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September 2007

“Mandela is dead.” Mistake or Metaphor?

President George W. Bush's recent statement that Mandela is dead has expectedly caused a stir on the internet and served as fodder for comic routines. Some Bush defenders assert that the President was speaking metaphorically when referencing Mandela. See for yourself.

Well, I'd really like to believe the metaphor bit, I really would. Regardless the reason, I've often wondered what the atmosphere must be like in the Bush household after one of the President's highly publicized gaffes? Sometimes his mistakes are clearly just that; other times I think, damn, he graduated from Yale and Harvard?

Saturday Afternoon Phishing and Other Distractions

I received an e-mail from PayPal indicating I'd purchased a Dell Iaptop computer for $699 and my credit card would be charged. The invoice looked authentic and so did the URL. The shipping address for the computer was to:

Wayne E Bakewell
16 elm st
Brownsville, PA 15417
United States

I repeat that on the surface it appeared to be a legitimate e-mail. So I'm thinking…OK, I am not Wayne Bakewell and do not live anywhere near Brownsville, PA so this must be internet fraud.

Quick perusal of the PayPal website lead me to an e-mail address,, to which fraudulent PayPal e-mails should be forwarded. I also deleted the message after forwarding it to PayPal. Minutes later I received the message below.

In a message dated 9/22/2007 5:19:35 P.M. Eastern Daylight Time, writes:

Thanks for taking an active role by reporting suspicious-looking emails.
The email you forwarded to us is a phishing email, and our security team
is working to disable it.

What is a phishing email?
Phishing emails attempt to steal your identity and will often ask you to
reveal your password or other personal or financial information. PayPal
will never ask for your password over the phone or in an email and will
always address you by your first and last name.

Take our Fight Phishing Challenge at to learn 5 things you should know
about phishing. You'll also see what we're doing to help fight fraud
every day.

You've made a difference.
Every email counts. By forwarding a suspicious-looking email to, you've helped keep yourself and others safe from
identity theft.


The PayPal Team

A quick Google search showed that Mr. Bakewell has been quite busy. There is a Brownsville, PA Internet Fraud forum of which his antics are discussed. There were a few blog posts inspired by him also.

I'm sure you've heard it before, but be on guard for identity theft. These phishing tactics work or the criminals wouldn't used them. Don't get scammed.

Related links:

Anti-Phishing Working Group

OnGuard Online

How Phishing Works

Why Phishing Works (Research Paper)

Have You Seen Nailah Franklin?




DOB: 04.12.79











Nailah (Nigh-eel-luh) Oliani (Oh-lee-ahni) Franklin, 28, has been missing from her University Village (near south side of Chicago) condo and from her job as a pharmaceutical sales representative for Eli Lilly since Tuesday evening, Sept. 18, 2007. She has not been heard from since Tuesday afternoon/evening, missed an important "ride-around" meeting with her sales manager on Wednesday, and has not responded to numerous attempts to contact her via phone, email, text message and visits to her condo. Her company car, a BLACK 2005 Chevy Impala is missing, as are her personal and work laptop computers.


Nailah is a graduate of 1997 Homewood-Flossmoor High School and a 2001 graduate of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. She is a successful professional, home owner, doting aunt, loving daughter, sister, cousin, niece and friend and would NOT just up and disappear on her own, or go without contacting anyone for days.


Please spread the word about this case, especially if you live in the Chicago area. If you have any information, call Chicago Police at 312-746-9259.



Related links:

Family, Chicago police looking for missing woman 

Forensics team combs missing woman's condo

After the Jena 6 March: Now what?

Today is the day after the big protest in Jena, Louisiana. Now, what happens? When will Mychal Bell be released? What happens to the people of Jena? Surely, these incidents, considered blown out of proportion, have affected residents forever.

Prayerfully, the U.S. Department of Justice will investigate this situation. There is something very wrong when the DA threatens students by telling them he can ruin their lives. How is it that Jena residents see no problem with that? It is mind-boggling.

Everyone in Jena needs to check themselves. It is a racist town. Is every white person in the town racist? Probably not but when a student at a public school feels as though he must ask permission to sit under a tree considered to be the "white tree", that's evidence of a racist environment.

When nooses are hung on that tree and principal's decision to suspend the white students is overturned, that's a racist environment. It's important to note that those students received a three-day indoor suspension according to CNN. Indoor suspension means they came to school every day but not allowed to attend their regular classes.

Justin Barker was attacked by black students but Robert Bailey was attacked by whites two days before the attack on Barker. Barker attended an activity hours after the attack so how severely could he have been beaten? Two wrongs don't make a right but sometimes you just get tired of being sick and tired.

The black teens were subjected to guns drawn on them and whites not being punished. How can that be justified?

After these incidents, the parents of some of the Jena 6 allowed their sons to play in the championship football game for Jena High School. Why? What's the lesson there? The teens were not arrested until after they helped win the championship for the school. That's a shame; talk about misplaced priorities.

I've lived in a small Southern town so I understand the mindset. The white Jena residents actually believe they've done nothing wrong and this incident is blown out-of-proportion rather than seeing it as exposing the ugly truth.

There's a saying that "you can't fix what you don't face." All of the folks in Jena need a reality check and an honesty session. Jena needs to live what it professes because it's not happening now and it wasn't happening back in August 2006 when racism reached a boiling point.

I was so moved by the historical pilgrimage made by blacks and whites. Eyes must remain on Jena; let's not allow it to become the cause of the moment.

To the people of Jena, I pray for understanding, tolerance and respect in your town. You can overcome this if you truly open your hearts and minds.

Day of Action for the Jena 6

Today is the day that protesters gather in the small town of Jena, Louisiana to show support for the Jena Six. Those unable to meet in Jena have been asked to wear black. If you are not familiar with the Jena 6, check the videos below.

Note that the charges have been reduced for the six and Mychal Bell's conviction was overturned but the struggle is not over.

O.J. Simpson Friend Orchestrated Vegas Sting

As expected, the O.J. Simpson Vegas robbery case is getting crazier and crazier. It seems that auctioneer Thomas Riccio is accused of setting up Simpson. In an interview with Larry King, Riccio admitted to telling Simpson about the memorabilia in the possession of Bruce Fromong and Alfred Beardsley who interested in selling to Riccio.

Riccio said he expected Simpson to come to the room and that Fromong and Beardsley would turn over the goods to Simpson. He went on to indicate that he did not expect weapons to be involved but it is reported that police found weapons on Fromong and Beardsley also.

Riccio's criminal history, the fact that he sold the audiotape of the incident to for an undisclosed amount and received immunity makes the entire situation rather funky and foul.

Check out these links:

O.J. friend admits goading Simpson into robbery 

Auctioneer in Simpson case has a rap sheet 

Infamous Simpson tape sold by Inland auctioneer 

Prosecutors charge O.J. Simpson and three others 

Tasered UF Student Released from Jail

Andrew Meyer, the student recently tasered at a John Kerry town hall meeting at the University of Florida, was released from jail. University administration is in full damage control mode as they wisely placed the campus security involved, on paid leave as the situation is vetted between all parties involved.

The line is drawn in the sand and folks are lining up as either supporters of Meyer or his detractors. Either way the video of his take down is disturbing and embarrassing for the UF. Click here for video of UF President Machen's response.


Related Link:

Freedom of Speech Not Welcome at University of Florida; Student Tasered at John Kerry Forum


Alpha Kappa Alpha Demands Justice for the Jena 6

Chicago, Illinois – September 17, 2007 - The decision by the Louisiana Court of Appeals to overturn the conviction of Mychal Bell, one of the "Jena 6," confirms the long-held belief by Alpha Kappa Alpha's international president, Barbara A. McKinzie, that the charges levied against the young man were motivated by "prosecutorial overzealousness." She said the dramatic turn of events should strengthen the resolve to demand "justice in Jena."

To that end, she urged Alpha Kappa Alpha's 200,000 members—and all fair-minded citizens—to fire off letters to Louisiana Gov. Kathleen Blanco and Attorney General Charles Foti and demand that they wield their constitutional power to call for a new trial. McKinzie said that on behalf of the membership, she is sending a letter to the U.S. Department of Justice asking that federal officials intervene and investigate this issue to make sure the constitutional rights of these young men are protected.

She also asked all members to wear black on Thursday, September 20—the day of unity set aside to show support for the Jena 6.

McKinzie cautioned those hailing the decision to "stop celebrating" since the fates of the six young men still hang in the balance.

"Driven by a racist dynamic in the city of Jena, Louisiana, the district attorney who levied the charges is guilty of prosecutorial overreach," declared McKinzie. "Because lives are at stake, we demand that the governor, the attorney general and the U.S. Department of Justice launch an immediate investigation and right this judicial abuse of discretion. These boys are entitled to their constitutional right to fairness. Right now, the scales of justice are heavily tilted against the young men."

McKinzie said the meting out of punishment that is disproportionate to the "crime" has marked the entire Jena 6 saga.

She noted that the decision to lower the punishment against the white youth who hung nooses on a tree in an apparent protest of a black youth sitting under the "whites-only" tree set the tone of unfairness that has marked the entire series of events surrounding this case.

"Levying a light punishment against these whites and dismissing it as a 'prank' while imposing harsher charges against the black students illustrates an unfair mindset of which school authorities and prosecutors are guilty," McKinzie said. "An investigation will, hopefully, expose this imbalance and will result in a reexamination of this matter and a dismissal of all charges."

She also took the occasion to place culpability on school authorities, the district attorney and parents for relinquishing their responsibilities and allowing this matter to escalate to a "national disgrace."

"The Jena 6 case illustrates misplaced values, erosion of morals and relinquishment of parental responsibility. Because these principles lie at the core of Alpha Kappa Alpha's platform, we must address these issues if we are to engage in an honest dialogue and learn the lessons that this case presents."

McKinzie said that lost in the furor swirling around this case is the fact that the incident for which the students were eventually charged happened prior to the football championships.

"Some of the students charged were members of the winning team and were allowed to play so they could be used for their athletic prowess," she noted. "Once the championship was secured and the trophy hoisted, the boys were no longer of use to the school. That's when the prosecutors descended upon them and the charges were levied."

McKinzie said that the "glorification of athletics" outweighed the alleged crime and minimized the incident until the boys had been used for the school's athletic gain.

"If the charges had been that severe, the LaSalle Parish district attorney would have arrested the youth prior to the game rather than wait until afterward. This is symptomatic of a larger societal dynamic that glorifies athletes when it's convenient and then derides them when their purpose is met. It is a double standard that sends a mixed message about our priorities."

McKinzie also faulted the parents on both sides of the issue for not being vigilant and for not monitoring their sons' behavior.

"Parents are empowered with the task of raising their sons and teaching them character and infusing in them values that would help them avoid situations like these. If the parents had been doing their jobs, this would not have imploded to the level where the boys' lives and futures are at risk," she said.

McKinzie declared that "as a community, we must reclaim our value system."

These realities notwithstanding, McKinzie said Alpha Kappa Alpha is committed to uplifting youth through its Black Male Initiative. The Sorority is also devoted to strengthening the black family. Inspired by this, she said that the specter of these six boys spending years in jail is a dire outcome that is disproportionate to the alleged crime. She also noted that the young men have promising futures and their lives deserve to be spared.

McKinzie said, "The future of the black family hinges on the African American male being an integral part of the family unit. If the judicial system removes these young men from their families and sends them to prison on suspect charges, more than six families will be impacted.

An entire community will be affected and a nation that could benefit from their talents will also be victimized by these actions."

McKinzie added that New Orleans has been the beneficiary of the world's humanity. With chapters in Louisiana and driven by the Sorority's credo to "provide service to all mankind," members donated money to Katrina survivors. Responding to the call to address the need to rebuild homes in the region, Alpha Kappa Alpha members recently sponsored and built two homes for evacuees in partnership with Habitat for Humanity. She added that, in collaboration with the organization Feed the Children, members passed out food to 400 residents. Most significantly, she said Alpha Kappa Alpha decided to cancel a Hawaiian cruise and instead host its Leadership Conference in New Orleans. In making this change, the Sorority pumped $5 million into the economy.

"Louisiana has been the beneficiary of Alpha Kappa Alpha's treasure, time and talents and we have provided a boost to its economy," she said.

McKinzie said that the Jena 6 scenario threatens to cast a bad light on the state. "This can be reversed with a commitment to fairness and with a resolve by officials to see that justice prevails for the Jena 6."

Addresses for the principals:

Hon. Kathleen B. Blanco
Governor, State of Louisiana
P.O. Box 94004
Baton Rouge, LA 70804

Hon. Charles C. Foti, Jr.
Attorney General, Department of Justice
P.O. Box 94005
Baton Rouge, LA 70804

Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Website:

Freedom of Speech Not Welcome at University of Florida; Student Tasered at John Kerry Forum


A University of Florida student, Andrew Meyer, was tasered during the Q&A period of a John Kerry Town Hall Meeting on the University's campus. Meyer was obviously trying to make a point when questioning Kerry about membership in the secret society "Skull and Bones" and citing the disenfranchisement of Black voters but what transpired when the campus police officers stepped in was nothing short of unbelievable.

See for yourself in the video below. Be sure to read the article and comments from the UF student newspaper, The Independent Florida Alligator.


updated: Tuesday, September 18, 2007

UF student Tasered at Kerry forum

By KIM WILMATH, Alligator Writer

A UF student was shot with a Taser gun, arrested and charged with a felony Monday because police said he started a riot during Sen. John Kerry's on-campus speech.

Andrew Meyer, a telecommunication senior and former Alligator columnist, was charged with a third-degree felony for resisting arrest with violence, according to a University Police Department report.

A third-degree felony could mean up to five years in prison and a fine of up to $5,000, according to a UF Web site.

Meyer attempted to ask Kerry, a Democrat from Massachusetts, about his involvement in Skull and Bones, a secret society at Yale University, at the end of the speech's question-and-answer session. [Continue reading…]

O.J. the O.G.

There's not much more that can be said or written about O.J. Simpson and his latest brush with the law. I mean, is the guy on crack or something? O.J. has to be in his sixties, right? So, what made him think he could roll up in a hotel room in Vegas with his boys and try some gangsta mess like that?

I fully understand him wanting to retrieve his personal items but there was a more intelligent and mature way to handle the situation. The story is so wild that there must be a logical explanation for the madness. His, friend, Walter Alexander, attempted to explain the situation in spite of protests from his attorney. Alexander said he's not guilty, he's a religious man. OK, this is really gonna get crazy.

The audiotape on takes this to a whole new level. Much has been said about the profanity-laced commands from O.J. but what do you expect when weapons are pulled. That's not exactly time for high tea conversation.

Seeing O.J. in cuffs and hearing the jokes made about this situation made me feel tremendous sadness for his children. With the Goldman and Brown families at odds because the Goldmans published O.J.'s book, the children ---including those from first wife Marguerite---must be devastated.

O.J. doesn't have Johnnie Cochran around to save him this time. Will he do time or will he slither out of this one too? Only time will tell, stay tuned.