Top 5 Live-WURD Thursday October 15
1. Fans and foes alike bid J. Whyatt Mondesire goodbye
Whyatt Mondesire was known for affect – a Stetson hat topping a fiery temper – employed for effect – drawing attention to civil rights issues and the many politicians he supported and opposed.
Two generations of Philadelphia leaders praised Mondesire Wednesday, on what would have been his 66th birthday, using his life to challenge young people to carry on his work. Mondesire, a former leader of the NAACP in Philadelphia who died Oct. 4, was described as a fierce foe who could grow to be a close friend. A crowd of hundreds at Bright Hope Baptist Church chuckled through the many recounted confrontations with him.
City Councilwoman Marian Tasco recalled meeting Mondesire when he was a reporter for The Inquirer in the 1970s and she worked for the Urban Affairs Council. “There was a lot of strife in the city,” Tasco said. “I wanted Jerry to take our side. But Jerry reported it like it was.” They clashed at times but then joined forces and became friends and they worked for William H. Gray 3rd’s campaign for the U.S. House.
2. Chip Fattah’s federal trial on bank and tax fraud set to start
Federal prosecutors are set to begin picking a jury and presenting their case against Chaka Fattah, Jr, the 33-year-old son of U.S. Rep. Chaka Fattah in a federal bank and tax fraud trial. And to hear them tell it, Fattah Jr. spun lie after lie about his professional life to keep business loans coming and to finance his flashy lifestyle: a BMW, cases of liquor, high-end clothing, and a $600,000 condo at the Ritz Carlton.
Now Fattah is confident the facts and the law are on his side. Acting as his own lawyer, he has flooded the court with dozens of pretrial motions that, while largely unsuccessful, have challenged the government on everything from the wording of its indictment to the tactics prosecutors and FBI agents used while investigating him.
“The government has built its entire case on a deck of cards,” he said in an interview Wednesday. “They’re wrong about the facts. And to the extent that they have some of the facts right, they’re wrong about the law.” “I’m confident I’m more prepared than the government to talk about my life.”
3. U.S. deploys troops to help in fight against Boko Haram
The United States deployed about 90 troops to Cameroon Monday to assist Cameroon and other regional governments in their efforts to battle Boko Haram. President Barack Obama sent a letter to Congress Wednesday informing lawmakers of the move.
In the letter, sent under the War Powers Resolution, Obama said the total number of U.S. military personnel would rise to 300, and would provide airborne intelligence, surveillance and other reconnaissance operations at the request of the Cameroonian government. “These forces are equipped with weapons for the purpose of providing their own force protection and security, and they will remain in Cameroon until their support is no longer needed,” he wrote.
Cameroon and other West African countries have been locked in battle with Boko Haram, a Nigeria-based group that has waged a years-long campaign aimed at instituting its extreme version of Sharia law. Militants from the group killed about 30 people and wounded 145 others in attacks on a market and infirmary in northern Cameroon last month, the latest of many attacks Boko Haram has launched over the years in Cameroon, Chad and other countries bordering Nigeria.
4. Sources say former NBA player Lamar Odom had drugs in system, suffered brain damage
Former NBA and reality TV star Lamar Odom suffered brain damage and at least one stroke and is on a ventilator after being found unconscious at a Nevada brothel where he had been partying all weekend, according to sources close to the athlete.
The sources told E!, which is owned by NBC Universal, that medical personnel informed them that the onetime Los Angeles Lakers champion had multiple drugs in his system when he was rushed from the Love Ranch to the hospital on Tuesday afternoon.
Odom’s ex-wife, Khloe Kardashian, was at his bedside, according to the Rev. Jesse Jackson, who said in a tweet that he visited with them and “had prayer.” The 35-year-old basketball player checked into the legal brothel in Crystal on Saturday, according to owner Dennis Hof. He said Odom was fine at 6 a.m. PT on Tuesday but when two of the women who work there checked on him at 3:30 p.m., they found him unconscious and foaming at the mouth.
5. Detention of black teens by police outside D.C. bank sparks protests
Jason Goolsby stood outside a Washington DC bank on Monday evening pondering whether to withdraw money from the ATM. A woman pushing a baby stroller approached, and he held the door open for her. Moments later, Goolsby said, D.C. police cars raced toward him. One, he said, nearly hit him. The college freshman said he ran.
Goolsby, who was tackled by two white police officers who told him to “stop resisting,” didn’t know that he and his friends had been suspected of casing the ATM for a possible robbery. A caller to 911 reported suspicious youths.Neither Goolsby nor his friend was arrested. Goolsby’s friend, a high school senior, posted video of the encounter on Twitter, writing that they were “approached because a white couple felt uncomfortable … this is how the police responded . . .”
Goolsby is a freshman at the University of the District of Columbia. One of Goolsby’s former teachers, Erika Totten, is a leader in the Black Lives Matter movement. “If you’re black, you’re an automatic threat,” she said. “That’s the reality of the world we live in, and it’s supported by the justice system.”
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Solomon Jones is an Essence bestselling author and award-winning columnist. He is the creator and editor of Solomonjones.com and morning host on 900 am WURD radio. Click here to learn more about Solomon