i am

My photo
harlem, usa
same-gender-loving contemporary descendant of enslaved africans. community activist, feminist, health educator, independent filmmaker, mentor, playwright, poet & spiritual being. featured at, in & on africana.com, afrikan poetry theatre, angel herald, bejata dot com, bet tonight with tavis smiley, blacklight online, black noir, brooklyn moon cafe, gmhc's barbershop, klmo-fm, lgbt community services center, longmoor productions, nuyorican poets cafe, our corner, poz, pulse, rolling out new york, rush arts gallery, saint veronica's church, schomburg center for research in black culture, sexplorations, the citizen, the new york times, the soundz bar, the trenton times, the village voice, upn news, uzuri, venus, vibe, wbai-fm, wnyc-fm & wqht-fm. volunteered with adodi, bailey house, inc., black men's xchange-new york, colorofchange.org, drug policy alliance, east harlem tutorial program, imagenation film & music festival, presente.org, save darfur coalition, the enough project, the osborne association, the sledge group & your black world. worked on films with maurice jamal & heather murphy. writing student of phil bertelsen & ed bullins. mjt975@msn.com.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Bloomberg Wants To Ban Beverages

mayor michael bloomberg is proposing to ban sales of sugar-sweetened beverages over 16 ounces in new york city. while new yorkers would be limited to 16-ounce beverages, they would still be able to indulge in other high calorie items.

this restriction will cover everything from coffee drinks, juice drinks, soft drinks, sports drinks & teas. furthermore, bottled & fountain beverages over 16 ounces could no longer be sold in coffee shops, food trucks, movie theaters, restaurants, sports venues & street carts.

according to the mayor, new yorkers need help deciding what size beverage is appropriate. but beverage restrictions don't make people healthy - commitment, discipline, exercise, nutrition & responsibility do. solving the complex problems of diabetes & obesity starts with giving people more choices, not fewer choices.

visit NYCBeverageChoices.com for more information.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Gunmen Dead, Others wounded during shooting near Empire State Building

a disgruntled laid-off women's accessories designer shot a former co-worker to death in front of the empire state building yesterday. the incident took place just after 9:00 am, causing a chaotic showdown with police, who killed the suspect. at least nine others were wounded, some possibly by police gunfire, city officials said.

some of the wounded were grazed by bullets & others hit directly, but all were expected to survive, officials said. the gunshots rang out on the fifth avenue side of the building at a time of day when the sidewalks are packed with consumers, employees, merchants, students & tourists. after the shootout, 34th street between park avenue & sixth avenue was shut down. police helicopters buzzed overhead & swarms of officers gathered around the tragic crime scene.

jeffrey johnson, 53, was laid-off a year ago at hassan imports. he confronted a 41 year-old former colleague & shot him in the head, police commissioner ray kelly said. apparently, the two had traded accusations of harassment when johnson worked there. johnson walked away after shooting him, but a construction worker who witnessed the encounter followed johnson & alerted police, officials said.

johnson then turned his .45 caliber pistol on the two officers & they traded gunfire, killing johnson. although it's not clear how many shots johnson fired at the officers, they fired a total of 14 shots, some of which wounded people nearby. johnson worked at the company almost six years & was laid-off because due to downsizing.

"we were just working here & we heard bang, bang, bang!", said mohammed bachchu, 22, of queens, a worker at a nearby souvenir shop. he rushed from the building & saw seven people lying on the ground, covered in blood. another queens resident, rebecca fox, 27, said she people running down the street & initially thought it was a celebrity sighting, but then saw a woman shot in the foot & a man dead on the ground.

said fox, "i was scared & shocked & literally shaking...it was like csi, but it was real." she said police seemed to appear in seconds. hassam cissa, 22, of the bronx, said he saw two bodies on the ground & police applying a white cloth to a man's stomach wound. gunshots outside one of new york's leading tourist attractions prompted fears of terrorism, but federal officials said that wasn't the case. a guard at skyscraper said it didn't involve the parts of the building where tourists gather to visit the skyscraper.

the gunfire came less than two weeks after a knife-wielding man was shot dead by police near times square, another popular tourist site. authorities said police shot 51 year-old darrius kennedy after he lunged at officers with a kitchen knife august 12. kennedy was smoking marijuana in times square on a saturday afternoon when officers first approached him. it was the beginning of an encounter stretching seven crowded blocks.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Armed Washington Man Arrested in alleged threat against President Obama

the secret service on tuesday arrested a washington state man accused of making an e-mail threat against president barack obama & brandishing a shotgun at officers who came to his door. anton calouri, 31, was arrested at an apartment in this south seattle suburb for investigation of making threats against the commander-in-chief & assault on a federal officer, said brian leary, a secret service spokesman in washington, d.c.

u.s. attorney spokeswoman emily langlie said the threat was sent to a general purpose federal bureau of investigation (fbi) e-mail address. the fbi then notified the secret service, said leary. he refused to discuss the nature of the threat but federal way spokeswoman cathy schrock said she understood it was a threat to kill the president.    

a secret service agent & a federal way police officer went to an apartment in a four-plex at the panther ridge apartments, knocked & announced themselves for about three minutes. they faced a man armed with a shotgun when the door opened. "the shotgun was coming up to point in the direction of the agents...the two officers were able to close in & take control of the weapon before anyone was harmed," said schrock. the officers also seized a gun in the man's ankle holster.

because the resident made statements about explosive devices in the apartment, the federal way bomb squad was called to evacuate the four-plex & sweep it for explosives; but none were found said schrock. a woman who identified herself as renee - calouri's mother - told a local tv station at the apartment scene, "i don't know a whole lot...how would you feel if your son got arrested? never got arrested, was in the military, has a college education. and i'm just a little bit upset & shocked."

schrock said she understood calouri's mother lived in her son's apartment. the spokeswoman said the mother was allowed back in their apartment briefly to get some personal belongings. her location was not known tuesday night. federal agents began searching the unit after the all-clear tuesday evening concern for explosives. calouiri was scheduled to appear in court wednesday at 2:00 pm.

Friday, August 17, 2012

Misdiagnosed Patient Settles $20 Million Suit For Wrongful HIV-Positive Test

in 2005, terry hedgepeth sued whitman-walker clinic in washington, d.c. because it mistakenly told him five years earlier he was hiv-positive. a seven year court battle ended this week when the clinic quietly settled for $20 million. on tuesday, just a week before the case was scheduled for trial in d.c. superior court, an agreement was reached. details of the settlement were not disclosed.

"we are happy to settle the case amicably," said don blanchon, whitman-walker's chief executive. he would not comment further on the case. hedgepeth's attorney, johnathan c. dailey, said "the case was resolved amicably" & also declined to further discuss the agreement. but dailey added the agreement came a year after the d.c. court of appeals unanimously ruled (in the case) medical patients who are given incorrect information from their doctors about a life-threatening illness can seek legal recourse for emotional distress.

said dailey, "we changed 25 years of law. now if a doctor misreads information, a patient can sue for negligent emotional distress." dailey said his client, now 59 years old, married & living in the maryland suburbs, suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder because of the misdiagnosis. "the effects of those five years have not worn off completely," dailey said.

according to court records & interviews with dailey, hedgepeth went to whitman-walker after his then, girlfriend, with whom he'd been sexually active, told him she has aids & feared she'd infected him. a clinic employee mistakenly wrote in hedgepeth's files he'd taken two tests at the clinic & one of them was positive. later, a clinic doctor failed to carefully review his chart & began counseling him about the virus.

during the next four years no further blood tests were done; hedgepeth continued to believe he was hiv-positive. as such, he became depressed, according to the court records, quit his job as a caterer, began using alcohol & other drugs, while twice committed to psychiatric wards because of recurring suicidal thoughts. 

hedgepeth was monitored at whitman-walker but never medically treated for the virus. the clinic also arranged for him to live in a facility with hiv-positive people. in june 2005, he sought alternative treatment from the abundant life clinic in southeast washington. the clinic conducted a routine blood test & discovered he was not hiv-positive. a month later, hedgepeth was referred to johns hopkins bayview medical center to take a follow-up test which confirmed his hiv-negative status.

in august 2005, hedgepeth sued whitman-walker for medical negligence. one year later, d.c. superior court judge robert e. morin dismissed the case. in 2009, three judges on the d.c. court of appeals agreed with morin's decision, saying hedgepeth was not physically harmed by the misdiagnosis, noting he'd not been prescribed hiv medication which caused any side effects.

hedgepeth & his attorney petitioned for all 10 of the d.c. appellate judges to review the case in 2009. last year, the judges reversed the lower court's decision, finding the case should move forward because serious emotional distress could result from a doctor's negligence. the ruling finally gave hedgepeth a chance to be heard by a jury. on tuesday, as both sides were preparing for trial, they resolved the provocative case.

although dailey believes the appellate judges' decision gives people misdiagnosed with deadly diseases grounds for such lawsuits, his victory is not universally accepted. catherine hanssens, executive director of the center for hiv law & policy in new york, said courts & juries realize doctors make mistakes. "many people who find out they are not hiv-positive view it as good news - they don't run out & get a lawyer...doctors are not infallible & patients have to realize doctors don't & should not have the last say in their health.," said hanssens. 

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Felix Hernandez Throws Perfect Game

felix hernandez pitched the seattle mariners' first perfect game & the 23rd in baseball history, overpowering the tampa bay rays in a brilliant 1-0 victory wednesday afternoon. the 2010 cy young award winner has never hid his desire for pitching perfection. for a franchise on its way to 11 straight seasons without a playoff appearance, hernandez is the one constant keeping fans interested in mariners baseball.

"it was always on my mind, every game, i need to throw a perfect game. for every pitcher i think it's in their mind," said hernandez after reflecting on his historic achievement. "today it happened & it's something special. i don't have any words to explain this. this is pretty amazing. this doesn't happen every day," said the talented right-hander.

hernandez is revered in the pacific northwest, not only for his magnanimous performances on the mound, but for his willingness to stay in one of the smaller market cities. although he could easily have waited & sought a bigger payday with, perhaps, the angels, rangers or yankees, king felix humbly signed an extension two years ago which will keep him a happy seattle mariner through 2014.

riding down in a crowded elevator after the game, seattle general manager jack zduriencik jokingly held his cellphone to his ear & said, "no, we're not trading felix." mariners catcher john saso said, "it almost seems like a matter of time before this happens...a little dribbler here or something it's ruined, but his competitive attitude & competitive mind he brings out to the mound each time he pitches, you know you have a guy out there who's going to give you a chance to win."

hernandez threw the third perfect game in baseball this season - a first in mlb history - joining gems by philip humber of the chicago white sox against the mariners in april, along with matt latos of the san francisco giants against the houston astros in june. more than half of all perfect games, 12, have come in the last 25 seasons.

this was also the sixth no-hitter in the majors this season, three of them at safeco field. on june 8 six mariner pitchers held the los angeles dodgers hitless in seattle. there have been seven no-hitters in a season twice since 1900. the first time was in 1990, then again the following year, with nolan ryan throwing two of them.

hernandez's dominance got stronger as the game progressed. he cruised for five innings, then pitched through tough at-bats, delay tactics & mounting pressure of perfection to close out the gem. hernandez fanned 12 batters, including eight in the final four innings. he struck out the side in the sixth, did it again in the eighth, while clocking 95 mph in the ninth.

two starts earlier against the yankees, hernandez tossed a two-hit shutout, which seattle manager eric wedge called the finest outing he's ever seen from his all-star pitcher. "it was special. he had special stuff," said wedge. "but felix is so consistently good that when he does take it up to another level, which we've seen him do through the course of the year, you never know how it's going to turn out," wedge said.

hernandez has now struck out 10 or more batters in a game for the fifth time this season. most of his outs were on the infield. there were only five fly ball outs. after another outstanding game his battery mate saso said, "you could throw any lineup out there today & it's close to the same result." his record is now 11-5 for the year.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Judge Won't Halt Pennsylvania Voter ID Law

a pennsylvania judge on wednesday refused to stop a tough new voter identification law from going into effect. commonwealth court judge robert simpson said he wouldn't grant an injunction halting the law requiring voters to show valid photo identification. opponents are expected to file an appeal within a day or two to the state supreme court.

the republican-penned law has ignited a furious debate over voting rights as pennsylvania is poised to play a key role in the november 6 presidential election. republicans defend the law as necessary to protect the integrity of the election. but democrats say the law will hinder college students, elders, poor folk & historically disenfranchised (blacks, latinos, i.e.) americans from fair voting practices.

"we're not done, it's not over," said witold j. walczak, an american civil liberties union lawyer who helped argue the case for the plaintiffs. he said, "it's why they make appeals courts." simpson didn't rule on the full merits of the case, only whether to grant a preliminary injunction stopping it from taking effect.

votes by four of six supreme court justices would be needed to rescind the ruling by simpson, who is a republican. but the high court is currently split between three republicans & three democrats following the recent suspension of justice joan orie melvin, a republican who is fighting criminal corruption charges.

the state's lawyers acknowledged they are "not aware of any incidents of in person voter fraud." instead, they insisted lawmakers properly exercise their latitude to make election-related laws when they chose to require voters to show widely available forms of photo identification.

republican governor tom corbett signed the law in march; every democratic lawmaker voted against it vehemently. at issue is the requirement of all pennsylvania voters to produce a valid photo id before their ballot can be counted - a substantial change from the law it was designed to replace. that law required identification only for people voting in a polling place for the first time & it allowed non-photo documents such as bank statements or utility bills.

but some of the people who sued over the law say they will be unable ot vote because they lack the necessary documents, inlcuding a birth certificate, to get a state photo id, the most widely available of the ids valid under the law. lawyers who provided free legal representation to the plaintiffs also warned it'll be difficult for many others to get a valid photo id. they presented testimony from department of transportation license workers who appeared uninformed about these new legal requirements.

in addition, some voters won't know about the law until they get to the polls. as such, long waits will result while untrained election workers struggle to carry out a complex & unnecessary - some feel racialized - law amid the traditionally larger turnout in presidential elections, they argued.

according to folks from the attorney general's office, which defended the law, the state is planning to begin issuing a special photo id card for registered voters who are unable to get a pennsylvania department of transportation-issued id & lack any other photo id acceptable under the law, such as an active-duty military or passport id.

also, they say the state is rolling out a public relations campaign to raise awareness of the new voter laws. the department of state, which oversees elections in pennsylvania, has not produced any kind of study or survey estimating the number of people without a valid photo id required by the law.

finally, the obama administration's department of justice is looking at whether pennsylvania's oppressive new voter laws requiring photo identification complies with federal laws. monday they asked the state's top election official & a chief supporter of the law for a long list of information about it.

Thursday, August 09, 2012

2012 Summer Olympics in London - USA Gold Medal Winners

the 2012 summer olympics in london have been exciting to watch. i've been engrossed in many of the sports from day one. despite my contempt with american politics, a strong sense of patriotism seems to emerge at a time like this. although the games are not over, listed below are american gold medal winners to date:

boxing: claressa ahields.

cycling: kristin armstrong.

gymnastics: gabby douglass, aly raisman.

judo: kayla harrison.

rifle: jamie lynn gary.

skeet shooting/men: vincent hancock.
skeet shooting/women: kim rhode.

swimming/men: nathan adrian, ricky berens, tyler clary, conor dwyer, matt grevers, brendan hansen, ryan lochte, michael phelps.

swimming/women: missy franklin, katie ledecky, allison schmitt, rebecca soni, dana vollmer, shannon vreeland.

tennis/men: bob & mike bryan.
tennis/women: serena & venus williams.

track & field/men: aries merritt, christian taylor.
track & field/women: allyson felix, brittney reese, sanya richards-ross, jenifer suhr.

volleyball: misty may-treanor, kerry walsh-jennings.

women's gymnastics; women's rowing; wonmen's soccer; women's water polo.