Monday, May 18, 2009

Righteous Minds Has Moved!

Check us out soon for the official relaunch at:!

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Alicia in Africa: A Journey to the Motherland Documentary

Alicia Keys traveled to Africa and created a documentary to share her journey with the world. Check it out:

Blacks earning less doctoral degrees

A recent study done by the Journal of Blacks in Higher Education states that Black are earning fewer doctoral degrees. The following is an excerpt of Blacks earning fewer degrees by Jayne Matthews:

“A college degree is a ticket to middle class life”- Dr. Calvin Burnett, President Emeritus, Coppin State University

Dr. Burnett's words have proven to true for thousands of college graduates. For a small, but growing group of Africans Americans it was also the passport to the prestige of earning a doctoral degree and the economic power to enter the upper middle class.

However, after almost two decades of uninterrupted progress, the number of blacks receiving doctoral degrees has declined by 10 percent for two consecutive years. According to a report recently published in the Journal of Blacks in Higher Education, blacks earned 7.1 percent of all doctorates awarded in the United States in 2004 and 6.2 percent in 2006. Here is an excerpt from the article titled “Once Again, a Decline in Doctoral Degree Awards to African Americans.”

Despite the setback of the past two years, the overall progress in the past two decades has been rock solid. In 1987 only 787 African Americans earned doctorates. This year's total of 1,659 doctorates is more than double the number earned by African Americans in 1987. In 1990 the black share of all doctoral awards was 3.6 percent. That has now grown to 6.2 percent, a showing of significant progress in a relatively short period of time of 17 years.

Although African Americans have made solid progress in doctoral awards, much remains to be achieved. African Americans are nearly 13 percent of the U.S. population. Therefore, black doctoral awards still amount to less than one half the level that would occur were racial parity to prevail.

The bad news is that there continue to be wide differences among blacks and whites in terms of the academic fields in which they earn doctorates. For instance, 36.5 percent of all doctorates awarded to African Americans in 2006 were in the field of education. In contrast, only 17.8 percent of doctorates earned by whites were in this field. This large percentage of all African-American doctorates in the field of education has been the case for decades with only minor fluctuations.
Continue the rest here

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Are you willing to be arrested for civil rights?

You have to give it to Al Sharpton. He led a display of civil disobedience in New York City in order to send a wake-up call to the nation about police brutality. Here is what CBS in New York is reporting:

"NEW YORK (CBS) ― The Rev. Al Sharpton and more than 200 others were arrested Wednesday amid a series of protests throughout the city, part of a response to the acquittals of three New York City undercover detectives in the 50-shot killing of Sean Bell.

Hundreds took to the streets in Manhattan and Brooklyn as part of the citywide "slowdown" effort led by Sharpton and his National Action Network. Police arrested those who took part in acts of civil disobedience by blocking the streets and entrances to the Triborough, Manhattan, and Brooklyn bridges.

Sharpton was arrested without incident at the base of the Brooklyn Bridge, along with Bell's fiancé, Nicole Paultre Bell, and the two shooting victims who survived, Trent Benefield and Joseph Guzman.

Bell's parents were also arrested.

They were all released from police custody about four hours later, said Sharpton's spokeswoman Rachel Noerdlinger.

Hoping to avoid future instances of civil disobedience, Gov. David Paterson is scheduled to meet privately with Sharpton and the Bell family on Thursday in New York City.

The governor had expressed surprise at last month's acquittal because of the number of shots fired.

One of the arrested protesters told CBS 2 HD on Wednesday the protests go far beyond Bell's death alone.

"We have to stand up for something or we'll fall for anything. It's not just about Sean Bell, it's about every man that's been injustly killed in America," he said. "The point to make to the people is to get their attention. It could be their son tomorrow or their daughter tomorrow."

Police estimate about 216 people were taken into custody overall."

Check out the rest of Sharpton Arrested In Citywide 'Slowdown' Protests

How many of you are willing to be arrested for standing up for what you believe in?

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

We Need to Strongly Consider 3rd Parties!!!!

The Green Party of New York State (GPNYS) offers its heartfelt condolences to the family of Sean Bell, and completely rejects the judge's decision to exonerate the police officers in Bell's killing, the latest in a long series of extrajudicial police killings of unarmed civilians.
The GPNYS calls for the City Council and the Mayor to establish an elected Citizen Police Review Board that has subpoena power as well as the authority to impose meaningful sanctions on police officers who violate the law.

"The shooting at, and killing of, unarmed men of color, has become an acceptable and justifiable behavior both in the NYPD, the media, and the criminal justice system that regularly finds the police innocent of their crimes. These deliberate attacks have steadily risen. with the stakes ever increasing, 41 shots, 50 shots, what next, one hundred? What next, grenades?" said Evergreen Chou, former Green Party candidate for State Assembly in Flushing, New York. "These are no longer cases of police brutality. It is shock and awe, it is the deliberate terrorism of minority communities."

These are no longer cases of police brutality. It is shock and awe, it is the deliberate terrorism of minority communities.
Former Congresswoman Cynthia McKinney, a Green Party presidential hopeful, has released an extensive press release about the Sean Bell verdict, that references our flawed legal system. She states, "It is not impossible for us to have justice. We don't have to lose any more people to police abuse, brutality, or murder. But, in order to change things, we're going to have to do some things we've never done before in order to have some things we've never had before."
Green Party of New York State web-site:
Link to GPNYS Platform:
Web-site of Green Party Presidential candidate Cynthia McKinney:
Web-sites for other Green Party Presidential candidates:
Jesse Johnson -
Kent Mesplay -
Kat Swift -
~ END ~

Hot Topics: The Good, The Bad, The Ugly!!!

Just a few news updates! Enjoy!

The Good: Calls for Hillary to drop her presidential bid are becoming louder and from more prominent voices. See NBC's Tim Russert and former Senator & presidential candidate George McGovern below.

The Bad: Clinton makes her best Huckabee impression and vows to fight on despite the unlikely odds. I admire Clinton's tenacity, but even in the political junkie in me is tired of this race. Let's move on.

The Bad part deux: The citizens of Myanmar continue to suffer while their isolationist, military government continues to refuse to open its borders. Recent reports have the death toll above 100,000 people.

The Ugly: The Philadelphia Police are at it again! The PPD has always had a strained relationship with its residents (former six-year resident myself) and incidents like this happen more often than reported. All three suspects required hospital treatment.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Monday, May 5, 2008

In Defense of Rev. Wright

Father Pflegler being confronted by O'Reilly Factor Producer Porter Berry for supporting Rev. Wright and Min. Farrakhan. This is a must see!

Saturday, May 3, 2008

You probably won't save money at the pump, but...

I'm sure you all have noticed that the gas prices are getting ASTRONOMICAL again. Just today I put $25 in my tank and got about 6 gallons of gas in return--and that's a generous estimate. And while the presidential candidates are pontificating and strategizing on how to get us better gas rates IN THE FUTURE, if you are like me, your' pockets are suffering in the now!

So today I impart on you all some tips, snatched from, on how to increase your car's fuel economy. In other words, the following tips won't save you money at the pump, but... they may help you use the expensive gas you put in your care more efficiently.

Tips for Improving Fuel Economy

  • Make sure that your car's regular maintenance needs are met. That means get that oil changed, make sure you have a clean air filter, and that your spark plugs are working properly.

  • Tire pressure is huge. Check your tire pressure to make sure its at the correct level suggested by the manufacturer. You can find the appropriate levels in your manual or on the inside door jamb of your car. Low pressure=waisting gas.

  • Slow down, cool out. Speeding and aggressive driving is not only DANGEROUS, but it waists gas too!

  • Pack light. Follow Erykah Badu's advice, and "pack light/yea, yea, yea,yea, yea, yea" ("Bag Lady"). But seriously, carrying around unnecessary junk--or people ;-)--will weigh your vehicle down, which forces the engine to burn more gas per mile. So clean out your trunk, back seat, etc.

To watch the CNN video and get more tips for improving your fuel economy, visit

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Are You Highly Qualified??

So my hometown county (Gorgeous Prince Georges) has decided to replace teachers who are not considered highly qualified.

And here is what the superintendent has to say about it:
"I think it's an undeniable fact that when you have highly qualified teachers in front of students, they can do better," Deasy said.

Yikes! We wonder how many teachers will be out of a job? While this is more than likely a good thing, we wonder what will happen to the culture of these schools. I mean can you imagine losing half your teacher staff? As a child, what would you think?

Let Righteous Minds know your thoughts!

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Nailing cops is "virtually impossible"?

Check out Verdict in Bell Shooting No Big Surprise by Earl Hutchinson. The following is an excerpt:

Even before the first witness was called in the Sean Bell trial, a defense attorney for one of the three officers charged with gunning down Bell flatly said that he thought his client and the other two officers would be acquitted in the killing of Bell. This was not typical attorney bluster. The defense attorney was right.

At first glance, there was good reason to think that he was off base in his prediction and that the cops that fired the volley of shots that killed Bell would be convicted. An anguished New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg publicly questioned the shooting. Two of Bell's companions gave eyewitness testimony that the officers acted like Wild West cowboys and opened up without warning. And most importantly Bell was unarmed and seemingly posed no threat to the officers.

But expectations, witness testimony, seemingly unimpeachable evidence, and the official condemnation of the deadly shooting by city officials obviously weren't enough. There's equally good reason why it almost never is.

The rest can be read here: Verdict in Bell Shooting No Big Surprise
"In"justice system...seems like we never win

Monday, April 28, 2008

Jeremiah Wright's Speech at NAACP Dinner

If you missed the live broadcast below are some videos of it that I found on YouTube. Preach Jeremiah Wright!

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

Part 4

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Dr. King's "I Have Come To The Mountaintop" Speech

This year marks 40 years since Dr. King's assassination. At this point in time, now more than ever, is it important for us to look back in history to a man that brought America to a turning point. America remembers the history of Dr. King that they want us to remember--only pieces of his "I have a Dream" speech that they twist to propel their colorblind rhetoric. Yet, there were many speeches that Dr. King delivered. And it is up to us to educate ourselves on Dr. King in his entirety, not only through the lens that America deems as safe.

Delivered in Memphis, TN on April 3, 1968, the night before he was assassinated, his "I have come to the Mountaintop" speech gives great insight into what Dr. King was thinking and seeing about the future of this nation. He delivers this speech, it seems, as if he knew it was his last. His heartfelt charge given during this message remains true today. Please take time out to listen to this speech; you will not regret it.

Part 1:

Part 2:

Friday, April 25, 2008

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

"White Niggers"....Wait, What Did He Just Say?

Recently, I attended a Black Student Union Meeting where we discussed the importance of race and identity. Like all mentally stimulating conversations, I left with a clear mind and a desire to discuss this issue more. Ironically, yesterday I came across this interesting little YouTube clip that I think everyone should watch. Although it is outdated these comments left me speechless.

So immediately, my mind was filled with questions. First of all, does he really believe that race is no longer a legitimate issue in the United States? Perhaps we have become so consumed in this “color blind” culture that we really think we have arrived. With the overrepresentation of minorities on television (although primarily in stereotypical roles), many in White America think that African Americans have no more to complain about. Secondly, did he really just say “white nigger” on national television? Why wasn’t this major news like the Don Imus comments, because I find this equally offensive? To use a term that has for ages been used to demean an entire race of people with such ease baffles me. I did not think people could do that. Quite frankly, the existence of this mindset confuses me and I really just wrote this post in hopes that others could enlighten me on their opinions or even to get it out there in conversation. Does race still matter? Does it even exist? Or are we as clueless as the “white niggers”. Enlighten me, enlighten yourselves.

Decry Persecution of Muslim Professor

Decry Persecution of Muslim Professor
Dr. Sami al-Arian is still imprisoned for crimes he did not commit. A Palestinian intellectual, al-Arian was acquitted on terrorism charges, yet remains incarcerated by US.

Decry persecution of Muslim professorPublished Apr 18, 2008 7:48 PM A national press conference to demand the immediate release of Dr. Sami Al-Arian was held at the Malcolm X & Dr. Betty Shabazz Memorial, Educational and Cultural Center in Harlem on April 15. Al-Arian was in the 44th day of a hunger strike to demand that the government abide by the terms of his release. He has been imprisoned for more than five years.Al-Arian, a tenured professor at the University of South Florida, was arrested in 2003. Then-Attorney General John Ashcroft trumpeted it as the “arrest of the most dangerous financier of Islamic Jihad in the Western world.” This case of a Palestinian who raised funds for orphans and charities back home is viewed as one of the most extreme examples of racist and anti-Muslim persecution.

The Justice Department has spent $50 million prosecuting the case. After a six-month trial, a jury found no evidence that any crime had been committed.Despite the verdict and in violation of the terms of release and deportation set by the Justice Department, the authorities have continued to refuse to release Al-Arian. Instead, they have demanded that he give testimony against others. This he has courageously refused to do. They are vindictively threatening to keep him in prison for years in a flagrant abuse of the grand jury system.

Now Al-Arian is being held in isolation and transferred from one holding facility to another in a seriously weakened state, without any medical monitoring. His daughter reported that even his family does not know where he is currently being held.Speakers at the press conference for Al-Arian represented prominent Muslim and civil rights organizations.

They included Laila Al-Arian, his daughter; Malaak Shabazz, daughter of Malcolm X and Dr. Betty Shabazz; Ramsey Clark and Sara Flounders of the International Action Center; Imam Siraj Wahajimam Talib Abdur-Rashid and Aliya Latif of the Council on American-Islamic Relations; Heidi Boghosian of the National Lawyers Guild; Ghazi Khan Khan of the American Muslim Taskforce on Civil Rights; Mahdi Brey of the Muslim American Society Freedom Foundation; and Muhammad Salim Akhtar of the American Muslim Alliance.

Supporters are urged to call, write and/or sign the on-line petition to demand Al-Arian’s release and that the departments of Justice and Immigration adhere to their responsibility for the health and life of prisoners held in their custody. The petition and more information are available at the Web site copyright 1995-2008 Workers World. Verbatim copying and distribution of this entire article is permitted in any medium without royalty provided this notice is preserved. Workers World, 55 W. 17 St., NY, NY 10011Email: ww@workers.orgPage printed from:

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Getting to Know Billary Clinton a little better...

Senator Hillary Clinton Must Explain: The Praising of a Group of KKK SupportersA Investigative Report By David A. Love, Editorial Boardand Peter Gamble, Publisher

Note: In a year of political absurdities, where one candidate--Senator Obama--is being held accountable for his friends and acquaintances and everything that they have said and done during their life times, we have stumbled across a problem. Had Senator Clinton not been as self-righteous in her attacks on Senator Obama concerning his associates, including Rev. Jeremiah Wright and Chicago activist Bill Ayers, the following would probably be a footnote and blemish--albeit significant--on the Presidency of one William Jefferson Clinton. Yet, insofar as Senator Clinton has decided to hold her opponent responsible for the words and actions of others, we pose this question: should Senator Clinton be careful where she throws bricks?
Now Senator Hillary Clinton (D, NY) has some explaining to do. has learned that Bill Clinton, while president, repeatedly praised the United Daughters of the Confederacy (UDC). This is an organization that many, including some whites and a former U.S. senator from Illinois, have called racist.
According to the Southern Poverty Law Center, which tracks hate groups, the UDC is a neo-Confederate organization which is affiliated with such white supremacist groups as the Council of Conservative Citizens and the League of the South. Formed in 1894, the UDC limits its membership to women who are related to Confederate veterans of the “War Between the States.”

In 2000, the Southern Poverty Law Center wrote that "[a]lthough the UDC promotes an image of genteel Southern ladies…its publications” tell a different story, adding that recently the “UDC’s president, Mrs. William Wells, shared the podium with…white supremacist lawyer Kirk Lyons.”

In a 1989 UDC Magazine article, Walter W. Lee argued that “purchasers of the slaves” were actually victims of slavery, while “the worst suffering group among those engaged in the trade” were “the crews of slave ships.” Lee also made light of the horrific and deadly Middle Passage, claiming that "the sixteen inches of deck space allotted each slave is not all that much smaller that (sic) the eighteen inches that the Royal Navy allowed for each sailor's hammock and the slaves rapidly had more room due to the much higher death rate."

In her quest for the presidency, the U.S. Senator from New York has presented herself as a qualified expert on civil rights and a participant in the civil rights movement.
Senator Clinton has also put forth her belief that all candidates for the office should be thoroughly scrutinized, that no one should be immune, and all of the presidential candidates should be required to justify their stance on the issues before the voters and explain any contradictions that might arise.

Senator Clinton frequently speaks of her eight years experience “in the White House”. During that time Bill Clinton lavished praise on the United Daughters of the Confederacy. has seen the following documents and presents copies of them here.
· June 21, 1994 Letter from President Bill Clinton to the United Daughters of the Confederacy printed in the United Daughters of the Confederacy Magazine, September 1994, Vol. 57 No. 8, page 9.

This was a special centennial anniversary edition of the magazine and has an outer cover and a standard magazine cover.

In the letter to the UDC President Clinton wrote:
The White House
June 21, 1994
I am delighted to honor the United Daughters of the Confederacy as you celebrate your 100th anniversary.
One of the most rewarding of human experiences is the coming together of people to share common experiences and interests. For 100 years, the United Daughters of the Confederacy has maintained and built upon the wonderful legacy of your founders. The strength of your organization today is a testament of the vision of your founders and to your commitment to your shared goals.

I congratulate you on your achievement, and I extend best wishes for many years of continuing success.
Bill Clinton
(Note: these are relatively large scanned images and may take a moment to load depending on your connection speed – please be patient)
Click on any of the links below to view the images.
June 21_1994 President Clinton UDC Praise Letter
UDC Magazine Contents Page
UDC Standard Magazine Cover
UDC Outer Cover

· A letter of September, 1994 from Bill Clinton with the same wording as the one above to the United Daughters of the Confederacy was printed on the inside of the front cover of the February 1995 issue of United Daughters of the Confederacy Magazine. This letter praised the Georgia Division of the UDC.
Sept 8 1994 President Clinton UDC Praise Letter

· A letter of August 9, 1995 from Bill Clinton to the United Daughters of the Confederacy was printed on the inside of the front cover of the Sept. 1995 issue of United Daughters of the Confederacy Magazine. This letter read as follows: Greetings to everyone gathered in our nation's capital for the 1995 National Convention of the United Daughters of the Confederacy. Congratulations on beginning of the second century of your organization -- your long history is a tribute to your dedication to and respect for the ideals of your founders.This week marks a special time for the members of your organization to share memories, traditions, and goals. I hope that your visit to Washington is an enjoyable one and that you will take advantage of its unique beauty and many
historical sites.

Best wishes to all for an enjoyable convention. Bill Clinton
Aug 9 1995 President Clinton UDC Praise Letter
Lest anyone think this organization is nothing more than a group of women in fancy dress who gather for tea and cookies the facts show otherwise.

· Former Illinois senator Carol Moseley Braun condemned the UDC on the floor of the Senate in 1993. Adam Clymer in the July 23, 1993, New York Times wrote:
The Senate’s only black member, Carol Moseley Braun, made the chamber listen today as freshmen seldom do. Her oratory of impassioned tears and shouts, stopped Jesse Helms in his tracks as he defended the Confederate flag.

Senator Helms, the 20-year North Carolina Republican, had sought -- and seemed to be finding -- a roundabout way to preserve the design patent held by United Daughters of the Confederacy on a symbol that includes the flag.

He proposed language to that effect as an amendment to the national service bill, which would provide educational grants in return for various forms of service. With many senators unaware of what they were voting on, he won a test vote, 52 to 48.
Then Senator Moseley Braun, a freshman from Illinois, took the floor in outrage at the defense of a symbol of slavery. She told the Senate:
"On this issue there can be no consensus. It is an outrage. It is an insult.
"It is absolutely unacceptable to me and to millions of Americans, black or white, that we would put the imprimatur of the United States Senate on a symbol of this kind of idea."
Less than one year after this event, Bill Clinton wrote his first letter of praise to the UDC.
· As recently as Nov. 2007, the UDC Magazine printed an article titled, “Confederate Classics,” as part of a regular column, “Confederate Notes,” by Retta D. Tindal which made the following reading recommendations:
“Some books are classics that never go out of style. As we approach the gift-giving season, there are four books that I treasure and use over and over, whether for research or reference or just to refresh my memory of the special heritage I have.”

Tindall recommended the white supremacist racist text, “Southern By the Grace of God,” by Michael Andrew Grissom, a Ku Klux Klan praising book, not just the Klan of Reconstruction but the Klan of the 1920s, which in turn recommends “The Clansman” by Thomas Dixon, which later was made into the notorious movie “Birth of a Nation”.
UDC Magazine Column of Nov 2007

· The United Daughters of the Confederacy have consistently defended the Ku Klux Klan. For example a postcard showing a Grand Cyclops of the KKK could at least at one time be found in the UDC Chapter Room at Florence, Alabama.
Grand Cyclops of the KKK Postcard

According to Time Magazine, Bill Clinton sent a wreath to the Confederate Monument in Arlington Cemetery while president each year.
If Senator Hillary Clinton is going to be viewed as ready on "day one" partially because of her eight years at 16-hundred Pennsylvania Avenue it would be reasonable to find out if elected President will she continue the tradition of support and praise of the United Daughters of the Confederacy.

Click here to comment on this story and contact, David Love and Peter Gamble. Editorial Board member David A. Love, JD is a lawyer and journalist based in Philadelphia, and a contributor to the Progressive Media Project, McClatchy-Tribune News Service, In These Times and Philadelphia Independent Media Center. He contributed to the book, States of Confinement: Policing, Detention, and Prisons (St. Martin's Press, 2000). Love is a former Amnesty International UK spokesperson, organized the first national police brutality conference as a staff member with the Center for Constitutional Rights, and served as a law clerk to two Black federal judges. His blog is Publisher Peter Gamble is the recipient of a national Sigma Delta Chi award for public service in journalism and numerous other honors for excellence in reporting and investigative reporting. The "beats" he covered as a broadcast journalist ranged from activism in the streets to the State Department and White House.

Gracefully bow out? In your American Dreams

The New York Times endorsed Senator Hillary Clinton during the New York primary, but is slowly coming to its senses in regards to Senator Clinton's campaign strategies. Check out the following excerpt of the editorial posted by its board entitled, "The Low Road to Victory."

"The Pennsylvania campaign, which produced yet another inconclusive result on Tuesday, was even meaner, more vacuous, more desperate, and more filled with pandering than the mean, vacuous, desperate, pander-filled contests that preceded it.

Voters are getting tired of it; it is demeaning the political process; and it does not work. It is past time for Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton to acknowledge that the negativity, for which she is mostly responsible, does nothing but harm to her, her opponent, her party and the 2008 election.

If nothing else, self interest should push her in that direction. Mrs. Clinton did not get the big win in Pennsylvania that she needed to challenge the calculus of the Democratic race. It is true that Senator Barack Obama outspent her 2-to-1. But Mrs. Clinton and her advisers should mainly blame themselves, because, as the political operatives say, they went heavily negative and ended up squandering a good part of what was once a 20-point lead.

On the eve of this crucial primary, Mrs. Clinton became the first Democratic candidate to wave the bloody shirt of 9/11. A Clinton television ad — torn right from Karl Rove’s playbook — evoked the 1929 stock market crash, Pearl Harbor, the Cuban missile crisis, the cold war and the 9/11 attacks, complete with video of Osama bin Laden. “If you can’t stand the heat, get out of the kitchen,” the narrator intoned."

Read the rest of the article here: The Low Road to Victory

Oh and if you're curious about Clinton's 9/11 ad check it out below:

Need I say more? Let me know what's on your Righteous Minds.

Is Homeland Security Invading Your Campus?

Seven Steps to a Homeland Security CampusBy Michael Gould-Wartofsky, The Nation and TomDispatch.comJanuary 17, 2008

Consider the ultimate gift in a homeland security country: the iTaser, a weapon with its own MP3 player and earphones that can deliver a 50,000 volt electrical charge while you catch your favorite tunes. This new Taser, on display at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, will be available, reports Richard Wray of the British Guardian, in "red, pink and even leopard print designs." Anyone carrying the iTaser will be able to make what may be the first homeland-security fashion statement in any one of the 43 states where Tasers are legal. The company that makes the weapon, Taser International, has already sold 160,000 less-stylish versions to private individuals. According to founder and company CEO Rick Smith, "Personal protection can be both fashionable and functionable."In November 2006, the Taser infamously broke into the news on campus when a student at the University of Florida, questioning Senator John Kerry harshly, was dragged off, Tased, and subdued by campus police. His plea, "Don't Tase me, Bro!," is now the stuff of bumper stickers, T-shirts, and cell phone ring tones.

Thanks largely to him and the publicity the incident got, the New Oxford Dictionary made "Tase" one of its 2007 words of the year, the Yale Book of Quotations put it at the top of its yearly list of most memorable quotes, and the rest of us got a hint that something new might be happening in America's "ivory towers."As Michael Gould-Wartofsky indicates below, that incident was just the tip of an enormous homeland-security presence on campus. Gould-Wartofsky's remarkable report -- a piece that the Nation Magazine and are sharing -- offers real news about just how deeply the new homeland security state is settling into every aspect of our world. -- Tom Engelhardt, editor of TomDispatch---------------------------

-----------------------------Repress UHow to Build a Homeland Security Campus in Seven StepsBy Michael Gould-WartofskyFree speech zones. Taser guns. Hidden cameras. Data mining. A new security curriculum. Private security contractors... Welcome to the new homeland security campusFrom Harvard to UCLA, the ivory tower is fast becoming the latest watchtower in Fortress America. The terror warriors, having turned their attention to "violent radicalization and homegrown terrorism" -- as it was recently dubbed in a House of Representatives bill of the same name -- have set out to reconquer that traditional hotbed of radicalization, the university.Building a homeland-security campus and bringing the university to heel is a seven-step mission:1. Target dissidents: As the warfare state has triggered dissent, the campus has increasingly become a target gallery -- with student protesters in the crosshairs. The government's number one target?

Peace and justice organizations.From 2003 to 2007, an unknown number of them made it into the Pentagon's "Threat and Local Observation Notice" system (TALON), a secretive domestic spying program ostensibly designed to track direct "potential terrorist threats" to the Department of Defense itself. Last year, via Freedom of Information Act requests, the ACLU uncovered at least 186 specific TALON reports on "anti-military protests" in the U.S. -- some listed as "credible threats" -- from student groups at the University of California-Santa Cruz, State University of New York, Georgia State University, and New Mexico State University, among other campuses.At more than a dozen universities and colleges, police officers now double as full-time FBI agents and, according to the Campus Law Enforcement Journal, serve on many of the nation's 100 Joint Terrorism Task Forces. These dual-purpose officer-agents have knocked on student activists' doors from North Carolina State to the University of Colorado and, in one case, interrogated an Iraqi-born professor at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst about his antiwar views.

FBI agents, or their campus stand-ins, don't have to do all the work themselves. Administrators often do it for them, setting up "free speech zones," which actually constrain speech, and punishing those who step outside them. Last year, protests were typically forced into "free assembly areas" at the University of Central Florida and Clemson University; while students at Hampton and Pace Universities faced expulsion for handing out antiwar flyers, aka "unauthorized materials."2. Lock and load: Many campus police departments are morphing into heavily armed garrisons, equipped with a wide array of weaponry from Taser stun guns and pepper guns to shotguns and semiautomatic rifles. Lock-and-load policies that began in the 1990s under the rubric of "the war on crime" only escalated with the President's Global War on Terror. Each school shooting -- most recently the massacre at Virginia Tech -- just adds fuel to the armament flames.

Two-thirds of universities now arm their police, according to the Justice Department. Many of the guns being purchased were previously in the province of military units and SWAT teams. For instance, AR-15 rifles (similar to M-16s) are now in the arsenal of the University of Texas campus police. Last April, City University of New York bought dozens of semiautomatic handguns. Now, states like Nevada are even considering plans to allow university staff to pack heat in a "special reserve officer corps."Most of the force used on campus these days, though, comes in "less lethal" form, such as the rubber bullets and pepper pellets increasingly used to contain student demonstrations. Then there is the ubiquitous Taser, the electroshock weapon recently ruled a "form of torture" by the UN. A Taser was used by UCLA police in November 2006 to deliver shock after shock to an Iranian-American student for failing to produce his ID at the Powell Library.

Last September, a University of Florida student was Tased after asking pointed questions of Senator John Kerry at a public forum, his plea of "Don't Tase me, bro" becoming the stuff of pop folklore.3. Keep an eye (or hundreds of them) focused on campus: Surveillance has become a boom industry nationally -- one that now reaches deep into the heart of the American campus. In fact, universities have witnessed explosive growth in the electronic surveillance of students, faculty, and campus workers. On ever more campuses, closed-circuit security cameras can track people's every move, often from hidden or undisclosed locations, sometimes even into classrooms.The International Association of Campus Law Enforcement Administrators reports that surveillance cameras have now found their way onto at least half of all colleges, their numbers on any given campus doubling, tripling, and in a few cases, rising tenfold since September 11, 2001.

Such cameras have proliferated by the hundreds on private campuses, in particular. The University of Pennsylvania, for instance, has more than 400 watching over it, while Harvard and Brown have about 200 each.Elsewhere, it can be tricky just to find out where the cameras are and what they're meant to be viewing. The University of Texas, for example, battled student journalists over disclosure and ultimately kept its cameras hidden. Sometimes, though, a camera's purpose seems obvious. Take the case of Hussein Hussein, a professor in the Department of Animal Biotechnology at the University of Nevada, Reno. In January 2005, the widely respected professor found a hidden camera redirected to monitor his office.4. Mine student records: Student records have, in recent years, been opened up to all manner of data mining for purposes of investigation, recruitment, or just all-purpose tracking. From 2001 to 2006, in an operation code-named "Project Strike Back," the Department of Education teamed up with the FBI to scour the records of the 14 million students who applied for federal financial aid each year.

The objective? "To identify potential people of interest," explained an FBI spokesperson cryptically, especially those linked to "potential terrorist activity."Strike Back was quietly discontinued in June 2006, days after students at Northwestern University blew its cover. But just one month later, the Education Department's Commission on the Future of Higher Education, in a much-criticized preliminary report, recommended the creation of a federal "unit record" database that would track the activities and studies of college students nationwide. The Department's Institute of Education Sciences has developed a prototype for such a national database.It's not a secret that the Pentagon, for its part, hopes to turn campuses into recruitment centers for its overstretched, overstressed forces. In fact, the Department of Defense (DoD) has built its own database for just this purpose. Known as Joint Advertising Market Research and Studies, this program now tracks 30 million young people, ages 16 to 25. According to a Pentagon spokesperson, the DoD has partnered with private marketing and data mining firms, which, in turn, sell the government reams of information on students and other potential recruits.5. Track foreign-born students, keep the undocumented out: Under the auspices of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has been keeping close tabs on foreign students and their dependents through the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS). As of October 2007, ICE reported that it was actively following 713,000 internationals on campuses, while keeping more than 4.7 million names in its database.The database aims to amass and record information on foreign students throughout their stay inside the United States. SEVIS requires thick files on the students from the sponsoring schools, constantly updated with all academic, biographical, and employment records -- all of which will be shared with other government agencies. If students fall out of "status" at school -- or if the database thinks they have -- the Compliance Enforcement Unit of ICE goes into action.

ICE has also done its part to keep the homeland security campus purified of those not born in the homeland. The American Immigration Law Foundation estimates that only one in 20 undocumented immigrants who graduate high school goes on to enroll in a college. Many don't go because they cannot afford the tuition, but also because they have good reason to be afraid: ICE has deported a number of those who did make it to college, some before they could graduate.6. Take over the curriculum, the classroom, and the laboratory: Needless to say, not every student is considered a homeland security threat. Quite the opposite. Many students and faculty members are seen as potential assets. To exploit these assets, the Department of Homeland Security has launched its own curriculum under its Office of University Programs (OUP), intended, it says, to "foster a homeland security culture within the academic community."The record so far is impressive: DHS has doled out 439 federal fellowships and scholarships since 2003, providing full tuition to students who fit "within the homeland security research enterprise." Two hundred twenty-seven schools now offer degree or certificate programs in "homeland security," a curriculum that encompasses over 1,800 courses. Along with OUP, some of the key players in creating the homeland security classroom are the U.S.

Northern Command (Northcom) and the Aerospace Defense Command, co-founders of the Homeland Security and Defense Education Consortium.OUP has also partnered with researchers and laboratories to "align scientific results with homeland security priorities." In Fiscal Year 2008 alone, $4.9 billion in federal funding will go to homeland security-related research. Grants correspond with 16 research topics selected by DHS, based on presidential directives, legislation, and a smattering of scientific advice.But wait, there's more: DHS has founded and funded six of its very own "Centers of Excellence," research facilities that span dozens of universities from coast to coast. The latest is a Center of Excellence for the Study of Violent Radicalization and Homegrown Terrorism, the funding for which cleared the House in October. The Center is mandated to assist a National Commission in combating those "adopting or promoting an extremist belief system... to advance political, religious or social change."7. Privatize, privatize, privatize: Of course, homeland security is not just a department, nor is it simply a new network of surveillance and data mining -- it's big business. (According to USA Today, global homeland-security-style spending had already reached $59 billion a year in 2006, a six-fold increase over 2000.)Not surprisingly, then, universities have, in recent years, established unprecedented private-sector partnerships with the corporations that have the most to gain from their research.

The Department of Homeland Security's on-campus National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism (START), for instance, features Lockheed Martin on its advisory board. The Center for Food Protection and Defense relies on an industry working group that includes Wal-Mart and McDonald's offering "guidance and direction," according to its chair.While vast sums of money are flowing in from these corporate sponsors, huge payments are also flowing out into "strategic supplier contracts" with private contractors, as universities permanently outsource security operations to big corporations like Securitas and AlliedBarton. Little of this money actually goes to those guarding the properties, who are often among the most underpaid workers at universities. Instead, it fills the corporate coffers of those with little accountability for conditions on campus.Meanwhile, some universities have developed intimate relationships with private-security outfits like the notorious Blackwater. Last May, for example, the University of Illinois and its police training institute cut a deal with the firm to share their facilities and training programs with Blackwater operatives.

Local journalists later revealed that the director of the campus program at the time was on the Blackwater payroll. In the age of hired education, such collaboration is apparently par for the course.Following these seven steps over the past six years, the homeland security state and its constituents have come a long way in their drive to remake the American campus in the image of a compound on lockdown. Somewhere, inside the growing homeland security state that is our country, the next seven steps in the process are undoubtedly already being planned out.Still, the rise of Repress U is not inevitable. The new homeland security campus has proven itself unable to shut out public scrutiny or stamp out resistance to its latest Orwellian advances. Sometimes, such opposition even yields a free-speech zone dismantled, or the Pentagon's TALON de-clawed, or a Project Strike Back struck down. A rising tide of student protest, led by groups like the new Students for a Democratic Society, has won free-speech victories and reined in repression from Pace and Hampton, where the University dropped its threats of expulsion, to UCLA, where Tasers will no longer be wielded against passive resisters.Yet, if the tightening grip of the homeland security complex isn't loosened, the latest towers of higher education will be built not of ivory, but of Kevlar for the over-armored, over-armed campuses of America. Michael Gould-Wartofsky is a writer from New York City and a recent graduate of the new homeland security campus. He has written for the Nation Online, Z Magazine, Common Dreams, and the Harvard Crimson, where he was a columnist and editor, and his work has also appeared in Poets Against the War (Nation Books). He was a recipient of the New York Times James B. Reston Award for young journalists and Harvard's James Gordon Bennett Prize for his writing on collective memory. This piece is also appearing in the latest issue of the Nation Magazine.

10 Things You Need To Know About McCain

You know there is something you don't like about McCain (besides the fact that he is a Republican). Well the next time someone comes to you saying they support McCain, hit em with the facts. Below are 10 things you need to know about McCain as compiled by the folks at!

  1. John McCain voted against establishing a national holiday in honor of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Now he says his position has "evolved," yet he's continued to oppose key civil rights laws.
  2. According to Bloomberg News, McCain is more hawkish than Bush on Iraq, Russia and China. Conservative columnist Pat Buchanan says McCain "will make Cheney look like Gandhi."
  3. His reputation is built on his opposition to torture, but McCain voted against a bill to ban waterboarding, and then applauded President Bush for vetoing that ban.
  4. McCain opposes a woman's right to choose. He said, "I do not support Roe versus Wade. It should be overturned."
  5. The Children's Defense Fund rated McCain as the worst senator in Congress for children. He voted against the children's health care bill last year, then defended Bush's veto of the bill.
  6. He's one of the richest people in a Senate filled with millionaires. The Associated Press reports he and his wife own at least eight homes! Yet McCain says the solution to the housing crisis is for people facing foreclosure to get a "second job" and skip their vacations.
  7. Many of McCain's fellow Republican senators say he's too reckless to be commander in chief. One Republican senator said: "The thought of his being president sends a cold chill down my spine. He's erratic. He's hotheaded. He loses his temper and he worries me."
  8. McCain talks a lot about taking on special interests, but his campaign manager and top advisers are actually lobbyists. The government watchdog group Public Citizen says McCain has 59 lobbyists raising money for his campaign, more than any of the other presidential candidates.
  9. McCain has sought closer ties to the extreme religious right in recent years. The pastor McCain calls his "spiritual guide," Rod Parsley, believes America's founding mission is to destroy Islam, which he calls a "false religion." McCain sought the political support of right-wing preacher John Hagee, who believes Hurricane Katrina was God's punishment for gay rights and called the Catholic Church "the Antichrist" and a "false cult."
  10. He positions himself as pro-environment, but he scored a 0—yes, zero—from the League of Conservation Voters last year.