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Government Collects Citizens’ Phone Records

According to a top secret court ruling issued at the request of the FBI, Verizon has been ordered to hand over mobile and landline phone records of all of its customers to the National Security Agency. What do you think?

NSA Is Wired Into Top Internet Companies’ Servers Including Google and Facebook

The companies whose servers are being mined are reportedly Microsoft, Yahoo, Google, Facebook, PalTalk, AOL, Skype, YouTube, and Apple. The classified program, dubbed PRISM, has been in operation since 2007 and has been a leading source of intelligence fed to the president in his daily intelligence briefings, according to the Washington Post, which broke the story at the same time as the Guardian today.

I’m Not Strong, I’m Just Human

I never wanted to be a “strong Black woman”; in fact, I bristle when people call me one. I’m Black and I’m a woman and I happen to have a number of things about me that are strong: my mind, my personality, my resolve, etc. But putting them all together under that title reduces us to some sort of monolithical fembot who’s able to shoulder all burdens because she’s unable to feel. I don’t know about all of you, but my shoulders aren’t always broad enough for all your stuff and mine, and feeling? I like to feel. I need to feel.

Philadelphia to Close 23 Public Schools While Building $400 Million Prison

Pennsylvania’s School Reform Commission voted on June 1 to approve a $2.4 billion budget, ignoring hours of pleas from students, parents, educators and community members who warned the budget would cripple city schools. 

The plan would close 23 public schools, roughly 10 per cent of the city’s total. Commissioners rejected a proposal that would have only closed four of the 27 schools that were on the block for closure. 

Without the means to cover a $304 million debt, the Philadelphia Inquirer reported, students can expect to go back to school in September without new books, paper, counselors, clubs, librarians, assistant principals or secretaries. All athletics, art and music programs would be eliminated and as many as 3,000 people could lose their jobs. 

It’s Not the Same Damn Thing

All these white people writing about poorly how Michelle Obama handled the heckler need to shut the fuck up and sit down somewhere.

For one, I’m not a fan of hecklers.  They’re the ones who cut into comic routines and crash the stage during concerts and ultimately waste people’s time.  If you’re paying to see someone and hear them speak, then shut the fuck up and let them speak.

I’ve noticed that everyone writing about this is bringing up the fact that Ellen Sturtz is gay and are unsuccessfully using it as a shield.  Sturtz’s behavior was wrong, and her sexual orientation does not magically absolve her of that.  Her being gay doesn’t make it okay for her tell the First Lady to tell her husband what she, Sturtz, wants them to do…as though they were a couple of old house slaves.

Navigating Through Race – The Plight of Storytellers of Color

It’s never easy being an artist of color. When it comes to race, the race itself is a rigged one. No matter how talented and gifted you are, there are legions upon legions of bigoted whites who are looking to attack, denigrate and discredit you.

As I learned from several white critics and readers with my debut novel, Hollowstone, black writers are not real writers. We employed some type of chicanery, especially if we got published before many aspiring white writers did. I was also whitesplained that publishers who target black audiences or other readers of color aren’t “legitimate” publishers. They’re just not real.

Black America shouldn’t give Obama a pass

I hope President Obama appreciates the grand bargain he’s getting from African Americans: unwavering support, stratospheric approval rating, muted exasperation when he disappoints, vociferous defense when he’s under attack.

But what do black people get in return?

A recent spate of polls suggests that Obama himself is the payoff — that he need not do much more than be the first black president, the most powerful symbol of racial progress in American history.

Keep his nose clean and pants up and don’t speak ebonics at a press conference — and in the minds of most African Americans, Obama’s legacy as the greatest president of all time is assured.

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