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Delta Sigma Theta Sorority and Dallas Serial Rapist

Tuesday, October 25th, 2011

I read with disbelief about the serial rapes of 4 members of my beloved sorority, Delta Sigma Theta in Dallas, Texas.  Then I realized truth is sometimes stranger than fiction. And this is no fiction. The women are all in their 50’s and 60’s and were attacked while alone in their homes in Dallas suburbs. Their assailant knew personal information about them, in addition to their sorority connection.  The sexual assaults have occurred over a period of 11 months.

The sorority is taking all precautions with the national president, Cynthia Butler-McIntyre urging all Dallas area members to remove all sorority paraphernalia from their homes, offices, cars, key chains and refrain from wearing the items.  Members were also asked to err on the side of caution and remove any mention of Delta Sigma Theta sorority from Facebook, Twitter and other social media sites.

Delta Sigma Theta is a public service organization of college educated woman with chapters worldwide, founded in 1913 on Howard University’s campus with 22 founders. Today “Delta” boasts over 250,000 members worldwide. Some notable Delta Sigma Theta sorority members are civil rights icon Dorothy I. Height, Mary McLeod Bethune, Johnetta Cole,  Bennet College President Julianne Malveaux, former Clinton Secretary of  Labor, Alexis Herman, Rep. Marcia Fudge, journalists Gwen Ifill and Soledad O’Brien and entertainer Lena Horne, just to name a very few. Members of Delta Sigma Theta sorority are found in all walks of life and are committed to public service.

This is not the first time that a sorority has been targeted for crime.  Back in the 1970’s, serial killer Ted Bundy was known for attacking women on college campuses in Florida.  However, this is believed perhaps by many to be the first serial rapist attack of this type—attacking middle aged sorority members at their homes.

For more information, please go to Dallas Morning News.

MLK Monument Dedication Teaches a Lesson of the 99%

Monday, October 17th, 2011

It was a beautiful sunny day fitting for the speeches, songs and spirit of the celebration to dedicate the Martin Luther King monument.  From family members, friends, civil rights fighters, clergy, choirs, entertainers and a host of people from all over the country, the dedication of the Martin Luther King monument was fitting of the honor that Dr. King deserves.  I sat with a friend’s family who had travelled from California to attend the ceremony as a teaching lesson for their teenage children.  It was living history and learning the lessons of the past while looking to finish the work for the future. It was a glorious event overlooking the King monument, the Washington monument further in the distance and the Lincoln memorial to the north where Dr. King delivered his I Have a Dream Speech.

As we watched and waited to see President Obama deliver his remarks, we were shocked to discover that his remarks were only going to be delivered behind our actual stage to a small handful of dignitaries on the other side where the King monument stood.  As the program proceeded to the President’s remarks, those on the stage left and walked behind the stage where the President stood. Of course, we could watch on large screens. But that’s beside the point. Now I don’t know if the idea was that of the Martin Luther King Foundation, had to do with security for the President or some other reason. Nonetheless, it was symbolic of the 1% that were entitled to see the President in person, while the 99% of us watched on the screens after seeing everyone else in person.  We explained the symbolism to the teenagers in our presence who understood it.

I doubt if Dr. King would have waited to give his I Have a Dream speech after all the other speakers of the day and then delivered it to a handful or select few behind the stage, while 99% of the crowd watched on large screens.  Presentation sometimes is just as important as the spoken words. While the words spoken and delivered by President Obama were fitting of the occasion, the manner in which they were given was ill fitted for the occasion.

Some questioned that it may have been done that way because of security reasons for the President. That didn’t seem to be the case as the President has spoken at places where people in states which allow it, can openly carry  guns.  And having attended rallies with the President on the campaign trail, it seemed an unlikely excuse.  Bags could have been checked and searched for security reasons.

After the program concluded, we walked over to the Lincoln Memorial, commemorating where Dr. King spoke 48 years ago. And we watched in our mind’s eye as Dr. King spoke to the entire crowd masses and not the select 1%.

Will Sex, Lies and Audio Tapes Convict Conrad Murray?

Thursday, October 13th, 2011

The prosecution’s case against Conrad Murray has hinged on sex, lies, video and audio tapes to prove that Conrad Murray killed Michael Jackson.   It boils down to more lies, some sex or at least some baby mama drama and tapes. At this point, you need a chart to keep up with the lies and inconsistencies of Dr. Murray.  And lies come in two forms, direct lies and his actions which show that he’s lying.

The prosecution paints a picture of Conrad Murray as being untruthful.  And he’s certainly been helpful to them in this regard. The most damaging lie is that Dr. Murray only left Michael Jackson’s bedroom for 2 minutes to go to the bathroom after giving him the Propofol.   Dr. Murray’s own E-mails and cell phone records to three persons including an ex-girlfriend who testified show he was gone for more than 30 minutes and most likely 45 minutes.  According to the paramedics, Jackson’s body was cold to the touch when they arrived although Murray says he called them right away. And then Murray failed to tell the paramedics that he had given Jackson Propofol, stating that he only gave  Jackson some sedatives.  There was also  “the deer caught in the headlight look” according to the paramedic, when the paramedic returned to Jackson’s bedroom to find Dr. Murray appearing to dispose of some items.

And then it appears that the most flagrant lie has been dropped by the defense. On Wednesday, October 12, the defense dropped the theory that Michael Jackson ingested the Propofol on his own, after learning that medical scientific evidence does not support his theory.  They had advanced this theory for well over a year. From this former prosecutor’s viewpoint, it appears as if someone on the Murray team had not done their homework.  A lawyer never wants to discuss theories in opening statements and then abandon them in the middle of the trial.  Any statements about medicine should have been verified by Murray’s medical experts before advancing the theory.

And then there’s the baby mama drama. Dr. Murray has 7 children by 6 women.  And why is his sex life important to the case against him?  It shows he needed money to take care of his children and lifestyle. And to do that, he needed to be able to put Michael Jackson to sleep nightly by any means necessary.  Remember Dr. Murray initially asked for $5 million a year to serve as Jackson’s private physician.  Although a contract had not been signed, he was to have been paid $150,000 a month.

The most damaging testimony in the case is the audiotape statement of Conrad Murray.  In his own words and voice, he contradicts himself and lies to the paramedics and investigators about the sequence of events, details, drugs and anything of significance. And the audio tape and words by Dr. Murray were used to show the 6 ways that he committed criminal recklessness. Those included waiting at least 20 minutes before calling 911, leaving the bedroom after administering Propofol, using Propofol as a sleep aid, and not getting other doctors’ history and records of Michael Jackson.

In the end, his own statements may very well convict him.  This leads one to wonder why his attorneys allowed him to give a statement to detectives since presumably he was a potential suspect.  A statement could not help and really looks like it hurt Murray. He had every right to decline questioning. One has to wonder what his attorneys were thinking.

The prosecution with the help of Dr. Murray has dug a hole that is quite deep for him to climb out.  The defense starts its case soon and will have a tremendous amount of ground to make up.  They are expected to call a medical witness to explain the uses of Propofol.  I hope for their sake, they do not allow Dr. Murray to testify. He has already committed enough harm with his audio tape.

Debbie Hines is a lawyer, former prosecutor and political/legal commentator appearing in national and local media including CNN, the Michael Eric Dyson Show, XM Sirius radio, NBC , ABC and CBS -Washington, DC affiliates,  NPR, the Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, USA Today, Black Enterprise among others.  She founded LegalSpeaks, a progressive blog on women and race in law and politics.  She also writes for the Huffington Post and Politic 365.

 

Is Herman Cain a Cousin to Clarence Thomas?

Tuesday, October 11th, 2011

 

Herman Cain

Herman Cain’s recent comments to the Occupy Wall Street protestors of “ if you don’t have a job and if you’re not rich”, don’t blame Wall street or the banks, “blame yourself” belies everything that is misunderstood in society today. Calling the protestors “jealous” and saying the protestors are “anti-capitalism” shows his lack of US history. Now I would expect that from someone like Donald Trump who prides himself on being a self- made millionaire forgetting that he had the help of a handful of bankruptcies to forgive his debt and start all over again.

Cain comes from a southern background  of working class parents during the civil rights era when blacks did not have basic rights including voting rights. Without the help of civil rights leaders to fight racism and injustice, Cain would probably be without a job today.  He certainly would not have been the CEO of Godfather Pizza. And Cain’s anti-capitalism” comments echo  exactly what many southern whites said during the civil rights era, that to give blacks basic rights was “anti-American”. Does Cain even remember where he came from? Although, he fails to mention it in his bio, he had to have the help of someone or more than one person to get the point that he is in today.

Growing up, I was always told that the saying “I got mine, you got yours to get” was the wrong way to view life.  Everyone who has sustained a measure of success has had someone to help them in life.  They didn’t go it alone, as Cain and others like Clarence Thomas would like to think. And in the case of Cain, he had many known and unknown persons to help him get to the point of Godfather CEO.  And that includes the  government who assisted his family when they lived in public housing. Even though Cain denies ever participating in any civil rights marches during his college years in the south, he was a direct recipient of the efforts of all those who participated.

There are many reasons why many Americans are out of jobs. Some are more qualified by education than Herman Cain and still have no job.  And people are fed up with the helping hand given to Wall Street, the automobile industry and the banks. It’s not about being “anti-capitalism”; it’s about an equal chance for people living on Main Street.  People want a fair shake and something that goes beyond extension of unemployment benefits.  They want equal benefits like the “get out of debt” money card given to the banks, Wall Street and the auto industry.   They want what Herman Cain had—-help from someone, including the government. And that’s not “anti-capitalism”, it’s called the American way.

Godfather Pizza CEO Herman Cain may be good for pizza but will be bad for America.

Debbie Hines is a lawyer and political/legal commentator appearing in national and local media including CNN, the Michael Eric Dyson Show, XM Sirius radio, NBC , ABC and CBS -Washington, DC affiliates,  NPR, the Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, USA Today, Black Enterprise among others.  She founded LegalSpeaks, a progressive blog on women and race in law and politics.  She also writes for the Huffington Post and Politic 365.

Steve Jobs in His Own Words

Thursday, October 6th, 2011

Steve Jobs

Steve Jobs gave a commencement speech at Stanford University telling 3 stories that are profound words for everyone. He was a visionary, caring and highly spiritual person.  Here is the clip in his own words of how to live life.  Loving life and what you do in life is most important. We will all die. Our time on this earth is limited.  His speech shows there  are lessons in life and that life will not always be sweet.  There will be downfalls in life.  Jobs says keep looking  for your passion and don’t settle.  He speaks about death and says if you live each day like it’s your last, some day you will be right.  If today were the last day of your life, would you want to do what you are doing  today?  Remembering that you will die is an important lesson for everyone.  Live life to the fullest. Steve Jobs did.

Steve Jobs at Stanford University commencement

Why All the Media Coverage of Amanda Knox and not Troy Davis?

Wednesday, October 5th, 2011

The main stream media’s coverage and obsession of the Amanda Knox arrest, trial, post- conviction, re-trial and release vastly differs from its coverage of Troy Davis and other persons in similar situations.  Why is Amanda Knox’s case so compelling and worthy of attention in the eyes of the main stream media when so many other similar cases do not garner much, if any attention by the media?

Knox was convicted of brutally killing her British roommate, Meredith Kercher, while studying abroad in Perugia, Italy.  The case was based in part on her confession, statements to the police and questionable DNA evidence.  On appeal, the DNA evidence was found to be unreliable by an independent lab. The smoking gun, Amanda’s DNA on the gun, was later determined to be a rye bread see.  Knox made a compelling statement of her innocence at the re-trial.  The Italian jury apparently believed her, discarded previous evidence and freed her.

Troy Davis was also convicted of a brutal killing, that of a police officer while on off duty in Georgia.  Davis always maintained his innocence and never gave an incriminating confession.  Seven of the nine witnesses later recanted their testimony.  One of the two remaining witnesses was alleged to be the actual killer. There was no DNA in Davis’ case. Despite Troy Davis spending 20 years in prison before his execution, there was only recent media coverage in the last few years. And it paled in comparison to the main stream media’s attention given to the Amanda Knox case.  Davis was also fighting for his life, like Knox. His fight was unsuccessful.

The main stream media’s lack of coverage of certain cases and great coverage of others goes beyond these two cases.  Our society gives media attention to celebrity defendants like Lindsay Lohan, Paris Hilton and Chris Brown and the like.  And in the case of Amanda Knox, she was an attractive, young white woman studying abroad who gets arrested for a very heinous crime. Her case becomes sensational due to these very characteristics.  Many affluent and middle class families relate to her ordeal, getting in trouble while studying abroad.  And in Amanda’s case, her family also had the financial means and support to keep her case in the public eye for 4 years.

But, it still begs the question of why the media doesn’t bring attention to similar injustices committed in our own backyard.  At the same time as the Amanda Knox release after spending 4 years in an Italian jail, Michael Morton  was released from a Texas prison after DNA evidence exonerated him after spending  25 years in jail for  killing his wife, a crime he did not commit.  There have been numerous persons released from prison after faulty DNA evidence in this country but rarely, if ever, do they receive the media attention that Knox garnered. They just go away quietly as if we sweep them under a rug. And shouldn’t we know of injustices occurring in our own backyard?

Amanda Knox is Troy Davis, except she’s an attractive young white woman. And that makes all the difference.

Debbie Hines is a lawyer and political/legal commentator appearing in national and local media including CNN, the Michael Eric Dyson Show, XM Sirius radio, NBC , ABC and CBS -Washington, DC affiliates,  NPR, the Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, USA Today, Black Enterprise among others.  She founded LegalSpeaks, a progressive blog on women and race in law and politics.  She also writes for the Huffington Post and Politic 365.