now follow. They vilified the Black Panthers as a gang, similar to the gangs of today. We were discredited and suppressed by the government. This allowed the “pimps” and “players” to rise to become role models in the black community, in place of the Panthers.

People forget that we cared for the young and old, protected our community from Klan attacks and drug pushers, and established Freedom Schools, separate and apart from the mainstream school system. We did not, and still do not, trust just anybody to teach our kids. The terrible situation in the school system today is a result of our demise as a left-wing political party. The infiltration of drugs and pimping came in over our dead bodies. The early black-on-black crimes and shootouts were the results of the wars between the Panthers and the drug lords and pimps. But we could not fight them and defend ourselves against rabid law enforcement at the same time.

Stanley “Tookie” Williams and the Crips and Bloods originally came into existence as protectorates of the community, to fill the vacuum created by the demise of the Black Panthers Party. But they had no leadership who could steer them past exploitation and corruption. Millionaires and billionaires financed the drug trade. Drug producing Third World countries base their agricultural economies on it. The victims of the trade are our children. And, yet they are the most criminalized.

The same is true with illegal weapons and violence on the streets. Gun manufactures benefit from the sales, whether legal or on the black market. A new gun straight from the manufacturer, still with that new grease smell, cost four or five times the regular price on the streets. The drug suppliers are generally the same ones who sell the guns and put out hit contracts. This is what perpetuates street violence, and our kids have no idea that they are being played like puppets on a string until they are forced into a life of crime. I say, “forced”, because they must carry out the crime, “make their bones”, or risk becoming the target of a hit themselves. The cycle of violence as perpetual as it is instigated.

This gangster-ism filters down into the culture with the help of media conveyors who promote this violent, lascivious, and wanton lifestyle as something cute. It sells. It sells records, bling-bling, clothes, rides, etc., etc. And, we African-Americans have no control over it. Whatever influence we try to exert in this arena is countermanded by money and powerful forces that exploit our children for their weaknesses and excesses.

It’s almost as if America wants no solution to this cultural problem. What they want, it seems, is scapegoats for propaganda purpose. This is why your kids are turned on and you are turned off. You think negatively of Hip-Hop, but they love it. Politically speaking, Hip-Hop is isolated and alienated, which makes this younger generation more vulnerable. This is why you see people like Snoop Dogg and Kanye West and others trying to step up to the plate and assume responsibility for turning this negativity around.

In this respect, I praise them for the attempt. But the media will most certainly try to discredit them for taking a positive direction. They want the negative out front. They want the half-naked ‘hoes shaking their booties, until their booties turn into 50-year old jello. By then they are ashamed.

Publicly, I have taken a stand to defend the hip-hop generation for these reasons above, mainly their vulnerability. I write for a number of hip-hop publications in order to give kids some insight and direction. They are leaderless, for the most part. They are abandoned by the establishment, out there in left field, in a world of their own, disconnected from the political mainstream. By the time they come out of La La Land (at the rate they are going), they will be gray-headed and 60-years old like me. Then they will be trying to fix the next screwed up generation after them.

Please take this to heart. It is not your race that alienates you, but your complacency and powerlessness.

Eddie Griffin

PS – I wish to share your letter with my readers. Maybe someone else will see something I omitted.

OMISSION: BET - Part of the Problem or Solution?

BET Founder launches studio and new film

By Kenya M Yarbrough,
July 26, 2007

*Robert L. Johnson can easily be counted as one of the top American media moguls. The entertainment executive founded the BET Network in 1980 and in 2004, he became the first African American to be the principal owner of a North American major-league sports franchise after acquiring the Charlotte Bobcats NBA expansion franchise.

Late last year, Johnson founded Our Stories Films, a Los Angeles-based film company whose inaugural release "Who's Your Caddy?" opens nationwide this week…

"Whenever we'd go to forums and meetings involving black creative people, the one constant complaint was, 'Why is there no studio that will tell our stories? Why is there no black executive that can greenlight a film about us?' I heard that ever since I started BET," Johnson shared with EUR's Lee Bailey. "I figured the only way that was going to happen was for somebody African American put up the money, hire the talent, find a strategic partner, and make it happen."
Johnson explained that he named the company Our Stories because of that very complaint...

"I think it's exceedingly important that black people go out and support this film. If this film works, there's going to be more coming down for the audience. If you like going to the movies, you ought to get more films about you, that fit with you and your lifestyle. But it could also spur the other studios to do what we're doing," he said.

On that note, Johnson took the opportunity to discuss the latest controversy at BET. The issue concerns the network's new series "Hot Ghetto Mess" (recently renamed "We Got To Do Better"), which has provoked criticism and sent advertisers running out before its debut last night.

"As far as the 'Hot Ghetto Mess' issue, [BET President/CEO Debra Lee] has got the same problem that I had in that BET, for all practical purposes, is the only preeminent voice for African Americans in media and because of that it is given a greater responsibility and obligation by certain people that BET has to be a little bit 'holier than thou,'" Johnson said. "We'll let Jerry Springer get away with that or we'll let Morton Downey get away with that or we'll let the people at VH1's 'Flavor of Love' get away with that. But when it's black folks making the decision to do that, all of a sudden people start saying you can't do that because you have a greater obligation. And then they go to advertisers and many white advertisers will head for the hills the moment they see themselves in the middle of a black controversial issue. They will stop, [partly] because they don't really want to be on it; don't value it; or they don't know how to handle it."

Johnson called the fallout surrounding 'Hot Ghetto Mess' a "knee-jerk reaction that has a chilling effect on creativity."

"All of a sudden, creative people who want to tell stories or produce shows like 'Hot Ghetto Mess' are saying, 'I don't want to work on BET because they can't doing anything that's innovative or pushes the envelope," he said. "I think that would be detrimental to creativity. I think it would be detrimental to the black community in allowing us to mature and let a lot of voices be heard."

The Most Honest & Challenging Opinion

HAT TIP TO: Jack & Jill Politics

The young man agrees with some of the criticism of BET. But what do you have to offered that is better? It is an honest question, deserving an honest answer. The answer must also cover Mr. Johnson's rationalization for what BET offer.

For the latest information on the BLACK MEDIA vs INTERNET WAR, visit Texas firebrand activist Gina at WhatAboutOurDaughters... (Results from BET's July 25th rollout are still coming in, at this report). Also visit The Mo'Kelly Report.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

“A Girl Like Me”: An OSCAR-Worthy Black Teen Video

A look through the eyes of young black teenage girls and an introspection on the meaning of skin-color and beauty standards in America

Kiri Davis' A Girl Like Me is the most powerful documentary I have seen in my life- bar none. I cannot stop watching it... over and over. I cannot cease my tears.

Ms. Davis is a 17-year old Harlem student who created a video of the famous Dr. Kenneth Clark’s doll experiment.

The Question behind the Film: Would today’s black children choose the white doll over the black doll again, as they did in the 1940s?

Here is the video. [Editor's Note: The unabridged version contains additional interviews]




Kiri Davis has won the Cosmo Girl Take Action Hollywood Contest!!!! She will walk away with a much deserved $10,000 scholarship, a Windows Vista Ultimate laptop, an iPod Shuffle, and a Target gift card.


From Eddie Griffin (BASG)

Posted at
A truly extraordinary piece of work… with tear-jerking honesty… high quality… some of the most dignified African-American teenage girls confess their feelings about growing up with stigmas of beauty base on skin color. This is truth and integrity at its heart. At age 17, Kiri Davis is on her way to an Oscar.

Posted at

Posted at
"A Girl Like Me" is the type of videos they should be showing on BET. Ms. Kiri Davis has given us hope for our daughters.

Eddie Griffin (BASG)
Literafeelya Magazine
"a literal source of n'ergy by way of ink!"
P.O. Box 667162
Houston, TX 77266-7162

Magazine: (713) 893-5594

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Sister 2 Sister Publisher Cheeses Out With DL Hughley

To: Jamie Foster Brown, Publisher of Sister 2 Sister
From: Eddie Griffin

RE: S2S Publisher Interview With DL Hughley

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Since the Fort Worth Bass Hall protest, D. L. Hughley has continually made reference to my booing him while he was here on stage. I have become the butt of his most recent fresh jokes. This I don’t mind. The more he degrades me, the less he degrades our women. I would rather the joke be on me.

But may I beg your pardon, Ms. Brown, one of your readers wrote that essentially you “cheesed it” with Hughley in the August 2007 edition of your magazine. As I re-read the interview, I read these statements:


Jamie: You said those were some of the ugliest girls you've ever seen?

D.L.: Right, that's what I said as a joke, period, because I watched the game. I didn't watch the press conference; I watched the game. So it was a joke. So now, three months later, people are picking up on it and I kinda refuse to apologize for telling a joke. I guess people want a level of controversy.

Tell me, Ms. Brown: How do you “kinda refuse to apologize”?


D.L.: I guess, Jamie, all I can say is this: When I grew up, everything that a comedian-and I can only speak for myself-almost everything we talk about is painful. And the reason I do comedy now is from pain.

Jamie: All comedians say that; that it's from pain.

D.L.: When I deal with something, even as painful as it is, my mother used to tell me you have to laugh to keep from crying. I was the ugly, nappy-headed Black boy in the neighborhood, I was the dumb dude. So I learned all of that stuff.

Ms. Brown, This is not a comedian. This is a psychosis. Note he admitted: “I was the ugly, nappy-headed Black boy… the dumb dude.”... [Note also his similar reference to the Rutgers female basketball team players]. His comedy seems to be a mask of revenge for a miserable childhood, most vehemently against women.

He says of us religious leaders (whom he called "clowns") should be helping teach some kid to read, or helping someone innocent person get out of jail, and on and on... as if he doesn’t realize that he is one of the distractions from our regular work in the field. Why does an elder have to take timeout and chasten a child?

I do not want my grandson to grow up and be like D. L. Hughley. At 5-years old, he already uses the b-word. Tomorrow, he’ll be sagging, if I let him.

No, Mr. Hughley is not to be honored and respected as a role model. And, wherever he performs should be rated XXX outside the door, in order that the public be forewarned of the type of content to expect.

I'll tell my grandson, if grandpa had his way, he would stamp 666 on the forehead of everybody that like Mr. Hughley’s kind of filth.

Friday, July 20, 2007

The Handwriting on the Wall at VIACOM

1515 Broadway
New York, NY 10036
(212) 258-6000

Shari Redstone, Vice Chairman

RE: The Handwriting on the Wall at VIACOM

Dear Shari Redstone:

While everyone on Wall Street is licking their chops over the prospects of your leaving Viacom’s board, we represent a voice of people who wish that you would stay. As a forward-thinking and progressive voice on the board, your views on performance-base compensation for corporate executives are long overdue.

Media giants, like Viacom and CBS, are dominated by old thinking. The values of old corporate executives are no longer the values of the general public. Shareholders should hold corporate executives accountable, not only for their performance, but also on the quality of their performance.

Let me remind you that the Association of National Advertisers have adopted a plan for Family Friendly Programming. Its mission is to support and promote the development of "family friendly" television across all programming genres between the hours of 8 and 10 p.m., when adults and children are most likely to watch television together.

Some media giants have not followed public desires but, instead, have set a bad public trend in television and radio programming. Look, for example, at Imus. Old media corporate executives have given the public an overdose of distorted reality programming, a la “As the World Turns” through the eyes of the “World According to Gorp”. We are long overdue for some revolutionary changes.

SHARI: You probably already know best why there is discontent at Dream Works. But you may not know about the fire brewing at BET. The roll out of “Hot Ghetto Mess” and “S.O.B.” on July 25th could very well be the BET’s empire financial undoing.

Again, we will be looking to you for new thinking leadership against the stonewall executives who recognize no need for change. The cancer has reached critical mass. The handwriting is on the wall. Only you can determine its course.

Eddie Griffin (BASG)

Thursday, July 19, 2007

D.L. Hughley Joins Boycott Against Himself


Do you want to know “How to Shut Down ‘Hot Ghetto Mess’”? According to Mo’Kelly Report, go after Viacom, the parent company of BET, who plans to air “Mess” on July 25th right behind D. L. Hughley’s S.O.B. (Socially Offensive Behavior).

From the Report:

Viacom should be all-too familiar with pulling the plug on a controversial program in order to save itself. As the parent company to CBS Radio, they are intimately acquainted with the negative backlash and loss in advertisement revenue the Don Imus controversy brought to its doorstep.

That said...

Use the following information as you see fit. You all know what to do... BUT always be courteous and respectful in the process. Always be 'better' than which we wish to boycott.

Viacom Executives

Shari Redstone, Vice Chairman

Philippe P. Dauman

Thomas E. Dooley

Michelena Hallie, VP

Bruce Tobey, EVP

Ira Jaffe President 212-654-7433

Timothy Stevenson President Viacom Realty 212-258-6000

Eileen Wainwright Chief Operating Officer 212-258-6000

Joe Simon Chief Information Officer 212-846-5365

Michael Fricklas General Counsel 212-258-6000

George Llano Chief Security Officer 212-258-6000

Laura McGrath Internal Audit 212-258-6000

Leslie Moonves Chief Operating Officer 212-258-6000

Ira Jaffe President and Chief Operating Officer 212-654-7433

Shari Redstone Vice Chairman 800-516-4399

Charles Phillips Vice Chairman 800-516-4399

Fred Reynolds Chief Financial Officer 212-258-6000

Bill Apfelbaum Chief Executive Officer 212-599-1100

Larry Levine President, Viacom Outdoor Displays 212-297-6500

Present Sponsors
AT&T, Daimler Chrysler and Target

KUDOS TO: Gina at WhatAboutOurDaughters:

1515 Broadway
New York, NY 10036
(212) 258-6000

(They will try to pass you off to BET. I promise. Ask for the President and CEO's office. At least try to ascertain if they even KNOW about HGM)

Remember, that these folks don't work FOR Viacom. They are high level people in their own right. You can see the text of my e-mail over at The War on Black Women, our overflow site ( I get long winded on occasion)

Blyth J. McGarvie, 757-345-3595
William Schwartz -
Sheri Redstone - - 781-461-1600( the email is a guess, but my e-mail hasn't come back undeliverable)
Robert K. Kraft ( still looking)
Thomas Dooley ( still looking)
George Abrams ( still looking)
Charles E. Phillips ( President of Oracle. Still looking for contact info. He's a Hampton and NYU grad anybody got access to the one of those schools' alumni databases?)

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Electronic Village reports Black Entertainment Television (BET) has begun “damage control” over the brouhaha surrounding its July 25th roll out with D. L. Hughley’s S.O.B. (Socially Offensive Behavior) and Hot Ghetto Mess.

Viacom connects with our diverse audiences everywhere they are. As a leading global entertainment content company, we know what our viewers want and proudly deliver it across the globe through television, motion pictures and a wide range of digital media. Our family of prominent and respected brands includes the multiplatform properties of MTV Networks, BET Networks, Paramount Pictures, Paramount Home Entertainment, DreamWorks and Famous Music.

MTV Networks includes favorites like MTV, VH1, Nickelodeon, Nick at Nite, COMEDY CENTRAL, CMT: Country Music Television, Spike TV, TV Land, Logo and more than 137 networks around the world. In addition, digital assets such as Neopets, Xfire, Atom Entertainment, Harmonix and Quizilla offer compelling and interactive content, providing an even deeper connection with our devoted and focused demographics.

BET Networks presents the best in Black media and entertainment featuring traditional and digital platforms. Brands including BET, BET J, BET Gospel, BET Hip Hop,, BET Mobile , BET Event Productions and BET International deliver relevant and insightful content to consumers of Black culture in more than 84 million households.

And with Paramount Pictures Corporation, audiences have access to a huge library of top films through brands like Paramount Pictures, Paramount Vantage, MTV Films, Nickelodeon Movies, DreamWorks and Paramount Home Entertainment.

Fueled by our world-class brands, Viacom serves an ever-growing population of kids, tweens, teens and adults who want their favorite media and entertainment, 24/7.



Ellen Gray | BET keeping lid on 'Hot Ghetto Mess'

BEVERLY HILLS, Calif. - If you want to know who's to blame for the controversy over BET's plans to turn the Web site "Hot Ghetto Mess" into a TV show, well, that would be people like me.

…Holding off questions about the show till the end of his press conference, Hudlin managed to run down the clock. A smaller group of reporters stayed behind to ask about "Mess," which premieres July 25 and has reportedly already lost two of its advertisers.

Keep moving, nothing to see here, insisted Hudlin, who said the advertisers hadn't seen the show. Neither have critics, who were instead provided screeners of shows whose premieres are further away.

"The show isn't finished yet," Hudlin said. And yet, "everyone who's seen a rough cut of the show sees it's not remotely anything like what they presume the show to be."

…So what can we expect from BET's version of "Hot Ghetto Mess"? [Read more…]

Daily News TV critic Ellen Gray ( is covering the Television Critics Association's summer meetings in Beverly Hills. For more, see her blog at or join her at 11 a.m today on, where she and Inquirer TV critic Jonathan Storm will be hosting an online chat.

July 19, 2007

Wall Street cheers Redstone ruckus

According to a report by my colleague Tim Arango at Fortune, Viacom (VIAB) and CBS (CBS) board member Shari Redstone, daughter of Viacom and CBS chairman Sumner Redstone, is said to be leaving Viacom’s board after a major falling-out with her father.

… Wall Street is jumping to the conclusion that Sumner may now look to sell Viacom and/or CBS since Shari Redstone would no longer appear to be a logical candidate to run either company after the 84-year-old media maven either retires or, uh, not to be morbid, dies.

“The immediate knee-jerk reaction is that maybe Sumner wouldn’t hold onto Viacom or CBS or that he could recombine Viacom and CBS if Shari won’t be around to run them as is her legacy. But I wouldn’t bet on that happening,” said David Joyce of Miller Tabak & Co.

Shari Redstone may leave Viacom board: source
By Kenneth Li

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Viacom Inc. (NYSE:VIA-B - News) Vice Chairman Shari Redstone may leave the board over a falling out with her father, Chairman Sumner Redstone, a source familiar with the matter said on Thursday.

Viacom shares rose 3.5 percent as her possible departure revived questions over who might succeed the 84-year-old mogul, stoking speculation the company could be sold, one industry analyst said. Viacom owns the MTV Networks and Paramount movie studios. [editor insert: BET]

Shari Redstone, 52, sits on the board of Viacom and CBS Corp. (NYSE:CBS-A - News) and was viewed as a potential successor to her father.

"Shari is still an active and involved member of both the CBS and Viacom boards," Nancy Sterling, a spokeswoman for Shari Redstone said, declining to confirm any negotiations. "She has no intention of resigning and has not been asked to resign."
Viacom and CBS representatives were not immediately reachable for comment.

…The latest feud comes after Shari Redstone had pushed for executive compensation to be more closely tied to performance, according to a Fortune magazine report published on the CNN Money Web site on Thursday, citing unnamed sources.

Representatives for both sides are negotiating a separation agreement that could include Shari Redstone buying out the family owned theater chain National Amusements to detach from family affairs, The Wall Street Journal reported, citing an unnamed source.

National Amusements controls about 80 percent of Viacom's voting stock.

NAIRI INC: Declared Holdings
Company/Relationship Reported Shares Ownership
NYSE:CBS 31-Dec-05 46,829,414 Direct

NYSE:VIA 31-Dec-05 46,829,414 Direct

Sumner Redstone is no stranger to family strife. He settled a messy lawsuit in February with estranged son Brent Redstone in a squabble over his share of the family fortune.

Viacom's class B shares rose $1.45, or 3.49 percent, to $42.68 on the New York Stock Exchange.

Redstone Split Boosts Viacom
By TSC Staff
7/19/2007 10:26 AM EDT

Viacom (VIA - Cramer's Take - Stockpickr - Rating) rose 3% on news reports that Chairman Sumner Redstone's daughter is leaving the board.

The Wall Street Journal reported that Shari Redstone, widely seen as heir apparent atop the media conglomerate, and her father "had a major falling out." The report cited a person familiar with the situation.

The news pushed Viacom shares up as investors speculate the uncertainty about Viacom's management could cause the elder Redstone, Viacom's controlling shareholder, to sell the company.

Last year Redstone surprised Wall Street by firing Viacom chief Tom Freston and replacing him with two longtime sidekicks, Philippe Dauman and Tom Dooley.

Shares rose $1.28 to $42.50.

Father-Daughter Split Seen at Viacom
Thursday July 19, 3:14 pm ET
By Seth Sutel, AP Business Writer

Viacom Chaiman Redstone Reported to Have Falling Out With Daughter Shari, His Heir Apparent

NEW YORK (AP) -- Sumner Redstone, the chairman of Viacom Inc. and CBS Corp., has reportedly had a falling out with his daughter and heir apparent, Shari Redstone, that could eventually result in her departure from his media empire.
If the younger Redstone does leave, it could throw open the question of who would succeed the 84-year-old media mogul as the controlling shareholder of Viacom and CBS Corp., which used to be combined with Viacom. Shari serves as a director of both companies, and is vice chairman of both boards.

Fortune magazine and The Wall Street Journal reported on their Web sites Thursday that a serious rift had developed between Redstone and his daughter, largely over corporate governance issues including Shari's effort to more closely tie executive compensation with financial performance.

Nancy Sterling, a spokeswoman for Shari Redstone, said Shari is a "committed member" of the boards of both Viacom and CBS and has "no intention of resigning from those boards, nor has anyone asked her to resign.

…Shari Redstone, who is 53, has been widely expected to succeed her father as the controlling shareholder of both Viacom and CBS.

Earlier this year, Sumner Redstone settled a separate dispute with his son Brent, a lawyer living in Colorado. Brent had sued his father claiming he had been cut out of the decision-making process at National Amusements Inc., a privately held company that owns a chain of movie theaters as well as voting stock in CBS and Viacom.

As part of that settlement, the ownership of National Amusements was restructured so that Sumner Redstone owns 80 percent of the company, and Shari the other 20 percent. Previously Brent Redstone had owned one-sixth of that company, Shari one-sixth, and the remaining two-thirds by their father.

Viacom's B shares rose $1.19, or 2.9 percent, to $42.42 in afternoon trading Thursday while CBS shares gained 5 cents to $34.88.

Paramount & DreamWorks: Splitsville?
Bad blood between the studio and Spielberg could end this Hollywood marriage
by Ronald Grover, Los Angeles bureau chief for BusinessWeek.

Could Paramount Pictures (VIA) lose Steven Spielberg and the DreamWorks (DWA) studio it bought just 20 months ago for $1.53 billion? It's entirely possible. People close to Spielberg say he is vexed that Paramount has treated his team shabbily and grabbed credit for DreamWorks productions. If Spielberg were to leave, says a person familiar with the situation, he could take several of his hitmakers and the DreamWorks name with him.

…Paramount and its parent, Viacom Inc., express confidence that Spielberg will stick around. "We couldn't be happier with DreamWorks, and I think they're enjoying the success as well," says Viacom CEO Philippe P. Dauman.

The DreamWorks-Paramount marriage has been rocky almost from the moment, in late 2005, that Grey persuaded the Viacom board to buy Spielberg's baby. DreamWorks wasn't doing particularly well at the time.

The rationale went like this: The untested Grey would use DreamWorks' superior marketing and distribution to overhaul the company. He would have an instant pipeline of hot projects. Plus, Paramount got the DreamWorks library, which was valued at about $900 million at the time and included such films as American Beauty. (Within a few months, Paramount sold a 51% stake in the library to private equity funds for $675.3 million.).

…Spielberg brought with him Transformers. DreamWorks also made Blades of Glory, Norbit, and Disturbia, which, along with Transformers, account for nearly half the $1 billion Paramount has generated at the U.S. box office this year.

…Spielberg, who is famously loyal and shuns public conflict, also fumed at how Paramount and Viacom treated his friends. He was upset last year when Viacom Chairman Sumner Redstone fired and then publicly trashed actor Tom Cruise, who worked with Spielberg on two films. (Spielberg and Redstone later had a makeup dinner.) Nor did Spielberg like it when Paramount executives criticized Clint Eastwood's marketing plans for Flags of Our Fathers, a DreamWorks production.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Virtual School Tools supplement Public Education

Solving the Classroom Crisis – Part IV

Compiled Eddie Griffin

Make no mistake about it: The days of public school education, as we know it, are numbered. The online distant learning concept has evolved into Virtual Schools across the internet. Online tutorials, which once supplemented traditional school curriculum, have grown up into a full and mature educational system in its own rights.

Here are some of the best free tutorials and teaching tools on the internet.

In the Field of Math

[Remember a Standard/ Scientific Calculator is available in Computer Accessories] is a comprehensive math tutorial, covering subjects ranging from Basic and Everyday Math, to Pre-Algebra, Algebra, Geometry, Trigonometry, Statistics, Calculus, Vector Analysis, and other advanced subjects. - Free math lessons and homework help.

Principles and Standards for School Mathematics is a guide for focused, sustained efforts to improve students’ school mathematics. It aims to do the following:

• Set forth a comprehensive and coherent set of learning goals for mathematics for all students from prekindergarten through grade 12 that will orient curricular, teaching, and assessment efforts during the next

• Serve as a resource for teachers, education leaders, and policymakers to use in examining and improving the quality of mathematics instructional programs.

• Guide the development of curriculum frameworks, assessments, and instructional materials.

• Stimulate ideas and ongoing conversations at the national, state or provincial, and local levels about how best to help students gain a deep understanding of important mathematics.

Build Math Worksheets

Math Fact Cafe provides math fact sheets and flashcards for parents and teachers. The focus of our site is on the elementary grades, K-5. Our site allows visitors to access hundreds of pre-generated math sheets or create custom sheets to meet a child's specific needs. In addition, interactive flashcards allow visitors to review flashcard problems with the choice of simple card flipping or mandatory input (visitor must enter answers and is graded on correct answers).

Combined Fields of Math, Science, and other Subjects

Brain Pop is one of the most entertaining ways to teach Science, Social Studies, English, Math, Art & Music, Health, and Technology. Some courses are free. Other courses provide a 14-day free trial and a subscription.

Science Academy contains an array of math and science tools, as well as links to other educational websites. Most interesting at this site are the collection of reading math problems.

NASA Education tools provide students with exploratory learning experiences. The agency employs an vast array of tools developed through its space program.

The Shodor Foundation is a non-profit research and education organization dedicated to the advancement of science and math education, specifically through the use of modeling and simulation technologies.

MASTER Tools, developed by The Shodor Education Foundation, Inc. are the result of on-going collaborations with the National Center for Supercomputing Applications (NCSA), George Mason University, and other education organizations. They are designed to be interactive tools and simulation environments that enable and encourage exploration and discovery through observation, conjecture, and modeling activities.

[NOTE: Our growing portfolio of MASTER tools will soon be fully integrated with new collaboration tools and online research facilities to create an authentic scientific experience. All of our simulations and supporting curriculum materials are designed in accordance with the new National Science Education Standards and the National Math Education Standards.]

RHL School - Free Learning Resources:
The place to get free ready to use quality worksheets for teaching, reinforcement, and review. Worksheets included in the Field of:

Reading Comprehension
English Basics
Math Problem Solving
Research Skills
Math Computation



Building sentences and paragraphs, composing essays, learning forms of communications, Power Point presentations, interactive quizzes, and other grammar and writing tools.

Vocabulary Building

Dictionary-Thesaurus Lookup

The site also provides pronunciation of words, translations to and from other languages, synonyms, antonyms, and homonyms, and other language tools.


Library of Congress

Library of Congress Learning Page

Library of Congress History Page

Texas History
The Handbook of Texas Online is a multidisciplinary encyclopedia of Texas history, geography, and culture sponsored by the Texas State Historical Association and the General Libraries at UT Austin.


Scholastic produces educational materials to assist and inspire students:
• To cultivate their minds to utmost capacity
• To become familiar with our cultural heritage
• To strive for excellence in creative expression in all fields of learning, literature, and art
• To seek effective ways to live a satisfying life
• To enlarge students' concern for and understanding of today's world
• To help build a society free of prejudice and hate, and dedicated to the highest quality of life in community and nation

ABC Teach is geared for the youngest learners in various subjects.

FREE student memberships! Join the many education professors and education students around the country that are using abcteach. Take advantage of our special university memberships that are available at no cost to education majors, professors, and their universities.

PBS Kids is an all-time favorite for computer literate elementary grade school children. It features PBS recognizable cartoon characters in educational exercises, from counting to verbalizing words.

School Express is another children’s favorite. Of special interest is the games Concentration and Jigsaws. Concentration helps develop children’s attention span and concentration skills, while Jigsaws help develop their mechanical aptitude and manual dexterity skills. School Express also features a Math Generator that helps development basic math skills up to three-digit multiplication and division.

Current Events for Kids is a non-profit organization that offers students and schools alike free access to excellent educational resources.

Friday, July 13, 2007

Why Not an Aerospace Academy for our Children?

Solving the Classroom Crisis – Part III

Once in a blue moon, when a good idea comes along, like the Aerospace Academy, naturally I think of my children. I envision my 3-year olds flying a flight simulator from earth to mars, my 5-year olds assembling space craft model out of Lego blocks, and my first-graders putting together miniature parts of a space station, reading blueprints and matching pieces, in a classroom setting.

If space exploration is a part of our nation’s future, then our children should be educated today with the most advanced teaching tools now available.

But the idea of an Aerospace Academy is more than developing a future workforce for the aerospace industry. It provides us an opportunity to re-engineer our education system.

This morning I was introduced to the staff and children of a local Boys & Girls Club. I was amazed at the “controlled chaos” of an active learning-entertainment environment. These were mostly African-American children straight from the ‘hood. They were well behaved and totally engrossed in their activities.

I asked the supervisor why our public schools were not as well managed. “Well, we give children something they like to do,” he replied, something that has meaning and educational value. This how I perceive the curriculum for an aerospace academy. Learning can be fun. The key factor in the Boys & Girls Club program was staff, mostly minorities, who were well versed on the issues and problem of these inner-city kids’ lives. Knowing what makes students tick and what motivates them are fundamental to a good student-staff relationship.

Funny thing about the staff as I looked around- a person would have to look hard in order to find them, because they were so intermingled with the kids. (Why can’t public school teachers intermingle with their kids without molesting them?)

There were no sagging pants, no disrespectful language, and no non-sense. Every child seemed to be focused on a singular purpose in a self-disciplined way- whether the activity was art, computer, exercise, shooting pool, playing air hockey, or an academic tutorial class.

And just to think: These were not hand-picked poster children, but everyday at-risk kids who found the club to be a haven, only walking distance from home for most. Annual fee could be as low as $10. How do they do it?

The Boys & Girls Club model works. It is clean, safe, and well organized, all due to good leadership. “We treat these children as we would our own children,” said the supervisor. “In fact, one of the kids is my own.” And, this is the way he selects his staff.

My thoughts returned to the $1 million seed grant received by the Texas Workforce Solution to explore and develop the aerospace academy concept. My anger issue evolves around where it will be located whenever it is built. Will our economic target zone in the inner-city be squeezed out of consideration in favor of the more affluent school district?

If I have said it once, I will say it again: I want this local aerospace academy for our children.

Fort Worth, Texas has a healthy aerospace industry. But the workforce is aging, and new technology has changed the face of manufacturing. The new Boeing jetliner was designed and manufactured in an altogether different way, and snap-assembled like a Lego toy. We are on the brink of a new industrial revolution. Our local aerospace industry is in terrible need of a new type of workforce, a multi-skilled and well-educated workforce. But our education system is woefully behind the times.

Locally, we have done well to implement specialty training programs into our high schools. Now educators are beginning to look deeper as to where to begin. Do we begin at middle school level or elementary?

It is my opinion that we should have a curriculum that covers from birth to death, since learning is a lifelong experience. If we only consider education for the formative years (5-17 years old), then we miss the whole purpose of why we educate. We must provide adequate opportunity and resources to every child to become the best that they can be. As the Boys & Girls Club example points out, environment is not a problem when children have a haven and a refuge in which to learn.

The designers of the new education system must incorporate this concept of a “haven” into the learning environment, because no one can learn in the midst of hostile and violent environment. And, when their home life is violent, children need an escape. The Boys & Girls Club Coming Up program takes gang members wherever they are in life and sets them on a path of redemption. These gang bangers are not pressured into giving up their gang affiliation, but Coming Up is designed to re-socialize them into becoming productive members of society. So, they learn resume writing and other employment related and life skills.

[Next: The Virtual School Concept]

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Solving the Classroom Crisis – Part II

In Part I, Eddie Griffin writes:

“What we need in education is a qualitative change and a quantum leap. We are in an opportune vortex where this might be possible.”

In response, the following information and link was provided by email from Jacquitta:

The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation has announced that many of America's new and redesigned high schools are helping thousands of students who struggled in traditional settings or who might otherwise have dropped out to graduate well-prepared for college and career success.

Working with school districts and school developers, the foundation is helping to support different approaches. In New York City, the forty-seven small high schools that opened in 2002 and 2003 had an average graduation rate of more than 70 percent this year, far exceeding the collective 35 percent rate posted by the schools that were closed and replaced by small schools, thirty of which had graduating classes this year.

(Excerpt from “New and Redesigned High Schools Demonstrate Success in 2007”)

It is part of a growing national movement to reinvent today's high school experience by establishing high expectations for all students and supporting them to meet those academic goals. These new and redesigned schools aim to provide more challenging learning environments for students and teachers, more personalized learning opportunities, and stronger links between what students learn and the world in which they live.

(Source: “Celebrating the Class of 2007 in New and Redesigned High Schools”, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation Press Release 6/29/07)

The majority of the graduates in the class of 2007 at YouthBuild, which operates twenty-seven schools in thirteen states and Washington, D.C., are advancing to post-secondary education with 36 percent planning to attend two- and four-year colleges and 32 percent planning to attend trade schools. Early College High Schools, which works with Jobs for the Future, posted an average daily attendance rate of 94 percent, and most students outperformed their counterparts in other district schools on both reading and mathematics exams. And the Great Maine Schools Project, a statewide high school reform initiative, reported nearly 100 percent of its students are graduating and enrolling in college.

"Schools and districts across America recognize that in order for all students to succeed, we must provide a new kind of learning," said Allan Golston, president of U.S. Program at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. "These innovative approaches are gaining momentum and showing signs of promise. By focusing on high standards, high expectations, and strong support we can help all students graduate with the skills they need to be successful in college and work."

To date, the foundation has invested more than $1.7 billion to improve high schools, supporting more than 1,800 schools in 47 states and the District of Columbia. Nationally, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and its partners are focused on increasing graduation and college readiness rates by supporting the creation of new high-quality high schools and the transformation of existing low-performing high schools into more focused and effective learning environments.

Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation is guided by the belief that every life has equal value, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation works to help all people lead healthy, productive lives. In developing countries, it focuses on improving people’s health and giving them the chance to lift themselves out of hunger and extreme poverty. In the United States, it seeks to ensure that all people—especially those with the fewest resources—have access to the opportunities they need to succeed in school and life. Based in Seattle, the foundation is led by CEO Patty Stonesifer and co-chair William H. Gates Sr., under the direction of Bill and Melinda Gates and Warren Buffett.

Historical Background of Local Involvement

At the August 2006 East and Southeast Fort Worth Economic Summit, hosted by Congressman Michael Burgess, M.D. (TX-26), YouthBuild USA Chairman Roy O. Priest was keynote speaker. Priest is former CEO of National Congress for Community Economic Development and Director for Community Development for the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development in Washington, DC (retired) with over 17 years experience with HUD in areas associated with community development.

It was the first, but not the last, time I heard of YouthBuild, the innovative youth and community development program that simultaneously addresses core issues facing low-income communities, such as housing, education, employment, crime prevention, and leadership development. In YouthBuild programs, low-income young people ages 16-24 work toward their GED or high school diploma, learn job skills and serve their communities by building affordable housing, and transform their own lives and roles in society.

In January 2007, Tarrant Area Community of Churches (TACC) was invited by United Way to partner in a grant received from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to convene a two-day forum at Tarrant County College to raise awareness about high-school education, the drop-out rate and college/career readiness. One of the panelists was Dr. Danna Diaz Joseph, new Director of Student Engagement and School Completion for the Fort Worth Independent School District.

Eddie Griffin was a presenter in both above events.

[To Be Continue- Part III]

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

HAT TIP TO HOUSTON: Putting the N-Word to Rest in Style

Eddie Griffin sez: Wow! All the brothers were dressed in black suits. It reminded me of the Panthers. Read ThereAlready blog:

You'll all be happy to know that the N-Word is now officially dead and buried. There apparently were at least 2 ceremonies over the past couple of days in Houston and Detroit where the oh so troublesome word was put out of our misery. In Houston;

...the so-called interment celebration will be at Houston Memorial Gardens in Pearland. A casket, draped with a banner, will contain a hanging noose, a burned cross, a replica of a Ku Klux Klan robe and an ax. It will be buried in an unmarked grave site.


Solving the Classroom Crisis – Part I
By Eddie Griffin

This is the beginning of a long series in response to those who have asked about What Options We Should Seek in a new road to educating our children

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

In solving the problem with our children in the educational environment of public school, we must consider that everything is relative. If there is good, there is always better. If there is bad, there is always worse.

We live in an imperfect world with imperfect people, and any solutions to our problems are only partial solutions. But the average person thinks in terms of absolutes.

A New Perspective

There is no shortage of good advisement on how to solve the problem with educating our children in the public school system. But all the ideas and plans presented in the last decade have not stemmed the decline- decline in daily attendance per student, decline in learning, decline in graduation rates, decline in academic achievement, and finally decline public confidence.

Maybe it’s time to step outside the box and create a new paradigm on education- what it means and how institutions deliver it, who its clients are, and what is the bottom line result when it is successfully achieved. Finally, what is the face of success? What does it look like?

We cannot solve the problem within the problem- thinking inside the box. Looking at the problem from a classroom perspective does not give us an institutional level overview of the problem.

We see more finances, more educational resources, better facilities, better pay, and more qualified teachers as primes toward a solution. We also see parental involvement, better home training, better parenting, and more pre-preparation as principal contributors to student success. And, based upon our own institutional goals of education, we have some basic expectations of the student. All of this is well and good, but only from an inside-the-box perspective.

Our expectations may not necessarily coincide with the children’s expectations. We assume every child knows right from wrong and expect them to act accordingly. But the alienated at-risk children may have been reared in a home where wrong was right. Therefore, the assumption at Square One is erroneous and self-delusional to the mind’s eye of the observer.

Because we began from a wrong premise, we tend to rationalize the rest, before arriving at a failed resolution. Knowing that we cannot ignore poverty as a debilitating factor in education, we seek to find a model (an example) of someone who overcame poverty. We take the exception and make it the norm. And, we turn a blind eye to cultural factors engendered by racial identity, which propagates white idealism such as this: “Any black male child has as much an opportunity to succeed as a white male child.”

We wish that it were so.

Being locked in on our ideals, we draft pie-in-the-sky solution plans and measure incremental changes. What good is a 10%-20% improvement, when you are looking for a 100% solution?

What we need in education is a qualitative change and a quantum leap. We are in an opportune vortex where this might be possible. The including series will examine the problem in education with a solution-oriented focus… and yes, a plan of action will emerge.

Monday, July 9, 2007

On Wings of Eagles

One methodology I use in teaching is Visualization. If you can see it in the mind’s eye, the lesson is learned. And, when you have no role models to emulate, you fanaticize a hero, somebody you would want to be, and strive to be it- if you can see it, you can be it.

No man can go into prison and put on airs like El General. In penitentiary hierarchy, you are ranked by seniority and character. Those at the top are seasoned, as warriors, masters of combat, well respected among their peers, and smart as hell. At best, a man comes through the prison gates as a buck private and work your way up the ranks.

In the toughest of the tough penitentiaries, a man gets no free bunk to lay his head on. He gets no free air to breath, no a free place to sit in the dining hall. A man must earn his right to exist. And, if he exists, he must earn the right to be respected as a man. Lastly, he must earn the right to come home. Nothing about prison life is a given.

Some men are pervaded by fear because they visualize themselves as being potential victims. These are the paranoids whose fears are uncovered by penitentiary soldiers whose job it was to break the weak out of the ranks. But meekness is no weakness, as one would think, and it is the meek left standing when the smoke clears.

I noted the men in prison at the top of the pyramid were very gentle-spirited, polite, and gentlemanly. They respected everybody and everybody respected them. But woe to the man who challenged them in hand-to-hand combat- they were fierce in battle. They carried themselves as men who wore eagles upon their shoulders- bird colonels would be their equivalent. The five-star guys were nearly invincible. But they never earned the right to come home. They were lifers. And, when they went out of this world, they left a legend behind.

Just wanted you to know something about leadership- the way it looks from the inside out.

Friday, July 6, 2007

Remember Little Black Sambo

When I was 8 years old, my hero was Little Black Sambo. I even tried to eat 169 pancakes, only to come up 175 short. Even today, I have fond memories of the black caricature that became the arch-negro stereotype.

By the time I reached the 3rd grade, I was tired of reading We Look and See, to the point that I had completely memorized the book. Every year, we received hand-me-down books from the white school district, and every year it was We Look and See. Little Black Sambo was the first new reading book we received at our all-black elementary school. I enjoyed it, because it had big words and told a story.

Recently, I went back and found the original text as I remembered it, at Strange, I love the story of Sambo more now than ever before. I always remember thinking of the four tigers as white people.

What refreshed my memory of Sambo

The recent Supreme Court reversal of the 1954 Brown v. Board of Education took me back to the year I was in the third grade and my introduction to Little Black Sambo. I remember the first controversy in school was “being called black”. If you wanted a fight in a segregated elementary school, all you had to do was call someone a “black Sambo”. The issue was not the stereotype. It was the black skin with the big ruby red lips. It was an image thing.

Times Change – Fast Forward

Did the Supreme Court Butcher the Sacred Brown Cow?

Speaking of simplistic tautology: "The way to stop discrimination on the basis of race is to stop discriminating on the basis of race," said Chief Justice John Roberts.

Well, Duh! Add this, another tautology: It is what it is- speaking of the recent reversal of Brown v. Board of Education.

We all had problems with Brown, and Brown II didn’t fix it. Southern school districts got around the “equal” part of the “Separate but Equal” clause. Instead of providing predominately black schools with equal educational resources, they shut most of them down and phased in busing. We lost our neighborhood schools. Our educators and principals were moved to “upstairs offices” with brick walls for windows, out of sight and out of mind.

So much for the negotiated compromise that has, to date, resulted in a 50% dropout rate for black male teens, 1-in-3 going to prison, low academic performance, and heavy punitive disciplined model customary to controlling slaves rather than pupils. This is not what the African-American community wanted or expected.

TODAY READ: Star-Telegram editorial Kids and Color

Thursday, July 5, 2007

School Fight Could Lead to 80 Years in Prison for Black Teens

Did you know a school fight could lead to charges of attempted murder and conspiracy to commit murder which carries a penalty of 80 years?

For six black high school boys in Jena, Louisiana, this could be their fate. And what is worse, these young men did not provoke the chaos to begin with. The school fight was the culmination of growing racial tension in the near all-white town of 3,000 that had been escalating for months.

One would think, by the nature of such serious charges, that the victim received life-threatening injuries. Not so, according to the moving YouTube video documentary of Michael David Murphy.

The wave of problems started last September when Black high school students asked for permission to sit under a tree at an area of the high school that had, traditionally, been used only by white students. The next day, three nooses were hanging from the tree… The following week, Black students staged a protest under the tree. (“Louisiana Justice on Trial” by Jordan Flaherty)


This backdrop of events set the stage for a series of violent eruptions in the small southern town.

According to many in Jena, tensions simmered in the town throughout the fall, occasionally exploding into fights and other incidents. No white students were charged or punished, including the students found to have been responsible for hanging the nooses. Bryant Purvis, one of the Black students now facing charges, stated that after the incident, “There were a lot of people aggravated about it, a lot of fights at the school after that, a lot of arguments, and a lot of people getting treated differently.”(Jordan Flaherty).

Eddie Griffin Commentary

It is incomprehensible to think that a school fight that resulted in a few minor bruises and a black-eye could lead LaSalle Parish District Attorney J. Reed Walters to throw the book at six African-American male teenagers. Clearly, the charges are inflated. But then again, when it comes to southern justice, DAs tend to always score a “slam dunk” against young African-American men, no matter how outrageously disproportionate the charges are. It also partially explains why one-out-of-three black males go to prison.

Although the original charges were tempered somewhat, 17-year old Mychal Bell, one of the Jena Six, could still face up to 20 years after being found guilty by an all-white jury.

In the context of these reported events, the case of the Jena Six is more than hysterical justice gone berserk. It is a return to the old ways in which justice was handed down in Louisiana before the Civil Rights Movement. But then I wonder: Did it ever change?

The sacred rule of law in the South is as much a farce as Jim Crow, which is why African-Americans have always had to call upon the international community for Justice. The United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, Article 37 provides:

States Parties shall ensure that:

(a) No child shall be subjected to torture or other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment. Neither capital punishment nor life imprisonment without possibility of release shall be imposed for offences committed by persons below eighteen years of age;

(b) No child shall be deprived of his or her liberty unlawfully or arbitrarily. The arrest, detention or imprisonment of a child shall be in conformity with the law and shall be used only as a measure of last resort and for the shortest appropriate period of time;

Although the Convention does not exclude juveniles from judicial punishment, the clear intent of all subscribing “civilized” nations is to save the child from arbitrary and excessive punishment and proscribe the use of incarceration as “a measure of last resort”. It is no wonder that the United States is only one of two countries who, to this date, has refused to sign this convention for the Rights of the Child.

As an advocate and Adult Friend for the World’s Children’s Prize for the Rights of the Child (WCPRC), I am compelled by facts and evidence to declare the Case of the Jena Six juvenile defendants as an abhorrent abuse of police powers in the State of Louisiana and other southern states where black children are prosecuted above and beyond the nature of their offenses. This genocidal practice has robbed the black community of its youth and its future through a heavy-handed and bogus juridical process.

What can be done to stem the tide in these types of injustices?

After reviewing the Michael David Murphy video, if you agree that this is a grievous miscarriage of justice, PLEASE SIGN THE PETITION to the US Justice Department Civil Rights Division. And give your support to FREE THE JENA SIX Campaign organized by Friends of Justice.

Tuesday, July 3, 2007

Disconnecting Public School from the Juvenile Justice System

An ongoing baby moses project dialogue

The Angry Independent said...
The urban public school systems in this country, especially in areas that are predominantly African American, have been turned into Prisons.

Eddie Griffin says… It is imperative that we disconnect urban public schools from the juvenile justice system. The rash of disciplinary problems in school has led many of our young people directly into prisons. The connections are so strong that the urban school environment has taken the shape of a penal pre-incarceration regime.

Disproportionate punishment of black male students and the concomitant one-in-three black boys going to prison is a correlation that cannot be ignored.

The Angry Independent said...
A small percentage of troublemakers have turned these schools into a living hell for those who are interested in getting a decent education. It is no surprise to me that the kids internalize the negatives in their environment and live up to the low expectations that responsible adults have for them.

Many of these kids (and I used to be one of them) have a hard enough time with their home lives.... then they must get up everyday to endure another bad situation. School should be a positive escape for these kids... someplace where they can look forward to going everyday. That kind of environment is not too condusive to learning...or for any positive development whatsoever.

Eddie Griffin says… I agree that schools should be a positive escape, a place they can look forward to going everyday. This suggests an environmental change in the school setting. We can make our schools more attractive, more accommodating, more hospitable, more humane and sane, less contentious and less grievous.

But in order to even envision such an ideal school system we would first have to do some soul-searching to see if such a vision is even inside of ourselves. People are the problem, not the school as an institution.

If we can teach in the squalid remote parts of the Third World, then we should also be able to teach at home. We say that we love the people of impoverished Third World countries and yet we hate our own impoverished riffraff here at home. There is jaundice in the humanitarian and philanthropic eyes.

About the “few troublemakers” that disrupt our schools, you mentioned their destructive influence and its negative effects. The troublemaker must be co-opted into the education regime, rather than thrown out as an outcast. Expulsions only remove the problem to a different area (such as crime).

The Angry Independent said...
Luckily... I was able to get out of my bad situation right before entering middle school. The high schools that I attended were nothing like what you would find in urban New York, L.A., Chicago, St. Louis, etc.

But the authorities (including the school administrators/school board) are in an almost impossible situation as well. They have to be able to deal with drugs and gang activity in many of these schools...which sometimes involves weapons. If something were to happen, and these measures were not in place... then parents would be up in arms about that... So it's a catch 22 situation.

Eddie Griffin says… School administrators, being paid such exorbitant salaries, should be expected to establish law and order on each campus. The superintendent of Fort Worth ISD should be able to deal with malfeasant culture rather than dodge bullets. For that salary, I would face down a gang banger with a gun in his hand. If America is so fearful of school violence, fire the superintendent and hire S.W.O.T. teams. Maybe in the long run, you would save money.

The Angry Independent said...
But one irony that I need to point out here is this... I mentioned that I never went to an urban big city school. I went to a rural/suburban High school that was racially/economically mixed...but mostly white.... and the other high school I attended was a Federal Government High school...which is a completely different system and environment.

The point is... these are exactly the kinds of High schools where most of the nation’s biggest shootings have taken place over the last decade. (Columbine, and at least a dozen other big cases). Yet most of these schools don't have metal detectors nor do they have such an aggressive police presence where students are herded like livestock. There is no prison environment in those schools (typically).

I have yet to hear of a major shooting case at a Black urban school (although some shootings do happen and guns are often recovered in sweeps). There are cases of 1..2 people wounded... but nothing like the mass shootings that take place at predominantly White suburban schools.

Yet it's the urban students who routinely have to deal with this kind of environment. Why is that? I think that it has to do with socio-economics...& not necessarily security. In other words... poorer parents are less likely to challenge these measures... they don't have the money for legal expenses, etc.

Suburban schools, on the other hand, are full of students from more well-off backgrounds...and the authorities wouldn't dare treat Wally Cleaver in the same manner...because the legal challenges would be fierce. They simply would not be able to get away with it.

Eddie Griffin says… I would be careful about over-generalizing the cause of violence in our schools. The real general problem is the mass production of psychotics- and, it’s not in the water or the gene pool. It’s in the upbringing.

The Angry Independent said...
This is where groups like the ACLU must step in and (at the very least) demand better standards and a system of rights for students. They should take these cases to Federal Court. Females should not have to raise their shirts... there should be a private area and enough female personnel on duty. There should be video of each checkpoint area... and a system where students/parents could complain or appeal their treatment.

Eddie Griffin says… Do we need metal detectors and screeners in our schools? There is a problem here as to who is paranoid and why. If parents better understood the pathological behavior of their children, rather than putting on blinders, much fear could be deflated. If we understood that most gangs are not “gangs” per se, but cliques, then we would use a different model for their organizational behavior problems. Punitive psychology is always inferior to cognitive psychology. Teaching children to understand their behavior, responsibilities, and expectations are best enforced through proactive indoctrination, rather than punishment. We cannot assume that all children instinctively know the difference between right and wrong. They must be taught the right and proscribed the wrong.

The Angry Independent said...
This also has to do with the demonization of Black kids...(thanks to the media). There is this fear that exists & is the undertone for everything else...for every other contact that they have with teachers and police. This fear dictates that Black students are a threat (by default) and must be dealt with accordingly. When in fact, the security should be based on actual (professionally conducted) threat/risk assessments.

All in all... there has to be a balance between security and a decent learning environment. It might be a good idea to put federal observers in some of these schools (some of the worst offenders). I bet many of these police and school officials would moderate their behavior if they knew there were independent observers monitoring their activities.

Eddie Griffin says… There is, indeed, a public fear of black kids, especially black boys. And, security placements are always focused on them. If any child gets caught doing anything wrong, rest assured it is the black child. Others do the same, and when they do not get by as usual, they get slapped on the wrist as punishment, while our children wound up in the pen.

In Texas, Paris Hilton could have gotten up to 10 years for repeated DUI and driving recklessly with suspended license. But then too, even in Texas, she is still Paris Hilton.

Yes indeed, we have noted the evolving militarization of our schools, with metal detectors, armed security guards, and draconian punitive measures. Thankfully, the Texas Legislature saw fit to stop the insane flow of children from the classrooms to the jailhouses, for minor disciplinary actions. And, as we began to examine how we can solve our problems ourselves, internally, without the feds or the state, we must recognize that as long as the public school system exists (in its present form), we will need monitors to monitor the monitors.

We have some basic misconceptions about human nature. We assume that given the choice, people will do the bad thing, especially looking through colored lenses. But people, especially children, are more amenable that we think.

I agree with Fort Worth Police Chief Ralph Mendoza, who said at a school-related forum, that if he had his way, he would not even put police officers inside the schools. But this is Fort Worth, Texas, where we have our children reasonably under control. It probably would not work for New York.
(See “Criminalizing the Classroom” in Make It Plain where 93,000 children undergo extreme security measure in New York every day)

Read The Angry Independent blog that made my day.

HAT TIP TO: The Angry Independent

From Eddie Griffin (BASG)

The Blog Post that Made My Day

If the Scooter commutation shows anything, it shows if you are not a Republican, you are a second class citizen. We fought for the last 40 years to wipe segregation from the map and here we have the new segregation within a week of the overturning of Brown Vs. Board of Education.

As BushCo wiped away the separation of powers, they built a separation of ideology. My way or the highway, us against them. If you are not for us, you are against us.

Wake up folks, this is what fascism looks like.

We The People now get to drink from the piss bucket. Ummm minty!

Read more>