Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Transitioning to a new year

2011 – a year in review

2011 was a dynamic year for Tar Heelians with respect to social justice, economic, and political issues. It was also the year that ushered in the “flog” – a portmanteau of Flash and blog – an animated video format in which to present blog-like material… essentially, being an interactive documentary. Economic disparities were brought to the fore with the emergence of the Occupy Movement this year. The discontent with the status quo of the few rich getting richer while more and more individuals and families fall into the depths of poverty. Big corporations like banks, which unabashedly steal real properties and funds from its customers and anyone else they can, merge for the purpose of increasing their bottom line for the benefit of the executives and upper echelon, by creating monopolies to increase the cost of their services and products through loss of competition, while decreasing their bottom line by laying off employees. Environmentally, a new threat has emerged in the form of “fracking,” which threatens to pollute the groundwater with chemicals and carcinogens so that natural gas energy companies can increase their bottom lines. Politically, politicians, such as Renee Ellmers and Stephen LaRoche, are behaving hypocritically and unethically, serving their own needs and not those of the people who put them in office, and putting lobbyists before their constituents… just like any other year.

The most noteworthy stories of 2011 are listed below in the order of their significance. Story Number One – the charging of Crystal Mangum with first degree murder in the death of Reginald Daye. This media controlled story is the height of vendetta justice and is being muzzled by news outlets on a local and national basis. The main problem with this case, which is being prosecuted by Durham Assistant D.A. Kelly Gauger, is that Reginald Daye was removed from life support, after which he died. The fact that he was in a coma for a week prior to the plug being pulled was kept from the public. There was never any explanation as to how Daye slipped into a coma on his third postoperative day following emergency surgery for a stab wound to the left torso… nor has there been any curiosity about it by the media. Two autopsy-related reports have major disparities, with one being criminally fraudulent in its representation of multiple alleged injuries that could not possibly have come from a single paring knife stab wound. Again, no curiosity by the media. There is no nexus between the stab wound to the body and the comatose condition of Daye, and yet despite all of the above, the autopsy reports concluded that Reginald Daye’s death was due to complications of a stab wound to the chest… this after his emergency surgery was considered a success and he was expected to make a full recovery. The media, the politicians, the NAACP, and other civil rights organizations are working together in an effort to allow our criminal justice system to saddle Ms. Mangum with a murder conviction… one which she did not commit. Even her attorney Chris Shella is complicit in this travesty for he has yet to file a motion to have the murder charge against his client dismissed. The larceny charge Ms. Mangum faces from the stabbing incident of April 3, 2011 is flawed, as well. Mangum was charged with two counts of larceny for taking from the scene of the stabbing two money orders… money orders for which she paid. The remitter was listed as Reginald Daye as the money orders were to go towards rent in a symbiotic relationship in which she and her three children were to secretly share his apartment. Daye wanted the money orders to go towards beer and booze, and this was the crux of that fateful evening’s argument. Common sense suggests that had Daye had the money to purchase the money orders, then he would have used it to purchase beer, and there would have been no confrontation. Again, the media is not curious on this point.

Story Number Two – the racist pardon policies of Governor Bev Perdue. Earlier this year, in February, the Governor’s Executive Clemency panel denied the pardon of Erick Daniels without explanation. He was denied a pardon because he is an African American. Erick Daniels needs the pardon so that he can receive monetary compensation for the more than seven years for which he was wrongly imprisoned for an armed robbery that he did not commit. When pressed by Harr for a reason for the denial of his petition or a pardon, the General Counsel for the governor stated that it had conducted its own investigation which generated questions as to Daniels’ actual innocence… an investigation in which it could not share any results due to “confidentiality concerns.” In addition, another African American, Shawn Massey, who was unjustly incarcerated for twelve years, was denied a pardon. And, Glen Edward Chapman, a black man who was sentenced to death in 1994 for a murder he did not commit and was released from death row in 2007, applied for a pardon from the governor on March 21, 2011. No word yet, as the governor continues to drag her feet with the apparent strategy of not granting a pardon by indefinitely delaying a ruling about it. While these race-based injustices continue, the NAACP, other civil rights groups, and politicians enable the injustice by looking away and keeping mum.

Story Number Three – Harr’s discrimination lawsuit against Duke. This legal filing is basically the result of a big institution (Duke University) trampling on the rights of an ordinary individual. Duke, like many mega-corporations, believes that it can do so with impunity because it has big bucks and the media in its back pocket. As its ally, the media kept Duke’s egregious mistreatment of Harr secreted from the public… this to prevent public pressure and embarrassment from forcing it to do the right thing. That Harr has filed Pro Se had forced Duke to rely upon the Courts, as Magistrate Judge P. Trevor Sharp was quick lie about the facts of the case in order to mislead the Court into ruling in favor of Duke’s Motion to Dismiss the action by Harr. Duke’s discriminatory and malicious actions in its plan to have Harr arrested for being a Nifong supporter, the media’s collusion in preventing the public from learning about it, and the magistrate judge’s unethical misconduct on behalf of the Duke defendants, is an affront to the civic, fair-minded citizens of this state. Although this drama has not played out, if there is any justice, then Harr most definitely will prevail… and Harr will not be the only winner. It will keep establishments and institutions from being able to perform acts of discrimination against individuals based on a person’s beliefs, thoughts, opinions, and/or allegiances.

2012 – looking forward

In the coming year, this blog site will update the three important stories listed above. It will continue to cover as many instances of injustice as possible in order to bring awareness and enlightenment about stories which the mainstream media tries to conceal and keep hidden. The bulk of these blogs and flogs will be devoted to criminal justice issues and cases, with those related to Duke Lacrosse/Nifong having precedence. In addition, some entries will tend to focus on economic, environmental, and political injustices as they are all, to an extent, intertwined.

The introduction of the flog in 2011 was a major boon to the presentation of news and opinion. Its main advantage is that it is a perfect format for the reading challenged. In addition, its interactivity enables the viewer to peruse important documents and look over diagrams, photos and other images which support the narrative. Despite its major advantages over the read-only blog, its main drawback – the fact that each flog takes a lot of time and effort to produce – will limit the number of flogs produced in the coming year. Experimenting with an all flog site this past year, reduced the blog site output drastically which resulted in the inability to cover many important stories. Mind you, flogs will continue to be posted on this site, but not as frequently. It is my plan to publish one to two blogs a week, with an occasional flog thrown in. Still in the pipeline is my epic flog about one of the worse, if not worst, instance of injustice in Tar Heel criminal law.

This coming year I will also try and reply to more comments than I have in the past. As I do not have internet at home (too expensive), my time online at the public library, though free, is limited. I continue to welcome all comments regardless of their position, and appreciate the commenters making the effort to give feedback about the postings.

I hope that you all had a wonderful Christmas and Christmas-related holiday, and I wish you all good health and much happiness in 2012. For my part, I will try and bring you vast amounts of enlightenment in the coming year. 

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Harr v. Duke - a directory of legal documents

Notice UPDATE 12-15-11: All of the buttons work appropriately, however, I have not been able to solve the problem with returning straight to the directory. I will continue working to try and resolve that problem. Sorry about the inconvenience.

Click on the link below to access. All narrative is on the flog, so get ready to read fast. At the end of the three minute flog is a directory for documents.

Enjoy and become enlightened!

Sunday, December 4, 2011

NCAA - a parasitic group

Click the link below to access the flog:

NCAA – a parasitic group – its members with a repressive, gluttonous, and hypocritical soul
Bent on disrupting college athletic programs for the benefit of its avaricious goal
while Justice casts a disapproving eye on its actions that claim a gruesome toll.

“I want everyone to remember why they need us!” These are the memorable words from my favorite movie, “V for Vendetta.” They are shrieked by England’s governing High Chancellor to his henchmen in charge of executing his commands. Although set some time in the near future it is more than likely that these very words could come from the mouths of the leaders of the NCAA today.

The NCAA, which stands for the National College Athletic Association, is a parasitic organization that feeds off the toil, sweat, bruises, and broken bones of collegiate athletes. A self-proclaimed overseer of college sports, this male dominated group of wealthy individuals has appointed itself as the all-mighty and undisputed regulator of college sports… determining rules and regulations that are all too often vague and discriminatory, and handing out fines and penalties like a cop in a speed trap.

This sedentary and essentially useless gang rakes in the money, hand over fist, that is generated by the physical and emotional sacrifices of the young gladiators on the fields, courts, and arenas. The university athletic system would work fine without the NCAA, so in order for the NCAA to make itself relevant… that is, to remind the university, athletes, and public why they need it… the NCAA conjures up scandals and issues stiff penalties for the most trivial of alleged offenses. And, this group has assigned as one of the most egregious behaviors that of giving assistance to a struggling athlete… lest he/she lose amateur status and be considered a professional. Heaven forbid.

While members of the NCAA wade in dollars flowing in from the toil of college athletes, they rebuke those poor, and disenfranchised players for accepting any money, gift, or assistance, no matter how meager or inconsequential. This rule, which is prejudicial in its nature, causes the greatest impact to the poor, disenfranchised, and minority athletes… for example such a rule would have no bearing on the financially endowed and coddled Duke lacrosse players.

Although the NCAA claims to place a high premium on university athletes obtaining a first-class education, its motivation, like that of Bank of America, Wells Fargo, Duke Energy, or any other capitalistic mega-corporation is its bottom line. Drunk with power it pretends that its actions are altruistic rather than avaricious.

When former president of the NCAA, Myles N. Brand passed away recently, Mark Emmert was selected to fill the leadership role of the NCAA. Mark Emmert, whose annual salary and compensation package from the NCAA is in the seven figure range, emphatically stated, “It’s grossly unacceptable and inappropriate to pay players… converting them from students to employees.” It is apparent that Mr. Emmert would rather keep them as the slaves that they are… who generate for the organization well over a billion dollars in revenue annually. For example, the three week NCAA basketball tournament in March kicks out more than $771 million annually in television rights alone. Yet Emmert and his administration cronies want an ever-increasing slice of the pie that was baked from the efforts of college athletes, many of whom are struggling just to get by.

Emmert’s attitude is not surprising, considering his background. Prior to assuming the position at the NCAA, Mark Emmert was the president of the University of Washington, in Seattle, Washington. Behind the basketball and football coach, Emmert earned the third highest salary, and among public university presidents during the 2008-2009 academic year, his salary of $620,000, making up part of a $905,000 compensation package was second highest in the nation. Sitting on boards of big corporations, such as Weyerhaeuser, brought in another $340,000 annually for Mr. Emmert.

When the University of Washington was under a protracted period of dire financial straits, Mr. Emmert refused to consider a cap on administrators’ salaries. In kind, the administrators backed Emmert’s excessively high salary, claiming his leadership was responsible for bringing in top faculty, and that he was deserving of it. Due to his salary demands, Mr. Emmert was criticized soundly at the Pacific Northwest institution.

Currently, the NCAA is fighting a class action lawsuit against one of its provisions which limits athletic scholarship to pay only room, board, tuition, and books… a fight that will be played out in the court rather than on the field.

Now, I am not alone in my negative assessment of the NCAA. Dr. Boyce Watkins, a college professor of eighteen years experience, stated, “The NCAA is likely the most corrupt system in America, behind the prison industrial complex.” In his online article of October 2011, titled NCAA Athletes Finally Demanding to Be Paid: A Professor's Perspective, Dr. Watkins accurately challenges the NCAA’s hypocritically bogus claim to be concerned about the academic integrity of the schools in its charge and their commitment to see that the student athletes receive a quality education. Dr. Watkins bluntly tells it like it is: “I've seen countless cases in which athletes have had a tremendous amount of pressure put on them by coaches who are only hired to win games and earn their multi-million dollar salaries. Studying becomes an extracurricular activity for the athlete who is being coached by a man who is only rewarded for a high winning percentage, not graduation rates. By systemic design, any athlete who tries to put academics ahead of athletics is severely punished for doing so.”

Not unlike the Salem Witch Trials back in the day, the NCAA is quick to make unsubstantiated accusations, then stand by them regardless if later disproved. The attacks, which accounted for a wide swath of suspensions for the University of North Carolina football team in 2010, had a detrimental effect not only on the athletes, but the head football coach and his staff, the athletic director, a tutor for the players, and an academic chairman.

In a News & Observer article of June 30, 2011 titled “Stewart defends his role”, Todd Stewart, a DJ from Washington DC, called ridiculous the NCAA allegations that he was a financial adviser who provided more than $7,000 in improper benefits to UNC football players. According to the NCAA, the bulk of the $7,216.20 that Stewart was alleged to have illegally given to football players was in the form of traveling expenses… which Stewart denied. Stewart did admit to lending his car to Tar Heel football standout Marvin Austin and allowing him to stay at his house when Austin came to Landover, Maryland for a visit. As Stewart went on to explain, his friendship with Austin goes back a decade before Austin was a high school football star. And the NCAA’s slipshod investigation also linked Todd Stewart to Pro Sports Financial… an accusation to which Stewart countered, “I never worked for them… ever.”

The NCAA also accused Stewart of giving to UNC defensive back Charles Brown a sum totaling $54.50. This so-called impermissible benefit netted Brown a one game suspension by this organization engorged with dollars made off the backs of college athletes.

The NCAA investigation into UNC’s football program forced the resignation of assistant coach John Blake, resulted in the eventual dismissal of head coach Butch Davis, and led to Professor Julius Nyang’oro stepping down as chairman of the Department of African and Afro-American Studies at UNC… the latter action snared in the imbroglio surrounding UNC linebacker Michael McAdoo.

The tragedy involving Michael McAdoo is insightfully explained in an op-ed piece titled “Who failed the player?” written by former NC Justice Robert F. Orr appearing in the August 2, 2011 News & Observer. He accurately suggests the platitudes emanating from the leadership at UNC of concern for “academic integrity” ring hollow. UNC leaders intently wooed Butch Davis to build a football powerhouse from the mediocre program in place at his hiring. In acquiring talent need to fulfill this mandate, Davis went to Tennessee and recruited Michael McAdoo with the promise to help him develop into an NFL prospect and for the university to provide assistance academically.

In the fishing expedition launched by the NCAA seeking out football players who may have received some impermissible financial aid, McAdoo was caught in the dragnet. The NCAA accused him of having unauthorized tutorial help and it labeled one of his papers as plagiarism because it contained a several paragraphs or passages from other sources… but sources which were given mention. Based on this alleged indiscretion, the NCAA permanently banned McAdoo from participating in college sports, a draconian and much harsher penalty than handed down by the school’s Honor Court… which did not interfere with McAdoo’s athletic pursuit.

On his behalf, McAdoo testified that he did not knowingly or intentionally seek to violate any NCAA regulation when accepting tutorial help or in writing the class paper. He then went through the proper channels in seeking reinstatement to play football at UNC. This move was derailed when Durham Superior Court Judge Orlando Hudson denied a temporary injunction to allow him to play college football while he challenged the ruling from the NCAA. With his hopes of continuing his college football career dashed, McAdoo tried out for an NFL team and was picked up by Baltimore Ravens… but at great financial disadvantage as his compensation for not being selected in the draft was severely restricted.

McAdoo then filed a suit against UNC and the NCAA for violating his rights… a lawsuit which was dismissed by Judge Hudson, the very judge who had tossed out McAdoo’s earlier injunction. No surprise there. Hudson avoided the legal and constitutional arguments of McAdoo’s suit by stating that the lawsuit was moot as McAdoo had been signed by a professional team and that he was therefore ineligible to play college ball in the future.

I agree wholeheartedly with the conclusions drawn by Honorable Justice Orr, who stated, “I submit that in all of this Butch Davis kept his part of the deal, as has Michael McAdoo.”

The biased media has not sat on the sidelines as this controversy swirled. They instantly went into attack mode vilifying UNC Assistant Coach John Blake with over-the-top negative coverage. Blake’s sin was that he was a close friend of a sports agent and was communicating with him. And when the cowering UNC chancellor, Holden Thorp finally scrounged up enough mettle to ill-advisedly fire Coach Davis – unjustly, in my opinion – then the media jumped in like a pack of wolves.

Prior to his sudden and unexpected firing, Davis had agreed to release a redacted copy of his personal phone records to the media. However, once he was axed as head coach, the issue was moot, and he did not. Then a coalition of media outlets, led by The News & Observer, had the unmitigated gall to go to court seeking those phone records. It has been shown that when The News & Observer sets its sights on a target, as it currently has with Durham District Attorney Tracey Cline, it will devote limitless time and resources to bring down its prey. For example, when UNC gridiron standout Marvin Austin was under NCAA scrutiny for accepting impermissible assistance in the form of forgiven parking tickets, the newspaper diligently spent innumerable man-hours searching through traffic records.

The NCAA’s self-serving flames of purported scandal in university sports programs that are fanned by the media have resulted in chaos, confusion, and anxiety on campuses across the country. The toll the NCAA charges has had on the University of North Carolina’s administration is evident, as its greenhorn chancellor, Holden Thorp has been shell-shocked into making reckless and impulsive decisions while kowtowing to the Indianapolis-based organization. Instead of vigorously defending its program against the trivial complaints listed in the June 21, 2011 Notice of Allegations, the timorous UNC leadership folded, offering up a list of penalties to mitigate action against it by the NCAA. One of its self-imposed sanctions for its grievous misdeeds is to decrease its scholarship allotment.

A tinderbox of the potential of sanctions by the NCAA has spread to North Carolina State University, where the Wolf-pack Nation called out one of their own for receiving impermissible benefits. Evidently, in May 2011, North Carolina State basketball forward C. J. Leslie was in an accident which disabled his car. Without transportation, he borrowed the car of a friend for a week. In addition, this friend paid an apartment application fee for Leslie’s half-brother. For these two so-called “violations,” NC State dutifully reported Leslie to the NCAA, and declared Leslie to be ineligible to play basketball. The university then filed a reinstatement request with the mighty NCAA. The “magnanimous” organization agreed on the condition that Leslie serve a three game suspension and make “foregoing charitable contributions” in the amount of $410.

The Leslie case is yet another example of the absurdity of the rules and regulations the NCAA has placed on the student athletes. Without transportation, what was Leslie expected to do… walk? Take a bus? Even if someone loaned Leslie money to rent a car, then that would be considered an impermissible benefit.

In a November 30, 2011 News & Observer article titled “Former Wolfpack player barred,” it was disclosed that Eric Leak, a former NCSU receiver, was the person who allowed C. J. Leslie to borrow his car when Leslie’s car was rendered inoperable after an accident. According to Leak, the NCAA falsely accused Leak of paying a rental application fee for Leslie’s half brother… something Eric Leak denied. He did, however, admit to lending two months rent to NC State basketball player Tracy Smith… a close friend of his since they were both in high school.

C. J. Leslie was forced to donate $410 to charity to cover a loan attributed to Leak, which Leak evidently did not make. Because Eric Leak lent his car to C. J. Leslie and helped long-time friend and NC State basketball player Tracy Smith with two months rent, he has been banned by the university for which he honorably played and represented… his crime being that he helped out two NC State athletes, one a longtime friend, in their time of need. Eric Leak should be praised instead of penalized… banning him from having contact with current or future NC State athletes, banning him from using the school’s athletic facilities, denying him the right to rent a suite at the RBC Center or Carte-Finley Stadium, and in the disassociation letter from NC State athletic director Debbie Yow, Leak is prohibited from accepting complimentary tickets from the players or coaching staff, and he cannot purchase season tickets.

Debbie Yow and the NC State athletic department should be ashamed of themselves for rebuking Leak for his actions of kindness, generosity and humanity. The policies of the NCAA have prodded athletic directors, such as Debbie Yow, to enforce irrational policies that are discriminatory against student athletes who are poor, disenfranchised and people of color.

If the NCAA is so concerned about agents or former student athletes giving financial help to struggling students, then the NCAA should open up its coffers and provide assistants to the student athletes in need… the very ones who are responsible for generating money for the NCAA and paying the excessive and exorbitant salaries of the NCAA executives and administrators.

The tolerance of the NCAA by the universities, I believe, is not without bounds. The fat cats at the NCAA who are prospering at the expense of the labor of student athletes need to seriously address the issues of paying athletes for their efforts with full scholarships and other compensation… as has been suggested by Professor Boyce Watkins. It needs to do away with its obstructive and mean-spirited rules and regulations, and place the athletes ahead of its members’ insatiable fiduciary appetites.

To paraphrase a line from my favorite movie, “The universities should not be afraid of the NCAA… the NCAA should be afraid of the universities.”