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Black Entertainment, Money, Style and Beauty Blogs - Black Voices

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  • 05/27/11--11:23: Memorial Day Weekend Fun!
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    NYC Fleet Week
    : Fleet Week takes place every year in late May, spanning Memorial Day Weekend. Many of the events take place at the Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum (which charges admission, though military (retired and active) are admitted free), but there are also lots of free activities, including ship tours in Manhattan and Staten Island, performances and demonstrations around New York City. Read more.

    Caribbean Wine Festival
    : Rain or shine, you can't go wrong with attending this year's Caribbean Wine Festival, taking place in Mt. Airy, Maryland. Featuring the Caribbean sounds of the Pan Jammers, 6 Image Ban, and 60 acres of vineyards, this year's event is well worth $20. Read more.

    National Memorial Day Concert: The multi award-winning event will continue its two decades long tradition of honoring the service and sacrifice of all our men and women in uniform. Featuring an all-star line-up of performances including the King of the Blues B.B. King, and gospel legend Yolanda Adams. Read more.

    National Memorial Day Parade
    : The parade of marching bands and veterans units from all 50 states steps off at the corner of Constitution Avenue and 7th Streets, NW and proceeds along Constitution Avenue, past the White House, ending at 17th Street. Read more.

    Akon Performs in Las Vegas: Multi-platinum recording artist, Akon will be performing some of his chart-topping hits including 'Locked Up,' and 'Smack That' at Planet Hollywood's, Gallery Nightclub. Read more.

    Annual California Gray Whale Migration: The California Gray Whale makes the most spectacular and longest mass migration of any marine mammal. The waters surrounding Newport Harbor offer deep nutrient rich waters which draw not only Gray Whales but all types of dolphins, seals, fish, and numerous other marine creatures. Read more.

    The 12th Annual Urban Beach Week 2011: The pool parties, the clubs, the beaches, the entire strip will be lit up like a Christmas tree this weekend, as the Annual Urban Beach Week takes place on South Beach. If you have never been to Miami for Memorial Day Weekend, prepare yourself for the shock of your life. Read more.

    Memorial Day BBQ & Fireworks at Sesame Place
    : Join your favorite Sesame Street friends at Big Bird's Riverside Pavilion for a BBQ dinner followed by fireworks. Read more.

     

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    RIP, brother.

    From NPR.org:

    Gil Scott-Heron died Friday afternoon in New York. He was 62. The influential poet and musician is often credited with being one of the progenitors of hip-hop, and is best known for the spoken-word piece "The Revolution Will Not Be Televised.

    Scott-Heron was born in Chicago in 1949. He spent his early years in Jackson, Tenn., attended high school in The Bronx, and spent time at Pennsylvania's Lincoln University before settling in Manhattan. His recording career began in 1970 with the album Small Talk at 125th and Lenox, which featured the first version of "The Revolution Will Not Be Televised." The track has since been referenced and parodied extensively in pop culture.

    Scott-Heron continued to record through the 1970s and early '80s, before taking a lengthy hiatus. He briefly returned to the studio for 1994's Spirits. That album featured the track "Message to the Messengers," in which Scott-Heron cautions the hip-hop generation that arose in his absence to use its newfound power responsibly. He has been cited as a key influence by many in the hip-hop community - such as rapper-producer Kanye West, who closed his platinum-selling 2010 album My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy with a track built around a sample of Scott-Heron's voice.

    Read more here.

     

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    Also published at Echo Park Patch.com:

    By Anthea Raymond
    Earlier this week, we brought you a piece about long-time Echo Park resident Roger Guenveur Smith's new play 'Juan and John' running at the Kirk Douglas Theater in Culver City through Sunday. The piece goes through Sunday with shows at 4 p.m. and 8 p.m. Saturday, and one at 6:30 p.m. on Sunday.

    Because we're local, two is a charm. Roger made some extra time to join us on the patio at Fix Coffee earlier this week, to talk more about Echo Park and life in the shadow of Dodger Stadium at another historic moment.

    Here's just a little bit of our conversation. We'll post more of it tomorrow.

    Echo Park Patch: You grew up in Baldwin Hills. But you moved to Echo Park in the 1980s. How'd you end up here?

    Roger Guenveur Smith: It's crazy because something just kept me coming this way and driving this way and there was something about it that attracted me. The combination of the green and the urban. I came here and found an amazing deal for a very small place but it was all windows and it looked west. I stayed there for seven years. And then I came up here.

    Echo Park Patch: What are you favorite things about the area?

    Smith: Elysian Park is a tremendous resource. It's extraordinary experience to walk out of your door and be on a trail in the middle of 17 million people. I'm up there every day. Being able to walk to Dodger Stadium is definitely a plus. And to be able to drive down Echo Park Avenue, emerge and be able to pick a place to eat, I like that. I try to stay as close as possible. It's a big venture for me to go to the westside...And we're sequestered between five freeways but I don't' hear anything. That's amazing.

    Echo Park Patch: What do you think of the changes in the neighborhood that so many talk about?

    Smith: I don't think the changes in EP are any more or less grand than anywhere else in the city. And I think there are some things about Echo Park that won't change cause of the housing stock and topography, the combination of multi-family dwellings and private homes. Echo Park will always be attractive to artists, hipsters. Where we are was called Red Hill because it was attractive to countercultural people and continues to be. Today's counterculture people might have a bigger budget, but there are things about Echo Park that just won't change.

    Go to Echo Park Patch.com for more with Echo Park's Roger Guenveur Smith.

     

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    Before you grub too tough this Memorial Day weekend on dried out beef patties and swine ribs lathered in sauce, why not switch up the menu and raise the SEXY factor at the same time?

    C. Nzingha Smith, writer, poet and author of 'Lust Have Recipes, A Cookbook: IN-Gredients for Stimulation,' has a few tips, tricks and recipes to offer holiday revelers that are sure to ignite a flame in more places than the grill.

    "Using food in foreplay and sex play is a great way to keep things fresh," she said. By using basic ingredients and a little creativity, Smith said anyone can "reignite the flame or make it even hotter."

    The book, available at www.cnsmithbooks.com, is a combination of erotic poetry and recipes chock-full of aphrodisiacs. The cookbook walks readers from a couple's conversation and foreplay - with food as an accessory - through to the morning after, in six chapters beginning with 'Deep Throat: Nightcaps' to 'The Morning After: Breakfast in Bed.' Somewhere in the middle there's 'Quickie: In and Out,' which teaches one how to work the perfect mouthful of sausage and 'Climax: Oh So Delicious Sweets Desserts.' She also offers tips such as, eating pineapple or drinking pineapple juice to sweeten the taste of semen.

    Smith also provides an understanding of how to use each of the aphrodisiac ingredient used in the book, adding what she hopes will be "sensuality and romance to the mix, arousing all of the senses for a total experience."

    And now, with no further ado, here are a few of Smith's "sizzling" Memorial Day recipes.

    Drinks: LAP DANCE

    Bring this sexy spin on the classic pina colada cocktail to the beach or your BBQ.

    1 cup of cream of coconut, 1 cup of Malibu Rum, 1 cup of pineapple juice, ½ cup of mango juice, 1 cup of fresh strawberries, and sliced 2 whole pineapples 2-3 cups of ice

    Combine all ingredients into blender until the blender is ¾ full. Blend ingredients until mixture reaches a smooth consistency. Add more ice for thicker drink. Slice top of each pineapple horizontally approximately two inches below the leaves. Cut up the inside of the pineapple leaving two inches of fruit in width and depth inside to suppor the drink. Remove the cut fruit from the inside with a large spoon. Serve in pineapple cup. Top with whipped cram and a cherry on top. Garnish with a cocktail umbrella.

    Sophisticated Side Dishes: ORAL FIX

    Roasted Asparagus Salad w/ Pomegranate Vinaigrette

    Vinaigrette 1-2 medium pomegranates (reserve seeds), ¼ cup of red wine vinegar, 2 tablespoons, of honey ½ cup of olive oil

    Juice pomegranates. Combine ½ cup pomegranate juice, vinegar and honey in mixing bowl. Drizzle in olive oil slowly. Cover and refrigerated until ready to serve.

    Salad: 1 bunch of asparagus, 3 whole carrots, ¼ cup of almonds, 1 cup Parmesan cheese, 2 teaspoons of extra virgin olive oil, 1 fresh lemon, 5 cherry tomatoes, 1 bunch of arugula

    Season the asparagus with sea salt and black pepper to taste. Toss asparagus, tomatoes and carrots in olive oil in a large mixing bowl. Bake vegetables on cookie sheet for 10-15 minutes. Remove vegetables from oven, squeeze with lemon juice. Lay arugula salad on serving plate followed by the cooked asparagus. Top with tomatoes, carrots, almonds and cheese. Whisk vinaigrette before drizzling over salad. Garnish with pomegranate seeds.

    On the Grill: A HAND JOB

    Avocado & Papaya Skewers

    3 avocados, 2 papayas, 1 cup of mint, 2 tablespoons of honey, 1 lemon 4-6 wooden skewers

    Presoak 4-6 skewers in cold water for 30 mintues. Half and pit avocados. Cut and deseed papayas. Slice avocado and papaya into thick cubes. Combine liquied ingredients in mixing bowl and whisk together. Toss fruits into mixture until well coated. Slide alternate fruits onto soaked skeweres. Preheat grill to medium heat for 10 minutes. Place kabobs on grilling pans. Grill each side for 2 minutes until grill marks form.

    Smith said that all of the above can be grilled and prepared as additions to the normal BBQ spread, "adding a healthy bit of sexy to the BBQ for guests or an intimate gathering for two."

    Ingredients in the above recipes, including avocado, green peppers, asparagus, are all internal aphrodisiacs, Smith said, adding that aphrodisiacs are meant to stimulate arousal and increase libido in men and women, and taste good at the same time.

     

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    From The Huffington Post:

    Officials and community members agree: Leimert Park should get a metro stop on the planned Crenshaw/LAX line. The neighborhood, a historic symbol and vibrant scene of the African-American community in Los Angeles, won approval for a station from Metro Board officials last Thursday. But it was only a job half-done, reports the 'LA Times.'

    While $1.7 billion is set aside for the Crenshaw/LAX line, funding was never explicitly set aside for the Leimert Park stop, and the Metro Board community meeting didn't change anything in that regard. Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky, who were present at the meeting, expressed cautious support to the LA Times.

    Villaraigosa called for a "a fiscally responsible proposal" that adheres to the set budget, while Yaroslavsky said, "The only question was, and remains, how to pay for it." The Leimert Park metro stop and the necessary tunnel under Park Mesa Heights would cost an additional $131 million and $269 million, respectively.

    In a HuffPost blog published before the meeting, LA County Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas (and the campaign's main proponent), said wrly: "It turns out an agency with a $4.15 billion annual budget and $40 billion available over the next 30 years through Measure R, the 2008 transit funding ballot measure has a little bit of financial wiggle room."

    His collaborative research with the Metro planning staff revealed that the abandoned "Red Line Project" frees up $251 million for Leimert Park's use, as well as a $1.4 billion pot of money for low-priority projects that could be transferred for other means. Still, his findings weren't enough for the Metro Board to commit financial support to the project everyone agrees should be implemented.

    Read more here.

     

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    Often lost in all of the Memorial Day barbecuing, parading and flag-waving is not just the day's true meaning - remembering fallen American soldiers- but the day's true origins.

    The first ever Memorial Day was celebrated on May 1, 1865 in Charleston, South Carolina by former African-American slaves. They called their celebration Decoration Day, and it was in honor of some 250 or so Union Soldiers who died in an encampment on the site of an old horseracing track.

    This bit of history has largely been lost, tucked away in the dusty recesses of Southern archives, forgotten, perhaps with intention, by those in the late 18th Century who sought to control the historical narrative and the meaning of the Civil War.

    While oral histories passed down through black families in Charleston of a glorious day in 1865 when more than 10,000 blacks marched and sang and prayed over the graves of the Union soldiers buried there, the story had remained the stuff of hushed legend until David Blight, a historian at Yale University, stumbled upon it in the late 1990s while doing research for a book he was writing.

    He was parsing through a "hopelessly disorganized" trove of material at the Houghton Library at Harvard University when he made a fascinating discovery inside a box of papers. It was a folder labeled "First Decoration Day," and when he cracked it open a piece of cardboard-like paper slid out.

    On it was a handwritten narrative, probably written by a Civil War veteran, describing in detail what happened that day at the racetrack.

    "When I read it I could hardly believe my eyes," said Blight, the author of several books, including 'Race and Reunion: The Civil War in American Memory.'

    The more research he did the more detail he uncovered and a clear picture emerged of what is likely (though several other states have laid claim) the very first celebration of scale of the war's dead.

    The end of the Civil War had just come, leaving behind a trail of death and destruction from North to South. About 620,000 soldiers from both sides of the Mason Dixon were killed. And of the 180,000 or so black soldiers that fought for the Union military, roughly 20 percent of them were killed. Southern cities like Charleston lay in rubble.


    President Abraham Lincoln had been assassinated in April of 1865. Gen. Robert E. Lee, commander of the Confederate troops, had surrendered in the first week of May. The country, particularly the South, was in ruins, soaked in the blood let by war. The slaves had been freed. The North and South were just beginning a long and arduous road to healing, if such a notion could have been imagined at the time.

    This was the backdrop of what happened that day in May some 146 years ago. It was a Monday morning on the grounds of an old racecourse in Charleston, which at one time was a gem of the city's gentry, its socialites and its wealthy, according to Blight and various histories.

    But in the waning last year of the war the course's grounds had been turned into a prison camp and a burial ground for hundreds of Union soldiers who died there. For weeks after the war officially ended, former slaves, about 25 in all, did the dirty work of burying those dead soldiers.

    Thousands upon thousands of former slaves, black school children and soldiers came together to honor those that died there. They sang 'John Brown's Body,' according to accounts. The black grave-diggers, according to Blight, built a fence around the cemetery and constructed an archway, which read "Martyrs of the Racetrack," or something close to it.

    But how could such a huge event involving 10,000 people, 10,000 black people in the Deep South, be forgotten?

    "It is, on the surface, hard to believe an event including ten thousand people could get lost," Blight said. "It got lost because the people in control of public memory by the mid to late 1870s were not the people who wanted to remember this."

    In 1876, 11 years after the Civil War ended, with the white Southern elite tearing away at Reconstruction, a white-supremacist Democrat, Wade Hampton, became governor. They called him the "redeemer Governor," Blight said. "Redeeming white supremacy and control."

    The era of the "lost cause" began then, and the powers started to define their version of the war, and by the 1880s and 1890s, there would be no recollection of the event in the official public memory in Charleston.

    Since Blight's discovery about a dozen or so years ago, Charleston, which like so many other American cities is fraught with lingering racial divisions, has embraced the history. Last year some 200 black re-enactors, the mayor and other city officials, as well as various historians including Blight, marched across the site of the racetrack, ironically named after Wade Hampton, and placed a memorial plaque at the site.

    "To the extent that it matter who was first," Blight said, "this particular event has a right to claim that distinction."

     

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    clothing

    This Memorial Day holiday, whether you're packing up and hitting the road or just lounging at home enjoying your day off, do it in style. Check out our outfit suggestions to see what works best for you.


    Barbecue Beauty

    tank shorts
    bag
    Come equipped to the barbecue with a hearty appetite and your summer ready outfit. Pick up this striped top from Forever21 for $17.80, these shorts from Old Navy for $24.50 and Aldo heels for $70. Complete your look with this Hermes inspired straw bag for $50.00.
    Beach Bum
    beach bagbikini


    Relax at the park with this Old Navy bag for $12.50 and flip flops for $3.50, or head to the beach in this polka dot H&M swimsuit for $24.95.

    Lounging Around

    tankflats sweat pants

    Sleep in, catch up on your favorite shows, just hang on the couch or head out for a quick lunch or dinner with some friends. Wear a nice pair of sweats like this Nike pair for $60.00 with this tank top for $11.99 from Macy's, and these comfortable sandals for $39.00 from Etienne Aigner.

     

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  • 05/30/11--03:09: Gabrielle Union's New Gigs
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    Gabrielle Union

    Actress Gabrielle Union is a favorite in Hollywood and now fans can look forward to her upcoming roles in the film adaptation of Steve Harvey's best-seller 'Act Like A Lady, Think Like A Man,' Tyler Perry's 'Good Deeds' and the indie dramedy 'Family Tree.'

    Perry's ditching his Madea act in 'Good Deeds' to play a successful entrepreneur who's drawn to a single mom on the eve of his marriage to a wealthy fiancée. Union and former supermodel Beverly Johnson portray mom and daughter in the film.

    Harvey's hit book will be turned into 'Think Like A Man' for the big screen and will revolve around a relationship expert who gives advice to a struggling married couple. Harvey is executive producing the project and production is scheduled to start this summer with Union joining Taraji P. Henson, Kevan Hart and Michael Ealy in the film.

    And in 'Family Tree,' Union plays the love interest to John Slatthery, a father who accidentally winds up in the same vacation home with his estranged son and his girlfriend, played by Jena Malone.

     

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    From The Huffington Post:

    A report is spreading quickly on Facebook and Twitter that famed rapper Tupac Shakur is shockingly "alive and well" in New Zealand, 15 years after he died.

    This is of course false. Tupac died in Las Vegas in 1996. But the link that is circulating, a PBS web story, looks entirely legitimate, fueling the rumor.

    PBS has been hacked.

    PBS NewsHour online engagement staffer Teresa Gorman has spent much of her holiday Sunday night replying to folks on Twitter, telling them the report is false and PBS has been hacked.

    Read more here.

     

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    From McClatchy:

    WASHINGTON - House Assistant Democratic Leader Jim Clyburn objected Thursday to coverage of his views on the impact of President Barack Obama's race on assessments of his performance in the White House.

    In a letter to the editor of The State newspaper in Clyburn's hometown of Columbia, S.C., the No. 3 House Democrat said an article published Thursday had sensationalized his perspectives on the ties between Obama's race and his work as president.

    "I have always abhorred the word 'racism,' " Clyburn said in the letter. "I never use it. I believe it is a lethal term, and I am offended that my honest responses to a reporter's clearly designed agenda would be distorted in such a manner."

    The article was published in The State, in other South Carolina newspapers and on dozens of McClatchy and non-McClatchy websites around the country.

    There were more than 1,100 comments about the article within 24 hours of its posting on www.mccclatchydc.com and more than 450 comments on www.thestate.com in the same period.

    "You know, I'm 70 years old," the article quoted Clyburn as saying. "And I can tell you; people don't like to deal with it, but the fact of the matter is, the president's problems are in large measure because of his skin color."

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    From The Independent:

    Cadbury is facing the prospect of a black consumer boycott after it compared Naomi Campbell to a chocolate bar in a new advertising campaign.

    The supermodel - hardly known for taking things in her stride - is incensed that Cadbury used her name in the strap line to promote its new chocolate bar called Bliss, accusing the company of racism. The ad says: "Move over Naomi - there is a new diva in town."

    Yesterday Campbell revealed she is considering "every option available" after Cadbury, owned by the US giant Kraft, refused to pull the ad campaign, which ran in newspapers last week: "I am shocked. It's upsetting to be described as chocolate, not just for me, but for all black women and black people. I do not find any humour in this. It is insulting and hurtful."

    The model's mother, Valerie Morris, backed her daughter, saying: "I'm deeply upset by this racist advert. Do these people think they can insult black people and we just take it? This is the 21st century, not the 1950s. Shame on Cadbury."

    Disgust at the ad prompted members of the public to complain to the campaign group Operation Black Vote (OBV), which has called for Cadbury to apologise. OBV's Simon Woolley said that without an apology, the "only recourse black people have is not to buy its chocolate". He has written to the American civil rights activists Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson to ask them to mobilise the country's Afro-American population. "I want them to know what their parent company is doing in Europe. I've asked them to support us."

    Mr Woolley said that, for black people, being likened to chocolate was as bad as being called a golliwog. "Racism in the playground starts with black children being called 'chocolate bar'. At best, this is insensitive, and at worst it demonstrates Cadbury's utter disregard for causing offence. Its lack of apology just adds insult to injury. The Eurocentric joke is not funny to black people.

    Read more here.

     

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    From the Atlantic:

    In the scandalous case of Dominique Strauss-Kahn, the French IMF chief currently held in New York facing attempted rape charges, the powerful issues of race and gender easily overwhelm one curious geopolitical detail: what's a woman from a French-speaking, former French colony in West Africa doing in the U.S. in the first place? In this case, she is from Guinea, but she could just as likely be from Senegal, Cameroon, Rwanda, Gabon, or Benin -- all Francophone countries that once sent their most ambitious immigrants almost exclusively to France. Now these and other French-speaking African countries experience a steady outflow people to the U.S.

    The presence of a growing number of French-speaking Africans reflects a monumental shift in the relationship of sub-Saharan Africa to France and to the U.S. The shift has been years in the making, and its still-unfolding consequences are dimly appreciated.

    I first experienced directly France's loosening hold on its former French colonies on a lengthy visit to Cameroon in 2005. I went to report on the purchase by a U.S. company of the entire electricity system of Cameroon. French-trained technocrats -- all Cameroonian nationals -- were hired to manage the newly privatized system, which was the largest single employer in Cameroon. When I met Jean Bile, the chief executive officer, I found him fluent in English; so was his entire leadership team.

    Read more here.

     

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  • 05/31/11--01:14: Life Lessons, Plainly Told
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    From Philly.com:

    If you've read anything by best-selling author J. California Cooper, you know that she would quickly tell you that basking in the spotlight is like making a direct call to the devil. Humans are their most foolish, she says, when they aren't humble.

    Extolling these simple truths has made the 79-year-old California native a favorite among generations of readers. Her books, which include seven short-story collections and five novels, are all about learning life's obvious lessons.

    Cooper's latest novel, 'Life Is Short but Wide' (Anchor Books, 2009), was on the New York Times best-seller list for weeks. Philadelphia singer Jill Scott refers to Cooper as "brilliant. One of the best writers of all times." She's also a favorite of Nikki Giovanni, Halle Berry, and former first lady Laura Bush. She has earned scores of accolades and literary awards including the American Book Award in 1989.

    On Thursday, Cooper will add one more honor to her prestigious collection: a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Philadelphia-based Art Sanctuary's 27th Annual Celebration of Black Writing. Past recipients include poet Sonia Sanchez and novelists Walter Mosley and Terry McMillan.

    Read more here.

     

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    From CNN:

    President Barack Obama's performance on national security and international affairs and his image as a strong leader appear to be behind his rising approval rating, according to new national poll conducted as the president was on an overseas visit to four countries.

    A CNN/Opinion Research Corporation survey released Monday indicates that Obama's approval rating among Americans stands at 54 percent, with 45 percent saying they disapprove of the job he's doing as president. Obama's approval rating appears to have steadily risen in the past two months, from 48 percent in early April to 52 percent in early May and the current mark of 54 percent.

    "On specific issues, the president's approval rating is over 50 percent on only three out of 11 items tested, and all three - terrorism, Afghanistan, and Iraq - are foreign or security issues," says CNN Polling Director Keating Holland. "But his approval rating on every domestic issue listed in the poll is well below 50 and on most of them - including the economy, health care, taxes, and the budget deficit - his rating has remained flat or dropped since the start of the year."

    Read more here.

     

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    From the Huffington Post:

    On those summer days when the temperature soars into the 90s and the haze blurs the horizon, city pools across the U.S. have beckoned people from all over to take a cool dip.

    But as the Great Recession has drained city budgets across the country, it also has drained public pools for good. From New York City to Sacramento, Calif., pools now considered costly extravagances are being shuttered, taking away a rite of summer for millions. It's especially hard for families that can't afford a membership to private pool or fitness club and don't live in a neighborhood where they can befriend with someone with a backyard pool.

    Hard times haven't always meant cutbacks. An author who studied the role swimming pools played in 20th century America found more than 1,000 municipal pools were built as public works projects during the Great Depression. But this time, most governments only see decades-old pools burning holes in already tight budgets.

    Read more here.

     

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    From indieWire:

    English actor Idris Elba, still best known as Stringer Bell from David Simon's epic HBO series, "The Wire," tweeted this weekend, "Having one of the biggest meetings of my professional life today...meeting a very controversial director for a very controversial part." And the Internet pretty much lit up with speculation.


    "I wish I could tell you more but...in due time," he added."On the plane to the destination of my fate.....ok.... a lil dramatic....destination of my life..?"

    Almost immediately, tweeps and pundits started asking: what kind of potentially major role makes Idris Elba so melodramatic? Could it be the lead role in Quentin Tarantino's slavery epic, "Django Unchained"? After all, "Django Unchained" is a controversial powder keg of racial politics and what other African American roles have made this much of a stir of late? Our IndieWIRE brethren at Shadow & Act were the first to ask and pose this question and we'll be honest, the thought crossed our minds immediately as well.

    Read more here.

     

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    From the Washington Post:

    She is 74 years old, and she is ripped.

    Sculpted deltoids, carved biceps and a stomach chiseled into a glorious six-pack that rises and falls into magnificent little hills and valleys.

    It is the first thing you notice when you see Ernestine Shepherd in the front of the class, teaching body sculpting at a gym north of Baltimore.

    Shepherd is wearing tight red shorts and a red bikini top. Between the two is her signature span of chiseled abs.

    She is a Dorothy Dandridge beauty, a knockout. Her makeup is perfect, lips painted candy red to match her workout clothes. She has thick, black eyelashes and wears her hair in a long, gray braid that swings down her superbly sculpted back.

    Read more here.

     

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    From the New York Times
    :

    While the United States has turned its back on some authoritarian rulers in North Africa and the Middle East, its attitude toward strategically placed autocrats in less restive corners of Africa is more ambiguous, and perhaps nowhere more so than in this oil-rich speck of a nation in the Gulf of Guinea.

    Officially and unofficially, Americans do business with one of the undisputed human rights global bad boys, Equatorial Guinea, Africa's fourth biggest oil exporter. Its widely criticized record on basic freedoms has offered little barrier to broad engagement by the United States, commercially or diplomatically.

    American oil companies have billions of dollars invested here. One American diplomat, using language that makes human rights advocates fume, praised the "mellowing, benign leadership" of the dictator in power for more than 30 years, Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo, in 2009 cables released by WikiLeaks. And a leading American military contractor with strong Pentagon ties has a multimillion-dollar contract to protect his shores and help train his forces.

    The contractor, Military Professional Resources Inc., or M.P.R.I., led by a top aide to former Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld, works on maritime security and human rights training for Mr. Obiang's police forces. But even with the training, the United Nations, human rights groups and local dissidents say torture by the nation's authorities remains systematic. And maritime security touches on the most sensitive aspects of personal defense for Mr. Obiang, especially in an island capital where coup attempts have come from the sea.

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    From the New York Times:

    In announcing Monday that he would nominate Gen. Martin E. Dempsey to be chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, President Obama concluded a broad reshuffling of his national security team just as the administration is heading into a new debate over bringing American troops home from Afghanistan.

    General Dempsey, who if confirmed by the Senate would take over from Adm. Mike Mullen as the nation's highest ranking military officer, has not taken a public position on how many troops should be withdrawn starting in July, the date set by the president for beginning to reduce the United States military presence in Afghanistan.

    But he will be walking into a debate that has been simmering within the administration for two years. On one side are those who want to maintain troop levels as much as possible and to continue a counterinsurgency strategy that emphasizes clearing key regions of Taliban fighters and helping the Afghan government build stable institutions. On the other are those who want to focus on counterterrorism, using fewer troops to carry out targeted strikes on Al Qaeda and Taliban forces.

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  • 05/31/11--06:12: Snapped: The Braxton Sisters
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    braxton sisters

    This past Memorial Day weekend, Wendy Williams hosted the 'Braxton Family Values' reunion special and each Braxton sister glowed as much as the next as they all celebrated the end of their first season on the air. We can't wait for season two of more Braxton drama.





    Toni Braxton

    toni braxton



    Closeup


    toni braxton

     

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