image4280113gBlacks At Odds Over Scrutiny Of President
Jeff Johnson knows how to make his audiences squirm. The young, black radio and TV political commentator waits for the discussion to turn to the topic being talked about ceaselessly, incessantly, ad nauseam: the meaning of the barrier-breaking election of Barack Obama. Then, in his laid-back style, he says, “The real issue for me is that history is not enough.” That’s when the mood becomes tense. “Black folks, in particular, get irritated,” says Johnson, who travels the lecture circuit, hosts a half-hour show on Black Entertainment Television and has a weekly spot for social criticism on a radio program popular with black listeners. Get past “Obama the personality” and see “Obama the president,” he says. “Otherwise all you’re being is a political-celebrity groupie instead of a citizen. . . . It starts with acknowledging he’s my president, and not my homie.” (Continue Reading…)

Roland Martin Hosts CNN Prime Time Show
Ten minutes before his debut as a CNN host last Monday, Roland Martin called his pastor back in Chicago. They proceeded to pray. His divine hope, says Martin, who has repeated the ritual each evening, is “that God uses me as an instrument for his will to provide insight to those who are listening.” As Martin speaks, in great cascades of words that flow by like a rushing river, it is clear this is no garden-variety pundit. He is African American, the first to host a prime-time cable news program since Alan Keyes’s brief run on MSNBC seven years ago. He is ubiquitous, holding forth in venues as varied as morning radio, syndicated column, an Essence magazine blog and a forthcoming book. And he is a take-charge family man, insisting that four nieces who he felt had a poor home environment move in with him and his wife, an ordained minister. (Continue Reading…)

Supreme Court Rejects New Trial Bid by Mumia Abu-Jamal
The U.S. Supreme Court rejected an appeal from Mumia Abu-Jamal, a former radio reporter and Black Panther whose conviction for the 1981 killing of a Philadelphia police officer sparked international controversy. The justices, without comment, left intact a federal appeals court ruling that upheld Abu-Jamal’s conviction, turning away his contentions that prosecutors sought to exclude blacks from the jury. He was convicted in 1982 by a jury of 10 whites and two blacks. Today’s high court action doesn’t affect a separate pending appeal by Philadelphia prosecutors seeking to reinstate Abu- Jamal’s death sentence. Abu-Jamal was convicted of shooting to death 25-year-old police officer Daniel Faulkner. The shooting occurred after the officer had pulled Abu-Jamal’s brother over in a downtown traffic stop. (Continue Reading…)

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