Leid Stories Stories and news that affect us all

July 16, 2014  

Far From Settled: 'Attorney at War Alton Maddox Seeks ‘Complete’ Justice 

In Central Park Jogger Case, Including Probe of Sham Trial


New York City’s $40-million settlement with five Harlem men railroaded as teenagers into trials, convictions and stiff prison sentences for the 1989 rape and brutal assault of a white female jogger in Central Park is “some” justice, but not “complete” justice, says our guest, attorney Alton H. Maddox Jr.

Resuming the practice of law after illegally being “barred” in 1990 by an unprecedented action of the New York State Legislature, Maddox, who has litigated some of the most controversial criminal and civil-rights cases in New York City, tells Leid Stories that his top priority is reopening the case—this time to expose all the wrongs committed, assign accountability for those wrongs, and make whole all who were adversely affected by police, prosecutorial, judicial and political breach of duty and misconduct.  

Maddox, whose prowess in the courtroom has earned him the moniker “attorney at war,” represented Michael Briscoe, then 17, the only defendant to successfully challenge the state’s evidence in the case.  

He discusses in detail the basis for his intended legal action, taking calls from listeners.

July 15, 2014  

Sandbagged by yet another crisis that has put him and his administration on the defensive, President Obama has decided to take the tried-and-true approach to dealing with it: throw obscene amounts of money at the problem.

He’s hardly likely to get from Republicans the $3.7 billion he’s requesting from Congress to handle nonstop illegal entry into the United States—now, via the porous border with Mexico, by tens of thousands of unaccompanied children. But even if he does get the money, the president will be spending it on the effects of the problem, not on eradicating the problem itself.

Leid Stories explains why there will be no real solution to the “border crisis,” certainly not on Obama’s watch, and why the major players in this political drama have no interest in getting at its root causes. Listeners contribute their thoughts.


July 14, 2014  

Detroit Bankruptcy: As Pension-Plan Vote Nears, New Woes Beset City

The World Cup: What The Mega Event Proved Beyond A Shadow of Doubt

A July 21 deadline looms over Detroit’s bankruptcy-restructuring plan. By that date, the city must show a federal court judge not only that a majority of 32,000 retirees and current and former city workers have voted “yes” on mailed-out ballots to cut their pensions by 4.5 percent and forego cost-of-living allowances, but that their votes represent at least two-thirds of the amount owed to workers from uniformed and civilian city sectors.

Abayomi Azikiwe, editor of Pan-African News Wire, brings us up to speed on where state-appointed city manager Kevyn Orr stands with his press for a “yes” vote; “grand bargain” concessions some unions have made to speed up settlements with their memberships; and a rise in the misery index as the city cuts essential services to poor Detroiters.

The 20th edition of the World Cup, soccer’s international tournament of champions held every four years, ended yesterday in Rio de Janeiro with Germany clinching the title against Argentina.  

Gilbert Mercier, cofounder and editor in chief of News Junkie Post, who presented World Cup 2014 as a metaphor for the social, political and economic crises and contradictions plaguing Brazil and many other countries represented at the World Cup (June 12 podcast), returns to Leid Stories with the final score on a list of things the mega event proved beyond a shadow of doubt.

July 11, 2014  

Just for you, it’s “Free Your Mind Friday” on Leid Stories!

It’s when listeners flip the script on major news issues and events, or on any subject they choose. There’s only one requirement for participating in this free-wheeling discussion: You must have an opinion and be able to defend it; neutrality is a total copout.

Bring your considered opinions and ideas to the best open forum and test your—and our—intellectual mettle. We are nice people with good manners. We will receive your offering with great respect.

Join us. Free your mind. It will do us all a world of good!

July 10, 2014  

Parallel Paths of Struggle: 

The Shared History of African Resistance In Cuba and the United States

Having decisively shattered the myth that noble defiance against Britain’s onerous taxes on the colonies was what fueled the much-gloried War of Independence (when, actually, it was a preemptive strike by the ruling elite to prevent Britain’s possible abolition of slavery and thus protect their slavery-derived social status and wealth), noted historian Gerald Horne returns to Leid Stories with another historical gem.

Just a month after we discussed The Counter-Revolution of 1776: Slave Resistance and the Origins of the United States of America, (check June 4 podcast), we learn today from Horne’s brand-new release, Race to Revolution: The U.S. and Cuba During Slavery and Jim Crow, the hidden history of parallel paths of struggle by Africans in societies predicated on their exploitation and eternal subjugation.

Ideological differences between the United States and Cuba long have served as the context for popular understanding of their individual development and the relationship between them. Horne’s historical lens helps us see clearly the much larger picture.

July 9, 2014  

Class Warfare, Chicago: Mass Teacher Layoffs Follow Mass School Closings  

Obama Hasn’t OK’d Bipartisan Program to Reunite Haitian Families

Though 82 people were shot, 14 of them killed, in Chicago over the long July 4 weekend, Mayor Rahm Emanuel nonetheless sticks to his script that, mindless acts of violence by the underclass aside, the quality of life in the Windy City generally has improved under his tenure. But he, too, has committed mindless acts of violence—most notably last year, when he shut down 50 public schools, disrupted the education of 46,000 mostly African American children, and cut almost 3,000 teacher and support-staff jobs.

On June 26, another 1,200 received pink slips in a new round of cuts. Brandon Johnson, deputy political director with the Chicago Teachers Union, discusses Emanuel’s latest act of educational violence.

President Obama yesterday submitted a request to Congress for $3.7 billion to deal with the crisis of tens of thousands of unaccompanied children entering the United States illegally via the U.S.-Mexico border—a crisis his administration allegedly ignored.
Leid Stories revisits an emergency immigration program that got bipartisan approval four years ago, but the Obama administration refused to implement it. The program sought to reunite Haitian children with their families and relatives living in the United States after the 7.0-magnitude earthquake devastated Haiti, killing an estimated 300,000 people and displacing 1.3 million. Steven Forester, immigration policy coordinator for the Institute for Justice & Democracy in Haiti, provides insight on the still-not-enacted program.

July 8, 2014  

We pick up from where we left off yesterday, looking at the president and the presidency in crisis.

The once-popular Obama, shielded from political harm and blame by a loyal and hopeful electorate, now is on the ropes—his leadership and credibility shredded and his legacy in doubt. Opposition to and disaffection with his leadership style and his administration’s policies aren’t the domain of Republicans and the right wing; the president now incurs the wrath of staunch supporters.

How did President Obama get to this point? Can he rebound from this downward spiral, or is it too late? What has his tenure taught us about politics, political philosophy, political strategy, political activism and political choices?

July 7, 2014  

A Gallup poll published last week found that approval of President Barack Obama has tanked to a six-year low, with only 29 percent of Americans saying he’s doing a good job. (The poll also found that only 30 percent thought well of the U.S. Supreme Court, and a paltry 7 percent gave Congress a passing grade.)

The Gallup poll coincided with a Quinnipiac University survey that found one-third of American voters rated Obama the worst U.S. president since World War II. Obama’s presidency began its downward spiral even before the halfway point of his first term.

Polls, of course, are not objective, nor are they necessarily fact-based. But they are useful indicators of attitudes, opinions and varying interpretations of reality, and, often, reasonable predictors of behavior and action.

With this in mind, Leid Stories conducts its own poll today, asking listeners to rate Obama; identify the cause(s) of the president’s precipitous drop in popularity; whether he can rebound, and what impact, if any, the crisis of confidence in the president is having on their political attitudes and decisions this midterm election year.

July 3, 2014  

Leid Stories continues yesterday’s discussion on the Civil Rights Act of 1964.  On July 2 that year, President Lyndon B. Johnson signed the legislation that prohibited discrimination based on racecolor, religion, gender or national origin; protected the voting rights of disfranchised citizens; and forbade racial segregation in schools, the workplace, and in public accommodations.

The passage of Reconstruction-era constitutional amendments and of various civil-rights measures since then is the story of an ongoing struggle by African Americans for freedom, equality and justice. The popular narrative, however, is that these legislative victories not only are testimony of the confluence of interests between this group and the apparatus of government, but also evidence that race-based discrimination and oppression in America have been eliminated.

The narrative, of course, differs markedly from reality, says Leid Stories, and all Americans (African Americans in particular) should disabuse themselves of naïve notions about the so-called “civil-rights era.” 

July 2, 2014  

Boko Haram Gains Ground And Momentum In A Deeply Divided Nigeria

The Civil Rights Act of 1964: The High Price for America’s Redemption

The Congregation of the People of Tradition for Proselytism and Jihad, known by its Hausa name, Boko Haram (“Western education is sinful/forbidden”), continues with its accelerated terror campaign to overthrow the Nigerian government and establish an Islamic state.

An international corps of military advisers, responding to President Goodluck Jonathan’s call for help in finding 276 girls kidnapped from their school dormitories on April 14, has not staved off bombings, kidnappings and mass killings by Boko Haram, nor has it slowed its acquisition of territory.

Dr. Chika Onyeani, publisher and editor in chief of The African Sun Times, says that complex, deep divisions within Nigeria are working to the advantage of Boko Haram and preventing a cogent response to the crisis.

On this day 50 years ago, President Lyndon B. Johnson signed into law the Civil Rights Act of 1964, brought to fruition by waves of mass protest.

Leid Stories puts the landmark legislation in sobering perspective. It took 188 years for African Americans to get some measure of redress, and even so, it was a concession. Civil rights are not natural rights.

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