Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Wanted For Hire: Black Male for Downton Abbey

Mary and Matthew Crawley-Downton Abbey
The early 20th century British period drama Downton Abbey is expected introduce its first African-American character this coming season. The award-winning television show, from writer and creator Julian Fellowes, centers around the wealthy Crawley family.
According to The Sun, casting notes were sent to agents, seeking a black actor to play the role of musician Jack Ross.
Women of Downton Abbey
The role as Ross was described as, “Male, 25-30. A musician (singer) at an exclusive club in the 20s.  He’s black and very handsome. A real man (not a boy) with charm and charisma.” In addition, the actor to play Ross “should be a very attractive man with a certain wow factor.”

Filming for the fourth season is set to start on March 23, with a fall 2013 premiere date in the UK and a winter 2014 premiere date in the U.S.

Do you have someone in mind...Share your thoughts.

Source: The Grio, Carrie Healey

Janet Jackson Ties the Knot

Janet Jackson
The cat’s out of the bag.. Last year in a quiet, private and “beautiful” ceremony, Jackson wed Wissam Al Mana, billionaire retail investor.
It's marriage number 3 for the pop singer/actress/entertainer extraordinaire. When Jackson was 18, she united in marriage with James DeBarge of the Motown family group DeBarge. Pressures from a number of different directions intervened- her record company, the demands of her schedule, her youth.  The marriage was annulled after 3 months. DeBarge’s drug habit was cited as the reason. In 1991, Jackson secretly married longtime friend Rene Elizondo, Jr. They separated in 1999.

Wissam Al Mana and Janet Jackson
Jackson (46) and her new husband (37) issued a joint statement to Entertainment Tonight confirming their union during last year. The couple has been dating since 2010.
As of 2012, Al Mana’s net worth was said to be an estimated at $1 billion. This makes him one of the richest retail investors in the Middle East.

Running the family business with his two brothers, Al Mana has made his fortune as the managing director of Middle-East-based Al Mana Retail Group, which represents Armani Exchange stores and other high-end retailers such as Giorgio Armani, Hermes, Balenciaga, and Roberto Cavalli.

Al Mana also owns stakes in the Saks Fifth Avenue stores in Dubai, Bahrain, and Kuwait, and is opening the flagship A/X Exchange in a Qatar shopping mall.
Best of luck to the happy couple.

Monday, February 11, 2013

Meet Norma McCorvey: The Real "Jane Roe" of Roe v Wade


In a 1984 television interview, Norma McCorvey revealed that she is Jane Roe, the plaintiff in the most famous abortion case in U.S. history, Roe v. Wade. In 1994, she published an autobiography, I Am Roe: My Life, Roe v. Wade, and Freedom of Choice, that puts a human face on the story of Roe. In her book, McCorvey candidly recounts the difficulties of her life, including growing up with an abusive mother, spending time in reform school as an adolescent, struggling with addictions to drugs and alcohol, and coming out as a lesbian.

McCorvey was born Norma Leah Nelson on September 22, 1947, in the bayou country of Lettesworth, Louisiana. Half Cajun and part Native American, she eventually moved with her poor, working-class family to Dallas, where she has since lived most of her life. After an unsuccessful marriage to an abusive husband, she divorced and gave up a daughter to relatives. Wrestling with drug and alcohol addictions amid the counterculture swirl of the 1960s, she later gave up two more children to adoption, including the child she carried when she brought Roe to court.

In September 1969, while working as a carnival freak show barker, McCorvey learned that she was pregnant for the third time and returned to Dallas. Out of work, severely depressed, with no money, she decided to seek an abortion. After being told that abortion was legal in cases of rape or incest, friends advised her to lie and say that she had been raped. However, since no police report of the fictitious rape existed, the ruse did not work. She then went to an illegal abortion clinic but found that it had been closed by the police; all that was left was an abandoned building where "dirty instruments were scattered around the room, and there was dried blood on the floor."

Eventually, McCorvey was referred to sarah weddington and Linda Coffee, young attorneys who were looking for a plaintiff to challenge the Texas abortion law. Weddington herself had been forced to go to Mexico in order to obtain an abortion during the 1960s. McCorvey agreed to participate in a lawsuit against Henry Wade, the Dallas district attorney. Although she still hoped to finish the suit in time to have an abortion, McCorvey told her attorneys, "Let's do it for other women." McCorvey chose to remain anonymous for several reasons: she feared publicity would hurt her five-year-old daughter, her parents were against abortion, and she had lied about being raped. She did not participate in court hearings in order to maintain her anonymity.

On March 3, 1970, when Roewas filed in court, McCorvey was six months pregnant. In June, at twenty-three years of age, she gave birth, and her child went up for adoption. On January 22, 1973, over two years too late to alter the course of her pregnancy, McCorvey learned that she had won her case: the Supreme Court had ruled that the Texas abortion law was unconstitutional.

In 1989, McCorvey decided to ally herself publicly with the abortion rights movement. Shortly before she participated in a large pro-choice rally in Washington, D.C., someone fired gunshots at her house and car, in one of many incidents of harassment she has had to endure since making her identity known. Frightened but undaunted, she joined the April 9 rally and made a speech on Capitol Hill before hundreds of thousands of people. McCorvey worked for a time at a family planning clinic and traveled around the United States giving speeches promoting the reproductive rights of women.

In August 1995, McCorvey announced that she had switched sides on the abortion debate. "I'm pro-life," McCorvey stated. "I think I have always been pro-life, I just didn't know it." McCorvey's reversal was attributed to her new friendship with the Reverend Philip ("Flip") Benham, national director of the militant antiabortion group Operation Rescue. The group had moved its national headquarters into an office next to the clinic where McCorvey worked. After being baptized by Benham, McCorvey declared that she would work on behalf of Operation Rescue.

Source: Encyclopedia.com

Related Article: Roe v. Wade: A Primer

Roe v Wade Turns Forty: A Primer

I was surprised to learn that there is so little understanding of the legislative milestone set by the passage of Roe v Wade forty years ago. In a recent survey, only 41% of the responder knew that the case was about abortion, while 16% thought its topic was desegregation and 41% thought it was something else.

For those that think they know the facts in this landmark case, and for those who don't know the facts at all, here's a brief summary:

The Principals

Roe (P), a pregnant single woman, brought a class action suit challenging the constitutionality of the Texas abortion laws. These laws made it a crime to obtain or attempt an abortion except on medical advice to save the life of the mother.

Other plaintiffs in the lawsuit included Hallford, a doctor who faced criminal prosecution for violating the state abortion laws; and the Does, a married couple with no children, who sought an injunction against enforcement of the laws on the grounds that they were unconstitutional. The defendant was county District Attorney Wade (D).

A three-judge District Court panel tried the cases together and held that Roe and Hallford had standing to sue and presented justiciable controversies, and that declaratory relief was warranted. The court also ruled however that injunctive relief was not warranted and that the Does’ complaint was not justiciable.

Roe and Hallford won their lawsuits at trial. The district court held that the Texas abortion statutes were void as vague and for overbroadly infringing the Ninth and Fourteenth Amendment rights of the plaintiffs. The Does lost, however, because the district court ruled that injunctive relief against enforcement of the laws was not warranted.

The Does appealed directly to the Supreme Court of the United States and Wade cross-appealed the district court’s judgment in favor of Roe and Hallford.


  1. Do abortion laws that criminalize all abortions, except those required on medical advice to save the life of the mother, violate the Constitution of the United States?
  2. Does the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution protect the right to privacy, including the right to obtain an abortion?
  3. Are there any circumstances where a state may enact laws prohibiting abortion?
  4. Did the fact that Roe’s pregnancy had already terminated naturally before this case was decided by the Supreme Court render her lawsuit moot?
  5. Was the district court correct in denying injunctive relief?
Justice Harry Blackmun

Holding and Rule (Blackmun)

  1. Yes. State criminal abortion laws that except from criminality only life-saving procedures on the mother’s behalf, and that do not take into consideration the stage of pregnancy and other interests, are unconstitutional for violating the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment.
  2. Yes. The Due Process Clause protects the right to privacy, including a woman’s right to terminate her pregnancy, against state action.
  3. Yes. Though a state cannot completely deny a woman the right to terminate her pregnancy, it has legitimate interests in protecting both the pregnant woman’s health and the potentiality of human life at various stages of pregnancy.
  4. No. The natural termination of Roe’s pregnancy did not render her suit moot.
  5. Yes. The district court was correct in denying injunctive relief.
The Court held that, in regard to abortions during the first trimester, the decision must be left to the judgment of the pregnant woman’s doctor. In regard to second trimester pregnancies, states may promote their interests in the mother’s health by regulating abortion procedures related to the health of the mother. Regarding third trimester pregnancies, states may promote their interests in the potentiality of human life by regulating or even prohibiting abortion, except when necessary to preserve the life or health of the mother.

The Supreme Court held that litigation involving pregnancy, which is “capable of repetition, yet evading review,” is an exception to the general rule that an actual controversy must exist at each stage of judicial review, and not merely when the action is initiated.
The Court held that while 28 U.S.C. § 1253 does not authorize a party seeking only declaratory relief to appeal directly to the Supreme Court, review is not foreclosed when the case is brought on appeal from specific denial of injunctive relief and the arguments on the issues of both injunctive and declaratory relief are necessarily identical.
The Does’ complaint seeking injunctive relief was based on contingencies which might or might not occur and was therefore too speculative to present an actual case or controversy. It was unnecessary for the Court to decide Hallford’s case for injunctive relief because once the Court found the laws unconstitutional, the Texas authorities were prohibited from enforcing them.


Roe wins – the district court judgment is affirmed.
Hallford loses – the district court judgment is reversed.
The Does lose – the district court judgment is affirmed.

Related Article: Meet the Real "Jane Roe"

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Super Bowl Trivia Quiz

1. What NFL team has won the most Super Bowl games to date?

2. What NFL team/s have lost the most Super Bowl games so far?

3. What NFL Super Bowl XXXVIII half-time musical entertainer experienced a notoriously replayed wardrobe malfunction during her performance?

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Defend Yourself Against Heart Disease

Did you wear red on Friday, February 1st as the nation begins its focus on Heart Month? Did you just worry about looking cute or did you fully understand the need to act on the American Heart Association's sensible heart health suggestions that can help you win the battle against heart disease.