Much sooner than predicted Hurricane Gustav swirled into a category 3 storm this morning. The winds are at 125 mph. Having killed 78 people in the Caribbean and on target to impact Cuba today, Gustav’s next victim could be any place from New Orleans to Texas. By that time, with the warm Gulf of Mexico waters, it could be a category 4 or 5.
There are reports of early evacuations going on in New Orleans, but I remember this same scenario when Katrina was off the coast. It was a Sunday afternoon and Mayor Ray Nagin was talking about people needing to evacuate, but little in the way of real concern. Somewhat understandable, no one could have imagined the entire city being underwater. But this time there is no excuse.. If you’re in New Orleans, you should be reading this from a laptop in Kansas.
Get the f-k out of town!more..
While we’re on fashion, how about Jay-Z putting Nicole Bell, the wife of Sean Bell, in Roc-A-Wear’s “I Will Not Lose” campaign? Lord knows Nicole and her family will have to represent that tag to the fullest in the coming months. Sean Bell was the guy killed in the 50 shot barrage by five NYC police officers two years ago.
The case has yet to go to trial. The officer’s lawyers attempted to have the case moved to ‘friendlier’ territory; think Rodney King’s case being moved to the burbs and you have the idea.
The request was denied. Which prompted the latest news, “Detectives in Sean Bell Shooting Will Waive Jury Trial”
In any case, it’s a good look that Jay-Z is supporting Nicole Bell.more..
When Mychal Bell was released from jail on September 27, it was noted that he had to return to the court for a probation hearing. Yesterday he attended that hearing where a judge ruled that he had violated his probation - before the Jena 6 incident. He cited two counts of simple battery and two destruction of property charges. Mychal Bell was sentenced to 18 months at the Renaissance Home for Youth in Alexandria, Louisiana.
The ruling came as a surprise to Bell’s legal team who expected a routine hearing.
In what is truly bizarre, Bell was tried by District Judge J.P. Mauffrey, the same judge that was determined to have wrongly tried him as an adult in the Jena 6 case. Bell’s defense attorneys tried unsuccessfully to get the judge to recuse himself from the case. Which is apparent that he decided he was able to make a ‘fair’ ruling in the case. Judge Mauffrey also ordered Bell’s parents to pay all court and witness costs.more..
Yesterday, Mychal Bell was released from jail. A great thing, if for one, soothing the concerns I’ve heard from some people about the time they took off from work, hopped on buses, money spent, etc, being a waste because the kid was still in jail.
The show of support last week is a huge reason why his quick trial and conviction was thrown out. Had a huge protest been organized, police barricades and all, and a hundred or so people stood outside that courthouse, there wouldn’t have been any pressure for the Louisiana court to rethink their decision.
The media attention made a huge difference.more..
This morning Tina Jones (pictured with her son Carwin Jones, in black) and Caseptla Bailey, mothers of two of the Jena 6, spoke to Democracy Now about yesterday’s show of support and current issues surrounding their cases. Al Sharpton and ‘voices from the street’ were also in the segment. There will be a full feed of the show on Democracy Now sometime today.
I snipped the audio down to the interview with the mothers, starting with Caseptla Bailey, she explains what she felt about yesterday’s rally. Tina Jones follows..more..
David Bowie, who Diddy famously sampled for “Been Around the World”, has donated $10,000 to the Jena Six Legal Defense Fund. In an emailed statement, Bowie said.. “There is clearly a separate and unequal judicial process going on in the town of Jena. A donation to the Jena Six Legal Defense Fund is my small gesture indicating my belief that a wrongful charge and sentence should be prevented.”
The fact that he’s been married to Iman for 15 years and has pitched support for Keep A Child Alive doesn’t make it that much of a stretch to believe he’d give help in Jena.
It’s the kind of move you’d love to see from the hip-hop cognesceti, but we’re not gonna point fingers.more..
Hop on YouTube and you’ll find a bunch of people video bloggin about the Jena 6 case. There was one that caught my attention. This chick by the ‘name’ of Jia.
First of all she may be recognizable to some that troll the backroads of the internet, she’s an admitted ex-porno girl. I can’t tell if that should be past tense or not.. in another one of her videos she says.. “Some people talk about what I used to do or have done recently..but I do stay up on the issues.”
If you can look past that “Jia” actually makes a good point. She asks where is the support from rappers, producers and the music moguls who love to tell us how much money they have and the price-tags-don’t-mean-shit-to-me lifestyle they lead. Yet when it comes to this real life situation where they could have helped bail these kids out of jail or with the legal bills they’ll pile up, there isn’t one high-profile person you can name.
I’d add that would not only be helpful (and a true cause) it’s good business.more..
On Tuesday a Louisiana judge reduced attempted murder charges for two of the Jena 6. Theo Shaw and Carwin Jones now face second-degree battery and conspiracy charges. Which sounds great until you look at Mychal Bell, the first kid tried and convicted in this case. The judge dismissed Bell’s conspiracy charge but refused to make a move on the second-degree battery charge, which would have allowed the case to be tried in a juvenile court (Bell was 16 at the time of the incident.)
On September 20th he could get up to 15 years in jail for that second-degree battery charge, the same that the other two will face if convicted.
For the moment, Robert Bailey Jr. and Bryant Purvis sit on attempted murder charges.
Ah, the Jena 6 case. Where to begin?more..
Today marks the 2nd anniversary of Hurricane Katrina. Thankfully since that crazy hurricane season, a total of zero have kissed the United States coastline. Yesterday it was announced that Quincy Jones and Usher are teaming up to promote ongoing rebuilding efforts in New Orleans.
Soon after Hurricane Katrina Usher launched Project Restart, which has already helped 700 families get new housing and given them assistance with keeping their lights on.
The specifics of the new project with Quincy Jones will be announced in the coming weeks.
Quincy Jones talked about the Usher connection and their goal for the project.more..